28 August 2014

Art: Loki

I got in to my head that I wanted to draw Erin something for her birthday, as she's coming to visit this weekend. She loves Tom Hiddleston (husband, cover your eyes!) even more than I do, so Loki it was. 

I hope she enjoys him! I've got to run into town to get a frame today...


26 August 2014

Happy Place: Literary Acquisitions

While running some errands with Aryeh, I decided to pop into Half-Price Books to see if I could fluff out our library as usual. Every week, we go to Half-Price Books and bring home a load of books. I feel kind of bad... Before Aviva was born, I had asked Josh to sell a lot of the books that we had (the collection was absurdly enormous). At the time, I figured we can go digital for a lot of this stuff, namely our comic books and most novels, and we can keep the really obscure stuff. It was the whole "move everything to the iPad" time. We definitely wouldn't have been able to move them out here, but I still feel bad nonetheless. Since we've moved here, I've been filling out our shelves.

I realized that during my "eh, go digital" phase (which by the way, I quickly abandoned. There's nothing like a physical book ESPECIALLY ON SHABBOS) I downloaded a lot of the YA and Sci-Fi fantasy novels I was reading. When Stephanie recommeded Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I started reading it (it had distracted me from yet another good book!) but I never finished it (having been obviously distracted by another book. So here I am, full circle. I've bought myself some Laini Taylor to fill my bleak waiting period until Blue Lily, Lily Blue comes out on October 21, 2014. Oh Maggie Stiefvater, why do you do this to me, with your vivid characters, so lively I could reach out to grab them?

Due to my natural inclination for all things steampunk, I figured I may as well finally read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. When Stephanie and I were in high school, we read her Draco Trilogy novel length fan fiction with fervor. Now look at her. Earlier this month after I had a listless, moping spell after finishing the The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves,  I needed something of interest to catch me and it did. I'm very nearly finished with Clockwork Angel, so I also bought Clockwork Prince. I am a happy girl. 

25 August 2014

The Peace of the Wild Things

The Peace of the Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry 


Behind our shul is a swath of foresty growth that splits between our small town and the next. It goes on for a mile or two along the town and looks like it's brimming with magic. I would love to live up against that foresty hill.

Before I had children, I would go in hunt of lovely places in nature where I could be free and at peace just like in this poem. I suppose the whole watching your kids diligently thing sort of kills the mood! But I really hope that someday I can find the peace and patience to breathe that way again.

18 August 2014

Nursery, a shift in our family day

Today was Vivi's first day of nursery school and she was so very prepared and psyched! For the past two weeks I've been sad about it in a kind of up and down way. I realized that my three year-old baby was going to be out of the house from 7:15 to 3:00 five days a week. It sounds like much too much... but she was so happy and normal and not stir crazy. 

Sometimes it's hard to hit all of the right notes for all three of us when we are home or out together. I get burnt out and feel like I'm not doing enough to stimulate her. When it was just me and Vivi, she got so much dedicated play time and education time and patience. Aryeh got none of this. Just one day and I can already feel the difference for all of us. Sometimes I wouldn't go to the basement to do the laundry because that meant fighting everyone into their shoes, dragging everybody down, keeping them both out of trouble and out of the crazy stuff down there. But the perspective of doing it with one... It was so easy! It was so happy and fun, counting a stairs (today he started counting to five!), and looking around the spooky basement calmly, just me and Aryeh. It showed me doing things with both of them doesn't have to be stressful. Really, what's one more to the errand?

Vivi was so sweet in her owl "packpack" and braids. I felt so much more at peace today at home that I  had in a long time. All I wanted to do was squeeze more information about Vivi's day out of her (she was more interested in eating and I don't blame her). After a couple of months of school, I wonder if I'll reassess how I feel about the length of the day, but she certainly seems happy.

And really, that happy face is all the matters.

31 July 2014

Twigs and Willows and the Green That Sings

Listening to Kaito - Run Through the Road in the Fog, from Until the End of Time
Resolving to get Aryeh weaned from nursing to sleep.

- - -

two photos copyright alana dakos!

Naturally, I've selected a sweater to do for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater KAL, which starts today. I bought the yarn a month or so ago in anticipation, but alas... I can't start knitting until next Tuesday night, the end of the Nine Days of mourning on the Jewish calendar. I suppose technically I could knit this week, but it's better to be stringent. Above is the pattern I selected, the Twigs and Willows cardigan by Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting. Below is the wooly beauty I chose at Natural Stitches.

