Crazy great playground #tongeren #belgium

On Sundays most all the shops are closed in Europe. Grocery stores, hardware stores, etc, etc. There will be some bakeries & restaurants open and often special events that occur, but other than that Sunday is like an official "rest day". I like it. It was inconvenient at first but you learn to organize yourself accordingly and then go with the flow.

On Sundays you can take a drive over to Tongeren, Belgium, to their famous flea market. It's huge and FULL of eye candy. Amazing never before seen things await you and your pocketbook. Beware! They also as we've discovered, have an amazing playground and park area that is as much a destination as the flea market. We had a great day yesterday enjoying a bit of both.

I would have loved to have brought one of these home had we a purpose for it. They would fantastic faucets for an outdoor sink. My mom also thought it would be a fabulous pot filler mounted over a cooktop. Talk about a statement piece.

Giant duck head faucets #tongeren #antique

My find was a gorgeous blue folding iron table. I had spotted it there over a month ago and happy joy it was there again yesterday! It wasn't pricey and it fit in the car - even better! I love it against the (way too pale) yellow of the house. It's a delicious slice of color and so practical. I can imagine using it for years to come and I'm sure it will be a part of future craft sale set ups.

My new old iron folding table from #tongeren #antique #market

Jared is a lighting geek. He has been amassing little lanterns for future projects. I'm wondering when the "future" is...but he has time ;o) Yesterday he saw the ultimate lantern. It was not cheap, but worth the price (much better than ebay!) and so so pretty. It's an antique copper ship's lamp. Complete and fully functional. After getting it home Jared and my dad checked out its insides and found lots of wick still left. My dad suggested we actually use it at parties for lighting. That would be fun. Right now she lives on top of our office space. Shiny, pretty thing she is.

And Jared's find: #antique #copper #shiplamp He's giddy about it. Fully functional too.

After the market we hit the crazy good playground. The weather was so warm and sunny, we filled our solar cells well....ahhh. Bird enjoyed the bikes, Griffin climbed all over the play structures and practiced his sliding, then we all jumped in a paddleboat and experienced the best part of our day. It was so nice to float around in a sunlit lake, with soft thin clouds in the sky, ducks and geese swimming curiously by, people to wave to on the benches. I was more than happy to pedal us around while Jared sat with Bird and Griffin in the front and munched on snacks. It really was the nicest way to end the day.

Biking #tongeren #belgium

#tongeren #belgium #pond

#paddleboat #tongeren #belgium

Now we're back to a mostly regular week. My parents are still here but are away for the next two days to explore Brugge and Gent on the coast of Belgium. My mom goes back to work next week (she is a school teacher with DODDS) so she is using her time well. Bird is back to kinder/preschool and every day is still a challenge but it's going okay. Jared, well, he's in a new position today. He received a promotion of sorts (a job shift, to something that seems will be preferable, or more effective as they like to say here) and also gets a new boss today. I haven't heard from him yet. Hoping all is well. This is life here for us. So many changes!

Griffin and I are creating new routines with our time together and I'm planning out my next project. I'm working on illustrating and printing tea towels that I'll sell in my Etsy shop. I'm just in the illustrating phase but getting excited about colors and trying to just focus on this one little project. My mind can wander so quickly and then I'm getting ahead of myself and accomplishing almost nothing. Focus is the word of the moment. Bigger things come from chipping away at little things right?

Have a lovely week!
Hugs, Devon

Peaceful Pond Morning

Morning at the pond #aachen #germany #pond

Feeling like Summer here :o) Definitely cooler than California but the sun is out, the sky is clear, and it's near 70 degrees. I'll take it!

Bird is doing the summer session of preschool and it's been been going pretty well. There are only a handful of kids in the classrooms so it's very quiet and she much prefers this type of environment. Who actually likes chaos? I know I don't. And it has rained very little for the past few days so they're going outside for play more often. I was surprised to find that if it rains they stay indoors the whole time, not okay...this may become an issue later on.

But so with Bird at school for the morning Griffin and I are left to do our own thing. This morning we biked to a local pond by an apple orchard. Phylo trotted along with us - happy dog! Griffin is really really into water so I have to hang onto him near every second but it was worth it.

I spy our ride #elektra #bike #aachen #germany #pond

Pond flora #aachen #germany #pond

Pond flowers #yellow #flower

Spot the Phylo dog in his element :) #germanshorthairpointer

Mmmm wild peppermint


We sat on a quilt and tossed pieces of apple to the ducks. Blew bubbles (another trick, besides food, for getting Griffin to stick around) and walked around the pond looking for frogs. Griffin is really fun to explore with. He is very curious, observant, and really takes in what you want to show him. So it's a joy to point out birds, flowers, tadpoles, etc, etc. and "converse" with him about them. He'll say "hmm?" I'll say "ant." He'll say "oh." Then on to the next thing. Pretty cute. He was pretty into sniffing the wild peppermint and Phylo was in high heaven with all the scents of pond life. He occasionally remembered he supposed to hunt ducks and would get a bit nutty but would soon forget once something interesting caught his nose (sheep poop).

