The First Year

The First Year

 

At this time exactly one year ago, I was here in my home, enduring labor and working hard to bring a little boy into the world who was eager to arrive and start bringing joy into our lives and the lives everyone he meets. It is so hard to image all the sensations and pain my body was going through as I sit and compare that moment to now. I remember so vividly the immense feeling of joy, relief, and accomplishment after that final push as I pulled him up to my chest. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt.

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I remember getting tucked into my bed afterwards and all three of us falling asleep together for the first time. I will never forget that feeling of equal parts exhaustion and excitement. I could count on one hand the total number of people that knew of his arrival and I remember reveling in our joy, just us, for those few precious hours. I remember video chatting our family when we woke up in the morning, and their shocked reactions to see him actually there. We laughed as we told everyone the good news. Our tiny baby boy was here, and healthy. I remember looking at his little face at only a few days old, and saying, “I feel like I’ve known you for so long.” This little person I had only known for a couple of days felt so familiar to me. I remember day after day, night after night of lying in bed, holding him tight against my chest to keep him warm and help him grow. I remember feeling so accomplished at every time we put him on the scale to see that he was growing. I remember being told we were doing a great job, and how much that really meant.

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I feel like it is easy to say that I can’t believe a whole year has gone by, but I can. I can recall so many memories of this past year. I can recount so many ways that I have changed. I can just look at my son and see with my eyes, that year, in him. No year will ever be like this year.

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If I was naive about one thing in regards to parenting, it was just how much help is needed. Asking for help is one of the hardest things for me to do and this year has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I could still use plenty more pushing but I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life who have helped along the way and made it possible to manage this crazy new life. My wonderful midwives, who gave me the confidence and to bring our son into the world in the most comfortable way possible for me. Sarah for capturing those strenuous and joyous moments of birth and being that wonderful friend that I will always be able to share that memory with. My mother-in-law, Mary for being there for us at the drop of a hat in so, so, so many situations from help around the house, babysitting, and saving our butts more times than I can count. She is such a selfless person and we are so lucky to have her. To my parents, for being wonderful examples of parents, being such loving grandparents, for caring for Bear when we are not around and tagging along on our adventures too. To my invaluable sisters, for everything from postpartum support and care (including cookies!), to their incredible helpfulness, and all of their advice and love. To Sabrina for giving me back the ability to work (you have no idea what that meant to me) and giving Bear his first BFFs. I am so thankful for all of our friends with children so close in age to Bear and watching them all grow together. To my friends that help me remember I am not just a mom. I’m thankful for the smiles of strangers that meet those big blue eyes of Bear. And to my incredible husband, who has become an incredible father. He works so hard to provide this family. He sacrifices endlessly to keep our lives going. And he loves that little boy more than life itself.

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Finally, I am SO thankful for Bear himself. I could not have designed a better child for us. He really is everything I have ever hoped for and fits into our lives so perfectly. His happiness is infectious. His independence is inspiring. His silly little mannerisms always fill my heart with joy. It amazes my to watch him grow and learn, and try new things. Everyday is different. The best part of my day is when he sees my face and a giant smile stretches across his. It is so true that there is no love like that between a mother and her child. We are a part of each other, and I love finding new ways that we are alike. Happy Birthday little Bear, You mean more to me than you will ever know.

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Donde Esta Santa Claus?

Donde Esta Santa Claus?

The past few days I have been getting in the holiday spirit by practicing a ton of Christmas songs on my ukulele. I’m so excited about doing some sing-a-longs with my family during the holidays. I may or may not have just bought at set of sleigh bells for someone else to play along with me. :) I’ve been trying to look up some of my favorite less-traditional songs to play as well. I love the song “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” and when I went to go look up the ukulele chords, I could not find them anywhere! Boo! I thought to myself that this needed to exist in the world and so using the awesome website Chordify, I wrote them out with the lyrics, and am sharing them with the world here! Enjoy!

(And because every post should have an image, I present you with a Lisa Bardot original: Santa having a Fiesta, 2014)

Here is the song if you have not heard it. I love this video. It was made by a dad and his son. His son and wife passed away a year later, and I think it is the sweetest thing that he wanted to share this video with the world in remembrance. ::tear::

Donde Esta Santa Claus? Ukulele Chords

    

    C     Dm 

Mamacita, 

G          C            Dm 

donde esta Santa Claus? 

G          C            Dm 

Donde esta Santa Claus? 

        G                 C      Dm G 

And the toys that he will leave.  

