Baby Nick woke up bawling just seconds after the President said “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side…” I was bawling at that point too, cradling my sweet child, grateful that both our children were born at a time when such an incredibly smart, respectful, kind and caring family lived in our nation’s White House. I am doing my best during these remaining days of Barack Obama’s presidency to watch every video of the President + kids, the President + dogs, and the President + VP (especially today’s Medal of Freedom presentation) as humanly possible… rather than give into the sadness and anger simmering below the surface (real talk).
Also, it was snowing and single digits this weekend… but it’s 55 degrees in Boston today. The world is ending.
Simple snacks to share with Baby Nick… because these days, he has major food FOMO and needs to sample any/everything on my plate. Blackberries and cottage cheese have been a big hit this week.
All the winter citrus, all the winter citrus, all the winter citrus… put your stems up. (Or whatever.) I especially love satsumas, and not just because you can buy them with the leaves and stems still attached.
Not a single Diet Coke today (not so obvi)
Fiveway Veggie Broth (definitely unexpected) – I received a complimentary sample right before the holidays and am totally hooked on this incredibly flavorful broth, which you can straight up drink from the bottle. I like warming it up on the stove and drinking from my beloved “BC Grandpa” mug, it’s both delcious and fortifying. Non-vegetarians will likely dig their bone broths. Fiveway products can be found locally in Massachusetts + New Hampshire.
My new FitBit (a Christmas present from Nick), the Charge 2 special edition (lavender + rose gold, so pretty) — I really liked the Charge HR, but there are so many design/functional improvements in this version. I especially like the 2 minute guided breathing program. People like me need tiny wrist computers to remind them to breathe.
The babes enjoy winter… it’s just the best. Nick, Grace, Baby Nick, Clark and I had so much fun being snowed in down the Cape last weekend. I love watching the kids and Clark explore in the yard. I’m so grateful that we have an escape from the city (and that we have the city to return to, as well).
Organic Bath Company’s Nourish Night Balm — this stuff is pure magic.
This time last year I was a very pregnant, mostly cranky lady. Currently, I’m in disbelief that baby Nick is nearly a year old. I was grabbing a few things at Whole Foods on Wednesday (yes, the day before the holiday #lastminutelarry) and someone asked if this was Nick’s first Thanksgiving.
And it hit me that this was his last first holiday. So I started, like, sort of crying by the pomegranates. As you do… when you’re an overtired basket case.
Anyway… let’s talk November.
I think I mentioned Nature Anatomy last month, but Grace and I have become enamoured with all three of artist Julia Rothman’s anatomy books: Nature Anatomy, Farm Anatomy and Food Anatomy. They are so beautifully illustrated (in gouache, my favorite medium of late) and full of the most interesting information. And Grace loves that they are “grown-up books.”
Anything Dan Rather posts on Facebook (honesty, I’ve come this close to quitting FB entirely this month, but I’d miss Dan Rather too much… also, photos of kids and babies and dogs); his take on the election and aftermath gives me hope that clearer heads will prevail (or at the very least, remain vigilant).
The Old Farmer’s Almanac, because this mostly-young non-farmer is obsessed with weather and seasons and moon phases and tides. I have no clue how any of these things work, but I like reading about them and couldn’t resist grabbing a copy at the supermarket last weekend.
The Weepies, Indigo Girls, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder (separately… though with their powers combined, they would make the most amazing super group). I think I’ve been using music (and maybe weird crafts?) to cope with the election and every day stress. Listening to old favorites has been very comforting. And as much as I feel like swearing (or listening to other people swear) some days, the aforementioned artists are totally mom-approved for driving around with children who are prone to repeating everything.
Christmas music. I need to make my own Spotify playlist, though, because the Christmas station in Boston seems to play 12 different versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (and sort of creepy inside?…) a day.
The ocean (so many walks on the beach this month!)
Very unoriginal, but… Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (I stayed up way past my bedtime the night it was released to watch Winter and Spring). I didn’t watch the show when it originally aired, but instead majorly binge watched when Nick was a newborn. I loved the first three episodes of the revival, but the last one… meh.
Still taking a hiatus from the news. So basically the only information I have regarding tomorrow’s weather forecast comes from Alexa… or next year’s Farmer’s Almanac.
