March 30, 2014



This week he: found a little red ball in the sandbox at school and later discovered it was magnetic, he is quite attached / realized he wasn't done with the never-ending tummy bug / spent a lot of time resting, reading, and watching 'thomas the tank engine' while we all dealt with sickness / still wanted his sister to sleep in his room each night despite being sick

This week she: was the only member of the family not to get sick (fingers crossed, she's got some magic) / got much better at eating solid foods, pretty funny since the rest of us have been struggling with food / got very used to moving into mommy and daddy's bed in the middle of the night- sigh / slept very very little, but was still always happy... the rest of us are exhausted, but she's happy!

*So yeah, it's been a bit rough here. Little Smith has a bizarre stomach virus that came and went and came again and both James and I had a turn suffering with a more mild dose of the same monstrous bug. Poor guy has had two weeks of on and off limited diet and it's definitely started to affect his spirits. I think we're out of the woods finally, cautiously optimistic.

March 23, 2014


This hasn't been the easiest week. Sometimes you just need to sleep it off, everything seems a little brighter with some rest. And as it turns out, the silver lining to a baby that will only nap while being held, is napping while holding that baby. Lucky baby, and very lucky pop.

March 20, 2014



This week he: used a fork on several occasions (this could be a turn away from barbarian!) / helped do everything around the house, from chopping and mixing in the kitchen to putting away clothes and linens / enjoyed a giant chocolate cookie all to himself (thanks Linda!) / went skiing again and pushed beyond the art of falling / was a little under the weather, but handled it like a champ / woke up in the middle of the night looking for 'woobie', his baby sister, whom he loves having in his room at night (even when she cries- sigh).

This week she: coped with some sniffles / was very good for grandma and even napped / really struggled with sleep (this girl sleeps fewer hours total than her three year old brother, and she's still happy so I'm starting to worry she just doesn't need much shut-eye... ahhh!) / starting having some separation anxiety and wanting only mama or her brother (poor daddy, he's a good sport) / enjoyed sitting upright more than ever, she's officially a pro.

And check out that evening light. Thank you daylight savings time!

March 18, 2014

In and Out

Since spring is still playing hard to get, we made the most of perpetual winter and headed out to my mom's this past week-end for some skiing / snowboarding and fireside relaxation. I managed to get in some solo time with my trusty snowboard and a very extended soak in the tub, Little Smith finally stopped intentionally falling on his skis and got back to working on his turns, James was the proudest and most patient pop ever, and baby enjoyed some cozy time with grandma. The perfect weekend.

Then James drove back home Sunday night while I stayed behind with the kids until Monday... and it seems to never fail that when we don't have his help some catastrophe strikes. Little Smith woke up sick in the middle of the night, and both he and the baby wanted nothing but mama. It was pretty hectic, soothing and cleaning up one kid with a baby under the other arm all night long. The mysterious illness was gone by morning, but I still haven't quite recovered from the exhaustion. 

Happily the weather seems to be taking a turn for the (slightly) warmer this week. I'm visualizing buds and mud and less hat-head. It will come.

March 14, 2014

Baby Splurges

*cozy thermals

*special blanket

*swaddles and sleepsacks

*versatile high chair

The business of baby gear and products has become completely overwhelming. It's insane to me how much is available, especially considering how little babies actually do require in the way of material items. Most of us could make do with far less than we have, and it's easy to get turned off by the excess. Still, as someone who is excited by good design and appreciates quality, I am definitely guilty of splurging on my fair share of baby items. 

My philosophy in general is to buy less stuff but at a higher quality, and I apply that rule to the kid's products as well my own. It's important to me that things hold up, both in style and construction, and can be passed down to other children for years to come. Nearly everything that we purchase has been researched, debated, and turned many times over in my head before it makes its way into our home. I am happy to report that regrets have been very few (a moving swing I ordered in a fit of desperation when Little Smith was a few weeks old comes to mind), and so while some of our choices may be high priced, the investment has been worth it to me. 

These are a few of my very favorite splurges for baby. Each one is practical, but obviously I have a weakness for design, and that plays a big role in my selections as well. They are admittedly skewed towards the winter, it's been a long one!

cozy thermals: Our whole family is obsessed with thermals. We live in New England with unforgiving winters (ahem March), we love to spend time outdoors and also live in a fairly drafty older house. When it comes to warmth, materials really matter and I won't scrimp, especially for my babies. Patagonia makes a great set for babies and toddlers because it's a special blend of polyester that wicks away moisture, dries quickly, is easy to launder, and of course keeps babes warm. Nothing beats wool though, and our baby girl's Nui Organics thermals are probably my favorite item I've purchased for her. They do require hand washing and air drying, but they are so soft and toasty that it's well worth the extra effort.

special blanket: Every child needs a timeless blanket to comfort them at night, and I have visions of these kids toting their blankets into adulthood (we'll see if they agree!). 

