Saturday, July 21, 2018

Checking In!

Note: I thought I published this on Thursday, but it never posted, so here it is. 

I'm back! We've been doing the Missouri summer tour... a few days in Branson with my parents, a weekend in Kansas City with friends... It's been a delightful few weeks, though this one is kind of unsettling because the girls have been at my parents' house since Monday. It's Grammy Camp! My mom and dad picked them up in KC and took them home and David and I came back to St. Louis in a very, very quiet car.

I miss them!

I'll tell you though, it's amazing what I can get done when I am not CONSTANTLY interrupted to answer questions, settle disputes, provide entertainment, or give someone a snack every five freaking minutes. We've turned the front closet into a mini-mudroom (installed a shelf, bench, and hooks), I've gone on a coffee date with a friend, had a meeting about a community organizing project I'm excited about, gone to a concert at the botanical gardens, attended David's ball game, baked zucchini chocolate chip cookies, read five books, and... (drumroll please...) finished my Eliza book project. (Finished a rough first draft of it, anyway.)

I don't know what happens now. I sent it to a friend to read it and get some feedback and then... I'll figure it out. I'll keep you posted. I really have no idea what--if anything--will happen (do I talk to an agent? do I self-publish on Amazon?), but I hadn't realized how good it would feel to complete it. I mean, it still needs some polishing and probably some work to make it a bit more cohesive, but I wrote it! And maybe someday someone else will read it? Wild.

I've been listening to this podcast called Seeing White that is really great. It's 14 episodes, but totally worth listening to. Episode 5 is about Dakota Indians in Minnesota and it's fascinating and (of course) sad.

David and I both have summer birthdays and this year we got really practical about gifts. He wanted an expensive pair of polarized sunglasses. (He found some at a store, and after my super googling skills, with the use of a promo code and ebates, I got the identical sunglasses for literally 50% of the retail cost of the glasses he tried on).

I wanted a kinda pricey bracelet set from Keep Collective. Speaking of (and this is NOT sponsored)... if you like these bracelets, my friend Beth's sister sells them and she's running a special through the month of July that all proceeds will benefit Pedal the Cause, which is the specific cancer research fundraiser that Beth and her family support each year--you can shop and order through Kate's page here. But if you find that overwhelming and you want to just ask Kate to design you a bracelet (which is what I did), you can contact her through her Keep FB page here. I told Kate I wanted two bracelets, I told her about how much I wanted (David) to spend, and I said that I wanted a bracelet that represented my family and I liked mixed metals and could she design something for me? I LOVED the ideas she came up with and forwarded my favorites to David. So, no romantic birthday surprise, but a gift I'm looking forward to getting.

I did just a bit of Amazon prime shopping--I ordered a hair dryer because I've been using a cheap travel dryer that folds except the handle is kind of broken so it folds of its own volition WHILE I am drying my hair, which is not especially effective and can be pinchy if my finger is in the wrong place. And I've been using it like this for about a year. I mostly let my hair air dry in the summer, but I figure I'll appreciate my forethought this fall/winter.

I also bought myself a drawing book. Is that super dorky? Probably. Here's the thing: I can't draw. I really don't have any natural talent for it. But I WANT to. So I figure the key to drawing (like yoga and anything else) is to practice. So I bought this little book and I'm going to set a goal to doodle in it five days a week. I think that there are many things I'm interested in (drawing, writing fiction) that I wish I had pursued in college but didn't because I was afraid of not being good at it, which is SO LAME. So I'll start with this!

I've been really good about daily yoga with Adriene, though I've slacked some in the month of July. Lots of travel, not much routine, and my groupon to a local yoga studio expired. But I am going to commit to it again because it really does make such a difference in my mental health. In fact, David noticed the benefits of me going to the studio on the regular in June (it turns out, when Mama is happy, everyone really IS happier) so he's encouraging me to buy a class card for the fall, which I keep putting off because it's so expensive.

Oh--but another thing I bought on Amazon that I am PUMPED about is this weird acupressure mat. I bought it for David for his birthday, but then I couldn't wait to give it to him because I wanted us both to try it out, so he got to open it last night. He thought it was too ouchy without a shirt on (weenie!) but I loved it and after ten minutes I got up feeling almost like I'd had a massage. Was some of it placebo affect? Could it have been related to the two glasses of wine I'd already had that evening? I dunno but I still liked it.

Today I stopped in to a consignment shop and bought the girls tap shoes in the size I think they'll be this fall/winter. (I find kid shoes so difficult--especially because my kids will tell me a shoe feels great no matter how big or small it is as long as they like the look of it. And I can never tell if I'm buying them with "room to grow" or absurdly too big. And I know I could go to a swanky kids shoe store here in St. Louis and get them fitted and all, but then I have a hard time buying the shoes because I KNOW I could find them cheaper online and then I think "but I'm paying for the service and supporting a small business" but I also think "OMG I cannot justify spending $60 on shoes they will outgrow in a few months" but then I think "Their feet are growing so fast and they need good, supportive shoes, and not stiff pieces of crap." So basically I overthink this all the time and then I buy used tap shoes when I see them and they seem to be roughly the right size.)

