A few good gems

I know. We have a lot of catching up to do! Since Sarah and I last chimed in here, between us we've had two weddings, a graduation (+proms, etc), two job offers, some adventures, and all the feelings.  It's a little daunting to know where to start so I'm wading in with a Friday gems post to start us off. 

This weekend is a three-day holiday weekend here in most of Australia (thank you, Queen's Birthday) so we are headed out to explore a part of the coast we haven't seen yet, Jervis Bay and Hyams Beach. Oh, beach trips--even in the chilly winter weather they're lovely. Hopefully lots of walks and games and reading and cozying up on the docket for us.  What does your weekend hold?

 "The End of the Day" by Ken Howard

"The End of the Day" by Ken Howard

First I'm glad to share a few good gems we've been gathering for you:

I like the clean lines of minimalism as much as the next person. Yet I also come from a long, proud line of collectors and believe that sometimes more is more! This post celebrating the art of clutter  reminded me of that.

While we're on the topic, these maxilimalist homes give off happy, cozy vibes.

Babysitting may prime brains for parenting (surprise, surprise!)

Having a child is like rereading your childhood

Hilarious reworked children's classics just for grownups, illustrated by Liana Finck:

If you haven't already read Joe Pasnanski's beautiful essay on Hamilton, mid-stage parenting & teen obsessions, you are in for a treat. (Then click here and read the postscript.)

Inpiration and idea formation: Good ideas are wrestled and wrought.

Loved these brilliant life-saving tips for mothers of big (or small) families (thanks, Lenore!)

I've had my eye on these retro New Balance 420 sneakers for over a year and finally broke down and got them. I LOVE them--so light and comfy and, bonus, they remind me of being 13! I've found them so great for travel (they easily double as a casual shoe and a walking/running shoe) and everyday. 

Finally, I have to share my favorite recipe source lately, the Instagram account Go-To Recipes. There are so many winners there--I have yet to find one that we didn't love. Many days if I'm not sure what I want to make for dinner (ugh, that endless decision)  I just click over there and choose something that looks good. Lately I've done the tomato-basil soup, the chicken with mustard cream sauce, the chicken fajitas, and the mixed berry and fig salad. Mmm. 

Have a great weekend! And thank you for your notes, comments, and emails nudging us to post. We love knowing that someone out there is reading and enjoying xx

A few good gems

 springtime in Texas. image via  Richland College Library

springtime in Texas. image via Richland College Library

Hi guys! It's Friday afternoon here, and I'm super behind on this post. But I have some links I've been saving up, and I figure you'll have all weekend to peruse -- so better late than never! Right? The kids' schedules are booked up this weekend, but my own commitments are rather on the light side. So . . . yay for me!! The weird thing about your kids growing up? You suddenly have time to yourself every so often. And it's super weird. Good. But weird.

Okay. Enough about me. Check out these internet gems I've rustled up just for you:

You've probably already seen this since it's blowing up my FB feed even as I type this. But you HAVE to watch it -- it's impossible not to smile while viewing. "How bout now? How bout now? How bout now?"


This essay on kids leaving home is an oldie but a goody (have we never linked to this before?). If it is a repeat . . . then it definitely bears repeating. "As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they're in every room in your head and in your heart."

My friend Annette posted this poem on her Facebook feed this week, and I loved it. I am constantly taxing my life with the "forethought of grief," and boy-howdy is that tiring.

"The Family Party Everyone Hated? It Was Mine." Oh gosh. The title alone had my head spinning, because I may be guilty of this. I don't invite lots of step-people, but it's true that "obligation and shared history can only get us so far." I'm curious what you guys make of this.

I've seen this idea all over the Internet for months now and figured it would be perfect for Jordan's wedding reception. I've been sewing little wax paper cones until they are coming out my ears. Anyone want to come over and help? Beuller? Bueller?

As the end of the school year draws nigh, I'm happy (and completely surprised) to report that I'm still making a hot breakfast for the kids nearly every morning. I'm going to try these out this weekend, because I like something I can prep ahead of time. Also, because Parker only really enjoys breakfast foods that somehow incorporate hash browns.

 image via  theCookingJar

image via theCookingJar

Alright. That's it folks. Have a fabulous weekend!

Grad gifts

Guys! It's April! And graduation is just around the corner. Last week we dropped off Becca's prom dress at the tailor's for a few alterations. We are working on graduation announcements and thinking about graduation parties. (Yes, all in the middle of planning a wedding!) Becca and I have been talking about grad gifts for her friends, and Etsy is my all-time favorite place to shop for the high school senior. So, I did a little surfing (procrastinating) around Etsy to help you guys out. I'm super giving like that. Here's what I found:

These laundry bags are perfect for dorm life. Plus, they are monogrammed, which utterly fulfills me.

This necklace speaks to me.

 image via  MinMac

image via MinMac

Or this one . . .

 image via  AnniePants

image via AnniePants

I'm desperately searching for boy gifts. And I think these blankets fit the bill. Maybe some navy lettering. A block font. You get the idea.

 image via  HollysPinkBarn

image via HollysPinkBarn

Okay, or maybe this manly travel bag.

 image via  HollysPinkBarn

image via HollysPinkBarn

And my all time favorite grad gift for those students headed out of state . . .

 image via  TheHomeT

image via TheHomeT

A few good gems

Annnnnd suddenly we're in April, folks, and a quarter of the way through 2016 (!)   Happy April Fools Day!  I miss the rocks-in-the-shoes pranks my kids used to concoct; now I think I get most of my April Fooling from Facebook. (Speaking of which have you already run across these two clever fooling attempts from Trader Joe's and Virgin Australia?  Any other good ones you liked?)

No tricks here, though! Just a few gems to enjoy as you ease into the weekend:

I love Trevor Wheatley's typographic installations in nature:

 Trevor Wheatley installation via  Frankie Magazine

Trevor Wheatley installation via Frankie Magazine

You guys! A new West Wing podcast that takes you behind the scenes of each episode, one a week. I feel another WW marathon coming on... (Thanks, Jen J, for the heads up.)

Tim Urban's TED talk on the mind of a master procrastinator is hilarious. Let's just say I've gotten better over the years but I can relate.

The Arbinger Institute has produced some of my favorite books on human motivation and relationships, including The Anatomy of Peace and Leadership and Self-Deception. Their new book is coming out in June and this article excerpt describes a great mindset strategy for difficult moments, difficult people.

What happens when you let teenagers participate in the city's budgeting process, allocating $1 million for improvements and programs they select? Transformative magic and invested young citizens. (Hooray, Boston's Youth Lead the Change!)

I love to work surrounded by the happy sounds of a cafe. These two new-to-me apps have rocked my world! I can stay at home but fool my ears! Hipster Sound is a good, straightforward noise app and Cafe Restaurant by mynoise.net lets you customize the blend of sounds (chatter, kitchen noise, buzz, etc.). Hat tip to Tona--thanks!

This Australian road incident from last week is too adorable to keep to myself. (Spoiler alert: KOALA.)

A strap-on spiral staircase that works on any tree?! Yes, please:

Have a lovely weekend, friends and internet neighbors! See you back here on Monday. x 

  • Watching: The sci-fi drama Colony with G. Inspired by Nazi-occupied France in the 40s but takes place in the future with occupying (but unseen) aliens. Feels a little Lost-like, especially with Sawyer
  • Eating: cottage cheese, avocado & tomato & lime with multigrain crackers. Pretty much my lunch every single day. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
  • Listening to: Leon Bridges's Coming Home album. So good.

Throwback Thursday: On letting go

Every time I think I have this "letting go" thing down, it bounces right up and smacks me in the face. I've had plenty of occasions to write about my girls moving out and moving on (See here and here). In fact, daughter #3 has, just in the past week, signed up for her dorm room -- meaning we are on the official move-out-countdown. "It's okay," I tell myself. "It's good." "It's normal."

Yesterday, I was anxiously awaiting the Postwoman because I was expecting Jordan's wedding invitations. (Yes! I'm invited to my own daughter's wedding!) Actually, she's handled the ordering and addressing and stamping all from Utah, so while we have talked about these invitations ad infinitum, I had yet to see them in real life (IRL). Finally, at about 5:30, the post arrived. And it was there! A shimmering, dark green envelope just sitting in my mailbox. I grabbed it and raced inside. I opened it carefully, pulled the cards out and read each line carefully.

At the same time the television was on in the background. After reading through the invitation I swung around to see Cookie Monster, advertising the new Siri On-Demand feature. Instantly, I was reminded of an incident involving a two-year-old Jordan and Cookie Monster:

When Jordan and Madison were wee babes they were obsessed with the Sesame Street characters. They watched the show, played pretend Sesame Street, talked about Elmo endlessly. So, when I saw an advertisement that the Sesame Street characters were coming to Sea World, I decided we would put what little vacation money we could scrape together towards a trip to San Antonio. My babies needed to see Big Bird. Once in the park, we attended the scheduled Sesame Street show, wherein the larger-than-life characters danced and sang. When the show ended, I just knew Jordan would want to see the characters up close and personal. She seemed reticent about actually approaching them, so I swung her up on my hip and marched to the front of the theater. Jordan was mesmerized. I was mentally patting myself on the back for making my baby's dreams come true.

As I held her, I pointed out Big Bird. And Ernie. And Elmo. And then Cookie Monster started moving right towards us! "How lucky!" I thought. Cookie Monster approached Jordan and reached out to pat her little tummy. As those furry blue fingers met her little strawberry romper, Jordan let out a primal scream. She arched her back and almost seemed to convulse for a moment. I did my best to keep her from flailing to the ground and quickly retreated.

She was inconsolable. She cried. And sobbed. And after a good five minutes, she finally looked me in the eye and screamed out, "Cookie Monster touched me!" Her rage was part fear and part blame. How could I have allowed such a travesty to occur? For the next hour or so she inhaled raggedly, muttering to herself, "Cookie Monster touched me." Honestly, I'm surprised she didn't require some type of trauma counseling. We did hug on her a lot and promised a Cookie Monster restraining order. Over time, the "Cookie Monster touched me" mantra became somewhat of a catch phrase, reminding us of those moments when our kids needed an extra hug and some added protection.

It's difficult for me to convey here how this memory tore me open inside. Maybe it's the realization that I'm no longer in charge of making her dreams come true. Maybe it's a mourning for the loss of that sweet little baby girl. Maybe it's an understanding that I'm not her sole protector, that my role in her life is moving further and further to the periphery. I'm sure it's a combination of these factors. But it hurts.  And there's nothing for me to do about it, except to feel this uncomfortable pit in my stomach and to write about that glorious, spunky baby of mine.