LEAH LIKES: documentaries and a good book

image via ashvegas.com

so, when chloe takes a nap that is usually my  time to get stuff done. that is when i sew, craft, work-out or do some yoga, watch, listen, or read... basically i like to cram these hours with as much stuff that i cannot reasonably do while she is awake... which is most things that involve sharp objects, or require the majority of my attention to not screw up.

so i sew and listen to an audio book at the same time, or work out while watching a documentary (i put on the on television and then one on the laptop). doing this allows me to feel like i am getting the most out of my time without feeling like i am doing too much at once... because there does come a point where you realize that multi-tasking can be overwhelming... say when you are watching a movie, doing laundry, painting your nails, and eating dinner... too much going on there!

i recently watched "beauty is embarassing" on netflix instant... twice. it is a documentary about wayne white, a true creative genius who exudes passion for not only the work he does, but the work people are doing around him. his work includes art design on one of my childhood favorites "pee wee's playhouse", and the smashing pumpkins music video "tonight, tonight". i don't cry much during movies, but this documentary made me tear up many times. i could watch it over and over - really, stinkin' good.

image via http://pinelandslibrary.blogspot.com/

i came across this gem of a book when searching for an audiobook to listen to while sewing. it is a "teen book", but the subject matter is such that it would make a fitting read for just about anyone. the author introduces, two teenagers "Hazel Grace" and "Augustus Waters", two cancer survivors who meet in a support group. you have no choice but to fall in love with both of them throughout the book, the characters are beautiful a i bawled my eyes out during parts of this book. i listened to it while cleaning my floors one night and literally needed to take sobbing breaks. oh, it's sad, but it is that wonderful, beautiful sad... the sadness that is followed by sweetness so you don't know if you are laughing or crying at times. i bought this as an audiobook, but i have the feeling that i will need to buy the hardback to add to my collection.

so, here is some entertainment to enjoy while doing your housework, driving to your job, riding the train, working out...

and while we are talking about good entertainment, do you have any recomendations for me? i am always interested in a good film to add to my que or a book to listen to.


summary of thismorning's events:

fight with husband. remember i am not a morning person. decide to not fight. chloe sleeps in. i take the opportunity to do my hair, wash my face, and get dressed while she is still sleeping. decide to wear one of my favorite vintage dresses. chloe wakes up. practice saying "i am two!" with chloe, to prepare for next week. make coffee and a puffed pancake with chloe. chloe eats bread and an apple while puffed pancake bakes. chloe dances on counter covered with breadcrumbs while we listen to jimi hendrix. i love our cherry tree, especially on gloomy days. fight with husband again. decide we are done fighting for the day. give him a quick lesson on how to use my camera... even though i hardly know how to use it.

happy monday friends! hope you have a great day.


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

she will be two in just about a week from today.

she still sleeps with a "binky" and has a favorite blanket.

i tell her every morning and night that when she becomes two she will be old enough to sleep without a binky...

next week will be her last portrait as a one year old.


mother's day will be here sooner than you think it will (it's may 12th!). this holiday always creeps up on me - i always mean to do something more, find a pretty card before they are all picked over, or order the perfect one in advance, find the perfect little gift, plan the perfect treat. somehow i am always scouring the left-behind cards at hall-mark, that hardly resemble how i feel about my mom, and picking up some flowers or a plant at the local grocery store. my mom always loves these gifts, just like she always has loved all of the gifts me and my siblings have found, made, or bought her each year. today though, i cringe at all the "mom" or "mother" necklaces that we gave her that were completely not her style (but that she wore anyway!).

before i became a mom i made christian promise to never let me wear one of those necklaces ... but, now that i am a mom i would wear them everyday with pride... a whole slew of them all at once. i wouldn't mind it one bit.

i put together a little list of some gift ideas for a mom like me, who loves vintage, handmade goods, and little luxuries that are still practical enough for everyday.

1. dark rum scented candle by malin & goetz candle : would be an instant pick-me-up on those days when i feel frazzled and have no time for a drink.

2. gorgeous wood hair comb from the ancient muse : to dress up any outfit and make me feel instantly put together and pretty.

3. mama ring by bueno bueno : a great alternative to the "mom necklace", that i would wear everyday (it's a custom ring, so you can get it made to say whatever you call your mom!)

4. pretty vintage le creuset pot from judeslore: because any vintage le creuset in a bright color is always welcome in my kitchen.

