January, 2011

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Good guys, bad guys, nightlights and hats.

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

We have been spending a lot of time indoors playing different variations of good guy, bad guy.  Not usually my cup of tea.  I'm not a big fan of labeling guys "good" or "bad," mostly for grown-up reasons: that is why countries go to war with one another, that is how we villainize individuals or groups, that is behind racism and hatred.  But for my two little boys, they just want to mock battle.  And I have decided that is okay by me.

A friend pointed out to me that boys used to be warriors, they used to be taught to defend their tribe, they were hunters.  Now they don't have that outlet, but they still have the drive.  Why shame them for it?  Just because my girl brain doesn't understand it doesn't mean I should make them feel bad for wanting to pretend.  And as long as they know the difference between pretend battling and real anger and hatred, I'm good.  Here are my knights in shining...um, fur.

That is one dirty sword he is wielding.  Pay no mind to the Christmas stocking still hanging from the door frame behind him: it is neatly tucked away in a box now.

Here are some new images of the nightlights that my dear husband Andy makes and sells.  We have not launched his Etsy account yet, but are working on it, and hope to have it up and posted in this blog in the next few days.  Here is a little peek at some new images, though.  It is hard to tell that they are framed in little wooden boxes (hand-made by my father), but imagine them in tidy little wooden frames about four inches tall.  They are really sweet.

Aren't those great?  I love the old-timey feel.  I love them.  And he has a few dozen others-- these are just the ones I wanted to post because they are new to me.

I made this hat for Andy. It's the Elf hat from Handknit Holidays, and it has a ton of mistakes.  But I love it anyway.  And despite the disgruntled look on his face, I think Andy likes it too.

Cold and slightly delirious

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Wow, it's cold.  That is all my slow, frozen brain can muster up right now.

Last night I went to bed cold, by 3am I had warmed up a bit, but then Axel had woken up, wanting to nurse, over and over and over.  Probably because he was cold too.

Our road is frozen and slick, so we aren't able to drive it.  This means that we park about a half-mile down where our road forks from the main road and walk up to our house.  Or, if we are leaving our house, half a mile back down to our car.  Normally this isn't so bad, when the weather is above 20 degrees, but when it's this frigid, it's a mad dash to get to warmth.

Also, since our water runs from a cistern that goes dry eventually if we don't add to it, we have to be super careful about our water usage.  During the spring and summer months we can drive our water truck down to Parks and Rec and fill it up, then fill our cistern.  But, since our road is currently un-driveable, we are on serious water watch.  Andy has been melting snow, boiling it on the stove, and then using it to wash dishes.

But man, a girl could sure use a nice hot bath these days.  Unlike the homesteaders, I have a gym membership, and usually, instead of working out, I go and sit in the hot tub, and take hot showers a few times per week.  It is heavenly.

Our water truck

On days like this, the original Homesteaders would not have gone anywhere.  They would have stayed in,  keeping the fire stoked.  They would have hunkered down to wait out the cold snap.  Smart.  This is where we drastically differ from the original homesteaders.  We actually have to be in town at least four times a week.  I own a shop downtown, that I have to work at, and Andy works at a bakery.  So,  some days we have to brave the weather.  It's both a blessing and a curse.

Today is an indoor day.  We are staying put.  We will have to be very creative and patient in this small house with our two small children.  But, I'm looking forward to it.  It's 8:30 am and we have already drawn Spiderman, Batman, a man being bitten by a tiger, Reptile Man (?), and we are now playing pirates.  Breakfast is nearly ready.  I've got a hat nearly completed, waiting for me on some circular needles, and fabric ready to be made into some spring skirts.  Maybe I'll dust off the gardening books today for a little inspiration.

Our house is warm, we have plenty of food, and projects await.  We'll be just fine.

Christmas and beyond…

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Massive cheer went into the 2010 Christmas on the Homestead.  The snow made for a winter wonderland out here in the North Hills, and we made use of it by sledding nearly every day.

My dad and sister came to visit, and we all packed into our shoebox sized house and got real cozy.

My dad made the boys the MOST AMAZING castle ever.  It's big and beautiful, and he made a bunch of knights and horses to go with it.  We left the day after Christmas for a trip west, so we weren't able to play with it much until yesterday.  I was just as excited, if not more than the boys to play with it when we got home!  So last night Asa, Axel and I battled dragons, enormous trout (Asa's idea),  and T-Rex's.  It was great.

I don't get down and really play with my kids, I realized, very often.  I set up their play space for them, or arrange a project or two for them to work on, but I rarely actively participate in the role playing.  Yesterday I did play a lot.  And, that is my New Years resolution.  I'm going to play a lot more.

On our trip west, my kids watched more TV then they have in their entire lives I think.

So we are on a one-week-free-of-screen-time detox.  Asa was pretty upset about this yesterday, he really wanted to watch Sponge Bob, so I suggested we act out Sponge Bob instead.  For the next hour and a half, I was Sponge Bob, with an insanely annoying voice. Poor Andy.  Asa was sometimes Patrick, sometimes Mr. Crabs, sometimes Sandy.  Axel was Mr. Crabs most of the time.    I wouldn't go as far as to say that I loved it per se, BUT I did love that they weren't in front of the TV, and that Asa was just super happy to be having his mom play with him.  More of that is going to happen this year.

These snowy hills are a bit of a stranger to me right now.  They are blanketed in snow, all the paths are covered up.  The trees are bare, there aren't any hidden nooks under an apple tree to observe from.  And, the garden, oh, the garden, she is asleep.  Deep down under the snow, I leave her be.  I haven't even stepped foot into that space for two months.  So, I'm feeling a little nostalgic for my friend the homestead.  She's gone underground for the time being, and although its fun to sled down the snowy hills for a few minutes of the day, I don't feel entirely connected to her.

So, in an effort to feel connected, I'm going to start garden planning and dreaming up lovely things to do on the homestead this spring and summer.  I'll keep you posted.

We've been creating alot around here to keep the blues at bay.  That and running, can keep me happy for the most part.  But when I don't get to do either for a long period of time, LOOK THE EFF OUT.  So, I'm trying to get those things consistently.  I'm only human after all, and I have limits.