Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekend Links

Some exciting news: I'll be speaking at Dream Rock, a very special 3-day retreat in Sedona, Arizona, February 4-6, 2015. The week is all about providing knowledge that will help you start or grow your creative business, and the three days will be full of discussions (I'll be speaking about the blogging side of things) and valuable networking...and some fun extras like watercolor and calligraphy classes, yoga, and more! Craft Culture Events is offering a flash sale through August 31 and seats are limited to only 30 people (!!!), so check it out, reserve your spot, and come hang out with me in the beautiful red rocks of Sedona for a few days. For more info, visit CraftCultureEvents.com. I hope to see you there- it would be amazing to meet some Sometimes Sweet readers.

And then one more thing before we get into the links- last week This Bar Saves Lives sent us a box of their bars to try and they are SO good and I wanted to pass them along. We each loved different flavors but mine was definitely the Dark Chocolate Cherry Sea Salt (yes it tastes as good as it sounds!). I also love that they have such a great mission- in a nutshell they give a packet of lifesaving food to a child in need with every bar purchase. Learn more about them here, through this cute video. And p.s. use code "sometimessweet" for 20% off. If you do order, let me know what you think- I bet you'll love 'em!

And now, some links! Enjoy, and have a great weekend. xo

This is such a fun read- Back to School: the '70s versus today.

"I Could Leave My House Without Makeup, But Here's Why I Don't."

Love these girls.

Wishlist: this pillow, this dress, and this cute doormat.

Read this post: Rambling On.

I've really been enjoying peeks into Monica's world via this series.

Etsy love: this print, this mobile, this cookie cutter, and this nightstand.

Anyone else remember gURL.com?

Such a cute idea for a kids' birthday party.

A very interesting read: The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit.

Love this: Market Monday.

THIS SONG.

AND THIS TEE.

21 energy boosting breakfast toasts. Some good ideas here!

I always enjoy reading book lists.

And speaking of, are you going to join me for A Beautiful Mess's Book Club next month?

We've never cloth diapered, but this post makes me want to try with our next baby.

Yes, Robin Williams was my childhood.

Meet The 23-Year-Old Making the NYT Crossword Puzzle Cool.

And finally, what do you think- is this "the worst fucking summer ever"?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This Full Plate.


This is a new season of our life, and a busy one at that. I'm not someone who ever wants to wear busyness like a badge- I've seen that and I don't want it. But this kind of busy is a good one, it's full of our family and new work and lots of change, extra bedrooms in our home now occupied by people we love. Our mornings are full of Hank and the boys and my sister and Lucy and soon Abe, all of us moving through that first hour getting things done, chugging along in our little orbits. This little bit of time we're experiencing together will be one of those parts of life I'll look back on with such fondness, I'm sure of it. And with all of that comes new work for me too, keeping me busy, busy, busy.

I've been thinking so much about how precious all of these parts of our life are. We only get this many summers with our children this age, one really at this age, and so when I think about that then I feel fiercely protective over these seconds and minutes and hours. This afternoon itself is so precious. I never feel like I need to do big, grand things, but I am well aware that this is the one August 26th I'll ever get with my boys at almost four and one. So even if we're hunkered down on the couch, a movie on because the monsoon outside our window is darkening the sky by the minute I'll cherish that simple little bit, because that's all I will ever get of this day, these people, right here just the way it is.

As Henry grows bigger and into this new older person, I'm learning that the part of me that gets so sad over change is actually beginning to see that although yes, there is sadness, there is much more excitement there. All the good to come, the new adventures, the next. So maybe this is me growing more myself; maybe I'm learning to let life continue on its way, and I'm beginning to be able to enjoy the ride a bit more.

