i must have started to write this post a couple dozen times over the past few weeks, but i just hadn't been able to figure out what i want to say, or how to say it. i am turning thirty. in exactly one week. being that thirty is pretty much the last traditional milestone birthday that you get until you make it to fifty, i feel that i should write something about it. something thoughtful. something reflective. something other than: guess what guys? i am turning thirty next week! yeah... soo...

i still do not know exactly what to write about turning thirty. i might not even publish this post. i may just ramble a while and let my thoughts run through my head. as my stomach might digest a banana, let these thoughts be digested into feelings, let my soul absorb some energy from them... like a long twisty tube of intestines... my feelings - a surge, a blast of nutrients vital for my survival... and then let the words be excreted out through my fingertips onto the keys of my laptop... leaving us with an excellent poop analogy, eh?

if for nothing else, this post will be published for that poop analogy.

but, i am turning thirty in a week, and this is the end of my twenties. so i guess i should say something about them. those ten years of really growing up. of not just thinking i was a grown-up, but actually being one, and through being one, really becoming one... or atleast someone who resembles an adult woman.

 we go through our teenage years preparing for life. going to school (or being homeschooled), having a summer, or after-school job, doing our own wash, and cooking some meals. we gain responsibilities, and experiences, and we start with steps that gain momentum and then become a sprint into adulthood. 

at least that was my experience. i went from living at home, to moving away to school, to getting married and having my own apartment. all before i turned twenty. many do this, or some kind of exit from life at home with family, to being set out into the world to actually learn how to do life, by living it. by making your own home. in many ways when i was twenty i was a baby adult. i could make all the decisions an adult could, but was still growing up and figuring stuff out. if i knew back then what i know now, i would have saved myself a lot of time and heartache... but i only know what i know now because of all that time and heartache.

so, you know how people write those letters to their teenage selves? the advice that they would have given to themselves back then? well... here it goes. my letter from my almost thirty year old self to my twenty year old self:

dear twenty-year-old leah,

do not become a nurse! ... but seriously, you might be happier in the long run just going with being a teacher.

you have more common-sense than you think you do. stop allowing people to tell you that you are impulsive and irrational. being a risk-taker doesn't make you irresponsible. whatever you do: don't stop taking risks.

you do want children, stop telling yourself you don't. you will come to find out that this is the most ridiculous thing you ever thought.
stop being shy. you eventually will get over it, but will miss so many incredible opportunities because of it. 

you look great, but stop wearing jeans with such a low rise. they might be the fad, but they do nothing for you... you know you are a high-waisted lady. get over it already and rock some dark levis'. 
don't be scared. you are going to be okay.

you already understand how simplistic your faith is. stop searching to make it more complicated, and relish it just how it is.

you are an introvert. learn this and you will save yourself a whole lot of tears and confusion.

a whole lot will change in the next ten years, but your imagination will stay.

one day you are going to be sitting next to a stranger on a plane. you will be flying home from your ten day stay in costa rica... where you spent your honeymoon that you finally get to take. your first husband (umm.. yeah, you get divorced), will be sitting to your right , but several aisles ahead of you. he will ask you to ask the stranger to trade seats, and you will later tell him that the stranger refused, even though you never really asked him. this is a wake-up call. take it.

eventually you are going to meet a sort of odd, but very likable man. he is not going to tell you with words how much he likes you, but everything he does will. don't discount this (you get married again!).

you think you know everything you need to already, but you have no idea how much things will change, how you will change, and what amazing things are going to happen. i think you are really going to enjoy these next ten years.


almost thirty-year-old leah.

i guess i am one of those people who says that they don't regret anything, because it made them who they are now. i hate it when people say that they have no regrets. i have a ton of them, but i do love the story of my twenties: a quiet girl with strong religious convictions, a ton of fears, baggage, and guilt, sheds her years of baggage, overcomes her fears, and leaves her guilt behind. then goes on to have incredible adventures of meeting her perfect match, loving a cute baby, caring for sick, injured, and crazy folk, and sewing dolls.

yeah, i am happy with it.

come and get me thirty!

