If I talked about my baby like I wrote my dissertation…

Graduate school and academia have their own language, their own vocabulary of beautiful phrases and sophisticated words that sometimes hide embellish mundane activities. Since my days are a sometimes a jarring mix of baby fun and intense research and writing, they two start to blend, and before long, I come to understand Henry’s activities in part of the established discourses of academia. Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

Grad speak: “His actions recode the traditional feminine and domestic sphere as a site of male agency and enjoyment.”

Translation: Henry likes to pull everything off the shelves in the kitchen.

Grad speak: “The dominant discourse of juvenile literature rejects a species-ist divide, highlighting animality in human identification and self-understanding.”

Translation: Most baby books are about animals.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Grad speak: “While numerous spaces devoted to pleasure are provided, what proves irresistible is the liminal space traditionally relegated to refuse and degradation.”

Translation: Henry would give up all his toys to play in the trashcan.

Grad speak: “He sought to problematize the established notions of quotidian activity.”

Translation: Henry totally refused to follow the directions I left for the babysitter.

Grad speak: “Great time is devoted to mapping the maternal visage, replacing a visual and analytical approach with taste.”

Translation: Babies like to kiss their moms – mouth wide, drool flowing.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Grad Speak: “The act of mediating the woman’s visual experience through the veil proved an integral goal of male past-time.”

Translation: Henry really loves putting a blanket over my face and taking it off again.

Grad Speak: “While seemingly random, the decor is organized around the ocular range of the despot.”

Translation: Sometimes we just hurl objects on the floor to try to distract Henry en route to climbing in the toilet or the fire place.

Grad speak: “When viewed through the gendered lens influenced by biochemistry and genetics, the subject initially understood as difficult and restrictive is recast in a positive light.”

Translation: Henry is a mess, but gosh do I love him, because he is MINE.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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The things he loves.

Spring2017-114I’ve been thinking a lot lately about objects. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the objects that Henry loves.

Perhaps it is a function of his lack of toys. Not having space for all those massive entertainment centers/bouncers/walkers/dangley-toy-distraction things that people use to buy some sanity occupy babies,* Henry has always found toys with whatever items he discovered around the house. He has one basket of blocks and some hand-me-down things from a neighbor, but that is pretty much it for the moment, which doesn’t really seem to bother him. His preferences in re-purposed household objects-as-toys change along with his interests and abilities. When he first started “playing” with things, there was no possession more prized than they plastic container where we stored a couple rubber bath animals. Lengthy sessions occurred in between every nap where he would study the tiny pouch, holding it aloft and giggling at secrets contained therein, before cramming it against his gums and coating it in slobber. It was weeks before it lost its appeal, but eventually it faded in comparison to the box lid that a new Bible came in. He carted that lid all over the house, enthusiastically presenting it for our approval, gnawing at the edges until they softened and frayed, the box sagging and cracking at the corners.

From the Era of Containers, we passed into Age of the Remote. We don’t let him ever touch our phones, so I suppose he fixated on the TV remote as an acceptable substitute. Henry’s love for Remote is deep and loyal. He carries it from room to room, always eager to wave it if we forget for a second that he is capable of carrying things. He drooled in it so much that it no longer works, the batteries have been removed and it is official Henry’s Toy.

The remote has, of course, had contenders for the top place in his affections. The heavy kryptonite bike lock briefly drew all his attention as he strained all his tiny strength to haul it around the apartment and raise it above his head. The lid of my soup pot, not to mention all the mixing bowls, prove passing fancies that he revisits from time to time. The dishwasher door, the empty box that the diapers came in, James’ briefcase- these are all objects that we leave scattered around the floor, sacrifices cast before a fickle king in hopes that some will catch his favor and entertain him. And they do, because they are noisy and exciting and chewable and he believes them to be fully his.

