February 28, 2012

This Day.

Shew. Today it was just me and Tessa all. day. long. Nekos had some social obligations after work, and it just happened to be one of those days when Tessa made me want to throw myself down a flight of stairs. (I think it didn't help that I woke up at 4:30 to get some work done before she was up. I was zonked all day.) But I made myself refuse to call Nekos to tell him what a booger she was being, like I usually do. That's such a cruel buzzkill, right? Instead, as soon as he got inside the door, I unloaded on him the atrocities of my day. Then, through clenched teeth: "ANYWAY, how was your night, doll?" Basically, it was one of those days when freelancing from home and being mom to this little spirit is one too many things. Tomorrow, bless the little baby Jesus, is Mother's Day Out. And, and, and! The whole reason I'm so especially crazy with work this week is because I'm cramming everything into a few days so we can leave to see Radiohead in Atlanta on Thursday night. I've never seen them live before, and I'm imagining I'll clap my hand over my heart and stand dead still the whole time and soak it all up like a biscuit. We're going with friends, too, so that makes it extra fun. 

As a random accompaniment to this post, here are some recent pics from my iPhone: 

Daddy-daughter love. Speaking of the unique father-daughter bond, check this out

Dearest Hattie sporting Mrs. Potato Head's shades.

Super exciting thrift store find for Tessabean. (So jealous of her sparkle laces.)

Favorite nail color:  Essie "Turquoise and Caicos," taken with the zoom lens on my olloclip.

Post first-ever spray tan (p.s. loved it.)

Little squirt. 

February 27, 2012

Stuff I Love: Seraphine Designs.

One of my best gals, Brooke Seraphine, has just officially launched her Seraphine Designs necklace line, and I'm over the moon about it. So is she, as she should be; it takes a tremendous amount of courage, hard work and energy to start your own business. And though I want to help spread the word, I have little doubt that her necklaces will take off on their own accord.

Made of materials like pyrite and quartz and yummy Argentium silver and 14k gold, they're made to last a lifetime and are ultra unique. They are legitimately my favorite necklaces on the planet. And not just because Brooke made them. There's just something strangely soothing about having two stones nestled on your collarbone.

I have the Rocker and every single time I wear it people stop me and fuh-reak out about it. And I love that it goes with flannel or jeans just as well as it goes with a bikini or a pretty dress. Yeah, I wear mine a lot. You should have heard my squeal when she gifted me this necklace for my birthday last year.

Anyhow, pin it if you like and click through to her website if you have a moment to browse. And be sure to check out all the pretty pictures there. My man Nekos took them. ;)


February 25, 2012

Wild Geese.

Yesterday I had barely any lunch and was starving an hour before we were due to meet friends for dinner. I plucked a box of raisins out of the pantry to tide me over and went upstairs, eating raisins as I turned on my bathwater to get ready for the night. Following me all the while was Tessa, who was in a mood. Though she was well-fed and had just snacked herself, she got hysterical at the indignity of me enjoying my very own box of raisins. When I tried to share with her but still hold on to the box, she plopped on her bottom and started to throw a tantrum, of which I could only make out one word: "Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine..." I was so annoyed that I chucked the box at her and shut the bathroom door in her face. Which was immature of me. And yet gratifying, albeit momentarily. As I stood there, watching the bathwater fill up the tub and drinking in the moment of quietwhich Tessa was evidently enjoying, too, ingesting my remaining raisins just outside the doorI thought of this Mary Oliver poem, which I'd seen posted earlier in the week on Cup Of Jo. It seems to me to be such a lovely way to talk about imperfect motherhood, which is the only kind I know anything about. 

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver, Dream Work

February 23, 2012

High on Thrifting Thursday.

Mandy at Harper's Happenings launched a "High on Thrifting Thursday" link-up party on her blog and since I'm currently in the prime of my thrifting life, I thought I'd join in. Today Tessa and I went to the laundromat to wash all of our quilts and comforters and in between watching all the magical tumbling happening inside those machines, we went thrifting. Tessa racked up:

- Ice cream cone dress
- Laura Ashley dress
- Stride Rite shoes in exactly her size
- Two books of her choice

Grand total: $11.00 

February 22, 2012

Some Happys.

This picture of Tessa yesterday. Her eyes were gray for over a year; now they're greenish? 

New drinking glasses from Anthropologie.

This purse I made using the Mama's Bag tutorial from Handmade Home. I used the same pattern to make this beach bag, but made the beach bag much larger.

This old oil painting. I got it last week for $29 at Pre to Post Modern here in Nashville. It lives in our kitchen now, above our cafe table.

This pillow I made using an old pillowcase, thrifted hand towel and piece of crochet that a friend gave me.

I also started cutting pieces to make this Giant Star Quilt (which I love soooo much) featured on the In Color Order blog. But I'm not going to quilt mine; instead I'm going to make it into a duvet cover for the guest bedroom-slash-playroom.

This marmalade.

Also loving:

This purse.
This print.
This song.

February 20, 2012

Just Us Three.

This weekend gave us some unusual down time. We hosted a play date over here Friday night with Tessa's two best friends, I did a lot of sewing, and Nekos built a fort in the living room on Sunday while it snowed (but didn't stick). We had a lot of time, just us three. On Saturday night we went out to dinner at a local spot, and there was a jazz band playing. We had a table right up front. Tessa asked to get down from her highchair and went straightaway to grab the fedora the band was using to collect tips. She emptied out the dollar bills and put the hat on, dancing and hopping around with it covering her eyes. She would stop long enough to tilt the hat off her eyes and make sure we were watching—which we were, of course, raptly—then she'd giggle, cover her eyes again and continue dancing. I was so genuinely happy then and there. And I had a realization that night that felt big. 

We've planned all along to try to conceive again this summer. We decided over a year ago that we wanted to space our kids out by three years, and I've felt myself getting ready again for the idea of pregnancy and a newborn. Three of my girlfriends have decided that they'll try to get pregnant this summer, too. But watching Tessa on Saturday night, I thought, "This is enough. More than enough. For now." She's at a magical age. I'm pretty sure the "terrible two" thing is a misnomer. Never have I gotten more affection from her. There are extended cuddles on the couch, intense kisses on the mouth, and tight hugs around the neck. When I picked her up from my mom's after our vacation, we were sitting in the kitchen crunching on bowls of cereal together and she looked up at me and said, "I missed you." She says "I love you" now, too, and is interpreting feelingsher own, her friends', ours. And she makes me laugh; when I was putting cinnamon on her cereal yesterday, she said, "No pepper, please." And when we were explaining to her that boys have penises and girls have vaginas, she looked at us and very matter-of-factly said, "I want penis, too." 

We've had nearly two years with just her, and I'm not sure I'm ready yet to say goodbye to her time as our only. Newborns are like the richest dessert—sickly sweet and well-deserved after so much preparation, but this toddler of mine, she is the main course. She is filling and all-consuming and gratifying, and I think I may need to hold off on the dessert for right now. I've eaten too much. This lil dish is too delicious. 

February 19, 2012

Stuff I Made: Cross Stitch Portrait.

I finished our cross stitched family portrait yesterday. We are all pretty stoked about it. The templates came from Martha Stewart (here), but the executive decisions were all left up to me. For instance, our skin colors. Tessa's hairdo. Nekos's widow's peak. My red shoes. Nekos says Tessa looks 12. I say she will grow into her height :). And I left some room to, you know, add another caramel-skinned baby one of these days.

February 16, 2012

Because Rose Petals on the Bed Only Stain the Duvet.

Nekos and I have a long history of romance, but a very short and gloomy history when it comes to romantic holidays. We suck at them. There was the anniversary that Nekos invited a friend over to watch football and the Valentine's that the rose petals I bought for our bed only stained the duvet. All the pressure and the expectation builds—at least in my mind it does—and then inevitably combusts. We've tried both ways of approaching Valentine's and our anniversary—ignoring them (which, in the end, is disappointing and hurtful) and going all out (which, in the end, is also disappointing and, even worse, forced). 

For Valentine's Day this year, I put clean sheets on the bed and changed the duvet all by myself; our dogs had been sleeping on our bed while we were on vacation so this was an especially good thing. I vacuumed and dusted our bedroom and lit a candle that smells like suntan lotion. 

I made spaghetti sauce, and I tried not to hope for anything. 

I tried not be disappointed when Nekos came home from work and his hands were empty of flowers. But as I stirred the sauce and looked up into his brown eyes, I couldn't think of anything to say except, "No flowers for me?"

He shook his head and said, "We said no presents. Key West was our Valentine's."

"Oh," I said and looked away, stirred the sauce some more. 

Then he called Tessa into the dining room, and I heard him whisper, "Bring this to mommy, please." 

She carried in to me a little brown box and on it was written the name of my favorite shop in Key West. Nekos had overheard me tell the shopkeeper how much I loved this particular pair of jade earrings and bicycled back to get them one afternoon while I was napping at our bed and breakfast. This is vintage Nekos romance. These earrings are far better than any flowers he could have carried home. I may wear them every day for the rest of my life. 

Still, over dinner, I picked a little fight about something stupid. Nekos put his fork down quickly and it clanged against his plate and Tessa looked up at us from her highchair, worried. 

I poured more wine, apologized and tried to make it right, and we decorated some terrible, lumpy sugar cookies I'd made. Tessa happily made an unbelievable mess, and then put our ears out screaming when we told her it was time to put away the cookie decorations and go to bed. Our little cupid had a sugar high from hell. 

Later, we threw all the cookies into the trash and climbed between our clean sheets, the mystery of our bad luck with romantic holidays still unclear. Maybe one day we will figure out the riddle of a simple, genuine Valentine's Day. 

Until then, I like my life's every-day romance best. I like the bear hug and soft kiss good-bye in the morning and hello at night. I like the phone call in the day just to see how I am and how Nekos brings my favorite beer home and makes us tacos once a week and keeps me laughing. Always laughing. I simply love him. I always will.  

February 14, 2012

Oh, Key West.

In Key West, everything is weather-beaten or rusted or covered in five layers of paint. All is turquoise and coral and sunshine yellow and tan-skinned. There are no high-rises or fast cars. Even the beaches are rough around the edges, not sandy white but piled with rocks. You may accidentally stumble into a clothing optional bar or order up the best cuban sandwich at a roadside stand. You'll sit in the sun and eat it next to a pier where old boats are knotted up beside sun-ravaged bicycles. People make a big deal out of the sunset--thousands gather to watch it slip down in the sky and then cheer when the sea gobbles it up. You would be happy there. We were.