just. can't. let. go.

of the brookings trip, that is.

so, in addition to looking at pictures and making eve tell me her favorite things at the beach and ocean, over and over and over, i've immortalized the trip with the little help from a newly made flannel board.

i've had a large ikea frame in the girl's closet for two years, with the plan of making a flannel board. last week i finally pulled it out to get to work. i had the flannel and the masonite but no staple gun. but i did have a tiny little stapler. i so wish my camera was working because i would love to have this tiny thing documented for you to see. teeny tiny. but, i was not deterred. a little entertained, yes, but not deterred. i set to stapling the flannel to the masonite and was shocked to find some success with my mini stapler. at one point a staple went all the way through the masonite and into my wood floor. who would have thought? (umm, sorry chip. don't worry, no extensive damage was done) so, itty bitty stapler and all, the work of immortalizing the trip has now taken form in flannel board felt shapes of all the things that played prominently in our stay. the girls are having fun with them.


fish and campfire


shark (we never saw one but chip's fear of them is always prevalent when we're near the ocean) and evergreens (i'd say redwoods if they weren't so wonky. i was getting impatient)


rocky coastline (the elephant looking thing is supposed to be an arch rock. i'll have to work on it). and anemone and starfish.

there's a lot more on the list before true immortalization and felt-piece documentation of the trip is complete. my salamander attempts have been laughable and end up looking like tailed aliens, but i'm getting closer. i think switching to a free-quilting foot will help. whales, seals, otters, kites, kayaks, water and people will be coming, but for now we'really pretty happy with what we've got. the girls have surprised me with how often they're playing with them. eve's voices for the shark and fish are fantastic, while ruthie just yells "fish! fish! oh no!" over and over.


** note for me: this was initially posted 8.23.07. blog managing confusion.**


good advice


especially on a dark, rainy day like ours where there will be lots of reading. . . along with maybe some sewing, some baking, and definitely some watching of this for about the five thousandth time.


this is from a book i fell in love with at a fantastic brookings bookstore to be featured in the near future.

this originally posted 8.21.07. technical difficulties. i.e. i'm kind of clueless sometimes.


an almost-dress and a quilt

these two items are the reasons i schlepped my sewing machine as a carry-on across the country with me. i deserved the looks i was getting during my three hour delay at the san francisco airport, the ones that said "wow, i feel sorry for you, you poor lonely girl with two little children and what looks to be the crappiest stroller known to man. . . oh, wait, is she trying to push that one-handed? what does she. . . is she carrying around a SEWING MACHINE? in the airport? she looks kind of sweaty and i'm pretty sure that stroller is going to come careening into my shins at any minute. honey, honey! watch out, let's give the sweaty girl some room. she just needs room! no help for her, she's brought in on herself. smile politely and move on, quickly. quickly!" the many looks and sore forearm aside, i'm so glad i did. i loved my janome even more than usual as i finished my projects in brookings on the table that i ate every childhood family dinner around.

first, we have the almost-dress that i will be wearing as a tunic:


not only are you, my seven lucky readers, seeing the the product of my handiwork, but you also get to see some double chin and what my niece, mia, refers to as a "pancake" on my sister's floor. just to be clear, sarah is not one for throwing breast pads around willy-nilly, but, you know how it goes. and to be even clearer, sarah's house only stays this messy for about five minutes. she's like a robot, in the best way possible.

so the tunic is my rip-off of one i saw in the barney's co-op catalog months ago. i used the basic shirt pattern in sew u with several adjustments and alterations.

and here we have the baby quilt for little baby bryce:



i love looking at chip hold it up for me to photograph. and i'm happy with how it turned out. my favorite baby quilt so far. we also gave this really great book to baby bryce, to use when he is older and wiser. for now, he can lie on his quilt while he watches his siblings make arrows and go-carts and teach him about latitude.


