Lost

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Internet, meet Bronwynn's star.

Star, meet the Internet.

This star is part of what I like to call "B's 10 Essentials." That is, it's one of the many beloved possessions that B takes to bed every night and feels like she can't exist without. This list is revised every few weeks. Bunny, blanket and a sippy of water are always tops, then there's usually some dolls, a toy yellow Volkswagen Beetle, a favorite book, and other random trinkets, and of course, the star.

The star is actually a barrette, but the hair clip backing broke a while ago, and so B started carrying the star around and sleeping with it. At bedtime, she insists that Kris and I rub her back and sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and she holds up her star as if it really is a diamond in the sky. Then, she tucks the star under her pillow and asks me to kiss her eyelids and she goes to sleep.

ADORABLE, right? We thought so too. But oh, what naive parents we were! Because, what happens when your toddler wakes up for a sip of water at 2AM and does a quick inventory of all her essentials, and the star is missing? (the star is so small, it's ALWAYS missing).

All hell breaks loose.

I've become quite skilled at finding it under her mattress, behind her headboard, hidden in the depths of her toy box, in the refrigerator, in Miles' mouth... I've found that damn star in the dark, half-awake, at 2AM more times than I can count. (Anything to stop the wailing and get more sleep.) Sometimes she cries that her star is missing, when in fact she's actually holding it in her hand.

I know what you're thinking. Why do you let her bring so many toys to bed every night?! Therein lies your problem!  And I'd have to agree with you, except we have tried limiting her to just her bunny and blanket each night, and guess what happens?? She climbs out of bed and gathers ALL of her toys into one huge pile to sleep with.

Think I'm exaggerating? Look at what we discovered one morning in Colorado. I don't even know how she slept there that night....


Bottom line: Toddlers have no filters. They can't edit themselves. So, the fact we convinced her to sleep with only 10 items is really an improvement. We're working on getting that number down to 5.

Now excuse me, I have a star to locate....

Found

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Our new (old) house is oozing teen angst from previous owners. On the day we moved in, my stepmom discovered this tiny, crumpled piece of notebook paper in the recesses of a kitchen drawer:


Poor kid. Don't you just want to give her a hug?

Now, this week I was outside after dark and noticed a weird reflection from the flood lights on our garage door windows. When I looked closer, I saw that someone had written messages on every pane in the dust with their fingertips. I'm dying to know the story behind this one:

"MONSTER"

Other panes had cryptic numbers and words like "boob" and "lame"

Then, yesterday, I noticed this brick on our front walk:


Why hello there, Hanna from 2005. I'm sorry high school was so tough for you. I hope wherever you are now, you are happy and have plenty of friends who don't think you're getting fatter. 

You deserve all the best this world has to offer. 

Oh, and thanks for the fabulous house.
Sincerely,
Gina

...Has anyone else found clues about previous owners in their homes?? Tell me about it. I love this stuff!

Master Bedroom: Before & After

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We're chugging along with our DIY home design projects.

Here's a BEFORE shot of the master, taken right after we moved in:


Like every other room in the house, the walls were a blah putty color. And the bed had seen better days...having been moved across the country several times since Gina acquired it in grad school.

Here's the AFTER:

The beauty of loneliness

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Pain and joy are two sides of the same coin. When you pick up and move your young family to a new, unfamiliar place and leave all your friends, family, and favorite haunts behind, it's at times quite lonely. I've felt that sting more times than I can count this summer. I've longed for the ease of always knowing which streets to turn on. I miss walking into a friend's house and feeling comfortable enough to open her fridge and pour myself a drink.

I long for some rhythm--for myself, and for my daughter who still vividly remembers that Monday is the day we played at Austi's house, Wednesday she went to Leha's and Friday she attended a preschool readiness program and sang "Wheels on the Bus."

Yet, I am thankful, because out of this pain rises tremendous joy. A phone call with an old friend has a new sweetness that I never noticed before. Unpacking a box and finding old photographs makes me pause and smile, whereas in the past I might have just glossed over them and filed them away. Having more space and time to do nothing but watch my children interact and play is a gift beyond words. (It's amazing what they do when they think no one is watching!) Exploring a new town with my husband--discovering our new favorite restaurants, shops, museums and parks--is fun and reminds me of our first year of marriage.

I'm told we've entered the monsoon season here. Nightly storms rattle our windows and bring precious rain to our parched landscape. Out of that rain, desert flowers are blooming. I notice them--each and every one--because they are fleeting, but also because they are persistent as hell. I think about the effort and energy required to bloom with only a few drops of moisture and 110-degree heat beating you down.

Now, I'm not going to get too sentimental here and call myself a desert flower. (I can feel your collective eyes rolling). The reality is, I have so much more nourishment available to me than these flowers do. So much love, support and friendship in my life. And I know this because I have felt the sting of separation and the abundance of reunion and reconnection.

Young Love

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My friend Sara and I have joked that we should arrange a marriage between her son Dashiell and Bronwynn. Last week, on a trip to visit them in LA, the sparks certainly flew...


Sara snapped a few candids of the lovebirds during a lunch date. I could die from the cuteness....

10 months

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Adios, Dora

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I've tried (unsuccessfully) to avoid television in our house. I had grand ideas about my kids making it to kindergarten having not laid eyes on the boob tube. We own a TV, but don't have an antenna or any kind of cable/satellite feed into it. It's hooked up to a DVD player and hidden in an armoire. Simple to ignore, right?

Yes. Simple. Until about a year ago when I realized just how intense it is parenting a toddler--and what a welcome reprieve 30 minutes of relative quiet can be--and I caved.

Add to that the convenience of iTunes and live streaming videos online, and rarely a day goes by that B doesn't watch some toddler programming. This summer, with the move, flying on airplanes, videos on my iPhone, plus no friends to play with in AZ...blah blah blah....it finally happened. B got hooked on Dora the Explorer.

Correction: B became Dora.

We'd be driving in the car, and she say out of nowhere, "Mom, if you see a sneaky fox, yell Swiper!"

Or, she'd call me Boots (the monkey). Or Benny (the bull). Miles was renamed Swiper. And oh, the constant Dora monologues....at dinnertime, at play time, or in the grocery store, at full volume she'd launch into a whole conversation with herself:

"What a FUN trip today! What was your favorite part? I liked that too. Gracias! Thanks for helping!"

The Hubs

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29/365

Making Use of Odd Spaces

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Our 1980s split-level has some strange architectural details that have us scratching our heads. Take this nook, for example:


It's the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. To us, it's a bit of an eyesore, but we can't tear it down since it houses ductwork...and we don't want to fill it in, since it lets natural light pour through to the entryway.

We don't have a coat closet by the entry, so it made sense to me that we could install some hooks, or even a metal locker...But with the odd dimensions (the nook is 28"d x 31"w x 61"h) the locker would have to be custom built, and I wanted to gussy this up sooner rather than later. So here's what I did:

I guess I could get used to this...

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Swimming at Sunset
28/365

I do this myself, Mom.

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25/365

22/365

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A good friend of mine gave Bronwynn her childhood collection of Barbies, complete with an extensive (largely handmade) 1970s wardrobe. Say what you want about girls playing with Barbies. But I think this is pretty excellent.

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