Thursday, February 28, 2013

Monthly challenge for March

birthday girl

Just in time for Stephanie's birthday, I finished sewing a new dress that I have had planned for her since October.  When I participated in the KCWC, I committed to sewing (or preparing fabric or cutting patterns...) for one hour each day for one week.  It was marvelous.  I watched a few ideas bloom into actual completed projects, and that felt wonderful.  Just one hour per day.  Surely, I would keep sewing, right?  Not so much.  It seems I need that committed time, and there are oh-so-many little projects I want to do (not just sewing).  One hour per day ad infinitem would be a bit unrealistic for me, but some would only need one hour per week or five minutes per day.  I'd like to challenge myself to a different, specific project each month, starting with March.  Small ideas:

  • a photo per day, with a 30 word or less caption
  • daily personal, handwritten journal time
  • handwritten letters to friends, at least one each week (or maybe a postcard-length note each day)
  • meditation

The overly ambitious, unrealistic part of me looks at this list and thinks I should just do all four.  Surely that would more day to ponder, but then I will launch into my challenge on March 1st.  Any ideas for a personal challenge of your own?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

5 years

Five years ago today, we delivered a beautiful baby girl in our living room in The Hague.  After her birth, our brilliant midwife, Christine, and our sweet kraamzorg, Astrid, moved off to their own little corner and ate all our chocolate so we could have our own time and space to meet and fuss over this precious new little life.  What a healing change from our first-born's hospital birth.  What a perfect start.

birth feet

Her first four birthdays were celebrated in Australia, in the summertime, usually by the water and typically without clothes on.  This is the first birthday she has celebrated in The States, in the winter and most definitely with lots of warm clothes on (though bits will be shed over the course of the day, I'm sure).  She has been a constant joy, our off-with-the-fairies, old soul, sensitive, sweet reminder of all that is good and important in life.

Today, she is 5.

  blowing out candles

Monday, February 25, 2013

(Awesome) texts from my girls

A question from Hubby with an unexpected answer:

stealth 4 year old typing

I received this one while I was with the Muses during Mardi Gras:

during Mardi Gras

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gentle reminder

Various experiences recently have come together to remind me of this truth. May you find extra space to be kind and patient with others today. They might need it. You might too.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Riding with the Muses

ready to roll!

Once again, I rolled with the Krewe of Muses in New Orleans Mardi Gras. Oh my word.  How to describe so much fun?  It was such a blast and happened so fast somehow that I hardly took any pictures.  I was on the top deck this time, so taking pictures was a bit less obvious.  Throwing beads and fun goodies like it was going out of style, however, was incredibly obvious.

plush throws at the ready

shoe bracelets galore

The best way to describe riding with the Muses is like having a fabulous party with your girlfriends that is so incredibly fun that half the city and a legion of tourists come too.  Making it even better this year were the 610 Stompers right behind our float.  They kept me laughing and dancing all along the ride.  We got a late start this year, but the crowds stayed for us.  As I mentioned in my brief post, people lined the streets from start to finish.  There wasn't a single place that was thinned out.  Miraculously, this was the first year I didn't run out of throws, so I actually had something good for people at the very end.

When we returned home, there were class presentations for the girls.  Their classmates loved the stories and the costume, but especially loved light-up throws and other beads we brought back to share.  The homemade King Cake went over very well too!

in costume

King Cake

Another Mardi Gras over for the year, but this one was full of firsts.  The first Mardi Gras for the girls.  The first time my little family all saw me on a float.  The first time my girls attended any Mardi Gras parades (which they declared the best thing ever).  The first weekend they spent in New Orleans.  The first time they ate beignets (pronounced "ben-yays").  The first visit to NOLA lasting more than a day for my husband, who hadn't been there much since Katrina.  The first time our dear friends who still live there were able to meet both of our girls.  The first time those friends came to the parade to see me ride.

first beignets

And we get to do it all again next year!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Crafting valentines

valentines in progress

This was our first year making and giving valentines for school.  In Australia, this wasn't common practice and definitely was not embraced in our staunchly Montessori school.  Here, there is no escaping it!  Valentines is a big affair, complete with class party, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity for some crafting.

Ellie was very clear on her idea.  She wanted to glitterize candy heart boxes and attach handmade valentines notes to them with tape.  Alas, not one of my pictures of those came out.  She was so proud. I'm sure the glitter was a hold-over from all the Muses glitter just last week (and the class presentations about it this week), but I'm sure you agree everything is prettier with glitter.

Stephanie, too, knew exactly what she wanted.  She wanted to create valentines that could be laced by the kids who received them.  She wanted heart shapes.  She wanted liquid watercolours.  A bit of trial and error resulted in some seriously awesome valentines, I do believe.  We cut heart shapes out of thick watercolour paper and then used a sponge to paint on a layer of water.  Then, she could drip liquid watercolours on with small little droppers until satisfied.

liquid watercolour via dropper

How cool are these?!

liquid watercolour heart

Our hole punch is old and got the better of her, so I ended up punching all the holes in these.  I ran some gift ribbon through one valentine to get the measurement, pulled it out again and cut all the lengths we needed.  Then we just threaded a few holes on each valentine so they could get the general idea.

lacing valentines

She was so proud of her work, and rightly so!  I only wish I had thought to cut an extra heart so we'd have one of our own to keep.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!

the end of the parade

Would you believe this picture was taken at the very end of the parade, just before I disembarked from the float?  That's how crazy and enthusiastic the crowds were.  They lined the streets the entire way, start to the final finish.  Fabulous!

I see you all like the man in black on the left.  You're saying, "Hey, where are the blog posts, lady?"  I hear ya.  I do!  In the week leading up to the parade, I was scrambling at the last minute like the procrastinator I am adding finishing touches on my glittered shoes.  Then, there was New Orleans.  Oh my, the fun times!  Now that we're back home, we had to prepare for and enjoy a second grade class play, and I presented in both girls' classes on different days about Mardi Gras, complete with baking two King Cakes to take along.  Don't tell the Catholics, but one of those presentations was today (shameful indulgence on Ash Wednesday, but it's for the kids, y'all!).  Whew.  Blog posts with pictures in the works and coming soon!  In the meantime, Happy Mardi Gras, y'all (even if I am a day late).