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Friday, November 30, 2007

A Penny Saved...

Somewhere in the parenting rules it should say that you get a helluva wish for finding a penny in a poopy diaper. It showed up yesterday. Thank goodness.
So if you ever wondered how a coin looks after it passes through a human body, here ya go. Turns out the result is an interesting rainbow patina.
I spared you a "before" pic. This is after lots of soap, hot water, soaking in a bleach solution, and boiling for a good half-hour.

Friday Feature -- Sweet Kaylee's Boutique

This week's featured Etsy artist is fellow Etsykids member, Sweet Kaylees Boutique. Aren't these scoodies adorable? (Not to mention the models!)

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I just learned to sew less than a year ago and have over 2000 yards of fabric. I met my husband while working at Papa Johns Pizza together.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

So far little girls' halter dresses, reversible dresses, scoodies, and knitted hats. Hoping to get some Christmas items like stockings and ornaments and some lounge sets soon.
What inspires your creations?

My most amazing 3 yr old daughter

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

I spent way too much money at Gymb*r** and G*p so hubby bought me a sewing machine and $50 gift card to Joann's and told me to make it last for 3 months. Well the $50 gift card was gone in one shopping trip so friends and family started buying fabric for me, not just at fabric store but thrift shops and garage sales. And that was that. I have turned a vintage sheet into a dress.

I've made hoodies out of old tshirts, and my newest creation the scoodie.
Custom made scoodies are available too!

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
My newest creation, the reversible dress. Why? One word: Reversible. Actually two words: less laundry!

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Procrastinator (chatting too much instead of sewing), Still have a heart of a child (like to play in tunnels at McD's and on the monkey bars at the park), Christian (Jesus is my Rock and my Redeemer)
(Note from Jen: yes, that's more than three words, but I'll let it slide ;-)
What do you like about Etsy?

I love revamping clothes so I love to see what people come up with, also just to see other's creativity that you never thought of.
What makes your shop unique?
I like the fabrics no one else is using. Sure A. B*tler, M. M*iller, A. H*enry, and all those european fabrics are cute but so many people use them now that people are making the same dresses or purses with the same fabrics. I guarantee you will not find another dress or scoodie made with any of my fabrics in any other shop. You will have a one of a kind item!

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Promote your shop everywhere you go. Make business cards on your computer and pass them out everywhere you go, out to eat, church, preschool or kids school teachers, mail lady, grocery store (I leave them by the kids bubble bath, the candy isle, by the milk, the fruit and the cereal aisles), and anywhere else you can think of.

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

My blog.

For more featured artist interviews, click here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BB's Walking and Talking!

BB took her first steps today! She's been trying to carry things around and getting frustrated that she can't do so while crawling. Her purple legwarmers were the portable item of choice before naptime, which was when she took those first steps. She also stood unassisted several times, for a good 30 seconds or more. I didn't get the steps on film at all, alas, but she did grant me a shot of her standing.

This week she also began saying "Mama!" (Or something very, very like.) It's a little hard to tell, because she's constantly issuing interjections that use an "a" vowel sound. In addition to saying "Ba!" (for ball) she loves to exclaim, "Bwa! Vwa! Da!!" Usually while pointing emphatically towards something out of her reach.

It's as though she's going through the day saying, "That! That! OOh, That!"

In other news, still no penny in the diaper..... Sigh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

E. R.

It's been a rough day. Spent the morning getting S's flu shot and BB her followup flu shot, which (thanks to misinformed Kaiser volunteers and employees) required nearly two hours and visits to four different locations on the hospital campus. But apparently that wasn't enough time spent at the hospital today, because this afternoon I had to go to the Kaiser E.R. with BJ.

It started when BJ refused to take a nap, so S had him do quiet playtime instead. About 20 minutes into quiet playtime, I heard BJ choking and gagging. I ran in and found him with a handful of coins.

"Are you OK? What happened?" I asked in a panic.

BJ, grinning, replied, "You swallowed a coin!"

Somehow, he'd managed to quietly climb up to a high shelf where we've been keeping his "coin jar" (a plastic bouillon container pressed into use as an interim piggy bank). Yes, this is BJ we're talking about, our child who (supposedly) is not a climber. He'd unscrewed the lid and strewn the coins all over his bed. A quarter was clutched in his hand.

