I Want to Remember [a winter goopdate]

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I want to remember… how much you love when we roll the red kickball back and forth.  You flap your arms up and down and squeal until I send it back to you.

I want to remember… that you are always in motion.  I can’t take a picture of you that isn’t blurry.

I want to remember… you want to read all the time.  You’ll find a pile of books (we keep one in every room), pick up your favorites, and flip the pages endlessly.

I want to remember… that you have been sick for over a week.  We are all doing the best we can.  Being cooped up in the house is not great for either of us, and we’ve quickly exhaust our favorite toys most days.

I want to remember… the noises you make when your dad goes to get you in the morning.  You are so happy to see him and you babble incessantly while he changes you and gets you ready for the day.

I want to remember… the rhythm of our days.  Breakfast, coffee (oh, how the Starbucks team loves you and is so, so good to you), nap, whatever the day’s activity is, home for lunch and another nap, and playing till we start texting your dad to beg him to come home.

I want to remember… that you don’t like to be pulled apart from me.  Deep down inside, I love this so much.  In the minutiae of our daily lives, I don’t always.  Deep breaths.  You won’t always want to be attached to my right leg.  And I’ll probably miss it when you don’t.

I want to remember… that you’re learning to clap, wave and high-five.  I swear you’re trying to say “Mommy,” “Yes,” and “Again.”

I want to remember… that you love looking at photos.  We have our holiday cards up on the wall, and every time we go up and down the stairs, you have to stop to “talk” to some of our friends.

A Fresh Start Brain Dump

Who’s ready for some rambling?

Yesterday, dear readers, I told you I didn’t have any resolutions, but my brain just kept spinning and spinning when it came to the idea.  Whether or not I’ve made specific resolutions each January, I’ve always had some sort of plan in mind; something I wanted to do. And this year, when it comes to the nitty gritty, I just don’t.

front hall.:
(hello, gorgeous)

I am not going to say I should eat better (of course I should, I’m guessing a whole lot of us should), or try to put down my phone (I love my phone for books and podcasts and way too much Instagram, and I’m okay with that).  And for some reason, I can’t get into picking a word for the year.  Maybe because my life changes pretty quickly these days.

ben and birdy: Yay, It's Wednesday Cake! Cake:

(found this one via Dinner, A Love Story)

But I do have a couple of big picture items I want.  A vision?  I just rolled my eyes at myself for even typing that word.  Despite my inability to make a resolution, I still want a great year.  And with that, here are some fresh-start-for-a-new-year ideas I found online.

From Cup of Jo (who found them from Dolly Alderton):

  • Always carry a book in your bag. Trains will be delayed, post office queues will be long; you’ll be able to rattle through a book a week if you fill dead time with reading rather than scrolling through Instagram.
  • Switch from black to navy. Black is chic, but navy is soft. (Oh wait, this is how I’ve always lived my life except for like, two years in high school, when I tried really hard to be into black because it was cool.)
  • Send your best friend a bunch of flowers to celebrate her achievements, from as big as getting a promotion to as small as standing up to a difficult boss. We owe moments of excitement and surprise to our dearest and oldest friends as much as we do to our partners and lovers.

And from Kelle, at Enjoying the Small Things:

  • Clean one kitchen cabinet. If you feel inspired to keep going, that’s fine, but go for one. (I love the idea of committing to one small step.  Do more if you want, but just do a little bit.  That’s about all I can handle with someone pawing at my ankle all day.)
  • Make sure you have a desk drawer stocked with pretty stationery so you can send lots of snail mail this year. Buy new stamps. I got these pretty botanical ones for the new year, but these Wonder Woman ones are a powerful way to celebrate your woman power as you go in to the new year.
  • Visit the Valentine’s section at Target and smile.

Tracy wrote this post about getting organized for the New Year, and you have to follow her Instagram stories sharing her steps.

Becky posted a list of affirmations and while I kinda roll my eyes at that word too, a whole bunch of them lined up with how I want to live my life.  Here are the highlights (but so many that I didn’t post are how I want my family life to play out over the years, so click over and read them all if you love a bulleted list as much as I do.):

  • I honor my role as a mother and my children know and feel this whole-heartedly. They never have to wonder if they’re more important than work / friends / hobbies / etc.
  • I recognize that traditions are grounding and special and significant in our lives and I do my part to carry out and create traditions in our family.
  • I support my husband and children in the hobbies and interests they pursue because I know what my own hobbies and interests mean to me.
  • I am a loyal friend who avoids gossip. I take a sincere interest in others and find value in learning from different people — regardless of how well or how little I know them.
  • Our home is a place of refuge, peace, joy, comfort, and happy memories — for the five of us and also for our guests.
  • When it comes to material things, we only have things that we USE or that we LOVE. Clutter is a thing of the past. In our home we have pictures and decor that remind us of what’s important.