** for my own records, this was initially posted 8.17.07. accidentally removed it while trying to make corrections.**


we're back

we were gone 21 days and i wish i had at least that many more to go. i'm rarely excited to come back home after a trip to oregon, but i was nearly heart broken this time. it was terribly hard to say goodbye to the life we live when we're in brookings. the life where ruth's first statement each morning. . .wrong, her first is always about food or daddy. . . her second statement each morning was "i wa go o-side" (i want to go outside) and i was able to just open a door and let her go out to run and play and find. (do you people with real yards take that for granted? don't. you and your backyards and garages haunt my dreams, taunting me. . .). the life where nature is at its best all around you, all the time, and you can access it all in no more than 10 minutes. the life where there isn't a shirtless, toothless guy from the government housing across the street drinking a 40 in your stairwell. . . the life that, admittedly, still entails some semi-public urination but that's only by my own three-year-old daughter and niece. . . that life.

anyway, it was a perfect trip, really. summer in that little coastal town is heaven and being with family there is an even better heaven. chip and i are racking our brains trying to figure out how to get ourselves closer so we can take part in some of the goodness more regularly. so far, we haven't come up with any viable options, but we're thinking of maybe setting some real goals, which, if happens, will be a momentous landmark occasion for us. our goal-setting sessions usually go like this:

"ok, so, goals."


"what do you want to do?"

"uhh. . . be happy and someday maybe have a backyard and garage of our very own?"

"ok, where and what should i do with my career?"

"sigh . . . do you want some ice cream?"


so, until that process improves (and i really do feel like we're on the brink of something here) i'll stick to the highlights of our trip.




clearly, family was amazing. mom and dad, sarah and eric and their FOUR kids. little baby bryce is so cute and sweet and may end up being the first chubby jones baby. jeanie and her three were joined by scott about a week into the visit. food poisoning and a stubborn kidney stone added up to it maybe not being his favorite trip but he and his vicodin were good sports. and then, for a quick and amazing visit, david and erin and their SIX (six!!) came up for the weekend bryce was blessed. for four days there were all 15 porter grandkids running around laughing and fighting and playing and crying. it was insane and maybe a little much for my mom, but so entertaining. bobby and megan couldn't make it because bobby is apparently a dedicated student and megan seems to be a responsible employee. . . here's to getting them to slack off next time we're all together. . .



secret beach. the last place my camera took a picture. i hate broken cameras. we hiked down with the kids, kayaks and supplies. the hike is a little rough, especially when carrying ruthie on my back and half a kayak (the other half being held by sarah who happens to have given birth 5 weeks prior to the child she is carrying down in a sling. no big deal.) but i'd do it every day if i could because the place is amazing. we went kayaking out on the ocean and through a bunch of sometimes-small and creepy but always beautiful arch-rocks. while out we saw, of all things, mountain goats on a cliff nibbling on little bushes. mountain goats people! they were perfect and i was happy. chip and jeanie also saw seals on their trip out which i am sure made chip nervous that a shark was going to come for them, get him by mistake and leave him legless or dead on the ocean floor, bloody water his last sight on earth . . .

mcvey park beach. post camera death. perfect rolling fog and clouds, receding tide and full of great rocks to throw. and dad came with us. elise and eve and ruth played in the rocks and on papa's lap while ethan looked for cool rocks, chip and i threw them into the ocean and dad entertained the girls (who are in love with him completely). i love a good rocky beach in the morning.

chetco point beach. the parking lot for the park and then trail to the beach is right next to the town's water treatment plant which, predictably, smells like an outhouse. makes it hard to enjoy the view when you're sucking that in. but, soon we were out of it and chip, mia, ethan and elise and i (girls napped in the car with sarah and bryce) wandered. the ocean was almost completely smooth, the water barely lapped in over the rocks and two seals were on a nearby rock sunning themselves. ethan found and accidentally de-clawed a crab, we touched some anemones and crawled up some big rocks. papa joined us with ruthie who quickly threw herself into the water, rolled in the sand in her pants and sweater and then screamed and contorted her body as i tried to get her out. that's my girl.

cape ferrelo. maybe my favorite day of the trip. perfectly clear. hiking out to the cape i felt like a pioneer, like i should have been wearing a long skirt and an apron that i was using to wipe my hands just after making fresh blackberry jam. long, wavy grasses, rolling hills, glittering ocean, strong breeze. . . as we were gathering kites and putting babies in slings and backpacks chip spotted a whale. we made our way out to the cape, planted ourselves on the edge (with the ever-paranoid eric and chip keeping vigilant watch of the little kids), got some kites going and watched the pod of whales for the next couple hours. a lot of spouting, a lot of backs and even the occasional tail fin. it's nearly criminal none of us had cameras because the coastline was breathtaking.


