May 30, 2013

This Boy

This boy is learning new words daily and really talking in mini sentences now. He is constantly asking 'mama what you doing' or 'what I doing' and he beams at any response. Much of his language is still all his own, but I know nearly every word and he quickly becomes frustrated when he is misunderstood. He chatters non stop,  mostly focusing on choo choo trains and butterflies. He will stay up for over an hour after he's tucked into bed, talking to himself and his growing collection of animal companions.

He is full of energy and opinions in the last few weeks. He often makes demands for the day's activities in the morning, 'I go see animals' tops the list. I try not to give in every time, but generally the kid's got some good ideas. At the park he is jumping and climbing and running more than ever, although he is still cautious and I can trust him to respect his limits. Unfortunately I can't trust him to 'stop' when told and I find myself chasing him, wild with giggles, far more often than I'd like. I have to step up the discipline there, working on that one.

He doesn't seem to understand that he will soon be a big brother. We tell him that there is a baby in mommy's belly but he smiles and says, 'nooo'. It's a pretty wild concept, so his disbelief makes sense. When I point out how my belly has grown, he says 'mama too fat'... I don't even know where he picked up the word, but luckily it makes me laugh more than it offends. 

Although he doesn't realize that he will soon have a new little playmate, he is already so helpful and much more independent by the day. He climbs in and out of his stroller, helps with the baking, brings his plate to the counter, and runs to get my sandals and lay them by my feet to slip on, it's too adorable.

Lately he refuses to nap in his crib at least once a week. On those days I shelf all my responsibilities and hold him in my arms as he drifts to sleep with his head on my shoulder. He is so smart, and such a big boy, but he is also still so tiny and very much my baby. 

I look forward to watching him grow with his new little sister, I can already see how he will be a great teacher and friend. Still, it's difficult to imagine that soon I won't have the luxury of responding to his every move, question, and breath with my full attention. I know that it's all a natural part of his getting older as well as our family changing, but I find myself clinging to these moments where this boy is still my only child, my only baby. With daddy he usually likes to walk everywhere like a big boy, but with mama it's 'up up!'. So I carry him to the mailbox, or lift him up the stairs... because for now, I can.

While he can be wild, he remains a sensitive boy. He is the only one in his little class who doesn't like to go up and select a song, he never wants to be the center of attention, and when he's overtired and cranky, he asks for a time out (which just means a few minutes alone in his crib to calm down- which he actually likes!). He's such a funny and unique toddlerIt's been my privilege to share every day of the last two and a half years with this beautiful child.

May 29, 2013

A Long Week-end

We had some cold and windy weather, but made the most of our long week-end visiting with family in New York. It might be our final trip before the baby comes since I'm not certain how long I'll be comfortable traveling, so there were lots of extra hugs to last us through until the fall (or late summer for my cousin who will likely visit right after the baby's arrival).

As always, we played with the dogs and the goats and ate very well. We also pleased my beer loving husband by attending a tasting at a local brewery. I was obviously unable to do much tasting, which meant that the gentlemen had more than their fair share... luckily keeping a pregnant lady around ensures a designated driver!

I always leave these gatherings with so much gratitude for our amazing and very close family. I also love feeling rested from days of good food without much cooking... such a treat. 

Car rides are becoming a wee bit uncomfortable with the giant belly. Little Smith's car seat takes up so much room behind the passenger that I have very little space, a puzzle that we will have to solve before we add another since I'm not sure we could drive comfortably with it behind the driver in the current configuration. The challenges of a growing family!

I still have a few more trips in my future (including camping very soon), so I'll be breaking out my rally cap. I think I can, I think I can...

*sorry for  the picture overload,it's an indecisive morning... I may do some editing later :)

May 28, 2013


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

The hair. So many people want these locks trimmed, but I just can't... not yet. I don't really have a good reason, except that his hair is still baby fine and not one of those thick manes that lends itself to a crisp bowl cut... and more importantly, this is still the hair that he was born with. Sure most of it rubbed out at some point, but I am certain one end of one tiny wisp has been with us since the start. How can I just lop that off?! And yes it does get in his eyes, and yes I don't comb it as diligently as I should... but why should a messy face full of hair be a privilege reserved for girls? He's already learned to brush it off his forehead (a move that always makes him look like a teenager), and I love how the new humidity is introducing little curls. Some day a haircut will find us, but not today!

