The Mud

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You can take the boy out of the wild, but darn if you try to take the wild out of the boy…

The day after we returned from Asheville, this is what happened.
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Let’s just say there was a deck pre-bath before the actual bath. Check out the mud caked inside Oliver’s ear! DSC_0105Nothin’ better than a little mud fest.

Happy Weekend. And speaking of mud (and nature and all those good things), if you’re up for a short read this weekend, here’s a little article I wrote for the Washington Post: 10 ways to get your kids out in nature, and why it matters.

Montessori-Inspired

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Since the weather has turned cooler, an after-school tradition has blossomed: tea. After I heat two cups of water, Oliver enjoys stirring a vanilla-chamomile tea bag and a tablespoon of raw honey into a little teapot I found at a thrift shop recently. Then he and Emil sit down at the table and take turns pouring themselves (and each other) little bowls of tea. It’s kind of awesome, especially when one (or both) are dressed like Pikachu.

DSC_0149A little encouragement from the big brother goes a long way.
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Side note: one might need help removing said Pikachu costume about 15 – 20 minutes after consuming massive amounts of tea. Which is not very Montessori, is it?

Dress That Mama

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This scarf!!!

I can’t tell you enough about it, and its maker, Mariah Golden Palmer, over at Everything Golden.  I don’t remember exactly how I came across her online shop, but once I did, I was smitten; her vintage and handmade goods are certainly drool-worthy. But what really caught my eye were her hand-dyed scarves. The minimalist style and delicate paintbrush details are spot on with my own style. Receiving one in the mail was a joyous occasion, especially when I tried it on — the wool/silk blend of the material makes it perfect for a head wrap since it doesn’t slip around. And the beautiful charcoal color goes with every single thing in my wardrobe!

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Head scarf: c/o Everything Golden

Thank you, Mariah, for this beautiful piece of art! I am now coveting the Wildberry and Painting with Clay for my Christmas list!

P.s. — Learn how to tie your own head scarf (it’s so easy!) here.

Weekend Shenanigans

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It was a beautiful cool fall weekend. We decided to lay low after last week’s adventures, so we hung around the neighborhood (after a fun bonfire night at the boys’ school on Friday). We indulged in cinnamon rolls and lying around reading The Witches, chapter after chapter, it never gets old, especially around this time of year. DSC_0053DSC_0055DSC_0127

I finished up painting after ripping up the old rug next to the floorboards to prepare for more renovations to our bedroom. It is coming along, slowly but surely. Andrew treated us to a late dinner of a 12-hour-smoked brisket which was fall-apart tender and amazing on Sunday evening. I had no idea what all the work was leading up to, and was pleasantly surprised! Turns out that guy knows what he is doing!DSC_0128DSC_0132DSC_0133DSC_0137DSC_0143DSC_0145DSC_0148DSC_0164DSC_0172DSC_0174DSC_0204DSC_0177The older boys set up a shop on Sunday, spending hours making origami hats, boxes, and other goodies to sell to us. They had quite a business plan, let me tell you! Emil spent plenty of time playing musical instruments and singing to himself upstairs, surely a way to decompress after a long week back in school. It’s so great to see these budding minds bloom!

It was a good, calm, relaxing weekend. Now back to writing and working  and collaborating and ideas. Have a lovely day.

Emil-isms

DSC_0010Emil is at the best age right now. Sometimes he says the funniest things:

One afternoon I found a chocolate bar in our pantry. I asked, “Who would like a little piece of chocolate?” Emil responded, “I do because I have a mouth!” Good point, my friend.

Emil often wears a superhero costume, like Captain America, out and about. But he doesn’t like people to notice it. So when someone says, “Hi Captain America!” He says, with a very serious face, “I’m not Captain America. I’m just EMIL. And I don’t like you.”

At nighttime, he sometimes gets out of bed, lies down next to his (doorknob-less) door, and whispers in a pathetic little voice under the door crack, “Papa, I need a hug. I just love you.” Gets him every time.

From the bath tub, “Mamaaaaa! I need more toys in here. Like a shark. And a cup. You’re welcome!”

There’s so much more. He is just the funniest little guy.

Hope you enjoy your weekend!

P.s. — Funny, the article I wrote for the Post made it (indirectly) to Good Morning America!

River Arts District

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On the last day of the trip, our wonderful friends Cat and Garriy, who had driven up from Knoxville the previous night, accompanied us to Asheville’s River Arts District, a great area by the French Broad River filled with artists’ studios, galleries, music and performing arts venues, and restaurants. Parking is free in the district, and we had no trouble finding a spot on a Saturday around lunchtime. DSC_0527

Many studios are open for observation, and kids are welcome. We were drawn into Asheville Glass Center, where the boys were mesmerized by the artists taking time to explain every step of the glassblowing process. Oliver in particular was smitten. DSC_0530DSC_0533DSC_0537DSC_0540

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Oliver and Cat sharing a moment (one of many!)

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We also stopped in the coolest custom lighting, antiques, and art store called Splurge, run by artist Robert Nicholas, whom we were lucky to meet. He was so kind and responsive to our boys, even showing them how the above carousel worked. Such a beautiful place!
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After a bit of browsing, we headed over to White Duck Taco Shop for lunch. It was soooooo good and worth waiting in line for. I highly recommend the fish tacos. And the outdoor seating was very nice for children (and puppies), though ours weren’t as well-behaved as the puppy sitting near us. Oh, well. You can’t win them all! DSC_0567

Read more about the River Arts District here.

And this is the last of our Guide to Asheville posts! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We are heading to a campfire tonight at our boys’ school. Can’t get enough of the outdoors these days! Happy Friday!

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

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Andrew wanted to surprise the boys with a special adventure during our Asheville trip. And though they have been on plenty of city trains, the thought of an open-air car traveling through the Smoky Mountains to a pumpkin patch sounded too good to pass up, even though it was a bit of a splurge. I have to say, it was a completely different experience to have fresh air blowing in through the open car, traveling alongside a river, beautiful rolling hills and fields, and across an old bridge. DSC_0454DSC_0459DSC_0461DSC_0463

Oliver stood by the window the entire trip, being careful not to reach out the open windows. But Emil was the biggest fan, as he has recently been a bit obsessed with trains. He talked about the train for a good part of the drive there, and then after as well. I think it kind of blew his mind. DSC_0464DSC_0467DSC_0469DSC_0470DSC_0472

On the ride there, someone read part of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and when we arrived, we were greeted by Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy characters, along with a whole field of kid-awesomeness (and plenty of kitsch). It was the kind of amusement-park silliness that is sometimes necessary. They ate it up. DSC_0478DSC_0483

There was trick-or-treating (they did NOT skimp on the candy…), marshmallow roasting, there were games and a pumpkin patch, where the boys each chose a pumpkin to take back with them. DSC_0487DSC_0488DSC_0491

And then the ride back… we lucked out with more rain in the forecast. It held off until we stepped off the train, then started to pour on the drive back to the cabin. DSC_0493DSC_0495DSC_0496It was such a treat! If you’re interested in going, here is the website. They do a Polar Express train on Christmas Eve, which sounds like a blast!