The Summer 2016 Digest

MILESTONE: my birthday

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Y has a surprise for me. “Get dressed up,” he says. “Drop Rue off at daycare, and I’ll pick you up there.”

He pulls into the parking lot in a bright red vintage convertible which is perfect because I hate being the center of attention and a bright red convertible fits right in at a daycare center.

Y has set up a photo shoot downtown, and afterward we drive to charming Stillwater for a milkshake, get lost, get stuck in the rain, and then get stuck in traffic. Best birthday yet.

DIY MOM WIN: stickers

These Matisse-inspired vinyl window clings keep Rue occupied for MINUTES at a time. I enjoy a cup of tea without reheating it (rare these days).

HABIT: working out

Thanks to an army of alarm clock apps, I start waking up at 5:00 am three times a week to go to the gym. Six months later, I think I can safely call it a habit. 

TRIP: carol convention

In Houston we cry at Soul Cycle, chug wine in a parked car outside of an Escape Room, fail at said Escape Room, pump together, eat all of the tacos, and laugh harder than we have all year.

PHOTO: patio season

Our favorites: Wiseacre and Tiny Diner. One morning, we try to eat somewhere else, but a drain burst and the restaurant is closed. On the curb, we consider our options with a family from Pittsburgh. "Colossal Cafe is amazing," we tell them, "but it's really small. Tiny Diner is great too, and much bigger." 

They laugh, and it takes us a moment to realize the unintentional joke we just made. But it's true—Tiny Diner is not, in fact, tiny—and Colossal Cafe is. 

WEEKEND RITUAL: bike. sugar. caffeine. slide.

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We pack up Rue in the bike trailer, and take the city trails to the corner of 42nd and 28th. Y heads into Baker's Wife for the best donuts in the city (sprinkles, please), and I take Rue into Angry Catfish, a combination bike store and coffeeshop for coffee. We either eat our donuts on the patio, or get back on our bikes for a short ride to the playground overlooking Lake Hiawatha.

TWINNING: father daughter sandals

MOMENT: butterflies at the state fair

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One of my oldest friends, Leila, comes to visit and we pay three dollars to enter the butterfly exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair. There must be thousands of butterflies in this room, covering plants and people, the walls and the ceiling. Leila and I sit down with tiny, sugar-dipped q-tips for five minutes. People are so covered in butterflies you can’t even see them. Not a single butterfly lands on us. 

“If I had known this would be like seventh grade all over again, I would never have walked in here,” says Leila glumly. 

Maybe it’s our shared memory of middle school, maybe it’s the breakfast wine slushie clouding our judgment, but this is suddenly a popularity contest—and we are losing.

(Meanwhile, Rue is in my lap screaming "MAMA! BEE!" frantically overtime a butterfly gets near us.) 

OUTFIT: this zara jumpsuit.  

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MOMENT: glasses

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Coincidentally, I buy Y sunglasses for Father's Day... the day after Rue learns to say the word "glasses." As we walk into the store, she screams in delight, then runs back and forth across the store screaming GATHETH! GATHETH! 

MILESTONE: our fourth family fair photo

The Spring 2016 Digest

A recap of spring 2016 in moments, stories, and photos. (Winter 2016 is right over here.)

TRIP: birmingham, alabama

Standing alone at a bat mitzvah. If Rue’s adolescence is anything like mine, this is a classic example of foreshadowing. 

MEAL: marilyn’s in shreveport, louisiana

A great trip to Louisiana turns epic when we stumble upon an Easter brunch buffet at our favorite Shreveport restaurant. Red beans and rice. Biscuits and gravy. Beignets. This is the Louisiana we miss.

MOMENT: stitches

You know how they always tell you trust your mama instincts? What if your instinct tells you not to worry about your baby falling onto a brick fireplace? What if your instinct is like, “what’s the worst that can happen? A scrape? We’ve got bandaids!"

That’s how it happens that one minute, four of us are sitting two feet away from toddling Rue, watching as she teeters near the edge of—then faceplates into— the fireplace. 

The next minute, four of us are in the emergency department. (One of us has a shoulder covered in blood — that’s me) 

The next minute, two of us are singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star directly into a tiny ear, shushing screams as a surgeon and a needle do their work.  

Thanks, instincts.

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TRIP: a hotel in dallas

At a conference in Dallas, I never leave the hotel. But, as you can see, I learn a lot.

MOMENT: prince

Coincidentally, we are downtown the night of Prince’s death, swallowed in a crowd of mourners. At an empty Italian restaurant, Purple Rain plays on repeat as the entire city murmurs in hushed tones. More thoughts here. 

THERE IS NO SUBHEAD WORTHY OF: BEYONCE. 

Worth the two hour lightning delay. 

