Eighteen. Inventory 5

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Any big weekend plans?  Jacob has been sick all week, and sick means not sleeping through the night, which means Mama and Dada are tirrrrrred.  I think we’ll be laying low and taking it easy.

Hope your weekend is more exciting than ours!

 

READING “A Conversation about Ableism” and seriously wondering about my own worldview surrounding this.  And thinking about how to raise my children so that they can help break this “spirit-crushing system.”

INTERESTED IN the fact that the #repealth19th trend seemed to be mostly from people against the idea, but still completely horrified that it’s a thing at all.

TAKING and really enjoying this class on setting up our home Montessori style.

AFTER TALKING with a co-working about mansplaining, I really enjoyed finding this article on the “epidemic of manologues.

FELL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE of Birgitta Sif‘s Instagram page yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I want to be her BFF now.  At the very least, I want to buy her books for Jacob and Libby.

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Seventeen. A Wedding and a Check In

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Hi, there!

Just a little check in to say hi!  We’re still here!  And we survived our first wedding as parents!

We’ve been to Virginia and back for my cousin’s wedding to her now-husband, David.  The rain stopped juuuust in time for the wedding, which was at a vineyard, to be outside, and it was quite lovely.  I mean, I think it was a lovely wedding.  We retired to the reception building just after Ashley walked down the isle, as the wedding was on a small island in a lake, and my kids wanted to both run up to the front with the bride and groom and run into the water.

Really, though, the kids were both amazing!  We figured that we’d stay as long as we could, until they started having meltdowns from being exhausted and overwhelmed.  But that never happened!  Even when they were hungry because dinner was later than they were used to, they did great.  We even got to dance for two songs!  What ultimately caused us to leave?  Jacob actually fell asleep in my arms on the dance floor in the middle of Uptown Funk.

We took exactly one photo the entire time, a family selfie with Ashley and David’s inflatable moose head named Steve DaMoose.  We’re sort of kicking ourselves, because we looked good!  We were all dressed up!  This has never happened!  Fortunately, some cousins (thanks, Kurt and Jean!) got some better pictures, but still.  I’m hoping a half decent one of all four of us (where I’m not wearing a diaper bag backpack) surfaces, but sadly, I don’t think that one was ever taken.  Ah well, such is life with toddlers.

Ashley and David, congratulations!  We love you two!

(and yes, Jacob has dirt on his chin.  Because he was eating the vineyard’s dirt, as one does when one is 17 months old…)

Sixteen. Laundry Lines, An Ode.

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I’m certainly not the first to espouse her love of drying laundry on a line, and I doubt that I’ll be the last.  For me, hanging laundry on the line is love that, much like my affinity for linen, developed in early adolescence (when, admittedly, it was probably viewed as a chore, a mundane task, and why would we do it anyway since we had a dryer?)

Why hang laundry on the line?

For us, the biggest answer to that question has to do with the experience, not of hanging the laundry on the line per se, but of the laundry after it’s dry.  There’s something about the smell of fresh laundry that can’t be recreated.  And sleeping on line-dried sheets? Fuhgeddaboudit.  It’s the best.

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Obviously, there are other benefits, too.  Your dryer is a big time energy consumer, even if it is energy star certified, so it’s less expensive and better for the environment to hang your laundry to dry.  The sun also works as a natural bleaching agent, so it’s rare that I have to bleach anything (and I’m working toward eliminating laundry bleach altogether).  Finally, it’s actually better for your clothes and linens to hang them to dry, as a dryer is actually pretty rough on them.  Your things will last longer if you do get in the line-drying habit.

Some people might not want to look at a laundry line in their yard all of the time, and I totally get that.  There are a couple of options.  One is to get some collapsible drying racks, like this or this, and to set them up outside and bring them in as needed.  This option won’t get your sheets outside, but it will help out with your clothes.

In our case, we installed a retractable laundry line system on the side of our shed, and then my husband and neighbor dug a hole in the ground and cemented in a receiving pipe for the laundry pole to slide into and out of.  I have a huge laundry line when it’s up, and when it’s not, there’s nothing to see other than a small gray bar attached to the side of our shed.

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We actually have the same retractable line in our basement so that I can hang our laundry even when the weather is less than ideal.  We don’t retract this one, though, since it runs close to the ceiling and is not really in a main walkway.

