Wednesday, November 30, 2011

what makes a party?

so of course i waited until the very last minute to plan elodie's birthday party. i decided to have it early this year and am now wondering why i would do such a silly thing. i had just started to look at some seriously cute ideas for birthday inspiration (which gave me a mild panic attack) when thankfully a friend passed on the birthday book. in a nutshell, the book laid out the essential ingredients of a birthday party.

‘they are: a cake to share with those who are close to us, a candle on the cake, greetings, blessings or gifts from family or friends. nothing more is required, everything else – flowers, decorations, games, dancing, entertainment – are loving elaborations of these three essentials which are needed to feed the whole of ourselves, our body, soul and spirit. everyone requires nourishment on these three levels if they are to grow, thrive and fulfill their destiny.’

of course, this isn't going to stop me from wanting to pull together a cute and fun party between now and saturday but i think it helps me be more kind to myself and realize that the most important aspects of the celebration are:
and a remembrance of how special this little person is to us and that we are so very blessed to be helping her on the path of her life.

the book also has a lot of ideas for birthday traditions to establish such as greeting the child by a number of birthday kisses equal to his/her age and making the child a 'fairy path' leading him/her from the bedroom to a special birthday breakfast. i can't wait to do both of those on her special day!

image here (michael turned me on to geronimo balloons - amazing!) 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

a smile goes a long way

i wish i could always have this attitude when learning something new.

p.s. i don't know why i'm yelling and chortling in the background. she doesn't either.

Friday, November 25, 2011

sixty-seven years good

it's my dad's sixty-seventh birthday on sunday and we are going to be in las vegas to celebrate with him. it's hard to think what to get someone who has had such a profound impact on my life. golf balls? hardly. so i was looking through old photos because i'm going to make him something from pinhole press and came across these from a trip we took six months ago to seattle.

he took elodie and i to a beautiful park and we had a great time feeding the ducks, playing on the playground, blowing bubbles, just being together. it brings me so much happiness to see him and my stepmom with elodie. they care so much for her and she, in turn, feels at ease and loved. i guess the greatest present i could give him would be for him to know how very blessed i feel to have him in my life.

dad, you make me laugh. you encourage adventure. you tell the silliest (longest) anecdotes and i love rolling my eyes and looking at mary when the next one is coming along. you let us eat ice cream. you believe in me even though i have always walked an unproven path. i look back on all of our times together and hope for more, more, more. i enjoy your company and at the end of the day, that's all i wish for my future with elodie. i love you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving

we are in north county san diego celebrating thanksgiving with my mom and stepdad. it is the first time i have been with my two sisters and my beautiful nieces (for a holiday) since my wedding in 2006 so i'm feeling pretty thankful right about now. wishing everyone a day filled with gratitude and love!!

i can't wait to post some real photos from this trip. this is all i have for now!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

dream sequence

i met emily ulmer through cleo, the owner of the fabulous shop tomboy in silverlake. she is a children/family photographer with an eye that finds in-between moments filled with reflection and wonder. emily offered to come take some photos of elodie and, since i adore her work, i happily said yes! 

she came over just as elodie was waking up from her nap. this is one of my favorite times of the day with her as she is still a bit sleepy and sweet. we usually read some books or spend time on the couch listening to music before heading off to our next adventure. emily perfectly captured this dreamy part of the day when time seems to stretch out and the shadows get longer. these pictures remind me of a soundtrack to a film and this is one of the songs playing...

{thanks emily!}

Friday, November 18, 2011

i say thank you

“if the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough”. - meister eckhart

we have been reading ‘the awesome book of thanks’ at bedtime quite a bit lately. it's amazing how good i feel after i read that book. it's as if those two little words really do have special powers. as this is the time of year to remember what we are thankful for, i am going to start a weekly gratitude post. once a week is not often enough to remember what i am thankful for but it's a start.

without further ado...
thank you for my health. i was very sick at the beginning of the week and it made me realize how lucky i truly am for the good health i generally have.

thank you for my husband who continues to explore with me.

thank you for my family who continue to teach me about love and acceptance.

and to all of you kind enough to visit the littlest, i say, thank you.

image: a sneak peek of some lovely pictures emily ulmer took of elodie.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

if it be your will

one of the most beautiful songs i've ever heard. an ode to surrender...

