April 29, 2013

The past few weeks have been completely jammed packed between taking care of Ru and getting our third year of The City Flea underway.  We're super super excited for this coming season and have a lot of fun new things in store for the year.  I've written a lot about owning a small business and the Flea in the past and I feel like I just need to say it again- We are so thankful to our city for so much enthusiasm and support. The fact that we are able to attract over a hundred vendors every month and thousands of shoppers to each market is just awesome.  If you live near Cincinnati, I'd love to see you at one of our markets this summer! Not sure what The City Flea is- Check our website. Also to anyone local who's interested in hanging a poster at their shop, business or office- let me know! I'd love to drop one off to you. 


April 25, 2013

Just a handful of Instagram shots of life lately. I sure do love spending my days with this little lady of ours and am so thankful she's just the most laid back, sweet, go with the flow babe there ever was. Speaking of, we're almost to the three month mark and are not on any sort of sleep schedule yet which I kind of love. She naps whenever she's tired (which is still a lot) and just started sleeping 8 hour stretches through the night. (hey, no complaints here!) I love the idea of not having to rush home during the day for a nap time or in the evening for bedtime but I know as she gets older she'll fight sleep and need these scheduled times. When did you mama's start a sleep schedule with your little ones? It seems like there is SO MUCH information out there about the do's and don'ts of baby sleep, it's always nice to hear from real moms about it. PS. did you guys read THIS HILARIOUS ARTICLE on the exact topic? I was laughing so hard because it's so true! 


April 24, 2013

About every six months or so I like a good clean redo on a lot of things in my life - my dresser drawers, closet, desk drawer, random rooms around the house, my blog and the clutter that has built up over time in my heart - to re-prioritize and feel fresh. It just feels good to get rid of the silly nonsense and start fresh every so often. I know my husband thinks i'm nuts and that I can just never be content but really, I like to work things up until the clutter, literally or figuratively becomes too much because it just feels so good consciously getting rid of it all. An e-friend of mine recently tweeted "Simplicity can be so hard to achieve," and it really struck a chord with me and made me wonder, why is it so hard? It should be the "simplest" of things in life to achieve- yet living simply truly is one of the harder things we strive for day to day. To not get caught up in what others are doing or how they might view you. It's definitely gotten easier as I've gotten older and as my priorities have shifted but it's still hard and with the amount of social media thrown in our faces with endless amounts of beautiful imagery and "perfect photos," it's still a struggle not to compare your own life to what you perceive as someone else's life. So my friends, I gladly cleaned up this blog a bit (which if you've been around you know it will likely change a bit more here and there) and have done the same around our house too. I guess spring cleaning really is a thing, huh? Cheers to happy, healthy, simple living.


April 23, 2013

The past couple of weeks sure have been fun with this one. I feel like we're at the turning point of no longer being a newborn, headed straight into babyhood. She's talking up a storm and tells us the best stories. You really are able to have an entire back and forth conversation with her of coos, gah's and eeee's.  It's kind of our most favorite thing and Nick and I both melt into a bazillion pieces during every little conversation. In my mind the 3 month mark is a major milestone and we have just a couple weeks until we're there. We might start to worry a little less and we're excited for what's to come in her development around that time. This baby stuff- it's a dang good time.


April 22, 2013

When my friend Lacy asked me to participate in this mothers day project I was ecstatic and couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a little bit about this beautiful print and the women's hospital the proceeds of the print are going to. Here's a little blurb about the hospital in Somaliland, Africa from their website. "The health of the people of Somaliland is among the worst in Africa, with one of the highest Maternal and Infant Mortality rates in the world. Every year, one baby in eight dies in infancy while nearly 4000 Somali women die in childbirth. This tragedy can be attributed in large part to the long civil war which brought about the death or departure of nearly all of the country’s trained health care professionals." 

The good news is that this hospital is working to change these statistics and improve maternal health. From educating midwives and fighting female genital mutilation, the Edna Adan University Hospital is making big changes for the people of Somaliland. So, here's how you can help- spread the word via your social networks using hashtag #givetoednaadan and direct people to the print shop HERE. Purchase the print for your own mom, a friend or yourself. 