One caveat to line drying is that your clothes and towels will be stiffer than had you used a dryer.  Using fabric softener will help with this a bit; however, I don’t use it.  Clothes soften up pretty quickly once you put them on, and I find my towels to be more absorbent when they are a little stiffer and I haven’t used fabric softener.

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If you’re thinking about starting to use a laundry line, I’d suggest the following:

    1. If you’re using scented laundry detergent, switch it out for unscented.  Trust me, you want your clothes to smell like they dried outside, and the only way to really get the smell is to use unscented detergent.
    2. Be wary of weak clothespins.  I have some that belonged to Chris’ grandmother, and those are My Precious.  They are so much stronger and sturdier than any that I’ve ever purchased new.  You may have to buy a few different brands to find some that work…I definitely have some that can’t take the weight of anything more than a washcloth or they break apart.
    3. I prefer to store my clothespins in an apron that my mom made for me.  Then, I can wear the apron and always have my clothespins right wherever I am.  I have seen people use baskets, bins, and bags that hang on the line for their clothespins.  I’ve also been known to use my pockets, and for a while, I used a tool belt to hold them!  You’ll need to find a system that works for you.
    4. Know where you get the most sun.  Ideally, set up there.  If your line (or folding racks) need to be in partial shade, be sure to reserve the sunny spots for anything that needs brightening or bleaching.
    5. I actually don’t like what happens to shirts when you hang them from the line with clips on the bottom of the shirt’s hem.  I always think it stretches the shirt out oddly.  To remedy this, I fold shirts over the line at the armpits, where the sleeves meet the body of the shirt.  Unless it’s a really windy day, you won’t need to use clothespins for your shirt.
    6. This might be obvious, but pay attention to the weather.  If it’s very humid, cloudy, or cold, you might want to pass on laundry for the day or move your drying operation inside.  You don’t get the lovely fresh smell, but you still get all of the other benefits of line drying!

Enjoy! And if you have children, we highly recommend playing in your laundry 🙂

Fifteen. Pseudo-homesickness

Have you ever felt homesickness for a place that you’ve never actually lived?

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Chris and I spent two weeks in Iceland for our honeymoon in 2014. Two weeks in late July and early August, that’s all, a nice time for a honeymoon but a really insignificant length of time in reality.

And yet, every time I see a photo of Iceland or a reference to the country, I feel a pull, a longing, a desire, a homesickness for the country. It’s a feeling I’d imagine one would have for a place one has actually lived.

There is something, of course, about the sheer majestic beauty of the country. It’s undeniable.  But the urban landscape is also amazing. We loved the bright and colorful homes and buildings throughout the country and much prefer this to the monotonous colors and styles of homes found so often in the States. We were also won over by the people; everyone that we encountered was friendly, open, and helpful, and we loved Iceland really welcomes and embraces children.

Actually, I also feel this way a little about Amsterdam, which is a place I’ve never been. There is something about it that draws me; when I see other people’s photos of Amsterdam, I feel drawn to them for some reason, and I know I have to get there some day to find out why, just as I know that we’ll get back to Iceland one day, hopefully relatively soon.

Fourteen. Inventory 4

Hoping you have something fun planned to start Autumn off this weekend!  We have nothing big planned but are hoping to get out and enjoy some cooler weather (and are seriously hoping the gnats disappear.  If you know why they exist, please enlighten me, because I can’t figure it out!)

 

LOVING this quote from one of my favs: “I think we might be going all medieval when it comes to our sense of leisure, thinking that working all the time is normal and that there is no such thing as down time.

FEELING INSPIRED BY this house tour.  Loving the shelves with the toys and the fairy door!  Such a cute (and helpful) idea.

TOTALLY INTRIGUED BY Cubetto, a simple toy for teaching kids as young as three basic programming skills.  Bonus!  No screens!

FASCINATED (AND TERRIFIED) BY this article from the NYT on ethnobiology.  “By revealing the elemental secrets of these plants, [researcher Cassandra] Quave has discovered promising candidates for a new generation of drugs that might help resolve one of the greatest threats to public health today: the fact that an increasing number of disease-causing bacteria are rapidly evolving immunity to every existing antibiotic. Without effective antibiotics, common bacterial diseases that are curable today will become impossible to treat; childbirth, routine surgeries and even the occasional nick could turn lethal. The widespread emergence of resistant bacteria already claims 700,000 lives a year globally. Experts conservatively predict that by 2050, they will kill 10 million annually — one person every three seconds.”  What the what??