May 23, 2013

Spring Sandwich

The first sight of ruby red radishes is always such fun, finally- some fresh food is in season! We have had a few days of hot and humid weather here and I've been feeling less like cooking and more like 'assembling'. This little open faced treat was born out of a need to cut down on my daily cinnamon toast (what is it with this baby and her sweet tooth? honestly it's her, not me!), and the new abundance of fresh radishes and greens. It's quick and easy and also has quite a kick, just what I need to satisfy those afternoon cravings. 

Open Faced Radish Sandwich with Arugula Spread: this recipe makes about a half pint of the arugula spread, the leftovers will store well in the fridge covered for a week. it will freeze, but loses its vibrant color. i prefer kale pesto for freezing!
  • crusty loaf of bread, sliced
  • one small bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
  • two handfuls of arugula
  • 3 tbs toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on your tolerance for raw garlic and whether it's date night)
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c olive oil, plus more for brushing bread
  • splash of brown rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine the sunflower seeds and garlic in a food processor until well blended. Add the arugula, parmesan, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pulse until smooth. 

Thinly slice the radishes and drizzle them with brown rice vinegar. Slice the bread, brush each piece with olive oil, and toast or broil just until lightly browned.

Spread each slice of bread with the arugula spread, layer on the radishes, and top with salt and pepper to taste. Easy!

It's always fun to stumble on a simple snack that is also reasonably healthy and fresh tasting. I will warn you that the combination of arugula, raw garlic, and radishes is quite spicy. Little Smith is generally okay with radishes and enjoys pesto, so I thought he might be on board...

... the verdict? Too spicy, or actually 'doo picey mama'! Not the most pleasing for little people I suppose, but mama is more than happy to finish it all. Happy Spring!

May 22, 2013

Details B5.01

loving his little flower tiny girlie clothes watching buggies fly harbor picking up daddy from work exhausted brisk ride lazy kitchen helper table for one breakfast in bed

I haven't shared any 'details' for May, so this is quite the hodge podge. I finished up teaching last week (just need to submit those grades!) and it's been full steam ahead on getting the house ready for the baby, and all the shifting that requires. Everything seems to take twice as long as I imagine- but we're getting there.

Baby girl's closet is pretty well stocked, thanks to my fashion loving cousin and her well dressed one-year old daughter (my niece). My cousin dreams of clothes the way that I dream of kitchen gadgets and housewares. Although we're only six months apart, I was a small kid, which means that I grew up benefiting from her wonderful hand-me-downs. When five boxes of neatly packed baby clothes arrived last week, sizes 0-12 months, including everything from dresses to cotton basics, I realized how brilliant my timing has been. Hand-me-downs for life... score!

We've been spending more time in downtown Boston, meeting pop for lunch and picking him up from work. The weather has been so beautiful and Little Smith is obsessed with big buildings, big trucks, and especially choo choo trains. Seeing daddy in the middle of the day is pretty exciting too, for both of us.

I'm also trying to keep moving and to enjoy my one-on-one time with Little Smith; long walks to all of the parks nearby, trips to our favorite farm and to the beach. All of these projects around the house and field trips mean serious neglect in our garden. The weeds in our paths and unplanted beds (tomatoes and peppers and beets and cucumbers and squash and broccoli and cabbage ALL still yet to be planted- oh my!) are knee high, our radishes are coming up with big blank patches (birds?), carrots are barely showing their little leaves... at least the peas are looking good so far. 

We need to block out some time to just get everything under control and hope for the best, but I'm also getting real with myself that this is probably not going to be 'the year' for our garden. I won't be tending to it as diligently, I won't be canning in August as I usually do because, well... I'm having a baby. I can only do my best, and I'm not going to let it make me nuts. Of course I wake up at 4AM almost daily with lists and worries, but at least I'm trying not to let it make me nuts, and instead to focus on this special time with my little boy and watching my little girl grow in this giant belly. It's all moving along so quickly!

May 21, 2013


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

Flushed. Yesterday was our first taste of hot and humid this season. We took a long walk to the store to pick up an enormous watermelon, gobbled down nearly half of it, then sat around in our skivvies- sticky with melon juice and sweat. I feel summer on its way, and can already tell that being this pregnant once the heat wave hits is going to be... interesting.

