Monday, March 30, 2015


Masks, feathers, fancy dress, gold streaked balloons, gold dusted raspberry chcocolate torte, delectable food and drink, cigars, and dancing were all on the agend a few weekends ago to celebrate Laura's 30th birthday. The party appropriately matched the fancy and fun that is Laura herself and I'm couldn't get over how fabulous everyone looked, especially the birthday girl. Here are a few photos from that night, for posterity and inspiration!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


The warm wind today was so, so, good for my soul.  I am still at about a 85% in terms of health but today's gentle and forgiving weather had that number ticking upwards, I could feel it. Other things that seem to help is that Ken is back a little earlier this week, the ridiculous dalmation cookie from The Dog and Pig Show, and how Sloane cups her ear with her hands when she tilts her head and says, "What's that sound?" whenever she hears something peculiar. 

It really felt like spring today and even though the forecast tells me that the next few days is going back to bitter cold temperatures I'm determined to keep the hope alive so I'm doing things like making spring to-do lists, and daydreaming about Easter and bare legs and what it will be like meeting this baby.

Some things on my spring to-do list: 

I can't wait to start going on some picnics. I'm fantasizing about free afternoons with nothing to do but to find a nice spot at a park, lay down a blanket and snacks and enjoy the day away.

Make panna cotta and while I'm at it why not make it a Lavender Panna Cotta with Poached Rhubarb

I'm really looking forward to Easter and I hope Sloane and I get to dye some eggs  

This Zucchini Fettuccine with Rosemary-Butternut Squash creme sauce will either be awesome or not so awesome. I'm going to find out.

I can't wait to go strawberry picking again (our trip last year!)

I really need to organize all my craft and art supplies and I'm going to make it happen this spring. This is a far cry from what it will probably end up looking like,  but it is super motivating and satisfying to look through photos of organized art supply closets on Pinterest. 

And some links to take us into the weekend: 

1. I really enjoyed watching this ten minute Oscar-nominated animated film about marriage

2. There is this pencil store called CW Pencil Enterprise 
in New York City which is yes, exactly that, a store for pencils. It is extremely specific and I kind of love it for that and it appeals to all of my stationary sensibilities. They have online store, and I feel joy looking at their selection.

3. Death Cab for Cutie's new album is 'Kintsugi' is up for streaming at NPR's First Listen right now: I listened to the whole thing through yesterday and I'm in.  Sufjan's Steven's 'Carrie and Lowell' is also up and I'm been saving that for as my made-it-Friday reward.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


You know that type of friend who you could call at any time to help get you out of an embarrassing or awful situation and know that she will have your back? 

My friend Caroline is that type of friend;  she has this laid back but super caring nature about her that is irresistable.  I have known her since high school and she has always been free-spirited, really smart, hard-working, creative, funny, adventurous and caring, and in recent years I've been able to see how all that plays out in her relationship with this great guy that she is about to marry in a few weeks..!!
That's the benefit of knowing someone for a while, there is great comfort in knowing that the other person has seen you through a bunch of changes already and will accept you no matter what. We've been awkward together in high school, passed notes in class, held on to each other when a good and true friend really mattered back in those high school days, ate our body weight in twizzlers, sang a lot of songs side by side (even in a couple of musicals), drove too fast, and reassured each other when we were feeling the crummiest. When we reunited back in Richmond, we explored the city together, became the kind of young adults that meet at wine bars and talk about how stressful it was to grow up, and then eventually meet each other's husbands to be and had meaningful talks about serious relationships and buying houses and having babies. 

I am so happy for her and really excited about the wedding, and we decided to work out some of this excitement by getting some of the girls together for a sort of friends of the bride a spa! Where else? To be honest original plans were for a big day of vineyard touring and wine tasting, but turns out three (THREE!) of the ladies are pregnant so..... to the spa it was! 

We celebrated at Scents of Serenity Organic Spa which was a great space to relax and get pampered. It felt like too short of a time but all the more reason to do it again.  These photos of us are after our respective massages, wraps and facials so if we are looking extra glowy and relaxed, that's why. 

We love you Caroline!

Monday, March 23, 2015


Oh hey Monday, so we're doing this again?

