clear and present postpartum

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I’ve been meaning to link to this superb writing on postpartum depression on Katrina’s blog. I have experienced moments like she describes and I think she nails the elements exactly. The buzzing thoughts, the way the dark moments can tip the scale, the physical notes that come into play–eye contact, smiles. An excellent read, particularly if you’ve had friends go through this, or brushed against it yourself.

A bit of back story, so you catch the details: Katrina, a calligrapher, painter, and devoted Catholic, gave birth to her baby girl with two young boys already tumbling about her in a tiny space on campus with her husband deeply into graduate school.

Shoo fly, don’t bother me

Interview on Reading My Tea Leaves

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Somehow in the hubbub of last days of pregnancy, I forgot to post the interview I typed up for Erin Boyle’s blog Reading My Tea Leaves. Here it is! In preparation for the publication of her book Simple Matters she interviewed several small-space livers. I found the other interviews fascinating! And by golly I really tried my best to keep mine candid and helpful.

Living in a small space with children who love paper found on the street, admission bracelets given to them at museums, stacks of old artwork…I promise it’s a constant project. But when it’s working, it’s working so well.

 

lullaby

Do you have a favorite lullaby to sing? Would you tell me its name, if so? I’d like to build my collection, write them all down on a post-it note and stick it over the couch. Quote more poetry. Hum more tunes. Alma May, born December 29th at 11:30pm deserves the very best.

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quotes from a few online essays I loved lately…

“My mom is nothing but love and comfort and happiness to me, and she found even the smallest ways to make us girls feel loved: turning down our covers at night, always playing music, or popping our towels in the dryer to warm them up minutes before our baths were over. Those are the kind of simple, happy memories I want my own kids to have of home.”

-Amelia’s interview on DesignMom

A few years ago, before we decided to start a family, I once feared that when a baby entered our lives I would somehow forget everything I learned about cooking because all my energy would be used to keep a tiny human alive and breathing. I’m happy to report this is not the case. In fact, I’ve discovered the opposite to be true. I’ve remembered how to cook, relying on the muscle memory of peeling and chopping and seasoning and putting meals together, gravitating to tried and true staples rather than trying new dishes with questionable outcomes.”

-Remembering How to Cookby Nicole Gulotta

“Make coffee/drink coffee, inhale/exhale, walk outside/feel your feet on the earth, open the book/read the pages, get off the internet/be present in your home.”

-Jodi, Happy New Day, Practicing Simplicity 

“So 2015. You seem like a year of sunlight extended hours and while I know the tan is worth it, you aged me with your lines of wisdom and your creases of grace. I look in the mirror and see so many things staring back. But mostly, a woman who is changing, a family that is growing, and a savior that is gracious indeed. ”

-Mary Beth, Wishing You Good Cheer, Rosemary Wild

 

 

Favorites

joe_and_luxThis photo by our friend Jared. You see photos like these and you remember–oh yeah, phones have nothing on nice cameras.

Popsicle week!

the girls are loving: Kiki’s Messaging Service (1989) Hooray for the discovery of another wonderful anime movie from Studio Ghibli. We love the lively spirit of the young girl characters in Our Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Ponyo, and Kiki’s got the same mix of honor and adventure. She’s a current top contender for Lux’s halloween outfit.

For our next movie day I’ve got my eye on Song of the Sea. Has anyone watched it with their young ones?

Can I wear this to Costco? a pinterest board by Grace that I just discovered.

Bloom Naturals salt scrub: the girls are obsessed with taking “just a pinch” of this at the end of their baths. It makes them smell delicious and rubs off dead skin as well. Wildly all-natural and a great price. I also use her bug spray on all of us in the evenings because we get nighttime mosquitos (does such a thing exist?? We’ve got them.) and I don’t have to worry about crazy chemicals being on our skin overnight.

10 Lessons from Tibor Kalman: I really loved reading this. I’ve been curious about Maira Kalman’s deceased husband Tibor and their relationship for a long time.

Speaking of creative couples, Lux is really into the TV show Octonauts and I am just loving the fact that it was created by a husband-wife duo that live in Canada. They are incredibly talented! Here’s a overview/interview of Meomi Studio.

Homeschool Blogs I’m Enjoying

creativity

I’ve really been loving the blogs of homeschooling moms lately. Reading about their habits, goals, daily struggles: they’ve really got my number these days and it’s an enriching blessing to follow along from afar.

Oddly I’m not a big fan of homeschool via instagram. It’s confusing, these brief shots captioned “science today” with horses in the background, or crayoned leaf drawings scattered across a woodhewn table in the woods. It’s not fair or realistic to the time spent or the work behind the image.

(Exception here for Ms. Annapolis who has such an encouraging instagram account for me, homeschool and all!)

When my mom was homeschooling us I remember overhearing her answering questions that began with “oh I could never….” or “but do you have a teaching degree?”or “I’m not smart enough to teach my children.” The simple narrative of blogging moms can really demystify the process, the work, the ebbs and flow. I’m sure my mom would have pointed overwhelmed moms to favorite bloggers back in the day. Blogs can be really encouraging and revealing.

