a loud afternoon with q and not u {mom in the picture}

I am never comfortable taking or seeing pictures of myself. Words like, "ugh! vom! garbage!," usually come out of my mouth when I see pics of me and honestly, raising a daughter and just being a woman, that is sad. But it's true. Sometimes I think a few of my favorite bloggers ARE my favorite bloggers in part because they are SO COMFORTABLE taking pictures of themselves and I look at them and think, "see there, it's nbd, your kids will want you in the pictures, don't be so weird about this." But then I am weird about this. So without further ado just know that I'm a little weird about these pictures that follow, but I tried. I tried! And if I didn't let you in on my inner turmoil and awkwardness, you might even think I was comfortable being in these pics. So that's a step or something, maybe?

Yesterday afternoon I had three entire hours at my house, all by myself. I turned up the Pandora so loud you guys. I swear I felt fifteen years younger just listening to music that loud. Remember Soft Pyramids? Repeat one more time again! Nih nih nih! All the while I casually went from room to room cleaning and picking up and secreting things away for donation. Spring! Then I threw a blanket in the back yard and read for a bit. I don't think anyone's ever made the most of three hours in their lives --> four cups of coffee. And dish washing while dancing. It was a one lady party and a mighty nice one.

 Best. Three. Hours. Period.

My adorable wedge sandals c/o Naturalizer and they are so comfy. I have been waiting impatiently to wear them for several cold, rainy weeks and huzzaw for clear skies, lovely sunshine, and red toes!


currently link up | jobby job

Currently is a weekly link-up by the lovely  Randalin of Harvesting Kale and I am her happy co-host each week. I hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using the provided themes or your own) and please join us by linking up. What have you been eating, drinking, wishing, loving, and dreaming this week? Over here, we have been...

Eating ice cream from various ice cream shops in our little university neighborhood (there are like 6 ice cream shops in a mile radius, we are doomed). I learned from my Grandma Loretta -- who my little Loretta is named after -- that it's important to eat your feelings because food is amazing and it tastes better when you're happy and makes you feel better when you aren't. ::lightweight sarcasm font:: Ice cream is for celebrating great spring weather one day, for cheersing a new job the next (I was offered my old job back, so it will be new to me again, and I'm really excited to start next week), for overcoming a 4 year old's doctor's appointment anxiety, and overcoming a 34 year old's anxiety about leaving a job after only 10 weeks... our feelings have required so much ice cream this week.

Drinking kefir and coffee have been my two go-to drinks this week. I have to remind myself to drink water or I will just drink cup after cup of coffee and end up dizzy and dehydrated with bad breath (a real nightmare to be around, ha) but it doesn't matter. Because coffeeeeeeeee. I have also been dreaming of drinking my famous white sangria, which is a gin and champagne and citrus concoction the recipe for which I recreated from a tapas restaurant we visited in NYC years ago and it's always a hit at summertime dinner parties. It looks like magic and tastes like happiness. I think we might need to host a party of some kind so I have an excuse to make it soon :)

Wishing Loretta's son-of-a-bitchin molars would just. come. in. already. dammit. grrrrr! I love that sweet girl but she has kept me awake around the clock for what feels like months. Last night around the fourth wakeup I called her a skunk in a tone I was instantly ashamed of. She turned her head at the last second as I was going to give her a teething tablet (we don't usually resort to those but it was pretty apparent last night that she wasn't going to sleep without a little "helper") so it fell on the sheet in the dark and I was like, "Why you skunk!" and then I felt like a huge jerk of a mom and hugged her and we found the tablet and got some water and back to sleep. But I realize I'm losing my mind a little bit with all the not-sleeping and if these freaking molars could just come in already I'd be super grateful.

Loving moms. Loving myself or trying to. Loving life or trying to remind myself to. Yesterday I got probably the nicest note I've ever received from one of Otto's early preschool teachers from back when we lived in Tucson. I always loved this woman as a peaceful, patient, loving teacher and her note was about this blog and about how she's a mom to two little boys now and it just made me realize that I'm not so bad, that I know a lot of amazing people, and that we moms are all just hanging in there trying to remember to celebrate the good and not focus on the bad and be awesome people and love on our kiddos.