On the way to daycare this morning, Sloane said, "Today is Monday?" And when I confirmed, she wailed, "I don't want it to be Monday, I want it to be Tuesday!" Which I thought was hilarious. She only has a vague sense of the day of the week and I don't think she meant the dig against Monday like I took it, but it was funny nonetheless. 

It was Ken's birthday earlier this month, and I wanted to take up a post jotting down moments from that weekend because we do love birthdays around here. And! we are more fond of weekends than ever before- with Ken traveling during the weekdays, the  weekends feel extra precious.

I love my Crossfit gym, Crossfit Bezel, and I am so glad I have the encouragement from my coach, husband and the other members there to keep moving and being active during my pregnancy. The coaches there are great about modifying everything for the pregnancy to make sure it is all safe and moderating me during my workouts so I feel well taken care of. Yes, it's frustrating at times because I can't do as much or push as hard as I normally would, but for the sake of the baby, my job is to keep healthy, strong and safe, so I'll take what I can get. My workouts have been sporadic lately due to Ken's traveling and my bouts of sickness, but this here is the Friday and Saturday of knocking out workout 15.3 of the Crossfit Games Open workout.

After the workout on Saturday morning, we went over to Union Market because I had a hankering after their sandwiches, which are so good. We shared sandwiches, soup and salad and talked - like we always do - about how all these great places opened up in Church Hill after we moved away and how we missed our window to walk to great bakeries and restaurants on a whim like we always wanted to.

Ken's mom and Ken's cousin, Karen had come up to visit that Thursday before and I'm so glad that they did. I love seeing how happy Sloane gets to see her relatives! Pancakes at Moore Street Cafe is always a treat, and then a photo of Sloane helping me make some fruit salad earlier on that week. We both love fruit and secretly I'm glad I'm the grown up in these situations where I have to restrict how much fruit Sloane eats but then I get to eat as much as I want!

On Saturday, Ken got a massage for his birthday and Sloane and I were going to do some shopping while he got his massage but she fell asleep so I spent some time in the car reading while she slept and then she woke up and gave me sparkly eyes.

For dinner we went to Bonefish Grill where Sloane occupied herself with the crayons and coloring book they gave her,  Ken treated himself to a couple of cocktails and I tried to not feel too jealous of those cocktails as I sipped on my water. I've surprisingly been okay with the no alcohol thing so far this pregnancy (I'm looking at it like its a detox period) but I do miss the occasional wine or cocktail now and then....

And then this was the week after the birthday weekend.  Ken had left for the week on Sunday and I was feeling extra bummed about it.  Emotionally, but also this is when my body started breaking down and by Monday, I was feeling pretty low.  When I picked Sloane up from daycare that day, I told her I wasn't feeling well and she said that she would take care of me (while doing the motion of rocking a baby) and proceeded to be the sweetest little darling girl ever. This is her telling me some story about kitty cat. "You feel better mom?" She would ask occasionally.

I really love this bubble bath from Deep Steep. It smells like grapefruit and bergamot, I love the amount of bubbles it makes and it is made with all natural things so I feel good about soaking in it.  And yes I took so many baths last week.

Thank goodness for my mother-in-law who swooped in on Wed night and basically saved me. Really, I felt rescued and saved by this move. I still had to work as much as I could but it was a huge relief to know that Sloane was in good hands. 

Sloane, of course, loved every minute of it.

 Finally, Friday night...all together again! Unfortunately, not for long. Ken headed out again Sunday night after what felt like an incredibly short weekend, but we got do be together on Sunday for a much needed relaxing day. 

And this week my goal is to take it easy: tone down the to-do lists, try to stay positive about my work, enjoy being with Sloane, and get through the day, one day at a time....I got this! 

Friday, March 20, 2015


For the first few months of this pregnancy, Ken and I kept turning to each other and saying, "Wow this is just all going by so fast!" But now that it's month six, I'm not feeling like it's going all that fast anymore, and four more months seems like a long time to have to wait before meeting this baby. Unlike the first pregnancy, I already feel like I know this baby and love her so much. The first time I had no idea what to expect; this time I know how much my heart will swell and swoon. The baby is moving around all the time in here and I am in love with each little sign of life that I feel.

