Tag Archives: family

clown noses may save the world

Few conflicts in life will fail to be improved by a judicious application of these:

I’m totally serious! See?

Can’t you see how serious I am?

Honestly, a bag of a dozen clown noses will brighten any day immeasurably! I discovered this to be true because the bag of noses I ordered on a lark came in the mail today and were an instant hit.

Then we got the camera out and took turns making funny faces with the clown noses and taking pictures of each other and….well, I’m talking an hour of solid fun. Minimum.

Don’t you feel better than you did a few seconds ago?

Clown noses are so powerful, they are even effective when administered through a blog post!

unexpected benefit of living in a round house #27

Paul and I were having a fight one day, I don’t remember what about, something stupid probably—aren’t most of these fights about something stupid? It’s too bad you only realize that after the fact. Anyway, the fight reached a head and we both stomped off dramatically, as one is wont to do in those moments. Ah, the beauty of an angry exit!

Except we live in a round house. So… although we stomped off in opposite directions, in about 20 seconds we were facing each other again, our expressions mirror images of Pissed Off Spouse. We couldn’t help it—we burst out laughing.

Just goes to show, you can’t run away when you’re walking in circles.

cool felt picture fun for kiddos

Kids dig crafts. Want to hear that engrossed silence of kids making stuff? Here’s a quick and dirty project:

Get a stack of felt squares from a craft store and a bunch of scissors. Designate a few of the felts ‘backgrounds.’ You might be able to get a few stiff pieces for this. Set the kids to cutting things out from the other felt pieces, or, if your kiddos are a bit too small for that, let them tell you whatever they want, and cut it out for them. Sit down on the floor with them and get all into it, cutting things out, arranging bits, offering suggestions. The little felt bits stick to the felt backgrounds, allowing them to make pictures that they can be adjusted and changed endlessly.

Here, look:

Arrange and rearrange….

The kids adore being able to ask for whatever they want, and they’re so happy to get a YES to every request. “Mom, can you cut out a pig?” Yes. “Mom, I need a big orange fish.” No problem. “Hey, Mom, I want a spooky tree. Can you do a spooky tree?” Absolutely!

Here’s a portrait Sophie did. She was extremely pleased at her scissor-work here.

And pretty quickly, stories start to come out of the pictures, and the little felt people start to enact little felt dramas.

This picture became a whole saga about the lonely, spooky tree and the little person who lived across the river. After many misunderstandings, they became friends. That’s when the addition of the bridge was cut out. “Mom, they need a bridge so they can visit each other.” Got it. One bridge coming up.

Don’t be limited to the backgrounds: after making pictures for a while, the kids took various pieces and built up fancy ‘cakes,’ palm sized piles of elegant felt designs, for a dinosaur tea party. Perfect.

When they’re done, all the bits and backgrounds go into a bag, to be pulled out for new pictures next time. Ta Da!

I am endlessly amazed at how creative these small people are!

stokke chair review

A friend of mine with a new baby was asking me what I thought about high chairs and I told her I would write a review on my blog. So here is my definitive opinion on high chairs:

They suck!

High chairs are incredibly ugly, plastic, huge, expensive, hard to clean, and you only use them for a year or so. Forget it.

Look, I said to my friend. Instead of a high chair, check out this cool chair, made my Stokke:

No, I’m not selling these chairs or getting a commission or anything. I just love when I find something that is well designed, beautiful, and a pleasure to use. This chair is all of those things. So here we go, a full fledged, happy customer, review!

I don’t remember what turned me on to this chair—maybe I found in on amazon while looking at the depressing array of high chairs? However it was, we got one for Sophie when she was about ten months, and we liked it so much we got another one for Luc, when he was eight months.

I know, I know, it says “Use only for children 18 months or older.” This has got to be a legal cover-their-asses-thing, because the chair worked great for both my kiddos from the moment they could sit up. They have never slipped out or fallen, even when they were small. Really, with the buckle buckled and scooted up to the table, they were secure and had no trouble sitting in their chair. And they loved them, loved having their own chair, and loved being a part of the grown-up action.

