I’ve decided to take a break from blogging to figure out some stuff in my real life. Sometimes it takes a big change to gain clarity, and for me this includes shaking up my daily routine in order to reassess my priorities. I will probably return to this space at some point — maybe in a couple of weeks, maybe later, but for now I’m yearning for privacy and reflection. Be well!
In motherhood, moments of self-doubt are mixed with moments of competence and pride, the yin/yang balance of life, the sweet success of a perfect moment sprinkled on top of a shitty day. I know attitude is 75% of the battle, that and patience, health, and a good night’s sleep.. and sometimes, a simple distraction from your struggle is all it takes.
Last week, while Andrew was in Iceland and Finland (that lucky duck), a huge storm blew through St. Louis. It was the kind of storm that invokes fear — going beyond the cozy safe feeling of being inside your strong house, and instead moving into the zone of wondering how strong the roof is, and how much wind those big trees can withstand. The storm was quick but intense, which is what we’ve come to expect from this part of the country since moving here.
Afterward, everything was fine, but there were downed trees, branches and debris covering the streets, and plenty of power outages. In our own yard, a substantial branch fell from our enormous old sycamore tree, leaving a 6-inch deep hole in the yard just from impact. The branch was too small to call anyone about (we don’t have a chainsaw), too big to break apart by hand. So I began to saw it into manageable pieces and stack it in our garage for firewood for this coming fall and winter. Milo and Oliver were very curious and asked me if they could help. So I taught them to use a hand saw right then and there.
I asked each of them to take a photo of the other one learning, not because I had planned for a blog post, but because I was proud. I wanted them to see and remember that their mama taught them to do this.
I think as a stay at home mom with all boys, I am sensitive to gender roles and stereotypes, and of course I want them to see women doing all sorts of things — being doctors and judges and teachers and artists, raising families and breastfeeding and using their muscles to lug around their chubby babies, mowing lawns, cooking dinners, using power tools, fixing things, giving hugs, and… yes, sawing branches into firewood. Oliver put in the most time and as a result, became quite good at it. Once we had finished, he exclaimed how hard it was to saw through that wood, and how strong I was to do it so fast. I told him it was just because I was a grown up, and that he would become stronger as he grew. Then he told me I was bragging. Ha!
So what if I was?
Have a wonderful day, however you are using those muscles.
Hooray hooray for eBay! I found a long-coveted skirt in my size last week and was able to snatch it up fast! I love this skirt for its geometric print in black, cream, and brown, but I love it even more because it is reversible (I’ll show the flip side in a different post), so it is really two skirts in one. And, true to form, the fabric is as soft as can be. I’m a sucker for a good comfortable skirt.
Also, I found this moonscape necklace at a local shop and love how it pairs with the outfit.
Top: Urban Outfitters (sold out, similar here)
Skirt: Ace & Jig Ra Ra Midi (eBay)
Clogs: Bryr Sophie Peep Toe
This past weekend, the tail end of a week without Andrew, was… prickly. I’ve had a really nasty upper respiratory thing that has kept me up all night coughing, but the worst of it is that Oliver was also suffering. And when that kid suffers, everyone suffers.
Last night I reached the point of absolute exasperation. There are times that parenting him feels like an impossible task, and I have no idea how to do it. That’s it, I just have no idea what I’m doing — those are the times when I want to crawl under a rock and let someone else, someone with the answers, step up and give it a go. Where are you, Person? And can you please show up before I ruin my kid?!!
There were moments of normal, sweet Oliver, but overall the weekend just sucked. And some times will be like that, I know. Andrew will be back in town for a bit, thank goodness. We’ve all missed him, that’s for sure.
We’re not meant to do this task of child rearing alone. There are too many levels of need, there is not enough to give, to empty into them, on our own. I feel for those who have no other choice, who are doing the best they can and constantly feel as though they are coming up short because they are one, only one person.
If that is you, on your own, reading this, I send you my love, my support, all my good feelings and hopes. If you had a crappy weekend too, well, let’s hope for a better week, together.
Tei Shi — “See Me”
Phosphorescent — “You Can Make Me Feel Bad”
My Morning Jacket — “Rocket Man” (Elton John Cover)
I’m so honored to be featured on Ashley Muir’s beautiful and inspiring lifestyle and travel blog Hither & Thither to talk about my personal style, how it has evolved, and how it relates to being a mother of three boys. I’m so flattered by her kind words. Thanks again, Ashley!
Read the interview here. And be sure to check out her amazing travel posts, which are as thoughtful as they are beautiful and practical.
Here are three books I’ve read so far this summer. I’d love to hear what you’re reading!
The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz
I read this at the beach and enjoyed it. A fast-paced murder mystery with a surprise ending, The Passenger moves quickly and follows a young woman on the run who morphs into different identities along the way, growing more and more weary as the book progresses. I liked that it was a quick thriller, a good read for a beach vacation or for lying around the pool.
The Girls, by Emma Cline
This one is getting a lot of hype, and I can’t stop thinking about it. About a fourteen-year-old girl in the late 1960’s who gets caught up in a dreadful cult, the book goes so much further than the awful thing you are aware will happen. It’s a book about girlhood and feminism as much as it is about the 1960’s and coming-of-age in general. Be warned: the end is pretty disturbing, but this is one worth reading. It’s so well-written, I had trouble putting it down!
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, by Mary Roach
I am a longtime fan of Roach’s pop science writing, and this one does not disappoint. And while Roach uses plenty of humor throughout (like what happens when a soldier experiences diarrhea during a battle, or how one tests aircraft safety using chicken guns), she does a respectful job of acknowledging the sacrifices and seriousness of life and death in war. My favorite chapters were those on sweat and submarines (though the chapter on maggots comes close too). If you’re curious and science-minded, I highly recommend this one!
We had a chilly spell here in St. Louis — early July and a high of 68 is not typical! Usually it’s in the upper 90’s, but I loved the cooling off. It gave me a chance to layer a bit and even wear cozy socks!
The summer months here usually require as little clothing as possible, but fall, ah, my favorite. I loved trying out these fall colors, spice and taupe with a splash of bright pink mixed in — and these socks were made for this Ace & Jig fabric! Also, the colors (especially in the socks) remind me of these, because of course, some of the best color combinations come straight from nature (pickled nature, in this case):
Vest: Wool & The Gang
Socks: Hansel from Basel Ladder Anklet in Berry
Clogs: Rachel Comey (sold out, similar here)
The accidental gardener strikes again! A couple of years ago, we had a surprise sprout garden. This year, a surprise carrot patch! I noticed a month ago that the feathery bright green plants growing rapidly around a tomato plant in the corner of our garden looked strangely familiar. And then I placed them: carrots! I pulled one up just to be sure, and sure enough, a baby carrot broke free from the soil when I pulled on the green tops. No one has laid claim to the accidental carrot patch; each of my boys insists that it was not he, no way! Someone must have accidentally spilled the entire packet of carrot seeds there, and I’m glad he did… whoever “he” is!
At the beginning, I was sure it would be a bust. After years of trying to grow beautiful long, thin carrots in our raised beds, making sure the soil was nice and loose so they would root down deep, we always came up with stubby fat carrots. Plus, these carrots were crowded together so tightly I didn’t think they would have space to grow. But something about this spot must be really special! Most of the carrots I have pulled from this area have been those sought-after long and lean veggies. Go figure. Some accidents are learning experiences.
Learning experience #538: Carrots taste best fresh out of the earth, hosed off on the back deck:
I can’t take credit for this recipe. In fact, a version of it exists all over cooking websites these days. And why not? It’s a perfectly good, simple, delicious one. I added feta after the roasted carrots came to room temperature for a little extra something and was very happy with the results. But if you are cooking for a vegan crowd, the carrots without the feta are tasty too.
Roasted Rosemary Carrots with Sheep’s Milk Feta
- 1 bunch baby carrots, scrubbed clean, greens cut off 1 inch from top of carrots
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stem and chopped roughly
- sprinkling of sea salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup (or less) sheep’s milk feta, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 400. Toss carrots with olive oil and place in one layer onto a thin-rimmed cookie sheet. Sprinkle salt & chopped rosemary on top. Roast for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly. Arrange carrots on platter or plate. Crumble feta on top. Enjoy! And speaking of accidents, I accidentally ate an entire plate of these for dinner one night.