Saying Goodbye to March, Looking Ahead to Good Things in April

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Note to self: add "sleeping chicks" to my growing list of sweet things. The chicks have actually entered their awkward looking phase of adolescence, with down giving way to back feathers, they are a scraggly mess. Yet they are still chicks, and when they sleep, they are so sweet!

I ran across Our Victorian Home today on Reclaimed Home, and found it worth sharing here. Craig and Yvonne have done amazing restorative work on this Victorian in--get this--THREE YEARS. Mouse over the current pictures they've posted to see the before pics--their work really is quite amazing. Though I've always dreamed about buying and restoring a century (or two)-old house, I can't help but look at a project like this and think about how much knowledge and skill it takes to do so. I am in awe of the tile work on the fireplaces, and rerouting water pipes that previously were exposed in the dining room? Suddenly, I feel overwhelmed.

For now, I have my vegetable garden to protect (today I caught two squirrels digging up seeds!) and tend to (won't need to water for awhile), more weeds than I can count to pull, and a bunk bed to buy for the kids (I think I'm more excited than they are!). With the current state of the housing market (though Portland isn't doing too badly, our house hasn't appreciated as much as I thought it would in three years), our basement remodel and addition will have to be put off for at least a few more years. One way to enlarge the amount of space in their room (there are now two separate twin beds in a room designed for one) for a few more years is to get bunk beds. Not wanting to invest too much money and needing bunks that do not exceed a height of five feet (their bedroom has sloped ceilings), we are going with this MYDAL bunk bed sold by IKEA, which I hope to paint. Did I mention I'm excited? I'm also hoping to get a big bean bag for reading them books before bed, because Sam really loves bean bags, and it seems like an easy and unobtrusive way to add a seating area. Plus, they're cozy, right? Juniper will graduate from cosleeping to the lower bunk with some sort of added bed rail, and Sam will sleep on top. This means we will no longer read to him laying down in bed, hence the idea of adding a bean bag for upright reading instead. I have to do some more visualizing with my mind's eye tomorrow, but I think a bunk will open up the room and create more play and reading space for Sam and Juni. I think I might pick it up tomorrow!

L seems to be improving quite a lot since his 2nd dose of Remicade yesterday afternoon. It makes me happy to see glimpses of the old L returning. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed, but my hope is that with the last day of March (today), we can leave the past two months' troubles behind us, and embrace April with a fresh start.

Lastly, because I don't want to forget these things, and a 97 year old woman once told me to make sure I write these things down: Sam and Juni played together in Sam's room this morning for an hour without any complaints while I cleaned, and this afternoon, Sam had Juniper squealing in delight as he chased her through the house. No one can match the laugh of a 15 month old. I love how they are starting to play together; one of the big benefits to growing up with a sibling is having a childhood friend. I might mention that once the hour was up, I entered Sam's room to find all the books on the floor, puzzles dumped out, Juniper's dresser drawers and Sam's nightstand emptied, and two kids each in their own areas doing something interesting to them. For Juni, this was emptying. She loves emptying anything that can be emptied, including all the gum from their package in my purse. She then takes each piece of gum out of its wrapper and throws the unwrapped piece on the floor (she doesn't eat them). Sam, he likes looking at books and building robots and buildings. And so it was I found Juni sitting amongst the piles of puzzle pieces all mixed together and Sam with a bag of wooden blocks assembled into a robot.


First Vegetable Garden, First Questions

Monday, March 30, 2009

Okay, so my seeds have only just been covered with soil minutes ago and I already have questions. Here, on Beetles and Bees, is where I will track my first attempt at an organic vegetable garden. I can already tell, there's going to be a lot to learn, but I'm excited. Gardening would be my 9 to 5 job if I could find a way to make money at it and didn't love spending time with Sam and Juniper even more.

But back to those questions I have:

First of all, as I was happily planting my seeds this evening, I looked to the end of the raised bed and saw my cat Priscilla squatting to pee. I instantly shooed her away, but now something has to be done. If my cats see a raised bed as one giant litter box, other cats will, too. For every raised bed, must there also be repellents placed around them? What has worked to repel cats from your raised beds? I knew I was in for a few lessons on how to detract insects organically, but I hadn't thought about cats. Is chicken wire the answer?

