A post in three parts

Part 1:

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The kids and I went for a drive one afternoon, hoping to catch the last bits of sunshine on the combination of trees changing color and tangled wildflowers that are resting all along the hills around our home. At least, that's what I was hoping for. The kids were hoping to drive fast, to rattle around in a sidecar. But they also love the hills, the blue skies, the changing leaves.

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We found the wildflowers. The seasons here in the mountains of Thailand flip my lid, because don't leaves change before Winter and don't wildflowers come in the Spring? But Winter, or the cool season, is followed here by the heat, and then the rain, and we don't have teak trees in California or BC anyways, and anyway, my homes are all tangled into one big clump of beautiful seasons. I'll take seasons, any one, just pass it my way.

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When we took the drive, I think I was about 37 and a half weeks along, and I thought, brilliant! I'll get one of the kids to take a photo of me.

This was my last, exasperated look at Leafy, ever the careful composer, after he took shots of only my arm or only my belly, or my head looked weird, or I had no head. But he wasn't really into the pregnancy portrait, so he ran away down the road, back to the chariot, and this lovely exasperated photo is what I have to mark the moment.

Part 2:

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I got a little more nesting done, and then I thought I'd better brag about it. I finished the pillow covers!

When we moved into this house, the only pieces of furniture were a few chairs and tables and the beds. So we made a little seating area with cheap cushions and pillows that I covered. The cushion covers took me a long time to sew, but the pillow covers are fast, if I just remember to sit down for twenty minutes at a time.

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It still doesn't look that much like I hoped. I need to add some wooden pallets for under the cushions, (I have to figure out how to say "I want your old pallets to be my furniture," in Thai) and maybe even an upgrade to cushions that don't compress so easily.

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But pillows! Done! I love the middle pillow- my friend Joy brought me a batik from Indonesia and I turned it into a pillow! The Thai batiks are different, and I look forward to adding a few of them. I love having special things and gifts around the house.

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On one side of the room I've managed to replace all the yuck curtains with white ones that I've sewn. This is the side of the room that still needs a lot of work.

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It's our big living/dining/school/everything room, and it's coming along.

Which leads us to

Part 3:

Which is that one way to solve the intense nesting bug if it won't leave you alone is to get up out of your house and go, because then you simply can't see all the things you've left undone!

On Sunday I started having an awful lot of more grippy contractions that obviously weren't active labor but could have turned into active labor. We don't have a car, and we're planning to give birth in Chiang Mai, three hours away from our home. The car rental place is always out of cars and the bus doesn't run after 5:30, so we decided to head into Chiang Mai a little earlier than planned.

In two hours we assembled everything we needed, including all the baby things which will be used for an actual baby, and made our way to the bus. I gathered snacks for the bus ride and soon we were pulling out of Pai.

Every one of our birth stories has been different, every one comical in some way or another. This time, driving the crazy number of curves with Leafy leaning on my belly, trying to time contractions, surrounded by the smell of little boy farts and the sound of the oldies/country music the van driver was playing, I couldn't help but love my life. So crazy and unusual and never the same.

(One of the songs played was "We are the World," which sent me off into a hit of nostalgia. When we got to the place we were sleeping, I had to look up the video, and then it seemed only prudent to find the Wikipedia article and figure out who every single person singing was. Of course, between Chinua (who grew up in Motown) and me, we already knew most people, but one person that we said, "Who on earth are you?" about turned out to be Billy Joel.)

So, as it turns out, we are staying with friends in Chiang Mai, waiting for this little one to make an appearance. Babies can't be rushed, and we are in the most special place ever to wait for a baby. There are sixteen children in the little collection of houses here, and I'm so thankful not to be shushing my kids in a guesthouse or hotel somewhere.

Oh, I'm so thankful for friends, for generous people, for a truck to use when we need to go to the hospital, for these amazing, beautiful circumstances that are the walls around this birth. Newborn Land here we come.

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Oh, and one more wee thing. Journey Mama was nominated for a Canadian Weblog Award. Hooray! I'm honored.

Necklaces are in the shop

May 17-2

Hey friends, I have four necklace designs up in my brand new Etsy Shop, and many more to come. I'll let you know as I put more out there. (There are multiples of the designs, so don't be afraid to check them out.)

The way the story goes is that I wanted to buy something in Thailand, for resale, but was disappointed by what I was finding. So I decided to buy beads! Lots of beads.  And make things that I was really excited about. My favorite so far is the one pictured above.

So there you are, go check it out. Shipping is free in the United States and Canada.

May 17-1

Love,

Rae

Arrived have we

Look how good the kids are in the van:

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Except that the last picture is a shot of my shoes, not of Kid A, because Kid A was so far in the back of the van, surrounded by so much stuff, that a photo opportunity did not present itself.

We're here! Whew. I need to chill a bit, and then tomorrow I'm going to bake another cake for a second (family) birthday celebration, which is also simply an opportunity to bake that spice cake again. Mmmm mmm.

But what I want to tell you about is my friends in Portland who are the cutest and most creative girls in Portland. (Possibly.)

They make hats and other clothing out of recycled teddy bears, like this hat that Leafy is sporting. (This is the face he made when I said "Smile!")

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But not just kids' hats-- also hats for grownups who love stuffed animals. I tried on a koala and a red bear.  Check out their Myspace Page and harass them for online ordering.

More later. The men have cooked, tonight, and now we eat.

Quilting with Grandma

Last night I started piecing YaYa's quilt. (Do you like how I wrote piecing, like a real quilter? Pretty snazzy.)

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I couldn't help thinking of my Grandma, while my machine hummed away. I think she gave me my sewing machine when I was about thirteen? Fourteen?. My grandparents owned a fabric and notions shop for most of my life, and to this day, the smell, when I walk into a yarn shop or a fabric store, the smell conjures my strong and creative grandma.

It was quiet, last night, since everyone was gone. I got a lot done, for me, for the first time I've tried this in, let's see- fourteen years. I could see my Grandma, sitting at her machine, talking through a mouth full of pins. She always holds her pins between her lips while she sews, and if you think it's hard to understand someone who is brushing their teeth and talking, you should try interpreting for someone who's trying not to be stabbed in the lip with a pin.

I pinned and sewed and cut and ironed. I could smell their house, feel the coolness of the basement, that summer when Grandma decided to help my sister and I put together log cabin quilts. It gets hot in Edmonton in the summer, and her basement with the cool air and our lemony iced tea was a good place to be.

It seemed magic to me, then, following the instructions to pin this piece to that piece, and sew this to that, and then you iron it and there before your eyes is a quilt piece, built like a log cabin, turning around itself.  It still seems like magic.

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One of the worst things about my Grandma being sick is that she can no longer sew, like she has all her life. Last night I thought, maybe I can show her my quilt as it progresses, across all these miles. So, I'm going to show Grandma my quilt as I make it. I emailed her these two photos today, and I almost can't wait to send her more.