Annecy.

Hello there! We are back from traveling, which now means that I will drag you through our trip in excruciating detail. Hold onto your butts. France2017-79I employed my tried and true European travel selection method in picking Annecy for our vacation: a Google image search.

That’s it folks. I am unabashedly someone who chooses pretty places to travel, and this is even more the case when we were considering traveling with Henry, because our agenda was going to be light on museums and extreme outings, heavy on walking and wandering. While James originally agreed to a trip to Sweden in November, he was not the slightest surprised when I announced that our adventure had morphed into a trip to France in July (because y’all- Sweden is cold and dark in November). I just can’t go over the ocean without spending time in France, immersed in the food, language, and culture. I tend to spend lots of time in my former stomping grounds of Paris, but for this trip we agreed on visiting one other area, so long as it was a relatively short train ride, as both James and I hate everything about driving around a foreign country.

And thus it began, my Google image search of cities within a decent train ride from Paris.

While it was perhaps selected solely for its aesthetics, Annecy did not disappoint, and it proved a perfect place to travel with a baby/toddler. It is small, almost entirely pedestrian-only streets in the city center, impeccably clean, laid-back, friendly, and had some of the best food I have eaten in France.  We spent two and a half days there, and while we didn’t technically have any more activities to keep us longer, we both felt that we could have happy spent at least a third full day just meandering the town and gardens and swimming in the lake. Because what makes good travel with unpredictable little people is planning to not plan, choosing destinations that allow for maximum flexibility without feeling like you are “missing” something.

And now, way too many pictures of the perfect gem that is Annecy.

France2017-2//This kid did SO well traveling! There were a couple awful moments, like when the train AC broke and he was so over it, or when he hated biking (see later on this post), but for the most part- champion baby. I’ll blog later about the things we did/brought that made it better, but I credit so much to sleep training. We were able to simply shift his sleep window so that he happily stayed up until 10:30/11, letting us eat out and walk around, and then would sleep in until 9 or 10 or even 11 (once!), allowing us to sleep in. He napped on the go, only woke up in the night 2 times the whole trip, and generally let us all get enough rest to enjoy ourselves. I was so, so, so worried about it, but good sleep habits + jet lag in a favorable direction + croissants to smooth over rough moments, and things were great!// France2017-3France2017-6//Annecy was heavy on the mint and pinks, and I am now on a bit of a mint kick. GIVE ME ALL THE GREEN THINGS.//France2017-8France2017-9//Some friends from Paris now live not too far from Annecy, and they met us for the day, which meant Henry getting a tiny buddy, and me getting to catch up with some of my favorite people.//France2017-12France2017-13France2017-14France2017-18France2017-20//THAT WATER. We had actually planned not to rent a boat, but it was so uncomplicated and the water so inviting that we got swept up and did it. We didn’t stay out long, and we didn’t swim off the boat, though you easily could. You can even rent a paddle boat with a slide right off it into the water. And no permit or reservation required – you just go up to one of the many kiosks lining the boat and hit the water.//France2017-21France2017-22France2017-25France2017-26//The water is supposedly clean enough to drink, and I believe it. It was the clearest, most brilliantly teal water I have ever swam in, the type of water you expect on the southern French coast or in Italy. But since it is a lake, there is no salt, no sharks, no jellyfish, no currents, or waves, making it way less daunting with Henry.//France2017-30France2017-31//Annecy is the perfect combination of aqua water, pretty town, and then mountains and alpine meadows. Following our morning on the water, we took the bus up the mountain Semnoz and spent an afternoon hiking and playing in the Alps. The meadows are all free range for these beautiful cows, and are dotted with dairy farms that make the delicious regional cheeses.//France2017-35France2017-36France2017-38France2017-40//The way he started walking with his belly poked out KILLS ME DEAD.//France2017-41France2017-43France2017-48France2017-49France2017-50France2017-52France2017-56//Henry’s favorite part of the trip was probably this moment, putting gravel in this hole and then filling his empty water bottle with rocks. What you don’t see, is that this is the moment when we were told that the bus to take us down the mountain might just not run that day. As we waited to see if it would come, Henry had a blow out of EPIC proportions, and we were down to our very last wipe and no change of clothes. The bus did arrive, barely slowing to a stop before it continued on and while we made it on, there were some hikers sprinting towards it in the distance that were not so lucky. That’s France.//France2017-57France2017-58//Our rule for the trip was to eat outside as much as possible, and we actually succeeded at every meal. This made a HUGE difference in our ability to dine out with Henry. Every place we ate in Annecy was delicious, and I wish I could remember any names, but we just wandered checking menus and picked cute places. We did have one expecially notable meal at L’Etage, and two at great places along the canal. //France2017-64France2017-66//Henry carried that piece of toast around for the better part of an hour… gosh I love this age!//France2017-70//These were the only shoes I wore the entire trip and they are perfect.//France2017-71France2017-72France2017-73France2017-74//The second day we rented bikes and hit the path that goes most of the way around the lake. The plan was to stop and swim several times, meandering through the countryside dotted with tiny villages as Henry napped in the baby seat or happily looked around. That did not happen. There is no way I can emphasize enough how much Henry HATED the baby seat, or at least, the helmet. He dozed off a couple times, but mostly screamed and tried to fight his way out of it.  We stopped to swim at one beach and it was just as magical as I imagined, and our lengthier ride allowed us to cycle through some stunning areas. But if I was doing it over, I would rent the bikes longer, but actually ride less, stopping more frequently. I would also make sure to get the baby seat you pull, to at least distance the angry baby a bit. Still, the fact that this day of biking was one of my favorite parts in spite of Henry’s protest shows how truly stunning Lake Annecy is.//France2017-75France2017-78France2017-81France2017-82//This is tartiflette, the regional dish of Haute-Savoie. We ate it in a variety of forms at almost every meal, and I actually made it last week when we got home because we loved it so much. Now I feel like I have a personal crusade on for someone to open up a French restaurant that serves cuisine from this area of the country because it is GOOD.//France2017-84France2017-86//Behold, the only non-selfie picture of the three of us from the entire trip.//France2017-88France2017-90//Henry eats really healthy at home, and he had sugar for the first time on his birthday, and it has been a rare occurrence since. But in France, all bets were off. And you know what? It’s fine. The adjustment back was rough, but it was worth every bit of it for the joy that I had sharing ice cream cones, pastries, chocolates, and bowls of whipped cream with my boy. He never had tons at once, and we are back to days of steamed broccoli and roasted sweet potatoes, but it was worth it.//France2017-93

