Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Backyardigans. Is that a show? Or something? We live in the Stone Age with phones lacking smarts and TVs lacking channels. We don't know such things.

Anyhow. Backyardigans. That's what we've become. I'll be honest - we didn't properly use our backyard this summer. I think this is partly because we were out of town so frequently. But truthfully, I think it's because we aren't used to it. We aren't accustomed to having the option of walking out the back door and playing, and so we just forget.

With this favorite season of mine and the perfect temperature outside, we've found ourselves outside quite a bit lately. We've been "winterizing" the yard, if you will (stowing the grill, planting some last minute plants, weeding, and then weeding some more). Annabelle was thrilled when we found her an earthworm, and she carried that poor thing around for probably an hour. We convinced her he wanted to go back to his dirt when he stopped moving much. 

And then there are the Sunday naps. Those perfectly sweet moments where Daddy attempts to sleep and the babies run around and giggle and pretend to nap in between.

Life is good. Especially in the backyard. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

fallish things

+ Legos, Legos, Legos

+ soup - How about this one? No, this one.

+ drives up the canyon to find colored leaves

+ pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin - Try this you non GFers. 

+ boots, boots, boots

+ Maria and Kathleen Kelly - I don't know why, but these movies just seem 
most appropriate when the air is crisp outside and we're bundled up cozy on the couch.

+ dark mornings, sleeping in babies

+ crack cookies (Not their official name, just a reflection of their addictive qualities.
 And not really just for fall. They're basically for every day of my life. )

Monday, October 7, 2013

bye bye binky

(This post started as a little blurb on how we got rid of Lou's binky. And then it turned into, well, this. Count on me to turn ditching the binky into an emotional essay. I know. For anyone not interested in my sappiness, there are some pretty fabulous pictures of Lou and her bink for the last two years. I think my favorite thing is the way she so often smiles behind the bink. :) )

Some of you may recall that Lou's first weeks were a little...stressful. I was breastfeeding for the first time, coping with yo-yoing hormones (thanks to the bouncing thyroid), and adjusting to having two babies. After a few weeks, Lou started crying. Kind of all the time. The only thing that soothed her was food (me). Of course, we finally figured out that my thyroid hormones were fighting with my other hormones, and my milk was drying up. She was basically just starving. (Having a thyroid disease is kind of like a life time party. Good times.) 

In the mean time, we tried out every binky on the market. No lie. The MAM brand was our last chance. And miraculously, she took it. I actually cried the day she took it. It was that big of a relief to have something - besides me - to soothe her. We spent the next few weeks switching over to a bottle (the MAM brand) and formula, and soon things started looking up for us.

Of course, this led to a binky addiction for our girl. She didn't suck on it all day, but man did we use it to plug up her screams. From her tininess, she's had a temper. When she's happy, she's literally the most happy ball of joy you'll ever know, but if she's angry - screaming, yelling, kicking, gnashing of teeth, the whole bit. Thankfully, the happy far outweighs her rage, but that binky was a lifesaver in keeping her calm. We also took a dozen vacations this year, making the binky a must. On top of the vacations, I had a myriad of excuses for needing the binky, for putting off the Binky Extraction Program. At the top of the list was my sleep. And my sanity. And my total fear of her rage.

Remember how bald she was? Squeeee!
But there was one more thing. I try to be a sensitive mom. I know I'm "the boss," but I really do try to see things from my girls' perspectives. And here's how I see it. 

gave her the binky. developed a dependency on it to keep her quiet. In turn, she learned to rely on it. I read dozens of methods for getting rid of the binky - ranging from a Binky Fairy to floating them away on a balloon to snipping them to a dozen more. And I know I take an extremely sensitive view on this, but in the end, I decided I wanted to get rid of the binky on her terms. I facilitated her reliance on the thing, and I felt so bad tricking her or just taking it away.

I didn't really have a plan of attack. I was waiting to see that she was ready and hoped some sort of brilliant plan would materialize. Then one day, the two remaining binkies we had went missing. I was sure if I looked with my magic mom eyes, I could find them (and I did, hours later). But I asked Lou to look. She couldn't turn one up, and so for several hours, the binkies were literally missing. And then it struck me - it's time.

I knew she understood that the binkies were literally missing. I also knew that she understood when I said she'd be okay. I also spent the day distracting her with fairy tales, her very favorite type of story. If she requested a bink, I asked if she'd like to hear a story. She always took the bait. It's hard to resist The Three Little Pigs and Their Candy Houses. Or Little Red Riding Hood and the Friendly Preschool Wolf. (I know. I should write children's literature.)

