July 16, 2014

july is flying by

This month is flying by. We've had nonstop visits from family and friends, which has been so fun and one of my favorite parts of summer. I'm finally back in school and working on finishing up my last few classes, all while doing my internship with the Waters School ecology program. Somehow Ryan and I have been managing to juggle all of this without so much as even a babysitter. It turns out we make an excellent team.

We stopped by Heritage Littles last week to check out the Land of Nod party they were hosting. Ruby fell in love with this little Spherovelo scooter while we were there. We slept on it and decided to get it for her the next day. She's obsessed with it now. We all are really. Even though she's taken a few tumbles, she keeps getting right back on ready to explore her home in a new way. She's been pretty interested in checking out her papa's record collection and my computer and bike. Oh yeah I've been biking again, too! At first I was a little anxious to start biking around the city again, but it didn't take long to remember how much I love it. It's such an exhilarating way to get from point A to point B and get a little exercise as a bonus.

Ruby also took her first train ride. She was like an old pro. Maybe it's from all the trains I took while pregnant with her. She had her first zoo experience at the Lincoln Park Zoo and even rode on the carousel. We had a family beach day with her cousin, aunt and the grandparents. She just wanted to snuggle up to me the entire time. I was more than happy to make that happen and honestly loved every second of it. She's turning out to be quite a cuddler! The summer visits are winding down, and now it's our turn to do some visiting. We've got a crazy long road trip coming up with Ruby. I hope it goes as smooth as possible for everyone. 

Some current Rubyisms I'd like to remember and share are her saying "Oh no!", "all done", "bye bye papa" and "I did it!" all at appropriate times. She's been making some animals noises and repeating along some words when I read to her. She says the word "babies" all the time. She also whispers the word "tortilla" and shouts the word "egg" when she eats them. Somehow she manages to get her little leg at a 90 degree angle and shove her toes into her mouth after big bites of avocado or anything else equally as messy at mealtimes. Oh and her little backwards wave has been a hit with all of our visitors. The very best part of all is when she's snuggling up to me she makes these little sighs and noises like she's really feeling it. She melts my heart.

June 23, 2014


Manuel Cuevas was my favorite discovery during our trip to Nashville. Somehow I've gone through school for fashion design and been a music lover my whole life without ever hearing his name. He is the man responsible for Elvis's white jumpsuits in the 70s, the jackets the Beatles wore for the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Neil Young's black crop duster and the list goes on and on. He's dressed Dolly Parton, Prince, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Jack White, Neil Young and Madonna. I could keep listing some of the biggest musicians and performers of all time, but I'm sure you get it. 

My husband and I stayed in a hotel downtown near his shop and randomly decided to stop in and take a peak. We thought we were walking into a vintage clothing store and really just had no idea what we were about to discover. Inside was a magical place full of history and craftsmanship taken to a level that I've rarely seen. 

The walls were covered with photos of Manuel and his clientele throughout the years. There were sales associates working who were more than happy to tell us all about Manuel. It felt as if the people working in his shop were his close friends and been working for him for a really long time. One of them kept having me try on these beautiful, heavy rhinestone jackets inspired by each and every state in the USA. I tried on Illinois and Minnesota, of course. It was awesome! There were seamstresses working and hand embroidering in the middle of the shop. I was in heaven in that little corner shop. It was like a little museum that combined so many wonderful things. If you're ever in Nashville this shop is a must see.

June 15, 2014

summer vacation

Ryan and I got to do a little traveling this month and spend some much needed alone time together. We headed to Ruby's grandparent's house in Indianapolis on her birthday, June 4th, and had a little party for her with family and friends the next day. Ruby got to go swimming and eat cake for the first time. Just a few days later we left Ruby with her grandparents and drove to Nashville to spend some quality time together. We were both a little worried we would miss her way too much, or that she'd be really unhappy or fussy without us. But we were wrong, she was just fine and everyone had a really wonderful time. We did miss her, but it was a very manageable amount. 

We wanted to stop in Nashville years ago on our honeymoon/road trip, but never managed to squeeze it in. I'm so glad we waited, because the city has been growing and changing a lot over the past few years. We were able to spend a little more time there on this trip than we would have on our honeymoon. We did so much while we were there, but it was still relaxing enough. We had some amazing dinners at Josephine, Tree House and Rolf and Daughters. We met a really interesting and super friendly man named Robert at Marathon Village. He is the owner of and original roaster of Garage Coffee Company among many other things. We explored a few neighborhoods that we loved; Germantown, 12 South, Five Points and walked around downtown. We heard some live music on writer's night at The Bluebird Cafe, saw some exhibits at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, discovered the legendary work of Manuel Cuevas (which is a whole other post), checked out Pinewood Social and went to the top of Love Circle. I think I might already be forgetting a few things. 

