Friday, September 8, 2017

Have a safe weekend.


Those of you in the path of hurricane Irma, or recovering from Harvey, or choking on smoke in the West this weekend, I am thinking of you! The weather is truly bonkers and climate change is definitely making our lives more difficult. I've been pondering what I can do personally on a daily basis to effect positive change in the other direction because it makes me so sad that Coco and Theo haven't been able to have outdoor recess since they started school. :( So stay safe out there, everyone! Be prepared, follow directions and stay smart.

This weekend I am starting a new job which I'll be telling you more about next week. And J and I are getting all prepped and excited for our move into our new house next weekend. If you're not following me already on Instagram, please do! I'm putting lots of little bits and bobs in my stories as we go along. Even though Instagram has gotten so big and overblown, I still love it. It really is an artist's platform. 

And here are some links for your weekend: 

Yum! Order a kit for the delicious meal pictured above. 


The most incredible (genuine!) eclipse photo of all. Further info here.

I'm loving this eyeshadow palette

A snapshot of rising inequality.

LOL!


Harvey and Irma, a sweet Spokane claim to fame.



I hope you all stay safe and enjoy your weekend to the greatest extent possible. See you back here Monday! xo

(Photo via Martha Stewart/Instagram)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Repatriation Blues, and Shopping for a Washer and Dryer


Lately I'm experiencing a weird mix of emotions. On the one hand, I'm sad to not be going back to Europe and to the European lifestyle that I loved so dearly and which made me so much healthier and fitter than I am at present. But on the other hand, I feel like we've won the Spokane lottery. It's so exciting to have Coco going to our neighborhood school and equally exciting that we found such a perfect little house in the exact neighborhood we had our hearts set on all those years ago back in Zurich when we imagined eventually winding up in Spokane. The life we find ourselves in right now is exactly the life I had envisioned for us as Coco started kindergarten. So even though repatriating has been harder, more painful and more difficult that literally anything else I've ever done in my life, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Maybe this was how it was meant to turn out all along.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you may have noticed my preoccupation with laundry. Or maybe I've done a good job of hiding it? Either way, the last two years, laundry has been a source of major stress, anxiety and general dissatisfaction for me. Our last little house was so cute, so comfortable and so wonderful in so many ways. But it had one major drawback: basement apartment. The entire time we lived there, we had neighbors underneath us and although the split was done well and we had separate entrances, it was way too close for comfort. The worst part by far was the shared laundry. We dealt with gag-inducing smells, general laundry machine abuse and, the worst by far, poo being put through the washer and dryer - multiple times! It makes me cringe to even recall the horror.

Initially, when I saw that our new house had washer and dryer hookups, but didn't come with machines, I was a little bit disappointed. But then I realized that that meant no more dealing with machines that run but don't actually work due to being overloaded or otherwise destroyed by the carelessness of others! And it also occurred to me that I would get to buy my very own, brand new, sparkly, clean, pristine washer and dryer - with a wool cycle! - and life would never be disgusting or smelly or nasty again. At least on the laundry front.

So, despite the recommendations from others to get used machines on Craigslist or go to the laundromat once a week, I am diving headfirst into comparing, price checking and obsessing over washers and dryers. So far my list of musts: Wool cycle (already said that;), front loader (because yeah), white exteriors, matching set, sanitary or allergy cycle, and water and electricity saving. Do you have a washer and dryer you love or hate? Tell me all about it!

(Photo via tankaromhus/Instagram)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Funny News


The world is honestly just so screwed up right now. Hurricanes, fires, erratic leaders, the list goes on. Opening up a newspaper, or even scrolling through Twitter or Facebook is just plain depressing at best. 

But then. I was scrolling along and happened to see this news article. O. M. G. The comments had me before I'd even read it. "What the actual hell?" read one comment. Another said, "This is not good for my stitches!" Another one said, "This is properly laugh out loud!" 

So naturally I had to click over and read it for myself. I was crying from laughing so hard for several minutes! A good belly laugh like that really does do wonders for one's mood. 

My favorites quotes:

It did not land in the garden, but became wedged between two non-opening windows.

and

"And we've already got the most difficult stuff out of the way first."