Spring2017-113By the end of the day, our house is strewn with Objects Henry Loves. It is a land-mine of beloved household goods and trash that hasn’t made it into the trashcan because “the baby wanted to play with it.” It is an obstacle course of items that served a purpose in distracting him long enough for me to half-way accomplish a million tiny tasks.

It is a total, unequivocal, perpetual mess.

And yet, I love it. Perhaps it is just the lens of motherhood that endows things with meaning beyond logic, but when I spend the evening undoing Henry’s damage, each object that I clean up feels precious. I laugh with James over his love of the remote, I pause with affection over the bike lock, I explain to guests who try to pick up the pot lid that it’s Henry’s “floor lid” and it doesn’t actually go on the pot. I look around my house and see a landscape punctuated with the things he loves and my messy house is imbued with purpose and beauty.

While it is tempting to grow overwhelmed at the constant destruction, and while I do find it vital to my sanity to clean it up each day, I don’t hate it. I think of it more as preparing our home as a clean slate for him to explore, to decorate with his beloved possessions. The messes he makes reflect his blossoming creativity and awareness. When I find the remote in the fridge or the cheese grater (another Prized Object, though one that presents enough dangers that we try to remove it from the rotation) inside my tennis shoes, I smile over his new understanding of space and depth. When he slowly carries all the items from my purse one by one to his little sheepskin rug, I feel pleased that he knows what spaces in our home are comfy and cozy.

I’ve talked about relics before, about our need for artifacts. My feelings only grow stronger as Henry grows and enchants more objects with his touch, with his enjoyment, with his love. So when I spend each evening cleaning up, when I find myself tripping over pans out of place, when my home is strewn with trash, I stop to remember-

These are the things that he loves. And this is the home where he loves them.

And that, that is enough.

Spring2017-115*This is by no means a judgment on those toys or those who have them. Henry LOVES them, and I’m pretty sure he likes the nursery at church and our babysitter in large part because they have them (also because they have graham crackers, the epitome of luxury for our kid). If we lived somewhere larger, I would most definitely invest in them because my goodness they distract tiny humans so very well. But in our current setting, the benefit to entertaining Henry is weighed against my frustration at not being able to walk across our living room.

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This & That

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetHappy Friday! Usually I anticipate the weekend with bated breath, but this week my mom has been here taking care of Henry while our babysitter was on vacation, and I am in no rush for her to leave tomorrow morning. It has meant lots more flexibility for me to chip away at grading, lesson planning, and ye old dissertation, as well as delicious meals, folded laundry, fresh sheets, scrubbed bathroom, and one VERY well-tended baby boy.Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetHenry’s just really living his best life now, you know?

There are lots of really important things happening in the world right now. None of those are reflected in this very random list of links, thoughts, recipes, and first- a totally unrelated picture of Henry looking frightened at the White House Easter Egg Roll, a DC rite of childhood passage, and a truly enjoyable event no matter what your politicial affiliations are. Processed with VSCO with f2 presetNow then. On to some more random for your Friday.

These cookies. They will blow your mind and make you deliciously ill.

I mean, I love Gwyneth, but sometimes she is just too far from reality. That rec room? Exactly how much recreation can happen in an entirely white room? Much less a white house? DO YOU EVER SPILL ANYTHING? HAVE YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE EATEN CHEETOS? This is also something I scream at some Instgram feeds I encounter where everything is white. And the “kid space”? HAVE YOU MET CHILDREN? THEY WILL STEAL CHEETOS AND SMEAR THEM INTO YOUR CARPET. You will never get that orange out.

I do not have Twitter, but I am almost tempted to get Twitter so I can help Carter get his nuggs.

The perfect T-shirt constantly eludes me. It needs to be long, white but not transparent, and hold its shape after many washings. (And yes, I have tried Everlane and it was not the Perfect T of My Dreams.)  I am intrigued by this one with the fun knot detail, and I’ve been wearing this [slightly dressier] one on repeat, and in the first and last photos in this post.