People, put Annecy on your lists. Everything about this first leg of our trip was perfect. In fact, when we got to Paris, we kept on saying that Annecy was so easy and so good and so tasty and so clean, and every other superlative you want on vacation. It was the perfect way to start our week in France with sun and color and ice cream coating our fingers.

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This & That

I had lofty blogging goals for this week… but they quickly got pushed to the side so we could spend more time doing this.Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI have no regrets. Long days of sun and water and snacks and pool snuggles are better than just about everything. (Sidenote: If you live in DC, this free pool is the best with kids! Pool+library+playground = trifecta of fun.)

We are heading out of town on Monday, and while I thought I would write a quality post or two before that happened, I am reassessing my goals and striking that from the list. I’m not going to post while we are gone either, so it will be a bit quiet over here until mid July. But don’t worry- I’ll probably still clutter Instagram with more pictures of Henry and I in matching outfits in the meantime. Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetAnyway, here are some things for your long-weekend reading pleasure:

I still find this hysterical every single year on the 4th of July, especially since we are Hamilton addicts and so I think about the Founding a lot.

The joys of urban voyeurism.

It is possible that this is the best thing on parenting I have ever read.  “Before you break up with your child, try new haircut, bath and clean clothes. Your love will be renewed.”

Since reading on vacation is harder with Henry, I’ve loaded up on audio books. I’m listening to Me Before You and Hillbilly Elegy, which are obviously nothing alike. And both were free, because Overdrive has changed my life.

Grandmothers are the key to breastfeeding.

I’m always craving more quiche! Even if a certain someone in our house calls it egg pie and won’t eat a bite.