5. vintage levis from 86vintage86 : to make me feel classic cool while running after chloe at the park, and to turn into cut-offs once the really hot weather hits.

6. miniature banana tree : to add a bit of freshness (and fun) to my living room.

what is the best mother's day gift you ever gave? or received?


so last night we watched "the hobbit". this was our third attempt. the first two ended with christian falling asleep, and me unable to watch such greatness alone, deciding that we both should just call it a night and go to bed.  we used to be able to stay up together; until two or three in the morning, watching movies, making cookies, talking and being young (er). it seems that something happened once we had a child. although we have been aging the entire time, but aren't necessarily that old, if we snuggle up on the sofa to watch a movie once chloe has been put to bed and is resting soundly, one of us is bound to fall asleep, and the other will usually decide that it's not such a bad idea to follow suit.

i sometimes knit while i am watching a movie, just to keep myself moving in order to stay awake. when i was in school i developed the ability to knit while reading. yes, to keep myself awake and prevent myself from getting too bored - it worked.

but sometimes you don't want to knit while watching a movie, you just want to snuggle.. and if your movie has a little bit of a slower start (a-hem! hobbit!?), then you may just find yourself and your someone special deciding to turn in for the night rather than spend time watching a film together. 

sometimes i feel that this is just a big joke on my childhood self. during my early elementary school years i sat up in my bed, wondering what the adults were doing after us children we up in our rooms. imagining the snacks they were enjoying without us, the secret hidden snacks i am sure they had stashed away somewhere (ha, i knew about them even then!)... i was sure they were playing board games they would rather not play with us (no, seriously, i really did believe there were board games that my parents played without us!). i imagined a whole "after hours" life that my parents had, one that didn't include us children who they had put to sleep and surely immediately forgot about. i bet they watched PG-13 movies when we went to bed. PG-13 movies with words at the bottom of the screen. those crazy grown-ups, with their late nights.

and now that i am a grown-up (kind of), i see what this after-hours life really is. it is the little bit of time you have before it all starts again tomorrow. you try to keep yourself up to enjoy it, to get a bit of work done, to fold the laundry without threat of it being dumped as soon as you got it in the basket, because your toddler is convinced that basket is her rocket-ship. how dare you fill her rocket-ship with clothes! sometimes you do stay up late, real late. you make a pot of coffee, you do your homework if you are one of those parents who has decided to go back to school and needs to do their homework at night. or, if you are me you do your sewing and write for your blog. you stay up until two or three in the morning, and know you are going to pay for it the following day...

but last night we did watch the hobbit, and man, it was pretty good. i love the idea of adventure, of going out and experiencing the unexpected. of discovering something new. of something unplanned happening. and as i snuggled there on the sofa with christian i began to think of how adventurous our life is. 

if i were to rank our life on adventurous from zero to ten, zero being "Max and Ruby" (don't get me wrong, i love M&R, but it's probably the least adventurous children's show i have ever seen), and ten being "Die Hard", i would probably put us at about a five-ish. we have some pretty predictable routines, but sometimes some crazy things do happen around here. christian and i do both have jobs that can be a little eventful and hectic at times, and although neither one of us would ever call ourselves adrenaline junkies, we need to admit that both of our careers are ones which attract that type of folk. but us? we are pretty low-key, we fly under the radar, we hardly ever encounter too much adventure apart from the occasional finding of a new park to play in, or a new frozen yogurt parlor to frequent.

however, the thing about adventure, i realized while watching the hobbit, is that the story gets good when unfortunate events occur, and the characters all pull together to overcome whatever chaos they have encountered... and i started to think of our life, and how perhaps adventure in our own story takes place when events which we do not anticipate or are prepared for take place. maybe that deep love for each other and those strong friendships come from being forced to bond together. by fighting along side these people who you hardly know, or by placing yourself on the line for your friends, or by coming to the aid of someone who you may not be all that endeared to currently.  perhaps that is the secret to adventuring, as opposed to just experiencing catastrophe. maybe these relationships that are forged, strengthened, or even dismantled if need be, are what makes all these untoward events into something extraordinary.  i am not wishing unplanned events on us, don't get me wrong. i am happy to be safe, and have a quite predictable life at this point in our lives... i am content for this quiet spot in our story right now... this part of our story which includes turning in at nine o'clock together.

i know it won't last forever.


