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.
+
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...


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?

LOL!

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! :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Montessori: Right Now


One mistake I make over and over again as a mom is bringing up future plans to our kids. Especially plans that they'll be excited about. For example, we received an invitation to my niece's birthday party two weeks ahead and I told the kids we were invited and would go. Their response? "Right now?" What follows is trying to explain time to someone who has no concept of time. ;)

We've done a bit of experimenting and discovered that telling the number of "sleeps" is actually quite helpful. I never understood why parents talked in terms of "sleeps" until having my own walking, talking and confused children. Going to sleep over and over again is something young children can grasp and understand quite well. It seems to be okay to mention plans a day or two in advance as well. Even thought it isn't happening right then, it's soon and they can wrap their heads around tomorrow (Theo) or even the day after tomorrow (Coco). But next week is too far away to tell them about something.

Montessori recognized different Planes of Development. The First Plane is from birth until 6 years of age, the second from 6 until 12 years of age. She has a wonderful quote that captures perfectly why children under the age of six have such a hard time with time: "The first plane child wants to wrap their hand around the world, the second plane child wants to wrap their head around the world." Children up until six years of age are really only concerned with what they are experiencing in that moment. In other words, right now. They're interested in what they can see, hear, touch and feel at any given moment. They are totally and completely present at all times. For them, all that exists is right now.

So I really try to stop telling our kids about plans in the non-existent-to-them future. And I also avoid imposing future consequences. Children rarely understand the offense or the consequence outside of the present moment. So saying there will be no tv tomorrow really doesn't do anything but confuse them.

What do you think? Are your children able to understand the idea of the future? At what age did it get easier for them? How do you discuss upcoming plans?

(Photo of Coco in the Columbia Gorge)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekend Reading


J's parents are coming up from Oregon tomorrow for Coco's big ballet recital on Monday night. It's at the Fox Theater, which is so amazingly gorgeous, and then afterward we're having a big shrimp boil out on our patio, courtesy of my Uncle Cyrus. Sunday night is all about the s'mores with the grandparents. It's going to be a busy one!

And here are a few links and a bit of weekend reading for you:

How to be a better iPhone photographer, according to Apple.

Can't wait to wear this jaunty tee all summer long.

Brava! So much honesty and candor.

J and I are really into this (new to us) podcast. (The Trumpland episodes are blowing my mind. Eeek.)

Get me a pedicure before these beauties arrive!

Wouldn't you love to do this for ten minutes every day?

Rolling on the floor laughing.

I'm pretty sure this takes predictable routines for kids too far. ;)

Seriously, can you find anything new in this smart cleaning advice?! (Oh wait, that bit about the sheets is kind of eye opening.)

Finally ordered this book upon Coco asking for it daily for many days in a row!

And from the archives: One thing I loved about Switzerland and still my favorite breakfast.

I hope your weekend is top-notch! See you all back here Monday. xo

(Ranunculus photo via Pinterest)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How To: De-puff Eyes After Crying


This has not been the easiest week. Soon I will be able to share more about some very big stuff we've got going on, but until then I'll leave you with this invaluable trick to de-puff eyes after crying. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Have a beautiful weekend.


How was your week? Tuesday afternoon, Coco came down with a fever and I spent Wednesday and Thursday at home with a very sick little bunny. She had a headache. "Mama, my forehead hurts!" And a sore throat. "If I do this (swallows several times, with visible effort) it really hurts." And maybe some sinus pressure. On the way to the bathroom: "When I step too hard, it really hurts in my head." But she was a total trooper and it was nice to spend a day on the couch with her. Such a sweetie.

Today was the Mother's Tea at Coco's Montessori school. I made this incredible and oh-so-easy salad and it was a total hit! But, Thursday while I was home with Coco, I somehow managed to burn an entire baking sheet of tomatoes to a veritable crisp while roasting them. That is not an easy feat! So I started over and roasted these mini heirlooms and they were just delicious.

Now, I feel a bit of a sore throat myself. Ugh. But here's a bit of what I've been reading and checking out lately:

Following your dreams is actually about saying no.

What is going on here, exactly?

Make your baby feel loved.

Excellent explanation of what repatriation feels like.

The Swiss National Bank is rolling out a beautiful new banknote series.

This is so true.

The most flattering, comfortable yet still pretty everyday bra.

