wearables

Life Lately

Like many of you, my heart has been with the detention centers at the border. As more and more reporting came out late last week and over the weekend, I couldn’t tear my mind away from it.

Which means that as I washed off a face mask and shaved my legs in the shower, I thought how immigrants to my own country weren’t even provided with soap. And when I started my period on Sunday I thought of all the teenage girls who would get their periods, maybe for the very first time, in an overcrowded detention center. I have little hope these girls are being provided with pads or tampons if they’re not even being given toothbrushes. I pray for a kind female border guard or older teenage girl to help them through. And as I threw away a head of lettuce, a pint of blueberries, and two containers of leftovers that went bad before we could eat them, I thought how these kids are saying they’re not being fed enough, they’re still hungry, that they can’t go out to play because it takes all their energy just to survive another day.

These are kids who are in America. In 2019. I’m tired of being told these people are a threat to us when clearly we are a threat to them.

Sit with that a moment. And then read this Instagram post, and this article, and this one, too. And let it crush you as you imagine your children in such a place and let it make you physically sick to your stomach. Then read them again.

Part of me wants to rush down there and scoop up as many of those children as I can and bring them back home. Obviously that’s not practical or feasible in any way shape or form. It seems like so little, yet if you can, please consider donating to Together Rising. They are working with people on the ground to reunite families, give these children proper medical care, and to get them out of there as fast as they can.

Also contact your representatives. Let them know we’re watching. Because there’s no such thing as other people’s children. And if we’re a country that truly values children, this is not the kind of country we want to be.

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Horrific story adjacent: One thing I’ve been doing to combat mindlessly scrolling through social media is to stop whenever I see something awful, something that hits me to my core. Things like the reports of the treatment of children at the border, a post from a friend about infant loss, etc. When it makes me stop and think, when it makes my heart hurt, I stop what I’m doing and put my phone down. I may click into the article if it’s a news report, but then I put it away. I sit with those feelings and really force myself to think about what I’ve just read.

It can be hard sometimes. Who wants to sit with those shitty feelings? But it feels more honest than to continue to scroll. To continue through photos of happy families on vacation and ads for clothes I don’t need but am tempted to click on, anyway.

Honestly, it felt more shitty when I kept scrolling and tried to shove those feelings down. It’s helped. It’s something.

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In an abrupt shift, because that seems to be how my brain works these days, these two spent the better part of the weekend riding around on two wheels.

One push from me, and a little bit of convincing, was all it took. Those balance bikes are miracle-workers for sure. Teaching them to ride on two wheels, something I thought we could do to kill time - maybe take up the better part of an afternoon - took all of ten minutes. And that included the time it took to take the training wheels off.

“That wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be!” Brooklyn said after her inaugural ride down the sidewalk.

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The food websites have been bringing it lately with their collections of food writing. First was Bon Apetit with their “Welcome to Red Sauce America” essays. (I read it over a period of a week…and had a mad craving for some chicken piccata the whole time. Which has yet to be fulfilled.) Then, less lengthy but no less fun, Taste talked all things 90’s in “The 90’s Issue”. While all the pieces are worth a read, I’m calling out “The Bizarre History of Buca di Beppo” and “The 1990s Boom of California’s Mexican Supermarkets” as my personal favorites. (I also have to give a shout out to a favorite spot in Madison as well as a favorite here.)

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Food adjacent: please read this op-ed from the New York Times: “Smash the Wellness Industry”.

I had paid a lot of money to see a dietitian once before, in New York. When I told her that I loved food, that I’d always had a big appetite, she had nodded sympathetically, as if I had a tough road ahead of me. “The thing is,” she said with a grimace, “you’re a small person and you don’t need a lot of food.”

The new dietitian had a different take. “What a gift,” she said, appreciatively, “to love food. It’s one of the greatest pleasures in life. Can you think of your appetite as a gift?” It took me a moment to wrap my head around such a radical suggestion. Then I began to cry.

It’s. So. Good.

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I made a big batch of homemade freezees a few weeks ago using these. They work great, though the zip-close doesn’t work very well. While they’re not reusable like I was hoping, at least the kids are eating pureed fruit instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

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I promise it’s simple: pulse up some fruit along with just a little orange juice or lemonade in a food processor, add sugar if needed (I used less than a tablespoon with each batch, otherwise they were pretty tart), pour, and freeze. My next step is to just freeze lemonade for some Italian ice-style freezees. So far we’ve made:

  • strawberry (strawberries with orange juice)

  • mixed berry (strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries with lemonade)

  • cantaloupe (cantaloupe with a few strawberries and orange juice)

  • strawberry-banana smoothie (strawberries, a banana, and yogurt instead of juice) (my favorite!)

