Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Andrew took his first steps!

Just had to share this beautiful photo that Greg took just before Andrew took his first steps.  The joy and pride on his face is so beautiful, and so pure.  Is this the natural state of the human spirit before we accomplish something new, something big, something amazing that we've been working towards?  It's as though he knows he's about to succeed at something incredible.  No fear, no hesitation, no apprehension, no worries of failure - just pure joy and pride and excitement about the possibility of success in those next few moments.

I love it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Favorite New Artist

Andrew's elephant

My sister has opened an Etsy shop with her paintings!  It's called "Roots Awakened" and she already has 12 paintings up for sale on the site.  We've been in love with her work ever since she gave us our first set of her paintings.  Her classic animal portraits with solid backgrounds are perfect for our children's rooms.  (They'd look nice in an office, library or grownup bedroom, too.)

I love the simplicity of the backgrounds for our kids' rooms that are visually busy with toys and books.  I love how well the animals stand out and how recognizable they are for our boys.  I love listening to Will talk about the seahorse, crab, and octopus while I'm getting him into his pajamas in his bathroom, and seeing him offer his monkey a drink of water at night.  He loves them, and he likes to tell me that "Aunt E painted them for me!"

The reason Will can say "octopus".  He likes to tell me which painting is his favorite.  It changes.  Mine is always the crab.  He says Daddy's is the seahorse.  I haven't asked Greg for confirmation on that.

The bird that perfectly complements Andrew's jungle curtains

I'm excited that Elizabeth has decided to make her paintings available for more than just family!  She has three sets of paintings up online available individually or in groups of three as a discount, and I suspect she'd be willing to do custom work again as well.

We love the custom paintings she's done for us - we requested Andrew's elephant, and later she surprised us with the wonderfully fun painting of a monkey for Will.  The monkey is painted to mimic the facial features of Will's favorite lovey, Mr. Monkey, and looks like the monkeys and background on his favorite dishes.  The painting will be a keepsake long after Mr. Monkey is tucked safely away in a memory box in our closet.

Will's monkey painting, inspired by Mr. Monkey and Will's monkey dishes

While I'm talking about favorite artists - I also have been meaning to make a note on here about my friend Abby's new book called "Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction".  It's available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and it is AWESOME.  Abby has been designing stuffed animals (or "softies") for years, and she's taken all of that experience in design work and poured it into a comprehensive book that takes you through the steps of designing your very own original stuffed animals.  She helps you understand how to draw patterns and sew all the different shapes that become components of stuffed animals.

The book is brilliantly laid out to include lessons and then projects that incorporate the design / sewing lessons so you can read about a design feature and then have an opportunity to use it (or see how it would be used) in a real pattern.

Everything is explained so you understand the importance of different shaping techniques, which parts of the sewing instructions are responsible for making the legs or arms etc. look a certain way.

The book includes great technical guides so that even a beginning sewer could be successful, and it would be a great reference book for anyone who sews.

For anyone who is interested in sewing and stuffed animals, this book is a must have.  It's incredibly well written, comprehensive, and includes such great ideas.  She shows you how to adapt a pattern to make a puppet instead of a stuffed animal, how to take a child's drawing and turn it into a softie, and includes sixteen adorable patterns that you can make while you work up the experience and courage to design your own.  It's great.

I feel privileged to know such talented people!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Am Mom

I am your nutritionist, meal planner, chef.  Your activities planner, chauffeur, and concierge.  I am your translator, your literacy coach, your walking coach, your moral compass.  I am your laundress, your personal shopper.  I am things there aren't even names for. 

I am your gardener, who helps you push the seeds in the soil and helps you open the pea pods.  I am your first teacher.

I am the one who puts the toys away where you can find them, fluffs your pillow, washes your sheets, and produces a clean lovey in time for nap or bed.

There are things I do that go unnoticed and unasked for.  I do them anyway, because they make your life better.

I am never really on vacation.

I know your favorite food, your favorite color, your favorite animal, and your favorite book.  I know they might be different as soon as tomorrow.  Ask me tomorrow and I'll still know.

I operate 28 buckles every time I make a grocery trip.  I can get perishable groceries into the fridge, diapers changed, and lunch on the table in less than fifteen minutes.

I am the luckiest, and the happiest, my days are filled with joy.  I am doing the most important thing in the world.  I am the most exhausted, stressed out, and overworked... and I can never quit. 

My patience is not unlimited.  You think it is.  I do my best to find time to be me, so I can be your everything.

I drink a lot of coffee.

I teach you caution instead of fear, and I keep you safe until you've learned to do it yourself.

I put your sweater on before you shiver.  I get out of bed to give you a drink of water when you call for me. 

I am the embrace that makes your tears subside.  I am the audience for your achievements.

I capture your life in photographs and written memories, and live it with you every day.

Before you were born, I was your world.  Now you are mine.

I will always love you, forever and ever and ever.

I Am Mom.

To all Mothers - For all the ways that you are Mom - Happy Mother's Day.