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August 2011
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October 2011

September 2011

the second time around

treasure basket fun

treasure basket fun

treasure basket fun

Not only does Lachlan wear all of Finn's baby clothes ... he gets hand-me-down parenting ideas, too. Fortunately for him, there are some things that don't lose their luster with use, and one of those things is the treasure basket.

He started sitting up with confidence about a week ago. He would veer to one side and topple over after a few minutes. Then I put him in front of a treasure basket and he sat there, enthralled, for nearly an hour. I kid you not! Talk about sitting stamina. This is baby concentration at its best. Finn was the same way with his basket. It must cast some sort hypnotic spell over six month-olds. 

Eventually, he flipped himself onto his back, announcing the end of the play session - we had a few ticklish belly laughs, and he fell promptly asleep. Hard work!


of apples and boys

apple time

apple time

apple time

apple time

apple time

apple time

apple time

I was thinking about titling this post "and so it begins." I would have added an exclamation point to that title, because there's this inner child in me that's getting all excited about what's going on in my house these days. 

The excitement is over something very simple. Apples. A shifting season. Decorations. Leaves changing. Noticing everything. 

The one who is doing the changing and the noticing is my little boy. He is most assuredly not a toddler any more. He is waking up to the world - its changes, its celebrations, and its more nuanced flow. For the first time, I find myself decorating for this autumn season. For the first time, I find myself accompanying FInn on walks to find acorns. He has ideas. Plans. He picks apples and wants to make applesauce and bake a pie. We do. He suggested we sing Happy Birthday to Autumn before we cut into our pie. He made the crust with minimal help. (He likes it that way - he is still two after all.) His sentences are long. Involved. He has theories about the health benefits of butter (It's good for my body and will give me energy to run, run, run!) ... says he who is trying to convince me that we don't need to reserve all of it for the crust and that he, perhaps, could just taste a tablespoon of it? 

We are embarking on our first season of celebration with a boy who is aware of it all. Last year was sweet, but he was still a baby. Everything was parent-directed, which felt just a bit contrived (the nature of that stage of parenting, I think). Now is the time that traditions will truly take root in our family, growing organically. We are becoming a conscious family. Let us celebrate with apple pie!

sweet potatoes

purple sweet potatoes

Purple! The photo does not do this justice, my friends. In our CSA this week, we received the most gorgeous sweet potato, and I immediately set to work steaming it up for my little sweet potato.

purple sweet potatoes

When I originally set about this parenting gig I intended to make every single thing that entered my children's mouths from scratch. Since then I have achieved a healthy balance of concern for what my babies eat and kindness for myself. With Lachlan, I have other worries. But, paradoxically, I am very aware of giving my little fellow good, whole food. So although I don't fuss over it, I want to give him healthy, tasty meals so that his body can serve him well. 

So yes. I buy him organic baby food on occasion (rip off! I know!). But I also make it when I can. It's so easy. (And those little jars are so useful for so many things, including storing the homemade stuff.) 

purple sweet potatoes

Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers is a crunchy-granola-yummy-cookbook that I've been enjoying greatly this time around. The sweet potatoes, both steamed and baked, have been a hit with both boys.

I opened up one of those jars of pureed sweet potato while on a picnic and I looked down at the spoon and thought to myself, people will think that I'm feeding my baby neon purple play-doh, for sure! It is a striking color of purple. 



raw-edged raglan

glasses raglan tee

glasses raglan tee

glasses raglan tee

glasses raglan tee

glasses raglan tee

glasses raglan tee

Raw-edged Raglan from Sewing for Boys ; Basic Pocket Pants from Growing Up Sew Liberated

If sewing books could be friends, my book would want to be best buddies with Sewing for Boys . In Growing Up Sew Liberated, my goal in designing the clothes was to make them unisex, comfortable, and functional for movement and play. With Sewing for Boys , authors Karen LePage and Shelly Figueroa of Patterns by Figgy's have made a book packed with the same kind of comfortable, play-friendly clothing. Especially if you have litte guys in your life, these two books will really be all you need to outfit them for fun and play. (Says an unbiased author!) But, even if you have girls, you should check out Sewing for Boys. Why? Because girls need comfy clothes too! 

I started out with a pattern I've been wanting to make for a long time - the Raw-Edged Raglan, which I believe is Figgy's Tee for Two pattern. Rae has made a ton (here's her tutorial on making it a billiard tee), and now I know why - what an easy, hardy, stylish, and quick-to-make pattern this is!

