Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Room Of His Own

I really loved having my own home office. I've never had one before -- we've always either lived in places without extra bedrooms, or when I was working full-time, any extra space was claimed by Aaron as studio space. But for the last year and a half, since we moved into this house, I had my own little space to work in and to store my stuff (though Aaron tended to use it as a dumping ground for stuff that he wanted out of sight). But, Henry needs his own space and he grew out of his cradle so quickly, so we moved him into his own room a couple of weeks ago.

Aaron painted this room this weird colour of dark army green in the early months of my pregnancy simply because we had the paint on hand (it was originally intended as an accent colour for the living room but we decided it wasn't right). We're lucky Hnery turned out to be a dude rather than a dudette, because I don't think I could have lived with this stuff in a little girl's room. But for Mr. H, it kind of works. What you see above is a painting that an illustrator from Aaron's work gave to Henry and an old vintage puzzle that I thrifted last year (I glued down the pieces, obviously).

The curtains are newly made (by me!), and while I have to shorten the loops a little bit to bring them up, I actually made them the right size. I wanted to find some curtain fabric at that sale I went to last month, but I didn't end up finding enough for this long skinny window, so I splurged and bought this Marimekko. I figured it was worth the hefty price since Henry (and Ruby, for that matter) is a full quarter Finnish and the fabric hence reflects his heritage. Sure. Actually, I wanted something that wasn't too busy but was suitable for a kid, but not too cutesy. I basically followed the cafe curtain instructions in Bend-The-Rules sewing, but with two panels and longer hanging loops. And I only had to make a single cut (cutting the fabric in half) since I used every square inch of the two yards I ordered. Easy.

And here are the swatch portraits, hung up over the diaper table. Henry loves looking at them -- he actually coos whenever I change him. He's a good boy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I've been feeling crafty lately. Not that I have the time or energy to actually do much about it, but I've been feeling the itch. And I'm taking baby steps to get back in the game. I cast on for another pair of baby socks. I made Henry some curtains (pictures to come -- the weather has been awful here and there hasn't been a nice sunny curtain-picture-taking day). I've been thinking about making a quilt. I've been sorting through fabric. And I've been stitching.

I keep a little embroidery bag stashed under my couch and do a little bit of stitching in the rare moments when both the kids are asleep/otherwise occupied and I'm not in desperate need of a nap myself. Since I've spruced up Henry's room, I figured Ruby deserved some new wall art too. I've loyally been buying the Wee Wonderful Stitchette embroidery patterns and I figured the summer girls would be perfect for Roo's room. I'll share more once I'm done.

And, I figured I post this just to be consistent, though you probably don't really need to see another picture of chocolate cookies. These are the Milk Chocolate cookies from the Martha Stewart book, baked for my friend Joe's birthday this weekend. I'm starting to feel a little duped -- I've made three chocolate cookie recipes from this book now and they've all yielded virtually identical cookies. Now, I know that there are plenty of non-chocolate recipes in there and I don't have to exclusively make the recipes that are almost the same. But I like chocolate. These cookies were good, but again, were chocolate sugar cookies. Nothing more, nothing less.

p.s. Thanks to those of you who inquired about my health after the last post. I'm totally fine, but my insides took a bit of a beating from birthing Henry. I don't know much, there may be problems if I go into labour again, but since I have no immediate plans to have another kid, it's not too big of a deal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Baby Socks That Time Almost Forgot

See these itty-bitty teeny-weenie baby socks? They took me (by my own foggy calculations) at least 14 weeks to knit. Fourteen weeks! I know, I have every right to have taken 14 weeks to knit a pair of baby socks: I had carpal tunnel in the weeks leading up to Henry's birth and was also in a hellish four-week pre-labour which I later found out all but left my uterus unusable (ladies, if it feels like something's wrong, press your doctor. Don't take "it's normal" for an answer if you really don't think it is). Then, of course, I've had a three-year-old to chase and a little bruiser of a baby who eats at hour-and-a-half intervals. But, look, socks!

This is from a very easy, almost intuitive baby sock recipe, found here. I used some leftover yarn from a pair of adult socks: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Envy, so Henry now has socks that match a pair I made his Nana for Christmas. The two baby socks took up almost exactly the remainder from one skein of sock yarn that had already yielded a single adult sock. So, two skeins of something like Shepherd Sock should give you a pair of grown-up socks and two pairs of baby socks (depending on how long the grown-up socks are, of course).

I'm planning to make a few more of these, if not for Henry, for all the other babies in my life (20 newborns in 2008!). It's a great way to get rid of all those little remainder balls that are lying around the house and they also provide a knitting project that I may actually finish one day.

Oh, and speaking of babies, my dinner out with my friends was great for me, but horrible for Henry and Aaron. Henry is normally a weirdly well-behaved baby (Ruby cries more in the course of a day than he does), but apparently he's also already a full-on mama's boy. He screamed the whole time I was gone, and was smiley and quiet the minute I came through the door. Ack.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Long Weekend Randoms

Happy May long weekend, Canadians! It's been a beautiful May long here -- so hard to believe that we had piles of snow just a few weeks ago and now we're slapping on the sunscreen and blowing up the kiddie pool. Here are some randoms:

*Spring reading: Okido came in the mail for Ruby the other day and I'm loving it (and so, thankfully, is she). I had never heard of this one before and then I read about it on someone's blog (don't recall which one) and I had to order it. It's a British magazine for kids 2 to 7 and it's really, really awesome -- not at all like the Owl and Chickadee mags that I used to subscribe to as a kid. This issue is all about digestion, which is timely considering our ongoing fight with constipation in our house (with Ruby, not the adults, thank you very much). Kind of costly, seeing as it comes from the U.K., but worth it. And for me, I finally got Amanda's book. Haven't had time to give it a good look yet, but I'm really looking forward to it.

