happy birthday, Malayna

Happy fourth birthday to my favorite little girl in the whole world.



Malayna LOVES to decorate for Christmas. She especially likes anything little, shiny or just plain garish. Luckily, I'm okay with giving up control of Christmas decorating - there was a time when I would've waited until she went to bed and then "fixed" the decorations. Actually, that thought DID cross my mind. But she's so proud of her work that I didn't have the heart to move anything. We got a Christmas tree the other day, and Malayna was very excited to get started with the trimming. Unfortunately, since she's under 5 feet tall, most of the ornaments are on the bottom half of the tree.

Over the weekend, Jimmy and I took Malayna to Reading Terminal Market. On the train. It was her first train ride, and now I know why we didn't take her before now. When I told her that we were taking the train, she immediately got upset and started to cry. She got used to the idea after a little while, and we drove to the Jenkintown train station (which we've driven past many, many times). When I went to get her out of her carseat, she started to cry again and freak out. She told us to go back home, that she didn't want to go on the train. Um, no.

Luckily we only had to wait a little while before the train pulled in. I carried her onto the train {to make sure she actually got ON}, and she started freaking out again. Of course the train was packed and there were no seats. Malayna was screaming, crying and flailing. We had to walk the entire car in order to find an empty seat. Which means we had to pass EVERYONE on the train.

{giant lollipop}

Thankfully, we were facing away from everyone when we sat down. She was fine after about 5 minutes and the rest of the day was great. We walked around the Market, she talked to a woman playing a piano, and even requested a song. {What?! She started a conversation with a stranger?} We had a snack and bought ingredients to make pizza {which she and Jimmy did when we got home}.

Hopefully we'll be able to take train rides without the fuss from now on. I'm sure she freaked out because it was something new. Have I mentioned that she doesn't like change or new things?!

{This was on the ride home. There was no smiling
on the ride to the Market. From any of us.}


for dog lovers

All you dog lovers out there, grab your tissues before you watch this 10-minute Japanese short film about a girl Mika and her dog Marimo. It's a little long, but worth it.


dreary day = dreary child

It seems like it's been weeks since we saw the sun shine around here.

If it weren't for the gray weather, the day would've been perfect. It was warm enough to go outside this morning without heavy coats and gloves! And it would've been a perfect park day - if the ground weren't so muddy.

I made the mistake of telling Malayna we were going to story time at the bookstore this morning. She started to cry {don't know where that came from!} and said that story time was scary and she was too old for that. Seriously - she cried for about 20 minutes about it. That's when I knew it was going to be a looooong morning.

Instead of the bookstore, we went outside to chalk. I figured we could both use some fresh air. Chalking was going great until the leaf collection truck came down the street. Do you know how long those leaves have been sitting by the curb?!

As the truck came closer, she insisted on going inside. I convinced her to stay outside but to play on the porch - a safe distance from the leaf truck that was going to "suck up my baby dolls!" She then covered her ears and trembled while the truck collected our leaves. I picked her up and showed her the big vacuum on the truck. That seemed to calm her down a little and we were able to continue to play outside.

{Is that not the sweetest face? Read on.}

But then when it was time for her to go upstairs for her rest, she got very upset about the snack I was giving her. More crying. I managed to steer her upstairs where she told me, "I will never, ever listen to you again!" Then she threw a toy.

Oh my.

When is the sun coming back?


drawing and painting and coloring

{a mommy, a boy named Trey and a baby}

Malayna created this last night - her first drawing of people with bodies, legs and arms! She's been drawing heads with very happy faces for a while now, and sometimes even adds hair or hats. For the largest {mommy} figure, she drew the left arm with her left hand and then switched the crayon to her right hand to draw the right arm. It was so cool to watch!


Aidan's mom Wendy had to work for a few hours on Tuesday morning, so Malayna and I "kid-sit" Aidan. I told Malayna we would be babysitting him, but she corrected me by saying, "Aidan's not a baby! He's a kid - so we will kid-sit him."

The two of them usually follow a routine when Aidan comes over. They get very excited to see each other (although sometimes Aidan needs a few minutes to adjust before he starts acting crazy), then they chase each other around the house. After a little while one of them asks to paint or play with Play-Doh. They help by getting the paintbrushes ready and the table cleared. After painting {and usually getting really messy} they like to clean up in the kitchen sink.

{cleaning up}

{still cleaning...}

The day ended on a bad note, though. They both wanted to play with the same toy, and I think Malayna said something not very nice to Aidan and then he told her he didn't want to be her friend. Malayna got very upset and cried {and cried, and cried}, but Aidan wouldn't budge. He said he didn't like the way she talked to him. It was time for Aidan and Wendy to go anyway, so after they left I told Malayna that sometimes people say not very nice things when they're angry or upset. She just kept saying over and over, "But I want Aidan to be my friend." Wendy talked to Aidan when they got home and told him that telling Malayna he didn't want to be her friend wasn't very nice - that he could've told her he didn't like the way she was talking to him.

After Malayna's rest that day, she told me that she was "having a really bad day." I wonder if they'll remember this the next time they get together?


Malayna and Aidan

{Sept. 2006}

{Nov. 2007}

When we took the above picture at Wendy, Daniel and Aidan's house last week, Malayna insisted on holding the orange maracas. She remembered the picture we had taken last year and wanted Aidan to hold the tamborine, but he had other ideas.

