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26 August 2010

One Month Old

We're starting to get the hang of being a family of four now. Raven is growing all the time, and starting to plump up a bit. He was pretty scrawny when he was born, but now he's getting some creases and cute little chubby cheeks. All that brusing from being born so fast is finally gone; no more "blueberry baby." Now we call him our "tomato baby" because he gets so red when he's upset. He actually likes tummy time - so much so that he's fallen asleep there a couple of times. I'm still getting used to that: Monkey was inconsolable on his tummy from day 1, and I don't remember any other baby I've spent time with really enjoying it. I think I could spend an awful lot of time baby-gazing, given the opportunity. We're all pretty smitten. Yesterday, I walked into the living room to see Raven sitting on Monkey, and Monkey was sitting on Daddy. Truly a kodak moment!

20 August 2010

Fix-it Friday

Here's what I did:

*Pioneer Woman's Define & Sharpen - then removed it from all but the cutie with an oval mask.
*Pioneer Woman's Boost - and again with the oval mask.

*Added an orange version of ShadowHouse's "Bosch" texture. Blend mode: Overlay.
*Used the Hot Pink Texture Removal technique to remove texture from the cutie, but keep the warming effect from the color of the texture.
*Added ShadowHouse's "Soft Grunge" texture, and removed texture from the cutie again, again keeping the color. Blend mode: Multiply.
*Flatten. Also saved a copy, because I want to be able to come back to here if I don't like what I'm about to try.

*Added a dark brown solid color fill layer. Masked an oval off the cutie.
*Duplicate background, Gaussian Blur:4, Blend Mode: Overlay. Reduce opacity & mask out the cutie a bit.
*Pioneer Woman's Quick Edge Burn. Change it to a forest green, blend mode to darken.

*Hunt for that homeschool catalog because I think it's got a bit of poetic stuff that might go well with the picture. Can't find it. Search for different text.

Sand Sculptures, Part 1

We're making sand sculptures, starting with ocean critters. Last night, we made the dough. Monkey almost never will get gooey, and he had a slow start this time too. But before he was done he told me, "This is fun. We should do this again."

If you decide to do something similar, I suggest cleanup with a hose. This is really messy, gums up the sink, and Andy tells me the sand will get caught in the u-bend gas traps under the sink.

19 August 2010

A Match

If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather,
Blown fields or flowerful closes,
Green pleasure or grey grief;
If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf.

If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune,
With double sound and single
Delight our lips would mingle,
With kisses glad as birds are
That get sweet rain at noon;
If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune.

If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death,
We'd shine and snow together
Ere March made sweet the weather
With daffodil and starling
And hours of fruitful breath;
If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death.

If you were thrall to sorrow,
And I were page to joy,
We'd play for lives and seasons
With loving looks and treasons
And tears of night and morrow
And laughs of maid and boy;
If you were thrall to sorrow,
And I were page to joy.

If you were April's lady,
and I were lord in May,
We'd throw with leaves for hours
And draw for days with flowers,
Till day like night were shady
And night were bright like day;
If you were April's lady,
And I were lord in May.

If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain,
We'd hunt down love together,
Pluck out his flying-feather,
And teach his feet a measure,
And find his mouth a rein;
If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain.

-Algernon Charles Swinburne

Onesie Winner!

JenLCB, you've won the frog crossing onesie! Congratulations! Please leave a comment with your email (I won't publish it) so that we can arrange shipping.

18 August 2010

Ocean Videos

Some videos to show Monkey before we make that coral reef diorama.

There is also this site with a couple of flash games and puzzles.

17 August 2010

Fun Ideas

I found a recipe for sand dough this evening, and it looks like fun. I wonder how much some play sand would be? Monkey loves this sort of thing. He'd have a blast mixing up the dough with me, and then just as much fun making stuff out of it.

The same site has a fun coral reef diorama idea that would be a fun project to do with Monkey. They actually have several diorama ideas. This polar bear habitat looks like fun. I'm in the mood for some sort of project like this, and Monkey's usually game for just about any art project I've ever tried with him. It'd be easy to turn something like that into a science project or unit study.

16 August 2010

Giveaway Update

We're opening the contest to our Canadian neighbors, so now folks from both the US & Canada can enter! Enter the contest on the original post.