“if it be your will
that a voice be true
from this broken hill,

i will sing to you
from this broken hill,

all your praises they shall ring
if it be your will”

leonard cohen with the gorgeous webb sisters here and antony and the johnsons version here

image here

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the voyagers

how wonderful is une envie de sel? i don't remember how i initially happened upon maia's blog which documents life with her husband and daughter, the spirited Q, but it's impossible to not fall a little bit in love with them as you read along. and then there is her illustrations, her characters filled with whimsy, courage and contemplation. and now dolls? i am in awe of the world she creates with the voyagers.

images: owl doll, holiday cards, children's party favors

Monday, November 14, 2011

just shy of three

oh little elodie. it's hard to imagine you were still growing in my belly less than three years ago. and that now, here you are, a wondrous, thoughtful person i get to share my life with.

your papa and i think you are going through a brain spurt right now, you are lightning fast and we can't keep up with your songs, stories and movement these days. you just had your first bad dream. you said, "mama, mama" and as soon as i walked in your room, you clutched me tightly and said, "the cow trying to get me." i always wondered who i would have to fight off in the middle of the night. i'm glad it's just a silly cow for the moment.

before bed, we look between your toes for tiny sheep (lint). if we happen to find a couple, we play with them for a little while.

you have never been so affectionate. you tell us you love us several times a day and love to give us kisses and cuddles. i want this age to last forever yet i'm so excited to watch you grow. it's very confusing for your mama.

favorite songs:
the elephant song 
she sells sea shells by the seashore (you ask me to sing you this every night before bed)
walking in a winter wonderland by the andrew sisters

favorite books:
oh what a busy day! by gyo fujikawa
bear stays up for christmas by karma wilson
i am a bunny by richard scarry (you read this a lot last year too)

favorite activities:
puzzles that papa brought home from georgia
playing with your acorn people (similar)
going on family walks

things you say:
"shall we do a puzzle?"
"is a baby in your belly?" (i'm not pregnant - ha!)
you squeeze my cheeks together and say "it's a little puggy, a little puggy"
"look! i can jump backwards. i can practice"
after observing a little girl on the monkey bars you said "wow, i wish i could do that when i was a big girl"
when you are looking forward to something you say 'mama, i soooo essssited'
"it's so froggy out (foggy)"
you also say 'cahdee coodoo' quite a bit. not sure what this means.

just shy of three:

just shy of two:

just shy of one:

you are so loved. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

bake with me

we have been having the best time baking lately. baking has always seemed like such a chore as you have to follow the recipe to a tee but something about doing it with elodie has been wonderful. i've found it therapeutic to read her the recipes, set out all of our ingredients, carefully measure each one and then set the timer patiently waiting for our goodies to be ready.

we've also been enjoying betsy's new series 'bake bread with me' in beachwood canyon. yesterday we made pretzels from scratch. the children enjoyed playing with fresh baked (fake) loaves of bread, taking turns baking in the pretend oven and then cleaning up all the flour with little brooms.

it sure was fun and messy and i realize that i need to get her an apron. i don't have hours to look on etsy and am tied between these two. decisions, decisions...

it's not too late to join us for the baking series! sign up here.

top photo: dress from minikin
bottom photo: dress from caramel london
aprons here and here

eleven eleven eleven

i am working on getting my europe posts together before the holidays take over. until then, a toss of a coin in rome's trevi fountain. just seems right on this auspicious day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a tiny truth

elodie and i were walking up the steps to our house this weekend when we came across this fellow. he was so tiny, i'm surprised we saw him at all. i've never seen such a magical little snail, bright blue with an irridescent shell. my dear friend erin recently said to me, 'nothing that is meant for you will ever pass you by.' it's so easy to want to peek over the fence to see the future and what's coming my way. hearing this little phrase gave me a huge sigh of relief. what is meant for me will come into my life from the littlest snail to the biggest wish i may have. thank you little snail (and erin) for reminding me of that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

one through eighteen

as elodie's third birthday nears (december fourteenth) i find myself in almost a panic as i haven't even created her baby book! even though this blog serves as a place for me to document life with her, i still feel it is going too fast and that i'm forgetting things. so, on a mission to complete her baby book and looking for some clever ideas online, i came across the beautiful once-a-year book from laikonik. the packaging is simple and sweet and the design will hold up over time. i would have loved if i had one of these growing up (except maybe the awkward years - ha!) and appreciate the brevity of it. this could make for an extra special baby shower gift as well! ok, back to the task at book.