For Finn's version, I used a precious piece of this Retro Glasses Frames fabric in the organic cotton knit, printed by Spoonflower. I kid you not - this whole thing took me an hour to make, from tracing the pattern to finishing the last seam. I even had a disagreement with my sewing needle while topstitching the collar (you can see where I had to stop and start the seam on the collar front). Despite the brief fight, it was such a pleasure to make. I'll be making more, since it seems like the boxes of hand-me-downs we recently got for our boys contain mostly collared shirts for Finn for the Autumn. The boy will need some more Mama-made comfies! 

So do check out Sewing for Boys . Hats off to Karen and Shelly for writing such a fantastic book!

sponsor giveaway :: bella's casa


Bella's Casa is a learning community for parents, as well as an Etsy store selling hand made Montessori materials for infants and young children. Jae Jun, the creative force behind Bella's Casa, is a Montessori teacher and a monther. She created Bella's Casa as a resource for all parents who want to create (or enhance) learning spaces and activities that will grow a child's mind and instill confidence. She offers mobile-making classes in the Atlanta area, as well as offering an e-course for parents on creating a Montessori environment in the home for babies and very young children.


Meg: What is your background as an educator, and how did you come to love the Montessori philosophy?

I have my Montessori training for ages 3-6 (AMI certificate), and I have taught this age group for over a decade in Atlanta, Georgia, and New York City.  In my classroom experience, I experienced first hand the privilege of supporting the children’s education as an “aid to life” as I partnered with hundreds of families to best support the unique needs of their child.
I am passionate about all aspects of Montessori.  I am especially inspired by how Montessori encourages responsibility, nurtures self-discovery, promotes independence, inspires a love of learning – all with a foundation of respect.  Above all, I honor Montessori’s vision of creating “a peaceful world through the children.”
Meg: Bella's Casa is such an inviting space - how did you start it and what plans do you have for the future?

As a teacher, I worked closely with parents.  The longer I taught, the more I saw the importance of the parents’ role in their child’s education.  I came to see that the parents had a dynamic effect on their child’s experience in the classroom – and that connecting and partnering with the parents was equally important as educating the children in the classroom!
In my work as a teacher, part of my role included consulting with and educating parents. Just over a year ago, I decided to leave the classroom to focus on raising my daughter, Chelyn.  As a parent myself, I fully realized – now more than ever – the role the parent plays as their child’s teacher.  I have observed (and experienced firsthand) the struggles and concerns that parents encounter.  My training and experience gives me a unique and helpful perspective as I support and partner with parents to best support their child. 
My ultimate goal in the future is to provide phenomenal support to parents  with information, resources, inspiration, and material-making gatherings.
Meg: What is your favorite learning material to make?

It has to be the visual mobile series. I remember seeing my daugher's facial expressions, having an absolute blast watching them. It's a must for all babies! 
Meg: If you could recommend three books on early childhood education to parents, what would they be?
3. Joyful Child/Child of the World- These are beautiful catalogs/books available from Michael Olaf. I used these catalogs as a valuable resource when consulting parents. My parents love them!!!
Leave a comment to be entered to win! Winners will be drawn on Monday, September 19th. Also, Bella's Casa is offering free shipping on all orders! Coupon code: AUG 2011. Thank you, and good luck!
Comments closed! Congratulations to Jessica.

what you're making

There's nothing like a little searchity-search on my Flickr group to make you scratch your planned post for the day in favor of some sewing inspiration! Enjoy!

Refashioning Daddy's Old T-shirts -

Refashioning Daddy's old t-shirts from Saunch09. Envelope tee from Growing Up Sew Liberated.


Fall sewing for a little boy from Marie Grace Designs. Envelope Tee from Growing Up Sew Liberated.

A darling Mei Tai Carrier from Sew to Speak - and a free animal applique pattern from April!


A-dorable board shorts version of the Basic Pocket Pants by Inder Loves Folk Art. Pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated.

 Super cute Emmeline Apron from Skirt As Top.

Crossover Top as jammies made by Shelly at Patterns By Figgy's (who has an AMAZING new book out, which you will read more about here soon!)

Source: via Mary on Pinterest

Great book review at Craftbuds with these cheery jammies.

Source: via Stephanie on Pinterest

An alphabet version of the Irresistible Numbers from Growing Up Sew Liberated!

Reversible Bubble Pants (0-6 months)

And finally, some Reversible Bubble Pants made in flannel (pattern in Growing Up Sew Liberated) made by The Crafty Kitty

Be sure to upload photos of your projects to the group so we can all ooh and aah!

simple slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Finn's slippers

Today was a big day. Finn's first day of {school,} although we don't call it that. It really is a beautiful place for him to play, a place for him to feel surrounded by love and a secure rhythm outside of our family home. It's just twice a week, but over the next few years we might extend that to three or four days per week. 

