February 29, 2012

Leaping Lizards

go for it

We hadn't been to Target in a while (I KNOW) and Ivy was digging the new displays and color signs. "It's all decoration-y in here!" We bought paper towels and thumbtacks.


She helped me post Listen To Your Mother audition fliers around town and such. I compensated her with a trip to the park. When it's freezing cold you get the whole playground all to yourself, btw.

little hand

monster boots

We went to lunch with my mom and I'm noticing, with increasing wonder and sometimes annoyance? that the people seated around us tend to stare at Ivy. A lot. I get that she's cute and entertaining but they almost watch her like she's a show. And I feel like we should respond or engage or hide her or something by their constant watching but really I just want to eat my salad and visit with the company I'm in. Does this make sense? Granted, it's mostly old people, and more often cute than not, but still. She eats it up anyway and I just play along.

february slide

(As seen on Ivy - dress & pants are Kate Quinn Organics, boots are Emu, all found at Zulily )

February 27, 2012

In my notes

It was the session I was most looking forward to at the conference and it was the one where I had "a moment." That usually happens to me at least once at these things, and this was a biggie. It was such a moment that I almost got up and left the room.

I felt so many things all at once- fear, happiness, understanding, revelation, and belonging. All of those things make me cry hot tears. My heart raced and I wanted to fill the notepad and I wanted to lie down right there on the floor and sleep for days. 

Sometimes I feel like I'm always showing up just a bit too early for life, or often a smidge too late. It throws me off, and I take it personally, and I wonder what is wrong with me. Our speaker, Ananda Leeke, in this late afternoon writing session mentioned something just as an aside to our participation -- maybe some of the questions would be too personal or wouldn't be for us. What she said was so small and just a little tidbit in a long beautiful group of sentences purred in her calming voice --  I'm not sure anyone else wrote it down. But I did. "Maybe you'll have an in-between moment. That's okay." Whatever it was meant for, I took it for me. 

Deep breaths. Write a six word memoir that expresses what you are feeling in the present moment. Go.

"It's time to take the freedom."

A woman reads her six words into the microphone and sobs. She wants to know how she could find her way back home to herself. My body begins to shake. 

Write down what your creative heart needs and wants. 

"My creative heart needs and wants a view, freedom, and a purpose." (And a barn cat.) Yes I wrote it down just like that. 

She talked of the many inner women or voices or personalities or whatever it is to you that you imagine in your creative heart. What do they want you to know? 

We closed our eyes and took 10 nose breaths, in a n d out.

"You are loved.

You are special.

You are smart.

You are unique.

You are a good friend.

You have good intentions.

You need to work on some things. 

But they aren't as much work as you think.

You aren't damaged.

You can change.

There could be truth in criticism.

You know better.

You'll be okay.

You are on the right path.

You can do this."

(The above notes were taken directly from my notepad in Ananda's session Fierce Living From Your Creative Heart.)

In the next morning's writing session, Jeff Goins presented How to Fall Back in Love with Writing and Create Your Best Work Yet. He offered a link up at his site asking us to write something dangerous, something you're meant to write or afraid to write, what you wish you could write. He's written out that session, with the link up here.  I'm feeling quite panicky publishing most anything so far this year. Look at me, living on the edge.

February 25, 2012

While I'm away

Blissdom this year is amazing. I am still coming down from a session yesterday that oh my wow will I be writing about when I get back. Jeff's been awesome with the updates from home- he took Ivy to dance class the other day and also, of course, has been getting her to do certain things on the potty that she wouldn't do for me and so, life is wonderful! I'm so glad I'm here and I can't wait to be home again.


February 23, 2012

Poet dress


She burrowed at my side and whispered "we're into love." She slept there and I swear her eyelashes swayed with the wind of her breath.

love her

small style


As seen on Ivy...

long sleeved tee- misha lulu
dress- thrifted shirt
belt- circo
tights- cherokee
boots- emu via zulily

Small Style at Mama Loves Papa


February 20, 2012

Snip snip

I had an awful dream last night that didn't shake off until around three-thirty this afternoon. I know that, exactly, because we were in the car driving home and I looked at all the kids and it wasn't sitting on top of me anymore. I drove and stared as far off as I could in front of the road and thought of all the bad things that have happened to us that weren't dreams, that were actually real, and I imagined huge clouds forming into scissors, cutting their strings and then they floated far away so that they were no longer attached to me. Like they never really happened at all.