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I’ve been living in these shorts and these shirts. I bought two pairs of the shorts (dark cinnabar and palm tree - recommend sizing down) and three of the shirts (fit is pretty true-to-size, or size up for a looser fit). They go perfectly together. I wear the shirt tucked in (and consequently feel like a throwback to the early ‘90’s), with a light cardigan thrown over the top for the cooler days (which we’ve had way too many of lately). It’s my summer uniform.

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I’m scared to write this for fear of jinxing myself, but we seem to have entered an era where the kids enjoy playing with each other. Several times recently I’ve discovered them scattered: the twins playing LEGOs together in their room while Nolan flips through books or builds with Duplos in his, Brooklyn and Nolan playing “baby” while Caden plays with (you guessed it) LEGOs on his own. To be fair, Caden and Brooklyn have been able to play well together for years now, it’s the fact that Nolan has been that’s the true miracle.

It’s a nice break. Just this time last year I felt I couldn’t leave the room for fear Nolan would trash the house looking for the remote, sneak into the pantry to steal snacks, or climb on the counter to sneak actual spoonfuls of sugar.

Even outside I’ve been able to pull up a chair and sit - truly get lost in a book - while they play together in the driveway. They’re still riding their bikes and scooters and that old cozy coupe we got for free from a garage sale around the roads they create on the driveway with chalk. But it’s the very first time I don’t fear Nolan dashing into the street. The past couple years it was a game - I always felt there was about a 50/50 chance he would dash into the street for fun. And now he just…doesn’t.

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I wrote this last summer, and it seems relevant again now:

This is what I've been waiting for.

…A moment prior to this realization, guilt had found me. It crept in during the break in the action and began to berate me for not doing more. To write more, volunteer more, accomplish more. Maybe I should even go back to work. Guilt admonished me for the streaks on the kitchen floor and the fruit snacks they ate in the car and for being "just" a stay-at-home mom. Surely, at the very least, I should have cleaner floors.

In the next breath I realized this is what I've been dreaming of. This little break where no one at all needs me. The past four years have been intense. Twin infants and that whole three under three business and the sleep deprivation and the making of all the food and everything else. Of course even a little wiggle room feels like a lot. A pause, a moment to take a breath; it's been seemingly impossible these past few years. Which means my type-A personality kicked in to cue the guilt. Because surely only lazy people sit around their backyards at 3:30 pm on a Thursday with their sparkling water and their sandals and their colorful lawn chairs.

Soon enough a fight will break out or they'll see a bug or rush over all at once to demand freeze pops. Soon enough my backyard will be empty as they grow older and more independent. So I take this afternoon as a blessing. Just me and my sandals, a book in my lap, three small bodies in swimsuits, a blow-up pool, sunshine, and my sparkling water. With a lime.

This is exactly what I've been waiting for.

He’s still exhausting with all that energy, his penchant for anything as long as it’s a little bit life-threatening. But we might be getting there. Instead of holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop during any momentary lull, I’ve been taking deeper breaths, able to recharge and relax just a little bit more into just exactly what I’ve been waiting for.

Seduced by the Mom Jeans

"When high-waist jeans came back into style, my first thought was, “No freaking way.” I’ve seen the photos of my mom and her sisters from the early ‘90’s. The tucked-in shirts, the unflattering behinds, the zippers that went on for days. No wonder my mom eyed the one-inch long zippers of my high school days with suspicion.

I’m comfortable with a mid-rise. I don’t care to go back to the low-rise, micro-zippers from my high school and college days, but a mid-rise? Yes, please. They hold in my not-quite-so-tight tummy and rest comfortably above my c-section scar. Cropped shirts are apparently back, too, and with my mid-rise jeans, well, I can hold my own in some of those cropped styles. No problem. See how fashion-forward I am?

Never a high-rise though. The horror. I swore them off on principle.

I’m sure you know how this story ends: I was seduced by the mom jeans.

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Read more over on the Twin Cities Moms Blog!

Favorites of 2017

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This t-shirt.

