THANK YOU


thank you to the man tending the thrift store on the way to the playground - he saw chlo having a bit of a fit, and ran across the street to give her a little bear. it was the perfect distraction.
thank you to the sweetest mama i met at the playground who shared conversation and snacks with us. your company was just what i needed that day.

thank you friends who will listen to me via text late at night and send me kind and encouraging words.

thank you to the lady who picked up everything chloe threw during her tantrum as i was putting her back in her stroller. thank you for telling her to be nice to me. sometimes i feel like everyone is looking at me as though i am doing something wrong. your warm demeanor and sweet words were reassuring.

thank you to the grandmother at the park who brought chloe a lolli after her fall. i only had an apple in my bag, and i doubt it would have soothed her as well as that sweet lolli.

thank you to the ticket man on the train who wouldn't take my money for our short train trip. i really wanted to pay, but you obviously thought it was very silly to take four dollars for one stop, and wouldn't take it.

thank you to the girl at starbucks who gave me a complimentary latte on my drive home tonight, simply because there was no baked goods left. again, i really wanted to pay, but you wouldn't hear of it.

thank you to everyone who commented on my post this week with encouraging words. to everyone who let me know you were thinking of me. sometimes i feel a bit silly, after the fact, when writing about my own struggles which seem rather trivial when compared to those of others.  thank you to those of you who don't even know me personally, but who send me your love. i read each of your comments and held onto your words.

when reflecting on all this kindness, i am overwhelmed. i wish i could bake the universe a batch of cookies. i am humbled by the kindness and generosity that has been shown to me and my family by so many good people. thank you. thank you. thank you!



PORTRAIT v. 39

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

it was bound to happen. she was running. i was chasing. we were at the busy playground, on a very busy saturday morning. the park was terribly congested. she darted between the girls on the swings. i saw it happen before it ever did. there was no way the swinging girl could have seen her. instead of continuing to run straight through, and past the swinging girls she turned around and was thrown quickly to the ground.
 
i held her close and wiped the dirt from her face, a grandmother who had seen the incident brought her a lolli. we saw that the train was boarding and we took a one stop train ride home.
 
 
 
favorites from this past week:
 
these two siblings in black and white.
 
this little one, wearing the sweetest jumper, and throwing rocks into the ocean.
 
 
joining in with jodi.
 
 
 
 

THE TALE OF ONE BLUE LINE


christian's alarm goes off, he hits the snooze and rolls back over towards my own sleepy body. he sighs and flops his arm across my mid-section with familiarity. it's his first day back to work after our week and a half long vacation. as he tightens his embrace i feel his hand against my lower abdomen, and then i know i have to pee. 

i wiggle and he holds me a tiny bit closer before i whisper "i need to go to the bathroom" and make my escape. he releases and i stumble to the bathroom. i adjust the dimmer on the light. it is thirteen minutes after six, but there is not quite enough light coming through the bathroom window yet... not enough light for the task at hand. i walk over to the sink and open one of the walnut stained large cabinets underneath and with my hands i fumble to find the box of pregnancy tests.

the box is right next to the box of ovulation tests. the ovulation tests were the sticks i fumbled to find two weeks ago about the same time each morning, until a steady, not blinking, smiley face made it's appearance. once the smiling face gave me the go ahead i had stashed the box away. then i stopped my ritual of peeing on a stick for almost two weeks, until today.

it feels like i have been peeing on sticks for months. in fact, i have been peeing on sticks for almost three months. and not cheap sticks. the ovulation sticks cost more than the pregnancy tests... almost twice the amount. however, unlike the pregnancy tests, the ovulation tests do give me a bit of hope each month, knowing that i will get a positive at some point. i will ovulate, and that test will tell me that i am. i have tried taking my temperature, doing the whole cervical mucus thing, and all that, but i guess the pee-stick tests appeals to the tiny little analytical bit of me that likes to get a measurable and standardized result. if it could give me a number i might even be happier. 

the pregnancy test though, that is a horse of another color. for over three months now they have not changed. the same single blue line in the first window, the same "not pregnant", the same negative result. day after day as i anxiously await to miss my period. until my period arrives and i am left undoubtedly un-pregnant and now with the mess of hormones, compounded with my anxiety, leaving me a big bloody mess.

