Eliseo & Eliseo

Gramps and Laurie are visiting us this week for the first time since Eliseo's birth~
Lili warmed to them right away;
and Seo fits snug in Gramps's arm contentedly.
It's really nice.


berries, berries, and more berries...

It takes years for berry bushes to establish themselves, and we are finally reaping the benefits of our berry planting years ago. Raspberries, wine-berries, and gooseberries all bursting out at the same time around our land. We have enough to send the kids out to eat unlimited berries whenever there is a lull in the day or they are driving you crazy.

It was incredibly hot today and the kids were alternating between being in the kiddie pool and eating berries most of the day. (well that, and a mid-day viewing of Germany vs. Ghana)

wine-berries (my very favorite kind of berry)
gooseberries (a little bit sour, juicy, crunching like a grape)
"These be the good ole' days..."

mother-blessing flag

A dear friend of mine is about to have her first baby in a couple of months. I was asked to make a prayer flag to give her at her mother-blessing (or sometimes called a blessingway), and here is what came of it. In the center is a loon.


Summer Solstice

There are so many days that just flow. It will be 9 AM and you are thinking "Wow! I have already gotten so much accomplished! Things are moving along so effortlessly!"

Well, today was the opposite of that kind of day.

Nothing bad, just a continual thought bubble above my head thinking "Wow! that really wasn't smooth!" or: "hmmmm...that sure was a comedy of errors..."

It all began about 2 seconds after I opened my eyes this morning when I realized the baby had a poop explosion that had saturated through the diaper, and pajamas, and sheet, and had soaked into our mattress. (Someone must have a word for this type of poop that squirts up to the shoulder blades right???. )
The next twenty minutes involved trying to clean up the bed, cat barf, pee all over me and a basket of clean laundry, baby barf on my skirt, a second poop explosion that luckily hit the ground outside, pee on the couch cushion, and a weary mother trying to patiently answer a toddler's million questions about what exactly was going on. I know you are thinking "Why wasn't that baby in a diaper for goodness sake? I don't know. I guess I kept wrongly assuming he must be empty.

The rest of the day followed suit.

At the end of the day I went out to hang the laundry on the line. It was incredibly peaceful with glowing orange clouds and the stream trickling nearby. It was the first moment of the day I had stopped to appreciate the first day of Summer. As I pinned up the last sock~ a giant thunderclap echoed overhead. It rained on my laundry five minutes later.

You just have to laugh at yourself and the world on the days like today. You know???

Here is something that has also kept me smiling.
It is by far the best thing that has happened this week:


free music. free hugs.

Every Thursday night in the summertime our local park hosts a free concert; and this week was the kickoff. We ate a picnic dinner surrounded by friends, and listened to the fun, soulful, and jazzy Kat Williams (click here to check out her myspace page). What a treat to be able to hear family-friendly live music for free! So awesome.

At the end of the night Lili had made a new friend. A little girl around her age with bangs and long pigtails and a pink tee-shirt. All the kids were up front dancing and being silly, but it soon became clear that the two of them had formed a special bond. They were doing laps, chasing each other around a group of concert-goers, and then would stop and hug until they fell into a heap on top of each other. Then they would giggle like mad and start over...

How amazing to be young and so open to life that when you recognize a kindred spirit you can be hugging and knowing each other as "friend" before you even know their name.



My friend Katy spoke this quote aloud to me, and it resonated and has stuck with me the last few days. I usually find myself drawn to poems more than quotes, but sometimes a quotation can really capture a thought or feeling in a perfectly direct way. I don't know the exact quote or even who originally said it.
However the gist of it:

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its troubles~
It empties today of its strength."
I know I worry too much. As a mom... as a sister... about the well being of the world... and on and on. But, it is so true that worrying about something doesn't empty it of its trouble at all.


new work


*today was Sunday and it was hot.
*Alex made a nice breakfast.
*I enjoyed my morning coffee sitting on the couch holding Eliseo.
*We broke open the watermelon that has been on the counter all week.
*In the heat of the day our whole family got dressed (Me in my bathing suit and sunglasses, Alex in his boxers,
Lili totally naked, and Seo in a fleece diaper and a sun hat) to go to the pool. We all squeezed in the kiddie pool together.
*In the late afternoon we worked in the garden. Eliseo reclined in his bouncy chair contentedly while I weeded for an hour.
*We ate tacos with the
Carmonas for dinner. (Ema made a very delicious and tart gooseberry cobbler too.)
Seo came down with his first fever tonight (mild).
*The kids went to bed early and Alex and I watched a "Law and Order" and worked on some art stuff.

and here is another little collage (4" x 4") that I finished yesterday.



I took all these photos against the fridge. I've found it to be such an easy and readily available plain background for a photograph... unless of course it is covered in magnets and junk ;)



With each passing hour of today I fell more and more in love with Lilikoi's new haircut. I love how it was sticking up in a tousled mess when she woke up, and how when I asked her if she liked her new haircut she just said "Yep" so nonchalantly (non of the hair drama that comes with age I guess), and how her bangs frame her face just right. Bangs are the practical haircut for a two year old. Before bangs, her hair would fall in sticky tendrils over her face from things like Popsicles or fruit. And now I don't need to fight with her about keeping a barrette in either. Despite all the practicalities I just had an unspoken bang aversion~ and now it is dissolving.