Really hope this shirt goes on sale during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Sometimes minimalism isn’t compatible with actual daily life.

Rachel Lindsay is KILLING it as Bachelorette, and I love recap podcasts, but I just can’t get into Ben and Ashley I’s podcast. Ashley I is so painfully un-self-aware and whiny that she completely taints the joy of listening to Ben. But! I love Juliet Litman’s podcast, and I was so excited when she said that she will be on a new podcast called House of Carbs. I still miss Food News, so I hope this fills the void.

Annnnddddd, if you have any great ideas for how to keep an active toddler content on an 8 hour flight, you just feel free to send them my way! Or even things to download on Netflix. We have never let him watch any TV, so I’m hoping it will be super enthralling if needed.

Happy weekend friends! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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Making this an easy summer.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI love these lazy summer days.

Today feels like the start of true and unfettered summer. I have had childcare two full days a week since my semester ended so that I could really focus on making headway on my dissertation. I had some lofty goals (Introduction! Finish Chapter 3! Finish Chapter 4!) for these past 6 weeks, and I almost met all of them, which I am still counting as a success. On the other three days a week, Henry and I have been trying to fit in as much summer fun as possible, all while tying up some loose ends of semester-related responsibilities and summer goals (Purge all the things! Make an album! Tackle scary mountain of paperwork that has grown on my desk! Edit photos from a wedding I shot!). But now… most of that is done.

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Turkish towels are CLUTCH summer gear. They dry so fast and double as an aesthetic photo element.

Hello, sweet sweet summer.

I like to make June the productive summer month, because as those temperatures rise, my ability to get things done drops. And that’s ok.

Because the sweetness of summer is directly tied to its ability to slow us down, to hold us still, to convince us that porch-sitting, park-lying, lemonade-sipping is the best way to fill our days. I love the laziness of summer, love days that are full of fun, and light on preparation. I like it when our big decisions are between the pool and the splashpad, between the park or the sidewalk. Which Henry loves as much as the park, because he likes to climb up everyone’s steps. If you live on Capitol Hill and you have front steps, we have probably trespassed.

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He’s just biding his time before we can finish at the splash pad and he can find some good stairs to climb. .

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Total slide troll, that one.

Securing this lazy summer isn’t easy, even for someone who has the luxury of summer’s off, which is the best part of my profession. There are so many commitments that are tempting to make, and the daily impulse to complicate life is ubiquitous. You have to fight for easiness. The second half of our summer has a decent amount of travel, so I am extra intense about making the days at home feel sweet and slow.  Basically, my summer motto has three components:

  1. Go outside as much as possible.
  2. Try to do free things.
  3. Get snacks.

The second one is to offset both the third one, and summer travels. It also helps us choose creative or simple options over lavish outings. Luckily, DC is full of amazing and free summer offerings, everything from local parks to museums to splash pads and pools that are free (!) for residents. And summer snacks are so fun. The ice cream after the splash pad, the iced coffee on a morning walk, the tacos under the trees – I love the treats of summer.

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Henry and his favorite splash pad toy: a stroller cup-holder. He gets very intense about trying to use it to dump water… which is tricky, since it has holes.

But we also have some tools and tricks that help give that lazy summer vibe to our days. Here are some of the things that make my summer (and life in general) easier. Most of these you can buy, because problems solved by buying random things is sometimes simpler than a complicated DIY fix.

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The cup-holder did have some competition from this delicious sunscreen bottle.

Alexa. Y’all, ALEXA. We were so skeptical. What if she stole all our secrets? What if she ordered lots of random stuff? But we disabled the automatic buy feature, and we don’t have very interesting secrets. Instead, I have a robot who acts as the DJ to our summer jam sessions, lets me know the weather we are facing without my having to pull out a phone, and tells jokes or plays comedian routines on command.

Amazon Prime. Related to Alexa, I know, but Amazon Prime means that I spend less time in the store, and more time blowing bubbles with my baby. Who can’t blow bubbles and prefers to play with the plastic container instead of the actual bubbles. BUT STILL. I know that everyone is thankful for Amazon Prime, but I don’t to take its magic for granted.