I am so glad that Malayna and Aidan like each other so much. There was a small period of time over the summer when they would get on each other's nerves, but thankfully that ended. They would've had to deal with it either way - Wendy and I need to get together! It seems that whenever Malayna goes through a stage Aidan follows a few months later (they are just about 2 months apart in age). By the time Aidan is going through a yucky, trying phase I've already forgotten about the same behavior in Malayna. But then I hear Wendy talk about something Aidan's doing it all comes back.

What are your plans for this weekend? I have two shows: the first in Plymouth Meeting at Colonial Elementary School (230 Flourtown Road) from 10-3 and the second at the Rose Bank Winery (258 Durham Road) from 11-4. Stop by if you happen to be/live in the area! There will be snacks and wine at the show on Sunday. Did I mention wine?

I had to reschedule the preschool meeting. Jimmy wants to go, but he had a meeting all morning. Hopefully we'll get there next week. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes! Thank you for all your tips and suggestions - I'm going to write them down so I don't forget anything. If you have more, feel free to post them!



{wasn't this just yesterday?!}

I am visiting a local preschool tomorrow morning {sniff, sniff}. I want Malayna to start in January, and apparently most preschools think this is a strange thing. The director of one of the schools I called told me that they would take her on a "trial basis". Huh? She said that many kids take time to adjust (duh) and that if Malayna were crying too much or not going along with the program they would have to remove her from the class. She basically said that if Malayna had started in September, they would've taken steps to make her feel more secure, but since all the other kids are adjusted by January, she'd just have to suck it up. Doesn't that sound like a great school? Let me sign her up right now! It sounds so nurturing and caring.

The woman must've asked me at least five times if I just moved to the area. She couldn't understand why I didn't already have Malayna in a preschool. Apparently I'm an awful mother for keeping my child home with me these past four years. {Bad mommy! Stop spending time with your child!} To get her ready for school, the woman suggested that I take Malayna to some storytimes at the library and not sit with her - to make her used to being without me. Oh, yes. That makes perfect sense. Sitting five feet away from her at the library is the same as leaving her at preschool. She went on to give me more parenting advice as if I were asking for it. I could not hang up fast enough.

Thankfully, the preschool I'm visiting tomorrow sounds nothing like that one!

I would like to have a list of questions ready when I visit tomorrow. Any suggestions?


Cyber Monday and updates

{new fern card}

Did you know that today is considered Cyber Monday? Because of this, I'm having a big sale! I've discounted lots of items that will be discontinued after the first of the year, so get them while they're still here!

This past weekend was my last free one until Christmas. Next weekend (December 1 & 2), I have two shows - Saturday in Plymouth Meeting and Sunday at the Rose Bank Winery, the 8th & 9th I have the Watertower Craft Show in Chestnut Hill and finally on the 15th I have the Firebird Festival in Phoenixville. That last one is outside and starts around 4pm. Have I mentioned that I'm a warm-weather person? I'm not even sure I have a coat to wear that will keep me warm enough!

{my booth at the Waldorf show}

The Waldorf show was fun. I had some small clocks with the original patterns I created and they were quite popular - lots of people were buying them for gifts. I was surprised to find that young girls like them, too. The Waldorf School goes up to 8th grade and many of the girls would flock to my booth to buy pins and then bring their parents back to show them the clocks.

{new desk clock design}

Another popular item at the show were my new card designs - leafy, brown circles, brown fern, funky circles and fern. They went over so well, I sold out of them!

I hope to see some of you at one of my upcoming shows!


I'm back!

Malayna and I went to the Willow Grove Mall this morning. She likes to throw pennies in the fountain, get a soft pretzel, read a book in the bookstore and then get a cookie for the ride home. While we were sitting by the fountain, a little boy and his grandmother came by. Malayna looked at them and said to me, "I guess he has an old mommy, too. Like me."



blog break

I haven't been posting this week because I'm getting ready for my favorite show this weekend. If you're in the Philadelphia area, come by and see me! I'll be at the Waldorf Holiday Fair with lots of other great crafters. They also have activities for the children and homemade food - on Friday night, you can even dine by candlelight! The school is located in Mount Airy section of Philadelphia, right off of Germantown Avenue (aross from the Trolley Car Diner).

Go here to find out more information: Waldorf Holiday Fair.

Hope to see you there!


thank you, veterans

{dad - Vietnam, April 1968}

Thank you to all the women and men who have served and sacrificed for our country.


peeping Malayna

Malayna and I were in her room the other night, getting ready for bed. First I sang her a few songs (I sing the same four songs every.single.night.) and told her stories about when Luco was a puppy. We sit in the rocking chair and do this - although I don't know how much longer we'll be able to sit there together! She's more than half my height.

After the songs and stories she got up, went over to her window and said, "Let's see if it's a good night for looking in people's houses." She then lifted the shade, looked at our neighbor's house and said, "Yup!" She was right - we could see right into the neighbor's brightly-lit kitchen. Good thing they have shades on the other windows!


new patterns

{new patterns!}

I've been creating new patterns for use on milkshake crafts products lately. Most of the patterned paper I use now on my clocks now are papers that I've purchased, but my goal is to eventually use only patterned papers that I've designed and created.

The patterns above started out as pencil drawings. I then scan them, take them into Photoshop, color them and create patterns. It's pretty repetitive and anal. I love the process. The problem, however, is finding the time to complete all those steps. I have a sketchbook filled with little doodles, which I need to enlarge, clean up and scan for use in a new pattern.

{custom bookplate with my original pattern}

What do you think? What colors would you like to see? How about other themes for patterns?



