Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Can I Quit You Facebook?

Brutha. Aka buddy
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Dear Internet. My name is Daisy and I'm a distraction addict.

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Last Monday morning I pulled the plug on Facebook.

I didn't delete, well aware of the all powerful, "I'm Leaving FOREVER!" proclamations that usually turn to dust the moment you learn that someone has posted a photo YOU HAVE TO SEE. I just pressed pause.

A couple of weeks ago my whole family convened in North Carolina for four days of hiking, swimming, canoeing, and stand-up paddle board. 

But then it rained. 
And rained.
And rained some more. (And my step-dad informed us that actually Western North Carolina counts as a temperate rain forest because it rains so much.)

So I had four days of no internet, no tv, no ac, and 1x of cell service. I still had my phone which was now basically an electronic crossword machine and the Pony Express of text messaging. 

AND IT WAS HEAVEN.

Instead of having internet to idle my hours I read a book. I played with Lil' D. Family came over from their cabin to sit on our cabin porch to hang out and drink a beer. The older kids rolled balls endlessly with Lil' D. The put her in "jail" (the pack n'play) repeatedly. She loved it. I watched my CNN obsessed mom teach a 6 year old how to play solitaire. I sang karaoke with my 72 year old step-dad (who loved it so much he wants to hire a karaoke guy for our next gathering). And the best part of all the news came in quietly as newspaper headlines that I chose to ignore (remember how peaceful newspapers are!)

I suddenly remembered being young and bored all summer long (we didn't have cable) and how much more stuff I got done out of boredom. Books read. Plays performed. Piano practiced. I've been letting the internet (or TV or whatever my current poison) distract me from livin' for such a long time!




On Day 4 of rainy wilderness I decided I needed more boredom and less mindless distraction.

Hopefully it lasts a while.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

25 Ways to Write a Blog Post. Your Mind Will be BLOWN




I started this post a few weeks ago where I just ranted and ranted and ranted some more about all sorts of things that make me mad. I ranted about the misuse of the phrase, "I am so humbled." I ranted about photos and videos and annoying headlines that promise a lot but deliver so little (see above title). All roads led to Facebook in my rants.

Then I hit pause on the way to the publish button.

Does the world really need another hastily written pile of angry jumble to read? Is this what I want to say?

A friend posted this quotation from Hafiz you have probably seen over and over (in perfect pinnable, slightly annoying, tweetable, designerly jpgs, no less) but for some reason it struck me this time:
"The words you speak become the house you live in."

What words do I want to speak? What house do I want to live in?

Definitely not an angry one. Not one where I slapdash my thoughts together and press publish just because I can. Not a fake one. But not one where I whine about my problems all day either. Not too serious, though. But not too funny.

What is the purpose of this mess of a blog-o-mine? Where did it come from? And where is it going?

A lot of the time I think of blogging as the writing form of a selfie. Who cares what I have to say? And what in heaven's name do I have to say? Do I have anything to say?

I'm not a lifestyle blogger. I don't have any answers on how to decorate or cook or clean or keep budgets or cut children's hair. I'm the definition of a mess in all the ways possible.

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When I started this blog I lived in New York. My life was full of other people's stories. Just step out your door and one falls in your lap or pees on your shoe. The man dressed in all white begging for money. The LGBT festival a block over. The comedic act of borrowing an air conditioner for a party when you don't have a car. Chinese grandmothers practicing dancing in the park. Chinese grandfathers practicing sword fighting in the park.

On and on.

After moving to less flashy locales the stories became harder to find. Even in Miami. And then after awhile it became apparent that it's just me. My brain. My thoughts. And my desire to write something.

A desire that existed before blogs and before the internet and even before word processors.

I wanted to write things that people would read. I wanted to share and be published. I guess, though, back in the long long time ago 90's you had to go through the golden gateway of editor approval before someone hit publish.  And now its just you. You are your own approval. You are the floodgate. The desire to write becomes the worth of the writing.

And who is reading this stuff? If anyone? Even this post has reached a length longer than my hummingbird attention span can muster to scan through.

But write I must. And read other blogs that talk about children and home and food and decorating I must. Because I enjoy them almost as much as books.

And I must not worry about the hardest part of writing (or of living really). I must not worry about keeping up with the Joneses. Which is made all the more manifest in the blogging world. The Blogger Joneses. Because they write better than me.  Because they have a more interesting story to tell. Because they most certainly have more beautiful photos to post.

