Saturday, March 28, 2009


The breadmaking wave is passing; I can feel it. Luckily, sewing cute pants has followed close behind. I saw the adorable Miss Qiu Qiu wearing adorable ruffle pants the other day and was inspired (read: obsessed). I've been trolling sewing blogs since then to try to figure out how to make them, and I pieced together an approximation that I'm quite pleased with. After a few hours of intermittent sewing today, Nora got these:

close-up of the ruffle

Nora's new fake smile

I see several more of these coming. In fact, Greg's friend Gabriel, a very talented fashion designer, just passed down some beautiful organic stretchy fabric (I'm sure there's a better name for it than that), and I'm going to use some of it for more of these pants. The fabric is a neutral off-white color (not a great choice for Stainy McStain), so I'm looking at natural dyeing options. So far I've read about coffee grounds, turmeric, paprika, and avocado peels/pits. Other ideas? Like, maybe, step away from the sewing blogs and unload the dishwasher?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Carb loading

The house is overflowing with fresh-baked bread. 'Cause that's just what my jelly belly needs.

My latest obsession (these come in week-long waves, as Greg can attest) is bread-making. The domestic arts—or at least the more pioneerish, less necessary ones like bread-making, knitting, canning—hold a romantic appeal for me, and every so often I pick one and become myopically focused on it. Somewhere in my mind I have a fantasy of living on a farm, raising goats (and, of course, making goat's milk cheese) and chickens (whose funky-colored, ethically attained eggs will grace our breakfast table), and growing enough fresh veggies and fruit not just for our daily meals, but also to last us through the long winter. In the evenings I sit on my antique, but comfortable, couch by the fire, knitting and hand-sewing cute-as-a-button hats and Waldorf-inspired playthings for my (GREG: COVER YOUR EYES) six kids.

But then I remember: I can barely keep our 5x8 plot of garden alive, I tire easily of knitting, and I relish small-city living, which allows me to have impromptu conversations with neighbors, walk to playgrounds and coffee shops, and buy things like coconuts and Jerusalem artichokes without driving 100 miles. So I try on the breadmaker (or canner, or knitter, or seamstress) hat for a week or a month, and I get my pioneer-woman fix.

Oh, and this weekend I'm going out to the sticks to my friend Katie's house to learn to make cheese with her (count 'em) six kids.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pants off dance off

Normally Nora wears cloth diapers, but I fell behind on laundry last week and she had to wear disposable. Those are much slimmer than her cute little cloth diapers, and when she got to crawling, here's what happened:

9 months

Yesterday was Nora's 9 month birthday. This past month has brought her most dramatic developmental changes so far. Here's the recap:
  • As you might have heard, Nora has started pulling herself up to standing. It's now all she wants to do. Ever—even when she's nursing, and that's as comfortable as it sounds. She squirms even more than normal now, because whatever position she's in, she's trying to figure out how she can transition to standing. Like the other day, when we were outside and I put Nora in her stroller while I swept up all the shredded garbage in the yard (thanks Saffron). I looked down for about a second and then looked up to find Nora standing in the stroller, leaning over the back, smiling at me. And yes, she was strapped in. Scary.
  • A few weeks ago, she started saying Dada. Dadadadadadadadadadada. Over and over and over. All day long. And I think it's possible she knows what it means. She's taking after her brother in finding ways to torture me (see here), but I'm happy to report that a few days ago, she started saying mama, too. And I'm pretty sure she knows what that means, too. Maybe.
  • Sleeping is still difficult. We are still working on the crib training, and it's been horrible and awful and painful for everyone involved, but mostly for poor Nora. She still takes hours to fall asleep most nights; on the odd nights that she falls asleep quickly, she makes up for it by waking up repeatedly and for long stretches during the night. But on the odd occasions we've had to go back to cosleeping (last night, for instance, when we were up in the mountains for the night and had to share a bed), we're reminded of why she needs to sleep in her crib: When she doesn't, she nurses all night long and screams bloody murder if her mouth and my boob lose contact. Neither of us sleeps for more than 20 minutes at a stretch without waking up, and we're both totally miserable the next day. So on we push with the crib training.
  • Still no teeth. Greg's mom was 18 months before getting her first tooth, and she has a mouthful now, so we're not too worried.
  • Nora is becoming more and more of a mama's girl. She wants me to hold her all the time, and if I'm in view she absolutely will not be held by anyone else. Not even Greg. It's wonderful to feel so loved and needed, and I'm trying to remind myself that the dishes (and laundry, and taxes—right?) will wait.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

All in the delivery

Sidamo is very, very into jokes these days. He doesn't get the humor (as you'll see from the video), but he gets that he says something and it causes someone to laugh. Rinse, repeat (with a heavy focus on repeat). Sometimes he just repeats the last word he said before the laugh over and over, figuring it to be the trigger. It's pretty flipping cute.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My little salesgirl

Nora and I spent last weekend in Anaheim, attending Natural Products Expo for Mindful Mama. It was wonderful. We encountered so much enthusiasm about the project, met with really great companies, and had a whooooole lot of mama/baby bonding time. My friend Kimberly, who recently moved to San Diego, was planning to come to Anaheim for the weekend with her daughter Cecilia so they could hang out with Nora while I was at the trade show. Well, poor Cecilia got really sick the day before we arrived, so plans changed. Kimberly did come up on Friday and left Cecilia at home with grandma, but she couldn't make it on Saturday and Sunday. So Nora saddled up in the Ergo and spent two days walking the show floor with me. She even sat in on a meeting with a potential advertiser, which was pretty funny. Everyone was thoroughly charmed, and if we get the sale, her cut is going straight into her college fund.

Natural Products Expo, for those of you not in the know, is a really big trade show. Really, really big. I think there were around 60,000 attendees this year, and from all I heard business was actually quite good in spite of the economy. A lot of those attendees, it seems, had left their little ones at home, so they were literally swarming to Nora. At one point, six women literally (mostly grandmas) had us surrounded as they oohed and ahhed over the little cutie, and I had to put up a big mama-shield/force-field to protect her. No blame casting, though: I'm sure when I'm of grandmotherly age I'll be glomming onto every under-18 I can find.

Nora was such a trooper. Seriously. I turned her world completely upside-down, separated her from her beloved big brother (Daddy, too), and forced her to endure 12 hours a day of non-stop schmoozing. So at night when she refused to even entertain the idea of the motel-provided crib, of course I invited her into my bed to snuggle. Actually, it was a treat for me, too, as I really miss our cosleeping days. I don't miss the lack of sleep that comes with it, but I do miss the concentrated blasts of snuggling.

I haven't updated about Mindful Mama in quite a while, but it's going great. It's basically the entire reason (well, it and Facebook) that I haven't been blogging much lately. We're working on a major overhaul of the site (including a new domain:, and we'll be relaunching on Earth Day. The site will merge thought-provoking content about parenting with a social media platform for moms. Plus, it's going to be kinda gorgeous. Just you wait.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

She stands!

I left Nora in the living room while I powdered my nose and returned to find her kneeling at the table, which she'd never done before.

So I grabbed the camera, thankful to have the opportunity to document this first. Little did I know a bigger first was about to occur. Baby girl pulled herself up to standing!

As you can see, it doesn't end too well, but she was no worse for the wear—hard heads run in the family.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Marital bliss

While our regular nanny is away for a couple of months, we have a wonderful woman named Cara taking care of the kids for a few hours every morning so I can work. Sidamo is totally smitten.

The other day, as soon as he woke up, Sidamo started asking for Cara. I said, "You really like Cara, don't you?"

Sidamo: Yes.

Me: Is Cara a good babysitter?

Sidamo: She's not my babysitter.

Me: No? Who is she?

Sidamo: She's my husband.

How did this kid get so funny? I laughed—a lot—and from that point on, he has stood firm in his assertion that he's Cara's wife and Cara's his husband. I tried to explain that they're not actually married, but if they were, their roles would be reversed. "You know, like with mommy and daddy: Daddy's my husband, and I'm Daddy's wife."

A few hours after that conversation, he asked, "Mommy, is Daddy your life?"

"That's an interesting question, kiddo, but I think you mean 'wife.'" And even that is an interesting question.