Hugs from Germany,
Devon :o)

Marvelous Metz

Metz, France

We took a couple of days off last week and headed for my parents house (~3hrs away). We had originally planned on finding a "cabin in the woods by a lake or river" or "quaint French beach house on the coast" but it proved to be pretty difficult to do. In the end, we had a pretty fabulous four days of vacation. Seeing my parents, getting out for an evening just me & Jared, hiking in the Eifel forest region, and exploring the town of Metz in France.

#eifel #germany #yellow #flowers

The Eifel is a really neat densely forested area not super far from us. So nice for getting away and being in nature. We realized it was the first time we had actually hiked together as a family of four! We found & munched on wild strawberries & blackberries, got stung by nettles (poor Jared!), made it up to a good look out point and had a picnic, and just kept encouraging Bird & Griffin to keep going. Haha, that took up a lot of our hiking time.

Top of a hill in the #eifel #germany

Griffin & Bird really enjoy my parents house. My mom has it stocked with toys & books and they just go nuts with the big open spaces. Our homes here in Germany are so much bigger than they were in the states!

Our crazy kids love my parent's house

My mom and I enjoy walking Phylo at night after Jared and I have put kiddos to bed. It's been gorgeous most evenings. My parents home is surrounded by farms and the wheat is in the middle of being harvested. I love seeing the changes every time we visit.

#schwedelbach #germany #moonrise

On Friday we drove to Metz, France. Our tactic with kids is to drive directly to a playground that we find the night before using google maps satellite :o) It's the best way to get their energy out before we do something that's not so fun for them. The first thing we saw was the Moselle River. SO PRETTY! It was a beautiful day in general and the river was sparkling, full of swans and fish, and a few people wading in with fishing poles. Containers full of colorful flowers line the railings and bridges.

We ended up not actually finding a playground where we thought there was (!!) but were happily surprised by an empty mini-golf course.

Mini golf #metz #france

The cathedral in Metz was so amazing. Huge and mesmerizing. Because it was a sunny day the color streaming through the stained glass windows was fantastic. Griffin tried out all the chairs he could while Bird crashed for a few minutes in the stroller.

#metz #cathedral #france

#metz #cathedral #france

#chagall #metz #france #cathedral

Griffin loves trying all the chairs #metz #france #cathedral

We found a gorgeous garden in front of the opera house. It was so inspiring. I really could have spent hours there :o)

Magical garden #metz #france

Blooms #metz #france

On Saturday we did a little flea marketing with my parents. That afternoon we all took naps - even me, the most resistant to napping! Then out for some time to enjoy the sun (which you know by now is something not to take for granted here!!) with some bike riding, hay bale "rolling", and later out for Thai food with just Jared (thank you to my mom).

Sunday we hit the road with a really really packed car. We picked up more treasures in France and Phylo barely had any space ;o) We stopped on the way home for a picnic in a field and got to stretch our legs.

Bike for two #bike

Those hay bales are heavy! #hay #farm

Headed home. Spot the Phylo dog :) #roadtrip #germanshorthairpointer #dog

Painterly clouds #sky #clouds #germany

Bird and Griffin have been playing "sleeping games" lately. They're ridiculously cute. Our little guy is so easy going for his big sister it's amazing. When we got home from traveling Jared and I got swept up in cleaning, laundry, etc. while kiddos chilled out in the living room. I took this picture after Bird had convinced Griffy to lay on a bed she'd made him, then tucked him in, and was "reading" him a book. Love!

She made him a bed, tucked him in, and is reading him a story. #love #sisterandbrother

Thanks for reading this long picture filled post! :o) I'm hoping to get back in the blogging routine again. Especially with living here and all these amazing places we're visiting. It seems a shame not to document it all! Hope you have a lovely rest of the week.

Hugs from Germany :o)


Brief pause in the rain. Hanging at the park! #aachen #germany Endless rain, chill, and dark skies. Starting to get to me. We finally got a bulb in! (had to get it from the states) Loving the shadows. #ikea #maskros Our for a walk with Phylo dog before the next storm hits. Munching on dried mango Jared brought back for me (Trader Joe's!) Mud puddle stomping :) Because the rain we've had all week apparently is not enough Funny face snack for Bird. With a walnut #moustache of course. #face #funny #snack #kids Little ball of Phylo dog waiting for me to get kiddos to bed. #germanshorthairpointer #dog Every last bit of dad's chicken noodle soup Morning treasure hunting walk Smell this one mom Windy rainy cloudy then sunny chilly and blustery day #aachen #germany #sky #clouds #lily #aachen #germany #zoo My hair is getting so long but I think I want to keep it

Happy Birthday to me...34 years. This birthday finds me in a chilly, rainy German summer which I'm having trouble dealing with. My inner cheerleader is pushing me to find a better attitude. Refuse the idea to wallow at my computer in self pity. STOP looking out the window. You just did it again. Stop looking out the window!