Mary has a whole bunch of good links here, especially the ones about the importance of play, and about screen time lowering language acquisition. (Ok, so I guess this link is less fluffy and more important than the rest.)

I have been taking photos for my friend Christine’s blog lately, and she recently posted about these amazing masks. Beautycounter is a little beyond my standard cosmetic price point, but I love face masks and she loaded me up with samples, and that charcoal mask is total SKIN BLISS. Since Henry was born, I have gotten weirdly into masks, soaps, scrubs, and every manner of tiny luxury, and it is one of the best ones I have tried.

Sometimes it feels like internet is full of people like this.

You need these. I need these. The world needs to read more of these.

Thanks for all your shoe recs over here! I saw a student wearing these the other day and I am also totally in love with them – even with my usual veto on pink shoes. They are more ballet-nude pink in person.

Finally- a beach body I can aspire to.

So many people sent me this and I loved it every time. FRENCH HISTORY IN THE REAL WORLD Y’ALL. I finally saw the movie recently, and beyond sobbing at the end when Mrs. Potts was finally able to hug her son (because, mom hormones), I made my movie-going pals listen to me hold forth on wolf attacks in France until the end of the 19th century. Because, dissertation research in the real world.

Go forth and weekend.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

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Easter things.

Spring2017-105Happy several-days-late Easter!

We usually celebrate Easter with much fanfare and brunching galore (like here and here), but this year we had a little bit less fanfare, though we still served piles of Easter Monkey Bread. The run up to the holiday was exhausting this year, as Henry has had a cold on and off for months that finally morphed into a terrible cough that rattled and kept him up half the night. Last week was a week of lots of 3 am rocking and not so many full nights sleep. On Saturday morning, he tried to climb a dresser with his mouth and I woke to James urging me to come quickly because his mouth is gushing blood. The blood eventually stopped, but by afternoon our baby boy was covered in a rash as a result of the medicine he had started the day before to help with the cough. There was lots of stressing and talking on the phone with the doctor… and not a lot of Easter basket prep or decorating. I did slip out under cover of darkness to hack off some local foliage for a centerpiece, but that was about it. Tired eyes, weary parents, and candy eaten straight from the bag instead of a festive basket – behold, Easter morning.

But those are the days and weeks that make us love the promises of Easter all the more, the days that make us yearn for restored bodies and rested souls. The days where the hope of He is risen! and the empty tomb come as especially good news.

Plus, we did rally for some pretty swanky Easter garb for church.

Spring2017-78Spring2017-79Spring2017-84MY BOYS IN BOWTIES. This is everything I have always wanted and more.Spring2017-80Spring2017-82Spring2017-87But lest you think that Henry is nothing but smiles…Spring2017-88Bam. The best grumpy face there is. And one that we are treated every time we dare to imply that the fireplace is not a fun zone or that the cleaning supplies cabinet is not a treasure chest of snacks.  Spring2017-89Spring2017-91Spring2017-92We do a lot of waving these days, as he is into greeting and delivering farewells to all he encounters. Spring2017-97Gosh I love these two. Spring2017-103

My mom is here this week, Henry is on the mend, and I have almost polished off the Easter candy so I can go back to eating healthy. Easter weekend delivered lots of little hopes and reminders of the biggest ones.

He is risen indeed.

PS: Some favorite Easter quotes here and the best poem here.

 

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The 3 of us.

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

James // Excited that baseball season is upon us, though that excitement is tempered by the annual anxiety over how the Pirates will do. Started watching Walking Dead without me, but stopped because he knows I kind of love zombies. Is on Easter recess, so he gets to be home in time for dinner and evening walks. Reads books with Henry most mornings before work while I curl my hair. Teaches him about classic rock on the weekends. Keeps on ordering burgers from UberEats, even though they aren’t good delivery food because the bun gets soggy. Takes good care of us all.

Hannah // Finally writing the introduction to her dissertation, after having finished most of chapters 1-4. Learning how to multitask less and focus more. Alternates between playing Hamilton or Ingrid Michaelson around the house, and NPR in the car, but will switch to country as it gets warm. Isn’t sleeping well, but can’t blame Henry. Loves planning outings with our friends around this city. Can’t wait for summer. Enjoys teaching French literature again after a couple years of teaching mostly language. Totally understands why moms decide to stay home.

Henry// Makes noises constantly, mostly lip buzzing, growling, and fart noises. Wears out one knee of all his pants because of how he crawls. Loves presenting us with random objects, held high above his head for our approval. Contorts his body and flips during every diaper change. Cherishes the TV remote above all other objects.  Devours chili and beef stew. Can spend entire park visits playing with the wheels and straps on his stroller. Eats more graham crackers than any of the other babies at Sunday school. Loves nothing more than when he has both parents with him.

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ISO: Mom Shoes.

Sometimes I wonder when it is, the moment when someone who birthed a child actually becomes a mother. Was it when I realized that I always had a Tide pen ready to blot out the latest stain that Henry had produced? Or maybe it was when I noticed that I regularly had half-eaten bananas sitting on the counter by mid-morning, the peel folded over to protect the fruit for Henry’s late morning Second Breakfast. Perhaps it was when I had all the words memorized to Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, so that I could get them out as Henry speedily turned the pages, or when I just instinctively knew he had jammed something large and unswallowable into his mouth while my back was turned, a suspicion confirmed when his tightly clenched lips were pried back.

But most likely, it will be when I acquire some Mom Shoes.

You know the ones I’m talking about, don’t you? They are the ubiquitous sneaker sported by every mother at the park, the sneakers that bear all the markers of being actual athletic wear… other than the wear and tear that comes from sports. They are the shiny black Nike’s, the pristine Superga’s, the classic New Balance kicks. They are the practical, yet stylish, footwear of women who pound the pavement chasing, hauling, and carting around tiny people engaged in increasingly mobile explorations of the world.

And I want some.

I mean, I have tennis shoes, running shoes, shoes that I actually use to work out. But those are not Mom Shoes. I need a pair of durable, comfortable, and supportive shoes for all the schlepping around town I do with Henry, but they also need to look acceptable with normal clothes. I have amazingly comfortable sandals for summer and great boots for winter, but I need some trusty kicks for everyday and in-between. My go-to investment for intense walking when I don’t want to sacrifice [too much] style has always been a supportive flat like these (and I’m intrigued by these or especially these  ), but I think it is time to submit to the Mom Shoe and revel in its practicality.

After much internet cruising, blog stalking, insta-clicking, and straight up creeping on other maternal feet at the park, here are some contenders to achieve the goal of “comfortable yet not entirely unattractive shoe to facilitate lengthy outings, active play, and obviously incessant feet-stagramming.”

momshoes

  1. Allbirds. Love the wool-no-socks-needed-thing, but I really wish they had navy.
  2. Nike. I see everyone with this one (in black), and I usually don’t love the hardcore jogging shoe look, but it does look comfortable. Does the brown make it more shoe, less sport?
  3. Sperry. Never had a boat, always love those boat shoes. These are basically the ones I got a couple years ago, and I have been mostly happy with them. These look similar and I like them too.
  4. New Balance. Though to be fair, I doubt I could keep that pretty pale pink clean. Maybe these navy ones are better? Or red!
  5. Cole Haan. I am intrigued by this wine color… will it be versatile, or am I imagining that?
  6. Or do I just want a pair of slip-ons?

Thoughts? Suggestions? Gimme all those comfy shoes. Bonus points if I don’t have to wear socks with them.

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Babes and blossoms.

Spring2017-39It’s funny how regional things help you count time. Growing up in Kentucky, things like March Madness or the Derby were markers that let you know that seasons were passing and time was advancing. In DC, we mark big election years, or August Recess, or pilgrimages to greet the cherry blossoms as surely as if they were holidays. They punctuate the seasons.