Some of the details:

  • Prints are $30 with free US shipping. They will ship in 3-5 business days of order and will arrive before Mother's Day, May 12th. 
  • Half of all proceeds will be donated to the Edna Adan University Hospital. 
It's so hard for us to even imagine the circumstances, conditions and care most women around the world receive during their pregnancy and delivery that we take so for granted. The fact that during my own pregnancy I was able to be so closely monitored most of the third trimester because they spotted a small issue with the umbilical cord at my 30 week ultra sound was such a blessing. I was induced at 38 weeks because they saw Ru stopped gaining weight from weeks 36-38, and when they realized her heart rate was dipping during my labor I was in a place where a safe c section was available to me. When I think about my experience compared to most women's around the the world I am beyond blessed by the technology, skilled doctors, clean hospital, and caring nurses.  This is just one more (major) thing our society takes for granted.  We are so lucky and pure luck shouldn't mean other women should be deprived of the exact same type of care. So hop on over and purchase this beautiful print to help the women of Somaliland receive the same care you and I receive. 


April 19, 2013

Despite the Boston news coverage that I hear and see in the background, Im thankful for this day. Like anything it's always easier to nit pick at the negative and overlook the positive even when more often than not the positive greatly outweighs the negative - I needed this reminder and am grateful for some e-friends who reminded me. It's hard not to feel completely discouraged but i'm remembering how much good there is in the world and counting my blessings that in my own personal world most of my mornings look just like this one and that I am surrounded by people with kind, honest, happy hearts.  I'll be praying for humanity and Boston like heck this weekend and I'm thankful I am able to celebrate love with my best friend today and tomorrow as she marry's her best friend.  

ps. I'm leaving Ru with her grandparents tomorrow night for 10 hours! I'm a bit anxious about being away so long (I know she'll be fine- it's me who needs the encouragement :) Any words of advice?

pps. Ru is wearing her favorite little crossover top from B Nature organic


April 17, 2013

One of my favorite things to do with Ru is sit in her rocking chair and read stories. She has no idea what I'm reading but it's so magical to watch her little eyes get so wide at all the pictures.  I can't wait until she's able to choose the books for our little story times. These are just a few that I think she loves- the pictures are high contrast and she's able to focus on them really well.  / Look Look / Colors / I am a Bunny (this one is just plain sweet) / Hello World

I could absolutely get lost in the book store and hope to share many afternoons with Ruthie there over the years. What are some of your favorite children's books? 


April 16, 2013

It seems like I just wrote a post like this one yet here I am again writing out my thoughts about us as a people desperately needing to find goodness and happiness in our hearts.  There's too much hate, there's too much pain, there's too much evil, there's too much loss and quiet frankly I don't know how long these types of senseless, selfish, heartbreaking crimes can continue without causing us total self destruction.  Yesterday I turned the news coverage on while my baby girl lay next to me smiling and kicking under her play gym, happy and innocent as can be, and it just crushed me. These sorts of horrific acts have always left me feeling desperate for change and a weight heavy on my heart but this time was different for me.  I have a child now- a child who was brought into a world where no matter how I might try, I can't protect her from.  This world is not nice and her innocence will not last long and that thought breaks my heart into a billion pieces. We try every day to be kind, generous, empathetic people and as much as we hope to instill these same values in Ruthie, she will still be exposed to the horrors and reality of the society we live in. I just can not understand why it is so hard for people to do the right thing- I really can't.  What angers me the most is that I know I will be writing another post just like this one in another few months and all there is to do in the meantime is try to live normally and happily. 

The power of prayer is strong and maybe, just maybe if we are all able to find hope in something, anything, no matter who your God may be or if you believe in no God at all we have to find the beauty and hope. And so I pray. I pray for goodness and change. I pray that the ones who are in pain find a way to deal with their pain in a way that does not hurt others. I pray that those who struggle making moral choices are able to feel a lightness in their hearts and see the difference between right and wrong and I pray like heck for our kids. That one day they will live in a world where pain is not all around and their innocence really can last beyond just a few years, because really, what else is there to do? 


