This & That.

It’s Friiiidddaayyyy!!! I used to wonder why SAHM’s got so excited about the weekend because I was like, um, it’s the same as all your other days. BUT IT IS NOT. Because on the weekend, Other Parent is there to help and and join you in adoring the offspring. This week started with a couple really rough sleep nights for Henry, followed by inexplicably rough sleep nights for me, and my working from home just proved difficult(nonexistent?). But! It’s Friday! Tonight James and I are being classier than our usual go-to of wine and Homeland on the couch and are instead going out to dinner and the theater. Don’t we sound fancy? Don’t be too impressed. The Shakespeare Theater Company has a CRAZY good deal for season tickets if you are under 35, and thus we are officially patrons of the arts this year and will enjoy 6 plays for roughly the same price as 6 3d movies. Tomorrow I will then spend the day writing and researching at a coffee shop and hopefully making up for the piles of work I didn’t get done this week. Hopefully.

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An important part of getting things done is taking a picture of the spot in which you plan to get things done.

But though chunks of concentrated dissertating time proved elusive this week, minutes to waste on reading and watching all sorts of things were in good supply. Here’s a quick roundup for your weekend:

I shall require this cocktail as soon as possible.  And while you are over there salivating for it, you should roam around because Megan’s little boy is the cutest and Henry aspires to be as stylish as him.

This makes me so happy to be a Pirates fan, even if this season was not the finest.

The common denominators among mothers who thrive versus survive. This one hit hard, as I have been doing some surviving over thriving recently.

Some things that we have been loving in the kitchen lately: this zucchini and corn pie because I like to have quiches on hand for quick breakfasts,  this mac n’ cheese for a block party that we organized with some neighbors, and I made the first tortilla soup of soup season!

As I think that Up might be one of the greatest animated classics, I loved this.

I was hardcore into drama in high school, and so this was absolutely hysterical to me. In general, SNL is the best part of presidential election years… and especially this year. We laugh to keep from crying, eh?

In a world where so much divides, let us let the impossible goodness of Kate’s Canadian tour wardrobe bring us together.

Happy weekend!

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From the trenches: Getting Dressed.

harperandbayfall2016-50fall2016-56fall2016-62fall2016-71fall2016-74fall2016-75Once upon a time, I wrote about how getting dressed was the easiest part of my day, thanks to a deep closet purge and some months of healthy living that had me loving my wardrobe and being able to wear it to its full potential.

Oh those long gone days.

Because now, getting dressed is the absolute worst, which might explain why I try to do it as infrequently as possible, changing from pajamas into variations on the dayjama, otherwise known as the momiform of leggings and tees. I used to snottily wonder why so many moms out and about were consistently wearing athleisure instead of real clothes… but now I know.

When I behold my closet, it is like the world’s saddest Venn Diagram. Finding something that fits reduces the wardrobe by half, something that I actually like knocks out another chunk, is seasonally appropriate reduces the number still, and lastly – can I nurse in it? This leaves about 3 outfits in the middle of these treacherous overlapping circles, and if Henry hasn’t spit up on all three in succession by the time I leave the house- truly, I deserve a medal. So many days it is just easier to grab my favorite trusty leggings and then burn through t-shirts as he destroys one after another.

And then of course, there is Henry’s wardrobe. I utterly failed at building a baby wardrobe. Yes, he has many animal costumes, and yes, he has lots of adorable clothes that were given to us- especially for 0-3 months. But now he is 4.5 months.  I didn’t really think through entire outfits as I was filling in the gaps between what was given which means he routinely looks like he was dressed by a toddler who could only select things from a thrift bin.

But luckily, I can always fall back on just tossing a receiving blanket over him in the stroller and pop on a hat with ears and know that people will think he’s cute.

The same approach does not work for a grown woman.

Which is why I made James take all these pictures of me last Sunday when my hair was done, I had accessories, my shoes were stylish over practical, and I was rocking my absolute favorite dress of late. Only this last element happens on a regular basis.  Not only is it the softest lightweight sweatshirt material, basically like wearing a stylish, well-worn hoodie, but it is a universally flattering cut. And – that seam across the top? It is a tiny hidden zipper. MAGIC. Most nursing attire has to pull up/pull down/unbotton/ etc, and I just get tired of it. I had to restrain myself from buying everything from this company because hidden zippers for president.

Dear fellow women in the postpartum trenches: how do you face the closet every day? Other than this dress, the other things I swear by are this tank top under everything and these high-waisted jeans. Pricey yes, but you can shove all those extra ponds in, believe, and zip. Share with me your secrets about looking amazing in the trenches of parenthood. Bonus points if you have secrets for the most versatile baby clothes.

Oh, and lest the above photos give an overly rosy impression of life and have you thinking that this might become one of those shiny, well-polished blogs of maternal perfection- most of the shots looked like this:fall2016-60

Double chins- who wore it best? Him, definitely him. And yes, he did spit up all over me as soon as this shot was taken. Back inside and into my leggings and tee I went!

