Spring Beauties

One of the realities of new motherhood is how quickly the "pregnant glow" fades to dark under eye circles, dull skin and thinning hair. Going through that during a long, cold, dry winter made my skin look even more tired. There's no substitute for getting enough sleep, especially uninterrupted (5 hours straight would feel amazing), but since that's not how new babies roll, here are two new items I've been using to fake looking well-rested:

When J. Crew sent out an email touting RMS Beauty in order to "glow like a J. Crew model," you can bet I was intrigued. The Living Luminizer and Lip Shine in Sacred are now my new go-tos, even if I don't have time for anything else except mascara. They're easy to apply and feel good on. Order from the RMS Beauty website and you'll get free shipping.

Since I also want to feel good (and fit into my pants), I've been switching between these two green smoothies in the morning. Being well-nourished lends a certain glow too!


  • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, preferably organic
  • handful of spinach or kale
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or goats milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • fresh mint, for garnish

(I skip the yogurt and add a whole banana. Jarred minced ginger makes it way easier)

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup torn kale
  • 2  tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

My sweet night owl and her adoring big brother:

New House: Guest Room Evolution

This project was slow to evolve from vision to nearly finished, but with our first house guests here this week (the MM's parents), we had to wrap it up! My mama played a big part in creating a gracious (albeit small) space. After spending a few nights in the room after Eleanor arrived, she had a good idea of what we still needed to make it welcoming and comfortable.

This room is definitely an example of repurposing what you already have. The Dellarobia wicker headboard is actually an old footboard from a bedroom set that my great-grandparents bought when they first married. It's followed me to college, Jackson Hole and Charlottesville! The bedside tables are mismatched--the white wicker one was in my bedroom growing up. The other is an old humidor. But they're the same dimensions and the bright, similarly dimensioned lamps pull it together. I found the retro tole one at a consignment shop in Cashiers, NC last summer. My mom thought it was goofy, but I love it in this room. 

The dressing table used to be in my parents' bedroom and came from an estate sale. The gold mirror hung in our living room in Missoula. This space doubles as my desk when we don't have guests.

I have a slowly evolving gallery wall in here, but I'm still searching for a small figure drawing or something abstract. Gold frames pull it all together.  My dear friend Rachel's interpretation of Degas' bather has also followed me back and forth across the country, but its colors remain some of my favorites. Most recently, it was in Ford's room in Missoula:

While I didn't snap any "before" shots of the downstairs bathroom, here it is ready for guests with pops of grass green, coral and a cheerful print I picked up on our babymoon in Savannah last November. I'm still looking for a cute narrow shelf to replace the wire mesh one here, but they are hard to find! 

With luck, I'll have a few more projects to share in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Throwback Thursday: One Year Ago

One year ago this week, our lives in Missoula were completely boxed up and we were eating off paper plates just days before Ford and I boarded a plane for Virginia and the MM began the grueling drive with the moving van.

The MM's parents drove over from Lander, WY for a last visit and to help us pack.  We celebrated the MM's birthday with the traditional lasagna supper, but last year it was a Stouffers.

Circa 2011. Note how young and well-rested he looks before babies arrived on the scene.

I'm making up for that this year, though! There's an almost 100% homemade lasagna bolognese (I did not make the pasta myself!) in the freezer waiting for a Monday night celebration, again with his parents, who are arriving this weekend.  What fun!

A year ago, Eleanor was just a glimmer in our eyes and Ford was still a chubby little guy:

We briefly settled into our rental:

said goodbye to Chopper:

and only briefly let Ford play with an extension cord before we unpacked his actual, child-appropriate play things:

It has been a wonderful first year in Staunton making new friends and seeing more of old ones, settling in to our house and exploring our new home in the Shenandoah Valley.  Something tells me that the coming year will go even faster than the previous one. Eleanor is already two months old and Ford just had an admissions "interview" at a proper Montessori school for the fall.

Nothing Tastes As Good...

Remember when the collective media jumped all over Kate Moss for saying "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"? I think she eventually explained that she was paraphrasing someone else, but that's probably easier advice to follow when you enjoy as many...uppers as she has.

I could at least adopt "nothing tastes as good as just fitting into my own pants feels," but I only get so far before someone challenges me to bake these cookies with unsweetened coconut and see how they turn out:

Incidentally,they are delicious with unsweetened coconut. And egg free. Except that's not a thing since eggs are good for you. It just means you can eat the dough with a spoon. You can find the recipe at Averie Cooks.

On the balance of fitting into my own pants, I just bought a workout video from the Hilliard Studio Method in hopes of being magically transformed:

(they even say it's transformative, via The SoGood)

This may be a Mindy Lahiri delusion of grandeur, but it can't hurt. Actually, it can. It will probably make every muscle in my body hurt, but pants people! Keep your eye on the pants.