I've downloaded a new weather app that shows a more realistic forecast for the week as the iPhone weather app would show rain as the day's forecast even if it's just a 10% chance. So as you can imagine, my phone has been an endless stream of rain, rain, rain forecasts.

I'm sorry to complain so much. There's much more to life. In fact, this is probably really good for me to experience. This whole move to Germany, and all that preceded it (with Jared traveling) have really made me shape up, grow up, take responsibility, have more confidence. Act my 34 years maybe? I was just hoping for SUMMER, you know? I'll have it again I know. In time.

I just looked out the window again. I think I'd better keep myself moving and busy for the rest of the kid's nap/rest time. Here's to life, the good & bad, the sunshine & rain, the ups & downs.

Hugs from Germany,

Loving Instagram!
Look for me: devonholzwarth 
It's super duper fun.

The three month check up

Following Phylo dog in the rain #germanshorthairpointer #dog #aachen #germany Hello hello! I've had friends bugging me to get back to it with the blogging. I'll start slowly but consider this my re-entry :o)

Germany life is going okay. Ups & downs. I have nothing to compare it to really as it is a completely new experience for us. But I'm reserving judgement until I've been here awhile. It has been very rainy lately...this "sun girl" is definitely weather challenged!

Nancy, France #nancy #france #reflection In newsy news, Bird turned FOUR on Friday. Hooray for 4!! We had a lovely long weekend with my parents in Kaiserslautern and did some traveling & thrifty shopping (the best kind) in parts of Germany & France. Bird helped make cupcakes and we did singing & presents & celebration with just our little family and my parents. It was very different from birthdays past but totally enjoyable. Sometimes low key is okay.

Good morning! I'm 4 today Birthday treats Nancy, France #nancy #france #villamajorelle Jared and I celebrated TWELVE years of marriage yesterday. Woot! We actually celebrated last Thursday night with a yummy French dinner out while my parents babysat.

Dinner for two ☺ #celebration Phylo dog turned 7. It's hard to believe really. He's still such a puppy in many ways. I think he loves it here (when it's not raining and he misses his walk). He gets to be off leash for walks so he's getting much more exercise than I could give him in California. He also loves the house I think. It's roomy and there's lots of cozy places for lounging :o)

Phylo has claimed this spot #germanshorthairpointer #dog My studio. We moved all the tables to the window wall for the light and also to block off the door (3 stories down!). #studio #attic #cozy I've been setting up my studio. It's such a great space. I'm the luckiest girl. Bird has started a few days a week of "kindergarten" (they call it that here but it's really preschool). So far so good. She's iffy about it some mornings but I think she's going to ease in and enjoy it. The best part is that we can walk. Yep, just 5 minutes walk. That's totally life changing. And good too, because we still have just one car. Our van is still in CA DMV limbo. Ugh.

Kinder. Back at it. I want to do what they're doing! Griffin is our Griffybear, almost 15mths old...he's teething hardcore these days and keeping us up at night. Painful. Like 2-4am not sleeping. Or wide awake at 3:45am. Nutty. He and Bird share a room so it can be complicated. But I remember this phase with Bird. Teething is hard for our kids. And for us. It will pass eventually... He's still such a sweetie. He's starting to say lots more words. Books, car, thank you, this, dog, tons of animal sounds. He wants to be a big boy so badly. We have him out of his high chair and he climbs by himself into a Stokke like chair with no straps. He wants real sandwiches he can hold in his little mitts. No cut up pieces for him, no thank you.

Tantrum. Hates being told no :) And what am I planning for my time? A mix of everything. Being mom, squeezing in art & textiles whenever possible, trying to take better care of myself. This is a big adjustment and I'm trying to not apply too much pressure to myself. I've been thrilled to have this beautiful space at the tippity top of the house (3 stories up, like a treehouse!) and have lots of little projects lined up. Painting a pair of mid-century side tables discarded on the street (why thank you!), revamping old lighting finds, framing up artworks. On my desk are fresh illustrations ready to be painted. And after our trip to Nancy, France, my head is spinning with ideas for textile designs.

Painted background. All for now, night! :) #watercolor #painting #rabbit #flowers #blue I'm on Instagram every day...I need to get better about Twitter, and only very occasionally check facebook. But I'd love to see you on Instagram and if you want to keep up with me and what we're doing that's the best place to be. My Instagram name is devonholzwarth.