My beautiful (inside and out) friend Rebecca who has long gorgeous dark brown hair and bright, shining eyes, and legs up to here, and a knack for growing houseplants, and a heart of gold shared this Dove ad on her blog this week and it had me in tears. What is wrong with us, ladies? Why do we focus on the problems with ourselves? I know if I had to describe myself I would say things about my fuzzy hair, forehead scar, nose bump, chin zit, porous skin, undereye circles, crooked teeth... and yet I know, in my heart, that I'm fine. I'm pretty. I'm fun and funny. My family and friends love me and I love them. Why is self-deprecation the default?

Dreaming about summa summa summatime. Picnic dinners in the backyard. Trips to Disney. Visits from friends and family. Farmers markets. The coast. When cherries come in season. Warm skin. And obviously more ice cream.

That was this week. Here are next week's themes: 
admiring, caring, loving, cleaning, creating



sleeping with the window cracked

Ooh! Last night was the first night of the year where we cracked the bedroom window a bit to let some cool breeze in while we slept. Heaven.

When we lived in Arizona I would wait all hot hot hot summer long, from May through most of October for the first evening when the night breeze finally got cool enough to turn off the air conditioning and sleep with the windows cracked. There is something extra magic about outside air, the smell of it, the crisp cold breeze, the sounds of leaves and birds and bugs, sleeping in clean sheets with your toes peeking out and the special equilibrium of being snuggled under lighter blankets and having your face on a cool, cotton pillowcase.

Here in Oregon we crack the windows all through the summer. We don't even have air conditioning here and there are a couple of days in July and August where we will pull out the fans and sweat through some warmer evenings with no covers at all and the fan positioned behind a roasting pan, full of ice, blowing on our hot toes.

But for now, I am rejoicing in the first of many months of crisp, yummy nights and am thinking my project for next month will be overhauling our bedroom, which has been nothing but a bed topped with piles of blankets and an old rug on the floor and a dresser piled with clutter and all of this with piles of clothes on the floor and  no decor or rhyme or reason since we moved in last fall. If I do, I want to figure out something like this...
I found this picture on Pinterest and can't find the original source... or I would source it. I swear!

Anyways, just light linens, a comfortable amount of clutter, some inside plants... a chair (although I'd like to have a cozy chair for reading). I'd like a few more bits of color too, but just here and there. Having the insanity of kids and kids' things all around me makes me want to make my bedroom an oasis from things, things, things. I'm sure you understand. And my budget is going to be really small, so a lot of this will be getting creative with things we already have and getting lucky at the thrift store. It is also my birthday next month so I may try to find a nice comforter set somewhere and ask for that as a gift. That's the plan, Stan.

Hope everyone's having nice, fun weekends. We are jam-packing two birthday parties and the start of our garden into this one. I've been really awful about taking pictures lately but am going to try to take some today for sure, so hopefully there will be some cutest kids/outside springtime/garden pics to post up on here soon!


currently link up | tattoo me on your chest

It's impossible for me to write this post without making mention of the tragedy that occurred at the Boston Marathon this week. All of our hearts, the worlds' hearts, go out to the victims, to those who ran into the blasts to help. I keep seeing mentions of, "Look for the helpers." I am so grateful that most of us, most everyone I know, and I think the majority of humans really, are helpers, are loving, are kind and giving. We outnumber the abhorrent, awful, sick, evil ones by thousands, by millions (I hope) and then sometimes outnumbering is not enough and something like this happens and we all need to band together to help, to find the good, to suffocate the evil around us. As a parent, this type of incident threatens everything that matters to me, on so many levels. My kids are babies really, and have no idea, but I also know that soon this type of news would reach Otto's ears and I need to know how to handle it. How to talk about something unspeakable? For now, we don't let the images into our home; we don't talk about the tragedy or our fear where he can hear it... I'm just rambling now. How are you doing? Are you OK? I'm very scared and sad. I want to hug all of you and hug my babies and chop off the heads of anyone who would try to take love away from the world.

