on a {very} personal note: just let go

i have started and deleted this post many, many times.  i have never been ready to write it.  it's a part of my life that i intend on keeping quite close, but something has transpired recently that has given me a new perspective on my situation.  i have my sister to thank, because a simple conversation we had turned into a mindset that i readily embraced, and to be honest, needed in my life.  like a thirsty corn field craving water in a drought, i have been yearning for a solution to my problem.  and like how all good things come into our lives, it happened when i least expected it.

without getting into the nitty gritty of this whole thing i guess i will start by giving you a few of the basics.  and for now, that's all i am ready to do.

1. i am adopted.

2. and i now know my birth family.

3. it's complicated.  for everyone.  and by everyone, i really do mean everyone in my life.  

ever since i was a little girl i have had this expectation of how things would turn out in my head.  needless to say, it was an expectation full of hope and happiness.  not that i was lacking any of that in my life, because i am beyond blessed with amazing parents and a gigantic family that love me like crazy.  but it was an expectation that was formed early on out of curiosity and wonder.  i suppose you could say i my mind was always racing with many burning questions that seemed to surface more frequently the older {and more hormonal} i got.  

and finally, over the course of a few years, i found out the answers.  

a lot of time has passed and things have transpired.  things i would rather not disclose because that makes my head hurt.  but let me just say, it is because of my sister {she is my sweet birth sister whom i have gotten the pleasure to call my good friend} and the conversation that we had that i have been able to just let go.  

as we walked along the plaza one afternoon on her visit to kansas city, she gave me a metaphor that stuck like super glue.  unknowingly like the little buddha she is, she compared my expectation about my adoption to a balloon that is tied to one's wrist.  

at first, it's wonderful having that balloon tied there so innocent and pretty.  but after awhile, taking that balloon everywhere, like out to dinner, to bed, on a run, to the grocery store, to the bathroom, in the delivery room, while cooking, etc. would become quite annoying and would even start to feel heavy, not to mention it would just look and feel ridiculously silly after awhile. 

so she said, all i needed to do was to just let go of it.  cut the tie, and set that expectation free.  there was nothing complex about her instructions, like taking my woes to therapy or some support group.  no.  it was something i could do on my own at my leisure.  i liked this.  

i am not sure of the exact moment of when i grabbed those sharp scissors and cut that string, but soon after this conversation i did.  and with gratitude i watched as it floated up high in the sky never to return again.  i watched as that balloon faded into the clouds and out of my life.  it was beautiful and freeing. 

expectations can be wonderful things.  they can gear you up and boost your spirits.  they can even push you towards positivity in a time of doubt.  but they can also press down your soul, burdening you in small ways that ultimately breeds anger and frustration.  

i was lucky enough to have someone tell me that all i need to do was to just let go.  she said all of this in a round about way, but for me it clicked.  i have read quotes on pinterest suggesting similar mantras, but it wasn't until someone actually told me to do so in their own words that i really listened.  

the reason i am sharing this personal part of my life with you is that if you have a balloon tied to your wrist, and you are tired of taking it with you everywhere you go, i want you to know it is okay to cut those strings and watch that balloon float up and out of your life.  sometimes, all it takes is a simple act to move a mountain, so to speak.  you don't always need a grand gesture to make a change.    

maybe someday i will be brave enough to type out my story, but for now, i hope this little slice of my life can be of some sort of inspiration to you.  


our two little besties

oh these two.  andrew and i have loved watching their unique relationship blossom over this past year.  leon has always been such a wonderful big brother, letting stella poke and prod without even so much as a wince.  he's a tough little cookie, that's for sure.  maybe he is so kind because he knows he has a certain someone to thank for the yummy morsels to be found on the floor...under the table...and in between tiny fingers...  ;)

recently stella's favorite place to play is over in leon's little area, like in his kennel and in his water bowl.  the other day i caught her playing away as happy as a clam in his bed.  busted!  i tried my best to convince her that her room was much more fun, and that lasted, ohhh...30 seconds.  pretty soon i heard the pitter patter of chubby feet on the hard wood making her way toward her new favorite spot.  i suppose it's fine as long as she doesn't drink the dog water?  {said with quivering uncertainty}  

and then there is this new side we have been seeing of miss stella.  it's a rather sassy side that likes to take leon's leash and boss him around our home in her precious {and loud} babble.  "dodododooo puppa!!!" can be heard at various times throughout the day and sure enough upon hearing this precious voice there is a mister leon tied to the end of a long leash playing along like the good sport he is.

we are so blessed that these two get along and can have fun playing with each other.  he is a great big brother to stella and she is his number one fan.  we are still working on "gentle petting" and when that concept is mastered, i know one pup that will be quite thankful.  what a beautiful relationship these besties have!


there's no place like home

almost nothing beats waking up in your own comfy bed after a long week and a half of traveling and living out of a messy suitcase that you decided last minute to share with your husband.  yes.  share we did.  bad, bad idea.  but anyhow, now we are home and it feels so good.  opening our heavy door last night and soaking in the familiar felt so wonderful.  everything from that lonely glass in the sink to our still blooming plans welcomed us back warmly.  today i plan on venturing out to the market to fill our fridge, and perhaps a little jaunt to target for some teacher supplies.  did you know i start back in a few weeks!?  its definitely time to hunker down, make to-do lists, respond to emails, finish almost over-do books, and make soup.  because soup makes for one heck of a cozy day.  happy sunday to you and more about our travels this week! 


dear stella // eyes

dear stella, 

i love how you look at me, your mama, with those knowing eyes.  those eyes that are speckled and freckled with brown and blue and grey and green, ever changing.  like a rushing stream hugging rocks they glisten and sparkle and offer those within view quite a beautiful show.  those are the eyes that curiously and impatiently wait for me to turn the page.  to lick the spoon.  to open the door.  to run the bath.  to offer a bite.  such inquisitive eyes you have, my sweet baby girl.  

those are the eyes that follow me across the room, widening like a sunrise and blinking fast like the sudden drop of falling rain.  you can tell a story with those eyes.  a story full of hope and wonder, because that, baby girl, is how you see this world.  as if life were made of sugar, you always stick your tongue out to taste, and never fail to follow up with a discerning satisfaction reflected in those eyes as they squint and create the tiniest crinkle in your nose.

i love the way you look at life, baby girl.  so innocently, so passionately.  i love that you cannot sit on mama's lap for baby bounce at the library.  did you know you're the only baby in the room who cannot sit still for more than 30 seconds?  it's true.  ...but did you also know that you know how to light up that room with your endearing spirit by the way you smile with those eyes?  i am proud of you for that.  and i don't blame you for not sitting, there is just too much beauty in this world to explore.  

thank you for showing me how to be more patient and appreciative of the things in life i cannot control.  like your new obsession with running + screaming when running + screaming isn't always appreciated by everyone else.  you have given me a refreshing perspective on life by making the most out of little moments and by challenging to accept the fact that life is full of surprises.

i want you to always know that i encourage your independence and love that you roam around this wild life like a caged bird set free.  but as your mama, i also want you to know that i will always be ready for you to find your way home, back to our nest where i will protect and care for you.

i will also always be ready for that moment when your eyes will lock with mine in a time of need, when all you need is a warm body and a kind look of compassion that we both know can heal way more than any amount of chocolate or wine.  because that's what mama's do best.  they hug hard and they fill you up with love when you think no one else will, sometimes without even saying one word.  and when this life hits your hard in the face and flips you over on your back, your mama will be here to help you get up, wipe off that dirt, and to offer you an assuring look with her eyes that everything is going to be okay.

love, your mama  


going green and an herb recipe, too

there is something quite wonderful about having plant life in our home.  like medicine, it soothes my nature-loving soul and softens the modern edges of our decor, while adding an ever-changing, organic quality that i simply adore and miss out on while living in "the city".  getting a plant it like getting a tattoo, or so they say.  once you get one, you will immediately crave more.  and more i always do.  i can't help but ponder over which one to get upon browsing through the plant section at trader joes.  they are all so beautiful!  

and there then there is the ritual that these lovely greens add to our everyday routine: the watering.  i have been showing stella how to water our plants and now she likes to accompany me around our home after we wake up to nurture our greens.  i get excited after hopping out of bed to take a peek and see how much they have grown overnight.  i can't help but think, wow, i made that grow.  and by no means do i have a green thumb, i just happen to have some plants that like to grow with random watering.  this could all change, in say, a matter of a day.  but for now, they are thriving {fingers crossed}.  

we currently have a variety of plants in our home, predominately focusing on herbs.  not only is growing herbs in your home practical, but it also gives off a beautiful smell without having to light a candle.  we are growing tarragon, sweet basil, thyme, lemon mint, and rosemary.  here is an herb friendly recipe i have been using throughout this summer with our sweet basil plant and the abundance of peaches we have gathered from our farmer's market on the weekends.  it's light and really easy to whip up.  i hope you enjoy it!

basil // peach // mozzarella salad

3 ripe peaches cut into wedges
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, torn
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cut into chunks
pinch of sea salt
a twist of fresh cracked black pepper
drizzle of olive oil

*you get bonus points if you grill the peaches for this recipe ;)

toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and eat up buttercup!



running here and running there

there has been a lot of running going on over here lately.  

like some serious running to the store to get more milk.  i bet you wondered how in the heck the above picture of oreos and milk fits under the title: running here and running there.  well, baby girl drinks the stuff like crazy and i prefer a soggy oreo when indulging in an afternoon treat.  and this all calls for a run to the store, walking just does not suffice. 

and then there has been another kind of running that's been going on that has made our hearts swell with happiness.  we have had the pleasure of listening to the adorable sound of feet pounding our wood floors and a wee one who wants the whole wide world to hear she can now successfully do this ridiculously fun thing called running.  with her arms up and stance wide, she runs her little heart out from room to room.  it is just so sweet to watch her squeal with delight when she hears me coming behind her, hoping to sneak in a tickle or two.  

we have also been running around town, hardly able to believe that it is in fact the middle of july {how did that happen!??}.  there is lots left to accomplish on our summer bucket list, so we've ran to here and there and everywhere to squeeze as much juice out of this sweet summer as possible.  this has definitely been a summer of doing and we have taken every opportunity to relish in its brilliance.  

and for those of you who don't fancy running, just remember: it doesn't matter how slow you go because you at least you are still lapping everybody on the couch.  ;)  


my dream diaries pt. 2

i dream of...{in no particular order}

...an urban oasis covered in greenery high up in the sky...

...an outdoor movie night with my little family...

...learning another language...

...spending a night in a castle...

...to fly up...UP..and away...

...making a pie from scratch...blueberry?...

...a colorful door and shudders to match... 

...a sibling for stella to share a popsicle with...

...having a little helper in the kitchen...

...doing yoga and sticking with it...

...doing this with my loves...every weekend...in a city we have never been to before.  nyc?  with a bottle of vino.  and cheese. always cheese...

...biking around the english garden in munich again with andrew...and then stoping for a bier and a sausage.  with lots of mustard...whole grain with just the right amount of spice...

...having a cafe here and reading my new book, moonwalking with einstein...

...that is all for now...

{all images via pinterest} // you can find my dream diaries pt. 1 here 


and then the clouds parted...

and you thought you were at a dead end.  the end of your rope...and the end of you your wits...and so you gave up.
or so you thought.
you just needed that little push in the right direction, but at that point, definition of "right" existed in the intersection where chaos meets confusion.  what was right was buried deep within the layers of feeling frustration, gloom, and worry.   
so you numbed and shielded yourself from those uncomfortable feelings and you put them there.  in that box. sealed tightly and out of sight...  
{but never out of mind}
...still, secretly looking for that light...that hope...
that spark to ignite your lonely flame.
just when you thought it was going to pour
the clouds parted...
and you saw a the smallest glimmer of hope that gave you the
long awaited strength to push through and smile.


last week i had the privilege to attend a conference for work in florida concentrating on specific teaching strategies for my classroom.  i left kansas city in a state of worry and sadness, knowing that i would miss my little family and perhaps that i would not allow myself the chance to grow because of that.  but grow did i ever.  my eyes were surprisingly opened to new ways of approaching education.  there, in that setting with many other teachers with whom i found out were feeling many of the same things i was, i got a much needed shove in the right direction.  from them, i got a healthy dose of hope and positivity.

i have been on that fence, you know the one where you question everything.  that wavering fence where you go back and forth, back and forth, about various choices you need to make in life.  for me specifically, it has been about going back to work.  ...more aptly put, if i should go back to work, all the while knowing that debating that question is pointless.  i have to go back.  we can not afford for me to stay home, yet.

since the second i drove out of the school parking lot i have had apprehensive doubts about being a teacher this upcoming fall.  it didn't seem possible for me to enjoy being a mama and a teacher at the silly perfectionist state i desire.  so of course, mamahood won that mind battle and i have built up a wall of fear and doubt throughout the course of this summer break.

behind that wall i have dwelled on the fact that being an effective teacher might not be in the cards for me anymore.  this has left me feeling sad and worried about this summer coming to an end because i knew i had to back.  i have forced myself to put those feelings of angst on a shelf, tucked away in a place i knew i could access them when it wasn't forced, and when i was ready.  i must admit, i didn't think i would ever be ready to face those feelings head on because i truly believed they would never be alleviated.  i feared going back and not being excited about it.  and if i know one thing, it is that teachers need to really love their job otherwise they are doing themselves, the kids, and the world a disservice by merely showing up and getting through the day.  i never wanted to be that kind of teacher.  ever.  

so that moment i secretly craved and really, really need came this past weekend when my eyes were opened to a little thing called hope.  i am forever grateful for getting to experience the awesome power of good teachers and the love they have for students all across the united states.  it was invigorating to just be in the same room as many of them, and i am anxiously awaiting to take that passion and apply it to my own teaching experiences this upcoming school year.

and now, because of those parting clouds, i am finally excited about getting back into my classroom.  i now know that i just needed some inspiration and a fresh perspective to get me in a positive mindset.  it feels great to "be back" so to speak, because i know that teaching is my passion and i owe it to myself to cultivate that.


happy 3 whole years, baby!

it's been whole three years, baby!  

three whole years of you vacuuming patterns into the rug and me making you the best sunday supper on this side of the mississippi.  three whole years of turning our high school phone whispers into full-fledged dream-come-trues.  and three whole years of i love you always and forever, in circles, god bless, i love you, so much {every night before we drift off to sleep, and sometimes more than once...}.    

it's been three years of netflix movie nights, chipotle dinners, and us calling each other "pants" because we all know how married couples come up with ridiculous pet names for one another, and ours happens to be "pants" because, well...it just is.   

it's been three years of our "t.i.h." lullabies every time we feel at home in one another's arms even though there doesn't have to be a roof over our heads because that home is in our hearts.  home is wherever we make it, and it's always with each other.  "this. is. home."   

it's been three years of "i'll see you soon" in the mornings before work and "i miss you already" texts on the drive there.  three years of the best cuddle sessions and the worst excuses for not working out.  like, "it's 5:00 somewhere," because lord knows we have perfected that one over the past three years.  

three years of excitement and new beginnings, like the perfection and beauty in each time the frothy waves kiss our beloved california's ocean's shore.  three years of mission avocado: picking out the perfect one on our magical market visit.   and three years of exploring unknowns in this surprising city of ours.  

it's been three whole years of a new city, a new home, a new job, a new baby, a new life.  goodness, we have gone through a lot in these past three years, and it's been one beautiful ride.  

it's been three whole years where i have gotten the extraordinary and amazing chance to get to know you, my best friend, deeper and more fully.  and because of that opportunity, i have become more complete.  

it's been three whole years, baby, and i love you more and more each day.  i love you bigger and better than i ever thought i could love.  and because of our love, i love life more, too.  thank you for asking me out 11 years ago freshman year {online, might i add} with my garish braces and all, and despite the fact that my hair was the color of sweet stella's favorite elmo toy.  that young love turned into our forever love: a love which ended up making one heck of a daughter, that is for sure.   

i said "i do" three years ago and i say it today, tomorrow, and for always {and infinity}.  if three years has been this wonderful, i cannot even imagine what is in store...but here's to a gazillion more...and cheers to things in this post only you and i will only truly understand...

happy anniversary to my love, andrew



i'm off to florida and i will miss them

today i leave for florida for a work conference for four days.  i have been experiencing many little moments of anxiety about this for the past few days leading up till now.  i can't quite come up with the right words to describe my fears or the proper phrases to outline the feelings that seem to accompany my worry, but i know that this feeling is not one i fancy and surely it must boil down to one thing: i will miss them.  a lot.    

last night i snuck into stella's room before tip toeing off to bed.  i felt like i was breaking the rules as little kid being sneaky, but i had to go in there and pick her up.  i couldn't resist.  she was cuddled amidst many of her blankies sleeping on her tummy in a diaper...booty in the air and mouth open on the mattress.  i reached down and scooped up her warm body that soon clung to mine.  she nestled her little face in my neck next to my ear so i could hear her breathe softly.  together we rocked and i soaked in the moment.  she needs me, this little one.  and i need her, too.  

being a mama is the best blessing in the world.  it had made my heart so unbelievably full, way beyond what i even thought was possible.  i have eased into this role as a mama as if it was the one thing in life i was really meant to do.  taking care of her, holding her, soothing her sadness, playing together, making messes, eliciting giggles, just all of it is so much better than i could have possibly imagined it would be.  when i was pregnant, i knew i would love her, but one can never really understand that kind of love, that magnitude of love, until one holds their baby and feels that connection.  it is love so deep and profound that it sometimes hurts.  and this is one of those times.  i just don't want to leave.  i know i will be back faster than baby girl could say, "welcome home, mama!" but for some reason it feels like i am leaving for a month or more.      

she has my heart, this one.  as i walk on that plane i know i am leaving my heart behind in a happy little girl who loves to show the world just how big she is by raising her arms in the air when we ask her, "stella, how big are you?"  my heart will be left behind in a little girl who eats blueberries like it's her job and who acts like she's got a doctorate in stacking wooden blocks.  i know she will probably not even know i am gone, heck, she will have a blast with her dada and nana and not even miss me on single bit, but i will miss them terribly and think about them with every passing minute.     

it will be hard not being there seeing those little arms outstretched in the morning insisting i take {and cradle like a newborn} all of her blankies before picking her up and holding her close as her eyes slowly adjust to the morning light.  it will be hard not seeing that amazing case of bed head as we stroll over to have our cheerios together on the floor in front of elmo.  

it pains me to think about not smelling that so familiar smell that just so "stella" every morning.  i think will miss that the most.  along with my cup of coffee in the am, i now need a good wiff of stella to start my day.  i wish i could bottle that smell up and inhale it every other minute.  there is no other smell like it and it warms my heart each and every time it tickles my nose.  her scent alone turns sad days into happy ones and is a constant reminder that life is beautiful and worth being thankful for.  

i will miss all of it, and i know there might be a tear or two, but i also know that having a little welcome committee there for me at the airport will give me something to look forward to and will help this trip fly by.  in the mean time, there are pictures and videos fully stocked on my phone and a few new books in my bag.  calling will always be an option, and of course, there will be ichat.  

and by the way, i will be over here on monday with the beautiful lauren having a mama to mama conversation about babies, husbands, jobs, clothes, homes, and more!  stop over and take a peek, and see you around in a few days. 

ok...airport, here i come. 


my truth moment // less is more

isn't funny how life works?  it usually takes a full-blown meltdown and some tears {and lots of time} to come to a *truth moment* as i like to call it.  it takes a rain storm to see that rainbow, folks.  but that's part of the beauty of life's lessons, because through suffering and hurt, you become stronger, wiser, and a better version of yourself.  sure, it takes a stroll down the harder road less traveled to come to these insightful realizations, but that's the name of the game.  call it tough cookies if you want, but at the end of the day, these transformations are precious and are always significant. 

nothing fantastically horrible happened over here, but i did have a truth moment.  and it was the day our camera died.  

...but up until a few days ago, it was more of an *oh shite moment*.  sitting in a pool of warm spilt milk at the bottom of our stroller compartment sat the absolute worst nightmare imaginable for a mama/blogger/photographer wannabe.  it was horrible you guys.  it was our camera and it was dead.  it wasn't fancy shmancy or anything, but was responsible for capturing our life's beautiful moments and supported my hobby along with this silly blog.  we did the whole soak it in rice thing and that was bologna.  it really was a goner.    

so there i sat at the computer after the funeral pricing out new camera.  of course, if we were going to get a new one, it we might as well get good one, right?  and by good, we all know that means dollar signs.  so i immediately started coming up with possible excuses i could make to my husband promoting the purchase of my new camera friend.  when talking about said camera with andrew, we both decided we could swing it later on this summer, as in not the next day as my wild fantasies has hoped.  since when did i become so greedy?  i was initially disappointed, but sure enough, a truth moment started to take form and a big change in my perspective crept in right under my nose...

two weeks have passed and the only thing i have had to visually document our lives has been my iPhone thanks to the lovely app instagram.  let me tell you, it has been a breath of fresh air.  i have not felt the tug and pull to take photographs of everything.  before this whole incident, it seemed i always had that thing in my hands, never wanting to not capture a moment.  and if i did, you know silent swearing was involved.  

don't get me wrong, i love taking pictures, and that will never change.  however, i have enjoyed this little vacation sans camera because it has given me the opportunity to be more in the moment and enjoy time spent with my family without looking at them through a lens.  

i think i was spending too much time fiddling with my camera in the first place.  also, too much time on pinterest, twitter, facebook, etsy, and other blogs.  it is crazy how much time this virtual world of ours can consume us.  i love connecting with other mamas out there and do my best to keep up with it all, but i think this time spent away from my camera has allowed me to see things a little differently.  not everything is meant to be captured.  sometimes, the best moments are had when there is nothing digital in sight.

i remember when andrew and i took a camping trip with our family to the red woods a few years back.  we spent our days gazing at the those magnificent trees, laughing around our camp fire, and soaking our toes in the cool pristine water nearby.  no camera.  no phone.  no distractions.  it was one of our favorite memories and one we talk about all the time.  i want more of those.  my soul needs that kind of nourishment.   

if you have nothing there to document a moment, it forces your memory to work harder, more efficient, and therefore, become better.  it in those moments that life is really made and through which stories are passed down.  i love looking back at our family's adventures on this blog, but i also enjoy recalling special moments with my loves when we have nothing but our memories to rely on.  both are important and i am working on finding that balance.  

so i suppose my truth moment is that less really is more.  of course, we will be getting a new camera sometime in the future, but i think i am going to start spending more time enjoying life and less time filling it up with technology.  this blog, after all, is a place to store some of our memories and not all of them.  i think it is important to never lose sight of that sentiment and to cherish the here and now.  

life is just too damn short.  

and in that picture you can find me spending the day in my jammies chipped nail polish and all having another truth moment: never forget where baby girl was playing with her wooden blocks when walking around barefoot.  ;)  


our 4th of july holiday

what a glorious 4th we had yesterday!  it was full of summertime fun and definitely did not disappoint.  we started out our day at the pool where baby girl delightfully splashed her toes in the water and stayed close to dada when going under the waterfall.  there was one heck of a bbq going on so naturally we took part in that and had hot dogs and watermelon soup in the grass.  i think it's a rule that you have to eat outside on the 4th of july, no?  well it should be.

after getting our fill of the sun we went back home for an anticipated nap.  another midday holiday festivity, i believe.  our little lady work up just in time for us all to go to the park to engage in the real fun.  fireworks!  we did not get all crazy but smoke bombs and rainbow sparklers were involved.  andrew found us a little cove amidst some trees overlooking the grass.  there, we spread out a blanket, popped open a bottle of bubbly, and toasted to a beautiful day.  stella held onto the wine cork and her blue smoke bomb the entire time.  

we could tell the big show was about to start by the booming echoes going off every other second, so we headed home to our rooftop to watch the fireworks go off around us from the neighboring villages.  i grew up watching fireworks on my home town's downtown bridge with one wonderful show it sight.  there were blankets on streets and etta james in the background.  so americana and utterly beautiful.  this experience could not have been more different from what i grew up watching back in iowa, but stunning nonetheless.  it is a humbling perspective to be on top of a tall building watching the sky light up from every direction in a 360 degree panoramic view.  we laid on the sun chairs and gave baby girl her bottle while watching fireworks boom off in the distance for what must have been many miles.  it was perfect and really relaxing.  and romantic.  :)  with our tired eyes and sun burned shoulders we crept back down stairs into our beds that warmly welcomed us.  

...now for some family time for the rest of the week!


go 'merica!


happy 4th friends!  this little family is going 
to spend the day getting our swim on at the pool, 
eating lots of bbq goodies, waving sparklers,  
and perhaps venturing off to a badmitten tournament 
later on tonight if we are up to it.  

...or we might just pop open a bottle of champagne 
and eat bomb pops for dinner on our patio...

we hope you all have a wonderful holiday!  go 'merica! 


would you be our coffee dates?

andrew and i have really enjoyed creating custom playlists on 8tracks this summer.  our mix entitled "coffee date" has been on repeat as of late.  it includes some of our favorite artists, such as the shins, andrew bird, and beirut.  andrew turned it on the other night when we were making dinner which was a perfect accompaniment, and i enjoy listening to it in the early morning when i have my coffee on the patio.  it's folky electric beats give off happy vibes that we are particularly keen on.  we hope you enjoy it as much as we have.  stay tuned for our family jams mix, it is currently in the works!

track 1 // "tenuousness" andrew bird
track 2 // "nantes" beirut
track 3 // "holocene" bon iver
track 4 // "blue ridge mountains" fleet foxes
track 5 // "what light" wilco
track 6 // "in these arms" the swell season 
track 7 // "the first days of spring" noah and the whale
track 8 // "new slang" the shins


handmade // baby art

babies can make art, too!  painting is so much fun and full of opportunities to learn.  in my opinion, it should not be an activity reserved for only the older kiddos.  and wait for it, painting with babies can be mess free!  that's right.  no more eating paint in between brush strokes and getting that colorful goo in places you didn't even expect possible...like behind ears, between toes, and under high chairs.  don't get me wrong, messy art can be half the fun when creating, we know this from experience.  however, the other day we only had an hour before nap time and i wanted stella to have some fun the art department sans mess.  so i racked my brain and did a little scavenger hunt for non-traditional art supplies around our home and came up with the following:

- paint
- paper
- plasic ziplock bags
- poster container {any container that closes would do}
- beads from an old necklace {you could use marbles}

on the floor dressed in actual clothes {stella is usually a nudist painter} baby girl mixed the vibrant colors and shook herself silly with a heightened degree of concentration.  she had a ball touching the paint through the bag and watching shapes take form with each drag of her little finger.  we experimented with three different abstract art crafts and here's how your babies can, too!

1. poster container art: put paper in a poster container {or any container you don't mind getting covered with paint} with beads/marbles and lots of different colors of paint.  close it up and enjoy shaking the container while making cool noises.  stella liked it when i showed her how to do this so she knew what to do when it was her turn.  the more you shake the more crazy your art will be!  this type of art works well with more colors. 

2. finger paint art:  enclose a piece of paper inside a plastic ziplock bag along with paint.  zip it shut and make letters in the paint feeling the gooey mess without getting any actual paint on your fingers.  the more watery the paint, the easier it will spread.

3. marble bag art: enclose a piece of paper inside a plastic ziplock bag along with paint and marbles/beads.  zip it shut and shake it up!  i think this one was stella's favorite because she could move and groove while seeing the paint through the clear bag.  

note:  i used heavy duty watercolor paper and cut it to size {8x10} pre-painting.  we are in the midst of creating an art  gallery for baby girl's masterpieces this summer and wanted the option to frame her art.  stay tuned for that.  :)

i hope this little craft inspires you to try making some abstract art with your babies at home!  it's also a great way to teach your wee one about colors and shapes, too.  happy painting! 

*linking up with monday mom musings and monday meet up*

goodbye june, hello july

 goodbye, june.  you were a fun one, that's for sure.  you spoiled us with fun times at the zoo, the park, the drive in, and so much more.  you gave us so much free time to try new things and discover the beauty of summer.  we will miss you, but not gonna lie, sparklers and bomb pops sounds pretty rad.  so, without further adieu, hello july!

...and a few more of our summer bucket list adventures from this past month we accomplished as a little family.  

{1 // 12 // 16 // 37}