Wednesday, March 30, 2011


corn starch + water = about 45 minutes of entertainment

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

toilets and tulips

I was tidying up the house this weekend in preparation for our trip to the donation center. B was following me around, and Kris was home, so I assumed Miles was being supervised... Of course, you know what happens when you assume, right?

At one point I heard a little clatter in the kids bathroom and I got a sinking feeling. There are no chemicals or anything life-threatening within the kids' reach. But there are toilets. And Miles thinks toilets are fantastic toys.

I ran to the bathroom to discover Miles elbow deep in the toddler potty, which incidentally had been used recently by B.

He flashed me the biggest grin, as if to say, "Look what I found, Mommy!" And he splashed away.

I screamed "AHHHHHHHHH, MILES!" and scooped him up. But it was too late. He was covered head-to-toe in urine.

So so so so so gross.

I washed his hands and stripped his clothes, and then Kris came to the rescue and took Miles to shower with him while I cleaned up the bathroom mess and changed my clothes.

Then B and I went to donate our stuff and we stopped by the farmer's market on the way home to soak up some beauty and fresh air.

Is there anything more lovely than an endless pile of local, fresh-cut flowers?

I'm beginning to really appreciate the climate we live in. Especially when I consider that it allows us to grow fruits and vegetables year-round.

B and I grabbed some baby carrots in a rainbow of colors. Have you ever eaten purple carrots? They're delicious.

B liked the white ones

I'm giving Miles a pass on the naughty behavior because, well, he's 17 months and he's teething and still managing to entertain himself despite the obvious pain he's in.

And there are more important things to focus on here: Sunny weather. An abundance of beauty. Always having enough food. Stopping to smell the flowers.

The hard moments, the disgusting moments, are just ammunition for when the kids are teenagers and dating people we don't like.

Monday, March 28, 2011

out with the old, in with the old

Kris & I have a policy about "stuff" in our house. If we bring something new into our space, something else should leave. It's a carryover from when we lived in smaller homes and space was a commodity. Want a new pair of jeans? First, look through your closet and find something (or a few things) that you no longer wear and donate them to charity. Then you can add to your wardrobe. Same goes for toys, kitchen gadgets, books and furniture.

It's our way of avoiding clutter, but also just helps us check in with ourselves and make sure that everything we own has value and isn't just taking up space and collecting dust.

Also, whenever possible, we buy used, accept hand-me-downs, or upcycle/repurpose stuff that's destined for a landfill.

We're not freegans. (Did you see that report a few years ago by Lisa Ling?). We're not that extreme. But we do agree with the basic idea: Buy less. Use what you need. Avoid the trap of thinking you always need the newest things. Save quality items from the landfill.

Case in point: B wanted a desk so that she can "work" and write stories like Mommy. I browsed a couple flea markets and found an adorable 1950s school desk for $20 and two little school chairs. The kids LOVE them.
And to make room, we donated an ottoman we never use (which was originally a hand-me-down), a couple lamps, plus B filled up a bag with her old/unloved toys. Win-win!

I took B with me to the donation center. She did great...until they took away the old Exersaucer that both she and Miles used as babies. She said "Mommy, I want to be a baby again someday so I can play with that toy!"

And so one life lesson leads to another...

Do you guys have any trash-to-treasure stories to share? Would you ever be a freegan??

Friday, March 25, 2011


This is me. Some readers requested I get around to the other side of the lens, so I did. Self-portraits are hard. It's challenging to look like yourself, to look relaxed, when you're taking your own photo. It helps me appreciate how other people must feel when I shove a lens in their face and say "act natural!"

Yeah, right.

I also took this shot recently. The kids were both napping at the same time, which never seems to happen anymore. And instead of using the time to work or clean house, I plopped myself down in my favorite comfy chair and read the latest issue of The Sun. It was heavenly.

Now that I've shown you a little bit more of me, will you return the favor? I know (thanks to some fancy tracking code) that more than 150 people read The Daily B each day. I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE if you introduced yourself in the comments or just said "hi" or hit that Facebook "Like" button so that I know you're out there. Or tell me what you dislike or what you want to see more of on the blog. I want to get to know you guys a little bit better...


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

too big too soon

Our baby's indecipherable babble and clumsy, tentative movement has been replaced by kid-like behavior: playing chase, high-fives and helping himself to a yogurt stick, just 'cause sister does it.


He sprouted some hair overnight too. Pure white and sticking up in the back like Dennis the Menace. 

He's 17 months.

I realized he's lived in the desert longer than he lived in the shadow of mountains, and that makes me a little sad, but also excited, because to him....and to Bronwynn....we are home. And home is a place where you eat frozen yogurt in March, because it's 85 degrees outside and it tastes good.

Monday, March 21, 2011

chalkboard city

Spring Break = A lot of time at home playing. I was constantly searching for new games and tricks to keep the kids entertained this past week. The best idea ended up also being the simplest. I grabbed some chalk and drew a bunch of roads and an airport on their activity table and told them it was a city. Their imaginations took it from there!

