Friday, April 29, 2016


Sloane! She is fantastic, magic. She can also have her moments of being a little too silly or overwhelmed by her emotions, but they are brief flashes, as she is establishing herself and testing boundaries, and she always ends up in my arms. 

The other week we were folding laundry together in the playroom, and we took a break to munch on apples. I watched her eating her apple and had a freeze frame moment. All of a sudden, she looked incredibly grown up. Her face, her expressions, her ability to fold laundry all by herself...all wondrous. I grabbed my camera and took some photos.

She is smart, intuitive, sensitive and has a gentle heart. She is cautious, but willing to try almost anything once she has had time to observe. She is kind, generous, and so funny. She loves music, musicals and will learn a song by listening to it over and over. She takes care of her sister as if she is much older than her three years, remembers conversations we've had weeks and months ago, and says "Thank you, mom" for things I do for her. I don't even mind the longer commute these days because I get to have long and elaborate conversations with her.

We had been listening to Disney songs starting a few months ago. Ken got really excited one day about the prospect of watching The Lion King with her and although we agreed to wait just a bit longer before letting her watch it (also, that scene where Mufasa dies!) Ken was inspired to create a playlist with all of his favorite Disney songs.

One day, she sang out, out of nowhere, "You won't get a sniff without me!"

She hasn't seen Little Mermaid yet, either, but she has heard a few of the songs and knows the story from what we have told her about it. One day, I heard her making up songs to herself in the backseat, and realized they were about the Little Mermaid.

"Under the sea, under the sea. I wish I had legs, next to a tree.." Sloane belted this out with all of her might. And then said, "Mom, this is Ariel's song."

Which was followed by another Ariel song: "I miss my papa...flounder is a fish and he can't walk, but Sebastian can walk."

And then Flounder's song, "From under the sky, Ariel is a mermaid and she misses her papa."

We've also been listening to the Broadway version of Peter Pan a lot and overhearing her sing those songs to herself in her room is the best thing ever. 

After I took a few photos, she asked if she could take a couple of photos with the big camera. Here are her two captures below; we both thought they were pretty good!

I love this girl so much and I feel lucky every single day that I get to be her mom.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I am having one of those weeks where it feels like I can't quite catch up to where I need to be, even though I am pedaling and running with all my might. Even in the madness, books on audio allow me to 'read' and when I get to do that - during my commutes, at work, or while I do chores - it feels like a little retreat. Although to be honest, this week's preferred mode of retreat would be sleep, just sleep.

This time around it's all fiction!

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout 

This book took me by surprise. It's a quiet book, sparse and economical in words, but the words and stories she chooses to share give an elaborate emotional story thick and complicated; it's beautiful. It's also a story about a relationship between a mother and daughter, and I had a rock in my throat the entire time I read.

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout 

After I finished 'My Name is Lucy Barton', I immediately looked up what else Strout wrote because I wanted more and found this one to be available at my library through Overdrive. I'm a few chapters in now and I'm not immediately captivated as I was by the other book but I'm going to stick with it.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

This book was stunning. Groff obviously loves words and languages and she let me know it with every single sentence. There is a plot twist at the very end that put me off a little, but other than that I was terribly impressed. I want to reread just to study the way she uses the English language.

Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alex Christie 

I'm only a little ways into this one and I'm excited to dive into it. I love a good historical fiction and this one seems especially enticing; it is about the invention of the printing press and creation of the Gutenberg bible and I'm eager to learn the backstory. 

What are you reading ?

Friday, April 22, 2016


Last Saturday, Ken and I worked swiftly through the house, getting little things done here and there that needed to be checked off the list. Almost a month later after our move, we still hadn't quite settled in. The girls were unpacked and settled, but Ken and I were still living amongst boxes in our bedroom. The kitchen was still a mess and the family room covered in paint chips and trash from the tiling projects in the mudroom. But with the tiling project complete and the paint in the family room almost done, we tidied up, rearranged, put down rugs and unpacked more boxes... and suddenly, things seemed lighter. We could feel our bodies relaxing a bit; it felt more like home. 

My sister came to town last weekend and helped us finish up projects and watch the girls. I always miss my family terribly, but it was especially nice to see one of them during this time of chaos.

I woke up to this sight of these three playing together - I felt my heart warming and my roots moving further into the earth. 

Reunited and it feels so good. 

We went to go eat breakfast at my favorite place to go for pancakes: Moore's Cafe. The pancakes were good, but the light in there that morning was perfect. 

Is there such a thing as too many kisses? I may have reached that threshold. 

We stopped by Target together first thing in the morning before she had to leave, and it was unexpectedly a great way to be together. There was no one else there because it had just opened, and we four girls (me, my sister, Sloane and Logan) moved through the aisles, taking our time, talking. 

Our friend, Eugene, also came to visit and helped us around the house. Fair warning, if you come visit us, you're probably going to be doing some house projects. These two were so adorable together. 

We also got some visitors we rarely get to see - Ken's cousin's two daughters, who are so smart and fun and funny. Sloane had a blast playing with them. And Eugene had a blast being surrounded by girls. 

The weather this past weekend was perfect. We couldn't keep these smiles off our faces. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2016


I just wanted to stop here to say, brunch in the outdoors this past weekend on a perfect spring day with lovely tablescape, amazing food and darling friends felt ultra luxurious. Especially when we've been waiting for weather like this to get here and then wham! It is upon us in all its glory and we happily succumb, filling our bellies with fresh salad, fruit, quiche, crepes and cakes, celebrating a new life about to be born. 