the river. when we wanted some real swimming for the kids (outside of swim lessons) we went 15 minutes inland, popped floaties on the girls and played at loeb park on the banks of the chetco river. eve and ruth are fearless with those floaties. eve jumped off rocks and ruthie practiced doing sideways rolls as the current moved them slowly downstream. the adults swam and kayaked while the big kids went looking for salamanders and snakes, which they found both of. a river otter joined us one night and a sad, broken-legged heron the next.



swim lessons. eve spent most of the lessons (which she took with her cousins elise and chloe) shouting "i want to go again. i want my turn." i was hoping the teacher would be a little more hard core and make eve struggle more than she did. i really want her to be able to swim the way she thinks she already can. but, it was still adorable to watch the little girls all lined up. and watching their individual interpretations of the teacher's instructions was hilarious.



slugs and stones. this place, paired with my complete lack of discipline, are to blame for my extra tummy chub. but who can resist a place that serves delicious ice cream (bing bang cherry whammo and lemon sugar cookie= yum) and gives kids three and under free cones? we couldn't, so we went there as often as possible. if i lived in brookings the owner would know me and my children by name and i would be at least 15 pounds heavier than i am. sarah is desperate to re-do the poster menu. i think it is a part of the place's weird charm, and a good indication of the town's general level of sophistication.

i have more to share and document (sewing, shopping and the curry county fair) that all added up to my favorite vacation, but i'll save it all for another post or two. this is already mammoth.


summer hiatus


we're taking a break from brooklyn and hanging out on the coast of southern oregon for a few weeks. brand new nephew, pacific ocean, beaches, kites, salamanders, swim lessons, cousins, morning fog, redwoods, back yards, sweaters, papa and didi, thrift stores, hikes, night sewing, windows, tennis, "so you think you can dance," sisters, ice cream,  reading, and tons of laughter through it all. we're loving this tiny town.

i may report again while we're here the next two weeks, or i may just cut myself off from the computer altogether, which the internet gods seem to be doing for me anyway. this is the first time i've been able to get online for five days. it's good for me, i'm scarily dependent.

until my next fix, hope you're all enjoying summer as much as we are.


i am still that girl


several days ago (long before the street exploded in front of chip's office) i found myself driving home from the pool with two sleeping girls, crying. and why was i crying? because i was imagining how sad i would be and how sad the girls and chip would be if i died. and then i imagined how sad the girls and i would be if chip died and cried more, and then if one of the girls died. . . really? was i really driving home, crying about these made-up scenarios? yes, yes i was. why do i do this to myself? why do i let myself get so upset about something completely imagined? i don't know why, but i have done it for as long as i can remember.

as a child i would stand by the window sobbing as i imagined my mother in a car accident, dying. i would cry myself to sleep imagining life if jeanie died, or dad or sarah, bobby, david. . . in fact, there was a good period of time where i don't think i ever went to bed without first crying about some fake death scenario running through my head. i thought i had gotten over that. i really thought i had progressed past this strange self-indulgence. . . nope.

so now i wonder, have i progressed at all over the last 28 years? if i played risk with sarah would i throw the board and its millions of pieces everywhere at the end of it, screaming that i would never play again? if i forgot about the soup i was making and it got scorched on the bottom of the pot would i stand by and let sarah get in trouble for it? if i wore jeanie's shirt without asking would i hide on my way home when i heard her voice, take the shirt off, shove it in my backpack and then insist that i went shirt-less to third grade that day? would i just try to stir up the cool whip a bunch to try to cover up the fact that i ate some without asking? would i let wonderful friends go just because of distance and time?

i'd like to think that i have evolved, that i've matured at least a little in life. but if tuesday's morbid imaginings are any indication, i haven't made it far up the evolutionary ladder. so, all my short-comings aside, thank you family and friends. thank you for the second chances, the love, and the over-looking of the fact that i might still be that girl. rest assured that at some point i will cry over your imagined death. sure, it might be an immature outlet for handling emotions i can't otherwise process, but let's just say that those emotions are my overflowing love and appreciation; my special tribute to you.


safe and sound

chip is home with us again today. this explosion happened right in front of his office building and the area is closed down until next week when danger is gone. the pictures of the exploding street, the street that chip crosses to get home everyday, are horrifying. i am so sorry for those injured and the one dead as a result of this. and i am also so grateful that chip was safe at home with us. it is interesting and terriying to realize how close we are to death, how that line sometimes slides just by our toes without us being the slightest bit aware.

today i am grateful it did. i really love chip. the girls really love chip. i can't begin to imagine what we would do without him.

we're off to enjoy wht might be the perfect summer day.