If you don't have a chalkboard surface indoors, you could easily create a miniature city on your sidewalk or driveway with sidewalk chalk. We also erased this and drew a zoo and put plastic animals in various habitats. Fun! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

365 project

I'm rounding the corner on day 250....Here are two recent shots I like.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

the things we can change

There are things in life we can't change. Sometimes, I'm totally at peace with that. I can embrace it. Let go. Accept the bad along with the good. Just be.

But last weekend, I was brooding over some of the unchangeable things. I was angry and sad and longing to rearrange a few details. Tidy up the painful parts of life. You can't do that, of course. Still, I felt like I had to DO something. I looked around for something I could change.....My gaze landed on the mint green, frothy disgustingness of our kitchen walls.

The day we moved into our house, 9 months ago, I said "the mint green will be the first thing to go." It's not just the color that bothered me, but the paint was stained in places and thin in other places and sloppy in a lot of places. It made the cream colored cabinets look yellow, and washed out the gorgeous detail of our granite countertops.

This is the only "before" picture I can find. It's from the realtor's walk-through before we moved in. I wish I could show you a close-up of the green walls and how the color bled onto the cabinets and ceiling. I lived with it, though, because there were other more pressing projects...the kids rooms. The master bedroom. New toilets.

Sunday afternoon, I decided I'd had enough of it. With just a few hours left in our weekend, I drove down to ACE and picked up a gallon of paint. Kris and I had already decided on a color. We were just waiting for the right opportunity. And here it was.

I got started Sunday night and we lived with chaos while I finished--in between working and kids and other life stuff. For most of the week, the kitchen looked like this:

I love the metaphor. Sometimes you have to let things get really messy, you have to fall apart before you can put the pieces together and move on.

After a few days, it started to look like this, and I smiled:
And then it was finished. And it looked like this:

...which is lovely on many levels, because our kitchen is rarely ever this clean. Kris and I were nervous about using such a dark color, but we couldn't be happier with the result. The cabinets look cleaner and the granite stands out more.

Does painting your kitchen fix all that's wrong in the world? Of course not. But it felt a whole lot better to ease some of the anger out with a paint roller than, say, snap at the kids or collapse in a heap and surrender. It felt wonderful to make one more corner of our house feel more like "home." Best of all, the transformation only cost $40. Cheaper than therapy.


P.S. Speaking of painful things we can't change, my mind is on Japan this week and the unfathomable tragedies going on there. If you haven't already, consider donating to some of the charities that are helping in that region:

Samaritan's Purse
The Red Cross
Save The Children

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

sweater pants tutorial on Prudent Baby

Our recycled sweater pants are featured on Prudent Baby today. Check it out!

I get so many great DIY ideas from the prudent mamas, so it's fun to offer their readers an idea too!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



I'd like to apologize to the bus boy at Los Taquitos, and also suggest that you keep a garden hose on the patio for customer use.

Monday, March 14, 2011

how do you afford your rock 'n roll lifestyle?

I know The Daily B has been a little quiet lately. I thought I should explain.

In short, I'm overwhelmed.

There's a lot of this going on:

And this:

This happened when I tried to take a photo of the two of them sitting so sweetly together on the couch. They were reading a book together. It was precious.... For about 30 seconds, until Miles started pulling hair.

See the gum in B's mouth? That's courtesy of her new boyfriend at preschool. He's showing her the ways of the world: bubblegum, Star Wars, Spiderman, and marathon games of chase. In turn, she's teaching him about princesses and butterflies.

There's also a lot of me saving Miles from plunging to his death after he scurries up to the top of a bookshelf, attempts to slide down the stairs on his stomach, or stage dives from the couch.

Is this a boy thing? Or is it a Miles thing?!

Kris and I have nicknamed him "punk" and "rock star" because of his passionate destructiveness. He's a happy, happy kid who is wholeheartedly testing his limits. And who the eff cares if a plant or sister's hair suffers along the way?! It's all good, bro.

Here's what I'm noticing about feeling overwhelmed: It's not only about the stuff going on right in front of you. Sure, chasing two wreckless toddlers can be exhausting. I've given up cleaning my house because I know some little person will follow immediately behind me and undo it. I've added frozen pizza to our weekly dinner menu.

What's happening in front of me is chaos. But inside? I'm (slowly) finding more clarity, more balance. I'm discovering through trial and error how much writing work I want to take on--just the right amount to keep my creative juices flowing and challenge me (and help pay the bills) without feeling like I'm away from my kids for too many hours. I feel so blessed that I have flexibility in that.

Also, this is the first month in four years that I have not been pregnant or breastfeeding. Miles is finally sleeping through the night (most nights). That alone offers some inner clarity. Some space to breathe and look ahead and consider inching toward some personal goals, like publishing personal essays and attending writing and photography conferences.

It feels like I'm setting some New Year's resolutions, but a few months late. I wasn't ready then, but I am now.

Friday, March 4, 2011

hand-knit party favors come to life

My wildly creative and lovely friend Sara knit these little monsters as party favors for her son's 3rd birthday. I thought THAT alone was a brilliant idea. But then, she took it a step further and created this little treasure for him to enjoy for years to come:


She used stop motion animation, a technique I've desperately wanted to try. She repositioned the monsters frame by frame and shot nearly 500 photos for this short film.

I'm totally in awe and inspired.

*photo and video courtesy of Twee Baby

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Once again, little brother is mistaken for an art easel.
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