Finding meaning in the mundane.

Book Report

Mmmmm, there’s nothing I love better than finding a new writer to sink my teeth into. I went to the library yesterday and checked out three books by Meghan Daum: My Misspent Youth, The Quality of Life Report, and Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House. I started My Misspent Youth last night and I already have a huge nerd-crush on her. Can’t wait to read them all, and for her new book coming out in November, The Unspeakable.

I just finished reading In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, which I enjoyed so much I may be embarking on a newfound romance with historical non-fiction. I also started Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, although I can’t remember which bag I put it in so until I find it, that one’s on hold… (I ordered it after repeatedly stumbling across his rules for writing recently. The Muse poking me, I hope?) 

I just started listening to The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. It has me.

I am also listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in my car. This is the first time I have listened to any of the HP books on audio and I must say, Jim Dale is AMAZING. I may be falling down the rabbit hole once more….

What are you reading? 

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This summer is slipping through my fingers.

My sister and her kids came and went, although (thankfully) they are coming back.

A dear family friend succumbed quickly to illness, leaving a big, raw hole in her place, and reminding me, and everyone that knew her, how fragile life is, and how fleeting.

We are midway through a cluster of August birthdays.

Mila started kindergarten.

The days are slowly shortening, but the temperatures aren’t dropping.

Summer stretches and time contracts.

Grab it in both hands and enjoy it!

Life is too short.

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First pledge of allegiance. @rockbonham #butimnotamerican
First pledge of allegiance. @rockbonham #butimnotamerican

First pledge of allegiance. @rockbonham #butimnotamerican

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First day of kindergarten. #milarose
First day of kindergarten. #milarose

First day of kindergarten. #milarose

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Beach babe
Beach babe

Beach babe

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The Oldies

I suppose if I had known my grandparents when they were in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, I would have seen striking similarities between them and my parents at every age. Just as, if I could superimpose myself now next to my mother when she was 36, I am sure I would move, speak, gesture, blink, just like her. Take her shape. I certainly hear her words coming out of my mouth, all the time. Her tone. Her tendencies. I am her, in many ways.

But of course, I didn’t know my grandparents until they were in their 60s and 70s, when my parents were in their 30s and 40s, and they did not seem so very alike. These days, though, when I see my parents (they just came for a long weekend), I am seeing my grandparents, in every way. Their expressions, the way they move, their shapes when they sit. It’s haunting, and also comforting, somehow. The continuity through generations. I think about how it must seem like yesterday that my sister and I were the same size as my girls, and how strange that one day my girls will be grown like me, and (hopefully) feel a growing urge to protect me and Sash, though from what I can’t exactly say, the way we long to protect them now.

Don’t get me wrong (Mum and Dad - I know your hackles are up if you’re reading this) - my parents are fantastic. They are healthy, fit, sharp. They travel, they read, they try new things. They are not your average retirees. And yet, they are getting older. We all are. It creeps up on us, and seems less obvious when you’re in the middle, but there it is. We are all getting older, every damn day. 

I’m not dwelling on it. Just sitting with it for a moment. Then I’ll get up and keep flapping. 

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Odds and Ends

I keep finding good things and forgetting to share them. Here are a few…

• Can’t wait for these clever little things to come out:

Turn any cup into a sippy cup with SipSnap. They are taking pre-orders now, shipping in September.

Genius!

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• This great post by Catherine Newman (of Ben and Birdy) really made me think:

Give your kids all your attention, half the time, instead of half your attention, all the time.

I am so guilty of this, even though I am completely judgemental of other people (including my husband) when I see them doing it: looking at something on my phone - Instagram, email, Flipboard, whatever - when my kids are trying to talk to me. Why? It’s such a bad habit, this e-diction, and a hard one to break. I’m not there yet, but I am trying real hard…

• I want to make these delicious looking watermelon and mint popsicles, maybe even this weekend. Mmm, does it get more summery?

Recipe (and pic) by A Sweet Pea Chef here.

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Happy Fourth of July weekend!

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Drug Store Beauty

Venturing into new territory here.

I am no beauty expert (ha! understatement), but I think I may have discovered the perfect drug-store skin care routine. 

Apart from a very brief period in high school when my mum bought me the Clinque kit to combat teenage pimples, I have been using drug-store products my entire life. I’ve tried expensive stuff (very) occasionally, and I just don’t see a difference. 

I think I have discovered the best of the best, so I thought I’d share.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Face Cleanser - I have been on the search for the perfect cleanser for years, and I have finally found it. It’s light, gentle, doesn’t leave any kind of film on your skin, takes off makeup, and only costs $7.49. Done.

Thayer’s Original Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera - My doula got this for me when I had Mila (for other purposes, obviously). I just recently started using it at night as a toner. It makes my skin feel extra fresh and clean, like I got the day’s dirt out of my pores. It’s $8.60 for 12 ounces, and you can get it on Amazon if you can’t find it at the drug store. They make lots of different kinds; I might try the cucumber or rose water one next.

Trader Joe's Nourish Antioxidant Facial Serum - Oh my god ladies, maybe I am just drinking TJ's kool-aid, but I am obsessed with this stuff. I bought it on a whim one day and now I use it every morning and every night. It makes my skin feel smooth and wonderful. It's only $10 at TJ's. Try it, I swear you will love it.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 - Ok I’ll be honest, I tried this because I read about it on Bleubird. (That bitch can make me covet anything she touches.) But I really love it. It’s a great light moisturizer for every day, with SPF of course, and it’s only $12.49.

Night of Olay - At night I use good old fashioned Oil of Olay. I know they make a lot of fancier products these days, but I like the tub,  I like  that it’s pink, and I love that the smell reminds me of my mother. And it’s under $10. You can’t beat that.

I am in between eye creams at the moment, but I really like Garnier and Aveeno. They are both around $15, and I usually grab whichever one is on sale. 

Lastly, if you don’t know about Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment, um, well, you just should. I use this on my lips all the time, as well as on every scrape, cut, rash, bite, and boo-boo my girls get. It is magic. I always bring a bunch back from Australia as I haven’t seen it in stores here, but  you can order it online from Amazon or beautylish.com. Once you try it, you won’t leave home without this little red tube.

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Two.

This one turns two today. With her mop of Croodish hair, her sweet baby language in which verbs and objects end in “-aninny,” as in, “I want walk-aninny,” and also, “Mama, look - apple-ninny!”, her (still) purple stained bum (blueberries are back in season), her penchant for singing and dancing, her giggle, and her general ridiculousness, she lights up every day. She is a good argument for having babies.

Happy birthday, Billie Valentine. 

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