a woven life

a parenting and lifestyle blog


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The making of Monday.

GeorgeOnMonday

Winter is not quite ready to let go. Yesterday, Michael an I woke to a scene of whit; a light powdering of snow coated all. Today we are in for an accumulation of up to one inch. I’m questioning the wisdom of gardeners before me who assured me in their writings that frost hardy crops are indeed frost hardy. I’m holding my hope, cupped in my hand.

Oren and I are back to our rhythm today after a wonderful spring break with papa. Our weekend was so jam-packed with visiting. In the course of three days we saw every set of grandparents (in our family there are three and they can be classified as: cat grandparents, dog grandma, and fish grandparents), attended a cousin’s first birthday, and hosted a dinner for friends. In three days. I feel grateful for a weekend brimming with family/a monday just for baby and I.

In honor of our day, we are making bread. Short on flour, we mixed in cornmeal. The recipe we use makes two loaves and costs us a little under three dollars to make. There are thriftier breads to be baked, but the addition of dry milk and molasses are absolutely worth the extra pennies. Baking just one batch a week reduces our consumption of the store bought bread down to one loaf. There is a dark side to this bread: it is all Oren talks about until it is gone. “Toast this, toast that, I don’t want the eggs or orange on my plate until the toast is gone, look the toast is on the counter, look the toast is under this towel”.

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His obsession with this bread has been amplified as he is now helping me knead it. He wholly worships homemade bread, leaving me all the more fulfilled in it’s creation. Bread baking is a meditative act of simplicity. We’ve got the process down, no doubt in the beginning it was a less-than-tranquil experience. But this one act of doing spills over into our whole day. Oren wants to check the rising dough and help pound it down between rising. The aroma of bread baking transforms the home completely, it is magic.

You can expect your kitchen to look something like the below image afterward, beckoning a nice session of some zen dish washing (wink,elbow,wink, “zen”). If I’m going to be honest, I have to admit to you that cleaning for me is not separate from the act of creating, regardless the mess, and thus just as enjoyable. You just can’t have one without the other so the options are:

1. A life filled with work and the fruits of labor.

Or

2. A sterile existence and stasis.

I just don’t see an in between, this is the only black /white matter. Why loathe the mess? It is wasted life to do so.

 

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And Ogie-tokie wanted me to please wash his ball (he signed please as he dropped it into the sink):

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Over and out,

Nicole

 

 

 


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Where We Trudge: In the Snow [w/ snippets of cabin fever].

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There are icicles hanging from my roof that I daren’t walk under, not that I’m going outside today.

Here in Kansas we’ve received a suffocating beautiful two feet of snow. While we did venture out of the home when it was still coming down two days ago, we haven’t been out since. Current air temperature, one degree Fahrenheit. I can do no more than put out a letter today. Today’s highlights, however, will include: popcorn, hot tea, a bubble bath (for baby), and the rare indulgence of Harry Potter background noise.

For our intrepid expedition, Oren wore: four socks total, long underwear, fleece pants, a short and long sleeved bodysuit, a fleece sweater, a snow suit, coat, balaclava, hat, insulated mittens, boots. He was a star-fish in an Ergo, wrapped in papa’s heavy-duty-army-surplus coat. He was untroubled by the snow falling in his face. A young Tenzing Norgay or Edmund Hillary, our Oren is.

Here he is now, doing serious science; experimenting with centripetal forces (tossing everything from a potato to a popcorn kernel into the salad spinner).

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As for today, the heat won’t shut off, a blessing. Thanks be to the grid. This is the perimeter of our house, in the event any polar bears wander too near:

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Here you can view our tunnel of salvation, for when our is bravery enough-mustered to see us in a car:

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This loaf has taken over Dingo’s room, which is the warmest room in our house (I’m eternally grateful that one room in our house meets this qualification):

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And this loaf is forever lingering in the nether-lands if my thoughts:

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We dub this baby-friendly banana bread. Cranberries, oats, flax, walnuts, whole wheat. Molasses, brown bananas, and raisins for sweet. A Michael specialty.

Indoors I will remain, perhaps a day more. I will finalize seed purchases and sow some indoor seedlings. I’ll be damned if spring doesn’t come.

From cozy but confining confines,

Nicole


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A Photo an Hour

Or perhaps I should title this: How we spend a day in the kitchen. A good portion of the following photos were captured in the kitchen, where we apparently live our lives.

So. One photo an hour, on the forty minute mark. No editing, almost no staging (aside from moving a spoon closer here, a book further there). This is our life. One day. An hour at a time.