Truly laughing out loud! Have you seen anything funny lately? Please share in the comments below. I need another good laugh. xo

(Alfred Eisenstaedt photo via Sotheby's)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Great American Eclipse 2017


We were lucky enough that J's parents live right smack in the path of totality of the eclipse. Did you see it? I still get chills every time I think about it and I had a dream the other night that we were seeing it again and it was so real and just as divine. Here I am in complete awe at the beginning of the eclipse, when the moon was just beginning to take a little bite out of the cookie shaped sun. At this point, we hadn't seen anything yet. I had literally no idea what was coming. I was not in any way prepared for the deeply unsettling totality before it rushed in. It is so false and inaccurate and misleading that a partial solar eclipse is called an eclipse at all. Partial eclipses should be called lunar transits because when the moon doesn't eclipse, as in completely cover the sun, it's just a passing. If NASA didn't tell us a partial solar eclipse (also an annular eclipse) was happening, we might not even notice, right up to 94%. 


But that's because we talk about eclipses in terms of percentages of darkness. The news will say that it's going to be 93% eclipsed and our minds jump to the conclusion that a 93% eclipse somehow equates to 93% dark and that seems pretty darn dark. But that is not what it's saying at all. 93% eclipsed really means 7% sun exposed. And the sun is so awesome and powerful that just 7% of its force can light up the world.

Just think of that. 7%. If my phone is at 7% it's basically dead. If the battery is at 93%, it's practically fully charged. If we score a 7% on a test, it's a colossal failure, but a 93% on a test is a solid A. 7% is insignificant, feeble at best, just barely a hair above nothing.

But the sun is phenomenal. It is truly awesome and all powerful.

7% of the sun is broad daylight even though it seems that 93% darkness should be very, very, very dark. It's not.


The eclipse honestly made it so that I wasn't too fussed over our plans to go overseas falling through. Really. I have wanted to see a total solar eclipse my entire life and it did not, by any measure, disappoint. In fact, all at once it inspired, energized and terrified me. It shook me straight to my core and I can safely say that I have never experienced anything quite so extraordinary in my life. The only words I could find to describe it were "deeply unsettling" because I felt jumbled, upset, changed and forever altered afterward. It took me days and days to even process what I had seen and felt and witnessed. It was truly phenomenal.



Probably the tone of my voice in the video below sums it up the best. I should be embarrassed to share this because I sound so shrill and crazy, but whatever. An eclipse will do that to you. As the darkness closed in, I felt an incredible jolt of fear. Coco was out in the field at J's parents' house climbing a tree and I yelled for him to get her and I went to grab Theo, who was poking around by the back door. I got the glasses on Theo so he could see the last crescent of sunlight gobbled up and then the darkness came so suddenly it was terrifying. Up until the actual totality snapped into place, it wasn't dark, it was just dim, like wearing very dark Ray-Bans, but not darkness. I trimmed our full video to make this one minute clip and I love Theo's face at the beginning and his total astonishment as he takes off the glasses. 




About 20 seconds in, it goes dark because all I could do was toss the phone down on the table and freak out. I looked over to see J jumping up and down and I was so overwhelmed with pure emotion and sheer feeling, I had to scream. I let out a woo-hoo and then immediately became aware of how totally silent everything was all around; every animal, every plant, everything seemed silent. At the end of this clip, I love how Coco, very excited and urgent, clearly remembering she wasn't supposed to be looking straight at the sun, asks for a pair of glasses!


I tried so hard to take it all in and take notice of everything, the drop in temperature, the 360 degree sunset effect, the stars coming out, the way the birds all flew away and hid and the streetlights came on and the wind picked up. But it was too much. It was such a completely sensory experience in every possible way that it was just too much to even take in. My video turned out pretty well considering I just held the phone and didn't actually pay attention to where it was pointing. I just stared up and around and up and marveled and somehow the video pointed there most of the time, too. And there was enough light for the video. The ring of light from the corona is so glittering and radiant as to cast a shadowy glow upon the earth and not leave us in total darkness. Though it was dark. It was amazingly dark. But wow. The halo of pure heat and energy around the sun is that potent. It simply blew my mind.


At the very end of the eclipse, as the moon slid off of the sun and let that first ray of light out again, daytime returned almost instantly. Immediately we had to put the glasses back on and the kids were spellbound and euphoric. Theo shouted, "I love it! AGAIN! It's morning time?!" and Coco donned the eclipse glasses and beamed at the reverse crescent of sun. The world was light again. Everything had gone back to normal, and absolutely nothing felt the same.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hello, September!