    C     Dm 

Mamacita, 

G            C           Dm 

oh, where is Santa Claus?

  G        C           Dm 

I look for him because 

     G         C    F C 

it’s Christmas Eve.  

Chorus

  Dm                 G      C         

I know that I should be the sleeping,

    Dm         G        C    

But maybe he’s not far away,

   Dm         G          C        

So out of the window I’m peeping,

D                        G       

Hoping to see him in his sleigh.

G                                              

I hope he won’t forget to clack his castanets,

           F         G    

And to his reindeer, say,

           G           G           G             G  

“On Pancho!   On Vixen!   On Pedro!   On Blitzen!”

    G G          G G               G   G  G      

Ole!         Ole!         Ole!     San Ta Claus!

Verse 2

    C     Dm 

Mamacita, 

G          C            Dm 

donde esta Santa Claus? 

G            C           Dm 

oh, where is Santa Claus?

     G         C    F C 

it’s Christmas Eve.  

Chorus

  Dm                 G      C         

I know that I should be the sleeping,

    Dm         G        C    

But maybe he’s not far away,

   Dm         G          C        

So out of the window I’m peeping,

D                        G       

Hoping to see him in his sleigh.

G                                              

I hope he won’t forget to clack his castanets,

           F         G    

And to his reindeer, say,

           G           G           G             G  

“On Pancho!   On Vixen!   On Pedro!   On Blitzen!”

    G G          G G               G   G  G      

Ole!         Ole!         Ole!     San Ta Claus!

Verse 3

    C     Dm 

Mamacita, 

G          C            Dm 

donde esta Santa Claus? 

G            C           Dm 

oh, where is Santa Claus?

     G         C    F C 

it’s Christmas Eve.  

    Dm       C           Dm 

Oh! Where is Santa Claus?

     G         C    

it’s Christmas Eve.

         F        C         Dm                   C 

(spoken) Alright, Mamacita. I’ll go to sleep now.

 

(Above lyrics and music presented for educational purposes only.)

30 for 30 | 30 goals for my 30th year

30 for 30 | 30 goals for my 30th year

 

I turn thirty in three days. I have been thinking lately about how I feel like I do not do as many “projects” as I once did. Sure, I keep plenty busy running our business and it seems like I am always starting something, but I feel like my life is lacking in so many ways. I used to do projects with people, for people. I used to try new things. I want to start doing that again. I take so much joy in trying new things, experimenting, and pushing myself. I may not succeed or I may not ever try them again, but that is not the point. I want to take a big leap to push myself forward creatively, and in my relationships, old and new. I also really want to be more active on my blog, be more transparent with what is going on in my life. I have decided that for my 30th year, I will set 30 goals for myself. These are things I have always wanted to try or things that I’ve really been meaning (or needing) to do. Some of them are things that scare me. Some of them are hard. And some of them are unknown as of now! I’ve divided them up in to 6 categories with five goals each. I don’t quite have them all filled up, but I like that it leaves me the opportunity to add as the year goes by. Plus I am very open to suggestions from others for goals! I am also hoping that by making my goals public, I will be held more accountable. I’ll delve into explanations of the goals as time goes by, and I hope to be sharing my progress, completed projects, and experiences throughout the year.

30 for 302

Love

1. a date night
2. a gift
3. a surprise
4. a meal
5.

Family

1. a friend
2. an outing
3. a monthly
4. a tradition
5.

Social

1. a new friend
2. a party
3. a friend date
4.
5.

Home

1. a weaving
2. an herb garden
3.
4.
5.

Community

1. a collaboration
2. a donated artwork
3. a speech
4. a class
5.

Self

1. an active hobby
2. a book
3. a painting
4. a declaration
5. a song

 

To explain my photo today, this one of me playing my ukulele. I bought this ukulele in Hawaii last year because I have always loved how they sound and loved the idea of learning to play (especially to my baby with whom I was only 10 weeks pregnant with at the time.) Truth be told I learned some really basic stuff while I was still in Hawaii, and didn’t really pick it up again for about a year. But then one day…I did. I stuck with it, and played when I was watching Bear, and brought it along with me on trips, and then magically, the songs that were SO HARD to play back in Hawaii are easy now. I LOVE to play and find new songs and sing along with others. It is one of the new things I tried this year that I have fallen in love with. I hope this 30 for 30 projects leads to a few more love stories like that.