Which leads me to the last important quotation (from poet Mary Oliver) that's been running through my brain:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
 with your one wild and precious life?

I do not want to keep my house immaculately clean with my one, precious life. I do not want to iron napkins. I barely want to take the time to make a PB&J with my precious life. (But eating does go along with having a precious life.)

I want to read and design and make stuff with my hands. I want to hug my family. Be a better wife and mom. Learn calligraphy. Get better at crossword puzzles. And swim as much as possible. And write about it all.

Thanks for reading.

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Here is the full, delightful poem (perfectly titled for a hot July day in Alabama). Maybe I'll design it to be a tweetable gif. (Although it is hard to beat a Katie Daisy illustration)

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?





















Thursday, June 5, 2014

Here's to working moms

As I type this it's 7:30 am.

Lil' D is back in bed.

Woke up at 6:30 with poop in her britches (what a terrible way to greet the day!) and she wasn't a very happy camper. We know something is terribly wrong around here if a strawberry gets flung to the floor instead of making it directly into her mouth.

Why is this situation a problem?

Because instead of sleeping/crying in her crib we are supposed to be getting ready for school.

I'm lucky because I work from home so I can allow for this and take her in late. But man, my heart feels for those moms that don't have such luxury. Taking a crying, miserable toddler to day care is what I now know to be the worst feeling in the world.

On the one hand you have forked over big bucks to this institution to take care of your child. On the other you, the momma, know just what she needs to make the day better for her.  This terrible feeling could only be compounded by having a boss that you must answer to.

Heart. Strings. Pulled.

Here's to my G&T at the end of the day. Wish I could treat her teachers to one too. It's gonna be a long one for er'ybody!




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A story in pictures.

Hi all-

Forgive my extended absence. Let me tell you all about it.

I was busy celebrating this:



And then this:

Easter Basket posed no challenge


Dada and daughter


Who's this guy?




And then two weeks later a different bonnet:
Birdie and the Godparents

Great grandmother enjoyed the festivities.

Serious business around here.



And we stopped by the ole Strawberry Patch:

But momma should have brought a professional photographer



And we spent lots of time here:

Splash Pad!


Most days it felt like I was:

Sisyphys (1548–49) by Titian


And Lil' D multiplies like this:

Needs! First year molars! Tantrums! Needs!


And I'm all:
You aren't even two yet!?




But now.

Breathe.

Lil' D has started school:

First day. Tears all around!



And besides the extreme guilt I feel dropping her off all of the three days she attends(which she maximizes by dropping to the floor and then crying so so loudly with her arms outstretched in my direction). I feel like I'm finally going to get some things done around here.

Hellllooooooooooo this:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Now That I'm an Expert - Feeding Time

Since I've taken care of one baby for approximately 53 weeks (come this Thursday) I am now (obviously) an expert on babies and childcare. And, being an expert, I now have lots of wisdom to share.

It's easy when you are hormonal and want to provide the best environment possible to get swept away in baby gear/clothes/furniture and forget the cardinal rule of buying for baby: don't buy anything at all unless you absolutely need it. You will get loads of gifts the whole year long that will fill in lots of these needs. Even if, like me, you don't have a baby shower you will still get enough baby gear to outfit at least one room in a daycare.

But I get it. You ARE hormonal and want to show your commitment to being an excellent parent with products. It truly does make you feel better and calmer so over the next couple of days I'll be sharing my favorite products out there along with some tricks of the trade I've learned from other moms and personal experience.

Trick #1:
Nothing is MUST HAVE except diapers, wipes, food, something to wear, and something to sleep on. These things look different to every parent and there are escalating levels of hell, I mean, products you can buy for every little thing. I realized early on that I had a low-threshold for baby gear takeover and purchased accordingly.

Trick #2:
Just because everyone in the world swears by something doesn't mean you or your baby will like it. Two examples from my year: Strollers and Sophie. I will talk more about this later.

Trick #3
Make it easy for yourself. If the baby never experiences a warm wipe they won't know they are missing warm wipes. If the baby has formula chilled, room temp, and very rarely warm they won't know it's supposed to be a certain way. It sounds bad but I've been grateful many times when we've had an emergency diaper change or only had chilled water to make the bottle. Lil' D is adaptable and it makes these stressful situations so much easier.

