Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I laughed so hard at Catalog Living the other day that I had tears streaming down my face. So, so clever.

Now, I love Pottery Barn. LOVE it. I would be quite happy living in one of their stores. The beds look pretty fluffy, and it would be very easy to throw a dinner party. But once in a while their decorating suggestions really throw me for a loop.

Case in point: The June 25 Catalog Living post. Just last weekend I was commenting to Nate how I don't understand the whole nautical thing Pottery Barn has been pushing year after year. No, thank you, I do not want a huge piece of (fake) coral on my bookshelf. Or a giant lobster printed on my throw pillows. Or a massive pair of oars leaning up against my walls. (I'm thinking it would be all too easy to grab one of those during an argument and clobber someone. So that one's really more of a safety issue.)

I don't live in New England, or a retirement community in Florida. I live in Minnesota. Why would I need a set of heinous Coastal Curiosity salad plates? And how do you think the rest of the country would react if Pottery Barn took its cues from the northern states and started pushing everyone to mount walleye on their living room walls?

Hey, I didn't say Minnesota has good taste. I just said I live here.

But, enough about Pottery Barn and its misguided and overdone nautical product line. I have a busy day ahead of me and I simply must make time to restock my Q-Tip decanter.

What, you don't have one of those? How embarrassing for you.

Water baby.

He's a fish, just like his mama and daddy.

Too bad neither of us look that cool in our pool gear. Kid has style.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Well played.

Pop quiz: Which recently rebuked-by-me retailer is a very bad listener?

Let me give you a clue:


The fact is, I brought this upon myself. I clearly stated that we might be able to work something out if he came back with a 40% discount. And that charming, wily man one-upped me by offering 50%.

If there's anything we've learned this week, it's that you should never underestimate the power of the tiny family blog.

Well played, Mr. Boden. My closet thanks you. My self-control does not.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I don't actually know what a screaming banshee is, but if I had to guess what it looks like, I'd guess this:

Which is why I now own these:

Anyone have a pair of earplugs I can borrow? I've got some reading
to do.

Monday, June 21, 2010


You know what's sad? When you get the chance to spend an evening with three of your favorite people — who you never get to see because two of them moved far away — and you don't get a picture together because you're too busy trying to keep your children from bonking other babies on the head with SpongeBob watering cans (Calvin), eating grass (Vivian), and...well, this didn't really apply to the third kid. John just sat there and looked cute in his bumbo. He's too small to cause much trouble yet.

Oh, well. At least I got pictures of the kids. It's all about them, after all. We're just their lame parents.

Farmers' Market Finds.

I'm not the least bit crunchy. In fact, I'd say I'm a bit soggy. I don't usually buy organic, I still run the water while I brush my teeth (I know, I know), and I almost always forget my reusable bags when I go to Target. Last night my friend Ben was talking about the raw milk movement, and my response was: "Huh? What the heck is that?!" And Nate, with a snicker, replied "Is that when you go from nursing your baby to putting them directly on the cow?" (I love my husband. And that's actually not far from the truth.)

So, yeah. We're soggy. But I do care about what we eat, and although my love affair with McDonald's is well-documented on this blog, occasionally I try to drive past the drive-thru. Plus I have a total fruit monster on my hands (my formerly adventurous eater has decided it's going to be all fruit, all the time or NOTHING), so we have upped our produce intake quite a bit. Which is why the Saint Paul Farmers' Market is where we'll be most Saturday mornings this summer.

We've always loved the market, which is downtown and very convenient for us. Personally, I find the quieter (yet still plenty busy) Saint Paul market to be much more enjoyable than the chaotic Minneapolis one — plus, the SPFM requires all the sellers to be local. Everything you purchase has been grown/baked/created within a small radius of the city. I may not be the greenest girl out there, but I do like to support local businesses as much as possible (which is easy to do here in the Twin Cities).

So, Saturday morning we headed over there, and everything was just...awesome. Strawberries, onions, snap peas and rhubarb galore, tons of fresh herbs, and lots of cut and plantable flowers. We picked up some strawberries for the fruit monster, some basil and mint for us, and some snap peas, which we tried to get Calvin to eat — he's still doing this with peas, though. I also got some fresh flowers for my dining room table, and some crazy good turtles from some guy selling chocolate.

Turns out it's easy to eat well when you have bowls of gorgeous, locally-grown produce sitting in your kitchen. Who knows, maybe I'll get a little crunchier and become part of the raw milk movement.

Or, more likely (much, much more likely), just turn off the water while I brush.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dear John(nie).

Dear Johnnie Boden:

Please stop sending me emails. Or at least emails including offers I can't refuse.

You see, I am poor. Well, not really poor, but I'm paying an arm and a leg for daycare and diapers every month, and I just got the first of what I have to assume will be multiple student loan balance letters regarding my husband's recently completed education. There is no room for you and your 30% off plus free shipping in my life.

Gosh, 30% off is a really good deal. That means the Amalfi dress I've been eying would only be $70....NO. NO NO NO.

No thank you, Mr. Boden!

You are preying on my weaknesses. Somehow, without even having met, you know I cannot turn away from tiny striped jeans for my son, or adorable printed skirts for me. You know I find your soft cotton fabrics and your whimsical polka dot packaging irresistible. You know I love putting Calvin in shirts that say delightful things like "Pony Ride."

But I cannot continue this relationship with you and your beguiling goods. Truly, I cannot. Please, take your 30% off plus free shipping (Free shipping! Shipping is a significant expense when you're ordering things from England, that's a serious cost savings...) and, well, you know. Keep it. For a while. Just hang on to it for me. I won't always be poor. And when I'm not, well...you and I are going to get to know each other very well.