From Emily Henderson:

Survive while smiling – So easy. Our christmas “vacation” was riddled with small things that went wrong (car broken into, basement flooded, HFMD, sick toddlers, SO MANY DROPS OF WATER FROM THE SKY THAT WE AREN’T USED TO IN LA, etc.). But we survived and really, really tried to stay positive (thank God for grandparents). I’m pretty good at keeping things in perspective, but it’s always nice to remember that no one has ever died of a blog failing or an instagram post being ‘unliked’. No one has ever died of being an insecure parent, watching too much reality TV (GAH TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT!!! #bachelornation), or forgetting to provide socks for their baby. In fact no parent has ever died of crawling into their toddler’s crib and cuddling with him (many mornings in a row) because he is scared and just needs his mama even though I know that when he begs for cuddling in the middle of the night and I acquiesce, that I am creating quite the (cuddle) monster. I don’t care anymore. I’ll be cognizant of my decisions, but i’ll do whatever I want to to make our kids the happiest they can be (especially during a big change like a move) and keep Brian and me in a healthy and happy marriage.

And I’m always inspired by Elise and Ali’s chat about their words to kick off the new year.  I’ve listened since their first one, three years ago.

Wins of the Month – November, 2016

Why yes, we are almost finished with December, but there is absolutely no way I am skipping celebrating November’s wins.

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November wins:

  • Hosting a soiree at Casa Glass of Milk in honor of AGOMYR.  Love her.
  • Organizing a group effort for a homeless dinner, and celebrating said dinner with a pizza party of our own.
  • Giving a new family a couple of freezer meals.
  • Remembering to drink water before coffee.
  • Making it to a cocktail party!
  • Bringing Gooplet to his first basketball game.
  • Cooking Thanksgiving dinner with a baby underfoot.

October Wins//September Wins

Thursday Check In – Tidiers vs. Scrubbers

Gretchen Rubin categorizes people in the most fascinating ways.  One of her dichotomies states that people are either “tidiers” or “scrubbers,” when it comes to keeping house.  The tidiers among us go around swiping at whatever graces the horizontal surfaces of our homes, while the scrubbers get down and dirty with cleaning products.

At first, I thought I was neither.

Then I realized I am a tidier who is always tidying.  Because I amass clutter at an astonishing rate.

organize.  simplify.:

The Day Designer Instagram account posted this a few weeks ago, and dear readers, it was an aha moment for me.

I had been sitting, paralyzed, knowing that I needed to overhaul our kitchen and dining rooms, but not knowing where to begin.  When I unpacked those two rooms shortly after moving in, I threw items in the drawers and cabinets where I thought they should go, with the understanding that after working in the kitchen, I’d need to adjust.  The tricky part here is that though I know it’s time to make some changes, I can’t seem to find any clarity in terms of what those need to be.  (Too bad I can’t hire The Home Edit to come in and make sense of it all for me.)

So I’m starting with this quote.  There are some items in the kitchen and dining room that don’t serve food-related purposes, and they need find other homes.  And perhaps with that freed-up physical space, I’ll have some freed-up mental space to figure out where my 9 trillion wine glasses truly belong.

Hopefully I’ll make some good headway on this project, and we’ll see whether it’s true that outer order leads to inner calm.

Thursday Check In – On Birthdays

ombre.:

(via)

So I’m sitting in my Wednesday moms’ group, talking about ways we take care of ourselves, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned about Sabbath, about intentionally leaving one day free of obligations and commitments so that it can be what I want it to be instead of what it has to be (I truly think this idea is genius, and this podcast was a great listen for me).

Then another mom echoes my thoughts, and shares that for her family, that day has always been Sunday.  They go to church in the morning, and then it’s a day for family time.  She said her daughters know that if they get invited to a birthday party on a Sunday, they understand that they probably won’t be going.  That a lot of birthday parties her girls get invited to are those, “invite the whole class,” kinds of birthdays, and she feels comfortable turning those down.  I nod my head in agreement, because that makes sense to me.

And then I find this post, from one of my most favorite blogs, What Would Gwyneth Do? all about saying yes to birthdays.  Because some kids are just waiting for a classmate to say yes.  Because inviting the whole class is a display of kindness that not everyone shows.  And again, I’m nodding my head in agreement, this makes perfect sense, too.  And it sounds a lot like celebrating everything, which we know is something I’m into.