I'm back! And we're cruising into my favorite month of the year today. Next week, I will have a summer recap for you, including our trip to Oregon to see the eclipse, our magical camping trip to Priest Lake, my sister's gorgeous wedding, Theo's birthday, and more. But first, I'm sure you're been wondering where we are and what on earth we've been doing. So I will tell you this: We had some pretty grand plans to leave Spokane and go overseas again at the end of July, but it appears that the universe intends for us to stay right here for now. We dealt with some bureaucratic hiccups, news of which unfortunately came after we'd already given up our sweet house and we spent a lot of the summer in upheaval, waiting and wondering while we house sat with all of our things in storage, keeping everything on hold. It was a long wait. But when the news finally came that we would not be going abroad again due to pesky changes in regulations and rules, it was a let down, sure, but honestly it was a relief not to be waiting anymore. Then, as if by magic, all of the pieces fell into place quite instantaneously and we are set for the year ahead - and if we choose, beyond. In the space of ten days, J got a fabulous job offer (and accepted!), we found the most beautiful house in our top choice neighborhood, and Coco got a spot in the kindergarten at that hard-to-get-into-even-if-you're-in-the-neighborhood/boundaries school! Theo started Montessori yesterday and I'm delighted to have some good work options coming through, too. It really is the Spokane life I'd always envisioned. So I'm excited to see how we like it.

A huge thank you and big hug to everyone who reached out over email, Instagram and Facebook to check in. Your messages really meant the world to me, even if I didn't have a chance to respond amid the stress. I'm always going to be a triangle. I don't think I'll ever stop missing Zurich or longing to be an expat again. But I am so grateful to be in the fabulous position we're in for the year ahead. I think for the very first time, I am willing and ready to just see where life takes me. Onward!

And, of course, some links for your weekend:

So easy! Can't wait to fix an old favorite.

Positively dazzled by this kitchen refresh.

Wise, wise, wise words.

We struggled all summer long to restrict screens. So worth it.

Thought-provoking piece on SF real estate and rents.

Such a cool photo.

In case you're having one last summer grill party this weekend.

My friend Zach's book is going to be hilarious!

No more mummy tummy in just ten minutes per day!

Ordering this lunch bag for Theo. Or maybe this one! Help, which one?!

And, last but not least, ways to send help to the victims of horrifying Harvey.

I hope your long weekend is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! See you back here Tuesday. xo

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekend Reading

Nobody ever told me to follow my wildest dreams, to bushwhack my own path. Standardized tests told me I was good at whatever I focused on, but Nobody asked me what makes me come alive.
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Instead I was handed the most dangerous road map of all. From the outside it appeared safe. But three years in, I realized it was slow death by stagnation. A 9-5 in the real estate industry. Advertising deadlines. Business casual clothes. Sitting down all day. Living for the weekend and suppressing my discontent with sugar and alcohol.
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It’s easy to blame external influences but the truth is that Nobody is needed to validate our wildest dreams. Launching is a process of Self.
Are you following Where's My Office Now (of #vanlife fame) on Instagram? Yesterday they posted the photo and caption above and I loved it so much. It came literally at the most perfect moment for me and I saw it a mere 10 minutes after they posted it, which just felt serendipitous somehow. It left me feeling really inspired and validated going into the weekend. I hope it gives you some inspiration, too!

Sunday we're going to a baseball game to celebrate father's day. And here is a bit of weekend reading for you:

Parenting mistakes we should try to avoid.

What a discovery!

A friend's pregnancy.

Health care is on the line. Now is not the time "to cling to an overly cautious, centrist ideology."

The sweetest playroom storage.

Words cannot describe the love.

Instead of goal-setting, try fear-setting instead.

I'm obsessed with this bright copper kettle.

This essay made me laugh and cry. Too good.

And, a few from the archives. Do you like your name? The transition from co-sleeping to a crib. and Remembering My Dad.

I hope you have a fantastic father's day. A special hug to all of you who have also lost your fathers. You're not alone. See you back here Monday! xo

(Photo via Emily King & Corey Smith/Instagram)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Choosing Lullabies for Your Baby


The other night, I went and leaned against the doorframe of Coco and Theo's bedroom door for a few minutes before going to sleep. The room was aglow from Coco's pink flower lamp and the white noise machine filled the room with a constant, relaxing whirring. Also to be heard was their lullabies and I just stood there, admiring their sweet sleeping faces, listening to the lullabies. It took me back to a very early morning nursing session when Coco had a cold as a baby. We were staying at my mom's during a visit and the blinds were lowered from the top down enough to see a big slice of star speckled sky. As I lay there nursing Coco in the dark, listening to the rhythm of her breathing, morning light slowly took over the sky, extinguishing the stars one by one and gave way to birdsong and sunrise. It was pure magic. Standing there in their doorway, I could almost feel her heavy little baby body in my arms, and see her sweet cheek as she nursed and cuddled with me. I think that's the best part of having lullabies for your babies. Years later, they can take you back to those truly tender moments we might otherwise forget.

