Tag Archives: lifestyle

Currently | February 2017

February is wrapping up.  And no, it’s not a leap year.  Consider this a friendly PSA that my birthday is basically moments away (March 1st always seems to sneak up on people).  I’m not always so clear on how timezones work, but I think I’m already 35 on the other side of the world.  Meanwhile, Grace keeps asking if I’m 45 yet.  So there’s that.  

But I don’t want to rush February out the door just yet.  Despite the country imploding, I’m grateful we had things like my nephew’s baptism, Valentine’s Day, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, Hillary’s message to the people and 70 degree weather to celebrate.  We left our jackets at home and walked on the beach.  We spotted the first plants sprouting.  Spring is coming.

CURRENTLY | February 2017

currently february 2017

Currently eating

  • …like summer has already arrived.  Tacos, tomatoes, salads and strawberries.
  • …dinner with Nick most nights after the kids go to bed (as opposed to snacking from the babes’ plates at 5 o’clock).  It’s been such a nice change.

Currently watching

  • So we watched like 5 minutes of a PBS special featuring various spy cameras disguised as animals, both because it sounded cool and it was not about the government.  The idea is that you get to see animals behaving as if they were not being spied on.  Unfortunately we caught the part where the baby monkey spy camera fell, and the real monkeys thought it had died and were, like, mourning.  It was devastating.  Did I mention that I am generally an emotional basket case?
  • Superstore + Homeland (they sort of balance each other out)
  • 900 “how to sew” YouTube videos 

Currently reading

Currently making

  • …plans for a meaningful Lenten exercise.  In the past I’ve given up Diet Coke, snacking, sugar and swearing (but not all in the same year… I’m neither a saint nor a martyr).  Other years, I’ve added more prayer, more intentional acts of kindness and more time away from technology.  For me, Lent is the ultimate lesson in patience.  In waiting.  In remaining hopeful.  Perhaps I’ll simply meditate on that lesson.  While not drinking a Diet Coke. 
  • A set of mini, mono-printed art journals.  It was a random Tuesday night project, but I am thrilled with the results.  I’ll share photos later this week.
  • A “good behavior” jar.  I am semi-mortified and semi-amazed at how well it’s working.  (To clarify: We are rewarding Grace’s good behavior, not mine…)

Currently listening to

  • “Call on Me” (Ryan Riback Remix) by Starley — it’s the perfect windows down in February song
  • Call Your Girlfriend (podcast)
  • This Irish Flute & Tin Whistle playlist on Spotify… baby Nick and I had music class this morning and the teacher broke out his tin whistle (apparently we missed the Irish flute last week).  Nick was mesmerized in class and keeps dancing and clapping along to this lively mix.  I think it’ll do wonders, too, for those times we are nearrrrrrly home and one or both kids is starting to nod off in the car.  

I hope you’re enjoying these last bits of February and looking forward to a lovely March.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your February?

Today: Beach bag upgrades.

The sign of a great summer: My beach bag is getting more use than my handbag.

Whether you’re toting around a beach bag, a pool bag, a gym bag or a something-else bag, I’ve got a few upgrades to share.  Things that make my life a little bit easier and a little less messy.  

Beach bag upgrades

Some of these beach bag upgrades are technically baby items, but don’t let that scare you off.  And if you find yourself childless yet running to Babies ‘R Us after reading this post, allow me to either 1. talk you out of it (with one child and another on the way, that place still terrifies me) 2. offer you one of the 19 about-to-expire 20% off coupons I have crammed in my wallet.

A wet bag

This should really be called “a prevent everything else in your beach bag from getting wet… bag.”  We use this one from Skip Hop, which is on the small side, but is perfect for storing my wet bathing suit, Grace’s wet bathing suit, and at least one towel.  If you’re heading to the pool or a friend’s house, wet bags are a great place to store your change of clothes (which can be swapped out for wet suits).  This also works for sweaty gym gear.

I like the mesh pocket on the outside of the Skip Hop bag — it’s perfect for stashing keys and a few dollars, or an extra swim diaper or two.  The snap handle is great too — I often attach it to the outside of our beach bag if we need a little extra room.

A giant carabiner

I sort of wonder what life was like before I discovered stroller hooks. I also sort of wonder what I would get done if I weren’t wondering about things like life before stroller hooks. This thing is essentially a giant, glorified carabiner.  It’s padded on one side, allowing you to comfortably carry a bunch of bags or items that have been clipped together.  

During the non-summer (I’m just not ready to say winter, or fall even), I use our hook most often when trying to make a single trip into our condo with the groceries and Grace.  I keep one in my car, and another in or attached to whichever bag I am carrying.  In the summer, however, it’s perfect for securing extra items to our beach bag (sand toys, towels) or keeping multiple sets of keys from getting lost.

Reusable snack bags

I use these reusable snack bags to store small items that, like keys, have a tendency to go missing in the very bottom of our beach bag– my phone, lip balm, hair elastics, band-aids, and sunblock sticks.  Again, these work for your gym bag, too.  The larger size can take the place of my wallet (because who wants to bring their entire wallet… 20% off coupons and all… to the beach?) and the smaller sizes are great for collecting shells and other treasures.  They can be easily washed or wiped clean.  

