Monday, September 10, 2007

::looking forward to::

i am looking forward to so much::
::the start of the fall semester tomorrow. i have been reading up on teaching grammar as this semester i have my first grammar classes for the intermediate level students. i am a little nervous but glad to be starting something new. next week is the start of the evening community classes, something that i am really excited about this term. ::
::meeting with advisors at the university's college of education to discuss the possibility of getting a master's of education in elementary education.::
::expanding my garden beyond containers. i am on the waiting list for the neighborhood community garden plot.::

::this boy's birthday that falls on thanksgiving. we have decided to plan a mini-vacation for that holiday weekend, our first as a family ever. i am hoping for mild weather so we can head north for some mountain-side camping::

::fixing up our apartment some and getting the landlords to live up to their promises (i.e., replacing that dang cardboard patch on the kitchen ceiling)::
::volunteering as an esol tutor with the local library and elementary school::

::watching this::

::and this::

::cooler weather (cross your fingers) for knitting and soup making::
::eating a big bowl of the chili stewing on the stove on the porch in the cool twilight air::

Sunday, September 09, 2007

our children's house

this week's quote from ms. montessori
we are a montessori house. i have been reading books by and about the montessori method since i was a teenager. it has always been my dream to become a montessori teacher but due to pragmatics, it won't be happening soon. when i say we are a montessori house, i don't mean that we have all the proper equipment or follow any guidelines precisely. what i mean is that the words of maria montessori are reflected in our intentions, if not always our actions. at home the difference is not noticable, it is only around others that i realize that we are bringing our boys up differently. our children are alert and observant, they are energetic but kind and very friendly. the montessori philosophy, though often coupled with christian schools, in fact corresponds to buddhism. we are not interested in academic achievement or test scores, we want our sons to be successful as humans. to be independent and confident, courteous, polite and gracious out of respect for others as well as themselves. we want to help them discover the world on their own terms, be their guides not their dictators.

nico putting the blocks away after building towers with them.

nico walking at a little under 9 months is rather alarming for other parents with 12 month olds who refuse to toddle. i reassure them that each child develops at their own pace but they never seem convinced. they look for ways to explain his progress, eventually settling on the explanation that having an older brother makes the difference. they ask me when he started pulling himself up or turning over, i tell them that nico and sebastian met those "milestones" at precisely the same age. then, to make themselves feel better i guess, they try to compare the size of our children. the funny looks i get when i tell them i have no idea about either of them because i have yet to find a pediatrician that i respect, that i understand sick-child visits but well-child visits confuse me.

sebastian chooses and pours his own drinks, putting the container back where he found it when he finishes. he also puts his cup in the sink and wipes down the table with a sponge if necessary.

i am not being sassy when i say these things. i get questions like, but how do you know they are healthy? how do you know they are doing okay?

having finished his lunch, sebastian stores the rest of his food away so as not to waste it.

my answer: i just look at them. take for instance when i needed some pictures to accompany this post's subject. all i did was take a picture of what they were doing at the moment.
i trust myself but mainly i just have an absolute faith in the human ability to grow and prosper and this includes my own children. i watch and help when needed though i do first make sure that it is their needs not my own.
a trust like this is easy when you spend time with children, when you observe instead of interfere with the somewhat bizarre expectations of mainstream society. it is similar to the faith children have in their parents and teachers, the belief that we are serving them with their best interests in our hearts and minds.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

onward + danger boy

first off, though the stencil was good the so soft fabric paints weren't so good. so i can't show you the shirt. yet. but i did work on a special request yesterday. i have this little drawstring pouch i made so that i can carry my necessities on my wrist when i am with the kids. i get a lot of compliments and sometimes i get requests but usually i brush them off because i don't have the time and don't really think my stuff is up to par yet. but one teenaged barista caught me off guard and requested a little purse like mine except in blue and green, her favorite colors. blue and green, huh? i asked her if she preferred any shade or pattern, nope, just blue and green. well, i don't really have much green in my stash. or a lot of blue. so i made this...

i mean, it's okay, right? but personally, i would never wear it. too childish. so i will probably give this to a tween somewhere and make another one. or two. so she can chose. for some reason, i take it really seriously as if i were to flake on her it would result in her disillusionment with humankind. i don't even know her. i think her name was liz. but i will make her a decent little pouch so she can keep her faith.

