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.
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.
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.


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...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Montessori: Children and TV

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what a slippery slope TV is. A few Saturdays ago, we ended up letting Coco watch My Little Pony on Netflix autoplay for like two hours. She had woken up at 5 am for some inexplicable reason and we really needed some more sleep. It seemed like an okay idea at the time.

It's mildly disturbing, but...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Weekend Reading

June is here and another week has flown by! Time is going so quickly it's making my head spin. Thank you to those of you who recommended Catastrophe on this post. J and I finished season three last night and it's probably one of our favorite shows ever. Now it seems like we have tons of TV to watch. House of Cards is back on. Bloodline released a new season and we've only watched two of the new season of Master of None. When it rains it pours!

Here are some fun links and a bit of weekend reading for you:

International exchange students' view on American high schools.

Eyeing these for Theo this summer.

Flip it over. Perspective is everything!

I can't say I disagree here.

What would you do with a Paris ghost metro station?


A really thoughtful article exploring the #vanlife phenomenon.

I received this perfume as a gift and I find myself wearing it every day. J LOVES it!

Save the teachers.

Advice on aging from women who've done it.

And a couple from the archives: Learning To Be On Time, and Our Bird Feeder.

I hope you have an amazing weekend! See you back here on Monday. xo

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Are you a perfectionist?

I've known for years that I'm a perfectionist. It's probably the reason I don't enjoy cooking with my kids, and I'm more or less okay with that! But lately, I'm getting better at seeing the ways it holds me back.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What Good Parenting Looks Like

Parenting is so damn hard. It's really easy to get caught up in the aesthetics of parenting: Having the right stroller and posting photos of their cheerful, tidy room on Instagram. Those things are fun, and baby and kids' stuff is so cute! But parenting is not about any of those things. Unless you're impoverished and struggling with basic securities like rent and putting food on the table, then your main risk factor as a parent is far from not providing enough and actually very simple.

But don't let the word simple mislead you. Simple simply means "not complicated." And if something is uncomplicated that does not necessarily mean it is achieved without effort. Simple does not equal easy.

So what am I getting at here? What's not easy? Victoria Prooday, Occupational Therapist, described it as "The silent tragedy affecting today's children" in her recent viral blog post. She starts out by highlighting the alarming rate of childhood mental health issues, increases in ADHD, teen depression, and the sharp rise of teen suicide. These are very scary, very real problems. And yet none of them is the result of deprivation or poverty. We're simply parenting wrong. She writes:
Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:
Emotionally available parents; Clearly defined limits and guidance; Responsibilities; Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep; Movement and outdoors; Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times; and Boredom. 
In many ways, how can you blame us? We rush from work to school pick up, to sports, to the grocery store (where the kids are given a lollipop), back home, and then we have 45 minutes to make dinner, 15 minutes to eat and then it's time for bath and bed and we get up and do it all over again. The result is that provided-for, non-impoverished children's lives are fully furnished, but completely lacking. Prooday goes on:
Instead, children are being served with: Digitally distracted parents; Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”; Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility; Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition; Sedentary indoor lifestyle; Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification; and Absence of dull moments.
I think most American parents are stretched very thin. They love their kids and they are doing the very best with what they have. But it is completely inadequate and totally unacceptable. We are not giving our kids what they need and it shows. In the work I do with kids of all ages, from kindergarten through high school, and in the behavior I see in my own kids, we have got to do a better job. But how? Despite the fantastic recommendations Prooday offers in her full post, I do feel that the time and energy constraints are a real obstacle. Proper parenting and the setting of limits is a practice that takes time, energy, and patience, none of which I have at the end of the day when I'm reunited with my children.

Do you feel that you're giving your children the fundamentals of a healthy childhood as outlined above? Or are you a digitally distracted parent? Please share your successes and failures, or maybe even just a moan in the comments below. I'll admit that Coco and Theo have discovered how to work together to get what they want and they're kind of playing J and I like a fiddle lately. A very tired, out of tune, defeated fiddle. We're Montessori teachers for goodness sake! You'd think we'd be immune to such tactics. But no. Modern American life feels so hectic and busy, it's almost like there isn't even a space for children to fit at all. This is one big problem that isn't going away. Thoughts?

(Photo of Oeuf bunk beds (I am ashamed to admit that I want these for Coco and Theo;) via My Little Room)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cute Girls' Swimsuits

Now that the summer weather is here and swimming lessons are right around the corner, I have been shopping for swimsuits for Coco. When it comes to little girls's swimsuits, I am extremely picky. I feel very strongly about a hard no on anything with ruffles, or key holes or other cut out features. Hello! This is a little girl's swimsuit, not an adult woman's. And I really despise those little skirts on swimsuits. Sorry, but I do.

When I'm shopping for a suit for Coco, I guess what I'm looking for is not too frilly, reasonably modest for a young child, classic, comfortable and functional for both swimming lessons and the beach, and (this is important) something that she can put on and take off by herself. Here are a few of my favorites (clockwise from top left)!

If a bikini is your jam, you can't go wrong with this cutie from Mini Boden. I love the sweet animal print, which is neither precocious, nor overly girly, nor frilly.

If you're looking for something bright, this bold turquoise suit is perfect! You'll be able to spot your daughter in a crowd of splashing children and even if she slathered in mineral sunscreen, that blue is bound to make her look summery and maybe even a bit sun kissed?

If your daughter would prefer a bold suit, then look no further than this Cat & Jack suit from Target. It's shiny, colorful, and the geometric motif is on point!

If sun protection or surfing require a rash guard, there is no reason to sacrifice style and femininity. I love the playful lines and whimsical flowers of this top matched with the timeless pink striped bottoms.

If luxury is what you're after, this Burberry suit will make the grade. It is quite perfect in that it's practical with a cross back, but the gathering at the neckline and contrast piping keep it modern and refined. Win, win!

If you're looking for a classic suit you'd see on the French Riviera, this Ralph Lauren suit will make you smile. Stripes, ocean and sky colors, and a graceful halter closure make this one a winner.

Coco loves them all, so it will be hard to choose just one! Which is your favorite? What do you look for in a swimsuit for your daughter - or yourself? Just click on the photos to learn more about the suits above! :)
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