This is Fred.  He was a temporary, but unwilling member of our family.

He was dearly loved by a certain three year old, though he knew it not.

In my opinion, he didn’t much care.

Kinsley held “training” sessions with Fred, in which she “taught” him to come.

She eventually learned that the most effective method of carrying out this task was call Fred, then run in front of him and wait. It worked like a charm.

After several days of captivity, I took pity on Fred and made him an outdoor habitat. He escaped from said habitat in record time, breaking Kinsley’s heart in the process.

Kinsley remains convinced that he ran away with a rabbit and is out racing the rabbit now. She remains certain that he will come back.



This is a fairly typical tableau of one of our regular morning activities.

Eric and his kids often load my girls (including all “wedding”/”mothering” paraphernalia) into the double stroller and take a brisk morning walk.

The walk is interrupted by multiple stops for flower collecting, or shrieks from the girls as they direct their cousins to pick this or that blooming plant.

Inevitably, upon their return home, I am “surprised” by flowering weeds, presented with glowing faces and grimy fists .

Baby Legs

I don’t know where I first heard about BabyLegs, but I think that I saw them on baby Aaron, of Little Bit Funky.  His parents were debating the manliness of BabyLegs, and I thought that not only were they plenty manly, but they were the perfect answer to that “cloth-diaper-bottom” that doesn’t fit in any regular pants.

So, we purchased a trial pair. I love them!

They stay up on those chubby thighs, they look adorable (in my opinion). They even fit Kinsley and Sophie, and are perfect for under their dresses on cool mornings and evenings.

While I love that enticing little gap at the upper thigh, I think my very favorite part is the way that they look when I pull them down past his heels and those strange little toes peek out at me.  Jiminy cricket!

But just check out the rest of that boy, will you? What wouldn’t look dashingly handsome on him?

bedtime story

The setting:  Dan is quietly reading The Spider and the Fly to Kinsley. Sophie is busily arranging things in preparation for sleep, and Truxton is snoozing in his play pen.

I look across the dresser at the three of them laying in bed.  I see a basket full of sweet smelling, line dried diapers.  I see the two cups of coffee that Dan and I are sharing.  I see the soft glow of the bedside lamp as it twinkles  through the thick glass of a vintage canning jar.  The canning jar contains a peony which I picked from a bush at my parents house.  Beside the peony is a chubby round bottle containing three little pink roses presented to me by my sweet little daughters with the help of their wonderful Papa.

Everything is peaceful and perfect, and I am thrilled to be with my family.

some springish things

  • Invite the neighbors you always intend to have over to dinner for a spring brunch on a rainy Saturday.  Embrace the spring showers by using bright umbrellas and rubber boots as decor.  Fill the tables with pretty watering cans and mis-matched pots of flowers.
  • Use a bit of vinegar to give your dull, wintery tresses a shine.  If you add a few drops of an essential oil, it helps to mask the vinegar odor.  I’ve been doing lately, and it really has made a huge difference in my hair.
  • Wear a pretty, feminine hat.  I’ve admired this one from Urban Outfitters, because it has that vintage feel that I love so much.
  • Drink plenty of water.  It’s a good habit to have established by the time summer heat strikes, and I find that it makes a huge difference in the health of my skin.
  • Take a family outing to pick berries.  I have the most wonderful memories of picking strawberries in early June.
  • Weed the garden with your children.  It’s amazing what even toddlers are capable of, and it gives them an early appreciation for classifying plant life.
  • Clean out the car.  That way when it’s 90* and you load the family, at least you won’t have to smell stale snacks and stray diapers.
  • Our family uses a Aromatherapy Diffuser for the car.  I am in the process of writing an entire post on this little gadget, and with ideas for motion sickness, etc.
  • Eat as seasonably as possible.  It’s almost certain to be better for your pocket book, as well as for your health.
  • Take the children on a picnic.  My girls were enthralled to dine on a bowl of tortilla chips in the yard, the other day.
  • Clear one bookshelf.  Anywhere – just one will do.   Sit and look at it, and wait for inspiration to strike.  It’s amazing what one clear surface can free your brain up to do.  It’s therapeutic, I tell you.
  • Smell irises.  And, if at all possible, a baby’s head.
  • Hang out the laundry.  It forces you to acquire some vitamin D, gives the children some time to exercise, and saves energy.
  • Dust the blinds, wash the windows, and for goodness sakes – open them up and let a breeze through your house.  No more stale winter air!
  • Skip rocks.  This is best done with your husband at sunset!

Education and Life :: a ramble

It recently came to my attention that a certain little nephew of mine had become entirely psyched out at the concept of basic arithmetic.  Very simple mathematical equations like 8-1, are capable of sending him into complete brain shut-down.

This same young man is perfectly able to calculate how many potatoes he has left to peel based on what he has already peeled, shout out the countdown for a rocket’s take-off, and divide out a small pile of treats for his siblings and younger cousins. He can easily call out a countdown from twenty, by twos!

Kinsley is able to rattle off with ease every single word of a Silly Veggie Tales song, but when pressed to recite a verse of poetry or scripture, all mental faculties threaten to come to a grinding halt.

I guess what I’m saying, is that our children are like sponges. It would be impossible to stop them from soaking up knowledge. The information and ability is all in place, but somehow we manage to terrify them into ignorance by divorcing learning from life.

While I’m convinced that the alternative is to live a life-style of learning, I admit that I fail at this every day. Instead of embracing the opportunities to teach, I shirk them in the hope that I can have a moment’s peace and quiet.

But wow, did I get sidetracked! I was going to write this post about one particular program that I’ve really developed an appreciation for. It’s called Pre Math It: Early Adventure Into Math.

My children think they’re simply playing a game that they’ve seen their parents enjoy – and they are! But they’re also learning at an incredible break-neck pace.

They’re learning about patterns and numbers. They’re learning counting and basic addition and subtraction. They’re learning to quickly recognize numbers without thinking about it.

Most importantly, they are beginning to grasp the concept of the relationship that mathematics has with the entire universe, and that it does relate to life, in ways that interest even them.

At this point, they have no idea that they’re even learning.

(PS – While I do love my Math-It sets, they were hand me downs from my parents. Using them for a few days, I realize that anyone could accomplish a very similar thing with basic dominoes, sidewalk chalk and some parental imagination.)

Gentlewood Cottage is Moving!

The online Gentlewood Cottage, anyway.

I will no longer be posting here on WordPress. Instead – please come visit Gentlewood Cottage at my NEW location!

All the archives and links and all that fun stuff will be there, as well as a few new additions – and I’ll be working feverishly to polish up a few other new things, as well.

Please remember to update your RSS feed, if you use a blog reader!

Photo by – BrittneyBush

The New Seat Covers

That’s what my grandma calls them – Seat Covers.

Pretty fancy seat covers, if you ask me.

Bum Genius 3.0, One-Size diapers if you want to be exact.

We’re going on two weeks of (nearly) exclusive cloth diaper use, and so far I really like them!

One thing that really made the whole project a bit easier is my hand-made flannel baby wipes.

Not having to sort out the disposable wipes from the washable diaper makes the changing of messy diapers just that much easier.

So far, using the cloth diapers has been no more trouble than the disposable diapers – but I’ll have to give a regular diaper report… if only because they’re so fun to photograph!