Malayna and I used to go to a music class when she was younger, and ALL she wants to listen to when we're in the truck are those stinkin' tapes. When she's in Jimmy's car, he's allowed to play loud "rock-and-roll", but she informed me that she likes daddy's music better than my music. Whatever. It's my music and I don't want to share it anyway!

I sing those music class songs all day - after you hear them once it's like they burrow themselves into your brain and you can't get them out. So to pass the time in the truck yesterday {if you can't beat them, join them}, I was whistling along with one of the songs. Malayna said to me, "Mommy, could you please calm down."

Meanwhile, she's doing this when she's supposed to be napping: (Try to ignore my loud laughter!)

She's singing Whip It by Devo. Hmmm. Maybe we should stick to the music class tapes.


she speaks her mind

{We stayed home on Sunday. See below.}

Malayna, Jimmy and I stopped at Peace A Pizza on Saturday to pick up dinner. I've been wanting to try their pizza for a while, and we were passing their new location on our way home from Home Depot. We went in to order and had to wait about 20 minutes. Luckily, Malayna had brought along a book, so we spent some time reading while we waited. While we were reading, another family came in and sat next to us - mom, dad, two boys and a girl about Malayna's age.

{Before I tell you what happened next, you should know this: Malayna went through a phase this past spring during which she was extremely afraid of any bug with wings. She seemed to spot them everywhere we went and would then throw a huge fit that included screaming, crying and flailing of her arms. Oh, how I miss that phase.}

While we were waiting for our pizza, someone came in the door and let in a very large flying bug. As soon as I saw it I knew what was going to happen next. It flew directly at us. Malayna revisited her earlier bug-fearing phase and started to scream and cry. I really couldn't blame her - that bug was giant and it flew right by her face.

Of course, all this commotion caused every single person in the place to turn and stare with their mouths hanging open. One of the young workers there even imitated Malayna's whining. {So helpful, thanks!} The little girl next to us was probably scared out of her mind at this creature making these strange noises for apparently no reason. Malayna noticed her staring and yelled, "I don't like that girl! She's yucky!" I told her it wasn't polite to say things like that and if she couldn't calm down we were going in truck to wait. {Meanwhile I was feeling really bad for the little girl - she didn't do anything wrong! Why couldn't she pick on the worker who was mocking her? I wouldn't have a problem with that.}

Of course my telling her that just made her angrier and she repeated, "But she's yucky!" I scooped her up and told her it was time for us to wait in the truck. She kicked and screamed and made an even bigger scene while I tried to put her in the carseat. She eventually calmed down and acted like nothing ever happened. Ugh. Is that frustrating or what?

This isn't the first time she's blurted out her feelings for all to hear. As it's happening, I'm torn between either telling her to stop saying things that aren't nice or letting her speak her mind. I do not want to tell her she has to be nice when she's feeling out of control, or sad or angry. I want her to speak her mind. I just don't want her to take it out on other people.

Afterwards we talked about what happened. I told her she CAN be angry, or afraid or sad, but it's not okay to say mean things about other people. She can, instead, tell me she's feeling sad, or angry and I will listen. That I can give her a hug if she needs it. I'm afraid if I push the "nice" factor I'll take away her feistyness and make her just another quiet, nice, goes-along-with-the-program little girl.



{she gave us TREATS!}

Malayna and her "best, best buddy" Aidan had a great time trick-or-treating last night. We {the parents} were worried that they wouldn't want to go out - both of them are resistant to change and not crazy about all the scary Halloween stuff. {Is that just a three-year-old thing?} We were happily surprised to see both of them very excited. They had little patience for things like eating dinner and waiting for the grown-ups to be ready.

They were both so surprised and excited about people giving them candy. After the first few houses, they would look in their bags and say, "she gave us TREATS!"

Malayna was a baby {what a surprise!} and Aidan was Superman.

{Luco did NOT like this}

{too much sugar?}

{maybe just a little too much...}


I've been tagged...

I've been tagged to respond to the following statements as a parent. This came at the perfect time - I was wondering what to write about today! {Thank you to the person who tagged me in the comments section of the last post.}

I would never:
Have another child.

I always:
Take my shower before I get Malayna out of bed in the morning.

I got an easy ride when it came to:
Malayna's babyhood. She was a pretty easy baby!

The part I dislike most about parenting is:
The repetition.

The part I love most about parenting is:
When Malayna and I discover an activity we like to do together. I recently realized that we can happily go thrift shopping together. She loves junk just as much as I do!

My terrible parenting secret is:
Malayna was a big surprise! {Okay, I'm not sure if this counts as a parenting secret, but I couldn't think of anything else.}

I would describe my approach to discipline as:
I'm not into punishment or time-outs. I believe in natural consequences.

My worst parenting habit:
Letting Malayna eat lunch while watching TV. I HATE that I do this, but it's really convenient and has become part of our routine. I can check email and straighten up before she goes up for a rest.

The one thing I am really proud of is:
Creating routines {around sleeping} for Malayna. It's very easy to get her to take a rest {even if she doesn't nap} and to get her to bed at night. I think that part of it is just her temperament, but a lot of it has to do with making good sleep habits a priority. It's something that's really important to me and that I think has a huge impact on a child's behavior.

I probably am too lenient when it comes to:
Cookies and cupcakes. There's a cupcake bakery in Jenkintown right across the street from the art supply store. I COULD tell Malayna that she can't have a cupcake every time we go, but their icing is so gooooood!

