Tag Archives: Clark

April 2017 | Currently

This is what life feels like at the moment, as I realize May is less than a week away:

  • Press 1 if you’d like time to slow down.  
  • Press 2 if you’d like to time to speed up to the part of the day when both kids are asleep and you can hear yourself think.
  • Press 3 if you have no idea what you want.

Now imagine me pressing 1-2-3 over and over again on the imaginary keypad of an imaginary phone.  Basically, that’s April in a nutshell.

april 2017 currently

APRIL 2017 | CURRENTLY

Currently enjoying

currently april 2017

  • What I’m calling a gentle return to consistent running (as gentle as things can get while pushing the beast that is a double running stroller).  No pressure, just getting out there.  Granted, I am registered for a few upcoming races, but in the interim, I’m enjoying getting back in the groove.
  • A turn for the better, weather-wise.  We spent this past Sunday visiting the baby animals (including two lambs that were only 3 days old!), checking out the plants, and enjoying a picnic lunch at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon (about 30 minutes from the city).  It’s remarkable what good weather and fresh air can do.  Like, it practically makes me a nice, normal person.

Currently watching

currently april 2017

  • Nick and Clark follow each other around, looking for adventure.  And snacks.
  • This Heineken ad, which seems like a masterful foil to Pepsi’s faux protest nonsense.
  • The last few episodes of The West Wing.  I must have inadvertently and magically saved them for times like these.  Imagine if CJ was Press Secretary in real life?

Currently reading

currently april 2017

Currently listening to

  • An old Ben Folds playlist. Nick and I danced to The Luckiest as our first dance at our wedding, and I think I played it thirty-seven times this week.  Grace asked me to turn it off all thirty-seven times.  Whatever, kid. Also on the playlist: Still Fighting It, Fred Jones – Pt. 2, and Philosophy… that intro always makes me wish I could jam on the piano. 
  • A whole slew of podcasts.  Current favorites: Pod Save America, With Friends Like These, Body Kindness, From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, Call Your Girlfriend, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Up First, and Book Club Appetizer.  I’m also looking forward to DeRay Mckesson’s new podcast, which launches next week.  I’ve all but sworn off TV news (I can’t quit political rantings on Twitter, however… old habits), and find that a lot of these podcasts fill the void nicely.  Without driving me insane.  

Currently feeling

currently april 2017

  • Grateful for moments of solitude here and there, not to mention a loving + supportive family.  I found this piece of “almost sea glass” (in cobalt glass, no less) while taking a solo beach walk at the Cape towards the beginning of the month.  It wasn’t sharp enough to worry about someone’s safety, so I’m certain the right thing to do would have been to throw it back into the surf so it could become actual sea glass… but I kept it.  In a lot of ways, I’m feeling like the human version of somewhere between almost sea glass and actual sea glass.  As I shared in an earlier post, this month has felt like a real time of transition.  Having quiet time to reflect has been really good.  Life is amazing and strange and weird and wonderful.  Also, if I write a memoir, please talk me out of titling it “Almost Sea Glass: The Elizabeth Story.”  And more importantly, talk anyone and everyone out of publishing it.
  • Excited for the next few weeks.  Full schedules, full hearts, can’t lose.  Or whatever they used to say on that football show. (JK…Friday Night Lights was the best.)

OK.  Time to turn into sea glass.  Or maybe, like, put on real pants.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • All about Comic Sans (aka the font that burns my eyes) from The Guardian
  • Painting “magic beans” with Grace (in reality: they are seeds we found on the sidewalk and maybe this isn’t the safest idea… but regardless, we are painting them with sparkly neon paint)
  • The Benefits of Solitude from The Walrus

What has been the highlight of your April?

 

 

Guard your spirit.

“Guard your spirit” is something I used to jokingly say to my dog, covering his eyes if there was violence on the evening news.  I would tell Nick that our little Frenchie was very sensitive and needed to be protected from things like swear words and fighting and pizzas that have mini hotdogs where the crust should be (I still can’t believe that’s a thing.  And we wonder why people think Americans are not okay.).

guard your spirit clark

My (spirit) guard dog

I think I’ve always been a somewhat sensitive person.  But I’ve gotten considerably more sensitive with age.  And ever more so as a mother.  I chalk some of this up to the fact that I haven’t slept since May of 2012, but I sort believe that the older we get, the more ourselves we become.  (Please don’t check my grammar on that last sentence.  We’ll both be disappointed.)  