Ford and Eleanor getting in on the exercise mat action yesterday:

Mom Jeans and Mantras

Eleanor is seven weeks old now, growing fast and just smiled at me for the first time today. Quite a reward after a wakeful night as we all coped with her stuffy nose.  For being born one month early, it's great that she smiled only a week later than when a full-term baby normally would. Good work, baby girl!

I am in that awkward postpartum stage where I've shrunk out of the maternity clothes, but only one pair of pants (other than the proverbial yoga pants) fit.  To bridge the gap between now and warmer weather when I can wear skirts and tunic tops to hide the empty baby oven, I just ordered these from Madewell. They're having a big 30% off + free shipping sale this weekend.

So they may literally be my mom jeans, since they're two sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy clothes, but at least I'll feel cool. As cool as I can be while smelling like eau d'breast milk and sporting dark circles under my eyes that are probably not hot this spring.

Last week while I was checking in on the world of work and transportation planning, I came across a blog post about a contemporary who has shot to urban planner stardom between stints with the Virginia Department of Transportation and a national advocacy group. Since two of my former bosses have worked with him, I forwarded them the post and in turn received some well-meant words about how "yes, this guy is quite a hotshot these days and we want to see you wowing the urban planning world with more of your ideas too." After feeling like I had accomplished a great deal because I got dressed by 8 AM and wrote three thank you notes for baby presents, this was totally defeating. Not just because I'm home on maternity leave (and loving it, I might add), but because instead of aspiring to be something of a big deal, I have walked back my work obligations and ambitions in the last year in order to still have the physical and emotional energy to be mama as well. 

Most days I am happy with that choice, but whatever is left of the competitive pre-mama me still feels a twinge of regret when I see someone in my age bracket really knocking it out of the park, career-wise. So it was such a blessing later in the day to come across this little mantra in my Pinterest feed (another #momjeans cliche, I know!) I'm choosing to be happy with a calm(er) life, at work at least, because life at home is often anything but.  At least the sources of the domestic crazy are really cute:

Amazing New Baby Gear

Figuring out what you need for the first bebe can be a daunting task. It's also depressing for your bank account, even with generous presents from family and friends. When I was pregnant with Ford, I poured over the Baby Bargains book for hours trying to figure our what we needed vs. was a total baby gear industry hoax, and where to find the best bargains. It was a huge relief not to have the same task ahead of me with bebe deux. Although that mental energy was just consumed by Ford instead. Anyway!

The parent authors of Baby Bargains put out a new edition every single year because new items are introduced so quickly. So while Eleanor's gear is much the same as her brother's, in the short 2 and 1/2 years between them, here are four items we've added to our collection that seem like pure genius to this second-time mama.

1. Ergo Baby Swaddler

By far the easiest swaddling blanket we've used, and the leg pouch is totally brilliant. Our babies like being swaddled, but really don't like the process. So the fewer unwrapping and rewrapping sessions, the better.

2. FridaBaby Windi
Yes, this does exactly what you are afraid it does. Our girl suffers from gas of the lower GI-type, so simethicone drops don't help at all. This crazy device literally took a grimacing, screaming child to cooing in seconds.  (I don't think I ever dreamed that I'd be blogging about baby rectal sphincter release when I started this seven years ago)

3. Gerber Soothe Drops

This is a baby probiotic. Thankfully, we're not coping with colic, but it can't hurt. She's been on it nearly a week and does seem to be digesting better than she was.  That or it's a $35 dollar mommy placebo.

4. Puj Tub

Made of soft, foldable foam that won't mildew, it fits in any sink and hangs flat to dry. The Puj isn't new to the market, but new to us and I love it so far. Eleanor has not come around to loving baths yet!

Another week for me and a few more ounces for Eleanor and we'll be able to test-drive the Infant Insert for our all-time favorite item of baby gear, the Ergo Carrier. I wish we'd had one of these when Ford was tiny:

Fordo at that squishy, adorable 9-10 month old phase. I miss it/look forward to it again!

One Month in the Baby Zone

One week old

One month ago today I was whipping up roasted cauliflower and whole wheat spaghetti, never dreaming that our supper would pose concern for local anesthesia three hours later. And here we are with Miss Eleanor one month old a few days before my original due date. 

Our girl is still quite sleepy and only wants to log her shut eye hours on my chest or in my arms. Quite an effective way of enforcing my c-section convalescence and the reason I've read six books since she arrived.

Last weekend, we did a photo session with photographer Meredith Coe to capture Eleanor as a newborn and Ford as her proud big brother. Meredith did an amazing job! 

Whenever Spring decides to arrive in Staunton, I am ready to bust out if this joint and reconnect with the outside world. C'mon, Spring!

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