Made me giggle with glee.

Have you tried the two minute facial? I'm obsessed!

Forget building self-esteem and do this. It works.

Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day, especially to those of you who have lost your mom, or can't have a baby, or have lost a child. You are not forgotten. I'm excited for brunch and mimosas on Sunday and I'll see you back here Monday! xo

Monday, May 8, 2017

Montessori: The Debrief


Very small children are all about predictability and knowing what comes next, which is why they respond so well to routines. It's also why they respond to a lack of routine quite horribly. The problem is, of course, that we do things each week, or at least each month, that fall out of our predictable routines and that's when we all need the debrief.

When I was teaching, I employed the debrief often. Before Creative Movement class, which only happened every few weeks, we would debrief. Before any sort of holiday gathering or inviting observers or visitors into the classroom, we would debrief. Before going out on the playground after the first Oregon rainy day, debrief. It was upsetting to the children that everything was wet and squishy. They needed a heads up.

Simple things to which we are accustomed are happening to children for the very first time. Before Creative Movement, we'd all gather in a circle and I would explain plainly and somewhat slowly what was about to happen. They enjoyed the suspense and intrigue of being told what would happen. They would not have enjoyed the jolt and surprise of just going without the debrief. I looked around the circle at their little eyes. "Today, we are going to Creative Movement" I would say. "Very soon, I will call your names one by one to line up by the outside door. Miss Joan will be waiting for us in the covered area and everyone will participate and have a nice time." Pause. "Can anyone tell me something they remember or like about Creative Movement?" After no more than three comments, I would announce the first person to line up and then get them on their way. Whereas they might be frantic and worried about where I was leading them outside, not during recess time (!) they would walk calmly and without resistance to Creative Movement. They would then participate and have a nice time. So handy!

A few weeks ago, J took Coco and Theo to Target because he needed to buy some thank you cards. This was most certainly outside of their predictable routine. They go to Target with me often enough, but almost never with J. Whereas I have some ground rules and routines for Target visits, J just thought he could take them in there, grab some cards and get out. Ha. Hahahahahahahaha! Of course all hell broke loose when Coco spotted some toy she wanted.

Normally, I make them both sit in the cart (Theo in the seat and Coco in the actual cart) and allow them to each pick a toy to have with them whilst we wheel about. J did not know this, of course, and told Coco no to the toy. Coco, not being one to take no for an answer, proceeded to have the worst tantrum of her life, complete with clawing at his face and screaming blood curdling screams in the middle of Target.* By the time we'd had a glass of wine and he was telling me about it while they slept in their beds later that evening, he was able to laugh about it (bravo, J!) but he said in the moment, it was extremely trying and embarrassing. Um, yeah.

I explained to him that he needed the debrief. Rather than just cruising on into Target, he needed to park the car and then turn around and look into their sweet eyes and explain what was going to happen before going in. Lay down a simple code of conduct. "You're going to both sit in the cart while I push" Explain what you're going to get and why. "I need to get some thank you cards for my co-workers. You can help me pick out some nice ones!" Then, allow them to ask questions. "Can we have a toy in the cart? Mama always lets us have a toy." Coco would definitely explain this one in her super detailed way, "We go to the toys and mama lets us point to a toy and pick that one to have in the cart with us. And after a little while, we trade and Theo looks at my toy and I look at his. And we don't buy them. Andt the end, we put them away before we go." She's very verbal. And tenacious.

After days and days of begging and pestering and constant asking, I finally took Coco back to Target to look at the coveted toy. I needed to buy a few other things, so she played with it in the cart. After five minutes or so, she said, "Can I get a new toy? This one's boring." Theo wasn't with us that day, so we swung by the toy department and switched it out for something else. Then I finished my shopping.  She probably would have gotten bored of it the day she was there with J, too. But it's good he held his ground anyway. Hopefully next time, it can be avoided.

Do you like surprises? Do your kids? How do you debrief or help things to run smoothly?

(Photo via The Mountain Laurel/Tumblr)

*She came down with a fever the next day;)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pet Peeves


Today I had a really great day. It's funny, I couldn't even tell you why it was great really. I was tired AF from Theo keeping me up again, and he was still very cranky and demanding and made his trademark screeching sound a lot. That makes me want to scream. And yet, I had a great day. Go figure.