Currently is a weekly link-up hosted by the lovely  Randalin of Harvesting Kale and I am happy to be co-hosting the series with her. I hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using the provided themes or your own) and please join us by linking up. This week, around these parts, we have been...

Watching our garden of starter vegetables, still in pots on the front porch, look less and less thrivey as spring has decided to revert to winter these past few days and we didn't get around to planting them last weekend as we'd hoped. I suppose I could do something to help them along until the sun comes out and we can plant them (hopefully this weekend) but instead I just look at them each time I come or go from the house and I tsk tsk and then tsk tsk the gray, cold, wet sky for sucking.

Looking for ranch dressing, green salsa, diapers, and face powder. Four random things on a shopping list and none of them need to be organic (kids don't eat ranch or salsa) you know what this means? Fucking Target! Yay, Target tonight. My heart leaps!

Growing fridge potatoes, haha. If a bag of little red potatoes sprouts like crazy in the fridge do you cut off the growing roots and just cook and eat them? Or do you plant them? Or do you cut them up in some fancy way and plant them? What should I do with them? They seem like an action is necessary.

Riding a dream car and it is a Mercedes M-class SUV like this what is your dream car? I know mine isn't that exciting. But we were road tripping in our beat mini-van recently and I asked Rob what his dream car was. In classic style, he just didn't have one or care. That's a fun answer! Mine is about as fun... I'm over driving a safe and practical mini-van but I want the space for storage, so I'd like a really nice SUV. Like a prettttttty one. So I would just get an M-class and be so satisfied. Someday, when I no longer care about safety (which will be never because I'm a worry wart) I'd like a camel colored 1980 Saab 900 all souped up and shiny! So anyways, really, what's your dream car?

Reading the Linchpin by Seth Godin for a work bookclub. I like how Godin writes, inspiration without being a douche. I'm the leader of our next work bookclub so I guess I'm a bit of a Linchpin myself, doing extracurricular organizing and whatnot! Also reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, also good. And with the kids we've been reading The Magic Treehouse series. I'm trying to find used copies of the books because they're so short, I think $5 is too much to pay per copy if you can help it! So we did books 1,2,3,4 in order and now we're bee-bopping around reading the ones we find used. I'm going to start a spreadsheet to keep track of which ones we have and eventually hope to collect them all! See how exciting I am! You should get a tattoo of me on your chest, because that's how Rock N' Roll I am.

That was this week. Here are next week's themes: 
eating, drinking, wishing, loving, dreaming



love you forever

This is yesterday at nap-time. So much for that.

Every night at bed-time we'll read part of a chapter book or his dad or I will make up a story with characters of his choosing and then one of us will cuddle him for a bit and then once he's asleep or close enough to asleep we'll head downstairs to finish our evening. Except when it's my turn to cuddle, and usually it's mine, very often I just cuddle in and fall asleep. Seven-thirty, doesn't matter, I'm out for the night.

Loretta has it different than Otto did. Her life is filled with jostling for attention and being delighted and probably very much overwhelmed by a sibling who loves to jump, run, yell, whine, laugh, take toys from her, shove toys into her hands, sing, dance, even calypso. She's in the thick of a lot of fun and drama and she follows him with her eyes, or crawls after him like a flying monkey, or nowadays walks on unsteady legs to keep up with him as he powers through life, showing her how to be a kid, how to be alive with energy.

I love my babies so much.

Nap-time and bed-time mean something quite different to each of them. Because of their different ages and because of their dynamic. Loretta craves the peaceful solace of her crib. She wakes up for cuddles and nursing but once that's satisfied she squirms, tosses, turns until we put her back in her crib. It's her quiet, calm place. All her own.

Otto, who is very much dancing with independence, who rolls his eyes and whines and demands and argues his way through the day. Well, bedtime is when he puts his guard down, quits testing boundaries, and just really relaxes into a silly, sleepy place. I tease him, "You sneaky weasel, you better not trick me into falling asleep next to you tonight."