This is about the 800th reminder to me this week alone that there is no right and wrong, good and bad, black and white way to be a family.  What works for one unit doesn’t work for another.  One family has a great reason to turn down Sunday birthdays.  Another has a great reason to gratefully accept all the invitations they can.  When birthday party season hits us (preschool? kindergarten?) I don’t know where we’ll come down in terms of our RSVPs.  But I am forever grateful for the moms who share the real whys behind their choices.

Thursday Check In – The Other Half of the Sentence

Wooden Nickels claims that I started talking at 9 months and haven’t really stopped since.  CV(D) tells me I’m a verbal processor.  I have to talk things through before I can get any kind of clarity.  But that doesn’t mean my thoughts come out of my mouth with clarity.  I find myself stopping in the middle of a sentence to switch gears too, too often.

live simply (the wheatfield):

(The Wheatfield)

Tsh Oxenreider writes extensively (and quite well) about living simply on her blog.  When I read her book, Notes from a Blue Bike, I learned that Tsh and her family live simply, so that others can simply live.  I had no idea that was the second half of the sentence for her, and it completed the picture for me in terms of the way her family frames so many of their choices.

Since I’m in this new season in life, where my days just sort of stretch out in front of me, with no routines quite as well established as those that were in place while I was working full time, I’m playing a lot with saying yes and saying no.  So much so that I realized that there’s one sentence I always get halfway through.  I’ve said no to some things.  But I do that so that I can say yes to others. Ah, there’s the other half.

All the Lean In-ers, and Girl Bosses will tell you no is a complete sentence, and I firmly believe that (never ruin an apology with an excuse and all).  But though it’s a complete sentence, it’s not necessarily the whole sentence.  A no to one activity or task means a yes to another, hopefully much more meaningful something in its place.

Huge blog confession coming up here, dear readers, but one thing I don’t do right now is make Gooplet’s food from scratch.  It was always my intention to, and I did for a little while.  But here’s the thing.  Right now, he’s pretty much eating single-ingredient foods.  And while I once babysat a toddler who ate risotto, and have since dreamed of having a child just like that, I’m totally fine with feeding him butternut squash that someone else made and pureed.  Or kale and pears and raspberries (a recent favorite).  You know there’s no kale in our house.  This choice means way less dishes, less time at the grocery store trying to buy a CSA’s worth of veggies to make sure he’s eating a variety, and way less time spent praying that he can happily occupy himself in his jumper while I steam it, puree it, and store it in those little food blocks.  (I do really love these food blocks.)  And that choice, that “no,” or even that, “not right now,” opens up space for more of the things I want to do.

p.s.  Here are two other lists of no’s in my life.

The Point of it All/How to Celebrate Everything [half birthday cake]

I am six months into life with The Gooplet, and I often tell people that I feel as though I have maybe, finally, possibly stopped treading water.  I say maybe, finally, possibly, because I’m so hesitant to commit to saying the words out loud, lest everything we worked so hard the past half a year to establish be swiftly taken from us in one blow.  Because babies.

But I think, maybe, finally, possibly, we have a semblance of normal.

I was big on half birthdays in elementary school, as I imagine almost anyone with a summer birthday would be.  I lived in the golden age of elementary school, when you could still bring in cupcakes on your birthday, which meant that those of us who celebrated in June, July, or August got to spice up those boring winter months by adding our half birthdays to the slate of students celebrating the real day  January 26 was my (half) moment to be the center of attention.  And oh man, am I ever into being the center of attention.

Fast forward thirty-odd years, and here I am with a little person celebrating his very first half birthday.  There must be cake!  Half a cake, to be exact.  We’ve done this before.  We’ll do this every year!  I made the cake on his birthday, but I wasn’t paying full attention, and it didn’t turn out.  Like, sunk completely, didn’t turn out.  What would Mary Berry say?

There must be some piece of me that knew not all was lost, because I hung onto the cake, and lived life for three more days, when Jenny Rosenstrach’s latest cookbook arrived on my doorstep.  Jenny speaks my love language.  It’s family dinner.  She writes about people and food and the serious connection between the two in ways that get at the deep, mushiest parts of my soul.  That’s not an exaggeration.  Ina is aspirational,  Jenny is inspirational.  And her newest book tells us to celebrate everything.  Because babies crave routines.  Families crave rituals.  And the best ones are the ones that happen around the table.

So about a week after Gooplet’s half birthday, we celebrated his half birthday anyway.

