Friday, August 30, 2013

and now, a little bit about my coworker

He rides in each day on his red motorcycle.  Sometimes there is a bit of a traffic jam, but he always makes it in by 9:30.  

He helps ship out the previous days' orders and sometimes sits on the larger boxes.  You know, to check that they're sturdy enough to make it through the mail.  As you can see, we don't have a strict dress code. Pajamas are welcome, especially if they have cars on them.  

We brainstorm and chat and if I get too many threads on the floor he will bust out his dog vacuum and clean up behind me (ps- thank you, Kelli, for the dog vacuum- I'm not quite sure what we did without it!).  This week, we even had an out-of-the-house business meeting that he sat through like a champ (with a lot of help from an amazing friend).  

We take lots of breaks for cuddles and snacks and I can hardly remember the days when there wasn't someone here to cuddle with during the work day.  I definitely prefer it this way.  

This week has been a doozie and I am counting down the hours until the weekend.  The fact that it's an extra long one fills me with so much joy that it's hard to focus on what I need to get done this afternoon.  But there are about five bow ties between me and some relaxation, so I'm going to soldier on and finish up.  
Here's hoping your weekend is full of grilled food and one last swim!

Monday, August 26, 2013

eat outside

 Happy Monday, friends!  Did you have a good weekend?  

We sure did.  The weather couldn't have been better, which is not something that is often said about weather in the south, in August.  We had a lovely picnic with our friends, Aaron and Becky, on Saturday, grilled lunch out on Sunday, and worked and played outside between meals.  We even ate snack in our lounge chairs.  

Arthur's phrase for the weekend?  "Eat outside!"  He loved it.  

 It would be difficult to describe to you just how much fun this kid is, unless you lived with him.  He's creative and smart and funny and even when he wakes up eight times in one night we're still totally crazy about him.  

I put off my plans for scarf photo shoots in favor of more time for fun, but this week we are going to have to get down to business.  Luckily, my college roommate, who also happens to be an amazing photographer, is coming for a visit tomorrow.  I haven't told her yet that she'll be working while she's here.  

Sunday was a lazy day (see "up eight times in one night" above) where we attempted to make plans and then scrapped every single one of them.  It was for the best.  We lounged and relaxed and worked in the yard and cooked dinner together.  

Of course, it was sushi.  Obviously.

We gave Arthur a new food cutting set and he Iron Chef-ed it at the counter with me and it was lots of fun.  

Today, I'm feeling optimistic about the week ahead.  I've got a big to-do list, but I also have five whole days in front of me to get it all done!

Friday, August 23, 2013

the importance of opposable thumbs

I have a new appreciation for Fridays, now that I'm a mom.  The weekend now means that, not only do I get to hang out with Steve for two whole days, I get to enjoy Steve's help for two whole days.  It also means no 6 am alarm, hallelujah and amen.

This week has felt long and, making it feel a bit longer is the fact that I have had scant use of my left thumb for half of it.  I managed to slice into my thumb while cutting a peach during a particularly bad spot in the day on Wednesday.  After the general ruckus was over ("am I going to pass out?  i am NOT going to pass out.  boo-boo, mama?") and I was properly bandaged, I started to realize just how many things I need my thumb for.  


Cracking an egg. 

Tying a bow tie. 

Grasping anything with a twist top.  

You can picture how productive I've been.  

What's funny is that all I keep thinking about is that part in 'Meet the Parents' where the dad tells Greg that the cat can't flush the toilet because he lacks opposable thumbs.  Thankfully, I can still flush.  And my thumb is getting better by the day.  And I'm using up some of the 85 million band-aids we have because we're prepared for... what?  A war?  Nobody can figure out where they all came from.  

In addition to willing my skin to grow back together, this weekend we're looking forward some relaxing, a picnic with friends, and more product photos.  Our bow tie model will be sad to find out that I just finished a batch of little boy's scarves that will soon be wrapped around his precious little neck.  As his dad can attest, taking scarf pictures when it's 80 degrees outside is a bit sweaty, but such are the hazards to living with me. I feed them both really well though, so that's something.  

Hope your weekend feels like it's longer than usual!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

the morning hour

Last night, after a quick trip out to get gas in the car, we stopped for some frozen yogurt.  Mainly because I accidentally said "ice cream" earlier in the evening and Arthur's eyes got huge and he stared at us like "where the heck is the ice cream?!?" and then I felt too bad telling him there was no ice cream.  

But also, we just like frozen dairy treats.  We may have gone anyway, but now that we have a kid to blame things on, I plan to just do that.  

