Friday, February 27, 2009

Attachment Parenting.....?

Pete and I were having a conversation at dinner last night about attachment parenting and how, while I believe its the right parenting 'style' for us, it can be a little rough some times. Aurora has been attached to my hip for the past two weeks or so. And I mean attached. She follows me into the bathroom. Sits on a stool and watches me shower (and reminds me to wash my hair a minimum of 12 times per shower). Wants to be in physical contact with me almost all of the time. Especially while I'm trying to fix dinner. Normally, I'd just pop her in the sling or Ergo and go about my business, but my lower back's been bothering me a bit making toddlerwearing difficult. Pete's been super busy with school, so I just haven't had a good opportunity for some time to myself. Add to that, that Aurora's only napped 2 out of the 5 days these week (which is partly to blame for the clinginess I'm sure... she's tired), all making mama exhausted.

It's just a phase, I know. It will pass, I know. She used to play very well independently... and I know she will do so again. In general, she's always had a healthy secure attachment.... knowing we were there if she needed us, but confident to explore the world herself. I know we'll get back there. But, right now, it's hard.

And then, Aurora walked over to us with a playsilk (the turmeric one I dyed yesterday actually) and her 'white nee nee' (aka bunny) and wanted us to help her put the bunny "in Ergo, on my back".

It was just what I needed. This is the first time she's done this. She was wearing her baby. Just as I have always worn her. One of the most well known examples of Attachment Parenting. It was a good reminder that she's always watching and learning from us. Absorbing every thing and every experience around her into her inner being. She's learned, internalized, that mamas keep their little ones close. To feed them, nourish them, protect them, love them, teach them, cherish them. Because, after all, they are only small enough to carry and hold, for a very short time. The sling (or ergo, pouch, wrap, mei tai ... we have them all, lol) has always meant warmth, security and love to her. A place to center herself, ready herself to go out and conquer the world. It's very rewarding to see her taking on this role with her 'babies'.

I'm holding her, cuddling her, and yes, wearing her with a new consciousness today. And with a little more joy.

I could still use a little 'me' time, though ;)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

dying playsilks with 'natural' dyes

So, because playsilk dying tutorials with kool-aid and food coloring are a dime a dozen, I never borrowed to post one about the fun I've been having with dying these wonderfully open-ended play props. Also, because I was getting really frustrated with the less than stellar pictures my camera was turning out. But, boy has it been fun.

So, I knew I wanted to dye some earthy colors to add to our collection, and I figured what better way to get 'earthy' and 'all natural' than to head to the pantry?

The first step, not pictured, is to soak your silks in hot water with a splash of vinegar for 20 mins or so. While the silks are soaking, you can prepare your dyes. I used the left over grounds from our coffee this morning and ran the coffee maker again with 12 cups water (as measured on the coffee carafe). I also thought I'd give turmeric a go, so i sprinkled a bunch into the bottom of a four-cup measuring cup. How much? I didn't measure, but about this much:
I then added some vinegar to the turmeric and some salt as well 'cause I hadn't realized I was so low on vinegar. I was worried all the dye would wash out when I rinsed the silk, and I was pretty sure I had heard that salt could be used as a mordant. I figured it couldn't hurt anyhow... and I think it did help. How much, you ask again? I would guess about a 1/4 cup of vinegar and two tsps of salt or so. Then I poured in boiling water from the kettle to measure about 4 cups and stirred to combine. I put my silks to be dyed (in this case a 30''by30" and an 11"by11") into a pot and poured the turmeric mixture on top.

For the coffee silks (same sizes), I plopped them into a pot and poured the weakly brewed coffee over, with another 1/4 C of vinegar (all that was left) and some salt.
Then I put both pots on the stove top and brought to a boil. As they were boiling, I stirred the silks around pretty often to get even coverage. I meant to time how long the were on the stove, but my dear husband called right as I was putting them on, so I was talking to him all the while and lost track of time. I'd say they were probably on for 15 mins or so. Then I turned the burners off and let them cool for 5 mins or so. I planned to let them cool all the way in the pots before rinsing, but I'm simply too impatient.

They were such beautiful, and yes, very natural, earthy colors coming out of their dye baths! I was particularly impressed by the turmeric....
The coffee was a little lighter than I had anticipated, but beautiful nonetheless. I'm sure if dyed with full strength coffee, it probably would have been darker... but coffee is much too precious to me to 'waste' on silks.
I was super nervous rinsing them out that all the color would go right down the drain with the water-- but nope! It really didn't take very much rinsing either, before the water ran clear. Many people will throw their silks in the washing machine and give a rinse and spin (with no detergent), but I have community laundry and have to pay per load, so I just rinse mine in the kitchen sink and they seem to turn out just fine ;)

They're out in the living room drying now. I think Aurora will be very pleased with them when she wakes from her nap!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Naps- we all need one

I think Aurora's getting a cold or something. She didn't nap today-- for the second day in a row. When she doesn't sleep that usually means she's coming down with some thing. She was also up a lot in the night these past two nights.