Until then, dear Johnnie, I remain yours truly,


P.S. If you bumped the offer up to 40% plus free shipping and free returns we might be able to work something out much sooner. Just saying.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Since this is really just a glorified baby book (sorry about that), better add Calvin's one year stats before I forget.

Height: 31 inches (75-90th percentile)
Weight: 24lbs (60th percentile)
Head: 18.75 inches (75th percentile)

He's done with bottles, fully transitioned to milk, and growing like a weed. And, according to his pediatrician, functioning at closer to an 18 month level.

I think I'm supposed to be proud of him for that, but really all it means to me is that I missed out on six months of preparation for the crazy behavior he's exhibiting.


Calvin has been doing so many not cute things lately (throwing tantrums, refusing to sleep, tossing food, generally making me crazy) that I am going to try and focus on the very cute things he's started doing. Maybe by the time I finish writing this post he'll seem cute-ish instead of like a holy terror and I'll feel calmer and little better about my parenting skills (or lack thereof).

The wheels are starting to turn in this kid's head. I just love watching him, because he's really taking things in and beginning to figure them out. For example:

While my parents were here, we saw him pick up a sock, sit down, and try to put it on his foot. Unfortunately, his foot was already in a shoe. So he stuck the sock beneath the tongue of the shoe, because he knew the sock went under the shoe.

I have a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to Cal's stuff, and he likes to pull everything out of there (and sometimes even puts everything back before moving on to the next thing...where does he get these neat freak tendencies?). The other day he pulled out a sippy cup and a lid, and walked around the house for about 20 minutes trying to put the lid on the cup. He finally screwed the top on — with no help from me, I was just watching him in wonder — and then threw it back to take a swig.

This morning, I found him walking around with a headband on his head. No idea how he figured that one out, I've only worn it a handful of times. But it was properly placed behind his ears and everything.

He's started using a fork and spoon to eat. And taking bites vs. shoving the entire thing down his throat. Though he still prefers that method of eating occasionally, and I can't really blame him for that. Sometimes food is really good and you can't help but want it to just be in your mouth already.

He very clearly says "up," "puppy," "baby," and "Ma!" (for Mattie). In fact, he was in bed with us yesterday morning, and he started saying "Ma!" and patting the bed like we do when we try to get her to come up on the bed with us. Neither of us had done it, though, so we were surprised to see him remember that we'd done that in the past and begin to mimic our behavior.

Okay, I feel a little better. I'm obviously raising a total genius, however poorly.

And now, a few random pictures to go with my random post.

Sweet headband, kid.

Headed for the rug, very good. Please make sure to use the dog hair attachment. (Seriously, what's with all the cleaning?)

"I like to eat chicken and watch the World Cup with my Dad." Narration courtesy of Nate.

Hummus, I got the hummus. And also the Ritz.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The real reason.

Yeah, true love, yada yada. The real reason I married Nate?

Whenever he's home, I sit down to food like this. Which is a far cry from the food he "sits down" to (please refer back to this).

Last night he made Thomas Keller's buttermilk fried chicken from Ad Hoc at Home and it was to die for. Conveniently, the link includes the chicken recipe. So if you, unlike me, enjoy cooking, you can make it. Which you should.

Or, as an alternative, you can fly to California and eat at the restaurant that inspired the cookbook, which is probably my favorite place to eat ever. You may not get fried chicken (the menu is set and changes daily) but I promise whatever you get will be fabulous.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Glimpsing the future.

Nate took this picture of Calvin tonight. When I saw it, my jaw about hit the floor.

He looks...old.

I feel like I've been given a glimpse of what my son might look like down the road — as a first grader, a junior higher, a teenager. It both freaks me out and makes me smile.

He'll be cute when he's big.

And hopefully he'll still be into wearing polo shirts. Nothing I fear more than a goth phase. Except maybe a foray into socks with sandals.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Know what's fun?

Drinking from the hose, drinking from the toys, drinking from the toys with your dog, and spraying your dog in the face.

Riding around town in cool shades and a hot car.

And chilling — sans pants — in the backyard.

I love summer.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Aloe and Advil.

Nate and I were white. Pasty, pasty shades of white. Well, I was, at least. Nate was pasty for him, which is still about four shades darker than me.

So, why, why, why, why did we think we could survive the Mexican sun — in late May — wearing spf 45?

Silly pasty white Breyers. Although pasty really isn't the word for it anymore. Now we're both slightly sunkissed (that's the nice way of saying "not tan") and super peely.

Despite generous aloe applications, regular doses of Advil, and not being able to touch each other (or, you know, sleep on our backs...or shower...or walk) for nearly five days, we had a really amazing vacation. It was fun to leave work and school and parenthood behind for a few days, though we admittedly found it hard to talk about anything else for the first day or two. We spent eight years alone, only talking about ourselves, and now after one year as parents we have a hard time talking about anything else. It took a day (and a few mango margaritas) to find our way back to just being Nate and Abby, and not Calvin's parents, but we got there. And it was just as good as it always was, maybe even better.

We ate well (that probably goes without saying), laughed a lot (we are such dorks), and did some serious relaxing (when your legs are so burnt you can't walk, you kind of have to). It was the almost* perfect way to celebrate five years of marriage, surviving the first year of parenthood, and Nate's graduation.

*Next time I'm bringing spf 100. Or 150. Do they make 150? They should.

And now, a series of photos of the two of us, taken by us, or one of us, taken by the other. Photos are tricky when you're on vacation alone.

Together (you can see the sunburn progression from horrible to marginally improved):

Alone, each of us looking kind of ridiculous:

Random scenery and some iguanas:

And, finally, the photo we took to prove that we've been in a bar in the last five years. Granted, it was noon, we were waiting for our taxi to the airport, and we were the only people there. But we're still cool! Seriously! I promise!

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