So, seeing as it was a great day, this seems like a fine time to rant about a few pet peeves I have. I wonder if we have the same pet peeves? Read on to find out.

#1 - Converse shoelaces.
Have you ever wondered why Converse shoelaces suck so bad? I have. So many times. They're impossibly slippery and never stay tied. I remember, as a child, thirty years ago, my mom double-knotting my Cons the way I double-knot my kids' now. Why, in thirty plus years have they not done something about this?! On their own website, they show the shoes untied. Preview of what's to come.

#2 - When people say, "It is what it is."
Argh. This one is so irritating. In the Bay Area, you're guaranteed to hear someone say this at least once an hour. It is almost always accompanied with a sigh of resignation or shoulder shrug, as if to say "it's hopeless" or "it's beyond anyone's control," rather than "it is what it is." Saying that something is what it is seems to give it a great amount of gravity. However that is not how this particular phrase is typically used. We don't go around quipping, "to be or not to be" because it carries weight. It has gravitas. But "it is what it is" just gets tossed around like nothing. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it. (Shrug) It is what it is! ;)

#3 - Overhead lighting.
Damn if I can't stand overhead light. It's glaring and harsh and over illuminates everything and creates horrible shadows that feel straight out of some David Lynch film nightmare. Our apartment in Zurich didn't have any overhead lights. Not a single one. Instead, each plug had one socket out of three that was connected to the light switch on the wall. It was amazing. Click the switch (they were buttons, not flippers like we have in North America) and all of the connected lights came on at once. Our current house has tons of overhead lights. One in every room. I refuse to use them and went to great lengths to place lamps near every door. But J loves the overhead lights when he's looking for something, or just whenever really. I've threatened to take the lightbulbs out. Cringe!

Tell me your pet peeves in the comments below. Do you share any in common with me?

(Photo via UO Orange County/Instagram)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Self-Care When Caretaking and TV Lately


I've been taking care of a very sick Theo for the past few days. We have spent a great deal of time on the couch together, just snuggling, or sitting together watching a movie, or napping together. Taking care of a sick child is really hard. They feel awful and don't quite understand why or that it's temporary and they're very very needy and demanding. So, I did something this week that I haven't when caring for sick children in the past. I took some time for myself. Saturday, Coco had a birthday party to go to. Normally, I would have had J take her so I could stay with Theo. But I left Theo in the capable hands of his dad and took Coco myself. It was nice to get out of the house and such a needed break. Sunday, I went to yoga, and again today I went to yoga. Theo and J are close and having him take care of him when he's sick only makes Theo's bond with J stronger. It's a win-win all around.

So, I have to ask what TV shows are you watching lately? We became total TV junkies after getting married and I love it. When we were newlyweds, we would get Chipotle and watch Desperate Housewives (HA!) every Sunday. That show was so bad it was good. I loved that weekly tradition. After becoming parents, J really did make everything so darn perfect for when Coco and I came home from the hospital. He stocked the fridge, cooked and cleaned for two solid weeks and made sure that I had a funny or compelling show to watch with a big cup of tea on the couch every night. The first series we got into was Weeds and I get all misty eyed now when I hear the theme song because it takes me back to those days holding newborn Coco on the couch and watching TV.

Back to the present, we like to have a few shows going at once. The most recent season of Homeland was incredible, as always, and thankfully we had Billions to keep watching on Sunday evenings when Homeland ended. However, now Billions is in it's season finale this coming weekend. No! I know that House of Cards starts up again at the end of the month. And I have to double-check the dates for Master of None and Bloodline. I would still love to hear what you recommend as it seems that most of our shows are kind of heavy and dramatic lately.

Speaking of. We've started watching the most terrifying, twisted, dark show I've ever been into. It's The Fall. Have you watched it? It's a Netflix original and so violent and creepy, I can't believe I actually like it. But it's all I can think about. The little details, the amazing acting by Gillian Anderson, the dynamic, human, flawed (sometimes very flawed!) characters. J does not like it. And on some level I don't either. It's that dark. But I really do love one aspect of the show so much. It does an incredible job of illustrating sexism and misogyny. Incredible! I love their social commentary. It's really thought provoking.

So tell me what you're watching! Especially if it's something funny or light-hearted. ;) And here's to Theo being back to his old self very soon! xo

(Photo via Elvira/Instagram)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Have a sweet weekend.


