Friday, March 31, 2006

Fabric Friday


I love this fabric. It is so Summery and cheerful and I just love the color combination, which may just show up in my new craft room. One of my favorite online fabric stores is Reprodepot and this is one of the new Amy Butler fabrics they have in stock. I am normally not a flowery person, but I just can't resist this one. I am picturing some pillows, and maybe an apron. I love planning out my next little projects.

Portland Schools - what will happen?

I had to delete my last post about Portland School District closures because some sort of coding in the post was doing some spooky stuff to my site. So I am just urging parents to do what they can to stop the school closure, at least in the form that they are presenting now. I understand sometimes there are few options, but let us see how we can come together to fix our school district.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Gardenpalooza and other things to do this weekend

As I look forward to this weekend I thought I would share some ideas of things to do if you are in or near Portland.

Gardenpalooza kicks off the spring gardening season at Fir Point Farms in Aurora (just 20 miles south of Portland off of I-5). Over 8000 visitors attended the event last year. I would love to get some new plants for our garden and since my mom, Ms. Organic Gardener herself, is visiting I think we might have to put it on our schedule. Big plus is that this is a free event (we love free things in this household).

I don't know about you but my kids often remind me of little piggies and since Cat's favorite movie right now is "Charlotte's Web" she is also loving all things piggy. We might be paying a visit to the Oregon Zoo to see their new Visayan Warty Pigs exhibit that just opened last weekend.

I have also noticed that the garage sale season has begun so if it is not raining too hard you may be able to find a few garage sales in your area. I will probably be having one in the next few weeks to clear out some of the crap, er, I mean antiques and gently used children's items so that we can gather some spare change to hopefully paint the house this spring. That is a job for another weekend though.

What is everyone going to do this weekend?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sunshine Scribe, Chicky Chicky Baby, and Bridger Mama

Sunshine Scribe is a great new mama blog just started this month, not like I am a veteran or anything starting mine up in January. The post about being treated like an "older" lady by a bunch of college girls just made me laugh and I could really, I mean really relate. Ever try shopping at the Gap lately, I feel really old going in there. Maybe that is why I do most of my own shopping online. Very talented writer and she will definitely be a daily read for me.

Another new mama blogger, at least to me, is Chicky Chicky Baby. Her post about how your kids can look into your soul was right on target with me. My kids give me that "you're dishing us a load of crap right now aren't you mama?" look.

Today Bridger Mama (another PDX mama) posted about her "lump". This post made me cry, made me want to go home and hug my kids, and made me want to go find Bridger Mama and give her a hug as well. She has an adorable little boy, just check out the pictures, and a great blog, that is definitely better than mine.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm #7 in Portland

Stephanie mentioned that she Googled herself to see if there was any private information floating around out there about her. So I decided to Google "mama land" and lookie what I found: Portland Blogs. I do not know when this was posted but I am number seven of the top ten Portland blogs . Can you believe it? I can't. In my own mind I think I am an entertaining chick, but now I feel stupid for saying what I did in my previous post about how I only blog for myself and if I meet other people then cool, yada, yada, yada. It feels really special to be called out like this, and now I feel like I need to represent Stumptown better than I have in the past.

All of a sudden I feel pressure to perform. I think I am developing a case of performance anxiety. I must list all of the cool and great places in this fair city of ours so that the readers of About.com will not feel jilted when they come to my site looking for info about Portland and just find my ramblings. This post is a case in point. So I vow to try my best from this point forward.

Oh jeez, Nancy Levenson, what have you done?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Next book on my reading list:

I just stumbled across this book tonight, and as a mother of two girls it is a definite book for my reading list.

Amazon.com: It's a Girl : Women Writers on Raising Daughters: Books: Andrea J. Buchanan

Who do you blog for quiz, courtesy of Mother-Woman

1. Do you blog to make friends with people you will eventually meet in real life? I have met other people that blog, but I didn't start with that purpose in mind. Since I am a fairly new blogger, I do not know what to expect as far as meeting other bloggers goes.

2. Do you blog for the sake of the B? Do you blog for yourself as a sanity-seeking form of online diary that is really neat cause it can link to all kinds of other things on the fancy Interweb? I would blog even if I didn't have kids, but I do blog for the kids, obviously with a name like "Life in Mama Land". I love the fact that I can link to sites or information over the web. I am addicted to the internet and this helps to feed my addiction.

3. Do you blog to discover people with whom you share a number of opinions about a topic? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. As a mama I am constantly looking for tips and tricks from other mamas. When I feel like I am about to pull my hair out because I am going crazy from my tantrum ridden kids I want to know it is okay and that this phase too shall pass.

