A Grandmother’s Legacy

China Doll

This afternoon, I talked with my sweet grandmothers, and began a special dialogue. A friend got me a book called A Grandparent’s Legacy with questions about their lives and their stories. Some of this information I already know: their full names, when they were born, etc. But the stories, not as much.  I feel a bit late in starting this, since they are getting on in years! But better to start now than not at all, right?


LauriA Grandmother’s Legacy

Learning Spanish via Duolingo

Duo

Did you take Spanish in school? I did, and I had the added benefit of a family trip to Guatemala when I was fourteen.  Did you use your knowledge?  I didn’t much. Even in college I took  more Spanish, but still didn’t put it into practice.  I knew lots of words, but didn’t really talk to people. 

Years later, I began to wonder what it would take to actually become bilingual, and maybe even raise my children knowing more than one language! I recently stumbled upon an amazing tool to make that happen: Duolingo.

LauriLearning Spanish via Duolingo

All-Time-Favorite Baby-Gear Purchase: Ergo

Ergo

When I was a nanny before Elise was born, Fletcher outgrew the Baby Bjorn at 6 months, and walked at 10 months. He was a strong little guy, and wanted to perpetually follow big sister, but even those strong and stout babies still have to be lugged everywhere!  By the time he was one, I started asking for suggestions from moms I met out and about: at the park, the library, music class. The Ergo, I heard, would answer my need. The Ergo Baby Carrier is a soft backpack/front-pack/side-pack designed to be comfortable for both mom and child. Their weight rests on the hips and not the shoulders, and they ride low on the back (as opposed to being lifted up to shoulder height).  There is no metal frame adding extra weight, and it can be adjusted for the child to ride on front, back or side.  To side-carry, the straps must be re-attached differently, so I typically have used it in front or back mode. Learning to mount a small child by oneself is a bit harrowing at first, but soon becomes second nature.  And as they get a little older, the toddler learns how to get in, so they will insert their little foot where it goes, and shift their weight at the right time. I know there are studies about the benefits of “baby-wearing”, for the bonding and development of the infant but I speak only from experience.  I find it quite pleasant to strap on my darling …

LauriAll-Time-Favorite Baby-Gear Purchase: Ergo

A Funky Day with a Priceless Gift

Radnor 3

“What do the simple folk do?

​To perk up the heart and get through?”  -Camelot

I hear Julie Andrews singing these words from Camelot in my head.  And indeed, the other day I was desperate for some relief and some way to perk up my heart and get through.

Everything seemed to be off: cranky two-year-old, heartbroken four-year-old, things off with my dear husband.  Just off.  So while I cried in the bathroom, I texted several close friends to please pray for me.  I was a mess.  Hormonal, probably, but still just a mess (and who wants it suggested that they’re hormonal, anyway??).

One friend offered to come over, to help however she could.  She even suggested that I slip out and let her keep the girls a while.  Could I really let her into my mess?

LauriA Funky Day with a Priceless Gift

Learning to Knit

Knitting

Knitting is my newest endeavor.  I have learned to crochet several times, and it doesn’t seem to stick with me.  When I was ten, I knitted one square with mom’s instruction, and I stopped there.  But recently yarn has again piqued my interest: so many possibilities!  Martha Stewart Living shared an article full of projects to make with knitted rectangles.  I tore it out, figuring that whenever I did learn to knit, I’d first be knitting rectangles and rectangles and rectangles, right?


LauriLearning to Knit

Lettering Design Tool: Zenspirations

zen splash

oanne Fink’s illustrative lettering designs caught my attention via Pinterest.  I was inspired by a video of her lettering process, which she calls “Zenspirations“.   I loved being handed a new tool, a new creative skill, that I could immediately put into practice.  No awkward knitting needle manipulation, this was an easy design tool that would simply add to my own lettering fun and even release further creativity! 

 

LauriLettering Design Tool: Zenspirations

My Personal Trainer: Nike Training Club

Don’t you love endorphins?  I love how exercise improves my mood, my energy level, and my body.  But I hate how hard it is to get in the habit of working out, and how easy it is slide back into lethargy.  Even with a free gym around the corner it can be ridiculously difficult to make exercise a regular part of life!  Throw a few small children into this mix, and it can feel hopeless.  I still remember, though, how wonderful it feels to exercise. So when I heard about Nike Training Club, I thought I’d give it a try.  Their slogan is: “Your personal trainer. Anytime.  Anywhere.”, which we all need, right?  Nike Training Club (NTC) is an iPhone and Android app that facilitates workouts. Here’s an overview: There are over 85 customized workouts available, varying in intensity, skill, and length. Each workout has a series of drills, each with its own video and pictorial guide. NTC connects to my own music, so I set up a Workout playlist with my preferred uptempo, fun music As my minutes accrue, I earn rewards!  It really is amazing how motivating it is to hear “Congratulations!  You’ve unlocked a reward!” Some of those rewards are “badges” that declare my prowess (wink, wink), but others are tangible prizes like elite workouts. A year and a half later, I’ve earned 4,205 minutes, and I’d say it works!  Because of those small children in my mix, I usually don’t even have time for a 30 …

LauriMy Personal Trainer: Nike Training Club

Reading is for Grownups too: A New Yorker article

TNY_03_04_13 cover

​Lately I’ve been particularly challenged to read more for myself.  I read picture books to my children to fuel their growing brains, but do I read stimulating material to grow my brain too?  Jon reads and reads and reads: articles, blogs, magazines, tutorials.  It’s easy for me to forget to read.  But as other moms will testify, if I don’t keep feeding my brain, it will atrophy.  

We subscribe to The New Yorker, which is always thought provoking if you take enough time to sit down and actually read it.  Though I cannot keep up with the weekly influx of The New Yorker’s information, I do pick it up periodically and read an article.  Last week’s issue (March 4. 2013), contained an article of particular interest to me: “Giving Voice: A surgeon pioneers methods to help singers sing again“, so I made time to read it.  

Excellent article!

 

LauriReading is for Grownups too: A New Yorker article

Some Favorite Children’s Authors

Smokey's Books

As both a nanny and as a new mom, I didn’t have any particular method for choosing books at the library.  We’d linger in the aisles, browsing for something sweet, hoping it didn’t contain anything too offensive.  When I taught kindergarten, I became aware of some wonderful children’s authors, but I forgot most of them when my babies came. 

Lately, though, I’ve been scouring friends and blogs for great authors!  It’s a new hobby: to find children’s books with wonderful stories, delightful illustrations, and maybe even morals to boot.

 

LauriSome Favorite Children’s Authors

Photography and Me

Colour Photos

Wow, I need to learn to take better pictures!

Despite my good intentions, I’ve never taken great photographs.  In fact, I often seem to take pictures that are crooked, out of focus, poorly lit, even subjectless.  So far with this blog, Jon has been helping me tremendously, and I need to get up to speed!

So yesterday I took a gulp of humility and began browsing beginning photography websites and blog posts.  Several recommended sites were simply way over my head, but I checked out the Digital Photography School online, and even joined their weekly tutorial email list.  I read part of an article for a basic understanding of what “Exposure” means.  I must start somewhere.

LauriPhotography and Me