Thursday, April 30, 2015

Summer Fashion 2015: Impractically Perfect

I've been looking around at all the new summer fashions and I've seen a lot of things I like. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of things I like...and will not wear. Why? Well, for starters: 3 children. One of the things they don't tell you before you have kids is that, even if you manage to lose the baby weight, things are still not the same as they were pre-baby. Things that were flat are now...shapes. Things that were shapely...are not. Things have relocated or shifted or transformed (like a butterfly!Yes, let's use that imagery. That's nice).

Also, even if you managed to tone and tighten within an inch of your life, there is the practical part that comes with dressing now. Can you pick up a baby without flashing anyone? Can you carry a child or push a stroller without tripping? If someone yanks on your shirt/skirt/dress will it stand it's ground or will you be ticketed for indecent exposure? So much to consider.

Here are some things I've seen and loved but have sadly given up on:                                      


They're baaaaack. At first I thought "Oh no, gross" because they are overalls and I am not a farmer. But, the more I kept seeing them everywhere the more they grew on me. Look how comfy she looks! (Why is she wearing heels though? Anyone?) How nice would it be to wake up on the weekend and throw these on over a t-shirt and be on your way? They're kind of cute and youthful and....youthful. Really youthful. As in, I realized I had a pair of these when I was eight. And I had a pair of shorts overalls with big flowers on them. Heck, I had a skirt version too! No...I had my time with overalls and those days are gone. If I wore these, given my short stature, I'd look like a preteen boy and that's just never what I want. At least Audrey had a pair and she looked amazing in them, and yes, very young.

Culotte Shorts

                   Sheinside White Multi Poppies Culotte Shorts


Another blast from the early 90's here. Once again, this is one I turned my nose up at before they got me. I guess I remember them from their go 'round 20 years ago. In my mind they were always unattractively baggy shorts,  but now they actually seem like they could be practical. With all that volume it looks like a skirt but it's not! It's shorts! No worries on a windy day! I even went so far as to try on a pair, and alas, these will not be joining me this summer vacation. You know what they looked like on? A really, unattractively baggy pair of shorts.


Fringed Flower Kimono in emerald waters by Myee Carlyle. Cute denim cut offs & Tibetan beads.
Myee Carlyle

So, this doesn't look like a kimono to me, but whatever, that's what they're calling them. It looks like something you wear over lingerie but apparently it's not. This is a thing now, and you wear it like so, over a camisole or t shirt. It's actually quite pretty. I love the floral pattern and the guaziness of it. You know what would happen if I bought one? I would put on my shorts (uh, not those denim cut offs though because thighs) and my shirt, and then I would forget my beautiful accent kimono because someone was eating hand soap. Or, perhaps I would wear it, and then it would keep sliding off every time I picked up a child because it's so damn gauzy. Let's not even get into what the fringe would look like after day one. No, when the kids are grown I will rock a kimono all summer (even though they'll be out of style by then. Whatever. I do what I want).


TWELFTH STREET BY CYNTHIA VINCENT Reckless Daughter Long Sleeve Jumpsuit in Black - Rompers & Jumpsuits

 Cynthia Vincent

 I LOVE THESE. Doesn't she look like a boss lady? So unexpected and yet so elegant and powerful! Amazing. I read a fashion magazine that said if you're short you should really avoid these. It got me a little riled up because these are awesome and yet I am short. Don't tell me what to do, fashion magazine, you don't know my life. You fashion magazines are just trying to bring us women down and I will defy your stupid expectations all while wearing this fantastic jumpsuit! I ordered one, and it was clearly made for someone with the legs of a giraffe. It looked awful. I tried on a petite version and it was clearly made for a baby giraffe. You win fashion magazine.

Crop Tops and Skirts


Feel exhausted to go matchy matchy? Well, this classic matching sets in chevron print is your perfect solution.

Yeah, the minute I realized crop tops were in style I didn't for a second think I'd be buying one. But still, it's cute, no? I love the way they match, and the skirt covers her navel so it's like a little hint of skin without being trashy. Somehow, it works. I had a Barbie when I was little and she had an awesome crop top/skirt combo in yellow and black and she looked great in it.  If you have the same proportions as Barbie then I can highly recommend this outfit. Also, if you have the same proportions as Barbie please seek medical attention.

White Jeans

Ah, white jeans, or as I like to call them: your children's canvas.With these I'd be able to showcase what everyone ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner and tell the world I had my morning coffee because it would be all over these bad boys. Nevertheless, they look so crisp and preppy and I don't know if it's Photoshop or six inch heels but they make her legs look so long. Even if they don't have kids how do people keep these clean? What kind of witchcraft must you possess to avoid spilling something on yourself? I want to know these secrets!