In a moment of weakness I told Noah we could get Blizzards later. I just wanted to get through the thrift store with all four kids and pay and he had found a Blizzard maker for $12.99. That is way too much for Goodwill, dude. So of course tonight when I collapsed onto my bed he was kind enough to remind me of my promise. I went, because if there's one thing I am consistent about it's keeping my kids' promises. And also they would never let me off the hook anyway.

I think for a long time I mistakenly thought my anxiety to be normal, you know, it's just part of the package as a mother of four kids. That constant sense of urgency. There is no rest, there is much to be done, there is exhaustion and no option to be weak about it. This is just how it goes, this is what I signed up for. That kind of thing.

I'm still playing catch up from the lice incident almost three months ago. I'm not certain I'll ever fully recover.

I dare say I'd like to buy one of those trendy party banners on etsy in white, hang them across my front porch, in surrender. A string of white flags flapping for everyone to see because I don't care if they know the truth and I need their mercy.

We drove by the house today and Barn Cat was sitting outside on the window ledge and he looked right at me.


February 19, 2012

Where am I?

barn cat
Barn Cat

When Jeff read that I was longing for a view, he started searching for a new house. We hadn't discussed moving, and it's been a bit of a thing for me, to remind people that we live in a tiny house and we make it work neener neener! But maybe that's not true. Perhaps it's not really working so much anymore. There I was stuck on keeping up appearances for whatever reason, not realizing I was denying myself permission to dream of anything more.

He sent me a link to a dream home. It has a barn (and a fat barn cat). And an art studio with a Diff'rent Strokes winding staircase. And so many windows. With that one link, it was like he gave me the world.

barn view
The house with a view. 

I didn't ever see this coming, because I was more focused on looking at all the things that I thought made it impossible to hope. In my mind I thought that fence around my heart was a good thing, I thought this was high living. What I was supposed to want. I thought because we had everything we needed, I shouldn't long for more.

An amazing, more than I could have imagined to ask for kind of view. 

In letting all that go, there it was waiting for me. We went to see it yesterday. I feel such a peace about this house and love it so much that it's okay if it sells to someone else tomorrow. Whoever moves in will get something amazing. If it can wait for us, then it is ours. I told Jeff I just feel like there is a hand on our shoulders saying, you are headed in the right direction. This is only the beginning.

rooftop view
rooftop deck view

I entered into this year with a vision of taking a break. The first thing I did was quit most of my freelance jobs, including writing for Babble. While it was great pay, I didn't find it to be the best compensation for the time and joy that was chiseled away because of it. It's been a few months now and I couldn't be more happy and proud of my decision. Of course, I would never know I'd feel this way if I hadn't tried it in the first place. Life is funny like that.

I want to be paid for my writing but I don't. And oh how I get why some of the most amazing artists died poor. I rebel against the idea that you should try to make a business out of everything you love to do. I don't want to have to draw you in other than that you just happened to be here. I don't want to trick you. I want you to want to read. And I want to walk away and I want to hate it and I want to be so afraid of losing it and I want to come back.

barn sky

This week I'm driving to Nashville for Blissdom and will be a community leader for a few writing sessions. I wrestle with utter excitement and feeling like the biggest phony - here I am with a burning desire to get rid of what so many bloggers hope to gain, definitely knowing that I am over the disappointment of working with brands, and a fresh belief that the best part of blogging is the freedom to walk away. I don't know how to explain why I do what I do, because even I don't know. And I don't want to have to know. But I also take heart because I'm not the only one.

I want to live in a home that doesn't make me want to leave. That doesn't have me longing for Paris or a vacation. Someplace that satisfies my heart so that I can tend to all of the other things.

I want to write and know it's me. 

February 15, 2012


Nerd Alert!!


Heads on pillows, we talked about favorite colors.

Do you like purple?

"Awww," she sighed heavily, "I just like all the pink things."

snow monster

As seen on Ivy...

hat- unsure of the brand but we got it at Carson's
dress- Beetlejuice from Gilt Kids
tights- Target
boots- L'amour from Piper Boutiques

Linking up -- Small Style at Mama Loves Papa

February 13, 2012

love the road you're on

I took that title from a Subaru commercial I just saw. It's befitting.

Last week in the car I skipped right over a Whitney Houston song and have struggled with a wee bit of guilt. Silly, I know, but.

We have been listening to a lot of classical music lately. The other day Canon in D came on and as Ivy and I danced to it, I pointed to my wedding photos hanging on the wall. "I walked down the aisle to this song, when Daddy and I got married." She looked so sad and cried, "I wish I was there!" Oh honey, you were there in my heart. That seems like the cliché answer, but it also did seem true.