 you know the mom at the pool whose child is wearing a pull-up diaper? not the swimming diaper. no, the pull-up training pants. the mom who forgot to get a swimsuit for her child, and then summer just kind of happened out of nowhere and now her kid wants to go into the pool, but she doesn't have a swimsuit? i have been that mom. 

the first year it was okay, because chloe was only a few months old. yes, a swimsuit would have looked cute, but it just wasn't the very first thing on my priority list of things to buy my newborn.... which is surprising to me, because what new mom doesn't get all types of excited over newborn swimwear, right? the second year it was a little less excusable. chloe was walking and ready to go outside and play. letting her play in buckets of water in the yard wearing a diaper was cute.. the first couple times. i did finally buy her a swimsuit or two, but it took a while to find the right ones, especially since they get bought up and picked over so early in the season.

but not this year. this year we are ready. chloe has two t-shirts, hardly any summer clothing otherwise. but she does have a bathing suit. i am a little picky when it comes to swimwear - for me and for her, so it takes me a little time to find what i want.. and then when i find it i look around for something maybe a little better. 

well this year i saw this one, and decided it would be the suit. i purchased it and it came in the mail yesterday. of course i needed to try it on her, to make sure it fit, and that it was just as cute on. well, it was even cuter on. 

so i told chloe, who was wearing her suit over her jeans and shirt, all about swimming. how when it gets hot out we will go in a pool and swim like fish. and then i decided that the conversation was silly on such a cold day (it was hardly even 55 F around these parts yesterday), but that we should have a pineapple freezer pop anyway. 

the pineapple freezer pop might just be my favorite one. i hate the grape and the lime. i think this is probably because they were the ones left when everyone had already eaten the cherry, strawberry, and orange. the grape tastes like children's tylenol tablets, and the lime tastes just bleh. if you are stuck with rainbow pops you go for the red, orange, and pink first, unless there is pineapple! when there is pineapple you tell your siblings that it is lemon, and it is sour... and you tell them you will let them have the red one, and you eat the yellow "lemon" one yourself, all while making a sour face.... and laughing inside!

unless you have the red, white, and blue rocket pops. then you just hide those suckers and eat them secretly in closet. 

oh yeah, and remember that time i made chloe homemade play-doh, and she was all like "yeah, that's great mama... this stuff creeps me out. let's go do something fun!"? well, it turns out she has decided that she actually likes play-doh. and so does her papa.

oh yeah, here is a link to the post where i give the recipe to make play-doh! (by the way, this is the play-doh from january! it kept really well in a glass jar on the fridge!)


the husband and i sat at the dining room table. the contemporary. no, the polynesian! the floridian? which one has the monorail? we need the monorail. why do we need the monorail? okay, we need the monorail. meal plan? yes. which one? three nights, or four? yes, we were planning our first disney family vacation. our very first vacation as a family. our first plane ride together as a couple, but with a baby as well. really, a toddler, who would be two, and have her own seat... yes, we would have a toddler, old enough to require her own plane seat. meaning, we have been together a long time... and have hardly ever gone on a vacation. we have been promising ourselves we would take one sooner than later.

and we sat there, giddy with excitement. i pulled my credit card out of my purse and started to punch the numbers in...

"or we could just throw all this money on your student debt...."

i pounded my head on the table. looked at my laptop screen, x-ed out the little window that summarized our four day "dream vacation"... i felt like crying. i might have ever let a tear sneak it's way out when christian wasn't looking. i felt childish crying over not going to disney world, but i couldn't help it. being an adult sucks sometimes.

this all took place a couple months ago. i have been dying to take chloe to disney, to take a vacation as a family, to just get away with christian. the whole idea of taking off together, even for just a few days just seems so... romantic to me. even if it is disney.

you don't need to even start telling me that chloe won't remember disney yet. i know chloe won't remember it. but i would. i would eat up every giggle, all of her excitement, all of her wonder, her big juicy eyeballs that would glisten when seeing "mick-me" for the first time... you haven't seen anything until you have seen her eyes glisten. it is a sight to behold. i know she wouldn't remember a minute of it, and i am fine with that. there would be photos for her to look at when she gets older. i wanted to enjoy taking her there. i wanted us to enjoy taking her there together.

but sometimes you need to be a grown-up, and refinance your house, and pay off your student debt so that you don't need to work as much outside the house when you have another baby... and no i am not pregnant, but maybe sometime soon. and a couple thousand dollars less of student debt is significant right now.