I hope Malayna inherits my:
Creativeness. {I wouldn't be able to take full responsiblity, though - Jimmy is also creative.}

I hope Malayna doesn't inherit my:
Tendency to be a pack rat. Oops. Too late.

I love that Malayna is:
A girl. I always thought I wanted a son, but I'm SO glad that I had a daughter.

The thing I miss most about my pre-mom days is:
The FREEDOM! I know it's a cliche, but it's so true. I love when I can spend the entire day in my studio. It's really hard to get back into mommy-mode after a day like that.

Motherhood is:
Really, really hard to do well.

Anyone else want to play along?


new layout

I made the blog look a little different over the weekend by adding a column on the left.

What do you think? Do you love it? Hate it? Is it too confusing? Too much going on? Is it perfect?

EDIT: I changed it back to the original version. Didn't like the new one :)



I think I'm raising a collector {otherwise known as a pack rat}.

{nature collection in the kitchen}

{turtles in the dining room}

{baby dolls in the toybox}

{books in the living room}

{beach stones on the windowsill}

I have no idea where she gets that from.

{plates on the dining room wall}

{keyholes on the living room wall}

{jewelry in the bedroom}

What do you collect? If you have children, have you passed on your pack rat gene to the next generation?


...part two

I wrote about the Rose Petal Cottage on Friday and received some interesting comments - some through this blog, and some through email and phone conversations. I want to attempt to address some of them here. Bear with me - I know exactly how I feel about this subject, but I'm not sure my views come across clearly.

I absolutely agree that there's nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom if that's what you choose. When I had Malayna, I was sure that I'd want to go right back to work. And I did, at first. But after a few weeks I realized it wasn't what I really wanted to do - I wanted to be home with her AND work. Luckily, I had a job at the time that allowed me to do just that.

By not buying toys like the Rose Petal Cottage, I'm making a (small) statement. I do NOT want to give money to a company that perpetuates the stereotype that women should be homemakers. If I bought her a toy like that, I would feel like a hypocrite.

The aisles are overrun with princess and frilly fairy costumes. What about a dress-up outfit that consists of a business suit and a mini-briefcase? There are plenty of moms who go to work dressed like this - and I'm sure their daughter would love to look just like mommy. Also, why don't the "girl" aisles have firefighter or construction costumes?

My biggest problem with the princess/pink/everything girly craze is that it teaches girls that they're valued because of how they look. After all, what do princesses DO? Why do most of the fairy tales end with the princess finding a prince? This is 2007! We, as women, have more choices than that. Where's the fairytale about the girl who grew up to be an artist and own her own business?!

The problem, according to Lyn Mikel Brown, a professor of human development and education at Colby College, is 25,000 princess products. “When one thing is so dominant, then it’s no longer a choice: It’s a mandate, cannibalizing all other forms of play. There’s the illusion of more choices out there for girls, but if you look around, you’ll see their choices are steadily narrowing,” Brown said.

It's not that this ONE toy will lead her to believe that being a girl means you look pretty, have a pretty house and grow up to have babies. It's that there are MILLIONS of those toys out there that have the same message. I have to work just a little harder to find the toys that teach her other things. Toys like art supplies, doctor kits, blocks, trucks and cars, gardening supplies, science kits...

As a girl, I loved playing with Barbies. {Yes! I admitted it!} But I also loved riding my bike, catching frogs, swimming in the lake and building forts. {Our family spent summers at a campground for years.} Princesses don't ride bikes and the only thing they do with frogs is kiss them so they'll turn into a handsome prince.

I think many parents follow society's lead when it comes to gender stereotypes. It not only affects their children, it also affects my daughter. Once she gets to school she'll hear all kinds of things about what girls can and cannot do. We each have our own values that we pass along to our children. I want her to know that she can do anything she wants to do. It's such a cliche, but it's true.

I'm frustrated with the choices available to girls. It seems like we've come a long way, but I think we still have so much further to go.


a short rant

Guess what Malayna will never have? The Rose Petal Cottage. Not only is it super-pink {my very favorite color!}, but it's also "an entire world where your little girl can play, discover and explore. It's a place where she and her dreams can grow." Right. As long as her dreams are to bake muffins, wash the baby's clothes, and clean her home.

The little girl in the "Dreamtown for Kids" video sings, "I love when my laundry gets so clean. Taking care of my home is a dream, dream, dream!" Read Alice Bradley's post about this toy at AlphaMom. I couldn't agree more!



Malayna's going to disown me when she's fifteen for posting this.

We went to Barnes & Noble last night to play and, of course, to have a cookie in the cafe. Malayna likes to sit at a table while I get a sugar cookie for her and a vanilla latte for me. While I was at the counter, I turned around to see her standing up, bouncing up and down and scratching her butt. I asked her what was wrong and she said, "nothing!" She sat down, but quickly stood up again and said {very loudly}, "Mommy! There's something IN my butt!" {Did I mention that the cafe was really crowded? And that I'm the kind of person who likes to blend in and not call attention to myself?} I'm guessing that she had a wedgie. I told her I'd be right there and turned around to pay for our stuff.

Yikes. When I turned around, she had her pants down! In the middle of a crowded cafe! And she was scratching her bottom. I think I turned bright red, and quickly pulled her pants up. I told her that she couldn't pull her pants down in the bookstore, and she asked "why?!" Um, well, "because you can only take your pants off when you're home".

Isn't it great that she has no idea that baring your bottom in a bookstore is embarrassing? Or should I be concerned?...


shop update and free shipping!