Bear’s colorful nursery

So. Bear is already nine months old, guys. I originally meant to do a nursery post before the baby came, but since Bear decided to arrive over 3 weeks early, things weren’t quite finished, and who-has-time-to-photograph-and-blog-a-nursery-with-a-newborn-baby-and-a-healing-body-anyway. Then life gets in the way and nine months pass before you realize you just need to bust out the camera and get things DONE! Well, I am actually glad it has taken this long because now the room has a few extra touches that come with nine months of living.

The idea for Bear’s nursery decor was inspired by a piece of artwork. It is Disneyland’s It’s a Small World, by the ride’s designer and favorite artist of mine, Mary Blair. See my previous post about the amazing Mrs. Blair and my obsession with her. Color was key in this room and you know I wanted all of them! So we painted everything white to give us a nice blank canvas to begin bringing in the hues. Along with lots of color, I knew I wanted the room to be modern, slightly eclectic, artsy, and inspirational, with lots of handmade things and thrift store finds. We had quite a few things to begin with as Geoff and I had been keeping a (rather large) box of items we’d collected over the years for our “non-existent child”, as we called it. We also wanted to stay very gender neutral as well. Without further ado, here we go! There are tons of pictures and I’ve done my best to include sources and links.

Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 002Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 003This canvas is actually the last thing we bought for the room before Bear was born and to me it is perfect. Silly, colorful, and inspirational of our love of travel and exploring the world — something we want to instill in our family for the rest of our lives. I found it on Pinterest ages ago and tracked it down for purchase hereColorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 008The yellow and green frame are two other Mary Blair pieces and the two bear drawings were done by me on my iPad after Bear was born. The little California bear (my home and favorite state) is wearing a party hat (because California knows how to party).  And I would be remiss to not have a bear with a bow tie. The hairstyling sun print is by Etsy artist ilovedoodle, called “Bad Hair Day”. Super cute right?Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 006I love those shelves stocked with colorful goodies. (Shelves from IKEAColorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 009Pinwheel print from IKEA and Camera toy is from Plan Toys.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 014The yellow vase is actually a kitchen utensils crock I found at Home Goods and I have actually managed to keep that plant alive for almost a year now. The little carrousel is a souvenir from Bellagio, Italy we bought just a couple weeks before we found out I was pregnant!Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 015All the other plant pots are regular old terra cotta pots from Lowes that I painted using the same paint as my dresser. True story: I suck at plants. I originally had some really cool succulents in these pots, which I replaced with a couple ferns when they died, and then finally with plastic plants when those died. It works for me. The little British guard is a thrift store find from a couple years ago that I got SO EXCITED about when I found it. Geoff is actually English and I knew he would love it. The rainbow toy is by Playable ART.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 010Squirrel is from Kid O, Rainbow stacking toy (my niece calls it the “rainbow cake”) is from Grimms. The Pantone Book is a beautiful one I found at Target, way before baby.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery-016Another true story. I was coveting this giant giraffe back in like, 2010. For reasons unexplainable (isn’t the fact that it’s a giant adorable giraffe reason enough?) I needed to have it in my life. Geoff did NOT support my giraffe needs. I tracked it on Amazon for ages and one day the price dropped to something like, $60 and I pounced. I wrote it off to Geoff as something for our non-existent child. The giraffe lived in our family room for a while, got moved around, dressed up for holidays, ridden on by my nieces and nephews, and the like. Geoff was not pleased. But you can imagine his relief when we had an ACTUAL nursery to put it in (he still did not love it like I did, oh well.) The char is the awesome IKEA Standmon with a few alterations. I sanded the black paint off all the legs and stained them a nice honey color to go with all the light woods in the room, You can’t see it in this photos but Geoff and my Dad helped me to convert the chair into a rocker by putting on rocking chair runners. Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 018This little side table is also a (partially unfinished) DIY project. I bought a table round and some furniture legs from the hardware store. I planned to chop the legs down and continue the yellow paint halfway down the legs, but never got around to it. The extra height was actually a good thing, it lined up perfectly with our bed when I was in it practically 24/7 this first few weeks. The little “bear” box is something I made in a Pigment and Parchment Hand-Lettering Class.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 004This lamp was another fun DIY project. I used a hanging light fixture from IKEA (can you tell I really like IKEA?) and wrapped the cord in lots of colored yarn. I also made a diffuser panel for the lampshade to soften the light a little. Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 020Bear’s crib (IKEA, of course — we got it for only $79, on sale) is home to some of his favorite knit stuffies, including Oswald the lucky rabbit, brought back from Disneyland and his teddy bear, that he sleeps with.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 041The closet in this room is very narrow and the sliding door that was there before left almost no room to get to anything in there. I took it off and made these bright orange curtains to cover the closet instead. A pop of color and function!Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 022This dresser has to be my favorite DIY from the room. I purchased this dresser a few years ago from Goodwill for about $15. I knew it would be perfect for a one-day kids room and I really loved the mismatched drawers and handles. Plus I have always wanted to try my hand at refinishing a piece of furniture. I sanded it down really well, painted the whole thing in a primer and few coats of a light cream color. Then I took direct inspiration form my Mary Blair print when planning out the triangle and stripe design. Honestly, it took me FOREVER to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with this dresser — paint it one bright color? Lots of colors? A pattern?  Cover the drawers in fabric? I was so stuck I almost scrapped the whole thing and bought a new dresser/changing table. I’m SO glad I persevered and stuck with the DIY route because I LOVE how it turned out. The changing mat on top is from Keekaroo and it is the BEST changing mat ever. It is made of rubber so if baby has an accident you can wipe it up, no laundry necessary. I highly recommend.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 021Elphabet is an adorable book by Etsy artist Bunny with a Toolbelt. She made our wedding cake toppers, and little figures of our dogs. She is awesome. I also framed a couple maternity photos taken by the amazing Sarah Maren.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 026This little print is designed by Andrew Kolb and comes in lots of different languages, of course, we had to pick french! I love looking at it every day when I change Bear. We are huge Pixar fans, so this was perfect. Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 025Got to love the Expedit (discontinued, but not really — now called Kallax) for storage awesomeness! We needed more storage in the room for books and toys, so this unit was a last minute addition to the room. I am all about adding non-IKEA furniture legs to IKEA stuff. It made the unit the perfect height and added style as well. I found bins in the perfect colors (after quite a search) hereColorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 027The little tin dog was one of the first things I bought for the baby after I found out I was pregnant. I found it at a local thrift store. The hilarious blocks are by Fred and Friends and they are so much fun. U is for underpants…hehe.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 033Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 035Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 028The leather moccasins are Geoff’s from when he was a baby. I think Bear may actually be big enough to fit them now! The postcard on the giant clothespin was brought back from Paris last year and the two wooden bears are from a toy store in Paris from our trip this year. Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 031aI love the brightness and fun pattern of the rug in the nursery. I designed this rug using the modular carpet tile system, FLOR. We had them cut the tiles diagonally and then I was able to arrange then into this pinwheel design. I think it goes really well with the geometric shapes in the room.Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 019Most importantly, this cute baby loves his space and mama loves being in it too. I honestly did not even use his room for the first few months. I changed diapers on a portable mat in random places in the house and he slept with us in bed. I’ll admit that in the beginning, it made me feel a teensy bit bad that I’d put so much effort into putting together the nursery. But now we spend a lot of time in there. It is primarily where I nurse when I am at home and where we sometimes play and where Bear naps and sleeps. We like to listen to our collection of thrifted vinyl on the record player (mostly mambo, salsa, and swing music). I love that we stayed away from anything too “baby” and that the room will grow with him.  Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 038Colorful Ecclectic Mary Blair Nursery 040