I started writing a post last week after I realized this blog would be turning six years old this fall. It's interesting that this site has become one of the biggest teachers in my life...it feels weird to even type that out. But this post I've been adding things to here and there feels never ending. All the things I've learned, the mistakes I've made, it's fascinating to me in a slightly distant, self-centered way. My early days of what feels like humblebragging when I read my words now, getting angry over rude, anonymous commenters, actually seeking out negative things about myself online and then talking about them here...cringe worthy to read back and see where my focus was. Laughable now, but in those words I can still feel those first stinging lessons and see myself learning how to navigate criticism. But that's growing up documenting your life on a website. Some people grow up at 18, some at 25, but for me I feel like maybe it was around 28 I started to really get it. That seems late, and maybe it has something to do with becoming a parent, but it's clear to me as I look back at everything that that was it for me. And oh, so many of those posts- they make me laugh, smile, feel slightly embarrassed, but at the end of the day I'm so goddamn proud of every one of them and slightly in awe that I've been doing this for so long. Diaryland then Livejournal before this, and all together we have well over a decade of it. Very, very neat when I take a big step back. And even cooler to be able to look and see myself changing and growing, and have it all in one place.

So here I am, at 32. A mom of two boys, more of a work from home mama than a stay at home mama these days. Add on taking care of my niece while my sister is teaching and it's a full plate. But sometimes in life that's just what we have- there have been times where my plate wasn't full, and I was searching to find what belonged. And there have been other times where I've found it overflowing, but with all the wrong things. It's a good feeling to be able to look and say "yes, this is just right," and enjoy that full plate, full of the best things- love and family and growth and change, and a special kind of busyness that makes everything sparkle with fulfillment.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Monday Morning

Our mornings are some of my favorite times. I usually try to get up a little earlier than the boys to enjoy some quiet me time, but more often than not, we end up getting woken up by Henry as he whispers "is it time to get up yet?" with his little face peeking up over the side of our bed. And before we know it, it's go, go, go time. Packing lunches in a flurry of tupperware and sandwich crusts and juice boxes, car keys jingling, kisses and hugs, the little ones crying or laughing or both, a see-you-later-Daddy and just-one-more-kiss ringing through the hallway. Then it's preschool drop off time, come home and snuggle Charlie time, take-a-breather-Mom time. Phew.

But there's beauty in that, right? The routines of our day to day life. The way the sun comes through Charlie's window bright and early casting sunbeams off the side of his gray crib (even though I had spent most of my night in there with him, rocking through a hard teething night, and getting no sleep myself). There's something special in those rare mornings when Henry stays in bed a little longer, with a cup of water and his feet up on pillows and a pile of books on his nightstand (even though most mornings he is waking us well before it's time to actually wake up). There's something special in that- in our routines and in the beautiful-ness of things I might not always describe as beautiful in the first place.

So when my friend Ilana over at Mommy Shorts asked me to help her promote her "Monday Mornings" series I was so excited. If you're a regular reader of this blog you know how much I love finding the beauty in the everyday, and that's exactly what she's doing with this project. Together with Allstate, who believe families should live the good life every day, Ilana's documenting the mornings of mothers all across the country. This series has already visited moms in NYC and Chicago and they're making their way to LA, Houston and Washington, DC. The project is visiting all kinds of Moms- working Moms (with a stay-at-home-Dad), another working Mom with a working spouse, a single Mom...I love that she really is showing many different types of families and women. You can see more of the project here, and please do yourself a favor and read her intro post. This is REALLY good stuff. You can follow along with all of the series here.

Here are some photos from some of our recent mornings, too:



*This post is part of the "Mommy Shorts Monday Mornings" series sponsored by Allstate. Every family has a special morning routine, and as we continue documenting different mothers across the country, it’s clear there is beauty in all of our mornings. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most—but to guiding families to live the Good Life, every day.

*Thank you guys for always supporting the sponsored content I share here, along with everything else! xoxo!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Charlie's 1st Birthday Party (and finally getting it right)

There are things you learn when you get a chance to do them a second (or third or fourth time). For me, sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error but once I figure it out, I'm set. That's how I felt with Charlie's first birthday. When Henry turned one we threw a HUGE party. Our house was bursting at the seams with people, I spent way too much on fancy cupcakes, and felt like I had used all of my energy actually planning the party, rather than enjoying my sweet boy turning one and all the love surrounding us. I told myself after that year we'd never do that again! But then his second birthday came and although I reminded myself to tone it down I went crazy with decorating and still found myself stressing out over details that let's be honest, don't matter whatsoever in the scheme of things. For Henry's third birthday I finally wised up. We had his party at a local gymnastics gym, I made homemade cupcakes, and the favors were small bags stuffed with little snacks and a small car Henry picked out himself. Easy. And so, so enjoyable.