Here is Sophie, in hers, at about twenty months old. I looked and looked for a picture of her as a littler person, but no luck.

Isn’t she cute with no hair?

You can adjust the chair’s seat, and the foot rest, to best fit your kid’s size at the time. We started out on the tallest settings and have been working our way down the slots as they grow. This system works perfectly, allowing your kid to always be at the perfect height at the table, without pinching their legs underneath. And the foot rest is brilliant because it makes the chair 100% more comfortable for them, and also gives them a place to scramble up, like a ladder.

Here are the two of them, sharing one chair, working at the big table.

And here is Luc at about two years old (I think?) who has fallen asleep in his.

He’s so cute I can hardly stand it.

Okay, Stokke Chair Pros:

*You can use it for a really long time–we’re going on five years with Sophie with no sign of stopping. This is quite unlike high chairs that are done after a year or so of use.

*They are highly adjustable, growing with your kid.

*The footrest makes them very comfortable for the kid, allowing them to sit for a long time and work on projects, or hang out while the grown-ups eat.

*The chair puts the kids right up with the adults, not separate in a high chair, or a smaller table. They love being a part of the action.

*It’s very sturdy. The kids tip them over and build forts with them, climb all over them, bang them all around, and the chairs look great and show no sign of weakening.

*Easy to clean. No nooks and crannies.

*Attractive.

*Easy to put together.

Cons:

*Price! Holy cow, I just looked it up on amazon and it was a freaking $240 bucks! I know we didn’t pay that. I’m thinking, maybe $180—but still. It’s not an economy chair.

*The buckle is incredibly hard to adjust. This is a niggling problem, though.

*I’m straining to think of another con, but I can’t.

Summary: When something can solve so many problems—comfortable kiddos, egalitarian feeling at eating time, kids having their own place that suits them—and last for a very long time, it’s a good investment. Also, given the duration of the chair’s usability, it isn’t exactly fair to compare it to high-chair prices. This is more like a quality piece of furniture that your kid is going to be able to use for years and years. Even at $240, I’d totally say it is worth it. Occasionally, getting the best designed, beautiful, workhorse item is worth paying more upfront than paying for several, partial solutions, over the years.

Bottom line, this is a great chair. Don’t hesitate.

late night gratitude & some pee

Our hot water heater has been broken since last Tuesday. UGH! Paul tried one thing, then the other, but no luck, and no hot water. Finally the company agreed to send a new one—hooray! still under warrantee!—but then came the weekend and the new heater sat in a Charlotte Fed Ex warehouse for two days. We started giving the kids baths in a plastic tub on the living room floor. Ah, the novelty of taking a bath while watching tv.

The new one arrived yesterday. Saint Paul took this morning off from work to crawl under the bathhouse and install it. The kids and I took an hour-long bath, I mean, we got out all the oils, bubbles, potions, ducks, whales, submersible wind-up divers, candles, and fancy soaps we could find. It was fantastic. Nothing like deprivation to make one appreciate the little things in life.

Which made me remember this: a few nights ago (before the lack of baths and laundry, thank goodness), Luc, sleeping beside me, peed in the bed. Peed in *my* bed. Oh, the parental joy of waking up to sopping sheets and a a sticky little boy. Yuck, stinky pee smell, getting up in the night, loads of laundry the next day…. but, strangely, I lay there in the dark feeling incredibly grateful for him being there.

Weird. But….

I recently found out that an acquaintance of mine’s beautiful, three year old daughter, Lena, has cancer. They’re in the hospital all this week for chemo. Did I mention that Luc is three? So there I was, in the wet bed, in the dark, and I thought, I am so glad he’s here, healthy as a horse, peeing on me. Nothing like the remembrance of how temporary and fragile it all is, to make one appreciate something as seemingly unappreciable as a little bedwetting. But it really is true—if I were to lose Luc, I would be laying there in my dry, clean bed, willing to give anything just to get him back, for a little while, pee and all.