He laughs, gives his dad a conspicuous wink, then says, "I won't trick you tonight, Mommy, even though I winked!"

I lay down next to him, under the covers because I know I won't mind if I do doze off for an hour or nine, in full makeup, teeth unbrushed, nothing as important as this cuddle time. We talk about our days, what we liked, what we didn't. Otto jokes that he never goes to sleep at all; that he just waits for me to go to sleep and then gloats all night because he is so good at tricking me.

I hold him like a teddy bear. Sometimes I hold his warm foot.

Last night I thought to myself, "When will this end?" When do moms stop cuddling their sons? Does it have to end? When he's fourteen and gangly and awkward can I still have this? When he's eighteen? When he's forty. Why does time have to change this bond between us? Why can't I just hold him forever? I hate that time and life are going to ruin that most precious thing. I don't want to hold him in hugs that last seconds or dances that only happen at weddings. I want to hold him like a teddy bear forever, his warm foot in my hand, the rest of the world falling away.


currently link up | three weddings and my funeral

Currently is a weekly link-up hosted by  Randalin of Harvesting Kale and I am super happy to be co-hosting the series with her. I hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using the provided themes or your own) and please join us by linking up. This week, around these parts, we have been...

Entertaining or rather 'being entertained' or rather 'being mortified' by the melodramatic love stories Otto has been bringing home from Montessori every day. It seems that Cupid's arrow has hit the low-profile, generally confused, and wildly impulsive population at his preschool and he's involved in multiple marriages, including hugs and kisses. On Monday he married Sonya (he told her he loved her and she gave him a hug). On Tuesday it. was. over! Sonya had moved on to Simone, remarrying rather quickly if you ask me. Otto rallied and got cheek kisses from Sonya (she just can't make up her mind) and Rio on Wednesday. Now he's married to Rio but apparently cuckolding the poor guy in full view of all with Sonya who really should be true to Simone. But love's candle burns bright. It's all too much. And as silly and really darling as it all is, it is also horrifying to me that just 10, 9, 8, 7...? years from now this kind of thing will be far less innocent and far more exploratory and adolescent. Never!!!! Me no like. No like at all. Is my funeral.

Holding Loretta while humming, whispering, snuggling, and loving her as she yells at me, barfs on me, yowls, scowls, and rages against her frustrations. I am a little scared of what this woman will be like to raise, honestly. She is just so strong, so emotional and powerful, she is going to give me gray hairs and inspire me and impress me and be a wonderful parenting challenge. This poor little lady has been teething with no relief, no new teeth, for months. She has three molars coming in that are so visible that her gums are swollen with big blue blisters under the surface and white teeth showing but not yet poking through. She's also mastering walking and starting to talk in words, "tree, Et, Dad, Mom, chick-en, bay-daw = baby doll," so she has a lot going on physically and mentally and it's meant more snuggling and rough nights but I suspect a month from now she'll be feeling fine, walking around, and placing dinner orders.

Building mental plans for my Project-Per-Month Project of redoing the living room mantel. I have a list of ideas and am excited to start putting them into action this weekend!

Smiling about the Magic Treehouse book series we discovered at Easter (we included book 1 and 2 in Ot's basket). We have now read the first three books and I'm loving the adventures. They're thrilling and magical without being rude, rough, or scary. Otto is such a huge fan so when we visit the thrift store this weekend to look for mantel supplies (see Building above) we'll also be looking for more books from the series. I recommend these so highly!

Frowning that I was a pretty crappy friend and blogger as far as promoting my friend Kat's "From My Hand to Your Art" giveaway last week.

The official deadline to enter was Sunday but it didn't get as many entries as I'd hoped so I'm going to open it up to all of you here for another week. Go enter here by simply commenting which item in her Etsy shop is your favorite, plus there are other entry opportunities, and I hope you win a sweet handmade doll!

