Please feel free to share your own *merry moments* with a link in the comments or on instagram with the hashtag #merrymoments
Somebody had a blast ice skating for the first time! And since prego mama skipped the sport that requires excellent balance, I got to sip hot cocoa and snap pictures while my to favorite men went round and round on the ice. Charles Shultz is a big deal here in Sonoma County and The Snoopy Ice Arena is a really special place full of memories for me. Watching these type of "firsts" is like living the joy of childhood all over again, it really makes this mama's heart burst. At Christmas time they have the rink all dolled up with garlands and lights and even a huge tree on the ice. At the end they even made it "snow" - pure magic for us mild weather Californians.
I hope your holidays are full of merry moments like these!
Well, as you might be able to tell by the picture above, I had a pretty fabulous 30th birthday. Jason threw a party for me at the posh, glamorous, super fun Coppola Winery Pool. It was like a luxury vacation. We had so much fun that I felt like I blinked and it was over.
Sometimes, that's how this whole adventure we call life seems. Am I really 30? Wasn't it yesterday that I was a kid planning all the things I would do and be when I "grew up"? In some ways, I am everything (and more than) I thought I would be as a thirty year old woman. And in other ways, not at all. I think the biggest fairytale that grown-ups tell children is that they've got it all figured out.
And thank goodness that isn't true, because if there was nothing new to learn, no more ways to grow, then being a grown-up would be a real drag. Sure, there are times I wish I had that high paying creative advertising career, the villa in Tuscany, and the self-assurance that comes with always knowing just what to do. But I'd never trade those pipe dreams for the real life adventure I find myself on.
Here's to never really being fully grown.
P.S. - I did okay on my 30 before Thirty. In fact, I'm actually inspired to do a 40 before Forty. Maybe with ten years I could bang them all out. Or, more likely wait until 39 and make a mad dash.
One of my 30 Before Thirty goals was to volunteer. Volunteering is one of those things that sounds great and important, but can be easily forgotten with a few quick excuses. Here's a list of excuses that I used for a while:
I'm too busy. I simply don't have the time.
I can't make a big commitment with a job and a family and a home to keep.
I can't get childcare.
Turns out those were all pretty lame excuses. I found a place to volunteer that was extremely flexible, zero long term commitment, and I can bring my toddler! Even better, it is a cause I feel deeply connected to.
For the past few months, Jude and I have been dropping in (I've been aiming for one Friday a month) to help at the Harvest for the Hungry. It is a beautiful organic garden run by wonderful volunteers that provides a bounty of organic produce to food banks and shelters in our area. I believe so strongly that everyone deserves fresh healthy food, and now I'm doing something to make that happen. It is a wonderful feeling. What's even better: I am teaching my son that he can use his own two hands to make the world a better place. We weed and water and harvest, it takes us a little longer than the other volunteers, but we are helping. And having fun.
Tips for Volunteering with Small Children
1. Find a cause you are passionate about. Your time is valuable, don't volunteer for volunteering's sake. You will get so much joy from giving your time if the cause is something you care about. VolunteerMatch and a good old google search are good places to start.
2. Look for something flexible. Places with drop-in hours or single day events (like beach/creek/trail clean ups or neighborhood improvement/tree planting days) are low commitment. Another cool idea is visiting an assisted living facility, toddlers have a knack for bringing smiles to the elderly.
3. Just go for it. Most of the time, the hardest part of trying something new is starting. Go into it with an open mind and realistic expectations. Toddlers can be difficult to wrangle. You might have to take lots of breaks, or leave early. But then again, they might just surprise you and happily pick tomatoes and stack zucchini for hours.
Do you volunteer with your little one? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments.
Purl One ... I'm hooked (or should I say needled?). I finally learned how to knit. After years of resisting, saying the last thing I needed was another craft, it turns out it was exactly what I needed.
My mom showed me how to knit (and purl) and then we both took a class at Cast Away. I can't say enough lovely things about this shop. The store itself is so perfectly put together it makes Anthropologie look lazy, just look at their feature on Design*Sponge. Even better, the owner and staff are super nice and helpful. Cleo (the owner's daughter and knitting prodigy) taught me how to cast on and set me up with a nice simple scarf pattern.
After a week of sewing, knitting feels like a vacation. I mean, you can do it in front of the TV! My hour of show watching just got productive! The start-stop-take-it-with-you aspect of knitting definitely rules. Although, there are other things that will take some getting used to. Namely, it feels like I'll be forty by the time I actually have a scarf to wear, and it's hard to make it look perfect. Ultimately, I must admit that my heart still belongs to sewing (because I am better at it, and it produces results much more quickly), but I am very excited to add knitting to my list of crafts. Especially because it is something I can do with (and while watching) Jude.
He finds the whole thing quite fascinating. I gave him a little bit of yarn and some chopsticks. He calls it kneeing ...
His technique involves a lot of twirling and tossing.
Our kneeing time gives us a chance to chat ...
... and snuggle. I'll take all the lovings I can get. Knit one, purl one, hug, repeat.
Jude has developed a great interest in colors, one that makes me especially excited because his dad is totally colorblind. To encourage this new found enthusiasm, I whipped up a sorting game with materials I had on hand.
I cut six squares of colored felt and filled a jar with feathers of corresponding color (two of each). When Jude got up from his nap I demonstrated the game:
1. Lay out the felt squares
2. Pull feathers from the jar and lay each one on the matching square, saying the name of the color.
3. Admire your handiwork, perhaps a few applause.
4. Feathers go back in the jar, felt squares stacked neatly.
He really likes it!
Especially the clean-up portion, which is very serious business.
The felt is great because the feathers sort of stick to it, reducing frustration. The squares also work as landing pads for other toys of the same color. This game could easily become more challenging with more colors and things to sort. I just love the simplicity and possibilities. I also love the way Jude says blue, he doesn't just say it, he sings it!
P.S. - Today I am going to the National Heirloom Expo: a historic, exciting celebration of heirloom food hosted in my town! If you live nearby and haven't been yet, please consider joining me, it's the last day!
P.S.S. - Another local event that is not to be missed: Shop Party happening this Sunday (9/18) 12pm-5pm at Julliard Park in Santa Rosa. Super crafty, super fun!
Nothing thrills me quite like growing flowers the size of my child's head.
This particular variety is called Show N' Tell. I got it, and many of my other dahlias, from Corralitos Gardens. If you are interested in growing your own, I highly recommend this nursery: they are very nice, super helpful, and the plants come as cuttings instead of tubers, which I found much easier to plant and grow.
Please feel free to link to my posts - I love it! However, all words and images are protected by copyright and cannot be used without my permission. My tutorials, pdfs, recipes, etc. are not for commercial use. Feel free to e-mail (smallfriendly at yahoo dot com) if you have questions. Thanks!