Sunday, December 29, 2013

very merry

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! (And Hannukah... and Thanksgiving... It's been awhile.)

Baby Caleb's first Christmas was a success, in that we survived and were utterly spoiled. Now we get to go back to the ordinary (or establishing our ordinary, anyway), and I'm so ready for it. Time at home enjoying the new year with this new baby is all I really want anyway. In fact, he's all I've ever really wanted. Soaked in love, straight from the source. My heart can hardly take it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

two days before delivery

On Sunday, November 3, my mom took me to the hospital to be checked by the midwife on call. I thought my water might've broken in the middle of the night. (Nope. Turns out I wet the bed - first instance of incontinence for the entire pregnancy, and the only one I can remember in my entire life! Glamorous, ain't it?) 

An hour of fetal monitoring and an internal exam showed all was well. The midwife decided to send me for an ultrasound anyway, just to make extra sure baby was OK in there as I approached 41 weeks. Once again, everything pointed to him being safe, healthy, and satisfied. My mom and I went for a celebratory breakfast, and I was finally able to really relax, knowing our guy would come when he was ready. In the meantime he was more than fine.

After breakfast, my mom dropped me off at one of my favorite places on Earth, and Andy left work early to come meet me. It was amazing to just walk and talk together, knowing we were in the last days of our twosome status. While I can't say all of pregnancy has been as glowing and serene as the photo above (taken by Andy as the sun was starting to set), in that moment I truly was at peace. Ready to meet our son, yes, but finally content in the waiting place.

He was born two days later, and it was the best, most transformative and miraculous experience of my life. More on that to come, eventually... x

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Hanging out in our in-progress nursery, contemplating it all. So far it's just an area rug and bookshelf (full of, yes, mostly my books...but hopefully someday our son will read and appreciate them!). I had to take all the books down to move the shelf so the rug would fit, and of course I decided to sort and dust them all while I was at it. My dad is on his way over with the crib now, wahoo! I'm so excited to keep this nesting party going. Love an empty room and fresh start. (OK, it's only empty because I moved the entire contents to the living room for sorting, but nevermind. I shall continue relaxing in here, pretending minimalism and cleanliness is my life.)

The bump continues to expand nicely. This is from a couple days ago; I'm nearly 35 weeks along! Strange to think that in a maximum of seven weeks we'll have a new little human in our lives. Crazy amazing! Maybe I'll be forced to eat my words, but so far becoming a mama feels like I'm becoming myself.

The cats are troopers amidst all this chaos. I wish I could perfect the art of the chill-out, cat-style. This was Abby a few weeks ago, right before we disassembled the dining table for storage. Since my former art space is now our nursery, we decided to move my desk into the living room and store the dining table and chairs. While we love the idea of family meals around the table, it's one of those things that will have to wait a year or two. It's been good for me to go through all my craft stuff, too, as we move it into more communal space or storage. I've been loving getting rid of things lately, trading my usual clinging sentimentality for the freedom of the goodwill pile. Is that part of nesting? I don't know, but in any case, I suppose it's time to get back to it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

a prayer for today

ee cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears are awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

fall fashion handful

After all the baby/motherhood/identity posts, I was in the mood to do something a little more lighthearted. Normally paging through September fashion magazines is one of my guilty pleasures, but due to my changing body and budget constraints it ain't as fun as it used to be. Mostly, I find that I don't care. Not that I don't still enjoy having fun with clothes or putting an outfit together, but I'm definitely planning my purchases much more carefully, aiming for just a few quality pieces over a closet crammed with trends.

So, below, a couple bright, happy items I've already added to the rotation (the retro colors of that cardigan remind me of Charley Harper - I love them!), as well as two more subtle pieces I'm pinching my pennies towards...

1. Skimmers / 2. Cardigan / 3. Poncho / 4. Ring 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

an inkling

It's still so early in our story.

Everything is unfolding.

I feel hopeful, nervous, ready for what comes.

I guess there's no cure for wanderlust after all. Once again, I cannot wait to see the world.

And I have a feeling: The best years of our lives are ahead, closer than we know.

Image via

Monday, July 22, 2013

mama energy

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new."


. . . 

I love everything about this image, and I can't wait to experience the quote firsthand. 

Chatting with the amazing Tiffany Han a couple months back, she said, "You have this great mama energy about you in all you do," and she convinced me that it's actually kind of a badass trait to have. I'd been struggling with how to align my previous identity with the wife/mother labels, trying to figure out just what those mean, and Tiffany's guidance was unbeatable. (I believe one of her exact recommendations was to wear a button reading "I fucking rock!" but we both agreed that might not be work-appropriate.)

Image found via Pinterest // Quote via

Sunday, July 21, 2013

at dusk

These are from over a month ago now, but seeing as it's been awhile, I thought I'd go ahead and share.

itchy feet

Image via

"Travel far enough, you meet yourself."

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

. . .

Oh, how I want to GO these days! To pack a bag, set off for the unknown, move only in the moment, stick a few more pins in maps of far off places....

I can't wait to travel with our little one. I love the idea of strapping him to my back and setting off on an adventure together.

"You can have the life you want." 

I continue to repeat this to myself until I feel the full force of it. And I remind myself that "not yet" is not the same as "never". 

Besides, I am now a "we" but somehow still me, and navigating that is its own miraculous adventure. 

But I am hungry for travel in such a primal way, as though it's essential to my very survival. I'm not unhappy with our decision to stay where we are for at least one more year; this is the first time I've ever renewed a lease, and that sort of steady feels good right now. It's just that there's also so much more world to see! And I want to be one of those crazy people that keeps getting her hands dirty, keeps pushing and challenging and exploring far beyond my backyard. 

Not too long ago I felt "traveled out"; the thought of putting my suitcase into storage almost came as a relief. Now, though, I see I was equating "travel" with "moving", since a packed case generally contained much of what I owned and meant leaving for months or a year at a time. I am still in no way ready for another overseas move (or any kind of move anywhere, really), but a solid two week trip outside the US? I'll take it. Oh, god, in a heartbeat, I'm there.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

life lately

Belly Shot (Goodbye, toes!), 20 weeks

SO MUCH GOOD STUFF! I might as well just start listing.

1) I took over as lead in my classroom a couple weeks ago, and dang, it feels good! These last few days we've been doing tons of shared inquiry activities, which seems to float all our boats. Love love LOVE my job.

2) We got an air conditioner!!!!!! (Yep, after a bajillion back-to-back sweaty, sleepless nights, sharing that merits way more exclamation marks than I would normally feel comfortable using.)

3) Our last bits of furniture in Abu Dhabi were finally SOLD by friends of ours (it was a process), so we got a nice chunk of change just in time, since . . .

4) Our second trimester ultrasound is tomorrow morning! Because I'm having a natural birth using midwives and my pregnancy thus far has been healthy, it will also be my first-ever ultrasound. Cross your fingers they'll be able to figure out the gender, because we REALLLLLY want to know!

5) I just ordered a STACK of awesome children's book (for my classroom . . . for now), as well as a full-body pregnancy pillow. Here's to an even more improved night of sleep, glorious sleep! Feels like I should take full advantage while I still have the option, ya know?

6) One of my closest friends from Germany is arriving tomorrow night! She's never been to Chicago before, and I can't wait to show her around. (She's never even met Andy, so that gives you an idea of just how much there is to accomplish in the next few days!) I'm excited.

Life is moving pretty fast and lining up in some miraculously unexpected ways. The world feels so good again. x

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

just because

Image via

"Should is a futile word. It's about what didn't happen. It belongs in a parallel universe. It belongs in another dimension of space."

Margaret Atwood in The Blind Assassin

. . .

Working not only on accepting what is, but also on being grateful for it and content within it. That said, I'm finding myself more motivated than I ever have been to push myself a little farther and accept myself ever so slightly more each day. I've always loved children, but this is the first time I've ever truly wanted to be better for a child. It's easy to do right by myself when I ask what I'd want for my baby - and isn't that what my own mother most likely wants for me? Why get lost in the "shoulds" when we can transform what is (if only by first accepting it)?

Sweet Pumpkin Baby, you are the best blessing I've ever known.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

sunday belly shots

16 weeks, 5 days

. . . 

Not that I want this space to suddenly become pregnancy- and baby-centric, but it is sort of the number one thing happening in my life right now. It's a baffling, miraculous, boundary-testing journey, something I don't think I ever really could've been fully prepared for. Some people try for years to finally have this experience; I'm still a little shocked it happened so easily and instantly for us. (Honestly, I often feel a tiny bit guilty, too. Some of those years-long "try-ers" are friends of mine. As always though, I do my best to turn that guilt into gratitude. I'd rather grow this baby full of joy, you know? I guess the plus side of the guilt, if there is such a thing, is the increased awareness of what a crazy-good blessing this is. I've never been so in love with the unseen and unknown.)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

thank you/love you

From one expectant mama to those that came before me (and most especially my own) . . .

Happy Mother's Day

Meeting Grandma Berns, June 18, 2011 
(Left to Right: Andy's grandma, Andy's mom, and my mom)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

another favorite i've been hoarding

This poem has its own small pocket in my heart (especially the second and fourth stanzas), filed alongside all the others.

Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion--put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.

Image here, via my Pinterest

Friday, May 3, 2013


Or rather, why I've (accidentally) been on one.

And the reason is this:

A little start-of-March surprise that has since led to this:

And, most recently, this:

Of course, that last one was after a big meal of my number one craving (veggie subs from Jimmy John's) and GALLONS of iced tea (never before in my life have I wanted anything "iced," and now I can't get enough of the stuff).

I am 14 weeks 3 days today.

What a crazy little unexpected miracle, eh? Lucky for us, it's dang near impossible to see this as anything but an all-out blessing. Even though I've been sick as a dog (HOLY HELL. No one tells you that part. Or at least, no one really told me. Or maybe they did, and I never processed just what it meant. But man, it's been hideous. Hence the radio silence around here!), I find myself thanking the universe every day, sometimes every hour. 

So, shaken, happy, and grateful (but ultimately no worse for the wear), I've finally made my way back. Here goes . . . . x

Sunday, March 3, 2013

bits & pieces . . .

. . . mostly from last weekend. But I lost track; this week was kind of a blur. In any case, a glimpse of the little things from the past week.

From top to bottom: Cheese for breakfast | Lazy morning ritual | Kitty at the window | Mini messages (an idea in progress) | Zen pencils (coming soon to my shop!) | Best and easiest reminder list ever | Framed string (another little something in-progress) | Textures | Sleepy kitties | Primary laundry | Stack of whites | Brie burger on brioche (OK, so I admit to eating this for dinner for five days straight. SO satisfying.) | Watching the Oscars | Making part of my springtime dreams a reality | Everything's coming up positive ;)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

today's takeaways

Or, what I'm bringing with me as I take a deep breath, put myself out there, and attempt to avoid self-sabbotage!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

an old one but . . .

. . . it's just what I needed today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

. . . and a sort of secret

I have a little project unfolding over here . . .  (Cross your fingers and say a prayer, would you?) 

last night's dinner

Recipe found in this month's issue of Real Simple.

Monday, February 18, 2013

happiness on a monday

A few things bringing me joy today . . .

Valentine messages strung up on our wall

A new candle that makes our apartment feel like the coziest place on Earth


sunny day dreaming (you in?)

I want to sit out on the deck sipping lemonade from these glasses, wearing these sandals, with this wreath on the door. GOT IT, UNIVERSE?! 

What's that? I don't control the climate? I'm just a slave to Mother Nature? Huh.

Well, she'd better hurry up and get on my side then. Because I have a nasty case of cabin fever and toes that are itching to be exposed!