Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the glow

The Glow. This site is all over the blogosphere, but it's so good that I have to share, just in case you haven't seen it. It's like the selby of motherhood. Beautiful mothers, beautiful homes, beautiful photos.

"I often envy our nanny—I wish I could spend my days in Ruby's world going on play dates, taking trips to the water park, watching her spin round and round in Tots and Tutus class. I don't want to miss a thing. I always wonder, how many ‘firsts’ does she have in a day? It's magical to be apart of that sense of discovery."

"The most surprising thing about being a mom is that you make, and then proceed to eat food with abnormal amounts of butter."

Monday, August 29, 2011

on going back to work

Now that I’m one month in, I can comfortably say that the back to work process was much easier than I anticipated. When I wrote this in the days leading up to my return, I was absolutely devastated with the thought of returning to work. But, like any transition in life, we adjust and make the most of our circumstance. I'm in a pretty good place now and have managed to find necessary balance.

Here are a few tips for mothers going back to work:
  1. Make sure you are comfortable with your childcare option. We are so blessed that my in-laws are watching Mila while I work. But, I'm confident that we would have found a wonderful center or nanny had they not offered up their services. Being comfortable with your childcare is mandatory. The first time I sent Sonia to daycare she was nine months old and while I know the center was great, there was something about the experience that didn’t feel right. Lesson learned. Unless you feel 100% satisfied with your childcare choice, it will make being at work very difficult. 
  2. Adjust your schedule. I returned to work four days a week. I don't know how long this will last, but I hope to make it work for as long as possible. Having a day each week to be stay-at-home mom makes a big difference. I don't work Wednesdays, which means each day of my work week feels like a Thursday or Friday. I am in absolute love with this schedule. I love that I will be able to drop off and pick up Sonia from preschool on Wednesdays, schedule playdates, go on adventures, get errands and appointments done and just be with the ladies on my day off. Lord knows the weekends are way too short, so having a free day mid-week is wonderful. 
  3. Have everything packed-up the night before. Bottles, pumping equipment, lunch and snacks, etc. If you have to do these things in the morning, you will be off to a miserable start. I detest coming home from work and immediately cleaning out bottles, but if I do it at night I can enjoy my mornings that much more. 
  4. Meal plan. We are still working on this and hope to improve in the coming weeks. Coming home to an easy and healthy meal is essential in the long term. For us, this means weekly grocery store stock-ups on fresh produce and carefully planned meals that rely heavily on the slow cooker and grill. Friday night pizza never hurts either. 
  5. Have updated photos around. I can't tell you how often people ask to see new photos. And I'm happy to oblige. 
  6. Invest in the best pump you can afford. Your pump is going to be your best friend, so choose wisely. While there were many other items I would have preferred to spend $400 on, I don’t regret my purchase. Only one month in and I already feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth. 
  7. Calendar in your pumping sessions. The first thing I did my first day back to the office was to block out pumping time three times a day in my calendar. I pump at 9:30, 12:30 and 3:30. Sometimes I may get off schedule by 30 minutes do to a meeting, but for the most part, people have scheduled meetings around my three 15-minute blocks. 
  8. Reward yourself. Buy yourself a new outfit that makes you feel good. Get a pedicure. Go for coffee or treat yourself to lunch. 
  9. Get things done during your work day. I fit bill paying in during a quick five minute break from work. I run to Target or the library during my lunch break (when I can take a break). I make appointments and fill out school forms all from my office, so that when I’m home, I can relax. Does this take some time away from work? Yes, but I have a hard time focusing on work when I’m thinking of all the things I need to accomplish in my real life anyway. I find it takes five minutes to pay bills online each month, and it frees up my mind so I don’t have to think about it again. 
  10. Know you are doing the right thing. What ever your reason is for returning to work, know that it is the best choice for you. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career and I want my girls to see me as a business woman (did I just refer to myself as that?). While we could survive off one income, our double income provides us the ability to save money, travel and enjoy some "extras." After three years of law school, it's about time we enjoy some extras! 
  11. Be easy on yourself. Don’t try and do anything besides going to work and loving your babe while at home. Cleaning the house, cooking meals, and going to the gym can all wait until you are in a groove with your new schedule. Appreciating time with your baby is all that matters.

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    another great weekend at the cabin

    It's usually a good thing when there are no pictures to show of an event. The weekend was too good to be stuck behind the camera. There was a lot of Aunties, Uncles, Mumsie, Pop Pop and cousins time. Fresh air, bbq, s'mores, Pop Pop's breakfasts and boat rides. It's rare we get an opportunity to spend a weekend with the entire Tickner clan, so we enjoy it right.

    Despite this smile, I still hate the car.

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    friday nap

    home inspiration - nursery and kitchen

    Let's just go ahead and make this Mila's nursery.
    Source - Oh Joy

    And while we are at it, let's just pretend this is my kitchen. I am IN LOVE with the beat-up floors, tin ceilings, white walls, vintage subway tile and nomadic nature of the butcher block cabinets. Love love love.
    Source - Design*Sponge

    Source - Design*Sponge

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    500 posts!

    June 23, 2007. The day of my first, pregnant-belly post.

    August 18, 2011. The day we hit 500. Wow! This turned into one hell of a baby book.

    From one little feisty munch and a bunch of photos on a point-and-click to two feisty munches and a semi-pro. Thanks to all our visitors who keep coming back to watch us grow. Stick with us - the next 500 are going to be magic.


    Sonia: "Every time I see her cute face I just want to squeeze it." 

    I couldn't have said it better myself. 

    brooklyn to west

    One of my recent blog obsessions has been brooklyn to west, a blog about a carpenter (she's a lady!) from Brooklyn who is building a restaurant in Cali out of reclaimed and salvaged materials. Her work is absolutely gorgeous - check out the custom tables she makes. Makes me want to get a whole lot of crafty. Or, at least, to visit il vecchio in Pacific Grove, California. And those tables? I am in heart.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    building a wardrobe: how to dress like a french woman

    If she can’t afford it, she won’t buy it. If it doesn’t fit (or make her feel good, or flaunt what she’s got), she won’t wear it. If she can’t find it, she won’t compromise. If she loves it, she won’t toss it. She reuses it, rethinks it, lets it age.
    When a French girl shops, it isn’t a solitary act of buying something new. It’s part of a lifelong process of editing her environment, making small but meaningful additions to her home, her closet, her life.
    When you shop like a French girl, you buy only one of anything – and make sure it’s the best quality you can afford.
    ~ from Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl via Operation Simplicity
    I have a ridiculously small wardrobe. Despite this, I'm constantly adding items of clothing that I don't love to the "out" pile. Given I've recently gained, and lost am losing a lot of weight, coupled with my four year clothing budget of zero, I'm left with an urgent need to purchase new clothes. Rather than run out and drop a load, I'm going to purchase items very thoughtfully. The key to feeling good for me is to keep things simple. I want to wear things that not only look great, but feel great too.

    Here is what I currently have in my "cart" (i.e. right here in ye old blog):

    Jeans. Liking these. Super dark denim with stretch and high waist? Okay!

    Blazer. Madly in love with this. Why, hello, cute little gold buttons and navy stripe lining. I'll throw you over my white v-neck and we'll be off for the day.

    And, of course, my love for the Swedes never waivers.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    fifteen weeks

    home lack-of inspiration

    It comes as no surprise to anyone I've spoken to in real life recently that I'm feeling a bit ho-hum about our home at the moment. While I love so much about our place, it's feeling just a little too new. I've always loved old beat-up houses with a history, and while I am naturally drawn to minimalism, I also love the slightly-disheveled-bohemian feel as well. While there are a number of improvements we could make to our place – hello, unfinished nursery - I'm simply not inspired to take any of them on. Instead, I'm spending a lot of time looking at quirky homes online and dreaming about moving.

    I love to move. After not moving during the first 18 years of my life, I moved 10 times from 1999 to 2007. I love, love, love moving into a new place. I love packing up my belongings and evaluating everything I own. I love decorating a new space, making things fit, figuring out what new items much be purchased, etc. I love the fresh start of deep-cleaning an apartment and sleeping in a new bedroom the first night. I love making the first real meal and sitting down to eat with fresh flowers on the table. I love when you first move somewhere and it feels like you are on vacation. Your whole life just feels different.

    I keep envisioning moving into a little apartment with old wood floors, white walls and a little balcony. I would love a bedroom for the girls to share with big windows I could dress in whimsical fabric. There is something about fall (not that we are there yet, just looking ahead) that makes me want to pack-up and start fresh.

    Here are some shared-bedroom inspiration shots:





    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    summer splendor

    Another great weekend in lake country. This time at the amazing, magical, beautiful Henry compound. We could not have asked for a better weekend of boating, trampoline jumping, s'more making, and hanging out with two of our favorite people in the world. Thanks Kel + John!

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    mid-day errands nap

    Turns out running errands at 1 p.m. doesn't work so well. We spent an hour napping in the car. I was parked at a 30 minute meter, so I had to feed it twice. A quarter for each 10 minutes. I had to wake Sonia up when the last quarter was gone. She was in excellent spirits though. 

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    first day of work

    I have a weakness for first day of school pictures (and good looking men in nice suits), so I made Papa pose before his first day as a lawyer at Faegre & Benson. Totally Don Draper.