Southern Snow

I used to be a snow snob. I was raised in Colorado where is usually snowed for 6 months out of the year. So by the time I left home at 18, I had racked up 9 full years of snow experience. I learned to drive in the snow. I went to school in the snow. Without exception. I think I may have had one snow day off from school in all four years of high school.

My first winter away from home in DC, I waited and waited for the first snow. When it finally happened, right before winter break, it was hysteria and I thought it was hysterical. I remember the weatherman on the news giving the forecast of 1-2 inches of snow and telling everyone to “stock up on canned goods.”

For the next decade that I was in DC each winter was the same. It would snow once and everyone would panic and act like this was the first snow. Ever. In the history of the world.

Then I married a southerner and the hysteria got taken to a new level. Adam was a card-carrying member of the hysterical snow panickers. I called him once to pick me up at the metro because the snow plow had pushed all the snow from the road onto the sidewalk making it impossible to walk from the metro to our house. He informed me that he had abandoned his car earlier in the day because it wasn’t safe to drive! In another storm I watched him dress to go outside. He put on almost every article of clothing he owned.

Now I live in the South. There are plenty of eye-rolling weather opportunities here. If the word “dusting” is uttered school closes immediately. Sometimes they close school if it is just cold. People definitely take the threat of weather seriously here. And I usually am smug and laugh at them.

But last year, Adam got snowed out of the state for the one and only big snow we had. I got caught in a storm without my hysterical snow buddy and it really was no fun. Being sarcastic by yourself isn’t that great. And without anyone to panic I really didn’t enjoy or experience the snow much at all.

So with that change of plans, I had a change of heart. Snow is as fun as you make it. And I LOVE snow so even if it isn’t much I make an effort to appreciate it. Now we do it up. Snow days start the day before with the anticipation. I head straight for the grocery store with the first prediction of precipitation. We run to get milk and toilet paper, because that is what sells out.

If it does actually snow we have ice cream for breakfast, because at most we have three ice cream breakfasts a year. And then we go out in the snow even though it is a lot of work to get two little ones ready for the elements. We pack on our snowpants and puffy jackets and winter boots. We improvise and have fun. This storm included a giant snowman and a canoe ride behind the tractor.

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And it turns out that NC snow days are better than Colorado snow days, because they are actually observed. In Colorado it could snow and no one would even mention it. Or look up. Or go outside. In NC when it snows everything stops to respect the snow.


It is snowing as I write this (our third storm in two weeks). Adam has opened the door three times in the past 30 minutes to “check on the snow.” I am happy that I now know that it is part of the fun. After all, if a flake falls in the South and no one goes crazy about it how will you know if it falls at all?

Words from the Wise

We’re creeping up on Luke’s 1st birthday. Wednesday will mark his first trip around the sun and I’m finding myself misty-eyed at the prospect. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always felt that I wanted “kids” over “babies.” And I know how much fun is in store once this kid is up to speed and able to partake in more adventuresome activities. Still, as he’s moving away from babyhood, I’ve been reflecting so much on our early days together and my sweet boy’s first months in this world. Kat, your last post also got me thinking a lot about the great input we got from other parents as we were embarking upon this journey, some of which I wouldn’t have made it through this year without.

Meet and GreetWhen you’re expecting, people ask you a lot of inappropriate questions…but they give you a lot of advice too. It’s best if you learn quickly to discern which advice sounds right for you, and what advice to take with a nod of the head before moving on your merry way. For instance, when a well-meaning but highly-inappropriate coworker told me that global warming was causing a rise in cleft palettes in babies so I should wear or sew a cross on my underpants for the remainder of my pregnancy, I smiled and went about my business. Still, for all the strange advice, there were some great gems that I thought I’d put out there for any moms-to-be who might be in our midst.

It’s all a phase. I’m sure I’ve heard this more than once, but one of the three Sara(h)’s from my knitting group is the mother of two. She has kids so amazing you’d absolutely want to clone them and she reminded me shortly before Luke was born to not stress about milestones, tantrums and the like. As a fellow loss mom, Sara has great perspective on what parenthood is all about and she reminded me that loving your baby is way more than half the battle when it comes to raising them well.

SoothedHe won’t go to college with a pacifier. We were still in the hospital when a pediatrician put a pacifier in Luke’s mouth. I was horrified, it went against everything I had read in the books and I was convinced he was going to be needing a binky until he was 5. The dr looked at us and said, he won’t go to college with a pacifier mom, don’t worry. And, it resinated pretty well. Little did I know, Luke would shun all sleeping aids including the pacifier, but the sentiment has carried over when I worried that he wasn’t on a napping ‘schedule’ and other equal nonsense.

Choose your lullaby during your pregnancy. The week before I left on maternity leave, one of my team members at work asked me if I had chosen my lullaby. She told me about sitting in the hospital looking at her baby with no idea what do say or do. She said she wished she’d though about it ahead of time. That night on my way home from work, I came up with three songs I could sing decently and remembered the words too. I started singing them while we were in the hospital. We still sing two of them…and I honestly can’t remember what the third was.