{pretty new clock}

There are some new things in the shop! You'll find new clocks {like the one above}, and new magnets. {If you order before October 31st, you get free Priority Mail shipping. Just enter code "october" when checking out.}

Is it too early to do some holiday shopping? How about some "I need a new pretty necklace for myself" shopping?


I sure did need this magnet on Monday. Thanks to all of you who commented here and those of you who emailed or called me. I'm trying to find out where Artie is, even if there's nothing I can do about it. I'll just feel better when I know something.

{yay for naps!}

On a happier note, Malayna and I went to the park yesterday to see her best buddy Aidan and new friend Natalie. They had a good time, of course, and she even took a nap! Yahoo! We're going to the park again this morning. Is it too much to ask for a nap again today?



It's 9:45pm on Monday. I just received a phone call from Artie's mom, Missy. I haven't talked to her in over three years - and if I never spoke to her again I would be ecstatic.

She called to say, "You think you can parent my kid? Artie's in boot camp and it's all your f***ing fault." And then she hung up on me.

I took a minute to calm down and tell myself to breathe. I then looked up the number on the caller ID and called her back. When she answered, I said, "Missy. What are you talking about?" I made myself sound very cool and calm {which was the exact opposite of how I was really feeling}. She repeated what she originally said to me and then, "They say that he had no parenting and is allowed to do whatever he wants. So thanks!" {You have to understand how very unintelligent this woman is. I think she truly believes what she said to me.}

"It's all your f***ing fault. I hope your f***ing kid turns out f***ed up, too."

I replied, "Do you really believe it's my fault?" {I did snicker a little here. How could I NOT?} "Well, I hope that makes you feel better."

She hung up again.

I know nothing. I don't know where he is or if he's okay.


Jimmy and Malayna love to sing Frank Sinatra together.


mommy-daughter day

{craftin' in the morning}

Malayna and I had a wonderful day on Wednesday! They don't come very often these days, you know. Maybe it's because we spend so much time together that we get a little tired of each other. Plus, she's 3. Whoever made up that saying "terrible twos" obviously had not hit the threes yet.

Honestly, though, I really don't like that expression. Why would you want to call your child "terrible"? Isn't that just expecting the worst? I like to use more descriptive words for Malayna. Words like: persistent, intense, perceptive, sensitive and energetic. That last one only happened recently. Holy moly does that girl have energy. I am NOT the kind of person who likes to run around all day, wrestle, talk constantly and move from one activity to another in a matter of seconds. All of a sudden, she's that kid that doesn't stop. I think it has something to do with not taking a nap anymore. She has to keep moving so she doesn't fall asleep!

On Wednesday, she slept until 9:00 {because she had woken up at 3 to play}. When I came into her room she asked me who was coming over that day. She asks this most days, I guess because I'm no fun. I told her it was a mommy-daughter day and she asked if we could make something together. Huh? What? Am I dreaming?

When we went to the Festival on Sunday, I stopped at my friend Jessica's booth. She had "make your own doll" kits - filled with a small fabric doll form, glue, sequins, yarn, and paint. When I bought it I had hoped that we could make it together, but in the back of my head I thought that she wouldn't be interested. When I showed it to her later in the day, she asked if we could do it then. I told her that we would save it for a mommy-daughter day.

Any day that starts off with her sleeping until 9 and then doing a craft together when she wakes up is bound to be good! After we finished the doll we went to Ikea, where I actually shopped {and Malayna didn't complain!} and then had lunch together. Since she slept so late I wasn't even going to bother putting her up for a rest, so we headed off to Trader Joe's. Our next-door neighbor works there and every time we see him in the store Malayna gets excited. However, she won't really talk to him when we see him at home. Weird.

It was a perfect day. We didn't have one single issue.

{meet Diamond}

Yesterday, however, was back to normal. My friend told me about a local food co-op, so I decided to try it in the afternoon. There's a little playground there, so I told Malaya that she could play after we shopped. Well, of course she didn't want to wait. She folded her arms, put on her nastiest face, stomped her foot and said, "I want to go play NOW." She repeated it a few more times just in case any of the workers or shoppers hadn't heard her the first time.

When we did get to the playground, she didn't want to play because there was no "inside swing". {She means those bucket swings for babies.} So we got into the truck and drove to one of her favorite playgrounds - one that she usually goes to with daddy. We pull up, and she looks at me with this weird smile on her face and says "WHAT are we doing HERE?" I told her I thought she'd like to play there since they have inside swings. She said "Me and daddy go here. I want to go home." I finally convinced her to get out of the truck and play, but when we got to the playground it was empty. She said, "There's no one here. We shouldn't be here either. Let's go home." Oooookaaaay. Home we went.

I used Ahna's advice when we got home and had a conversation about how I thought she was too small to go places like the co-op with me. She immediately said, "I'm not too small! I'm a big girl!" I repeated that she was too small and her reaction was to smile and say, "Yes, I'm too small." Arrrggghh!

When we were playing with her dolls later, I had the mommy go to the store alone. She told her children that they were too little to go and that mommy was going to shop by herself. As soon as the mommy left, the children said, "Yahoo! Let's have a birthday party!"

She wears me out.




Yesterday was one of those trying days as a parent.

The three of us went to the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival. It's a great outdoor craft show {that I'd like to do next year} in a pretty neighborhood. There are also activities for children - like moon bounces, sand art and face painting. Sounds like a nice thing to do as a family, right?

