Sunday, May 31, 2009

Project::Quilt 1 (In Progress)

In an effort to remind myself that (1) even basic sewing skills are better than nothing (2) I do get stuff done, almost every day (3) the Garnet Hill catalog is lovely, but I'd feel sad if anything from that store was spit up on, peed in, thrown up all over, or covered in a curious mixture of chocolate and sand, and that yes, in deed, these are things that happen to my bed more often than one might think, if one didn't have a house full of little boys I submit: my very first quilt, a spontaneous quilt, made out of a pile of handed-down mostly teal colored shirts, in cotton and silk, that my mother gave me, and that as much as I WANT to wear them, I just can't. All that teal! But my bedroom walls are teal, and I don't imagine painting will happen any time soon, and besides, even if I can't wear it, I kind of like the color of my bedroom- I just don't want to spend $500 for a new quilt that will inevitably be soiled by my trio of children. And so. A quilt that takes no careful planning, or measuring, that I can just sit down and sew a bit on, randomly picking pieces of cut-up shirts and creating something kind of sweet and certainly handmade looking, sewing, sewing until it's big enough. Did you know king size beds need BIG quilts to cover them? Still, I'm hopeful this quilt will be finished before too long. It's too fun not to work on it, and it's too devoid of my usual excuses for not making quilts to suffer neglect for long.

Project:: 20 years late for 7th Grade Home Ec

I know this is a cool pattern. All the sewing crafty cool Moms are making this shirt for themselves- the ones that aren't currently nursing are making it as a dress, too. Look! See how cute and cool it is?
I stayed up way too late last night making this exact shirt, in a cute (bargain bin!) navy and white mini-check cotton poplin. Everything seemed so easy, so fast and simple. I envisioned a closet full of this shirt, in dozens of cute prints and thrifted fabrics. Oh! And then I finished, and tried it on. Oh. Maybe I should have taken 7th grade home ec instead of Spanish and band....

Summer Drinks

Picnic season is officially under way around here. We've had several in the last couple of weeks, and are looking forward to eating out many more times this summer. I've got our picnic assembly streamlined pretty well, making picnics an easier way to entertain than cleaning the house and squeezing everyone into our too-small dining table. Basket by the door with tablecloth, napkins, picnic blanket, flatware and dishes. Simple recipes and cold meals for hot days. And drinks. Well, that kind too, but since I'm in nursing mode and that makes 4/5 of our family unable to drink alcohol (and the other fifth is usually headed back to the office) there's not much point in experimenting with grown-up drinks.
These are our standard family drinks: agua de jamaica, iced coffee, iced tea, orange delicious, homemade fruit sodas, and lemonade.
Agua de Jamaica is a standard of Mexican restaurants, and unlike all of my awful attempts at horchata, it always turns out delicious! I added cinnamon and orange on a whim last week and, well, it's our new favorite! Who cares if it's not traditional? To make 2 quarts: bring 4 cups of water, 2 cups of dried hibiscus flowers, the peel from an orange, and a cinnamon stick to a boil, then cover and set aside 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher, press the flowers to get all the flavor out, stir in 1 cup of cane sugar (or to taste- less would be fine, or honey is good, too). Add ice cubes to 2 quarts, and chill. Serve over ice. Hibiscus tastes something like cranberries- tart, though the more sugar you add the more like Hawaiian Punch it becomes. The cinnamon and orange help it from being too cloying.
Iced coffee. The boys are coffee fiends. I imagine they got to be preschool coffee snobs from their parents, and the fact that we read The Story of Coffee by Sultan Mohammed (the son in law of some local friends of ours) at least once a week. Even though Avery and Miles both know how to make stove top espresso for me with the Bialetti Moka Express stove top espresso maker (well, Miles doesn't do the stove part, but he does know how to grind the coffee just right, load the water and coffee, and fasten it all up) in the summer I cold brew coffee every day. Because nothing could be simpler, the coffee is smooth and tasty and already cold (so no ice-dilution problems). I pour 4 1/2 cups of water over 1 cup of coarse coffee grounds, put the lid on the jar, and let it sit overnight, or 12 hours. Then strain the liquid through a mesh strainer, pour over ice, dilute with milk or water (or sweetened condensed milk and water, for that Thai iced coffee effect the boys especially like). Yum. And before you give me any grief about children drinking coffee please know that I hardly ever let them drink more than a sip or two. And children used to drink coffee as a matter of course (I guess they used to drink ale and hard cider as a matter of course, too, but we won't go there....) I know I'm a bad Mom, really. You don't have to say it.
Orange Delicious. This is a drink I made up, when Avery wanted one of those mall-style frothy orange drinks. We have this regularly, usually when we have burgers and carrot-apple salad for supper. Crush a blender full of ice, blend in 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup yogurt, and coconut milk to the top. Pour into tall glasses, preferably with colorful graphics and bendy straws, and slurp it down!
Water of course is our real standard drink. My friend Nancy has a old school-style drinking fountain in the kitchen, which all the kids love. Think of all the glasses NOT getting dirty in the house with a drinking fountain! And no bullies to smash your face into the spray! Sometimes I put out a big bucket of ice water and an old fashioned ladle, and let the boys drink that way, when we're playing outside all afternoon and I'm sick of running in and out and up the steps every three minutes. Of course, the water ends up seeming a little bit... hmm... old fashioned? Like, un-filtered old-fashioned. Sort of dirty, with bits of leaves and twigs and stuff. Is that a problem? Maybe we need a water fountain outside!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Can you stand it?! Ansel is super smiley- especially when his brothers are around. Avery took this beaut!
And this one, too. Look at those cheeks! He's such a chunk. He's growing up to quickly- I want to savor every moment, but it's slipping away. This age is fun, interactive and adorable, we're all enjoying it immensely, but that tender curled up newborn period is firmly over, and so fast! We have now a serious, studious little boy, much like Avery was a baby. Amazing how strong their personalities are even from the beginning!

Mr Scissorhands

The newest alter-ego at our house. Mr. Scissorhands. Ummm, well, thank goodness he's just got the canning jar tongs, huh? For some reason Mr. Scissorhands always makes this particular face:
These look like mug shots, funnily. (I really do want to paint the dining room.)

Goodnight Mr. Scissorhands. It's way past bed time. Yep, even alter egos need to go to bed sometimes!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chocolate Pudding

Okay, so maybe it looks better in real life. And it definitely tastes better! I finally made a chocolate pudding creamy, rich and just chocolaty enough for the boys, who can use some fattening and think cream is about the best thing to eat. Their favorite dessert may just be whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
6 eggs, 1/2 c. cornstarch, whisked together in a big heavy bottomed pot
4 c. half and half, 2 c. heavy cream, 4 c. milk, 1/2 c. cocoa powder, added, then whisked frequently over medium-high heat til the cocoa is melted and the pudding is thickened.
2 t. vanilla mixed in, then the pudding is poured into a bowl, plastic wrap or wax paper lightly pressed onto the surface, then chilled.
Usually I make pudding with honey instead of sugar, milk instead of cream, farm fresh eggs, cornstarch, and a little butter melted in with the vanilla at the end, but when it's made with cream the chocolate flavor is mellowed, and while I may not eat much of it, the boys certainly dug in between canner-loads, and I expect they'll be happy with that for dessert all week!


Ah! Spring just keeps coming on, doesn't it? We're flooded in asparagus here. As always it's hot and summer feeling now- as much as I love asparagus I'd hate to have to pick it all day long. That's brutal work. It makes it a little unbelievable that I can buy it bulk for 79c a pound.
We bought almost 70 pounds yesterday. Today the boys and I prepared 40 for pickling and froze 30 pounds. With Papa's help (after work) we had 26 quarts canned by 9:30, and the boys were desperately hanging on to "help" and perhaps not so coincidentally avoid bedtime.
Here's how I did it: 40 pounds asparagus, washed, ends snapped, then trimmed (we put up the trimmed bits- they're just as good, just not as pretty). I put 1-2 garlic cloves, 1 T pickling spices and sometimes 1/2 a jalapeno in each quart, then stuffed in the garlic spears. Filled almost to the top with boiling hot brine (2 gallons vinegar, 2 gallons water, 4 cups pickling salt), then processed in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. All of them sealed, though one jar did break in the canner.

It feels good, filling the house with food for winter. Canning, even preparing asparagus for freezing, is kind of a pain with little kids- my impatient part wants to just DO it, but they love to help, love to know they're needed, and so it becomes a project to last all afternoon and evening. But it's worth it, I think. They're learning to rely on themselves and their own hard work to get what they want and need, I'm practicing patience, and they went to bed tired but proud.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"I'm sure we'll see him again"

This is what the emergency room doctor said as he was clearing Miles to go home last night (well, this morning, technically, but whose counting hours?). I thought that was kind of pessimistic, but then this is the same ER doc we've at least twice, no, I'm almost 100% that he's helped us three times in the last year- when Miles got into the bottle of adult extra strength Tylenol someone left in reach and possibly un-child-safety-latched, just a few weeks ago when Miles had the fever of 105 for a week and we had two trips to the ER in two days. Perhaps the doctor feeling confident that we'll be back was just common sense, but please! At what point does an ER doc call child protective services? Five visits in a year? Six?
Anyway, this time Miles fell off a twisty slide he was climbing up, and dislocated his elbow- though I thought it was broken, and Papa thought it was a bruised arm and a tired boy. Once the doc got that elbow back in place it was only a matter of minutes before Miles was cheerful and amazed, happily waving and chattering to everyone in the hospital. Whew!

In other news- Papa came through with a really cool new camera to replace the one he killed last weekend. Thanks to Avery's careful research, heartily voiced opinions on the technical merits of DSLR , and careful reading of all of the lcoal store fliers and sales ads, they found a nifty little camera for me. I'm ready for summer photo ops!
We picked up 60 pounds of asparagus to pickle and freeze. 79 cents a pound, I think. A hot and steamy afternoon, family-canning style.
And it was 50% off everything at Value Village, and the boys are fully outfitted (except sandals size 3 for Avery) and they're ready for summer photo ops too!

Now I need to get chores done and somehow, someway, find a little time to figure out how to actually take pictures with my new camera! A fun kind of thing to find time for, I think. But at least now I can safely say, "I'm sure you'll all see us again!"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

(Not My) Family Photos

In honor of my recently deceased camera: so many awkward family photos I can't take right now. We're enjoying other families and their photographed moments. Take a peek- you won't be able to stop looking, I bet....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Vimeo is my newest time-waster. I love it! It's like you-tube but cooler, and all the videos are user created. They're artsy and funky and fun. Way too fun. Check this out- my two favorite playthings at once- vimeo and tiltshift! We've been waching it over and over.... it's kind of like schoolwork, right?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Washington Weekend>>Hood Canal

I grew up in the rain, in the lush, soothing green of the coastal northwest and Alaska. I think I considered myself more Cascadian than anything else most of my life. I know I rather snobbily thought the "Midwest" was bordered by the Cascade Mountains on the west wide and the Appalachians on the east. Now, of course, I live in the dry-side of Washington, and while my kids are probably the only ones in town with full raingear suits, they rarely wear them, never in our own town, and they've missed out on some of my childhood loves. Puddles, for instance, and the wonderfulness of jumping and splashing in them. Rainy days that last for days. Storms coming in off the ocean. The beach in the spring and fall, when it's empty and cold and gray and you feel like the last child at the end of the earth. Tidepools. Silent forests with thick, spongey floors and undergrowth and a million hidden hideaways. Ferns covered in rain. Taking shelter under a giant moss covered tree in a sudden downpour. Waking up to the sound of rain. The feel of your skin against a wet raincoat. It's true- they mostly think raincoats and boots are for dress-up.
Anyway, the weather was beautiful this weekend over on the Hood Canal. sunny and warm and perfect. Not rainy a bit. Here are some pictures- the few I took before my camera was the victim of a murder- well, accidental homicide, at least.
Ferns, unfurling. I grew up eating new baby ferns, called fiddleheads. A wet-side of the state spring treat. Now I'm rarely in the presence of ferns, and even more rarely somewhere I can pick them to eat. But I always like looking at them.
Our before supper treat Saturday night: fresh oysters, cooked in the shell in the campfire. Avery tromped around the Hood Canal with our friend Bob and found a bunch of oysters, they cooked them and we all ate them. Aaron's "trying to acquire" a taste, Miles isn't bothering- there's plenty of food that tastes good outright, I guess. Avery ate four, I think, and could barely eat supper he was so full. Mmmm. Food you hunt or gather yourself is always the tastiest!

Miles, refusing to look at the camera. Hmmm. I mean, Miles, looking angelic.

Avery, who spent the whole weekend making silly faces for the camera. This was the best I could get. He was proud to show me the oysters cooking, and excited to try one.

And, you know, the usual ridiculous baby picture. Because we don't want to leave him out, but he's almost always on my chest, in the wrap, and so I can only pictures of the top of his head. Which is sweet, but really. He makes the funniest fleeting faces, we're trying to capture his absolute chunkiness- we've never had a chubby baby before- and he's so delicious!

Fun Stuff~~Shadow Play

This is the cutest idea. The kind of thing I love to do, but rarely manage to ACTUALLY do. Besides my husband broke my camera this weekend- who knew you weren't supposed to WASH digital cameras to get little boy smears off the lens? Who knew? Anyway, enough about me- what's your shadow doing? Check it out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rhubarb Time

After dandelions and lilacs the next big garden harvest is rhubarb. And we've been madly harvesting. Avery loves to help- he gets to use a knife and whack off the leaves. Really, what's more fun than standing in the dirt and whacking things with knives? His enthusiasm is not diminished by the fact that he doesn't like rhubarb one bit. Actually no one in the family much like rhubarb, except me. And I love it. It's beautiful, for one thing. Big and lush and vibrant, when everything else in the garden is just peeping up in little green notes, there's rhubarb, shouting out from the corner. Hooray! It's spring!

This year, so far, I've made the usual rhubarb sauce- just cleaned and sliced rhubarb stems (no leaves-they're poison) and a cup of sugar for every 6 cups of rhubarb, simmer 20 minutes or so til it's all soft and mushy. Delicious with homemade yogurt, or ice cream, on pancakes, in muffins, by the sneaky spoonful when no one's looking. Mmmm! Spring in a spoon.
But I decided to try making rhubarb syrup this year too, and boy! am I glad I did. A rhubarb treat Miles and Aaron both like, even if Avery doesn't quite. I chopped up a bunch of rhubarb-12 cups, probably- and added 3 cups of sugar and 6 cups of water, and simmered that 20 minutes or so, til it was soft and mushy, then strained it through my mesh strainer. The loveliest pink liquid filled 4 quart jars. We drank this all weekend, syrup and sparkling water and ice. But if you were in the mood I'd think some rhubarb cocktails would be divine. I'm thinking black currant juice, vodka, rhubarb syrup, or rhubarb syrup, mint, white rum. Or rhubarb and sparkling wine, like a mimosa, only pink! We had rhubarb pie and rhubarb muffins, too, though I didn't make them.
Here is a recipe I'll be trying tomorrow. If you've never been over to smitten kitchen you should hop over right now! Anyway, this rhubarb coffee cake looks amazing.
I think I'm going to harvest more rhubarb and make jelly. I bet my kids will even like it, come winter and the blahs. A little spring time on their toast will start the day right, I think.
I always think of all those pioneers, relying entirely on themselves to survive, and how wonderful the fresh, tart, awakening flavor of rhubarb must have been. A long winter of dried or canned fruit and vegetables, and finally the spring and the emergence of fresh things to eat. Rhubarb, I think, tastes like salvation. Well, at least if you sugar it enough!

Fun Stuff ~~ Tiltshift Maker

Tiltshift Maker is super cool!
This isn't the best example- I have a simple little camera and never take pictures of anything but my children, so I didn't have a lot to work with, but tiltshift changes the focus of your photos so that they kind of look like miniatures- check it out, their examples are cool, and, I'm excited to go tak pictures to try it out with.
Anyway, this is a photo my brother took, of some little town in Alaska-the focus of the original was the bay freezing up, but with tiltshift it becomes a little make-believe village. Well, look at their examples, and try your own photos. It's fun and its free! And besides, who doesn't need a new wa to waste time, and another reason to stay on the computer all night long. Really....
Here's the original- iced over bay, plain little village, buildings.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Project:: (Organic Valley) Bandanna Pants

Another project completed! Instead of spending the morning walking with my friend Jennifer walking (talking) while the kids run and rack up miles for the kids' marathon we stayed home and Avery and I did a little project. We used the Blue Yonder tutorial for bandanna pants, and two super cute bandannas from Organic Valley that were free at the Seattle Green Festival last year. Avery did all the sewing machine work, and I did the pinning. Pants for brother, for free!

Sewing away! I love how careful and neat Avery gets when he's in control of a machine.
I usually am really careful about not using my children as living billboards, and I try to keep logos discreet, or off their clothes entirely, but we really do love Organic Valley. They're farmer owned, pastured dairy, and locally sourced. Now that the boys have decided that they like to drink milk we go through a ridiculous amount of Organic Valley milk- it's by far the biggest weekly grocery expense, but completely worth the money (don't say I told you, but you can coupons on their website, and more sometimes if you sign up for their newsletter). I love knowing my children are growing up on completely organic, hormone and pesticide free milk, that the cows are healthy and happy and outside, that we're supporting farmers right here in our own county and state, and, besides, Organic Valley milk is tastier than the others. So there you go- I don't mind using my children as billboards for the companies that reflect our family values. Hey Organic Valley- want to send us some more bandannas?
I see overalls for the baby, shorts for Avery, a skirt for me... what else can we make?
Oh yeah- this fulfills Avery's 3rd grade sewing/clothing project- yet another project I've been feeling guilty about not getting to. DONE!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Project:: Birds

7 fabric birds made from my scrap bag, one brown velvet branch, most of a bag of pillow stuffing, and 14 little velcro circles painfully sewn in place. One project-COMPLETED! And I still have time to get my 4 hours of sleep!

I was just going to make some little birds to hang on ribbon or fish line for our friends' baby's baptism tomorrow. Then I thought, well, that's cute, but not really much fun for an almost one year old. Then I thought I'd sew a little branch, and sew the birds to it. Then it could sit on a window sill or table and be cute in baby's reach. But again, not quite fun enough. Velcro! I didn't quite think it out in time, though, or I would have machine-stitched the velcro dots before sewing the birds together- I didn't know the sew-on velcro circles were sticky on the back, which made pushing a needle through by hand a major pain in the ... thumb. Why don't I have a thimble? Oh- because I NEVER sew by hand. Actually, if I'd thought it out enough I would have just stuck with a basket of birds and ribbons, to hang or not. Oh well.
This is sort of rustic and kid-friendly, not anything fancy or precious, though I do think the little birds are cute. Hopefully our friends will like it! And I'm going to make a couple more- one for some friends of ours who just had a baby and are big bird-lovers, and one for baby Ansel. With velcro dots machine sewn on before the birds are assembled! And I've actually got about 13 birds already done, including these 7, and a bunch more pieces cut out, so that part should be quick enough. It's just the darn velcro that slows everything down- otherwise this'd be a two hour project!

Friday, May 8, 2009


There are, in the midst of a busy day of chores and school and playing, running and shouting and digging and being "The Loudest Boy of the World, the Viken-Biker" a moment or two when Miles is still and calm and unbelievably tender and sweet. Here is one, captured. Proof.
And just a little picture of Ansel- he's getting so big so fast I can barely stand it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Projects, Interrupted

You know Martha Stewart and I are a lot alike.
We both love cooking and baking. Of course, she never does her thing in a tiny rather ugly kitchen whose facelift is rather far down the list of important things to spend money on and so will most likely stay ugly for the foreseeable future, and I'll bet she doesn't have to make her way around two small wooden chairs her boys stand on to help, the highchair with the baby in it (the getting really hungry and already starting to fuss baby), and the other high chair the three year old pulled into the kitchen so that he could reach the upper cabinet where there might be candy hidden, or the sticky place from when he slipped climbing down froom the top shelf and dropped the jar of molasses. I've never seen her do that on the show, anyhow.
We both love crafts. I love finding that all of the fancy homemade card envelopes are gone because my husband was paying bills and I left my card-making basket on the table and there they were, easier than walking downstairs to the office and getting regular envelopes. I wonder if Martha and I are alike that way, too? I bet the people at the gas company appreciated opening that pretty, floral-paper lined envelope, anyway.
We both love making things look just so. But Martha doesn't have little boys taking her cunningly arranged vintage bamboo tray, smooth colored stones, perfect little blue bowl and single white blossom into a soggy mangled mess of crushed petals and shards of shiny deadly blue before she can even take a picture of her little lovely vignette.
We both like to talk about all of the great ideas we have, and all the lovely things we've made. She has people to actually finish her projects for her, and document how they were made so the effect can be recreated, and take pictures so that they'll be remembered long after a two year old with a sharpie comes through the room.
We both have houses full of servants to make everything pretty, just the way we tell them too, and clean up after us when we entertain our celebrity friends by teaching them crafts. Oh. Well, one of does.
But we both only need 4 hours of sleep a day. Really. And I don't even need to have them all at once. I only need 4 hours of sleep, just like my friend Martha. Of course, it is arguable that I might do a little better if I had a solid night's sleep more than once ever 4 years, but I bet Martha wouldn't falter and fail. No, I'm sure she'd finish the projects she started, or at least have them finished for her, no matter how distracted and delusional her sleep-deprived mind became.
And that's the problem, really. I can't give up on a project, and I can't quite admit that I'm not ever going to finish knitting the second little I-cord tie for that adorable little snowflake hat that is now too small for the person it was (almost) knitted for. I am too distracted by real life, and real messes, and these very real boys to finish anything but the essentials, and I'm too delusional to admit that it might be okay if I didn't try to every darn thing myself, by hand, from absolute scratch.

So here they are:
The hat, already mentioned.
The magnetic food pyramid inspired chart. How could I be out of magnetic paper? I bet Martha's never out of magnetic paper.
The magnetic chore management chart. Again, the magnetic paper. I swear I had a bunch of it before I started these projects.
The alphabet photo project I started with the boys a few weeks ago.
More blank cards to give as gifts. Two cards doesn't make a great gift, especially when they don't come with envelopes.
The DNC scrapbook I planned to put together after, well, the Democratic National Convention last August.
Miles' baby scrapbook. Enough said, I'm sad enough about that one.
There's more. Not including the projects I haven't even started, there's plenty more. But do you see how pathetic it is? I can't even finish a list about the projects I haven't finished!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My New Friends Emma and Craig

Isn't she beautiful? Her full name is Emmaljunga Twin Cerox, but we just call her Emma. As if she were a ship, or some other thing you might give a female name to. She is kind of a tank. Do they get girly names?
I admit to feeling a little weird loving a THING this much, but oh! she's everything I wanted in a double stroller:
1~ side by side seating (wide is easier for me to deal with than long- maybe because I'm wider rather than longer lately)
2~a great big sunshade with an integrated sun/bug mesh for complete coverage (Bugs aren't much of a problem here, but sunshine is, and canopies that don't have full-motion or are aren't really deep are nearly worthless.)
3~ a rain cover (It does sometimes rain here, and we do sometimes travel to places where it might rain)
4~ four big wheels with wide PUNCTURE PROOF tires (increvable, we call them- can you tell we play Miles Bornes all the time?) because our town is less than 25% sidewalked, and covered in goat's heads, those nasty little pokies that wreak havoc with bike-style tires, even, as we've found out, the expensive "puncture proof" tube tires. If you don't find and extract the goat's heads the tires will eventually be shredded rubber flapping around the rims. No fun!
5~ reversible handlebar, so babies face Mom or the World
6~ adjustable handlebar, so Avery can push it as easily as I can or someone over 6 feet tall (not that people over 6 feet tall are knocking down the door begging to push the stroller for me all the time, but still, it's good to be prepared!)
7~ big storage basket (need I say anything?)
8~sturdy construction, because we are awfully hard on strollers. Really. Awfully hard. It's true. Three boys, who'd guess?
9~ fully reclining seats so babies can ride safely and sleep soundly
10~ 5 point harnesses (again, the safety thing)
11~ removable babycots, two of them, that transform into cold weather seat-buntings, because it is often very cold here, and I love the nap-inducing feature of a brisk cold weather walk and a warmly bundled baby! (Plus with a removable baby cot it's easy to take a sleeping baby inside without waking them!)
12~ good looks. She is lovely. By chance she's made of sage colored fabric, my favorite!
13~ nickname "the Volvo of strollers" (We do love our Volvo!)
14~ Sweden. She was made there, by people who were paid a living wage and have good working conditions and health insurance. No humans were abused in the construction of this stroller.
15~ What European strollers are called: prams, perambulators, buggies, pushchairs, and my favorite, sit-strollers.
16~ Oh yeah! It fits through doors. It might be snug sometimes, but it fits. Really. I said a silent little prayer of thanks when I saw the Mom at gymnastics have to take her little ones out of the jogging stroller, bring them inside, fold down her stroller, and then bring it inside. Could of been me, but Emma sailed right through!

We got it off craigslist, from a Swedish family who had grown out of it. It's in great shape- it looks brand new, really. And we got it for about 1/5 of what the original price was, not including the plane ticket! It's such a wonderful thing, now that spring is here and the baby is getting heavier and we're all getting warmer, to be able to go for the big long walks we like without a baby strapped to me, to be able to walk fast and push a stroller that rolls onto curbs and over ruts without pause and is comfortable for everyone. We were saving our pennies, planning to buy a well used jogger type stroller, but knowing a decent twin jogger with reclining seats and a big sunshade and a good sized basket would be, even used, a chunk of change. But now we have this amazing stroller for what we thought we'd get something just good enough! One more reason to have more kids- to keep Emma in our lives!