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Taste of DC

Last year James and I were on a long evening walk when we came upon a street festival in downtown DC. It was the Taste of Dc festival, and we stood against the chain-linked fence and wished that we could be among the merry masses munching on tiny samples of  some of DC’s restaurants. Next year, we swore, next year we will go.

A couple weeks ago I thought of that festival and looked it up and saw that it was this weekend. We decided that it would be a perfect dinner date with Henry along, as it is an outdoor festival with continual walking around, lots of noise, and enough happening to keep our extroverted baby happy during the witching hour.

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And so we set out! We had to change Henry’s clothes twice during the time that it took to unload the stroller and pay the parking meter, but alas we were off!

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Within 5 minutes, I was eating this mac n’ cheese in utter rapture about its perfection. The cheese sauce was made out of squash (!!!) and it was unreal.

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Henry was not impressed.

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James pretty much did a tour de BBQ.

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And I joined in because this is basically everything good about a BBQ joint all stacked on top of each other.

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Henry was still not impressed.

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And then I saw this sign:

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Henry felt pretty certain that his hand was tastier than any s’more could ever be.

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He also decided that his fancy pants (y)Uppababy stroller was no longer sufficient a chariot and that he would rather ride in the free, hand-me-down BabyBjorn.

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It had been rainy and cold all day, but as we wandered the food stalls and stuffed our faces with deliciousness, the sky suddenly turned like this for about 5 gloriously vibrant moments.

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Henry began to gently communicate that he was ready for that sweet, sweet bedtime that we have been convincing him to love.

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So we headed home, bellies full and hearts happy. DC, you sure tasted good!


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The 3 of us.

october2Because I don’t want to forget the little details of how things are right now.

James// Makes sure there is always good music on in our house, usually jazz or classic rock. Is uncannily good at guessing every plot twist to Homeland. Loves the new 7/11 that just opened near us because it means tasty slurpies. Is the best at getting Henry to smile.

Hannah// Loves our neighborhood all over again now that Henry gets to explore it too. Vacuums almost every day. Can fold up and put away the stroller with one hand. Has a renewed love of Emile Zola. Worries about finishing her dissertation and finding a job. Misses teaching, but loves this semester with more time home with Henry. Finally feels like life is about thriving now instead of surviving.

Henry// Recently started playing peek-a-boo. Likes to pat his own head while he nurses. Tries to imitate the wookie sounds that James is quite good at making. Hates having his clothes changed. Has no interest in crawling but really wants to walk. Always sleeps on his side. Likes to practice trilling his voice… very loudly… late at night. Has a ginger mullet that gets more prominent every day. Loves snuggling and wishes that his parents would let him sleep with blankets over his face because it makes things so cozy.


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Weekends now.

fall2016-7fall2016-10fall2016-12fall2016-13fall2016-15fall2016-16fall2016-17fall2016-18fall2016-19fall2016-22fall2016-24fall2016-30fall2016-31fall2016-27fall2016-29fall2016-28Last weekend ushered in October, and with it, a wind that felt a lot like fall. It was a really good weekend around our house, with the right blend of activity and rest. We stayed in Friday night, loving a relaxing evening to unwind from the week. Saturday evening we nobly ventured out with friends, content to hit one of our favorite restaurants on the Hill for an early dinner, as babies and bedtime eschewing does not fun times make. The day had been rainy and cold, but I actually called the restaurant on the way there to ask if they would mind seating us in the two tables outside, as I have found that sitting outside instantly ups our chances of enjoying a restaurant with babies in tow. I’m so thankful to have friends in the same spot that we are, friends who also ask for the check with the meal so that we can all leave quickly if babies are melting down. We grabbed breakfast before church at a favorite local bakery Sunday morning, and made sure to squeeze in some naps and a walk that afternoon. On Sunday night I headed out after Henry went to sleep to go to Target, alone. I chatted with one of my girlfriends on the phone and spent 20 minutes smelling candles before selecting one to make our home smell like fall. I ran my hands over pillows and selected a tiny pair of jeans for Henry that, admittedly, are total baby mom jeans. I reveled in my solo and tranquil Target run.

Our weekends are usually a similar blend of fun and rest, but they are also a moment each week where I really feel the tension of this stage of life that we are at.

Weekends are when James is the primary parent on duty, when I get as much work done as possible. He takes over with Henry after the first morning feeding, which means that I sometimes go back to bed, but usually head out for a run — one of the only long ones I can squeeze in each week. After I get back, shower, feed Henry again, and feed us, it is back out. I quickly realized that expecting big chunks of time to work on my dissertation on my days home with Henry often left me ending my days frustrated. I can get some work done during  naps, but not the hard brain work, the intense focus needed for writing proving hard to come by in stolen moments. I spend Saturday afternoons at a local coffee shop writing and researching, loving what I get to do, and wishing that I didn’t have to do it so that I could be home with my boys, enjoying a lazy weekend. I feel the stress rising up around me every week as I leave, so excited to go back home and realizing that finishing this dissertation on time is looking almost impossible. Before I had Henry, I met every milestone, even finishing chapter 2 hours before going to the hospital. But now my brain, my time, and my emotions are spread between my academic work and responsibilities, and my role at home.