I used to be able to watch six documentaries on serial killers in a row without needing to booby trap my own house.  I could listen to the baddest, most inappropriate music on the dial without flinching.  I could (for the most part– we all have our limits) hang with negative, bossy, rude people and not turn too awful myself.  And I could watch the evening news without covering Clark’s eyes, and plotting to lock everyone that I love in a closet (with plenty of snacks and a good ventilation system, obvi) so that nothing bad could ever happen to them.  Besides the whole being locked in a closet thing.  Speaking of which, add claustrophobia to my growing list of issues sensitivities.  

So these days, when I say Guard your spirit (most often to myself), I actually mean it.  And what I mean is this:  I am the person who I am.  And that person is part-sponge.  And that’s okay.  And I can do things to avoid becoming wrung out or water logged.  Here are a few of those things (I’m pretty sure they work for all types of people).

GUARD YOUR SPIRIT

Be picky in the best way possible

guard your spirit plants

My best friends are self-sufficient plants.

  • Choose to spend time with people who bring out the best in you.  People who are kind, motivating, and encouraging.  (And be that sort of person for other people.)
  • Take advantage when opportunities present themselves.  For me, this means embracing even a tiny bit of alone time. There are days when I sort of want to yell, “No one talk to me, no one touch me, no one look at me, no one stick a Duplo in my bra, no one breathe near me!” But that would be rude.  So instead, I pretend I have to use the bathroom… and just hide in there for 3 whole minutes.  For more civilized people, this might mean prioritizing a last minute coffee date with a friend over some other obligation.
  • Be mindful of your goals and work to ensure your priorities (and like, daily behaviors) are aligned with these goals.  Don’t do things that work in opposition to these goals.  (Easier typed than done, I know.)  Your time and energy are not endless in supply.  Use ’em wisely.

Be careful about what you consume

guard your spirit waves

  • This goes for food and drink and things you put on your body (like clothes and make-up and glitter gel from the 90’s and dogs that demand to sit directly on your chest whilst you try to relax).
  • …But it’s equally important when it comes to media.  You don’t need to follow everyone and their grandmother (and let’s be serious, the grandmothers are present and accounted for on Facebook).  If what someone shares– tweets, photos, commentary, what have you– affects you negatively, unfollow.  And don’t feel guilty.  Think of it this way: our mental and emotional feeds are limited.  Don’t waste that space on pictures of cats eating steak or racist Facebook rants. Save it for waves gently crashing onto the shore.  Or whatever floats your proverbial boat.  Get it… waves… boats…. cool.
  • Know what works for you.  I don’t read fiction or watch shows or movies that contain much violence (especially if it involves violence against women or children).  This is not entertaining for me, and doesn’t make me a more informed or helpful person.  YouTube videos featuring baby pigs eating tiny cupcakes do entertain me.  Jury’s still out on whether or not they make me better informed or more helpful.  
  • Have a stash of treasured books, music, poems, artwork, movies, podcasts, drawings, pig videos, plants etc. at the ready when you need a little (or big) boost.  Some of my favorites: Mary Oliver, Hafez, Rumi, the On Being podcast, Wendell BerryParis to the Moon, Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure.

Default to kindness

  • On my worst days, I default to giving people the finger as they cut me off in the Columbia Rd. rotary.  But on my best days, I default to kindness.  It’s a habit that takes work.  I try to practice in little ways, like saying hello to strangers (but not in a creepy or unsafe way).  Or being truly patient (rather than pretending to be patient, but actually being annoyed) while people cross the street.  Or giving people the benefit of the doubt, that they’re doing their best for the moment.
  • So much of being a parent to two young children feels reactionary.  And prior to being at home with Grace and baby Nick, I worked in a very reactionary, which-fire-should-I-extinguish-first, kind of field.  I’m (very) slowly learning to react with less stress, less need to be right, less authority… and more kindness.  I think it’s sort of like when robots are re-programed so that they are, like, friendly robots instead of war robots in those war robot movies that you couldn’t pay me a trillion dollars to watch.  Just a guess.

Take care of yourself

guard your spirit salad

  • There are going to be plenty of times when we miss an opportunity to guard our spirits (like when you try to not watch the debate, but then you have to take your sick baby– he’s fine!– to the ER and all the TVs are tuned to CNN… WHY?). And there will be times when life goes sideways, in tiny or tragic ways.  And the better we’ve cared for ourselves, the better prepared we will be for those unexpected, unwelcome, unhappy or un-whatever times.
  • So take care of yourself.  Eat well.  Drink plenty of water.  And then a little more.  Sleep well (assuming that’s an option and you don’t have a tiny human yelling at you all night).  Exercise.  Pray.  Meditate.  Paint.  Hold a sleeping baby.  Hold an awake baby.  Do hula hooping in the park.  Let a dog sit on your chest for no apparent reason other than that’s what he wants to do.  