Secondly, I have to admit, I loved planting the seeds I could see and easily pick up, but the ones the size of amaranth and the color of dirt are not fun for me to plant. I had envisioned perfect rows in two weeks, but with seeds that small, my rows will be far from prize-winning. I'm not sure what the tricks are to planting small seeds, but I would like to know! They are extremely difficult to pick up, and once I drop them, I have no idea where they've gone, which makes spacing a little difficult. My basil, chive, and thyme seeds will have to be drastically thinned once they've sprouted, I'm afraid. Is this how one fixes over-planting--by thinning?

Cilantro, beans, and peas, on the other hand, were fun to plant! I could see my neat little rows of seeds spaced perfectly in their little trenches before covering them up.

Tomorrow, I will pick up two tomato plants (ideally, I would have started tomato plants indoors weeks and weeks ago, but with all the drama lately, it just didn't happen), and am scouting out a place for a Valerian root patch in my backyard. I want my friend Andrea to teach me how to make my own Valerian root tincture!

Meanwhile, for those of you who have at least one year of experience with vegetable and herb gardening, any helpful suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated! Please start a comment thread here, and feel free to post anonymously if you choose.

Constructing Raised Beds for My First Vegetable Garden

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The sun breaks today allowed for the task I've been thinking about for weeks now--raised beds!

My handy husband (he can use a saw and a drill) felt up to helping me! I was very appreciative and glad he was able to spend most of the day with me and the kids.

We made two 3' x 8' beds using screws--very simple when you know how to use a saw and a drill (I do not).

I made Juniper sit in her stroller while Landon used the saw, and she wasn't too happy about that. As you can see, she fell in a friend's driveway last night, and scuffed up her face, poor thing.

No, she wasn't happy at all. At least with these pictures, you don't have to hear the sounds she was making.

This little girl really knows how to make a frown face. It's also obvious when she's completely faking it. I can't help but kiss her cheeks, even when she's frowning. Minutes later, she was playing in the dirt alongside Sam, although she could care less about the worms. Sam, on the other hand, cares quite a lot, and had a small pile by the time we were finished.

Here are my two raised beds, ready now for soil. We used untreated wood for an organic vegetable garden.

And here they are now filled with soil. I had hoped to use my own compost, but it wasn't quite ready due to the slow decomposition of the winter months, so I'll add to these beds as the spring and summer months go on (we'll be getting a nice chicken manure as well). I hauled eighteen bags of topsoil and compost up the stairs to our backyard. These beds are now ready for seeds!

My first vegetable garden--I am so excited!

The sun was setting, and even though time had run out, I couldn't help but get a few seeds planted. Tonight I planted two rows of chives and one row of basil (there will be more). Tomorrow I'll get to the rest, which will be peas, lettuce, beans, thyme, cilantro, Valerian root, and basil. I had hoped for tomatoes, but it's too late to plant seeds, so I'm going to pick up a couple of plants sometime this week.

What are you planting this year in your vegetable garden?

A Good Cry

Saturday, March 28, 2009
I knew it was coming, and the day finally arrived--I completely broke down this afternoon, sobbing out all the emotion I've been holding inside for the past two months. Driving to McMinnville to celebrate my Mom's 59th birthday two weeks late (her birthday was St. Patrick's Day), with the rain pounding on the windshield, I pulled the car over and cried like I haven't cried in a long time. Sam and Juniper sat quietly in the backseat, while the windows fogged over; there we stayed until I finally felt calm--something I haven't felt in awhile.

My crying was in part provoked by Landon's last-minute decision to stay home from my Mom's birthday dinner as he had another rough night last night and was completely exhausted to the point that when push came to shove, he just couldn't muster up enough energy to make the trip.

And so I lasted until Newberg, where I pulled over into one of those new subdivisions that's going up right along HWY 99, and the tears started flowing.

Sam had some questions about why I was crying, and I answered him as honestly as I could: "Mommy is crying because she wants Daddy to get better." He responded, "But Mommy, Daddy told me that he IS getting better." Landon had told me this, too, but somehow it helped to hear it reinforced by Samuel, my little four year old.

Sometimes, a good cry is just what you need.


