Friday, February 5, 2016

Enjoy your weekend.

Do you have anything special going on this weekend? We all have a cold, so we are laying low. Speaking of, I totally jumped the gun with this post about getting better sleep; I've felt like a zombie since Theo kept me up all night Tuesday night with a fever. That's Murphy's Law right there!

Here is a bit of what caught my eye this week:

I'm loving this gorgeous Danish design blog, Mad & Bolig. The lovely room above is from their site, and everything else is equally drool-worthy!

This is what firm yet kind discipline looks like.

I was duped by this one!

10 brilliant Eames chair facts.

Coco never stops talking! (We had quite a few of these;)

Love this inspirational post.

I'm swooning over this bubble chandelier. (Do you think J would go for it?!)

I hope your weekend is just dreamy! See you back here Monday. xo

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Winter Blues: Summery Mantle

Our mantle was looking a bit drab with all of the festive Christmas stuff taken down. So I decided to make it more cheerful - while simultaneously willing summer to come - by putting a few beach-like items up there. Of course, I also included lots of candles. Tea lights are probably the most magical winter pick-me-up there is, wouldn't you agree? Their soft glow is so cozy, comforting and warming. When I lighted them last night, Coco oohed and aahed. Then this morning, she exclaimed, "Oh no! Who blew out the candles?!" Teachable moment harnessed. Coco now knows it's not safe to leave candles burning. Oof!
One of my goals for this summer is to collect shells and beach glass for the mantle. They would look so great with these breezy votives and that incredible piece of driftwood J found on the shores of Lake Superior. He carried it, along with Coco in the hiking backpack, for miles! Just let me point out that it is so heavy. That was a labor of love for sure.
Normally I like to do some tall or tall-ish flowers next to this lamp, but right now I'm really digging the clean, sparse look without any. That's the beauty of winter, isn't it? Calm, quiet, space, rest, pause. It gets totally depressing after a while, but it's the key to renewal and rebirth. 
When I lived in Phoenix for a year, my body was confused and longing for winter when it never came. Any time I feel bummed out, I remind myself how much I treasure four seasons. When winter arrives with its silence and stillness, it feels good to retreat, light some candles and look inward. Even though it seems to be slogging on forever, (and I will be positively euphoric to see crocuses, tender blades of spring grass and sunshine!) we are embracing it as best we can: Theo and I are bundling up and getting out for walks almost every day, I've been doing lots of baking, and J and Coco are skiing every weekend. How are you embracing winter? 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to fall asleep

How are you sleeping these days? We are finally getting more sleep around here thanks to one ridiculously simple trick we figured out and a dose of understanding.
There's Coco, looking so sweet while she sleeps, but recently I had started calling her 'the nighttime terrorist', because she was. For over a month, she was coming into our room and keeping me awake anywhere from one to four hours per night. J has this strange ability to sleep through these sorts of disturbances, but I was completely coming undone with fatigue. By day, I was so tired that I worried I shouldn't be driving. And at night, it was physically painful. One night, in particular, I remember counting to twenty while doing deep breathing exercises before picking her up and taking her back to bed because I was worried I might throttle her, much the way Homer throttles Bart. Yes, it was that bad and, no, I did not throttle Coco. 

But then we discovered this trick: HOT WATER BOTTLE! Total. Game. Changer. I'm sorry to overuse capital letters and punctuation like that, but really. We put a super hot (190 degree) hot water bottle under the covers at the foot of her bed wrapped in one of her lovey blankies. Since we started doing this, she stays in her bed all night almost every night. I could cry with happiness.
As for the Tugboat, we had tried everything. We did the "least cry approach" and that Swedish sleep cure and we finally just gave up and decided to take the path of least resistance. That was the best choice ever. Theo's still a baby and he is deliciously snuggly. We get him to sleep in his own bed at bedtime, but then, when we go to bed, I go pick him up out of his crib sleeping and bring him into bed with us. It's easy, we all sleep better, and really, that's the whole point.