GIVING ALL THE HEART EYES to this beauty.  One day. You know, when Jacob and Libby aren’t banging metal forks into the table and scratching it to pieces.  A girl can dream, right?

REALLLLY WISHING MY KIDS WERE OLD ENOUGH FOR this.  Not sure of the link between Disney and Iceland, but Iceland, you have my heart.

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Thirteen. Fall Bucket List.

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Given that we’re thisclose to Fall, I thought I might share a few things that I’d like to do this time of year, season specific or otherwise.

*(the ubiquitous) Apple picking: because it’s been a few years since Chris and I have gone, and because we’ve never taken Jacob and Libby.

* Dancing: because we’ll be celebrating my cousin and her soon-to-be husband at their wedding very soon!

*The zoo in the fall: because it’s so. darn. hot. in the summer.  I’m thinking it will be downright pleasant in the fall.  Maybe we’ll hit up Boo at the Zoo.  We’d love to go to Ottertoberfest, too, but we have other plans that day.

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*Waking up before Jacob and Libby: not really a bucket list item per se, but it’s a habit that I’d really like to start cultivating.  I am not not NOT a morning person, but I’m also ready to actually finish a cup of coffee in the morning without microwaving it 987348 times.

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This is basically me every morning.  Nope.

*Finishing this little kangaroo project: because I started it foreverrrrrr ago.  Seriously.  It’s nearly embarrassing how long she’s been half-formed.

*Moving the office downstairs: our radon problem should be handled once and for all next week.  Then, bring it, basement.

*Thinking like a child: because once the office is moved, the current office space is becoming a mudroom/playroom for the kiddos, and we’re starting from scratch.  I’m pretty excited to design an empty room.

*Using the library more: because even though we have a lot of books, we keep reading the same ones over and over and over and chicka chicka boom boom, goodnight moon and llama llama….

It’s a list that’s small and that doesn’t seem like much, but, well, in our house, getting those things done before we hit winter would be a miracle!

Hope you’re planning on finding some time this fall to share with the ones you love.

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(first and last photos by the lovely and talented Alex)

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Twelve. Weekend in Photos 1

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Laundry! Always laundry!
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Chalk art
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New shoes
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Food festival and macarons
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Confusing each other
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Plum torte!

This weekend included two toddlers who refused a nap on Saturday, clothes shopping for an upcoming wedding, new shoe shopping, lots of art projects and lots of reading books, a small food festival, Italian take out, a little bit of baking, and, of course, laundry!  Hope yours was lots of fun (and included more naps…)

Eleven. Inventory 3

READING ABOUT A Roadmap for Making Major Life Decisions.  I don’t know how much of it is a road map, but I think it’s a great exercise for really narrowing down your values and goals for important areas in your life.  Lindsey’s exercise is definitely one that I’m hoping to find time to work through soon.

THINKING ABOUT making quilts.  We recently split Jacob and Libby into their own rooms, and each has a twin bed and a crib.  The issue is that they are extra-long twin beds, and I’m having trouble finding bedding that I like.  Of course, it turns out that I’m also having trouble finding an extra-long twin quit pattern, too, and having never made a quilt before, I’m a little hesitant to try my hand at lengthening a pattern.  Maybe I wouldn’t need to?  Maybe a regular twin would fit?  Still, a friend sent me this one, and I’m intrigued.

ALSO THINKING ABOUT Fall footwear.  As in, I could use some, and it never occurred to me that Birkenstock makes shoes other than sandals and clogs.  I’m sort of eyeing these. (I also like these and these and….sorry, Chris.)

CHUCKLING AT the elderly gentleman sitting on the other side of Panera right now who is loudly, eloquently, and passionately reading an X-Men comic book out loud….to himself.  He’s been at it now for 45 minutes straight.  It’s equal parts annoying and endearing.

DIGGING this roundup of Ikea for kids.  Think I know where I’ll start my holiday shopping this year! (We mayyyy have already gotten them this.)

And finally, celebrating the BEST thing to show up in my grocery store in forever!  Hope you have a great weekend enjoying your favorite beverage!

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