She had her first dance class today and it was kind of like one of those things you realize you'd been waiting for all your life and you didn't even  know it. She belonged. It was her world. And I belonged right there on the bench. This was my world, too. We all made sense right then.


We put on her legwarmers and boots and went to the mall and I let her be the leader, mostly because later on I would need to be the leader and wanted her to play along. She led us straight to the carousel.

Later I bought yellow shoes and they make me happy.


February 12, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup and a Playlist

I've been trying to figure out where to post this recipe, as I don't plan to post one here again (nor do I plan to post things to pin other than the occasional knitted item because that's as far as my pin-talent goes, methinks) but I made this delicious soup over the weekend and it was really too good not to share.

roasted acorn squash soup

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You know when you order soup at a nice restaurant and it's subtle but really interesting and you try to figure out what's in it? That's kind of what this is like. It's different and simple, nothing fancy or spicy or anything. And great with a nice hunk of bread (or even a few goldfish crackers on top.) I have made it a few times before from a recipe given to me by a friend, but this last weekend totally jazzed it up with some new twists and changes. Usually I don't keep track of how I make things, but this was one I didn't want to forget. Oh, and it's even better re-heated the next day, of course.

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
makes about 6-8 bowls

3 medium acorn squash (looks like a big green nut)
2 whole shallots, finely chopped (find them by the garlic)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
30oz vegetable broth
1/3 Cup beer (optional) (I used Bell's Winter White Ale- delish!)
1 pint heavy cream
1 Cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter
1-2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs sugar
1 teaspoon Thyme
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve and de-seed squash. Drizzle each half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast until tender and carmelized (about 20-30 mins.)

Cover with foil and set aside (this will help loosen the skin for easy removal in a bit.)

Chop garlic and shallots. Simmer shallots with butter in a medium-large pot. When they start to carmelize, add garlic. Now you can add the vegetable broth and squash- you can peel off skin and chop in cubes, or it should be tender enough to just scoop out in small spoonfulls (that's what I do.) Mash in pot with potato masher until smooth-ish. It's okay if there are a few un-mashed pieces unless you want it completely smooth. Simmer about 30 minutes (this will also help break down some of the squash pieces.)

Add heavy cream, beer (optional), thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg,  a dash of salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese, brown sugar and sugar. Simmer a few minutes and then serve. I promise it is so much easier than you probably imagine! Enjoy!

Valentines 3

Very un-Pinteresty of me... we did store bought Valentines this year and I think they actually took more time than DIY after all. That's a lot of tearing on perforated lines. 30 cards times 3 kids. Oy. ED: you can see me on video talking about it at Mommalogues, too.

Oh, one last thing, I tend to camp out in the kitchen all day when I'm on a cooking kick, and we don't have a TV in there or anything so I rely heavily on Pandora or my iTunes playlists. I made a new one (bear in mind that my computer crashed recently and I lost all my music that was added after it had been updated - which was a very long time before- and have yet to re-add most of my songs. Also lately I have been buying CDs like an old lady and not adding them to my iTunes. Anyway!) Songs in italics are some of my very favorite songs ever and ones you should totally look up, but hey I already linked to their youtube videos, so.

Kitchen mix (also go for a good drive mix)
Two- Ryan Adams
Daylight- Matt & Kim
Re: Stacks- Bon Iver
Welcome Home- Radical Face
The Funeral- Band of Horses
Forget About Me- Janove Otteson
Three Little Birds- Bob Marley
High Times- Landon Pigg
Early in the Morning- James Vincent McMorrow
Whole Wide World- Wreckless Eric
California- Joni Mitchell
Laughing With- Regina Spektor
Read My Mind- The Killers
Flume- Bon Iver
Blue- Jayhawks
If I Had a Boat- James Vincent McMorrow
Murder in the City- The Avett Brothers
Lucky- Radiohead
I Believe- Stevie Wonder
My Creole Belle- Mississippi John Hurt
Hey Ya- Obadiah Parker
Breeze- Apollo Sunshine
Transatlanticism- Death Cab for Cutie
Your Arms Around Me- Jens Lekman
All I Need Is You- Hillsong United
The Weary Kind- Ryan Bingham
Baker Baker- Tori Amos
Just Breathe- Pearl Jam
Bandits- Midlake
The Ballad of Love and Hate- The Avett Brothers

February 10, 2012

the dance

ivy dances

We sat at a four-top near the fireplace, Mommal's walker parked next to all the other walkers by the coat rack with the feathered fedora hat. The four of us a chain, generations. My grandmother, my mom, me, and my daughter lunching at the Cracker Barrel.