making things is really difficult with the boys. all three of them (that's right, i'm including jason) require attention from me during the day and the sewing machine is too noisy to run at night. so sewing is a little tense. i am thinking of working on a mobile made from beaded dragonflies. something i can do quietly with my hands.
today i made this dress, the popular shirt-dress from built by wendy pattern 3835.

it is cute and simple so i might have to make some more. here pale nico is enjoying the ergo baby. which is good because he is too heavy to be in the sling for too long now. jason was off today so we took our usual walks, chasing lizards, skipping stones on the river.

it is good to have nico some place secure because he is such the danger boy (i'll have to make him a cape and a freezer paper stencil onesie to declare his true identity). let me present some evidence....

with pot lid

climbing the step ladder and jumping up and down happily when he gets to the top

he's a climber. my friend used to ask me if sebastian was a climber because her son was a true climber. i'd say, sure, i guess but let me just say now heather, no, sebastian was not a climber. nico is a climber. it doesn't help that he is walking already so he is building even more strength. so dangerous. i'll have grey hairs soon to share with you, i am sure. on the safer side, he is also really good at sticking out his tongue. which is, admittingly, so cute that it makes up for the scaring me (and jason and even sebastian) multiple times daily thing.
i'm going to be gone for a couple of days but i'll return with some new creations and maybe a picture of a new....
see you then.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

a month of making

so recently, i've been in a creative slump. maybe it is the heat or the many changes and decisions going on here but for some reason i just can't push myself to do the things i want to do. and believe me, there is a lot i want to do. ideas surface every night as i lay with the boys resting their heads on my arms, slowing my breathing and heart rate so that they can follow suit. in the quiet, fantastic ideas just float up and i am left laying there without a pen handy (or a hand for that matter) just hoping i will remember the newest nuggets of inspiration. of course, what usually happens is that my methods of lulling my little ones to sleep are very effective and i have a difficult time resisting the siren's call for slumber. i do recall that last night i came up with the idea of making an alphabet matching card game, a patchwork pillow paired with a mini version that is filled with lavender (for a housewarming gift), an oven mitt/dish towel/ apron set (for another housewarming set). the night before it was dolls. simple folk style dolls in simple modern clothing. another night i decided that i wanted to make an everyday tote for lotta's book for my midwife and a notebook folio for my doula by nico's birthday. one night i came up with a complete waredrobe that i want to make for sebastian. and the fabric i want to print. the list goes on. i need to keep a notebook in my pocket so i don't lose anymore.
and yet another idea, a tee-shirt for jason's birthday. he received two rather, ahem, lame shirts from his parents and so i thought i would counter their gift with something he would actually want to wear. this is just the stencil.
i am taking him out tonight for a belated surprise dinner (shh, don't tell!). the surprise part is that i invited his friends that he rarely ever sees. two rather inexpensive and belated but good birthday presents, i think.

the other day i was talking to kayla about her high school art class. she told me that quanity was valued over quality and yet surprisingly it was effective in creating some really good work. this echos the advice of most artists/writers/craftspeople people who insist you must be involved in a creative act daily. for me it is hard. i have buckets of excuses that i reach for to explain why i don't make anything these days. the kids, the house, my work, applying to grad school, the stress of uncertainity, lack of supplies, tools. but the truth is that my excuses stem from my lack of confidence and my overthinking the result. it is the reason i can't write. the audience is too present. i always imagine where the finished product will end up, what will be the opinion of those who receive it, and even if it will one day become profitable. by the time i sit down to start, i am already discouraged by the fictitous outcome and end up walking away. again. and again. so to stop this bad habit, september will be all about making. creating something everyday and documenting it here. you are welcome to join. it doesn't have to be fancy or sewn or drawn or written. even a batch of delicious cookies can be included. just as long as it is conscious creation. if you do decide to join me, please leave a comment. i'd like to see what you are up to.
okay, this one is no longer so peaceful so i must get him ready for his date with his grandparents.

by the way, yahoo photos is going down so if, like me, you have some ancient pictures you forgot about you should go get them. i'll be posting my finds (all from our first year in japan-ones we lost when sebastian poured pocari sweat on our laptop) like this gem (the only picture we have of tokyo) this weekend on flickr as part of my photo organization project.

until tomorrow...