Nick was traveling earlier this month and I’m pretty sure I watched every Jane Austen adaptation ever made once the kids went to bed. I knew I’d overdone it when I caught myself saying “Badly done, Emma” to Clark.
Grace’s nightly “show time” (the imaginary programs she passes out and the final bow are my favorite parts), it might be the cutest bedtime stalling technique on the planet
A fairly absurd amount of crap projects for our Cape house, especially when I consider how little I’ve been sleeping lately. I painted two side tables, hand-painted a zip code pillow (more on that later, maybe), wove (weaved?) a little decorative wall thing, started a wampum wreath and just finished cutting out felt letters for two banners.
Plank and push-up progress, thanks in large part to the recent Mama Beasts Planksgiving challenge
Happy Halloween from a very reluctant lobster (Clark), a “dancey dancey unicorn” (Grace), and a penguin that more than one person mistook for a pigeon (baby Nick). Oh, and two grown-ups who sort of wish our children came home with a bit more candy. Sort of.
CURRENTLY OCTOBER 2016
October has been a very full, happy month. And not just because I’ve managed to keep my plant friends alive.
This salad (mixed greens, dried cranberries, sliced pear, walnuts and bleu cheese) over and over
Baked oatmeal (in an attempt to give breakfast its proper due)
Photos from baby Nick’s beautiful baptism day, spent with our parents and siblings. The priest took one look at him in his little white jumper and said “Well, aren’t you a surprise?!” I still don’t really know what that means. But I like saying it to him every now and then. He didn’t make a peep during the sacrament, but did try to splash in the font a bit.
Grace’s sense of humor. She’s started telling “jokes” lately… which are really just lies. But hey.
Cold weather tea, especially David’s Tea The Spice is Right
Progress on the Cape house! We’ve made a few day trips and had our first little family sleepover down there this month now that the basics are set up (beds, wi-fi, snacks). I’m looking forward to lots of summer fun on the Cape, but underestimated how much we’d enjoy the off season as well.
Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World by Julia Rothman – This is such an awesome book! It is beautifully illustrated and full of interesting information. Grace and I have been reading a few pages together each day (she is very into bats at the moment). She’s always asking me questions about how things work (tides, sounds, the sun… you know, easy stuff…) and reading books like this has been such a great tool for learning together.
It took nearly all month, but the sun is shining and the temperatures are more May-like than November-ish. So we’re eating ice cream dairy-free sorbet (I’m like, Live a little. And my stomach is like, Please don’t.).
May 2016 | Currently
Grateful for improved weather – that cold, rainy stretch we had earlier this month made me feel positively… negative.
Happy that we got to see my extended family this weekend at my cousin’s wedding down the Cape!
A bit itchy. I don’t want to rush nature along and I know trees need their leaves and all, but I wouldn’t mind coming home from a walk or workout and not feeling like I’m wearing a pollen sweat suit. Or whatever.
Relieved (speaking of itchiness) that Clark’s vet referred us to a dermatologist who’s helping us get his allergies in check (hopefully). We started his immunotherapy injections last night, and I feel like an especially weird dog person, but these are the things you do when you love your aging, semi-grouchy, fully-sensitive French bulldog.
Like I need a new big project or goal or challenge to work towards. But maybe I should just put away last week’s laundry.
Lots of vegetables and fruits and sprouted things. Not so many nachos and pizzas and processed things. Girlfriend needs to reign it in a bit.
Aaaaaand the aforementioned lemon sorbet. With rainbow sprinkles. Just do it.
Currently listening to
The Bon Iver radio station on Spotify — it’s extra chill, which is good, because I am extra not.
Grace sing “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of rosies!”
The OJ miniseries (that’s definitely not the official name, but you likely know what I’m talking about… and you also know I’m too lazy to Google)– I was skeptical when my parents recommended it (sorry!), but Nick and I got completely sucked in.
Not much of anything art-wise… but I just signed up for a new painting class (Mary Ann Moss’ Oh My Gouache — totally obsessed with the name) and started a new large format sketchbook earlier this week.
An embarrassing number of toddler development books… I mostly have no idea what I am doing… except I believe you’re not supposed to laugh when your toddler’s being fresh. Even when her response to “Why are you standing on the table?” is “Because I’m being a freshie.”