Whereas, I feel, multiple shots of children feeding their pet hens or counting river rocks can actually make it more mystical and unattainable to your average mom. I don’t mean this as a slight to anyone creative’s work on social media.  I simply mean to say that it can be really helpful to get a rich in-depth perspective.

Soule Mama has always been a source of tranquility and nature-delight. She is careful to make time for her own creative endeavors and is always challenging herself with new projects. I love that.

City Kids Homeschool, a mom who blogs from over in Cambridge. She’s more of a homeschool agitator, standing up for homeschooling and often frequently addressing recent articles or topics in the news. It can be a bit aggressive but I enjoy reading someone who really believes in what she’s doing. She’s a great local resource for me.

My friend Deanna, a former teacher, just started homeschooling her boys and she does such a nice job of portraying their every day and her own excitement for the work. Plus she shares ideas for PreK fun.

I can’t keep up with Mrs. Darcy, she posts so much, but I like to sit down and read her blog a bit like a Sunday paper, clicking around and reading multiple articles all in one session. She loves to read and has an amazing vision for her children’s education.

Any recommendations for me?

It’s useful to note that all of these moms who manage to blog highlight again and again the importance of good help to their process–sitters they love, husbands with flexible hours, grandmas who live nearby.

Loved: pipsticks

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Pipsticks, a subscription for sticker lovers, was begun by a graphic designer who hunted for great stickers for her children and fell down her very own rabbit hole of an idea. She started a company sourcing cool stickers, packing them up, and sending out them to the delight of children everywhere.

I took an instant liking to this little project, besides the mom-invented part which is super, because the packaging is so cheerful and fun.

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One envelope lasted us several weeks as we parceled out “two sheets” at a time for ferry rides, special treats with babysitters, and quiet time activities. Included in each envelope are a few sheets of paper and a postcard to decorate, an easy addition that is just right for those of us who fling distractions in our bags as we walk out the door and hope for the best.
The price runs between $13-15 a month, with at least 15 sheets of stickers included every time. For you bargain-hunting-whizzes, I know this is not a total steal. But for a mom who wishes she had stickers on hand much more often and who can never remember which store nearby even sells stickers, (me, me) it’s perfect. 
I think it would make a fantastic gift to request from loved ones because 1/ Ultimately it adds nothing to the toy pile. 2/ Lux asked over and over “WHO sent us these wonderful stickers??” Such a fun thing to get in the mail regularly and say they came from Grandma and Grandpa or an old friend.
If you try Pipsticks, and you sign up for a Club or Family membership, enter the code DEAR at checkout and get your first month free. Win.

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Pipsticks sent me two free months of stickers to see if I liked the service, posting about them was my own decision. Hooray.

nods, bows

color

Aside from under the kitchen table sweeping up black beans, here are some places I’ve been lately:

I answered a few revealing questions for the “our favorite moms who blog” feature over at Iviebaby (most stylish crib sheets in the land).

I wrote a Literary City Guide to Boston: a guide with a bookish flair (my favorite kind!). All her guides are fabulous, I love her style.

I created what I believe to be the most pleasant clickable way to plan travel–Ideal Itinerary boards on Pinterest for Bridget. The combo of foursquare images + map backdrop + pinterest organization = dynamite….in my oh so humble opinion.

Back in March I wrote up a dream for my children someday for Nina’s sweet blog Wee Mountains.

These aren’t really interviews but I’m FOREVER grateful to all of you hard working bloggers who link to me now and again, and again. It means a lot, despite near-radio silence on my end. I just want to write all these down here for a minute:

Fern and Flora

The Home Book

Cedars and Tiny Flowers

The Rhodes Log

Olive Juice Okay

The Scribble Pad

Your Fonder Heart

The wonderful world of veena

Mama Tonic

Tulips and Flight Suits 

Josh and J

 

Longest Shortest Time, continues

radio

I gave money to the kickstarter of the  Longest Shortest Time podcast awhile back, but I did not expect her forthcoming episodes to be so, so good. Rewriting your birth story? So important, so powerful. The one about a late term, stillborn birth? Possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard over headphones. I was weeping, obviously, but I’ve thought of that episode every time someone has mentioned a death to me since. It changed the way I thought about mourning. The one about how to talk to other moms without boasting? Kindly discusses a difficulty I brush up against every time I hang out with other moms. INTERVIEWS INA MAE AND COMPLAINS?? Amazing. Did not know that was possible in this life.

This is very cool stuff happening over there, in 30 minute increments. Well worth your time.

Blue Bottle Tips

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Extremely enlightening things I learned while browsing Blue Bottle Coffee’s brewing guides:

  • French Press coffee should only sit/brew for four minutes
  • Pour all of the coffee out of the French Press as soon as it’s done brewing
  • Pour-over coffee should take 2.5-3 minutes of pouring to brew
  • A Moka Pot (Italian stovetop) is best done with already hot water
  • Pulling a perfect espresso shot is an art form.

The writing is a little snobby, but in a charming hopeless-nerd way. The photography is amazing. And the knowledge (particularly that French Press bit) is transformative. Nice website, guys!