the first time it happened i can remember telling my husband that it almost seemed like a cruel joke. you get your hopes up, you wait to miss it, you pee on a stick every day, and then the bleeding starts. you are left without a pregnancy, and with all the hormones accompanying your period. how is one supposed to deal with this? just when i am at my peak of emotional instability is when i am handed a whopping dose of disappointment. i don't feel like i should cry after three months of trying, but i do. 

i cried the first month, the second month, and the third. i know there are people who try, who have been trying, for longer than we have. when i think about them, i feel guilty for crying. i feel more guilty for crying when i look at chloe. chloe who we conceived so effortlessly. chloe is our surprise baby. she is the child that will have us warning our teenager(s), "it only takes one time!"

but not this time.

i held chloe on my lap last night and snuggled her. i love her. if she was my only baby i would still be very very happy. she is more than enough, that wild and tenacious little woman. i want another, or two, but yes, i could be happy with this one. i AM happy with this one, extremely happy. i am aware that i have a good thing here, and that i am very blessed, that many would want what i have. that i should be overwhelmed with joy for what i have been given. it is so good.

i think about this joy as i find the right box and pull out one of the three tests. i unwrap it, approach the toilet, and as i am "testing", i count. then i carefully put the purple cap back on the test and rest it on the side of the sink. i wash my face and brush my teeth, and try not to look at it, although i know i will sneak a glance at it just about every five seconds. it's presence cannot be ignored. i hope. i plan what i will do when the two little blue lines in the first window appear. despite many many negative results i always have a bit of hope with each test. today i plan to run into the bedroom and snuggle my husband close and whisper "we are having a baby!". then i imagine we will both laugh, and hug, and maybe he will even cry a tiny bit. or maybe his eyes will just brim with happy tears. i know i will cry, a different cry than in the past months, one of those good satisfying joyful cries. we will keep it quiet, and not announce it until the tell-tale bump is evident. i will relish the morning sickness, knowing that the pregnancy hormone is there, and coursing strong in my blood. i will rub my tummy and smile. we will debate names and whether to find out the gender. i will nest. will christian start to grind his teeth again when he sleeps? like he did with chloe... will he be more excited this time?

i watch the test and wait for the line.... i wait for the second line... i wait.

and it never appears.




PORTRAIT v. 38

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

a couple days late with this, and yes, it has remained a bit quiet around this little blog. we were on vacation for the past week and a half, and decided to travel up to the pocono mountains with a few friends to enjoy a few days away. on sunday afternoon christian and i took chloe to the playground while everyone else was relaxing or fishing... to let her enjoy some play time, to let her burn off some energy, and to appreciate our little girl. this photo was taken with my phone before she leaned her face into the ground to taste the sand.  oh chloe!


a couple of my favorites from this past week:

the sweet and sincere smile of sammy

these iphone captures of hattie and fraser - i love these ordinary, but heart-melting moments.


joining in with the lovely jodi.





...


Making: a dress and some pants for chloe from my fabric and scrap stash.
Cooking: steel cut oatmeal every morning these days.
Drinking: water and coffee all. day. long.
Reading: well, i am listening to "Wild" by cheryl strayed.... because i can't sit still to read a book without doing ten other things.
Wanting: to be able to fit so much more into each day
Looking: forward to seeing Sigur Ros tomorrow night.
Playing: with cars, with my jewelry, with silver half-dollars, all on our bed, with chloe.
Wasting: many tea bags as i make tea, become distracted, and let it go cold. 
Sewing: clothes for chlo, quilts, quilts, quilts, and a few special orders for my little shop.
Wishing: for more hours in the day and that i could relax more easily.
Enjoying: crisp fall mornings with the windows cracked open
Waiting: for christian to finish the last lawn-mowing of the summer.
Liking: my new little moccasins.
Wondering: what chloe is thinking about... almost all the time.
Loving: my little family being home every night together as we are on vacation.
Hoping: for another baby someday... soon.
Marveling: at how chloe managed to pick the prettiest bouquet from my little flower bed.
Needing: perhaps a good fall sweater and some wool socks, but that's about it.
Smelling: geranium scented cleaner... which i used to scrub the kitchen with tonight.
Wearing: my favorite grey sweatpants
Following: Joy's adventures with her family as they travel in their trailer, via instagram.
Noticing: that as i feel stressed, or out of control, i start cleaning like a crazy woman.
Knowing: that everything will be okay.
Thinking: about how to pack and shop for our little weekend get-away.
Feeling: that i am always forgetting something (and i usually am!.
Bookmarking: this french home decor blog... so lovely!
Opening: jars of pepper jelly and peanut butter for toast, and jars of sweet gherkins as snacks.
Giggling: at how many sweets my husband buys when he is on vacation... 
Feeling: blessed to have what i do.... all of it.