What are you doing this weekend? Is it warm where you are? We are freezing and hoping for some sun and warmer days. I'm craving rosé and sunshine and bike rides and lazy days at the park, but spring has been so slow to start. Finally our cherry tree is in bloom, so it's coming. Hooray! 

Thank you for sharing so much through your thoughtful and eye-opening comments on this post. I think deciding when to be done done having babies is one of the hardest things. There are so many logical reasons to go one way or another, but if I think ahead to having adult children, or try to imagine how I'll feel at the end of my life, I can see that this is one of those things that is just going to have to come from the heart. Cheesy, but true! So, sometime over the next couple years, I guess I'll just follow my heart. I'm not ready to do anything right now, especially with things a bit up in the air at the moment, but we've got a little time. I think I can leave that question out for a bit. ;)

And, here's a bit of what caught my eye around the web this week:


Speaking of commutes, this couple has a short one!

Spokane had the most amazing storm this week. We sat on the couch with all the lights off and the front door open and said "Wow!" and "That was a big one!" about a million times. :)

Beauty gurus claim this $12 exfoliating sponge is better than the Clarisonic

Is undiagnosed lead poisoning a problem in your state?


I got J a bottle of this for summer. Mmmmmmazing!



This made me rethink the girl on wall street. 

Cannot wait to read this book. (Her Modern Love essays made me cry!)

I hope your weekend is lovely and wonderful and filled with good coffee and sunshine and naps. I'm going to get down to business cleaning out some closets and doing a bit of spring cleaning. Wish me luck! See you back here Monday. xo

(Photo via Prone to Wander/Tumblr)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

What's Your Ideal Commute?


J and I were talking about commute times today and it got me thinking about what it means to commute. Personally, I don't like a long commute that forces me to get up early and commit to covering a serious amount of ground every day. When we first graduated from college, J and I moved to LA for a few months. I always felt like it was a really stupid move, but now I see that it was actually awesome. I learned a whole lot about what I didn't want in life during those months. Among those things was a long commute. For a while I drove nearly an hour each way to work and it was a completely demoralizing and soul sucking experience.

Over the years, I have had walking commutes, including one that was veritably straight uphill and always resulted in my arriving at work hot and red in the cheeks. Another crossed over a small farm in which I would sometimes get held up in a traffic jam of sheep! I've had urban walking commutes (typically weather permitting) and public transit commutes, and of course, the standard car commute.

Probably the best commute of them all was when we were living in Northwest Portland and J and I commuted together. The drive was absolutely beautiful through the winding streets of Portland's forested West Hills. Some mornings, the sun filtered through the trees and sprinkled us with delight in our convertible. Most mornings, we had the top up and the heat on, surrounded by tall trees whose tops you couldn't see in the misty clouds and rain. While I don't favor a long commute, I also don't want a commute that's too short. In my mind, around 20 minutes is just perfect. It's long enough to drink a big cup of coffee and listen to the news and mentally change gears. While I was forced to give up my morning-news-in-the-car habit commuting with J, I did get to listen to his curated playlists each morning and do my makeup and drink coffee in the passenger seat. A year later, we wound up moving across the river and in the interest of time, usually wound up taking I-5 to work instead. But, sometimes, if we had some extra time or got up early, we would go across the Broadway Bridge and drive the old way, just because.

This week, J and I have been subbing at the same high school. Every morning, we pile the kids into the car and drop them off together and then chat while we finish our coffee the rest of the way. It's pretty darn cozy, I have to admit. So, tell me, what's your perfect commute? Are you a headphones on the bus or train kind of commuter? Do you not mind driving 45 minutes? Or do you even really think about it? I would love to hear. Please share in the comments below! xo

(Photo via Pinterest)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Don't Yoga So Hard


Namaste. Did you think that was me for a second? Bwahahahaha! So not me.

But, Sunday night I did go back to yoga after a six or seven month hiatus. In the grand scheme of things that is a very good thing. I'm crazy out of shape now that I no longer walk everywhere and I'm grumpy and disagreeable when I'm not getting regular exercise. But, the whole thing with yoga, as you very well may know, is that it is a practice and it's usually a good idea not to fall completely out of practice for an extended period of time. Hey, what can I say? I did. And the only thing to do was get back to it. So off I went on Sunday afternoon. Once I hit my mat, I was feeling so good and so inspired, I really did think that the mindfulness practice I've been doing thanks to the Breathe app on my Apple Watch had carried me through my lapse, no harm done. Ha. I was so wrong! In my inspiration and desire to look like this crazy yogi above, totally nailing an impossible contortionist pose, I yoga'ed so hard.