To Kill a Mockingbird (again)
Foo Fighters on Spotify + noise-canceling headphones (this is how I survived getting a crown at the dentist last weekend)
Season 2 of Serial – I keep thinking I am done (I’m still not sure how I feel about this season), but then I get hooked. That Sarah Koenig, man.
The St. Patrick’s Day decorations go up around the neighborhood
We just caught up on Homeland and now I’m morbidly depressed (I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, so I will just say this, I think you-know-who is still alive… which makes me think his or her life is going to be even more miserable going forward. Also, post-partum hormones are real. And TV characters are not. But whatever.)
Election coverage… and now I’m morbidly depressed. And we have months and months and months of this crap to endure.
Baby wearing – I had forgotten how good it feels (and how it magically soothes a little one)
Grace’s newfound love for telling “jokes” (a recent favorite: “Grandpa is your sister! It’s a joke!”)
Extra productive and creative on some days, and like a nearly-expired sloth on others.
An itch to sign up for a race or two or six. Blame the 50 degree weather and a fresh pair of sneaks.
Alright, I’m off to make the most of Leap Day… or as I think of it, an additional 24 hours for everyone to plan an extravagant birthday surprise for me. Just kidding. Also, I kind of hate surprises. Toodles!
The last two weeks have been an exhausting, but blissful blur of newborn snuggling, diaper changing, toddler chasing, and trying to remember if I took a shower or not. I feel like we’re starting to find our rhythm (which basically means nothing, because one thing I do remember from Grace’s early days is that as soon as we got comfortable, things changed — her sleeping schedule, her eating schedule, the weather, you get the point).
This may be the Universe’s way of sending a message, but the things that are totally beyond my control (and therefore, the things that I am constantly worrying about) are going beautifully. Grace is the most gentle, sweet and curious older sister. We went out for a little ride earlier this week (in nearly 60 degree weather… not normal) and she kept whispering, “Look, baby Nick, more Christmas lights.” And it made me so happy that I cried and ruined the moment.
On that note… here’s what else I’ve been up to this month.
Currently | December, 2015
Newborn baby smell — I’d be a billionaire if I could bottle this smell.
Season 2 of Serial — Nick and I have listened to the first two episodes together on Thursday nights. It’s both nice and sort of weird to sit around listening to audio in the same way we might watch television… like, what should I be looking at? This season is quite different from the first, but I’m already hooked.
Adele’s 21 on repeat (still)
Christmas music (obvi)
The West Wing — I don’t know why I didn’t watch this when it was actually airing (my whole family was obsessed), but after listening to the Martin Sheen interview mentioned above, I had to give it a try. Blessed be Netflix… we have found our next streaming addiction.
Domino and Real Simple… they’re like books… for people who have slept less than 2 hours per night…. Also: I feel like the RS cover is speaking directly to my unable-to-meal-plan, wardrobe-deficient soul.
My new BAMR bands — I am thrilled to be an ambassador for this fabulous brand. Each quarter, BAMR Bands donates 10% of their proceeds to a selected charitable organization benefitting women and children (past recipients have included Every Mother Counts, a favorite of mine). To receive a 10% discount on these adorable, non-slip headbands, use the code OnTap10 online.
This month’s Nature Box delivery — We’ve had a NatureBox subscription for a while, but this month’s box is an especially good one. I tried to select items that would appeal to Nick (Spicy Sriracha Popcorn), Grace (Peanut Butter Graham Jam) and me (Guacamole Bites)… but mostly… I’ve been snacking on them all. For 50% off your first delivery, click here (this is a referral link, albeit a tasty one)
Piles of laundry everywhere — I forgot how many outfits newborns whip through in a day. Yikes.
A painting here, a drawing there — My current m.o. is “fit in it when you can.” (And try not to make too much of a mess in the process.)
Plans for the new year — I’m oddly excited for 2016. So much changed in 2015 that I felt more reactive and less intentional. I’m looking forward to being a bit more thoughtfully engaged in the coming twelve months.
A few holiday treats, including sparkling cranberries and “happy cakes,” as Grace calls them
The mild weather made this month feel more like April than November, so we got plenty of adventures in. And I sort of forgot to have my snow tires put on. Whatever, man.