what about you?

ROUTINE: mornings and makeup


this is us in the mornings. at least this is chloe and i on most mornings. we start our mornings brushing teeth, hair, wiping faces, and me usually putting on a little make-up. some mornings there is some "doing" of hair for me, and her hair almost always gets pulled back, although since i snipped her a fringe i have been able to let it go without doing as it doesn't get in her eyes and face as easily. i agonized over cutting those bangs, remembering just how painful it was to grow my own out in the past couple years, and then finally sat her down with a lolly-pop and went for it. i should have done it a long time ago - she no longer is bothered by hair in her face, and it cuts down on how many times i need to wrestle her down to get her ready, even if it is only by a tiny bit... eh, every bit counts, right?

on the morning i snapped these photos i wasn't really planning on blogging about this... but then i was there, and she was there, and it crossed my mind that i have always wanted to talk about morning routines, but never have, and that i have been meaning to blog, but just haven't, and i thought, what they hey? so please excuse the dirty mirror, the topless toddler (she is topless more than not when we are at home during the summer), and my tub, which is not dirty but looks like it is because of some weird non-slip tread texture. i could clean that tub a hundred times and it would still look groddy thanks to that horrible non-slip tread. the tub came with the house, and it's just not worth changing, i guess, just because i want a slippery and sparkly tub.

on this particular morning i woke up with my hair looking just like that. i cut myself some long bangs a couple weeks ago and have needed to style them in some way, every day - but not that day. i woke up and the waves were there, the bangs looked okay, and i just kind of smiled, then shrugged, and decided, yeah... this is just fine. chloe came in and requested to "brush the teeth?". so i got her toothbrush and toothpaste (her toothpaste is strawberry flavored). she sucked on the toothbrush and then made a few over-exaggerated arm movements up and down, and side to side. i praised her for her good oral hygiene, in typical over-exaggerated mom fashion. then i wiped her face. she sat in the empty tub and played with tub toys while i did my make-up.

i wear much less make-up than i used to, but i still put on a bit each day. my little make-up routine has been streamlined since i had a babe, and now i can throw on my face within less than five minutes. i start by wiping my face, usually with the same wash rag i just used to wipe chlo's. then i throw on some moisturizer. i recently started making my own moisturizer after reading this blog post, and i have found it works wonders for my skin, and is so very wallet friendly. most of my beauty routine has become budget friendly as of late. i am hitting my student loans really hard as christian and i hope to get pregnant again soon, so that i can stay home a bit more. it seems everyone is happier and things go much smoother around here when i am here more... and if that means homemade moisturizer, diy haircuts, and box dye... well, i can live with that.

after i clean and moisturize, and then address any concerns that chloe may have with her bath toys (because who am i kidding, i can't go less than five minutes without a distraction), i then use a bit of foundation to cover up any spots and under-eye darkness. i like to do this rather than use concealer as i have found it is a bit lighter and seems to stay put better without looking cake-y. i curl my eyelashes, put a thin layer of powder on my forehead, chin, and sides of face and nose... then i use a high-lighter at my brow-bones, bridge of nose, inner part of eyes, and cheek-bones. i use a cream blush on my cheeks as well. then i fill in my eyebrows, and curse my thirteen year old self for butchering them way back in the day... i line my top eye-lid a tiny bit with black eye-liner, and then apply two coats of mascara... throw a bit of vaseline on my lips, and maybe blot any shiny areas of my face, that i don't want to be shiny, with some powder... and done.

my goal with all this isn't to look really done up, but just more awake. i like that it doesn't take a whole lot of time but lets me feel "put together"... sometimes there is lipstick involved later in the day. i usually keep it in my purse rather than my makeup drawer as to not take up any more time. truth be told, there are more important things to spend time on... like playing with babies, tidying the house, and working to pay off student debt... 

list of products below folks!
from the top: 

1. nars sheer matte foundation i bought this almost three years ago for my wedding day and it has lasted me forever. in fact most high end cosmetics that i own have lasted me a somewhat disgustingly long time.