Grocery Delivery. Time spent buying groceries and hauling them up my stairs is better spent playing in the park. Ordering my groceries also helps me avoid impulse buying and plan meals better.

Gathre mat. Ok, I totally judged these for awhile, as it seemed an obscene cost for a mat to put under your high chair. But then I was digging scrambled eggs out of my rug and constantly trying to get up all crumbs, only to still leave enough food bits to attract nice. Not acceptable. I snagged a mat during a sale and it really makes cleanup easier and quicker, which leaves more time for summer fun.

Lysol wipes. Do not spend all summer cleaning. A quick wipe down with these pretty frequently prolongs the time I can go before stopping everything and devoting time to a deep clean.

Meal planning. I love meal planning, because I love to eat good meals, but I hate to spend too much time planning and prepping during the week. For me and my Type A personality, a little bit of planning Sunday nights makes for easy weeks that have good food with little time or energy. (Don’t worry- I will someday inflict a whole post on meal planning on you, so GET EXCITED NOW!) In planning, I try to plan healthy and simple meals that are cheap, have leftovers, don’t require tons of time in the kitchen, and clean up quickly. Which brings us to…

Crockpot. I have waxed poetic about my love for my electronic sister-wife before, but I think the Crockpot is too often forgotten in the summer. I love nothing more than tossing some meat, veggies, and spices in in the morning and then coming home after a day of summer adventures and finding taco filling or pulled pork.

Sandwiches. Some of my mom friends talked about the moment they “remembered” PBJ’s, and one day – it happened. I was trying to steam some broccoli to take with us to the park so Henry could have a balanced lunch, and then I was like – why am I doing this??? He can have his PBJ (ok, almond butter), feed it to himself while he plays, and I could have more freedom in our outings. James and I are also devoted to BLT and watermelon being the perfect summer meal on a regular basis.

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There is a direct correlation between the quality of a summer day, and how messy he is by the end of the day.

What are the things, tricks, and products that make your life easier? Share em’ all so I can keep making this the laziest summer ever.

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Great expectations.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetHenry nursed for the last time on a Saturday morning several weeks ago, shortly after turning one.

Nursing was not something I joyfully anticipated while pregnant. I wasn’t enamored with the bonding it offered, wasn’t looking forward to someone needing my body around the clock. I was going to do it because it was easiest, cheapest, and (supposedly) best for my baby, but that was it. Perhaps because I went into it unexcited, or perhaps because it is much harder than many people think, but I was not a fan. I struggled with supply, Henry was the world’s slowest eater, and I felt so trapped. 6 months, I told myself, that’s all I’m doing. We introduced bottles early and I am so thankful we did, as Henry has never had an issue taking a bottle from anyone, and I counted down the months.

And then six months came and went, and I realized I didn’t dread it anymore, didn’t hate it, didn’t love the mechanics of it, but desperately loved those cuddles with my baby boy. 1 year, I told myself, I will definitely be ready by then.

He started self-weaning as soon as we introduced solid foods, and I was fine with that. He still nursed a couple times a day, and I was sad to see those sessions go as he dwindled, but very ready to be done with pumping. By 11 months, he only nursed in the mornings when he woke, and I cherished those sleepy snuggles to start our day. When he turned one I kept intending to stop, kept shrugging it off, kept getting up when he woke and pulling him into the comfy chair. Soon, I said, soon.

On a Saturday morning shortly after he turned one, he nursed. The next morning, he refused. And the morning after that, and the one after that. And so it was that we were done.

It’s not that I am devastated to be done nursing. I was ready, he was ready, and I was intending to do it. I just didn’t imagine it ending like that, didn’t realize that the last time I snuggled him close and breathed in his sweet baby-ness while he nursed would be that day. I had great expectations for our final nursing moment. I was going to soak it in, going to drink in my baby needing me in that unique way for the last time. I was going to cherish it and remember it and store it away in my heart and mind in that precious space that is for cataloguing Henry’s baby moments.

Instead, I nursed half awake, quick to hand him off to James and get back into bed. Because I didn’t know it was the last time.