So there we have it. I have come to accept that these styles are not for me but if you like them and want to try them, more power to you! I support you and will be secretly envious when I see you out and about. I'll just be over here rocking my generic khaki shorts and flat sandals, probably with some jelly hand prints on my shoulder.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

3 Things: The Awful Movies Edition

Today has been such a strange day. The weather is amazing, the sun shining, and I had big plans to tackle a bunch of errands and take the kids to the park. Audrey woke up so early this morning that the kids ending up being dressed, fed and out the door before the anything was actually open. It kind of threw me off as we ended up having to wait around for twenty minutes for the library to open (they keep telling me we didn't return a book and now owe four sheep, two goats and our first born in late fees. Lies I tell you! It was returned). We ran to the grocery store and a few other places and then hit the park. Audrey, my normally happy go lucky child, temporarily lost her mind and was a scream-y nightmare. Yikes. We went home and when I got to the driveway there were three cars parked and a bunch of women standing around waiting for me to get the meeting started. Wrong house ladies.

Anyway, weird day that hasn't gone as planned.  Let's move on to some other things that we've been up to:

Audrey is not having any of it. None.

Reading:  The Fruit Gardener's Bible. 
 Image result for fruit gardener's bible

I bought this for Sean for Christmas because in late Fall he started talking about how he wanted to grow some fruit trees and shrubs. I got this on a total whim, because he is impossible to shop for and all-knowing Amazon suggested it. Well it was a huge hit and he reads this every night to check and recheck that he's planting/pruning/dedicating his life to these trees in all the correct ways. Have I mentioned we're growing fruit trees? Like, a lot of them? 

Watching:  Okay, go ahead and grab a snack before you settle in because I have MANY FEELINGS on the two movies we watched this week and it is my obligation to share them with you so that you don't make the same mistakes. Cue PSA. 


We watched Woody Allen's "Magic in the Moonlight"  at my insistence I'm afraid to say. I saw "Midnight in Paris" and I really enjoyed it and thought that this would be in the same vein. It stars Colin Firth (World's Most Charming Actor) and Emma Stone (World's Most Charming Actress).  It's set in 1928 in France (the costumes! the cars! the scenery!). He plays a curmudgeonly illusionist and she's a sassy medium who he is trying to disprove. Everything about this should work. And He comes off as supremely unlikable, she's wishy washy, and they look like father and daughter. There is no chemistry whatsoever and the whole thing was just a mess. 
Don't even get me started on his stage persona "Wei Ling Soo". Oh yeah, his stage character is a stereotypical Chinese "mystic" complete with heavy eye makeup and a stick-on Fu Manchu. Who on God's green earth decided it was a good idea to put Colin Firth, one of the whitest men alive, in such a horribly racist costume? Why did he go along with it? I realize it was set in 1928 but it was filmed and shown in modern day. It was so off-putting and distracted from the whole film. Why couldn't he have just worn a mask or something if they needed to hide his identity? Why the overtly racist getup? So many questions, zero good answers. Beyond awful.  

The other movie was "Exodus: Gods and Kings". It was a remake of "The 10 Commandments" and you should just see the original. There was nothing special or unique about the remake. Seriously miscast in my opinion, I mean, Sigourney Weaver as Ramses mother? Say what? It was like she'd just gotten off a plane from Minneapolis and someone yelled "Action!". Through the whole thing I kept suggesting that we just go watch the original but Sean felt like we had committed already so we stuck it out, much to my displeasure. 

Clearly, I need better guidance in picking movies. 

Listening: "Woman Woman" by AWOLNATION. I like a handful of songs by this band but a lot of their music is a little too hard rock or electronic for my taste. I know, I have sensitive lady ears. However, this song is one I have been loving lately. The rest of the album is kind of meh, but "Woman Woman" makes me feel like I need to strut around and maybe flip my hair seductively. Rest assured, I won't actually do that, because I know you were worried. At least I won't do it when other people are around, I won't make promises for when the kids are napping and I'm alone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quoatable Kids

Here are some of the gems that have come out of the kids mouths recently:

Aiden (Age 7)

Aiden: I went out to recess and I sat down on the "buddy bench" which is where you go when you're waiting for your friends, but I realized it was the time out bench! I told the teacher I didn't mean to go there and she just said "no one does".

Aiden: What are you reading?

Me: It's an article on Brazil, they're having an outbreak of a disease called Dengue Fever so they're spraying to kill the mosquitoes that carry it

Aiden: It doesn't seem safe for kids and people to spray that stuff. What about bats? They need bat houses in the city, bats eat like a zillion mosquitoes

Me: They have a water shortage so people keep water in open containers and the mosquitoes grow in there.