Hear me clearly: both are a joy. Both are a gift. Both were chosen and no one forced me into them. This is not a pity party. I sometimes want it to be one, when I think how nice it would be to be the mom who could just read a magazine while her kids slept, instead of trying to read another 10 pages of Zola or tracking down an article.  But we are all juggling, every woman, in every role, at every stage of life. Sometimes I want to think that my hands are more full than others’, but it is only because I can see everything I am trying to hold, and I only see glimpses of what others carry. And I remind myself that I am so blessed by the privilege of going to grad school, by the flexibility I have right now, even if that flexibility carries the price of unfinished work.

This blog post started rambling, I know, but the weekends always remind me of all that is good and all that is challenging in life right now. I want to remember how they looked, a busy shuffling between home and work. How they tasted like breakfast sliders and coffee and fish tacos. How they smelled like rainy mornings and candles at Target. How they felt like chubby baby hands and thick books and a constant desire to embrace all the parts of life that are before me right now.



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Flower fairies and baby bumps.

I decided a couple months before Henry was born that I was done with photography. Looking back, I’m not even sure how my photography side work started, but one wedding became another and another and then there were babies and families and all sorts of shoots just sort of materialized, taking up lots of weekends and evenings. And I loved it. But I when I thought about juggling this extra commitment on top of teaching, finishing my PhD, and caring for my family, I realized that I either needed to commit more, invest in better gear and becoming an actual business, or stop. I chose to stop, and I don’t really have any regrets.

Still… my soul will always need an artistic outlet, and I can’t resist doing the fun sorts of photoshoots that just pop up. My friend Christine is about to have a baby girl, and the other day I was saying that I wished I had done some dreamy maternity photos in my bridesmaid’s dress, but I missed the moment and then Henry came early. It’s just so rare, I said, that anyone actually has a formal dress that they could wear pregnant. And then I cast my eyes on her belly and my eyes lit up. Before she could protest, I was convincing her to get flowers from Trader Joe’s and go wade into the Potomac in my gown. Really, after photographing all of her other major life events over the past couple years, could I really pass up on this moment? Nope. Especially not when there were floral crowns and tiny ruffles involved. Christine posted outfit details and some tips for styling a maternity session here.

So here they are- some images from the evening where I convinced one of my very first college friends to come play dress-up with me in the Potomac. Flower fairies and baby bumps and a last hurray to summer fun.




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5 for Friday.

Five ramblings of life right now, punctuated with random pictures from my phone, in lieu of a coherent blog post addressing things of actual significance:

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-45-42-pm1. This picture popped up in my Facebook memories recently. Y’ALL. THAT IS NOT ME. But someone tagged me in it because it basically looks like me when I had bangs, holding a baby. Somewhere out there I have a chambray loving, baby holding doppleganger.

2. Henry is going to be an elephant for Hilloween, which is the yuppie Capitol Hill version of Halloween, aka, Parents Pushing Nice Strollers And Socializing While Kids That Cannot Even Chew Receive Candy That Their Parents Will Eat. His bestie is going as a lion and it is going to be awesome. Obviously you will be treated to more photos than you knew you wanted. And speaking of yuppie parents, I am now on the MOTH (Mothers of The Hill) listserve, and I’m pretty sure that these ladies are secretly running this city like a strangely powerful lobbying group devoted to strong opinions about protruding tree roots in parks. I love it. I also love that I was able to score Henry’s elephant suit for mere dollars and a jogging stroller for FREE thanks to these ladies.

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Yes, fall and all, but my toesies are still loving the open air and these sunflowers still make my summer loving heart happy.

3. After asking about it forever ago, trying Mint and not loving it, we are on the YNAB train. Still figuring out exactly how it works, but I love it, and just the act of having to enter our purchases whacked mucho money off our spending last month.

4. As Henry can now roll and loves to move to on his side and press his face into the walls of the RocknPlay, at least, when he is not trying to sit up or flail his legs in such a way as to lunch his swaddled body out of the thing, a change was needed. We moved him to the crib and a Zippadee zip on Wednesday night, with great fear and trembling. All in all it has not been as traumatic as I thought, though there have certainly been DARK MOMENTS AND TEARS, not just his.

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I promise, I do actually own other pants and shoes… but if you have a uniform you like, why change it up?

5. I never thought much about showering until having a baby. I mean, I did it when needed, but not every day, and didn’t care for lots of products. Now the shower is my refuge, and I anticipate it like a private spa, demand it every day. Because my standards for spas these days are : no one is touching me, I am not covered in spit-up, and I have no decisions to make beyond what sweet smelling product to use. My SIL gave me a bag of treat yo’ self goodies for my birthday and I have been LOVING this eye cream (so long dark circles!) and this scrub. She also gave me soap that makes me smell like an almond croissant and I consider taking a bite out of the bar every time. What are your favorite pampering products?

Happy weekend!

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Secondary triad represent!

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