These tennis shoes.

This drapey tee.

This novel. And this one. This one, too. This collection of essays on motherhood. This beautiful Bible. This book on faith and so much more.

Listened to this on repeat.

This eyebrow stuff.

This portable speaker.

This political podcast. And another one. And this one for laughs and solidarity.

This children's Bible.

This jewelry line.

The marketing emails (yes, really) from this brand. (Their products, of course, too.)

This appetizer (that we usually ate as a meal). This cake. These enchiladas.

These portable water painting books for the kids.

Watching this documentary series. And this drama. And this one just for fun.

Something I wrote about bedtime. And how I felt parenting for much of this year. And, most of all, this essay on the importance of baking cookies.

Projects: Plaid Blanket Scarf

I want a plaid blanket scarf.

The craving hit me suddenly, immediately.  I was going through my clothes (I called it packing, but it was more figuring out what I can still wear in that annoying Most-of-My-Regular-Clothes-Don't-Fit-But-I'm-Not-Big-Enough-to-Fill-Out-the-Maternity-Ones-Yet Stage) and realized that I had a couple of sweaters that simply Could Not Be Worn without a blanket scarf.  A plaid blanket scarf, to be specific.

The online search commenced.  However, it quickly became clear that this was not going to be easy.  My problem was twofold:
  1. Most of the ones I really liked were more than I cared to spend.  Which wouldn't be the end of the world, except...
  2. I wanted it now.  NOW, now.  Like, as of yesterday now.  When this bug hits, INSTANTLY is not soon enough for me.  And unfortunately the ones that I found online,  at least the ones that I liked, regardless of price, were not available in any stores near me.  Did I mention that I wanted one NOW?
Commence Project Plaid Blanket Scarf.

Never mind that there is packing to do, that we close on our house in a mere one week and five days, that there are toddlers around.  PRIORITIES, people.  I simply cannot live another fall day without one.

So I made two.


Here goes:

  1. Purchase 2-2.5 yards of flannel.  If you get lucky, your fabric store of choice (Jo Ann Fabric, in my case) will have a special display of "Fall Flannel", 50% off, to make it even better.  Note that in the above photos, the scarf on the left is closer to 2 yards, the scarf on the right is closer to 2.5 yards (+ a little extra on the end of the roll).  If you buy much more than 2.5 yards, you will end up not with a blanket scarf but an actual blanket, and will suffocate or at least sweat profusely if you try to tie it around your neck.
  2. Cut off all 4 edges of fabric (bonus: plaid flannel comes with built-in lines for you to cut on!).  It's not the end of the world if your cut isn't perfectly straight (like say if you already packed your good fabric scissors so you use a not particularly sharp scissors instead), since you will be fraying the edges.  Speaking of...
  3. Fray the edges.  Pull loose threads on all edges until you get the amount of fringe you desire.  Find something interesting on Netflix to binge watch; this step was more time-consuming than I expected.
  4. Put on a fabulously fall sweater and accessorize with your scarf.  There are plenty of tutorials online about ways to tie a blanket scarf, so I'm not going to go there.  Note that a 2-yard scarf will have much less "tying" possibilities than a 2.5 yard one.  2 yards is enough to loop around your neck once or twice, and looks cute with some fluffing and puffing.  2.5 yards will give you more leeway in tying options, such as braiding, knotting, etc.
  5. Add hot beverage of choice (coffee, tea, cider), grab the closest pair of suede boots, and find some leaves to frolic in.  Your fall can now commence.


Sunny (Purse) Day

It may be a snow-y day (although not a snow day from work...*sigh*), but I did get a little ray of sunshine today.

Behold.




(Seriously, how cute is this tissue paper?)


(And a charming card with a delightful saying?  In pink?!?  I haven't even gotten to the part that I've paid for yet...)


(Another delightful saying?  On the dust bag??  Of course, kate spade, of course. )


(Ah, here we are...)


(Adorable polka dot lining and all.)


Yes, after waiting and waiting and agonizing and attempting to purchase, and failing to purchase, and multiple emails about final sales...this sunshine-y beauty is mine.  Add in the card, the dustbag, the sayings, and the tissue paper, and it was worth every penny.  I savored opening the package.  I am such a sucker for details.  And the pink card is on this nice, heavy paper and printed with gold lettering...I just have to decide what place of honor it should occupy in our apartment.  I love it all.