Aiden: They need to give out better containers with a lid and spout or something. And don't I always tell you and dad not to waste water? I'm gonna keep working on this. 

He's probably going to save the world some day.


Audrey (15 Months)


Sean and I aren't quite certain that she's actually saying "shoes" but it sounds just like it. She says it all the time. Anytime she's playing or crawling around she's saying "shoes" over and over. She's like a mini Carrie Bradshaw.  

Rory (2)

Rory is obsessed with the book Freight Train by Donald Crews. It's the perfect length and has bright illustrations that fit perfectly with Rory's very tiny attention span. He has finally memorized it and will flip through the book "reading" it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend Recap: One DayQuil at a Time

Poor Sean has been having the worst allergy issues the past couple of weeks. He's been popping Allegra left and right, which hasn't been working, and we chalked it up to the fact that he's been spending so much time in the yard. I knew this was wrong when Friday afternoon rolled around and suddenly I could feel a scratchy throat and burning sinuses. It was like giant neon signs lit up saying "NOT ALLERGIES". Yeah, mine don't hit until mid summer and this particularly aggressive bout Sean's been fighting it definitely a miserable cold instead. Go away cold, it's April, get out of here.

We had no particular plans this weekend which meant Sean was able to plant some more trees out in the yard. So many trees, people. He's like the Lorax. I had a chance to go on the World's Least Successful shopping trip with my mom. I have been looking for a dress. Nothing too fancy but still nice, and apparently I am a special snowflake who doesn't fit into anything. Too big? Check. Too small? Check. Just right? No. Never. We spent a couple of hours shopping and I tried on about twelve different things and I came home with a shirt. A nice shirt but not a dress. Side note: wondering how much support there would be for bringing back togas and/or kilts?

The kids were a little sad because the beautiful spring warmth has been replaced by this awful, dreary and chilly weather. Aiden spent nearly the whole weekend outside but the other two were stuck inside with me. We did manage to go for a walk each day, and Aiden has finally mastered his big bike. He has known how to ride a bike for a couple of years but we moved him onto a bigger model (because the little one fits Rory, so yeah, good sign he needed something new) and he was convinced he'd have to learn to ride it all over again. We spent weeks trying to get him to try it out and he refused (it didn't help that his classmate had a pretty horrible, and totally freak, bike accident). He finally gave it a try this weekend and voila, loves it. Decided it's much more comfortable. It was nice to see him zooming up and down the street again. 

It looks like it may actually be warm again by Wednesday so he may get to keep riding it. Now if we can just get Rory on the other one!

Zoolander and Hansel

Get off the table Audrey!

Such a charming face

Great, now she's making it too

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Best Mascaras For Layering: Benefit, Smashbox, Dior and more

If your eyes are the window to your soul then putting on mascara is like throwing open the shutters. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it's my absolute favorite type of makeup so forgive me. I have tried a lot (A LOT) of mascaras in search of the perfect lengthening/thickening/clump free mascara and I am sad to say that at this point I don't think there is a holy grail of mascaras.

Some don't clump, some are better at lengthening, some go on thick but I have yet to find one that does it all. This is okay though, because if you're willing to spend .02 seconds longer on applying mascara then you can layer different types to achieve the specific look you want.  Some days call for something simple and other days call for a little more drama and these are my favorites for combining.

The best base: Covergirl Clump Crusher. Pardon me, but the name is dumb. I feel silly even writing it but it does. not. clump. It goes on smooth and is not too dramatic which makes it great on it's own for everyday or as a base layer. I find that if you start with this, anything else you put on top is less likely to clump.

The best lengthening: L'Oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions. Seriously, what is with these names? It's a great mascara but not what I'd file under "shocking!". It does, however, lengthen really nicely. It leaves you with noticeably longer lashes without looking over the top.

The best for sensitive eyes: Mirenesse icurl. We've all had those days when your allergies are bugging you, or your contacts are itchy or you just don't want to have to deal with your mascara smudging. This is the one for you. This actually coats your lashes to form a kind of tube around them. This means it won't smudge or flake (potentially causing irritation) and you can take it off with warm water and gentle pressure rather than having to use greasy makeup removers. It lengthens lashes and helps them hold a curl and can still be layered over another mascara if you want extra oomph (although it should be your last layer or you won't get the lengthening tube effect). Sounds strange, works beautifully.

 The best thickening: Smashbox Full Exposure. This mascara comes out super black and leaves lashes looking thick and soft. Soft is key because it lessens the chance that it will flake as the day goes on. Nobody wants that, right?

