Sunday, March 30, 2008

what's wrong with this picture?

oh, let's count, shall we? just for fun.

1. the baby is facedown

2. the baby is facedown on her blankie

3. the baby is facedown on her blankie with 2 baby-dolls under her arm

4. there is a cat in the crib

5. there is a cat in the crib right near the baby's head

6. the baby is completely sideways

7. the baby is completely sideways AND her feet are hanging through the bars of the crib

i have been told that my parent-of-the-year award is ready for pickup anytime i want to come and get it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

the lighter side of things... literally

thanks for the nice comments yesterday, i really appreciated those. after that somewhat heavy post, i thought that i'd lighten things up a bit...

i found and refinished a darling 4' clawfoot tub when we first purchased our house 4 years ago, it had always been a dream of mine to have one and this small-scale guy fit perfectly into our first-floor bathroom. unfortunately, the bathroom needed a lot of work but my husband (the carpenter, who i must defer to in these matters) refused to redo the bathroom until the kitchen remodel was accomplished. this past summer i finally got my kitchen (which i love, love, love) and we moved on to the bathroom that got new walls, new vanity, new sink, new shower, new toilet, new shelving, you get it, right? right. NO NEW PLUMBING. i have been asking for this tub to be plumbed in for every birthday, anniversary and holiday for the past four years and up until my husband( who is wary of me at best lately) finally broke last week and called a plumber for an appraisal, i honestly felt that i would have lived in the kitchen as it was and made do with the bathroom the way it was just to have that freaking tub. so i'll bet you think this is a story about my sweet little tub and how they plumbed her right in and we lived in happily-ever -after clawfooted bliss? you would be wrong, but thanks for the nice thoughts. the plumbing is still not installed, but will did have the plumber come to give us an estimate.

and that, my friends, is not called "plumber's butt" for nothing. my kids nearly died when i took these pictures, but how could i not?
one antique clawfoot tub: $55, one contractor estimate :$25, tilting the camera at a precarious angle while your estranged husband makes throat-slitting motions all in the name of getting a good shot of a real plumber crack? PRICELESS.

leaps and bounds

with one's first child all those tiny miracles and milestones get noticed, fussed over, analyzed, and recorded. the next of the lot gets much of the same attention with a few exceptions so as not to make child number one feel underrated. any child following gets thrown right to the wolves and told to fend for themselves.

my parenting experience has been so varied and unique i don't think there is anything that hasn't happened or been tried. i've been a single, working mom, i've been a married stay-home mom to my child and step-child, i've been a part-time working mom with three children at home. i've worked nights, i've worked weekends, and then when my now six-year-old turned two i decided that after we moved to maine i was going to commit to being a stay-home mom and the waldorf-style of parenting. whatever it took. i think it was a struggle for us all. my older two in kindergarten and home all day with the youngest there were some attachment and jealousy issues that arose, but we worked through it. i realized being consistently with my two year old, what i had missed. even though i'd never worked full time since his birth, i think that my mind was in constant "go" mode. i so appreciated getting some of those milestone moments with him. it was almost like having a new baby starting from age two.

when olivia was born four years later there was never a question of what i'd do. i am now happy to sew from home and fill the orders whatever chance i get. not of necessity, but because it fulfills me in the way that working used to do in that empty sort of way. i think as people, not just as mothers, we sometimes tend to resent our lives or aspects of them when we are not producing. there is this innate drive to be something more. i know now that that piece can be filled by my creativity and nurtured as well.

i feel so genuinely lucky to have been blessed by so many lessons, despite the trials that still arise. i have to take time each day to reaffirm the fact that i am useful, even if i'm not doing anything. i have to remember that every day is a milestone in these children's lives. they are growing so quickly into these wonderful, creative human beings that i can't help but marvel at the fact that what i've done by doing nothing except what is natural to mothers, i've landed the best job on earth.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

spring my ass

we had a teaser last week. you know, one of those days plopped smack in the middle of a cold spell where the wind is'nt raw, the birds sing, the sun shines and you can smell the ground? i was slap-happy. i cleaned out the chicken coop, picked up the yard (don't you love when the snow melts and all the toys/ things that have been left outdoors over the winter begin to emerge and your house begins to like like a lot in a trailer park?) and HUNG OUT MY SHEETS. capital letters= important. line-dried anything is my idea of a good time, line-dried sheets are next in line to sleeping late, breakfast in bed, having a housekeeper, a shopping spree at the fabric store, etc., and since the listed are obviously not happening anytime in this lifetime, i get pretty psyched up for the line-dried sheets.

no sooner was the bedding flapping in the wind and the last of the trashiness being, well, trashed, than mr.wind kicked up followed by his friends mrs. sleet and mr. dark/ominous-looking sky. i called the kiddos and we ran for the cover of the cozy kitchen and some bread i had made, thoughts of spring vanished as we resolved ourselves to the bitter chill and fickle spring that is maine in march and april.

but yesterday there was this...

despite the whipping wind and brutal temps, a small speck of bright hope. he even felt it was alright to bring his lady-friend along. how nice.