April 15, 2013

Happy Monday, friends! Just wanted to pop in with a few photos I snapped this past weekend. The weather FINALLY showed up with it's jazz shoes on and we were able to enjoy the heck out of it. We were mostly around the house getting ready for spring with some yard work and proper porch sitting but we did manage to have friends over Friday night and snuck a family dinner in last night. These are the weekends I live for.  Coming up this week, Ru and I have playdates and a trip to the zoo planned, dinner with friends and my best friends wedding on Saturday! Needless to say, we're pretty excited for these next few days. 


April 12, 2013

Maybe it's the fact that it's Friday which means two consecutive days with dada coming up, or the fact that we have friends coming over tonight or that my mom swung by with coffee's this morning or the way my morning started with baby snuggles in bed. Maybe it's all of these things combined- whatever it is,  it really is the little things that make my world go round. Have a wonderful weekend, friends! 


April 11, 2013

5/52 ♥
She grows and changes as each day passes and as I watch her sleep, with her twittery eyes and little mouth that sucks and smiles, I can't imagine anything sweeter.


When I was a senior in high school, surrounded by friends who I was SURE would be my best friends for life, I never thought about how relationships might change as we evolved into the women we would be. Isn't if funny how at that age you think you've figured it all out? And then 10 years later you're still learning and look back at those late high school years and think, god I was such an idiot. Friendship, like any relationship is hard, but back then who thought like that? Now I know, you have to work at it- there are some friendships that seem like a little too much work and then you have to decide, is this relationship worth all this effort? I'm a firm believer that people come in and out of your life at certain times for specific reasons. This is a lesson I've learned to accept over the years and the reason I am able to find contentment with friendship even when every single relationship doesn't last. You see, I've been on the rejected end of the friendship stick and it hurts like heck.  You say things like, I'm a great friend, I can't understand why she doesn't want me around anymore." You cry. You get angry. You mourn. And then one day you wake up and you are stronger and you understand that not every relationship is meant to last. 

As I've grown into a woman, wife and mother I've learned how to have healthy friendship. Friendship is about balance- you give and you take and that's how it's supposed to go. The worst relationships are the ones that cant quiet seem to figure this balance out. I've surrounded myself with a handful of amazing women who do the balancing thing oh so well (another word for balance anyone? geesh.)  The kind that share similar values, that throw you a baby shower, that visit you in the hospital the day you give birth because they're just as much an auntie to your baby as an actual family member is. The kind that doesn't care if you show up in sweats with no makeup, the kind that would rather stay in with some takeout and conversation over a night out, the kind that would watch your baby at the drop of a hat, or who gladly lends you their shoulder even when there are other places to turn. These are the kind of women that make great friends, these are the women I am proud to say I have in my life today.


April 10, 2013

This baby, I tell ya. Yesterday our tempertaures reached 80 degrees- NOT going to the park would have been an injustice so we packed the stroller up, invited my mom to come along and headed to the park with a couple of iced coffees in hand. Just a day ago Ru was all bundled up anytime we left the house and you see this? She's in short sleeves with no pants! Hoping you guys had a chance to enjoy some of the sunshine yesterday too. Have a great Wednesday! 


April 8, 2013

sources: 1 / 2 / 3
Slowly I have been bookmarking materials for our Montessori at home area and I'm really excited to share them and their purpose with you here! Right now Ruthie is too small for these materials but we have been using the ikea play gym which is a great, simple and pretty toy for her to use that falls into the montessori for baby category (in my opinion.) I found the above images on pinterest and have them saved in my Montessori at Home board:

1 / Low shelves easy for the little ones to see their materials which allows them to choose what they'd like to work with and also allows for them to be able to put their things away in it's correct place after they're finished. Also pictured is a material called the color tablets-They help children understand color grade, mixing at matching. This is the third set of tablets- 1st set is of primary colors only, second set is tertiary and this is the final set containing all grades of colors. The posters with labels are good for early reading and it's important to note that in a Montessori environment having pictures of real things instead of drawn or cartoons is important for them in understanding the difference between reality and imaginative play. 