Related to this is the fact that my kids want to keep doing dance and have zero interest in organized sports and I asked David this week if he was disappointed in their lack of sportiness and if he thinks he should have married and procreated with someone sportier, so as to (probably) have sporty offspring. But David said he likes playing sports more than coaching sports so he'd rather have time to go play baseball than go watch our kids play (lol) and after working in schools and with parents and kids for so many years, he's really passionate about letting the kids follow their own interests without foisting our expectations upon them. For our kids, that's swimming and dance. So we'll go with that until they change their minds, I guess! I still wonder about things like violin lessons and Spanish tutoring and ice skating and what if there are things they don't know they love because we've not exposed them?

Zuzu did tell me she wants to do swim team next year, but I've decided not to have her do it until Coco can do it too (assuming she wants to) or until Coco can read independently because practices are 45 minutes every day of the week and I'm not going to entertain a bored preschooler at that every day. If I can sit and read a book for 45 minutes, sure, I will shuttle them there. But until then, we'll stick with lessons. I am going to let her take diving lessons next year, as she's been asking for those nonstop.

I went to the library today and ambitiously checked out too many books which I may not be able to get through before due dates because some are "hot reads" which have shorter check out periods and the girls will get home today so I won't be able to sit and read without interruption for hours at a time. But I'm looking forward to working my way through the stack anyway.

I'm realizing that I am in pretty good shape as far as my summer goals go... we got that closet finished and I'm ahead on my reading goals. I still need to paint our bathroom and I'm still not quite decided on paint color even though I have paint samples smeared on the walls upstairs. I did one color at 50% saturation and then at 100% saturation and the 50% feels too pastel and the 100% feels too bold, so I may buy a gallon at 75% and just go for it? Sherwin Williams's 40% off sale starts tomorrow, so I need to figure out something.

I also ordered wallpaper from target for our half bath downstairs, which I love. I can't find the pattern online now, but it's gray and white trees (small trees, not like tree trunks) and it's super cute, but the problem is that the bathroom is a creamy off-white--the sink top, the trim, the door, the mirror, even the toilet. And the wallpaper is gray and white-white. And I don't mind white-white with off-white, but I'm just not sure about it in this instance. Plus maybe if I'm going to do wallpaper I want to go bolder? Like something with birds? Peacocks? (David thinks I'm crazy for wanting wallpaper at all, so no comments from wallpaper nay-sayers, please. Let me live my dream.)

Library books are now calling to me. But it's nice to be blogging again.


  1. I heard you sent your book to Sam to read! If you need another reader for feedback, I'd love to read it!

  2. I have lots to go back and look at in this post but most importantly, congrats on finishing a first draft of your Eliza book. That’s amazing and I can’t wait to read it and sadly, also recommend it to people who need it. I have no doubt that bereaved parents will read it and nod along and cry and hope and love and be so thankful for how you eloquently express your love for Eliza.

  3. Congratulations on finishing your book -- I cannot WAIT to read it!! There are a few adoption/loss/infertility bloggers I can think of who have written & published books -- you might want to ask a few of them about their experiences. In particular, I'm thinking about Melissa of Stirrup Queens. I seem to remember she did a series of posts several years ago about getting published, and I'm sure she would be glad to offer some tips/advice. (She's also helped to promote some bloggers' books when they've been published!)

    Reading about the podcast you were listening to, my great-great grandparents settled in Manitoba/NW Minnesota (across the river from North Dakota) in the late 1870s... we have letters they wrote to the family back in Ontario & in one, they talk about seeing Sitting Bull and his braves dancing in the streets of Emerson (where I was born). So cool!

    I'm not a huge fan of wallpaper, mainly because I had to REMOVE a lot of it at our old house...! But if you're going to do it, a smaller space like a bathroom is probably the place (although you have to work around the fixtures). Have fun!! (??) Do we get to see photos?

  4. Okay, you are inspiring me to get back to my book, but I had to make a quick note about the wallpaper. A friend of mine painted her kitchen cabinets white, which took her about two months. She loved them when she finished, but hated how her off-white tile now looked yellow. She ended up replacing floors and counters because of it. So I guess be prepared to make other changes or maybe look for a cute non-white paper.

  5. A friend of mine recently decided to paint her kitchen cabinets white. It took her forever, but they looked amazing. Unfortunately, they also made her creamy tile floor look yellow, which drove her crazy. She ended up with a complete kitchen remodel. Maybe be prepared for a major project if you go with the white-white wallpaper. I, too, am a sucker for bathroom wallpaper, and Greg thinks I am crazy.

  6. Ahem. I'm sorry. You FINISHED Eliza's book?!?! WTH?!?! Honest to god woman, WHEN DO YOU DO THIS!? Does it just flow out of you? It takes me something like 2 hours to write 2 1/2 pages! Same questions with your monthly articles to SHARE. You're undoubtedly built for writing, Brooke. I'm outright admitting I'm envious too. Super envious! And frustrated about not being farther along with getting mine out of my head and in black and white. I don't necessarily even think it'll get out in the world, but pretty sure I need to do it for me. Holy crap. I can't believe you're done!! Mindblown. Oh - and, congratulations mama. ;)

  7. Any chance you’d share photos of your closet-turned-mudroom? We have an entry closet that I’m thinking would work well as a mudroom and looking for inspiration! ��