I assumed (along with everyone else, I think) that we’d be a family of five by now (counting Clark, obvi… I do not have a secret human child somewhere)… but unless he makes his grand entrance before midnight, we’ll be welcoming a December baby. All this anticipation is making the days crawl, despite the month having flown.
And like any month, there were ups and downs — but one of the most wonderful moments had to have been meeting our niece who was born two weeks ago. She is just perfect.
Speaking of perfect, the weather and view (minus the seagull) could not have been better on a recent stroll along the Harborwalk.
Currently | November, 2015
My copy of the Get Messy x UNHCR charity magazine arrived this weekend. I am so grateful to have been a part of this collaboration, which supports relief efforts for Syrian refugees, and love seeing everyone else’s art work in print. You can order a copy here (all proceeds are donated to UNCHR).
Mostly just looking at the pictures: Vogue, December 2015
Adele’s 25 (along with the rest of the planet) on repeat. I’m not ashamed to say, I am obsessed.
The Undisclosed Podcast
An attempt to finish my Christmas shopping in the next day or two. We’ve done a really fun Secret Santa with my siblings and significant others the last three years and I highly recommend DrawNames.com if you’re organizing a similar swap.
Comfort food: Onion tartlets, mashed potatoes, tomato soup, cucumber salad, quesadillas with sharp cheddar and gala apples
A top secret Christmas card muhahaha (I hope everyone finds it even a 1/100 as funny as I do)
Progress in my sketchbooks and art journals (you can see some recent work on Instagram or here and here)
The Christmas decorations I put up (…before Thanksgiving… couldn’t help myself)
A fresh bouquet of flowers
Our current routine (while it lasts)
That Coach Belichick would be my ideal spokesperson right now. When asked how he felt when he saw Rob Gronkowski get injured during last night’s game, he snapped, “How do you think I feel?” Exactly. Except I don’t think I get away with being quite so sassy. So instead, I’ll just say… okay, fine, impatient, a little cankle-y, hopeful, hungry and tired.
Also On Tap for Today:
Deleting 900 million Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails
What a perfect month it has been. I am holding on to summer for dear life. And I’m not letting go… until at least October.
Currently | August 2015
Like I am 900 months pregnant. I think it’s the heat. Or it’s just being pregnant. Regardless, I had an appointment with my midwife earlier this week and I’m grateful that the baby is healthy and everything is going well.
The tide come and go. Boats passing by. Seals swimming around as fishermen unload their catch.
The sky. We’ve had the most beautiful sunsets and clear views of the moon lately.
Grace play with Clark. It’s so much fun to see them happily following one another around. Not surprising: There are usually snacks involved. Clark is no fool.
Oh… and should I admit this? America’s Next Top Model on Hulu+. I can’t look away.
The usual mess. I’ve loved this month’s theme of serenity for the Get Messy Art Journal challenge. You can find weekly updates of my sketchbook here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Weeks 4 + 5.
An iPhone mount for less awkward Periscope broadcasts. I am following this tutorial and hope to have things up and running later this week. I really enjoyed sharing my first scope (an art journal and sketchbook flip-through); my username is ElizabethEv if you’d like to follow along. For now, I’m just enjoying everyone else’s scopes. Be sure to leave a comment below with your username, please!
I also picked up some gold leaf this week and am thinking about gilding some of the shells I’ve collected recently. Summer is worthy of gilding.
Consecutive good hair days. Usually my hair is like, POOF! the second we cross the Sagamore Bridge (I swear the Cape is covered by an invisible dome of humidity), but ever since I started using the fantastic products Living Proof recently sent me, my curls have been on their best behavior.
Speaking of shampoo, I wish outdoor showers were a year-round option.
As much yoga as I can fit into the week. The women’s fitness program I joined in June is on hiatus for a couple of weeks (if you’re in the Boston area and want to know more, please let me know — I love this group!), so I’ve been focusing on fitting in lots of long walks and short flows. I really like these prenatal yoga videos on YouTube.
If I see or hear one more back to school commercial… Lord, help me. Because of all that snow, the last day of school in Boston this year was June 29th, which was basically five minutes ago. So, please… let’s keep those school supplies out of sight for at least another month.