Cream Cheese

Friday, March 27, 2009

The little girl loves cream cheese even more than I do. In fact, she loves it so much she finally convinced Sam to try, who has resisted for all of his four years. He loves it now, too, and won't eat a bagel otherwise. Coffee shops are to my kids what McDonald's was to me as a kid. I wouldn't have it any other way, either.

Old Routines and New Ideas

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today I went on a long nature walk with Sam and Juni. I am fully embracing Spring this year, and today was an exceptionally beautiful spring day.
Our chicks are growing up just fine. They should be happy hens in no time (I try not to think about which ones might be roosters).

Tonight, it's almost all about folding laundry, drinking red wine, and watching Rachel Getting Married (2008). And it's a great feeling that right now, my tasks include laundry, drinking wine, and watching a movie (not finding renters, packing, and moving the family out of state). It has all come together quite nicely.

Hope most of you have been able to subscribe to my NEW feed address:

Tomorrow is Friday (yipee!), then the weekend (sleeping in!), when I get to plant my veggie garden (claps hands together in excitement).

Feed Address Change

I'm so sorry to all of my subscribers, but my feed address was accidentally changed, so you will no longer receive feeds without subscribing to the following feed address:

You can also subscribe and easily pick a reader by clicking on the icon "Subscribe to Beetles and Bees" at the top of the right-hand column of this blog.

Thank-you for reading!

Meet Our Bantam Chicks from Pistils Nursery!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I'm feeling really good about my decision to take on some chickens, especially after doing a little research and finding movable chicken arks, such as this Folsham ark, which will not only enable us to keep our chickens contained, but also allow us the benefit of easily spreading their manure around the yard and garden by continually moving the ark. This will also give the hens a fresh supply of grass, bugs, and weeds to feed on as well. The last thing I want is a stationary coop that soon becomes a mud pit in our backyard! I was also interested in something small, but functional, as our yard size is limited and I have more ideas for it than a chicken coop! I'm sure we'll let our chickens free-range whenever possible, but I love the flexibility a chicken ark allows.

I've decided not to name these chicks until we know which ones we will be keeping. Our chicks were unsexed, so there is sure to be a rooster or two (hopefully not three) amidst our group of four. This one is an Old English Game Bantam, and I'm pretty sure she's a female. For some reason, I just intuitively know. We'll see.

Isn't she sweet? She's on the small side, but is eating and growing right alongside the others.

This sweetie was the fourth chick put into the box upon suggestion from an employee at Pistils that we take four in the hopes of gaining two hens. It is a golden-laced cochin, one of the more beautiful bantam varieties with feathered feet.

This one is a Belgian D'uccle Mille Fleur, and they grow up to be beautiful chickens. Here is a picture of an adult so you can see for yourself.

And last, but not least, our little Black Rosecomb Bantam. I feel certain this is a female as well.

This would be Juni's little finger pointing at the Rosecomb chick. "Yes, Juni, I know the chick is out of it's bin. I'm the one taking the picture, after all."

So, you've met our urban bantam chicks. They have found a good home, with the exception of any roosters, which will be given to Linnton Feed and Seed for rehoming once they've neared maturity and we hear those first crows. I will be posting lots more about our chicks in the upcoming weeks. I'm also determined to get started on our veggie gardens in the next couple of weeks as I have free time. Stay tuned!

All Right

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Traveling west on Glisan tonight around a quarter to seven with the setting sun shining in my face I feel better than I have in what seems like a very long time. Two months is a relatively short period of time, but when you consider all that L and I have been through, it has been a long time indeed. He is just about back to his old self now, and the relief this brings to me is similar to how it felt to put down my backpack laden with heavy English textbooks after climbing four flights of stairs in Neuberger Hall at Portland State University or to push out either one of my two 9 + pound babies after many hours of labor.

It really feels over now, this nightmarish two months of job searching and sickness. It feels like I went to Hell, then woke up in my own bed, realizing that I hadn't died after all and that I can wake up now. Times of trial really do feel like a kind of hell that will never end. I must note for myself here that bad times don't last forever, and what's more, it is possible to come out on the other side. Life is finally getting back to normal--I can feel it--and I've made it to the other side!

To celebrate feeling that all is right once again in my world, I thought I'd embed "American Tune" by Paul Simon. My, oh my, he sure does look young and handsome in this video.