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With the ugliest, and most disastrous half-cake ever.  But we started something.  And I hope it continues for years and years and years to come.

Thanks, Jenny.

I Want to Remember

*A quick note before we begin. I knew, long before Gooplet was born, that this was never going to become a mom blog. But I did become a mom. And Gooplet is a giant slice of my life. And this site is where I come to ramble about life. So, inspired by Ali Edwards‘ journaling prompts, here’s my first update (Goopdate?) on mom life. Don’t worry, we’ll soon be back to our regularly scheduled program. 

Summer 2016


I want to remember the beach this year. You stopped sleeping well, but when you woke up early and we watched the sunrise over the water it was magic. 

I want to remember visiting all our friends and hanging out on baby time this summer. 

I want to remember I found my way back into the kitchen this summer. Dinners aren’t quite as hands-on as they used to be, but I’m cooking. And even better, I’m baking again. Nothing makes me happier. 

I want to remember you started giggling this summer. Sometimes you giggle for no reason, but sometimes you laugh when we dance and sing, or when I tickle you. It’s always the highlight of my day. 

I want to remember that our nights are rough right now, but when you wake up, you smile so wide. 

I want to remember that every morning, before it gets too hot, we walk to Starbucks for (iced) coffee. Everyone there knows you, and when I go alone on the weekends, the baristas all ask where you are.

I want to remember our afternoons at the pool. I grew up going to the pool most afternoons, and then I took the kids I used to nanny for. And our pool has that vibe. I sit on the edge of the baby pool, hold your hands, and you lean all the way back so your hair gets wet. 

I want to remember how wiggly you are. I swear, you are going to be crawling tomorrow.

I want to remember your little personality right now. I think you’re a mix of your dad and me. You’re social, and like being around people, but you need some chill time at home after we’ve been out and about all day. As long as we manage to strike that balance, our days are pretty smooth. 

Homemaker

This post has been a long time in the making.  But this post goes back beyond the date I started writing it.  It goes back years.

As of right now (pressing publish, right now), I am a homemaker.  I left my job.  The job that was the only one I ever wanted since I was 5.  The job that I trained for for years.  The job that was the first one I interviewed for and exactly where I wanted it to be.  The job I got.  The job in which I worked so hard to grow.  The job that paid my first rent check.  The job that had its ups and downs, but for the most part, gave me energy and motivation and life for 10 years.  The job I believed in.  The job I loved.  Love?  I left it.

DEAR STELLA. Sketch, illustration, fashion.:

It was, to date, the hardest decision I’ve ever made about anything before in my life.

Pretty cushy life, huh?

Shiseido is committed to creating products that support holistic well-being and enhance natural beauty. After 20 years of research, we launched Ultimune, the first immunity-boosting concentrate that enriches a wellness routine, effortlessly! #LightMyStory  Like Shiseido on Facebook and share the moments that define you for a chance to win a Shiseido prize!  Illustration by Inslee by Design:

It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, nor was it one I made quickly.

But it was one, after several months of agonizing (no, seriously, ask my husband or Wooden Nickels, agonizing), I knew was right for me right now.

Unlike a lot of people who leave their jobs, I left mine without too much direction.  A wing and a prayer, and the words I read from Ina Garten that said something along the lines of, you can’t know what you want to do next when you’re still deeply rooted in what you’re doing now.

Huggies, Mom Trends and Inslee | The Sketch Book – Inslee Haynes:

And so right now, with nothing else on the horizon, I am a homemaker.  Remember how I said this post was years in the making?

This is how I picture myself.  Reality is a little bit different.- how true!:

I have always loved and been fascinated by the idea of home.

You’re not supposed to say you want to get married and stop working.  You’re not supposed to say you’re okay without bringing in a paycheck.  You’re not supposed to say that you’re perfectly happy to plan meals, go to the grocery store, and cook everything.  You’re not supposed to say that doing the laundry is satisfying.  That folding clothes and setting them in just the right place brings with it a sense of order.  That you manage to derive a bit of joy from making the bed each morning.  That these little routines you’ve carved into each day are comforting, and worthwhile.  You’re not supposed to be a woman who thinks these things in 2016.

Markette anne ve çocuk Huggies-Inslee-2:

I am.

I don’t wear aprons, though.  I do have some limits.

“This sketch was created for some pasta loving ladies and is a reminder that Christmas is coming and original art is the ultimate gift. Get your requests…”:

Stay with me on this next leg of the journey dear readers, I think it’s going to be a good one.

*All images by the insanely talented Inslee.  (I have no idea how to sew.)