Oh shit, ohshit, I'm thinking as I scooped up coins and monitored his breathing. "What color was it?"

"Brown," he informed me, still quite proud of himself.

He was breathing normally at that point, and there was no sign of the coin in his mouth, so I called the Kaiser nurse line. They said to bring him in for an X-ray. Thank heaven S was home from campus and able to stay with BB while I took BJ to the emergency room. It could have been so much worse.

We were "only" at the emergency room for about two hours, all told, and sure enough, there was the tell-tale circle on the X-ray.

It had passed through his stomach already, which was good news. (Apparently it's most worrisome if the penny gets stuck in the esophagus or stomach, and it can be a big problem if it is a penny minted after 1982. Those have a higher zinc content, and if they get stuck in the body they can produce chemicals as toxic and corrosive as car battery acid.)

The doctor said we should find it in his diaper in the next two days, and if we don't then we'll go back in for a followup X-ray.

When I got home and showed S the discharge form, I had to smile at least a little bit. In the instructions to patient, the doctor had actually written, "Don't put coins in mouth."

I'm sure this is the kind of thing we'll laugh about, someday. But right now I'm a frazzled mess. And perhaps the most frustrating thing is that BJ is laughing about it now. While we were at the hospital, on the ride home, and during dinner, he kept giggling about "BJ and the coin! BJ and the coin!"

I've heard this laughter before, when I lose my cool at him. I'm now convinced that this laughter is a nervous response, a release. It isn't meant to push my buttons. Even so, it does. There's just something about being laughed at when you're absolutely furious. Of course I found myself growling at him: "It's NOT FUNNY." Which simply made him laugh all the harder.

When I was growing up, my sister and I had a habit of laughing at my mom when she'd yell at us. If you got her really worked up, the capillaries on my mom's face would become more visible. One in particular, on her left eyelid if I recall correctly, would look uncannily like the number 19.

"Nineteen! Nineteen!" my sister and I would cackle, pointing.

Now all I can say is, Mom, I'm so sorry. So very sorry! At least I only required one childhood visit to the E.R., though, so perhaps today I paid off the karma for that. (I hope so.) They took me in because I insisted I'd been bitten by "a jumping, biting, flying frog." My mom had interpreted this as a toddler's description of a bat and was convinced I needed rabies shots. Apparently, when we got to the hospital, I informed the doctor that I had merely been stung by a bee.

I guess I should be feeling happy that BJ told me the truth. It will be interesting to see if he was absolutely honest -- of course, when we find it, the coin will indeed be "brown." So in one sense, at least, he can't be wrong.

Then I'll just have to decide if I should soak it in bleach and save it for the baby book, along with the X-ray!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Breakfast in Bed

In an effort to keep BJ from waking us up in the middle of the night, I decided to give him a sippy cup of water to keep at his bedside. Whether it was because of that, or something else, he (thankfully!) didn't wake last night.

Apparently, when S went in to get him this morning, BJ brandished his sippy cup, took a drink, and announced dramatically, "Mmm! Breakfast in Bed!"

Four Sales in Two Days!!!

Good news! Cyber Monday was a reality for my little Etsy enterprise. I sold four Baby Friendly Beads nursing necklaces in two days, and three of those were on Monday! Yay for online shoppers!!! (I know four sales is small change for many sellers, but for me it's a new record, so I'm quite pleased. Now if I could just find time to take pics of the half dozen necklaces I have made so I can get them listed....)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fear of Flies

To add to the sleep woes around here, BJ has recently been waking in the wee hours of the morning. Nightmares, as best we can tell. Last night, he woke shrieking, "Shoo fly! Shoo fly!"

S went to try to calm him, but he was inconsolable and insisted that I come instead. So I popped BB off the boob (of course she'd woken too and started nursing) gave her to S to calm down, and tried to figure out what was going on with BJ. He kept sobbing about flies and bees in his room, wanting me to make them go away.

He's shown some fear of flies (and bees) so we've taught him to shoo them away, but that wasn't working this time. He'd calm down only to get all worked up again, but there were no bees or flies anywhere to be seen. What on earth had he been dreaming about, I wondered.

The fourth or fifth time I got him calmed down again, I heard it: a very slight buzzing noise. BJ heard it too and began to fuss, but my laughter got his attention instead.