#poppies #aachen #germany Outside the cathedral #aachen #germany Hugs from Germany!

Griffin is ONE

Today is St. Patrick's Day but more importantly to us, it's Griffin's 1st Birthday!!

Birthday boy! Griffin enjoying his 1st birthday :)

See saw! #aachen #germany

Leg hugs :)

Before leaving San Jose, we had a big fun party with friends and celebrated our boy's upcoming birthday and our impending departure. It was so amazingly great to spend a few moments with many of our friends and have the chance to give last hugs for at least a little while. Griffy had a lovely time being passed around (still not really walking!) and squeezed, then enjoyed handfuls of chocolate cupcake after we sang him the Birthday song (Bird obligingly blew out his candle).

Walking practice w Griffy

Dear Griffin,

You are the sweetest little one...I smile every time I think of you. You can play and find fun in just about everything that crosses your gaze. You're cuddly and ferociously affectionate at times (full body hugs, often in the middle of the night). You are who I expected you to be in that you bring a lightness to our family, a sweetness, an attitude that life is better when you're having fun. You don't get mad at your sister when she's less than gentle with you. In fact, you call her in your own unique way when you get up in the morning and realize she's not there. You love our Phylo...maybe a bit much. But he doesn't seem to mind you. You have an appetite for life, and also for food! You love all sorts of things but especially food with real flavor. Spices, olive oil, almost anything off our plates :o) You want big hunks of things and you want to feed yourself. Yesterday you were putting your food on a spoon and attempting to eat with it. You're really into mimicking us and enjoy copying our random sneezes and coughs, then laughing about it. You were almost able to blow out your birthday candle tonight. I know you'll get it soon.


Homemade #cookies brought from San Jose. We have a pretty decent food stash.

#apartmenttour #germany #aachen So happy to have found this 7€ rug in "as is" at ikea yesterday! That and the laundry basket are big hits.

Things that move get you really excited. You love hide and seek. Trains are fascinating. Dogs are intriguing (and you bark quite well). You've taken 3 or 4 steps at a time and practice at random moments. You still try to eat little rocks at parks and playgrounds (sigh). You love to be held and you love snuggles. Diaper changes are a waste of your time apparently. You have the grabbiest fingers I've ever seen on a kid (disastrous!) and you're loving our crazy tiny table here at the apartment in Aachen as you can reach everyone's plates :o) You love books & when we read to you. You're starting to babble on and on and have little conversations. You still don't sleep well at night but we're getting ready to move you in with your big sister soon anyway (you two will work it out).

Beer and baby :) Down the street from our apartment in #Aachen #Germany

Ikea in The Netherlands

This past year with you has been amazing Griffin! What a journey it's been. A year ago today I never would have imagined we'd be moving to Germany and you'd have your little childhood here. What fun for you and Bird and for all of us to have together. Can't wait for many adventures ahead with you.

All my love, Mama

A few pics from before the move :o)

(early) Birthday boy and his balloons

Waiting for bites of dad's cereal

Crazy town at our house #moving

Mattresses on the floor! #moving

Done for the day #moving

On the way out

Packing up the #vintage #fiestaware #dishes

10 days left till the big move.

We've painted the house
found a property manager
found renters
installed gutters
fixed the landscaping & watering issues
sold/given away much of our stuff
rehomed our cat Sanguine
sold Jared's car
set myself up with great art materials until our stuff arrives in Europe
purchased an indoor swing for our kiddos (!)
bought our tickets & reserved a spot for Phylo
sold our Bob stroller and got a used double
secured temporary housing
started searching for a house to rent
cancelled magazine subscriptions
scheduled the packers/movers for next Wed/Thurs
ordered our last Amazon items (replacement pedometer Griffy flushed down the toilet)
planned a trip to Nice, France for 3 weeks after we get to Germany (!!)
removed everything from the walls & patched
rehomed large art & sold the huge tv
reupholstered my favorite chairs
taken every one to the dentist
stocked up on probiotics
researched German language teaching programs
scheduled monthly maintenance with landscaping service
scheduled painters to finish woodwork painting after we're gone
etc etc

Still so much left to do...lots of walls & trim to paint, mulch to lay, prepping for packers.

We're going to be so tired of working we'll be so excited to go.

I'm easing my anxiety about the whole thing by telling myself it's a long vacation. That way it feels temporary and fun and gives me a sense of adventure about the whole deal. Everything's mental, and everything is about attitude. I'm trying to keep mine upbeat and positive. I mean, how lucky are we to have this opportunity?

Hugs, Devon

ps: I'm on Instagram almost every day - my name on the site is "devonholzwarth". However, once we're over in Germany there will be a lapse in my iPhone use since I'll need to get a new European phone contract. I'll keep in touch via my macbook as best as possible :o)

Auf wiedersehen!