It is just that I had bang trauma growing up.
Actually, when I stop and think about it, it is more like post-traumatic-bang trauma. Because at the time of my bad bangs (grades 2-7) I did not care. I had way cooler things to do than think about fashion sense (although it was the 80's). Only in retrospect was I traumatized by the bangs that started way back on my head and fell to my eyebrows, and dropped off into a mullet in the back of my head.

Anyhoo... I had some serious bangs, and it is high time that I embraced these bangs of the past,let go of my phobia, and revel in Lili's.

Daddy Monkey news

Lili has switched from playing the game "How about you are the baby, and I am the Mommy?" to "How about you are the baby Monkey, and I am the Daddy Monkey???"

So I will say "Lili"
and she will say "No! I am the Daddy Monkey!"
and I will say, "Oh right. Um, Daddy Monkey?"
"Yes, baby Monkey?"

When Alex goes along with this game he does so in a growling, gruff, monsterish voice. Lili eats it up. She loves it. We can get her to do most anything if we just call her the right thing.

In other Lili news, I gave her a haircut today. It is a little severe, and there are bangs involved. Ema and Alex have both assured me that it is cute and fine... but my heart was racing for about an hour after I put the scissors down. Our camera has dead batteries~ so no photos of it now. I will just let you picture the very worst, so when you see it you will think: no, no, Lili looks just fine after all.


Saturday night...

and what am I doing?

Well, hanging laundry, and writing a letter to the President (first time I've done that since high school)... Long gone are the days when I felt the need to be doing something social and spunky on a Saturday night.

Here are two small bird collages I made today:
also, did you hear Willie Nelson cut off his braids?


new work for pendants

I made these two little dragonflies to use for pendants. Today is my friend Devon's (friend from high school) birthday, and she is in love with dragonflies~ It is fun to work on projects and be thinking of someone or something while you are working on it. It makes it that much more special in the end.

***Oh! and I have been working on a new project that I am excited to share with you~ but you will have to wait until I take some good photos of it, because as you know, pictures are worth a 1,ooo words. Coming soon... :)


some pictures of the little man

Thank you for all of your kind and honest replies to my last post. I haven't been good at replying to the comments people leave me lately, but I want you to know that they always mean a lot to me, so thank you...
(isn't that hairy toe something?)


the flip side.

I have had a few compliments lately about all the cool stuff we are up too. I love to feel like I could be inspiring someone, and as much as it feels good to hear things like this, I want to make sure nobody reading my blog ever feels bad about how or what they are doing in comparison.

Because I promise you it is really easy to look like you are juggling it all so perfectly... and with nice pictures of it too...on a blog. I know I have read blogs of artists or moms who seem like they are doing it all, and doing it all waaaaay better than me. They sew, they paint, they do cool projects with their kids, they have the perfect sunlight in their kitchen, and they have time to capture these beautiful moments so eloquently too.
I don't know these bloggers, so I don't know if they have many dark moments, or moments of laziness, or self-doubt. But I imagine they must.
well at least, I do.

I hope it doesn't seem self-righteous to point this out~ It just is hard to see what other people see you as sometimes. And when I hear my friends or blog readers being amazed by what I am up too I worry that things could seem overly idyllic. Every story and every moment has a depth to it that can be hard for me to capture. And in the bad moments of a day I never think to whip out the camera. Not when I am having a regrettable parenting moment. And I don't think to take snapshots or video when Lili is being rude or is extra disheveled looking. and I don't feel like blogging when I am at the end of my emotional rope, and so days go by when I say nothing here at all.

An example that comes to mind is our goats.
The beautiful part of having goats is how much the children love them, and the delicious, fresh, raw milk we get, and how stinkin' cute they are, and how we farm them in a co-op with our neighbors.
The complex side of the goats is exhausted Alex waking up at 6 am to milk, and the $50 + dollars we pay for them each month, and the long goat meetings we have trying to figure out how to even raise goats, and that we keep them on a kind neighbors land because we don't have the room on our land, and the fact that I don't make it up to visit the goats more than once or twice a week (and they are literally in our backyard), and even our ambivalence about whether it is "worth" it to keep goats right now in our lives. I don't think all that shows through in a pretty picture of the farm.

I can tell this is one of those posts I am going to sorely regret hitting the publish button. I am too far into it to turn back now though, and I do want my message to come through...
I feel like I am living an incredibly blessed life. And I am proud of myself for the choices I have made and for carving out time and leaping into my art. And I am proud of my family and how often we do fun and thoughtful things. But I am often frustrated, and unreasonably sad, and unmotivated so often too. And I don't want those things glossed over.

And I often find myself sucked into the computer instead of parenting. And then something happens like when I turn around, and a little 2 1/2 year old has stolen my purse, found my stamps, and stuck them all over her shopping cart like stickers.

Today's evidence of being a totally distracted mom:
On the other hand, look what we ate for lunch. I made homemade bread (and for the record, it was the ONLY thing I did that day besides parent) with egg salad made from our own eggs, and sugar peas from our garden.
Today's evidence of me being a wholesome mom:
So please don't let yourself feel small in comparison to anyone else's blog (I need to heed this advice). Instead, I wish these spaces and stories will inspire us to be the best parents, artists, and humans we can be.