Be a nice person to yourself, and a nice person to other people.  And don’t watch recaps of the presidential debate.  Just kidding… kind of.

P.S. Happy Birthday to the best mother and grandmother we could ever hope for!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever said to your dog?  How do you guard your spirit?

 

The week according to Instagram

It’s been a while since I shared an Instagram-ish update, mostly because that used to be a weekend thing… and there’s not much difference now between my weekdays and weekends.

2 Exceptions:

  1. The number of adults present (a.k.a. persons capable of rational thought + behavior, most of the time) in the home during the day — There are twice as many of these on the weekends.
  2. The number of leotards worn to gymnastics class– That number is 1 during the week.  And 0 on the weekends. (… please note that I did not simply say the number of leotards worn).

week according to instagram

I love a good ill-informed, politically charged Facebook post from a middle school friend happy life update from an old pal as much as the next person.  And as you’ll see from my Twitter “likes,” I can’t get enough tweets about the Pope.  Or preserving tomatoes.  Or Jeopardy! contestants’ opinions of Alex Trebec.  And don’t get me started on Pinterest.  It’s the best way to waste time, while pretending that it’s going to help you me more productive in the future.  If only I’d remember I pinned that workout for slim and trim hips.  Or a month’s worth of dinners in 2 hours flat!  

But Instagram is my favorite.  While I aim to keep things light-ish and bright-ish, these are still very real moments.  Ones that I want to share, but mostly ones I want to remember.  Here’s a bit of a scoop on the last week’s posts.

THE WEEK ACCORDING TO INSTAGRAM | @ELIZABETHEV

It’s rare for Nick to fall asleep in my arms any more, but he seems to get extra cozy in his new ring sling.  We upgraded from the linen sling to silk, which feels much more snug for my toddler-sized infant.  I took this selfie (us-ie?) after we finished watering my parents’ plants when then you were away.  Pretend gardening is tiring work apparently.

Quinoa and pesto had been a late summer standby.  And you already know how I feel about heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella.  The spicy micro greens are from Whole Foods and make a nice addition to this warm salad.  (You could eat it cold, obviously… but that would require patience.  And they were sold out of that.)

These are my new shoes.  The ones my husband bought for himself, and then I copied him and ordered a pair.  So, that’s special.  I’ve mentioned the On Being podcast before, but I sort of feel like I’m going to keep talking about it until everyone is listening.  What do shoes have to do with a podcast?  A recent episode that aired during the Olympics featured a group of runners sharing how running is a spiritual practice for them.  I was listening in the car on the way to Mama Beasts and, as soon as I grabbed a parking spot, grabbed my phone to jot some quick notes from the episode.  

“The blessing is outside your comfort zone” is something someone said to Ashley Hicks, co-founder of Black Girls Run, as she was prepping for the Chicago Marathon.  I thought that was pretty powerful.

I also found myself wanting to learn anything and everything about Billy Mills, the first (and only, so far) American to win Olympic gold in the 10,000 meter race.  His interview was really compelling, too.

Such a good episode.

These two are the cutest.  I love how gentle and playful Clark is with both kids.  The old guy has seen better days, health-wise, so I’m feeling extra mushy about him lately.  We are so lucky to have him at our sides.

Goodbye, weekdays. Hello, weekend. ✌🏻️ What's on tap for your weekend? #southie #castleisland #weekendviews

A post shared by Elizabeth | On Tap for Today (@elizabethev) on

We’ve been spending a lot of time out at the island lately– running, walking, counting boats, learning about fishing (Grace has taken a particular interest, which grosses me out, but hey), playing on the “big kid” swings, and looking for seagulls.  Oh and marveling that people are still playing Pokemon Go.  Apparently Castle Island is a hot bed of pokemon activity (I don’t really know what that means, but I heard it somewhere… so it must be true).

But seriously. I would eat snacks for every meal.

I love everything about seeded eucalyptus — the color, the varied textures, the incredible fragrance.  I always pick up a bunch when it’s in stores.  Same goes for new issues of domino.

