you have no pants.

the folks in lesotho do not have large quantities of clothes stashed away in their closets. actually, they don't have closets, they have free-standing wardrobes, but that is a horse of a different color. the point is they do not have a lot of clothes. but they have clothes. they do not run around wearing leaves and leather thongs. in fact, they dress a lot like us....well, sort of. what i mean to say is that just like us, they wear skirts, pants, shorts, t-shirts, dresses, jackets, etc. 

even the babies and children have clothes. sometimes it seems like babies have the most clothes, because it is handed down from kid-to-kid. they grow out of it before it wears out, so it accumulates. which makes it all the more entertaining that small children can often be found sans pants. especially in the summer. maybe it is because their mothers are tired of washing diapers or just because the kids are tired of pants. i do not know. but one of my fellow peace corps volunteers started telling kids "you have no pants." this line never ceased to make us laugh hysterically. [side note: in the light of day on my couch in the U.S.A., i struggle to convey the hilarity, but peace corps volunteers will laugh at almost anything...i guess it is a mechanism of self-preservation that prevents you from spending all of your time crying.]

pringle's first-ever fitting.

since it still makes me giggle, i like to say it to pringle. all the time. he wears onesies EVERY day, with no pants. we save his two pairs of pants for outings. although i do love to tell him that he has no pants, i think they look adorable on him and i wish he had more. but it seems insane to pay money for unnecessary clothes he will grow out of in a month. so i googled pants patterns. how hard can they be, right? oh my. not only are they not hard, they are ridiculously EASY. (check out my tutorial.)

first pattern. needs work.

i found a two-piece pattern that is sized for infants, but the pants do not fit so lovely in the bum. then i found a four-piece pattern that is PERFECT. except it is sized for a 2 year old. so i put together the information gleaned from these patterns, my pre-existing knowledge of how pants are constructed, and a pair of pringle's pants to create my own pattern. perfectly sized for pringle.

second pattern. nifty, but needs work.

and now i am obsessed. O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D. seriously. i made him three pairs yesterday and i have plans for more. LOTS more. this kid will never again be sans pants, because i think he is beyond adorable when he wears them. and they did not cost me a dime. thank you neverending stash of fabric.

third pattern. presto perfecto!!


little things that make my world go 'round.

yesterday the mister sent me a text message asking if i could go to the grocery store to pick up some things. "smooth peaches" were on the list. do what? exactly.

there are lots of peach trees in lesotho. they were first brought to the country in the early 1900s by french missionaries (so the story goes) and can now be found in every village. as a result, the basotho LOVE peaches. but there are no nectarines. i guess that is why the name "nectarine" has simply not stuck in the mister's brain. he discovered nectarines during one of his first visits to the grocery store and was immediately in love with the hairless peaches.  after living here for four years, he still calls them "smooth peaches." and every time he says it i giggle and adore him a little bit more. in my world it is not the big stuff that matters, but all the little things that add up to our life together. like calling nectarines smooth peaches.

the peach tree outside my hut in lesotho.

driving home from the grocery store with a bag of smooth peaches, i could not help but think of a song i first heard a couple years ago. i was at one of my best friend's weddings and her husband's cousin-in-law, dick siegel, performed his song "the little things." quite possibly the world's most perfect song. you should listen to it. it will make you smile.

Find more artists like Dick Siegel at Myspace Music


every day with a little baby brings new developments. the latest is that pringle is starting to grab hold of things that you put in his hand. this is rather exciting because it means we can give him things that he can use to keep himself entertained. and most things that we put in his hand eventually end up in his mouth.

trying to eat his sock monkey's arm.

he has a rattle that he plays with by shaking it and waving it around or he shoves it in his mouth and sucks on it. the problem with this rattle is that once he drops it he cannot pick it back up. apparently he has not yet figured out the joys of his opposable thumbs. being a mini-human means that he is also fascinated by ordinary things like burp cloths, which happen to be much easier for him to hold. after considering these basic facts, i decided the little guy needs a toy that is easy for him to hold, play with, and suck on. enter the lovey or security blanket. i have decided that pringle needs one. yes, NEEDS.

trying to eat his momma's sewing.

i could head over to target and pick up a security blanket for $7.99, but what kind of crafty mom would i be if i purchased something that i could lovingly make myself? and of course i could make this blanket by sewing together two pieces of cloth, but well...have you ever met me? no? oh, well in this house we like to complicate things as much as possible. so rather than take anything resembling an easy route, i instead used leftover fabric from THE quilt to make a mini quilt. and a mini stuffed owl. and then i sewed the two together and, if i may say so myself, the result is rather marvelous. it only took me a week.

ladies and gentlemen, meet paco...

me thinks pringle likes paco...


minimalist amusement.

a week after the mister and i found out we were pregnant, i dragged him to the local baby store. my goal was not to show him all of the things i wanted for our baby, but rather to show him the vastness of the world of baby products, most of which i was hoping to avoid purchasing. i had rather strong opinions on what i wanted, but having never before had a baby i was not always sure what things were optional. i tried to find a list for guidance, but oh geez. i found gads of lists and they were all endless. yikes. in the end, we just went with our gut, buying the bare essentials with a plan to add as needed. we are not trying to deny pringle anything, we are just raising the kid on a budget. it turns out there is even a name for this... the minimalist baby.

this week the mister and i decided that pringle NEEDS a crib mobile. perhaps this seems like a strange necessity, but let us examine the facts. one, the kid is obsessed with the things that dangle from his play gym. and two, the kid wakes up at the crack of dawn and wants to play. clearly he needs in-crib entertainment....anything to buy us a couple extra minutes of z's. we pondered an ikea mobile, but it does not come with any way to attach to a crib. not sure why they call it a *crib* mobile, but that is a horse of a different color. long story short, it was not working for us, so the mister and i joined forces and made pringle a mobile.

the mister attached the arm of an adjustable lamp to the side of the crib and i sewed together some bits of cloth. we put it all together and now pringle has an adjustable crib mobile. he cannot take his eyes off of it. just in case he does, we also stuck a mirror on the wall so he can talk to himself. frugal-style fun and games.


baby got back.

the pepa.

sometimes things are not better in the west. no offense to the myriad of companies producing baby carriers, but the developed world has simply not designed any product that carries babies as efficiently and perfectly as the women of developing nations. i have seen pictures of how it is done in other countries, but lesotho is the only country for which i have first hand experience. they use a blanket and a gigantic safety pin. that is it. it sounds too good to be true, but i assure you it is possible. thanks to my two year sojourn in lesotho, and the fact that my best friend and her mother both had babies, i learned how to pepa (carry a baby on my back). about a month ago i decided pringle was ready to pepa, so on my back he went. other people seem surprised at how much he likes it, but not me. let us think about this...he is tightly wrapped and happens to be strapped to one of his favorite people in the world. what's not to love? anyhow, i started off using my tjale (a blanket women wear around their waist or shoulders, similar to a picnic blanket - mine was given to me by my in-laws) and when at home, i carried pringle around on my back all the time. but i was not mentally prepared for venturing out in public. i have this awful tendency to get a bit timid about doing out-of-the-ordinary things in public, so obviously strapping my baby on my back and wandering the grocery store was totally NOT in my comfort zone. ugh.

boring blue blanket.

but then a friend saw a picture i had posted of pringle on my back and she mentioned that my blanket is boring. she is right. it is blue with blue stripes. well, i cannot say that i needed another sewing project, but i like a good challenge. and i realized that maybe if i made a special pepa blanket, i would be more at ease using it in public. as an added bonus it would be lovely and hopefully not be as hot as an acrylic blanket, which is mucho importante in miami. so i pulled out my fabrics and voila!! a quilted cloth to carry my little pringle. now when people ask me what carrier i am using, i am going to tell them it is a "pepa" by lerato. and they will be super jealous, because their hands-free carrier ain't as fantastic as my hands-free carrier. 

the new and improved pepa blanket.

ain't it lovely? i am still not 100% confident using it in public, because i feel like a fish out of water, but i am working on it. i am building up mental stamina... i used it walking downstairs to get the mail, to a yoga studio grand opening, and in the mister's company at the grocery store. it has been wonderful, but it definitely gets a lot of stares and comments. i know i know...time to stop worrying about what everyone else is thinking and just worry about what is best for me and my baby. easier said than done, but i am trying!!!

