Saturday, September 26, 2009

backyard mini-utopia

Sometimes, and I really mean rarely, I astonish myself with my parenting brilliance. Such was the case a few afternoons ago when both Matt and I were exercising our scholarly rights and the children were being, well, children. One of those comic book lightbulbs crackled above my head. Plastic dinosaurs+ messy late summer rock and fern garden+water +two fidgety boys =fun times. I gave the boys license to carefully play in my haphazard fern and rock garden in the back. They made watering holes out of shells, stacked rocks became caves and cliffs, chunks of driftwood became bridges and the tub of plastic dinosaurs came out to play (as did a few neighborhood children). Dinoland is still being utilized days later.

To completely change the subject...I am thrilled that it is officially time for cozy (and easy) dinners. A bunch of our CSA veggies, chopped and roasted with salt and o. oil and a crusty loaf of bread = a Fall dinner around here. I can take a 15 min.break from writing a position paper on Inclusion and have dinner completely prepped and in the oven.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mommy, can I have this for Christmas?

a room of one's own...
and a few beautiful, thoughtfully organized art supplies...

Thanks to Laura who originally spotted this and sent it to me and Apartment Therapy and Shauna and Stephen who actually use this space.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn in the Valley

The boys at the corn maze...

One of the hardest things for me about starting school has been letting go of the domestic stuff, and the extra time spent at home just being a mom. It is difficult to balance the work load and the kids. It is so important for me to just have lots of time BEING with my kids. I have been incredibly lucky to have it for as long as I have. Since I began school, Ez and I just don't have a lot of that time together anymore. Three days a week, he gets home from preschool/daycare just in time for me to hug him and hop on my bike to class. It has made our nighttime snuggles all the more important. And I know it has been hard for him too. He had a bit of a cold last Friday and I eagerly called his teachers to say he wouldn't be coming in. I snuggled him up with blankets and we had soup for lunch but really he was mostly running around and having fun. He did say to me that he didn't want to go to school anymore and he didn't want me to go anywhere ever again. Sheesh. And yet, I know that I need to do this school thing, for myself and for my kids. I think there is something wonderful about raising your kids in an environment where books and learning and education are so valued. Although you don't need a university or a degree to do that. There are moments when I wish we lived in a farmhouse surrounded by land and family and friends and we all just stayed home with our kids and gave each other breaks when we needed them and learned/taught together.

Because of all this I have decided to keep him home on Fridays, for awhile at least. For him and for me. I am going to have our babysitter come for a couple hours while Matt and I have a "date" at a cafe to get some work done. Then I will have the rest of the day with my brown-eyed, dimpled darling, before he goes to college, which sometimes feels like tomorrow...

That said, I am loving my program. I am so inspired and motivated by my professors, who are all brilliant. I think Special education attracts a certain kind of person and I am so happy to be amongst them. And even my Legislation/Policy class is getting less scary and more accessible.

It is officially Autumn here in the Pioneer Valley. I am eagerly awaiting our first trip to an apple orchard, our first cider, cider doughnuts and apple pies.


Bright Star , the film about Keats and his love Fanny, looks like it will be a beautiful, romantic film. The trailer provides a few glimpses at Fanny's wardrobe, her dresses alone warrant a viewing.

Trailer viewing is the kind of treat one needs after reading pages of legislation!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

News from Lake Woe is Me

Jewel weed for poison ivy relief

I am not here to complain. I am here to celebrate and publish the fact that Matty, dear soul that he is, washed everything in our house, wiped down the kids shoes, washed everything made of fabric that is anywhere in our house, made me a sandwitch and then took the kids to a corn maze. So that I could lie in bed, not scratch the new poison ivy rash covering my inner elbows and hip (the one that has been blossoming since I started prednisone), blow my nose ( I am a preschool teacher) read some of the many pages and write more of that paper due Monday (for my fearsome legislation and policy class, Annie, how did you do it).

And good news... Jewel weed, ya know, the one with the pretty cone shaped pale orange flowers and the seed pods that explode with a touch of your finger, does seem to be helping my itching subside. I broke open the stem and rubbed it all over my new rashes.

I am no longer a stress case. It is official. I can do nothing but laugh at how my physical self has become a perfect storm of sickness at the same time that I start school. It is hilarious.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

stampy and nerves and crazy random rambling, sorry

I am really digging the new LOVE stamps. Beautiful subtly autumnal palette. Lovely Picasso-esque rendering.

This is my second week of school. I am still really nervous. YEGADS! What is the deal? I am doing okay. My work is getting done. Guzzling chamomile tea. I finally found a teenage girl with A.D.D for my lit. class. I am so psyched about it. I really miss girl-time. And yet, what the hell am I doing?????ACK.

I know I just need to calm down. It doesn't help that Prednisone makes people hyper. Like I needed that.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ms. Fancy Pants goes to school or Rash Blues

I have an enormous rash around my neck.

I have so much reading to do it is unbelievable. And my speedy reading abilities don't help much because, I was unaware that Special Ed. research is written in a foreign language known as acronymish. So, 12 pages of dense-ish meta-analysis yields more rash and 2 pages of definitions for me. But really I am happy. I am very interested in what I am reading. And the rash is due to Matt's broken backpack rubbing against my shoulders for 4 miles (to and from cafe) and then me scratching it like a crazy woman while I read. Oh and the other rash is poison ivy on my hands and arms. The good news is my mouth sores have mostly healed. Sorry for all the grossness. I have to share. I promise I won't mention mouth sores ever again in this blog. But if you have any problems with acid in your mucous membranes, get thee to a health food store and get some DGL (diglycerinhizinated licorice). I know I spelled it wrong but the folks at the store will understand.