So as Charlie's birthday got closer I promised myself I would keep it small and simple. This time we were only inviting the people that were actively in his life, not all of our friends just because they're our friends and we're having a party. Our guest list was small, and I was excited about that- it felt nice knowing there would just be family and a handful of friends helping to celebrate our Charlie. When I started to plan the decorations I felt very strongly that I didn't need to spend any money to have a great party and as it turns out, I didn't, outside of a few dollars for a big "1" balloon. This was helped by working with Tiny Prints on the invitations, but homemade invites would have been a great option too. Other than that I borrowed a garland from my sister (I'll share sources below the photos), used pictures I already had to make the photo "1", and ripped Charlie's birthday month page from our calendar to serve as the table backdrop. I typed up the "Time Capsule" sheet on our computer and printed it at home (leave your email below and I'm happy to send you the PDF), and used washi tape to hang it along with a large photo on the wall. As far as favors I wanted to avoid giving things that would end up being thrown out, so I bought some $3.50 plants at Trader Joe's and wrapped them in paper and my friend Jana made the "1" balloons that matched the invites. The kids (and adults!) LOVED them, and it was fun giving a favor that would last.

The day was SO great. I felt 100% stress free and really felt like I could enjoy the entire party, both the simple prep and spending time with people, and my focus was on what mattered- the birthday boy! I definitely appreciate a beautiful, elaborate party, and admire parents who can orchestrate them, but moving forward this little family is going to continue to keep it simple. I of course forgot to take photos for most of the party, but I do have a few to share. Thank you for all of the birthday wishes on the previous posts too, we appreciate it so much!

Happy 1st birthday, sweet Charlie!


Sources:

Stendig Calendar page- calendar via Crate and Barrel
Succulents- Trader Joe's
"1" balloons for succulents- from my friend Jana's Etsy shop
Time capsule- leave your email in the comments and I'm happy to send you a PDF
Birthday invitations- c/o Tiny Prints
"1" cake topper- I made this from heavy glitter card stock and glued a toothpick to the back
Tassel garland- borrowed from my sister, she bought it from Studio Mucci
"C" crown used as a birthday crown- Little Blue Olive
Large "1" balloon via Amazon
My dress via Anthropologie

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Charlie!

Charlie babe, you are truly the sunshine in our days. This past year has been both the sweetest and the fastest year of my life, and I can't even imagine what goodness this next one will bring.

Happy, happy birthday to you, Charlie!

And now, some cake smash photos! We had so much fun with this...but I think Charlie had the most fun! Between the smashing and the eating and the throwing, he was in heaven.
 

Cake Smash Photos: Lauren Ristow
Quilt: LWPH sews

Friday, August 15, 2014

Charlie's First Year Video

What a year it's been! I'll be back tomorrow on his actual birthday with some special photos, but I wanted to share this video I made of Charlie's first year that I'll be showing our family and friends at his birthday party tomorrow. Be sure to click the "HD" version when watching too. And on a related note, it's pretty fun to watch the video I made for Henry's first birthday and see their similarities.

Thank you all so much for being such a fun part of the past 12 months. Happy almost-birthday, Charlie babe!

 
 
 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The A Beautiful Mess Book Club- Come Join Us!


I'll be the guest moderator over at the A Beautiful Mess Book Club for the month of September. I chose the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and will be leading the discussion at the end. I'm so excited!

I've had the book on my shelf forever- my dear friend Emily gave it to me over ten years ago and I've been meaning to read it for that long. How crazy is that? Recently though, three of my friends have read it, and once Diana said she loved it I finally had to bite. I feel like it's a great pick for next month and I'm sure I'll be saying "what took me so long?!" at the end.

I hope you'll join us! See the intro post over on A Beautiful Mess today.

xoxo