Sunday, December 28, 2014


Dear Olive,

Every night before we went to bed over the holiday, my husband repositioned the elf into an inappropriate activity.  I had to be sure to double-check to make changes before the minors viewed it.

He was a binge drinker...

 A gambler
And a coke fiend. 

Now that's quality parenting. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Dear Olive,

I can't wait to see you tomorrow!  Did you have a magical Christmas?  Santa propaganda was in full swing at our house this year.

Ella even sat for the story when we went to see him.

 Can't wait to hear all about your festivities!

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Dear Olive,

In my head, I dance like this.  Bystanders tell me that I really dance like this.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Dear Olive,

This article really resonated with me.  "The perfectionist in me wants to slow down this parenting thing and get it exactly right."  Perhaps she's on to something about keeping it simple and focusing on curated engagement with kids.


Dear Olive,

What is your most proud house hack so far?  Is it the bathroom sink made of the old Victrola player?  That was pretty keen.  I think ours might be the dog kennel fashioned out of that awkward kitchen cabinet.  I am grateful everyday to not have to look at that plastic pet cage instead.

The handyman thought I was crazy when I asked him to cut a hole in the back of our L-shaped cabinet.  But it was such an awkward space, I rarely used it for anything, and most of the stuff just got stuck in the back anyway.  That old heater grate we used for the kennel door took me forever to find, but it was worth it in the end.

Here's how we did it:
Step 1: Buy an old heating grate and 3 years of thick clear plastic (available in rolls at the fabric store).

Step 2: Cut a square in the backside of your kitchen cabinet (the same size as the interior of the grate, leaving about a 1" lip overage).  Staple gun the clear plastic inside the cabinet for extra wood protection.  

Step 3: Paint the edges of the hole black, hinge on the grate, and add a piece of wood to the opening to lock and unlock the kennel door.

Now, sometimes when the kids are crawling in and out of it while I'm cooking... yes, we knew that was inevitable; they sometimes sing, "dogs in the kitchen."  Such as this:

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Dear Olive,

I have proudly hacked a high end Christmas card into our very own.  I made this in Photoshop.  Here is the file in case you wish to someday steal it.  Being a dataphile, this correspondence fits me to a T.  Yours will arrive next week along with your Christmas gifties.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Dear Olive,

Scored some amazing thrift store finds today for the superhero lair I am making in Gabriel's closet as a Christmas surprise.

Completely sang this song in the aisle (warning: explicit, but sometimes you're so excited that the swears are necessary).

You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Dear Olive,

I've been watching these TED talks like crazy.  They just might hold the secrets of life.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Dear Olive,

Last week, my mom brought home these old fashioned jam jars.

I thought and thought about what to do with them and finally decided to make a new spice rack.  

I just used my clear label-maker to label each jar, stacked some cake-stands and: spice spice, baby.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Dear Olive,

Did you have a palatable Thanksgiving?  (In case you cannot tell by this photo, I have made Ella a rotisserie turkey headband).

We rang in the day of the bird with Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving Special and a breakfast of pretzels, jelly beans, toast, and popcorn.

Never did get around to making the pilgrim hats for the deer heads on the chandelier.  Can't wait to see you next weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Dear Olive,

This made me laugh.  And reconsider my wardrobe.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Dear Olive,

What did I do before we had kids?  I think about this often and seriously cannot remember.  And then; today, I sat in the bathroom, with Ella on the potty, singing her songs, and looked at the wall in which I had painted hundreds of individual ginko leaves.  And I thought, "Oh, that."  I can't tell if I was crazy then, or if I am now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Dear Olive,

I can't stop watching these city.ballet. shorts about the New York City Ballet.

Reminds me of when we took that ballet class together a few years ago.  Remember how we couldn't stop laughing that I couldn't get my foot above my knee without falling over?  I had to be consoled Chinese food after each session.  I love our adventures.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Dear Olive,

What we did tonight:

                                 via                                                             via                                              

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Dear Olive,

Speaking of sparkles, chandeliers are just engagement-rings for the ceiling, right?  A whimsical edition to our family was slotted to be my birthday, anniversary, and Christmas present.  I've finally pulled the trigger on this chandelier-friend which; I'll admit, not everyone gets.

