Wednesday, December 31, 2008

conversations with myself

I put her down for a nap around 2:00 pm and went down to wash dishes. The monitor was on and at some point she just started talking. Non-stop talking. After about 10 minutes I began to write it down. Sometimes it’s singing. Occasionally I can’t understand the words. There are lots of stuffed animals in there with her...

“...I want ice cream too. Very good. Bye bye bye. You want to walk around? Walking around. The bear wants out in the snow. Bye bye. I see you out the window. I go outside. Bye bye. I ride in the bike. Inside the car actually. Bye bye. I see you. I going. I going home. Own house. Outside. I going Oma’s house. Right now the market. Next time see piggies. They come over. I going? See cows right now. Everybody want a cow. Say moo right here. Cows eat a flower.
Twinkle, twinkle little star. (singing) How I wonder what you are. Like a whirring on my tongue. Over again. Like a whirring in my song. Rocking, rocking...I go home too.
Wearing own house? Mama go home with you. Mama go with you. Go home too with mama and dada. I see you frog. Go to mama dada’s house. I go too.
Walking in the woods . In and out. (To the tune of ”The Wheels on the Bus”) People on the bus in and out all through the town. (whispering...)
Good bye, so long, farewell (another song she knows)...I’ll see you soon again my friends. Goodbye, so long. Hug. Kiss. Mom and dad.
I go home too. I cama leaf (not sure what this phrase was, she kept repeating it). Good night. Goodnight dada, mama. I like you. Come out the window. I go home too . I cama leaf ? I gotta be careful. A leaf...
(long pause)
Naiya Naiya. Go in too. Go in her house. REAL Tall!! I bring in whole bunch of babies. Helping get out the floor. I see. Up, up, up, up up. In the horses. Special. Up and away. Go up too. Go fairy up. Go right up. Just go right up. Big girl. A pretty. Naiya go around. (humming...)
Go away Jill. Fly away Jill. Come back Jack. Come back Jill. Two toys to play with. Choo choo. Walla Walla bing bang. Nope. (humming...) Oooo, walla, walla bing.
Have you seen the baker man? (another song) The baker man. He’s driving. Have you seen the baker man. Lives on Drueeee Lane. Baker man. Baker man Morning, morning. Alright. Got the penguin. O hello! Yes. I go sleep right. I am go lay down. Thank you. Happy. Chub, chub...baker man. Uncle Slade too. There then. I see. I see us? A handle. Go up here too. Angel. Angel. A frog coming.
A park. A park. Very singing. Puppet. A puppet. There you are! You are a puppet...around around the rosy. Ashes, ashes. You all fall down. I sorry...”

(After about fifteen minutes I just stopped the transcription.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

dolls for boys

I've been troubled of late by the lack of girls in children's literature...
...but I'll save that screed for another time. Today I'd just like to share something I found on a site called I don't know anything about this site really, and I'm not trying to get anyone to buy anything from it, but I thought this excerpt was worth reading...

“Dolls for Boys (and why to buy them)
...sadly, most boys in our culture are not given the opportunity to play with dolls. The outdated myth which suggests that doll play encourages femininity is still pervasive, so the vast majority of dolls are designed specifically for girls. When my son went to buy a “baby” for my grandson, he was disappointed to discover that almost every doll on the market is a female wearing a pink dress!
Many parents wonder why they should even bother to buy a doll for their boys. After all, they love playing with their blocks, trucks, and play figures. Here is why: doll play encourages children to model parenting behavior. It’s no accident that my grandson growls, “I eat your tail! I eat your tail! GRRRRRR!” when he plays with his dinosaurs. It’s also no accident that he says, “Ohhh. Sweet baby, sweet baby,” when he holds his baby doll. He pats him on the back and lays him carefully on the bed. Sometimes he even comments that the baby might be cold, and pulls the blanket up over him. Trust us, the dinosaurs don’t fair so well. My grandson is taught that babies (including his) are to be handled gently and spoken to softly. He talks nicely to his baby, and actually treats him with respect.
Will this translate into better communication and a higher degree of responsibility and intimacy in his adult relationships? We think so. The American public spends much time and money on books, t.v. shows, and therapy to try to figure out how to make their relationships work. Women consistently complain that their spouses don’t communicate enough, do enough around the house, spend enough time with the kids, etc. Yet, we don’t buy toys for boys that encourage these behaviors...”