"Sweetie, it's fine. It isn't a bee or a fly," I said, shaking my head.
"You want mommy to name what that noise is," he said, still unsure.
I pointed to the cat, curled up by his feet. "Socks is snoring," I explained.

Satisfied, BJ settled back to sleep, and I went back to deal with his sister the all-night nurser. Who knew that a cat's snore sounded so much like a buzzing bee?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Feature -- Green Bean Boutique

Today's featured Etsy artist is my friend Cara at Green Bean Boutique . She has also recently opened a second shop, MamaCloth. I am the proud owner of several Waldorf-inspired items from Cara, including some fabulous playsilks and this adorable, custom-made Waldorf style doll. (BB is getting the doll for Christmas, and I can hardly wait to give it to her!)

Cara is a fellow member of EtsyKids and EtsyMom.
She provides excellent, friendly customer service and all her items are truly made with love. If you shop with her, tell her Jen from Baby Friendly Beads sent ya!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.
Interesting binteresting... I'm in love with being a wife and mama. It's my most favorite thing in the world, and we'd love to have a HUGE family, as many children as God sends us. I love to 'be prepared' and read up on things just for the sake of knowing them, like different methods of teaching kids to read, even though I am not going to really need that knowledge for a few more years. I love to try things just to see if I can do them, in every area, from sewing to cooking to shooting targets! I just like the challenge. Ha, I have a lot of 'love', don't I? I'm thoroughly enjoying life.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
At the moment mostly Waldorf-inspired dolls and all-in-one cloth diapers. Other things make their appearance from time to time; as I work on different projects in my own home I share them through my Etsy shop.

(Note from Jen: Cara also sells bath salts and cloth pads for women's menstrual needs in her MamaCloth shop.)

What inspires your creations?
Family life. Most things come from our family having a need or a want and not being able to find *quite* the right thing in the store. So I figure out how to make what we need, then enjoy sharing it with everyone else.

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.
I started sewing back when I was little, my mom would let me make 'quilts' out of fabric scraps. I had a My Little Pony kiddie sewing machine that really worked, and boy did I use it! I graduated to my grandmother's machine sometime in high school and started reading quilting books and clothing patterns and inched my way at becoming proficient at sewing. Now I'm finally to a point (after much trial and error) where I can dream up a project and sew it up with only minimal seam ripping.
What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite item in my shop right now is actually a set, my Mommy and Me Aprons- They are just fun to make, the fabric is amazing, and I love to imagine the family time that will be had with a special mama-daughter pair while wearing them.

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Happy, crafty, loving

What do you like about Etsy?
I love that there is such support for hand made items. It's nice to be around others who appreciate handmade things rather than think they are not up to par with store-bought.

What makes your shop unique?
Everything in my store is custom tailored to my individual family and our needs.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
For people selling, I'd advise them to love what they do. Being passionate about a product that you make really shows. For people buying, I'd encourage communication with the sellers. Most of us *are* passionate about our products, and we love feedback and questions!

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
My blog, and you can also find me on Hyena Cart.

For more featured Etsy artist interviews, click here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


"But listen to me -- for one moment, quit being sad.

Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you." -- Rumi

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May your day be abundant with blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Deep Breaths

In my attempts to find ways beyond breastfeeding to get BB settled to sleep, I've discovered that deep, exaggerated breathing helps to calm her down. Often I'll say, "Shhhh" on the exhalation, but not always. And as an extra benefit, the breathing helps bring me down a notch or two as well.

So far, it only works if I'm actually touching her, and it's rather difficult to do quality deep breathing while hunched over the portacrib. But it's good to have another possible tool to work with.

We've also stopped using the white noise and have replaced it with lullaby music. It had reached the point where I could hear every repeated, digitized pop, buzz, and pattern in the noise machine's recording, and it was driving me batty. I find it much easier to listen to Bobby McFerrin sing "Common Thread" over and over and over. And it's good music to breathe by.

Pack N Play

We're not big on playpens around here, but we set one up in the dining room this week with the hope that BB might spend some time sleeping there at night. We're not ready to transition her into the crib in the kids' room -- don't want to mess with BJ's sleep -- and given our small house there really isn't anywhere else it could go.

She wanted nothing to do with it, of course. Instead, BJ has been asking to hang out there. He was there for a good half hour today, reading his dictionary.

