laughter in april

1 04 2012

Best tiny sound ever?

When Bebe laughs, waking up from his afternoon nap, it’s almost stealthy – crinkly peeking eyes, a stretched-out drowsy smile, and a small clicking sound coming from the back of his throat. Where the usual rusty chuckles or peals of laughter would be if he were more awake. Weird + adorable + infectious laughter.

Completely unrelated, but this commercial quote also made me laugh a lot today,
“He has inside jokes with complete strangers… Mosquitos refuse to bite him out of respect.”
I’m not a beer drinker, even un-preggo, but DUDE I would love to be respected by mosquitos like that. A totally useful superpower, ne?

Hope you had some good laughs today, too.





goodnight moon

31 03 2012

aka: actually following up with a Pinterest idea

goodnight moon

My sister introduced me to Pinterest in December, and I’ve been cautiously enthralled since then. Enthralled, because really – who doesn’t like to collect great ideas for future reference? Cautiously, because it can be a huge time-suck & because there is a gap between the gathering of Inspiration and actually Making or Doing something. Case in point? Most of my food-related pins languish untried… although the very few recipes I’ve attempted have been sooo delicious. Nom nom. Thank you, internet community.

I have been using my virtual pinboards quite a bit as we figure out our new home – paint colors, arranging things, etc. And I love so many of the ideas for kids’ spaces. For Bebe, I became geekily excited when I saw these gorgeous Christmas moons at Marie Claire Idees.

Minus the lovely glass or crystal chandelier bits – not exactly child-friendly – I thought that these giant crescent moons would be perfect for my boy. We have at least four copies of the Goodnight Moon books, which were originally given to us/him as baby presents, and he has loved each and every copy to a state of battered, gnawed on, torn-and-taped, bookish bits. So making him a giant moon softie went on my list for To Do ASAP.

And guess what? Instant love.

He helped me sort through my fabric pile (literally, it’s still a pile after three months of unpacking : shameful). We picked out a big scrap piece of heavy cotton duckcloth, drew the big circles together, and he happily watched me cut the pattern. Mr. P helpfully lured him away with promises of dish washing – lately our boy gets seriously excited by nightly dish cleaning – so that I had time to sew the pieces together and begin stuffing. Bebe came back as I stuffed the last few tufts inside and began stitching up the gap.

Originally, I’d thought that I would hang the moon on his wall or from the ceiling or something – whimsical room decor, ne? And I tacked a bit of lace in a loop in a top seam (badly placed for balance, as things turn out).

goodnight moon - decor

But Bebe immediately took charge and carried it off with demands for Mr. P to read him the eponymous bedtime story. And he slept with it all night, then carried it out of bed the next morning, propped it carefully near to hand for naptime, etc. He’s basically rolled around with it all over the house, which means the moon has already collected bits of dustbunny fuzz and random hair and required an interval of quick cleaning.

“It’s my goodnight moon,” he says. “You can hold it for a little bit, but I need it for sleeping. It’s my favorite -” which melts a crafty mama’s heart a lot, “- and so is my race car.”

goodnight moon - and car

Hah.





joy #2

30 03 2012

Family Perches is adding a new team member:

family wip

Meet our little Mignon!

Like Bebe, it’s a nickname / nom de blog. Like wrangling Bebe and resettling in our new home and traveling, this summer babe has been keeping me firmly occupied offline these past few months. Lots of silence here, lots of activity in life.

We’re slowly prepping his nest, slogging through the usual medical things, and entertaining Bebe with visions of Sibling-hood. Some times he’s all very “meh…” and others it looks more like this:

head tilts

“That’s my new baby,” he says. “Babies are fragile. I will kiss him. But he can’t play with my cars, those are for me.”

Ah, siblinghood…





moved in

9 01 2012

Saturday made it official:

we are home

we have moved into our house, shoes off, beds to sleep in and everything. Joy!

Our internet access is currently in transition/spotty, so expect more regular updates by the end of the week.





#1: the house

3 01 2012

[As you may have noticed, late 2011 was a crap-tacular period of blogging Void. Big life changes required all our bandwidth, and I didn’t really want to share three months of slogging through & exhaustion – that’s no fun to read, and I’m sure you have your own to deal with.

BUT the outcome of all of that are at least 2 cool joys. Here is #1.]

Oy! Admittedly, I wasn’t one of the big, strong guys unloading stuff from the semi-flatbed moving truck today. They kindly put me in charge of checking off progress on the inventory lists. And meanwhile try to corral a high-energy kiddo within a designated safe/play zone. And puzzle over possible contents of boxes that have been in storage for nearly three years.

Still: this mama is tired. And I forgot to take pictures of the chaos – although I’m sure you’ll get that tomorrow when the unpacking commences. Fun, ne?

Actually, it is totally fun. Our first house! Six years of dreaming and saving and job changes and moving have finally led us into our Very Own front door.

A red door.

Totally fun.





lovely invite

3 01 2012

The 2012 Year of Lovely Things site has been updated and the sign-up form is ready to go. Woot!

Want to play? It is super simple.

1 : Make a list of 52 fun activities or accomplishments (small things that you can sprinkle into your week or that embellish your larger plans/goals). Each one should be doable within a day or a week.

2 : Complete the 2012 sign-up form on Google docs. You will be added to the Participants list within 1-2 days after I receive your form. I’ll also send you a graphic if you’d like to use it for a blog, etc.

3 : Go and enjoy your year, and post updates as you progress through you list.

And as I’ve said before, there’s no pressure if they don’t happen, but how nice if they do. It’s just my way to deliberately add a little more joy into everyday life.





lovely things 2012

2 01 2012

My new year’s list of lovely things:

GO
watch a thunderstorm | visit a garden | take a picnic to the Outer Banks | visit a historic place | go fishing with the boys | go camping in the mountains | pick berries | visit a local farm | play at the beach | go to a festival

TRY/LEARN
re-upholster a chair | try zumba | learn about a local environmental group

BAKE/COOK
pretzels | Aimee’s okra pickles | Nutella pastries | bread with Bebe | taco night for Mr. P | biscotti | a pitcher of sun tea | comfort soup | cookies w/Bebe | kiddo-friendly sushi rolls

HOST
invite friends to meet for bowling | have a backyard movie night | invite friends over for a champagne brunch | have a garden party | have friends over for make-your-own pizza

GIVE/SEND
support public library | call a friend who lives far away | volunteer | donate clothes/toys | join a community Earth Day project | support local food bank | send a care package

MAKE
make summer pants for Bebe | stencil a floor rug | write three poems | embroider something | add crocheted trim to a pair of pillowcases | finish sweater for Mr. P | make a bottle of Soulemama’s ‘bug-away’ | make a couple of baby gifts | make a Harvest Notebook for our new garden | do a project with autumn leaves

TREAT
watch a foreign movie | dance with Mr. P | get flowers | buy some pretty yarn | watch the sunrise | get a french manicure | plant a fruit tree





farewell 2011

1 01 2012

You were a funny kind of year – exhausting in so very many ways, yet sprinkled with some wonderful grace notes – and I am relieved to see the end of you.

An interesting year lies ahead. We can expect regular blog posts again. We’ve lots to share & to celebrate. Tomorrow we’ll check-in briefly – we’re still traveling home across 8 states.

Right now I have a hotel bed to crash into, a tired three-year old who’s eager for his good-night story, and a new list to finish for another Year of Lovely Things.

For my Lovely friends from previous years, sorry for the holiday delays, sign-ups will go live Jan 2.

Wishing you all joy and well-being in the new year. See you again in 2012.





moving: just a few things

21 09 2011

Yeek! It’s Moving Day tomorrow (um, day one of 3 and hopefully 4).

packing with toddler

We’re heading down to temporary housing for a few months. Mr. P was campaigning for making do with an air mattress for 3 months, but I’ve persuaded him that putting the bed in storage would endanger our domestic tranquility. And the yarn stash + sewing machine + craft supplies + baking supplies + kitchen aid mixer. And something to sit on. So a moving truck it is (that’s day two).

Maybe there’ll be a house in our future this fall/winter, fingers crossed.





little earthquakes

23 08 2011

It started with a crash, boom, shaking. My first (and irrational) thought was that the upstairs neighbor was madly pounding on the floor with a sledge hammer. Then of course I realized it was (however unlikely) an earthquake.

We’ve just had a medium-ish earthquake here in VA. We’re all fine, more surprised than anything else, only some dishes knocked into the sink and a few things knocked off the walls. Bebe calls it, “Boom! Shake!” (with arms thrown up in the air and eyebrows high).

Growing up in various places, I went through school earthquake drills and a few earthquakes. And lots of small shakes while I was working in Japan. So I grabbed Bebe, tucked us into a doorway, and waited for everything to stop. It took a while.

USGS are saying it was a 5.9 earthquake centered in Mineral,VA (by Lake Anna, Louisa county). Aftershocks are expected within the next hour. Broke the area record for a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in 1897.

Regarding the nuclear plant in nearby Lake Anna, VA, reports are saying that it was not affected and has been shut down.

The Pentagon & US Capitol building in DC have been evacuated. Apparently it’s been felt as far away as SC, Boston, NYC and Philly.

Crazy way to break up our lunch, and (sigh) has guaranteed Bebe won’t be napping today.





delightful things

12 08 2011

Savoring a few photo-less moments, as we wrapped up our home hunting trip and took a brief break by the sea:

swimming laps in the twilight just before dawn, and watching the sun rise in a blaze of rose and gold over the ocean;

sipping coffee with Mr P at a beachside cafe while Bebe happily devours scrambled eggs & a cut-up pile of small pancakes;

wading past the surf zone on a hot day and drifting in calm ocean swells;

building and rebuilding small sand castles around Bebe, who gleefully destroys them and then immediately throws his hands up in shock and pretends to be surprised by the destruction, dramatically howling, “Oh nooo! What happened? The sand castles are broken! What am I gonna do??”;

finding a couple absolutely lovely skeins of Madelinetosh DK at a local yarn shop;

watching evening fireworks with Mr P;

and heading home (current home) again.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.





adventures in home hunting

10 08 2011

Returning to our room every night after 8pm, I’ve had to renege on my previous claim of daily updates. Bebe’s done most of his napping in the car, which works out since the hotel room has been too different from home for him to really settle and sleep.

We’ve interspersed our daily home hunting with big and small adventures: a community barbecue, a beach day, an impromptu dash to the Outer Banks and back. And a change of hotels, since our first place was dirty and increasingly creeptacular – things like neighbors having early morning kitchenette fires; a pit bull (?!) bursting out of a room as Bebe & Mr P walked by, etc.

Which reminds me, did I mention the wandering pit bull we encountered at a house visit? Yep, we saw the large empty dog crate and then looked up to see the large dog. Eeeep! Immediate Scene Exit by the Family Perches + Realtor. Followed by leaping out the secondary front door, closing Bebe into the car, and then finagling some dog distraction so that we could re-open the door, close the main one, and then close the glass door.

In a sitcom, this would be scary-funny. In person, my Bebe was way too close to a seemingly-mild yet totally untethered guard dog in its own territory. Our realtor burned up the cell phone chastising whoever was representing that house. Bad selling agent, bad! And “No, they do NOT want to come back for another look later. No, not ever.”

Carry on, home hunters…





to market, to market

4 08 2011

To find a first house:

1. Make sure toddler has adequate entertainment, snacks, and naptime. Even so, be prepared for mini meltdowns.

2. Find a realtor whose awesomeness entails: being prompt and highly competent at her job; sustaining graceful patience with our active and often screechy toddler (and humorously swapping anecdotes as a fellow mom-of-toddler); pointing out all of the good eateries, specialty markets, and family resources in our search areas.

3. Encroach on toddler’s naptime at your peril. Seriously.

Bebe’s decided that looking at houses is Fun. Especially that big, empty rooms are fun to dash through (back and forth and back again) and fill with loud, happy echoes.

The challenges come when visiting a home still occupied by the owner’s large and/or small dogs; new (because they’re someone else’s) toys; remote controls, water glasses, etc – all of which Must Not Be Disturbed. Confusing boundaries for our wee young human to understand and accept.

Mr. P met Bebe’s occasional eruptions of Shrieking Protest with his usual humor and grace. I handed out abashed apologies like a tissue vendor on a Tokyo street corner (i.e. constantly and accompanied by head-bobbing Excuse Me’s and Thank You’s). Our realtor demonstrated her awesome-ness.

For tomorrow, Bebe says, “Yahhh: let’s go More Houses now please! And apples!” Immediately followed by the contrary, “No, I don’t like go see houses anymore. Or apples. Where’s my blanket?”

Ah, life with a two-year-old.





dusting off

3 08 2011

It’s official: the Perches family is moving again. This time we’re pulling up roots and heading south, to a place with less snow, more beach, and the ever-fun possibilities implicit in new employment, neighborhoods, and future friends.

We’re still in the early stages: pulling piles of packing boxes out of storage; browsing through housing; sorting household things through keep/donate/sell/giveaway. Exploring. Generally dusting off the habits of transitions.

I hope our next place has enough room to install our library, most of which has been in storage for the past three moves. And a proper workshop for powertools. And room for a vegetable garden, fruit trees, bees and bunnies and chickens…or at least a little bit of green space. Hmmm: another habit we’re dusting off is the Perfect House Dreaming. You know, the Someday Home, of which we usually have to accept precious bits and pieces instead of the dreamy whole.

What kind of things make up your Someday Home?

This week we’ll post a daily update from our tours through new towns and beachy activities.





duckie one is go!

11 07 2011

Five years ago, in a galaxy & lifestyle far far away, I never would’ve talked about knitting, let alone making a sock. And now:

first knit sock!

My first sock! Sock one (of two) is go! Woot!

It’s such a lovely pattern, very easy to follow – even the dreaded gusset/heel section. I highly recommend the pattern for first-timers. Thank you, Samantha, for sharing this as a free pattern: Love it!

My mods
1.5″ for top ribbing
15 repeats for leg
4 rounds st st before beginning toe decreases

(29 pattern repeats total: 15 in leg, 4 in gusset/heel section, 11 in foot)

Unblocked, this reaches to mid-calf on me. The 2 skeins of chickadee/Quince & Co. gave me a lot of extra yardage to play with – 181 yards (sport weight) per sock – which is great since I prefer longer socks. I still have quite a bit of yarn leftover – enough to try making some adorable newborn Duckies (like this one on Ravelry but in sport weight). If doing this pattern again with this yarn, I would use the yardage to do 20 repeats for the leg.

Mr. P had patiently supportive things to say when I presented the sock to him (planting it on his chest as he lay on the sofa watching sports), including:
Hello? That’s very pretty.
…I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you wanted me to talk about the sock.
It looks very warm. And this lace part is nice.
Great work, honey.

And the best part? I wandered into another room, sighed and muttered about how sad it was for this pretty sock to be afflicted by my wide, paddle-shaped feet. Mr. P harumphed from the sofa and came over to tell me, “I like your feet. And who cares if they’re wide? That helps you swim faster.”

I love him partly because he’s so good.

Details
Pattern: Duckies by Samantha Hayes (free pattern)
Yarn: Quince & Co. chickadee (dogwood)
For more details, see my Ravelry project page.








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