Now to take notice of Spring all around me--isn't it beautiful?

Prednisone Withdrawal

Monday, March 23, 2009

As it turned out, L was indeed suffering from prednisone withdrawal, and after a visit to the doctor, he was prescribed prednisone once again with a month-long taper this time. Within an hour of him taking the first pill, he was good as new. He gets another dose of Remicade at the end of the week, so his colitis symptoms should also continue to improve. I think he's finally turned the corner! I'm so glad they found out what was causing all these secondary symptoms this past week. I'm frustrated they didn't warn us of these potential side effects, but at least he's being treated now, and we can move on.

Here are the symptoms of prednisone withdrawal:
  • fatigue
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • headache
  • fever
  • low blood pressure
  • nausea and vomiting
L experienced all of these symptoms except the headache, and although they are only supposed to last 5 to 7 days, L was still experiencing them more than a week after he was taken off 40mg. of prednisone in 2 days. His body did not react kindly to a quick taper. If you are on prednisone, make sure you give yourself an ample amount of taper time in order to avoid these debilitating symptoms.

Urban Chicks

Sunday, March 22, 2009

When L didn't improve as we'd hoped this week, I started to feel a little depressed. I needed something else to focus on. Anything. Pistils. That's it. I'll go to Pistils with the kids and we'll look at the little chicks and get ideas for a veggie garden. To Pistils we went, and to my surprise, L agreed to go along to try to boost his energy levels as we were hoping that maybe he wasn't going through prednisone withdrawal at all, but was instead suffering from a case of laying in bed too much. With hopes the fresh air would do him some good, I started shifting my focus to the idea of maybe getting a few chicks, since I've been wanting to add a few hens to our backyard as another step towards sustainable living (we still have a long way to go). When Landon didn't resist, it took me only a few minutes to convince myself that this was as good as time as any to take on a few chickens. The employee who helped us pick out the chicks convinced me to get four as the chicks are unsexed at Pistils and I knew I wanted two to three hens (roosters can be later taken to Linnton Feed & Seed for rehoming). I wanted Bantams, even though their eggs are small, because I had them as a young girl and they were always my favorite chickens of all the breeds I tried raising. I was also a little concerned about the amount of chicken manure some large hens could produce, and since our backyard and garden areas are on the small side, I decided to keep any pet chickens on the small side as well. As soon as I made the decision to get some chicks, I instantly knew I'd made the right one. I felt excited, a feeling I hadn't felt in many months. This was just what I needed to push me out of the quagmire of stress and sadness that has plagued our household for the past two months. I had something else now to think about; something else to focus on (besides Sam and Juni, of course!). So now there are four little chicks in L's office peeping away and eating more food than I think is physically possible for their size. When you reach maturity as quickly as those chicks will, I guess eating is an all-consuming task. I will be posting pictures of our four chicks and details about their different varieties in the upcoming days.

Oh, and p.s.--L will call the doctor first thing in the morning as he hasn't improved at all over the weekend. We are starting to strongly suspect it is prednisone withdrawal, but since symptoms of Remicade for some people are similar, we'll know more tomorrow.

Prednisone Withdrawal

Saturday, March 21, 2009
One big gamut of emotions today as hope that L was really getting better faded. He could barely walk from the futon to the bathroom without passing out and oh, the vomiting. It was more than I could bear. My emotions ranged from sympathy to anger to wanting to escape. I became so frustrated that I went online and started searching for prednisone withdrawal on Google. Sure enough, L had every symptom. Joint pain, fatigue, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting. The list went on. On Monday, he was taken off prednisone before discharging from the hospital after a 2 day taper, mainly because they had started a new drug and L had been complaining of insomnia, and they wanted him to be able to get some much-needed rest. He had been on 40mg. for 2 weeks--not long enough to think a quick taper would cause such ill effects. Because we didn't know about prednisone withdrawal, we had assumed his body was still suffering from the flare he had gone through. It feels good to maybe find a reason for his continual suffering, but still, I'm nearing my breaking point here, and I'm not even the one experiencing all of this first hand. From what I've read, prednisone withdrawal usually lasts 5 to 7 days, and since he's within that range now, maybe tomorrow he will be better.