That was this week. Here are next week's themes: 
watching, looking for, growing, riding, reading



how to razor cut your own sidebangs

Last night I decided to cut my own sidebangs (my bangs were originally sidebangs but they'd hit that awkward, too-long, Bieber-y stage where I found myself sweeping them way too sweepily across my forehead, or pinning them, or tucking them instead of... I don't know what, rustling them? Whatever.

When I came out of the "salon" (aka bathroom) last night I said to Rob, "How do you like my bangs?" and he was all, "Nicely done and wow and you are full of bravery for cutting your own bangs!" and I was all, "Hey, thanks." ps. I have cut my own bangs tens of times over the past decade but Rob's a guy and guys are classic when it comes to noticing things, ayup.

Anyways, cutting your own sidebangs is pretty easy and I thought I'd share the trick with you all. I should first note that I have pretty thick, semi-wavy hair and I think that if you have super-fine, ultra-straight hair you should probably consult a hair expert before trying this -- just about your kind of hair and sidebangs in general -- they might tell you that for your hair type, sidebangs aren't the best idea you ever had. In other words, this is easy and it works great but enter at your own risk.

You'll need scissors and a basic leg razor. Afterwards, replace the blade (your legs will thank you).

Step One...

Step one is just to get rid of the excess, you'll tidy after. Here, you are going to take your scissors and cut your bangs (just the hair you want to end up as bangs) as straight across as you can, without worrying about perfection, at the length that you want your longest sidebangs to end up.

Step Two...

Step two is the fun part. First, visualize how short you want the shortest part of your bangs to end up. If you're not sure, then start out conservatively, you can always take them up a little. You may want to get your bangs slightly damp (but not wet). Ok, now grasp a little section of your bangs, about the thickness of a piece of yarn, in your fingers and twist that section. Once twisted, take your razor and "shave" down, through the hair rope, at the angle you want your bangs to be at for framing your face. This creates a wispy, layered effect super quickly. Do this step again and again as you move across your forehead until you've got your bangs at the perfect slope. Tidy little straggler hairs with the razor as you go. Lastly, do just the tips of the longer sections to soften and layer them.

Step Three..

You're done! You look amazing! I'm wolf whistling at you through your computer.

Let me know if you have questions, xo.


currently link up | ramblings about rooster sauce and pasty legs

Currently is a weekly link-up hosted by  Randalin of Harvesting Kale and I am super happy to be co-hosting the series with her. I hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using the provided themes or your own) and please join us by linking up. This week, around these parts, we have been...

Drinking deviled eggs. Just kidding... or am I? I realized I could answer almost all of these themes with "deviled eggs" this week because hello Henry! And by Henry, I mean yum yum yum but oof, gas. Why do we reserve deviled eggs for one weekend a year? I suppose the answer is gas. I put a teeny bit of sriracha (aka rooster sauce -- as if you didn't know) in mine and as I mentioned before, hello Henry! Loretta is also a big fan. Rob too. Otto won't touch the things; he out-classes our whole fam :)

Buying Mother's Day gifts for my sister-in-law (who I always just want to call "my sis" but I feel like I need to be clearer on here since you guys don't know she's not my sis in the purest sense, but really, I just consider her my sister, it's that awesome), mother-in-law (who I just want to call "Nita" and who I adore), and my own mom  How freaking ahead of the game! This is the first year ever, ever, ever that I have not waited until the very last minute and then spent $5,000 on $20 flowers. ps. Kari, if you're reading this, don't get me a thing, your gift is part of mug club and it's my favorite find yet!

Driving my dented up and trunk-disabled, super dirty (inside and out) classic (in the most tragic sense) mini-van. I started this Project Per Month Project this month and for April I'm doing my living room mantel, but sometime in the future, when I have a bit bigger budget handy, I'm going to take on my beast of a mini-van.

Missing my skin's elasticity ::side eye::

Obsessing over spring and summer and sunny days and outside activities! Lock it in, spring, lock it in! This week I exposed my day-glow white legs to the world (skirts without tights, can I get a HEY YO!) for the first time in 6 months and it felt amazing to feel the crisp, spring air on my skin while blinding all passersby. I am also obsessing over how much I hate the new gmail "compose" I must be a super-old fuddy duddy but I just sit there cursing and cursing with each email; it's so freaking tragic.