[Also, this is the first time since I was in kindergarten that my life doesn’t essentially revolve around an academic calendar. So that’s kind of weird. After graduating, my work was largely tied to school partnerships and while I never had a summer break, things always really ramped up in September. Now that I’m home, I think Grace, Clark and I will spend September at the beach. Or, like… doing laundry.]
This isn’t a post about graphing calculators (do kids still use those?), though… right? Right.
Like it’s 95 degrees and I am pregnant (because it is, and I am)
Excited about our upcoming vacation
Like life has changed so much in the past two months. “Clean out the pantry” has been on my to do list since June, I sometimes forget to shower, and I caught myself having a semi-serious (albeit one-sided) conversation with my dog yesterday. But I don’t think I could be happier being home with Grace.
As much fresh produce as I can get my hands on– tomatoes and berries, especially. I loved our trips to the farmers market (here and here) this month.
900 popsicles a day
“On the Way to School,” a beautiful documentary about several children and the challenges the overcome (in most cases, daily) to get to school. It’s surprisingly uplifting. And I want everyone to watch it. (It’s available on Netflix.)
File these next two under much less enlightened: Candidly Nicole on Hulu+ (fellow Simple Life fans, rejoice!) and Naked and Afraid XL on Discovery. Both make me laugh, like, a lot.
Some fun little sketches and paintings in my new sketchbook (details here). I got out of the habit of painting daily this month, but have started to get back on track this week.
Playlists galore. We’ve been in the car a lot (going from one fun thing to the next), and making good use of that Spotify subscription.
A plan for the second half of the summer and a list of everything I’d love to do, see, and enjoy
Lots of Chatbooks (they’re 20% through today with the code HOLDON) — I am officially obsessed after making a little book of photos from our 4th of July on the Cape.
Lots of great workouts. I absolutely love the outdoor bootcamp (yes, even in the blazing heat) I’ve been attending and have started working in prenatal yoga videos a couple times a week.
Swimming as much as possible. We’ve been in the water a lot this month, from swimming class with Grace to pool days at my parents’ house and dips in the ocean in Southie and on the Cape.
An unusual (but welcomed) desire to make plans. No one would mistake me for a social butterfly, but maaaaan, I love spending time with our friends and family.
Also On Tap for Today:
I love this Zen Habits article and I think you will, too: How to Breathe
We had such a lovely Easter with our families this weekend. Grace was in her glory, snuggling up with her grandparents, aunts and uncles and following her cousin where ever she went. I didn’t take many photos (I had my hands full of candy), so I thought I’d share a bit of what’s On Tap currently, instead.
One of these days I will make time to read an actual non-children’s book. It seems like it’s been ages since I read something that wasn’t on my phone. In list form. Involving baby animals.
Similarly, The Art of Eric Carle has completely captured my imagination. The section of letters written by children to Eric Carle is my favorite.
This weekend we watched Mile… Mile and a Half from the Muir Project, which follows a group of artists hiking the John Muir Trail in California. It’s available on Netflix and is worth a watch for the breathtaking scenery alone.
We are taking a music and movement class on Saturday mornings in the South End and received a CD of all the songs at the first class. When Grace and I are in the car together (and I am terrified to listen to the radio now that she’s in a repeat everything phase), we usually listen to Raffi… but every once in a while you need to give the ol’ guy a rest. Our current jam is a song about a dog finding a cell phone on the way home from the dog park. (The second I drop her off at daycare, however, it’s back to sports radio or Morning Edition.)
Also… My current position is that Taylor Swift can do no wrong. I reserve the right to change my mind, but for the time being: can’t stop, won’t stop.
100 days of something. I signed up for #The100DayProject (which starts today) and plan to roll that into the new season of the Get Messy Art Journal challenge (the new theme is brave). You can follow along on Instagram to see what I make each day. Many of my projects will likely be drawings or paintings or letters, but I am planning to count carefully crafted, non-Cheez-It meals as an accomplishment as well.
I picked up a new frame and some acrylic paint to make a memo board (similar to the one I made for Grace’s room) for our kitchen. I am hoping it will help me remember important things like renewing Clark’s dog license, or upcoming appointments, or like… wearing pants.