This will happen a lot, I’m sure. He’s a tiny person, this kid of mine, not a guest actor in the film of my life, playing his role to a T and fulfilling all the moments I have planned. He doesn’t always respond how I imagined, doesn’t react how I hoped. I will spend my whole life having expectations ignored, mourning moments that didn’t happen on my terms. Life with Henry will not go accordingly to my great expectations. That is the tragedy of parenthood, of life lived with other humans.

But there is the joy of those unexpected moments too. Every day he does things I wouldn’t have known to expect, little things that are demanding more and more space in the catalogue of my heart. The way he has learned to climb on everything and then squeals until we notice. How much he loves cheers-ing anything I hold. How he has started raising up his arms to wrap around my neck and place his chubby cheek against mine. How he laughs and hurls his body across my own when I lie on the floor to try to rebuild some abs after carrying him destroyed them.  Lesser moments, greater joy.

This isn’t a lesson we learn once. I’m sure I will spend my whole life being crushed by the ways he thwarts my expectations of a moment or a memory. But along the way I hope I learn even more to love the beauty of things I didn’t even know to expect.

 

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Memory-making, photo-taking, and artifact-creating.

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetI have always loved printed photos, loved that thrill of anticipation when a packet came in the mail full of blurry photos from the disposable camera I took to summer camp, each almost identical and infinitely precious. My family loves photo albums. Rather than one big album, my mom updated individual ones for each child, so that each of us has a series of books detailing our childhood. We used to pull them out often, paging through former years and reliving moments. The era of every photo equaling a print resulted in us cherishing our images and memories instead of just spreading them around.

I spend a lot of time and energy (and words) reflecting on how to remember life, how to create a physical trail of artifacts and tokens that my kids and grand-kids can treasure. During my grandmother’s last months, we read all the old letters we found that she had written to her own parents, recreating my mother’s entire childhood. We flipped through slides and turned pages in albums, holding family history in our hands.

I want my grand-kids to have more than just a link to a feed of pretty doors and coffee cups. I want more for them than unsmiling faces half obscured by hair and cute shoes on good tile. Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

So, while I love social media and enjoy digital archiving, I also try to move beyond that, which brings me to a command that will enrich your life: Print your photos.

Tuck them in albums, hang them on your walls, cram then in your bookshelves. Let there be traces of people and places you have loved around your house, and take time to turn the pages in albums and relive happy memories. Don’t let the past fade, and don’t only capture it for masses to like, but rather for an intimate few to love. I love having giant black and white prints of vistas we saw hiking in the Canadian Rockies on our honeymoon in our bedroom, and I love having pictures from our European trip scattered about the living room. I love having scenes of our adventures around the world grace the walls of our home. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I wanted to share some of the ways I print and use photos, as I have done a lot of trial and error over the years and have found some things that work. I would also love to hear what you do to sort, store, and display photos. I know a lot of people use these albums, and I recently saw someone sharing about this digital scrapebook builder that has me very intrigued. Obviously, back up your photos somewhere secure, but I think too many people just leave them safe on a cloud, but never actually where they can see them.

For albums and prints you will frame: Mpix, forever and ever amen. In my experience, Mpix is the best quality printing you will find for a low to moderate budget. I haven’t done canvas prints or anything super fancy with them, but I use them for all prints I plan on framing, and I have printed pretty large scale with them without problems. For albums, I made an album of our first 4 years of marriage last summer and then swore to do it annually. I just got my 2016 album in the mail (really it should be called “Year of Henry”) and it is stunning. I always get the premium panoramic books. They have thick, lay-flat pages, and have hands-down the best  layouts for people who want to customize them and add lots of photos. Yes, you could be trendy and pay lots more for these albums everyone loves, but you will be forced into a minimal aesthetic and can only have very limited pictures per page. That’s great, but I needed to share approximately a million pictures of Henry in bear suits, so that wasn’t an option. There are always Mpix sales, so I design an album, put it in my cart, then just wait till a 30% off coupon shows up and order.  Note: I used to totally design all my pages in Mpix, and it is possible and you can have a million photos. But then I got lazy, and now I actually use a collage making script I run in Photoshop to prepare the collage and then upload it as one photo. This is faster for me, but you could totally still do it in the Mpix interface and achieve the same result, as all photo boxes can be dragged and sized to manually create a collage. Just wanted to add that note in case you went to make a spread like the one below and didn’t see it as an option. Of course, if you have Photoshop and make collages often, the script is totally worth purchasing!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFor fun prints to share outside of frames: Social Print Studios. I love their photo strip prints, and I also ordered some of their postcard prints to give to grandparents, because they look just a little bit snazzier stuck on a fridge or standing up beside a computer. They have all sorts of fun photo gifts too that I haven’t tried.