Word to the wise: Do not yoga so hard.

If you yoga so hard, you will hurt your neck like I did and it will not feel good. It's been a few days of neck pain now, so I've had plenty of time to contemplate what went so wrong when I yoga'ed so hard and it was this: you do not yoga hard, ever. In fact when you yoga well, it is the opposite of doing something hard. Yoga is the ultimate balancing act. Yoga is seeking to find that place where you can balance and feel your weight supported by the earth and then you relax into the posture and let it all go. What I did was the opposite. I seized those postures with all my might, which given my weak core following the carrying and delivery of gigantic Theo, happens to be my neck muscles. Ouch.

So I'm going to go back to yoga tomorrow, but for the Restore class. And then, over the weekend, I'll do my best to yoga so soft. I cannot and will not push myself into a pose beyond my limits. And I vow to seek balance and to focus on letting go. I think this soft approach is going to spill over nicely into the rest of my life, too. I really do.

Do you go to yoga? Do you ever find yourself wanting to yoga so hard? Please tell me I'm not the only one! ;) xx

PS - My favorite yoga pantsAnalyzed Movements, and photo via Lululemon/Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Fascinating Podcast Episode


J introduced me to the Hidden Brain podcast last summer. Do you listen to it? It's always really interesting and deep and they're not afraid to ask big questions or tackle big topics. Last week they had an episode that was particularly engaging and really hit home for me. Its title: Schadenfacebook. As you might have guessed, it was all about the effects of Facebook and social media on our over all happiness and well-being.

The entire episode and all of the interviews were completely captivating and I found myself nodding along in agreement throughout. I promise I won't give anything away, but one segment toward the end completely crystallized this weird feeling I've had ever since we got back from Switzerland.  While I was in Switzerland, I felt like I was missing out on so much here in the US. In fact, I felt that way so strongly that it actually diminished my ability to be present there. But then I got back to the US and realized that everything I thought I was missing out on here was actually just happening online anyway. I have been trying for months to formulate a post about this, but it's surprisingly hard to articulate. What I was seeing from Switzerland on Facebook and social media wasn't any different from what I'm seeing from here. In other words, none of these things I thought I could be a part of if I were here are actually real. Our lives have become based online to such a degree that we feel isolated in our real, non-digital lives. It's at once fascinating and horrendous, and no wonder that so many of us feel lonely and unhappy.

I have to say that I'm infinitely happier since I left Facebook last fall. I go on occasionally to post on my Swiss Lark page or check on a particular friend, but that's it. Sometimes I find it fun to scroll a bit and see what's going on with people I know. But usually, I find it all so overwhelming that I get off of there as quickly as possible. I'm so much more peaceful and content for it. Are you still on Facebook? To what degree? Definitely give Schadenfacebook (Ep. 68) a listen. I'm so curious to hear what you think. Do you agree with the guests and findings? Does it apply to your own life and levels of fulfillment and happiness? Hurry back and let me know. (Speaking of online engagement;)

(Photo via Pinterest)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Are you a middle child?


It's hard. Even though we have every reason to be done having babies - two healthy, beautiful children; a girl and a boy; life is so much easier with just two - I find myself thinking about having a third anyway. Why is that? In my mind, we are done, but it doesn't change the fact that I want another pregnancy, another birth, those newborn days again. I want to see another baby roll over, smile for the first time, take their first steps, crouch in that gorgeous gnome-like baby way, pick up peas with pudgy fingers. I want to experience all of it again, with a new little person whose personality and self I don't yet know.

But, one thing that comes up again and again for me is middle child syndrome. It's the idea that the middle child gets left out over and over again, with lasting consequences. They're not the oldest and most skilled, doing everything first and they're not the baby, who no matter how old they get always remains the baby. The middle child is just that, stuck in the middle. I can't stand the thought of doing that to Theo. He is so sweet and perfect.