so, i have been playing thrifty/poor/cheap. which means that every penny unspoken for after paying bills, goes right to paying off those student loans. i haven't been shopping for clothes or shoes, i've been selling stuff that i have hardly or never worn that is just taking up space in my closet, even some of the fancy stuff that i love, but never use.  i have been making due with stuff i have around my house - painting stuff, repairing things,  rearranging. i have stopped buying coffee from coffee shops, and we have been eating outside the home much less. i have started to make chloe's summer clothing, and she seems to like it. i have even trimmed my own hair instead of going to the salon. all these changes have worked out well, and have even been a bit fun.

this is not to say that i haven't bought anything extraneous - i have justified a couple pairs for chloe, as well as a few t-shirts (because i hate home-sewn tees). i already have christian's father's day gift in my amazon cart, and chloe's birthday gifts bought, and i am completely splurging on some family photos this spring. i just have just started to think more about what i buy, and if we don't need it to survive, then i don't buy it. it is surprising just how much money gets spent on stuff that i really don't need that is not going to be used.  i want to fill our home and lives with stuff that is going to be used, and will last, but more importantly, with a whole lot of precious time spent together with each other.

so, disney will wait. it has been magical for many years, and i am sure it will be magical once my debt is gone. however, more importantly, once my debt is paid off i will feel good about it, and not need to worry about paying some pretty big payments every month.... which could mean more time at home with my family... which is what i really want, more than anything. yeah, i have turned into a lame old grown-up who just wants to be debt free, play with her babies, and cuddle with her husband.

and it doesn't feel bad at all.

here is a website that has been really helpful/inspiring to me as i am paying off debt and learning to save:  and then we saved

have you ever done a spending fast? do you have any tips or tricks to share? i would gladly take any you have to offer!


"a portait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

as spring has come, she loves playing in the back yard. digging in dirt, collecting rocks and flowers, always talking to herself, and to the dog next door. she is making our very ordinary back yard feel quite magical.


i should be working out. i should make my bed, even though it is after nine o'clock at night. i should empty the dishwasher and put away all the dishes and refill the dishwasher with all the dishes in the sink. i should go to bed at a decent time... sometime before one o'clock in the morning. i should have made a healthy supper, instead of feeding myself and chloe store-bought cake (nope, i didn't even bother baking a cake). i shouldn't ignore the laundry that is sitting in the dryer to be folded.

but what is going to happen if i don't do these things, and instead have another cup of coffee, guzzle a ton of water, and stay up sewing, drawing, and watching "bleak house" (my latest netflix addiction)?


i have tons of "shoulds" around this house and in my life. and most of the time i do what i should, but sometimes, although probably not too often, i think its fine to just cast off these shoulds and instead do the things i feel are right for the moment. the "shoulds" will always be there, they won't go anywhere without me - they never do.  i can always do the laundry tomorrow. sleep will eventually always happen, whether it be a young baby keeping me awake, or many thoughts i just must put onto paper, or things i must create. i went months without sleeping, and lived just fine - some of those months were my favorites ever. it seems the more i am throwing myself into things i am passionate about, the more excited i am, and the less sleep deprived i feel. the more energy i have from doing the things i love, the more i love, the happier i am, the more alive i am, the more i love my family... and chloe loved the cake.

photos are of chloe, running around the house tonight, post-cake.


so, a while back i did one of those posts where i shared five facts about myself (you can read it here). this is one of those good old classic blogging moves that were very popular back when i first had a blog... way back when i was about sixteen years old, and in the glory days of myspace this was also super popular. which is to say, this is not a new idea, but it is still entertaining and fun to do from time to time. i was recently tagged on instagram by an instagram friend, jackycosta, to share five things about chloe. while i love to participate, i just write too much when i write for these things to not be completely obnoxious on instagram.... which is, more obnoxious than usual (because most days i really do feel completely obnoxious for posting more than two photos, but eh, i guess if you don't want to see my photos you don't follow, right?). well, anyway, instead of being a good grammer and sharing through my instagram feed, here is a whole blog post dedicated to five things about chloe:

1 - when i was pregnant with chloe i always felt as though she was scratching the walls of my insides, from inside. it felt like there were little fingers curling and uncurling, repeatedly, scratching to get out, ever so gently. i used to hold up my hands and make this motion with my fingers to show people what it felt like. about a month after she was born and lying in her bassinet one morning, she got her little hands free from her swaddle and started scratching the sides of her bassinet! a little baby wolverine! that is what it sounded like. i peeked in her bassinet to see she was still asleep and gently scratching the sides of her bassinet, just as i imagined she had been while inside of my belly.