Now that we are in a routine with Steve going to work, I am able to get into more of a routine with my work. I always aim to get a lot of sewing done during nap time (I love you, nap time!), but sometimes I'm pretty drained by that point in the day.  I save my "thinking tasks" for the morning hour- the blissful time between Steve leaving for work and Arthur waking up.  It's when I send emails, write blog posts, make plans, or work on new patterns.  I also get the packages ready to ship out for the day.  

This morning, I'm continuing to work on  our new fall line.  I'm so excited about all the flannel and wool that is taking up every spare inch of space in my office and about to spill over into our closet.  We've been brainstorming creative ways to get pictures taken, now that we have an extra "helper".  I'm learning what work I can do with Arthur (anything that looks boring) and what work I have to save for nap (anything involving scissors or precision- yesterday I got pegged with a Sponge Bob ball while trying to finish up some hand sewing).  

Hope your day is off to a promising start!

*Editor's note: today's "morning hour" lasted 24 minutes

Monday, August 19, 2013

sushi night

It all started with a rice cooker.  

Steve has wanted a rice cooker for some time now, because he likes to eat rice all the time.  I wanted a rice cooker to make sushi, because I read somewhere that you really need a rice cooker to make proper sushi rice.  But the thought of making sushi was not enough to push me over the edge to buy a new kitchen gadget, especially when we don't have any extra room for kitchen gadgets.  

Then we added a new family member who also likes to eat rice all the time.  The rice balance in the house has shifted.  

So out went the electric skillet (we have a strict one in-one out policy) and in came the rice cooker.  When I found out that it could steam vegetables as well, I felt better about giving it shelf space in the kitchen.  

Over the weekend, we purchased a few basic sushi supplies, all for less than $10.  We got bamboo mats and rice paddles and some beginner chop sticks for the little guy (all from World Market and Bed Bath and Beyond).  

We cooked the rice earlier in the day so that it would have a chance to cool off.  Once the rice was cooked, I mixed it with a mixture of 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  

I cut all of our ingredients into matchstick-like pieces and that seemed to work out well.  We used cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado, carrots, and cucumber.  

It was so much fun to have all of us at the counter making the sushi rolls.  Arthur loved being a part of the action and wore his apron and pressed his rice onto the mat like a pro.

He also discovered a real love for nori and ate several huge sushi burritos of nori filled with rice and shrimp while we worked.  I know he has a developed palate, but even I was shocked that he was eating seaweed.  
Making the rolls was a little challenging and we've determined to need to watch a sushi chef sometime soon to get some pointers.  Our rolls all ended up being a bit too fat- it's hard to know how much you need to put in each one.  

Cutting them was also tricky, but I figured out that if you wet the knife between each cut it helped a lot.  We rolled some in sesame seeds before cutting.  

It all sounds kind of involved, but it really only took us an hour and when we were done, we had a huge platter of fresh sushi!  Even though some of the pieces were falling apart, it tasted amazing.  I think that sushi night may be a weekly event now.  

Today is rainy and my sidekick and I are knocking out a bunch of household chores and working on some new flannel scarves for fall!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Recap: the luckiest

This is part three in a series of posts about the summer we became parents.  You can read parts one and two here and here.  

All in all, we had the most magical, unusual summer.  Steve got to be home with Arthur and I and, as we are both completely crazy about Steve, you can imagine how much fun that was.  

We actually did a fair amount of travelling, both because we could and because we wanted to show off our awesome new kid.  We visited lots of friends and family and enjoyed the beach and the mountains.  Arthur made lots of friends and got to play with everyone else's toys and was pretty much a champ the whole time.  He doesn't love being in the car for more than an hour or two, but really- who does? 

As I mentioned before, my shop continued to be busy throughout the summer, mainly with bow tie sales.  I sewed during nap time, I sewed after bed time, and my little helper takes the packages outside to the mailbox for me each morning.  I started on a new line of ties for boys and we spent a couple of funny afternoons bribing our model with grapes to get a few good shots.  

It's been fun to learn all about our son and I think that is one of the really interesting things about adopting an older child- they are already a person with likes and dislikes.  Arthur is a great eater and is willing to try almost any food.  We've watched him devour eggplant lasagna and collard greens and all kinds of things that I doubt his peers are eating and we're thrilled.  He also loves to clean, loves trucks and dogs (consider it a banner day if we see a dog riding in a truck), will sleep in until 8am every day if we let him.  He is kind and funny and wants to be a part of every conversation we have.  He stands at the front door and waves to all the neighbors (and their dogs) and watches for the mail truck like it's his job.  

