Making + Listening : Birthday Edition

MAKING: Yesterday was Jeff’s birthday. Being that it was a Wednesday workday, the day was pretty much like every other but I hoped we made it a little more special with some presents (primarily beer/brew books for my brewer husband) and some homemade goodies as well.

birthday loot

Beer books, beer t-shirt, a framed picture of Daddy with his little girl for his home office and a little something I whipped up- an embroidered (freehand) Hop plant.


daddy and boo open presents

i want that

reading up on hops

he likes it

I’m also going to include the cake I made for Jeff’s birthday. I was so excited about it because it was a Chocolate Beer Cake and I spent the night before and the morning of working my butt off to make it with a little girl tugging at my heels the whole time. It was an adorable cake but looks can unfortunatly be deceiving. I’m not sure where I went wrong but let’s just say we only had one piece. Tomorrow I plan to stick to what I know best and make it up to him with some chocolate chip cookies.

the cake

with candles

one slice

At least he got a good wish out of the cake!

As for LISTENING: Of course we have sung Happy Birthday a few times to dear old Dad this week but other than that we’ve been rotating between that Steve Martin c.d., some Sinatra and a bit of Elizabeth Mitchell while we play and fold laundry.

*joining Dawn with Making and Listening.

Around Town: Botanical Gardens

the map

walking the trail

We took a little hike the other day to check out the newly opened Ventura Botanical Gardens. Right now it’s mostly California shrubbery and wildflowers but the city has major plans for a full Botanical Garden that will include many different walking trails and different flora throughout. The views from this hike are lovely and although the trail was rather crowded with families and their dogs, it was nice to see so many people out enjoying the outdoors and the trail still seemed rather quiet and peaceful.



keep walking

spring flowers


a view

baby and a view

honey comb

yellow flowers

daddy and grumple

looking out

under trees

touching the tree


heading down

more flowers

wild flowers in rocks

bye bye trail

There were some beautiful little wildflowers hidden and scattered throughout the trail. We came across a honeycomb from a bee hive that was strewn out along the trail. It was a neat site to see and photograph. Ellie didn’t seem to enjoy the hike as much as we would have liked her to. Half way down the trail she was done and let us know. We hope as she gets older she will enjoy taking these little hikes with us. I know we enjoy being outside in the California open.

The Tao of Cloth


cloth angle 2

cloth angle 3

I’ve been asked by many people if cloth diapering is hard? Doesn’t it take up so much time? Aren’t you always doing laundry? I am doing laundry a lot these days, but cloth diapering has become so second nature I don’t notice the extra load any more. In fact, it’s a routine I rather enjoy.  I hear that a lot from my cloth diapering Mama friends too. It’s not like regular laundry. It’s laundry that becomes almost like a meditation. There is a rhythm to washing your little ones diapers that brings a quiet serenity. Every other day I wash the diapers, carefully pulling covers from the wash and drying many of the inserts. I take the wet covers outside with me and hang each one carefully on the line, making sure the sun shines the stains out. It’s here that I feel the warmth of the mid-morning sun. I take an extra long breath and smile at the colorful banner I’ve just created, spread across the yard. Ellie helps me now. She sits in the grass and pulls out the diapers one by one and waves them in the air proudly. She likes standing up, hanging onto the laundry basket. The moment is hers too.

another shot

baby helps

ive got one!

helping mama

The line drying is only the beginning of the cloth ritual. When the diapers are dry and fluffy we shuttle them inside and begin the process of stuffing them or putting them together, preparing them for the day. Inserts are put in piles according to the type of diaper they belong to. Velcro is inspected for fuzz and each diaper is lovingly put together again, all ready for my baby girl to wear. Nice and clean, soft and fluffy. There’s something soothing and comforting about this ritual. A chore with repetitive meditative properties. I smile to myself as I place each finished, put together diaper in the basket. This task is done and my heart and soul are lighter as I scoop my little girl up in my arms and kiss her, patting that soft padded, cloth diapered bum… we’re ready to take on the day.

cloth diapered gal


reading books the ellie way


new stakes

shucking peas

cherries and beer

grami kisses


dead pinata

the loot

A weekend consisting mostly of gardening, laundry, playing at home, visiting the farmers market and all of the other regular weekend chores. Sunday however, was spent at my Grandmother’s house in Los Angeles celebrating my Uncle’s birthday. My Grandma was kind enough to add Jeff’s upcoming birthday in the festivities as well. Besides the horrible traffic we had to endure on our trip back home, it was a fun-filled day of family and too much sugar. The best part is, there’s still one more day of weekend to be had! Happy Memorial Day!

*joining Amanda at The Habit.

Portrait Project



eloise: this week you have been a rascal! Those teeth have still not come in, even though we can feel nubs pushing their way out. This has made for a grumpy baby. However, I think you have quite the personality shining through too. You know what you want and you let us know! You are throwing your body back when we try to put you in the car seat or the stroller. You will slap food away when we offer it and sometimes throw whatever is in your hand. You are struggling through every diaper and clothing change. You are quite the rascal these days! We’re trying our best to be patient and parent gently. All these tough times are worth it though when you snuggle in close to us at night. You cuddled into Daddy’s chest while we took the dogs for their walk and he melted with love. You curled up with me while I rocked you to sleep the other night and I hugged you close and breathed your sweet smell in. We love you our spirited girl! And we hope those teeth come in soon too!

*joining Jodi for the lovely 52 project!

Last week I loved this photo, this one and this!