Wouldn't you know it, but as soon as he got in, BB crawled over and started pulling up and fussing. I put her in with him, but she'd have none of it; I put her back outside, and she started crying again, pressing her little hands against the mesh. Truth be told, I think BJ got a peverse pleasure out of being able to tick off his sister just by sitting somewhere she couldn't get to him.

BB wouldn't stop until I took her into the other room and entertained her with stacking blocks. Seems as long as she couldn't see him, she was fine. (Yep, still working on object permanence!) And BJ got a little peace, which is rare these days while his sister is awake.

Too bad they don't make one big enough for me to hide in!

Friday, November 16, 2007


It's been an angry week, and I've been feeling awful about it. My patience is shot, and my temper flares much too easily. I slam doors, grit my teeth, and worst of all, I yell. Usually poor S is the victim of such outbursts, but more than once this week I've hollered at BJ about things I don't even remember, now. I just remember the yelling, and I feel terrible. I have even raised my voice at BB, when she woke up screaming from a "nap" for the third time in an hour, or when she's wanted to nurse for the fifth (or sixth or seventh) time during the night.

I'm not usually an angry person, which makes it even worse. Most of this is exhaustion, I'm absolutely sure of it. I'm just tapped out. The reserves, such as they were, are gone.

When folks ask me how I'm doing these days, my typical answer is, "Things are really good! Except for sleep. Or lack thereof," I'll shrug. "And you know how it is -- sleep affects everything else." It's honest, and more acceptable than screaming, "I'm so tired I'd do almost anything for a full night's sleep!"

BB continues to wake every 2 to 3 hours throughout the night, on a good night, and she rarely naps for more than 40 minutes at a stretch. Her fifth and sixth teeth are coming in together (both on top, which seems to cause more teething issues than the lower gum) and she's on the cusp or walking, so the double whammy of developmental stuff and pain is just making it impossible for her to settle and stay settled. Plus I think she's on a growth spurt. Wouldn't ya know it.

We are still co-sleeping, though BB naps and starts off the night in a portable crib in our room. S does what he can, bless him, but I dread the nighttime. Just thinking about it makes me furious sometimes.

I've been re-reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution, parts of which have brought me to tears. "Even the most connected and loving parent can get pushed to anger by severe sleep deprivation" (p. 208). Yup.

I'm so exhausted I can't even gather up the energy to start implementing her solutions. I know that many of her tips helped with BJ, and I take an enormous amount of comfort from the fact that he is now sleeping through the night. I really don't want to get to the point where CIO sounds like a good idea for BB, but I find it interesting that even The No-Cry Sleep Solution has a section that is essentially a gentler, kinder version of crying it out. I must have skimmed this with BJ, or I just forgot about it.

I have to say, that section seems more and more to be speaking to me: "If you are ready to give up, if you are geared up to toss this book and all my ideas out the window and just let your baby cry it out, then this section is written for you. Dr. Sears calls the place where you are 'the danger zone' and he warns that if your baby's nighttime routine is making you angry, and making you resent your baby, something must change" (pp. 210-211).

Angry? Check.
Resentment? Well.... not sure I'm ready to slap that label on things just yet.

But angry, definitely.

I was feeling horribly guilty about that anger -- getting more and more angry, because I was angry. Talk about a feedback loop. I couldn't seem to stop it. I'd either push down what I was feeling, which meant it would pop back up later when I was least able to deal with it, or I'd allow myself to be pissed but feel wretched for doing so.

Then I started reading the title for my playgroup's next book discussion: Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles. She points out, "It's important to know that anger is often a second emotion. Before it, you've usually experienced a "first feeling," such as frustration, disappointment, fear or sadness." (p. 46)

Seems I'm full of "first feelings" these days. And I'm too tired to think about them clearly, much less deal with them adequately, so they just build up. She also explains the physiological basis of anger, which I found oddly comforting:
"Wrestling with our own anger means taking on Mother Nature. Anger isn't just about free-floating emotions. It's physiological. Our bodies are actually finely tuned 'reaction machines.' When confronted with threatening or frustrating situations, stress hormones surge through our body, triggering the brain to be ready for 'fight or flight.'

