Things I Love Thursdays

July is very nearly here!  Summers really do fly.  And even though our routine is pretty much the same – I still work full time and my kids are in camp/school/daycare – somehow summer feels more magical than it ever has before. I love it.

A few favorites I’m getting around to sharing.  This time I’m sharing some of my clothing favs.

Alice + Ames

These dresses are just my favorite.  They do cost more than I’d usually spend but they are well made, the colors/patterns are beautiful, and the fabric has just enough stretch so that the dresses are super comfortable (according to Plum, at least).  The best part? THE TWIRL!


Note: the selection online is currently pretty limited – I believe they are due to restock soon.  In the meantime, I’ve been eyeing this mustard dot Sunday dress…



Keen “Bug Shoes”

Pistachio (almost 2 1/2) needed a second pair of closed-toed sneakers to wear at school so I got him some funky Keens with bugs on them.  He adores them! They have held up beautifully and they’re really cute, though they do look slightly clownish with their big green toes.  The only negative is that the tongues are thin canvas and need wrangling every time we put them on.



Mini Boden Dinosaurs

A while back Mini Boden launched a line of clothes for girls that feature dinosaurs.  They are adorable – and I’m so happy when I can get Plum something that doesn’t feature a kitten, some sort of food product (so much ice cream and candy on girls’ clothes!) or Elsa.  She has the shirt, but I may look around and see if I can find a dress on sale somewhere (supplies at the Boden website seem limited).  RAWR!

16GSPR_31966_GRY 16GSPR_33415_DIN


In other happy TILT news, the strawberry Vans I got for Plum a few months ago have become her favorite pair of shoes.  Though I need to give them some TLC since they are now brown.  I’m considering replacing them, or perhaps getting her a new pair in rose gold leather.  Because 1. leather doesn’t get quite as dirty, and 2. every gal should own at least one pair of gold shoes.



Happy 4th to all!


(PS – As always, links aren’t affiliate, they’re just there for your convenience.)

Things I Love Thursdays

Happy Friday!  A few more things I love on this lovely Spring day.  Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Orlando Owl by Jellycat – I’m pretty sure Orlando is my spirit animal.


Better Life Bags – Beautiful, custom bags made by women in Detroit. A business with a great mission and a great product.  I’m thinking I might need to order a special new bag for Mother’s Day.


Strawberry Slip-Ons by Vans – These are definitely Plum’s very favorite shoes.  I love them because they are adorable, apparently comfy, and require no assistance from me to put them on.  Do these come in adult sizes? Yes. Yes they do.


Longer days, things are getting greener, bugs aren’t really biting yet – hooray for May!

(Just an FYI – there are no affiliate links here, they are just for your convenience.)

Great! Full!

50 Days of Gratitude

Days 31-40

Phew!  I’m getting there.  I’m trying to avoid repetition, but have been tempted to recycle some items.  For instance, I would like to find 8 ways to be thankful for coffee. Lattes, coffee, iced coffee, cafe con leche, Dunkin Donuts, Irish coffee.  That’s seven.  What am I up to now? 180-something list items?  You try to make a gratitude list that long and not put coffee on it at least twice.

140. Plum’s cutest little woodchuck teeth

141. A good steak

142. A husband who loves yard work

143. Warm, clean laundry – When I was small… wait, I was never small… when I was young, I used to lie on the couch and have my father put all of the fresh-and-hot-from-the-dryer laundry right on top of me.  Weird, but comforting, too.  

144. Elections

145. Dishwashers

146. Sticky buns

147. Jeans – I mistyped this so for a second I wondered which “Jean” I was thankful for.  There is a woman named Jean in my office, and I suppose I am thankful for her, but I didn’t remember putting her on my list. If I can’t wear yoga pants every day, I would like to wear jeans (not Jean).  A girl can dream, and I dream of jeannies.  (Ouch, that was terrible.)

