Dear Facebook and Flickr user Makena Becker. you are not me. those photos are not yours. and those children certainly aren't yours either. your creepiness has me reeling. you have five hours to remove all my photos, all my words, and all your really skeevy claims to be someone you are not before i take legal action. you have infringed on my copyright. and i am pretty freakin' ticked off and grossed out by it.

thank you to reader paola for letting me know about this.

i would have loved to keep this a lot more vague and focused more on the idea of creating your own life, how figuring out who you are, little by little, and being true to that potential and the people you love is what makes life really great. and i think the higher road is to maybe leave names off.. but i can't. this is just too weird and violating and there is no possible explanation i can think of where someone would do this "innocently." if you have an idea, i'd love to hear it. i'd love to have something to wet the fury burning in my chest.

until then, i've got a birthday party to prepare for.

also: i have operated this blog the same way i try to live my life- based in faith and happiness and expecting the good rather than fearing and expecting the worst. this is not the worst, but it is really really weird. and i may need to adjust things around here for awhile until i figure this out..


ADDED: dear people (the non creepy ones), i love you. i sincerely do. i wish you were all here in person. i would hug you and thank you, wipe away my angry tears and take you to the park for a big picnic. we'd eat fruit, watch kids run around, soak up the sun and celebrate life (and the fact that the pictures were all taken down! hooray!!). after getting in our fill of spring at the park, you'd help me try to foster a little bit of sympathy and a little understanding for those who do things that aren't right, but then we'd let it go and move on... and after all that i'd try to sucker you into helping me make cupcakes and clean and decorate for tomorrow's party.. i've got a lot to do and am suddenly sooo very tired. 

thank you again. truly. 



it's good to have a sister

a few crazy moves and the clouds are lifted.

hope you all enjoy your weekend. our first baby turns six on saturday. six.


for the curious, eve's outfit up top: old navy boys blue oxford, american apparel floral leggings (she's been loving them since september), necklace made by us- huge shout-out to jenny who answered the "what do we do with these felt balls?" question that i've been asking myself for the past six years (not exaggerating), short brown boots from the winter sale at bu and the duck.


best snow day of all time

the last two weeks brought valentine's day, a week-long winter break for the girls, a busy week back to school and the best snow day in rich family history. school was cancelled, again, but this time even chip stayed home. we tromped to the park as the snow clouds and the sun took turns filling the sky, went sledding on plastic garbage sacks (hilarious and ridiculously fun), built snowmen and ice forts and made our way home with all three children frozen and sobbing. the next morning we made our way back to the park, armed with a real sled from a generous (pitying?) neighbor and more layers of random clothing.



chip's nine-foot snowman had been knocked down during the night, so he went to rebuilding, adding a wife and child while he was at it. aunt and uncle m + m (who, awesomely, live just one block away) joined us in the sledding and crashing and walking and building and snow-angeling. we ran into friends and we loved our park and our city and the snow. winter didn't seem so bad, in fact, it seemed magically perfect and everything i thought it should be as a child. i was glad to be in brooklyn. and to have a ton of delicious black bean brownies to snack on when we got home. protein intake via a brownie is pretty magical too.


valentines 2010

eve's partially finished finger puppets

the making began on our snow day wednesday and finished up a few minutes after bedtime thursday night. not the fastest valentines but easy and funny.

eve and ruth drew the hearts, i got busy cutting those hearts out and attaching them to the finger tubes, while the girls got busy turning the hearts into faces. ruth's process was simple; separate puppets into two piles (one for boys, one for girls), draw eyelashes on the girls and draw regular eyes on the boys. adding a little lipstick here and there, she was done with her 20 faces in no time. eve, however, went custom.. the boy who likes sharks got a shark-faced heart, the boy who makes everyone laugh by pretending to be a pig got a pig face. the girl who loves being fancy got a crown.. and on and on until all 25 of hers were complete. we threw on a little of eve's pretty tape to fancy them up (from christmas- office supplies were her main gift), and they were done.

to make sure all the friends knew exactly what they were getting (motherly nightmarish images of eve and ruth staring on, horrified, as their friends tore the puppets to bits looking for candy), rough silhouettes of each girl's hand were printed on cardstock, the outline of the first finger cut with an x-acto knife, and puppets slid over mr. pointer. unmistakeable heart finger puppet spreading valentine cheer.

addressed by little hands and sent off to school, these were, by all reports from little friends, received very well. good news.. it feels a little bit like we're pushing our luck with these candy-less valentines.. but happily pre-k-ers and kindergarteners can appreciate a lot even if they aren't packed with sugar. like the bookmark that eve got from a friend "you know, mom, it's really cool. it's the kind of thing from back in the olden days, like the 80's or 90's. like back from when before you were 50.." (i'm 30).


hope everyone had a lovely valentine's day! and for those celebrating president's day tomorrow, do yourself a favor and make this log cabin cake in honor of honest abe. i push the cake every year, but i'm pretty sure you won't regret it.. we never do.


snow day 2010

we set up camp in the family room, watched movies, made pizza, danced, played trains and ate marshmallows. but the very best part of the day was the 17 minutes we spent out in the blizzard. is there anything better than a snow day? even now, as the mom, the thrill of getting out of school makes me as giddy as ever. maybe a snow day isn't pure freedom, but it has always felt like it to me.


valentines past

i'm putting a hold on my attempts to get decent shots of the girls' journals until i can get myself home during the forty minute slot when it isn't dismally dark in our place.. winter..

instead, here's a little reminder of what we did to festivate (that's right) valentine's day last year:

felt headbands for the girls and felt bracelets for friends.

looks like i've got some headbands to find and some figuring to do. we're a last minute kind of crew around here, so even though we don't have anything in the works right now, i imagine by the time we run out the door friday morning we'll have something fun to give to the people we love (or at least like okay).. a big snowstorm is supposed to come in tonight. i'm already planning on having everyone home tomorrow to drink hot chocolate and hatch a scheme for our valentine's day fun. if nothing else, we'll draw some hearts, tape them to a big stack of starbursts and call it true love.


little girls' journals

for the past nine months the girls have (more or less) been keeping a journal and it has been awesome. long before i ever had children i planned how i would have "journal sundays" every sunday, i've even got it written down in a journal of my own somewhere.. we would come home from church and, after a healthy snack, we'd all sit down to reflect on our week and write in our journals. i would gently encourage the kids and we'd all smile.. that vision makes me laugh. the reality is much less serene but (mostly) much more fun. healthy sunday snacks have been replaced by desperate fistfuls of tortilla chips and doughnuts (it's true.. the deperate post-church hunger is satisfied by whatever chip sees first when he opens the cupboards), the journal writing is completely sporadic and sometimes totally enforced on reluctant little girls, but the records eve and ruth have of their own lives so far are pretty perfect in their sweetness, their craziness, and their awesome truthfulness.

eve. may 4, 2009. "no i don't like diurreah. i liked waching angelena ballrena"

ruth: april 21, 2009
mom: what did you want to say about your day?
ruth: i didn't want to say about my day
m: what is this picture?
r: jungle
m: what else?
r: i don't want to tell you.

eve: may 10, thursday. "i loved the little mermaid at times square."

ruth: may 10, 2009 "this is ariel and flounder. i goed to the little mermaid at the play. it was in Times Square. my favorite part was when ariel got the pink dress and when she got married. my daddy was named chip and i watched a play with dad. i wish i could see ariel again because i wish i could see the married part again."

to make "keeping a journal" something approachable i gave the girls a very simple formula to start with: draw or write about their favorite part of the day/week along with their least favorite. eve was totally in from the moment i introduced the idea and has stuck to the formula with few exceptions. ruth, on the other hand, heard the plan, made a bizarre face, rolled over and began complaining about not knowing any real princesses.. she has mostly stuck to her own formula of journal keeping, which at the beginning involved her drawing about whatever she wanted to while i pestered her to tell me about it. but now that she is starting to not only draw but write on her own (and realizing just how long it takes to make all those words) the formula is coming in handy, even for ruthie who likes to do everyhting her own way.

(two page spread) eve: june 3, 2009 "no i do l" [beginnings of "no i don't like"] june 4, 2009 "i poukt [puked] on charlies birthday. today i lovee ma-king the teve purojec [tv project]."

ruth: june 2, 2009

ruth: 10.9.09, "keira, tessa, eden, monet, malena, ruth, ms. jin. we're all starting a show on the stage."

eve: october 9, 2009. "i like gayb"

ruth: january 15, 2010. "planetarium. i did not like when it exploded i liked the gas of the sun."

there is so much i love about ruth's and eve's magical journals. i love that they don't think too much about what they record, they just do it. i love that they want me to look at everything they draw and write, because i know that won't last. and i love having this record of their drawing and writing progression. but most of all i love that it is their own marks that fill each page. it is all their own words, their own takes on their own lives, not my interpretation or perspective, but theirs. just as journals should be.


next up: the making of the journals.


granola for the new year

i welcomed the new year by getting my wisdom teeth removed. almost as awesome as it sounds. but now that the swelling is gone and the stitches are out i'm ready to calmly greet the year ahead of me. the closets are mostly reorganized, the donations dropped off and, most of all, we're doing our best to keep things simple. and that includes the food i'm making and my family is eating.

truth be told, i don't love cooking. if i had the resources i'd hire an alice in two seconds to take over all cooking and housekeeping. but, no alice will be joining us in our 650 square feet anytime soon, so i have to do what i can. and for me, it all starts with loved, simple recipes that i don't mind making and that stick around for a litte while. like granola. in fact, granola is a staple in our house. and i really don't think there is a more deliciously simple granola than that made from the recipe i inherited when i married chip. beautifully basic, not too sweet, just barely salty, and no seeds (i'm not a seed fan). i've been making it regulalrly for the past 9+ years and imagine that, like my mother-in-law, i will continue to fill our home with it's warm honeyed smell for the next 20. i've made huge batches for campouts and i've given it to friends at christmas, but mostly we just love to have it on hand at home for those cozy winter days. and every other day of the year too, really.



10 c old fashined rolled oats
2c whole wheat flour
2c wheat germ
2c coconut
1.5- 2c chopped pecans and sliced almonds
         mix above ingredients in large bowl

4T vanilla
1/2c water
2c honey
1c (or less) oil
         mix wet ingredients in separate bowl, add to try ingredients
         and combine well. spread in shallow pans. stir gently every
         15 minutes or so while baking. bake at 250 until deep golden
         and almost dry, approximatley 2 hours. remove, let cool.
         store tightly covered. in the refrigerator if you have room (i don't).

put milk over it and eat as cereal, top it with yogurt and fruit, eat it plain, add raisins or whatever to it. however you eat it, enjoy. enjoy the simplicity of the granola and the year ahead. or just throw it all over the kitchen like charlie does. that seems to bring a lot of joy too.

here the boy is, because you haven't seen him in awhile. he's awesome. even if he does draw all over the couch with sharpie and throw his thomas train in my face to wake me up in the morning.



christmas music by the muppets is on heavy, heavy rotation in our home as we gear up for the big day. ruth's favorite? "the christmas queen" with miss piggie. royalty is mentioned- and ruth loves royalty- but miss piggie also says the forbidden "shut up" and ruthie, who loves being naughty, gets giddy each time she hears it (and then whispers it to herself about five times to see how it tastes). topping eve's charts (literally. charts. lists. visual aides of any kind. she's all about them):  "zat you, santa claus?"  by dr. teeth and the electric mayhem band. perfect for swaying hips through the house while snapping- her latest achievement.



as awesome as the muppets are, chip and i sourced the more traditional carols for our christmas decorating. a far cry from the simplicity and ease of last year, but we're now almost certain we love it just as much. and eve can sound out "wondrous" so, win win. chip, once again, deserves the high five with this decorating scheme. he concocted the plan, brought home the paper and didn't complain once when i stopped cutting after three lines.



four more days. amazing. and to start our celebratory week off in the most perfect way, a big snow storm came through town last night. with church cancelled we spent the day with friends, watching the girls make snow angels in the freezing wind, visiting the life of christ exhibit at the brooklyn museum, returning home to drink deliciously rich hot chocolate, listen to heavenly angels (and muppets) sing our favorite songs of the season while the snow melted off our boots. a pretty decent start to what will undoubtedly be one of the greatest and jouyfully busiest weeks of the year. merry christmas everyone!


-added- how we do it: cut out letters- freehand in all different sizes make it especially charming, i think. get long strands of bakers twine (any thin string will do, i just have an absurd amount of bakers twine). using scotch tape, tape the letters to the string, folding each piece of tape from the front of letter, over the string and to the back of the letter. secure string of words to walls. done.


tea time

i woke up from the haze of adjusting back to new york time to find myself in the wednesday before thanksgiving. feasts, decorations, turkey dances at school, frenzied but fun food preparation at home filled the day. then thursday came. more preparation, a subway ride to the west side to catch the last 20 minutes of the parade (perfect- when we first arrived there was a marching band completely obscured by the 1/2-block-deep crowd ahead of us, no giant balloons in sight.. but there were plenty of street vendors selling very average sized balloons all around us. ruthie, on my shoulders; "ooooh! there sure are a lot of balloons! look at that princess balloon! oh i love these balloon parades, mom, i love it!" then the pilsbury doughboy poked his head around the dakota and blew her mind. then, just minutes later, to a wildly cheering crowd santa-- the REAL santa-- showed himself. eve; "the REAL santa came to visit us just to make us thankful?! he came early? so totally awesome."), return home, grab the food, grab the kids and, cleverly avoiding most traffic, arrive in the suburbs to spend a dreamy day in a house full of friends and insanely delicious food. i love thanksgiving.

the few next days brought sleepovers with family, our third round of fairly severe colds for the season, december, and me sitting and sniffling and behind on everything. but through the haze of jetlag and head cold i am so very happy to be home and so very happy to give my thailand report as soon as i can gather myself and my photos. 

until that magical day, i'll share some photos that the talented photographer, kelsey foster, took of the girls back in october. the moment kelsey contacted me about possibly setting up a shoot with the girls in some of the clothes i've designed for them, i was giddy. her photos are lovely and she is just the right amount of sweet and easy going. watching her patience with the girls - who were ridiculous that morning - was entertaining and endearing. also, the fact that i'm pretty sure she saved charlie from getting trampled by waiters at least three times makes me especially fond of her. 

kelsey chose the roebling tea room for the shoot. a great choice. the food was fresh (which made charlie happy), the light was beautiful (which made the girls happy- sunshine!) and the place was virtually empty until the moment we began to make our way out (which made me happy. especially in the moment when charlie was yelling and writhing in my arms, ruth was writhing on the floor because i took a drink of her juice and eve was running along the bench at full speed). 

kelsey, thank you again! meeting you was wonderful and the pictures are beautiful and so fun. 


all images property of kelsey foster. all clothing designs property of katie did.