Thursday, August 28, 2014

Until Now...

I didn't necessarily plan to take an almost 4 month break from my blog, my funny little piece of the web that I have dutifully kept going for 6 years now. However, once I finally did walk out of that office, and once the UHAUL was finally unloaded, and once my husband kissed us goodbye on my first official day as a housewife, I realized that what I needed was a break. After 6 years of supporting my family and almost 10 years in politics and 2 very hard years as a working Mom I was "plum worn out" as my grandmother said when I arrived at the ranch a few weeks later for my first little vacation.

So that's what this summer has been. One long beautiful, blissful break! I have avoided the computer at great length. I have gone to the park almost everyday. I have cooked and ate and done dishes. I have cleaned, unpacked and organized. And I have had so many snuggles with my moon pie. Not that it's always a picnic in the park home all day with a two hear old in a 100 yr old house that seems to think it should welcome every bug in the neighborhood on in while baking to 85 degrees by 5pm.

Bugs aside though it's been a glorious summer. And slowly day after day the years of pent up stress, worry, anxiety and to do lists have started to fall away. I learned that while it might seem like the work stress goes away as soon as you turn in your office key that it actually takes lots of time to physically recover from acute stress. Everyday I feel better. Everyday I have just a little bit more energy, a little more capacity to learn a new thing, remember my hobbies, be creative and get down on the floor for hours on end to play with my two year old.

And now finally, 4 months later, I suddenly wanted to blog. Not because I have tons of followers, or want to grow a business or have anything brilliant to say. But because I want to record this time and share it with those I love and friends I've made along the way.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last Day

Today is my last day at work. I'm just about to start packing up my office. My emails have been sent, issue emails are drafted for all our staff, my goodbye lunch is quickly approaching and my darling Margot has dutifully completed her sticker chart of the days until Mommy stays home with her.
We are still crazy busy with the move but I wanted to pop in with some last pictures of my office for my memory keeping. I can't believe how many hours I have logged in this place and that as of tomorrow I will no longer wake up and rush to get out the door to come sit at this desk. 

Meanwhile my new "boss" has been busy telling me all the things we are going to do. "first Mama we have to pack and move, then we can play and play. I'm going to be the mama and you can cook with me and we'll make spaghetti"

And lastly look at this darling Easter dress. Somewhere in my camera is a nice family photo but meanwhile look at how grown up she is. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

moving on out (and a sneak peak at the Corvallis house)

hello blog friends, 
Long radio silence I know. The thing is I just couldn't bear to write one more, "still waiting for our house to sell" post. And silence seemed like the most manageable solution. But that is no longer the case since we are PENDING. We have very quickly gone from the what seemed to be never ending limbo to OMG we have so much to do in the next two weeks how are we ever going to get out of here. So now we are packing, sorting, taking things to Goodwill, pawning off furniture, doing those last minute doctor, dentist, car tune up, eye appointments before we move to a new town and have to find all knew dentist/doctor/auto shop etc. All while I wrap up work and say goodbye to my 8 year career in public policy.

We are also looking ahead and couldn't be more excited about getting to Corvallis. We have the most darling house waiting up there for us. Chris is so looking forward to a 10 minute commute to work. And me...I am in awe that I actually get to quite my job in less than 10 days! I think that first Monday morning when I don't have to be out of the house with a toddler by 7:30 am and Margot and I are chillin' in our jammies at 9:30 eating French toast it's finally going to really hit me. And I predict I will be feeling VERY HAPPY!!!

I think the next 10 days will be a whirl-wind and so the blogging will undoubtedly be spotty until we are moved in but I do want to share a couple of pictures of our new house. It's a 1926 Spanish revival bungalow just a few blocks from the downtown. And it's completely charming!

Darling right?! It is tiny, 1150 square feet and it's a completely different style than our last house. But I am looking forward to the decorating project and I'm so thrilled to be walking distance to the whole downtown, farmers market, library etc. 

So that's what's up over here. I'll make to pop in once we're moved. Till then its back to the to-do list!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

ya ya ya....

it's been a long time...yet again.

It almost felt like spring had finally sprung but then the rain came back....le sigh.

But rain or no rain the forsythia are out in full force which is at least a promise of spring.

Some warm sunny days brought a flurry of activity on the house front but still no offers.

While we wait I am trying to stay thoroughly distracted from thinking too much about it. Silly books, long walks and lots of hot baths and tea are good. But perhaps best of all are fun activities with Margot. This past weekend we took her to Portland and had a fun trip at the zoo with Chris' parents. Tuesday Margot and I went wedding dress shopping with a dear friend who's wedding we are going to be in and Margot oohed and awed over her flower girl dress. And last night we gave Margot her first hair cut.

It was definitely one of those "sob sob...where has my little baby gone" moments. 

I finally succumbed to all the hype and we got our first package of honest company diapers yesterday. We are already kind of obsessed. They are so cute! 

I loathe the change to Facebook's news feed format. Anyone else??? It's harder to read and much harder to quickly scroll through for the names I care about.

Easter is coming and I can't wait to go Easter basket shopping. I find Easter basket's ridiculously fun! I already have a few ideas. Easter dresses for Margot and I have been procured. Margot's is a darling thrift-ed baby gap dress. Pink with an ivory peter pan color and an ivory eyelet lace petticoat. Classic. Mine is an ivory cap sleeve shift dress with irregular black polka dots on major clearance at the j crew factory.

And lastly, "conscious un-cuppling"...there are no words.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The photo conundrum??? Help Please!

 Okay internet friends I need advice... I am trying to wrap my head around how to organize, store, print and catalog photos. I have something like 1000 photos from the past year on my computer and camera and I'm totally at a loss for how to deal with them.

How do you deal with photos? I think I'd like to have them sorted, weed through them and edit them all then maybe store them filed by year and month on disc and backed up on the web? maybe through picasa web albums?

I am also thinking of making a photo book for 2012 and 2013 in lieu of the traditional photo album with prints.

Margot January 2013, 14 months
Margot February 2013, 15 months

Margot and Chris, April 2013, 17 months

Then of course there is the question of the 1000+ photos on my i phone which are of course all still on my i phone. I am thinking about making magnets out of my instagram feed. Has anyone done this?

And how would you back up those?  

Thoughts? Advice? 
Margot and I Glacier National Park, July 2013, 20 months

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Margot says...

"I'm not a baby. I'm a little girl. My name is Margot. My nick name is Margot pants and I'm a moon pie!"

"Mama we need to pick up my kitchen because Miri dumped out my jar and it's a mess. Oh Mama you picked it up, thank you Mama, now Miri can come mess it up again!"

"I am not eating dinner. Just olives."

"Mama I like your pretty shirt with ruffles when I grow big and have boobies can I wear it?"

"I'm the Mama. I am going to work. Here is my baby you can take care of her for me while I go to work"

"Daddy is my best friend because he plays with me the best"

In response to us telling her it's time to get ready for bed and read a story, "Don't you mean two stories!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From working mom to stay at home mom?

Last month marked my two year anniversary as a working Mom. After a standard three month maternity leave, most of which I spent in an exhausted confused haze, I returned to my full time+ job. At the time this decision was mostly financial but I was also fairly positive about it. Perhaps if money had not been an issue I wouldn't have come back only because it was so hard. Hard to leave my baby but more-so hard to figure out the pumping, and transporting and early meetings and late nights, juggling and sleep deprivation. The whole working Mom package was intimidating. But after a few months it was easier and I found that by May I was really happy. Sure I missed Margot and I always wished for a little more time with her, but I was loving my job, loving getting dressed up and out of the house and sitting down with coffee to work at a desk without spit up or screaming or nursing to interrupt me. We had an ideal situation, Margot spent every day with my Mom which, for me, removed all guilt. I knew my Mom took care of her just as well, if not better, than I would. And personally there were things in my career I really wanted to accomplish. So when our financial situation changed a couple of months later and staying at home was suddenly a financial option I chose to keep working. I was in the middle of a huge campaign and I loved all the people and issues I was working on.

But as Margot got older the hours away got harder. When she started talking about our situation I suddenly started to feel very different. Little phrases like, "I'm the Mama, I go to work, Nammy takes care of my baby" just broke my heart. Dragging her out of bed at the crack of dawn and putting her in a cold car when all she wanted to do was snuggle because I had an early meeting was horrid. And the daily greeting of "oh Mama, I missed you" and "don't leave me Mama, please stay with me" soon were becoming more than I could take. Work started to loose its appeal and I really started to question my decision. At this point we had already bought a more expensive house, we are still paying off law school loans and preschool was a looming expense. And suddenly I felt very very stuck. 

So when out of the blue came the opportunity to move to a new town, for Chris to take a more stable and secure job that he wanted, for me consider leaving my job...well the decision seemed blatantly obvious. Politics and I had a good run. I did the working Mom thing. Now it was time for a change. 

At some point in the not so distant future our house will sell and I will pack up my office and say goodbye to all my great friends and colleagues. I will leave my 9 years of political/policy work behind and will focus my time an energy solely on Chris and Margot, our house and our new community. I honestly don't really know what to expect. I have some ideas that I'm sure are naive and unrealistic about how it will be. I really hope I have more time to things I love like cooking, decorating and art. I hope that this removes a lot of the stress from our household. But regardless of the day to day I know that right now this is the best decision for our family. I'm sure I will work in some capacity in the future whether it's in politics or something else. But I am looking forward to some time and space to figure out what I would like that to be. Mostly though I am really grateful that we have this opportunity. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I can't remember when I last blogged. Sadly, I am neglecting my little record of life. Lately we are in a weird limbo of sorts. Waiting for our house to sell, waiting to move, waiting to quit my job and waiting to get to know our new community. Limbo is not my friend. I'm tired of it. Meanwhile we go to work, and cook and buy groceries and try to keep the house spotless for showing and play with a somewhat confused Margot.

In early February we had another massive snow and ice storm. This one brought about a foot of snow to our house and left a 1/2 layer of ice on everything. The result was hundreds of down trees, broken power lines, split poles and transformers throughout south and south east Eugene. Our power went out forcing us down the hill to seek refuge in my parents houses with plenty of heat, hot water and warm food. 

Margot however was a big fan because she got to build "the most giant snowman ever!"

Valentines day was a blast this year. Margot was totally into it. She made cookies with lots of sprinkles, made valentines for Mommy, daddy and "nammy". And she got presents! Coloring books, stickers and from nammy and grampy, The Jungle Book! On Valentines day Chris and I skipped the fancy dinner to watch the Jungle book and make spaghetti with Margot.

After Valentines Day Margot was so excited to go to her friend Lydia's birthday party. She even got wear her new pink cowboy boots for the occasion. She loves to wear them and then pretend to be a cow girl and ride her rocking moose.

The past two weeks we were all down with the worst stomach flu. But we were all healed by last weekend and were able to have some fun outside, go shopping for Nammy's birthday present and play lots of candy land.

So we'll keep waiting and working our way through limbo. Meanwhile there will be lots of fun with Margot who is talking all the time and loves to do things with Mommy and Daddy. Cooking, playing, dancing and talking about our day are all popular. And we will try to be patient, stay present but still look ahead to good things down the road. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Brain Dump

  • I am SO GLAD it's almost the weekend
  • Not only do I desperately need some Margot snuggles but my cousin and very best friend Lauren had her baby this week and we are booking it up i-5 to meet this new little guy
  • Margot is over the moon about it. She has been asking for her "baby cousin in auntie Lauren's tummy" for months now
  • Somehow though we have three social engagements between now and then, a work party I have to make an appearance at tonight, dinner with church friends afterwards, which I am so looking forward to, and a huge family party Saturday which we'll hit on the way to Seattle
  • We are all about Madeline books in our house right now
  • I made they best shepherds pie this past week and I'm still thinking about it. Clearly it needs a repeat and a blog post.
  • Happy Friday! May your weekend be fruitful and restful! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The more we get together

Margot loves Raffi. She loves to sing, to dance, to sing with us and to make up songs. In our car rides we have to take turns. When it's her turn we listen to Raffi and sing together. When it's my turn we listen to anything else. 
Margot is 26 months old. She is so different these past few months since she really started to talk in full sentences. It really feels like having a kid and not a baby. She talks all the time. She narrates what we are doing, asks questions and makes her plethora of demands known. She loves to talk about her day, her clothes, her baby cousin and her friends. 

Speaking of clothes she loves to pick them out! We're all about polka dots, tutu skirts, pink and ruffles.

 When she really likes her outfit she wants to go look in the mirror and then she wants make-up to complete it. We compromise with some natural chap stick and call it good. She loves to wear my necklaces, glasses, hats and shoes around the house. Pretending is a big favorite. She often pretends to go to work with her hello kitty purse and her pretend cell phone. She will bring me her baby and then say "bye mom, I have to go to work now". Not sure if it's hilarious or sad.

Besides pretending Margot loves to cook, read, play with dolls and her stuffed sesame street friends. She loves to help us cook in our kitchen (as opposed to her kitchen) and she loves loves loves playing outside and going to the park. She is still a really good eater and I think her interest in helping to cook the food increases her interest in eating the food. She particularly loves sea food, fruit, milk, fancy cheese, peas and pizza.

She is a total ham! She loves to be silly and make us laugh. She knows when she is being funny and really does try to use humor to make others laugh. She makes up silly songs and dances around the house singing them with a funny hat on her head. She puts the cup from the bathtub on her foot, starts laughing, says "I have a cup on my foot" and when we ask why she says, "because I don't have any sockies" then we all laugh hysterically!

While at home Margot is loud, chattery and silly, she is still very shy in public a little nervous of others and new situations. She is still the most cuddly child I've ever seen and will often stop what she's doing and come tell us "I need snuggles now" and curl up to snuggle. She also loves to snuggle before bed, when she wakes up and after her nap and anytime strangers are about. This is fine by us and we're happy to still have so many snuggles.

She's growing everyday and loosing all those dear traces of babyhood. But it is amazing to watch this fun and charming child emerge.

At two years she was in the 15th and 37th percentiles for height and weight.

Height 34 1/2
Weight 25.6

And I just packed away the last of the 18 month clothes last weekend, tear tear.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Some of the cool stuff we did...

So there has been some definite radio silence going on here. Sorry. We are in a weird limbo waiting period with the house on the market, no offers yet, a lot of commuting for Chris and a lot of craziness for me. But I have been wanting to share some of the cool stuff we've done to the house in the past few months. As to not inundate with photos let's look at the upstairs today and the downstairs another day. You can see the original photos here and one month later photos here.

So upstairs house tour as of January 2014, 5 months after our move in date:
Outside we had a few big projects. First we took out that awful wheel chair ramp and wooden privacy fence. We were able to have the original iron stair rails re-installed and then custom fencing made to match. This was necessary because the concrete wall along the driveway (below the new fence) created a drop that was over 30 inches which is required to have a fence by the code. These changes were one of the more expensive ones we did but they make drastic improvements to our curb appeal and the outdoor space. Since the courtyard is one of our favorite features in the house we really wanted to improve the flow in and out. 

The living room got lots of new soft white paint. Probably a little hard to pick up the difference in the photos but in person it made a huge difference. The old paint was in bad shape and the fresh lighter white paint brightened the whole space. This room also got some "new" to us vintage furnishings.
The dining room also got lots of new paint and a very cleaned up light fixture. The original fixture is amazing but it was dingy and dirty. Much nicer after a gentle bath!

 The Kitchen arguably got the most work. I'm really happy with how it turned out but there were a few more things I would have loved to do in here and just didn't get a chance. In here we had the original stove top and built in oven restored. The oven had to be completely re-wired and needed new heating elements. I also took apart and replaced parts in the leaky faucet and of course lots of new paint. Then our single biggest home improvement purchase the CORK FLOORING. Or my favorite flooring EVER. Love love love this floor. It's gorgeous and comfy and cleans up like a dream. Plus it's very historically accurate to the period of the house.

 I would have loved to source a vintage fridge, replaced the tile counter on the sink side with some old school Julia Child esque butcher block and a new sink, faucet and garbage disposal. Le sigh...
 The sun room also benefited from lots of new paint and beautiful cork floors. And both of these rooms also had custom baseboards made. They are walnut and while they aren't an exact replica of the original baseboards throughout they do flow much better with the flow and the rest of the house. A note about twinkle lights. I'm not usually a big fan of decorating with twinkle lights but this room doesn't have a lot of lights and in the winter when there is less sunlight it's hard to use. The twinkle lights create a lovely romantic light in hear and combined with the city lights view at night make it a charming place to eat dinner or sit and have a drink.

 The master bedroom got new paint and an actual bed frame. Remember when the bed was on the floor for months on end. Yeah that was really great for the overall design. Not that the 80's oak night stands and mismatched lamps are much better but sometimes you work with what you got.
Margot's bathroom was also greatly improved by fresh paint. It also got lots of new caulk which was a welcome addition.
Margot's room has pretty much been done for a while. I would have loved to make pin-tuck drapes for her bedroom but I just didn't get there.
 The library also got new paint and what a project that was. We did have a professional painter do this room as well but we had to move everything out of the room and there were random piles of books littering our house for a week.

Certainly we didn't get to everything on our list and it's far from perfect but I think the changes we've made enhanced what we started with. Now I just hope a buyer will recognize it and SOON:)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Letting the cat out of the bag

Viewing Photo 1 of 16
These photos of our house was taken yesterday. It's come a long way from those first street shots I shared back in May which you can see here.
Viewing Photo 2 of 16
We've been racing through renovations for the last two months the latest of which was putting the original stair case railings up and having this custom iron fencing made so we could take out all of the privacy fencing which was blocking the house from the street and ruining our curb appeal.

Our beloved house actually went on the market today. Two months ago Chris was offered an amazing job in another town. The offer came completely out of the blue and it was too good of an offer to turn down. So while we bought this house with the intention of living here forever that will not be the case. As soon as we are pending we will be packing up once again and moving to a new town, something we've never done before.

This was honestly one of the hardest decisions we have ever made. But once we started talking through it we realized that the only thing holding us back was this house and that in every other sense this opportunity created a better life for all of us. Truthfully I'm a little shocked by just how emotional I've been preparing to sell this house. I have a funny connection to our house. I told my husband "this house is my house soul mate. Stupid perhaps but true. But while part of me is broken heart ed over leaving the other part of me is full of anticipation for this new and very different life ahead.

When we move I will quit working and stay home with Margot. We are moving to a much smaller town which is completely darling and we will all have so much more time to just be a family. In a lot of ways it promises to be a much simpler life which has its benefits.

Over the coming days I'll share our before and after in each room of the house. We certainly didn't come close to completing all the projects we wanted to do but we managed to accomplish a lot. So stay tuned for some more house updates and next steps for us going forward.

* photos by Becky Miles

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 my favs

2013 was a great year so as we say good bye and look ahead here are my favorite pics 

First up our funny little hipster baby

Then of course there is the new house and cooking wonderful produce in my new kitchen. With good came the bad, plumbing leaks and lots of demo

Margot was a blast this year. Going on evening walks to play in the park, learning new words and interacting more everyday

And of course my little shopping buddy. Here after her birthday trip with Grandma to Hannah Anderson

Halloween was such a blast this year especially with Margot's constant exlcimations of happy halloween and trick or treat throughout the month of october
Speaking of Margot...She turned two! Still don't know how this happened
December was all about Christmas cookies

And of course we can't forget snowpoclypse 2013!!!
Margot was the cutest little lamb in the Christmas play--BAH!!! says she
After being such a good girl all year, santa and his elves made her a baby cradle never mind the elves mediocre quilting skills....
And we ended 2013 with a fun trip to Portland. Margot had to break out her hipster style one more time and we all had lots of fun playing doc, reading books and going to a puppet show. Here's to an awesome 2014!