go to hawaii

and get mark to photograph you. because he's amazing. one of the nicest, coolest guys you'll meet who is also really good at what he does.


i adore this family of my sister's and i want to cry these are so great. those kids! that water! those kids! 


i wish i had been there to jump in, fully clothed, with them. i lived in hawaii my junior year of college and would have stayed longer if it hadn't been for chip waiting for me on the mainland. it worked out well for me (i still like chip a lot), but it really has been too long since i've tasted that salt water and breathed in the plumeria. it has also been too long since i laughed with mark and his beautiful and passionate wife patria ruth. . . so go. for me. swim, lay on the beach, sail, surf, be photographed, drink fresh coconut milk, watch the sun rise and set and be happy. then tell me all about it so i can live vicariously through you. and then take it a step further and show me the pictures that mark took; test my will power. . . because there is a little part of me that will want to implode with envy on the inside.  

photos courtesy of holladay photo. mahalo mark! (and sarah for letting me paste you and your family all over this post!).  




he stares. he smiles. he laughs (but not a lot). he sticks his lower lip way out when he is about to cry; so sad and sweet. he likes to hang out on his stomach. he sucks his thumb and puts himself to sleep. he swings his arms and grabs for toys, but hasn't really figured out how to work his fingers yet. he kicks and flaps when he's excited. he cries when his sisters go to bed. he really likes chip, but likes me a little more. he spits up and now is starting to drool. he grabs his toes and stretches his legs. he swats at me over and over and over while he nurses and rolls to his back when he's mad. he talks more and more all the time- a nice high squeal to start then brings it down to a raspy and low "oooh" and "mmm". the girls have heard him say "mom" and "ice cream". . . he sweats a lot and gets smelly fast. he's not sure about baths but feels pretty good about what he sees in the mirror. 

i am completely in love. and shocked that in one week from today he'll be four months old. 


showering the bride


in a few weeks miriam is marrying martin. this past weekend i got to throw her a bridal shower.



address changed to protect the innocent. . . which is you- my neighborhood can get kind of sketchy. chip deserves the bulk of the credit here. he took my little sketch of the design on mim's ring, put it through several filters and got this. i'm withholding the very sad attempt at designing an invitation all by myself in order to protect my ego.


the decorations.

don't know what to call them, but the confetti streamer things were inspired by these amazing mobiles and by the invitation itself. cardstock, needle, fishing line, a lot of little knots, glass bead at bottom for weight and a 2"circle punch (my new favorite thing- it totally takes me back to 1987, watching my mulleted older brother walk around the house, squeezing his squeaky grips over and over and over to bulk up his wrists).


oversized confetti spread on the tables. among the many solid pieces were these with the invitation design and words; words that come to martin's mind when he thinks of miriam, his bride-to-be. reading that e-mail almost made me cry.


pictures of mim in banner form. because if you spent the bulk of your childhood with a bowl cut, i'm going to celebrate it. sewn together with a zig-zag stitch; my favorite fast and lazy way to make a banner.

and of course there were balloons, because balloons mean party time.


the table.

without chip in the house to help me take pictures while i finish all the last-minute details i miss important shots like the final version of the table. but it was filled with really yummy stuff, which i can mostly thank the internet for.

if you don't normally put vanilla in your crepes, do it. fresh off the stove, these were the best things i've eaten in months. the next day at the party they were great too. for topping options: lemon curd, mascarpone/ricotta cheese filling, hot fudge sauce, strawberries, bananas, raspberries, fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. mini quiches- made with this cream cheese tart crust (half the butter)- crazy easy and good. barefoot contessa turkey tea sandwiches- i'll use any excuse i can find to make these. i first had them years ago at brooke's house and have craved them often ever since. baby spinach salad with pears, avocado, goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. plums for refreshing before diving into the lemon chiffon cupcakes, ginger snaps and chocolate toffee cookies. and as people parted, there were truffles. i used this recipe with some adjustments (a bit of cream added, and a good amount of bittersweet chocolate in place of the semisweet). and to try to wash all the richness down, juice and lemon-mint water.


album. i love things like this. next to their pictures (which they e-mailed me earlier) everyone wrote a special note just for little mim. hopefully it will be fun for her to look at every now and then. . . to remember all these people when she's an old married woman. . .

among all these little details, which i loved preparing, there was talking, laughing, opening of really great gifts, sighing, over-eating and, above all, celebrating miriam. and that was by far the best part. because this bride-to-be, my sister-in-law (who also happens to be one of my very best friends) deserves to be celebrated.


artistic temperaments

each saturday, if his work schedule cooperates, chip spends the mornings with just the girls. they go the park, or the playground or the botanic gardens, or sometimes they just hang out in the apartment. but no matter where they go, there are always markers, crayons and paper in tow, because no activity is truly complete without some drawing. it usually begins with chip doing the majority of the work (make a princess! a t-rex! mommy and a rhino on a trampoline!) but soon the girls take over as the artists.

i adore their art, but what i find most interesting and endearing is the consistency in approach the two girls take, regardless of age or artistic phase.

ruth keeps her work free and spontaneous. she never plans or thinks too much about what she draws, just does it. when she is finished she throws the crayons down (or across the room) shouts "i all done!" and walks away.



eve takes her time; drawing slowly and carefully. she tortures herself trying to get just the right color, make just the right line. finally, when she is ready, her art is taken to the door. other pictures are shuffled, magnets are chosen and the piece is gently placed. as she backs away she holds her marker at the ready, just in case.

i love how who they are is so evident in everything they do. . . and really, is there anything better than kid's art?




school: the first day

eve has begun her life as an official student. a pre-k student, but an official, full time student of the nyc public school system nonetheless.

the night before the first day i told eve i'd be waking her up in the morning. "oh, so you're gonna hit me in the face with a pillow? you can do that to wake people up." clearly i didn't hit her with a pillow. instead i made a liar out of myself, stayed sound asleep in my own bed and let the girls wake me up by "carefully" climbing on our heads to get to charlie. throwing pillows at a person's face, or stepping on that face. . . you choose, they both work.

once my eyes were open eve wanted two things from me: final confirmation that this day was the day she goes to the school with all her new friends and, second, that she see her new "super special school skirt." she was pleased, gave me a "check" (as opposed to an "x"), and we were on our way. we washed, we ate, we dressed, we grabbed the baby and each other's hands and flew out the door. eve bit her fingernails the entire 10 minute walk to school and once we arrived she met the flood of kids with wide eyes and more nail biting. but she was amazing. her two moments of despair were handled so maturely; the little well of tears didn't even spill over. so careful and sweet and attentive and such a big girl. . .

if she weren't so happy and ready for tomorrow i'd be dealing with my own moments of despair (and i wouldn't stop before the tears spilled- have i mentioned that i cried every first day of school through the SIXTH grade? emotional maturity has never really been my strength). . . but, if i were about to ball up and hide under my desk for thirty minutes (third grade), it is good to know i could take some real comfort in two things:

first, the fact that this little wrap number is going to fit her for longer than she'll ever want it to- move the buttons over, let down some of the high hem and it's a size 7. and then ruthie gets to wear it too! that feels good.


second, that i finally got to put that little apple button to good use. i've been trying to for over a year but nothing seemed just right until last night. apples! cursive! pleats! school!



oliver + s's 2+2= happy eight-year-old


before we left for the summer (we're back!) i did a little pattern testing for oliver+s's new fall line of patterns. liesl sent me the pattern for 2+2 blouse and skirt in size 8 and i sewed away while thinking about the eight-year-old that, if things worked out, would soon be the happy owner of the outfit. 

things worked out.

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i can hardly stand how cute my little niece is, especially in this little outfit. mia says she really likes it too. and even though she is the kind of girl who might try to pretend because she would never want to hurt my feelings, i believe her; she is a terrible liar and she has already requested to wear it to church twice. (only being successful once. apparently she had a kool-aid mishap just before church. . . nothing welcomes the day like a tall, cold glass of red kool-aid).

this is the second time i've been an oliver+s pattern tester and i have nothing but wonderful things to report. the design is great- both of the packaging and the garments- but even better are liesl's instructions. each pattern is like a mini sewing lesson. so thorough and understandable. and the things that may veer into the realm of pattern speak are clearly explained, so much so that i really think each pattern can be sewn by anyone at any level of experience.  power to the people. 

the patterns are available over at oliver + s, check 'em out.




one full month is a ridiculously long time for us to go without chipper. we're all dying for him to join us on friday so we can live it up in glorious oregon for one final week before heading back to brooklyn. three more days for us to miss our favorite things about the man.


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eve's favorites: stories at nigh-night time (usually sung to some crazy twangy/old-timey tune), showing him her "most beautiful drawings" and talking about scary monsters who don't get us.


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ruth's: having food with daddy cause daddy makes yummy food (a perfect response from ruth- no basis in reality and food centered).


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charlie's: who knows. but i'm certain he and chip will have fun smiling at each other. 


and the things i've missed? i've missed everything. i've missed laughing with him and watching the girls go nuts with him around. i've missed watching him feverishly sketch out his latest scheme for our apartment. i've missed his stories. i've missed the pacing and the lounging and the face he makes when he looks in the mirror. i've missed the thousands of everyday mundane things that make up partnership and family life. i can't wait for friday to come, it's going to be good to have chip around again.


i may check in within the next two weeks, but most likely not. we've got a lot of time to make up for and i don't want to be doing it in front of this screen. hope you all enjoy these last days of summer!


blessing day


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before making it to oregon we went to salt lake for a week of celebration with chip's family. tucked among so many other amazing happenings was the blessing of little charlie. baby was silent and sleepy as his grandfather, great-grandfather, five uncles, one cousin (once removed) and a dear friend surrounded him and chip gave him a beautiful and sweet blessing for his life. it was pure glory to have so many of our favorite people in one room to share our joy, faith, love and life with.


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the day got off to a seriously rough start - frustration from an argument with chip and the discovery that my favorite a.p.c. dress was accidentally shrunk was further compunded by the sad reality that none of the pre-pregnancy dresses i packed fit my blubbery body. before i was finally able to throw something decent together to wear to church i was a sobbing mess. hormones are great. but despite all that, i can confidently say that it was one the five best days of the year. in fact, mary's birthday and a really amazing reunion with friends on top of all the fun of charlie's blessing throws it into the top two- only to be trumped by charlie's actual birthday. really, such a good day.


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making charlie's little kimono top and drawstring pants was so fun. i have deluded myself into thinking it will be lovingly passed down from generation to generation of baby boys. . .i derive a huge amount of pleasure and satisfaction from this delusion. borderline unhealthy. but, even if charlie is the only baby to wear it, i'm happy. he looked like an angel. the kimono top is from this martha stewart pattern while the pants are from a random pattern i grabbed at the fabric store (after accidentally leaving my preferred pant pattern at home). the outfit was fast and easy and i don't think anything looks as wonderful as a baby in white. the tiny bit of light blue gingham (the drawstring and covered buttons) had to be a part of the outfit, because what is a baby boy without a least a little blue on him at all times?


this picture of charlie on the floor was taken yesterday, two weeks after the actual blessing day, and the kid has grown a crazy amount in those 14 days. do you see how long the arms are? so, the fit is a little different than the original, but the basic idea is still there. and yes, you are reading his expression correctly- very nervous and very unhappy about being stuck on a hard wood floor while i point the camera at him. not his most flattering picture, but i'm just lucky he waited ten seconds before letting me hear about it.


charlie smiles




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so apparently posting a picture of blueberries is not an acceptable way of helping chip feel in touch with his family. weird. so, here we have his rapidly growing man child, charlie.

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the latest: smiling, usually preceded by eye contact and a few short coos. he was showing some clear preference for my sister jeanie, but the competition has left town and i'm thinking i'm the frontrunner for smiles once again. although papa is a clear threat. . .


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the dissappointment of not having a third girl has long since melted away and i'm now thinking that, although not the same, making for and dressing charlie is a pretty entertaining game. arrows, cowboys and railroad stripes. with those furrowed brows and manly neck (i swear it's thick, chip thinks i'm nuts) he's already on his way to being the classic all-american boy.


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i love it when baby things have pockets. so adorably useless. for charlie, anyway; ruth makes good use of them. when she's not trying to shove his hands in them she uses the pockets as storage for her own treasures. most recently; lipsmackers and crumpled stickers.


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kuplink, kuplank


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there were no cardigans or overalls, no wandering mama bears or tin pails, but there was a jolly toothless man, a sleeping baby and thousands of plump berries ripe for the picking this morning at the blueberry field outside of brookings. we are back on our extended summer break in oregon and as i picked in the abnormal heat this morning the words and images of blueberries for sal ran repeatedly through my mind. i am finally coming back around to loving summer, partly for the escape i get to make to oregon, but mostly for the berries. even as i wiped away the sweat i found myself so content to be there in the patch, searching for plump berries to the sound of my sister's and mother's wafting laughter and the excited chatter of the bubbly german women to my right. seven pounds later (almost thirty between all of us) we wound our way back down the river to the shelter of an air conditioned home looking out to the ocean.


a good start to our brookings stay.


the heat should subside shortly and we'll soon be back to the regular fair of long sleeves, but for now we've kept the clothes of last week's utah stay, and we're all happy to run through the sprinklers and eat popsicles in the sun.


the next several weeks this blog will be used as an attempt to make chip feel a little closer than 3000 miles from his family, which will not change the content so much as the frequency of the posts if all goes according to my ambitious plans. i'm already behind schedule, with baby to nurse, girls to engage, vampires to read about and blueberries to consume. but at least i've made a start.