Thursday, February 24, 2011

Help Choose Our New Name!

The time has come to choose a new and better name for ourselves and we need your help! On the right, you'll see a poll with four choices: (1) Coming Home, (2) Measure + Measure Again, (3) A Fox's Den, and (4) Coming Home: A Fox's Den. You can vote for more than one if you'd like.

Also, if you think of a name please let us know in the comments! We'd love all the input you can give us. We'd like to invoke the cozy feeling of home and all that encompasses: food, safety, beauty, artwork, crafts, animals, photographs, and of course, family.

***Update: Decided to close the poll early... I've picked my pick, I've chosen my choice. You'll see the result on Monday!***

Hope you are all having a wonderful night! All love and stay cozy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Keats This Week (2/12/2011 - 2/18/2011)

All cut and ready to stitch.

Hung up and cheery.
Valentine's Day was more than wonderful. My lovely mother-in-law offered to babysit Keats while Birch and I had a long date. Birch dropped off Keats while I took a shower and got dressed (and finished up some Valentine decorations). Two small paper heart pins (one for me and one for Birch) and a wall decoration. We went for a seriously delicious meal at Scratch, a new family-owned restaurant in downtown Mountain View. It's a great place and we look forward to going again. It's the kind of place where you could go in off the street, wearing whatever or make a serious night of it and get all dressed up (which I did, heels and all). After dinner we went on walk down Castro Street (the hub of downtown), stopped into Books, Inc., a local bookshop. I looked over lots of design books while Birch found some awesome cookbooks he was excited about. I know, we're pretty predictable. We snagged some gelato (yum!) and headed back home to watch a movie and relax before going to pick little boy up.

It is amazing how just a small amount of time alone can infuse our relationship. Raising a child, as wonderful as it is and no matter how much it is what we want and love, is demanding on a romantic relationship and it becomes much more work to stay connected than it ever did before. So much more is said silently, but so much more needs to be aloud. Finding the moments, the time, to express ourselves and how we feel is paramount. I absolutely adore being with my husband. He is so caring, funny, and intelligent, it truly is a joy to talk for hours on end, especially now that it's turned into a bit of a treat to be able to do so! Oh, Birch, I love you. I'm so happy that you're my Valentine. Well, one of them. ;)

Spring is on its way... spread the love!

Keats is doing very well this week, too. He's walking up a storm, making signs for things, and giving lots of kisses. Oh! This was really exciting: Keats actually communicated a complex desire to us. He gave his sign for outside then pointed at Olive and said, "dog." He did it couple of times until I turned to Birch and said, I think he wants to go for a walk outside. Keats lit up immediately and ran over to me then made the signs again. We left immediately. It was awesome.

To all my lovely Valentines out there, I love you very much. Thank you for helping to keep my head up. Thank you for all the love you give and show me. As my wonderful grandpa used to say, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!" (Okay, just teared up.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keep Your Head Up

That's what I keep reminding myself. We're living in a crazy world and nothing makes it clearer than sitting here each day with my little boy. "Keep calm and carry on?" I don't think so. I see this phrase everywhere. Perhaps it had its place at one point in history, during the second world war when women could only wait for their husband's to come home from dangerous fighting, not knowing even where they were. This phrase seems to now be most used in reference to our economic distress and political mayhem. Keep calm? Glenn Beck, South Dakota's proposed bill, Arizona's battle with immigration, the Tea Party's creation, Monsanto, and the complete unwillingness of the majority to even imagine great change in our country let alone the world. The worst of it is that we imagine ourselves incapable.

At times I feel powerful and head strongly into the wind but at others my head hangs low beneath the weight of popular apathy and fanatical hatred. During these moments of sadness I feel strange and I realize it's because I suddenly feel helpless and imagine myself incapable of helping our world be better. Keeping calm is a distraction, a way of shutting my eyes and merely pretending that the problem doesn't exist. I'm tempted by the ease of life that not caring (or prioritizing my beliefs) would afford me, but the lack of quality is all too apparent and over the years I've come to the painful conclusion that the cheapness of most products most likely means that someone along the line of production was underpaid, used, and/or mistreated. That seems like a much higher cost to me than adding a dollar or two in price to my organic, locally grown avocados or even twenty or thirty more to a toy I don't feel the need to watch the recall list over. We ask so much of our country, our government, and our businesses but we are simultaneously unwilling to pay the real price for what we ask. I hope that we will all soon see the value in paying a little more for what we want and indeed that those who pay us will find our work worth a bit more as well. I am confident that my choices are right for me and my family.