HEALTHISH : gazpacho, or "make da soup"

if you read my post the other day, or follow me on instagram, you may have heard that i am doing the whole30 thing. what that means is for 30 days i am not eating any added sugars, cutting out all dairy (other than ghee.. a funky name for clarified butter), and not eating any grains either. all this has meant coffee without half&half, no yogurt, less snacking,... bleh.

but it also means that i am feeling a bit better physically, even after a week. i feel healthy, not tired or sluggish, and surprisingly, after a week in, i am not really having any cravings for candy, cookies, or even ice cream (and i always have room in my life for ice cream). when this 30 day thing is over i will most likely start eating some grains, and yogurt again... but hope to cut back on the sweets. i have gotten used to drinking my coffee black, so i will probably continue to. overall i feel as though this change in diet has been good for me.

but sometimes i feel bored doing this. i don't just eat for nourishment, i really enjoy eating good stuff. last night i couldn't figure out what to make, wasn't really hungry and just wound up making a banana smoothie and snacking on some nuts. it wasn't the healthiest meal ever, but much healthier than cake for dinner... not that i would ever eat a slice or two of a delicious cake for dinner though... never ever. ;)

i have 21 more days to go, and was a little afraid of being bored already... but then i came across this recipe on pinterest. i actually hit my forehead when i saw it. i love gazpacho! it is the perfect summer food! crisp, fresh, garden-ey, and it doesn't require you turn on the stove. why hadn't i thought about it before? it works wonderfully with this diet and i can keep it in the fridge to eat along with whatever or as a quick meal.

so i went out this morning with chlo and we picked up all the ingredients. on the way home, as she sat in her car-seat eating an apple (we cannot go to the grocery store without me buying her an apple. it has become an unspoken rule of grocery shopping), i told her i was going to make a soup and asked her if she would help me. she was all down for the idea of making soup with me. sitting in her seat saying "make da soup, make da soup", until she got home and just wanted to lie on the sofa and share her apple with the horses.

so i made soup by myself. i just about followed this recipe, from the kitchy kitchen, to the T. i left out the japanese cucumbers because the grocery store didn't have them, and just added a whole cucumber instead. the worcestershire sause and sriracha both have small amounts of sugar in them, so i guess i am technically cheating, but you use such small amounts, and they really do add tons of flavor, so i kept them. if you are doing the whole30 thing and don't want to add them i am sure you can leave them out.. and maybe just add a chopped chili, or some chili powder. this recipe is snappy and sweet due to the mango. it was easy, cheap to make, and the recipe makes plenty for me to enjoy until i find something else that strikes my fancy.

^^^ please know i only garnish my soup for your viewing pleasure ^^^

have you ever done whole30 or made a change in your diet that just made you feel really good? do you have any grain, sugar, and dairy free recipes to share? please let me know!


from the afternoon, where i sat with sad puppy dog eyes, and watched chloe devour the strawberry cream muffin i bought her.


watermelon - for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

taking care of my tiny flower garden as chloe stomps through it.


snap peas.

making the perfect summer night video with instagram... featuring chloe's first reaction to a firefly (!!!!!)

not fun: 

waking up early. like butt-crack of dawn early... err-hem, chloe.

swimsuit shopping. it's like picking out underwear to wear in front of everyone.

working out. really. it's not fun. i do it and it makes me feel good. i like the end result, but not so much the process. i don't get the hype.

not eating ice cream. i gave it up for thirty days... along with all grains, all added sugars, dairy, and soy. i think i might be crazy. good thing i have plenty of watermelon.

instagram eating your perfect summer night video. damn you instagram!

hope you are having fun!


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

she loves reading books in her room. 

i hope she always does.

this week:

i cannot get over josephine's pot belly! so adorable!

i love these photos that belinda took of her children's things (chloe loves woody too!)

joining in with jodi.