2. eyelash curler that i have had for many years



5. nars the multiple in orgasm... the fact that i always giggle at the name, proves i haven't matured much past middle-school in some respects.

6. benefit high beam luminizer i received this as a bonus gift from sephora and it has become a favorite.


8. maybelline volum' express the falsies - my favorite drugstore mascara


what are your favorite products? leave them in the comments - i have a weird fascination with beauty products... have you ever written a morning routine post? leave that in the comments too - i would love to read about it!


*this post (like this blog) is not sponsored. any products mentioned are just noted because i use them and like them. i am not getting paid for any of this, just to let you know.





PORTRAIT v. 37

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

she loves when i take my jewelry box off the dresser and allow her to sit on the bed rummaging through it.she loves to show me pieces and sort the tiny earrings. as she was playing with the chew bead bracelet she was telling me "b for ball". she learns so much by handling things, by us talking about the things we see, by touching everything. it makes me very happy to see her learning, so there is not a whole lot that is off limits these days, not even my jewelry box. so i am kind of happy, for the first time ever, that i don't own a whole lot of really nice fancy stuff.


favorites from this past week:

stella, and these four boys, all suspended in the air, or burrowed into the earth.








SHOP MY CLOSET


once again, i am doing a serious closet purge. i am partially blaming this post (brilliant). i have quite a few great quality items that just aren't right for me. so i have listed them in hopes to clean out my closet and simplify a bit. this is a chance to purchase some nice items at bargain prices. if you don't live in the U.S. and see something you like, don't fret - just e-mail me and we can work out shipping.

i still have a bunch of things to list. i will try to remember to update on here when i add more stuff. here are a few fun things that i have listed right now:


a pair of level99 skinny jeans in a flattering dark-wash. from anthro. as comfortable as pajamas, but make your butt look fab. size 25.

classic ralph lauren plaid wool skirt, size 2.

a pair of brown leather j.crew tenley boots in good condition. side 6.5.

so, if you are looking to score something fun and gently worn at a good price, you can check out my closet shop here.

because what doesn't fit me might make you look fabulous!









AROUND HERE : a glorious little iphone dump

 so, last week i was iphone-less for a few days. the phone had fallen in the tub while i was giving chloe a bath and i thought for sure i had fried it. i quickly did some research, and read that rice should help draw the water out of the phone. so i threw the phone in a bag of rice and hoped for the best during the next few days. i really did not want to pay for another phone.. the thought of spending that money on something i had so easily ruined made me sick to my stomach. alas, after much (enjoyable phoneless) waiting, my little phone has turned back on. i am still not answering my texts or calls, but i am taking photos and instagraming it up. 

now, i do have a real camera, a decent one in-fact. but i have been saving up for a nice wide angle lens so i can get better indoor and portrait shots. one of these days i will bite the bullet and purchase one. in the mean time, i have been very impressed with the camera on the iphone4s, and i love using vsco cam to edit my photos. i like to stick to the same filter with all my photos to keep some consistency. soft, creamy shadows, and deep dusky tones are what appeal to my eye. do you follow me on instagram? do you have one?  do you have anyone that you follow that you would recommend following? i would love to know.

without further adieu, here is my iphone dump.

her "slimies" - a few of her favorite toys... we just realized we actually had two fushia ones the other day (we just thought she was carrying that one around everywhere).

everything is a hat.

breakfast has been looking like this : oatmeal, honey, cinnamon, and almonds.
and dinner has been looking like this : butternut squash risotto from trader joe's with thyme and a honey-crisp apple added.

quite a few messes.

throwing rocks into water

chloe spinning with her papa

what mornings look like from the kitchen.
lying on naked mattresses while the bed-linens are being washed.

my list, her book.




hope your week is off to a great start friends!