First Day of Spring!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Winter has finally come to an end. With things settling a little around here, I've been thinking today about where I left off before the recent events of the past month began. There's paint to pick out for the kitchen, a desk to find for the office, window sashes to restore, a vegetable garden to plant, and we need to hire someone to clean the moss from our roof! Lots to keep me busy, and as the weather improves, I'm looking forward to getting into bicycling once again. Sam is old enough now for a trailer bike, and with Juni in the Burley, I'm looking forward to some family rides this spring and summer. I won't be pregnant or breastfeeding every two hours! It's going to be a busy spring, but I'm looking forward to moving on and leaving the past month behind us.

A Reason to Celebrate

Thursday, March 19, 2009
Sam and I made coconut macaroons last week for a potluck with a few moms in our playgroup. They were so good I plan to make more for book-club Monday night, which I will be hosting. We'll be discussing The Riders by Tim Winton. So far, I'm absolutely captivated. Should lead to a good discussion, and I'm looking forward to it! Now that Landon is well enough to be returning to work tomorrow and has signed papers this afternoon to accept a local job offer, I have many reasons to celebrate with wine and macaroons!

And I must admit that I agree with Angry Chicken--when you have these, why leave the house?

Good thing I'm hosting.


When Landon was Sick

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The nights during Landon's illness, and especially the nights I spent at home alone with the kids while he was hospitalized, were exponentially challenging. With each passing day, my sleep deprivation became more and more severe, but somehow I plugged along and with the help of friends who watched Sam and Juniper on several occasions, I somehow made it through successfully.

One night, it was near Juniper's bedtime (this should be obvious from the photo), the kitchen was an absolute disaster, and I didn't think I could go on.

But an hour later, Juniper and Sam were fast asleep, the kitchen was somewhat clean and tidy, and Sam's preschool lunch was packed for the next day. I knew then that I could go on, but that I could only handle each day, one at a time.

Though the last month has been harder than I care to remember, it is reassuring for me to know the depths of my strength and stamina when circumstances call for it. Though my stress tolerance is higher now than it was a month ago, I still hope Landon and I never have to go through anything like that again. Now, I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Day by Day

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring is nearly here. The showers, sun breaks, and robins have announced its impending arrival, and my forsythia is in full bloom. But that's what's going on outdoors. Indoors? L is slowly getting better, but I'm still functioning as a single parent in many ways. The kids and I are doing fine, but by the end of the day, I'm exhausted. There are many things on my mind tonight, but somehow I don't feel like blogging about any of them at the moment. I'm just really, really tired. I want to look in the mirror again and not see swollen eyelids and dark circles. I need to get a haircut and color--maybe that will help. A few new things for my closet would be good, too. Lately, I haven't been fixing my hair or giving a second thought to what I wear in the morning. I'm super worn out, but I'm doing a good job.

P.S. Coincidentally enough, my Mom, Claudia, and Landon's Mom, Susan, both share a St. Patrick's Day birthday--Happy birthday to both of you!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Photo by Landon, taken @ Willamette Park late winter, 2009.

L is home from the hospital and steadily improving.
Local job offer accepted; we're not moving!
Kids and husband soundly asleep.
Glass of wine poured.
All seems right (or at least a lot better) in my world tonight.


Sunday, March 15, 2009
Our power went out today, and as I was flying through the house (yes, I fly now) setting clocks once again (geez, didn't we just do this LAST weekend), I discovered the hard drive on my iMac blew. Damn wind and rain today! I thought surge protectors were supposed to work? With my tech husband in the hospital, I tapped into the tech skills I acquired as a single girl--I read the manual. Damnit! Recommendations didn't do jack but wake the baby up.

Truth is, I'm a basket case tonight. Total basket. I have to wake up feeling better tomorrow or someone is going to find me in our backyard in the wind and rain sitting beneath the leaning oak tree holding my knees and rocking to this song:

"If there's something inside that you wanna say
Say it out loud it'll be okay . . . "

I wish it were only that simple.

BTW, on nights like tonight, blog posts like this one from Dooce get me through.

Considering the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for Ulcerative Colitis

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I miss my husband. The picture above was taken by him a couple of months ago, and is one of my favorites.