The best for definition: Benefit They're Real! What do I mean by definition? I mean that this mascara separates each individual lash so you look bright eyed and awake. The wand on this mascara has a tip that is rounded so that you can maneuver it into the corners to get every last lash. Or, if you're going for something more dramatic, this brush is great for coating your lower lashes and giving you that doll-like look.
The best for date night: Dior Diorshow Extase. So everyone seems to love Diorshow mascara and the Diorshow Extase is, in my mind, taken to the next level. This is the mascara you put on when you're going to have your picture taken, or you're going on a date to that swank French restaurant with the guy who finally asked you out, or you just need to look ridiculously amazing. It is not a subtle mascara, not natural looking by any definition, but you will look smoking hot. You're not going to need more than one or two coats of this because it gives you seriously thick, over the top lashes. Again, I like to do one coat of this over the clump crusher just to ensure that it doesn't clump or stick.

So there you go. The best choices for everything from the daily routine right down to that party you've been waiting for. Thicker, longer, more defined or bombshell dramatic: these ones have you covered. Mix and match to your heart's content.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

15 Month Checkup: Shots! Shots! Shots!


This was a pediatric appointment so not those kinds of shots, although I could've used a few when we were done. I took both kids with me which was not the best idea I've ever had. Normally I only take the one and arrange from someone to watch the other two but nope, I thought it would be just fine.

Rory screamed while we waited, the stroller I took with us was awful and hard to manage and then once we got into the exam room Rory quieted down and Audrey took over. We went through the the usual antics and Audrey received two shots and weighs in at 20lbs almost on the dot. Never fun but the whole appointment went as quickly as could be hoped.

 It's funny because while Audrey has all the usual baby chunk (and then some) she still seems so tiny. Just absolutely miniature. I know I always see her next to her brothers so that explains some of it, and she's right in the 40th percentile for height and weight, but she just seems so eensy!

Personality wise she is still a delight. She had a few colds this late winter and spring but she's back to being healthy and has about 8 teeth and hardly any hair, far less than both boys. I like to put it up anyway I can but there's hardly anything to work with.

She's a good eater and happy to try anything new but insists on feeding herself. Luckily she's surprisingly adept at this. She does her absolute best to keep up with the boys and will throw herself into whatever they are doing. Playing with blocks? She insists on having some too. Drawing? Give her a crayon right this instant. They are really good about humoring her and making her feel included even when the activity is obviously beyond her capability. She is a little ray of sunshine but she's learning to speak up for herself too.

Language wise, she is the chattiest of them all. Rory was a talker but she has so many more words then even he did at this age: want this, thank you, crackers, milk, up, open, the list goes on. I'm sure this grasp on language helps explain why she's still such a perpetually happy kid. She does like to pretend tantrum though: she'll throw herself down (on carpet) and roll around while whining. When someone comes to see what's wrong she'll just laugh.

 The one skill she hasn't quite mastered is walking. She rolled/sat/crawled and stood in quick succession but would never even attempt to walk unless it was cruising along the furniture. If you took her hands to help her stand she would yank them away and sit down. She just took her first independent steps last week but can only go about four steps before she's back down again.

Overall she is such a sweetheart and has her big brothers in the palm of her hand. They could be all-out fighting and she will manage to get them working together to help her walk or bring her toys. Smart lady. I hope she holds on to that skill as she gets older!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

3 Things: Serious and Silly Edition

Hey! Hi there. Hello. It's Wednesday, so here are some things that we are reading, watching and listening to. I hope you can move past the preposition just chilling on the end of that sentence along with any other egregious grammar mishaps I make.

Snobs by Julian Fellowes.  I have been reading this one on and off because I am easily distracted, but I've really enjoyed it. It's a novel about a woman who marries into a titled family, and despite feeling like she's above the snobbery, gets sucked into the drama that comes with being in the 1% (and making questionable romantic decisions). The narrator is her friend, an actor, who manages to have one foot in privileged society and one foot in the middle class ( ala Nick Carraway).  The commentary, as is typical with Fellowes work, is absolutely spot on. At times it's both amusing and uncomfortable. I truly enjoy his writing, which includes Gosford Park, The Tourist and Downton Abbey just to name a few. I will fully admit that I roll my eyes over what seems like petty nonsense of painfully rich people but I would absolutely have a glass of Pimms with the Duke and Duchess in the garden if they ever called. Julian Fellowes understands this paradox and skewers the uppercrust while still giving us a satisfyingly thorough look at the luxury they enjoy.

Also reading this article from The Guardian. I already shared this on Facebook, and I know it's not meant to be funny but FATBERG. How many times can you read that without laughing? I kept laughing about it all night. Now you know all about my sophomoric sense of humor. Fatberg Wrecks Sewer.  I apologize to the people of Chelsea.