No Lifeguard on Duty (#storyofmylife) 🏊🏻 Are you a risk taker or a play-it-safer? #instacapecod #wickedcapecod #itsstillsummer

A post shared by Elizabeth | On Tap for Today (@elizabethev) on

…and the full view of the tiny Instax shot included in the photo above.  Nick and I were down the Cape for a quick half-day trip (we’ve got something really fun in the works) and I couldn’t resist a quick stop at the beach.  It was quiet, overcast and a bit chilly– perfect off-season weather. 

And last, but not least, confetti from the best date night ever with Nick, seeing Adele live at the Garden (I forget what the real/new/current name of that place is).  The show was incredible, and I couldn’t help but grab a few pieces of confetti (each piece had a lyric or note in her handwriting… but despite what people were claiming, I don’t think she hand wrote all 9 million pieces… or whatever).

She performed for just over 2 hours, I think, with no breaks and no opening act.  I loved the format– especially the short acoustic set in the middle.  I have been listening to “Don’t You Remember” and “When We Were Young” and “Hometown Glory” on repeat.

Semi related: Lemon water with a bit of honey is great for your throat… you know, if you’ve been walking around your condo pretending you can sing and sort of lost your voice.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite social media platform?  If you could be any diva (current or past) who would you be?

Today: Halloween 2015 | A strawberry and a lobster.

I sort of have a love/hate relationship with Halloween.  Actually, it’s more of a hate/hate relationship.  Like, aren’t people creepy enough already, without having to dress up like zombies and murderous clowns?  

Also, I’ve said it before, but I’m not a fan of fall decor.  I have already promised Nick that if and when we move to the suburbs, I will not be decorating our lawn with punny tombstones and fake spiderwebs.  I just won’t.  And I’ll probably want to turn our lights off at 5 instead of give out candy on Halloween… mostly because I don’t want teenagers and their serial killer costumes to give me nightmares.

I’m the Grinch that stole Halloween.  Except that I’ll leave three very important elements behind:

  1. Candy (obvi)
  2. Babies in costumes
  3. Dogs in costumes

The rest is no good.  But these three things? These three, I embrace.

I had every intention of dressing Clark as a banana, to complement Grace’s strawberry costume (#fruitsmoothie)… but his, shall we say, robust figure did not fit into any of the peels I found.  The poor guy was almost off the Halloween hook entirely (and if anyone deserves a break lately, it’s him), but when I spotted a lobster costume tucked in among the Christmas decorations (Yesssssssss!  And no, it’s never too soon for Christmas!) at T.J. Maxx on October 30th, back on the hook he went.  

I’m basically keeping this costume accessible year round.  It’s just too good.

Grace’s strawberry costume got lots of use last week too, from gymnastics to running around Nick’s office, to actual Halloween.  She kept telling people, “This my costume.  A strawberry.”

We spent the evening with friends in Charlestown checking out the festivities around the monument, and I’ve got to say… Halloween wasn’t all that bad.  In fact, it was pretty great.  But now it’s time to get the Christmas boxes out of storage.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the best Halloween costume you saw this weekend?

 

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram 35

Take it from your friendly neighborhood not-a-meteorologist: It is hot as blazes today.  I slowed things down a bit at bootcamp this morning, but I’m not sure it made much of a difference.  By the time Grace and I got home, we were both ridiculously sweaty and in need of an extra nutritious lazy summer lunch: Popsicles, raspberries and lots of water.

Now that I’m feeling rehydrated and somewhat normal, let’s revisit the weekend according to Instagram.  