He received a dose of the Remicade treatment today, and it will be at least 48 hours before we know if it will help him or not. Until then, he remains in the hospital, where they are working to keep his pain manageable without slowing down his GI tract, which is a common side effect of pain relief medication. He's lost a lot of weight. In fact, he's never been this thin since I've known him. He can't wait to go out and have a real dinner, and keeps mentioning sushi. I have more reading to do about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, but since fish would be included in that diet (although I'm not sure about white rice), I'm thinking he deserves one hell of a sushi dinner once he gets through this.

I am starting to feel excited about trying this diet out, as well as other diets, to see if it positively affects L's health. There are a few things like coffee and alcohol that L has figured out contribute to the severity of his flares, and have even been known to bring one on, but in large part, he is unsure what else in his diet contributes to his disease. His doctors have always been adamant that diet and stress do not cause flares, but only makes them worse. We've always disagreed, and both feel that his disease is directly related to his diet and stress. In addition to changing his diet, we're also wondering if ongoing acupuncture treatment to reduce anxiety might also help to prevent flares. One thing's for sure--it can only help.

Hmmm, I have research to do. L will be home in a few days, and since he's on a liquid only diet, he's going to be hungry. I want to be ready to implement this diet as soon as possible!

Ulcerative Colitis: A Disease Without Answers

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Friday the 13th, and this is my husband's hospital bed. Today marks the first day my husband was hospitalized for ulcerative colitis. It was just over three years ago when he was diagnosed on March 2, 2006. Every flare he has experienced has been linked to a stressful time in our lives. When he experienced his first flare, we were getting our house ready to put on the market and were dealing with stressful inspections due to some unpermitted work previous owners had done on the house that we were legalizing before we could sell our house. Sam had been sick nearly all winter, and in the midst of this time, L's first flare occurred. We had no idea what he had, and he went weeks untreated until he finally ended up in the ER and was diagnosed days later by a GI doctor after a colonoscopy. L seems to have a moderate case of colitis, that is for the most part managed with medication, though he still seems to experience on average two to three flares per year. Recently, when he found out about his upcoming layoff, he started to flare within days. We both believe now that L's flares are almost completely triggered by stress and anxiety. Since we've been going through one of the more stressful times in our lives, this flare has been worse than any others, even his first. Even Prednisone, which he reluctantly went on two weeks ago, has been mostly ineffective. When he took a turn for the worse this week, his doctor's office started the pre-authorization process to get him started on Remicade. He is being hospitalized until his flare is under control. I'm thinking of putting him on a diet after this, such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to see if he can remain in remission once he pulls through this recent flare. Any diet suggestions or homeopathic remedies that have worked for those of you who suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease would be most appreciated. Prior to L's hospitalization, he was taking Boswellia, Wheat Grass, Aloe Vera Juice, and probiotics. I know way too many people with inflammatory bowel disease. My hope is that a cause for these horrible diseases will soon be discovered, and that autoimmune diseases in general will be better understood in the years to come.

Beetles and Bees

Thursday, March 12, 2009
No longer "Karli's Blog," I have renamed my blog "Beetles and Bees," an idea taken from one of my favorite children's books, The Story of the Root Children, by Sibylle Von Olfers. Thanks to Seventy and Sunny for the great design work on my blog header. I still have some work to do with changing the color scheme and background, but for the most part, I'm pretty happy with the new look. Here's the section from Von Olfers' The Story of the Root Children, which inspired the title:

But summer also came to an end. The sharp autumn wind whirled the brightly coloured leaves through the air and tugged at the root-children's clothes.

"Hoo," called the wind, "hurry home, it's getting cold here. It's time to go to bed."

So then they all went back again in a long procession. Mother Earth was standing by the door and hugged each child one by one.

"Come in, children," she said, "and you too, beetles and bees. It's warm and cosy in here and I've got something for you all to eat and drink. After that you must all go to sleep until I wake you up again in the springtime."

And all the little root-children went down under the ground again to start their long winter's sleep.

An Afternoon with Sam

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sam. My little boy is really changing lately since the passing of his fourth birthday. He's much more articulate all of a sudden, and I'm appreciating my time with him more and more. Today, just the two of us went out for a little coffee date to one of my favorite Sellwood coffee shops, The Twin Paradox, where I read him April's edition of Highlights High Five. He sat at the bar for awhile, eating his banana bread and drinking his açaí juice. He's been going to coffee shops with me since before he was born, and at this point, Sam appreciates them almost as much as I do.