It starts at 5:40 AM.

5:40 AMEvery morning begins with dishes. It is our passage into the day. We just don’t mess with dinner dishes at our house. They hang. We’ve bigger things to do after dinner: dance, wiggle, alligator roll, read stories. What would we do while coffee brews if we didn’t have a few dishes to wash?

6:40 AM

6:40 AM

A kitchen clean, a second cup of caffeine.

7:40 AM

IMG_5244The sky turns light. Breakfast is happening.

8:40 AM

8:40 AMBrowning organ meat for stock.

9:40 AM

9:40 AMOne of the best views of my day. A lap nap and catching up on some reading.

10:40 AM

10:40 AMPlanning the garden.

11:40 AM

11:40 AMPlaying in the kitchen.

12:40 PM

12:40 PMLentil soup for lunch.

1:40 PM

1:40 PMDaily baking. A skipped afternoon nap. A delighted baby chattering about the broom.

2:40 PM

2:40 PMReading half an article from Orion magazine. Okay, maybe only a quarter of it. Dingo-Pajama can only be distracted for so long.

3:40 PM

3:40 PMAwaiting play.

4:40 PM

4:40 PMPapa the race car ramp is home.

5:40 PM

5:40 PMA day done. This is evening at our house.

From here we transition into bed time. There might be a photo of a dark room at 6:40 PM, where I am patting a baby’s back while he nods off. At 7:40 PM you might find Michael and I at our evening tea, sharing time together or apart, working on writing or sewing. 8:40 PM, we are reading in bed. Early to bed, early to rise.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Until next time,

Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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On Buoyancy|What I’m hoping for.

A wintry treat: Michael and I sipped coffee together in the predawn as Oren finished his sleep. A light dusting of snow. I don’t exactly despise winter. From the indoors, its rather charming. I don’t even dislike playing in the cold. I do dread wrangling a toddler into layer upon layer until I have deemed him appropriately dressed enough to be outdoors. I don’t look forward to icy roads and slick sidewalks. And I insist that there is nothing more dreadful to look upon than the gray grime of snow fallen weeks ago. But to be warm and snug, safely inside, while inch after inch of white fluff drifts from the sky? Swoon. This season has me so up and down.

Today has been slow, my blood is thick with cold. I’m sluggish. I’ve accomplished some at this reduced pace anyhow, a sure beacon of the miraculous.

I pruned a succulent in hopes of propagating new plants:

I am straining kefir and hoping for cheese:

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Ogie-bogie has been busy as well, climbing into the record bin, in hopes of finding the ignition and riding it off into musical bliss. As I type he is firmly planted atop the records, again (surely not ideal for the records):

George caught a fuzzy nap, in hopes of dreaming away the snow so he could return to the wilds without risk of frosbitten paw:

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On Tuesday we hit the playground, in hopes that all of winter would be mild:

And a friend had hoped for a peek at some house corners. Wish granted. Here is the back of my toilet. What? Not what you were hoping for?

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This post was brought to you by hope; the mindset that will see us safely to spring.

Thinking cheery thoughts,

Nicole

 

 


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Photography Styling Challenge|Bedroom

PSCNOV

Hello November. Greetings beginning of a new month (even if you are one of the worst months). October zipped right on by. How can the best month be so closely situated with the worst month? Ponderings aside, the first of the month brings with it the Photography Styling Challenge. This month we are focusing on the bedroom. I greatly wanted to style Oren’s room for this challenge, because it needs the face lift anyway. However, his bedroom has one North facing window, I couldn’t bring myself to work with this. So my bedroom it was.

I focused less on styling than I did on lighting. The day I shot these photos was cloudy. For some of the photos I reflected light off of poster board. For some closer-up photos I used a hand mirror to play with light. Both of these actions being no easy feat since Ogie-Bogie pants took off with the camera base for my tripod. I’ve not seen the base in weeks. I didn’t have the easiest time capturing cloudy-day shots that were well framed without the assistance of the tripod. I carried on anyway and came up with the following about this space:

The day begins and ends in this room. Nighttime reading, curled under down. Morning toe-stubbing and curtain pulling. Goodnight and good morning uttered on breath minty with paste or stagnant from sleep. A space to cradle dreams. Soft; like when the sheets are clean and the closet is freshly organized. Chaotic; like when the closet is puking and the dresser is weeping socks. Life; like a newborn babe sighing it’s first day of breaths or throwing back the sheets while the world tumbles and rolls around you in hangover. We’ve called this room the bedroom, but I would like to argue that just as much living occurs here as in other rooms of home.

