Friday, November 28, 2008

Many Reasons to Give Thanks

In an embarrassment of riches, not only was I blessed with our little Luca Bean last week but today was also my birthday. Ivan made me a white cake with whipped Ganache frosting and the boys sang Happy Birthday to me all day long :). I wanted to celebrate Luca's birth day with mine so I put out our birthday ring (pictured above).

We're trying to find a new rhythmn for our family and honestly, it's been quite a challenge. Right now my favorite time of the day has been the afternoon when everyone naps. There's a quiet and stillness to the house as everyone rests. It feels so deliciously decadent to cuddle up with my boys and just watch their beautiful little faces sleep.

Thanks so much to everyone who left messages of blessings and well wishes! It's wonderful knowing that Luca came into this world with loving thoughts surrounding him. Every once in awhile when he's sleeping, I see a smile on his face and know that it's an angel whispering to him about all the people who were excitedly expecting his arrival.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Introducing My Newest Love, Luca

There you are...
Right in front of me
A Brand New Day
Sunrise Over Sea

- "Sunrise Over Sea", John Butler Trio

Lucien Gabriel
9 lbs, 1 oz
21 inches

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winding down

Today my beloved friend Erin came over to do some Mehndi art on my enormous pregnant belly. Erin has two little boys who are the same age as Matteo and Nico and we've spent many a playdate chasing the boys while trying to finish sentences with each other. It was such a rare treat to have some quiet time to actually talk and have a conversation!

I made us a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread, Ivan brought us lattes and Erin got to work. Every once in awhile she would have to stop and we'd laugh as the bump made sure we knew he was there by showing us how he could move his foot all along my torso against my skin.

After the past few days of frantic cleaning, organizing and sewing, it was incredibly nice to have this still time today with my lovely friend talking about our boys, motherhood and just being women. I am so blessed to have her friendship.

Today was Ivan's last day of work before going on paternity leave. We are so fortunate that he'll be able to stay home until the New Year. I'm really starting to feel the change coming to our family. Our new little love will be joining us in a few days and we'll have this special time to adjust to our new tribe.

The Big Brother Bags

The past few days I have had the most incredible surge of nesting energy! I have been feeling frantic trying to get ready for the new baby- cleaning the house, washing baby clothes and trying to learn EVERYTHING one can know about cloth diapers... There has been a project that has been on my mind for a few months now and that has been to make "Big Brother" bags to give to Matteo and Nico from their new baby brother. Tonight I decided to sit down, relax and just enjoy making something for my little boys.

When I was making a baby quilt a few months ago, Matteo was standing next to me watching me sew.

"Mama, is that for the new baby?" he asked
"Why yes, honey- do you like it" I replied
"Oh yes...(long pause) can I have a blanket too?" he said in his very quiet, sweet voice

There was no way I wouldn't make my little guy a blanket too.

I found blue (his favorite color) batik fabric and backed it with some blue minky fabric to make a toddler size throw (that's whats wrapped in a roll with sisal twine around it).

I had some leftover denim fabric from hemming curtains a few years ago, so I put it to good use by making it into a tote bag with the batik accent and also a crayon roll (though the crayon roll is actually stuffed with twig crayons). Matteo is just starting to get into dinosaurs so I had ordered him this Pachycephalosaurus and included some trains that I had hidden away.

I didn't get to finish Nico's bag, but here is the fabric and goodies for him. His favorite color is green and he loves dogs so I thought these would be nice stuffers for his bag in addition to the blanket and crayon roll.

It's hard to believe that there's only 2 days left!

Little Pieces of Art

About a year ago, I had heard about some beautiful wooden figures made by a German company called Die Buntspechte. I never seemed to run across them in my meanderings through natural toy stores, nor did any of my usual on-line haunts seem to carry them. I had heard that the Rudolph Steiner College Bookstore in Sacramento carried them, but an 80 mile trip just to look at toys seemed a bit excessive... even for me.

A few weeks ago, while at the local Waldorf school's Harvest Faire, I was fortunate to meet Christine Shreier- an artisan whose work has been featured in Living Crafts magazine and proprietor of The Puppenstube. She was the first person in the US to sell Buntspechte figures ten years ago and had brought the most gorgeous selection of them! I was amazed by the simplicity and beauty of these figures. Each one is hand carved and painted in these incredible rich, yet subtle colors. There is an almost sensual feel to these toys when you hold the horses and can actually feel the muscles sculpted into the wood.