I was feeling badly about it, thinking I shouldn't be so lazy when I read the best advice I've ever seen about babies, children and sleep in the Washington Post. The author, Meghan Leahy, is a mother of three and a certified parenting coach. She writes, 

Children can really become needy for their parents’ attention at night. Why is this? At night, the work of the day is done and it is time to relax. What brings children the most relaxation? Being physically close to their parents. Even older children want to feel close to their attachments. 

She goes on to give really thoughtful, loving advice to the parent who wrote in, but for me, that little tidbit about children wanting to be close to their parents just sunk in and felt right. So right, in fact, that a few nights ago, when Coco got a nose bleed and came into our room and couldn't get back to sleep and kept me awake from 1 am until 4 am, I didn't have any Homer-like urges to wring her neck. I rubbed her back, I told her how much I love her, we held hands in the dark and she kissed my fingers. Eventually, we both fell asleep, relaxed. 

You can read the entire Washington Post article here.

Monday, February 1, 2016

What I really learned at Alt Summit

To say that going to your first Alt Summit is overwhelming would be a massive understatement. Alt packs in hundreds of hours of courses into just two and a half days. There is no way anyone could ever take advantage of all of the content, and even the amount you do get takes at least a week to marinate and simmer in your mind. Then, after the fact, many speakers are willing to send out PDFs of their presentations, so you get even more information to process! The overarching theme at Alt Winter 2016 seemed to be the importance in believing in one's self and following your biggest, wildest dreams. Absolutely perfect for how I've been feeling lately. Initially, as the conference drew to a close, I found myself wishing there had been less inspirational content and more nuts and bolts. But, then I made a wonderful discovery...

Friday, January 29, 2016

Have a lovely weekend

This weekend, it's supposed to be mild and sunny, so I can't wait to get Coco and Theo outside at the park for the first time in months. Then the snow returns next week. Ho-hum. It's not that I don't love the snow, but winter can feel so long and dreary. It's hard not to be counting down the days until spring at this point!

Here are some links for you:

Winter rituals to help you through.

For the bearded man in your life.

In favor of having a third!

Barbacoa recipe, because I miss Chipotle!

You'll never look at a binder clip the same.


Let Tinkerbell tinker. (Good advice for little girls).

A stay-at-home-mom on the verge of depression.

Kale is not healthy.

My roommate's Alt Summit recap post is so sweet!

Although that photo makes me think of this book. Ha! ;)

Have a great weekend and see you back here on Monday! xo

(Photo via Pinterest)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Four Fabulous Instagram Accounts

Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform. Here are four accounts you should definitely be following if you're not already! Miss Etc (above) is a DIY & Lifestyle blogger from Bordeaux. Her photos are colorful and bright and always cheer me up.
Janne Honkaniemi is Finnish, living in Finland. His photos are exquisitely dramatic and full of feeling. He portrays the cold and ice with such beauty. He also travels and shares equally beautiful photos of landscapes elsewhere, including Switzerland last summer! They will evoke your senses of adventure and wonder.
Another French Instagrammer I adore is pomverte, from the Southwest; think Provence, Nice and Marseille. Her gentle and clean photos of the beautiful sun-drenched landscape and her adorable children and new puppy will warm your heart.
Finally, I recently discovered flywithcarola, a Vienna-based flight attendant for Swiss. If you've never dreamed of being a flight attendant, then her Instagram feed is sure to give you the envie. Her photos are chic and will speak to the wanderlust in your heart.

I find that Facebook can really get old with all the angry political messages (guilty! Go, Bernie!) and immature memes (again, guilty!) but Instagram is all beauty and inspiration; a true break from all the noise of everyday life. Don't you agree? And who are your favorite Instagrammers? I am always looking for new people to follow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What I learned at Alt Summit

I'm back from Alt Summit! This week, I am spending some time updating the site and making a plan to put everything I learned into action. I'll have a Friday link list for you this Friday and then starting Monday will be the post-Alt Swiss Lark extravaganza. Or something like that. ;) I'm really glad I went and really so excited to get to work.