So here is the EATIN' and DRANKIN' section of my series on bringing up a baby with a minimal amount of product in this crazed baby world of ours.*






 1.  The My BrestFriend. Terrible name but nice back support. I used in tandem with a Boppy for a bit but this was better. However, since my nursing days were short (but felt like forever!) - my recommendations don't include a lot of things to help nurse. On a general note: I do not recommend the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump.

2.  Breastflow bottles. We got hooked on these because they are good bottles to use if you are nursing. And I mean hooked. I wanted Lil'D to have glass but she got so acclimated to these that she would never take another kind. So, like I said, get your baby used to lots of variations. Without these bottles in hand we were sunk with a screaming baby. Despite what many lists will tell you we survived with 6 small ones and 5 large ones for an entire year.

3. Gerber Burp Cloths. You will use a million burp clothes for many months. These are my faves because they are soft and small.

4. Boon Lawn drying rack. We had GRASS but I wish it had been bigger. Get a twig or flower or two as well. This is certainly not a necessary item, as any drying rack will do, but when you are exhausted this does cheer you up. A little.

5. Target Formula. While the world rages on about how much better breast milk is than formula, formula has really gotten short shrift in the world of reviews and product improvement. Every formula has to have the same nutrition and there are only so many ways to make that happen it seems. We decided to try out Target formula vs. Enfamil and were pleasantly surprised that Lil'D seemed to have a better time on Target brand - which can often be found for as little as $21 a tub (on sale and with Cartwheel). However, if you are a formula feeding mom I would highly recommend getting some of the Enfamil travel powders. Lifesavers.

6. Munchkin bottle washer. Toss the little brush. You will never use it.

7. Bumkins bibs. Really the only choice. Machine washable and stays (mostly) in place. The only other ones I've liked are these Belgian bibs "Santens" my mom found on the interwebs but has no idea how she ordered. One day I'll tell you about the knitting kit she accidentally ordered me from Denmark.

8. Gerber/Nuk soft bite spoons. Great for tender little gums and provides good portion control so you don't choke that baby you worked so hard to get here.

9. Beaba Babycook. O.k caveat. I've had two of these and both have had to have the heating mechanism replaced (double caveat : the first one was used). That being said, when they work they are awesome. If you have the budget I would get the gigantic one. The company is great to work with if something does break (which hopefully it won't for you).

10. Wean Green Cubes. Great for storing your homemade baby food.

11. The First Years Infant Newborn to Toddler Reclining Feeding Seat. Great for baby to sit at the table with the family (still waiting on that to be more possible). It's also portable, super easy to clean, and for smaller babies it's cushioned and prevents slipping around.

12. Ikea Antilop High Chair. Super affordable and great for easy, quick feeds. It's really a toss-up for me as to which high chair I like better. Also doubles as a baby holder for when you need to get something done.

* There are certainly ways to be more minimalist than listed here. Something to steam food and something to mash food are a cheap and easy replacement for a baby food cooker. Also: Gerber, Earth's Best, Sprout, and Plum all make great baby foods.

What you will not find on this list:

1) Bottle warmers. Unless you are a pumping, breastfeeding mom you do not need to worry about it. The baby will drink whatever comes her way.

2) Bottle sterilizers. You will most likely be crazed with cleanliness when you get home from the hospital but that will eventually fade. In the meantime, boiling water will do the trick, but you certainly don't need to do it after every feeding, especially if you wash with hot soap and water every time.

3) Specialized things that "help" the baby learn how to eat solids. They will figure it out. Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out the skinny stands in any big box baby store or by the cash register.
















Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Lil' D!

Fresh out of the oven.


Today my Lil' D, my little B-dawg, Birdie Belle, Cutie-Pie Jones, etc. turns one.

I haven't quite wrapped my head around all that has happened this first year but man oh man I do love that funny girl of mine.

More to come after our birthday party extravaganza weekend.


One cool chick. Happy Birthday to the love of my life!





Monday, April 7, 2014

Forgive me Lent for I have Moved



I gave up sugar for Lent. I actually gave up sugar and processed foods. But I only really made it to the sugar part.

And it was terrible.

And I was stealing this from the baby to satisfy my sweet tooth.

But I was making it.

And then I either bruised or broke my tailbone (ouch!), we moved across town, I'm throwing two birthday parties this weekend, and I got my largest freelance project ever all at once.

And I just. needed. sugar.

So I caved.

We now know that sugar is as addictive as heroin, but I still feel terrible about falling off the wagon.

So I'm going to go drink a coke to make myself feel better/wallow in self-loathing.

Amen.