*part of Jodi's 52 series

May 20, 2013


I used to imagine living all over the country, or even the world, before settling into the right place that was somehow a perfect fit. I never thought I was the type to 'stay put', but in fact that is just what I've done; surprised myself by being a life-long New England-er and finding my home only a few hours drive from where I grew up. It doesn't make for a very exciting introduction at parties, but there's a special privilege in being rooted to a particular history, both cultural and personal. I'm able to measure the changes in my own life against the constant of my surroundings. Everyday places are stamped with layers of my past and projections for my future- not the most adventurous life, yet rich with comfort and meaning.

When James and I were newly in love and enjoying the flexible schedule of graduate school, one of our favorite summer rituals was an afternoon dip in Walden Pond. We would always steer clear of the sandy beach, which was thick with screaming children, and head for the wooded paths that circle the pond in search of a private little patch of rocks. We'd scramble down the leaf covered bank and James would plunge into the deep water while I tried to balance on rocks and ease myself in... always ending with my slipping or being pushed into the ice cold pond. There was no space for beach towels and no shallow wading, just a quick swim to cool us from the heat, so carefree and refreshing.

I'm lucky, in this phase of my life, to again enjoy an open schedule and have returned to Walden as a favorite warm weather activity. We arrive armed with a giant canvas bag brimming with sunscreen, toys and snacks, and as you may have guessed, we settle down smack in the middle of that sandy, child infested shore. I get to watch Little Smith dig in the sand and splash, I even get to lie down on my sun warmed towel for a minute or two. Up close those kid's screams are actually pure joy, especially when you're pretty fond of the kid. 

I do miss the spontaneity of a sundress soaked in pond water- because who could be bothered to remember a towel, and of course I miss having James along (he'll have to play hookie and join us one day since week-ends are just too crowded for my tastes). Still, this new version feels right; geared up, round belly, and lots of tiny sandy toes.

*I rarely take video, and this one from my phone is uneventful and my voice is way too loud, but I just love watching my little guy enjoying his day at the 'eech'. Hopefully it's far enough away that none of the other beach-goers mind!

May 16, 2013

Twenty Eight Weeks

Welcome to the third trimester. This pregnancy is really picking up speed and I know that the next few months are going to be quick ones. I am getting to that place where I really feel pregnant; I'm only comfortable lying down down in a fortress of pillows (the worst part of that is no middle of the night cuddles :( it's like summiting Everest to find each other), I get winded much more quickly than just a week ago, and I have punches and kicks saying hello all through the day... and night.

Although it keeps me awake at night, I actually love that this little girl is such a mover, she's already demanding my attention! Little Smith never moved that much, just a chill guy. That probably wouldn't worry me now, but with my first pregnancy I worried about everything, and lack of movement was on that list. 

I'm still craving sweets and sugar. I mentioned this to my midwife, hoping she would endorse my continued indulgences, but instead she did encourage me to eat more healthfully. I am eating healthy foods, just capped off with chocolate bars and ice cream and cookies... isn't that okay?

Now that I'm entering the final leg of this journey, I'm really trying to appreciate each moment. This could be my last pregnancy, and while there are lots of uncomfortable side effects, it's truly is such a magical, insane, and fleeting time. I'm also enjoying those little slices of peace; an hour of silence during nap time, the stillness just after I've tucked Little Smith into bed... I know I'm about to say goodbye to those quiet moments for a while. I'm already tired thinking about it, but also so excited for those teeny tiny newborn cries.

May 15, 2013

Working On A Shared Room

We're slowly but surely making some headway on what will be our kids' shared room. There's been lots of planning and budgeting and clearing out, but only a little actual production which means sharing our progress is tricky. We are keeping the paint very white ('super white' in fact, by Benjamin Moore... it doesn't get much whiter!), so that's not even very exciting at the moment. Have no fear, there will be plenty of color. I've never been accused of being shy with color, and at least one of the walls will be stenciled as well. 