WHAT INSPIRES ME: chloe dancing

i was in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher and making something for lunch. she had already eaten her lunch and was playing with puzzles, reading books to her dog, and listening to the black keys station i had playing on pandora. florence and the machine's, "dog days are over" started playing. out of the corner of my eye, i caught her eyeing up my iphone connected to it's docking station in the living room. i asked "do you like this song chlo?" and walked into the living room. she kind of stooped down and was just listening...

then once it hit the chorus, she needed to dance. and when she dances she runs. so appropriate for this song... she runs with heavy, stompy, feet and a huge smile on her face. she only dances to songs she likes - and i like that about her. her dancing is a sincere enjoyment for the way music makes her feel. i needed to snap a photo. i had all the blinds down and i haven't invested in a 50mm lens yet.... so the quality is a little poor... but i needed this photo.

while she was dancing i decided i would move to the other end of the room and get a shade open, hoping it would give me more light... let me dial down my ISO, let me increase my shutter speed... blah, blah, blah... and then i got this photo. it might be one of my favorites that i have of chloe and me. it illustrates us pretty well... she is doing what she loves (and loving it!), and i am loving watching her do it.

this kid inspires me.


every time i clean out my dresser i am surprised to see this. my little brown wallet. the one i scored over ten years ago at a T.J. Maxx on clearance. i liked it for the compact size and bright red lining. it was sturdy, well-made, and lasted me years. it it made of snake? or cow? or some other kind of animal? i am really not sure - the color was perfect. 

but i lost this wallet. or rather, someone stole this wallet from me. kind of both if i will be honest. i probably shouldn't have left my wallet on the beach. we should not have been drinking wine and mixed drinks on the beach (it's probably not a good idea to mix wine and mixed drinks ever. period.). i was a bit careless. i will admit. but it was a good summer. that day wasn't the only visit to the beach with these friends of mine. those visits that usually involved some wine, many hours lying in the sun, some frolicking in the waves, being a little irresponsible, and having pretty much the most fun i had been having in quite a long time. i was at the beginning of my divorce, which was ending a long and generally unhappy marriage. the past five years had been full of a whole lot of work that had exhausted me and left me feeling very old. this time spent together with these friends - just us being girls who hang out on the beach, and have a few drinks camouflaged as gatorade... it was refreshing, and freeing, it made me younger, and yeah, i lost my wallet.

they hadn't taken my cellphone (or my camera), so i was able to cancel all of my credit cards over the phone. i think i probably cried, but maybe it was just the wine. i had lost much more than a wallet in the past five years. the wallet didn't matter much. there wasn't much money in the wallet. it was more of an inconvenience than anything else. 

but i hated that i was robbed. that someone must have been watching us, waiting for all of us to leave our bags, and then took something that didn't belong to them, as if it was nothing. we were at the shore - who really needed money at the shore? i couldn't even really comfort myself by thinking "well, hopefully they needed it more than i did." they didn't need my wallet. the only thing i gained from the experience was to be more careful. i was going to be a woman "alone in the world", and i needed to be more careful.

i got over it the wallet. in fact i forgot about it completely. 

then almost four months later i find a package as i am coming home to my little apartment. i had rented a small first floor apartment in torresdale. it had been a two story row home that was converted into two apartments. it had an awkward open floor plan that required you to walk from the front door through the bedroom and into the living area next to the kitchen, which had the tiniest sink ever. it didn't even hold a dish. i have been to dentist offices that had larger sinks. i needed to do my dishes in the bathtub. it also had a kooky 1970's chandelier in the "bedroom", which hung over my bed. it looked as if it belonged in a kitchen. it was brass with avocado and royal blue glass. the whole place had wood floors, white walls, high ceilings, and a view of the terminal and an after-hours club from the back window. i loved this apartment.

i looked at the package. i hadn't bought anything on ebay. i wasn't really expecting a package. the padded envelope was hand addressed. i opened it up to find my wallet and some sand.

i opened the wallet to see everything as i had left it. i had a little system of organizing my bank and credit card, my health insurance and i.d., and my store savings cards... everything was there, other than my money. that was expectedly gone. however, unexpectedly, in the bill-fold there was a letter:

"hi leah, 

figured you'd be wanting this back! i found it under the pier, where i work, when i was getting into my car. hopefully, everything is in here, and you can rest easy knowing they aren't being used somewhere. i can't imagine what a pain in the ass losing your wallet must be! anyways, here ya go...



b.t.w. - keep the long hair... me likey... see ya."

how wonderful. how weird. very weirdly wonderful. i could remember reading somewhere that sociopaths and serial killers write in all capital letters. and why does he hang out under the pier for work? is it to bury the bodies? bury bodies and find lost belongings of people who visit the shore?

