Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Fashion: Melting

 Spring might be coming. She wrote with much trepidation. The past few days have been sunny and melty. Tomorrow is supposed to be 55. In Minnesota that means there will be people outside in shorts. It is ridiculous. The amount of people who wrote on facebook that they drove with windows down yesterday is astounding. It was 37 maybe 40. We are desperate.

I am not immune to the excitement. Today I have been browsing pinterest and getting excited to dress myself post-baby. I have decided to share some of the lovelies with you.

I have collected a few Anthropologie gift cards and I am hoarding them until I am ready to try on and buy a summer dress. They have so many that I like right now but, alas, I must wait. A few favorites:

 Also, for the first time this summer since I was maybe fifteen, I am planning on buying and wearing a one-piece bathing suit. The idea scares me. In my head, I imagine those pretty, vintage bathing suits.

Why does it seem that women's bathing suits took a giant step back at some point? The vintage styles are flattering and lovely. Thankfully it seems that suits are moving in that direction again. But the one pieces from the 90s and 2000s are terrible. The last time I wore I one piece, it was essentially a leotard that flattened your chest and erased curves. And cutting giant strips of fabric from random places gives you weird tan lines and requires a perfect body to pull off.

Tan lines from this would make you look infected.

 Goodbye slouchy sweaters and winter jackets that do not zip. Hello tank tops, maxi dresses, and sandals!

I want this shirt!

Watch, next time I blog, I will be telling you about a new coating of snow. 

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Last Bit of Winter: Momentary Escape

 Happy Spring. Although, it does not feel much like spring. The sun is definitely getting stronger but it is 21 degrees and there are mounds of snow everywhere. I am so over winter, snow, and being inside. I know I am repeating the words of so many others but- come on!

In the last few days, even Toby seems to have hit a wall. He gets so spun up and wants to play but can't stay focused to follow through with our usual games. I think he has cabin fever. It's like my little gray puppy has an internal calendar letting him know that spring is here. He wants out and so do I.

I think this is the first winter that Nick and I have not escaped somewhere warm. Usually there is a trip to break things up, to remind me that winter is long but that summer will come again. It is encouraging to go somewhere that does not suffer winter the way we do. A place where skin can be exposed and where winter does not include frozen sidewalks and icicle clad houses.

  I do not know when I will be somewhere tropical again. It will not be for awhile. I had a dream last night that Nick and I were on a resort on an island. It was amazing. I woke up and could not stop thinking about sunshine, waves, and colorful drinks.

And so I took to pinterest. If I can't make it happen, I can at least imagine where I would go...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Coincidence: Clues and Cues

Inspired by a recent episode of This American Life, I have been thinking a lot about coincidence. I love stories that unite random moments and chance meetings. I am fascinated by unexpected examples of connection that offer temporary proof of a meaningful life.

Since listening to the episode, I am trying to recall the coincidences that have happened to me. I came up with five examples. I ran the anecdotes by Nick and he questioned if they were all illustrations of coincidence. In his opinion, luck and serendipity were at work in a few.

However you want to classify them, these accounts have been plucked from obscurity to represent meaning. Some happened years ago and still, I hold them close to my heart. They have shone a light on ordinary days and created a memory that lives to provide significance.

My most recent instance occurred just a few weeks ago.

When we were in Boston, Nick and I went to a friend's for dinner. It was a forty minute drive from my parents' house and one town over from where my Mom grew up. The streets that take you from the main road to our destination were windy, wooded, and on this night, very snowy. We used Nick's phone for directions and planned on using it for the return trip. When we got out to the car, the map failed to find our location.

We tried to remember our way out and made guesses with each turn. After maybe ten minutes, I knew we were off track. The weather and the narrow roads made it too dangerous to pull over. We finally came upon an opening in the road, a small convenience store parking lot. I parked and called my Mom, hoping the area would be familiar enough for her to direct us home.

I told her the road we had been driving on and the name of the convenience store. She asked for a street sign. Behind us, I saw a street post with two street names and arrows pointing in opposite directions. I read the names off to her. Her voice changed with recognition. She said the street names back with a tongue of familiarity. I confirmed the streets and she let out a breath. She then gave me easy directions to a road that I would know.

The next morning my Mom informed me that I was sitting directly in front of the house where my grandfather was born and raised.

In the episode, it is mentioned that the stories always feel more powerful when they happen to us.  It is hard to view your own life through an objective lens. We desire a life of value and these glimpses show us a path, a larger force at work.

Despite that truth, a quote at the end of the podcast brings together why these stories still matter.

"There's just a poetry to things like this when they happen. There's some kind of beauty in it. There's meaning in the noticing of it at all."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nest: It's the Little Things

When we returned from the baby shower, I washed, sorted, and folded all of the tiny clothes. The crib and dresser will not come in for another 7-9 weeks (who's worried?) so I stacked them in a laundry basket in the baby's closet.