This year there was a lot of uncertainty about if they blossoms would even show, as our crazy warm February and then March snow really took a toll. But bloom they did, and I snuck away to see them on a weekday, as I am morally opposed to braving the Tidal Basin on a weekend during cherry blossom season. It made me think of last year, when I was pregnant and we made an early morning visit to the blooms.  I was 7 months pregnant, and now Henry is 10 months old and was actively trying to eat the blossoms, instead of just tap dancing on my insides.

Some pictures to remember 2017’s trek to the blossoms!Spring2017-64//I keep Karl (yes, we renamed/regendered it. I have no clue how or why, but Karl it is.) in the stroller and I want to always remember how Henry shakes him out in front, conducting us foreward.//Spring2017-63Spring2017-57Spring2017-40Spring2017-35Spring2017-34//Gosh – his ginger hair! I never get over being excited about it. //Spring2017-32Spring2017-31//My friend (and first DC housemate! And neighbor once more! Hooray! Also, the first pic in that linked post really makes me want bangs again. Yes? No?) Liz recently had the sweetest baby girl, and Henry and I are loving having her join us for daily adventures during her maternity leave.//Spring2017-30

Spring2017-27Spring2017-60Spring2017-59Spring2017-24//THAT FACE. Totally this, and I am thrilled.//Spring2017-21Spring2017-17Spring2017-16Spring2017-10Spring2017-5

I think back on all that has changed between blossoms. For us and our friends – babies born, new lives celebrated, sleep lost, smiles earned and enjoyed. And I think on all that has changed in this city, this nation, and in the professional lives of so many people we know and love here in the District. This city. It seems constantly changing, constantly in turmoil, constantly on the verge of shutting down or freaking out. But some things are steady markers, like seasons that change and bring in pink blossoms and spring afternoons. In the midst of so much else, I’m thankful for that.Spring2017-13

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Infinity Mirrors.

It is easy to fall into the same rut of time with little kids. Henry and I have our routines, our walks, our games at home, our chores, our (finally) blissful nap schedule, our rhythms. They are predictable and easy and really nice. But as Henry gets old enough to “enjoy” things (beyond just “crying” or “not crying”), I want to do a better job of venturing out and around this awesome city. Especially since so much of it is free, something I always forget when we travel and encounter museums and monuments where you must pay to enter.

When I read about the Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit opening at the Hirschhorn, I was excited to try it. It seemed a lot like the Wonder exhibit, in that it perfectly appeals to our photo-sharing (self?) obsessed generation because oooohhhhh the Instagrams!!! Also, as it had been years since I had been to the Hirschhorn, and it seemed like a fun outing to do with Henry, I was excited to see it. I managed to get tickets (see end of post) and recruited my friend Anna and her girls to join us. Infinitymirrors4Because what could possibly be difficult about talking 2 babies and a toddler to a museum on the mall, to  an exhibit where you wait in tons of lines for 30 seconds in rooms that are SO COOL AND TOUCHABLE but where you may touch NOTHING.

infinitymirrors2

Squeezing all the littles in the back seat to facilitate parking. Parking itself. Lines. Waiting. Small spaces. Skipping nap time. snacks. WAITING. Rules. WAAIIITTTTIINNNGGG. These are the things that make outings to art museums very difficult with tiny people.

infinitymirrors3But those tiny people also make it really fun. The endless mirrors and crazy interiors make each Infinity room an experience in infinite narcissism, with everyone viewing the rooms almost exclusively mediated through their phones and cameras. I’m not totally opposed to that. The exhibit manages to capture an obsession with infinity and our own desire to capture it all at once and that is both intriguing and convicting. If the lines were not so long for each room, it would have been wonderful to go through once to enjoy, again to memorialize. Instead, Anna and I snapped away.

The kids however, took it in. The two babies just stared wide eyed at the lights and shapes, while the toddler, after being cautioned by a docent not to touch anything, walked into the first room of giant pink balls and just started gasping “No! Noooo! Nooooooo!” as she held her arms tightly in, using every once of control to not touch all the exhibits that were just so touchable. The most impressive room was, as she christened it, “the star room:”

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetAptly named, Mollie, aptly named.

After rooms of things that just begged to be touched and were forbidden…Infinitymirrors…we finally got to the last room where we were given a sheet of stickers and as much time as we wanted to add them to the art. I’m pretty sure that we could have spent much longer in there than we did, as Mollie kept rearranging stickers that were already there, and we all loved watching a really tall guy try to jump and get one above all the others on the wall.

All in all, a rave success for Henry’s first art museum.

infinitymirrors5

If you go…

If you are in DC, or coming through, or going to be in one of the cities it visits, I highly recommend it. To get tickets (which are free), you have to get on the site and reserve them the Monday before the week you want to go. They go live at noon, and people have been freaking out across the city about how fast they go. I logged on at 11:55 and refreshed the page until they showed up at noon. I was able to grab some for a Tuesday afternoon fairly easily, but all were gone by about 12:05. You get a specific time slot and there is really no incentive to show up before that, as being first in line for your time slot maybe only shaves a minute or two off your wait once you are in the exhibit. If you are going with  kids, babies that are worn aren’t included in the people count (only 3 allowed in a room at a time, and you only get 20-30 seconds inside) and don’t require tickets. Any other children do. I think the only age that would be really tricky would be a toddler too big/old to be worn, but not yet as responsive to being told not to touch everything. For each room’s individual line, I waited while Anna entertained the kids, and then they were allowed to rejoin me to enter the room. Some rooms had short lines of 5 minutes, and one (the star one) was closer to 30-40.  We discussed going again with more friends with kids, skipping all the rooms, and just hanging in the sticker room indefinitely.

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Taking Stock.

It’s Spring Break, and I had lofty plans about all that I would get done… but that isn’t happening, never happens. Might as well take stock of the things that are happening in our lives.Takingstock

Making : Wish lists on Airbnb for all the imaginary vacations I want to take. Way cheaper than planning real ones.
Cooking :  Gorgonzola, bacon, and sundried tomato stuffed chicken… so easy and tasty and tonight will be my 3rd time in 8 days. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Drinking : Coffee coffee coffee.
Reading: Just finished Lewis Mumford’s The City in History… because FUN. I mean, dissertation.
Wanting: A Roomba. (Do you love yours??? Or are my illusions of how much it would improve my life incorrect?)
Looking: At pictures from our visit to the Infinity Mirros exhibit yesterday.takingstock2
Playing: Endless games with Henry, because he is at that stage where everything is a game. Eating scrambled eggs in the morning? THROW THEM ON THE GROUND AND TRY TO KICK MOM IN THE HEAD AND GIGGLE WHILE SHE PICKS THEM UP. Vacuuming? CHASE THE FASCINATING BEAST AND GRAB AT THE CORD. Surfaces to whack and drawers to pull and toilets to hit and life to explore? SO EXCITING: BEST GAME EVER.
Wasting:  Too much time. We all do, but parenthood has made me acutely aware of that. I watch commercials like this and lose it, crying the ugly cry, just like it was the  This Is Us finale all over again.
Sewing: Never, but I do daily consider sewing a pouch on my Ergo360, because whoever designed that thing without one should be fired.takingstock3
Wishing: That PBS hadn’t changed their streaming situation, because I was really banking on grading midterms and compositions all break while watching Victoria.
Enjoying: The way that Henry tries to mimic silly things we do. I love to pop up over the edge of the tub while I bath him and play peek-a-boo, and he has started trying to do it, lunging upward in a flurry of giggles and splashes and it is THE BEST.
Waiting: Until we file our taxes this weekend and see if any of those imaginary vacations can materialize.
Liking: Face masks. Fancy soaps. All the tiny little pamperings that I look forward to at the end of my frizzy pulled-on hair, spit-up encrusted, haggard day.
Wondering: When things will slow down a little at work for James. Henry and I have missed our favorite person a lot this week.
Loving: The way that Henry snuggled against me and dozed after nursing yesterday morning. I just wasn’t ready to start the day yet, and so I hauled him into bed to nurse in the dark and then we both started our day more gently and slowly and quietly and perfectly.
Hoping: That I can keep nursing when I stop pumping on the days I work in a couple weeks, because I am just so over pumping.takingstock4
Marveling: At how fiercely I love that kid and watching him learn this world
Needing: A nap. That fierce love sure is exhausting.
Wearing: This pencil skirt, which is absolutely everything you could ever want in a pencil skirt. #elasticpleaseforever
Following: DC Cherry Blossom Watch to see if the trees, who have had every variety of ridiculous East Coast Winter-Spring Mashup thrown at them, will pull through so I can visit them soon.
Noticing:  How much happier I feel about days at home when there are fresh flowers on my table… maybe because it balances out the scrambled eggs ground into my rug?
Knowing: That as messy as these days at home are, they are so good and beautiful.
Thinking: That sometimes it would be easier if I was totally staying home, so I could excel at that, or working more full time, so I could really invest at that.
Feeling: That at the same time, I am impossibly lucky to get to do both. It doesn’t always lead to clean floors, or lengthy writing sessions, or mental clarity. But it is so very good. takingstock5

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A Weekend at Fairyhouse Hall.

If you follow along on Instagram, you might have noticed that amidst the normal monotony of brunch, Capitol Hill, and Henry, there was a brief blip of strange luxury and posh surroundings a couple weeks ago.  It is all due to this lady…RachelThirty_102…who decided that life is just to short to not throw an amazing party every once in a while. It was Rachel’s 30th birthday, and when she told me that she was throwing an epic weekend party, I decided to try to find a way to come. After all, she had located a place called Fairyhouse Hall, and that sounded too magical to miss. Thanks to weirdly cheap flights that weekend, and amazing parents who agreed to let me dump a very-difficult-teething-montser-baby-Henry with them, it happened!

You know I wouldn’t spare you the photos.RachelThirty_072RachelThirty_071RachelThirty_103Y’all. THESE COOKIES.I personally think that a good cookie (thick and soft) is the most perfect dessert in existence. RachelThirty_073RachelThirty_074RachelThirty_075Because nothing sets off a Badgley Mischka dress like an insulated bag of breast pump parts. By the way, it was my first time trying Rent the Runway, and I give it a solid B+.RachelThirty_079Why yes, we did wander the house and take awkward photos with the posh decor. RachelThirty_077RachelThirty_080RachelThirty_082RachelThirty_086Happy birthday besties! All three of these ladies have birthdays in the same week, and I’ve been happily fourth wheeling their birthday celebratings since the 8th grade.RachelThirty_083RachelThirty_084So, here’s the deal. There were actually many other people at this party. But I just found myself hanging with the girls who have been my inner circle since we were all awkward middle schoolers. The friendships that last for years are the very sweetest ones, and I will always be looking for time with my girlfriends…RachelThirty_090RachelThirty_091RachelThirty_096RachelThirty_097RachelThirty_099… especially if that time includes an Irish jockey turned chef who showed up and made us all breakfast. I KNOW.RachelThirty_100RachelThirty_101RachelThirty_098The logistics of flying early Saturday morning, laughing the night away, flying back late Sunday night with a cranky baby, having a truck hit our plane as we were boarding and then being delayed several hours in Chicago while a replacement plane was found, finally rolling into DC around 1am, was a special sort of awful in direct contradiction with the beauty of these photos.

But.

A magical slumber party with some of my very best friends, as well as a few hours with my parents, and Henry getting to see his grandparents made it all worthwhile.

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