Before I was even pregnant with Coco, I was in charge of setting up the nap room at school for the 3-year-olds who stayed in the afternoon and needed a nap. We had little nap mats that we spread out around the room and little blankets for each one. We brought the shutters down so it was nice and dark, and I decided we should have lullabies. It was a learning process. At first, I though I could just play classical music, but classical music is so dynamic with crescendos and cymbals that it did not work at all. Three or four children would be shocked awake, or even start crying. So then I found Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics Vol. 2. It's classical music, but adapted to be pleasing and lulling to baby ears and brainwaves while they're falling asleep. It worked like a charm and was indispensable in the nap room.

Then, after Coco was born, I still had the album in my iTunes, so it got a lot of good use. I also invested in Fisher Price's Rainforest Music and Celtic Lullabies, two fantastic lullaby collections I never could have survived without. When Coco wasn't settling in the stroller, I would play her lullabies on my phone to calm her. And in the photo above, we were on vacation in Davos where her lullabies made nap time so easy and automatic even though we were in an unfamiliar place and she was sleeping in her travel cot instead of her own bed at home. Since Theo was born, we have had more than a few miserable moments while driving rescued by putting the Baby Einstein lullabies on over the stereo. I can't imagine motherhood without them.

Do you play lullabies for your child? Which are your favorite albums?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Weekend Reading


The photo above was taken while riding my bike Tuesday. We went with Coco and Theo over to Chatcolet, Idaho and did our very favorite bike ride for the first time this season. It really feels like summer is here now. It was a perfectly gorgeous day and the lake was so beautiful. Long live summer! This weekend is going be busy, busy, busy with my nephew's high school graduation and parties and celebrating. I cannot believe that little baby is already graduating. It definitely makes me want to hug Coco and Theo an extra hundred times per day!

And here are some fun links and a little weekend reading for you.

When you have a toddler and your house is a literal treasure.

This toy had ALL THE KIDS OBSESSED at a birthday party we went to last weekend. Coco is still talking about it.

Stop complaining about how you need more space.

Why you need an early night. So good.

Not a football player, not a weightlifter, but a dancer. This is my kind of hero! (Made me think of this post;)

Travel goals. (!!!)

The toy-free kindergarten.

Yikes.

Instead of relying on the iPad so much, we're getting Coco a few of these for our summer road trips.

Super excited to listen to this new podcast. Especially after this trip.

And finally, this incredible event is taking place this weekend in honor of my college friend and sorority sister Jen. Sending her family so much love. And if you'd like to make a donation, you can do so through the event website right here.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Wear sunscreen! And see you back here Monday. xo

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Surviving Stressful Times


The last month or so has been really intense. To try to maintain some equilibrium, I've been journaling a ton, trying to get plenty of rest, and going to yoga every chance I get. The journaling is easy to fit in and making that happen is very helpful for me. However, getting plenty of rest is much harder for me than it should be. I just love this time at night when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet and I can hear myself think. I always wind up staying up too late because of it. As far as yoga goes, I've been sporadic about it. Three times one week, then just once the next. But I keep going.

I'm trying not to beat myself up over anything. I'm just aiming for progress, not perfection.

A few other things I have on my list of to-do items are: Drink lots of water each day. Go for a pedicure with my mom. Get a massage with the gift card J gave me at Christmas (why haven't I used that yet?!) and read a whole book. (I just started this one this afternoon and it sucked me in immediately.) We're also experimenting with having no phones from 4 pm until the kids fall asleep. So far it's a sickening game changer. I literally had no idea how much we were on our phones. :(

How do you cope with stressful times? What are your go-to tips and tricks for staying sane when life gets crazy? I'd love to have more tricks up my sleeve, so please chime in in the comments below!

(Artwork via francois henri galland)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Would You Opt For A Child-Free Wedding?


We had about a gazillion children present at our wedding. I think in the photo above, I had just finished telling the hoards of children that they would have to wait until the speeches were finished before descending upon the cupcakes. Honestly, there were kids there I didn't even know! But I didn't mind.

In fact, I thought it was really weird when people had weddings and/or receptions that were child-free. But then something happened...


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