The Weekend According to Instagram

  1. There is no point to this photo, except that I am obsessed with my dog.  Clark has been extra patient and playful with Grace lately, and I think he’s finally back to his usual self after a not-so-usual winter.  The poor little guy had emergency spinal surgery at the end of February, was on bedrest for six weeks and is still waiting for most of his back fur to regrow.  It’s sort of like built-in air conditioning, but looks… weird nonetheless.  Nick recently found the breeder’s new website (she was sort of MIA for a while, which fits the bill)– the last thing we need right now is a puppy, but there were three that looked so much like baby Clark that I almost tried to convince Nick this was a good idea.  ‘Tis not.
  2. I know I need to get over myself (and I mostly did this weekend), but as long as we’ve lived in Southie (and in the past two years, right on the water), I couldn’t bring myself to swim at Carson Beach.  Supposedly the beaches in Southie are cleaner than Miami Beach, but… what does that even mean?  Long story short: We all went swimming on Sunday.  And it was actually kind of nice.  So that’s that.
  3. Sunday was National Ice Cream Day.  I don’t know where this crap comes from, but I am happy to celebrate anything that involves sprinkles.
  4. This poodle is one of Grace’s new best friends.  As previously mentioned, she is a miniature dog whisperer.  They flock to her (when she is not chasing them).  
  5. We went for a nice, long walk with my sister in Charlestown on Sunday (which is where we encountered the poodle), strolling through Paul Revere Park and through the Navy Yard.
  6. My first Google Express delivery arrived on Saturday afternoon.  We each received a gift code at last Tuesday’s dinner at Serafina to try out the service, and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed.  I’ve got a gift code to share with you (please see below), too.  The hardest part for me was deciding what to order.  I originally planned to go with diapers (boring, but necessary), but Grace’s size wasn’t available… which was just the motivation I needed to order a few fun things instead.  I love that you can purchase from multiple retailers in the same order.  I ordered some moisturizer and my favorite eye shadow from Ulta, and Go Set a Watchman and a grown-up coloring book from Barnes + Noble.  Everything was delivered the next day (in adorable packaging) during the delivery window I reserved.  I can see this service being perfect for last minute gifts or entertaining (in addition to household staples) and would love to hear if you have or planned to order from Google Express.
  7. We picked up all kinds of good food at the farmers market at Crescent Ridge (plus the ice cream….) on Saturday.  Summer tomatoes are heaven.
  8. A little surprise on a late afternoon walk: a giant sand sculpture in Southie.  
  9. And a leftover from Thursday:  Why bring a teddy bear to a teddy bear picnic when you can bring a slothExactly.

Here are the details for Google Express:

Now through August 2nd, use the code EXPRESSBOSTON to receive $25 off your first purchase with Google Express (limited to the first 2,500 users; please note it is stated in your cart when paying that Google Express may need to authorize payment method for the total amount of your order without the promotional credit, but the promotional credit will be reflected in the amount actually charged to your payment method.

Happy shopping! …Oh, and stay cool.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite way to cool off?

Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 2

This week’s prompt for the Get Messy Art Journal challenge has been, appropriately, an adventure.  We’ve received a new instruction each morning from Vanessa, and while I’ve never worked this way (and let’s be honest… I always loathed group projects), it’s been quite fun.

Materials used: Another page from Combray, Golden fluid acrylic paint in Maganese Blue Hue (applied with a palette knife), black ink in a tiny spray bottle thing (I am impatient and moved it across the page a bit by blowing through a straw), clear stamp from Studio Calico with black StazOn ink.

I used a page from Combray for an earlier prompt, and figured… why not rip out another page?  This one has more of my notes from college scribbled in the margins and lots of underlining.  I can’t help but wonder why the H. I underlined the lines and passages I did.  Like, part of me thinks I was underlining random things just to stay awake.  No offense to Proust… except, kind of offense to Proust.  I was never a fan.  (Also I can’t think of Proust without quoting all of Steve Carrell’s lines from Little Miss Sunshine.

  • Sheryl: Who’s Larry Sugarman?
  • Frank: Probably the second highest regarded Proust scholar in the US.
  • Richard: Who’s number 1?
  • Frank: That would be me Rich.
  • Richard: Really?

Still, I’m glad I hung on to some of those books.  I’ve been reading more in French lately (mostly the news), which seems like a good way to keep the ol’ brain challenged now that it’s not responsible for running an organization and office.  A better use would likely be remembering ordinary tasks, such as walking Clark and moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  

Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing how this page wraps up.   You can see what the rest of the group’s pages look like by checking out the #getmessygame hashtag on Instagram.  And for even more pages from the rest of the Get Messy Thursdays crew, you can find a full list of participants here.

Materials used: [Left side] Sakura watercolor paint (from this travel sketch box), black gesso, white vinyl mailbox letters, extremely tacky gold puffy stick-on letters [Right side] Black and pink watercolor paint, Sakura white gel pen, black micron pen 

True Life: Art journaling has revived my adolescent love of quotes.  But where did we find all those quotes before the Internet?  (Wait… Chicken Soup for the Soul… bahahaha) Trip down memory lane aside, I really like this quote.  And I really like how this side of the page (white on black!) turned out.  

The other side: not so much.  I ran out of mailbox letters and decided to make use of the puffy gold alphabet stickers I found in the dollar section at Target a while back.  As with all Dollar Spot items, these stickers could have been sort of fun/irreverent/quirky or OHMYWORDTHATISTACKY.  Unfortunately, in this case, ’twas the latter.  I will likely swap them out for white letters, and perhaps mail them to one of the RHONJ.  