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A place where vintage linens can mingle with antique tapestries.

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Where collections find home.

 

 

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Where piles occur like it’s a law of the universe.

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Where a wine-rack can be a nightstand, which in my past may have actually been loaded.

 

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Where Chief Joseph is both on the wall and in bed next to me on the back of my husband.

And because I can’t resist showing off the other corners I love:

If you are here killing time, you might want to check out the other participants in this challenge:

I would like to welcome and say howdy to the new participants this month:
Until next time,
Nini Coco


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Mid-October in Middle America.

14months

Hey you. I’ve been meaning to write. It has been a busy month. October is the best, no? We’ve been doing birthdays, receiving mail, hitting the pumpkin patch, painting mal-formed melons from the garden, and attending the Mother Earth News Fair. There was a giveaway, a photography styling shoot, and much brewing about the future. Michael is currently on fall break and we have just been rolling around like hogs in our free time. It has been such a lovely weekend.

For my birthday, Michael, Dingo and I went to the pumpkin patch. Oren loved the hay ride, made the sign for “chicken” and was just totally blown away by all of the fowl on display. It was a windy and chilly day that ended with four pumpkins, three gourds, one pot of chili, and carrot cake. Tell me about ideal, and I’ll talk your ear off about October.

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I can’t tell you how much wonderful mail found its way to me. Almost every other day a new surprise came knocking on my door. Loving cards and letters, poems scratched on pinking-shear snipped construction paper doodled with crayons, boxes packed with goodies. It’s enough to make me skip through the streets in slow motion.

Goodies include: a box of yarn and fabric from my university (goddess) yoga instructor Jennifer. I mean, come on. A box of fabric. Showed up at my door. Oh I melted and died and rolled around in it. I have plans for some of it already. Mikey wrote me a lovely letter (read: tear jerker) and drew a fantastic wizard on the front of the envelope. He also gifted me a succulent and some coconut and neem oil moisturizer (winter is coming). There is a super lovely package from my super lovely Davidge. This one included a hand embroidered cuff, a scarf, and a beautiful card. Someone knows me well. And after visiting us for a night, I received a letter and package from Trinity. Zum face wash. AGH. If you haven’t familiarzed yourself with the Kansas City company Indigo Wild, I can’t recommend enough that you do. Their soap, their candles, their everything. Zum. Yum. Also worth mentioning: a gorgeous coral and leather cuff from my grandmother, it is so autumn.

The love was tangent this birthday to say the least.

More photos!

Michael and I cleared our large raised bed. We pulled all of the melons that weren’t to come to maturity. What to do with them? We painted them, of course! Melons are in the gourd family after all. We had such fun. I focused on geometric patterns, Michael, on his Merlin kick, painted a wizard’s robes of blue and white stars. Oren watched and drooled and mostly whined.

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This is a goat. With a pack on. Because here in Kansas, there exists a brilliant company that has trained goats for backpacking. That is right. You can rent a herd of goats to carry your gear and join you on your journey across the land. How nomadic. I couldn’t believe these guys. I decided then and there that our future homestead does not require goats, have you seen a goat’s eye ? No thanks. Although, it does put a stick in our plan of naming our chickens Sophia, Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy and our goat Stan. This tent also harbored the Mammoth Donkey. Which is the size of a horse, but is a donkey. It nuzzled Oren’s foot in the stroller, I was nervous, Oren smitten.

I saw Temple Grandin speak. Total highlight of the whole weekend. She is awesome and spoke on the handling of livestock. Man, did I learn some things. I can now spot signs of aggression in herding animals, I know how to properly pet a large beast (long firm strokes), and I learned that you want your animals to have manners and the method for this is a lot like parenting. She peppered her talk with jokes and quips about her experience with some of the stalls at the fair. She was just baffled to learn that the beekeepers on site fed their bees sugar water and took all of the honey the bees produced, leaving none for the bees. She said something along the lines of “no wonder colony collapse is a happening, some of these bees have zero micro-nutrients in their diet”. I really loved the way she explained how the world looks to her, how she noticed the Mammoth Donkey’s ears going this way and that, how she noted the calm disposition of goats raised to work with humans.

And here is Oren eating an apple and getting his nose tickled by a blade of grass. He would take a bite of apple, hand me the apple, eat a bite of falafel, get his nose tickled by papa, ask for the apple back. Lather, rinse, repeat. He is getting so bold. At one point he crawled off to an older couple and started babbling to them. He sat down with them for quite some time, happy to bask in their love. When he was satiated he crawled back over to tell me all about it.