Griffin is 11 months

Griffin, 11 months old

Griffin is 11 months old + 2 weeks :o) We are actually having a 1st birthday party for him this weekend since we'll be in Germany when he turns 1 officially. It will be nice to have both experiences I think: loud, kids, friends, backyard fun here in California & simple, just mom & dad/Bird/grandparents, maybe a picnic with cupcakes over in Germany (and maybe inside because it'll probably be rainy & chilly!).

He continues to be such a delightful lovebug who doesn't sleep well at night. We joke that he's a perfect baby so it's inevitable he needs a flaw, such as screaming for 2+ hours last night between the hours of 1:30 and 4:30am.

 2 more teeth are coming in, that will make 6!

 So far he has said "car" and "go" and quite a bit of "mama" - makes me happy :o) Griffy also likes to mimic barking dogs.

Over the weekend he took his first steps!! He's been able to balance on his own for a while now and seems to be interested in the next big thing. Exciting, scary. Griffin also is in the phase of putting absolutely every tiny little thing in his mouth. In the house, outside, in the car, wherever. It stinks. Especially as we're prepping the house for renters and packing up for moving. And there's the climbing...I have a feeling he'll be on the table tops before we know it.

 Hugs, Devon

Griffin is 10 months old

Caught (!) with the black marker

Griffin turned 10 months old on Tuesday. It's amazing that he is just two months from turning ONE - where did all the time go? It's so true all the things I've heard about it going by so fast. Of course the memories from certain things are still intense (the reflux through 6mths comes to mind).

Griffy you are such a treat. You are not the best sleeper but I don't mind so much these days. I know there will be a time when you will sleep well on your own and you will no longer pull yourself up to the side of the crib and bounce and jiggle with complaint that I'm not picking you up fast enough.

Sleeping Griffin, 10 months old today

Today you stood for a good 10 seconds on your own and clapped your hands. Yes, bravo, little man - bravo! You also figured out how to remove the caps from your sister's markers and really enjoyed the black one for the 3.5 seconds before I pried it from your extremely firm grasp. You were not so happy to give up the marker and of course went looking for more. And I of course handed you a screw top variety - try that one kid. And you probably will. I'm scared.

Eating the alphabet book

You love books - we read with you before every nap and bedtime and you talk along and grab the pages and fuzzy parts. At other times you wrestle them, gnaw on them, and simply enjoy the heck out of playing with them. I don't usually intervene, unless you're actually ripping pages and then attempting to eat the paper.

Bird requested a photo with Griffy and recommended "orange" as the filter (toaster)

You love your look for her when she's not around and when you hear her voice you call out so sweetly. "Deh?" She's not enamored with your hair pulling loving enthusiasm, but often remarks on how cute you are. So far you've not held any grudge toward her toy stealing, biting (less of this lately thank goodness), "accidental" bumping into, etc., etc. She can do no wrong in your eyes. I love watching you guys play together.

#janphotoaday - close up - Yay! Griffy's passport arrived. We can officially move to Germany now :)

We finally got your little in your picture. Now we are all ready for Germany. So many adventures ahead.

#janphotoaday Childhood - sister and brother

In the morning you'll happily hang out in your high chair for a few minutes (we did have to recently fashion a seat belt - whatever happened to the other one who knows) and eat a rice cracker while morning busy-ness in the kitchen takes place. Bird often wants one too and you're happy to "feed" anyone willing to offer a mouth.

Messy finger licking good

You enjoy feeding yourself and especially like blueberries and tomatoes, just like your sister :o) I don't think you've turned down anything we've offered you.


You are such a delight. At 10 months you are really showing so much of who YOU are and it's a joy to watch. Playful, determined, curious, engaging, and so very sweet. We love you Griffybear. :o)

Hugs and Kisses, Mama

The eve of a New Year

2012 is minutes away...I write this knowing that the year ahead of us will be so different than this past one. Not necessarily easier, but definitely different. That's been a huge lesson for me this year. That so much of our own life is beyond our control, and maybe it's a really good thing.

Tomorrow Jared leaves again for Germany for two weeks. It'll be the 4th trip he's made since taking the new job and he'll have two more trips after this one. Being a single parent to a 3.5yo and a now 9mth old has been something that has changed me more than most things. I have so much respect for single parents!! Being on my own with our kids through our typical daily grind plus managing our Herculean effort toward readying our house for renting out, and preparing to move everyone to Germany...I've been completely pooped much of the time. I can't even imagine if I were trying to work right now too.

I'm so excited to go...and so hesitant to leave.

I hope for a fresh perspective on many things, especially in my art and related pursuits. I can't wait to set up a new super sweet studio space that has me inspired to paint & illustrate, design fabric & sell my work both small from my shop & on a larger scale as well.