Monday, November 7, 2011

a saturday in l.a.

i get a lot of emails asking for my favorite things to do in los angeles. i've only lived here four years so i can assure you i am a novice when it comes to this town. having said that, i do have some favorite things to share by neighborhood. of course, i must start on the east side, where i live. this is what a saturday often looks like for us at sunset junction in silverlake...

i look forward to a quiet morning at home with elodie. we play puzzles, have a dance party and then either make breakfast together or get dressed and immediately head out to sunset junction in silverlake to get a small breakfast at food+lab, casbah cafe or an angeleno (the most delicious iced espresso drink) at intelligentsia. sometimes we will invite friends to join us and then will go to dusty's or, my very favorite, cafe stella.

there is always a farmer's market and, over breakfast, we discuss what type of flowers, fruits or vegetables we will bring home with us. elodie loves planning this out and participating in the hunt for the perfect satsuma or bunch of hydrangeas. a farmer's market really has everything for her budding senses; she can smell a handful of mint, eat pupusas from a stand, look at the different people walking by or listen to music (and sometimes play it too.) i love that a trip here fills her vocabulary with such wondrous objects.

so then it's nap time. we go home, read some books and have quiet time for a couple of hours. the sunset junction area can be quite stimulating so i usually try to do something a bit more mellow for the second half of the afternoon. after she wakes up, i pack some snacks and water and take our dog raleigh out for a walk in elysian park or head to the meadow at the silverlake reservoir for some kite flying. being that it's typically in the seventies here, we can always count on being able to do something fun outside. so far we've had a few eighty degree november days!

then there are the days she simply doesn't want to get back in the car. i do think we become accustomed to driving more than we probably have to or should. in that case, we will just hang out in the backyard, work in our modest little garden patch or paint with watercolors. the cost of the day was whatever fruit and veggies we got at the market, a pain au chocolat and iced coffee and the gas it took to get us there. not bad.

here are my favorite sunset junction cafés and restaurants - most are child friendly:
casbah cafe - i've loved you for so long casbah. elodie's first dress was from here. its a french/moroccan bazaar with simple plates like bread, cheese and olives. they have the best fresh mint tea and canelés.
forage - delicious, locally produced food with a casual atmosphere.
food+lab - love the creme fraiche and smoked salmon omelette and big bowl of coffee!
flore - vegan restaurant and juice bar - could not live without this place!
café stella - it's a beautiful place for brunch, a bit fancy, but they don't mind kids.
intelligentsia - the baristas can be ridiculously snobby (which i find hilarious) but the coffee is consistently good.
tacos delta - the best chilaquiles and breakfast burritos ever!!!

there are also loads of fun shops which you can discover walking on this strip. we love the spice station, wee soles for some fun kid's shoes (they also have a yellow motorcycle out front that elodie loves to ride on, and reform school for cool homewares and gifts to name a few. enjoy!

shot on film by photographer lou mora. thanks lou!

elodie's vintage dress here
bags by me & arrow

Friday, November 4, 2011

morning naps

today the temperature dropped to a chilly mid-fifties and if it weren't for work i would most certainly be in bed taking a morning nap while the wild wind blows outside. this playlist captures the feeling of november for me. maybe we can put it on while we make pancakes tomorrow!

right click to download or listen here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

a new discovery

elodie saw an african-american lady on monday and asked me 'what color is her?' at first i thought she was asking about her shirt because it was a vibrant yellow but then realized she was asking about her skin color. she's spent the last few days pointing at people and asking their color, from brown to peach to off white, proud of her new discovery that we all look different. i don't know why it surprised me that she asked me this soon. i suppose as a parent, there are certain things that you just don't want to get wrong. time to start reading!!

wooden princess dolls here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

long may you run i like the sound of that. i just found this happy video that michael made for elodie's first trip to the pumpkin patch with tim, amalia and little elton. november, i welcome you!