This month, I had it rewired and hung.  I totally plan to dress up each of the deer for holidays.  Do you know how to make tiny deer-sized pilgrim hats? 

The dining room redesign isn't finished, but we're getting there.  Remember when it looked like this?:

We're not entirely done, but below is some progress. 

Right now, I'm contemplating these chairs (from Craigslist instead though!)

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Dear Olive,

Do you ever still look at engagement rings?  Ten years later and I can't stop.  They're just so.... shiny.  I'm pretty much just a crow chasing sparkles.

And so the solution must be girls proposing to guys.  This video makes me laugh-cry.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Dear Olive,

How satisfying it feels to wake up with an idea of what to make for dinner and to have actual food to make it.  Perhaps this is because it happens so rarely.  How is it, that with all of life's challenging tasks, the last meal of the day is the most elusive chore? After a long day of work and parenting problem-solving, my mental energy fizzles at dinner.  So, I've been devising an Eat Play Plan.  The intention is to reduce the regular cortisol-attacks induced by trying to enact a dinner out of a can of chicken broth and a red pepper.  And while I've made gamely attempts at pepper soup and pepper pasta, there must be a more reasonable way to tackle this life detail.  Here are my rules for Eat Play Plan:

  • All dinners must be 5ish ingredients
  • Meals should take 20 minutes or less to cook
  • No "boxed" pre-prepared dinners
  • Must be kid-edible
  • All work will be side saddled with a kid activity that is easy enough to pull together in about 5 minutes.
The goal is to have the kids engaged in something while I make dinner.   Having a pre-planned activity assuages the mom-guilt that I feel from focusing energy on anything other than them after being gone at work.

Here is Monday's plan:

                         via                                                    via                                                  via   

Friday, October 31, 2014


Dear Olive,

I just devoured this book.  Do you think that we knew each other in past lives?  It must be so.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Dear Olive,

My hunt for someone to build the playhouse is at an end.

I interviewed contractors, handymen, and playhouse construction companies for the past year.  Each person I spoke with said that the project was either too big or too small.  None of the playhouse companies would do custom.  Ultimately, we called the local Career Center.  The teacher was unbelievable.  They completed the entire playhouse as a student learning project for the cost of materials alone.  Here it is being built.

At first, I advised them to build it 8 feet by 8 feet.  When I arrived on site for a visit, it towered over me and I slightly panicked as I realized that it would be 16 feet high and would take up most of our backyard.  

The instructor was uber cool about it and they cut down the frame to be 6 by 6.  Basically, it is just an octagonal turret with a cone roof.  I had been planning this project since my childhood.  I was first inspired for the turret by pigeonniers, which were fancy pigeon coops in the 1700s.

I found salvage windows and had plexi-glass inserted into them.  The dormer window was originally from the first house we owned.  My husband snuck it into our moving truck for posterity.

At the end of the school year when the project was complete, we hired a truck to transport it to our house.  This was perhaps the most dramatic feat since the roof kept hitting low tree branches on the 6 mile trip.  It ended up knocking off and crushing the top cone, which we had to replace. 

I wish you could have seen the kid's faces when we pulled in.  We took out the front picket fence and backed it into the yard.  

Now that the project is finished, we have great plans for a faux fireplace and ceiling chandelier. 

I love your idea for a rain barrel-fed sink inside.  That's gotta happen.  So cool!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Dear Olive,

Do you remember when I bought this book?

Well, now that the girls are a bit older, we qualify for this website as well:
50 Reasons Your Toddler is Awake Right Now

If I don't get some sleep soon, its about to get real around here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Dear Olive,

So, you know how I've been rather myopic in my pursuit of a library card catalog?  Scouring Craigslist nightly to no avail?  What did I find whilst walking into my favorite thrift store?

This 78 drawer beauty is to be our new family time capsule.  Its salvage from the College library across the street.  A stamp on the side says that it was custom made by a wood makers guild mid-century.  I plan to fill a drawer a year to store pressed leaves, baby hospital bracelets, shells, ticket stubs, and other trinkets that don't fit into our photo albums.  We'll bring everything out to review on New Year's as a family tradition.  This year on December 31st, we'll open it to find invites for a "secret pizza party," prophetic Chinese fortunes, and tiny prizes from our first trip to the fair.