I hope for our family that we will cherish this time together in a new place. Knowing that all you really need when you go someplace new is each other. And with no almost 100yo house to work on, we should have more time to enjoy on other things like travel (4hr drive to Paris!) and biking and cooking and making things.

So right now I'm looking ahead with a smile but bracing myself for the next two weeks and all the busy-ness ahead. Griffy has been having a terrible time with teething and we are up for hours at a time at night with him screaming :( It's been going on for days. Bird has been a lot of fun lately (3.5 is very interesting, & cheeky!) but also has been pushing buttons as fast as she can. I found myself saying "if she didn't push the boundaries, she would never know what they are" - that was when I realized someone was praying for me to have a good attitude ;o) We watch more movies & live more simply when Jared is gone but I'm not letting myself feel guilty for this strange bit of time between California & Germany life.

It will all get done...and we will look back and be proud of how we got through what has definitely been the most stretching time in our lives so far! I'm thankful for how we are being shaped, even though it's often painful. Being a single mom for weeks at a time has taught me to be a better mom and I've never had to be more responsible for so many things at once before. Because of this my confidence level has grown tremendously - I really feel like I can handle so much more! I'm so excited to inject this new confidence into my business in 2012 and hopefully into taking better care of myself as well (exercise and eating well has not been the biggest priority - this needs to change!). I also hope to be as sincere & honest as possible...with you, with me. There's no reason not to.

Hugs & well wishes for a New Year 2012!!

Happy Halloween!


Bird was the cutest cowgirl this year...she practiced a lot of giddyup's! and yeehaw's! and had been wearing bits and pieces of her costume for close to a month. We had so much fun last night :o)

Cowgirl Cowgirl Cowgirl Cowgirl

No pics to share of Griffy in his stegosaurus costume - it was super cute. There are some pics on my phone but it was getting dark and he is a wiggly 7 month old. So you can imagine how not so great the shots are. I was a woodland fairy (sort of)...holding a whining/screaming baby in one arm while trying to paint leaves on my cheek with the other. Then he nursed and promptly fell asleep. I was going to feel so guilty getting him into a costume while asleep, then thankfully he woke from a 20 minute slumber and was good to go :o) Trooper.

We went with my lovely friend Mrs. Potato Head and her furry friend Hans dressed adorably in a sailor coat.

Happy Halloween everyone, and now on to November and December and other fun things ahead!

Hugs, Devon


Griffin is 7 months

Griffin, 7 months (w Bird's hat)

Griffin is 7+ months old and zooming ahead on things I'm totally not ready for!

Case in point...finding him climbing the pantry drawers, trying so so hard to grab that bright red box of Indian food.

Griffin, 7 months

Before I knew it he was moving along to the next thing - not happy to just be on his knees, of course!

Griffin, 7 months

So now he's pulling up to stand. Really? At 7 months, is this normal? And if I hold his little chubbers of hands he'll WALK from room to room. Maybe I shouldn't be encouraging this behavior. Lest I have a 9 month walker.

 Griffin, 7 months (standing!!)

Griffy is just the sweetest and cutest at 7 months...we don't want him to keep growing :o) He has both bottom teeth (got those while Jared was traveling, along with a cold). Then a top tooth poked its way out a few days ago, followed by another cold (this time with a cough). I'm sure the next top tooth is coming soon. But really hoping for no more colds for a while, please?

Hugs, Devon

Cereal box kids

I sent these pictures to family yesterday and the response I got was they'd be perfect on cereal boxes :o) Especially Bird's picture - can we say animated?? What a ham.

I've started Griffin on the baby led feeding thing...basically he eats real solid foods instead of purees. He doesn't mind the occasional puree/smooth baby food, but wow does he get excited for spears of sweet potato! It was really fun. I've ordered these bibs based on another mom's review and can't wait till they arrive (backordered!).

It looks like it's going to dump buckets of rain out there. I feel like Fall is arriving. Just in time for us to get a bunch of exterior work done on the house...oh well, can't always have the best timing. I'm dying to get to Lowe's (w/o kids would be heaven) so I can get paint samples. I'm leaning toward an artichoke heart green for the house body color, a firey orange/red for the inner sash trim, and a creamy white for all the larger main parts of trim. I'll also add an eggplant color in there (probably paint it myself to save cost) on some detail trim parts for extra fanciness. What fun! Can't wait to get this house painted. Now to line up the contractor for exterior rot fixes, and the gutter guy, etc.

Have a lovely afternoon & Happy Columbus Day, or Native American Day - whatever's your choosing!