See you on Friday. Until then, have a great week! xoxo

Photo by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Donating my breastmilk

I'm en route to Salt Lake City on a layover in Boise. I'm doing a mobile post, so I apologize in advance if things look a bit funky. Last night I was up late finishing my suitcase and making final preparations. Getting ready for Alt Summit was mostly about clothes and business cards and blogging goals, but another important thing I had to take care of was my precious breastmilk. I have thrown away so much breastmilk over the past few years! It's painful to do, but Coco and Theo never took to the bottle, so breastmilk we had in the freezer just ended up being wasted.

I knew I would have to pump at Alt. Initially I thought I would just pump and dump. What's the point of sterilizing and freezing and transporting the milk if it's just going to be tossed in the garbage in a few months? But then I imagined dumping that warm, sweet, creamy milk down a drain and realized I could never do it.I set out to find a way to donate my milk.

Google searches only pointed to milk banks, which expect a longterm commitment and lots of testing up front. That wasn't realistic for four days during a busy-from-dawn-until-dusk conference. Then, as it happens, a fellow Alt participant runs a site called Lactation Link. Perfect! I got in touch with her and she tipped me off to Eats on Feets, an informal mom-to-mom milk sharing program (it's a play on Meals on Wheels). Each city, state or region has their own Eats on Feets Facebook page. I offered my milk on Eats on Feets Utah and within a few hours, I had connected with three different moms who wanted some of my milk! One mom just adopted a newborn in Utah and needs a bit more milk before they head home to Portland together. The other two moms are sisters whose babies are a bit older, but are both quite tiny. Isn't it magical to imagine Theo's milk plumping up another baby, or babies?! It makes me so insanely happy!

The only challenge now is being away from my sweet Theo bear for four days. Leaning into bed to kiss his warm head goodbye while my Lyft waited outside this morning was so hard!

Have you ever donated breastmilk or received donor milk? I'd love to hear your story!

Monday, January 18, 2016

My Business Cards for Alt Summit

My business cards arrived from Moo and I could not be happier with the results. They are thick, luxurious and absolutely beautiful to the last detail. More pictures and some musings on being called Swiss Lark, but living in America, after the jump...

Monday, January 11, 2016

What are your wildest dreams?

Over the weekend, I saw this photo from Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day on Instagram, and along with it was the following caption:

Speaking of New Years Resolutions... about 10 years ago I made this list of goals and taped it to my fridge. I guess we can finally check the last one off our list. Expecting a baby girl in June.

I cannot stop thinking about it. TEN YEARS AGO! She created these goals ten years ago and did not give up on them. It's so easy to think that other people somehow achieve their goals quickly, but really, big goals take time. As long as we're at it, let's just look quickly at the other two items on the list. I know that Jordan and her family were living in Paris when we moved into our apartment in Kieselgasse. That was 2011, so if this list is really ten years old, the first achievement took a full five or six years to come to fruition. I also know, from reading her blog, that they bought their house in San Francisco spring 2013, seven years after the original goal. And now, the third baby (a girl!) is coming along ten years later. 

Isn't it just awe inspiring? 

Maybe it's not for you. After all, this is hardly profound. In the theoretical sense, I have always known that big dreams and big goals take a lot of time. But somehow, seeing it presented like this, I had a total gong moment. It kind of made my head explode in the best possible way. And it's really got me thinking about the goals I want to set this year, and about my wildest dreams that I want to write down, hold close to my heart and keep at the front of my mind, regardless of when they happen, because they are what matter to me.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm so grateful now for the hell we went through last year. That living nightmare made us stop and ask ourselves, "What really matters to us? What kind of life do we want to spend our time, energy and money creating?" We are forever changed. J and I are no longer the naive, impatient people we were going into that experience. It turns out that wasn't actually a career path we wanted to be on anyway and now we are heading in a completely new direction in life. 

Ten years is 3,652 days. After Coco's ballet class this afternoon, I'm taking her and Theo to the paint store to pick up some paint chips. Tonight, after they're sleeping in their beds, I'm going to sit down with a hot cup of tea and make two paint chip cards. One with my goals for 2016 and one for my wildest dreams that I would happily invest the next 3,652 days making come true.

Do you write down your goals in life? Do you believe in your wildest dreams?

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