House Hunters International. Sean and I love the idea of buying a home in a new country. We love this one and all but we also love a good adventure. It's so fun to live vicariously through other people's journeys. Plus, it affirms our bond every time we agree on which house is best. Always go for the cheaper one slightly out of city center so you can spend your extra money on paella or croissants.

Also watching this.  Aiden came home from school the other day and wanted to show me the "dynamite" cheer they learned at school. I jumped up from the table and joined him because I KNOW THIS ONE! We're dynamite, we're out of sight, we're tick tick tick tick BOOM dynamite! We were awesome and if we were cheering for your team they would've won by 500 points easily. Of course Sean was standing there just shaking his head at our nonsense and I realized we looked exactly like the Spartan Cheerleaders. Just call us Craig and Arriana.


"Rollercoaster" by Bleachers. The lead singer Jack Antonoff co-wrote and co-produced a chunk of Taylor Swift's 1989 album (which is a favorite in our house) so it's no surprise that I really like their new (first?) album called Strange Desire. They're a mix of rock and pop combined with this 80's vibe, and that right there is everything I like in a song.

That was supposed to be three things and I think it's more like five. False Advertising! I hope you all have an enjoyable Wednesday and please watch out for fatbergs. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How Not to Cut Your Toddler's Hair in 13 Easy Steps

Step 1: Decide your toddler needs a haircut RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Do not plan it out too much, definitely don't wait until your husband is around to help. You've had it up to here with combing yogurt and peanut butter out of that mop and you are DONE.

Step 2: Take just enough time to check Pinterest. Get some great and wholly unrealistic ideas about what you can pull off by yourself with clippers and semi-sharp hair-cutting scissors. Prohibition cut on a two year old? Sure. Why not. 

Step 3: Bring your other toddler into the bathroom with you. All three of you in here will be totally cozy. She is the very definition of patient and just oozing with self control. Surely she won't get in the way!

Step 4: Grab one of your husband's t-shirts to use as a cape. Don't check to make sure it's not one of his favorites that you'll have to throw out once it's coated in those scratchy baby hairs that will never come off.

Step 5: Fire up the buzzers! Work nice and slowly. Again, toddlers are totally patient so this will be just fine. Don't bother to brush off excess hair from his shoulders or even go so far as to hide the already cut hair. Why would giant clumps of hair bother a child?

Step 5: Okay, so now your toddler (who was doing well up to this point) has spotted the hair on the floor. He now knows you are cutting his actual hairs off of his actual head. This is where he starts screaming like you've been cutting his actual fingers off of his actual hands. You haven't been of course, but it sure sounds like you have.

Step 6: Snack break: toddler number two who was playing with a fancy bar of soap is now here to check out the screaming. She is so glad you've provided a delicious array of hair chunks to play with and taste. So soft! So fluttery! Oh Lord, so scratchy, help!

Step 7: Realize that things are totally off the rails. Abandon Pinterest ideas. Abandon scissors into the sink because these kids are EVERYWHERE. Abandon hope.

Step 8: Time to buckle down and power through. He may look like a feral child with only half his hair cut and he may be acting like a feral child trying to escape the bathroom and the giant man sized shirt he is wrapped in, but do not let this distract you from your goal. Turn those buzzers back on.

Step 9: Hold toddler one and gently whisper reassurances as you give up and buzz the rest of the hair off. At this point toddler two will be covered in hair, Chewbacca style, and trying to climb up your back like you are a miniature Mount Everest. Just go with it.

Step 10: All done....mostly. Reward your now hairless and permanently scarred child with a huge bowl of ice cream. Reward yourself with one too. And a huge glass of wine later when you tell this story to your husband. 

Step 11: Put everyone in the bath and try to wash off all the tiny hairs. Those hairs are everywhere. Stop singing Dashboard Confessional, this is not the time.

Step 12: Spend the next two weeks trying to covertly trim all the random long pieces that you missed.

Step 13: All done! Just kidding, you missed a spot.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend Recap: All the Friends!

A while ago we'd planned to have a few of Sean's college friends come stay for the weekend. Of course I totally forgot who exactly was coming and which weekend it was and went ahead and let Aiden have three play dates last Wednesday through Friday. This means there were anywhere from four to nine kids running around here. In addition to that, both Rory and Audrey have been in a fierce competition for who can cling to me the longest for the past two weeks. I actually went grocery shopping and pushed a cart while holding both of them (that's about 50 pounds of kid). I was very proud of my core and shoulder strength and also kind of dying inside because why must you both make me carry you! All of this to say that we headed into a very busy weekend with giant piles of laundry and a mostly empty fridge and a basement that, while usually pretty tidy, was totally torn apart.