That was this week. Here are next week's themes: 
entertaining, holding, building, smiling, frowning



a giveaway | from my hand to your art CLOSED

Sometimes you come across someone and it is an instant connection -- love at first sight (or instagram, ha) and the more you get to know them the more you fall truly, madly, deeply. That's how it was for me with Kat, the lovely Michigan mama and sweet crafter extraordinaire behind the Etsy shop From My Hand to Your Art. Kat is one of these people who actually makes you laugh out loud and at the same time is so earnest she truly inspires. She puts so much thought into everything she does, from meal planning to home schooling to her amazing, newly-launched Etsy shop of custom handmade dolls, diy doll kits for kids, custom family trees, embroidery pieces, watercolors, and more. Here, see...

Every little thing is thought out to perfection and done prettily down to the smallest detail. We were so excited when Kat sent Otto and Loretta custom Ot and Et dolls of their own. Loretta gives her handmade baby hugs and kisses. Otto agreed to put clothes on (dude be an underwear nudist lately) so that I could take pictures of him stuffing and sewing his doll kit.

Now it's everyone's lucky day because Kat is offering you a 10% discount code at her shop. Just enter code "OTANDETROCKS" at checkout for the discount to be applied. Hurray!

You can also WIN WIN WIN a custom baby doll or DIY doll kit of your choice. Otto's face lit up with excitement when he opened up his doll kit and saw his mini Otto. He is 4 years old and he did so well with the supervised project, filling the doll full of stuffing, adding the embroidered heart, and then carefully sewing up the bottoms. From My Hand to Your Art dolls would make the perfect gift and forever keepsake for any little one.

To enter the giveaway just leave a comment for each entry. The first entry is mandatory, the others options.

- First, go visit Kat's Etsy shop and let me know what your favorite item is in the shop
- Next you can like From My Hand to Your Art on Facebook
- You can also follow From My Hand to Your Art on Instagram 
- Tweet this giveaway with a link to this page (include link to tweet in comment) limit 1x daily
- And I'd be honored if you'd follow Ot and Et on Bloglovin

I will choose a random winner early next week so the giveaway will stay open until Sunday at midnight PT. Good luck!


the project-per-month PROJECT month 1

I meant to start this "series" (yep, a monthly series, at least that's the intention!) yesterday but it's funny (but sooooo not haha-funny) how a yowling baby -- what is this SOUND? why is this SOUND? go away SOUND! -- will lead to a mama's sleep deprivation which will derail super-fun blog intentions like super super fast. But, even though this whole lack-of-sleep thing has put me off my game I didn't want to wait any longer to launch this thing so here goes, half-baked post and all...
I made a badge and everything! That means I'm legit and you should be too. If you want to join in the fun, you totally should! Here are the rules...
  1. Pick a single, manageable project off your to-do list, just one.
  2. Decide, "I can do it!"
  3. Give yourself goals.
  4. Give yourself a deadline: the end of the month.
  5. Give yourself a budget.
  6. Do it. Do it.
The project I'm doing this month is the lowest man on my totem pole, because I wanted to ease into this thing. So, I'm taking on the mantel in my living room. Here's the "before" shot:
My goals for this mantel are:
- clean (no clutter, no junk piles)
- include a plant (with a long term goal of helping that plant to live a long, lovely life)
- print up some pictures of Loretta since she lives here too
- $50 budget

I don't have a lot of inspiration at this point, but here is my inspiration so far:

Yes that is a photo of a sink that I'm using for inspiration. I love the bright white and blue and the visible dirt and the beautiful colors in the cacti assembly. Cacti garden photo via. Found via Pinterest.

So... I challenge you to join in this project! If you do, please let me know in the comments and link to wherever I can find progress on your project. As my mantel project progresses I'll keep updating here on Ot and Et and at the end of the month will post an "after" photo and if anyone joined in I'll announce a winner as well and that person can win a $20 gift card to Target or Amazon. Hurray!