and he likey-ed my hair.... WHAT!?!?.... "LIKEY"!?!?

he had left his e-mail address... i didn't know what to do. again, so weirdly wonderful. 

i sent him an e-mail and thanked him for sending me my wallet. i wrote that i had not expected to ever see my wallet again, and that it is nice to know there are good people out there who will go through the trouble of mailing a wallet back to the owner. 

i didn't mention anything about the hair comment. i never heard back from him. 


quite a while ago i was reading this graphic novel (it is quite good!), and found myself inspired by the colors and trees in the cover. i loved everything about it: the simplicity of it, the blue and white combination being both soft - but still graphic looking, the trees. i then found this amazing fabric at joann's of all places, and knew i needed to make myself a dress with it (unfortunately they no longer carry this fabric). 

i love this dress. it is perfect dressed up with wedges for a night out, but still simple enough to wear with some sandals on a hot summer day. it's comfortable, and fits me to a T. i have worn it every summer for over five years now and it still looks as fresh as the day i made it. i even spilled red wine on it once, and it came out so easily - you cannot even tell. also, every time i look at it i think of this novel, and sewing this dress in my little apartment, and i love it even more.

now chloe pulls this novel off the shelves and looks at the photos (she thinks the author looks like my husband, and likes to claim he is her daddy. my husband likes to let her pretend he wrote a book). i daydream about the day i will pass this dress onto her... and hope she will like handmade clothes as much as i do.

what inspires you?


yesterday we celebrated three years of you being a father. chloe and i let you sleep in (a little), picked up some of your favorite treats from the bakery, and surprised you with a card and more treats. then we kissed you goodbye as you went back to work!

you never stop working for me and chloe, you selflessly always put us first, and you are sexy too!

thank you for all you do. again, happy father's day!

let's have some more babies!


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

woke up, a grumpus, from her nap.

back to her sweet self after eating a piece of bread and watching some "bugs".

this week: 

i am awestruck by these stunning photos, by the bostrom blog.


it seems like every summer i say the same thing... this is going to be my favorite summer. well, i think that THIS one is definitely my favorite, favorite one. it has been full of long days outside, thunderstorms, picnic dinners in the back yard up of nothing but steamed vegetables and tons of watermelon, nights out on the porch... and somewhere during all these days that we have had my baby has been morphing into a full-fledged girl. a girl who sleeps in, gets up from what should have been a nap, to ask "we take a walk? we walk to park?". a girl who know what she wants for breakfast, who will attempt to purchase her own snack at the grocery store, set her own plate and cup on the table, and who knows how to swat flies like a pro. she loves bugs, cake, and carnival rides, and suddenly hates vacuum-cleaners, goats, and foreign restrooms.

i am having so much fun with her. can i say it again? i am really, really having so much fun being her mama. before i make you roll your eyes though, i will have you know that she is not what most would consider an easy child. she is pretty very  mischievous, she is very spirited, she is full of energy, and curiosity, and many of tantrums. she cuddles and snuggles rarely, and is often too busy doing whatever she has her mind set on, to cooperate with answering silly questions i might ask her ("what's your name?" or "how old are you?"). however, i have been very fortunate to be able to spend so much time with her, to watch her learn, to get to know what makes her tick (only for it to change a week later), to hear her speak to other kids at the park ("hi, i'm chloe"). i consider myself a damn lucky woman.

one day this first-born of mine will become a teenager and want to spend her summer's as much out of my sight as possible. she will say that i don't understand her and think she is a stranger to me... she will have no idea how closely i have watched her for so many years... and when she tells me that i don't understand her... i know my heart will break a tiny bit, and i will laugh my ass off.

good for me there are still many more summers before that one... and this one is one i plan to remember for a long time.

oh, lucky lucky me!


a while ago i came across this pretty bedspread diy from talia, and i knew that i really wanted to make a similiar one. i bought two pretty vintage sheets and hand-dyed embroidery thread on etsy, and got to work... about five months ago. yes, this bedspread took me forever, but it is just about done. just the binding is left. thus, the basket of scraps that i am going to spend the afternoon cutting into strips. i kept it simple and didn't use any batting - i wanted it to be heavier than a sheet, but lighter than a blanket. perfect for summer sleeping, as well as picnics. 

i am thinking of doing more quilting in the future... and possibly even making some quilted goods for my shop. i never thought i would enjoy it so much, but it's relaxing and quite rewarding when you have the finished project... plus, i love the look and feel of it: so soft, colorful, and better with wear.

have you ever made a quilt? have a favorite one?