148. The smell of wood smoke – It means November is here, the days are short, the leaves are down, the wood is stacked and the slippers are on.

149. Meatloaf – With a ketchup and brown sugar glaze, and mashed potatoes on the side.  Mmmmm.  You took the words right out of my mouth! (Okay, someone stop me, this is getting ridiculous!)

150. Alpacas

151. Ohio – Blue state in 2012.  I am thankful for that. 

152. Microwaves

153. Kind words

154. Anniversaries – Happy #4 to me and my first husband.*

Photo by Hinkley Photo

155. Q-tips

156. Coffee milk – I think this is a New England thing.  Coffee syrup + milk = delicious.  Add a salami sandwich (#177) on white bread with mustard and you have a delicious and nutritionally lacking lunch of champions. 

157. Thoughtfulness

158. Dinner dates

159. Boots – When you are 2.5 and you have big feet, your boots go up to your knees. But you don’t care much and insist on wearing them everywhere.  Even with shorts. 

160. Parenthood – I may spend a lot of time whining that it is hard, but it is also so very very good.

161. Those jelly candy fruit slice things

162. Working garbage disposals – I am mostly thankful for these because currently we do not have one.

163. In-laws – No really, I’m not joking.  Mine are great.

164. Butter – REAL butter. What is up with people eating all sorts of food that isn’t actually food? I had breakfast at a friend’s house a few weeks ago and we had coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Seems simple enough, right?  But no. Bacon? Not real bacon. Cheese? Not real cheese, soy cheese. Butter? Not real butter – some sort of butter-ish spread. Cream for the coffee? Not real cream, flavored Coffeemate. I am no health nut, and my diet is passable at best, but I do have one thing going for me. I try very hard to make sure the food I eat is ACTUAL FOOD.  Bring on the butter. (And please disregard all of the items on this list made with high fructose corn syrup.) 

165. Grandparents

166. Hopefulness

167. Facetime

168. Gifts

169. Lobster – See also #164.

170. Modern medicine – My dear Plum, we are working hard to get those ears fixed, my dear.  Here’s hoping the 5th time is the charm. 

171. Peacocks

172. This day

173. My own special blend of slightly jaded optimism – Sarky Tartlet, Jaded Pollyanna, I’ve been called both.  And while I’m content to whinge and whine about the current state of affairs, deep down I still, and will always believe in people, in community, in love and in kindness.  I may not say that out loud – cynicism is easier – but it’s true. 

174. The swirl of sweet Plum’s hair – She used to have a perfect swirl of a belly button – alas, no longer. But it appears the swirl has migrated to her head. Her hair falls naturally into a perfect little vortex on the top of her little strawberry-blonde head.  

175. Roast chicken

176. A purring cat – The other night, Mr. Pickle discovered that cats purr. He was confused and then amazed. It took him 2.5 years to discover this, because he finally figured out the best way to pet our sweet Lula cat is from head-to-tail, and not vice versa.  Pickle thinks purring is a fabulous cat trick.  I suspect his amazement will subside in a few weeks when he gets his big boy bed and the purring cat tries to sleep on his head.

177. Salami

178. Many happy memories

179. Curiosity

180. Spellcheck

181. Plumbers – See #162.

182. Music

183. Live theater – I miss it.  Seeing it. Doing it. All of it. 

184. Wild salmon

185. Calm evenings

186. Wednesdays

187. Shoes that are comfortable AND cute – Right now I am crushing on Cole Haan flats and wedges with Nike Air technology.  Perhaps Santa will bring these?  I’ve always wanted my own pair of blue suede shoes! 

Cole Haan Milly Wedge in Cobalt


* He is my only husband, but that joke never gets old.

Enjoyment for All!