Treat it like a new job. A friend of ours was transitioning to become a stay-at-home mom when her second child was born just two weeks before Luke. She told us she intended to treat it like starting a new job and to give herself 90 days to get adjusted. This seemed like great sense to me and starting a new job was in fact something I had done before unlike parenting. When we weren’t sure of ourselves when Luke first came home, I took comfort knowing that I was just starting my new job too.

You can make it through a year of breastfeeding on sheer will and determination. Kat, talking to you, you gave me permission to not like breastfeeding. To find it hard and uncomfortable and frustrating, but to do it anyway. Once I put aside that I “should” feel some bond with my baby when he was in fact fussing, fighting and generally flailing any time we nursed, it was must easier for me to just get down to business. Thanks to you we made it, while supplementing, up to a year when I wasn’t sure we’d make it a month.

Vacation with an infant is just a change of scenery. My super-together, unflappable older sister gave me this advice. And, it came to my mind when I was on the beautiful shores of Hawaii, wide awake at 3 am because time changes mean nothing to a toddler. Heather helped set my expectations for parenting on many levels and I’m very grateful for that. She also juggles her two boys and answers my incessant texts about whether Luke’s latest activities are normal.

Take more video. Shortly before I returned to work after maternity leave, we spent a few days with our college friend Hope, her husband Josh and their daughter Harper. Hope was holding Luke and trying to remember if Harper was ever that small when she encouraged to take as much video as we could. Even now, I look back at the early videos of Luke just starting to hold up his head or making the little coos that sound like a tiny dinosaur and I’m so glad I get to see it forever. I know I’m going to be thankful that we have taken those words to heart.

Sweet SleeperDon’t rush him. I think I hear this from my mom once a week (love you mom). And she’s right. Time passes quickly and Luke is going to grow up fast enough on his own. He’s hitting milestones at a rapid pace and already the sweet little newborn who was happy to spend the day snoozing on my chest can’t be bothered to even slow down for a pre-bedtime snuggle. Boyhood will come fast enough and babyhood is brief.

I’m looking forward to this week and taking time to mark this first year together and our first year as a family. I’m breathing in extra deep every time Luke gives me a hug because his baby smell is wearing off…but I’m loving that he smells a little like fresh air and dirt. Just as I always imagined my little boy would.

Birthday Bliss

As Luke’s first birthday is approaching I thought I would share two tips for a great birthday. One is a lesson and the other is a favorite tradition we have developed over the past three years.

The first birthday is as much a milestone for the parents as it is for the birthday boy. Surviving the first year is huge deal and a thing to be celebrated. I was so excited about our accomplishment that we only served a champagne punch at Ellis’ first birthday. I think that was a big bummer for all the kiddos who attended and could only drink water. We rethought that the second year and had non-alcoholic beverages on hand. So learn from our mistake and toast your self, but don’t forget about everyone else. That’s the lesson.

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The tradition is the solution to a lifelong problem of mine: I never know what to do with cards. I don’t really save these things, but I have a little bit of guilt in the back of my mind when I throw them away. I think this guilt stems from my stint interning at the Department of Education where it was my job to create the daily archive book, a public record of everything the Undersecretary of Education did that day. Sometimes the book was 60 pages long. This certainly skewed my perception that every detail was important for posterity. However, my kid isn’t the Undersecretary of Education and 60 pages worth of notes on anybody’s day isn’t really interesting. So, I still chuck the cards.

Instead of saving all those cards, we’ve started a simple tradition of a birthday year book at his party. It is doctor Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You. Each year we have all his party attendees sign the book. They can write a little message (or not) but it satisfies my sense of creating a record of his birthday, and it is easy enough to do each year (which is key to a successful tradition—our mother’s day tradition is a huge pain and I am not sure how long I will be able to keep it up, but that is a story for another post). I paperclip the book open to the page that everyone should sign (learned this the hard way the first year, when people wanted to sign throughout the book). There are enough pages to last for 30 birthdays!


So happy early birthday Luke. And congrats City Mama and Papa on a job well done!


Flight Time

Okay, momentary time out there for our vacation, return home with colds, and final weeks of Obamacare enrollment (a huge part of my job). Enrollment ended at midnight last night and I was on site to see the end. It was pretty neat but I’m hopeful to get some small semblance of our schedule and routine back…haha. I have lots to write about our trip and Luke’s new tricks, but I’m still uploading/editing pictures. In the meantime though, while it’s fresh in my mind, I wanted to write about flying with a tot since, even after all the articles I read, there were still a few things we did that worked really well. Now that we’ve had four 5+ hour flights, I feel confident sharing what I came up with along the way.

photo-5Choose your seats carefully. We’re tall people, so even without a child, if we can spring for the business class seats, we usually do. I have to say that when traveling with a child it is money well spent. Consider it practice for that third ticket you’ll be buying before long. We actually had the first row behind first class which feels like it has more space than the exit rows. Not only was Luke able to stand in front of our seats and even sit and play on the floor, he had one less set of distractions when it came nap time.

