Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stuff I'm Diggin'

Today's post is just a mish-mash of stuff that I am doing/reading/liking these days. No deep introspection, just sharing!

Blogs & Pages from people I don't know, but kinda wish I did
I currently have a blogcrush on  Siriously Delicious. Since Allie hasn't posted anything on Hyperbole and a Half since October 2011 (I know, she who lives in glass blog shouldn't throw stones), I needed a new blogcrush. Siriously Delicious is it. She's funny, she makes delicious food that makes me half think about cooking like a proper adult and she just finished a 3 day baking stint. Yum!

Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures is also one of my new favorites. Every time I log onto this blog I find myself clicking through and nodding along with her posts because it is eerily similar to my life. I swear she lives in my head. I also find myself quoting "Kids wake-up with energy. Kids wake-up with loudness." quite frequently.

This year we're giving Square Foot Gardening a whirl. We shall see how that all goes. I have this worry that because we're actually trying to be knowledgeable about our garden and not just throwing seedlings in willy nilly, our garden will not grow this year. I am, however, super excited about my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Blogs & Pages from moms I actually know:
Raising my Rainbow is a super awesome mom's adventures in raising her gender nonconforming son. She's witty and smart and deals with touchy, difficult situations in brutally honest, sometimes painful and often hilarious ways.

My friend Kristi not only has her wonderful blog Mommy Crib Notes, but has recently become the editor of Milkshake Kids which is a FABULOUS resource for parents. Lots of great advice, information and suggestions for all things kid related. It is also focused on giving back, which is totally rad!

Little Man's God-Mama, Wendy,  has an awesome online boutique called Petals and Panache where she sells her HANDMADE head wear. She somehow manages to produce beautiful work, market her product, sell in both on-line and in-store boutiques AND she does this whilst two adorable and energetic little girls are in her house. I'm not sure how she does it! Seriously, this stuff is GORGEOUS. I am quite in love this and have been for quite some time, but haven't had any fancy occasions which merited such delightful hair accoutrement.

Last, but certainly not least, is Joy's Teaspoon nummy teas, and I'm not even a tea drinker. I highly recommend Emporer's 7 Treasures. It is delish. Not only does the proprietor Naomi sell amazing teas and spices, but she does it with the Earth in mind. That is something I can get behind!

Books and Such
At any one given time, I am "reading" about 3-10 books. I love books, I'm " invariably interested in so many things" so I'm usually trying to consume everything I can all at once. In a combination of paper books and Kindle/Nook books, here's what I'm reading right now.

(Disclaimer: I am now an Amazon Affiliate, so if you click on these links & buy, I get a small kick-back. That isn't why I'm posting about them, but I want to make sure you know!)

The Backyard Homestead -- Because in my mind, we're going to become Suburban Agriculturalists who live off of our tiny (someday) yard and/or garden plot. It is actually really interesting and has me jazzed to learn the art of canning and preserving my garden bounty this year!

The Urban Homestead -- The authors actually live in Los Angeles, so that is pretty inspiring, considering its proximity to where we live.

Pat Welsh's Southern California Organic Gardening  -- it has been my go-to helper in the garden ever since I checked it out of the library last summer. Fret not, I returned that copy and bought one for my Kindle app.

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening -- I have been pouring over this book, trying to get the layout of the garden just right. At one point I, frustratedly, likened companion planting to those horrible logic questions on the GRE that I was crap at. "If carrots like tomatoes and tomatoes like onions and broccoli likes onions, but not tomatoes and you have a broccoli plant smack-dab in the middle of your plot, where do you plant the tomatoes?"

1-2-3 Magic -- Dr. Phelan's fairly no-nonsense, no yelling, no hitting guide for disciplining your unruly beasts. Once we get through it, we're gonna be champs! (We have been watching the DVD and Dr. Phelan is actually pretty funny!)

It Looked Different on the Model  -- Laurie Notaro never fails to make me HOWL with laughter. I once made the mistake of reading one of her books on a plane and ended up looking like I was having convulsions whilst weeping because I was trying so hard to stifle my laughter.

I'm also simultaneously reading Sunset Magazine (this month is all about gardening) and Real Simple. Oh and I make time for the TV too... New Girl. You must watch it.

Okay, so that is what I'm diggin'...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Digital Mini-Break

For Easter weekend, the Cluttered Family took a quick jaunt up to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a camping trip with my family. My mom, "Nema," and her husband, "Cowboy Grampa," own 40 acres of undeveloped land about 5 minutes away from the house where I grew up, so she had us all come up, pitch tents and have a grand old time.

My sister, Knittersister, and I have developed a policy of unplugging whilst camping-- even when we're somewhere like my mom's property which gets a solid cell phone signal. We like to pretend that we're in the middle of nowhere and that we can't be reached, so we do our best to not be in digital land. I don't think I saw Knittersister even pick up her phone all weekend. I, on the other hand, had my phone with me most of the time because I used it as my point & shoot camera (and to listen to my sweet jams whilst prepping lunch on Saturday), but I had switched it to airplane mode for the duration of the weekend.

And you know what? It was delightful.

There were no pings and beeps and sundry sounds to alert me that I had received a text message, facebook comment, email or voicemail. Once those stopped it was really easy to disengage from the digital world and engage in the present. I also discovered that there was nothing that happened in my digital world that couldn't wait until Sunday afternoon when I switched my phone off of airplane mode. Sure, my students didn't get an immediate response about what they'd missed when they skipped class on the Wednesday before Spring Break, but then again, they chose to skip class and wait over a week to contact me, so why should they be allowed to interrupt my perfectly lovely holiday weekend?

It has made me think that one of the best ways for me to combat my iPhone/social networking over-consumption would be to take frequent digital hiatuses where I turn on airplane mode and let the digital world take a back seat to the real world. I'm also curious to find out how others disconnect from the digital world in order to engage in the present. What do you do when it all becomes digitally too much?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why I Let My Boys Sleep with Us

I am not a bed sharer or your typical co-sleeper. I am a firm believer in the importance of children learning to fall asleep on their own & in their own beds. I let my babies CIO.

But I also let our boys crawl into bed with us in the wee hours of the morning. Six out of 7 days a week, you will find one or both of them in bed with us by 6 am. As much as I don't love the wake ups or the kicking & thrashing that often accompanies having two small potatoes in bed with us, I realize the window of time where they WANT to snuggle us is very small. I also realize that, as the mother of boys, the window of time where it is appropriate for them to lay their heads on my chest or for me to smother their little bodies in kisses is finite.

In a not so distant future, my boys will be big on-the-go teenagers and, eventually, well-adjusted men with rich, full lives and my role will be much smaller in their day to day lives. The lengthy cuddles, head to toe kisses and the feeling of their chubby little baby hands in mine will be a memory of a bygone era. Reposing in bed as a family on a Saturday morning will no longer happen. It will be a sweet memory for all of us to cherish, but no longer a reality.

There will come a day when I wake up and the space between Diesel and I is no longer filled with two sweet slumbering boys looking heartbreakingly beautiful, always reminding me that they are the single most perfect thing I have EVER created in my life. This thought creates in me a certain wistful sadness about the future. I am excited to see where my boys' lives take them and how they grow and what they become, but I wish I could slow time and keep them small just a bit longer. In some way, this is my way of postponing the inevitable for just a bit longer; capturing a special moment in time and holding it in my heart.

That is why I let my boys sleep with us.

And frankly, who wouldn't want to wake up to this?