Phew, it feels good to be back to posting again! The last few months of 2018 were FULL. At the end of September we went to an open house for what is now our new home, and from that point on, our time barreled forward. From the span of October to December, we bought and moved into our new home, prepped and sold our old home, took a family trip to SoCal for wedding/Thanksgiving festivities, took a work trip to China (Ricky) and solo-parented (me), spent Christmas in Olympia, and hosted family at our house post-Christmas. There was a good mix of heart-bursting moments and pulling-my-hair-out moments…but all of them were encapsulated in one huge feeling of thankfulness. While it was a full few months, it was full of so much goodness.
Now, here in March, I’m breathing a little lighter, feeling settled into our house, and am giddy for the beginning of spring. I’m also excited to be back here in this space, connecting, sharing, creating, and getting inspired with you. So cheers to all of those things, and thank you for coming back to check-in despite my months of being AWOL.
Here are a few more special things that are less ‘big life change-y’ and more ‘made life happy, easier, and inspiring’ that happened over the last few months.
Our house in Ballard was our first home that we owned, and the only home that Kian ever knew. It was hard to say goodbye to a space that held such beautiful and precious years, knowing that we wouldn’t be setting foot in it again. For that reason, we soaked up our home and our neighborhood as much as we could before it became someone else’s. We took walks in our neighborhood, enjoying the familiarity of the homes, visiting parks, and grabbing a coffee at our regular spot. We visited our favorite nearby parks (Carkeek and Golden Gardens), restaurants (like Delancey, Poke Square, and Un Bien), and markets (Ballard Farmers Market). And, we intentionally reflected on moments as they were happening in our home, realizing that they wouldn’t be happening in that space for much longer. When we locked our front door for the last time, we felt good about saying goodbye, feeling like we had had the chance to fully soak up all of the reasons that we loved our home, before passing it off to someone else.
For my birthday, Ricky gifted me the Away Bigger Carry-On suitcase (in navy), and I love LOVE it. I had been eyeing it for the better part of a year, but couldn’t validate the cost, especially with how our travel has tapered down since we’ve become parents. However, birthdays are the perfect occasion to not so subtly let your other half know what you’ve been secretly obsessing over for the past year ;-). Each feature is thoughtfully designed, and it’s a beauty to boot. If I had to choose a favorite feature, it would be the interior organization system. I am hugely anal when it comes to luggage organization – often reshuffling and organizing my case multiple times over the course of a trip – so a build-in system that helps to alleviate that OCD-ness is much appreciated. Now, my wanderlust is not only fueled by my desire to be on vacation and have new experiences, but also by my eagerness to use this suitcase.
Another new organizer that I love, is my Mina Baie Harper Mini diaper backpack that I got for Christmas. Staying home with Kian means that I rarely leave the house without a diaper bag. We have one that was gifted to us before Kian was born (that is gender neutral, and that I also love), but in true diaper bag form, it is big. For times when Kian and I head out on small outings, a large bag often feels unnecessary. The Harper Mini bag is a little workhorse in it’s functionality, yet it is housed within a beautiful pebble leather that makes me feel like I am carrying it for ME, and not because it is stocked with diapers.
I picked up Like A Mother from the library, intrigued by the topic and the cover. I am typically a fiction or memoir gal, but I breezed through this book. The author discusses motherhood – specifically, all of those things that we are advised to do and not to do – in a refreshing and judgement free way. She provides both personal experiences and researched knowledge to show that pregnancy, as with all things, is not so black & white, and that there is plenty of room for ‘what is best for you’.
I read the article, “In the Absence of the Village, Mothers Struggle Most” this past fall, and it has sat with me since. The author presents the challenges that have come along with the loss of having true villages. And, how with that loss, Mothers (and fathers) feel compelled to make up for what used to be a collective and collaborative lifestyle shared amongst village members. She suggests that this leads to parents feeling overdrawn and inadequate, as we try to do and be all that our families need.
It was a thought provoking read, and it resinated with me in a way that I hadn’t expected. It made me realize that I don’t call on ‘my people’ often enough. I hesitate because I don’t want to burden anyone – whether by pulling them from their needs, or saddening the mood. However, I know that if it were the other way around, I would with-no-doubt, want those people to reach out to me if they needed someone. My biggest take away from the article was to be more dependent on ‘my people’. I think we all crave to feel the rawness that comes naturally with close relationships. Knowing that you’re seen as a pillar in your family and friends lives, and that they will come to you without hesitation for thoughts, comfort, shared happiness, and support, is crucial to both the relationship and to life. In this season in life, where parenthood stretches us in new ways, that support system feels more necessary than ever.
Being that we moved into our house right before the holiday season, we have already created a number of special moments in our new home. One that will always remain vividly in my mind, was our first meal at home, on our first night. After excitedly making our way through our house, looking at it through the lens of ‘owners’ instead of ‘buyers’, we served up our hodge podge of a meal – rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, olives, potato chips, and wine – and dined picnic style in the middle of our living room. The fire was lit, our minds were full of dreams and excitement, and Kian was running carefree through the openness of the house. It all felt so magical.
This past fall, Kian and I enrolled in a season of Tinkergarden, and it quickly became one of our favorite things. Centered on a curriculum of creative and explorative learning in nature, it was engaging, fun and beautiful (it helped that we had a gorgeous fall, and it was held at a park that overlooked the water!). I often left feeling inspired by the creative ideas, and how I could easily recreate them at home, and Kian often didn’t want to leave at all ;-). While we didn’t enroll for winter, I fully intend to sign us up for spring.
If I had to choose a uniform, it would be a pair of denim and a t-shirt. I always feel good in a t-shirt, and therefore, I am almost always on the hunt for a favorite one. This past December, I bought two new tees – a white one from Anthropologie, and a heather gray one from Madewell – and both of them have trumped all t-shirts that I have in my closet. They are soft and durable (as in not too whisper-thin), have a boxy over-sized fit that is still flattering, and have just the right sleeve and body length.
Motherhood has called me to really stock up on two areas of my closet – my hat and my sneaker game ;-). I purchased these Nikes at the beginning of the year, and have been living in them since. They are versatile, comfortable, and make each outfit feel fresh. I’m particular when it comes to white sneakers, as I don’t want them to lean too much in any one style direction (i.e. preppy or athletic). These ones strike a prefect balance of athletic and streetwear – I can where them with a tee and yoga pants, jeans and sweater, or even with a dress.
One of the things that has come along with our move, is finding my new grocery store (I love grocery stores!). What goes in hand with finding a new store, is usually finding new products. One of my favorite finds as of late, has been Boulder Canyon Snap Pea Crisps and Potato Chips. They’re made with straightforward, minimal and healthier ingredients (like olive, avocado and coconut oils), and have delicious crunch and flavor (love the malt vinegar and red chili flavors). One of my strongest snack cravings is chips, so it’s nice to think that I’m maybe doing my body a little better by eating this brand.
Towards the end of the year, I took advantage of the holiday sales by revamping my beauty products with truly natural options. One of my favorite purchases, was a set of Innersense shampoo and conditioner. What a game changer! Beyond feeling good about rubbing a natural product into my scalp multiple times a week, my hair looks and feels better than ever. It is shiny, soft, and I’ve found that my hair lasts really well in-between washings (I wash my hair just twice a week). At first, the price felt steep for the size of the bottles, but with how little I need to wash my hair, they will actually last me quite a while. Plus, they smell SO good. (It’s worth noting that there was transition period (what the maker calls a ‘detox’ period) of a couple of weeks. My hair felt dull, limp, and it tangled easily. After that though, it was like a switch was flipped, and all was rosey.)