This month has so much more in store. And I promise and swear to be better about breaking up posts, because lets be honest, this is four-posts-in-one. We are looking at a road trip, Oren and I are venturing out alone. Garden work. Pumpkin carving. Trick-or-treating downtown. Walks and talks. An autumnal celebration. A birthday party. This evening, we are taking Dingo out for his first dinner in a restaurant. Wish us luck.

Thanks for keeping up with us.

Touch your toes today,

Nicole VW

 


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Equinox. All things being equal.

Through snotted hankies and red-nose I greet you on this most gorgeous first day of Autumn. Today I bought mums. I have wicked allergies this time of year, the ragweed. And Michael brought home a cold with him this week. I suffer, noisily. I am a trumpeting advertisement for ailment. This day is busy anyhow. The month cares not that I can not swallow. Today is the day Michael and I cook all day and stock the freezer. On the menu is a vat of brew-all-day marinara, four calzones (half spinach, half pepperoni), two loaves of bread, and two batches of cookies. So far, the dough is rising for the calzones and the bread and the sauce is a-stewin’. The house smells amazing.

Oren has been up to some pretty amazing stuff this past twenty-four hours. He climbed stairs, a first. He stacked cans, a first. He successfully and continuously used his fork at lunch, a first. He is a busy boy with a lot to accomplish. He may even start cruising the furniture this week, I wouldn’t put it past him. George is happily indoors at the moment. He spent the day and night outside yesterday, as Michael and I headed out of town. We are proud to announce that our beloved furball is flea free! Michael and I spent yesterday at his parents house, he and his brother had a date to work on music. We stayed the night to take advantage of an empty house that wasn’t our own. It turned into a sort of date night, complete with grilling, plenty of fresh air, and a very large television. Glory be to the god of relaxation.

We recently celebrated a birthday in honor of Michael. So much love found its way to him in the mail. We just love mail. I may have already mentioned this but I created a Japanese themed birthday-date-at-home for the two of us. After Dingo’s bedtime, I barricaded Michael in our bedroom (uh oh, saucy) and turned the living room into a warm and intimate space complete with draped gauzy scarves, candles, Japanese folk music, and incense. I had purchased some sake and sushi earlier in the day. The sake I warmed and kept so in a ceramic kettle. I set table at our low coffee table and rolled out the yoga mats for seating. I shuffled back into the bedroom, had Michael and I don our bathrobes like Kimonos and revealed my surprise. We ate, with giddy delight in our eyes. After eating, I showered him with home-made gifts and brought out the film Spirited Away, his favorite film. I made him a tie and some pocket notebooks.

Recently, Ogie-bogue and I celebrated pajamas by staying in them all day. I did manage to put him into clean pajamas at bedtime. Surely you celebrate your pajamas? If not, you should. On this day we did a tiny bit of furniture rearranging. To my complete dismay, my large furniture is locked in place. Believe me, I’ve thought of everything. But dressers, side tables, and chairs are all mobile and find themselves in new places all of the time. I removed a stool from the bathroom and popped it next to the couch as a side table. Oren scaled it and scaled it again. Nothing is safe anymore, I am learning to not leave burning incense at his newly achieved level (incense can be replaced with: hot mug of tea, toast, scissors, plants, vases, and glue).

I am so excited that long sleeves are pulling themselves out of the closet, begging to be worn. The flannels practically grab my wrist each time I rifle for something to wear. And the sweatshirts. Oh the sweatshirts. Some people call Autumn “hoodie season”. And while I can get behind and in a nice hoodie, we need to be honest with ourselves. This is Harry Potter season. It might be guaranteed that our rarely used television is playing The Prisoner of Azkaban or The Deathly Hollows Part I on any afternoon. If I am caught spending any time indoors during this delicious season, you better believe it is because I need to visit Hogwarts. Speaking of long sleeves, how cute is this top I found for Bogie while thrifting the other day?

Perfect for layering. I wish it were in my size. Those buttons!

The view from here:

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Sleepy naptime toes. When he wakes, and the life returns to my legs, we are going to the garden to harvest tomatoes. Then we will work on the dough, make some calzone filling, and stir the sauce. Tonight, we engage in a rarity, we order dinner in. Indian food. Here’s to paneer tikka masala and enough naan to build a pathway to the moon.

Yours ’til the kitchen sinks,

Nicole