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“You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis

Posts for SB Category

An 18-Month Letter to My Daughter

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[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I told myself I wouldn’t have to write another letter to you until your second birthday. That seemed like a relief, at first—sometimes I am amazed at myself, managing to write a letter each month of your first year. I’m glad I did, it was worth the effort – already, once or twice, I have enjoyed going back and rereading, reminding myself what life with you was like at two months, at six, at nine. You have changed so quickly, the weeks and months fly by – and it’s nice to remember days when we just cuddled, or you sat still(!!) in my lap. But still – finding the time each month was difficult, making the effort to pull together words and phrases that remotely captured what it’s like to be your mom. I felt relieved to think I’d cut it down to once a year, a letter for each birthday.

And here we are – I’m writing you an 18 month, year-and-a-half letter.

I can’t help it! You, my darling Ari, are too fun and too silly and too loving and too precious not to take a few minutes to try and capture what life with you is like, right now. You’ve changed so much from 12 months, a year old – already, only 6 months later, I look at pictures of you from your first birthday, and think, she’s so little, her hair is so short compared to now, she’s changed so much, already!

I think I had feared, like most first-time moms, that moving out of that baby stage and into the toddler phase would mean losing some of the specialness of our bond. Having a baby is so soft and sweet and lovely – sure, messy as well, sleepless often, stressful, definitely – but cuddling your baby, knowing you the mama are the thing a baby needs most – it makes mamas feel so special and so unique and so needed, so necessary. The older you get, the more superfluous I will become, it seemed like – the less you will physically need me, maybe the less you might need me, period. It’s a silly worry, I know – I am thirty-nearly-thirty-one years old, and I still need my mama, all the time. But you are so precious to me, I always want to be your best friend.

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But happily – so happily – this second year has begun so wonderfully, and has been just as fulfilling, emotionally and spiritually, as your first. Friends had told me one-year-olds are a delightful mix of baby and child, and it’s so true. You have your toddler moments, sure, you’ve learned to arch your back and go limp everywhere except your kicking little feet, you whine when you don’t immediately get your way – but for the most part, you are such a happy, joyful little girl. Every day with you is so entertaining and funny and tender and sweet.

At 18 months, you are brimming with personality. You’ve learned people think you’re funny, or cute, and you like to ham it up. You give Sylvie Ann so many kisses, and then grin at the adults. See how sweet I am? You have this bashful little grin, and you duck your head into my shoulder if I’m holding you, or press yourself into my legs if you’re standing near me. Shy, sometimes – but so sweet when you are. And among friends, family – you are a firecracker. You crawl in your little shark tent at Marmee’s and hide, and shriek when you’re spotted. You chase Ziggy and Kitty and Alice Kitty and Big Kitty Boi, out of an earnest desire to love them, pet them, play with them! You’ve followed Alice and Big Kitty Boi all over Marmee’s yard, chirruping and singing to them, trying to get close enough to touch.

Friday.

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An Eight Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I am behind on writing and posting your eight-month letter, as I have been behind on everything this past month. Your papa and I have been late or not caught up on just about every task and project this month.

And you know what? It’s completely intentional, for once.

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I realized, in this last month, we needed to slow down. Everyone needs that reminder, once in a while. It’s so easy to get caught up in our long, long lists of things we need to accomplish, never-ending tasks that we cycle through over and over again. We get so engrossed in obligation and duty and responsibility. We are trick ponies, making our jumps and running the course, aiming to do everything as quickly and neatly as possible.

But – it’s impossible. The course is never done, our lives never stop being busy and requiring so much of us. We can push and push and push ourselves, but there’s no magical day when the laundry stops being dirty and then clean and then needing to be put away. There’s no day that we won’t need groceries or gas or to mow the lawn. It keeps coming, and the more we rush, the less we are living; the more we are becoming robotic – the more we are missing the point of living by trying so hard to cross things off our to-do lists.

To live is to feel life, is to find empty spaces in between the Must Dos, and take advantage of that space, that time. To take advantage of those empty spaces and push at our boundaries, to allow ourselves to be still in those moments and not hassle ourselves to fill them with another activity, another responsibility.

Your papa and I were caught up in that whirlwind of go-go-go, do-do-do. I (as usual) was mostly to blame as I tend to chart my success in life based on how much I’ve accomplished each day. It’s as if I need a concrete list to prove to myself that I’ve done enough, been the best person I could.

It took me a little while to realize it – but our evenings started to feel so rushed. We were in a hurry, your papa and I, and we were rushing you. I didn’t realize it until I was journaling one evening – your papa was at work, you were asleep in your bed, and I had a few minutes to sit and think and write out my thoughts.

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Emoting On: Baby Shower

Sometimes, there’s a day where you get to be treated like royalty.

My bachelorette party (dress up +Mexican food and margaritas and wigs + dance party + yard swimming)  was one of those days.

My wedding day (sleepover + set up in the chilly drizzle + a capella singing in the hide out room + the most beautiful, funny ceremony ever + epic dance party + after party) was another.

And now, my baby shower is a third.

One of the things those three days have in common is they were planned or supported by my special group of women. My Fierce Lady tribe, which yes, can sound super cliche — except it’s so true, so apt. I hope and pray if you’re reading this and you’re a lady of any age, you have this group in your life. If you don’t, I hope and pray you find one. I hope you search them out and cultivate them, in whatever way works best for you. These are my girls who put up with my intense organizational OCD needs, who humor my dramatic sensitive FEELS, and all the novel-length texts that let me EXPRESS MY FEELINGS and maintain some sense of calm. They let me take their picture all their time, and embarrass them with expressions of love, usually in the public eye. Who let me write about them and don’t just appear not to mind (please, tell me, someone, if you mind) but also follow what goes on here and reads.

The girls who let me be me, basically. Sometimes loud, sometimes overemotional, sometimes too analytical me. All the little flaws that make me up — and these are the girls who look past the flaws and just see all the good things about me too, and remind me when I’m having a hard time seeing them myself.

I cannot stop gushing about this group of women and what a beautiful, peaceful, healing little idyll of a party they set up and planned for me — again. My baby shower was one of those days where all of the details seemed — for me, at least — to fall magically into place. The entire party was better than I could have even imagined. When I heard who all was involved planning it, I kinda hoped — but these girls went above and beyond, over the top.

Who was there was a huge part of why it was such a special day. There were people who couldn’t make it, people missing, and I wish they could have been there — but as it was, so many of my favourite people came together. The group was made up of such funny, clever people, there was no way we couldn’t have a good time. Rachel, Alison, Erin, Jeannie and Lauren all worked together to pulled together to create this little magical haven of ladies, it truly felt like a day out of magazine or a book.

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The Home Place.

A visit to the Homeplace in Land Between the Lakes.

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Louisville Girls’ Weekend.

Emi, Jeannie, and I have made it a little tradition to visit Louisville for a weekend, somewhere around Jeannie’s birthday. Poor Jeannie has a January birthday, and most of us are a little grumpy around this winter month — so we try and take a trip to create a bit of excitement, to one of our favourite cities for a little window shopping, a little walking around the city, and a fair bit of eating.

This year’s trip was a little slow-moving — I, of course, am pregnant, and besides the usual first trimester  exhaustion, I’ve been having fairly significant dizzy/vertigo spells off and on. Nothing to worry about — it’s fairly common, but I do have to take it easy. Emi brought sweet little Jude (SB) with us, which requires some special care, and poor baby Jude came down with a bit of a cold over the weekend — she was bright and chipper and smiley considering she felt bad — but she did require a fair amount of nose-cleaning — which made her furious — and some extra love and snuggles.

Despite that — we had a nice time! My lovely dance company best friend and bridesmaid, Maggie, graciously lets us crush at her place Friday night through Sunday morning, and, as Emi put it, plays city mouse to our country mice, and shows us all the nice shops with funky art, handmaid jewelry, antique furniture, and cool clothing. We also got to meet up with my former roommate and best friend, Jenny, as well as long-time friend from elementary school, Shadea. It’s just a lovely time of girls, laughing, and taking it easy as we explore a cool city.

Some of the places we visited – some of which are featured in the pictures:

Grape Leaf  – our traditional spot for just-into-town dinner — lots of vegetarian options, including falafel, Greek salad, and of course, hummus.

Cafe Mimosa/Eggroll Machinewe tried to go to a different pho place but Cafe Mimosa is just too good! Big open space with awesome people-watching windows, incredible pho or sushi or shrimp rolls or potstickers or crab rangoon or pretty much anything your little heart might desire to bolster you for an afternoon of shopping. 

Please and Thank Youa cool combination coffee and record shop! Some of the girls needed caffeine, and I browsed their new and used record combination. Maggie also got a chocolate chip cookie to share, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. 

Revelry probably one of my favourite places we visited this weekend! Walking into Revelry was like walking into Etsy come to life — homemade jewelry, a variety of art, clothing, furniture, soaps, essential oils. They feature a small art gallery in the back, and we took the time to wander through some paintings and prints.

Scout fancy furniture, clothing, jewelry, and more! Definitely a place for window shopping, although we found a few things within our price rage. A fun place to dream and imagine your dream home.

Red Treeanother cool store full of twists and turns, one room beyond the next — with tons to see — from antique and refinished furniture to night lights and potpourri.

Peace on Earththe most important thing you need to know about this store is that I found a brand new, amazing scent of soap called jasmine rose and came home with two bars of it.

Carmichael’s Bookstorea must-visit for us when we go to Louisville. Such a unique bookstore, half the size of a Books-a-Million but with triple the selection of books: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biography, cook books, and a sizable children’s section. I always try to limit myself to just 2 or 3 books, but it’s hard not to come home with half the store!

Just Creationsanother must-visit! Just Creations is a store full of crafts — baskets, wall hangings, soaps, stationary, jewelry, dress, toys, food and seasonings, and it comes from all over the world. As a non-profit, the proceeds go back to low-income women all over the world to help better their circumstances — all fair trade. So not only do we get beautiful things, we feel good about buying them.

Safeir we can’t not eat at Safeir while we’re in Louisville, it’s just too good. A Middle-Eastern deli, we eat our fill of falafel, shish tawook, lentil soup, Greek salad — and all of it tastes so fresh and delicious. In warmer times, we sit on the street and people-watch the downtown traffic, but snuggled up at the back was just as fun.

Comfy Cowice cream! So many kinds of ice cream! What more do you need to know?

Nancy’s Bagel Groundsa new restaurant for us this time! We met Shadea here for a quick brunch before leaving town due to snow and freezing temperatures. It was hard to pick just one bagel and cream cheese from their long list, but each of us loved their choice. Emi and I also sampled their fruits smoothies which was a nice start to the day! They also had sandwiches, salads, and a Nutella latte I regretfully passed on this time — can’t wait to go back!

 

If you find yourself in Louisville any time soon, be sure to visit some of these spots!

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