Of course middle child syndrome is a theory, not a fact. And why am I thinking about this anyway? I feel like I'm getting too old to have another baby. Some days, my kids take up every ounce of energy and patience I've got. I wish we had started earlier and given ourselves more time to do this, but we didn't. Maybe that's why I can't stop thinking about it. Time is running out. Will I regret not having another baby later, once it's too late? Or would I regret making Theo a middle child?

So I want to hear from all the middle children out there. What do you think? Is it just ridiculous? Or do you think you'd be better off if your younger sibling had never come along? (Now that sounds ridiculous! Maybe I just answered my own question?!) Please chime in in the comments below. If you're a parent of three, did you factor middle child syndrome into your decision? Or am I just that neurotic? Haha! I'm just curious. Tell me all about it!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Have a beautiful weekend.


I am craving bright sunlight and fresh spring air. It's been the slowest start of spring of all time here in Spokane. Finally the cherry in our front yard is starting to get little buds. Hooray! This weekend I just want to clean, be outside as much as possible and take lots of naps. Sounds good after a week of sick kids and no sleep. Phew!

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

Amazing recipe idea for one of Trader Joe's absolute best products.

This is What Happens to Half-used Hotel Room Soap.

Not your usual April showers.

Cutest ever idea for those pop-open cinnamon rolls.

Theo's really into books on this topic lately.

So wish I were going to this workshop in May.

This article really made me think.

The coolest bath toy ever.

26 Ways to Take Your Life Back When You're Broken.

Drooling over this tote for spring and summer - and fall!

I hope your weekend is amazing! Get rest, be kind to yourself and notice the little things. See you back here Monday. xo

(Photo via Pinterest)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

DIY Laundry Detergent


Not long ago, we got a brand new washing machine at our house, which would have been a great thing, except that the landlord got one of those new high efficiency top-loaders. First of all, high efficiency top-loader sounds like a complete oxymoron, and it is! That thing doesn't work at all. I was so excited to have a big, brand new, shiny washing machine! But after I experimented around with different wash cycles and water levels and soaps, it just doesn't work. Sometimes I go down and open it up during the wash phase and it hardly uses any water, which if it worked would be a good thing. But it doesn't work. Drrrh.


So when my cousin mentioned that she had a recipe for homemade laundry detergent, I figured why not try it? It can't possibly make our laundry situation worse! Plus, it smells so ridiculously good that there is that. It's a new experience in smell alone.


This week has been a rough week with not much sleep and Coco being sick, so I was home a lot and it was a good time to catch up on laundry. I still think our washing machine is the worst, but regardless, it felt like a nice little escape to go down to the laundry room. This detergent filled the room with the smell of lavender and freshness. It felt pretty good to bring up a basket of fluffy, warm, nice-smelling clean laundry to fold while the cuties watched a movie.


Here is the recipe, if you'd like to try it. In a large airtight container, combine the following:
This combo pack is a great way to buy the main ingredients in bulk if you're interested in making a bunch, or giving it as gifts. It's so pretty and with a nice jar or canister, makes a lovely impression. Obviously it smells amazing because of the chemical-laden Unstopables! If you're chemical averse, leave those out and add a few drops of essential oils to each load instead. Or, if you think you'll use it up reasonably quickly, add essential oils to the mix. 

I'm really enjoying my laundry detergent. The clothes come out incredibly soft! Have you ever made laundry detergent? What are your favorite laundry detergents?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sleep Update


I don't know if it's the change of the seasons, the fact that we took the side off of Theo's crib, the wet, rainy weather, still adjusting from getting home from spring break, all the Easter candy, the later sunset or what. But our kids have become really horrible sleepers in the last few weeks. Sleep deprivation is one of those things that makes you stop regretting how fast it's all going and thank your lucky stars that your children won't be little forever, am I right?

I hope you're sleeping well. Despite the hot water bottle, pink flower nightlight that fills the room with a soft glow, Dohm white noise machine, humidifier, rain forest lullabies, sleep training clock and a gazillion stuffed animals, we just can't seem to get a solid eight hours.

I'll be back tomorrow with a more interesting post, but I just had to share. I am losing my mind over here, one night without R.E.M. at a time! Wish me lucky for tonight. It's 9 pm and our kids aren't even asleep. More red wine, please. But wow, I love them so much anyway. Parenthood is funny that way. Goodnight! xo
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