Entries from July 1, 2007 - July 31, 2007


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.


backlog: shirt

i'm behind on documenting things i've made. in an attempt to catch up, i post this shirt which i made in may. simplicity 4589, same pattern as this dress, with adjustments again.


as i was making the shirt with this fabric, i was sure it would end up looking ridiculous. but, i like it enough to wear around the neighborhood (which actually means nothing- the bar for "things to feel good about wearing in prospect heights" is set very, very low. . .). but, i do also wear it to church, which does mean something.

the oh-so-smooth self-portrait in the car is shown to give you a sense of the actual colors. in the first photo, the white-balance setting for the camera was on (i have yet to actually "balance" the white). i couldn't adjust it enough in post-production without being too obvious (i.e. my skin turning green). and i now am realizing that the wind blowing distorted the actual shape of the shirt (less maternity than it appears) but you get the idea.

and because i like them alright, here is the rest of my family on the way home from church in staten island today:


p.s. if you haven't seen the video clip from on the previous post, do scroll down and watch it. you'll get a total picture of who my little girls are lately.


crafts of love: mary


chip's mother, mary, made this quilt for eve when she was brand new. i love this quilt. it reminds me of the magic that filled our lives when our very first little baby, our little eve, joined our family. it reminds me of the strange and incredible understanding i had of who she was as i carried her those nine months. i knew she would have the attitude and smile she has, i knew what she would look like and how she would remind me so much of myself. . . i just knew her. and each time i pull this out to sit under with eve, i remember that time and i appreciate the little magical girl just a little more.

i also appreciate the magic behind the quilt. this quilt began years and years ago as mary had the foresight and creativity to save all those shirts of chip's and his dad's. all those great shirts from the 80s that were unabashedly full of pink. i'm sure there were moments when she thought of tossing them, wondering if they were really worth the space they consumed in her ultra organized home (mary's homekeeping skills will put anyone to shame). but i'm so glad she didn't. i love looking at the little squares of strips and imagining pink-shirted chip running around with his mullet, knobby knees and a walkman twice the size of our video camera hooked onto his shorts. i love thinking of bob, chip's dad, on his casual day, sporting a pink plaid button up and maybe grilling some burgers. i love the bits of history that are preserved in this blanket. all the time bob put into working to pay for them, the time pre-adolescent chip spent checking out his triceps in the mirror while wearing them, and the time mary spent laundering and caring for them. i love imagining her as she cut them up years later. remembering those pink-shirt times, what her joys and worries were and reflecting on all the change and new life that has come to her little family. and then knowing the care and patience she took as she planned, arranged, pieced and bound. all to give something to this newest little life, to let the tiny baby know that she is welcome. that she is a part of a family that loved her long before we met.


maybe i am over-romanticizing all of this, but isn't that part of the glory of homemade? the thoughts, ideas, reflections and, ultimately, the love that is given through these things? these things we make and are made for us, or even better, for our children? i love it. i celebrate it. and today i celebrate mary for the many ways she loves us; her worry, her conversation, her heralding, her generosity, her intensity, her sympathy, her unquestionable care, and most of all (today at least) the time she gave to the blanket that warmed my first little baby girl. the blanket that serves as a continual reminder of who eve is, because it reminds her of who she came from.

happy birthday mary. i love you.

here is a little movie chip put together of the out-takes that happened this morning as we tried to record the girls singing the happy birthday song to their grammie. for some unknown reason, eve bawls at the end of this, no matter how many times she has seen it. it makes me want to bawl too. where did that tiny baby go?


camping, city style

every year a group of moms go camping to a beautiful little campground on lake whaley just outside of pawling, ny for a few days. we do camp in tents, use a campfire to cook hot dogs and kebabs and i even made some dutch oven peach cobbler for everyone, but that's as hard core as it gets at camp liahona. showers, bathrooms and refrigerators are involved, as are trips to the grocery store (10 minutes away) to restock the marshmallows. our five man tent was filled with our queen-sized aerobed mattress (that i used an adapter in my car to fill up) complete with sheets and quilt, and a pak-n-play for ruth.

