Sam is nine years old.

He is gangly and sweet-looking, with large front teeth and floppy hair. He likes to wear oversized t-shirts, and pulls his pants and socks up as high as they’ll go, like an old man.

His favorite color is yellow. His favorite superhero is Spider-Man, who he plays twice a month in our tabletop Marvel Super Heroes game, and as frequently as possible on his DS and the Wii U.

Lately he stays up later and later, partly because the days are longer and partly because he so obviously cherishes every minute he can steal with Will. It doesn’t hurt that we frequently watch television after the children are (supposed to be) in bed.

He is still in speech therapy. I have no concept how he sounds to people who aren’t used to him, but I think his speech is mostly normal now, with some funny quirks. For instance, he uses “about” as an all-purpose word, sometimes appropriately and often not. (Interestingly, Grace does this with “even.” She does not have any speech disorders.)

He is a voracious reader, though he still only reads words that are accompanied by pictures. We have a huge comic book and graphic novel collection that is growing regularly. It turns out that there have been graphic adaptations of several of my favorite novels, including The Little Prince and A Wrinkle In Time (both of which he got for his birthday).

He loves strategy games and is a wizard at Chess and Stratego.

He is largely uninterested in kids his own age, which worries me sometimes. But then I think of myself at nine, and I was exactly the same. Adults make better friends. But I need him to learn to be a good friend himself, so I still worry.

He can be self-centered and clueless, and doesn’t listen when he is lost in his own world, which is often.

But he also cares deeply and loves freely and strongly. I know he will be a good man someday.

Obsession: Vikings

Last summer, I did a favor for my friend Bristol while she was visiting Iceland. As thanks, she sent me two skeins of beautiful Icelandic wool yarn, one a natural undyed black and one a stunning natural dye blue. I had no idea what to do with them, but kept them safely tucked away as they are very special.

love story pair

This past spring, Will and I agreed that for next year’s renaissance faire, we need Viking clothing. I have an apron dress that my sister made for me for Halloween when Sam was two, but I’ve, um, grown a bit since then.


HE WAS SO TINY. I can sew a new dress, of course, and I still have the brooches my sister’s ex made for me (they are not visible in the photo, so let me assure you that they look exactly like copper boobs). Sam’s tunic is too small for Grace to wear, but that is okay because I want to make her a girl’s costume. I think I will make the apron dress in two pieces with ties at the side so that it can grow with her.

Because it is regularly over 100° at the ren faire, I plan to make everything out of linen, and wear only one underlayer. I am planning an alternate, long-sleeved overdress, because reasons, but will not likely wear that at the faire. Unrelated, I am planning to make myself a linen Scout tee, and may see how I like the apron dress over a short layer instead of a long one.

Also in spite of the weather, I plan to make outer layers for all of us. Wool wraps for the boys, a cloak for Grace and a kaftan coat for me. I am planning to use the Icelandic wool from Bristol for all (or at least some) of my embroidery needs.

Now that my sewing area is nearly ready to go, I will hopefully have pictures to share as I work. In the meantime you can see all of my inspiration here.

By the way, I finished Beautiful Wreck, immediately read it again, and then made my husband read it. It is my favorite. I have a lot more to say but maybe in another post.

Obsession, 8-year-old style

Let’s talk about Sam and Aliens.

So, my eight-year-old son is obsessed with James Cameron’s 1986 action/horror/sci-fi movie Aliens. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps you are thinking, He is too young to see that movie! Yes, well. I agree. And he hasn’t seen it. YET.

But he wants to, desperately.

He brings it up frequently. The other day he turned to me out of the blue and said, “Mom, I really want to see Aliens now. It might be a spooky one, but it’s okay. I might be scared, but I just have to find out. I really want to see it.”

And why, you may be wondering, is he so obsessed with this movie? The board game. He plays the board game, and the flash version of the board game, frequently. He does voices for the marines. He refuses to leave an injured man behind. The other day when I was playing with him, he had one of the guys GO BACK for Vasquez. Which, actually…

Anyway. He loves the world so much. He knows all the characters and has a favorite (Hicks, thank goodness). He can tell you in great detail why we do not like Burke. He knows everything but what the movie is actually like.

I won’t lie, I might let him watch it. Nothing has scared him yet. Literally ever. And honestly, the most disturbingly violent thing shown on screen is an android–excuse me, synthetic human–being skewered. (Yes, of course we re-watched it this weekend to help us decide what to do. Holy shit the blu-ray looks amazing.)


My main observation from nearly three weeks of our new eating regime is that the children’s personalities are exactly as I suspected.

Sam wants to please us. He will try anything. Just pops it in his mouth and chews it up. But he doesn’t like any of it. He coughs and fake-chokes and is dramatic about all of it. He won’t let himself really taste things.

Grace does not give a damn about pleasing us, but her natural curiosity wins out over stubbornness about half the time. She has found several new foods that she LOVES.


We’re rearranging our apartment. I know what you’re thinkng–AGAIN?!–but beyond moving a chair or something, we only rearrange ever 2-3 years, which is less frequently than most people move, so you do the math.

Sam and Grace have their own room. Sometimes one or both of them disappears for hours. Most nights they go to sleep in their own beds, thought here are nights like last night, when grace was feeling anxious and sad about losing co sleeping, and I brought her out to falls sleep in my bed.

…Which is in the living room. It’s temporary, and was a great transition point for everyone, but I’m ready for more privacy and the apartment isn’t. Yet.


I miss sewing. My work area, which was a disaster to begin with, is totally non-functional as I sort through the mess. I have clothing to sew! My wardrobe is on the right track for the first time in years, damn it!


What’s new with you? I feel out of touch.

Day 16

I promise I will talk about something else eventually, but not today.



Sure, I still haven’t convinced either kid to eat more than a bite of any vegetable. It’s still a win.

Day, um. 13ish.

Last night, as I was preparing dinner, Sam came into the kitchen and said, “Is that TOFU?” When I confirmed that it was, he said, “Can I HAVE some?” And I managed to say, “Just ONE piece” without dying from the suppressed laughter because OH MY GOD MY BOY ASKED FOR TOFU.

Dinner was sesame noodles, but I also put out a bowl of noodles with just soy sauce. Sam ate a quarter pound of tofu and Grace had half a chicken thigh, so I allowed them to choose which noodle dish they wanted, and they both chose soy sauce. I also made salad, and they both tried it. GRACE TRIED SALAD. AND LIKED IT. Apparently French vinaigrette (with Dijon mustard, wine vinegar, and olive oil) is MAGIC.

Not every meal has been this successful, but they have eaten more foods in the last two weeks than in the last two years.

Day 5

Today at lunch Sam said this:

“Well, I love trying new things!”

He then ate half a quesadilla, even though he did not particularly like it. IS THIS REAL LIFE?

Grace is still being a pain, but sliiiiiightly less of a pain? Maybe? Could be wishful thinking or resignedness.

I’ve added a second snack to our day. Four meals meant SO MUCH WHINING. Five seems more manageable.

For tonight’s dinner I am making Bread Alone baguettes and zucchini soup (kind of–I’m not following the recipe, just the basic idea). I know they will eat baguette. Will they eat a vegetable?