donderdag 26 juli 2012

Stuff I love to have with kids

Four years ago, Big Man and I became parents to Little Man, our oldest. What a world opened up to us. The possibilities, but also the choices, were endless.
When my ovaries started ticking, I did not have a clue what it would be like to have kids. We were the second ones to get pregnant in our friend group, and it was inventing one thing after the other. We had to make so much choices! Most of the choices were made for us. Imagine, we were both just working for a year or two, just got married (we were living together for a couple of years before our wedding), and just bought a house. Our life was in a rush. And then we got pregnant. Money was tight for us before getting kids, but it got even more tighter after having kids. Most choices we made were due to finances, but I have to admit, I am so glad I made some choices because of the lack of money as I see now around me how much money is spent on things that are either way overrated in my opinion or are not necessary at all.
As you know, I mentioned a couple of times I like the concept "reuse, reduce, recycle" and that is what we had in mind getting stuff ready for Little Man. This concept stays with us even now, with Little Lady running around.
These things are the thing I really LOVE as a parent. They are not in a particular order. No countdown, they are all important in the lives of the four people living in this house.

Babysigning! We got involved with this when our babysitter got a kid from Rumania who also had to learn Dutch. Little Man loved the "game with hands" as he was two years old when we started. But, now that we are using it really much with Little Lady, we see that it helps a lot with communicating. We started out with Lotte en Max but also got the "original" by Lyssa Zeviar. One moment which made me realize it really helps was when Little Man and I were in the garden and he saw something and pointed to it. I started guessing what it was but it was all wrong. I could see him getting frustrated (you know, the two year old frustration kind) and suddenly he signed "butterfly". He could not say it, but he could sign it. And now with Little Lady we really see how it helps communicating with her.

Breastpumps! Every breastfeeding, working mom needs one. My Medela Swing still makes noise, but I used it till it almost died. The motor faintly works. With Little Lady I "spoiled" myself and got a double sided breastpump (Ameda Lactaline). Never regretted it. Little Man stopped breastfeeding at 2 years old, and Little Lady and I are still going strong after 1.5 years.

Cloth diapers! Aren't they the cutest? This is a prefold. The cheapest kind. You use this with a cover and they are done. Just throw them in the washing machine. Never have to worry about going to the store. Little Man was full time in cloth, Little Lady parttime, since she pees like a madman during the night.

Cloth wipes! Who needs to buy all these wipes for faces? We do not. After dinner, make one wipe wet, and all cheeks and faces are clean. And they get washed with the bibs.

Co-sleeper. I love you. You made my nights soooooo much easier. I am really happy that you spend a full year next to my side of the bed keeping Little Lady company.

The different kinds of cups we bought. Bowls for fruits, bowls for raisins, cups to drink, and cups to go to school. From left to right: Ikea cups, Nuby bowls, Little One Green Bottle, Hema bowls and Tupperware cups.

Ikea chest with drawers. We did not get a changing table or chest. We got these! We started out with one and since these are a bit higher that normal changing chests we got lots of compliments how comfortable it was to change on these chests. And they are cheaper. To the right you can see our rocking chair. We both used it since day 1. Absolutely love this chair. We got it as a wedding present. So many hours we spend in this chair, rocking to shush, to feed, to talk and to cuddle.

Little Man's walking bicycle. He got this for his second birthday. He loved it from day one and it helped him with his stability, his experience with how to cross the street and go as fast as he could. And now, at four years old, he is cycling on a real bike without aid of side wheels.

Teva sandals! Absolutely adore them for kids. Mud, rain, sand, grass whatever, they can cope with everything. And they are easy to clean.

Wooden toys. We are not a Waldorf family, but we really like wooden toys. They are are a bit more expensive, but more durable.

Wraps! From top to bottom: Kozy Carrier, Neobio ringsling, Hoppediz Das Leichte, Didymos standard, Girasol standard, Ellevil Zara. These wraps were used on a daily basis when Little Lady was born. Still use them, but not as much as in the baby period. They kept my hands free for other things such as running after Little Man.

Lots of things we got secondhand, such as a crib/bed, clothes and a pushing chair. Really, I think we should all think about how much we spent. It doesn't have to be expensive, but people tend to push and nag eachother and brag about the stuff they buy. Fortunately this doesn't happen in our friend circle, but I have heard stories about it. Thousands of euros are spend, but really, I think in all, for two kids, we spend about 500-700 euro for the basic things for two kids. The most expensive things were the diapers!