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

tonight marks night 5 of sleeping without a "binky". i had tried to get her to give them up by herself, but she didn't want to, and i felt like i should have gotten rid of them a while back. i packed them up one afternoon and while she did ask for one a few times at first, she doesn't seem to miss them anymore. she talks more before falling asleep now, and i listen to her on the monitor. she usually is running through the animals she knows, and the sounds they make... or "reading" a book that she has pulled into bed from her bookshelf. while putting her to bed tonight she was holding her feet to her face... smelling them, talking on them as though they were phones... the more i cringed and exclaimed "ewwww!!! stinky, stinky, feet!", the more she laughed and carried on. 

she is getting so big. but she is still my baby.


yesterday was payday. another student loan was paid off. chloe behaved extremely well while i ran all the boring errands. i bought her a couple books, myself a magazine, a cup of coffee, and then we walked to the party store and bought some balloons. simple little luxuries. a little splurge. it has been forever since i bought a magazine. chloe walked around with those balloons for the rest of the day. 

we went to visit her nannie, and then headed home. she napped. i cleaned and worked out. she woke up, had her snack, and then wanted to play and snuggle on my bed. we watched fantastic mister fox. it felt very rich and luxurious to just watch her, snuggle her, and do nothing else.

i am in love with this kid, her wildness, and how we share a love for balloons. in love with this home, which is becoming worn in like a good pair of boots. in love with that bed, below the windows, in the dark blue room. in love with her eyes and wild hair. in love with my husband and his silly smile. in love with our family.


so, i have heard it asked, a few times, "what about christian? that man you are married to..." i hardly ever share photographs of him or make very much mention of him on this little blog...

well, friends, this is because, one - he likes his privacy, and i must honor that. two - this blog is my little space, my project. yes, i write about family on here, but for the most part this is my own little blog where i share from my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. while he may make an appearance here of there, he honors my privacy as well and likes to give me space. he also likes to act as though he doesn't read my blog, and i like to pretend that i don't know that he does...

but today i am going to talk about him. this is a whole post dedicated to my husband. the man i am spending every day with. my partner in child-rearing and life-living. he is very kind and thoughtful, but one of the things i like most about him is how much his very existence entertains me.

this may sound selfish, but sometimes i feel that he exists just to make me laugh. that his ability to make me laugh was reason enough to commit to spending the rest of my life with him. when i started dating after my divorce i wasn't quite sure how to go about the whole thing. it is a very weird world, with some very weird people out there. now, many people that i met during my dating adventures were interesting, but none of them were able to make me laugh as much as christian. he was always entertaining me, even when he didn't mean to.

he still keeps me entertained. i wouldn't ever tell you that we have a "perfect" marriage. we fight. we each have little ongoing disagreements which are yet to be resolved (if they ever do resolve, that is). i like to think that christian is kind of a grumpy old man on the surface. he isn't old, but he wears a grumpy old man face while maintaining a sweetness and kindness found in very few men. he is extremely thoughtful... and is most times thinking more about you then you ever are of him, he just doesn't want to advertise it, ya know? so he wears grumpy old man face to throw you off.

recently i had two little exchanges with him that i decided i would need to share, to let you know a little more about this grumpy old man that i adore. to be fair, i told him i was going to talk about him. he didn't agree to this, but he didn't disagree either. following are two stories which illustrate the personality of this very entertaining man.

so story one:

a few nights ago we were crawling into bed together. before bed, i had enjoyed a good beer and some cherries. i was in shall we say, good spirits, while he had been cramming for an important exam he is taking this next weekend. i was all giggles and jokes, and not doing a very good job of winding down. he kept pulling the covers over his head and telling me to go to bed. i would try to muffle my laughter at his "old man-ness", but i would end up laughing out loud into a pillow as to not wake up chloe in the next room. he reminded me, firmly, that he had to get up  for work in the morning - in less than six hours. i figured i better try to calm down and go to sleep, but so many things just seemed so funny at that hour... and him just being him, and not even cracking a smile at my silliest of jokes only made me laugh more. however, finally i decided enough was enough. i told him, "okay, i am going to go to sleep. goodnight. i love you." 