Materials used: Watercolor paints, Faber Castell Pitt pen (XS), magazine cut outs, a plain old glue stick.

My last little project this week has nothing to do with adventure (I was going to make up some sort of connection, but got lazy).  I was inspired by a color of emotions chart I recently came across… and Whitney Houston (she continues to dominate my go-to Spotify playlist).  I get so emotional, baby, every time I… cut images of floral arrangements out of House Beautiful.  Or whatever.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you listening to right now? (Don’t hold back.  I need jams!).

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram 32.

For the first time since living in South Boston, we didn’t head out to watch the parade.  Instead, I was being that mom at the pediatrician’s office.  We got a contagious illness report from daycare this week (the dreaded conjunctivitis is going around), so when Grace started rubbing her eyes, I started becoming a nutcase.  A word of advice: Don’t Google “pink eye” at three in the morning.

The nurse I spoke with this morning encouraged us to come in today, just in case.  By the time 2 o’clock rolled around, I started to wonder if it was more likely Grace had accidentally squirted yogurt into her own eye, or that part of her bagel got in there or something.  Needless to say: no conjunctivitis.  I love our pediatrician, though (and the fact that they’ll see us on Sundays).  We had no trouble getting out of Southie, but heading back in during the parade proved to be a bit more challenging.  

One of the (presumably many) upsides to not being infected and being out and about?  We had a little impromptu visit with my sister and brother-in-law during which Grace tried to eat a crayon and I learned that Selection Saturday is actually Selection Sunday.  And I wonder why people don’t invite me to join their March Madness pools.

Oh but before I say anything else, sorry for talking about pink eye.  I promise we did non-gross things this weekend too.  Like the things pictured below.

The Weekend According to Instagram 32

  1. First things first:  The snow is melting… AND THINGS ARE GROWING.  I spotted these little sprouts alongside our driveway on Sunday afternoon and literally shrieked in delight.  I immediately emailed a photo to my husband and our neighbors.  And I’m now taking bets on who thinks I’m crazier, our neighbors or Grace’s pediatrician.  This weekend was great for my personal brand.  Whatever that means.
  2. Our neighborhood is ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  I don’t want to live any where else.  Most of the time.  
  3. A little weekend doodling.  Watercolor + pen + birds.
  4. I am obsessed with the artwork on these seed packets from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.  I am kicking myself for not buying their calendar at the Flower Show.
  5. Aaaand another photo from this year’s Boston Flower and Garden Show.  Nick and I always talk about living in a tiny house one day, and I think I found the one this weekend.  Technically, I think this is more of a garden shed, but I am pretty sure there’s room for Grace and Clark’s imaginary bunkbeds. And if I take after my maternal grandfather at all (which I hope I do), I’m only going to get shorter so…. I think it will work.   
  6. After the Flower Show, we ducked out of the rain and grabbed tacos across the street at Rosa Mexicana.  Aren’t my lunch dates adorable?
  7. I started Saturday morning with a big cup of organic peppermint amour and some to do list-ing.  Of the 900 things on the list for the weekend, I think I accomplished 3.  One of those things was “make a to do list.”  Can’t win ’em all.
  8. A peek at my art journal (you’ll find more pages here and here).
  9. Did anyone else read Richard Scarry books as a kid?  They were a family favorite of ours.  I ordered a copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever for Grace and seriously… it’s the best word book ever.  Not surprisingly, her favorite page is the one where the bear gets dressed.  She is all about her shoes these days.

Also On Tap for Today:

How was your Selection Sunday weekend? 

Today: One year of Grace.

Technically, it’s been a year and five days, but hey.  

Grace turned one last week.  And what a fast, happy, wonderful, challenging, beautiful year it has been.  I snuck into her room at 12:16 last Thursday (she was sound asleep, a rare occurrence) just to see her and watch her and think about that first time we met her at that very same time, on that very same night.

Happy Birthday, Grace!

Yes, that barrette is for real.

 

Becoming and being a mother has been overwhelming in the best possible way.  It has made me tougher and it has made me softer.  It has made me infinitely more in love with the Universe, and it has made me infinitely more worried about things I never paid attention to before.  Like electrical outlets.  And the measles (don’t get me started).  Being Grace’s mother has made me so proud of myself, but it has also put my ego firmly in check.  

