Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

This was a crazy year for our family. In fact the last several years have been pretty action packed. Let's review:

2007: Chris and I graduated college, got engaged, and he started law school while I planned our wedding
2008: I started my first professional job, we got married
2009: Chris broke his hip
2010: Chris graduated law school and I started my current job at the Chamber
2011: Chris started his own law practice, we bought our house and I got pregnant and had Margot
2012: Margot's first year aka the year of no sleep, Chris started his job at the firm

whew! I'm exhasted just writing that list.

So here is our New Year's wish: for nothing big to happen.

Seriously, we just want one year of working, playing, raising Margot, cooking food, going on walks and paying off student loans. No new jobs, no new babies, no moving, no dramatic life changing events. That is our goal.

scenes from a very happy christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas. Margot lived up to all our expectations and was in awe of Christmas and all it's beauty. On Christmas Eve we celebrated with my Mom and Step Father. After a gorgeous Christmas dinner we opened presents. Margot had been wearing a beautiful Christmas dress. But by the time presents came it was so hot in the house with all of the people and commotion that we ended up taking her clothes off.
 Margot loves her chatter phone.
 She was also in awe of her new Fancy Nancy book
 Chris and I got this beautiful Pendleton wool blanket.

And we are love with this cook book.

Back at home on Christmas morning Santa came and left Margot a rocking Moose!
And a stocking filled with treats!
We hosted Christmas brunch
 And were able to finish most of our cooking before Margot woke up to see what Santa left
While she's still getting the hang of opening presents she had no problems with the stocking!

 Margot LOVES her Noah's Ark
 We had a full and crowded house but it was well worth it
 After brunch we packed up and headed to the cabin where we were greeted by a white wonderland
 Margot needed lots of snuggle time after all that excitement
we even had a funny little tree

And my Christmas ended with a sleeping baby, new decorating books and spiked egg nog:)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

Today is my last day of work before 9 days off! I am so excited. Work this year has been completely insane and I haven't had more than three consecutive days off since I came back from maternity leave. Our Christmas plans are simple and delightful. Christmas Eve we will celebrate with my Mom and Step Father with Christmas dinner, presents and lots of fun. My brother and sister are going to come back with us and spend the night. We will go to the 11pm candlelight service. Then Christmas morning my Dad and Step Mother and Grandparents are all coming over for brunch and to open presents. Everyone is eagerly anticipating Margot's reaction to what Santa brings her.

I am going to spend my vacation with Chris, Margot, friends and family. I'm going to cook, eat, organize, shop and play in the Tepee. I probably will stay far away for the computer.

Here's wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas from the Potters!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Margot has been making some very funny facial expressions

Some scenes from our holiday cocktail party:
The bar
 Making manhattan's
Shaking Martini's 
Margot all dressed up for a holiday ladies tea
and not so keen on stopping to take a photo never mind how adorable she is in her Christmas dress

  Busy crawling around exploring the Christmas tree
In this adorable Christmas dress all ready for Church on Sunday

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Best winter dinner

Chris and I ate the best dinner tonight, perfect for the cold stormy rainy night we are having. I made coconut shrimp soup from The everyday food, fresh food fast cook book.

It is especially good with my perfect gin tonic I made.

Laura's Gin Tonic
1.5 ounces good gin
.5 ounces of dry vermouth
Splash lime juice
Stir, add some ice and top off with splash of tonic

Here is to an especially yummy Monday evening at home!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yay for Sleep

I am having a good day today. The reason? I got a decent night of sleep last night. Despite the fact that our baby is 13 months old this is not as common as you might think.

I know I have alluded to lack of sleep on this blog but I haven't really talked directly about it. Margot has never been a good sleeper. I take that back, she sleeps great if she is cuddled up with Chris or I but otherwise...not so much.

Part of the problem is Chris and I. We don't like to let her cry and we love to cuddle with her. We did a little sleep training with her at 3-4 months to get her to go down in her own bed so we could have some time together in the evenings but we generally just bring her into our bed when she wakes up. This has always worked pretty well for us and seemed like a good compromise. It also made my life a lot easier when she was still nursing at night. And we love waking up with her in the bed, having morning snuggles and starting our day together. But as I often hear from co-sleeping families, "it worked until it didn't". The past few weeks we hit a rough patch. First Margot weened and since she'd always nursed to sleep bedtime became a nightmare. It was taking us 45 minutes to an hour to get her to sleep and then she was waking up at 9pm wanting to get in our bed. We did that a few times and realized that a baby in your bed from 9pm-5am way different story than a baby in your bed from 3-4am until 5am. She also starting flailing and squirming like crazy in her sleep, so much so that Chris retreated to the couch. It just wasn't working plain and simple.

After a lot of agonizing about what to do we decided to use the Ferber method, which is what we had done to get her to sleep in her own bed. We were prepared for a few very hard days with lots of tears and crying. We also decided that we'd better just teach her to not only fall asleep in her own bed but *gulp* sleep all night in her bed. So I was prepared for some tears. Well we are two nights in an there has been hardly any crying! I'm in shock. The first night Margot cried for 3 minutes, I went in laid her back down, covered her with her blanket and patted her back and a few minutes later she was out. She woke up at 10:30 and cried for 8 minutes (so I went in once to pat her back). She woke up at 4am and similar cried for another 6-8 minutes and woke up for the day at 6:20 happy as a clam. Last night she cried for a total of 20 seconds when I put her down and didn't wake up 3am, cried for 2 minutes and was out until I woke her up at 5:45 because we had to leave. I really hope this is a sign of good things to come.

Sleep and babies is always hard. As far as I can tell it's hard for everyone. And I think it's important that each family handle it in a way that works for them whatever that may be. I know I will be sad to not have Margot sleeping with me sometimes but I also think she may just be ready for her own space. I like to think that's why this is going as well as it is, that she is ready.

And hopefully I didn't just jinx the whole thing:)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Some days

I dropped Margot off at my Mom's around 7am this morning and I won't be able to go pick her up until 7pm this evening which basically means I won't see her today. I love my job and most days I do have time with my baby but the days I don't just really suck. I did however have a really productive work day. So it goes...I am starting to think that work life balance is a myth created to make women feel bad about themselves.

Also depressing about today my dinner sucks. It's really cold and rainy out and what I really want is a hot bowl of soup. Instead I am eating some mediocre cold Thai noodle salad from the deli, a yogurt and some bottled ice tea. Blah

On a good note I could not love my iPad more. I am even reading my book club book in iBooks and loving it. I spend so much time waiting for meetings or sitting through hours of testimony at council meetings and its so nice to have al this stuff at my fingertips. Like right now I am blogging while I wait for my turn to give testimony at tonight's meeting.

And on another happy note our office just finalized the vacation schedules for Christmas and I am taking the entire week of Christmas off. That is 9 straight days with my Margot.

Hope everyone else is home eating something yummy and hot!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Family Room is Coming Together

We are starting to make some progress on our house. After 1.5 years I think it is begining to reflect our family. We find that we love it more as we continue to decorate, and work on home improvements. Our house is small, old and a bit quirky but it is perfect for us and the season of our lives we are in. We were lucky to start with a very well maintained and move in ready house. But it did start very bare. This room in particular had almost no furniture when we moved in. Here it is the day we moved in. This photo only shows one side of the room. However the rest of the room was empty. A few months later we added the couch (on clearance at West Elm), end table (Ikea), lamp (we had, from Pottery Barn), a book shelf with the stereo and speakers which you can kind of see here. But in the last couple of months this room has really come together. Here it is today:

One of the biggest improvements to this room is the framed "art" on the mantel. As you can see in the first picture there are horribly ugly vents directly above the fire place. This is a framed piece of silk fabric pulled from my grandmother's scrap fabric bin. The frame came from Ikea. The reds, oranges and purples in the fabric go wonderfully with our totally awesome southwestern chair that we inherited this year from my in laws. I love this chair. It is so comfortable and brings a lot of color and warmth into the room. Then we moved one of our yellow chairs from the living room to create more seating. And we bought a cheep basic coffee table.

We replaced our solid wood back door with this one that has a window. This adds so much more light to the space.
We're not sure about painting yet but we needed something to combat the plethora of white in this room so we put up a little mini gallery to offset the TV. These are prints we had, a wedding photo and a St. Vincent de Paul's find.
We got the TV off the floor with this basic TV stand that we also inherited from my in-laws (originally from Ikea). Margot's Tepee adds a quirky, charming quality and gives her a little space all her own.

And lastly we added this massive Ikea book shelf which I love. It takes up almost the entire back wall bringing a lot of color and texture as well as storage. And we filled the bottom row of cubbies with Margot's toys and books so she can easily access them.

There are still some things we'd like to do in this room. I'd love to replace the existing light fixtures with track lighting and possibly paint. We need to replace the molding around the back door. I think a rug would be nice in this room at some point. The coffee table and end table will be updated once we can decide and afford what we'd like. And the couch pillows need replaced with fabrics that tie the room together. The current ones were just ones we had. But overall I love this space. I think it's warm and inviting. One of my goals for our house but especially this room was for it to look like a kid lives here without looking like it had been taken over by baby gear. I think we've done that and I enjoy the personality that Margot and her toys bring to our home.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

systems of organization

image found here
I am really struggling* right now with organizational systems. On the one hand, I feel like now that Margot is one, sleeping pretty much all night and generally a lot easier, I have more energy to tackle projects and stay on top of things. And to an extent that is true. For the most part things are running smoother than they were 6 months ago. However, on the other hand, now that I'm out of that new baby fog I can really see all the things that need to be improved. There are a lot of pieces I'm juggling and every single one seems to get more and more complex. I think the right organizational systems and time management concepts could really help but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around what those are. I need both a system for each of the following pieces and an overarching time management/system for balancing the whole:

Work: multiple projects and several campaigns plus ongoing operations, department budget, and research
Home: keeping it picked up and organized, menu/groceries/cooking, laundry, household errands
Budget: making and keeping the budget, bills, managing investments

Maybe it's just wishful thinking...but...I can't help but believe there is a way to manage my time so that I'm not always running around like a chicken with their head cut off. And in my head I keep coming back to this idea of organizational systems. For example if my office looked like the above photo...or...was simply better organized, if I always kept the files on each campaign sorted and immediately categorized position papers and reports into the correct electronic files maybe I wouldn't spend 15 minutes looking for that report. The challenge is finding the time to tackle the giant mess my electronic files have become.

The home piece may be less about organization and more about time management. If I unloaded the dishwasher every morning while my tea is boiling then I could do the dishes that much faster after dinner.

The budget one is really stumping me right now. Our budget has gotten so much more complicated. And I seem to spend so much more time keeping track of it all. I know I need to balance the check book on a weekly/daily basis rather than once or twice a month but what else? is there a better way to track spending throughout the month?

So what are your thoughts? How do you create organization systems for these pieces of your life? Do you have an amazing budget tool to share? Do you feel like you have it somewhat together or are you too running around like a chicken?

*Okay I totally want to acknowledge how much of a first world problem this is aka not actually a problem but rather a manifestation of my obsessive type A nature. Problems are not having enough food, not being able to pay bills and having a sick kid and so on. But on my personal never ending quest to improve myself and my life this is my current "struggle" and it's a good subject for conversation since the work/life balance is something so many women are striving for.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Margot's Christmas wish list

First I just have to update you all that we finally did catch the mouse with a live trap. We had to try a few traps. The one that worked was called, The Cat. Anyway mouse was safely transported to the wetlands. My ridiculousness on this matter knows no bounds. I was actually worried about how scared the mouse must have felt to be trapped all night in that thing. Seriously, I may need to back away from the children's books...

Here is Margot's Christmas wish list...Enjoy all the cuteness:

Who wants a rocking horse when you can have a rocking moose:
There is a distinct possibility that I had this exact toy. You have to love a classic:
It's never to early to start practicing our chef skills and I think Margot would find this vintage toy mixer truly inspiring:
Margot loves her clothes and likes to stay up on the latest in baby fashions. These are not only styling but would be super warm and cozy for winter:

And lastly how perfect would this gorgeous blanket be for Miss Margot's Tepee:

image found here, here, here, here, and here

Monday, November 26, 2012


Well Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is upon us. As I've mentioned before on here, I'm all about Christmas this year. Yesterday Margot and I hauled out all of our Christmas decorations and started decorating the house. Margot had tons of fun! She knew something exciting was happening and she caught on. She went from frantically waiving her arms and clapping in excitement to grabbing decorations and crawling around with them. This was good because my poor baby is cutting molars like no body's business and needs all the fun she can get.

We have a mouse in our house. I am very distraught. On the one hand I find it completely disgusting, unclean and disturbing that it is on the house and I want it gone. On the other hand I find him incredibly cute and I feel really bad for the little guy. We've seen it a couple of times and its really little and sweet looking. This might be due to the fact that I read an average of 10 children's books a day and I've been influenced by too many sweet little mouse characters. Regardless I have very complicated feelings toward our little house guest. We bought a live trap hoping to catch him and take him out to the wetlands past our house. However this trap does not seem to be catching him.

This weekend I bought an IPad Mini. It's a combination Christmas present from my in laws and saved up spending money. Margot thinks it's her new toy. She'd been playing with my Mother in Law's IPad all weekend. When she saw the mini she immediately crawled over and grabbed it. Once she had it in her hands she looked at me and babbled in her baby way. I swear she was saying, "finally Mommy one that's my size! thank you for my new present." She then persisted to play with my IPad. She is so obsessed with it that I can't use it in front of her without her taking it or throwing a complete fit. What's really amazing is how much she can do with it. We put some Sesame street books and baby memory games on there and she was getting the hang of them way too fast.

Margot had a very exciting weekend. Besides her fun with the IPad she got to go shopping (which she loves). She threw all of her thanksgiving dinner on the floor and she learned to climb stairs. She also got to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and play with puppies. She also managed to stay up until 9pm each night. How she will return to normal life I just don't know.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Potter's. We are having a wonderful holiday here in Portland with family. Every year my Dad always asks us kids to list ten things we are thankful for. This year Chris and are finding ourselves somewhat overwhelmed with just how much we have to be thankful for. So in honor of my Dad here are just some of them:

1. Our funny happy baby girl. We are so excited to spend the holiday season with Margot. Her and I had so much fun watching the parade together this morning. I am so happy to start creating special holiday memories as a family.

2. Loving families who are also lots of fun. 4 days of potter family fun is just what we needed. We are going to have a great long weekend!

3. Our awesome friends who all came to celebrate Miss Margot's birthday

4. Having what we need. Seeing so much need in our community is a constant reminder of how blessed we are. We are so thankful for our jobs and our cozy little house.

5. Our wonderful church. We are so blessed by the loving community and kind friends there. We are happy to raise Margot in such a place.

I hope everyone finds their Thanksgiving full of joy, thanks and lots of family fun! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Margot you are a year old!

Dear Margot,

You are a year old. We just finished celebrating your birthday and what a fun weekend we had. You loved your birthday. You were so happy to play with your friends, wear your special birthday dress and eat a cup cake. I think you are also enjoying so many new toys!

At one year you are really a happy baby. You are still a little shy and often you prefer Mommy and Daddy. But you are becoming more adventurous. You are crawling really fast and with purpose! You are cruising on furniture and standing for brief intervals. You have very good fine motor skills and can stack, look at books, put a spoon of food in your mouth , hold your own sippy cup and point to you nose, eyes and mouth. You also clap and waive.

You smile, laugh, chatter and squeal all of the time! You love to sing a long and have conversations. You love love love your books. You sit and read them by yourself for long intervals. You also like other people to read to you.

You are a great eater. You eat almost everything. You have even learned to tolerate avocados. You started having cows milk this week and after only one week you are drinking several ounces from your sippy cup with each meal. Your favorite foods are pot roast, chicken, broccoli, squash, pears, carrots and beans. You are still nursing but only early in the morning and before bed.
Your favorite toys right now are puzzles, books, your new picnic basket with food, Francie, Minnie mouse, stacking bowls, alphabet blocks and play little people house. You also love to play with kitchen utensils, the kitchen towel drawer, bath toys and organizing things.

You love walks, singing, other babies, Sesame street anything and going to restaurants.

You still aren't the best sleeper. Every night you go down around 7, usually okay. But somewhere between 1 am and 5 am you wake up crying for Ma Ma. I go into your room and you are standing at your crib crying Ma Ma Ma Ma with your little pudgy arms out. I can't help but pick you up and bring you into bed where you snuggle between Daddy and I and go back to sleep. I know we should make you stay in your own bed but the truth is I love our early morning snuggles.

Your Daddy and I have enjoyed this first year with you so much! We are excited for many fun memories in the months to come. Even though you are growing so big you will always be our special little baby.

Love Always,
Mommy and Daddy

12 month stats: you go to the doctor next week but I'm guessing you are about 28 inches long and 20-21lbs. You are in size 12 month and 18 month clothes and we just moved you into size 4 diapers.

Birthday Festivities

We had a great weekend with Margot. Her party was so much fun and she seemed to have a blast. Sadly I didn't really get pictures of the decorations that I worked so hard on. I'm hoping Morgan got some. However here is a peek at Margot's first birthday weekend.
 We went out to dinner Friday night. Margot had lots of fun playing with her new dinosaur puzzle.
All dressed up and having so much fun playing with toys.
 Margot sharing with Rose, the fellow birthday girl.
 Birth to three babies!
 Not really a fan of the birthday hat.
 Margot and Rose enjoy some birthday cupcakes
 The best family shot we got
 A very special Raggedy Anne doll made just for Margot by her Grammy
 "oh I just love my friend Matheson so much"
 Margot and Raggedy Anne have a picnic
"Never mind all of my new toys...I am going to pull every single clean towel out of the drawer and put them on the dirty kitchen floor! So much fun!"