2 and 3 / color sorting and spooning.  The balls and spoon are great for building fine motor skills which ultimately lead to a strong pencil grip for writing and the color sorting is a great math skill. 

On a similar note, Nick and I have been talking a lot about homeschooling recently and as a Montessori teacher who teaches at a school for homeschooled families and after reading this article, Im almost sure we'll be giving our children the base of their education at home. It's exciting to think of all the adventures we'll be able to take together as a family as part of our kids schooling. And lucky for us, Cincinnati is a city rich in homeschool resources, families and co ops. 


April 5, 2013

The thing about this whole parenthood gig is that you can never dream of how the love you have for your child will feel until you have a child.  I imagined I would love our daughter to the moon and back when I was pregnant but the thing is, the moon and back doesn't seem to even touch the surface of how deep and wide my love for her is.  Don't you love that? "A deep and wide love." My aunt said that to me yesterday about the love we have for our children and I wanted to share a little bit of her story with you here.  This aunt of mine is something amazing. A mama to five, I've always known, even at a very young age how good of a mother she was to her children. And today, my heart is breaking for her and her family-  my little cousin, her sweet 16 year old is sick. 

I posted a photo on instagram yesterday asking if seeing your kids in pain ever gets easier? My baby girl got four shots and it just tore me up. I thought surely this must get easier as she gets older but then I thought, why would that be? Seeing your child in pain will never get easier- maybe even harder. My wise and amazing aunt said these words to me: "No darling it doesn't get easier. We mamas spend many sleepless nights on our knees. But then what would life be like never having known just how deep and wide our love is for our babes? You see the thing is my dearest Lou, (she calls me Lou) your shoulders are strong. You will carry this baby and her heartaches and struggles so that she may become all she is created to be."

And then I sobbed. She's living the words she is teaching me. She watches her baby suffer every single day- she knows the strength of her love and it amazes me. I could not agree more- what would our life be like never having known how deep and wide our love is for our babies? It would be nothing. 

I want to use this space to create some awareness about the devastating affects Lyme Disease has on a persons body. We don't know exactly when my cousin became infected but we do know she's been suffering for several years never knowing what the problem was. She was diagnosed with abdominal migraines at one point and a few other things at other points. She was finally diagnosed with Lyme after my aunt, with her determined mama heart, figured it out. It's a sickness not many people know about and is one that is not recognized by most insurance companies. Emotionally, physically and financially it is devastating. My sweet little cousin can't go to school because of the pain she's in, can't make plans ahead of time because she doesn't know how she'll feel and is prisoner to the medicine she takes on a daily basis. Please pray for my family, friends. That they continue to find strength, courage and healing. 


April 4, 2013

Often I forget how lucky Nick and I are that we get to work together.  When we started The City Flea two years ago we never dreamed it would have turned into what is has become.  On a personal front we've made so many amazing friends through our business and we've been able to connect with so many local businesses.  It's nice to be able to collaborate and promote one another in a non threatening, competitive way- by the way, what's up with that? In my eyes the more small businesses that pop up in a city means the city is growing and thriving- lets all support one another! We've also been able to understand better how the other person works.  Before working with Nick in a professional way I didn't realize how detail oriented and thorough he is.  He's definitely the one on our team that doesn't leave a single detail out, which, when dealing with over 150 individual vendors is a very, very important trait.  He's the more level headed one of us when something less than positive arises and he can delegate tasks like nobody's business.  I like to think he has discovered some of my own professional abilities along the way as well.

What I have found to be one of the most important things about working with your husband is maintaining your relationship as husband and wife first.  When we are in our busy season it's so easy to talk to one another like we're strictly business partners.  We went down that road when we first started our business and I can remember thinking, is this how our relationship is going to feel from now on? Like we're businesses partners and not husband and wife?  I think because I realized I did not like the way our relationship felt when we were working we made a conscious effort to change the way we spoke and treated one another while working. Even the smallest gesture, like him having a hand on my leg while we type emails reminds me that I'm his wife first, business partner second.
I feel so fortunate to be married to someone who shares the same creative passion as I do.  Collaborating with him on various projects has been such a blessing in our marriage and I thank my lucky stars that we totally get one another.  We dream big together and that's one of the things I love most about our relationship.  

Images were taken by our insanely talented friend Gina from Kiwi Street Studios at our very first Flea in June of 2011. The photos she took from that day are still some of my very favorite ever of the flea in action. Such a fond memory! 


It feels so nice to be back to contributing to the Classic Play Blog.  I took some time off to adjust to life with Ru but now I'm ready to get my writing fingers back to work.  Hop on over and check out my first post back on adjusting to life with a new baby.  

On another note, baby girl gets a set of four vaccinations this afternoon.  I know she will be okay but my gosh, my heart is already breaking for her.  Aside from the pain she'll feel I just pray that we are making the right decisions for her. Knowing what to do and what is best is something Im never sure of when it comes to her but I've learned I need to just trust my gut and go with what we feel is right for us.  In the meantime I'll be in the corner trying to get my strong mama game face on. Wish us luck!


April 3, 2013

Images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
Since I last posted some home inspiration images, some small changes have been happening in our home.  I had a strong desire for a bedroom makeover so at first we just rearranged but after a couple weeks with the new arrangement it still wasn't what I wanted.  I've been craving simplicity and minimal "things" and furniture in each room (ever since I saw Jordan's 500 sq foot apartment I've been wanting to downsize in a big way- because less is more right? I think so.) so we took out a small couch we had in our room, replaced our end tables with something that suited us a bit better and changed our colorful quilt out for all white bedding.  It's not finished but I love how simple and clean it is starting to feel. I hope to share photos once it's finished.  What i'd really love is to repaint all the walls white and rip up the carpet but I think my husband would disagree with this plan. Ha! Our entire second and third floors are carpeted and as easy as it is to hide dog hair in carpet I sure would love wood floors throughout our home.  It makes such a difference! Maybe for our next home, if we do downsize, keeping wood floors clean will be easier with a smaller space? Anyways, I'm loving these spaces and am always so drawn to living space with plant life, gallery walls, books, and great throw pillows. Because who doesn't love great throw pillows? Am I right?


April 2, 2013

"a portrait of my child, each week, every week in 2013"

I suppose I'll say it every month but I can't believe my girl is two whole months. Really- where does the time go? Broken record much? I wonder if the speed of time will ever feel normal or if i'll be in disbelief as each day passes for the rest of my life? Anyways....

Sweet girl- Happy two months old you little peanut! What did we do 2 months and 1 day ago without you here? Weird how I can hardly remember. I love this photo for three reasons- let me tell you why. 

1. Your daddy dressed you, putting your shirt on backwards and not buttoning it up all the way because it looks "cooler" this way (both were accidents- he really thought this was the way it goes, god love him)

2. Your "bath hair" as we call it.  After we give you a bath we like to make that little front piece curl up like a little who. It usually stays that way for the next couple days and gosh darnit it's so cute.

3. This is the first time you are really hanging out on our front porch.  It was actually nice enough out that we could let you lay on your blanket and kick while you took in the breeze and sounds of outside. I think this is the first of many many porch memories this family of ours is going to make. 

Also, how is it possible that our love for you grows stonger and stronger each day? Like right this second, I feel like my heart is going to burst but then tomorrow will come and I'll think, I love you more than I did yesterday and yesterday I loved you SO MUCH. Parenthood....It's really something.


April 1, 2013

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! It sure was sweet for us spending our first holiday together as a family of three.  Things really are so much more fun with little Ru around....  

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