Then she took a nap without a binky. No problem. I expected rage, but she was tired and curled up with her blanket. At night, there was some of the anger I anticipated, but not nearly what I dreaded. I could see that it wasn't really anger; she was sad. She missed her binky. The thing she'd relied on for so long was gone. For that, I felt sad for her. 

The next day, when she asked for her binky, I reminded her they were gone, but I told her I had something special for her. I have two stuffed Lalaloopsy dolls that I got for Christmas last year but never gave the girls as they got way too much. So I went and retrieved one. I gave it to her and told her that when she missed bink, she could hug Peanut. For the rest of the day, I didn't hear any more requests for the bink, but Peanut was always under her arm.

And then each nap and bed time got easier. By the third day, we didn't have any real problems. Occasionally, she'd ask for her bink, but then she'd usually giggle because she knew it was gone. 

I can't say this method is sane or normal or would even work with another baby. In fact, I know I'm borderline nutty. But for this baby, it worked. In many ways, it's a relief. But in others, I'm sad. My baby is leaving yet another bit of her babyhood behind. The really amazing thing though? Each time my babies "grow up" a bit, each time they take a step into the unknown - whether it be ditching a binky or marching into preschool alone, head high - I'm reminded how truly astounding these girls are. I'm reminded that they have inside them a giant well of bravery and accomplishment and goodness.

And even though their growing up hurts my heart just a bit, it also does it so much good. To see the good that they are growing up into. 

Bye bye bink. :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Once upon a time, we gathered up all my sisters, and our babies (also girls), plus my mom, plus the dogs (also girls), and had the lovely Jostlyn of Roz Photography take our photos. 

I grew up with just sisters. No brothers. And when I tell people that, they generally groan in anticipated sympathy. That's when I break it to them - we got along really well. We were all best friends. We fought rarely. When my mom had a fourth surprise baby (and didn't find out the gender while pregnant), we each secretly dreaded the thought of a brother. When it came out a sister, there were shouts of glee. 

Growing up with only sisters is a fairly messy shared bathroom. Growing up with only sisters is a shared understanding, always. Growing up with only sisters is negotiating emotional roller coasters and forgiving quickly. Growing up with only sisters is eating ice cream out of the carton, commiserating until the wee hours. Growing up with only sisters is a secret knock on the shared wall of your bedrooms. Growing up with only sisters is waking up in the morning to see a little sister who had taken refuge from her fears on your floor. Growing up with only sisters is having a best friend nearby, always.

We're all fairly grown up now. And we're all different. But we all have the same face, and we're still all best friends. My mom fostered a friendship in each of us and taught us how important it is to keep your very best friends close. Sisters really are the best, and I'm so very grateful for mine.

And I'm so grateful my girls have each other.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

that time of year

Just a few days ago, Lou looked outside and asked if she could go out in the "back garden." Belle jumped on her idea, and before I knew it, there was a full-blown picnic going on outside, with guests a-plenty.

It's that perfectly wonderful time of year, when the air turns crisp and the sweaters come out. It's been unusually chilly - even for fall - for the past few days (there's snow in the mountains already!), but it feels perfectly lovely. We turned the heater on for the first time last night, and the girls questioned the smell, that woodsy, waking up furnace smell. I told them it was the smell of fall, the very best season of all. :) 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

christmas cards + a coupon code!

So I realize that it's only October. I embrace October. It was my Anne Shirley that said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." Just last week I made two of my favorite soups (this and this) and two batches of pumpkin muffins (these, which are amazing, although if you're not GF, try these). I also busted out the sweater cardigans, which are my all time favorite things as now my every day (lazy) t-shirt can become snazzy with a cardigan. At least that's what I tell myself.

But here's the deal. Even though it's a wee bit early, I've got the Christmas cards up in my shop. I brought back favorites from last year, but I also threw in a handful of new designs. If you'd like to snag a Christmas card this year (reminder: it's a digital product, you will get a PDF and a JPG), order by November 30, and you'll get 25% off. Just use this code when checking out: EARLYBIRD.

Happy Holidays! (Come on. Doesn't that sound good?)

P.S. I may or may not have busted out Michael Buble's Christmas CD in the car last week. I can neither confirm nor deny such craziness.


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