When Little Smith was born, our dear friends (Cindy and David) gave him a wool Pendleton baby blanket and it quickly became one of his treasures. It was the only blanket that he used in his crib, and although it isn't machine washable, it's held up impeccably. When our baby girl arrived, the same friends kindly sent her a blanket of her very own... but Little Smith immediately claimed it for himself (and we didn't have the heart to set him straight). He snuggles up under his two Pendleton's every night and even insists we bring them for travel.

I have long been obsessed with quilts and purchased a sewing machine a few years ago with every intention to get quilting. In my dreams I would have made a baby quilt myself, but since I still have yet to thread that machine, I turned to Etsy in search of a consolation blanket for our baby girl. Amanda Bergen put together a quilt every bit as lovely as I imagined, and we use it constantly for floor play or to cozy up on the couch, it can even be machine washed!

swaddles and sleepsacks: I have tried so many brands and types of swaddles over the years, and I keep coming back to Aden and Anais. I really do think they are so popular for good reason. The muslin is soft and breathes so well (not the warmest in winter, but I actually keep the kids' room pretty balmy since Little Smith kicks everything off in his sleep). We used the flat swaddling blankets for the newborn stage, then the 'easy swaddles' until she started to roll, those are so great because they don't stretch the way that many of the velcro versions seem to. These days we have graduated to the sleep sack and it makes me smile every morning to see her in these sweet layers. 

versatile high chair: I think our high chair might be featured on this blog almost as much as Little Smith (almost!). It's an older version on the Fresco by Bloom and while it certainly is an investment, we have used this sucker to death. Initially I wasn't convinced of the design and wanted something more subdued and timeless, but the more I learned about the myriad of features the better it started to look. Many families manage to make do with a short high chair phase, but for me it's been indispensable.

I like to sit down at the table with the kids for at least two meals a day (and of course James joins when he is home as well). This chair pivots back to allow baby to be up at the table from birth and gives me free hands just long enough to scarf down some food. I really appreciate having them up at table height before they are able to sit instead of lost in a bouncer on the floor. There are also two trays so that we can clear a messy plate and continue our meal, the whole thing swivels for feeding or gazing out the window, moves up and down to get a perfect table height, and I have grown very accustomed to the space-age design. The downside of all the options is that it isn't easy to clean and takes a while to learn the various configurations, but at this point I have it all down to a science. I don't know what I'll do when we finally outgrow it, this chair has become such a fixture!

There you have it, a few of my favorite indulgences. Honestly when the snow is falling in mid March, it can take a little splurge to brighten my day!

March 11, 2014



This week he: went skiing again and decided to master the art of falling / ate the whole basket of chips when we went out for mexican, he could not be stopped / set up his little tent in the living room and got his very own sleeping pad / enjoyed a few nice days and even wore sneakers

This week she: began babbling more, we are debating whether she's saying 'ma ma ma' or 'da da da' / laughed and laughed at her brother, it's crazy cute and also helpful / went for lots of walks in the stroller for a change / wore two dresses, that's a definite record!

*I realize that nearly all my pictures this year are in our dining room. We spend A LOT of time in there... so ready for some more fresh air.

March 10, 2014

In Their Room

After all of the dreaming and planning for a shared room, I was starting to get cold feet. Our baby is so good natured, but sleep seems to be the one area where she just won't go easy on us. In the last few weeks she began to wake more and more and settle with less and less ease... I felt like she was being disrupted being in our room, but was totally chicken to move her in with her brother and risk messing with his impeccable sleep record. 

I spent the better part of an afternoon rearranging our tiny office (formerly Little Smith's nursery and before that, my closet) to accommodate a travel bed and a rocking chair. I tried to make it cozy and imagined it would be her nursery for at least a few months, until she learned to sleep more consistently. In the back of my mind I started planning for a more permanent nursery and puzzling over where we could realistically house all of our work materials if this whole shared room thing went south. I just couldn't imagine Little Smith coping with the baby night noises that had been keeping me awake for all these months.

After two nights of near sleeplessness (she was a disaster in her own little room), I just impulsively decided to try her in the shared room with her brother... and like magic, she slept through the night. It's been nearly a week, and while she is still often waking at least once,she is sleeping better than she ever has before. They both seem to be truly comfortable together.

Of course I am giddy that they are in one shared space now. I dreamed of a roommate when I was a child, and honestly it is one of the best perks of marriage for me, to have my best friend beside me when the lights go out. I know our baby's sleep is likely to get worse before it gets better, but I am hoping we can work through the rough spots with them in the same space from here on out. It's my dream come true, from way back when I slept long enough to dream.

