...random experiences, observations and thoughts of my daily life as mommy...past journeys and dreams of journeys yet to be taken creating my life story as i go...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

flying through the haze

matthew has always been so active and such a fun uncle...i've been in a daze since learning he broke his neck. the doctors are "cautiously optimistic" after the surgery and the signs are in place that he is recovering as they had hoped yet there are so many unknowns...so many things out of control...so many things that could change...loss of options and recovery times...neurological, memory, cognitive...i can't think about it. i don't have much energy for this post, either but felt i needed to "update" on his condition...sea starts kindergarten a week from today and she is so ready and not ready at all which is how i feel, too...i was lamenting so much and had so much anxiety and was reminiscing how much i would miss about our exclusive alone time and now with what could have been the demise of manuel's brother it just puts many things in perspective while throwing a whole bunch of other things out of perspective. so confusing to write about and even more confusing to try and make sense of since i'm not writing very clearly...i look forward to savoring time with my little bunnies...recently sea and story, despite fighting, have been cuddling and taking care of one another in extra little ways, perhaps realizing all these things hanging in the balance...i'm off to bed to squeeze them up extra tightly...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

praying for uncle matthew

my husband's younger brother, matthew, was in a serious accident today. i do not know the details and i do not know his prognosis. and i don't want to speculate or do worst case scenarios in my head. so i'm waiting...my husband is driving windy roads with his mom and matthew's fiance and all i can do is keep praying. it is possible i will pop the children in our car in a few hours and drive 11 hours to meet them. but until i know details i will focus on faith and prayers and trust God to take care of the rest...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

art class #6: monsters

sea really enjoyed creating her own monster today in art class...this one was ANGRY she said...
here is an example of a typical potluck...carrot/chick pea/kidney bean salad, cous cous salad, lemon cake, apples/blueberries/walnuts, artison bread and butter, jam and shortbread cookies and i made the quiche...spelt crust with eggs, cheese, spinach, sauteed mushrooms and onions, roasted potatoes and sun-dried tomatoes...pretty good for no recipe...i sprinkled parmesean (sp?) cheese on top at the end while it was baking...
here are some of the other childrens' monsters to show how individualized they were:
and sea holding up her final product...
close up...i think being left-handed she forgets and writes her name backwards...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

time in a bottle

these photos of manuel kayaking were taken on our honeymoon in the cook islands...
i like their timeless quality...

i sort of cheated last night posting "to be continued" as i jumped in bed...too busy spending the day balancing doing everything and doing nothing in these last days before sea starts kindergarten...

so on the theme of notes i sent manuel this e-mail yesterday:

i'm listening to pandora.
spanish guitar radio.
time in a bottle-jim croce

"if i could save time in a bottle
the first thing that i'd like to do
is to save every day 'til eternity passes away
just to spend them with you

if i could make days last forever
if words could make wishes come true
i'd save every day like a treasure and then
again, i would spend them with you

if i had a box just for wishes
and dreams that had never come true
the box would be empty except for the memory
of how they were answered by you..."

getting a little misty eyed thinking about sea
leaving for kindergarten
life changing
but we still have one another
forever together
we love four ones 4 ones four 1's

here is the song if you want to hear croce sing it...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The joy of random notes

i love this photo of manuel with sea, story, and their little baby cousin, meadow...there is so much simplicity and so much joy in so many little things here...i thought it was a great symbol for how i felt this morning when manuel e-mailed me this note:

"Sitting here.
getting ready for CT.
Listening to some music.
Looking at the pictures you took with the kids; the ones where see is holding her pink monkey and story has the brown bunny.
And the one, where you are in the middle with story in your lap and sea is draped over your shoulder
And you all look so beautiful and happy."

the little random things like him flossing...brought back times pre-children and even pre-dating when we would exchange random notes/e-mails/letters with one another about little things in our lives which were otherwise not noteworthy but still very US...i love my husband and wanted to include a short tribute to him and to us as i embark on a 13 day countdown until sea starts kindergarten...