Then we headed a little further southeast to Bob's Red Mill, a place I've been wanting to visit for a long time. We hope to return for a tour sometime this spring!

I came home with fresh coconut to make homemade macaroons, mung beans, teff, and blackstrap molasses. Strange choices, no? I couldn't resist the nutritional benefits found in these selections, and when I discovered blackstrap molasses has been known to remedy grey hair, well, I couldn't resist. After taking a spoonful this evening (yuk!), I'm not sure I can tolerate the recommended daily tablespoon, but I'm looking forward to trying it iced. I also can't wait to experiment with the mung beans and teff, and will keep you posted on how I use them. In the meantime, tomorrow is going to be all about cooking up some lovely little macaroons, my latest addiction. I think I'll start by trying Martha's Orange-Coconut Macaroons. Yum!

Juniper Turns 15 Months

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My beautiful little girl, Juniper Octavia, at 15 months old.

My, how you've grown.

In many ways, you are still my baby, wanting me to hold you all the time.

In other ways, you are greatly independent of me, knowing what you want when you want it. Take for instance, this dinner, when I tried everything to get you to stop fussing: a mug of water, a kleen kanteen of milk, a yogurt, and pesto, and still, you were dissatisfied. Once you start talking, things will get much easier.

You like to sit on my lap and eat what I'm eating.

You've just about outgrown this highchair, but you know it is a place where you are fed, so when you are hungry, you demand to be lifted up.

Yes, demand really is the right word to use here.

You've made our family complete, Juniper! We all love you more than you can imagine, and I really can't wait to see you blossom and grow over the upcoming months and years. Happy 15 months, little girl.

Coffee at 3PM

Monday, March 09, 2009

On our honeymoon in late June of 2002 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Lately . . .

I've been daily craving a cup of coffee from the French press around 3PM exactly, although I never have before. Something about afternoon coffee almost tastes better than morning coffee, which is always imbibed with grogginess while simultaneously nursing a cranky little girl, who upon my waking in the mornings, can't seem to get to my nips fast enough. Coffee at 3PM gives me that boost right between one part of the day and the other, and my afternoon almost always drags between 2 and 4PM, at which point I start to prepare dinner and my evening energy kicks in. I think I've decided I'm not an early-morning person or a mid-afternoon person. But I am definitely a late-morning person and a late-night person. This must be why I always scheduled college classes between 10AM and 1PM and 7PM and 10PM. Those really are my prime hours. All other hours? It's the coffee and wine that get me through.

Sunday YouTube

Sunday, March 08, 2009
A video by Alan Watts with a beautiful message:

"The Changeling"

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The real Christine Collins. To read the LA Times review, go here.
I watched Clint Eastwood's The Changeling tonight. Two things:
1. I think Angelina Jolie was a casting mistake. Her character, Christine Collins, was such a strong, inspirational woman, and she didn't quite capture that energy in a way that did Collins' story justice.
2. The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders scene in this movie was incredibly disturbing to me. It was one of those visuals that I may never forget, an image I may carry with me for life because of the emotions it brought up in me while I watched it. Landon actually walked out of the room; I didn't, but I wish I would have, and usually, I'm the sensitive one out of the two of us when it comes to movies.

Overall, I'm glad I saw this movie, even though facts were unfortunately altered, because I didn't know the story of Walter and Christine Collins, and was reminded of how easily and carelessly women were thrown into mental hospitals, as well as the horrific and degrading treatments and tests they were subjected to once locked inside. No one really knew what was going on inside these places, and fortunately, because of women like Christine Collins, laws were eventually changed and mental hospitals became better regulated. Of course, even many years after Christine Collins' lawsuit, women like Rosemary Kennedy were undergoing lobotomies that would mentally incapacitate them for the rest of their lives. Even still, we have a long way to go when it comes to mental health care. Perhaps we'll get a little closer to a solution under the Obama Administration.

Molly Wizenburg at Powell's Tonight!