If you pay close attention, you can actually feel the stress hormones collecting in your body. The reaction is cumulative. Wake up in the morning thinking about all the things you have to do, and the stress hormones start to flow. Your teeth and hands clench. Neck muscles squeeze your spine. Shoulders tighten. Arms ache. Your body is on alert. The gates are open.... You can feel the tension rising [when] you urge [your child] to hurry. It's when she asks you to help her find her notebook that you lose it. Suddenly, seemingly without warning, her simple request turns you into a shrieking shrew. The stress hormones have built to volcanic proportions. You blow.

....You've been emotionally hijacked. Your stress hormones have created what's called 'neural static.' You can't think straight, much less see this situation as an opportunity to connect with your child and teach her how to work with you. Instead you react instinctively and reflexively." (pp. 37-38)

So "neural static" has become a mantra of sorts this week. When I'm about to lose it, I try to pause and retune the mental radio station. It doesn't always work, and sometimes when it does the static is replaced with blaring, furious, dissonant bass. I've not yet managed to find the station that plays calming New Age elevator music. But it's a start.

Friday Feature -- Chubby Baby Designs

This week's featured Etsy artist is ChubbyBabyDesigns. Since I am toying with the idea of growing out my hair again, I have my eye on her adorable headbands. (BJ is quite tickled that mommy is wearing headbands and barettes these days!) She also makes great items for little ones, as you might expect from a fellow EtsyKids member!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you. Going through infertility gave me a special sensitivity to motherhood and all the blessings and challenges that come with it. I love being the Mother to my 4 children, all miracles that were against the odds. Crafting, sewing and making jewelry with my kids is so rewarding

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
Baby Blankets, BurpCloths, Ribbon Blankets, Clothing for Moms & Kids, Headbands, and a Gamer Item thanks to my Hubby
What inspires your creations?
Knowing that each item I create is going to go to a new little Blessing in someones life...who knows who they will grow up to be and do

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.
I LOVE quality designer fabric, my Grandma and Mom taught me at young age to sew and make my own clothing and decorating items. What goes on in my brain when I see a fabric I like...well that remains a mystery

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
I LOVE my Baby Blankets, I think seeing my baby reach for his as I take him out of his crib every morning, is so precious, he just can't leave it in there alone for the day. How fun that blankets I make become THE blankie that another little one just can't start their day without

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Blessed, Driven, Energetic

What do you like about Etsy?
Items on Etsy TRULY showcase the creators heart and creative mind

What makes your shop unique?
I honestly search all over to find the best fabrics and I intentionally price my items to be affordable while still giving my customer a unique high quality product

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
Be unique, Be yourself...people will love it!
Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

For more Friday Feature interviews, click here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

BB's First Word

BB said her first word today. "Ball!" Actually, it's more like "Baa!" but the intention is quite clear, and she repeated it several times throughout the day, just in case we missed it the first time. Balls have been a toy of choice for quite some time now, particularly the juggling balls, so this isn't too surprising. She especially likes crawling around with one of the juggling balls in her mouth, and now she's taking to trying to stand up with one clenched in her teeth.

Technically, "Hi" was probably her first word, which she's been approximating for many weeks now, but that one crept in so gradually (and really is more of just an excited exclamation when she sees us) that we didn't really count it. So ball it is.

Given how active she is, I wouldn't be surprised if we have a future athelete on our hands!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Don't Touch That Fence!

Given BJ's fascination with letters and language, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I started finding words spelled out around the house. Tonight, as I was making dinner, I could hear him repeating, "Don't Touch That Fence! Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!! DON'T TOUCH THAT FENCE!!!"

With great glee, he then ran off to where we keep the alphabet puzzles, came back with a fistful of letters, and started lining them up on the gate in the kitchen doorway. At first, he'd spelled out "DOT," but he knew that wasn't quite right.

He calls out, "BJ wants Mommy to know how to spell Don't."

I tell him. He runs off to get the N, and I go get the camera.

He also came back with the F and wanted to spell out the rest of the phrase, which led to a bit of trouble -- not enough room on the gate, and not enough letters to go around. So the game was abandoned, but not before the rooster made several more declarations. (Said rooster is also perched on the gate, naturally.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Little Headbanger

BB discovered a new game tonight, while S was doing her bath. He'd lean in, and she'd conk him in the forehead with her own wee noggin. Yep, my darling little baby is giving head-butts. Pretty hard ones, from the sound of it.