"good. love you too"

"okay, now kiss me"

he kissed my forehead.

"and now kiss mer-jesus" as i held my stuffed, bearded, tattooed, merman close to his face (a gift from him a couple christmases ago).

and without hesitation, he kissed the mer-jesus.

i busted out laughing all over again, and exclaimed, "you actually kissed the mer-jesus!!!", as though i was in middle-school.

i guess i just wasn't expecting him to do it.... but that man, always entertaining me... he had bit the bait.

story two:

last night i was grumpy. he had been studying again, and i was doing all the nonsense that i do after chloe is put to bed and the house is tidy. i was bored and grumpy, and decided i should go to bed. i headed upstairs and then thought to myself: chocolate. i wanted - no, i needed chocolate. i went to the kitchen. and you know what? no chocolate. no chocolate chips. no hot chocolate. none. nada. i audibly whined... "awww. i want chocolate." and announced that i was going to run to the wawa for some rolos. he told me to just go to bed. he was locking the doors, and now he looked grumpy and ready for bed. i told him i would just run down the street and grab some rolos for us to share. he doesn't care about chocolate as much as i do.  he was insistent that i wasn't going to wawa so late. he firmly stated that he wanted to go to bed, and couldn't sleep if he was worrying about me.

i told him he was ruining my life. he told me to go to bed.

i pouted up to the bathroom and brushed my teeth. washed my face. and then remembered i needed a glass of water. i walked out of the bathroom and christian wasn't in our room... he wasn't downstairs and his car wasn't outside... that man had gone to buy me rolllll-ooooos!

i was so giddy, not only because i was getting rolos, but because he had gone out to get them for me when he really didn't want to. he loves me. 

and when he got home, i gushed about how wonderful he is, and how lucky i am... and then "oh, stand right there and let me take this photo... it'll be perfect!"...

my husband in a pond's jar. 

christian is the sweetest, kindest man to ever pretend to be a gumpy old man ever... and he is mine.


just a few from my instagram feed to give you an idea of what our day to day looks like... it's pretty much all about sunshine and yummy things. tonight i had a philadelphia brewing company newbold ipa. i really wanted their rowhouse red... i am a bit partial to amber beers, and it's one of my faves.
i feel that PBC's beers are a bit hit or miss.. i love the rowhouse red, like the newbold ipa, and the joe coffee porter is a pretty good if you are having a beer with brunch foods. the walt wit (a witbeir) tastes like corn to me, and the kenzinger made me wish i was drinking a PBR....
i might have a pint once or twice a month, but when i do, i want a good one. i also used to bar-tend at a brew pub, so i had a chance to try quite a bit of beer and develop an appreciation for it. to this day a good beer is one of my favorite treats.


cherries and unibroue's la fin du monde, a delicious tripel

easy breezy summer clothes.

long morning walks with chlo, that include visiting at least two parks.

philly beer week.

listening to audiobooks in the car, while working out, while doing anything (i just got finished listening to "where'd you go bernadette" by maria semple and it was sooo gooood).

when your husband brings you home a wendy's frosty cone, for you to eat in the back yard while your toddler eats dinner at the table.

not fun:

working nightshift... it seems i just can't hang anymore.

cutting out sewing patterns.

not being able to actually go to any bars during philly beer week.

jillian. michaels. thirty. day. shred. uggghh.

turning thirty.

i need to admit right now, the scale seems to be tipping towards fun.

unfortunately i won't be able to make it out for philly beer week, so i decided i am going to treat myself to a beer a night. i will be writting a bit about my locally brewed favorites this week and sharing them with you. tonight's brew is not from the philadelphia area (but it is sooo good).

do you have a favorite beer?


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

every afternoon she turns our very humble back yard into a very magical place... magical and muddy.

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