4. Do you blog to attract readers? And, do you have an expectation of what sort of readers you have? Would you still blog if nobody read your blog? I don't think many people read my blog, and I am not necessarily out there to just grab readership. It is great if other people find your site and can relate to you and your experiences. I am assuming that the readers that read my blog are mostly mamas, other than that I don't have many expectations.

5. Do you blog to distinguish yourself .. because you think blogging is cool and you think it makes you cool(er)? No, I am not cool, and I sometimes consider myself a closet blogger. My friends know that I blog, but I have no clue if they read it. Sometimes I would rather not know, it makes it easier to write.


Mother-Woman: Who do you blog for..? A five part quiz

Sunday in the life of the Mama Land Family

I loved today. Today was one of those days where you feel content with your life. Nothing incredible happened it was just nice. Happy Cat, happy Aly, happy S, and happy Mama.

We started off our day on an exciting adventure to SW Portland where we picked up a $5 bookshelf I bought off of a guy from Craigslist. Then we went to Washington Park and walked around Hoyt Arboretum. The kids got completely tired out and very, very hungry. We stopped on the way home at Fred Meyer, picked up some bread for sandwiches, and a gallon of paint for $5 (our lucky amount today) because it was on the returned paint shelf. We then went home and had some tasty PB&J sandwiches (kids favorites) and then the girlies went off to take naps (one of my favorite parts of the day). Then I was able to tackle a big gardening project in the yard, and got it almost done, just a little bit left to weed. It looks so much better but of course I didn't think to take any before and after pictures. S was able to work on his home studio and like me is almost done with that project. Then the kids woke up from their naps and we all hung out in front our house talking with the neighbors and the kids rode their trikes and bikes and scooters up and down the sidewalk. We stayed outside until it started to get a little breezy and then we had to drag our respective kids into our house for dinner. It was, like I said, a really nice day.

Friday, March 24, 2006

jcaroline creative



I found this new fabric site. They have great prices and lots of great ideas on how to use the fabrics, jcaroline creative. I found so many great fabrics but I really like this one. So since I am posting it today on Friday, I am going to start a regular Fabric Friday installment. I really want to make something out of the fabric, any ideas?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Curiosity


Cat's favorite story is the one about the day she was born. She loves hearing about how she would kick me in my belly and all about Dr. Eddy, our OB. She loves hearing about it so much that it has become part of our nighttime ritual. We look at pictures of me when I was pregnant with her and we talk about how she used to sleep with Mama and Daddy and how I nursed her. She tells me all about the baby in her belly. She is starting to get into playing house, just like she plays princess and train conductor. She is usually the mama and either Aly or one of her stuffed animals is the baby.

She also talks about another baby, I am not sure if it is just her pretending that she is going to have a baby or if she wants us to have another baby. When I tell her that I am not going to have any more babies she is fine with that. She tells me that one of her friends (stuffed animals) can be my new baby.

It is an interesting age, 3 ½. She is interested in the world and has many questions for us. However no explanation, no matter how detailed, is ever good enough that it doesn’t warrant another “Why” when you are done with your explanation. Along with this comes her curiosity about boys and girls, brothers and sisters, mamas and daddies. There are questions she asks and I really am not sure how to answer it. She takes everything in, thinks about it for a second, and then lets me know whether I am right or not. S and I look at her sometimes and wonder how she grew up so fast.

Now Aly is the one changing from baby to kid. I remember this phase with Cat. The more her communication skills improve the more her whining diminishes. It is nice to sit at the table have dinner and not have her tossing her food all over the place. She says “all done” and then hands us her bowl or plate or cup. Then she will, usually, happily sit and read a book. What happened to those tantrums of just a few weeks ago? She is also really picky about what she sleeps with, no pillow or animals for her. No she will only sleep with her blanket and her torn up copy of “Biscuit” her very favorite book. The back cover has fallen off, but she loves to put it under her and sleep on top of it and then when she wakes up in the morning she sits up and looks at the book, you can hear little phrases every now and again that she has memorized from the book. It is one of the cutest things ever.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

I love spring in Portland, and since we are just a few days away I am counting today as spring. It was spring weather, the birds were singing, the kids were playing, and I was gardening, a little. I finished pruning some rose bushes and a hydrangea, plus picked up Mojo's little presents (the dog) in the backyard. I also spent more time cleaning out the room that will be our craft room/office. Aly is all moved out and sharing Cat's room, but there is so much stuff to still go through, old baby toys, clothes, things to sell, things to give away, plus choosing a new paint color.