this year, since the trip fell near the 4th of july, chip was able to come up and spend almost the entire time with us. so great. he put the girls down and fell asleep right alongside them each night, while i was able to inhale smoke around the campfire and watch stars with good friends.

i hardly took any pictures at all, which means that i was either too lazy or having too much fun. i choose having too much fun. the beautiful two hour canoe ride we took with the girls all around lake whaley, looking at homes, ducks, some fish and even a muskrat (gross) is not documented. neither is the fact that they were both sound asleep by the end of it. i'll have to rely on the kindness of friends to send me some pictures of the girls fearlessly swimming in the lake for hours on tuesday. this is a tangent, but the girls are awesome little swimmers. ruth is amazing at kicking and holding her breath. she's also surprisingly good at trying to get herself to air when the water goes above her head. never scared and always willing to go back for more practice. with floaties on eve, we'd swim eve out to the dock and practice jumping into the lake. she'd go all by herself, refusing any help or joint-jumping. down she'd go, pop right up, spit out some lake water and kick herself close enough to be pulled up again for the next jump. it wasn't until she got the idea that sharks were in the lake that she got a little nervous. unwilling to accept that they did not live in the lake, it was decided that they were asleep. with the sharks safely tucked in bed, eve kept on swimming all around like a little mermaid. i also missed, yet again, a chance to document chip being the sea monster. every year he pulls this out and every year he gets enough of a response from the kids to keep him going. happily, alysha got a shot of it, so check it out over here. the stuff is just as smelly as it looks. i also missed the running and playing with friends, the staring at the caught frog, the sneaking into others' tents and the amazement of hearing an owl in the night.

i did, however, have the camera out just long enough to get some shots of ruthie, who has been sadly neglected here lately.




we went home still terrified of bugs and hating s'mores (eve), more attached to our bink than ever (ruth), determined to make a better cobbler next year (me) and wanting a nice, long nap (chip), and all just a little sick. but we still love camp liahona and, as always, were glad to get a little of the quiet that comes with it.

and for the fourth of july fireworks we were back in brooklyn, sound asleep. like good americans.



evening attempts at documenting the latest cape were unsuccessful inside the apartment, so we headed to the roof.



superman on one side and t-man on the other, for eve's newly 4-year-old friend, t. if 18-month-olds are capable of crushes, which is starting to get a little creepy the more i think about it, then this guy was officially eve's first crush. she loved him. until he got his hair cut. after the long blonde hair was gone, she wouldn't look at him (which happened to look almost exactly like her own, minus the curls. . . maybe that was the fascination). but happily, a year and a half later, his hair is longer and she likes him just fine. particulalrly because he spent almost 45 minutes of a train ride home laughing hysterically as eve said (over and over and over) "i need to go potty!" in a crazy robot voice. her first joke. . . and boy, was it funny.

the boy is obsessed with superheroes, so i'm pretty sure he'll be in heaven with the cape, which is quickly becoming my standard gift for the 3-4 year-old set, and maybe even some special 2-year-olds.

-clever segue back to the roof-

we have dreams for this roof- part green roof, part deck, perhaps a hydroponic greenhouse, a la the science barge? the chrysler and empire state buildings and a good chunk of manhattan skyline can be seen up there. and after spending the last six years in either basement or first floor apartments, it felt so good to be above the treeline and movement of the street. this roof could be amazing. but, like most things in our building, it will take about ten times longer than it should or could and by that time, we'll have (hopefully) moved on to a bigger place. until then, we'll use the keys that chip is given as a member of the co-op board and go up there every once in awhile to hatch some new schemes, look over our little part of brooklyn and model some capes.



i feel like a pioneer

today i turned what was left of this:


into this:



i was so happy with that, i decided to turn what was left of this:


into this:


cinnamon butter!

10 minutes of shaking and i feel like i could have walked the plains.


*just in case you are feeling sorry for me, the poor girl who apparently went all the way through the mormon church's primary system without ever making butter in baby food jars on pioneer day, don't. you can rest assured that my primary leaders did not fail me. i'm just a little slow (16 years slow) to figure out real-life application.

i did, however, go all the way through the young women's program without ever once learning how to cross stitch, knit or crochet. how did that happen?