And then all of our friends arrived to sleep in our basement that was in disarray, and eat food that didn't actually exist because whoops that was this weekend? Also, two out of our three showers were broken (one was my fault for putting off calling the plumber but the other was a stroke of bad luck) so one shower for 10 people is always exciting.  As someone who is normally very type A and on top of these things, my head was spinning and I was not feeling like a very good hostess.

Taking all of that into account, how did the weekend go? Wonderfully. Sean's friend Owen planned out all manner of activities and took everyone out to dinner so I could get a reprieve from cooking. They brought wine and chocolate (always, always greatly appreciated). They also spent plenty of time talking to the kids.

I always worry that three children running around will be off putting to people who don't spend a lot of time with kids but this weekend just proved why these guys (and ladies) are such good friends. Nobody minds when a child crawls into their lap to sit or hands them a pencil and paper and asks to draw with them. There was even a morning where everyone sat around eat cinnamon rolls and talking about viscosity and refraction with Aiden after he asked how a certain toy containing colored liquids worked. It's also kind of hilarious to see how much Aiden takes after Sean because what other kid would sit there and be happy to talk about density and buoyancy? Science all the time.

There was mini golfing and cave exploring for everyone and late night cards and wine for the grown ups. My best friend also happened to be in town so I was able to catch up with some of my friends. We can't wait for everyone to come back this summer and I pinky promise I will have more available showers and a full barbeque planned.



 The award for squintiest group picture goes to: Us!



Friday, April 17, 2015

Nurture and Nature: Gardening with Kids

I was never big on gardening in the past. I know a lot of people who really enjoy discussing various species of plants, the frost and rain forecast and what new plant to put in the garden, but that was never me. I didn't know much about planting (and still don't) but a few years ago Aiden asked to start a vegetable garden so we went ahead and bought some seeds. We dug up a section of an existing flowerbed (that was sorely ignored) and put in some beans, carrots and cucumbers. To my surprise we ended the summer with a garden full of vegetables, despite my haphazard care, and it was something we decided to do each year after. My own attention on the garden waxed and waned as I went through two pregnancies and cared for babies but Aiden still enjoyed it each year and my husband, Sean, soon developed an interest in keeping the garden going.

This interest grew exponentially this past winter when my husband made the decision to purchase some fruit trees to replace other trees we had taken down. It sounded wonderful to me, especially the part where he decided it would be a project for he and Aiden. 

Sean, Aiden and a friend spent last weekend digging holes, mixing compost and soil, planting and back filling, and now there are four new trees around here. Sean and Aiden have already been looking up natural fertilizers, how to protect the tiny trunks and different methods for pruning the growing branches.


What went from a plan to grow trees for fruit is starting to seem like a much larger lesson. Gardening is great to teach kids about caring for the earth, eating healthy, whole foods and spending time in nature, but the one word that is resonating as I watch my husband and son water and check each tree is nurture.  

Our society provides plenty of opportunities to teach girls how to nurture: we have baby dolls and kitchen sets galore and happily teach them to be little mommies. What about the boys? We have a kitchen set and baby dolls and while all three kids have played with them, his interest in those things has pretty much disappeared as he's gotten older. How do you keep helping boys to nurture, care and protect? Gardening has become the perfect example and a way to keep that discussion going.


He's outside sweating, dragging a heavy shovel and sinking into the soft, deep soil. It seems like your stereotypical "man's work". But he and Sean are also tenderly examining buds, figuring out where to make cuts that won't hurt but instead help it flourish. They're looking for a way to wrap guards around the base of each plant to keep them safe from hungry animals and errant lawn toys. Soon Aiden will see that after all the heavy digging and the careful pruning and watering we will have strong trees that give sweet apples in years to come. Aiden sees his daddy, a big strong man he thinks can do almost anything, showing him how to be gentle, how to carefully help something small and defenseless grow.

Out there in the garden, with dirty, callused hands and sore muscles, he's learning that anytime you put in hard work, gentleness and care, whether it be with a child, a partner or even a little sprig of a tree, something beautiful can grow. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

3 Things: What We're Watching/ Reading/ Listening To

Today has been one of those days where I wanted a do-over by about 9am.  Normally I am well aware of how trying toddlers can be, and I have reasonable expectations about  their behavior and how much I can realistically get done but no, not today.  So much whining, and clinging and just generally being contrary little humans all while I tried to pack way too much into the morning. I love them to bits but I am quite glad they are both sleeping soundly right now.

So instead of focusing on that, here's what we've been enjoying in our downtime:

Watching: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. I put this show onto our list (or queue, or whatever they call it now) but we never got around to watching until recently. We picked it on a whim and it was best decision. I love everything about it from the fact that she's a strong, independent female lead to the gorgeous costumes to the fact that it's funny and clever and thrilling in one package. Highly recommend.

