I'm Denise and mama to two little wonders. I created this space to remind me to be more present as we move through the dance of our days. . .keeping my eyes, ears, and heart open to the joy and magic in each moment. Feel free to comment, I'd love to hear from you! All questions are answered in the comments section of each post.

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    Home Playgrounds: The Harrowsmith Guide to Building Backyard Play Structures
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    Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids


Every year I have a lengthy list of crafty goodness I want to make for loved ones and most years I manage to get most of it done.  Well, I am now realizing that this year's handmade contingent will be uncharacteristically short. With a 1-year old that sleeps little during the day and is in arms much of the remainder of the day, my crafty moments are confined to post-bedtime. So after spending a few days of frantic stressy crafting - today I just decided to screw it! I'm still hoping to finish knitting a little something for Cedar and perhaps a couple of other smaller items will be made. . .but I've just returned from a quick visit to amazon.com and will be a better mama for it!

That said, there has still been some merry making going on. . . felted sweater ornaments, paper snowflakes, and I finally finished embroidering Amara's stocking (notice the INSANE amount of french knots on that cute little sheep). 

And now I'm waiting for Cedar to wake up so that we can make some pomanders. Much more my speed.

Happy merry making to all of you! 


Who cares if it's cold out!

TJ and I have always envisioned a sauna in our story.  I pictured something made of wood, cozy enough for 2, but large enough for 6 or so, perhaps even a small changing room, maybe even a curved wooden ceiling just right for stretching the hamstrings. So when he suggested converting the tiny little latrine-looking smokehouse in our backyard into said sauna, I wasn't too stoked on the idea. After much conversation he decided to just go for it - a "either we just do it now and have a sauna this winter, or maybe we get around to making it just so in a few years" type of attitude had settled it for him. Fine, I said. 

Well, it's not that often that I am able to admit when am wrong, and even less often that I am so dang GLAD to be wrong -- but just take a look at this thing!  Not only is the interior a gorgeous combination of cedar and brick, but there's significantly more room that I ever imagined, it cost a fraction of what it would have been to build new, AND it's D-O-N-E!!! Thank you thank you thank you, sweet love of my life for pulling the trigger on this one. I take back all of the previous grumbles and pouts and shouts of "are you coming in, yet?" I love it. Winter has a whole new meaning now. Bring it on, King Winter, I dare you!

Oh, and I find it incredibly amusing and endearing that he is even shoveling out the adirondack chairs so that he has the perfect place to cool down inbetween sauna rounds! Me- I'm still a bit of a wuss and prefer to cool down indoors : )


Giving thanks

About a week ago our family began arriving. . .and tomorrow the last uncle will board the train to begin his journey back to the coast. Hosting both of our extended families back to back has been a wonderful way to enjoy this holiday of thanks. We are definitely grateful at not having to pack the car or strap a tired and possibly unwilling one into a carseat. And we are glad to have the comforts of our own beds and rhythms. But most of all, this past week of extended family and long, lingering conversations has reminded us just how much we have to be grateful for. Having a house filled with games, laughter, cousin sillyness, crackling fires, so much good food (a righteous Thanksgiving feast AND a grown-up-post-bedtime fondue celebration!), and familiar familial banter has been exactly what we all wanted and needed.

Yes, there is much to be thankful for! In particular, this year I give a special thanks for:

  • 3-day weekends, every week
  • backyard sunsets
  • the unending, unedited questions only a 4-year old can ask
  • the sweet, extra puckery kisses of a 1-year old
  • the very big and real feeling of HOME that TJ and I have felt ever since we moved into this house
  • the undeniable amount of love and understanding that we receive from our extended families
  • the SAUNA!
  • that I get to be home with my two little loves every day, and the fact that I now actually feel like the lucky one
  • the mid-winter getaway in the works
  • and the support (and even encouragement) I get when I choose to forgo all of the cleaning and cooking in order to have a more joy-filled, peaceful day 

 A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Happy Birthday Cedar!

This past weekend my first babe turned four, yes F-O-U-R! For some reason this is seeming extra big to me. And there is something a little bittersweet about it for me as well. It's slowly been happening over the past many months, but now it feels as though it's snuck up on me a bit. . .there is a subtle, but strong new layer of confidence in him. And with confidence is coming independence. And with independence comes just a few more steps out into the world and away from the mama bird. Yes, there is much sweetness with that and I see the pride well in him with each step. But. . . I have to admit, I have kind of enjoyed zipping up his coat and tucking his sweet little (er, not so little anymore) toes into his socks. . . Ahhhh, my little guy is now a BOY.  Yowza.

And such bigness is certainly worthy of some big celebrating! So we headed north and spent the entire weekend with friends and family. There was a trip to the zoo, where all grownups present were blessed with the near continuous sight of sweet cousin love and much adorable hand holding. There were gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free birthday cookies. There was a special trip to the arboretum with Nanny. There was dress-up, dancing, singing, climbing, snuggling, and hours of imaginative play. There was a special story and a birthday spiral of candles during a pancake breakfast. There were some sweet and thoughtful presents including a tool belt and tape measure, an accordion, a picnic table project for the winter, a wooden cash register, a toy motorcycle and coloring book, and a Cedar-sized snow shovel, among others. And there was a first and extremely fun letterboxing adventure. A fabulous birthday weekend indeed. 

Happy Birthday, sweet Cedar -- we love you! . . .All the way to the moon, and back.


A curtain for the bathroom

Our upstairs bathroom has a great view of our corner of the neighborhood - in the winter we can even watch the late night ice skaters on the lit up rink a couple of blocks away. BUT when the roofers took over our upper-story a couple of months ago I realized that a curtain wouldn't be a bad idea. The main fabric is cut from a thrifted bedskirt with crocheted trim. I edged each side with some old lace and top stitched on a pile of gorgeous garage sale doilies. The loops at the top are from a glitzy piece of sari ribbon that my brother brought back from India. More detailed project instructions can be found in Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule. 

When I finished it, Cedar said, "Mama, this is beautiful! Can we keep it forever? I want to look at it everyday!" So sweet.

And speaking of fabulous and fancy sari ribbon. . . take a look at the stash he brought back:
Anyone have any project suggestions???