passport photo

Monday, March 2, 2015

It all started with a passport photo.

Tyler has a conference coming up in Montreal and thought it would be fun to bring us along. So, we needed to get Matilda a passport. It seemed just as easy for me to take the photo at home, so I set her up in the area I photograph most of my projects and snapped a few photos. A few days after that, I was finishing up a photo shoot as Matilda woke up from nap and she requested to have another photo taken. So up she went for a few snaps and a chocolate for sitting still. Now almost every time she sees my set up, the request is made.

And, I have to say, these are some of the sweetest pictures I have of Matilda. They capture the feel of our day, instead of the activity of our day. They capture a quiet moment, crazy nap hair, and the excitement of a treat.

In reality, it is just a quick up and down - just long enough to take a photo or two - but to me these photos will always be something so much more. Sometimes they show up in a post or two, but mostly they live on Instagram.

diy st. patrick's day hair clips

Friday, February 27, 2015

So, here is the thing. Just because everyone wears green on St. Patrick's Day doesn't mean that you can't think outside the box when it comes to accessorizing - this coming from the girl who is 100% Irish and has a self-proclaimed love of all things green.

Here is how you can turn some ugly $2 barrettes into something clever, cute, and seasonal.

Supplies: metal barrettes, acrylic paint + small brush, vinyl, the Cricut Explore, transfer tape, and mod podge

Process: Paint those ugly barrettes and let them dry. Next, go into Design Space and type in any phrase you want. I used "kiss me" and "lucky" in this font and "I'm Irish", "green", and "rainbow" in this font. Size them appropriately for your barrettes - mine ended up being 1/4" tall. Then press GO and let the Cricut do all the cutting. Use transfer tape to move your words onto each barrette and seal with mod podge for long lasting-ness.

Time: 30 minutes tops. I did it yesterday morning while the kids ate breakfast because I had nothing ready to post for today.

* I used the original packaging for the barrettes as a stencil and cut out a cool looking version from a folder for the "packaging effect". This would make a really cute gift!

a new kind of worry

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

November 3rd, 2012 - a new kind of worry

The day after Matilda's transplant was overwhelming.

Matilda lay quietly, still on life support, with her abdomen open and a dozen IVs pumping continuously. But, she was alive. Doctors, nurses, technicians, social workers, specialists, and surgeons flooded our room throughout the day.

During the days leading up to her transplant, no one made eye contact and everyone looked grim, but now the air felt so different. The weight had been lifted and smiles were endless. She was not out of the woods – everyone was sure to tell us – but she looked great.

But for me, it was not over, there was a new kind of worry.

Sure, the worry of death was fading. The doctors had confidence as they looked over labs, performed ultrasounds, and talked of when to close her abdomen up. Matilda had said goodbye to death, but he never said goodbye to me.

Post-transplant life had a whole new set of worries. This wasn’t a quick fix – something that will just solve itself and go away. There will always be a chance of rejection. There will always be medication. There will always be blood work to be done. She will always be immune compromised – to some degree. She will always have complications with a life full of doctor appointments and bills.

This new kind of worry was a more relaxed at-least-we-bought-some-time kind of worry, a we-can-handle-it kind of worry, an it-will-all-be-okay kind of worry. But it still hurts and, worst of all, it never goes away.

The day after Matilda's transplant was overwhelming.

Realizing what happened was exhausting. But Matilda was breathtaking – the most beautiful little thing, with an entire world of people standing behind her smiling and cheering her on. Cheering me on. It was a new kind of worry, a new life to begin that day.

And for the first time in my life, I wasn't afraid. Because if we were able to overcome this, then nothing could stop us now. Not statistics, not worry, not medication, or bills.


lego time

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I had a friend growing up who had little collections of Lego sets all over his house. They were always set up so nicely but I never saw him play with them - it just was't what we did. But it always seemed kind of weird. Like these little ghost towns protecting the halls.

Were they like little dolls or just for building?

Now, Parker is totally into them - totally into them. And the truth is, they are like dolls. He sets up scenes, acts them out, and creates adventures as he goes. Needless to say, I am a big fan.

honey bun

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We just spent such an amazing week full of snuggles, laughter, and late night conversations with Tyler's mom - who the kids call Honey.

Of course, she is great at loving the kids and spoiling them with endless playtime, but she is also really great at asking all the right questions. What are our goals, what is realistic, how will our expectations for life unfold over the next few years?

When I met her nearly 16 years ago, I was amazed at how relaxed, comfortable, and set in a routine she was. Her life seemed so easy and predictable. But the truth is, her life has had many challenges including cancer, a career change, and so much more.

This last week has been a reminder that I should never compare my beginning to someone else's middle or end. If I work hard, set goals, and do my best, one day I will be able sit back with my grandchildren and share my wisdom.

matilda plays with dough

Monday, February 23, 2015

Okay you guys, I did it.

I turned off the TV and for good. At least until Easter that is. I am a big believer in detoxification. We are only a week into it and I am feeling the benefits already. For one, instead of having Matilda crying and begging for more George all day long, she is actually asking for it less and wanting to play more. Who knew?!

BabyLit books inspired playtime

Friday, February 20, 2015

It all started when the kids hid under some dining room chairs pretending to be on a grand adventuere which included storms, food shortages, and sea sickness. The imagination, story lines, and acting that came out was brilliant.

So brilliant that during nap time, I made this simple boat inspired by Moby Dick from my favorite children's book company BabyLit. Alison Oliver's drawings are modern, fun, and engaging. And the witty and clever words by Jennifer Adams will teach your children about the wonders of life on the high seas.

The boat is just a large piece of cardboard hot glued to an old box. Oh, and I stuck a wooden dowel (leftover from this project) into the corner and dropped an old sheet on top to make the sail. I took inspiration from the book and went to town with some paint and a paintbrush. Next thing I knew, I had created movable waves (you know - like they might have at a play), found a couple old tubes for viewfinders, and waited patiently for nap time to be over.

The best part was seeing the excitement on their faces when they rounded the corner! I read the book, they acted it out, and continued to play with it all afternoon. There was even a treasure map painted and hidden by Grandma Honey!

This weekend I will let them add to the boat with their own paints and Instagram the finished product!

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