Reading:  We're just finishing up Inferno by Dan Brown.  We always wait for the illustrated edition because we're not cultured enough to recall all the locations and works of art he mentions off the top of our heads (and we've never heard of half of them there's that too). It's typical Dan Brown: death/art/high speed chase etc. It's good, but not my favorite, and there are some annoying side characters that just distract from the plot. Also, it's about the potential for a deadly pandemic which is one of my biggest fears. Pandemics and bio-terrorism = nightmares for days.

We are reading The Book of Basic Machines: The U.S. Navy Training Manual to Aiden.  He just finished a unit on simple machines in school and loved it (son of a mechanical engineer so no surprise there). This book covers basic physics and mechanics and has lots of examples of real machines. I realize it seems bizarre to be reading a Navy training manual on physics to a seven year old but he loves it and it's surprisingly easy to understand.

Listening: "Lifted Up (1985)" by Passion Pit. Sean has been playing/humming/singing/tapping this song for two weeks now. It's really catchy, happy and downright hopeful, not to mention it reminds me of my brother who was born in 1985. I agree with the chorus, it was a good year. Although, wow, this video has a seizure warning on it and it's definitely a little flashy.

Tonight I think I'll forget about making that healthy chicken dish and we can do pizza instead.  Maybe we'll have a Passion Pit dance party in the kitchen, even toddlers love to dance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Day in The Life

I know you're probably not curious how a typical day around here looks, but don't worry, I'm going to go ahead and tell you anyway. Okay, it's really just for me to record how crazy our days are right now and to remember in the future exactly how we managed to do it all. 

The Cast:
Sean: the dad
June: the mom
Aiden: 7
Rory: 2.5
Audrey: 14 months 
Bo:the dog

6:15 am:  My alarm goes off. Today will be a good day. Today I will be my best self.

6:30 am: I'm still laying in bed reading emails, checking Instagram and the New York Times app. Audrey starts fussing and I gently nudge Sean awake with my foot and he goes in to comfort her and lay her back down. I will be at least a good version of myself. A halfway decent version.

6:40 am: I wash  my face, put on sunscreen and gather up Aiden's toothbrush and comb. I head downstairs (quietly, for the love of Pete the babies are sleeping) and make Aiden's breakfast and pack his lunch before dragging him out of bed (quietly though. Do not wake up those babies OR ELSE).

6:50-7:20 am: Imagine me saying "Please get dressed," "Please finish your breakfast", "Please put your coat on" about 5,000 times. Finally he's made it onto the bus. Whew. I take four sips of hot coffee and never get the chance to finish because-

7:30 am: Apparently Audrey never quite made it back to sleep earlier and now she is VERY PEEVED. So much for all my shushing and tiptoeing. I put on makeup and attempt to straighten my hair a little too quickly and burn my ear. Dammit. I bet that never happens to Beyonce.

7:40 am: Chaos Ensues: Sean jumps up to help me, Rory is up and mostly dressed, Audrey is up, Rory is slamming doors just...because, Audrey can't decide who should get her dressed and is very vocal about her indecision, Bo is permanently underfoot.

This picture is the very essence of Rory
8am: Rory wants cheerios, eggs, bananas, yogurt, grapes, crackers, cheese, applesauce and m&m's for breakfast. Audrey wants none of these. Sean speed drinks his coffee and gets out the door.

9am: Everyone is done with breakfast and more or less cleaned up. Time to run to the bank and Target.

9:10: Chaos Ensues, Part 2: Coats are on. Coats are off. Shoes are on. One shoe is on. One shoe is now in the washing machine. My purse is now upside down, goodbye forever pens and lipgloss, enjoy your new life under the washer. COATS ARE ON GO GO GO. Audrey doesn't need shoes anyway.

9:20: I have pulled up too far away from the bank window and am hanging out the driver's side of my SUV looking both intelligent and classy. Short arms are no joke. I am sorry bank teller lady, just crumple up the receipt and throw it at me please.

9:30: We're at Target. Audrey is looking like a sweet little doll riding in the cart. Rory wants to ride in the back. No he wants to walk. No he wants me to carry him. No Rory, YOU WALK. I power shop, forgetting items left and right, while Rory sort of drags himself along while holding my arm. Note to self: find a chiropractor.

9:50: Rory is looking like a sweet doll standing angelically next to me as I checkout. Audrey  looks like a gremlin as she tells the local population how very done with shopping she is. Don't worry Audrey, everyone within 50 feet now feels very done with shopping.

