Sunday, March 25, 2007


Here are some images of the new life emerging in our neck of the woods as Lady Spring slowly spreads her mantle across the land.

Sunlight returns to our deck.

Snowdrops bloom and daffodils find their way through last years leaves.

Rainboots are essential for all the muddy places.

Bare feet and toes bask for the first time in months.

Garland can be woven again.

Bare arms after school.

What A Twelve Years It's Been!

Almost two weeks ago now (where have I been? The dratted flu got me..) my first born child turned twelve years old. As this is his last year of childhood I thought some commemorative photos were in order, and in seeking them out and posting them I was reminded about just how darn cute he was, and how incredibly quickly those years went by.

Here he is, just one day old, after his birth at home in our apartment in San Francisco.

Here he is at one, with those 'I'm just learning to walk and keep falling with my hands under me' scabs.

Now at five, with beautiful red gold curls that never grew back like that after I cut them.

At eight, a big brother again, and in the prime of his lovely and charming boyhood.

On his tenth birthday.

On his twelfth birthday, having given himself back that lovely hair I cut off all those years ago.

When I held him in my arms the day he was born, I did what all new parents must do - I searched his face for clues as to who he was, what he would bring, who he would grow up to be. And now, I am finding out, and he's everything I would want in a son - he's goofy and silly and loves practical jokes, he's sharp and bright and does well at school, he despises unfairness and injustice and rails against it, he is a gentle and kind big brother (to the littlest ones, anyway - he is human!), he plays the mandolin, skateboards like he was born on wheels, makes his own movies, stiltwalks and loves his new passion, Dungeons and Dragons.
Happy Birthday Skater Boy - you are the best!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Burn Baby, Burn

Here is what we had at our house today, other than gorgeous spring sunshine, and not nearly as nice - fevers. Two of them. Like little bookend fevers, one on either end of the sofa.

As I am of the let 'em burn camp, we rugged them up in long pyjamas and wool and down blankets, and waited for them to get nice and sweaty before flinging off the covers, only to start all over again. These were what I would term 'functioning' fevers, that is they were mostly themselves, only pinker, quieter and sleepier. I've had, especially with the Bean, fevers where she was almost unresponsive, with that little bird chest fluttering up and down with her pulse, and all the blue veins tracing under her pale skin - a bit frightening to see.

I have read though, and have come to believe with experience, that encouraging a fever is the best way to combat it, and that actions such as bathing and undressing force the body to raise the fever in order to accomplish the task at hand, which is to burn out infection, so really end up being somewhat self defeating. I will not give suppressants at all, as I believe that they thwart the bodies natural response to infection, and create a situation where the illness can really take hold, leading to worse secondary conditions. I will put a cool washcloth on the forehead when the fever has gone all the way to the feet, and constant sips of cool water are imperative.

I will try not to get on my soapbox here, although I am concerned that in our society the belief that getting rid of a fever means that a child has been bought back to wellness is constantly reinforced, and although the medical community knows the benefit of allowing fever to run it's course, they continue to prescribe suppressants to avoid potential lawsuits, and continue to recommend suppression, even though common fever suppressants are known to cause liver damage. Suppression adds a toxic load to an already taxed physical system - a body running a fever is already working toxins through the liver, and it is vital they are expelled in order to reduce the opportunity for secondary infections to gain a foothold in the body. Adding a suppressant only taxes the poor hardworking liver further, making it even less likely to do its job properly.

I think parents deserve make an informed decision about their child's health, and I don't think they are given all the information they need to do that, even from their pediatricians.
So don't take my word for it.
There are many articles on the net which are very helpful and comforting, and which I go to when I just want that fever to go away and am tempted to dose its victim with something cherry flavored, and they are only a Google search away.

Meanwhile, we slowed down the pace of the day, read lots of stories, napped aplenty, and ate bowlfuls of our fever standby, tinned peaches.

And with any luck, these two little faces will be waking me in the morning with the up and at 'em urgings I know and love, probably with snotty noses, but otherwise non the worse for wear.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Redwork part 1

Little Belle and I suddenly found ourselves very interested in redwork embroidery. In our time we've knit, felted, crocheted, dyed wool and cloth, sewed dolls and bears and done patchwork, but we've only done a little embroidery. Then our interest was piqued by the beauty and simplicity of redwork, and although I love the idea, she is the one who demands that we actually do it. Persistence is a strong component of her personality, God love her.

Anyway, tonight she drew up a design, and we transferred it to cloth, and I showed her how to do a stem stitch, which I had to learn from the book first, and off she went. She made us each a cup of tea, and settled in under the lamp.

She'll be done in a day or two, while I am still thinking about it.

This child amazes me. She is an incredible artist, wise beyond her nine years, perceptive, gentle and kind. She also cannot, for the life of her, keep a chair on four legs, whether she is sitting on it or leaning against it. And when she is in a bad mood - look out.

Wonder where she got that from?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

This and That

Here is my current wip. Dollies for the big kids school auction. They are laying on their bodies-to-be, thrifted cotton velour mens shirts. It's a lot of velour for $3.00, but the trade off is that I have to rely on the bounty and grace of the universe to bestow nice colors on me. These weren't what I was dreaming of - essentially red and green - but I am seeing them with some vintage floral dresses and long pointed hats and think they will work fine.

I stopped in at the aptly named Thriftique on my way home from market on Saturday, and scored these lovely goodies.
I know the green one is a pot holder, but I can't figure out what the little red dress might be for. I love them as a pair though.

This lovely hand smocked apron. The needle was even still in the hem.

Two beautiful brand spanking new vintage tea towels - both a really lovely butter yellow. I would like to hang them in my kitchen but can't possibly until everyone is mature enough to remember not to use them to wipe the dogs feet with. Actually, I 'm not certain I will ever be able to trust Dave on that one, so these might have to be my stashed delights, taken out every so often and stroked.

Detail from that one.

And this one. Ahhhhh...

Finally, a lambswool sweater for the little girls that I couldn't resist.

Plus two books, all for $8.50. Didn't I feel like the lucky one!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Here's what's happening at my house this week (and next week, and the week after).
This is our upstairs bathroom, easily the nastiest room in our handyman special house, and poorly configured, so you could barely squeeze between the sink and toilet to get to the bathtub. Beyond that, it was just REALLY ugly. I never took baths, it was unsightly in there.

Dave is gutting it, and we have plans to make it, if not luxurious, then at least livable. Yesterday when we got home the kids and I could hear from the street the sound of something large being smashed, and today the bathtub looks like this....

The twins were so excited, at preschool today they announced during snacktime that their Dad was so strong....he could even break a bathtub! Ms Roberta looked at me with a raised eyebrow, so I had to explain that it was a deliberate breakage.
Thank goodness they didn't relay their other tidbit of new information - that your poop goes down a little pipe and (squeal and clutch hands)...out of your house and under the road!!! (Fall on the floor in horror and delight).

Maybe they're saving that for dinner at Grandmas.

And completely unrelated, Paulie riding in the car to go look at land with us near the kids school. He loved it, we didn't.