PORTRAIT v. 36


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



this week we welcomed September, and boy if September hasn't delivered! crisp chilly mornings and evenings with lots of sunshine and cool breezes. we have been enjoying these changes in weather, after our soupy and sticky east coast summer.


favorites from this past week:

these beautiful sun drenched portraits of children enjoying spring - my other favorite season.

and this beautiful pair of portraits of sisters, also in flower crowns.


joining in with sweet jodi.




MY RESPONSE TO MRS. HALL


so my phone has been out of commission for just about two days now. i am loving how quiet it is around here, but missing being "available". my husband bought me an ipad over a year ago for my birthday, but i tend to not use it while chlo is awake as it tends to evoke many many tantrums. it is better to be disconnected, have less tantrums, and spend time less distracted... and to be honest i am really enjoying it. 

but this afternoon while chloe was doing her pre-nap pig-being-butchered-screaming (does anyone else have a toddler that insists on screaming a bit before going to bed?), i was sitting on my bed with the good old pad and texting my husband about the said, screaming. then i perused instagram and saw someone make mention of a certain blog post and that the post had gone viral. as i looked back through the comments, which had nothing to do with the photo posted, i saw there was a bit of controversy brewing about the blog post being talked about (fyi, the instagrammer whose photo was being commented on, was not the author of the blog post being talked about - rather someone was asking her opinion about the post). well i was intrigued, so i googled the post and read it... and well, i just couldn't help myself, here is my opinion on the post. you can read the original post here: titled "fyi (if you're a teenage girl)".

the post appears to be from a well meaning woman of four children, most of them being boys who are nearing or have reached their teenage years - so hats off to her! she wrote the post addressing teenage girls who are, or could in the future be, friends or acquaintances of her sons and who interact with them via social media - namely facebook. right from the start, she seems like a concerned mom who is actually taking the time to monitor what her children are looking at on the internet, and who is bold enough to talk with her sons about what is and what is not appropriate. i do not fault her for any of these things. but then she stresses to the girls she is addressing that she will block them if they post photos of themselves in suggestive poses or scantly clothed as she wants her sons to be men of moral integrity that don't "linger over photos of scantly-clad highschool girls". in the original post (she has since posted a revised one with different photos), she includes a photo of her four attractive children on the beach, her three sons without shirts... well this gained her a few comments regarding hypocrisy. 

my issue is not with what she wants for her sons, or with the photo she posted of them, my issue is that i don't think what she is doing is going to work. at least not in the long run. it seems as though she is suggesting that women who dress appropriately are not likely to be objectified by young men - well that's not true! this is not to say that scantly clothed people are not going to gain attention - but it is easy attention, because they aren't wearing any clothes! doh! women who wear clothes can be objectified too, and it doesn't make it any different, or any better. so, get the thought out of your head that women who are, or who are not, scantly clothed might ever be asking to be objectified.

next, teenage boys, and teenage girls have sex on their minds, and for too long i think that parents have tried to ignore it, to repress it, to squash it. yes, sexuality is a normal and healthy part of human development, and it is a strange, curious, beautiful, and weird part of being a teenage boy or girl. you cannot get rid of this, it is there, it is not going to go away, parents have no control over this. your child is going to look at who they find attractive, eye catching, and unusual... whether it is on facebook, the internet, television, magazines, or in real life. unless you want to lock your teenager in a windowless room without access to any outside influences, this is just going to happen (in fact, even if you lock them in a windowless room i think they still might think about sex). get over it.

but, instead of blocking things from the eyes of your children, why not try talking with them about what they are seeing, asking them why they are posing like that, or why they think the person on the other side of the screen might be posing in such a way.... ask them what message they think they are portraying, and teach them that their appearance is a message, a useful tool that they can use to influence without any words at all. encourage them to be creative, to be expressive, and to be comfortable in their own skin.

and while you are at it, be comfortable in your own skin too... for us moms this means not calling ourselves fat, especially in front of our children. really, what message are we sending to them when we tell them they are beautiful, but they came from a fat cow?

