Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Samaya's 2nd Birthday

12 months successfully completed: check.

Mud: check.

Paint: check.

Water: check.

Bubbles: check. sort of.

Cake and ice cream: check.

One very happy birthday: check.

The sun smiled down on us after forever days of rain, Sisay's brother came from D.C., our dear friends Leigh and Ilianna came from New York, a wonderful group of friends came to celebrate with us, and the children had a delightful time regarding all things messy.
I learned that the simpler things are, the more work it actually is. But the satisfaction of watching children truly delighted, using their imaginations, playing hard together, dripping with homemade coconut milk ice cream makes it more than worth it.

The details, for those interested...

12 Months: Stolen from our friend and amazing photographer Negeen, we take a photo of Samaya on the 15th of each month (or as close to it as we remember), and string them up at each birthday as a lovely documentation of the year. I'll put them together in a scrapbook when I get around to it.

Mud Kitchen: My dad made Samaya an awesome table and I collected a bunch of thrifted kitchenware as well as a galvanized steel pan for a sink. For another awesome backyard kitchen, go here.

Paint: Sisay cleverly stapled old white sheets to pieces of cardboard and hung them on the fence for a creativity free-for-all.

Water: A kiddie pool that the kids turned into a giant bubble bath with the soap from our failed bubble solution. They had a total blast with this one. We also had a small water table (i.e. tupperware container) with matching foam shapes to fish out and a few boats.

Bubbles: I made some pretty cool bubble wands and attempted to make the bubble solution, but apparently I'm bubble impaired. We'll certainly try again though so keep an eye out.

Cake and Ice Cream: I used this ice cream recipe and this frosting recipe. Violet has a dairy sensitivity and we just like things wholesome around here, so everything was dairy-free and sweetened with honey or maple syrup. They were both YUM.

Happy Birthday banner: I made this last year before Samaya's first birthday and it gets taken out for each birthday. This was taken from Amanda Blake Soule's book, Handmade Home, who probably will never know she is one of my very favorite people.

Try something! And happy almost summer :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Grandparents

Apparently Grandpa almost strangled Samaya trying to get her bathing suit on today (his words, not mine), but mostly they do alright :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

First Born

So as not to forget about that other daughter who used to be the center of attention and now...still is (partly because of the incessant screaming that has permanently damaged my right ear), let us bask in the right now of an almost two-year-old...

Recently she's been bitten hard by the fashion bug. Yesterday it took me from breakfast until dinner to fold a load of laundry because apparently everything she owns is her absolute favorite and HAS TO BE ON HER BODY RIGHT THIS SECOND. Pink bathing suit: 'I LOVE THIS ONE!'. Dress that Sina and Julia brought her back from Sweden: 'SINAJUJUDRESS! WEAR IT!!!' Polkadot shirt: 'POKAPOTS!!!!! I am most definitely not exaggerating when I say that she wore every single dress she currently owns in the space of a couple hours, experimenting with the twirl effect and the freedom of pantlessness. With warm weather upon us, she still cannot get over that she does not have to wear pants, and so this fact must be commented on regularly. Shoes and diapers suddenly seem so superfluous as well. Actually, shoes in the car, store, outside in general: superfluous. Shoes on the bed: vital.

Warm weather is also playground weather. After putting on her socks, finding her jacket, removing her socks, and putting on her shoes, she inevitably appears at my side, declaring, "Mommy, I ready park!"

Her second birthday is coming up next week and we've been talking about it for weeks now. When asked what she wants to do for her birthday she will inform you that a purple cake is in order. And of course the obligatory singing of 'Happy to you.'

She has a family of Little People that have seen significantly more action as we launch into the magical world of imaginary play. Baby Lilac can occasionally be found pressing her hard plastic lips to Samaya's chest just before being chucked across the room. ('All done!') The four are referred to as friends and are often required to join her at the dinner table. They line up obediently and offer words of encouragement and commentary on the meal.

Her first true love of an inanimate object is her baby doll, who was a big sister gift from her good friend Asher. Chaltu (so named by Daddy) is carried in the sling, nursed ('other side?'), fed, burped, changed, and read to. It is so fun to watch all the tiny nuances she picks up on in our care for Violet.

I'm just now realizing that she might just be the messiest child in the universe, and only because we've been spending time with an insanely tidy two-year-old who actually manages to eat watermelon without dripping any on her clothes. Which can't be normal. Between the wardrobe obsession and the after-every-meal clothes change, and the cloth diapers, and the water play, and the, thanks Laundry Boy. I mean, Dear Husband of Mine.

The sweet, sweet sister love going on over here is enough to keep my heart in a permanent state of puddle. Violet is the first she seeks out in the morning, the most frequent recipient of her hugs and kisses, and a devoted audience to many a song and dance. Over the past few weeks, we've transitioned from 'Baby' to 'Whylet', indicating that the baby who showed up one day in her own Mama's arms with a shock of black hair has permanently set up shop as Samaya's adored sister, playmate, friend.

Her repertoire of all things scary includes beards, traffic, shadows, flying insects, seagulls, and waves. Spiders and thunder have recently been crossed off seeing as how one has a cute song and the other signals rain. Which signals a refreshing shower under the gutter, puddle jumping, and collecting rain in upturned umbrellas (obviously).

Now if I can only remember how darn cute she is tomorrow when she's breaking my one remaining ear drum...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Second Born

In case Violet decides to revamp her personality, let me just say for the record that she is yummy. delightful. pleasant. happy. sensitive. loving. lovely. content.

I thought it would be harder to fall in love with her. I don't know, not being the first or something. But a unique, perfect human being falling out of one's womb turns out to be equally magical the second time around. And this child...she just makes it so easy. Granted, she does NOT like to be misunderstood and when the big people in her life are deliberately disregarding her need for sleep she makes it quite clear. But other than that, she tosses smiles at perfect strangers. She contentedly examines and chews her hands for long periods of time. She loves her sister so intensely that her whole body spasms every time she sees her (and her big sister loves her just as fiercely). She is gorgeous. She nuzzles her head into your shoulder whenever she is held. If startled by a loud noise or sudden movement, she lets out a heartbreaking cry, then promptly stops once in Mommy's arms. She is alert and lively.

We all love our kids. No choice there. I'm just so blessed to like my kids. Even if they weren't mine, I'm pretty sure I'd pick them out of a crowd and say, "Hey, they look really cool. I'd really like to get to know them."

Lucky for me that just happens to be my current job.