Also: I am obsessed with the patterns on these bags.  They make me want to start designing fabric.  If I had any clue how to do that.  Which I don’t.  Mostly because I am busy thinking about life before stroller hooks.

A waterproof camera

This is a bit of a splurge, but I bought a waterproof camera before our honeymoon to St. John and I’m so glad I did.  We’ve been able to capture photos from amazing snorkeling trips and swimming in tropical caves to Grace’s first swimming lessons and days spent at the Cape with our family.  In my dreams, I am the sort of person who swims under waterfalls and regularly partakes in SUP yoga in the harbor… but um, it’s perfect for my less cool, less adventurous (real) life.

We have an older version of the Nikon Coolpix Waterproof AW100 series.  It is waterproof up to 100 feet, is shockproof and has built in GPS/world map.  It seems like there are more options available (and at better prices) these days, and the new Nikons have built in wifi to easily transfer images to your smart phones.  If you’re going to invest in a camera, I highly recommend getting a waterproof camera float, too.  This can be used to carry the camera… but also lessens the chance of your camera disappearing, sinking, or sneakily bodysurfing ashore without you.  

Speaking of bodysurfing, I’ve got a wave to catch.  Toodles!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post, but this post does contain several Amazon affiliate links.  As always, I greatly appreciate your support.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you upgrading these days?  Has anyone figured out how to make laundry do itself?

Today: What a difference a year makes.

Oops.  This post is longer than anticipated. 

This time last year, I was wearing a very unattractive, very orthopedic boot thing, having tripped over Grace’s bouncy chair and subsequently broken a toe… just an hour and a half before my family showed up for Mother’s Day brunch at our condo. (Also: My parents were trapped at an airport somewhere, so the guest of honor wasn’t there to be showered with praise and gifts and affection… and to listen to me moan about my toe.)

Ready to party. Or something.

In addition to being temporarily physically crippled, I can’t say I was in the best shape mentally, or whatever, either.  I had been back at work (after a not-so-work-free maternity leave) for a few weeks, was getting up to nurse Grace every couple of hours, couldn’t find anything that fit (nor that matched the boot), and sort of had no idea what I was doing at any given moment.  Having people over to a mostly-clean home, serving mostly-edible food, and not having an entirely unexpected crying episode provoked by a diaper ad, or a cheesy song, or a faint, passing breeze felt like a major, major accomplishment.  

This time last year, I was second-guessing every decision I made, and agonizing over the longterm effects those decisions would have on Grace.  Was she eating too little?  Was she eating too much?  You’ll notice I wasn’t asking myself if she was sleeping too much, because… well… neither of us were sleeping.

I worried I was falling down (no pun intended… but sort of yes, pun intended because I really still can’t believe I tripped over that darn chair) as a wife.  I had no idea how I would manage my work responsibilities and my family responsibilities.  And how, on God’s green earth, was I ever going to get all the laundry done?  Would my body always feel so foreign (and lumpy)?  What would my first work trip away from Grace be like (Fortunately, I didn’t have the capacity at the time to imagine myself using a breast pump in a bathroom stall at the Detroit airport… but now I do.  And you do, too.  Sorry.)?  Would I ever see my friends again (this would likely require staying up past 7 PM)?  Would I ever have anything to talk about besides diaper pails?  Would every single drop-off at daycare feel so heartbreaking?  

It’s taken some time (and I don’t think my toe will ever be the same), but my goodness… What a difference a year makes.  I’m not perfect (you should see what I’m wearing) and life’s not perfect, but so much has changed for the better.  It’s amazing what a little time and confidence (and SLEEP!) can do.

Last weekend I had the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day with my parents and family on Saturday, and with Nick, Grace and Clark on Sunday.  And I felt calm.  And relaxed.  And happy.  And grateful.  And I couldn’t help but notice that life is sort of following the seasons this time around.  Not only is it actually (finally!) Spring, but I’m in the middle of my own transition of sorts.  And it’s full of (I almost said “blooming with”… but I stopped myself) promise and excitement and optimism and a “who knows what might happen?” sort of thing.

At the end of this week (though it’s been in the works for months… aren’t I a good secret keeper? Tell me everything!), I’ll be stepping down from my role at an organization I’ve been with for eight years to be home with Grace.  

I sort of always thought I would work (in the capacity I’ve been used to working, like, in an office).  And I am realizing now, as I make this transition, how much of my ego and self-worth have been tangled up in being busy.  And important.  And in charge.  I’ve also come to see, though, how much of my last eleven or so years have been spent moving from one mini-crisis to the next,  closing out the day with just barely enough energy to be a semi-normal, non-awful person. The good has far outweighed the bad (truly), though, I have loved my work.  I have loved the people I have worked with.  I have loved the people I’ve had the privilege of serving.  I have loved the challenges and the lessons and the surprises.

I know there will be pieces of all this that are not easy, but I also know how lucky I am to have options.  It took a lot of confidence and courage to make this choice, but I wouldn’t be able to make the choice if I didn’t have options.  I know this is not always the case.  Meanwhile, that new boss of mine?  She’s pretty cute.

Also On Tap for Today:

Looking back, what has changed most for you this year?