*We finally saw the Bob Dylan movie I'm Not There. Now, I'm a bit of a Dylan obsessive, so I was skeptical, especially over the stunt casting of Cate Blanchett. Well, not only was she great, but the whole thing was great. And it had Heath Ledger in it. And David Cross!

*Boys clothes are not nearly as fun as girls, but check out the boy version of those girls socks that look like mary janes. Cowboy boots! From Trumpette.

*And I have plans to actually go out for dinner tonight. Without kids. In public. With adults. Most of whom don't have kids. Wish Aaron luck -- Henry's been grumpy today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mothers Day... Tardy Due To Mothering

Yikes, I meant to say happy Mothers Day on Sunday, but due to the activity of mothering, I've been really busy. Henry is coming along nicely (soooo close to rolling over, but for now I'll take his constant smiling and cooing) and Ruby is... well, very three. When I put her to bed on Sunday night we had the following exchange:

R: Mommy, when I wake up in the morning will it still be Mothers Day?
Me: No, sweetie. Mothers Day will be over in the morning.
R: Good. That means it'll go back to being Ruby Day.

That's what we get for using the "Today is Mothers' Day because every day is kids' day" argument. Yoinks.

Anyway, above is a picture of my own sweet mother playing on the farm where she grew up. Until next time, have a happy Ruby Day.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bittersweet Domesticity

The weather has been dreadful here today and Ruby's classes were canceled this week, so we've been cooped up. I've been in the kitchen, trying to get some stuff done, which has been boring the kids to tears, but life goes on, right? Yesterday I made a batch of cookies, and for the first time I wasn't completely thrilled with a recipe from the Martha Stewart cookie book (not counting the time I botched the recipe). I made the Caramel Cashew cookies and they're just okay. There's a load of cashews in these cookies -- both chopped and processed into cashew butter and as much as I like a cashew, it's too much. They're kind of like peanut butter cookies, but really really cashewy. Okay, but not mind-blowing like the brownies or chocolate cookies that I've already tried.

A while back I picked up Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook. I know a lot of people have problems with this book, but desperate to get more veggies into Ruby (without going into detail, we're having big constipation problems, so she needs more veg in her diet) I decided to give it a try. It's been sitting in my cupboard for weeks now (maybe even months, I'm not sure) and I finally got around to making and freezing some purees so I can try some of the recipes. In addition to puree-ing I whipped up a pan (or a pie-plate, actually) of Jessica's brownies, with carrot and spinach puree. When Ruby and I were mixing it up the batter looked really gross and it smelled pretty bad going in the oven too. But, it turned out okay. Not delicious like Martha's brownies and a little too cakey for my tastes, but edible. Now we'll just have to see if the kid will eat them. Tomorrow, I'll mix some cauliflower in with her mac and cheese. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 05, 2008

And Your Bird Can Sing

So, I've heard that kids shift from scribbles to actual pictures in a magically quick way and for Ruby it's finally happening. She likes art, but she's way more into abstract paint smearing than drawing figures. I haven't been worried that's she's behind for her age per se, but I have been anxious for her to start drawing. What you see above is a bird. Specifically, Vlad from Horton Hears A Who (or as Ruby calls him "that silly bird" -- we convinced her that he was silly, not scary to prevent her from having a melt down during her very fist theatre experience). She then felt like she had to scribble around him (clouds, you see), but I'm glad the main figure is still in tact (though, with the orange on orange, kind of hard to see). I was so proud when she drew him, she may have well won a Pulitzer Prize. Sigh.

Another random: look at my new garden shoes! Aren't they the most stylish plastic utility shoes ever? And they were $6 at the grocery store. For you non-Canadians, there's a grocery chain here that carries a clothing line called Joe Fresh, which is awesome. Really cheap and really stylish -- kind of like if Ikea made clothes. Although, I overheard the following conversation the other day at the community centre where Ruby takes art class:

Woman #1: Hey, I like your shoes. (Oh, by the way, they weren't the plastic ones, but cute $10 fake leather ballet flats)
Woman #2: Thank you. They're by Joe Fresh. He's a new Canadian designer.

A new Canadian designer? Lady, you bought your shoes at the grocery store. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but when you buy your shoes at a place that also sells fresh produce, you gotta own it.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Family Photo Friday: The Apple And The Tree

Seven weeks. We're seven weeks into being a family of four. With Ruby, the first three months of her life felt like an eternity, but with Henry it feels like we just brought him home. He's growing like crazy (three inches taller now than when he was born) and he's sweet and hungry and grunty and smiley and cooing and beautiful. And he looks like his dad.

Above is a picture of Aaron with his mum (hope you don't mind Leena, but this photo is so beautiful that I had to post it) when he was seven weeks old. Now, here's a picture of Henry, also at seven weeks:

Now, these photos don't really do their likeness justice -- I could have found others that were dead ringers, but for now you get the point. Two beautiful boys. And I love them both.