Archive for January, 2010


Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Zagazoo, our 4.5-year-old son, has a nemesis.

Zag attends this wonderful tiny Montessori school, a four-minute drive from our house. So does R, a six-year-old who is making Zag miserable. (more…)

Vintage baby hat knitting pattern

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010


It’s a looong time since I posted a tutorial or even anything particularly crafty… but I finally have something to contribute, and time to write it up!

Going through a box of family hand-me-downs and heirlooms, I found this adorable red wool cap, which belonged to one of my aunties as a child. I love the shape and detailing, and resolved to figure out how to make it. My mother pointed out that it’s basically a sock heel, and after looking at some flap heel tutorials online, I understood how the hat was constructed. Here’s how I made my own. It’s more of a how-to than a pattern per se, but I don’t really like knitting patterns that only work if you’re using that exact yarn. (more…)

Planning ahead

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

During his bedtime songs, after tonight’s chapter of Prince Caspian, the second of the Narnia books, Zag started planning ahead for next year’s Christmas pageant.

Zag: Next Christmas I want to be King Edmund. Not an angel, and not a donkey. I want to be King Edmund. And not a sheep, either.

WB: Is King Edmund part of the Christmas story?

Zag: No, but I want to be him anyway. With his helmet and his sword and his shield. And his armor. And his leg things, if he had them.


Friday, January 22nd, 2010

This will be quick, as I need to each lunch & then spend some quality time with my son before heading out (baby in tow) to help lead a youth retreat this weekend.

Yesterday Zag was helping me construct a wooden cross – a 4×12 board, with 1-foot square pieces attached either side to be the arms – which the kids will decorate on the retreat. (At least, I hope they will.) He asked if he could draw on the back, and I said he could, because his drawing would be behind the cross and wouldn’t get in the way of the big kids’ art project. So he took a pencil and drew a wonderful Jesus, complete with crown of thorns, filling the back of the cross. He also added small Mary and Joseph figures, one at the end of each arm of the cross, beyond Jesus’ hands. It’s terrific. I want to make another wood cross that Zag can decorate for our house.

While he was starting Jesus’ feet, he looked at me slyly and asked, “Is God behind everything?” I said, “Maybe he is!” I can’t remember his exact words, beyond that question, but we talked about it a little more and it was clear he was thinking theologically. He was playing with the idea that the reason we can’t see God, even though we know God is around all the time, is that God is hiding behind everything.

I like that a lot. If you’re looking for a theology, you could do worse.


Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The news from Haiti runs through everything else, an undercurrent of grief. Facebook is subdued. I’m taking in news in careful doses, not too much at a time. But life with our kids goes on.

Zag’s growing mind is doing the busy and important work of forging connections, and now and then the wires get interestingly crossed. Today he came home from school and asked me with great earnestness whether we had any books by Jan Luther Brett. He had read a book of hers at school and really liked it – something about a mitten. Tilt got on Google and confirmed that there is a children’s author named Jan Brett. We didn’t really think anything of the “Luther” part until an hour or so later, when Zag asked us about the upcoming church service for “John Luther King.” Or somebody like that. He was trying so hard to remember two new names, and that “Luther” just migrated between them… (more…)

Here I am…

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

… at my desk, in my office. Away from my family. With my calendar beside me, wondering what the weeks ahead will look like.

I was going to start back yesterday, but my boss pretty much told me I had to work half-time for the rest of the 3-month leave I’m entitled to – until Feb. 3 – and that I should start back today, for some chunk of the day. So, OK. I’m here for the morning. The rest remains to be figured out.

(I’m listening to the parish administrator and the sexton discussing my car. Whose car is that? – the silver one? – I don’t  know – could it be Weirdbird’s? – oh, yeah, I think the Boss mentioned she might be in today… and here comes the parish administrator to say hello.)

My spiritual director asked me, when we met in December, what gifts of this time of sabbath do I want to carry forward as I return to work? A good question. (more…)

Bedtime conversation, 1.10.10

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Zag: Did you know there’s a story about Jesus and the house by the river? I heard it once, but I forgot.

WB: No, I don’t think I know that one.

Zag: They were in a little house right next to a very deep river. There were crocodiles in the river. And there was going to be a big fight. They put a sign on the door that said, “Bread and wine.”

WB: I see.

Zag: And they stayed in the house all day, because of the war that was outside. Except one brother, whose name was Joseph. There was an aunt there too. And that’s where Jesus was born. Did you know that? (more…)

Changing the story

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I’d love thoughts from the two wise storykeeping grandmas who read this blog, Baba Yaga and Herzliebster, but welcome everyone’s experiences and ideas…

So Zag, like every imaginative kid, spends a lot of time playing stories with his Lego and Playmobil figures. And often he wants us to play with him and “talk” one or more of the characters (or at least hang around nearby and listen to the story he’s playing out). Well and good.

What’s troubling me is how often his stories involve violence against women, and/or women in a passive, victimized role. (more…)

Bright eyes

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I have a substantive question I want help with, & I’ll write about it soon… but first, having not posted much in a while, I need to gush about my baby a little. Specifically, her eyes. We often call her “Bright Eyes” because when she’s awake, she’s SO awake, looking around at everything, with her eyes so wide that you can see the white above her iris…

I’ve been thinking – babies’ eyes are amazing because they’re like a preview of all the other stages to come. So much about the face and body will change, but the eyes stay very much the same. Looking back at baby and toddler pictures of Zag, it’s his eyes that are most recognizable – that clear blue intensity. We don’t know yet what our Bean will look like, at two and four and ten and twenty, but she will have these same dark eyes, full of alert intelligence.

I thought her eyes were brown, but now I’m not so sure. They’re definitely dark, but they’re quite a different color from my eyes. My eyes are a warm medium brown with a distinct dark ring around the outside of the iris. Hers are very dark and a very cool brown, or perhaps more of a dark gray. My mother called her “taupe-eyed” and that’s not far off, except it’s a really dark taupe.

New love and new parenthood: those rare and delightful phases in life in which one spends significant amounts of time reflecting on the color of someone else’s eyes…