Since I view this blog as a journal, I really like all of the images to be original content (an obsession that keeps me from mastering Pinterest the way that I want to, I yearn to connect images to their authors for whatever reason). I was hesitant to include any type of 'design board', but ultimately I decided that I've been spending so much time researching and considering products, it would be fun to share some of my thoughts here. I also always think that these collages look more 'designery' than the final product, all the accessories are scaled up and the toys and books and personal touches are missing - so go ahead and imagine this all as less precious and more fun... thanks!

1. Henry Evans Poppies: This is a wonderful block print that I've had forever. It's currently over our own bed and I'm excited to pass it along to our future daughter.

2. Flag Curtains: We'll be relocating these from Little Smith's current nursery to the new room, they're just too much fun to leave behind.

3 5 Mouse and Sheep Mobiles: Little Smith picked these out himself, he is totally smitten.

4. Skateboard Book Cubby: This is a DIY we made for the nursery and will now serve as a big boy nightstand.

6 11Animal Prints: Little Smith selected all the art from a big list of options, and he just loves his animals.

7. Cloud Lamp: I'm a little concerned about the halogen bulbs with this guy, but I felt it in the store and it didn't seem to get hot. It's the perfect size for an over the bed task light... and very affordable.

8. Yarn Dyed Bedding: All cotton, simple, and soft.

9. Hand-Me-Down Crib (link to similar): We will be re-using our crib, which was a gift from my aunt. It's very traditional, wood with white spindles, and did have a drop side which we've fixed in place for safety.

10 13 16. Pretty Pillows: Pillows are always the first thing to go when the budget gets tight, so it's unlikely you'll actually be seeing any of these in our room. I have a big old collection of pillows on my wish list though, and these are a few favorites - so cute!

12. 8-inch Industrial Casters: We will be DIY'ing a big boy bed for Little Smith, and these wheels are the main feature. He loves them, they are huge and very heavy.

14. Storage Bins: Basic canvas bins in fun colors, and they're currently on sale too.

15. Sheep Skin: I always thought that this cheap and chearful Ikea version was fake and cruelty free, but researching it tonight I've learned it's actually a sheep, hmmm. At any rate, this or something similar is a must for warming up the Eames rocker, in my experience.

17. Granny Square Blanket: In my fantasy, I am crocheting this blanket. It's not so likely in the near future, but here's a lovely version, handmade with someone's love. 

18. Eames Style Rocker: We will be relocating our very blue rocker from the nursery into the new room. I know not everyone finds it comfortable, but I have loved nursing and reading in this chair- with that cozy sheepskin.

19. Animal Pillow Case and Crib Sheet: I love this pattern and it works well for both boys and girls. 

20Pouf: I'm not set on this one, and not certain of the color either. I'll probably wait until the room is more together to make the call, but I want a bean bag or pouf or something that doubles as a foot rest and kid seat.

21. Wool Rug: I fell in love with this when I saw it in person, not super soft but it just feels good to me. I do have a few other options on the back burner.

22. Painted Dresser: We have a mid-century craigslisted gem that we will be painting white since the veneer is a wreck. It's quite a bit taller than this picture and the legs aren't as nice, but same basic idea. 

23. Map Baby Quilt: This is another item that we won't be purchasing just yet but is on my dream list. The map just happens to include the hospital where our child(ren) was/ will be born. The company will mark a location and embroider a name and birth date, so I'd love to get them each a personalized quilt some day.

24. Stenciled Armoire: I swore that we wouldn't buy anything made out of particle board for this space, but this piece just fits perfectly in our narrow spot and solves a lot of clothing issues. I'm planning to stencil the bottom (as shown). 

I know, for someone who was hesitant to show products, that was a whole lot of products! Believe me when I tell you there are even more swimming in my head and lots and lots of details yet to be mentioned. I also have a substantial list of DIY projects that keeps getting edited as the days tick on by. One project that we are definitely committed to is making that big boy bed, it's next up on our very long list.

I thought all of the upheaval might be traumatic for Little Smith, but he absolutely loves the work going on and 'helping out' when he can. I think he is actually going to miss the empty room when it goes, hopefully we can pull together something that makes him happy. I sincerely believe that a person's environment has the capacity to profoundly affect their experiences. It's a belief that drew me to architecture initially, and it still rings true. This room is small and basic, but  nonetheless it feels good to be creating a sweet little nest for our little ones enjoy as they grow.