She's also been "dancing" a lot lately. If she notices music playing, or sometimes even if you just talk about dancing with her in an enthusiastic voice, she'll clasp her hands and rock or sway. (Sometimes it's a remarkable resemblance to Stevie Wonder, without the dark glasses.) A friend of mine saw her doing her dancing and remarked that she'll probably grow up to be a ballerina. But with this new game she seems to enjoy so much, I'm wondering if headbanging isn't more likely....

In other exciting news, she's now signing "mama"! She does it as a cheek pat, and it just melts me to see her grinning at me and making the sign. (Which is, it occurs to me, actually more headbanging. It's a good thing she's not one of those kids who bashes her head on the side of the crib, or I'd be worried!) Other new signs she's attempting this week: "light," "fish," and "cat." We also think she may be saying "cat," which would be funny since "kee-ka" (kitty cat) was BJ's first word.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Feature -- Petit Debutant

This week's featured Etsy artist is Petit Debutant . She makes neat stuff, including adorable baby leg warmers. Talk about clever -- and fashionable, too!

To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong? etsykids, etsybaby

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.
I speak 3 languages, and love to do anything creative: sewing, drawing, cooking, home renovation and would love to try many new crafts!

What do you sell in your Etsy shop? Baby and toddler apparel but lately I've narrowed my market to baby leg warmers
What inspires your creations? My 2 toddlers of course!

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do. I just "do it." I have been blessed with the gift of coordination in my hands. Generally if I want to make something I just go for it and figure it out as I go along. I always start a project as though I know what I am doing and rarely make proto-types.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite? This cute peasant top made from a really cute vintage pillowcase. It just turned out so well, if it was smaller I would keep it for my 1 year old daughter.

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself
? creative, fun, petite

What do you like about Etsy?
What don't I? I love the fact that everything is handmade. It just showcases creativity!

What makes your shop unique?
I like to use stylish prints and fun colors that re-define "baby"
What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy? Pictures, pictures pictures. Like the old saying goes "a picture is worth 1,000 words" It takes time and effort to have good pictures to post, but it is soooo worth it. Especially since people can't pick up and try out your items.

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The World Is Her Walker

BB is having such fun cruising around. She uses anything and everything to help in her quest to learn how to walk. Chairs, baskets, cardboard boxes, rolling toys.... even the cats have been pressed into pushing duty (in the case of the felines, not very successfully, alas). A few days ago, she discovered that the swinging gate between our dining room and living room works quite well as a walker, so now she loves to toddle back and forth, back and forth, using the gate to steady herself.

This weekend, at our 2005 playgroup's Harvest Festival party, she was in fine form pushing around a chair. She really liked watching all the toddlers.

BJ had a great time, too. The pool full of leaves was especially fun.

BB has now also taken her first wagon ride, and now whenever we're in the back yard she crawls over to the wagon, pulls herself up to standing, and either pushes it around or looks at me expectantly, obviously wanting me to plunk her in it and pull her around. The really nice thing is that BJ can ride too, so this keeps both of them occupied for at least a little while as we go around and around in the yard. Kids are content, and I get some exercise in the process. Bonus!

And and and...

BJ has been asking us to make up stories lately -- and to add even more fun, he's starting to help. His characters of choice are any of the animals for which he has toy representations (the plastic sea animal tub toys are a particular favorite) and he likes to supply the names. His strategy for naming an animal seems to consist of choosing a physical attribute and adding a "y" sound. As in: "Teethy" (the shark), "Claw-y" (the crab), and "Spotty" (the speckled stingray). Some of the animals require discussion to establish their moniker. For the squid, he asks, "Name this part, Mommy," pointing to the triangular-shaped noggin.

"That's the head," I reply, and sure enough he immediately lets me know its name is "Heddie."

But my favorite so far is the sunfish (which we saw at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an enormous, magnificent creature that impressed BJ quite a bit). This morning he asked me for a story about the sunfish and told me its name was "Horny." To be fair, the fins on this thing do look remarkably like horns....

BJ has also developed a new verbal tic. Instead of saying "ummm" or "uhhh" to fill space as he thinks about what to say next, he's saying, "And and and..." I find this incredibly endearing. Sometimes it's just the "d" sound repeated under his breath. I can all but see the wheels whirring in his mind when he does this, processing the abundance of the world and the words that go along with it, trying to get everything arranged so he knows how to tell us what he wants.