Things my 2.25 year old currently enjoys:

  • Standing in the breezeway and knocking on the door to come inside.  I yell “Who is it?” repeatedly.  He keeps knocking.  This can last 10 minutes.
  • “Hiding.”  To him, this means putting a blanket on his head and yelling, “Mama!” I am required to respond, “Oh no! Where did Pickle go?” for 6 minutes before he takes the blanket off of his head and I act surprised.  Repeat this fourteen times.
  • Offering to share food by tilting his little head to the side, raising his voice an octave and saying something like, “Mama want big bite?”  It is really cute, but I think I’m on to him.  He usually offers things like broccoli, and never offers things like cheese or cookies.
  • Taking off his pants.
  • Pretending I am murdering him when I tell him that unfortunately, he must wear pants outside of the house.
  • Being “right back.”  I’m not sure why he goes, or where, but he indeed comes right back.
  • The “Maybe Song”.  He has inherited his father’s pop music gene, and actually requests Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Kill me now.
  • Yelling at the cat.
  • Pushing his sister around… literally.

Things my 0.5 year old currently enjoys:

  • Food.  Any.  But only if it is eaten with a spoon, or sucked out of one of those mesh things.  She grumbles her enjoyment.  Bottles?  Meh.
  • Bouncing in her Jumperoo (which is strange, because while she is completely capable of bearing weight on her legs, she believes it is not important to do so at any other time).
  • Exploring all her mysterious diaper-covered parts when said diaper is removed.  Kiddos took their first double tubby the other night, and lo and behold, the supposed-to-be-sweet video I have of them splishing and splashing also involves a heavy dose of self-exploration (and my laughter).
  • Drooling.
  • Attempting to understand the strange and occasionally dangerous creature that is her brother.
  • Yelling – not crying, but yelling – like an angry, toothless, little old lady the few minutes before bedtime.
  • Her duck.  A flat little two-sided crunchy toy.  It is all fabric, no stuffing, no bells and whistles and is about 4 inches in diameter.  It is her very best friend in the world.  And it always smells like spit.

Things my 34.5 year old husband currently enjoys:

  • Waging an all-out war with crabgrass.  This includes borrowing, and breaking the neighbor’s rototiller. Oops.
  • Cake.  I suspect that even if I do another one of these lists next year, cake will still be on the list.
  • Pop music.
  • Leaving glassware on every flat surface in our house. (Just put the damn thing in the sink!)
  • Playing with the kids.
  • Asking me when we should have a third.  (AHHH!)
  • Dinner, the rare and elusive dinner!!!  He enjoys this because I never make this.  But I did make him a cake, so I should get a pass for at least a few weeks, right?
  • Buying cars, sight unseen, via the interweb.  Word to the wise: if you are going to do this, don’t forget to ask about weird smells.
  • Wearing things that used to be called shoes, but now have to be called something else, something like “footwear that used to resemble a shoe but now causes you to walk around with half of your foot actually touching the ground”.

Say No to No!

I try to be a relaxed Mama.  But I’ve found myself saying “no” a lot lately.  Granted, Mr. Pumpkin Pickle is almost 17 months old, loves to climb and test limits. He is creative and fun.  But I’ve realized there are too many “no’s” lately.  I’m vowing  here and now to try to be better about embracing “yes” or even “sure, go ahead and try that.”

Of course, I try to keep him safe, and teach him right from wrong.  But I noticed that I was saying “no” because whatever he was doing, or about to do, was inconvenient for me.  For example, he loves to move shoes around the house, lining them up, stacking them up, knocking them down, hiding them in the cat food bin.  I was telling him “no” because shoe wrangling and round-up was turning into an annoying part of my every day routine.  But through his shoe play, he is exploring balance, order, and matching – isn’t that what he is supposed to do?  So I’m vowing to pick my battles more carefully, to encourage his exploration even if it means a little more work for me.  I’m not going to say “no” just because he is doing something that is going to make a small mess or inconvenience me.  I will say “no” to teach him manners and kindness, keep him safe and avoid huge messy disasters (like the Cheerio incident from the other night!).  Otherwise, I am embracing the “sure, try that!”