Hugs, Devon

Sticky milky clumsy monday morning

Phylo doing his best & loving every second
I have no one to blame but me...what a crazy mess. Not a terribly great start to the week. Just before this Griffin bit me while nursing. I suppose his new 2 bottom teeth still feel sensitive. Add those things to a night of 4 hours of sleep and another week ahead with no Jared (till Saturday, this has been LONG 2 weeks), and a nanny who found full time work last Friday so she cancelled with us this week...sigh...I'm just grateful we have plans with friends this morning and preschool 2x this week so there are things to do. I need to get over myself and ask for help more often. My lovely friend Katie offered to walk Phylo for me. I feel bad accepting because he's so badly behaved on walks (think constant squirrel hunter). But I think I need to just say yes!

I'm also grateful Jared made sure there was lots of roasted coffee for me (he roasts our own), that my Bird is so sweet that she comforted me after the bite this morning (her comforting consists of hugs and kisses and pats and saying "sometimes...yeah, sometimes" which is how I often start a message of consolation), and that even though Griffin doesn't sleep so great he's such a happy little guy. When he wasn't napping yesterday, I was starting to get frustrated as Bird was napping and I was hoping to sleep too. I was hanging out on the bed waiting for him to relax in his crib. The little bugger kept cooing and chattering at me and pulling himself up as high as he could to catch my eye. He's so amazing to me - Bird was not like that as a little babe. There would have been lots of crying and whining, not playing and flirting. I'm so happy for the differences.

Gotta run...I'm still half dressed from the milk incident this morning and Bird is starting to get buggy. It was nice to vent for a few minutes. Have a lovely day!

Hugs, Devon

Griffin is 6 months

Beach Day

Dear Griffin,

Happy half year birthday to you!

It was officially on the 17th of September but the time has gotten away from me. There is so much going on in our lives right now. The busiest we've ever been I believe. You contribute to that busy-ness quite a bit but we don't mind so much :o)

At 6 months old you are so active and physical, so into your world. You've been eating solid foods for over a month, practically launching yourself into them. You loved munching on a half of a ripe peach and you've eaten entire figs from our tree. You are quite the eater (like dad!). This morning you munched blueberries from my fingers and last night at dinner you ate sweet potatoes and quinoa. It's quite fun seeing your enthusiasm.

You are sitting up on your own quite nicely and scooting yourself vigorously across the room. When you see something you want you really go for it. Hardly getting upset, just doing whatever you can to get that thing in your fat little hands then into your mouth. You love when Phylo or Sanguine (especially Sanguine, who is at your height) get close so you can grab handfuls of fur. Sanguine will hiss at you but has not bitten (yet). This really makes you laugh. are such a happy little guy. Very ticklish, so incredibly charming. There is nothing like the sound of you laughing :o)

Sleep is challenging...naps are often short but I think it's because we drag you around everywhere and it's too hard to nap. At night you're up a lot but we're working on that. With dad gone to Germany for 2 weeks I'm so tired but your smiles motivate me to stay cheerful.

We love that you joined our family and have planted yourself quite nicely in your own unique spot. You are just what we needed! We love you Griffybear.

Love, Mama

It's official :: Auf Wiedersehen!

That's right...I just said goodbye, in German ;o)

We are moving!!

Not forever, just a 3 year commitment and we're keeping our house and doing storage and such. So we're definitely coming back (can you hear my relief?). Jared resigned from his job of 11 years and took a new one with a company in Germany. We will be moving in March. Until then (and maybe then too?) things are going to be tough...Jared will travel for 2 or 3 weeks at a time every two weeks :( But the pay off will be living right on the border with the Netherlands, 4+ hour drive from Paris, quick trip to Belgium, 3 hours from my parents (they're by the Air Force base in Ramstein), with 30 days vacation a year, oh, and Ikea (Netherlands) just 25 minutes away which is the same amount of drive time it is for us here ;o) It's the important things right?

Mostly, it will be a new experience. A fresh start, a paradigm shifting maybe. I think we've been needing it. I've been trying to accept my current situation of having so little time to myself and being so busy with two young children. I may as well go focus on that in a different country right?

Speaking of no time to myself...I'd better publish this now before it takes me a week to come back to it.

Hugs, Devon

Griffin is 5 months

And three days shy of 6 months but I am determined to record 5 months on my blog before the opportunity passes. Griffy, at 5 months you are extremely grabby & strong (!), happy and laugh easily, take painfully short naps and don't sleep through the night (but we love you anyway...). In fact, you are up from your nap right now and I have to go get you. I'm sure you'll have a smile for me :o) Griffin, 5mths Griffin, 5mths Griffin, 5mths hugs, Devon

I'm here but not really

Hello there... I don't even know where to begin. It's been a month and a week since I posted lasted. To say I've been busy/overwhelmed/scattered/unmotivated/tired etc. etc. is an understatement. And just now there's a little non-napper calling my name. I'll be back when I hopefully have two nappers later. There's a lot to catch up on. hugs, Devon

Book recommendation for busy 3 year olds who should be sleeping

It's laaaaate and I should be getting to bed (Griffin is up a lot at night these days for who knows what reason) but I'll be mad at myself if I don't type this out right now. I'm already a little sad I didn't take pictures.

