Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: the ladies

Gift guides are back by popular demand! I'm starting with the sisters and moving on to dudes and kids. Hopefully all this week? I don't know. I'm pregnant and tired. We'll see. But please do leave your additions in the comments! I'd love to help everyone with a nice, long list.

1 // a chemex: ranging from $37.50-$45.50 for different sizes, this is a great gift (especially in the something-they'll-appreciate-but-might-not-ever-buy-for-themselves way) for the coffee lover in your life. Which is most people in my life. Just make sure you wrap it well so it doesn't break in transit.

2 // reading material: I'm always happy to receive a book - especially one hand picked by a friend. After I'm finished with them, I either add them to my collection, pass on to a friend or donate to my neighborhood library. All feel equally good. Books I read this year that I loved include:
Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
Yes Please
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
You could also go any kind of Nora Ephron or Zadie Smith.

3 + 4 // a warm accessory: My girl, maggee, is facing winter in chicago so I always think of scarves/hats/gloves when I think about her christmas gift. I love this Zara scarf ($29.90) and a red beanie ($20) atop any head gives me good Steve Zissou vibes (though navy, as well, looks good on everyone and you can't go wrong with grey).

5 // a perfect blushJosie Maran's blush stick ($22) and Botanics mineral blusher ($8.99) are two of my favorites and I think everyone could use a tiny bit from now through May.

6 + 7 // a pretty accessory: And for a more all-season gift, something sparkly will always be welcomed. This is fancy and this would be great for every day. Rosebud salve ($6) makes a nice topper for a little box with a little something inside.

8 // a great tee: Even your pregnant friend will appreciate this! (Selfish.) Unlike most articles of clothing, most women can be found at some point in a tee shirt, so you know she'll wear it if it's cool. I love this super soft guy ($58) I got at anthropologie but bridge + burn has some great ones ($32-$36) and you can't go wrong with a madewell linen tee.

9 // something for the house: When I left for college, an old family friend who is also an amazing woodworker, gave me a handmade measuring tape smoothly encased in wood ($18). I love it so much and it has traveled with me to every house I've lived in. A great, beautiful, practical gift.

Don't forget to include receipts and tie it all up in something festive! Happy holidays!

Blogger Tricks

Monday, November 24, 2014


// "you don't get to have an opinion on how anyone gives birth"

// yes! YESSS!!! thank god. (and my post on some of the stuff we watch)

// how to early enroll for kindergarten (I did as a kindergartener but wouldn't send my kids early, though both will have March birthdays so it doesn't matter)

// awww

// jeez, I hope not cause I'll be in trouble

// it's official: bed sharing is NOT dangerous for babies

// oh, birth stories

// cast iron forever

// this was yummy

Thursday, November 20, 2014


This post was sponsored by the nice folks at Ballard Consignment, a giant emporium of beautiful furniture and vintage goods located in the heart of everyone's favorite neighborhood.

After all the progress we made during Amelia's second visit, I had a pretty good sense of what we needed to get and where everything would go in the house. I was not only unstuck (particularly in the living room), but pretty dang close to settling on a new arrangement - for now. And then the recliner broke. A recliner is both a pregnant woman's and a man's best friend and S and I were both sad but thankful for the opportunity to replace something with only one seat with something with two seats in our tiny living room. Yes! Now one extra person can come over to watch football!

Amelia had the idea to check Ballard Consignment for a sectional, which S was really pulling for, but instead I found this perfect loveseat which fits next to the couch in a sort of L-shape. So, sectional-ish? (Not at all, but it works in the room.)

But the loveseat is nothing compared to the coffee table. Oh, this coffee table.

We didn't necessarily need one. I am hesitant to create more surfaces because in our house surfaces collect things that should get properly put away, but I really fell in love with it and I think it ties the room together nicely.

Plus, Olive can keep tiny things in it and feel very secretive about her little stash.

So without further ado, more documentation!

It was Amelia's brilliant idea to put the old telephone table that belonged to my great aunt right by the door. Even though the new grey loveseat sort of dwarfs the black couch we already had, at exactly 5 feet it fits perfectly in front of the boxy IKEA thing everyone has, which works really nicely as an entryway table. See below.

It makes all the difference in the world to have a table right by the door and since there's no mudroom/desk/etc. there, a flat little tabletop will have to do. Keys: right in the dish. Wallet: right next to keys. Sunglasses: sunglass box. Hats/mittens/gloves: in the basket. Everything is easy to find and I notice I put away the other things in my hands more promptly because I'm not plopping the miscellany I leave the house with every day in various, random places.