The girls are loving sharing a room. They actually played in there until 9:20 this morning. Do I even remember what it is like to sleep in? I didn't even realize what time it was. I woke up to their laughter and singing voices, rolled over and looked at the clock and it was 9:10. I got up and made some coffee and then went in to greet my little girlies. They erupted in a chorus of "Mama, mama, mama, mama", with Cat asking for cereal and Aly asking for milk and "Nananas". It was a great way to start the day. We then went out to Costco to stock up the kids' snacks, graham crackers, string cheese, baby carrots, raisins, cheerios. All the things that when they show up in my lunch at work are a tell tale sign that I am a mama. Then it was home for naps, gardening and an afternoon of playing in the yard and coloring with the sidewalk chalk. Cat is figuring out the whole jumping on one foot deal and so hopscotch was an exciting game to play.

I have also come across another a great crafty mama site, Wee Wonderfuls. She makes all sorts of different things, some original, some from Japanese craft books, some vintage craft books, but all of them are great. She has freebie patterns on her site as well and right now it is a super cute wee bunny. These will definitely be in Cat and Aly's baskets this year.

Some very crafty mamas

I have stumbled upon a bunch of crafty mama blogs and I wanted to post links. I am in awe of their creativity and hope to aspire to their level of craftiness at some point in my life

Dioramarama: check out her quilts. Plus she has a plethora of craft links on her site.

Loobylu: Great artist with a case of "bloody preggo brain". Her drawings are beautiful and she makes softies which I like to make for my girls.

MollyChicken: Mom in Devon (UK), she has some really cute stuff.

Little Birds: Mama in Portland, great suggestions for thrift store shopping in Portland. I love to find stuff to reuse, so I will be checking back on her site.

I am hoping to make this a regular feature, showcasing different blogs that I like. Momma M from The Chaotic Home asked me about other craft sites for inspiration and hopefully she can find some through these.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Spring is right around the corner

stripes
stripes,
originally uploaded by mamaland.
Since this is the last weekend of winter I thought I would look forward to spring and all of the great projects that await. I came across the fabric on reprodepot.com and just love it. The color is so vibrant and happy. I need to make a pillow or something from it. I would be super cute on a quilt for one of the girls or a little jumper. I am getting antsy wanting to make something.

Speaking of getting antsy, we have them and I hate them. We have dealt with them before in previous homes and we have only seen a couple around but I am, of course, fearing the worst and am sure they are the dreaded carpenter ant. Please do not let this be true because when I was a kid our bathroom got infested with them. We had to have the house fumigated and the bathroom redone. Right now we have just found them around one of the kitchen windows. So let us think happy non-ant thoughts and maybe they will just go away when the weather gets a little nicer.

Nicer weather means I have to get these inside projects done because the kids are wanting to get out in the backyard. Which means we need to get the backyard all cleaned up and kid friendly for the slightly warmer weather. We picked up a great kids picnic table ($15) at the Rebuilding Center on N. Mississippi. Those of you that live in Portland and have not been there are missing out on some great home finds. Check it out and let your imagination run wild. I already know I will be back to pick up some pieces to use in our garden.

Oh, also check out my post below. I mentioned Zee's Designs is having a blog makeover and I would love some help. I do not advertise on my site, I only talk about things that I like. I love her website the colors and craftiness of it all. Plus she left me a comment and since I only have a few people that read this blog (or at least that comment) I really appreciate that. So to those other readers, check out her site by clicking on her icon below or over at the side.

Zee's Designs - Extreme Blog Makeover

I need help, really I do. I would love to get a makeover for my site and Zee's Designs may be just the gal to do it. Please check out her site. She has some great designs. I love her color choices and I know she could do something fun and funky for me. She is having a contest until May 8th. Whoever can refer the most folks to her site wins a makeover and it would be really, really, really cool. Did I say really already? So check out her site, and maybe, just maybe I can be a contender.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

She's a crafty mother

Or at least I try to be. I figure the more I craft the more I will become crafty. I think I need a business card that reads "HeatherJ, she one crafty mother".

I posted below about my new space that I am gaining due to my youngest daughter giving me her room. I mean how lucky am I to have such a wonderful girl who would give her room to make her mama happy. When I asked her if I could have her room she smiled at me and said "Mama, Aaaaah" and gave me a big hug. In toddlerease that totally means "yes mama, you can have my room because I know it will make you happy, and as your child that is all I want in the world". Who agrees with me that I made the right decision?