So, instead of allowing my head to hang I will hold my head up. With my head up I can see what is truly going on in the world, hear all sides of arguments, and think clearly breathing in the fresh air around me. Depression will not win me over and I will stand with my husband as we try our hardest to do what we believe is right. I hope that the fear and the panic that is driving our media and country's politics at the moment will subside and be overwhelmed by understanding the desire to help one another in the pursuit of happiness. That is what we are founded on. That is what I choose to base my own life on: happiness and love. I hope I share it as much as I feel it.

After a day dedicated to love, I hope that simple principle is not lost amidst the bitterness I saw displayed across Facebook and blogland. Thankfully, I also saw love spread to all, not just between romantic couples but to friends, family members, and strangers. Love is not tied only to those who sleep in the same bed. Not at all. My deepest love goes out to all of you as I deeply appreciate all you have taught me and the time you take to read my words and share your love with me, my family, my friends, and those who I don't even know.

Keep your head up and fight the good fight.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pixie Faery Gnome Brownie

Faery queen crown for Sofie's birthday party. Man, I've got a lot of freckles.
Keats has been requesting that I wear this all week, so I thought I'd share. Haha.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Keats This Week (2/6/2011 - 2/11/2011)

Walking, walking everywhere and deciding that running is preferable. That's our little boy this week. Anything remotely exciting results in Keats walking across the entire living room with both hands raised in the air for balance (and triumph) with a great big mischievous smile spread across his adorable face.

With all this new activity comes a few drawbacks, but I'm sure we'll figure it all out soon. Keats wakes up several times a night screaming for milk and trying to get out of his crib. Ugh. Do I put down a cushy mattress just in case he gets over? Oh, what to do. Apparently my dad used to actually teach me and my siblings how to climb out by ourselves once we reached this stage much to chagrin of my mama. I can see the temptation, though. He's also trying to climb out of his little chair that we use to feed him. It's a little fold-able entertainment chair with a tray. You see, since we don't have a dining table yet, we decided a high chair would just mean us standing while feeding him and who wants to do that? But, the necessity seems to be upon us so next month I think we'll need to slap down a bit of cash for a table and a high chair. I'm happy about it as we've been wanting to escape our couch and movie/show during dinner habit. These purchases will put back a few others we were hoping to make, but it's worth it. Perhaps we'll become "real adults" once we're sitting at a table for dinner?

It is so exciting to enter this new stage of Keats' life. I can't wait to chase him around the park, the beach, the baylands, and to not have to carry him everywhere! I think we'll go to the duck pond today and see what's going on over there... ducklings? Maybe? Crosses fingers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Very Little Boy

It seems like such a long time since our little man was this little (June, 2010):

By the way, doesn't all that bird chirping and sunshine just make you long for spring and summer? It's so close!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Planning for My Insanity

It sometimes feels as if I'm constantly planning. Planning but never doing. Why? I'm not sure, but I think the most pressing reason is money. Of course. Each year my husband is paid early in December before going on winter break (he's a public high school teacher). This may seem awesome (and it sure feels awesome in December) but that paycheck is supposed to be for January and it is so hard to save it away for the new year. Each January we come up short (thanks to wonderful Christmas parties that have claimed a bit more than intended) and the ensuing late charges for a number of bills in February means we're tight then as well. By March we'll be back to normal and back living a bit easier.

This year though, I hope to plan better for our apparent inability to save during the holiday season. How? Jars. Yep, jars of cash. Debit and credit cards have become my overspending enemy. Currently we only use our credit cards exclusively for emergencies (like late bills we don't have the cash for) and we've actually cut a few from the lineup last year (yipee!), but these winter months really tempt us into spending more when the weather is dismal and sickness abounds. I mean, who wants to cook when everyone in the house is sneezing, coughing, and groggy? Enter: ordering delivery. Ugh. Too many times! My friend does this jar strategy already for her different bills and I've always thought it was a good idea. It is now time to admit copy cat and save ourselves some bucks. I'll grab some and label them for things like: savings, groceries, random spending, etc.