Little hint of yellow, variegated mossy green tones... I love. Originally I grabbed the Blue Moon BFL Sport in this colorway, The Green That Sings, but it just didn't feel as glorious as the Targhee did. Honestly, I did prefer the color of the BFL! But alas, not all goes as planned! So Targhee Worsted it is! I would have had to adjust my gauge a lot more anyway, I suppose. 

Two skeins of this beauty and I'm set. But can you imagine... winding that 616 yards TIMES TWO by hand? I could not, so I took their complementary winding of the first skein. Let me say... my dainty little wisp of an arm will be falling off when it comes time to wind that second skein at home! Look at the size of that yarn cake! I will take a picture of it next to my head or in my hand or something for a true comparison, but mark my words, it's massive! 

30 July 2014

Nostalgia and magic

Listening to Hammock - Gold Star Mothers, from Maybe They Will Sing For Us
Reading Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
Resolved to fill this empty page.

- - -

Sometimes a day starts off on the wrong foot, but in the end there can be simple joy. Today was one of those days. The kids were having an iffy morning, Aryeh screamed his head off for an undefinable reason as week walked through a shop (this doesn't happen often so I was kind of just trying to coast through the stress, screams, and stares of passerby's.) Kids were either falling asleep in the car at inopportune times or whining about nothing and everything. But after I picked up the Mister, I asked if I could have a little time off.

Off I drove to the bookstore and browsed, without stress. Rarely do I get such a treat! There was an air of things starting to turn toward a more positive direction and I decided to embrace it as best I could, shaking the doldrums away. When I got home, I gifted Aviva with her very first school backpack and she was ecstatic. Obviously she went around the house stuffing it with "school" like things. We sat down to watch "My Neighbor, Totoro" together. She told me how she wanted to be a mommy like me someday and that she would never want her children to runaway like Mei did because that would make mommies sad (the four year old runs off in the movie). There was magic in the movie, charming, bizarre scenes of trees growing on the spot and creatures flying on spinning tops, tears and summer rain, forest friends and all manner of things I love.

I kept tearing up while watching the film because these are the kind of memories I always said I wanted to give my children and that I used to try to give them. But somewhere along the way, I got lost in a cycle of stress and anxiety where the kids were concerned.

Shortly after the film, I happened across the blog gingerlillytea for the first time. I purchased a copy of Artful Blogging while perusing the crafty magazines at the bookstore. So many pages of inspiration! When I got hope and opened up to the first article, it was by Keri Anne from gingerlillytea. Her blog is centered around embracing and nurturing the lovely, enchanting side of childhood, finding the magic in all manner of things (which may as well be my own personal slogan, I love trying to find the magic in beautiful things as much as possible). Such sweet photos of picking fruit and dancing through fields on a sunset walk... Yet again I was reminded how I was losing my way and I was being shown that it is utterly attainable. I just have to shake off the anxiety and stress that I let cloud motherhood. Easier said than done, no?

But for these beautiful faces, I have to try.

02 January 2014

A new home for 2014

A grand "hello" to the new year.

On December 15th, 2013, we embarked on a hectic journey from our dear Northern California to our new home, a little ways outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The fuzzy photo above is from our flight in to Pittsburgh and the magical sight set before us: snow. (I know, we crazy California folk and our enchantment with real winter!) We had more luggage than one could possibly manage and more hope to boot. Our plan was a simple: move to an inexpensive but cozy, supportive community where our children could thrive and we could take a step back from the insanity that is the San Francisco tech industry and it's heavy demands.

A place where we could afford to buy a home in the future for a fraction of the cost it would cost in the Bay Area... We could build up a cozy home, free from the pressure of what others consider to be the ideal, modern lifestyle. Do you know how much easier it is to be happy without all of that? Exceedingly! And to all who desire a fresh start and new hopes, I say take the plunge.
It's truly funny to me, friends, family, and acquaintances often thought my parenting choices or lifestyle choices were too crunchy and organic. What's the harm what I consider to be a clean lifestyle? What's the harm in not doing things exactly like the general population as long as you and yours are healthy and happy? I find myself so much HAPPIER knowing that I didn't let those thoughts plague me and keep me from leaving California.

The pursuit of happiness, how idealistic and how exhilarating! Everything is so new and exciting! The snow is fresh! The breeze is crisp! And new, great things are on the horizon.

That's truly how I feel.