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OUTING: lisa congdon

My friend H and I are super inspired by the artist Lisa Congdon at Creative Mornings. H turns her inspiration into action and actually makes more art. I buy a lot of watercolor pens and find a nice place for them under my bed. Someday, maybe, I’ll use them. 

OUTFIT: pink overalls

Rue wears the Osh Kosh b’gosh overalls I wore as a wee toddler

SMELL: spring flowers

the winter 2016 digest

I tried to write a quick 2016 recap, but it turns out I'm wordy. For now, here are moments and more from winter 2016-- stay tuned for the rest of the year (I know you're on the edge of your seat.)

MOMENT: celebrity encounter

“Oops, sorry,” I say to the person I’ve just backed my chair into. It’s lunchtime, it’s crowded, my coat weighs 600 pounds, and I’m trying to squeeze out of a tiny restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. 

“No problem,” she says, and I realize I went to college with her in Louisiana. 

Wait, that’s not quite right.

But I know I recognize her from college. She reminds me of watching TV in my best friend’s apartment.

OH. She was ON the TV in my best friend’s apartment. 

I'm across the room by the time I connect the dots. It’s January, so I recently probably made some resolution like “DON’T BE SHY” or “DO THE UNEXPECTED” or “INTERRUPT A CELEBRITY HAVING LUNCH” so, I walk back to her table and say hi. She is super nice. I am super sweaty.  I haven’t seen any celebrities at the bachelor farmer since. 

PURCHASE: my new favorite coat

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OUTING: drag brunch

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I’m determined not to let having a toddler keep me from doing fun things, so naturally my 11 month-old accompanies me to a Sister Act themed drag brunch on a rooftop. In my diaper bag I pack diapers, maracas, and noise canceling headphones.  

PURCHASE: xylophone

On a cold night in January, Y picks up Rue from daycare. He can barely drag her away from a xylophone, so he drives her straight from daycare to a toy store to buy her one of her very own. As they step out of the heated parking garage to walk to the toy store, he remembers Rue doesn't have a coat on. This will not stop his mission—SHE MUST HAVE A XYLOPHONE. He tucks her into his jacket, and they come home, sure enough,  xylophone  in tow (also a tambourine, which Ike promptly eats.)

MILESTONE: rue turns one

(thanks Bri for the photos!)

For weeks beforehand, I eat tub after tub of Noosa (OH THE SACRIFICE) so that I can give Rue the creme de la creme of presents: a set of empty yogurt containers. Ten months later, she's still playing with them. Moral of the story: trash makes a great gift. (I also made her this)

MOMENT: our first art project

On “special person” day at daycare, I’m invited to make an art project with Rue. She’s very advanced at art, her teacher tells me, because she doesn’t try to put the feathers in her mouth. 

MILESTONE: i start writing for twin cities moms blog

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the actual easiest Halloween costume: Rosie the Riveter

I'm sure you've seen your fair share of Rosie the Riveters this Halloween, and I just want to be clear that I (and I alone) started this trend last year.

And then this year, because I am actually the laziest human you will ever meet, I pulled the red bandanas out of the closet, and of course we had new chambray shirts for fall 2016 because what are we, farmers? (it probably makes more sense for a farmer to have a chambray shirt than it does a toddler, tbh)

And just like that, out of sheer laziness and a smattering of nasty woman pride, a tradition was born. Any guess as to how long she'll let me keep this up?

Here's a how-to: buy a red bandana (mine are from Target). Buy a chambray shirt (from literally anywhere.) Find the largest image of Rosie the Riveter you can (this will do) print it, cut it, and tape it to a popsicle stick. 

Bonus to this costume: in the off-season, Rue's room gets a feminist robot:

Twin Cities Coffeeshops

I hate coffee, but I love coffeeshops. The music, people-watching, and constant activity spark my creativity and help me concentrate (and I enjoy my frequent eavesdropping breaks.) 

Each of my favorite places has a personality, so I recommend you choose your location based on your current project:

Your project: post an aesthetically pleasing photo of a cup of coffee. 

Where to go: Spyhouse | North Loop location. With marble tables and impeccable latte art, the North Loop Spyhouse guarantees at least 37 likes on your Instagram post.  

The vibe: corporate man bun

Favorite treat: the Spygirl, a predictable yet delicious lavender latte


Your assignment: dream up your next large scale mural

Where to go: Spyhouse |  Nicollet location. You'll be surrounded by other artists, fresh from a sleepless night in their studio at Minneapolis College of Art and Design down the street.

The vibe: art school grunge

Favorite treat: the Spygirl again, but when you get hungry, you're on Eat Street, so you should probably get pho.


Your assignment: an emotional chapter of your memoir. 

Where to go: Quixotic Coffee | Highland Park. Curl up in a dusky booth at the back of the shop and let the warmth of this place hug you like your mother never did.