March 6, 2014

Details C3.01

ranunculus, chocolate milk, grapefruit, and sunshine my husband, master of the art of parenting while fully reclined me and my buddy, all day everyday trying to get out of the house the train the train! the queen nap strong little neck rolls clean plate (i know they are out of fashion, by my babes seem to love purees) dinner prep with my mom on speaker another day's end

We are all good and sick of the cold, except for James. I married the one true cheerleader for winter and he is working overtime to remind me of all of the various joys (skiing tops the list and we are planning on more of that for the weekend). Of course he also gets (gets?) to leave the house alone for 14 hours most days. For my part, I am baking and eating way too much, reading and doing puzzles and drawing with the kids, preparing endless snacks, nursing, singing, and doing my best to make the giant effort to get out of the house each day. I swear, parents in cold climates deserve some kind of consolation prize. It's all just such a hassle. The days of bare feet and t-shirts for everyone can't get here soon enough, but I'll settle for any temperatures that don't require a full snowsuit.

The kids get cuter together by the day. Little Smith is such a great big brother, and he knows it! He helps me constantly; entertaining the baby in the bouncer on the bathroom floor while I struggle to squeeze in a shower, bringing her toys, and always letting her know 'it's okay' when she starts to cry. Our baby girl is still pure sweetness. She won't nap at all unless we are on the go or she's being held, but after some real struggles with night sleep she is doing amazing in her crib and sharing a room with her big brother. I won't say much else since it's early days and I'm terrified of jinxing it!

So lots of planning for a bountiful garden and sketching thoughts for a face-lift to our glassed-in porch while we burn through oil and throw another log in the fire. I always struggle with patience, and this winter is giving me a good chance to practice practice.

March 4, 2014



This week he: had a great transition back to school after the break and apparently has been making everyone laugh a lot / made chocolate chip cookies... twice / went on an adventure to a construction site with daddy / continued to fear the potty (hypnosis might be the next step, there must have been some potty trauma in a past life) / requested candles and flowers for every meal / was so sweet inviting his sister to sleep in his room and announced 'I'm the best big brother!'

This week she: outgrew the bassinet / tried sleeping in a travel bed in the office, instead of in our room, as a temporary transition (disaster) / started sleeping in her actual crib in her shared room with her brother (only on night two here, but night one was the first time she's ever slept solid from 7PM-5AM... breath is being held!)* / started sitting confidently enough to not need crash pillows, although she still topples over occasionally / sat in the front of the grocery cart and loved the ride

*um, she slept through again from 7:30-5... I can't really get this lucky, right? we'll see, but she seems to actually be comforted by sharing space with her brother!

March 2, 2014

Carrot and Bean Orzo

Beans, beans... we truly do love them so. Not only do we eat them just about every day, but I even have a little song reciting each family member's favorite variety. Without question, you should be grateful that I keep these talents hidden from company, but in case you are interested (and for full effect, picture this sung at top volume and with a smiling baby bouncing on your lap and a three year old on back-up), 'brother's favorite are kidney beans, and mama's favorite are cannellini beans, baby's favorite are gonna' be garbanzo beans, and daddy's favorite are black beans'... and so daddy is in luck because black beans are the can that I cracked for this hearty dish with just a bit of a kick.

Carrot and Black Bean Orzo: 
  • about 3 c pealed and chopped carrots (roughly 1/4"-1/2" chunks)
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 c diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 c orzo pasta
  • 1 tsp  cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground chili's (adjust according to variety and your taste for heat!)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook the orzo according to instructions just until al dente, run under cold water to prevent sticking and set aside. Peal and chop carrots, drain and rinse beans and set aside, dice and mince onion and garlic. 

In a large frying pan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until beginning to soften, about three minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for another five minutes. Add 1 cup of the diced tomatoes and cover to simmer until carrots are soft, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove one cup of the cooked mixture and puree in a blender or processor. Return to pan, along with the second cup of diced tomatoes, beans, orzo, and spices. Cook together for an additional minute or two. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is great served with a generous spoonful of plain yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheese or sliced avocado are also welcome additions. Adjusting spice is one of my big challenges these days, I enjoy heat (and would probably double the ground chili's here!) but also believe in serving one meal for the whole family, which means toning things down for a three year old palette. 

Little Smith is more and more opinionated with his food lately, and he often wants to pretend he's eating trains (odd, I know). Initially I was opposed to this kind of 'bribe' to eat, but I totally gave in. In this dish, the carrots were stream trains and the beans were the coal tenders... he ate it all up without complaint. Whatever works, right?

James and I enjoyed our helping by the fire tonight while watching the preamble to the Oscar's. Perfect for these frigid temperatures March is doling out. I'm embracing a few more weeks of comfort foods before those first baby greens make an appearance. Spring is on the way, no doubt,  although honestly I can't yet feel it.