For keeping your mom satisfied with pictures of your baby: Postal Pics. My mom is always wanting new pictures of Henry to keep in her purse and thrust on people she meets. She doesn’t need crazy high quality prints, just frequent photo updates that aren’t on her phone. I downloaded this app and periodically just have some new pictures shipped to the grandparents.  Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Things to help you actually print your photos:

  1. If you have photos professionally done and if it is financially possible, book someone who includes prints as part of the cost. Otherwise you will have just another CD to toss in the back of a drawer. If not, set yourself a date whereby you MUST choose and print some.
  2. Organize your photos. When you upload them, edit keepers and delete duplicates/bad ones immediately and save them in a uniform format. I have a folder for each season, saving any new pictures as Summer2017_62 etc.
  3. Make printing/album-making/scrapbooking a routine ritual. My brother has given my mom a photo album of all our photos on her birthday the past couple years, and as I mentioned above, my goal is making an album for each year. It has taken me till June to get last year’s album up, but it happened.
  4. Streamline scrapbooking. The beauty of digital stuff is you can include photos or scans of documents that are important. On the last page of our annual albums for instance, we include a digital copy of the front and back of our Christmas card, as it sums up the year.
  5. Look at your photos. Get those albums off the shelf and look through them, reliving memories and retelling stories. Make reflection a part of your family culture, not just a digital impulse.
  6. Actually take photos all year. I wrote here about what camera I use, how I edit, and how I shoot, in  case you want more tips on actually taking photos.

How do you print and use photos? Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

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Taking stock.

takingstock1Making : Our 2016 photo album, and to have it finished before the end of 2017 feels like quite the accomplishment.
Cooking : BLT’s…. which maybe doesn’t count, and actually James always makes those, so it definitely doesn’t count.
Drinking : Coffee hot, coffee cold, coffee in the pot three days old (not really… though I’m maybe not above it if I got desperate.)
Reading: Mark Helprin’s Freddy and Fredericka because my friend Anna promised it was good, but so far it has had everything that annoys me about Helprin’s writing (obnoxiously smug hypermasculine men, silly women, lengthy and maybe pointless digressions, too long and elaborate sentences), so I’m losing faith.
Wanting: For June to last twice as long, because I am already panicked that summer will go too fast.
Looking: For baby-friendly restaurants and activities in some of our travel destinations this summer.
Playing: “Let the Baby Tackle The Mommy and Put Solo Cups on Her Face”- a game at which Henry excels.
Wasting: At least half of every bag of Goldfish, thanks to our chubby ginger gremlin and his enthusiasm for scattering food.
Sewing: As always- no. But, since Henry’s goofy crawl has ripped out the left knee in almost every pair of pants, I should really get on that.takingstock2
Wishing: That there wouldn’t be a new disaster in the news daily. That our world would break just a little less each day instead of more. That there wouldn’t be so many attacks and shootings and disasters that we all get almost numb to it.
Enjoying: Long days and more flexible nap and bedtime schedules that let us enjoy them.
Waiting: For my download of Hillbilly Elegy to be ready through Overdrive. I am very skeptical that it will be better than this book of a similar nature that is PERFECT IN EVERY WAY GO READ IT NOW, but I decided I should withhold judgement until I read listened to it.
Liking: How the house feels so still the two days a week that Henry is with a babysitter. How it feels so complete when he has returned his noise to it. How much I can get done on my dissertation while he’s gone. How that concentrated work time means I can really focus on doing things with him the other days.
Wondering: When Henry will start walking, and feeling both excited for that day and sad that it means the end of his total babyness.
Loving: Summer in this city with a baby… blaming fun on your kid really opens up amazing adventures.takingstock4
Hoping: That I come out of this summer of splash pads and pools with a tan.
Marveling: At how anyone could think that having kids isn’t fun, because I have never laughed so much on such a regular basis.
Needing: To buy my chubby-footed baby some shoes, but for the love of me, I do not understand toddler shoe sizing. Like, what are these numbers and what do they means???
Wearing: This shirt on repeat (because yes, I have it in three colors, and yes, it makes me feel fancy at the park), and I just snagged these shorts, because they are supposedly stain proof. (Henry: “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.”)
Following: The ladies of this podcast, because even though I started it as a judgy “that is so never how I would raise my kids” listen… I really appreciate their hearts and words and have found myself rethinking so many parenting decisions I made before having kids.
Noticing: How differently Henry has changed my perspective on so many things.
Knowing: That this is only the very beginning of the unraveling of so many expectations and ideas that change when confronted with reality .
Thinking: That that is how it should be, our children undoing us and requiring humility, openness, and new growth.
Feeling: Uncertain of so very many things, but deeply happy for who my people are and the life we are building.takingstock