2 - she collects stuff, any stuff she can find around the house: food, magnets, socks, toys, receipts, notes, anything, and puts all her findings in shopping bags that she steals from the coat closet. i am constantly finding these bags full of her collected items around the house, and if i am looking for something that is missing, these bags are the first place i look.

3 - chloe loves to go outside, and if she even hears you mention the word "outside", she will throw her yellow rain-boots on, grab a toy, and run for the door. if you are not ready, she will impatiently stand by the door and pull you over to it, repeatedly, until you take her out. she loves going out for walks and playing in the yard and driveway.

4 - chloe's favorite toy is her toy story "woody" doll. she has had him for more than half her life as of now. he is a little dingy, missing a finger, and has teeth marks on his nose. she adores this doll. he is the first toy she looks for in the morning, the toy she will choose to take along on walks, and the toy that every other toy plays with. her favorite.

5 - chloe loves books. we read books a whole lot during the day. they are a great tantrum deterrent, if you can get her to them quick enough, and when we read to her she will quickly focus and become calm. i recently started reading her a chapter book before i put her to bed. this is a special book that we only read before bed. i pull it off the high shelf in her room and i read her a chapter before tucking her in. i am not sure how much of the story she understands, but she seems to enjoy this all the same. i am sure she will enjoy it more as time goes on. i always want her to be surrounded by, and to love books.

there is so much more than makes chloe herself. it was hard to pick out five things. any of you mama's out there who want to share five things about your kiddos, please take this as your invitation to do so. if you instagram, feel free to tag me (my profile name is "sherhymeswithcrazy"). 

p.s. - thank you so much for the kind words in response to our sick day post earlier this week. chloe is feeling much better and starting to act like her regular little self. it is hard to see your little one's sick and feel that there is not much you can do to make them better. it is great to have her up and running around again!


i mentioned yesterday that chloe hasn't been feeling so well lately. it's not the dreaded stomach bug, (knock-on-wood!), but just a little cold... on top of some teething.

nap time started in her crib... but eventually wound up in mama's bed. i just couldn't resist stealing a few photos... and her papa couldn't resist stealing some hugs when she woke up.

we are sort of smitten with this one... bed-head, snot-nose, and all of her.


SUNDAY, although it is monday...

sometimes when i have worked over the weekend, the following monday feels a whole lot like a sunday. the type of sundays i had when i was a kid, but without church (so maybe like the sundays of the kids i knew who didn't go to church?). i sleep the morning away, wake up and go out to trader joe's with christian and chloe. take a little walk to the produce store to buy kale and make green juice. i make a cake. chloe and i wore dresses, which for some reasons feels very "sunday" to me. 

it was chilly today, but spring-time chilly. you could wear a coat, you could not wear a coat. long-sleeves, short-sleeves, you'll be fine either way. my tulips were blooming.. and on the way home from our little walk, to retrieve some kale for healthy juicing, i began to think of delicious lemon poppyseed cake. making a cake seems like another "sunday" thing to do, right?

chloe hasn't been feeling well the past few days. at first i thought it was teeth, and now it seems she most likely has a cold. she is old enough now to be annoyed with "boogies", and irritated by a runny nose. she has never been sick much, so it is weird for her to be like this. she is just a tiny bit more cuddly. i know parents who talk about the sick-baby cuddles they get from their kids when they are sick, but chloe is not very interested in slowing down. she had had trouble sleeping as well... maybe teeth and a cold? poor kid.

i tried to get her to help me with the cake, but she was not very interested. she found a stash of solo cups and made some towers in the kitchen instead. 

when i bake bundt cakes there are two options for me: use the new non-stick pan, or use the old faithful pan that my husband swears by, the pan he uses to make his amazing jewish apple cake, the pan he stole from his mothers house when we bought our own. it doesn't leave the cake with a pretty imprint or shape, it doesn't look cute, but it works. i used it today... i am thinking of getting rid of the new pan as this one is probably the only bundt pan we will ever need. do you need a newer bundt pan?