Monday, August 23, 2010

"simply" thank you kristin!

today i was unloading my car, trying to rush to the bedroom to deposit story to keep him napping, doing a bad job balancing too much and irritable on top of it all... when a hand-written card caught my eye atop all the bills and junk mail...i was going to take a photo of the envelope but don't really want either of our addresses out there in the cyber world...though there was a LOT of junk mail underneath so it would have been a nice contrast! anyway, i unloaded this all and rushed back to see who could possibly be taking the time to send me a personal card! this lovely handmade card (she took the photo, too!) was sent to me from kristin, a fellow blogger and friend. you should check out her blog, the goat. she is great at having a POTD (random, colorful, catchy "photo of the day") and writes on all sorts of wonderful topics. she is obviously very thoughtful, too. i had commented on one of her posts with this photo in it how i try to live "simply" and she mailed me this card! so now i need to create more simple spaces in my environment so this card will not only be a visual reminder but a reflection of its surroundings! i put it on the mantle next to a candle made out of sea shells for now but will write another post on this topic once i have more simplicity or a permanent home for it!
this next word, "live", is one i picked up on a journey somewhere...just after i was married and before kids...it currently lives right over our front door to remind me and people passing through to focus on LIFE and making the most of it...

thank you kristin for making my day bright and helping me focus on the important things in life like reaching out to people i care about.

...way too long ago (may 15!) i blogged a question to readers or anyone who might come across my blog (mainly i was asking myself this question but hoping for some feedback) why they blogged and details of commenting, etiquette, etc. you can read the original post here if you want to see my questions and the feedback i received. kristin sent me a really long e-mail with detailed answers and i never got around to answering my own question OR posting hers as i had promised...so i'll start with her answers below and maybe be up for answering them myself tomorrow! :) if not, enjoy her detailed replies...i have to hold myself back from commenting on each one but did add one reply IN ALL CAPS...

kristin's replies to my blogging questions:

"1. why do you blog?

I blog because it's something I do to document my life and also because I love the social aspects of it. Turns out that I have learned how to be a photographer along the way, so that was a truly unexpected bonus to the whole blogging thing.

2. why did you originally start blogging? have your reasons changed?

I started off blogging because I decided that I wanted to be a part of "100 Things to do in 1001 Days." The 1001 days is up October 18th of this year and I still need to cross a few of those To Do items off the list - I'd better start blogging about that!

3. how often do you blog? does this vary?

I blog daily. It used to be just one post daily, but I've added in a Photo of the Day, so now I have two posts that run daily.
I blogged every single day for about 18 months. When I went to Rome, Italy in February of this year I decided not to hold myself to that hard and fast daily blogging rule. I missed a few days while I was in Rome, but I've also taken off a few days from my other posts as well, but maybe it's only 3 or 4 days total. I enjoy getting my thoughts down each day and sharing my photos.

I also needed some kind of discipline. I needed to set a goal and achieve it each day. I haven't been able to do that in my life about other things, so it really was a true thrill to go an entire year, blogging every day. I now know I can do anything because no matter what, I was able to sit down and write a blog post a day. It seems simple, but it was monumental for me.

4. do you have a routine of any sorts when you make time to blog or just when you have time/are moved to do so?

I usually blog in the evenings and sometimes it's after 10pm.

5. how often do you read other blogs?

I was completely out of whack when it came to blog reading. I was reading hundreds of blogs a day and commenting on all of them. Since January of this year I have cut my blog reading down to bare minimum - maybe 10 a day, if that. I became really really picky because things in my life changed and I needed more time to do other things and to concentrate on another income. I had to cut out something and it was my time spent reading other peoples blogs. (I still miss it very much)

6. how do you choose which blogs to read?

I chose the blogs that I loved to read the most, whether or not they read mine. It was a really hard decision, but I needed to get on with my own life and quit reading every fun project or event that everyone else did because I wasn't my stuff done.

7. do you follow any? do you define follow as adding yourself to their list and checking your reader when you are reading blogs in general or do you literally read every post they write?

I have about 600 blogs in my reader and I have about 50 in my favorites folder. I have the ten that I read and comment on, then the 20 or so that I hope to skim through once each week and never leave a comment (they are giant huge blogs, so my comment isn't being missed) and then the remaining blogs I hope to browse through once a month and comment on a few posts just to let them know that I do still drop by and of course still enjoy their posts! because I do :)

8. how often do you comment on blogs?

See above.

9. how do you "thank" people for commenting on your blog? here are some choices: immediate reply on your blog after their comment; personal e-mail; writing a thank-you on their blog as a comment; commenting on their blog to "indirectly" thank them; none of the above; no thanks

I usually don't thank them. I have regulars that stop by my place, I stop by theirs. They leave me comments, I leave them comments. We don't need to thank each other each time. If there is something that needs to be discussed, I decide if it's personal and I send them an email reply or if it's not personal, I put the answer either as an edit in my blog post or comment in the replies. It all depends. It's difficult to reply to something personal though when the email address is hidden or is a no reply. That's always a bummer.