Which made me think this: I don’t want Luc (or Sophie, or Paul) to have to be gone for me to appreciate him. Everything, every infuriating detail of him, would be so profoundly precious to me, if he woke up one day with cancer and I had to face the very real possibility of losing him. Why should he have to leave to receive that much generosity of love? What if I could treat him that well while we’re together?

Can I really be that kind?

So I got up and took care of the wet bed and the wet boy with surprising gentleness (for me, the midnight Grump Queen) and I felt truly grateful to have the chance, because it’s how I would feel if I miraculously got him back, like a hot bath, after losing him.

a good weekend was had by all

Here is a shot that Sophie got of me going about my Honeymilk Farm chores this morning. I look really sleepy. She said I should put it on the blog, though, so I am. I love how her photos are from such a different perspective (three feet off the ground). Often when she takes pictures of me, they go straight up my nose.

In other news, we went to check the bees yesterday. Here they are, chillin on the front porch, coming and going, shucking and jiving.

They are doing really well, bee business is booming. Unfortunately for us, however, they are booming in a way that makes it impossible to get into their hive without tearing it up. They got off to a rough start with the whole hive-missing-in-the-mail thing. Here is a shot of the inside, completely gummed up with comb.

Those bars are supposed to lift-out-able, but no way, as the bees have stuck them all together. I figure, they’re doing well, so I’ll leave them to it. However, next spring, if they make it through the winter, I’ll have to crack it open and help them start over. Sorry bees! There is a way to cut comb off and kind of sew it to the bars so you get some straight brood comb, but it is hard to do with new comb like this, new comb being so fragile. But next spring, that might be the thing to do. Well, it’s all a learning process.

And here is what Paul has been working on. The Man Shack. Okay, he calls it the ‘tool shed’ but really, its a boy’s fort house that has the sign on the door saying “no wives allowed!’

It’s kind of like a quilt sampler isn’t it? Stone work, cordwood, recycled materials, beams cut from the trees we cleared when we put the yurt in. It’s probably bulletproof, bombproof, those tools will definitely be safe in there, barring direct nuclear strike. I like the lion’s head door knocker. A fitting, masculine touch.

And finally, a happy birthday key lime pie for Paul. Happy Birthday, Paul!

i have the most amazing family

I went to a family birthday party today, a lovely time in my aunt’s rose garden, eating fabulous, homemade food and hanging out under the sun watching the kids catch frogs. But at some point my mother, sister and brother-in-law started kind-of…giggling.

“Come on, Maya, we want to show you something (hee hee hee!).”

“What?” say I.

“Something we thought would make you happy.”

They are dragging me to the car. I’m starting to get nervous. “A bottle of tequila?”

“Oh, yeah, we bought a gallon jug. We splurged.”

By now they have me to the trunk, still giggling, and I’m starting to wonder if I should call for help. When they lift up a blanket (hee hee hee!) and proudly show me A BRAND NEW APPLE MACBOOK.

I’m kind of stupid. I sort of stand there with my mouth open, confused, thinking they want to show me something on the computer. Except it’s so perfectly wrapped. I start to get that it is a gift and I think, it must be an old one of my brother-in-laws. Maybe a cast off from his IT job. Maybe it’s some refurbished jobbie, an expired model. Something. It’s good that I was wearing my shades because my eyes are tearing up as I slowly begin to comprehend that, yes, it’s for me, yes they bought it for me at the apple store, yes this is really happening.

It isn’t really that mac’s are oh, so, amazing that had me floored–though, obviously I’m pretty stoked about macs. It’s this: these people who love me banded together to give me something that perfectly supports me, supports this strange thing that I do, this activity of my heart, my writing.

It’s just about the best present I have ever gotten. 1) It’s exactly what I wanted, 2) I was totally and completely surprised, 3) it’s a really great, fancy, big ticket, present that I 4) probably couldn’t have gotten for myself.

Not only that, they had loaded it up with the specific writing software I wanted! And when I turned it on, it said Maya Lassiter’s Macbook, with a little picture of me, right there on the screen. Can you believe that?

mac-open-screen.jpg

THANK YOU Catherine, Stephen, and Mom. You guys are wonderful.