And and and.... the really funny thing is, I'm finding myself doing it too.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lullaby and Good Night

I'm in trouble. It seems BJ has been listening more closely than I'd expected to the lullabies I sing him every night. Our bedtime ritual is very well established, and I always sing him "Young Cowboy" (his name for James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James" -- sung with his name in place of James, naturally) and "Stay Awake," the lullaby from Mary Poppins. I have a hard time memorizing song lyrics, so I settled on these two mostly because I was able to keep them in my head successfully.

This week, he started challenging me about the use of the word "dogie" ... as in the line, "Closing his eyes as the dogies retire." BJ insisted, vociferously and repeatedly, that it was "doggie." As in small dog. "Doggie, mama! Not dogie, DOGGIE!!!"

After singing this song nightly (sometimes more than once a night) for more than two years, I knew there was no way I'd be able to rewrite the memory on the lyrics to suit his toddler whim. So the second night this happened, I stopped singing and explained to him that a dogie is a small calf. The "young cowboy" was watching the young calves, the "dogies," as they went to sleep (retired).

It took a few nights of explaining, but he has now accepted this and murmurs to himself at the appropriate time in the song, telling himself with a smile that the right word is dogies, that it's about the little calf and the cowboy. He loves knowing this. One more brick of knowledge to add to the foundation he's building, I suppose.

Tonight, he tried to correct me on another word in the song. The line, "He works in the saddle and he sleeps in the canyon" should be, according to BJ, "He walks in the saddle..." Before he could get really strident about this, I stopped and explained what a saddle was, how it was the cowboy's job to ride on the horse in the saddle. He couldn't very well walk in a saddle, now could he? Of course not. (Thank goodness the child does not yet know about saddle shoes.)

Satisfied, at least for tonight, BJ let me finish the song with the correct words. But I imagine it's only a matter of time now before he starts asking about "And as the moon rises, he sits by his fire. Thinking about women and glasses of beer...." I can hear it now. "Name what the young cowboy thinking about, mommy!"

I think I can talk my way out of that one. But now I'm worrying about the lyrics to the other lullaby of choice, "Stay Awake."

Stay awake, don't rest your head
Don't lie down upon your bed
While the moon drifts in the skies
Stay awake, don't close your eyes.

Though the world is fast asleep
Though your pillow is soft and deep
You're not sleepy as you seem
Stay awake, don't nod and dream.
Stay awake, don't nod and dream.

Heaven help me if he starts to take it literally!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Feature -- Diana's Creation Station

This week's featured Etsy Artist is Diana over at Diana's Creation Station. She does amazing things with yarn, like these adorable mouse baby booties!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I've delivered babies that wouldn't wait for the OB doc. Ex-RN after a car crash left me too damaged to return. Homeschooled 2 boys 3rd grade to graduation.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
Baby Booties, hats, mitts, diaper shirts, ponchos, young children to older kids apparel and accessories as well as some items for adults.

To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong? Etsykids and EtsyFAST

What inspires your creations?
The yarn. I love working with different fibers and all the wonderful colors available.

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

I learned to crochet when I was 9. My mother taught me the basics after the optometrist said my eyes needed focus exercises.
I started free form crocheting back then and continue creating in this manner. I do like learning new stitches, play around with them and see what it inspires me to make.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

The Autumn Afghan. The color, the season, an item that makes me feel at peace every time I look at it. If it doesn't sell soon, I'll probably be wrapping myself in it as the temps get cooler outdoors.

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

sensitive, stubborn, family-oriented

What do you like about Etsy?

The Etsy Dreamers that built the site and all that have come along and are working to keep that dream alive. A diverse community of people selling and helping others to achieve a part of that pie.

What makes your shop unique?
I don't consider my shop unique. Perhaps, like all the other shops it's the unseen faces and stories behind the scenes is where the true uniqueness would be found. For me, the creations are an expression of the people making them.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

~Sellers: Believe in yourself, love what you do, learn as much as you have time to learn, live life away from the pc occasionally, promote everywhere you can. Don't fret if sales are slow. It's hard I know, it seems many of us are in need of a cashflow.
~Buyers: Read profiles, feedback and don't be afraid to contact sellers with requests or questions.

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations (please include a link)?