I am deep in the throes of nesting. I want to spend all my time preparing and I get anxious when there is nothing for me to do.

I have to wait for her crib and dresser. I am waiting for a shipment from my Mom with the items we could not pack into our suitcases after the shower. Nick and I have implemented a budget and I am trying to wait until the end of the month to spend money on other baby items (shelf, baskets, curtains, blinds). So right now, I am stuck. I keep measuring her room to see how everything will fit. And sometimes, I just sit in there and look around. Do I sound crazy yet?

As for her tiny clothes- so. much. pink. I knew it was going to happen and I absolutely do not mind but I do love when clothes can be really cute or girly without being pink. It shows a little creativity. My absolute favorite is when clothes have ruffles on the butt.

And a few weeks ago, I found the below image on pinterest. I fell in love. It made me think about summer. I would have purchased it on the spot except it turned out to be instructions on how to sew the outfit. Not going to happen.

 The socks are impossibly small. We did already lose one (it has since been recovered) but I know it's just a matter of time before they start slipping into the land of the missing. I plan on using this clever idea to help mitigate our losses.

The other thing that I want to address is the registry. It is a lot of work.

It is nothing like registering for a wedding. Your wedding is all about things you want. Oh that rug is pretty, check. It is awesome. You get nice towels and matching bowls and it is important, but you are adding things to the life that you currently have. (Example: Nick and I love hosting dinner parties, we should get some items that we can use.)

 When you build a baby registry, it is a lot more involved. You are preparing for a life that you do not yet have. And you are asking for items that will help a tiny human live. (Example: I want to leave my house with this baby, I need to put it somewhere safe.)

Nick and I spent hours researching what we need. We read hundreds of amazon reviews and reached out to friends and family with questions. So much thought went into every item we added. So it shocked me when a friend told me she had trouble picking something out for us because "there wasn't anything special on the registry". I know what she meant and it is a thought I have had before when looking at other registries. But I can tell you now, every item on that registry is special. Changing pads might not be glamorous but I need to put my baby down on something so that I can keep that pretty rug.

 Speaking of special gifts, for my birthday Nick gave me Make Way for Ducklings. If you grew up in New England, chances are you had this book. And if you grew up in Boston, chances are this book was cause for a field trip. If you have no idea what I am talking about, buy this book for a child in your life and then go to the Public Garden in Boston. I posted a picture of them on this blog post.

Nick and I had our wedding photos done in that park.

Also there's this:

Monday, March 4, 2013

Showered: Boston Baby

 The last weekend in February, Nick and I flew to Boston for my baby shower. It was great to be home and strange to know that it was my last trip before the baby arrives. 

My Mom called a few days before we flew out to let me know that a snow storm was expected the night before and the day of the shower. We did not have options for changing dates, so I tried to not think much about the weather. As the day approached, the storm became eminent but the severity lessened.

Snow covered backyard.
 It was the kind of snow that stuck to the trees and made for a really pretty backdrop. In the end, it deterred only one guest. Friends and family arrived from Connecticut, New York, Cape Cod, New Hampshire, and all over Massachusetts. I am so grateful to have people in my life who are willing to travel and celebrate this exciting time. I also have to say how awesome my parents and sisters are for putting it all together. They cleaned, cooked, and decorated like crazy. My Dad spent hours shoveling snow banks so there would be enough parking spots. My Mom cooked almost all of the food by herself. My older sister filled the house with decorations. And my little sister picked up odd jobs and lent me shoes. And last but not least, Kaia placed her blanky across the couch in case anybody got tired and wanted to take a nap.

Tracey, Nana Rice, Mom, Me, Kaia, Christine

Love my friends!

Showers in my family do not entail any games. We gather, talk, eat, and drink. Other than the gift opening, it feels like a regular party. It is great and I'm glad that nobody had to guess how round I am. No offense to people who love games, it's just not my thing.

Photo taken before my Dad and b.i.l. snuck Nick out to the bar.
Kyla and Kaia
 I am also grateful to have little kids and babies to take some of the attention. I named Kaia "shower captain" and let her know that her job was to entertain people. At the last moment, she told me she wanted to be called "shower fairy" but would still help open the gifts. As people came in the door she would announce that "another customer arrived".

 Leaving Boston this time was really hard. Mainly, I have a hard time imagining all of the changes my life will take before I go home again. I will deliver a baby. I will become a mom. And I will have all of that happen while my family is far away. I always thought I would be back in Boston when this time came. But life has taken me somewhere unexpected. The shower in Boston was a great reminder of the support that I do have, even if I do not get to see those people everyday.

I cannot wait for summer and my next trip to Boston. I cannot wait to dress her in one of the many Red Sox onesies we received and bring her to the beach for the first time. When that happens, I will think back to now and although only a few months will have gone by, life will be so new and I will have traveled so far.