10. do you stay on top of comments? i.e. always thank/comment for a comment for every commenter? does this ever feel insincere and if so how have you solved that?

See above.

11. how do you encourage meaningful comments? i.e. i'd like to have friends or at least people who care about me giving me advice or answering questions i have instead of just "cute photo" which is often what i feel like i need to resort to as alluded to in #10

I don't encourage any type of comments - I show my photos and hope to get "Two Thumbs Up" in the comment section, anything more than that is a bonus! In my other blog posts I just hope that the people reading enjoyed it. If I have asked a question like -- My chicken salad sandwiches are so boring - what do you use in your chicken salad? Well, then I hope to get responses on how to improve my chicken salad. I'm not looking for advice normally, I'm just hoping to share my life with others - When I do ask for advice, there is always someone to give it to me. :)

12. do you blog more for yourself (to keep a record of your life, to figure things out) or do you account for what your readers might want to hear about when choosing what to blog about?

I blog mostly for myself, but in my photos of the day, I am hoping to post a photo that makes people happy or has them say "That's Cool!" I want people to come back each day to see the photo of the day.

13. do you have ongoing themes (mommy, art, photos) or is your blog more random?

I have POTD (Photo of the Day) and the rest is totally random. This week I'm with my sisters and my 7 month old niece so the posts are all about them and the baby. Next week I may be talking about Rome again or about my new tenants. I just never know.

14. when you get in a funk and don't feel like blogging (for a LONG time) how do you keep your readers? get back in the mix? catch up with blogs you used to follow?

When I cut out all of my blog reading, the comments I received went down the drain. I didn't stop my blogging, but I stopped my commenting and it affected my readership. I'm just going to have to live with that I guess because I can't go back to that crazy pace. I stopped Photo of the Day for about six weeks and it was hard to just start up again. It takes a lot of extra effort, but someone asked me to start up again, so I did and I'm glad I did. The six weeks was too long of a break.

15. have you ever made a fellow blogger upset and how has that affected you or what happened? i believe i did this one time and i still haven't "researched" it to figure out how/why...i think i inadvertently "un-followed" her when i changed one blog i was following to "private" (i didn't like the content of several of her posts and wasn't sure if i was going to continue following this blog or not)...another theory i have is that she is someone who blogs every day and for while she was my best commenter...literally commenting every post i wrote...though i loved this, i got nervous because i wasn't sure if i was supposed to do the same with her and i didn't want to leave insincere comments just to comment

Oh dear, now I wonder if this is me! I did used to comment on a lot of your posts and I blog every day, but I hope I didn't have anything that you found objectionable - well anyway, if it was me - I was never offended. Not even a little. I realized I hadn't heard from you in quite awhile, but I stopped coming over here too, because I had to stop reading blogs and tend to real life matters. Not everyone has time to be everywhere all the time and I know that the people who read/comment on my blog are incredibly busy people and when the seasons change, so does their time! I don't expect anyone to comment on my blog because I comment on theirs. I want people commenting because they feel a strong desire to do so, not because they feel obligated. This is of course my opinion :)

If this was me, I'm sorry that you worried that you might have upset me and I'm terribly sorry that something in my content didn't agree with you. I try so hard to be G rated and positive and upbeat, but my blog is about my life and sometimes I write things I probably shouldn't. If it wasn't me, I'm still sorry I've been away for so long. I thought answering this questionnaire might be a good way for me to say hello again.


16. do you list blogs you follow on your blog? i've really wanted to spread the love this way but worry what if i only kinda like some of these or these bloggers stop blogging regularly and what about all the other blogs i kinda follow and won't those people feel left out? i feel like my favorite blogs are often "big" already and don't need any extra love spreading and though these blogs say something about me and i don't mind directing readers there, i'd rather list friends or smaller blogs but these people can sometimes go months between posts? how do you balance all these things?

I list a few blogs that I read on the sidebar of my blog but I don't actually follow anyone in Blogger - I only follow in Google Reader.

17. i'm already over this topic so i suppose i can't expect you to read and respond to more than 17 questions...maybe when you comment below you could just summarize your blogging journey, include some experiences with my questions and then share where you are at now? or just answer one or two of my questions...any other advice/opinions you have?

I think that blogging should be just for yourself unless you are trying to make money with your blog. If you have advertisements and get ad revenue, then getting people to come to your blog and comment is really important. If you are mostly doing this for yourself, then just do it and don't worry about the rest of the blogging world. Pick a few blogs where you really enjoy the content and the personality behind the blog and be a part of those blogs. Do as much or as little on your blog as you feel comfortable and just enjoy it. This is supposed to be fun.