Friday, April 15, 2016


One of the first things we knew wanted to do in this house was to knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room. We knew it would open the space, allow more light, and I wanted to be able to see and talk to the kids at the dining table while cooking or prepping. 

It was an exciting prospect to do such a major change, even though it meant everything in the kitchen and dining room would be covered in dust and debris. And now I know, the process is not just taking the wall down, which takes an entire day. We also had to take the chair rail off, replace the baseboards, repair any damage to the neighboring walls, rework electrical wiring and put a threshold in to bridge the gap between the two different floors. Nothing is ever easy with house projects. 

This is what it looked like while it was coming down. Apparently, taking the wall apart piece by piece is the right way to do it - the HGTV shows with people hammering through the walls is mostly for dramatics.

No more wall! This is before the wall and floor was patched up (see the wire dangling from the ceiling?), but it already felt like a huge change. The dining room felt much more open and bright, and now I can see the girls while I'm in the kitchen.

We are moving along at what feels like a snail's pace, but onward we go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I feel euphoric about having a 9 month old. That euphoria overrides the exhaustion; this little lady is strong willed, hungry, and a light sleeper, which means I'm back to dream feeding and then sometimes nursing a couple more times throughout the night. I'm just going with it though, since Sloane sleeps through it all and I seem to be able to function during the day... at least for now. Besides, I can't help but be grateful for any extra bit of cuddling time I get with her.  I'm looking forward to not pumping anymore, but I'm going to miss nursing. 

These days, she claps, she waves, she babbles, she explores, she insists she wants more, she rocks her body to music, she gets up in the middle of the floor without any help and then balances there looking up at us with pride, she laughs with Sloane, she loves holding and eating raw fruit on her own, and she is recently a huge fan of zucchini. She has this way of looking right at me and then smiling this utterly charming smile that has me completely smitten.

Whenever I see her, I can feel my body shifting in anticipation - my arms tingle, my rib cage rises and the spot in the middle of my chest gets wobbly. She fills up my arms, all baby pudge and softness, and I can feel myself grinning with the joy of being near this wriggling, curious baby. When it's bed time, and I'm swaying her to a song, she nestles her head into my neck and I have a hard time thinking of a better feeling. 

Monday, April 11, 2016


"I'm never doing this again!" I keep vowing to myself- 'this' being doing updating the house that you are currently living in with two small kids while working full's madness. It's not the many projects I mind, or the kids, or the daily chores, or the working. It's when it's happening all at once that it feels like only a completely deluded person would sign up for this. That's me!

It's a rollercoaster of highs (I can't believe we got this house! This place has so much potential!...) and lows (What have we gotten ourselves into? This is totally overwhelming...), but we are floating along, with the help of friends, lots of planning and lots of patience. Adorable little girls and daydreaming about finished kitchens also help.

These girls are getting real familiar with the inside of a hardware store. Also, it's the stage where I'm still tickled to see the wee little potato seeing upright in the front of a shopping cart. 

Thank goodness for friends like Ian who have handy house building/fixing skills, and was able to get Ken started and the seemingly daunting task of tiling our future mudroom. And for friends like Robert who pitch in to help. We are learning so much...and we are grateful for that. 

You can't see his face behind the gargantuan light fixture, but this is Garrett, electrician extraordinaire. Electrical work seems a little like magic to me - that's how little I understand it - so it's amazing to me what he is able to do. 

I went back and forth for a while about whether to paint the upper cabinets in the kitchen or to take them down altogether - the latter being a totally intimidating prospect seeing that the cabinets were extremely heavy, sturdy and built into the wall. Enter our friend, Nic, who apparently has plenty of cabinetry experience and did a marvelous job taking them down. 

There was also this brick facade that had to be scraped off - all without damaging the walls. Look at their faces ! They love it.

MVP goes out to my mother in law, who has come up several weekends to help us around the house. She is spectacular. 

I am so grateful we moved into the Blair in the spring so that we get to see all the plants and trees flowering and blooming around us. It feels truly like a sign of new beginnings and it helps to behold these beautiful blooms for respite during the chaos. I have taken so many photos of this tree!

Sloane has wanting to help around the house and we have been trying to let her, as much as she is able. This is the board that went up as a floating desk in the playroom. I was impressed with how meticulously she helped paint it, without tiring... or getting paint on her clothes. That's one of the upsides of doing these projects - I love that she gets to see how things are built and put together.

You know what helps remind me what is important in life? Hanging out with these girls. 

We are taking things one day at a time and in the meanwhile, and I am leaning into all of it. The busy schedules, the new routines, the late nights and sweet moments- all of it. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Easter! I'm sorry to say it came and went with very little fanfare, which is sad because it is one of my favorite holidays but I have very little brain available these days if it doesn't concern house stuff, work stuff, or just minimum survival. I realized the other day I've abandoned my face care regiment and there is a lapse in my exercise regiment of going to Crossfit - all being sacrificed in the name of getting more work done around the house and doing a few more Craigslist searches, such is my reality! 

We did the important thing on Easter though - going to church to reflect on the incredible gift it is to be able to celebrate a risen Savior - and we did it in proper flouncy dresses, I'm happy to report. Sloane and I spotted these on a trip to Target a few weeks prior, and we both got very excited about her and Logan having matching dresses. I loved this not only because it was adorable but because it reminded me of me and my sisters when we used to wear matching dresses for church, and how fun that was - yes we actually liked it!

After church we went over to our friends to have a leisurely indoor picnic, which I highly recommend- it was easy, relaxing and so much fun.

Okay and one more of the girls at church. Sloane was delighted to be able to hold Logan like this!