happy,freakin' spring (wherever she may be)!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


connor (my 6yr old) loves animals. when he was 3 we purchased chicks from a hatchery. 20 chicks. connor would go outside to the coop, fold 5 or so into his shirt and come inside and snuggle them on the couch. when connor was 4 he invited the goats inside the house. he could'nt get them to snuggle, but they did like the taste of the couch. when connor was 4 we had bunnies. you can guess what he did. he is my little dr.doolittle and i love his kind spirit and love of animals and fascination with nature. no matter how wild or fresh a child is, i feel that when they posess a tru love of animals they have a true and kind soul. connor's absolute favorite animals are cats, though. i'm not sure what the fascination with the "snuggle"is, but it has never lost it's magic for connor. he loves the fact that you can take a cat to bed with you. it blows him away. we have a few older cats that like to be out at night or are'nt much for snuggling, and being that connor is the king of the slow and excrutiating emotional break-down, our lives for the past year went something like this:
connor: "mommy?"


connor: "where are you going?"

me: "to the----(store, post office,etc.)"

connor: "oh, i thought you were going to get me my cat."


or like this:

connor: "mommy?"

me: "yes?"

connor: "what's in that bag?"

me: "it's just a bag of (trash, groceries, mail, etc)"

connor: "oh, i thought it was my cat."

connor turned 6 this january.

he got




and he was right. you aint never had a snuggle 'till you've snuggled puff (the magic dragon, of course).

Monday, March 17, 2008


i have to admit, i've not been completely forthcoming. those of you who know me know that the sarcasm and wit (toot, toot, that was my OWN horn) are not a facade, they're a very big part of who i am. but... they are also a defense/ deflect tactic. let's lay it out there, shall we? about 3 months ago my husband and i decided (or i decided after reaching the end of a very long rope) that it was time for us to separate. there are so many things that led to this point, deep, deep old scars and new ones, too.

i think as a parent we tend to think of our children first, always. being a stay-home mom, my kids are my life. i live, sleep and breathe home. it is what i do. i create safety, comfort and beauty to nurture this family in. i felt that by separating from my husband i would be shattering all i, all we had struggled so hard to create. what is a homemaker without a home?

i have slowly come to realize, though not yet fully and not without struggle, that home still can be all the things i strive to create, only... different. it has been hard. i am working daily on myself, struggling to keep my head up some days and full of hope others. i am so lucky to have such a great family close by and a wonderful circle of friends.

the hardest part in all of this has been the change in routine. especially in a large family like ours we all seem to fall into roles and the days take certain shape again and again. for us there was always the one that got up with the older kids for school, and the other would tend to the baby so everyone was fed and on time. mornings have become a struggle now. one child with disabilities needing total guidance some mornings, one pre-teen waiting for the bathroom, one kindergartner needing breakfast and bags packed and dragon toys for naptime and snacks for circle time and a baby needing well, what babies need. everything. all of them needing so much and so little to go around. dinnertime has always been family time and i have tried my damndest to keep it that way. maybe some nights we have breakfast for dinner or even make your own sandwich night while olivia claws at my leg and screams to be held or nursed, but we do it. we will do it.

the nights my husband comes to have dinner with the kids have become salvation for me. i take a project and shove it in my bag and head over to my parent's house where we have a QUIET supper and relax a bit afterward. i felt guilty, initially, about these quiet evenings away from home, but then grew to knew without them i'd surely burn out. i am so grateful for the support and quiet refuge my parent's house offers both my kids and i.

(view out the back door over the river @ my parent's)

sunday night is spaghetti night, it has been since i was a child. when my husband and i first met he was introduced to my parents over spaghetti. he proposed to me while i was cooking spaghetti in the kitchen of our first home. so many stories have been shared, so many lessons woven into the fabric of our family and so many memories made over a table smelling deliciously of cornbread, salad, and spaghetti, always the same sauce from the moosewood cookbook staining the lips and fingers of first two, then three, now four children. even my husband comes sometimes.

the draw of the familiarity and warmth these traditions offer in any family is hard to deny. i know my husband feels it still. sometimes over our plates i can look at him and remember without hurting, surrounded by love and children and food and smiles and slurping, that these are the things that bind us together always.

life is changing for us all and i'm certain that many traditions will be tweaked and altered and our hearts will bend and break a bit while we struggle to find our way through this mess, but there is one thing i know for certain...

sunday night is spaghetti night, and everyone who's anyone will be there.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

tah dah...

i have been making custom items for a local diaper shop ( over the past 8 months or so and absolutely having a blast doing it. the women at the shop are soooo supportive of local moms and most importantly, they feed my ego. what? you know you love a good pat on the back, too.

recently, the owner came up with the idea to do some boy and girl items with a lobster theme (maine, summer, tourists, you get the gist). i have to admit, being quite the "un-themey" gal, i was hesitant. the last thing i wanted to do for her or for me was to create something "touristy" or cheesy. after drafting a few designs and using a pattern that i got at goodwill for $0.29 and tweaked, we came up w/ these...