I love the rocking chair near the fireplace. It feels like the 1920's spot in our house - rocking in the rocking chair, warming by the fire. It also sort of hides the dog bed, which, let's be real, no one wants to look at.

The telephone table had been tucked in a corner, basically just holding a lamp - but when Amelia saw it she loved it and since it's also Spartacus' favorite piece in the house, he was excited when she put it right by the front door. I put a plant on it to discourage stacking (surfaces!!!) and it looks so symmetrical and intentional sitting just underneath our sentimental Nikki McClure print.

I think one of the best things that came from all our rearranging, and, again, was all Amelia, was putting the changing table in the hallway. I know it sounds crazy. We have an awkward hallway that used to be a second open door to the kitchen but had to be covered and turned into a wall when we added a full size fridge and dishwasher to the kitchen. It's tight in there, and I had been using the wall t hold a floor to ceiling bookshelf for extra storage (all that stuff went in the garbage or the basement when we took it out). The changing table fits really well against the wall and the lower drawers of the linen cabinet can hold all the next size up clothes/extra diapers/etc. making it almost like a little baby room.

There's a lot left to do, and that's not including a huge remodel to make the entire house bigger. I'm still on the search for a hutch for the dining room and we are way overdue to replace the kitchen countertop (we're going with chopping block. What kind of sink to get and over vs. under are major points of discussion). But the living room feels so much more livable and the dining room much less cluttered. I'm so grateful to Amelia for her eye, masterful understanding of family dynamics and the spaces they use and her time and attention to my particular sticky spots and to Ballard Consignment for the beautiful furniture, pleasant shopping experience and use of their measuring tape. I highly recommend both.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

she says (II)

At our neighborhood restaurant, where we are familiar with the management and she has been acting loud and squirelly…
Me: "We'll have to go if we can't behave. Todd will ask us to leave."
Her: "They'll make us go home?"
Me: "Yeah, they'll kick us out if we can't follow the rules."
Her: (bursts into tears) "Well...they need to learn to use their words because it's never ok to kick someone!!"

Spartacus always reads the pages before the book starts. He reads aloud the publisher and author and illustrator and year the book was published every single time. Every time O squeals and screams, "No! Don't read that part!" and every time he reads it anyway. I was reading her a new library book before bed and I skipped that page, as I always do. She grabbed it and flipped it back, pointing to the publisher's mark: "but mama, what's the copyright?"

And then before falling asleep: "I can't wait to see my dreams tonight".

At the movie theatre a man and his teenage daughter were waiting to buy popcorn behind us. I was busy with the popcorn boy and Olive obviously wanted to strike up a conversation (as always) but I could see she didn't know what to say. She blurted out, "So, I was born at home" as a way to get it going. Nice.

Holding a small potato: "oh no, this baby is crying. I think what she needs is...a boob." Me: "you're probably right. babies need a whole lot of that." Her: "so, do we have any boobs?"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

26 weeks

It finally happened. I had my first moment of not completely hating this. I'm hardly sick anymore. General nausea (is this what it's like for most people those first three months?), heartburn, swelling, sleeplessness, etc. yes, but vomit, no. So, I try to think about this boy - about what to name him and who he might look like. And sometimes it works and I don't completely hate being pregnant, but I still can't wait for it to be over. 3 more blessed months, people. 3 more months. 

The movement and kicks are crazy. Olive was just so...gentle compared to this guy.  Sometimes the jabs make me yelp and let me tell you, when a pregnant lady yelps and touches her belly, people freak out. But I can't help it! He's a strong dude!

A funny new thing in this pregnancy is that at night when I'm about to have one of those terrible leg cramps in the calf, I wake up a split second before it happens and if I do the magical foot flex thing right away, it never comes on. I feel the sensation pass and then I relax my foot and never cramp up. Psychic, no?

My "weight gain" is like a million (30+ lbs?) but it has plateaued the last few weeks, which I feel really good about. I'm well enough now to notice what I'm eating and to make sure I get some exercise every day and as long as I can do that, I'll be fine with what I gain, even if it's a lot. I might even stop weighing myself.

P.S. Maternity clothes are so gross, can we all agree? Why are they all made out of cheap, scratchy junk? Yuck. Should I do a post on how I am just not buying maternity clothes and buying larges and making it work?