Friday, March 06, 2009

One of my favorite bloggers, Molly Wizenburg of Orangette, will be at Powell's tonight promoting her new book, A Homemade Life, which I plan to pick up and have her sign this evening. Here are the details about the book event--hope to see you there!

Portland, OR
March 6, 7:30 pm
Powell’s Books
Free event, open to the public

A Better Sense

Thursday, March 05, 2009
Things turned a corner for the better today. Everyone's health has improved, including Landon's, and things are looking up overall. Tonight went smoothly, the kids are asleep, and I finally have a sense that everything is going to be okay. I know it will be.

First Rest, Then Perspective

Wednesday, March 04, 2009
So tired tonight that not even the idea of zoning out on my wonderful Google Reader to catch up on all my favorite blogs appeals to me, so today's post must be brief. We are still riding the roller coaster of the layoff and discussing possible scenarios, which seem endless. The kids and I are nearly well again; I wish I could say the same for Landon. He's getting there . . . slowly. Whichever road this layoff takes us down, it will be a new road, a different road. If I hadn't been so happy with our life the way it was, it wouldn't be so difficult to remain open to all the new possibilities. It's hard to stay hopeful when so many of us have been sick. Once we are all completely well (Landon especially), I'm hoping we will feel more grounded in perspective and hope. For now, all I can do is rest.

"Ladybug: the magazine for young children"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

If you've never picked up a copy of one of the Cricket Magazines, you must do so! With magazines for all age groups, there is something for every member of the family. These magazines are creatively and thoughtfully arranged, and the art work is amazingly beautiful. Sam reads Ladybug, which is for ages 3 to 6 years, but Cricket also offers Click for 3-6 year olds, which is a science and exploration magazine. There are choices for each age group depending on your child's interest.

This month's March issue begins with a story about wind, and this picture captures a windy day beautifully, I think. The art work is bright and colorful, and the title, "What is It" uses words and illustration to provide clues for guessing what the picture is about (wind). Centering the magazine around March themes, weather patterns, activities, and related crafts gives your child many things to relate to as you read through the magazine with them. Sam and I especially loved the spread called "Mousey Housey" this month, which illustrates the kitchen of a mouse family, completely torn apart in the same way our own kitchen has been torn apart many times this past winter. The Mother mouse is baking and batter is spilling over onto the floor, one of her children is pulling milk out of the refrigerator, bread is burning in the oven, popcorn is popping all over the floor, various toys and crayons are scattered, and a flower pot has been knocked over. The caption says, "Can you spot all the messes that need tidying up?"

Then there's the section with a song that shows the musical staff, notes, and words . . . so well done! This month's song, by Mary Catherine Johnson, is called "Song for the World," a song about all the things we love about our world. We love the artwork in this section that frames the music, all images this month of the beautiful things we all love about the world. Later, Sam and I played around with the "Play the Piano" game on Ladybug's website and listened to the song there as well.

The section, "Yoga in the Garden," is another favorite, and Sam and I did the four yoga positions together in the living room this afternoon. I love how the writer of this section provokes a child's imagination during exercise, similar to meditation that adults strive for during yoga.

I realized today how important it is to exercise with your children and for them to learn from a young age that exercise is an integral part of our day to day lives--they love it! We had a great time doing the four yoga poses together, and again, the art work and images were amazingly done, and Sam easily followed along.

A new issue of Ladybug is always a treat at our house, and this month, Sam received an issue of Spider as well. Spider is actually a magazine for ages 6-9, but Sam still enjoys the stories, though some sections (e.g. the maze) are a little more challenging for him.

Sam had fun with the end-result of the four-page craft at the end of Ladybug, a swirling "Fantastic Flyer" made with dental floss (courtesy of a dentist that recently visited Sam's preschool). We were able to cut out two, so Sam is saving one for his best preschool-friend, Garrett. I love how the twirling paper craft related to wind and March kite-flying.

After we read through the magazine, Sam played the matching game, one of several interactive games on Ladybug Magazine's website. Check them out!

I learned today that Sam is a surprisingly good matcher! I will have to pick him up a few matching card games.

And so we've become Ladybug enthusiasts. You can sign up for free samples of any of the magazines in the Cricket Magazine family on their website. Order a sample or a subscription for whichever one is age-appropriate or of interest to your child--you won't be sorry! We love these magazines!
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