Just something to think about.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

ryan fitzgerald

At the moment I haven't anything to say here really.

It's rare that I take a photograph that I like this much of someone that I love as much as I love this man.

Friday, December 26, 2008


We have these nice finger paints from Crayola. Non-toxic and quite pretty. The medium is rather thick and so when completed and dried, depending on the amount of paint applied, the finished product can look a bit like a lovely display of stained glass. Unfortunately, very little of the paint ended up on the jars we were attempting to decorate. We did learn, though, that when all the colors are mixed together, they create a lovely shade of green.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

oolie the owl

 We have that glass pickle ornament on our tree. You know the one. You hang it last and kind of hide it amongst the branches. The children are supposed to have a game of it where they all search in the foliage and the first to find it receives a special little gift... Well, the day before Christmas I realized we didn’t have one (a little gift that is). So while we played a rollicking game of Trivial Pursuit, I stitched up this little gal. No pattern. Just a random cut out of a sweater I had felted in the washing machine some months ago.
Of course I didn’t actually finish her in time for the pickle search so we forewent it. (Forewent? Can I say that?) I ended up just giving her to my daughter. Miss Naiya Sophia named her Oolie. Oolie the owl.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

christmas eve

This is, by far, the most snow either of us remember seeing in Portland. I don't know if the pictures do it justice. When walking in the back yard, Naiya sank in up to her thighs in a few places. Because of the way we're situated at the top of our tiny hill, our yard gathers more snow than almost all of those around us.
Thanks again to Oma and Opa for the lidded sandbox/swimming pool/sled. We really wanted to pull Naiya around the neighborhood and Ryan found the only sled like object we had. That crab sand box is so multi-functional! She laughed a bit hysterically as he ran down the sidewalk with her in tow.
Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

the not so heavy doll

At the Waldorf school where we attend a parent-child class, Naiya’s favorite doll is the heavy one. She (the doll) is filled with flax seed and, I’m guessing, weighs about 2 or 3 pounds. I traced her on a piece of paper, brought that home and made Ida (otherwise known as The Baby in the Purple Pajamas). Her PJs are permanently affixed and since I didn’t have flax seed and was excited to have her done, I filled her with the buckwheat hulls I had leftover from making some meditation cushions. Unfortunately, it turns out buckwheat hulls aren’t really heavy at all. I think I also could have used rice. Any kind of seed or “grow-able” / “sproutable” filling material can simply be cooked or microwaved to keep it from growing should your baby accidentally get wet. I wouldn’t recommend the buckwheat hulls for dolls.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

waldorf doll

I don’t know where this style of doll really originated. It seems to be strongly associated with the Waldorf movement and one can purchase a similar doll for around $100. All the parts are natural fibers (either cotton or wool) including the stuffing. Patterns are also available for something like $20 or $30 on various sites I’ve seen. Being the anti-pattern gal I am, however, I just made this child up. My first attempt at a doll for my daughter turned out proportionally quite strange. I sort of used her (my daughter’s) dimensions and then just shrunk them down. What I didn’t account for was the stretch of the fabric as I stuffed it. Consequently, the doll’s body is disproportionally large to her head when really it should be the other way around. She also has way, way too much hair. We named her Zarine. (Robert Jordan fans, this name's for you.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

a glowing daddy

Naiya and her daddy had this exchange the other day while shopping:

Naiya was a bit fussy and didn't want to sit in the cart. She was getting loud and super wiggly with her daddy. When she does this kind of thing, he holds her firmly by the shoulders and asks her to look him in the eye. He talks to her about what she's doing and she usually responds quite well to this form of discipline. The one rule she is really good at remembering is "No screaming. No crying." which she will sometimes immediately blurt out when she thinks she's about to get a talking to. During this particular encounter though, things didn't get that far. Ryan held her and said, "Naiya, look at me." She stopped wriggling and stopped fussing and just closed her eyes. She wouldn't open them. Just sat in still silence. After a few moments Ryan couldn't help himself and started to giggle. With her eyes still closed Naiya started to giggle too. I guess eventually she opened her eyes and they just started laughing together with their faces inches apart.
Ryan was kind of glowing when he told me this story. He thought she was so wonderful. Do men glow? I think so. At least the daddy ones

a couple whiles

We were playing by the fireplace with some blocks and animals. Rather suddenly, she had a change of plans. “Bye, bye,” she said, “I’ll see you in a couple whiles.”

Saturday, November 29, 2008


The last time I had real bangs I was fifteen years old.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

winter fox

This is my second attempt at a homemade stuffed animal. When I showed it to my husband he said, “It’s cute. What is it?”
Okay. I can take it. It was supposed to be a fox. I saw a pattern for a knitted fox but I don’t know how to knit (yet). As usual, I just drew a pattern on an old paper bag that looked something like the picture in the knitting book and fidgeted with the pattern, pinning the paper and re-cutting until it looked about right. I used machine felted wool sweaters as the fabric but could have used anything really.

The story on the sweaters is this: I went to “the bins” last week and bought this huge stack of wool stuff. In case you’re not from around here, “the bins” are the last chance stop for merchandise donated to Goodwill. I think what happens is that stuff that sits too long at all the regular Goodwill stores is shipped to this big warehouse where people dump random truckloads onto these huge 12 foot by 4 foot bins. The bins, full of a bizarre mix of clothes, blankets, tennis rackets, shoes, trinket boxes, shower curtains and whatever then gets rolled out onto the floor where freakishly frantic folks, who have previously picked over the other 20 bins already standing on the floor, wildly rummage through the fresh booty. Where one might find a sweater at the regular Goodwill store for anywhere from $4 to $16 (which I find shocking when recollections from my youth reveal great buys for a mere quarter from thrifty thrift stores) at the bins, sweaters (and all other merchandise) are sold by the pound. I figured from the felted sweaters I could make any number of exciting crafts. Depending on the size and thickness, I got these babies for an average 50 cents each.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


There is a line of stuffed animals I saw at New Seasons called Pookie Dolls. Similar, I think, to Ugly Dolls. They’re just sort of weird shapes that kind of resemble real animals or people like objects. I thought, if it doesn’t even have to look anything like what it is, how hard can THAT be to make?

Friday, October 31, 2008

hallowe'en at the zoo

We're not really Hallowe'en people.  Last year we kind of ignored or slept through any activities and Naiya Sophia was none the wiser. This year we thought would be much the same. I figured she still wouldn't really grasp the strange festivities bound to this holiday. But then we learned that the zoo was having a special weekend with treats and whatnot, so at the last minute (yesterday) Naiya and I set out to find her a costume (mommy feeling un-inspired to make one on her own). Apparently people really plan ahead for this occasion. Costumes were sold out everywhere. At our second stop I started explaining to Naiya what we were doing (as I often do...chatting away, primarily to myself, just to expose her to language all day). I told her that the next day we were going to go to the zoo where Hallowe'en was being celebrated early... That we were trying to find her a costume... I wasn't sure what. "What kind of Hallowe'en costume do you want, Naiya?" I asked her. (Obviously not expecting a reply...  I don't think she even knows what Hallowe'en is, let alone what a costume is.) To my shock, however, she replied, "Tiger!" "You want to be a tiger?" "Tiger! Tiger!" she repeated (again and again as we traveled to the third and finally the fourth store). There we found it. The prodigious, endangered two headed tiger. I wasn't too pleased but we were desperate. It was the best I could do. We brought it home and put it on and Oh My!! Who'd have thought this child could make such a bizarre creature look so incredibly cute?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

labor of love

And here it is!  The (mostly) finished playhouse that daddy built for his little girl.  I am in awe of the man's skills.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

pumpkin patch

We went to a fantastic pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island with a corn maze, a low hay maze (in which a toddler could run still supervised by her parents), a hay ride and pyramid and a beautiful patch o' pumpkins. 

(Ed. note:  This particular patch was only there for one year and is no longer offered on the island.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

man with a plan

According to Ryan, he has never built anything in his life.  In honor of Naiya's second birthday though, he has decided to construct for her a house in which to play.

Stay tuned...