If you'd asked me when I was younger what I wanted to be when I grew up, my "career" type answers would have varied from a scientist to a brain surgeon to president of the United States, but the one thing that I always wanted to be was a mom.  I wanted to be married to a good man who would go to work and provide for our family and come home and kiss me and be proud that I stayed home all day with our babies, cooking and cleaning and keeping the house running.  And it doesn't escape me now that not many people get to realize their childhood dreams and I think about the two guys who now share my home, my life, my heart, and the Ben Folds Five song runs through my head- 

           Now I know all the wrong turns
           The stumbles and falls brought me here
           And where was I before the day
           That I first saw your lovely face?
           Now I see it every day
           And I know
           That I am...
           The luckiest

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Recap: the early days

This is part two in a series of posts about the summer we became parents.  You can read part one here.  

During our first week home, we slept any time and any where we could.  We slept on the floor.  We slept on the sofa.  We slept in the car, parked in the garage (no joke).  

We kept the "Survival Chinese" book that my mom gave us out on the coffee table and referenced it multiple times a day.  There was a lot of pointing and head shaking and somehow, we all seemed to understand each other fairly well.

The weather was, blessedly, gorgeous, so we spent hours in the yard.  Arthur, who had never been outside much before, got an awesome tan.  

Steve and I laughed at the fact that we used to be productive people because suddenly, we couldn't figure out how to accomplish anything.  If we all three got dressed and ate meals, it was considered a good day.  

After just a few weeks at home, we took our first family vacation to the beach.  It was awesome.  We marveled at the fact that our newest family member fit right into our usual beach routine- he loved the water, loved the seafood, loved walking to get ice cream.  

Slowly, we started to get our bearings as parents of a toddler.  I think we managed to vacuum the house for the first time after we'd been home for about a month.  If you know us, this is kind of shocking.  But we were (and still are) so happy to make up for lost time with our little guy and spend hours playing together and getting acquainted.  

Lots of people have asked us if there were any big surprises with our adoption and we both will say the same thing- we were surprised by how quickly we bonded as a family.  It was the best surprise I could have hoped for.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Recap: the trip

As I've though about getting back into blogging, it has been hard for me to decide just how to do it. To recap the last three months seems completely overwhelming, but to pick up right where we are today with no mention of what has passed seems like I'd be leaving out a huge chunk of life.  (You can read more about our adoption here.)

So, as a compromise, I'm going to give a brief synopsis of our summer this week and then get back to normal.  Or as close to normal as I can get.  

Travel day.  We already look tired.  In the 24 hours after this picture was taken, we'd be in three different countries, run through two airports, learn that we really can't sleep on a plane, watch three movies, and I may have gotten patted down by two timid Japanese airline security girls, but I actually can't remember the specifics of that encounter anymore.  I also used an airplane bathroom for the first time.  And the second time, and the third time.... 

We made it to Taiwan and slept like the dead.  Our hotel room was nice and big and everyone at the hotel was super, super friendly.  Actually, everyone in the whole country that we met was super, super friendly.  

We ate beef noodles with Mr. Yeh (our driver) and did a bit of sightseeing.  The food in Taiwan is  tasty, but burn-your-face-off hot.  I found myself sweating during most meals.  

The next two days are a blur of: hours spent in a taxi, picking up our boy, playing cars in the hotel room, eating many plates of fried rice, searching for water.  You can't drink the tap water in Taiwan and it seemed that we were constantly on a hunt for more water.  

What stands out most is how brave Arthur was, how he held my hand and got right in the car with us, how he recognized us from our pictures that we'd sent, how he slept on my lap the whole three hour ride back to the hotel and I couldn't stop thinking, "There's a baby sleeping on my lap and he's ours."

After getting Arthur's visa, we hopped back on a plane to head home.  I just typed "hopped" and then remembered that there was one point while we were standing in line at the airport checking in that I was looking for a safe place to set my child down so that I could pass out.  So maybe "hopped" was a bit too energetic.  We dragged ourselves onto the plane and survived the next 24 hours of travel.  It was probably almost exactly how you'd picture 24 hours of travel with a two year old that you've just met.  

Our friends picked us up from the airport, made a welcome home sign for us, and had a hot dinner waiting at our house.  We were so amazingly happy to be home that I could have kissed the ground.  Or their feet.  

Tune in later this week for more about our first weeks at home!


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