Jimmy and I told Malayna about it a few days ago and she {seemed} really excited about it. We've been to the Festival a few times, so she knew what to expect. When we got there, however, she couldn't quite cope. I visited a few friends who had booths there and Malayna would not say hello or stop giving dirty looks. No matter how hard we try, we can't MAKE her be polite. It's so frustrating! How hard is it to say hello? I certainly model positive behavior for her - I never walk up to someone and say, "I don't want to talk to you!" Sure, I give people dirty looks sometimes, but never when they're smiling at me and saying hello!

I can tell she's uncomfortable when meeting new people {unless they have a baby or a dog with them}. At this point, I'd be happy if she would just stop glaring at people. She doesn't have to say hello yet - we can work on that later. I'm not sure how to react when she acts like this. I'll admit - I'm not consistent. Sometimes I can blow it off and say something like "she needs a little time to warm up" {um, like a few weeks}. But other times, like yesterday, I just can't tolerate it and it puts me in a foul mood. I'm sure it was because my expectations didn't meet the reality.

Even though we know she can't handle large crowds, we continue to try to take her on outings like this. Should we stop? I don't know. I don't want to give her that much control -we're the parents! On the other hand, do we just put up with it and hope it gets better? I know that I need to learn better ways of coping with this behavior. But she's almost 4 years old - shouldn't she be expected to be polite and greet people when she sees them? Or are my expectations too high?

The day did get better - after we had been there for about an hour, she seemed to warm up. Then again, she didn't have to talk to anyone at that point. We had given up on expecting her to say hello and we put the sunshade down on her stroller so no one would look at her. Worked like a charm!



{reading to one of the babies}

Lately Malayna has been pointing to words and asking what they say. She's noticing punctuation, too. She looks for the dashes in her books and wants to know what an exclamation point is.

She can spell a few words, like dog, mom, dad and Eagles. Since Jimmy is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, Malayna has heard the Eagles fight song her whole life. {Yes, I just directed you to a football website. Don't worry - it won't happen again!} Sometimes when we're drawing together she'll ask me to spell her favorite words - Michael, Leo, puppy, Barbara, Ella, baby.

{daddy and Malayna}

The other day the three of us were reading books before bedtime. I asked Malayna if she knew how to spell "dad" and she said, "g-o-d".

On the other hand.... As is often the case with small children, one day we were talking about butts. I told Malayna that hers was my favorite. She asked Jimmy if it was his favorite too, and of course he said yes. I said, "what about my butt?" She looked at me with pity in her eyes and said, "well, you're smart."


I need your input!

{Malayna's homemade costume for her second Halloween.
She was "two". Get it?}

I have a show in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday. There are a lot of Halloween products {handmade, of course} at this particular show and it has me wondering if I should make some Halloween cards. I have some ideas sketched out, but I'm not sure if people even buy cards for this holiday.

Do you purchase Halloween cards? If so, who do you buy them for?

Please leave a comment with your answers. {If you don't have a Google account, you can still leave an anonymous comment.}

Thank you!



{see pins like this here}

Warning - I'm pretty grumpy today. It's just one of those days. I'm wearing clothes older than Malayna, my house is a mess {Luco is shedding like crazy}, there's nothing to eat here, my truck is still packed from the Yardley Harvest Fest {which means I have to unpack some of it if I want to drive anywhere with Malayna later}, my garden looks gross. Maybe I should just stop there. Oh, and I need a haircut.

But if I continue to wallow in my grumpiness it'll never go away - the day will drag on and on. I'm trying to think happy thoughts. It's not working so far.

Many people love the changing of the seasons. I don't. I guess I'm like Malayna and don't do well with change and transitions {it's more like I passed that along to her}. The weather is gorgeous, but I have no idea what to wear. It's too cool to wear shorts, but too warm to wear long pants. We went to the park again today, but I didn't even feel like walking the trail like we usually do. Which was perfectly fine with Malayna - it meant we went to the playground right away! {By the way, where are all the little kids? The park has been empty since school started. Is Malayna the only child under 5 who doesn't go to school? There's got to be other parents out there who are home with their kids. I know I'm not the only one. Show yourself!}

I was even annoyed at the playground. There was a helicopter mom there with her little boy. He was just about 2 years old and she wouldn't let him do anything without her help, even though he seemed perfectly capable. She also did. not. stop. talking. "Be careful! Watch your head! Don't jump! Don't go down the slide - it's wet!" I kept asking Malayna if she wanted to go to the other playground {there are two in the park} because I couldn't listen to this woman anymore! But instead, she wanted to play with the little boy. Which meant I had to talk to the mom. I just wanted to be left alone, ya know?

She must've asked Malayna a million questions. "What's your name? How old are you? Do you go to school?", not even waiting for her answers. She then went on to try and get her son to perform, but he stayed quiet. Which meant she had to tell me how unusual this was for him - "he usually talks so much! He's really smart. He goes to daycare. I would recommend that every child go to daycare!" Oh my.

We finally got the heck out of there, came home and painted a pumpkin. That lasted all of about 10 minutes. Right now Malayna's in her room resting and I REALLY HOPE SHE TAKES A NAP!
Thanks for listening!

{PS: Thanks for your comments on the last post. I really appreciate them.}


are you alright?

My friend Kate and I saw Lucinda Williams at the Keswick Theater last night. She was great, and the Keswick is one of the best places to see a concert. It's a small, intimate theater - we were sitting in the 3rd row from the stage.