I'm also making a few special wallets (labeled as well) for when we go out. Frugality is the name of the game when Birch and I go out with limited cash (and no cards at our disposal). We actually tend to get more for less, like at the sort out table at the Farmer's Market. Do you have one at your market? I highly recommend it! We go every week and get several pounds (ten or so) of fresh, lovely, organic, and local vegetables for about $6.00. No joke. Yum! Oh, and a sort out table just means that the produce isn't pristine looking (jagged carrots, bruised apples, slightly wrinkly peppers, etc.). I got the idea for the wallets from a blog I follow, but didn't mark it down and now I can't find it. I'll update with the link when I do find it.

Looking forward to March and getting a bit more settled in our place, more organized, and getting Keats' playhouse FINALLY finished. Oh, boy.

Here's to planning efficiently and correctly and then DOING!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Keats This Week (1/31/2011 - 2/5/2011)

Remember how I thought we'd have to buy Puffs by the case? Well, you can forget that. Keats is now one hundred percent eating food that we're all eating. I know! It's awesome! Plain yogurt, oatmeal, pureed soup, lentils, roasted carrots and cauliflower, cucumber, turkey meatballs, and homemade root vegetable chips (just to name a "few"). Let's just say that when I subtly snack along with my little boy, it's a lot more pleasant.

With Keats starting to fit into yet another set of clothing, eating all these "grown up" things, and just starting to walk, his fast coming toddler status is more and more apparent. On Saturday, to celebrate his friend little Sofie's first birthday, Keats was walking everywhere! To move from one place to another, he always started off walking. He fell down soon enough but it was so exciting to see him learning from his walking friend!

It's amazing how much Keats learns from his friends. When he was very little, he had no interest in playing with the hanging toys on his play mat. Not until he saw his friend playing away. Keats watched with deep interest and then the very next day when I placed him on the mat, BAM, he hit at a dangling lion! Several milestones have come about that way. And now, as he gets older and his mischievous personality comes to light, my suggestions for how he should do things go unheeded. I've tried for months to show him how to drink from his sippy cup, but not until my friend Leslie showed him did he finally get it. Maybe he's just sick of me by the end of the day and in a way turns me off, not in a bad way, understand. It all seems very natural. We play together, eat together, read together, talk to each other, and go for walks together. Several hours of being just with each other--no wonder Keats gets so excited and seems completely refreshed when he sees his daddy walk through the front door, just like me. I expect this situation will continue throughout our lives. It's hard to realize that my way of teaching my child may not always be the best way for him to learn. And that's why it's so completely important to be in a community. To have friends and family around that Keats can also look up to and learn from. I am so grateful for all of them, for all of you.

With so many friends living far away or just plain busy with their own lives, a party is just what one needs to have some fun and get together. And oh what a party we had this weekend! My best friend's little girl turned one year old and we hosted the wonderful party at our place. They came over the night before and Miriam (my friend) and I made fairy crowns and laughed together. 

The next day we set up all the beautiful decorations she made at her home in the California woods. Terrariums, a fairy garden, and a moss wreath. Friends arrived, we ate delicious food, opened presents, ate cupcakes, and just plain enjoyed each others' company. It was such a fun party and so lovely. Little Sofia looked absolutely adorable with her fairy wings, tutu, and crown. Happy birthday Sofie! We love you so much!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A New Do

You may have noticed that the blog has been undergoing an identity crisis. I'm trying to customize it to be more us and less blank. Not knowing much HTML isn't helping the situation. I'm also trying to think up a new name. I didn't realize there's a blog called "Under the Sycamore" and seeing as it's very popular and mine is, you know, not I thought I'd change the name, especially since I'm not in love with the current one anyway.

So, I'd like to ask you an important question:

What is it about my blog that you like the most? What defines it to you and why do you keep coming back to read the new entries?

This is also your opportunity to let me know what you'd like to see more of. Thanks for your help and for sticking with me! We'll figure ourselves out soon, hopefully.

Thanks again!