Sorry this post is sort of wack. I am going to try to post once a week and I will do my darndest not to post about OHI, NAEP, ESEA, RTI, NLTSZ SEELS, rashes or the oral issues I have had.

I promise.

I am loving school. I think I will survive it. Matt has been super peachy about doing all the cooking and much of the dishes and letting me disappear to read for hours. So um, I have to read some more now. ciao!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

vintage gift, new gift

Japanese porcelain equivalent of a hug...

If you come to tea at my house, I promise you can use whichever one you choose.

Dawn and co. returned a few days ago and they very sweetly presented us all with gifts. These four vintage tea bag holders are so darling and cheerful. I don't have the time or prowess it takes to scour thrift stores and antique stores for items like this; it is all the more special to me when friends do that work for me. And, somehow when I unwrapped these beauties they reminded me of something even more important. They reminded me that cozy Fall and dreadfully long Winter are on their way and consequently my traditional afternoon cup of Earl Grey/Green or flowery Jasmine or just plain black (I do love my Awake tea) are eminent. And that is a wonderful tradition. And everything will be ok. And the hives on my cheek and stress canker sores in my mouth (Molly and I seem to become acidic with stress) are going away. And, really, all will be okay.

And, speaking of gifts, I received the book that I WON in the mail. Bend the Rules with Fabric, a book written by one of my heroes, Amy Karol. This book is so incredibly fun and smart and fresh and fabulously inspiring. I love that her voice is so alive in these books. There are so many projects I want to tackle: the whole cloth quilt, the tote bags and well nearly everything in the book. But I suppose I will have to wait until Christmas break!

Friday, September 4, 2009

the proverbial calm before the storm...

I think I even look a little worried in this photo, or angry?

The house is quiet; all I can hear is a fan, the fish tank and these keys. The house is clean and it smells a bit like Pine Cleaner, which Matt is inexplicably obsessed with (but there are worse things to deal with in a marriage I suppose). Both boys are in school. And I am not feeling guilty about being at home while my 4 yr. old is in preschool/daycare, thanks to Emily, who I had a fabulous time with last night at Amherst coffee. And Emily, I hope I let you get a word in edgewise. That was fun.

Preschool does not start for another week due to a crisis in the director's family. This means that my first week of classes will not coincide with my first week back to teaching. I feel for my director but I am still a selfish human being.

And so I am treating my blog a bit like a journal at this moment, to try and express what is going through my semi-neurotic mind right now as I embark on this next Chapter, this Non-Baby-Mommy-centric Chapter of my life, although I am still not sure if that is possible. Won't my babies always be the center? Yikes, I don't know. I feel like they will and they won't, or shouldn't or can't? But I guess that 7 and 4 is not "baby" anymore. I repeat, yikes.

I am oddly scared of dirty dishes in my sink at 8 pm. I am scared that I will forget that Henry has an I.E.P , and I will forget to keep track of how he is doing at school (while I study Special Education). I worry that I will blink and Ezra's big round, soft, and doughy cheeks (yes, Emily you understand what I mean) will disappear and be replaced by a chiseled jaw and the fuzz of a tween boy. Just yesterday, he gently (as gently as Ezra can express anything), informed me that I was "wasting" kisses on him. I worry that I will show up to class naked or I won't show up at all until the end of the semester and oops, I'll fail. I worry that Matty will feed the kids too much mac n cheese. Do I need a back pack or a messenger bag? I worry about that. They all seem expensive or dorky looking or not sturdy. I am scared of missing out on the evening time that Matt and I share when the kids are in bed. The time when we watch Battlestar Gallactica or True Blood or The Wire (damn we watch too much tv, maybe) while eating "very healthy" snacks.

I am not worried that I will be bored.

I promise to try and stop worrying. And exercise more and try to take my vitamins. That should appease my moms.

Peace out.

Stress reliever tip-(thanks to Angry Chicken for introducing me) - uke covers, especially this one and this one (Roxette!!!hello 9th grade) by Tim Koch and don't miss his Rocket Man, the boys (huge Elton fans) wouldn't forgive me if I left it out Rocket Man

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

tee-shirt pillowcase tutorial

Ezzie needed a mini pillow for his rest time at school. I decided to put to use my stash of cotton tee-shirts to make him a cozy little pillowcase.

Here is what you will need:

a small pillow, crafts stores have these
a laundered adult med. -large cotton tee
button and carpet thread, I use this because it is nice and sturdy
contrasting cotton tee-shirt scrap
alphabet stamps
fabric marker

1. Place the pillow on the bottom half of the teeshirt and eyeball it to see where you should cut the tee. Basically you are going to cut the top portion (sleeves and neck-hole)of the tee shirt off.
2. Slide a piece of cardboard or a book under the portion of the pillowcase that you wish to embellish. Use the fabric marker to apply ink to the stamp and stamp your name/words onto the fabric.

3. Fold piece of contrasting scrap fabric in half and carefully cut out a halved-heart shape. Unfold the heart and using a running stitch, sew it to the pillowcase. I sewed into to the corner because I knew Ezzie might not want the applique against his cheek.

4. Turn the shirt inside out and sew a running stitch along the top (the edge that you cut). Knot the end.

5. Turn the tee right side out, if you wish to have contrasting seam showing, otherwise keep it inside out.
6. Use a running stitch to sew the hemmed bottom of the teeshirt closed.

7. Now your pillowcase is completely closed up. With the un-embellished side facing you, carefully cut a straight line through the center of one layer of the pillowcase. Think of it as making a giant buttonhole in the backside of the case. Using a running stitch, sew a seam around the "buttonhole".
8. Pop that pillow in it's new case and make a second one so your wee babe will always have a clean pillow for rest time.


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