 at some point while making this cake i heard about the horrible news of the bombing of the boston marathon. i found out about it through instragram of all places. i looked it up on my computer in the kitchen. chloe stacking her solo cups beneath me, the mixer still going. i began to cry. sometimes i just cannot make sense of the world around me. of how or why people think of, and do such hateful things... and i feel that there is such horrible darkness lives inside of some... and then you see the rescue workers, the guards, the police officers, the fire fighters... you think of the nurses and doctors, and the people who aren't afraid to step-in... and i hope that somehow the good outweighs the bad. that the light shines brighter than the darkness. that there is hope.

i pulled myself together and hugged chloe and christian. i cleaned out the empty poppy seed jar and placed a tiny cheetah that was sitting on the sideboard inside of it. i gave it to chloe. she thought the cups were more interesting. i showed it to christian. we both agreed that as children we would have thought this was awesome. she doesn't get it yet.

i made a pot of coffee. i would have been content to eat cake for dinner. it seemed like a fitting thing to do. however, christian went out and bought us burgers. i have no complaints about this.

we all ate, enjoyed a little cake, and watched some sesame street music videos on you tube. i gave chloe a bath and drank my coffee while sitting beside the tub... happy bits of bath-water being splashed on my skirt, on my face, making their way into my coffee.

recipe for poppy seed lemon cake, from smitten kitchen, here. i only added a glaze, made from lemon juice and powdered sugar. if i were to do it again i would make a sour cream icing and put handfuls of blueberries in the center of the cake to serve on the side.

i know that i only briefly mentioned the horrible tradjedy in boston in this post, but it is on my mind. hug your children, your friends, your spouses, your loves ones, your families... and consider how you might help those around you.


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

this past week marked one month until her second birthday. i am kind of excited, oddly surprised (it seems like she was just turning one yesterday!), the smallest bit sad, and the biggest, most genuinely, happy about this. really, i am.

this past week she began to cut more teeth, say small sentences, and when  we went to the park she did not want to sit on the baby swings. no, she kept choosing this large swing with no belt to hold her in. it was like a tiny and subtle message to me that she is slowly, but surely, giving up her baby days, and entering girlhood.


yesterday my sister and i took our little ones to smith memorial playground. if you are searching for a playground in philadelphia, this is the place to be. there is even a mansion full of beautiful rooms, with tons of activities, toys, and books for children. we stayed outside as it was pretty nice out, and there is tons to do outside.

swings, jungle gyms, a crazy looking rope net to climb in, an entire area devoted to toddlers, and a huge wooden indoor slide. chloe immediately went for the toddler area, while my niece, who is now a very grown-up five year old, headed to the slide. 

the slide really is the main attraction of the playground. i can remember it from when i was a kid... and one of the other parents at the playground informed me that it was one inside the mansion, and was moved outside of it. i wanted chloe to experience the slide.

so once i could pull her away from the wood choo-choo and swings in the toddler play area, i took her to the slide. at first we watched the other kids coming down. you grab a burlap sac and walk up a large winding series of platforms and steps until you get to the top of the slide, and then sit on the sac and slide down. chloe watched the other kids flying down the slide. yelling. laughing. belly down. face first. sideways. two at a time. racing each other. cheering. hooting.

i grabbed us a  burlap bag and took off with chloe towards the top. she seemed excited and curious. once we got to the top she watched the other kids going down again. the slide is not very steep at all, and there is padding along the side walls. she seemed up for it. i arranged the burlap bag and sat down with her on my lap. i counted to three and we slid. fast.

she loved it. she clapped at the end, and took off towards the stairs again. we slid again together. and again together. then she got distracted and took a break, and we came back a bit later. i had taken notice of how many young children were going down the slide by themselves. the slide is long, and sleek, but not very steep. many parents were sitting at the bottom of the slide watching their children and cheering them on. the children weren't too much bigger than chloe.

so, the next time she headed for the steps to the slide, i grabbed us two burlap sacs. once we got to the top of the slide i placed the sacs next to one another. i looked at her face. i sat on one and put chloe on the other. i asked her if she was ready. she looked down the slide. i felt a tiny bit of fear run through me, but she did not seem afraid. she seemed ready. she looked very small on the big slide. did i want to go first and make her follow? do we go at the same time? what if we bumped into each other and i sent her flying from the impact? i finally decided to send her first so she wouldn't be stuck at the top without me to send her down, and i could follow quickly if needed... so, i looked at her, and asked if she was ready... i told her she was going to go all by herself, and i counted aloud....