I really wanted her to take a nap today- could've used the break. No nap= super cranky, melt down prone toddler @ dinner prep time.

I've spiked her juice cup with Echinacea/Immunity supplements... let's hope it works!

And now, some totally unrelated 'then and now' pics:

Coming home from the hospital:

And still rear facing at two years old.
Can you believe how tiny she was?!?
Post about why she's still rear facing saved for another day :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tiny Dancer

Aurora got a pair of tap shoes at the children's consignment store. Definitely a questionable parenting decision on my part. They are loud on our wooden floors. Not sure how the neighbors above us feel about it, and I'm not going to ask. But she really does love them and was so happy when I showed them to her at the store. She proudly carried them all the way to the check-out counter herself. Please ignore the crushed cheerios all over the floor:)
Contrary to the way it looks, she really is happy in this picture. She's just totally immersed in her Riverdance DVD that was playing on the portable player on the cabinet. Couldn't be bothered for the camera! I still need to get a good action shot. That's to come...

Friday, February 13, 2009

an Upgrade....



Yep, we finally took it down. With the exception of my exercise DVDs, the TV hadn't been used since Obama's inauguration. And, really, exercise DVDs aren't really enjoyable enough to need a bigger screen- so the travel DVD player will do just fine from here on out.

Eventually the newly aquired surface will be home to our seasons table. But, for the moment, we're really enjoying an unseasonal luxury: I ordered these beautiful flowers from Hawaii for my sweet husband as an Valentines/birthday/anniversary gift. Pete's birthday happens to be Valentines Day, and our 5th anniversary is in early March. So, was it worth the cost of two-day air from Hawaii? Totally. Our living room is scented with plumeria (and not from a spray bottle)-- it instantly takes both of us back to our honeymoon on the windward side of O'ahu.


Now, onto something completely unrelated. You've gotta check out Clara's Depression Era Cooking. This 90-something great-grandmother shares wisdom and recipes from her experiences in the Depression. Her great- grandson filmed the segments (and did a great job!). Clara was a first-generation American teenager going to highschool during the Depression... she eventually had to drop out of school because her family wasn't able to afford socks. There is a lot we can learn from her! Start with the first episode- they're all about 6 mins.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The reason we've been MIA.....

So, its been a full week and a half since I last blogged. I'm such a slacker.... but we haven't just been lying on the couch doing nothing- honest! We simply haven't been around much this past week because it's warmed up (temporarily, I'm sure), melted all the snow and left us with...


gorgeous, sticky, slimy, malleable mud.
Perfect for creating a 'garden' with the other children in our courtyard. The older kids did most of this, of course, but Aurora threw in a couple leaves, and was so, so proud.

She also made (repeatedly, day after day, and in many forms) lots and lots of 'acorns' for the squirrels. She then had me hold her up so she could put them in the tree.

She was simply one very happy girl. All winter I tried to get her outside- but she really didn't care for the snow at all. No matter what we tried. The most we could get her out for was a walk around the block in the Mei Tai on my back. As it melted, and we could see the grass, we were spending more and more time outside... but it took her a couple days to really *remember* how to play. Luckily we live in University family housing and have lots of young children as neighbors to provide an example.
Yesterday, the warmest of the days (an unbelievable 60 degrees and sunny), we spent a total of 6 HOURS outside! Played in the mud, picnicked with friends, and went for a really long walk (during which we stopped briefly for me to gaze longingly through the window at all the delicious goods at the local yarn store. I was very good and didn't go in, btw). Today... well its back to winter, I guess. Although it still pales to our winters in Ithaca, for sure.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Aurora's first labeled drawings

These are the first drawings A has ever given a true name to, not just copying what I was drawing, but completely her own. She worked on these this past weekend... 28 months old. Its amazing how much she is growing and learning each day. It takes my breath away.

I wish her blue crayon showed up a little better, but I'm not that great at the editing software for our scanner.
It's giveaway monday over at The Crafty Crow... go check it out!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


This past Friday, Aurora and I tried out a new Challah recipe and it turned out great. You can find the recipe here.

She's becoming quite the little professional baker. Check out that kneading form! The plan is to have her baking bread independently by age three, lol. One less thing for me to do, right?? just kidding!

and, yes, we bake bread on the kitchen floor. The mat easy super easy to clean up, and for things like kneading, Aurora's just not tall enough, even with the stool, to do well at the counter. (okay, grammar freaks out there, yes, I do know that last bit was a run on sentence with too many commas. But, I really like commas, so there!)