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Some things.

Somehow it is only Thursday, but as I am thoroughly convinced that it should be Friday, I’m tossing up a bunch of links for your weekend reading. James had a crazy work week, Henry got a nasty cold on top of 4 straight days of a low-grade fever from his one-year vaccines, and I have somehow had to do a million little things that take lots of time but feel frustratingly unproductive. So. Not our most relaxing week. Still, it has been punctuated with way more snuggles than my usually active boy allows, so I don’t totally mind. Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetI’m sure you have heard that avocado toast is the reason young people aren’t buying homes, but apparently the culprit is also hip coffee shops with milk crate seats.

I’ve been on the hunt for a new place to get cute, good quality, inexpensive toddler clothes, and PEOPLE: This is it.

Most frequently misspelled words for each state. Of course, if the Internet was a state, its most misspelled word would be “you’re” which is NOT THE SAME THING AS “YOUR.” I  keep track of people on Instagram who I have never seen use the correct one… which maybe just means the whole language is changing?

These are the words that I need to hear on a regular basis: “Church is not something we do—it’s who we are to each other and to a watching world that doesn’t need one more Christian pretending that everything is fine.”

I know I’m late to the game, but POLDARK. So obsessed. Nothing I love as much as angsty British drama interspersed with panoramas of horseback rides along the coast of Cornwall. In fact, sometimes I just imagine trips to Cornwall and cruise Airbnb’s (like this one) because if there is one thing I love, it is researching trips that I’m not actually taking.

At the encouragement of my constantly-white-clothing-wearing friend Christine, I took the plunge and got these white jeans (which are on sale every 2 minutes because LOFT), that I shared here. They are pretty amazing, not completely see-through, perfectly stretchy, and forgiving for us wide-hipped ladies.

My cousin visited recently and she is a neurologist, so of course I made her analyze everything Henry does to tell me if his brain is developing correctly. She told me that quite possibly the best thing I can do is to not protect him too much, and to eat a little dirt in hopes that it might prevent against later developing autoimmune diseases. (Kind of like the underground worm selling network .)

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These two articles popped up back to back in my newsfeed the other day, and I really appreciated reading two entirely different articles that tied back to women keeping house: Making marriages tidy and why you shouldn’t have to ask.

I’m kind of in a cooking rut, but this looks like the perfect easy and simple dish to mix up my rotation.

Everyone is wearing tassels and usually I am not a fan. I am not one for froo-froo jewelry, beaded things, and too many pastels. But, a friend was wearing these the other day and I snagged some with a giftcard. The perfect “neutral” tassel option!

A friend shared this article that his wife wrote on their journey with infertility, and I cried reading it, thinking of all the people we know who have walked this hard road. Children are a gift, and the words and pictures helped me visualize and better understand the sensations of being passed over to receive them.

Finally, I was so thrilled when Megan of The Fresh Exchange asked me to be her May contributor, and if you missed it, hop on over here to read some thoughts on motherhood and see pictures of a day when my hair looked way better than it usually does. Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetHappy weekend!

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