Crochet Motifs In Glass

Do you recognize this? This is the plate I got from the thrift shop and use for the fruity snacks in this post. After washing it and holding it up against the light I thought it looked so much like a doily, with tiny crocheted motifs. I think it is absolutely pretty, but everywhere I look I see crocheted motifs: the garden, the back of the soy sauce bottle, printed paper, everywhere. I am looking forward to use this plate as an influence in my designs. So last week I went again to the thriftshop to see if there were more little glass juwels.

Little bowls were put in a bag, and got home with me!

Isn't it pretty? All these circles?

This one really looks like a flower motif.

This one is a beauty in my eye. Hopefully I can translate it to a crochet design...

vrijdag 20 juli 2012

Sailor Socks part I

I got the sock vibe again! I promised Big Man socks for his birthday a long long time ago. Well, promises should be kept right? Since my last pair of socks took me three months, I thought it would be wise to start in time. Big Man's birthday is in October, so hopefully they will be finished in time. They are going to be starboard/port side socks. Big Man loves sailing. The toes will be either green or red, foot part will be black, heels either green or red, ankle part will be black and I am not sure what I will do with the cuff. The socks are knitted two at a time on two circulars. My idea is to keep track of my progress with a sock post every two weeks. Right now, toes are almost done. I am a slow knitter, but I think I am going to finish them in time!

maandag 16 juli 2012

Slowing down, clearing my mind...

The first week of my summer holiday went by. I am finally able to say that my head is getting clear, my body is relaxing and the stress is released.

I had so much stress built up in my body, unbelievable. I would never guess I could feel so cramped up. Last week was really about letting go, rummaging around the house, chase the kids and clearing my head.

It worked.

To give you a bit of a view how I felt last week I use these three cards from my beloved Osho Zen deck. Osho was a buddhistic zen monk who teached mostly about love and laughter. These cards are not a traditional tarot deck. They do not "predict" but show you messages on which you can meditate. Their drawings and colours are magnificent.

I just picked the three cards that would symbolize "me" the last week. I am really sorry, the pictures are a bit blurry because of the shiny-ness of the cards..

Jup, totally me at the beginning of the week. I was exhausted. I slept a lot, and luckily Little Lady joined me most mornings with sleeping in till 8 or 9 a.m. I was no fun at all. The muscles in my back, shoulders, neck and even in my legs were very cramped up. A yoga session helped loosen it up a bit.

 O yes, we really slowed down last week! 
The Knight of Rainbows is a reminder that, just like this tortoise, we carry our home with us wherever we go.
Take it easy, this card says.

This figure walking in nature shows us that beauty can be found in the simple, ordinary things of life. We so easily take this beautiful world we live in for granted. Cleaning the house, tending the garden, cooking a meal--the most mundane tasks take on a sacred quality when they are performed with your total involvement, with love, and for their own sake, without thought of recognition or reward. You are facing a time now when this easy, natural and utterly ordinary approach to the situations you encounter will bring far better results than any attempt on your part to be brilliant, clever, or otherwise extra-ordinary. Forget all about making headlines by inventing the latest widget, or dazzling your friends and colleagues with your unique star quality. The special gift you have to offer now is presented best by just taking things easily and simply, one step at a time.

I could not have said it better. We live in a world where the time goes by so fast with the things we think are "necessary" and "obligatory". I think we have to look more to our kids: happy with the little things. Like a kid with a big box. To us, it is just a box, ready to throw away. To kids it is a hiding place, a boat, a plane, a train, and house. We really do not need all these material things. And of course, making peace with your messy house is something I really need to work on!

The meaning of this post is to show you that holiday time for most teachers is not a "luxury" or a "treat". We really need it. To refuel, to declutter from the past schoolyear, and to study for the curriculum of the upcoming schoolyear.

zondag 15 juli 2012

Pattern: Attic24 Circle Scarf


And here it is: the Attic24 Circle Scarf pattern!
Grab your leftovers, any yarn thickness will do, and start hooking! This scarf is very easy, and will make a lovely accessory for autumn.

The pattern is written in standard US crochet terms and has a photo-tutorial on how to join the circles as you go.

The pattern itself can be found as a pdf over here and more information can also be found in its entry on Ravelry.


P.S. The Dutch version will come soon. Hopefully tomorrow!