you are not a fat cow. you are beautiful.

teach your children to value others, to appreciate the male and female body (this means not teaching them that boys or girls are "yucky"). teach them to appreciate their own body. teach them to take care of their body. 

teach them that another person's beauty or appearance does not detract from their own... there is an infinite amount of beauty in this world... enough for every person.

teach them how to build self-esteem in others.

i follow another woman on instagram who is very into encouraging others (she is the mother teressa of my instragram feed). she recently took her young son, perhaps age 3 or 4, to starbucks carrying some flowers... she helped him hand out flowers to every woman in the shop and he told them that they were beautiful. when i read about this i cried. what an amazing way to teach your child, starting young, to encourage and treat other people with kindness.

to teach my children that people are beautiful, regardless of their appearance, regardless of how they dress... to not block them out, but to look closely and appreciate them.

and maybe this might not solve this huge problem of how society has been objectifying women (and men) for many years, and its damaging affect on young adults... but i think that it might be a small start.

forget trying to block people, change people, or cover them up. start seeing people as beautiful, and teach your children to see them as beautiful too.


and fyi - in case anyone hasn't told you teenage girl or boy: you are beautiful.





QUIET


it has been a little quiet around here over the past month or so...

not for any one specific reason. just many small ones. i often go through my days thinking that i should jot down what just happened, or pondering how i might translate my thoughts into words to share with whoever may take time to read my little blog. there are photos i take and mean to edit and share. there are things we do that i feel might be fun to show others. 

but sometimes there is silence. i read quite a few blogs, and whenever they have a silent bout i can't help but wonder... what is happening? are they alright? are they sick? are they mourning? are they busy, maybe overwhelmed? did they just need a little break? or did their computer break? where are they vacationing? did they find new love? what new things have they discovered? what are they reading? when will they be back?

many come back with something new to share, whether it be new found insight, a funny story, photographs from an adventure, or a special announcement.

i am not sure where my silence falls in. i have things to write about, stuff to share, but i am enjoying a little silence and finding some refuge and hope in this time of quietness. i assure you there is nothing bad happening, nor is there anything all too exciting happening. as i may have said before, i deactivated my personal facebook account a bit ago (the one for my blog is still there). it is amazing how one disconnect can lead to another, and another, until i hardly spend any time on my computer during the day. and i am surprised that i really don't miss facebook, or the time spent on my computer (although i do miss some of the interactions with close friends, family members, and acquaintances).

i am still on instagram, although i often don't share photographs in real life time... most are "latergrams" that i have to share at some later time... usually during nap-time or after chloe is in bed. i am horrible at using my phone as much more than a camera. my friends and family will attest to this - you would do better to reach me by carrier pigeon than by text or phone calls. in fact, tonight my phone somehow wound up in the tub while i was giving chloe a bath... so more silence as my phone sits in a bowl of rice drying out... (other than all the photos i have stored on it, i don't think i would mind it's loss entirely).

and then there is this blog... this blog is a place where i am able to write and share what is happening during our days, a place to show what i have found, a place to interact with what i have read, seen, or head, and to connect with the sweet folks who read here.  the place where i document my joys, fears, sadness, musings, wonders, triumphs, failures, and where i like to think i leave a bit of a love letter to my family and friends... (you know, letting them know i am still alive when i haven't returned their calls or texts! only joking! sort of...)

i find myself now being picky over what to share, only wanting to give the best here, only wanting to show you the most honest and clear representation of my days, only really wanting to make something of quality... i have become more focused on this lately, and i will admit that it has caused some roadblocks in my writing.

but, despite all this, i think sometimes silence is just really good... that there is hope, thought, and sincerity that dwells in it, waiting to be released when it is eventually broken. i think that very good things come from silence. 

and i am hoping to be bringing about many good things. 

stay tuned. xx







PORTRAIT v. 35

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



i have discovered that she can easily be persuaded to "play" pick up toys, if she is wearing a glove or two.


this week:

this little one's expressions are killing me! these portraits of two adorable siblings are just precious, (and make me hope for a little sibling for chloe soon).


linking up with lovely jodi this week.






« »

from lebo with love All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger