And the Tooth Came Out

After two weeks of anticipation, E lost her first tooth. In Costco, off all places. As her father held her chin and told her how much he loved her.

She placed her tooth in a little fairy box she has had since Minneapolis.

In true fashion, we had nothing special planned for the tooth fairy to leave. After the kids were in bed, we looked for that random silver dollar we thought we had stashed away but couldn't find it. Since we always have change floating around the house and E is used to handling quarters and other coins, I really wanted to do something different.

So we folded up, very small, a paper dollar and placed it in the secret spot within the fairy's flower.

While happy for the money (and immediately dreaming of all the things she could spend it on), E was much more excited about showing everyone the space the missing tooth had left behind.

Bedtime Reading

Over the last couple months, I have struggled with chapter books for E. We have found some that we've loved (Winnie-the-Pooh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Toys Go Out, The Doll People) and some that we've gotten a couple pages into and stopped.

E's at that cusp where she really wants something long and engaging but is still only four two young to understand some more mature stories. The Dad and I have learned (sometimes mid-sentence) that we really like to stay away from too much sassiness, violence, and language like 'hate', 'stupid', 'gun', or anything else we don't want her repeating before she really understands it.

When I was in second grade, I picked up my mother's copy of Flowers in the Attic and actually got a good way through it before my mom realized what I was reading and it 'got lost'. There really are some things kids don't need to learn about before they're ready!

It's hard finding a book that challenges E's brightness while addressing age-appropriate issues. Fortunately, we've finally found another good one. Recommended by a nursery school parent a while ago and then rediscovered on an Amazon list of Early Chapter Books, we checked out My Father's Dragon from the library today. Written in the 40s, it has humor, talking animals, a young hero, and a simple, engaging tale of the rescue of an exploited and overworked baby dragon.

We made it to Chapter 8 tonight with E still asking for more. I'd say it's a hit.

The Vacation Dress/Nightgown

E has a classmate who's mother requested matching nightgowns for her girls. Before Christmas. Now, recovered from my temporary craft-show-sewing-burnout and back in the studio, I have finally whipped up a sample.

As I threaded the elastic through the neck casing, I was overwhelmed with the desire to pack up my family and head to Mexico for vacation. That's just the feel of this piece. A nice, relaxing vacation dress for somewhere warm.

E, a fan of all things twirly and averse to extra tightness (like the elastic I had planned for the sleeves), has been wearing the dress for about 24 hours now. As a dress, as a nightgown, and as a dress again. I promised I'd wash it this afternoon so she could wear it again tonight. I'm flexible, but not so flexible that I'd let her sleep in it after wearing it out and about on the train and downtown today. Too many germs... in bed... no go.

Like me, she is anxious for Spring, when she won't have to layer it over long sleeves and leggings or pajama pants.

The Wall

Finally completed: The Climbing Wall

Before we moved from Minneapolis, I don't know if we had even found our new house yet, The Dad made a trip to Nicros for their annual clearance sale. He had heard that they sold imperfect climbing holds by the pound and was determined to stock up for the wall he would some day build for the kids.

Last fall he bought the lumber and stored it in the garage. I was skeptical (and not entirely supportive) and kept reminding him that we had lots of other projects to do before one that the kids wouldn't be able to use for a couple years.

I was so wrong.

He finished the wall on Valentine's Day and I am beyond impressed. 7 1/2 feet tall and 17 feet long with a hole configuration that will allow us to easily add new handholds as we want and move around the ones that are there.

It is beyond cool. Over the winter, The Dad has been slowly working on semi-finishing the basement, converting it into a 'rec room' type space. We still have a lot to do down there, but I think that this first element is a great preview of what the room will become!

Finally Back in the Studio

My studio is finally put back together and I am sewing again.

Unfortunately, we've had some gray days around here lately and the studio pictures haven't come out. Today is looking promising.

Until then, here are a couple new dresses for the shop. To me, they just look like Spring.

On Having Another Baby

O loves babies. He seems to spot them everywhere. He coos at them, pats them, and, when permitted, kisses them. Lately, we've been having lots of conversations like this:

O: "Mama, when are we going to have a newborn baby?"

Me: "Oh, honey, we're never going to have a newborn baby."

O (looking up with pleading eyes): "Pleeease?"

Nothing like a little boy asking for a baby brother or sister to get you thinking... And then I think a little more:
  • Remember what it was like to feel sick all day every day for almost 9 months?
  • Remember what it was like to do that with a toddler to look after?
  • Can you really remember the last good night's sleep you had? (I think I can count on two hands how many nights I've slept through over the last almost 5 years)
  • I'm 35. Where all the risk factors change.
  • In September, E will be in Kindergarten and O will be in nursery school. Would we really want to start all over again.
  • We tend to breed very independent, determined children. One was hard. Two is harder...
  • Right now, we can still one-on-one the kids.
  • We've been very, very lucky so far...
No, we will never have another newborn baby... I know that.

I've given everything away as the kids have outgrown it. We are very happy with the family of four that we are. And yet, when I think of having a little baby in the house again, of watching O become a big brother, of nursing, and that tiny baby smell, I get a tiny bit wistful.

And then I say again, more to myself than anyone else: No, we will never have another baby.

Celebrating Milestones

My daughter is a storyteller. A pretender. A make-believer. She is constantly changing clothes and characters. I know, when she tells me something that doesn't seem quite plausible, to ask her "Really? Is that the truth or pretend?" Lately, I have begun asking her "Is that Truth or Moonshine?"

Last week, we finished Ramona the Pest. In one of the last chapters, Ramona loses her first tooth. For a couple days now, E has been walking around pretending she has a loose tooth. When a friend came over yesterday, E said to her "I have a loose tooth!". And I added "Just for pretend. Right?"

Today when I picked her up at school, she said "Mama, want to see my loose tooth?" And she opened her mouth and showed me. Her loose tooth. No moonshine.

I almost cried.

She asked if we could have a celebration. And then she spent the rest of the day talking about how she is almost grown up because she is old enough to have a loose tooth. Mama, people will think I'm, like, eight!

So tonight, we celebrated. A yummy vanilla cake, at her request, from the beautiful cookbook Apples for Jam. And tonight I go to bed knowing that my little girl is not quite so little and wondering how long I can put off this 'growing up' thing...

When One Door Closes Another One Opens

Sadly last month, during (but not related to) all of the CPSIA hullabaloo, the Maternal Wellness Center announced that they would be closing their retail shop. One more small business that has been hit by the country's economic downturn (is that a euphamism?), they were the first place I sold my handmade children's clothing.

The place where I had that 'aha! moment' and saw that people actually liked what I was making - and would buy it!

While I have been trying to establish more of a presence with my Etsy shop, I really enjoyed having a spot to sell my work locally. I loved that folks I'd never met before would come up to me at a craft show and say "Hey! I've seen your work before. We give your dresses as baby presents!"

So, knowing they were closing and exploring other options, I stopped into Artista Gallery to put out some feelers. I dropped off a dress last week and received a phone call yesterday after their review meeting. "We love your work! We're sending you a contract. Drop off some pieces whenever you can."

This is such a different venue than the Maternal Wellness Center. More of a 'living gallery', it has work by many different artists in many different mediums (I'm coveting the elevator button cufflinks for The Dad) and I am very fortunate and excited to be included.

They will be part of Mt. Airy's First Friday tomorrow evening. If you are in the area, stop in and check it out!

A Little Shelf of Friends

Our whole house is really still a work in progress. We've lived here for 15 months now and are finally adding the decorative touches we've been missing. We're really anxious for spring so we can throw open the windows and get some fresh paint on the walls.

The kids' room is a fun, eclectic mix full of color. Including the orange wall. We recently (in my attempt to do something every day to make the house look a little nicer) added this little shelf of wooden push button toys above the arch. I love the touch of whimsy. And so easy using a pre-made photo ledge.

As we get more and more done, I will post more photos of our interior. I hope to have a studio tour for you after the weekend and the climbing wall debut by Valentine's Day!

I Missed A Meeting This Morning

I was supposed to be part of a meeting this morning right after I dropped my daughter off at school. A meeting to plan an event next week. The meeting was at school. I didn't even need to go anywhere else for it. And yet, 20 minutes after the meeting started, I found myself across town in the parking lot of the children's museum pulling some papers out of my purse before O and I went in. I glanced down. Nursery School Valentine's Tea... Oh. No. I had missed my meeting.

Before I had children, I had some version or another of a palm pilot. I took it everywhere with me. I consulted it constantly. My time was scheduled down to the half hour, sometimes to the 15 minutes.

And then E was born and I stopped working. I continued to use my palm pilot but it was kind of a joke. Really? Mom's group once a week? A Dr.'s appointment every couple of months? One more thing to carry in the diaper bag? I tossed it aside and never went back.

For 2008 we had a calendar hanging in our kitchen. It was used mostly to mark when The Dad was traveling. Shows we had tickets for. Dr.'s appointments and the occasional playdate. I consulted it somewhat regularly and it sufficed.

At the end of the year, I found this great weekly planner on Etsy. I love the art. It's simple enough for the few things I put into it. I don't consult it regularly.

That is all about to change.

Suddenly, with the kids now almost 3 and almost 5, with one in school and a very small and very slowly growing business I seem to need something again. I will start checking it every day. I will start carrying it with me. And I will not miss another meeting.