and she flew! the whole trip from top to bottom lasted perhaps three seconds at the most, but it seemed like an eternity. at the bottom she fumbled a little bit - her rain boot skid against the wood of the slide and turned her around. i cringed as i heard gasps from other parents. she got right up. i could tell she was okay immediately. a little shaken perhaps, but no crying, just a searching look. she was searching for my reaction. i wiped the worry off my face, smiled big and clapped my hands as i followed her down. she had done really well, especially since she was probably the smallest kid on the slide. and it was her first time.i was proud of her. she was brave.

but, do i send her down by herself again? with all those gasping and gawking parents looking at us now? she did fumble at the end... although she was perfectly fine. would she fumble again and get hurt? or would she slide like a pro this time? do i hold her back because of what others may think of me as a parent? would someone actually say something to me about sending her down the slide alone again? but most concerning: do i not allow her to fly because i am scared she may fall? do i tell her she is not quite big enough yet, and i don't want her to get hurt, and why don't we just go back to the swings, or the choo-choo?

or do i cheer her on and tell her she did great and will do even better this time. do i march her right back up that slide and even though she may fall, let her do again? do i encourage her to try, every time? even if it looks like she cannot do it, even if she thinks she cannot do it, do i tell her she can? 

yes. i cheer her on. i believe when she might not yet. i see what she can do, know deep down that she is capable of so much more, and i let her go... while standing close by... hoping she will fly, but ready hold her if she doesn't. i am there if she gets hurt. i might not always be able to catch her. she might get hurt. in fact, she will get hurt. but she will not be told that she failed. she cannot fail unless she doesn't try again. she will do better next time. that's what i will tell her. not "did you get hurt?", no "do you want to do it again?", never  "want to try it another time?" 

i am going to say "you are amazing. you are going to do even better next time - let's go again!" 

and with everyone watching, some with bated breath, and me watching very closely, my little girl flies.

if these photos are any indication...

of what summer has in store for us...

well, then i think it is probably going to be my most favorite one, ever.

SPRING CLEANING: but let's get real here.

my room is a mess.

well, our room. 

it is the room we always forget to dust. it is the room where we throw our clothing, contents of our pockets, and receipts on the floor. there is always black sock link all over the carpet (my husband only wears one certain brand of black socks which are always lint-y). it is a rare occasion our bed is made every day. yeah, that is a trash can, solo cup, and coffee cup on my dresser. chloe brings toys, clothes, blankets, crayons and all else in here. we have a bad habit of "hiding" things under the bed. chloe's easter basket is up on christian's dresser. there is a kettlebell in the closet. you can see the floor here only sometimes, and the top shelf of my closet is packed with boxes of which i know not the contents.

in other words, sometimes it doesn't always get done. home is where we live, and while i love it being clean, it is also where chloe plays, where i sew, where we rest, and where we enjoy one another. on the night that i took these photos we had spent the morning at the zoo, the afternoon napping and watching vikings (i am loving this show more and more), and then we took a walk and got some ice cream together. i didn't get much cleaning done at all. i think i put away the laundry. there are days like this. they are wonderful.

but, i am a little bit of a neat freak. i have a hard time focusing on other stuff when i feel that things aren't put away, or if there are dishes in the sink to be done. i would love to have a clean house all the time.  but, i am finding out, especially with a toddler, this just isn't always practical. 

some days i just try to make sure all the toys go down to the basement/family room, and wipe the counters. some days i set a timer for ten minutes and try to get done whatever i can. some days as i am walking out the door to go to work, only minutes after christian has arrived home from working, i just ask him to put the dishes in the dish-washer. i enjoy taking care of our house and the memories we are making in it... while i wish i could say that the time we spend together trumps living in a messy home, i think they kind of go hand-in-hand. having a clear floor space for chloe to run around, having a clean-ish kitchen to make family meals in, having clean sheets to sleep on, just make life all the sweeter for us as a family.

so, here is just a little bit of my mess for you to see. proof that i don't get all the crap done i would like to, and it's okay.


so... maybe we are a little late on this..

how did i not hear phantogram until this past monday? my husband was listening to "the knife" station on pandora in anticipation of their latest album, when this song came on. chloe and i could not refrain from breaking out in a little dance. i asked christian who was playing, to which he responded "someone who likes to make the ladies move"

and then he quickly bought us "eyelid movies", their debut album. 

i am happy to say that we are pretty much loving every song.

so, if you had not heard of them - now you have!


"a portrait of my children, every week, once a week, in 2013"

chloe enjoying the "fluu-errs!" 

my poor tulips had the life loved out of them yesterday. 

