Aug 28

Baby’s first day of preschool

We dropped J off at preschool today. After waking the family up early, dressing in the grey Seattle pre-light, and carefully packing her very first school lunch, we trundled into the car, turned on her Music Together CD to make her comfortable (not that she seemed nervous) and drove to the little converted Craftsman that houses her preschool. She’ll be gone 8-3, a long day for a little person. I can’t believe she’s so grown up! She barely noticed us leave, too enthralled by the play kitchen to notice the tears in mama’s eyes. We dropped her gear in her cubby, along with Pooh and her “Everyone Loves J” board book that has pictures of her family. The art room is huge. Easels and paint were set up and waiting. Markers and colored pencils and paper and chairs just her size. I think she’ll like that so many things there are designed for wee people–tables and potties and sinks. All the kids seemed shy, hiding in their parents legs instead of saying hi, but it’s the first week for everyone. Most of the other kids have done this before. J is the new kid on the block. She’s a little young for formal school. Mostly I wanted to give her the opportunity to make friends with kids her own age. We know so few people with kids, being the first of our friends to marry, settle down, and start a family. But I also thinks she gets bored at home. School two days a week will give her just enough new projects to liven things up.

Prince Charming and I went out for breakfast afterward. We sat with wide eyes wondering if we should go pick her back up. Were we doing the right thing? Would she be able to share? Would she make friends? Would anyone notice that Ryan had tucked her pants into her socks?

Seriously. It was like leaving her with a babysitter the first few times (even though the babysitters were my parents). Should we go back? Was she doing okay? Would she suddenly notice that we’d left and start crying?

I packed her a note in her lunch box. “We love you J.” Even if she can’t read it, she’ll recognize her name and the hearts. And I know she’ll be fine. She’s smart and resilient, but she’ll never figure out how to survive in the real world if I follow her around putting the caps back on her markers her whole life. Sometimes the hardest part of parenting is letting her fly out the nursery window and soar on her own.

Comments Off on Baby’s first day of preschool

Aug 21

Taste of Summer

We’ve had a crazy busy summer at Casa Stewart. After a month long trip through Europe, a 30th birthday, week long Disneyland extravaganza, book launch, we are more than ready to sit back and enjoy the lingering days of summer. Unfortunately, there’s not much time and still many things to do. J starts preschool next week. (!?!?!?!?) My little baby is not so little anymore. We’re trying to cram sunny memories in these last precious days: swimming in the lake and the wading pool, sandcastles at the beach, hikes with daddy, popcicles, fresh corn, and lots of yummy ripe fruit. I love the food of summer. The berries, the melons, the tomatoes. Fall will come with its crisp apples and winter squash, but for now I’m eating as much sweet summer tastes as I can.

Today I made Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes from New Roots Organics, basil picked from the garden, and fresh mozzarella. This is a dish that is only good in summer. The tomatoes are everything, and these tomatoes were stellar.

We signed up for New Roots Organics again. It’s like a CSA basket, but they source organic produce from a much wider venue. We had to stop it in the spring because I couldn’t eat that many veggies myself–toddlers don’t particularly like veggies, and Ryan was traveling a LOT. I hated all the produce that was going to waste, and watching J by myself didn’t give me a lot of cooking time to have people over for dinner. Ryan has a new job where he will hopefully be traveling less, so we’re giving it another go. This has been our first week: potato/kale/spring onion stir fry and caprese salad. We still have an eggplant, broccoli, and some lettuce to use up before our next bin on Wednesday.

I need a recipe for one eggplant for people who don’t like eggplant. Any ideas?

Comments Off on Taste of Summer

Jul 20

Cast on: Oslo Walk Shawl

On my birthday I cast on my first knitting project in almost a year. I developed mommy thumb last year and had to give up knitting (and picking up the baby and typing and other Important Duties). The surgery in January to loosen the tendon sheath was successful, and though I fully recovered after a few months, I haven’t had time to myself for a long, long time. The writing deadline thing is a real craft killer. 😛 But this year for my birthday I decided I couldn’t ignore that knitting itch any longer. It was time to cast on, and it was long past time to cast on something for me. I have a love of lace shawls, but hadn’t knit one before. In true Ciara fashion, I chose to jump in over my head. Not only will I knit a very holey, airy, lace shawl for the first time, but I’m going to do it with beading! This is also the first time I’m making something from the Interweave Knits magazine, which I’ve subscribed to for quite a few years. In another first, I’m actually following the pattern and picking the exact yarn and yarn color the pattern calls for.

So far I’ve cast on and started the first row of the lace pattern. Then, of course, I had to get back to writing. Once the edits on book 2 are turned in, I hope to make more progress and share pictures.

Oslo Walk Shawl from Interweave Knits Winter 2010

Oslo Walk Shawl from Interweave Knits Winter 2010


Comments Off on Cast on: Oslo Walk Shawl

Jul 15

An Awfully Big Adventure

To live is an awfully big adventure. To live gracefully. To live vibrantly. To fill every crack and corner of life with laughter and tears. To never stop learning or growing or metamorphosing, like a caterpillar into a butterfly, for there is no story without transformation. And there is no Happily Ever After without conflict and sacrifice.

And there is so much more to the story after the Happily Ever After.

Yesterday I turned thirty. I thought I might freak out about it a little more than I did. But the truth is that I know too many people who have not made it to thirty. Three decades is an accomplishment, and I’ve only grown happier with age. I have settled into my skin in a way I never did as a teenager. As a writer, I feel the pull to explain and chronicle and narrate parts of this journey. I now have two places on the interwebs: the blog for the stories in my head, and this, the blog for the real life Happily Ever After. A journey in artistic motherhood and domestic goddessness. There will be crafts. There will be cooking. There will be hiking. There will be Peter Pan references. There will be Broadway lyrics. There might, in the future, be children’s books.

In the words of Tim McGraw:

I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife [husband]
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years

Welcome to the next big adventure.

Comments Off on An Awfully Big Adventure