My love affair with Mary Blair

My love affair with Mary Blair

Let me tell you a story about a trip to Disneyland. Well, really it’s about one tiny moment during a trip to Disneyland. We were about to leave the park when we happened to stop into a gift shop near the front entrance that I never normally would have entered. It was in this gift shop that I had my first encounter with Mary Blair. I saw one of her paintings, the one that is practically synonymous with her name. It was colorful and bright and geometric and full of pattern, and at the same time simple and perfect. Although now I wished I had, I did not by anything from the store, but instead tucked her name away in my brain for later research. I went home and learned all about how she was the designer of Its a Small World, one of my favorite rides at Disneyland. I love it for its amazing colors, cheerfulness, and the fact that it looks like a giant arts and crafts project. And no, I do not think the song is annoying — charming and fun rather. I learned that Mary Blair was the concept artist for numerous Disney movies like Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland. I leaned that she illustrated many of our beloved Golden Books. I became mesmerized with her unique artistic style — striking, bold, colorful, fun, and absolutely one of a kind. During our next visit to Disneyland, I marched right up to the art store in California Adventure and purchased three large prints of Mary Blair’s work. One for our office, one for our bedroom, and one specifically for the future nursery of a little one who was nothing more than a twinkle in our eyes at the time. And in case you were wondering, the one for the nursery was that very same colorful, geometric print I saw those years ago.

Mary Blair Nursery-001-3

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the temporary exhibit on Mrs. Blair at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco called MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair. I hate to be overstated but it was life changing. Absolutely awe inspiring. Each painting around every new corner blew me away more than the last. I took tons of notes and about a million photos. I’m so so grateful to have these to use as constant inspiration whenever I need it. Mrs. Blair, YOU ARE AMAZING.

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There is much more to Mary’s designs than just the surface look, or unique appearance of them. Contained also within her designs is an expression of Mary’s own response as a sensitive artist, to what the thing is — or the creature or the person is — not just how it looks.”  - Wilfred Jackson. I love this quote. What the thing is, not just how it looks. I know this is something we strive for again and again in our wedding photography work.

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Even from her early watercolors created while she was in school are undeniably hers. So colorful and expressive. Those shadows…are you kidding me!? Ahhhhh…Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 015

I loved the mood of this one. Mary could simplify something so much, while at the same time expressing a feeling and mood deeply.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 014a

One of the things that impressed me so much was her use of painting techniques. I adore how the sky in this image is created using watercolor. While I am a huge fan of digitally created art, there are some things that can only be done by hand, using real tools and materials.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 016

“Walt said that I knew about colors he had never heard of before.”  –Mary Blair

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During her trip to South America with Walt is where she truly blossomed into the artist she is known as today. It really inspired me to take a trip somewhere and just spend time CREATING. Drawing, writing, absorbing. My artistic soul yearns for this.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 020a

I have been really wanting to learn watercolor for a long time. Mary’s work seems so effortless! I can imagine her making each stroke of the brush. The colors here are just wonderful.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 001 2

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One of my big takeaways was how simple things can be. In the images below, I love the broad areas of color with simple line art over the top. I saw this repeatedly with her work and it is something I cannot wait to experiment with.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 032

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Her mastery of brushstrokes was astounding. Look how a simple swish of a dry brush creates so much depth and shading in these children’s faces. Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 035

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Then we got to the sections of her work on some of the more well-know Disney films. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am huge Disney fan. These next pieces were such a treat to see. Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 042a

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YOU GUYS. Her work on Peter Pan was mind blowing. These photos do not do them justice at all. They were so vibrant — and I mean that in more ways than just color. The shapes and movement she created — what an ability to create a magical mood.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 050a

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This one below was one of my favorites of her Disney work. So dynamic and colorful.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 056

Her work on the Golden Books and advertising was also such a delight to see. I was surprised to see some pieces that I recognized that I didn’t even know were hers.
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So true…Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 065

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I thought this stone rendering of It’s a Small World was so cool.Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 071

When I saw this written on the wall, I stopped in my tracks. I was moved. If this described the rest of my life, I would be a happy lady. As I went through this exhibit, I was nearly brought to tears of gratefulness for being able to experience seeing her artwork so close in person. Not kidding, my face was practically pressed up against the glass studying each piece. I felt incredibly inspired and also thankful that I am able to create everyday and do what I love and support myself and my family doing just that. Mary Blair Art Exhibit Disney Family Museum 070

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If you are anywhere near San Francisco before September 7th, and love art, illustration, color, or Disney, GO see this exhibit. I’m planning on getting one of the two books about her: Magic Color Flair: The World of Mary Blair (about this exhibit specifically) or The Art and Flair of Mary Blair. Oh who am I kidding, I will probably get both! If I have the time I’ll probably go back to see it all again! Museum date anyone?

Bear eats “people food”

It was time. It was the big blue eyes ogling our plates. It was the nursing sessions shortening. It was the constant gnawing on everything. Bear was letting us know he was ready for big kid food! Dad bought some delicious orange and yellow carrots from the farmer’s market. Bear is so lucky to have a dad that is an amazing chef! Geoff makes the most delicious food and he is so excited to introduce all of it to Bear. I’m a notoriously terrible cook, so it is a win-win situation.

I plan on continuing to nurse him in-between as long as he’ll let me. Hopefully we can make it to a year. I know I will miss that when it is all done, even if it IS a pain in the butt boobs sometimes. I told Geoff it would be a good idea for Bear only to eat food during mealtimes and that we should follow suit. Snacking between meals is definitely my downfall and it would be wonderful for all of us to establish good habits together. One of the values I love about the French is that they do not really snack. That’s probably why French women are so skinny! BUT they do partake in a  le goûter (pronounced “luh goo tay”), an afternoon snack. In Paris, we always ate dinner really late (we still do, really) so it made sense to have a little something something around 4:00. I love this ideas in relation to children too. It teaches delayed gratification and patience. When you are at the grocery store and your little one is begging for a treat, it is okay to say yes, as long as they wait for goûter to eat it. A little tip I picked up from a wonderful book I read, Bringing Up Bébé, I highly recommend this book for parents.

Another milestone in the books. It’s so fun watching him through all of these new experiences (for both of us!)

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My daily joy

I’m feeling so thankful for all the time I get to spend with my little buddy. I know I get frustrated when I have work to do and he needs me and I am feeling pulled in two directions, but I love hanging out with him on the family room rug, watching him inspect his toys, and play him songs on my ukulele. Pulling him close in my arms and cuddling as we fall asleep together at night or for a nap — that is my happy place. 

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Picnic Wednesdays

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One of the major takeaways from our month spent in Paris is the importance of relaxing. Being self-employed it is all too easy to work endless hours at the sacrifice of leisure time (or cleaning, or spending time with friends). We went on our first Parisian picnic beneath tall shade trees with a view of the Eiffel Tower. We were invited to picnic by our internet-come-real-life friends, a couple of lovely Texans now living in Paris. It was delightful. A blanket, some cheese, meats, chocolate, snacky foods, and wine, of course. Good friends and conversation made for a wonderful, relaxing afternoon. We’d been working really hard photographing our book for the couple weeks leading up to that day and it was the kick in the pants we needed to tell us, “STOP! You are in PARIS for goodness’  sake, relax a little!” We went on a few more picnics that trip, one of our favorites being in a rowboat on the Grand Canal of Versailles.

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We so appreciated that special time as a family and we made a promise to have weekly picnic as a family once we returned. We got home on a Wednesday, so on the very next Wednesday, we had our first of many picnics at the park down the street from our house. We loaded up a picnic basket I’d found while thrift shopping and the three of us headed out. Every time we are picnicking, I always think to myself, “This is what life is all about”. Moments just spent relaxing with the ones you live, enjoying some delicious food and a summer breeze.

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Our picnic promise did come with a few rules, we decided.

  • Picnic as a family every week
  • It does not have to be fancy! A blanket and some food are all you really need.
  • Sometime you get too busy but never miss two weeks in a row
  • Picnic dinner if it’s too hot for lunch
  • Living room picnic if it is raining
  • No cell phones (this is a hard one, we really like to instagram #picnincwednesday)
  • After you are done eating, spend some time laying down, talking, and starting at the trees and clouds. This is the best part, trust me.
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Really, it is all about stopping everything (as lives tend to get very busy), relaxing, and appreciating life. I really hope we can keep this tradition alive through the years. We are lucky to work from home and can take an hour and a half for lunch in the middle of the week. But if you work, that does not mean you can’t participate in Picnic Wednesdays! It’s as simple as driving your lunch to the nearest park, or just eating your lunch outside. If you are a stay at home parent, the kids would love to picnic with you every week — what kid does not love going to the park? Or maybe you can meet your spouse at his or her work for lunch? If there is a will, there is a way. Try to figure out how to work picnic into your life — you will not regret it!

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Gotta go, we are off to Picnic Wednesday!

One year ago today

One year ago today

One year ago today I helped a lost doggie find his way home to his mama, and I found out I was going to become a mother myself. Looking back over the last year, this journey was surprisingly way better and easier than I could have imagined. When I first found I out I was pregnant, my first thought was, “well, here we go!”. It was the beginning of our third year of trying to have a baby, but I still found it so difficult to imagine myself being a “mom”. I had so many questions and doubts about how I would handle my new identity. I was excited too, of course, but still felt unsure. I feel so completely lucky that I had an easy pregnancy. Aside from some 1st trimester nausea and getting a subchorionic hematoma, things were smooth sailing. Life pretty much went on as usual, and I got to make all kinds of plans about decorating and crafty baby projects. I had a truly wonderful birth experience and fell into motherhood with ease. Taking care of Bear in the beginning felt like second nature. And now I have an adorable and surprisingly easygoing baby boy. He fits so perfectly into our crazy lives. I still feel like myself, but with some new experiences under my belt and a lifetime of watching this little man grow ahead of me. It’s crazy how the littlest squeaks and sighs from him make me light up with joy. Calming him down and singing him to sleep are some of my favorite moments. I used to think I would somehow lose some of my creative self once I became a mother, but instead I found a new source of inspiration. What a year this has been.

Above are the Polaroids I had Geoff take of me in our backyard through this crazy journey.

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