I really loved the reds and purples on the rooster, Madchen and little girl

There is something so special about these little figures. I was really touched by the beauty of each one of them and love having these little pieces of art for the boys and I to play with.

Friday, November 14, 2008

With our hands

Yesterday the boys and I decided to make homemade playdough. I've always been a little freaked out by the neon colors and smell of the stuff you buy in the store so when I came across a recipe at Tiny Bird Organics I decided to give it a try at home.

Home-made playdough recipe
1.5 cups flour
1/3 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1.5 cups water
1.5 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix ingredients together in a stove-top pan (first the dry ingredients, then adding the water and oil, and food coloring if desired), and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.

Cook for 4-6 minutes until it starts looking like 1 continuous globular mass (after 2-3 minutes it just has some smaller non-connected globs forming and lots of goo still, but it will start clumping all together soon if you keep stirring up the thickened parts off the bottom of the pan).

Then dump/scoop it on a plate, let cool for about 3 minutes, and then knead it into a ball. If it's still too sticky after forming into a ball, you can add a little flour to it, or next time just cook it a little longer.

There is something very visceral and comforting about kneading warm dough. The homemade dough ended up having a really nice smooth texture and natural smell. This recipe makes about a pound of dough. We ended up doing a pound a color and have a nice stash to keep us busy!

Matteo concentrating

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anticipating Baby

10 more days until our littlest love will join us! I had an appt this morning with Dr A. and she said he's still pretty high up, but finally head down AND that I'm measuring to be about 2 weeks further than I am... so she thinks I'll have another enormously huge bruiser baby :)!

I'm getting more and more excited to meet our little boy! This morning, Matteo pulled up my shirt, kissed my tummy and said "good morning little baby, how are you?". Such a sweet, sweet boy... sigh

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Little Love Nico!

Oh Nicolao, my sweet boy. Today you turned 2! And like every day you've been on this earth, you've brought me smiles and so much joy. The first thing you said to me this morning was "I love you, mama" and you gave me a sweet kiss on the cheek. Thank you for giving me that lovely gift this morning!

Our tyrannical imp~ you're so fiercely loyal, woe to any kid who messes with Matteo at the playground! You're fearless and so incredibly funny. Thank you for choosing us to be your family, my darling Nico. I can't imagine my life or this family without your sweet, happy spirit.


Friday, November 7, 2008

The Smaller Tribe

I never have considered myself a super girlie girl, but the one thing that makes me go soft are dolls. Not just any dolls, but Waldorf dolls. I love these dolls hand-made out of natural materials, stuffed with wool, covered with organic cotton for skin and if they're super special- they have semi precious stones and crystals placed into their bellies for their special healing and comforting properties. Having boys, it's a bit off the beaten path to justify having dolls, but with the birth of Nico 2 years ago, it seemed the most natural thing for Matteo to receive his first doll, Felix, in anticipation of being a big brother. Matteo is pretty gentle in nature and spirit so he took right away to caring for Felix, carrying him in a baby sling made out of a playsilk and sometimes even holding him to his chest to "feed him".

When I learned I was pregnant this year, we got Pablo (all our doll names are based upon names we've thought about using for the "live" babies) a heavy baby doll, stuffed with millet and lavender. Pablo is so sweet to hold and smell, but he is truly a heavy baby. When Nico picks him up he holds him tight and yells "heavy! heavy!"

Kaisa is my doll. As a soon to be mother of 3 boys, I desperately wanted my own little girl to dress up (and Ivan was happy to oblige getting her as I think he feared I would put our boys in fairy princess dresses just to satisfy my small-but present- need for pink). I have a not-so-small stack of fabric just waiting to be made into doll dresses.

This is Nico with his new doll, Paolo. We gave him to Nico last weekend right before we went to the special sibling preparation class at the hospital where I am giving birth. He wouldn't let go of his new "little brother" the entire time.

In the new Mothering magazine, there was a great article about boys and dolls and how having dolls prepares boys to be good fathers by allowing their nurturing instincts develop. I love seeing how the boys play with these beautiful dolls and couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Brighter Day

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer"
- President- elect, Barack Obama

What an amazing, incredible night. I was glued to the TV watching election returns ... entranced, joyful as Pennsylvania came in... then Ohio... then the Western states and then "President- elect Barack Obama" images flooded the airwaves.

I feel like I go to bed tonight with a renewed sense of hope and belief in our country and I say a prayer of thanks that tomorrow I'll wake up in a brighter, happier world.