Going bald.

Holy cow… I have never lost so much hair in my entire life. I've heard that it's common to lose a lot of hair after giving birth and weaning, but for goodness' sake… this is ridiculous. I have to add that it doesn't help that I haven't had a haircut since July of 2008.


And now it appears that half of my hair has taken up residence anywhere else except my head: my hairbrush, the drains, the bed, tangled in my daughter's fingers when she yanks it out by the handful. I'd like to keep my long, luxurious locks, thankyouverymuch. That's one thing I loved about pregnancy: it does a real good job at creating amazing hair.

Then you give birth, and it all falls out.

Another reason I could be losing so much hair is that Linnea is at that stage where she grabs on to EVERYTHING with an iron fist, and this includes my hair. I haven't blow-dried my hair in months because, really, what's the point? And jewelry? Or dangly earrings? OUCH. I don't think anyone has any idea just how long my hair has gotten because I have it hidden away in a bun or pulled up in a high ponytail. Add to that the gnarly gray hairs that are creeping their way into my life and… yeah. It's time for a change.

Here's a few pictures of styles I'm pondering:


This one is probably my favorite- bangs are a must!

I don't think I'm daring enough to go super short, but I am terrible at doing hair so I need something low maintenance that fits my hair type! Stick straight, on the oily side, and fine. Feels impossible sometimes! Any ideas or advice? Shampoo or hair color recommendations? I can rock makeup like a champ but when it comes to hair I have NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING. Help!

Novice cloth diapering.

When we found out I was pregnant, Cody and I immediately began stocking up on diapers at the recommendation of… well… every parent we knew. We stocked up on size ones because we didn't know what to expect as far as what her weight would be, and most people had big babies, and we might too, and even if we had a small baby she would eventually grow into the size ones so let's just go with that. And before we knew it, we had a closet full of size one diapers, mostly the value brand from Fry's. Dirt cheap and we heard they work just as well as the more expensive brands!

Not so for us. Apparently we have a little diaper snob on our hands. Sad, sad day.

As soon as Linnea grew into the size ones (three months after she was born!), we ripped into the packages, stoked to try out the cheap diapers because, what can I say, it doesn't take much to excite us these days. Cheap diapers that work is pretty rad to a new set of parents. But her first night into it, she woke up in a puddle of her own pee. Poor baby. Poor Mom and Dad. Poor Mom and Dad's bank account.

So we had two options: spend big bucks on the diapers that work… or start a gradual investment in cloth diapers. At the rate our child goes through diapers, the thought of bankruptcy via Pampers started to sink in, and I started to revisit the cloth diapering idea. If you remember, it was an idea we tossed around for a while but never fully embraced. We had visited Wildflower Diapers up in Scottsdale but weren't married to the cloth diapering trend… yet. They were very helpful and answered all of our questions, and we were able to narrow it down to the type of diaper we wanted to invest in if we decided to make the leap and commitment it required to cloth diaper Linnea. 

Last week, we made our first purchase: a pair of Fuzzibunz One-size Pocket Diapers in pink. In order to diaper full-time, we need to purchase at least 24 (and maybe even 36, because apparently THE UNIVERSE IS IMPLODING any time Linnea has even the slightest wet diaper), so we decided that we will use my income for that purpose until we have everything we need. The colors we get from here on out will be gender-neutral, which- I'm not gonna lie- kind of breaks my heart a little bit, but I know it's better to go that route instead of buying all the girly colors like I want to. I'm already itching to have another baby (but we're not any time soon… just saying. We'll be diaper-ready when the time comes), and the thought of never having to drop another dime on diapers for our kids is definitely an appealing one!

The poop, on the other hand… not so much. I know that people cloth-diaper all the time and there was a time when that was the only option anyone had, so it's not like it's this impossible thing. But my two biggest reservations about this whole ordeal is the poop and cloth-diapering on-the-go. But have no fear, dear readers. Cody and I will be brave and face the Poop Demon head on. Because you know it's coming.