Being a parent has made me appreciate my own parents in a way I wish I could have before.  Because I would have been a more grateful, more delightful, better behaved (maybe) child.  I am hopeful that whole “better late than never” thing applies here.  My parents are just the best.  

I used to wonder why people called their children 13-month-olds and 17-month-olds and whatever.  Mostly, I have no idea how people keep track (so math challenged).  But when I think about how much Grace changes each day, let alone each week or month, I kind of get it.  When you’re nearly 33, you really shouldn’t give your age in months.  Because whether you just turned 32, or you almost 33, you’re pretty much the same person developmentally.  In my case: still bad at small talk, still pretty great at color coding, still hate most pants and cooked vegetables, still love checking the mail and taking naps on my yoga mat.

Our 1 year old/12 month old, on the other hand, has become such a person since being the born.   All the changes are both amazing and a tiny bit bittersweet.  

She started talking a few months ago and seems to know new words every few days.  Right now the b-words (not the b-word,  not ever I hope) are her favorites: bath, bubbles, books, baby, and bye.  We’ve practiced some baby sign language (this book has been a great resource) — Grace has mastered the signs for more, eat, milk, all done, and book.  

She has 3 teeth (and 4 on the way), 900% more hair than even two months ago and the teeniest, cutest feet that fit in precisely zero pairs of shoes.  The only thing more confusing than women’s jeans sizing is baby’s shoe sizing.

Grace is starting to let go of our hands and the furniture when standing up, but hasn’t started walking yet.  She likes to dance, climb, crawl, and sneak her way over to the printer and cable box.  She can point to people when we say their names, turn pages in her books, nod when she says “yes,” and wag her finger when someone says “no” (I still don’t know where she learned this — it’s both hilarious and kind of strange). 

She is obsessed with Clark and recently started feeding and kissing and hugging him… and trying to take naps on top of him.  He likes the first three, and tolerates the fourth. 

Grace loves to eat.  She likes being fed, and really enjoys feeding herself.  She has mastered drinking water through a straw, and will soon stop taking a bottle at daycare. I am still breastfeeding her in the morning, evenings, at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM (or whenever Grace feels like it) and on the weekends, but I’ve stopped pumping at work (hallelujah).  I never imagined we’d make it this long (and it hasn’t been easy), but I am grateful.    

We chose to name our baby Grace because we loved the name, but she really is such a grace in our lives.  What a year it has been.

Oh and P.S.: If you’re in the early part of the first year of parenting (or really any time, but especially in the beginning), be gentle and kind with yourself.  You are doing a great job. 

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s changed for your this year?  How many months old are you (just kidding… unless you know…)?

 

Today: My favorite vacation photos.

We’ve snuck out of town for some warmer weather.  And yes, I know you’re not supposed to tell people you’re away, but let’s be serious:

  1. What happens on vacation ends up on Instagram and I can’t resist sharing a good sunset shot.
  2. All the important and valuable things are coming with me (Because, hello… the important and valuable things aren’t things.  They’re people).  So, I guess I’m not really worried.

If you’re spending this Monday getting sucked into a Polar Vortex (Do we capitalize that? It nearly froze my eyelashes off last year, so I am guessing something that powerful and terrifying deserves capitalization.), the least I can do is give you a little mental vacation.

A few of my favorite vacation photos

My favorite vacation photos - from the Berkshires to the British Virgin Islands

Here are a few of my favorite vacation photos (and memories) I’ve collected over the years.

North Adams, MA

A couple years ago, we spent a long weekend at Porches, visited Mass MoCA (and an old burial ground, because I am a creep) and climbed little mountains with our little dog.

My favorite vacation photos - Clark climbs a mountain in North Adams, MA

My favorite vacation photos - burial ground in North Adams, Massachusetts

My favorite vacation photos - Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

My favorite vacation photos - North Adams, Massachusetts

U.S. and British Virgin Islands

And now I want to go on our Honeymoon again.  Like, real bad.  We stayed on St. John, but took a few sailing and day trips to places like Virgin Gorda.  We snorkeled in caves, spied on sea turtles and drank Old English ciders (because gluten allergies do not take vacations no matter how badly one craves a cold beer).  I took 9,000 photos.  And did lots of floating.

My favorite vacation photos - snorkeling in caves British Virgin Islands

My favorite vacation photos - Virgin Gorda

My favorite vacation photos - Virgin Gorda British Virigin Islands

My favorite vacation photos - St. John, Sugar Mill at Caneel Bay

My favorite vacation photos - Honeymoon at Caneel Bay, St. John USVI

Boothbay Harbor, Maine

This is why Maine is called Vacationland.