So I have this new craft space to plan, I am going to treat it like it's own craft project. I have started digging through my stash of fabrics, found objects and such to create my little "crafty mama's factory of craftiness", aka Mama's room: no kids allowed unless you make an appointment.

I need to paint, make new curtains, find a rug(for muffling the sound of my sewing machine), organize all of my stuff into containers that I can actually use on a regular basis. Does anyone have any great resources for craft room ideas? I promise, once I have this all figured out I will link to all the great stuff I found. I know many other crafty mamas are out there and if I can push the crafty mama cause I will.

So stay tuned for more craft craftiness from the self proclaimed crafty mama (at least in my own head).

Two Peas in a Pod : Two Girls in a Room

Our girls are now sharing a room. This change came about under the guise of convincing ourselves that what is really best for our girls is for them to share a room, bonding, sisterly love, yada, yada, yada. But the true reason is one of pure selfishness. I wanted my own room, well it isn't just my room, it will the office/my room/guest room. I want my own craft/sewing/blogging space where I can get away from toys, music gear, dirty dishes and just create. This will make me a better mama because it will allow me to get closer to that old gal I used to know. When I was Heather B and not Heather J, when I would just dig through my fabric collection and decide to just start sewing, or pick up my journal, grab the french press and write (now it is my laptop and some tea), or just be a lazy ass doing nothing but reading some crappy tabloid magazines. My own space will allow me to do all of this, I hope, and sure it may only be for 5 minutes of each day, but it will be my five minutes. Is that too much for a tired, overworked, loving mama to ask for? Please girls, I pray you love being roommates and that you never, ever, want to move out of your room, because I'm not giving my room up without a fight.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Toilet seat up opens a can of worms

Do you ever say something to your kids and realize as the words are coming out of your mouth that you have just opened a can of worms? Here is a conversation I had with Cat yesterday when I found her going potty with the toilet seat up:

Mama: Cat, what are you doing?

Cat: Going potty.

Mama: No, why is the toilet seat up?

Cat: (turning to look at the raised seat of the toilet) Silly Aly playing with the toilet.

Mama: I think Daddy left the toilet seat up. (Let me say this is something that S never does, he is very respectful of the girls in the house)

Cat: Mama, is Daddy being silly?

Mama: No, Daddy goes potty with the toilet seat up because he doesn’t need to sit. Boys can stand when they go pee. (oh boy, why couldn’t I have just said, yes silly Daddy).

Cat: (with a very quizzical look on her face, I can see her trying to figure this one out on her own) Pee standing?

Mama: Yes, boys can go pee standing up because their pee comes out (at this point I go completely over her head and start giving her an anatomy lessons hoping the more scientific I am the less questions she will ask later. Plus as I am writing this at work and I need to edit my response as not to send out any flags)

Cat: Can I have one?

Mama: No, you are a girl, only boys have those.

Cat: Okay Mama, then when I become a boy I can have one.

Mama: (not wanting to get into a medical discussion that will just add more confusion to the conversation.) Ummm . . . do you want a snack?

Friday, March 03, 2006

still crazy after all these years

I found that the hardest thing to deal with after having kids was the sudden loss of my old identity. No matter how you spin it you will never be the same woman. You are now and will always be a Mama and it will affect how you live your life. You are now torn between your own needs as a woman and the needs of your child as his/her mama. This causes mucho confusion in many new mamas’ lives. Every mama at some point asks herself “who am I now?”

I asked myself this when my first daughter was born and I realized that for me to be a great mama and a role model for my child I needed to remember the old me. I needed to not only nurture Cat’s spirit but also continue to nurture my own. I love both of my girls to pieces. They are just the coolest chickadees in the world and the best present I can give them is to be the hip chick I was before they were born (or at least thought I was), but maybe just a little less self indulgent.

When the writing collaboration on Crazy Hip Blog Mamas asked: “What does being a Crazy Hip Blog Mama mean to you?” I knew my answer. It means I want my girls to never keep their feelings bottled up, always find an outlet, whether it is talking to your friends, writing a blog, finding a therapist, whatever it takes just do it. Never let someone else, even their own child, take so much control over their life that they lose their spirit, that special essence that makes them who they are. So I write to get my thoughts out, my frustrations, my happiness, and the random thoughts that float around in my brain. I blog in the hopes that one day my girls will read these entries and realize that even when you become a mama you don’t have to lose your crazy hip ways. I strive to be crazier and hipper everyday as well as continue to learn who I am through each entry in this blog. After all it is just another day in Mama Land.