pringle loves it!


wonky windows #18.

while the mister and i were running errands, i found myself snapping pictures. it seems that i am constantly entertained by the vehicles around us.

the back of this truck lists the number 1-800-CLUCKER. it made me giggle. when i saw the side of the truck, which features a large chicken, it all made much more sense. further research has informed me that apparently this company is one of the leading poultry distributors in florida. who knew.

there is something about seeing ginormous target trucks rolling down the street that warms the cockles of my heart.

we pulled up next to this car and the mister said "do you think they are scouts?" i was dumbfounded. since the mister is from lesotho, there are gaping holes in his knowledge of non-essential american culture. which makes it all the more entertaining when he pulls a gem out of thin air. when i asked him how he knew about scouts, he said that there are boy scouts and girl scouts in lesotho. fun fact i never knew about his country. although, i still don't know how or why he linked this car with scouts, because i do not imagine the scouts in his country have a ride like this.

interested in participating in wonky windows? check out the instructions.


muscle mama.

i am trying to get back in shape since pringle was born. although "back" in shape is maybe not accurate, since i do not think i could argue that i was in shape before i got pregnant. details. anyhow, i am tackling this "get fit" in multiple ways. 

pickel on the left doing abs, while pringle sleeps in the stroller second from left. photo courtesy om yoga miami.

first, stroller boot camp. sounds cute, right? ummm...there is nothing cute about this class....except of course the darling babies riding in their strollers. we speed-walk up and down the sidewalk and stop to do lunges, squats, abs, and pushups. ouch.

pickel and pringle in our yoga pose. photo courtesy om yoga miami.

second, baby & momma yoga. okay, this one is pretty cute. and since we are not gasping for breath, the mommas can chat. when the babies cooperate, we help them stretch. then while they rest or sleep, the mommas do yoga. it is relaxing and lovely, but our instructor makes sure the poses we do work as many muscles as possible. more ouch.

third, i have headed back to the gym. i get on the treadmill and walk two miles with as much speed and % grade (you know...uphill) as i can handle. and then for a few minutes i lift the ten pound weights and hope that i will have michelle obama's arms the next time i gaze in the mirror.

fourth, i started a one hundred pushups challenge. supposedly, if i follow the routine, in six weeks, i will be able to do 100 pushups. i will believe it when it happens. although, if you add together all the pushups included in yesterday's workout, i did eighty-eight, so maybe there is something to this!!

fifth, just for good measure (as if all of that wasn't enough), i somehow convinced two people to do the pushups challenge with me, but they in turn suckered me into doing the two hundred situps and two hundred squats challenges. yikes. 

i am hoping to maintain my motivation, because although i am not always a fan of exercising, i LOATHE dieting. i will do anything to ensure that ice cream and cookies do not have to be eliminated from the pickel food pyramid.


gingher me happy.

for the last two months i have been ogling the flyers i get in the mail from joanns fabrics. considering i have a mountain of fabric and was not actually sewing (having a newborn apparently reduces project time to zero), all i could do was gaze adoringly at the flyer and dream of the days when i would find my way back to the store. and then last weekend happened. when it was time to run some errands, the mister let me add joanns to our list of stops, because all scissors were 50% off and i declared that i wanted NEEDED a new pair of thread cutting scissors. no brainer. until we got to the store where i found an almost empty scissor display. lucky for me, without complaining the mister drove me to another joanns, where i bought my first pair of GINGHERS!

for those of you who may not be familiar, ginghers are the crème de la crème of sewing scissors. owning a pair makes me feel like i have reached the pinnacle of sewing and entered a secret society of sewers. [side note: i find it rather unfortunate that the word for a group of people who sew happens to be spelled exactly the same as the name for the underground pipes which carry sewage.] you might think i am being dramatic, especially since i got itty-bitty scissors, but they are stupendous. and GOLD-plated. and they come with a leather sheath and a tin storage box. i mean seriously, when was the last time you bought scissors that came with a storage box?