Diaper up. I was really dreading changing Luke on the plane. So, I decided to pop an overnight diaper on him and hope for the best. Circumstances being what they were, I had to change him any way but other mothers may have better luck if their children aren’t as….er….regular.

Make a friendly introduction. I’m a friendly person, so I usually wind up chatting with the people sitting near us on a flight. For some reason when traveling with Luke, I’ve felt it really important that people meet him when he’s in a good mood figuring that if he looses his mind they think something more like, “Oh that cute baby is unhappy” instead of “Who let the son of satan on this flight”

Belly up. We had enough puree pouches and puffs to last us two days in the real world, but Luke was content to munch away while we were traveling. I don’t feel too guilty about indulging him when we travel, especially if it’s just a few times a year. I’ll confess, I used to unfairly judge parents who gave their children countless rice puffs thinking that they were placating their children with food. Once I read the caloric content of the puffs, I realized the great game that was afoot. These treats might as well be air. It certainly takes your little one more calories to find, pinch, transfer, chomp and ultimately dissolve those tiny nuggets than it does once you’ve eaten them. A major win in my book.

Know your child and know their sleep. We’ve had to work really hard at getting Luke to sleep through the night. My instinct said that there would be just too much going on for him to rest peacefully on a long night flight. Unfortunately, with the time difference between the coasts and busy holiday travel, we simply couldn’t avoid it when we flew back to LA at Christmas time. The flight left right around Luke’s bedtime and every time he’d nod off, a flight attendant would come by or someone would talk loud enough to wake him up. It was just to much for our little cherub who finally went ballistic about an hour into the flight. No matter what we did, he thrashed and cried. I ended up standing in front of my seat, and rocking him for the longest time, finally after having some more puffs, getting some hair rubs from dad and cuddling back up with mom, he called it a night. Now we know, fly during the day for the happiest experience. The fuss had gone on for so long, that the first class flight attendant came by and not-so-subtly suggested that we buy drinks for the passengers around us, which leads me to my next point…

IMG_2908Only shell out in emergencies. This trend of parents buying off their fellow passengers makes me a little crazy. I’m not above buying someone a drink if my child does something unreasonable, but making it a rule or expectation is just too much for me. Think about all the annoying types of travelers…smelly food eaters, non-stop talkers, people who don’t use headphones, people who should buy multiple seats but don’t, people with stinky dogs…I could go on but I think you get my point. Kids are far from the worst passengers on a plane and the adults around them should be understanding and able to content/distract themselves should the need arise. My plea to my fellow parents is to keep the card in your wallet and allow your fellow passengers to buy their own cocktails.

In addition to the tips above, we followed some other tried and true methods of distraction: walk the plane, meet the flight attendants, watch a movie (or in our case baby einstein), hand over your cell phone, and play lots of games. In the end though, Luke’s greatest distraction was playing with a plastic cup one of the attendants gave him and goofily trying to get the attention of the passengers around us.

We fly again in a few months and I wonder how different that trip will be since he’ll be fully walking. For now though, I’m happy to feel like we have experience under our belts to get us from coast to coast whenever we might need.

Foxy Mama

In honor of my revised resolution to slow down and learn how to do things the right way, I am here to report what might be the most elegant and difficult knitting I have undertaken, all dressed up as a fox.


I have been swimming in baby knitting all winter. Especially since I challenged myself to include something knit in each of Cal’s monthly photos. The big boy hasn’t had a knit anything in quite a while. I stumbled on this adorable pin and knew I wanted to make this.

The pattern was not free, which is usually where I jump ship. But I decided to buy it anyway. It described itself as beginner advance/intermediate. I do not consider myself a beginner knitter, as I have been knitting at a fever pitch for almost 10 years now, but this pattern had four things I had no idea how to do (twin stitch, shadow stitch, short rows and three needle bind off). Still I pressed on and figured out each new stitch as I went.

I confess I had to tear out half of it when I was almost finished because of course I didn’t set my gauge or pay attention to what type of yarn I should be using. (I am a real use-what-I have kind of gal and I have a pair of lucky needles that I knit almost everything on). So I took two steps forward and one step back, but that is how change happens.

In case you are keeping track of all of my overwhelming personal progress: I bought a pattern, used a pattern and tore it out until I got it right. That is enough change to last me a decade of resolution credit. Yay for never having to change again.

And now Ellis has something cute to keep him warm at school!!!

That is right, big boy started school last week. He is going to an amazing Forest Kindergarten. It is all outside, rain or shine. They can go into a tipi with a fire to warm up if it is really cold but they spend most of the time hiking on expeditions on over 200 acres.




I took Ellis for his first day last week and I wasn’t sure how drop off would go. Other than going to his grandparent’s house he isn’t really ever away from us (we have been trying for months to get him to stay in the nursery at church, but that hasn’t worked). School was no problem though. He ran into the tipi and blew us a kiss and that was that. I held my tears to myself until I got back to the car and I went immediately to buy him a warmer coat, because what else is a mom to do when she leaves her big boy in the woods for the first time? If I can just keep him warm and cute he will be happy forever right?


P.S. city mama, I am sure this pattern could be adapted for a cat. If only I knew a foxy cat…