Thursday, July 28, 2011

what's going on...

For the past few weeks, I've been...

dealing with an abominable landlord situation. highlights include a visit from the illegal construction division that resulted in a florescent orange "stop work order" on our door, no hot water for two days as a result (long story), a housing code violations inspection attended by our landlord which she failed for the 5th time, and finally spending hours at free legal aid clinics preparing for the trial against her in September.

working a lot, overseeing a summer camp this week and preparing for another at the end of August

getting ready for my brother's wedding next weekend

trying to get a birth certificate for Felix - no small feat when you have an "unassisted" (i.e. my midwide isn't licensed yet so I can't say she was there) home birth

attempting to renew our medical insurance

obsessing over where and when to move, scouring padmapper and craigslist for an inordinate amount of time each day, and being frustrated at myself for not being more at peace with our housing situation

...and I've also lost my camera. I distinctly remember putting it back in my desk drawer one day, and haven't seen it since.

Since I've been completely swamped with the above, all leisure pursuits (gardening, knitting, sewing, blogging, etc.) have been temporarily put on hold.

Of course, sprinkled throughout all of this are wonderful moments with my boys (big and small!), and I'm looking forward to making a few things this weekend for Jude's birthday on Wednesday.

More soon, I hope...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday at the National Gallery

We attended the Stories in Art program at the National Gallery this morning.
It was wonderful, as usual.

This time, Henry learned what "still life" paintings are. He got to make one with stickers and crayons at the gallery, but was very eager to go home and paint his own still life using produce from our garden like Rosa in the book we read, Still Life Stew. He and his Aunt Karen painted side by side.

One of these days I'm going to do a whole post about Henry's art. It truly is amazing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

ten years

On July 14, 2001, I was married to Daniel Wade McClain. Our first decade together has been full of life's joys & sorrows, triumphs & challenges. I am so thankful to have had this man by my side for all of it, and I look forward to many more years together. Happy Anniversary, love!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

carrot harvest

We harvested our carrots last week! I kept wondering if they were done, and then all of a sudden they seemed to be popping out of the ground, so I ended up picking all of them at once.

"What are we going to do with all these carrots?" I wondered aloud.

Henry said, "Let's make carrot cake!"

I combined this recipe and this one and it turned out great.
Henry insisted on decorating the cake with Spiderman and some candles.

Once we finished the cake, we all agreed that we needed to change things up, so I made carrot cupcakes. Yum.

Monday, July 11, 2011

for the love of coffee

You know that segment on NPR called "This I believe"?Here is the description:

Based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, Americans from all walks of life share the personal philosophies and core values that guide their daily lives.

Well, I believe in the importance of visiting the local coffee shop.

This goes back to the very beginning of our relationship. On our first date - Thanksgiving weekend of 1998 - we stopped at Starbucks for hot chocolate on our way to the exhibit Van Gogh's Van Goghs. The hot chocolate was important because although the tickets were free, you had to have one to get in, and they only allowed a certain number of people in at a time. We heard you had to line up around 6 am to get in at 10. (A disclaimer: in 1998, Starbucks was not the behemoth it is now, and Dan actually worked there when the machines were still manual and they sold loose bean in the store. He also collected the coffee stickers for me, which were on display for years around the windowsill in my room at my parents' home).

When we lived in Philadelphia, we visited Canvas pretty much every day (sadly, it's now closed). Phyllis' baked goods were amazing, and I can still recall the smell of butter cakes wafting out of the shop on nice spring days (the humidity has to be just right for them to rise, you see). Canvas was the destination of our very first outing with Henry after we brought him home from the hospital. I have a lot of good memories of those early days with Henry at Canvas.

For the year that we lived in Arlington, the closest coffee shop (that was not Starbucks) was Murky Coffee - now Northside Social, and even though it was a 25 minute walk, I managed to make it there with Henry most days. It was there he developed his love of bluberry muffins and iced chai. He also loved flirting with the baristas at the bar (no joke).

When we started looking for a house on Capitol Hill, Dan asked our realtor, "where is the neighborhood coffee shop?" She directed us to SOVA. There, sitting in the front with Henry, we chatted with a nanny who was there with her charge (a little boy also named Henry). Turns out she was about to move out of her house. She showed it to us and that was that - we moved to Wylie Street, where Henry grew from a baby into a toddler and Jude was (almost) born. We had a plot in the Wylie Street Community Garden and are friendly with everyone on the block to this day - our visit to Wylie St. is the higlight of trick or treating every year!

{a recent morning walk to SOVA}

Now we live a few blocks south on E Street but we still visit SOVA quite often, and it is where Dan and I do almost all of our work. I love seeing all the "regulars" each day, hearing about their lives, their daily joys and struggles, and sharing ours with them as well. I believe a good coffee shop should be a place to talk, hang out, sit, read the paper or a good book, knit, listen to music, but above all, connect with other people. We have made so many meaningful and lasting relationships with the people we've met at our local coffee shop. Visit yours today!

Friday, July 8, 2011

{this moment}

Joining SouleMama for this Friday picture, no words - a moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. Please leave a link to your moment below!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

found: an old rocking chair

I found the sweetest little rocking chair at a yard sale just around the corner from me last weekend. I seem to have a special place in my heart for vintage rocking chairs because we now have three. My sweet husband was so gracious about it, with a minimum of eye-rolling and only one "Are you sure you want another rocking chair?" Yes, please!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

make your own fireworks art!

Henry was so excited yesterday about the fireworks and needed something to do to pass the time. I knew this quick and easy project would capture his attention because he just loves glitter.

Even though the 4th is over, your little one might enjoy remembering last night's festivities by doing this simple craft.

For the first picture, I "drew" the fireworks with some natural glue and then showed Henry how to sprinkle on several colors to make it more exciting (actually, he already knows this technique as we used it for the Christmas cards we made together). We used this glitter; it's my favorite!

Shake off the excess, and...voila!

While we were still working, Jude woke up from his nap and really wanted to give it a try. As I expected, he mostly tried to mouth the glitter containers but I managed to help him make a pretty nice picture before he spilled glitter all over the place.

I hope everyone had a happy 4th!

Friday, July 1, 2011

{this moment}

Boy, it was a rough week, but things are looking up again.

Joining SouleMama for this Friday tradition...have a happy 4th, everyone!