Anyway, a certain friend of mine gave Bird the book pictured above for her 3rd birthday. It's awesomely funny. And my mischievous inner child can't help but egg Bird on a bit while we're reading it. "Look, see where his mom stashed the paint so he won't be able to get it", etc. etc.

Tonight I checked on Bird before going to bed. She's often in odd little places about her room. It's strange to find her tucked in with nothing else strewn about. This time I walked in and found her on the floor. She started to get up when I came toward her and I immediately saw black marker all over her hands (like gloves people) and lower half of her face. I scanned the scene and saw THE BOOK opened up like an instruction manual on her bed. Markers uncapped all over the bed. And scrawls across the sheets, bed frame, dresser. I scooped her up and got Jared, hand over my mouth to keep the howls of laughter in (not entirely successful at that one). Jared got her cleaned up while I changed out all the bedding and wiped off all the markered surfaces (thank goodness for washable markers!!!). Looking at the scene more closely I found a baby wipe totally covered in black marker. I think she was actually trying to clean herself up after the whole wild escapade and then fell asleep in process on the floor.

So if you need a little excitement in your life please give your child this book. Or give it to your friends child ;o) They may not find it as funny as we did but hopefully so.

Hugs and good night!!


Summer Backyard

Two weekends ago I had friends over to help me celebrate my birthday. It was sooo much fun that I want to do it regularly - without the birthday part :o) We ate rum cake and drank two types of sangria. I set out a table of supplies and a couple of crafty project ideas: tiny felt strawberries and needle felted flowers.

A couple of strawberries were sewn and stuffed but there was mostly a lot of furious felting going on. Possibly a few drops of blood from the accidental looking up to answer a question (never take your eyes off the needle). Thinking about it, maybe it's not safe to mix needle felting with sangria but it sure was fun.

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

I also got to set the yard up all pretty which has been such a joy this summer. The garden has been amazing & I can't stop checking out all the new blooming flowers and fruits/veg. Every morning when Jared drives off Bird tells me it's time to look for sugar snap peas (in her cutest 3yo version of the words) and then we move on to strawberries, then tomatoes. Then we ogle at the corn and talk about the growing melons and ripening figs.

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

It's so fun to share this space we've been working on and nurturing for nearly 6 years now. My studio is still pretty rough around the edges but we can't justify working on it with full focus till we get a few other things done on the house. Plus, with a 4mth old and a 3yo it's been more than difficult to get time to myself out there. So for now it will have unpainted baseboards, leaky old windows, lots of entrances for spiders (and hopefully nothing larger than that), and mediocre lighting. Frankly, I don't care what it looks like really - I just want some time to get working and stocking my shop again. I have SO many ideas...bursting at the seams.

Summer Backyard

Have to mention, of the friends who were over the other night...some fabulous blogs, sites, and projects they are involved in. My lovely friend Klay has partnered with Anna Maria Horner and is selling her plushes in Anna's shop. They are made with an assortment of AMH's fabrics and they are incredibly cute and meticulously sewn. They would be perfect in a living room as much as they would in a kid's room. Here's Klay's post about the news and here is Anna Maria Horner's "Visiting Artists" shop page. And this is Klay's shop. I'm so excited for Klay!

My friends Wendy and Laura also came and they are both talented crafty ladies. Wendy used to work in a high tech job (same company as Jared, that's how we met) and has since left and is now, hopefully, going to be making and selling more of her beautiful things. Wendy's blog site is here and shop is here. You will love her design aesthetic - I totally admire her clean and modern design sense.

Laura is an illustrator here in San Jose. I can't even remember how we met at this point but I just enjoy her company so much and think she's such fun to be around. Her illustration work is so light hearted, colorful, and energetic. She's been working on building a licensing career and I think she's doing an amazing job. Her blog site is here and her main (fancy!) site and shop is here. She posted about the evening over here too :o)

Have you attended an evening of crafting and hanging with friends? What kind of projects did you work on? Have any advice to share? I think it's such a great time - I definitely recommend it. It's the perfect opportunity to share a new skill or just connect with creative friends. I wasn't sure what crafty project to offer and looked online a little for ideas but didn't find much. In the end, I just thought about what I like to work on and possibly what others might be interested in.

The two glasses of wine I had tonight have made my brain a little (more) mushy...I'm just happy to be finally getting this posted after 2 days of attempts. Such is life these days :o) Hope you're having a lovely week.

Hugs, Devon