My favorite vacation photos - Boothbay Harbor, Maine

My favorite vacation photos - Boothbay Harbor, Maine

My favorite vacation photos - Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Aaaaand… a bonus photo of Clark.

My favorite vacation photos - Clark the French Bulldog knows how to do vacations

The dude knows how to do vacations.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Working on some festive posts and giveaways (which I shall draft on the back of a cocktail napkin — attempting to unplug whilst on vacation!)
  • Doesn’t this look lovely (albeit not Polar Vortex friendly)? An outdoor Thanksgiving via The Kitchn
  • So helpful for space cadets like myself: Real Simple’s vacation packing checklist

Where is your favorite (or top-of-the-bucket-list) vacation destination?

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram #29

Let’s be serious: It was time for the sleep-deprived lady to ditch the Roman numerals.

The Weekend According to Instagram #29

1.  Our little deck garden has really taken off this week.  We’ve got more cherry tomatoes and basil than I know what to do with… so I am eating all of them.

2.  As I shared last week, I recently started using the Couch to 5k app and am embracing the opportunity to start fresh.  I woke up Friday and thought “Yes! It’s Friday (standard Friday thought)! I get to run tonight!”  I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about running.  I think I stopped running and switched to rowing at CrossFit two months before Grace was born, but long before that I hadn’t run for the sake of running in ages.  I broke out my KIND tank (given to me by the lovely KIND folks at FenwaYoga) and was thankful for the opportunity to be kind to my body and brain while out on the Harborwalk by myself for a little bit.  Speaking of KIND, they are launching a really great program in Boston tomorrow.  As the “official snack partner” of the Boston Red Sox, KIND is working with Red Sox Nation and the rest of the city to spread kindness this summer.  #KINDBoston launches tomorrow and fellow Bostonians are invited to share their ideas for making Boston a kinder place to live and work.

From KIND:

For every kind act submitted, KIND will donate a piece of sporting equipment (up to $5,000) to the Red Sox Foundation’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program, which teaches inner-city youth the importance of being kind on and off the field. KIND will also bring select kind acts to life in August to demonstrate how small actions can make a big difference.

#KINDBoston will debut at Fenway Park on Tuesday, July 29, with KIND honoring an RBI player and coach who embody kindness. Fans attending the Red Sox game that evening will be able to share their ideas before exiting the ballpark. Anyone not in attendance will be able submit via Twitter using #KINDBoston until August 31.

3.  Now that Grace is a bit more mobile, she and Clark have become fast friends.  She loves to roll towards him and reach for his wrinkly mug, and he is being as patient as I could have hoped.  They spent Saturday morning cozied up together, surrounded by various baby maracas, tambourines and stuffed monkeys.

4.  It would seem my Instagram feed was very food-focused this weekend.  We went to see my parents on Saturday afternoon and brought some  strawberries, blueberries and blackberries with us.  You can’t go wrong with berries. (You know how if you type a word too many times, it totally looks weird… that just happened.  Berries.)

5.  On our way back to the city, we stopped at the farm stand in my parents’ neighborhood and filled up a basket of carrots, Romaine lettuce, cherries and onions.

6.  More food:  After seeing this recipe for yogurt breakfast popsicles on The Kitchn, I thought I’d give it a try.  I mixed Greek yogurt, gluten free granola and some raspberry preserves in an ice cube tray (which, technically, I bought for freezing baby food… but hey) and let it freeze overnight.  The result: messy, but tasty.  Perhaps they would make a good addition to a smoothie.

7.  This is what Clark (my official snack partner) looked like while I sampled the aforementioned frozen yogurt bites. #gimmesome

8.  And this is what Grace looks like when she’s being a goofball, which is quite often lately.  She has been such a smiley girl these past few weeks.  I think she’s enjoying all her newly acquired skills (yelling and rolling are her favorites).

9.  Oh… and she ate her first solid food this weekend!  It was so much fun to watch her reaction (she mostly looked horrified) as she tasted her first few bites of pureed sweet potato. I promised Allison a post on feeding Grace solids and look forward to sharing our experiences with that… once we have… a bit more experience with that.  In the meantime, I highly recommend Lucy’s List and their series on starting solids.  Oh, one thing I know for sure: You do not need to bake and puree three whole sweet potatoes for one small baby.  That’s, like, two and a half too many.  Trust me.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?