My little guy got a digital camera for his birthday from his uncle and he is constantly snapping photos. A toddler photographer in the house makes for funny candid photos when you aren't, you know, expecting it. I'll be casually changing my clothes, picking my nose or going to the bathroom...and in he walks with the damn (I mean cool, amazing, awesome) camera.
We spent the weekend in Oak Glen, CA where we picked raspberries to our hearts content, hung out in apple orchards and sampled fresh cider and apples all afternoon at various farms. I was really hoping to go into labor while in an apple orchard. Something very romantic sounding about that. Alas, nothing happening here. I sure got lots of funny comments all day though.
Oak Glen was one of the areas recently threatened by all the Southern California wildfires. In fact, just across the road from this area is burnt to a blackened crisp. I'm so thankful the orchards were unharmed. Handmade signs dotted the roadsides everywhere expressing thanks.
You'd think that in having our own apple tree now we wouldn't be silly enough to buy apples, right? Um, no. After hanging out around the apple tasting bar below we came home with two huge boxes. I can't resist a gravenstein. Or a bushel of them. Or two.
Obsessed with not letting them go to waste, I've spent most of the last 24 hours making apple pie filling to freeze (raspberry pie filling too for that matter), apple molasses muffins and apple almond butter cookies to freeze. Next up are apple gorgonzola turnovers to freeze.
I've become obsessed with filling my freezer for the coming weeks. If anyone has any great post-partum freezer meal ideas for me I'm all ears. As it is now, all I've got are sweets! Which isn't a bad thing, I've been on a uber-healthy no sugar/no simple carbs pregnancy diet for nine months now. I can't wait to crack into my freezer stash. Oh yeah, and I'm excited to meet the baby too. But sugar! Here I come!
To kickoff each season, we create a new family manifesto. We gather together and write down a handful of things we want to focus on for that upcoming season. I've come to love this tradition, it is a wonderful check-in and guides us down the path that we want to stay on.
This upcoming autumn, we are keeping it really simple. In past seasons, we've had goals like "grow something edible" or "do art for the sake of doing art" but this season we know better than to be ambitious with moving and welcoming a new baby happening at the same time.
Autumn 2009 Family Manifesto
1. Welcome the season into our home
2. Homemade pumpkin pie & caramel apples
3. More outdoor cooking & dinners under the stars
4. Cozy up around the fireplace with hot cocoa
5. Pumpkin patch & pumpkins! (this one was my son's contribution)
It amazes me that my son always has something appropriate to add, he really "gets it" when we have this seasonal manifesto talk and I think he enjoys being a part of it. The very first time we did this he wasn't yet two and his contribution was "More Pancakes!" which was rather poignant since we only tend make pancakes on special lazy weekends when we are all at home for breakfast. It really said a lot without saying much.
If you decide to start this tradition with your family, try to keep your list small. A list that gets too long tends to just become a "to do" list and will be harder to remember. Focus on fun things (rather than tasks like cleaning out your rain gutters) so it stays fun for everyone. Remember, every family member should be involved!
We write our seasonal list while having a seasonal kick off celebration, so everyone gets in the mood. For example, we wrote our Spring list during the first spring picnic in a park, the Summer list was written at the beach and our Autumn manifesto discussion was perfectly accompanied by apple pie and a late night walk in crisp air. We write it up and then tack it to the fridge or the front door.
PS - yes, I know Autumn hasn't officially started yet. Not for what, another 2 weeks? We just couldn't wait this year!
What are you hoping to focus on this Autumn with your family?
We had our in home visit last night with our midwives & doula and I now officially have the "go ahead and go into labor" green light for a home birth. It feels amazing to "be here" in this place, this place of waiting, excitement and anticipation. (PS - my due date isn't for another 3 weeks, so don't expect any sort of announcement like, tomorrow or anything)
The difference between getting prenatal care at a hospital (which I did with my first pregnancy) and getting care from midwives can be summed up nicely in this photo from last night:
Above are my two midwives "listening to the baby" in my son's belly, everybody laughing, sitting on my couch with my big fat black cat hanging out behind them. What a stark contrast to sitting in a sterile waiting room for an hour to be poked and prodded by a different nurse every time and seeing the doctor for all of five minutes. I hate hospitals. I hated going to appointments even. With my midwives and doula I feel strong, supported and encouraged.
Speaking of encouragement, I've also been meaning to share about how touched I was when a group of mamas (that I've never met from the NaturalKids Team and coordinated by Chris) sent me these lovely tokens of support for my homebirth VBAC. Many of them have birthed at home themselves and to feel the outpouring of "you can do this!" was so uplifting and exactly what I needed that particular day when the package arrived.
Just look at these beautiful items (much of it handmade) I received along with cards of encouragement:
Next, we removed the shutters and 70s curtains and realized it is actually a very bright and sunny room! I painted it a very happy green. I love green like this, it makes me feel like a thriving, growing plant.
Since I've never had a room to myself inside the house I have no real furniture for it. Certainly nothing that matches. I do have a sewing machine, fabric and boxes of art supplies looking for a home. A "book shelf from here" and a "table from there" will be how I outfit this room and I'm sure thrift stores and spray paint or sanding will be involved. For a while, I was stuck like a deer in headlights. I needed a plan, a vision.
Stay tuned to see how this room progresses! (and to see how close to my "plan" it turns out to be)
What are you making cozy for fall?
PS - This post is part of the FALL NESTING PARTY at the Inspired Room and my entry towards winning a $200 GIFT CARD to Homegoods!!! Go check out all the fall nesting going on and post your own room that you are working on for your chance to win. That $200 sure would come in handy. Lamps! Curtain sheers! Oh my!
So three Wednesdays ago I mentioned my goal for having a simple dry pantry. Progress has been made! Well, with the help of planning to move to a new house, that is.
First, let me show you what I've been working with for the last five years in our apartment:
The problem? See how between the washer/dryer and trash cans there is less than 1 foot clearance to reach the food on the bookshelf? Well, considering I'm much MORE than 1 foot wide right now that this pantry is not very "huge pregnant lady" friendly. At all. Getting something from the bottom shelves involves moving both trash cans which can be hard when full and weigh 300 pounds.
Sometimes I can bribe my almost 3 year old to grab something for me...but when I ask for pears he often fetches black beans and vice versa so this isn't always an efficient solution.
Progress! I made labels finally. Photoshop + sticker paper. I printed 100 of them and will keep them in a tiny envelope taped to the inside of my new pantry so a fresh label will always be at hand when needed. Now I just need to get more mason jars. And you know, move.
And last, but not least...here is a sneak peak of the pantry that we've been working on in the new house. This was once a dingy bathroom that we gutted this summer so it has come a long, long way.
Look! It even has a real light fixture. That turns on with a switch, rather than a bare bulb with a pull string! Oh boy, we will be living in luxury. Seriously, I feel like I don't deserve this.
So why the obsession with pantries? Because I'm nesting, people. A well stocked and organized pantry is one of those simple things that makes me feel safe and secure. Don't you feel better and more "at home" after a trip to the grocery store?
Or more accurately in my case: