Monday, September 30, 2013

another family trip to stone mountain


well hello there! how was your weekend? ours was pretty great, actually. i had my doubts because we were supposed to wake up real early to make breakfast for church (not the whole church, just the extra special ones who come to clean on saturday morning) and we didn't have any plans. i hate not having plans, because this can sometimes mean not doing anything. but! i sneakily got to sleep in on saturday morning (only fair since the baby kept me up like half the night). and then loverboy and i decided to get coffee and put our stone mountain pass to use. it's like we like it there or something.

see, like being outside, loverboy said to me (not at all disparagingly, oh no), when i remarked how nice it was. you wanted to see people and 'things besides trees,' he reminded me. well! i like being outside too, just so you know. plus, there were actually a lot of people there. ;) the trees were just okay. but the weather! the weather! so dreamy. i plan to go outside at least once this week. ;)

because wilder does nothing by halves, he very much liked the whole thing until he didn't, and then he really didn't. loverboy finally took him out of the stroller when he began causing a ruckus, but i really didn't mind it. babies yell sometimes. what?


Friday, September 27, 2013

baby wilder {5.5 months}

photo 1

photo 2

i feel like i have a new baby this week. wilder is not even six months old yet, but ever since monday, i suddenly see a toddler where i used to have an infant. i was nearly in tears over it yesterday. loverboy tells me this is ridiculous and stands wilder on the floor to show me that he only comes up to knee height. while i'm thinking: knee height?? when did he get to be knee height?!

as of this week, this baby is almost sitting on his own. and then i realize how much of a baby he still really is when there is no change of expression as he face plants into the floor. i guess foresight knowledge hasn't kicked in yet, or else toppling doesn't concern him too much.

he has also discovered the power of his hands and is very good at grabbing things, especially hair.

every day i want to laugh and cry that my baby is no longer a tiny baby and that oh goodness, yes, he is, because look at these tiny shoulders. tiny baby shoulders! that's what heaven is made of. 

i also sometimes want to cry because his naps are getting shorter, and mama needs her own naptime. 

photo 3

photo 4

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

daily guide to happiness


this fall is quickly becoming the time to start new habits and create a healthy lifestyle around this ol' grace house. monday night i began my mission to woo loverboy with the charms of yoga, and i'm giddy to report that he liked it! what with that, the gluten-free diet, and our once a week designated movie day, i almost don't recognize this family. we've even sort of talked about going to bed early! what?? well, let's not get too frisky, you never know how these grand ambitions are going to pan out.

but, as an ode to the beginning of another year (isn't fall the beginning of the year? i was a forever student after all. oh and there's my birthday, so there you have it;), i humbly submit my daily guide to happiness. or, if you prefer, ways to feel good, because happiness, really, is so much bigger (and smaller) than a method, or a list of things to do. don't you think?

still, these are making me happy right now:

1. reading the Bible before bed and time with the Lord in the morning. first of all, this is the most important thing, which is why it's numero uno.
2. am and pm yoga. loverboy and i are using this dvd together in the evenings (really not that good in my opinion). i also like the free classes on this website. and this is a pretty good youtube ashtanga video. do you have a favorite yoga website/dvd we should be using? do spill!
3. more tea, less coffee. starting tomorrow (always starting tomorrow;).
4. less cleaning, more creative projects. 
5. such as, daily writing time. 
6. more reading books, no tv watching. 
7. more spontaneity on the weekends, less planning. this is always, always better for my expectations. (i feel very proud of our trip to michael's last weekend for nursery projects. loverboy and i didn't even fight over color schemes once!)
8. an earlier bedtime. 
9. one handful of trader joe's dark chocolate covered pretzels. two if it's been a very long night;)
10. mom friend dates. even if it's just a phone/google hangout/facetime date. 
11. gratitude for this life of mine.

Monday, September 23, 2013

it's everyone's favorite season!

can you believe yesterday was the first day of fall? in college i liked to send out emails on the equinox, wishing everyone i knew a happy season. there is just something delicious about the start of a season. especially the fall season. i mean, isn't fall everyone's favorite? i guess some people like spring (only people in london and new york city i think). and of course, summer is every kid's—and teacher's—favorite. but fall! fall is everyone's favorite.

hot cocoa and toasty knitted scarves and roaring fires and biscuits with stew and pumpkin pie? yes. yes, please.

fall is also my favorite because it's my birthday, and while i've lost interest in getting older, i just can't seem to lose interest in celebrating myself. ;)


it was at this time four years ago that we moved to atlanta (see photos above). i can't believe we are going on our fifth year here, already. it sometimes still feels like we're recent transplants.

last year when we got pregnant, i got a job and we started looking for a house, i realized that we would probably be here for at least a little while longer (okay, maybe i am still not completely convinced of that). then, i read this article and got more excited to get to know this city we now call home better.

at the start of every fall i kind of like to put together a list of things to accomplish—i set an intention, if you will (i'm very yoga right now;). last year's sort of list. a trip to montreal is still on loverboy and i's perennial trips-to-take list.

this fall, i'm dreaming of:

pumpkin festivals and the Georgia state fair,
daily walks in the park and weekend jogs around stone mountain
for sloshing in leaves and letting the lars-dog run free,
seeing my baby crawl, and hoping he doesn't start to walk yet,
cupcakes at the new sprinkles store (coming soon!),
many more donuts from donut king,
and this bourbon-caramel pumpkin tart,
chicken tortilla soup and maybe some beef stew,
finally decorating the nursery and some other projects,
introducing yoga to my favorite loverboy of all,
reading this and this and maybe this,
cooking our very first thanksgiving dinner,
going to the zoo, the atlanta botanical garden and the yellow river game ranch,
maybe catching a baseball game and another ballet,
and, most importantly, spending my days with the cutest baby (and sweetest papa) there ever was.

here's to a happy fall! 

p.s. look at those 2009 chickens! can you believe we were both in our 20s then? and can you believe loverboy is still wearing that grey shirt? just kidding, it's a different grey shirt. ;) and also, you can tell we had just moved from austin because a.) i was still wearing flipflops everywhere and b.) the in-laws took us to little five points to make us feel at home. so sweet:)

Friday, September 20, 2013

gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for all ye dietarily restricted

well, the loverboy has surprised me yet again. he's gone gluten free (or mostly gluten free at least). and since i love a dietary restriction baking challenge just as much as the next nearly-all-white, poor-middle-class-rich girl (isn't this article hilarious?), i decided to make him some gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. so there i was, perusing the gluten-free section (that's when you know your neighborhood can't be all that bad) of our kroger, and i came across this recipe. i had heard about babycakes. of course, i also heard that if you don't have to be gluten-free and vegan why would you? however, i was itching for something to do because it was a wednesday and a not really exciting wednesday at that. you know how it goes. or perhaps you don't? perhaps your wednesdays are fraught with more interesting adventures than chicka chicka! boom boom! will there be enough room in that coconut tree? and can i get away with not washing my hair for the fifth day in a row (yes, i can!). (this post is becoming one long aside! which reminds me, you know, that moment in the new star trek movie where captain kirk asks bones what he's doing with that pygmy puff and bones says that he's injecting it with kan's blood and it was really awkward but you knew it was going to become important later? that was a really awkward aside. and also, apparently "aside" is an endangered word. try and use it in a sentence sometime and just see how many crickets chirp. tangent out.)

anyways, i weighed the cost of xanthan gum (holy dollar bills!) against the cost of my becoming even more bored, and decided to go for it. but, as one is wont to do when one has just halfheartedly (on account of the not actually being rich) become dietarily restricted, i refused, just plain refused, to buy arrowroot starch—and also i couldn't find any—and then i thought that well if you're going gluten-free then by all that's decent in this world, don't give up the butter too! so, i took a few other recipes and smashed them together.

here is what i got:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies*
1 c. bob's red mill GF all purpose baking flour
1.5 c. GF oat flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
1.5 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. melted butter
1/3 c. white sugar
2/3 c. dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. milk (or half water, half half-n-half;)
1.5 tsp. vanilla
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir together first 6 dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. In a mixer, blend together sugars and butter. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and blend well. Gradually add in dry mixture until it is all incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill in fridge for an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto baking trays. Bake for 13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on trays for another 2 minutes or more before removing.

presto! you are now dietarily challenged. they are nearly perfect. i mean, almost like regular cookies. but please, they never really are, you know? that's okay. it's part of their non-poisonous charm. and really though, they are not half bad. ;)

happy gluten free baking! 

*this recipe is best enjoyed by the (dietarily restricted) sleep-deprived moms of non-napping babies. happy sleepless afternoon activity time to you!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

screens are ruining my life aka meet my sister wife


"what did you think about today?" loverboy asked me, curling his toes up to my shins, his breath tickling my ear.

when i thought about it later, i realized this would have been a really lovely question, the kind i always think that i never get asked—thoughts i think while putting the back of my hand to my forehead and wilting on the sofa, moaning dramatically about how overlooked i am, of course.

and it would have been a really promising question, if it had been asked during our date night, or at some other time when i wasn't already doing something else (is it just me or is being female sort of like being hans solo's falcon in star wars? finicky as all get out? hold your head high, you are a woman!).

we were watching our movie-night movie for the second night in a row, because i really wanted to do something on my laptop, and i thought we could spend time together at the same time. (multitasking, thy name is she-devil! but more on that later!)

but then of course, he turns to me in the middle of it and pulls me close (neverminding that i have a computer on my lap) and asks me about my day. of course i distractedly gave him a rundown of cleaning and errand-running and how we need more dog food. or something like that.

at any other time i would have thrilled at such a question. (isn't that the way things go? our timing is always off.) but couldn't he see i was in the middle of something? why was the moment my attention was focused on something else always the moment he decided would be a good time to finally talk?

so i waved him off and kept on staring at my screen(s). of course i kept thinking about it—the words "what did i think about today? what did i think about today?" chasing around in my head like small dog. it was an interesting question. i love interesting questions. what did i think about? how could i turn this opener into a really-truly-full-blown conversation?

well, i'll never know because i was too busy plugged into my screen.

my friend gracie blogged last week about a conversation we had via text concerning our husband's candy crush addiction. the other wife, as i call it. i'm not a polygamist, but i have a sister wife. she inhabits many forms, and she is my loverboy's favorite wife.

so then, the next day i emailed him this article (oh the irony, don't i know), to which he replied "great article."

that evening i fell asleep as loverboy played candy crush under the covers next to me.

if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, says gracie. well, i've tried, but i just can't get past level 65.

p.s. i'm sure there's a message in here about the secret to not ruining your marriage is by responding to your husband's verbal advances, but i can't be sure. candy crush has rotted my brain.

Monday, September 16, 2013

naps aren't just for babies

well what do you know, loverboy's proclamations came true saturday morning. we got up rather early for a saturday morning, which has been the baby's royal decree lately anyhow, and met the grandparents at stone mountain for a family walk. the weather! i could wax poetic about that weather. i could. but this weekend was so dang relaxing i just can't muster up the energy. this weekend was all about naps. naps and haircuts and mediterranean food in decatur and the baby sleeping in his own room for the first time. no more obnoxious shushing when we creep stealthily into the room at night, no more panic attacks when loverby snores, no more not daring to move in your sleep for fear of waking the small slumbering one. oh it was lovely.

happy walker, number 1
happy walkers, numbers two, three and four
and this one looks really good in track pants and hoodie. i declare it the grace family uniform from now on.
the handsome grace men.
out to eat at another restaurant! wilder wouldn't stop staring at me. was it the hair?
first time i've ever had my hair at a midlength on purpose. i think i like it. it's very mom of me.
in his own bed!
between naps we did some light reading. three dancing pigs say lalala!
is it just me or is this baby rather long and skinny suddenly?

naps-aren't-just-for-babies B.

Friday, September 13, 2013

on baby time

babies are mindboggling timekeepers. they divide life into bite-sized increments of time: 2 x 2 hours of awake time, plus 2 x 2 hours of nap, plus 4 hours until bedtime = a day. somehow.

and then it gets even further divided: 30 minute car rides (max!), 5 minutes of tummy time, 1 hour of yoga, 10 minutes of tummy tickles, 2 minutes of hello texas!, 15 minutes of cleaning the bathroom...and so on. i find myself not really aware of the time of day; however, i am always aware of the exact clock time, inasmuch as it pertains to the baby schedule, which supersedes all other schedules. so time has totally different meanings for me now. as i was driving home from a book store this afternoon, i looked at the clock and calculated that by the time we got home it would be time for nap number 2. (i am always glancing at the clock and calculating. this is motherhood.) and i realized suddenly how much things have changed. how different time feels to me now.

afternoon no longer feels like afternoon — that slow mixture of the anxious restlessness of the unsatisfied closing of another day mixed with the impatience for the day's work to be at an end. the ends of days were for so long bittersweet to me. i wanted it to be over. i didn't want another day to end. does that make any sense? i didn't want time to move forward and i didn't want to be where i was. 

afternoon used to be the beginning of the end. the sun was harsher, not as welcoming. the day had lost its freshness, its capacity for possibility. it was too late to start anything, but too early to call it a day.

but now? afternoon is just the two hours between naps. two hours for lunch and playtime and a quick jaunt to the bookstore. you can only do so much in two hours. you have to choose carefully. maybe you will spend it reading books and rolling over and chewing on things. maybe you will take 10 minutes out to fold some laundry. maybe you will take another 10 to make lunch and eat it for your captivated audience. 

sometimes, an afternoon is this: a baby asleep in his carseat. (for two minutes.)


i'm very conscious that life is really sweet right now. these are good days. maybe the best. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

yellow daisy festival

on sunday, we checked out the yellow daisy festival at stone mountain, which i may have mentioned is only a stone's throw away (also, sad but true: every time i say stone mountain i think of this).

there were a million arts and crafts (soap and prepackaged foods were in great attendance) and it took all the wind out of us, but we walked through the whole dern thing because that's what you do when you're declaring your freedom from the house. even despite the nice old lady who told us our baby was too young to be out. we just smiled real nice. and then we saw a teeny tiny baby who looked to be only a few weeks old and we passed the judgment on. ;)

also, as you can maybe tell, my iphone camera had to take over after my real camera died about 10 minutes in. so sad and blurry, but anyways:

hmm, did loverboy wear that outfit two days in a row or does he only have grey shirts and many pairs of the same levis? we'll never tell...
haven't you ever wondered what these dried pussy willows are for? i still think i should have bought one. for to make our home an authentic, southern home, i guess? next time, next time.
my southern grown baby! 
this italian ice was not a good substitute for funnel cake. i'm still regretting that. 
tex's tacos! i'd been wanting to try these. my chicken fresca taco was good, but nowhere near what a texas taco should be, says the inner taco snob in me. 
over it. and frowning his disapproval even in sleep, what a goob. i love him.

so, okay. stone mountain isn't bad. and now that we have our yearly pass, we'll be back! every saturday, says husband! at the crack of dawn! we shall climb the stone mountain! as a family! he has a great interest in making over-reaching proclamations that are easily forgotten though, so i'm not too worried about it. ;)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

first date night out, with baby

over the weekend we got adventurous and made a few honest-to-goodness-just-for-fun outings to places other than home depot, lowes and the grocery store! i think the first 3 months in this house have been such a long whirlwind of a baby-having-home-having learning curve that i had to remind loverboy when we went out saturday night that it was the first time we'd been out to a restaurant with the baby since my brother's wedding in austin. (costco lunch dates for hotdogs and dog food just don't count.) and as is our date night tradition, as soon as we got home, i cried. should we just blame it on the postpartum hormones? okay then.

so, photos of our lovely, pre-cry time at farm burger in decatur en famille. i'm still on the fence but i think they may be better than yeah! burger. although i don't know about that pig burger. gross. livin' in the south...what can you do? also, do you agree there are too many burger places? i do. where are the taco places, yo??

thrilled to be out. can't you tell? ;)
gotta have the blurry food shot. 
my big boy is getting too big for his car seat. sniffle. 
my man. doesn't he look good with a carseat?