Friday, October 3, 2008

second birthday

A party just isn't a party without the funny hats...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

autumn color

We think she wanted to share her rolls and feed the flowers.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

night scene on a foot stool

I saw a little felted stool in Anthropologie that was really cool. It was something like $280 so I came home and made my own.
Originally I had a day scene with a lake, a little cabin, some ducks and trees and whatnot. The background was made from a green wool sweater that I felted in the washing machine. I needle felted most of the flowers, trees and ducks but sewed on the little house. Apparently I didn’t “needle” enough. Within a few days, Naiya had pulled everything but the house from the stool. I decided that I’d rather make something that she could actually play with instead of something just pretty to look at, so I began again. This time I made the night scene and sewed everything on by hand. The background and skyline silhouette are again felted sweaters. The windows and stars are cut out of craft felt. (They just as easily could have been sweaters as well, but I didn’t have those colors.) It stands about 15 inches high and is pretty sturdy but not a very good stool. The styrofoam interior was intended for decor and not for sitting upon. Great to play with though. And one of my favorite creations so far.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Jedi warrior?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

faces from the past

These were made a number of years ago. They’re from Sculpey (an oven fired clay). Some were inspired from a book on Fairies. I keep them as magnets on my refrigerator.

Monday, June 30, 2008

words I say and sign - VII

This will be the last recorded entry of Naiya's language development.  It's just expanding too quickly for me to take note at this point, and I can no longer recall what is new and what isn't.  Other than vocabulary, she's also begun to speak in the possessive.  The ball is "Naiya's" and the cup is "Mommy's".  At a year and eight months I think we can already safely say we're going to have quite a talker on our hands.

June, 2008
necklace, sticker, blue, donkey, pants, upside down, boots, wha's da' (what's that), wow, goose/geese, kitty cat, puppy dog, six, eight, Nikki, bluebird, Gus, Hank, Paul, Mat, pink, sun, banana, lock, basketball, bucket, potty, blanket, bacon and butter

Friday, June 27, 2008


Our lovely little girl has begun to learn her colors! Yes that’s right. “Naiya, what color is that car?” “Blue!” our darling one answers. (Isn’t it amazing?!) “What color is your dress?” “Blue!” she joyfully says. “What color is mommy’s hair?” “Blue!” she gleefully giggles...Uh, okay...admittedly, there is some work to do there. Occasionally she will actually say “pink” as well. I don’t even know if she understands what color is. She does know that “blue” is a good answer to that question though. It always gets a laugh.

Monday, June 23, 2008


A few days ago Naiya and I were sharing a snack. We were sitting on opposite sides of a table, so whenever she wanted to give some of her treats to mommy, she had to walk around the table to bring me a little tidbit. (She likes to share.) She fed me a blueberry a couple of times and then on her third trip, as she was walking toward me, she popped the berry into her mouth just before she arrived. She was still holding out her hand when she stopped in front of me, confused...looking up at could see her little mind trying to work it out...she didn’t quite realize that she’d eaten the blueberry herself! I asked her, “Is that my blueberry in your mouth?” A big grin exploded across her face and her shoulders shrugged up as she tilted her head slightly back (those of you who have spent some time with her may recall that silly, mischievous gesture) then she ran back to her side of the table only to quickly return...this time pushing that delicious treat into mommy’s laughing mouth.

Friday, May 30, 2008

words I say and sign - VI

For May, 2008 we've got a lot of word perfecting going on in Naiya's speech as well as some word combining.  I'm having a harder time writing down all the new words I hear her say.  Those I recorded were the following:

nut, light, car, truck, whered'i'go?, Slade, Tim, fox, out, one-two-three, paw, Naiya!, mittens and Dude (always referring to our cat Frodo) 

This last one is the result of me trying not to scold our badly behaved cat with more savage words when he pees on something.  "Dude!" once escaped in a harsh expletive-like tone and Naiya has called him Dude ever since.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

words I say and sign - V

For the month of April, 2008 we've added the following to our vocabulary:

rock, Opa, cookie, glasses, egg, poop, moon, stars, keys, pocket, Oma, pee, knock, close, oopsadaisy, pine cone, pear, cat food, treat and monkey

Sunday, March 30, 2008

words I say and sign - IV

I'm not sure how long I'll continue keeping this language development record.  This month we added...

March, 2008
signs only: "cereal, please, rabbit, help"
says & signs: "baby, owl, hat"
says only: "auntie (erin), pants, apple, bottom, pooh (the bear), broccoli, ant, booby, binky, no, goat, chicken, down, pumpkin, flower, coat, frog"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

words I say and sign - III

We're chatting up a storm with this month's additions.

February, 2008:
signs only: "cup, eat, book and mouse"
says & signs: "shoe, bath, dog and cat (she doesn't actually say cat, she says "meow")
says only: "hair, mouth, teeth, clock, spoon, moo (for cow), bear, juice, bubbles, cheese, snake, balm, mama!, fish, clock and sock"
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