10-11am: They play while I unload the groceries, dust and pay some bills online. Rory insists on changing his shirt because he found one with a submarine. Then he changes back because this one also has a scratchy tag. I join in and play. Play = everyone try and sit on mom/make mom carry you. So fun. Much exercise. Am hoping this is all somehow educational, try repeating colors with Rory and doing our alphabet, he just stares at me. Okay.


11: Both Audrey and Rory are done and want lunch. Right. Now. Still have not mastered the ability to magically make food appear so I run around the kitchen preparing fruit, cheese, sandwiches and milk while they take turns whining. So much cooperation and teamwork when it comes to harassing their mother.


12: Nap time. The angels descend from heaven sounding trumpets and singing praise as I put Audrey and then Rory down for a nap. I eat some leftover salad (salad = something containing a lot of dressing and strips of tortilla and at least four pieces of kale) and drink some green tea with lemon. Green tea is good for you and I'm hoping it will magically make me calm, collected, healthy,  focused, bulletproof and all knowing. I read on the internet tat it can do these things.

Nap time!
12:30-2:30: I should exercise. No, never going to happen today, but my gosh that was funny. Self, you and your jokes. I finish cleaning up the kitchen, dust and clean the bathroom and spend a half hour reading various blogs before I remember that a) Aiden will be home any minute. b) I was supposed to make a vet appointment and call the pediatrician. Magic green tea isn't working at all.

2:30-3:30: Greet my biggest as he gets off the bus. School was totally whatever and he doesn't remember anything he did all day. He obviously needs some green tea too. We chat about recess, he snacks on his leftover grapes from lunch and he does his spelling and Spanish homework (does homework = much cajoling, gentle encouraging, heavy sighing and high-fiving from me as he works through it). During this time I'm about 88% certain Rory is up, but he's happy upstairs in bed so I leave him for now.

3:30-4:30: Everyone is awake and I have greatly overestimated my own abilities and decided to take the kids to the park before dinner. Audrey wants to somehow be both in and out of the stroller, in my arms and on the play equipment all at the same time. Trying to explain physics to her. Have totally lost track of the two boys, oh wait, there they are. Good gosh they are amazing when they play together.


Dude bros at the park

5pm: We are back home and Sean is too. I am regretting the park already as everyone is very wound up and dinner is running late. Have seriously got to learn to make food magically appear. Eat ziti and salad at lightening speed so that I can get Aiden to Spanish class. Suffer major heartburn, everything tastes like Italian sausage and regret.

 Confused face. Why so many pictures, wife? No paparazzi please.

5:20: Out the door and dropping Aiden at Spanish class while Sean stays home with the babies (he probably manages to clean most of the kitchen, wrestle with the kids and play them a sonata on the piano during this time because he is a superhero. Not even joking about the piano part. Dude is handsome and accomplished). I enjoy the Spanish teacher's lovely living room and make awkward conversation with fellow parent.

6:30: On our way home from Spanish. Aiden tells me about Papa (daddy) versus papa (potato) and he cracks himself up calling Sean a potato in Spanish. I love this kid so much.

7pm: Chaos Ensues, Part 3: We run around getting out pajamas, finding towels and filling humidifiers. Sean gets the boys bathed while I change and rock Audrey and put her down to sleep. The boys both take a sweet forever to get changed and brush teeth, and then they're wrestling, someone is touching someone else's books, where is Rory? EVERYONE TO YOUR ROOMS.

8: Sean has read Rory 672 books about trains, I smooch Rory goodnight, and his lights are out. Aiden has read me book about snakes, I read him some poems, much smooching and hugging and the lights are out.

8:05: I do the obligatory face plant onto our bed. Sean prefers a sort of side hop onto the bed. We lay there for three whole minutes before I go shower/we clean the rest of the kitchen/make Aiden's lunch for tomorrow/he takes out the garbage.

9m: We watch some Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and discuss how sassy and amazing she is. We like to yell at her when she is in danger, why does she always go towards the creepy, mysterious noises? We obviously need to tone down the crazy.

10pm: We decide we'd better head to bed. This involves me flossing, getting distracted by a magazine, brushing my teeth, looking for my favorite bracelet, taking my coffee mug from this morning back downstairs, watching aYoutube video on gardening with Sean. Very important stuff, obviously worth an hour of my time. Yikes.

11pm: Forgo reading because it's quite late. Really must go to sleep. End up discussing the drought out west, whether Vladimir Putin is genius/insane or both, watch a Youtube video of him singing "Blueberry Hill", reserve judgement on him for now, discuss which Avenger each of our kids would be (Captain America, Thor, Black Widow obvi).  No seriously we need to go to sleep. Just one more kiss.


*Sean normally works way longer days than this, so this was a treat to have him leave so late and be home so early. Not typical at all.
*I am exhausted just rereading this. Time for coffee.