* * *

Anyone notice that I was missing in action from the blog this week? (Hi mom, hi dad!) There were things I wanted to say, pictures I wanted to post, but I just couldn't get around to it because this horrible sickness came and took over my body and I've been rendered helpless for most of this week. These photos were taken on Sunday, when I was merely feeling my throat tickle that warning sign, and before Ken had to fly away for work again.

Let me just say here, for the record, if it's not obvious already, that being sick while working a full-time job and taking care of a toddler, as a single parent, while 6 months  I'm sure there are things that are even worse, like being sick while working, while handling two kids as a single parent, with another one on the way (omygod omygod).  But it's all relative and this week felt pretty darn bad.  The more I experience moments like this, the more I feel like there absolutely needs to be a get out of jail free card for moms who get sick.  The juggling act that is characteristic of the mom gig gets a tad bit crazier when sickness hits - I have to get sleep and focus on getting better, but I can't miss work and fall behind, much less lose those PTO hours I so badly need to save up for maternity leave, and Sloane needs my full attention, and what about making our meals and not letting the house become a complete mess? The thing I learned this week is that - none of those things wins.  All of those categories suffer a little bit: I can't get the full rest I need, I can't drug up like I normally would because of the pregnancy,  I'm going to have to miss out on some work and fall behind (both of my jobs...), Sloane is not going to get as much attention, and the house will fall into disarray.

On Wednesday I hit sort of breaking point. I have never in my life been so congested and groggy. Let me paint you the picture - it was difficult to move my head because the whole thing was so stuffed up that it was painful, I couldn't breathe properly out of my mouth because my throat hurt so bad and I definitely couldn't breathe out of my nose, I was getting these feelings of panic from feeling so closed in my head, and then I found out I had a fever and I started getting paranoid about whether it was affecting the baby, I couldn't sleep, my midwife wasn't calling me back..... I had to finish up something at work and needed to pick up Sloane and get her fed and to bed, but I couldn't even imagine driving..... it was all hanging by an extremely thin thread.  My husband - poor thing was getting this all relayed to him through text - decided we needed to call in reinforcements and asked my mother-in-law if she could help, and God bless her, she drove up here that night.  The fact that I've survived and am here typing this all out to you now is largely due to her presence here last night and today. See, mothers!

Here's the thing about mothers, and the thing that I know now because I am a mother. As a mother, there is this grit that grows in you, and that is the grit of "just do it anyways." My mom knows this, from raising three kids in difficult circumstances, my mother in law knows this from her own set of difficult circumstances.... all mothers know this.  No matter how hard, no matter how crazy it gets, you just go through it because....YOU HAVE TO.  It's not the most romantic super power in the world, but I'll take it, because it's a survival gene like no other.  I sure do fantasize about being able to stop time so that I could just get some sleep, but until I get that ability, my daughter needs me, this baby growing inside needs me, and those are pretty darn great incentives towards making it through the day.

You guys, I really really hope I am on the mend. I mean, just the fact that I can type out this much is saying something, even though I am writing through a chest rattling cough, lingering congestion and sore throat. I'm so frustrated that it is taking my body so long to beat this thing and I keep getting discouraged about being at a mere 50% when I need to be at 150%, so say some prayers for me will you?

It amazes me, that through all the sickness and stress, that this baby keeps chugging along, growing inside me. And all in all, that's why I'm documenting these photos - not because a pregnant belly is anything new - but because I regard this belly for what it is, a mind-blowing miracle.

I'm going to put this rambling post to an end, but to end I want to share with you this sweet moment I had last week which made me more excited than ever to be a mother of two:  Sloane fell down hard and I went to comfort her. We were sitting on the floor, her in my lap and she was crying, and all of a sudden I felt the baby kicking like crazy. I wondered aloud if the baby was moving and kicking around in response to hearing Sloane cry, and I told Sloane to put her hand on my belly to feel the baby move.  So there we were, my first baby in my lap, her small hand on my belly feeling my second baby move around, and it kind of blew my mind.  Sloane felt her too -the baby was kicking so hard that you could see and feel the movements with a hand on the belly. Sloane dried her tears, smiled up at me, and we sat there for a few minutes, all of us just holding each other.