A round table nearby, in the corner- ladies celebrating their 86th birthdays, and the whole restaurant sang to them. It made me want to happy cry, and later Ivy ran to them to say happy birthday and give hugs to old people she didn't know, even one with an oxygen mask. She said her mother-in-law's name was Ivy.

ivy dancer

In the car she chattered on about her imaginary friends and all the exciting things they get to do and see and I jolt at the sound of her voice, it's lower today. Not the high birdy sound but different, older, and her words, they are suddenly more mature and imaginative.


Mommal's voice is changing, too. It's shaky and higher. I've been afraid that lately I'd lost my own voice but I now realize it's not lost, it's just evolving, and it's actually wonderful whatever it is, this time I'm in, I get to discover. Ivy starts dance next week, and Carter has joined Little League. I find my marks on stage and move into place.


Tonight we made cupcakes and with Pandora on the classical station it was like we had our own soundtrack, like we were in a movie, she cracked and stirred and I lived every moment of it not like it was our last, but like it was only the beginning. Because it so is.

February 6, 2012

Everything is coming up Milhouse!

It's weird because apparently this year and I seemed to start off on the wrong foot. But now, settling into it, things are beginning to click and not really make sense but just finally work. Normally all this instability would have me in knots, but I had an adjustment at the chiropractor the other day and am just going with the flow. I'll have more bloodwork done this week and hope for real answers this time. I am feeling okay.

We are no longer down to one car- Jeff and I both got new-to-us vehicles within the past week. I went to Indy yesterday, yes, the Super Bowl was there, and I sat in the audience for Jimmy Fallon's Live Special after the game with my friend June. It was an awesome day not planned much at all, kind of just happened thanks to us showing up and friends offering help and me accepting it. Emily let us park at her house and then she dropped us off to get tickets before she drove herself to church. When we had no place to go mid-day until the show started late last night, Sarah picked us up downtown and brought us to her home, where she fed us and threw a Super Bowl party with other fabulous friends like Katy and Erin (and Emily again!), whom I am all the better for being able to visit with and enjoy.

Yesterday June and I ate gorgeous sushi for lunch in downtown Indy and later rocked out to this, live, with exploding confetti and onstage fireworks. Today, back home, Jeff and I took Ivy for her first sushi (she liked the gyoza, miso soup, some happy roll and Ramune) and later we sat in the school auditorium for the boys' choir concert. I will not compare myself yesterday and today, nor the two events. I am thankful that I was her then, and her now. I don't have to settle or make excuses, explanations for one or the other. Both were equally amazing. Both have their own kind of fireworks.

"Everything is coming up Milhouse!" I told June. We delighted in each little thing the entire day. The moon in the dark morning as we drove I-65 at 5 am. The friendliness of strangers, the perfect timing, the too good to be true (but true), the weather, the parking spot, the hot dogs after the show.

There's this new ease that I had somehow previously resisted without even knowing it, and now I'm leaning in. Like it scratches that itch in just the right spot. The one you forgot about but now remember in its absence and you think, this is living. 

linked up - just write

February 3, 2012

The Feb Four


Welp, this month's photos was a task. The kids did not want to strike a pose. At all. We went to the beach because the weather here has been so unseasonably warm and I'm not sure we'll be able to say we went there the first week of February ever again. The foggy sky against the water was mind blowing amazing. So much so that my camera refused to even hardly take a photo, and soon we lost light, but that was okay. It was beautiful.


PS I was gone at a church thing and Jeff took The Most Adorable Video Ever of Ivy.


I used to take photos of my kids on the first of every month, now it's on the fourth. Four for four... get it? You can see past month photos here. 

February 2, 2012

Only in your imagination

les petits artistes

Ivy asked me if monsters are real, and I said only in your imagination. And she said well I think they are real. I asked what they looked like and she said big and green with horns in their ears and they come at night. I reminded her... Ivy who is always with you?

Without a beat: "Carter."

"I mean Jesus. And God!"

re-use frappe cups & lids for no mess paints

We had a playdate the other day and the girls tried out something my friend Sheryl found on Pinterest. I loved the colors just as much as the function. I'm babysteph on Pinterest, by the way. Let me know if you're on there and I'll be sure to follow your boards. I can always send you an invite if you need one, too.


As seen on Ivy for this week's Small Style, dress- Beetlejuice via Gilt Kids, pants Baby Sara via Zulily

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