The vibe: serious writers; family breakfast; one time I saw a Keri Russel lookalike squeal at the top of her lungs "I LOVE lavender in drinks" and stand on top of a stool to get a photo of her coffee. So, whatever that is. It's a mixed bag.

Favorite treat: this place has the best coffeeshop food. I highly recommend the matcha chia pudding. Right now they have an orange clove chai that is perfect. 


Your assignment: create a gig poster for an underground band

Where to go: Five Watt Coffee | KingfieldThe hum of conversation is your playlist. The fliers lining the bar are your inspiration. The Sweet Science ice cream pints are your reward. Get to work. 

The vibe: hip, loud, crowded, leave your pc at home.

Favorite treat: Nearly every drink is dressed up with bitters and house made syrups, and you can't go wrong with the Kingfield. on Sunday mornings, there's a delightful toast bar. (formerly an oatmeal bar) 


Your assignment: a new post for your style blog

Where to go: Urban Bean | Uptown. You've got an SD card full of outfit shots and 500 words to tap out. This quiet, bright white spot is perfect for your post on your minimalist capsule wardrobe.

The vibe: upscale hipster, inside voice.

Favorite treat: my friend and I had their oatmeal once and it was LUH-GIT but every time we've been back, they haven't had any. 


rue's dictionary | volume 1

AH-DA

 

definition:

hat

usage:

When anyone wears a hat, point to it and say “ah-dah!"

suspected etymology: 

When Rue was about six months old, I discovered that I could make her laugh by putting something on my head, then pretending to sneeze so it fell off. Soon, she started trying it, too—except that she couldn’t say “ah-choo,” only “ah-da.” Now, anything that goes on a head is an “ah-da."

vaguely related:

1. Hats are a popular topic in our household—not only does Rue delight in talking about them, but Ike is actually terrified of them, and has been since he was a puppy. If we want him to leave us alone, asking "do you want a hat?" usually does the trick.

2. In preparation for her first bike ride, I've been following Rue around with a helmet for the past week telling her it's her "special hat" and clapping every time it touches her head. 

lately | early June 2016

LAUGHING, still, at this photo from a few weeks ago. You can't see it, but Rue is screaming at the creepy hand in front of her. I don't actually blame her. (That photo was taken at the fabulous Art-A-Whirl, where artists in Northeast Minneapolis open their studios to the public/dream up insane homages to fallen musical heroes.) 

READING a real, live book - with paper and everything. I'm all about the e-reader for all kinds of reasons, but sometimes I just want to turn the pages of a physical book. The book is It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool, too) by current local hero/celebrity Nora McInerney Purmort. I laughed out loud for the first time on page six and have been ever since. 

WATCHING Fixer Upper and Veep, both of which are predictable in all the best ways. I laugh every time Buster offers to make Selina a cup of tea, and every time Jo announces she'll be putting an island in a kitchen.

WAKING up a little earlier every morning with the help of my army of alarm clock apps. Have you seen Ruggie? I need it, I think. 

CHASING a toddler who would prefer not to sit down for too long, thanks.

LISTENING to Beyonce, riding the high from her concert a few weeks ago. 

BUYING flare jeans from American Eagle and feeling like it’s 2000.  

FEELING like an elderly person on Snapchat, which I am treating like my own personal lip sync battle. Is that frowned upon? (username: werejustdandy)

DRAWING with my new art supplies in an old book about racquetball. Does that need an explanation? Probably. I saw the artist Lisa Congdon speak at Creative Mornings Minneapolis and immediately started following her on every social channel and bought all of the art supplies she recommended. One of the things she does is practice doodling in an old book so she does’t waste valuable sketchbook paper. Hence.

WAGGING my finger at Rue, apparently, because now every time I scold her she wags her finger at me.

 

hello again

When people ask me why I stopped blogging, I’m always surprised for a second. “But I am still blogging,” I think.

This is because anytime anything happens to me—a conversation, an observation, a life-changing event—I think to myself, I can’t wait to write about this. Often I actually start writing in my head.

In my mental internet, I blog three days a week with a hefty list of links on Sundays. I went viral a few times. I got picked up by the Huffington Post. How dare you ask me why I stopped blogging? 

But when I have the opportunity to sit in front of a blank screen or an open notebook for a luxurious, blog-writing amount of time, nothing comes out.

One day I hope to figure it out. But as I'm writing this, I’ve got an entire afternoon, a hipster coffeeshop (Which is playing, naturally, a surfer punk version of hava nagila), and no one to take care of.  

A day like this happens about four times a year: I'm off work, for a holiday I don't necessarily celebrate, but D still has daycare. I'm free, and I only let myself feel guilty about it for three minutes. This is the hardest thing about parenting, I think: succumbing to the fact that I might have five days to myself, tops, for an entire year. 

I guess it's worth it, though.