I definitely got the feeling that there was a whole lot more to Nashville, and that we just cracked the surface on our trip. We could go back again and again and keep discovering new places and things to do. There were so many genuinely friendly, interesting and stylish people. Many of them we learned were transplants from all over the country and globe. The city had a buzz and was full of creative energy but still managed to keep a nice, slow, laid-back feel. There was endless green space, beautiful scenic hills and so much natural beauty. We loved our time in Nashville and can't wait to return. We are even toying with the idea of moving there in the future. 

father's day

Father's Day has been sort of a hard day for me most of my life. I usually just ignore it and can't wait for it to be over. For complicated reasons I grew up not knowing my dad. There was a brief period when I thought I might finally get the chance to meet him, but then he died suddenly of a heart attack. That was back in June of 2004. It's been exactly ten years that I put to rest the idea of ever knowing the man who genetically plays a major role in who I am.

This is the second year that I've been able to celebrate father's day, and I'm so happy to have this day become a happy one. Last year Ruby was barely a few weeks old, so I had no idea what an amazing father Ryan would turn out to be. I'm not at all surprised, though. He is so loving, playful and present with her. He makes it easy for me to be a good mother. Ruby lights up when she sees him. We're both so lucky to have him in our lives. Happy Father's Day to the best papa I've ever known! You are so loved.

May 30, 2014

one year

My baby will be one year old in just a few days. There are some things I would like her to know about our first year together. The year flew by unlike any other in the past. It was also one of the hardest years I've been through in ways that I never could have imagined. There have been times I've felt so exhausted, cooped up, flabby, weak, irritable and just not myself. Mostly I've just felt so much love, happiness and wonder. I'm truly excited to get up every morning, no matter what time it is, just to get to see your little face and hold you close to me.

It's difficult to find the right words and sentences to articulate just what it feels like to be a mother and love someone so fiercely. I would take a bullet, wrestle a bear, jump out of a plane, run into a forest fire and do anything, really, to keep you safe with me. I never imagined just how truly beautiful you would be. Your personality is really starting to develop and show through more and more each and every day. You're not just a little beauty you're also very clever, silly, affectionate, fun-loving, sweet, social and relaxed. You're the healthiest baby I've known. You haven't been sick once, not even a runny nose or cough, nothing. You sleep well, enjoy eating healthy foods and love to laugh. I think that's a big part of what makes you such a strong and healthy baby.

The sound of your laugh, baby talk and sweet little whispers are the best sounds that I've ever heard. The thought that you will sometimes continuously fake laugh just to get us to laugh with you kills me. I adore watching you try to snap those tiny fingers and wave at people, dogs and your stuffed animals. I'm so thankful for you. We wanted you so much. For a while we weren't sure we would ever get to have a baby. I think that's made us appreciate the time we have with you even more. The three days of labor and five hours of pushing were beyond worth it. You're my favorite person.

You have taught me so much this year. I've learned that I am capable of so much more than I ever knew. I really don't need much at all to make me perfectly content. I would do just fine living in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere as long as you and Ryan were there. Ryan and I work very well together under pressure, (for the most part). Happy almost birthday. I don't know what exactly brought you to us, but thanks for coming into our lives. Here's to many more wonderful years together full of love and learning. I love you so much baby!

May 11, 2014

my first mother's day

I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I found out my husband wouldn't be able to spend my first Mother's Day with me. He had to work since he had already taken a few days off to speak at a conference. Luckily, we ended up spending so much more time together than usual because of that time off. It really ended up feeling like the whole weekend was Mother's Day. 

We went out to eat as a family a few times, which is an extremely rare occasion for us. We even got to eat outside since the weather was insanely beautiful! Ruby loved it and was so well behaved. She tried all sorts of new foods including; burrata at Spacca Napoli, ice cream at Jeni's, and various Mexican food at El Tapatio. I ate so much delicious food and enjoyed a few drinks, too. We took some long walks and late afternoon naps. We played in the park and went on a little trip to see the Baha'i Temple. 

Today (Mother's Day) I was able to sneak off, for a bit, by myself before my husband went to work. I saw Unbound, the Frida Kahlo exhibit, and so much more at the MCA. I found a little blank puzzle for Ruby to draw on at the gift shop. I was even able to squeeze in a little bit of shopping on Michigan Avenue before I had to head back home to take care of Ruby. It ended up being a really great and memorable first Mother's Day after all.

April 25, 2014

orange is the new red

I've never worn much makeup or been much of a make up person. I prefer a more get up and go routine, don't like the clutter and I've always been told I don't need it. Although I do like to wear a little lipstick from time to time, and my preferred color has always been red until now. Lately, I've been really into wearing orange lipstick. It's actually a big spring trend for make up right now. I'm not usually one for following the trends, although I'm not against it either. You just have to pick and choose which ones are right for you and be very selective about it. The first time my husband saw me wearing my new lipstick color he laughed and said it was really bright. At least he's paying attention, looking at me and noticing the little details. 

April 22, 2014

Earth Day

If you're like me then you're a strong believer that every single day should be treated as Earth Day. After all this is our home, where our ancestors lived and where future generations will live (if all goes well). The Earth was here long before any of us ever were, and will be here long after us. In honor of this day I've created a short list of both simple and challenging things we all can and should do. Some of these have become habitual for me, while others are still goals of mine. 

1. WALK MORE (If you're going somewhere that's walking distance then walk there, don't drive. It's good exercise, too)

2. BIKE MORE (same as above)

3. DON'T WASTE WATER (Water is not a renewable resource, sustainably speaking. Turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth, washing your hands, doing the dishes or whatever. If your not rinsing something then you don't need the water running. It's so easy to turn it off and on as needed.)

4. UNPLUG (Your iPhone uses about as much energy as your refrigerator. So unplug it and the charger when you're not charging it. Just unplug more stuff in general.)

5. DON'T EAT ANIMALS AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS (If that's totally out of the question for you then try to eat less, a lot less. It's better for you, the environment, future generations and well innocent loving animals.)

6. DIY (Start a garden large or small, cook more, try new recipes and just make all sorts of good stuff.)

7. USE A WATER BOTTLE (Stop buying water, buy a water filter, fill it, fill your bottle and take it with you. I use a Keith Haring Sigg bottle and love it.)

8. LIVE WITH LESS (How much do you really need to make you happy? Stop buying so much stuff. If you feel like you need to shop constantly for things that you don't really need then they've already gotten to you. It's not too late though.)

9. EDUCATE YOURSELF (Learn about the issues so that you can figure out how to best help.)

10. LIVE THOUGHTFULLY (These things take time to form into habits. So it may take a lot of thought and effort at first. That's a good thing,)

That's it. Feel free to add more in the comments if you like. One last thing which is a huge pet peeve of mine, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT LITTER! There are so many people working extremely hard to protect the planet (like risking their lives hard), the least you can do is have the decency to throw your trash in a garbage.

April 21, 2014

spring smiles

It's Spring! It's been so nice outside. We've been getting out a lot and going on some long walks. This has significantly lifted my spirits and also helped me get down to my prepregnancy weight, which has been a goal of mine all winter. We've been opening our windows, feeling the warm breezes and getting lots of fresh air in our home. Those are just a few reasons why we are smiling.

 Ryan is also behind the camera acting crazy and making her crack up, which makes me smile. I'm so thankful about the end of this particular winter and all of the things that go along with it. We've got a few very exciting plans for the upcoming months. Spring and summer also seem to be the time of year when we get a lot of visits from friends living in other cities. This time around looks no different, and I can't wait to see everyone. We've got a very special one year birthday to celebrate soon, too! A few more things I'm looking forward to this spring and summer are; taking Ruby to the beach for the first time, picnics in the park, seeing Frida at the MCA, wearing light summer clothes and going to the Minnesota State Fair for the first time in 18 years. I'm smiling just thinking about all of it.

April 20, 2014

Perfect 365

As some of you know, I have been posting some Instagram photos using the app Perfect 365 lately. I'm obsessed with it right now. It makes me laugh. It's basically an app for those interested in perfecting their selfie, testing out new hairstyles and makeup and just making hilarious photos. I'm sure there are other things you can do with it that I'm still unaware of. My seven year old niece is the one who figured out that it isn't just a makeup app, there are also hairstyles to choose from. The bottom one of Ruby is surely a classic and needs a frame.

wearing white

I've always believed white jeans were only for preppy or super skinny women, and so I never considered them to be my style. I also feared ruining them with a spill or just keeping them clean in general. That's been my worry with wearing anything white. So I've never worn it much at all, except on my wedding day. My wedding dress didn't make it untarnished either. I ruined it by accidentally setting it on fire with a sparkler. At least I have a great story to tell when I pull it out some day to show my daughter. I digress.

 I recently bought a pair of white jeans and have been wearing them like crazy. Lately I've been inspired to start wearing them, and then suddenly I came across the perfect pair. I decided since Andrew WK wore them they no longer belong only to the preppy crowd. I also no longer care if they aren't slimming. Since having a baby, I'm just proud of my body and the amazing things it can do. 

White jeans are classic and polished looking. I've discovered they're surprisingly easy to wear since they go with almost anything. My favorite way to wear them has been with a light colored or white top and simple flats. They haven't gotten dirty either. That's even after many wears, eating out with a baby and walking all over the city. I've got a new style staple and a newfound love for wearing white.