15 August 2010

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Isaiah 49:15

12 August 2010

Tutorial: Very Esay Baby Blankets

My babies have both been tall, and they are quickly too long to swaddle in the little receiving blankets, so I use these square flannel blankies instead. At 2 1/2 weeks, Raven is already needing the larger size, and we've somehow lost nearly all the ones I made when Monkey was born so I'm making a few new ones. These are simple double flannel squares, and they're a great size that works for swaddling now and dragging around when the baby gets older. I do squares because I prefer to swaddle in a square, rather than a rectangle.

Materials Needed:

2.5 yards of flannel
Matching thread

The idea is to have a piece of fabric that is twice as long as it is wide.

Fold your fabric in half right sides together.

For the most part, I use a standard 5/8ths seam. However, flannel often has a "don't use this for children's sleepwear" warning, and on that side I use a larger seam to make sure that the warning is completely hidden on the final blanket.

Start sewing about 8 inches from the fold. Go all the way around the open edges of the fabric, until you come back to the fold.

Clip a triange off the corners to reduce the bulk of fabric there when it's finished. Turn your blanket right-side out through the opening you left in the seam. Make sure your corners are fully turned as you go. Iron the blanket flat. When you iron, make sure to iron the open spot with the edges to the inside of the blanket, so that it looks closed as it sits there. Then, when you go back to your machine, start with the open spot.

Topstitch all the way around the blanket, which should close the opening you left. I like to make this seam as wide as my machine's foot.

That's it, you're done! Swaddle your baby in your new blanky!

10 August 2010

Handmade Onesie Giveaway! (Closed)

Kate recently discovered she loves stenciling and opened an Etsy shop in order to have something to do with all the cute stuff she's been making. I've discovered that I love her work, and I love seeing my boys in it. I think more people should know about the cuteness she is creating! She's graciously allowed me to host a give-away of one of her onesies!

Up for Grabs:

This Frog Crossing design was inspired by an actual "frog crossing" sign near a forest preserve in central Wisconsin, near where we grew up. The forest preserve is still there, but the sign is no more, due to it being stolen on a regular basis. I think the frog goes even better on the onesie!

Front: Leaping Frog (black)
Back: Plain
100% cotton, short sleeve
Size: 0-3M Circo onesie (golden yellow) prewashed.
This item was hand dyed, making it one-of-a-kind, with subtle color differences and surface variations.

Hand-dyed Care: wash with like colors or separately, 1 to 2 times, to remove any excess dye. Do not spot scrub and test your stain remover on a hidden area if you intend to use it. (I have several of Kate's items now and we've had no problems with laundry.)

How to Enter:

Step 1: Go to Kate's store and choose a favorite item.
Step 2: Post a link to this giveaway on your blog.
Step 3: Leave a comment on this post telling us what's your favorite & a link to your blog.

If you want, you can copy & paste this code for a short blog post:

It will look like this:

Visit Baby Steps
Baby Steps Blog is giving away a MoMoPics hand-stenciled onesie!
Click to Enter.

That's it! Good luck!

This contest is open to residents of the United States. Entries must be received by 11:59PM CST the 18th of August.

The giveaway is now open to the US and CANADA!

Sidewalk Chalk

These are actually from before Raven was born, but it's pretty typical of what Monkey does when we color with the sidewalk chalk. He has a good time and gets incredibly messy. We're thinking about doing some more today, if I can stand to be outside in the heat and humidity. However, looking at the forecast, we might as well go outside. It's not going to be getting any better this week. 80s and 80-90% humidity. Ugh.

06 August 2010

Liberty, Agency, Life

"Liberty, according to my metaphysics, is an intellectual quality; an attribute that belongs not to fate nor chance. Neither possesses it, neither is capable of it. There is nothing moral or immoral in the idea of it. The definition of it is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power; it can elect between objects, indifferent in point of morality, neither morally good nor morally evil. If the substance in which this quality, attribute, adjective, call it what you will, exists, has a moral sense, a conscience, a moral faculty; if it can distinguish between moral good and moral evil, and has power to choose the former and refuse the latter, it can, if it will, choose the evil and reject the good, as we see in experience it very often does"

John Adams, Letters to John Taylor (1814)

"The definition of [Liberty] is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power... "

"Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves." -Gospel Topics:Agency

It seems to me that Liberty and Agency are one and the same.

"God has granted us agency. I believe that moral agency is one of the greatest gifts of God unto His children, next to life itself." -President Uchtdorf

If Agency and Liberty are the same thing, then President Uchtdorf's statment could be rendered:

"I believe that [liberty] is one of the greatest gifts of God unto His children, next to life itself."

Are we as courageous in defending our liberty as we are in defending our lives?

"Moroni was... a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery... if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever..."
Alma 48:11,17


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