Although we plan on homeschooling our boys with a philosophy of discovery-based learning, it became apparent to me that Finn would benefit from a comforting home-outside-of-home during the times when Lachlan needs to be in the hospital (his third, and hopefully last, surgery will happen in three years or so, but we never know what the future may bring.) 

I was overjoyed to find a home-based program run by a lovely woman who is truly a child-whisperer. You know the kind? (And just for the record, although I love children, I am NOT a child whisperer!) It takes an almost otherworldly presence to be a child whisperer. She will be so good for Finn, I'm sure. 

She runs the program from her home, and one of the things she asks the children to have are a pair of simple slippers for inside play time. Slippers! Why, yes. That I can do. The cloth napkins for the lunch basket? Check! Sewing Mama springs out of her armchair and into action!

I made these last night in two hours or so. The pattern can be found here, and I chose to omit the owl face and instead used an (accidentally) felted baby sweater for the uppers. They are lined with a soft cotton fleece, and I used leather scraps for the soles. (Always remember to use a special leather needle when working with leather! It made sewing through all of those layers a cinch.)

He loves them. I have enough material to make him a pair for home as well. 

I just got a call from Patrick, who said that Finn wasn't in any hurry to leave. When getting in his car seat, he pointed back to his teacher's house and said, "I want to sleep there tonight." Well then. I guess he liked his first day! 


this boy eats!

happy boy

mama and lachlan

 Photos by Christine Prisk, who I was excited to meet the other day at Finn's nature-based morning program. He'll be attending two mornings a week while I spend some time with Lachlan, hopefully getting a bit of work done as well. How wonderful it is to have a professional photographer as a friend!

Lachlan. Of course, I don't need to tell you that he melts my heart every time he smiles (always with mouth wide open, as if he were trying to swallow all the goodness of the world.) I don't need to tell you that he melts the heart of everyone who spends time in his Buddha-like presence. I don't need to tell you that he's an old soul, or that he is someone who, as he gets older, will get along with everyone - someone who brings out the best in every person he meets. I just have this sense about him. He's such a love.

But you remember, don't you? You remember the tough days. Sometimes I almost forget, looking at that face, feeling him nuzzle his sweet cheek into the crook of my neck. But I don't forget. I'll never forget. I am forever changed.

I remember my Mom telling me this: "You can choose to let this make you bitter and unhappy, or you can choose to be a more compassionate person because of it."  I was listening to her words on the phone, days after we received the diagnosis. Tears streaming down my face, falling onto my small, round belly. She was right. It's not a one-time decision, though. It's a decision that has to be made over and over again. 

So where am I going with this? Food. Milk. Eating. The daily practice of letting go and being compassionate. Lachlan's feeding has been the most stress-producing, patience-developing reality in my life. This babe has made me a more loving person because of it.

I now know never to judge a mother who is bottle feeding her baby. I know that having a heart baby is so stressful that your milk supply can plummet. I know that it's okay to ask for help, and that it's a noble thing for a friend to pump her extra milk for your baby. I know that it's okay to pump as much as you can but still have to supplement with formula after five months of exclusive breast milk. I know that a mother can only do what she can do, and that having compassion for one's self is paramount in being a loving, present mother. I know that mothering a baby is more than milk.

I now know that having a baby who develops an oral aversion after the second surgery in four months is a scary thing, even if it's "no big deal" because he has a g-tube and can get all of his nutrition via a pump directly into his stomach. I also know that it does absolutely no good to get worked up every few hours, stressing about getting a baby to suck on a bottle. That the only way to move forward in a situation you don't control is to say to yourself, over and over, "It is as it is, and I can choose to let this stress me out or I can choose to smile anyway and not let my emotions be controlled by a challenge that is not mine to overcome." I know that coming face to face with your worry and sorrow for your child every two hours is exhausting, even if you manage to stay positive through most of it.

I know that, when your six month-old baby all of a sudden starts taking all of his milk by bottle for the first time in his life, that this is a day for celebration! The day you no longer need to wear a pack with a pump on your back, tubes hanging aroud your waist, attached to the baby in the carrier on your front. Lachlan has been feeding well for several weeks now - there's no looking back.

His cries of hunger are like victorious battle cries to my ears. My boy is eating! He is sucking. Swallowing. Breathing. Smiling. Repeat. He is eating solids, and has a distinct preference for avocado. My boy, you can eat avocado all day long for the rest of your life! I am just so overjoyed that you are liking eating.

The world is on your plate, my love. 

Open up that smiling mouth of yours and eat it.