rained in

first things i heard this morning: startlingly loud thunder clap. scurrying of three-year-old feet. a soft little hand starting stroking my face. "it's alright mommy. the thunder not hurt you. the thunder go away. it's alright. don't be scared mommy. you're alright." nice, soft kiss. feet scurrying away.

eve is terrified of thunder. or any loud, sudden noise. she comes running, buries her head in my lap and whimpers. but when i am asleep (or trying to pretend i'm asleep just a little longer) she becomes the fearless protector, comforting ruthie and me until i'm upright and mentally capable of being the mom again.

the rain and thunder are coming down hard, which means we'll be spending the day inside reading a lot of books and going a little crazy. but, i am excited to get a chance to curl up and read this book with the girls:


i picked this up from a street vendor in cambridge, ma, on our boston trip in may. i loved the lithographed illustrations immediately and so bought it before looking at more than one page.

this strange little book is set back in the puritan masschusettes colony. it is full of "thees" "thines" and "dosts," fantastic illustrations, a defiant girl, a thieving native, and a heroic mutt of a dog.

my favorite pages:




like most of my favorite children's books, this was published in the 50s (1952). in addition to the illustration and design of the era, i love the way the social context of the 50s is often reflected in these innocent books. it makes me wonder what the children's books of the early 2000s will say about our society 50 years from now. but, the girls and i won't think of that while we're reading today, we'll just be taking notes on the bonnets, the aprons and the cloaks so we can be accurate as we play dress up after.


baby quilt

a good baby quilt is one of my favorite things. to prove it, i have about 15 crammed in various spots in our 650 square feet, with plans (secret, naturally) of accumulating more.

considering my own love, i assume everyone else feels the same. and if they don't, i think they should. (i really am a good american). so, for a new friend's baby shower this past weekend i made a simple little quilt for her up-coming baby boy. i'm always nervous when i make things for boys- are my color choices too girly? is this fabric weird for a boy? i feel like i have no real gauge on the whole thing. but, things seemed to work out. in fact, i almost kept it for myself. but, i'm trying to be less selfish (and i had no back-up gift) so i wrapped it with a ribbon and we were off. it went over well with the preggers mom and everyone ooed enough to make me feel good and special. win win.


the front is a cowboy print i picked up on my last trip to oregon, the back (my favorite) is seersucker with a bright red, and the binding is the really great cursive handwriting fabric by moda ("mrs. nelson's 2nd grade") and a little patch of orange for fun. blurry close up shot to see said edging:


it felt good to make another quilt, especially such a quick one. if i was smart i'd start working on the girls' christmas quilts now. . . but that's not going to happen, this will: i'll procrastinate, get over-ambitious and then be freaking out trying to finish them the night before christmas. i won't. so then i'll turn them into valentine's day gifts, pretending that was my plan all along. . .


the other one

the science barge and i are pretty much best friends forever, so i was really excited when i heard that brooklyn was getting its very own jimmy-rigged barge; the swimming barge. they call her "the floating lady." with a name like that, i was sure we were meant to be. so, monday i went to introduce myself along with the girls and alysha and luke. alysha and i were both in really bad moods but i was sure the barge would do us right.

this pretty much sums up the majority of our time there:


misery. we waited on the "beach" (glorified sand box) in the scorching sun and suffocating humidity for an hour and a half before finally being admitted. as much fun as distracting a three-year-old, a 20-month-old and a 17-month-old from the fact that they are not swimimng but stuck in a pseudo-hell of over-priced beach umbrellas, scorching sand and frustrated moms might sound. . . well, actually, it was about that fun.

but, i have to give the lady some credit. she was great once we got on board. clean, nicely designed, stocked with friendly workers, cool water, and lifeguards aplenty. the girls were in water heaven. a lot of giggling, jumping, blowing bubbles, dunking under the water, kicking, splashing and cuddling together in the towel on the deck (the girls, not me. i wasn't allowed.). we loved it. that is, until our hour-long swim session was cut 25 minutes short because someone puked in the pool. and, we're done.


i've promised a few friends that i will go to the barge again with them so i have to get over the "ugh" feeling i instantly get when i think of her. sometimes you just have to power through with relationships, right? i just have to ignore the "too little, too late" that is ringing through my head and focus on what she was to me before that dissappointing day, what she tried to give me and what she is at heart. because, really, a barge floating in the east river that has been turned into a free public swimming pool is pretty freakin cool.