I know my eyes are closed here, but let's pretend that it's closed in a moment bliss, shall we? 

And Sloane has her hand on her stomach like that because she's apparently feeling her baby bump, too. 

(prengancy #2 at 3 months, 4 months, 5 months

Friday, March 13, 2015


When Ken really loves something, he is all in. 

This is almost always awesome, until it isn't. Like let's say, if it turns into an obsession and he fixates and can't focus on anything else. But usually it's awesome, and something to be marveled at. 

Maybe because of the force behind it, his passion almost always means that he has this ability to turn what he loves into a super skill. 

I saw him do that with coaching volleyball.

I see him do that with Crossfit.

And I see him doing that now with being a husband and a father. 
Because he loves being a husband and father, and because he loves us so much, I see his abilities and love for us growing into a sort of super power.  Does being a good listener, being patient, being responsible, contributing around the house, willing to change, showing affection, showing humility, spending quality time, and being a hard worker make you some sort of super hero?

I would say so. 

Happy Birthday Ken, you are my anchor, and I love you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Sometimes I wonder, what would I do if I didn't do this blog thing ? Like, what would I do with all these photos I take and words I have floating around in my mind? I'm pretty sure writing things down and snapping photos is what I would do anyways - blog or no blog. I started heavily journaling when I was in the 9th grade and I have boxes and boxes of notebooks from all those years. I went back through them a few years ago and got embarrassed reading some of them, I ended up getting rid of the really bad ones - no one needs to see that. 

I hope that's not the case with this blog. Without it, I probably would have a more boxes of journals and I would probably get my scrapbooking game on, hard core.... which would result in more boxes. Which by the way, is something I do want to do, scrapbooking, print some photo books, you know, have some of the tangible. But for now, for the convenience of being able to upload some photos and jot down my thoughts on a device that I carry around with me all the time, for posterity and reflection and attentiveness, here I am, checking in again. 

We had ourselves a pretty dang good weekend this past weekend.  Not because we did anything out of the ordinary, but because we did the most ordinary of things, with the new warmth of a peeping spring streaming in between our fingers and an acute appreciation for each other, our little family of three.  

On Friday I had a doctors appointment that Ken and Sloane came along to and Sloane got to hear the baby's heartbeat! She was awed, but she still maintains that she also has a baby in her own belly and that it has a heartbeat too.. I hope she's not too let down when a baby only comes out of me and not her.

Afterwards, we got pie (three kinds!), then spent some time at the gym in the evening.

I ran a ton of errands Saturday morning, followed by a hibachi family lunch and then: napping (Sloane), spring cleaning (me), haircut (Ken), furniture assembling, reading and baths. 

I've been meaning to try Trader Joe's cold brew concentrate for a while now and after the purchase this past weekend I'm happy to report that it is pretty good and it has made my life a little easier. I've been mixing a little of it with almond milk each morning and it is delicious! Also, on Sunday we went back to a new takeout Korean place that just opened and thank goodness for that place because sometimes I have a craving for kimbap that usually goes by unaddressed. 

This is my entourage after church on Sunday.  It was brilliant outside, BRILLIANT - windy but sunny, especially compared to what February traumatized us with, and we watched Sloane have a blast on the playground. It made me have one of those, ah this is life, moments. 

So I'm not a skateboarder, but I can do the basic thing of getting around on it, and more importantly I think it's a great way to teach balance and the feeling of having to be keenly aware of your body. We got a little one for Sloane so that she could play around with it and we got to spend some time outside rolling around on it - she was eager to learn and we can't wait for more time outdoors!

After Ken left to go catch his flight, Sloane and I wandered out with the agenda of getting this house some plants. I don't have the best track record for keeping plants alive but the glorious weather got me feeling motivated and hopeful again, and we brought home two additions to our family: 'Mama plant' and 'baby plant', according to Sloane. I've been saying hello to them every morning and making sure they know they are loved and appreciated (yes, along with some water); I'm contemplating naming them. Stay alive, plants!

You guys, is this week the faint light at the end of the tunnel or what? This past week has been terribly busy but much of the anxiety is tempered by the fact that the weather is finally letting up. Spring, here we come!