for the lassies:

linen exterior/ cotton interior


and for the laddies:

linen exterior/ cotton interior


what do you think? i made 12 in total and am really happy w/ the finished product. the pants are fully reversible and i devised a little loop closure for the cuff to hold 'em up. the appliques all vary, too and i made the smocks double-button adjustable so that they have even more growing room.

i've been making these smocks for olive since she was a wee one (because now she's all grown up at 15 months) and i love them because in the summer w/ cloth diaper or bloomers they are a great shortie dress and in the colder months they are a great smock dress over shirt and pants. my daughter loved them so i made one for her, she's 10 and also for some other older kiddos ages 2 and 3.

whew! now on to the next project...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

forgive me father...

for i have made these....

when the kiddos get home from school they usually have this...

it was there, ready and waiting, you saw it, right? the healthy stuff? that's the usual me, really. well folks, then the p.m.s kicked in and i did that thing that you are NEVER EVER as a parent supposed to do, and i'm not proud. i used my children as a scapegoat and i forced them into making these cinnamon rolls because mommy wants them to have a treat every once and a while and she loves them very much and oh my goodness they did it they made them and then




it was the p.m.s., i swear.

i am not proud, but under the circumstances, i did what had to be done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

little green dress

my olive (really "olivia" but nicknamed this by my son because i soooo craved green olives during my pregnancy) has been the mannequinn and inspiration for many a clothing creation. i love kid's clothing and feel so inspired by vintage styles and patterns. i love that i can whip up and outfit in an hour due to the small scale.

those of you who know me know that i am not a fan of delayed gratification. good things come to those who wait? why wait. now now now, i say.

so.... yesterday an idea

and a bit of pattern-making

a few hours, some green linen, black and white polka dot fabric and more naughty words than i care to admit to later we have this(front view)

(back view)

so, whaddya think? i could'nt get the model to show it off, she was napping, but you bet your bippy she looks DAMN CUTE in it.

boys will be boys

we have a unique family. my 9-yr.-old stepson taylor has called me "mom" since around 18 mos., and my daughter, age 10, has called my husband "dad" just as long. after blending our families as single parents i became a stay-home mom to the 2 oldest. it was a bit like having twins, as they are only 7 mos. apart. raising my stepson has been challenging to say the least. he has many physical and emotional issues that keep presenting and changing. my life as his mother has been challenging yet the gifts he has given me are priceless. he is slowly growing into his own, and although the challenges are still (always) there, he is becoming more of his own person. his team of specialists are exploring (at my insistence) the possibility of "asperger's syndrome", which is a very high-functioning form of autism. i have been told that i have a very sarcastic and sometimes dark sense of humor, and when he goes off on a monologue about one of his favorite subjects (he's like and encyclopedia) his serious delivery just about kills me.

connor came along when taylor was about 3 1/2, and he is everything taylor finds disturbing in this world. he lives life like he's in a mosh pit at a rock show, the more noise and chaos the better (i know i've mentioned his red hair and freckles). connor makes up songs and rhymes and talks goofy nonsense nonstop. he'd rather be hammering something together than quietly reading, like taylor.

they just don't get each other.

it's hard as a parent to find that happy medium when you have kids that are different in age and personality type. it is almost impossible to find common ground between the two, which can be heartbreaking as a mom. i have to let this go and let them be themselves. i tell myself that there are many different personalities out there, and they're each going to have to find a way to deal with that.

but there is a strange freezing/thawing phenomenon that takes place a few times a winter on a large area on our acreage. it creates an ice arena just perfect for kids with no water underneath for mom to fret over (ocd,ocd,ocd). when the planets align we get this:

and this:

and loads of this:

and maybe, just maybe, if the spirit moves them...


ah, the mysteries of brotherhood revealed. one part red hair and freckles, one part pint-sized genius, add sun, ice and skates and mix well. enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2008

some stuff i did...

now that the housework has truly gone by the wayside, i thought i'd share a few things i've made from vintage patterns recently...

they're in the etsy shop.


i'm an avid blog reader. i have my favorites, i rarely leave comments. a "lurker" if you will. anyone scared? don't be. the thought of having a blog to call my own scares the crap out of me. what if i don't post daily? what if people think i'm boring? what if i post something stupid and can't take it back and everyone hates me? being that i'm bursting with self-confidence, i think today's the day. bear with me folks, if the lack of capitalization has'nt clued you into my lack of time and energy, my posting just might.

some stuff about me:

i have 4 kids (yes,4)

i have 2 kids named "taylor", my adopted son and my daughter(my daughter goes by "tilly")

my 6-yr-old has bright red hair and freckles (none of us do)

my 15-month-old says "shit" sometimes (i did'nt do it, i swear)

i make children's clothing and other stuff

i just started selling on etsy... (shameless plug:

i have ocd (obsessive compulsive disorder) no really, you'll see

i have ocd

i have ocd

i have ocd

those of us who have it can do things like that, the rest of ya better just be quiet while i finish washing my hands, mopping the floor, bleaching the toilet, giving the cat a bath(you get the picture)

i'm scared of being alone at night. not stranger/ robber scared, like boogeyman scared. i still leap off the bed to go to the bathroom at night

oh come on, you know you don't want it grabbing your feet either....