If you don't know Lucinda, you must listen to some of her songs. She's an incredible song writer. One of her new songs, "Are You Alright", is one of my favorites - it reminds me of a little boy who holds a special place in my heart.

To make a {very, very} long story short, his mother was a childhood friend of mine. She was a drug addict and had three children that she wasn't taking care of. I would take care of her middle child, Artie {starting at 4 months old}, at first to give her a break, but then eventually it turned into her expecting me to watch him every weekend. And I did - she wasn't taking care of him and by that time I felt like I couldn't just walk away. Not only would he stay with me on weekends, but I also volunteered at his schools {he had many - they moved around a lot} and sent him to camp a few summers.

{Artie and Malayna, 2004}

In 2000, his mother fell further into her addiction and Jimmy and I got custody of all three of her children {they were 9, 10 and 12 years old}. Two of them lived with us for 2 1/2 years and Artie stayed for five years, until 2005. Those five years were absolutely chaotic, but we really felt like we were doing the "right thing". There was a lot of rebellion from the kids - some of it normal teenage stuff, but most of it a result of the situation we were all in.

In 2005, our relationship with Artie was suffering. He had been getting into trouble in school and with the police. His family was conveniently absent for much of those five years, except to tell him that Jimmy and I weren't his family and that he should be with them. I still don't understand their reasoning. They didn't step up when the kids needed them, yet they didn't hesitate to put us down and poison our relationship with all three kids.

There were threats from his family about taking us to court for custody of Artie if we didn't let him go live with them. Since Artie wanted to go and we honestly felt like we didn't have a leg to stand on in court against his relatives, he went to live with an aunt. We lost touch for a while, which was sad since I had been in his life since he was a baby. {By the way, he didn't even stay with the aunt for a whole year before she kicked him out.}

I only talk to him once in a while, and I suspect he only calls when things are good for him. He's had a hard life already, including at least one stay in a rehab. He now lives with his grandparents, and when I leave a message for him I wonder if he gets it.

I can only hope that the love we showed him all those years means something.

Are You Alright

Are you alright?
All the sudden you went away.
Are you alright?
I hope you come back around someday.
Are you alright?
I haven't seen you in a real long time.
Are you alright?
Could you give me some kind of sign.
Are you alright?
I looked around me and you were gone.
Are you alright?
I feel like there must be something wrong.
Are you alright?
'Cause it seems like you disappeared.
Are you alright?
'Cause I been feeling a little scared.
Are you alright?

Are you sleeping through the night?
Do you have someone to hold you tight?
Do you have someone to hang out with?
Do you have someone to hug and kiss you,
Hug and kiss you,
Hug and kiss you?
Are you alright?

Are you alright?
Is there something been bothering you?
Are you alright?
I wish you'd give me a little clue.
Are you alright?
Is there something you wanna say?
Are you alright?
Just tell me that you're okay.
Are you alright?
'Cause you took off without a word.
Are you alright?
You flew away like a little bird.
Are you alright?
Is there anything I can do?
Are you alright?
'Cause I need to hear from you.
Are you alright?


Are you alright?
Are you alright?


not much to write about...

I'm having a hard time thinking of something to write about today, so here's a little meme to entertain you. Play along!

1. your rock star name: (first pet & current car)
Mischief Mercury

2. your gangsta name: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Vanilla Chocolate Chip

3. your "fly guy/girl name: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

4. your detective name: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Purple Dog

5. your soap opera name: (middle name, city where you were born)
Ann Philadelphia

6. your star wars name: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. superhero name: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Red Screwdriver

8. nascar name: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Mike John

9. stripper name: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
Almond Snicker

10. witness protection name: (mother’s & father’s middle names )
Rose Joseph

11. tv weather anchor name: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Cells Chicago {read my notes on this below!}**

12. spy name: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Summer Tulip

13. cartoon name: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Pineapple Shorty

14. hippy name: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Cheerio Dogwood

15. your rockstar tour name: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Paper Sun Tour

Okay, I had to call my mom for that one. I could not remember who my fifth-grade teacher was and now I know why. Her name was Ms. Cells and she was nasty. I remember sitting in art class one day and being really proud of what I had drawn. She was walking around and looking at each child's creation. When she came to John she went on and on about how great his drawing was. {He was a really good artist - I remember thinking that he and I were two of the best in the class.} She came to me, looked at my drawing and told me what was wrong with it. And she didn't say it in a nice way. I hated her after that and it's the only thing I remember about her.

That was about 17 years ago and I still remember it. Isn't it funny how those things stick with you? How I wish I could see her today and tell her how much of an impact her nastiness had on me. And, of course, how wrong she was about my artwork!


one is plenty

Last night I was flipping through channels and stopped at TLC. Whoa. Have you heard of The Dugger Family? They have 17 children. And all their names start with the letter J. Did you know there were so many J names?! They {with the help of the kids} are building their own house - which is something like 7000 square feet on 20 acres. They have an industrial dishwasher. And they're excited about that. From what I can tell, the mom stays home. What in the world does the dad do for a living?

{trying the digger at the park}

Having one child is plenty for me, so I don't even come close to understanding how someone can make the decision to have 17! Malayna is very busy these days - running all over the place, talking so much that I think my ears will fall off, and continuously asking what her next snack will be. And believe it or not, she's trying new things - like going on the slides at the playground {even the tunnel slide} and actually wanting a new pair of shoes instead of holding on for dear life to her old favorites. She's also been drawing a LOT. Most of her drawings are of happy faces or sunshine.