Hope you are having a great weekend!
Kristin - The Goat"

THANK YOU KRISTIN for the thoughtful card which will live on with me on my quest for simplicity and i do plan to spread the random act of kindness love on...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"you can have it all..."

"...just not all at once..."

(advice i read recently that i've been reflecting on...so many things on my mind...i know i already visited "sea the ballerina dancing on the sidewalk" but still love the video version)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

sea the princess singing

today i woke up early, went to sabbath school, went to a farmer's market to get produce for a bbq, attended a friend's birthday bbq bash and then attended another friend's end of summer party...i had a LOT of photos to blog about and only got these last 3 up before i had to go to bed...so we left the party with sea and story both taking over the karaoke machine and me deciding i must purchase one...

Friday, August 20, 2010

ballerina dance on the sidewalk

sea chose this "ballerina" outfit out of a swimsuit and skirt...we were on our way to have dinner at the spaghetti factory and the light was so nice with her twirling around...you can almost get the feel for her dance with these still photos (kept trying to catch her from the front but she was twirling too quickly!)...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

art class #5: a "sea" scene

i love this first photo of sea showing off her two "sea" themed pictures...here she is with her hair pulled up and braided (she has been choosing her hair style recently...my way of motivating her to get her hair brushed):
here is her first picture:
then she stayed after all the kids left to do one more:
love her hair in her eyes...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

"how do you spell 'i'm sorry mommy?'"

today i was cooking quinoa in the kitchen and sea insisted on grabbing the bag even though she wasn't supposed to be in the kitchen and i told her not to grab the quinoa or it would spill everywhere...so of course i over-reacted when it did and she went in the other room quietly by herself...a meek voice soon asked "mommy, how do you spell 'i'm sorry mommy'" with her crayons and paper poised...yes, she split the "y" of sorry to the next line...then she drew me another picture and said "mommy i never want you to look like this and be that angry at me:"
so of course my angry heart melted quickly and we hugged and snuggled and forgave...it only took a few minutes for the next opportunity for grace...this last photo doesn't do the situation justice if you've ever tried to clean up spilled quinoa...basically sea and story decided to make it "snow" quinoa on one another and had their first food fight...
now we are off to make a story book out of typing paper 3 hole punched with yarn tied through...she is requesting her favorite "story out of heads" about a little kitty and a fairy and a little girl who got wings because she believed...i'm hoping she'll draw and i'll write her words...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

little fishies

no, this is not a fish on sea's lap...a little chickie...we went to city farmer's nursery right near the waldorf school where i signed story up for once-a-week mommy-and-me preschool classes when sea goes off to kindergarten...they have a barnyard of animals you can interact with and sea was excited to hold a chicken...we also came home with 4 mosquito fish which apparently are named this as they will eat all the mosquitos and larva out of our pond! yay! i've been checking on these little guys every day since hoping my cat or the raccoons won't eat them...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

violet's 1st birthday party

today we attended violet's 1st birthday party at a nearby park...she had a really cute OWL theme that i don't have time to weed thru 300 or so photos to showcase but here are a few of sea and story enjoying the party...
here is violet:
story got an "oggy" on his cheek...
sea got a panda bear...
then we were off for two hours at our community pool followed by a birthday party for our friend kate at the Y...gymnastics...my kids LOVED this one, too...

Friday, August 13, 2010

i can't believe these two beautiful people
get to be our

(daddy was the guest blogger last night...)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

musical memories

tonight sea was playing the piano (now 5) and i remembered this photo...off to sing them lullabies to sleep...

now it is morning (not ready to move past the musical post i didn't finish last night)...i just sang "good morning it's God's morning, whether the skies are sunny are graaaaayyyyy....good morning, it's God's morning, hope you have a wonderful day!" to my nursing son...we used to sing that at camp to start the day...last night i remembered how we started singing "somewhere over the rainbow" to sea when she was a newborn and my dad asked if we were going to make that a tradition (we had skipped down the wedding aisle to israel kamakawiwo'ole's version) but that got replaced with a made up lullaby i started singing to the tune of brahms' lullaby "go to sleep...baby sea...go to SLEEP my baby...you are tired and it's time...for the little baby to SLEEP..."

one last song association...this morning i woke up with a really old school song in my head...my mom used to play it on the piano when we were little...i believe it is called "we have this moment" and the chorus goes something like "yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today..."