SPRING CLEANING: floors and rugs

now that your windows, and surfaces are clean and dust free, and your hair is tied up in a scarf, you can clean your floors. i learned the windows and then the floors tip from watching Annie when i was a kid... so that way if you drip...

anyway, cleaning floors is one of those things that i can do a bit of while chloe is up and running around, and she loves to help and play with me while i do this. i will sweep usually while she is eating breakfast or lunch, and finish up with sweeping under her high chair before i get her down from the table. i have hardwood laminate floors and i like to dry mop them. i have used a couple different things on them, but i have found that i really like bona floor products. it turns out they are pet and child friendly and biodegradable as well, which makes me even happier. 

so i fold up my rug in the living room and get started. i have this little microfiber mop head thing that i put over my swiffer. i love using my swiffer for quick fixes, and i will get into that later, however i hate having a bunch of different mops and brooms. so this little orange microfiber noodle thing is entertaining to chloe, easy, quick, and cheap to use, plus is saves me getting another mop to store in my one small coat closet.

i have an old kilim rug in my living room that i got for a steal off ebay a couple years ago. i love this thing, but it is old, and i have such anxiety over being too rough when cleaning it. i am sure it has been around for a while, and was probably at one point drug outside to be beaten with a broom, but i try to be gentle with it. 

there are a few ways to clean these old rugs: for everyday cleaning i use my vacuum taking care with the edges. for a good cleaning, you can get these cleaned by a good dry cleaner, and i recommend that if you buy one second hand - at least when you first get it. you can also clean it yourself, but this is a big chore: you take the rug outside and put a tarp under it, then clean it with a mild detergent of your choice, diluted with water (wool-lite or some other gentle laundry detergent would work). gently scrub the rug with a brush, and then spray it off a few times with a hose. turn the rug over and spray it again. spray the sucker until all the suds are gone. then let the rug dry. it is probably best to do this early in the morning on a sunny day. if you have somewhere you can hang your rug it will dry quicker.

when i vacuum chloe likes me to chase her with the vacuum. she is not scared of it, but she is at that stage where she loves to tease and be chased. it is pretty cute, if i do say so myself. she also has a very strange fascination with the vacuum - and she is not the first toddler i have noticed who is fascinated with vacs. what is it about dogs, kids, and vacuums?

onto kitchen and bathroom floors... i almost feel like scrubbing kitchen floors deserves it's own post. i do not even attempt to do this while chloe is awake, and this is usually done when my husband is not around either. i made the mistake of trying to do this with chloe around once and it was a mess. she found out she could slip and slide on the wet floors and broke out her best moves. i wound up soaked, with a soaked toddler who eventually slipped unintentionally, and landed unintentionally, flat on her back, and a floor smeared with our footprints. no good.

so, i do this one solo. this chore is one that i take my time with. i like to scrub the kitchen and bathroom floors with a scrub brush and wipe it clean with damp cloths. i love using mrs. meyers all purpose cleaning supplies, because they smell amazing. really, the new radish smell is just so delightful, even if my husband says radishes just smell like dirt - this smells great. i love cleaning with these products, and even as a cheap-skate cleaning supply buyer, i feel they are splurge-worthy. i dilute them in a bucket, turn on some NPR, or an audiobook, and scrub away. after a long day, especially on those days where you feel you haven't gotten anywhere, this makes it all feel better. it feels therapeutic as heck. of all the chores around the house, this is my favorite. 

now, i don't always get to do this, and my kitchen is a high traffic area, so i do have a swiffer that i refill myself with a little mrs. meyers and water, and sometimes i have the disposable absorbent pad things sometimes, but when i don't, i use an old dish-cloth (as long as it is pretty "loopy" it will stick to the velcro bottom of the swiffer). i don't really feel that this gets the floor clean, but it works for little spills until i can scrub.

i have carpets in my house, but they aren't too fun to talk about. i vacuum them. i have told you about how i spot clean them here. i am not the biggest fan of wall-to-wall. it reminds me of bad apartments and it never feels fresh to me, but it is good for babies who are crawling and learning to walk. it seems that even with area rugs they always seem to fall on the hardwood rather than on the rug.

so now that i have cleaned my windows, bathrooms, kitchen, rugs, and floors... i think it is on to some serious cleaning and purging of the wardrobes around here, what do ya say? i have noticed that many people seem to be doing this during this time of the year, what about you?

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