{bathtub drawing of a very happy tiger shark - see the water?}

Tonight she sat on the couch at 6:30 and said "I'm ready to read books" {her signal that she's ready for bed}. She's taken naps the past few days, but then she doesn't fall asleep until after 10pm! Lately she's been waking up around 4 or 5am and then of course I wake up because I hear her playing. This transition to no naps is taking a really long time. She's so tired by 6pm that she's tripping over her own feet.

Lots of people ask me when I'm having another child. My answer - never! I know that I'm a good mom to one - any more than that is pushing it for me. Why is there such pressure to have more? I'm perfectly happy with the one I have and cherish the time I spend with her. But I also look forward to the time I get to spend all alone - which wouldn't be as easy to do if we had more.

Do you remember how I mentioned a while back that Malayna loves to pretend she's someone else? Sometimes she's baby Leo or Ethan, or 4-year-old Michael, or nasty Barbara. I've got lots of kids wrapped into one. And more to come, I'm sure.


shop update!

{new 10" clock in the shop}

Whew! I just spent the past day {and a half} updating the shop. There's a new front page {what do you think?}, 10" wall clocks , and brand-spankin' new 4" desk clocks. Now I know why I don't update more often. I have to edit each photo, write the descriptions, upload the information plus make a new front page. Not to mention the fact that my computer is so full that sometimes it refuses to save anything - then I have to stop, clean up the hard drive and hope I have room to save my documents.

Tomorrow I'm meeting with my art group. On the third Sunday of each month for about the past 5 years we get together to have brunch and make art. {Okay, maybe we do a little more trash-talking and eating than actual making.} There are nine of us, ranging in age from mid-30s to 60s. We meet at a different members' home every month and we each bring an item for brunch.

We make our schedule at the end of the year at our holiday party where we exchange gifts we've made for each other. That's when we decide who will host and what craft we'll do each month. We've done all sorts of things - paper crafts, floorcloths, beading, fabric dyeing. We've even made lampshades - a few of us took a workshop and then taught the group what we'd learned. Some other workshops we've taken have been mosaics {with Jessica of Tesserae} and papermaking {at RittenhouseTown}.

The host for the month is in charge of organizing the details - finding out who is coming and what food she'll bring {I always bring a Box O'Joe from Dunkin Donuts}, what craft we'll work on and what supplies are needed. Tomorrow we're doing paper crafts. I think I'll try and make this bowl that Patricia {of A Little Hut} posted about. It's a good way to recycle all the magazines I accumulate!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


the sculpture park

{little dwelling in the Sculpture Park}

Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I can convince Malayna to walk through Abington Art Center's Sculpture Park with me. It's on the same grounds as our favorite park and is connected by a little pathway through the woods. None of the sculptures are permanent; each season they change as new artists are "invited to respond to the landscape". While we were walking through, a family of deer ran right in front of us. I could see them watching us as we walked along the path.

{Malayna and puppy enjoyed the little house}

One of the sculptures was a little house based on Van Gogh's painting Bedroom in Arles. There was a little bed, a few chairs and a desk. The back of the house opens up to the woods and from the front you can see the Abington Art Center.

{Abington Art Center - view from the little house}

After the Sculpture Park we followed the path around to the playground. Can we please do this every time we go to the park? A little inspiration for me and a little swinging for Malayna.

{I'm flying!}


late sleeper

{and she actually sleeps here}

It's 10:09 am and Malayna is still sleeping. What?! Okay, this is probably more like a nap since I heard her {loudly} playing at 5 am. There was no way I was getting up, showering and getting dressed at that hour, so I turned the monitor down and tried to go back to sleep. I think she fell back to sleep around 7 - which is when I got up.

She can play by herself in her room for a really long time. Well, it's not like she's truly by herself - she has Leo, Barbara, Ella, Michael and the new imaginary friend Ethan {inspired by this} to keep her company. Not to mention the 50+ dolls and toys she keeps in close proximity to her little Dr. Seuss-like bed. When I'm downstairs and she's up there for a rest {ha!} I can hear the boom, boom, boom of her little feet running back and forth across the room.

A few weeks ago she figured out that she can lift her shade and see the backyard. {Don't worry - her window is locked!} Jimmy was out there one afternoon reading when she spotted him and wouldn't leave him alone.

"Daddy! I see you, daddy!"

"Daddy, can you get me a flashlight?"

"Hi, daddy."

"Dad-day! I need a flashlight!"

"Daddy? Where are you, daddy?"

He only stayed out there for a little while after he realized she wasn't going to leave him alone. He couldn't hear her, but every once in a while he'd look up at her window and see her waving and her little face smiling down at him. I was inside and could hear her - she didn't get that daddy didn't hear what she was saying.

{this is what I had this morning}

I sat around this morning for a while twiddling my thumbs waiting for her to wake up. After about a half-hour I realized I'd better get something done while I'm ALL ALONE IN THE MORNING. I said out loud to myself, "I can go up to my studio!". Yahoo! I don't think I've ever worked up there that early in the morning. It's really nice!

{new 4" desk clock}

I didn't do any actual work, though. I don't like to be interrupted when I work, so I didn't want to start something and then have to stop when she wakes up. So I finally took photos of some new clocks I had made. I made a bunch of little desk clocks before the Glenside Street Fair - they measure 4" and are a smaller version of the 10" clocks. I'll probably be adding them to the site on Friday.

She's awake now, so I'd better go get her. Sounds like Michael is causing some kind of trouble up there.