Are you a cloth-diapering mama? I want to hear from you! Share your experience with my readers and me and tell us what you love (and maybe even what you hate) about cloth-diapering your little one.

Mac and Cheese with a kick.

On Monday, my parents and Amma came down to Gilbert for a change and we went to lunch at Famous Dave's at San Tan Village. I ordered their mac and cheese as the side for my sandwich on the recommendation of our server, and boy, he wasn't joking: it was The Best Mac and Cheese That Ever Existed.

A side simply wasn't enough to satisfy my new found love for this mac and cheese. So when I got home, I decided to attempt to recreate it for dinner that night in the form of a bake. I mostly made it up as I went along, and I am going to do my best to estimate what I did here, but it is a work in progress and I'll keep refining it as I go if necessary. But here it is for now:

1 box Kraft Mac and Cheese (and butter, milk and cheese mix that's required per package directions)
1 cup whole wheat spiral pasta
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped jalapeños (from a jar, stored in water)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons cream or half and half
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook Mac and Cheese and pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and stir until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to the baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese (or however much you want). Pop in the oven for 20 minutes, or as long as it takes for the dish to turn bubbly and golden brown.

This recipe can be altered according to how mild or spicy you prefer it- just adjust the amount of jalapeños you add to the mix. It was super easy and I can't wait to make it again! Thank you Famous Dave's for the inspiration!

Cloth Diapering

Recently I have embarked on the adventure of cloth diapering and I LOVE IT. Best decision I’ve made as a new mom, hands down. Here are a few of my favorite products:





You can follow my adventures, mishaps and new recommendations on the blog. I shop at GoGo Natural – be sure to check out their site for helpful information and high-quality natural baby products- there is a wealth of information for the new and veteran cloth-diapering parent. So many of my questions were answered and fears alleviated because of their helpful service. Enjoy!


Once of my favorite Etsy shops, Le Papier Studio, specializes in "Elegant Silhouette Creations" ranging from wall art to pillows and even necklaces. I'm still working on redecorating my office on a very slim budget, and have a bunch of frames from Goodwill that I plan to paint white and fill with family photos for a wall gallery. Then I came up with the idea to make my own silhouette of Linnea to add to the collection. I painted the frame and mat white, traced a photo of her that I took while she was sleeping, cut it out of black paper using an Xacto knife, and put it on a beautiful piece of pink damask scrapbook paper. It was a fun project that turned out beautifully, although if you want an expert to do it, head on over to the Le Papier Studio and request a custom order. I personally want a necklace! Mother's day gift, perhaps? (HINT, HINT.)

So I turned this (Awwww…):

Into this!

The office is still a work-in-progress, but I'm wrapping it up and will be posting pictures in the near future!

Bird Problems.

This is an old post I promised I'd re-post for my friends Kiersten and Dave, who are experiencing some bird problems of their own. It has nothing to do with mommyhood or crafts, but it is springtime in Arizona, and therefore it's that time of year when the mockingbirds are full-force in all their defiant, obnoxious, tweeting glory:

Recently my dad and brother found a new weekend pastime: shooting. I'm
not entirely sure what could have brought this on, but if I were to
guess, it would be an exercise in defending their constitutional right
to wield firearms whenever and wherever they like. While my dad claims
that it is for protection from home invaders (because those
run rampant in their neighborhood), I tend to think it is less an act
of familial preservation than it is a big F-you to gun control
advocates trying to take away his right to shoot them if he was ever
physically attacked by one. While I know that guns in-and-of themselves
are harmless, I have a tendency to want to lock myself up in a
thoroughly insulated titanium box for my own self-protection whenever I
am around one (and rightfully so, considering that under my brother's
instruction, my sister blasted a hole through her closet wall and into
the next bedroom… at least the "bullet" was a "blank"… hahaha!).

this blog isn't really about gun politics as much as it is what I think
my dad and brother should do to put this new hobby to its most
practical use. As long as they don't mind shooting in the dark, in the
middle of the week, in some God-forsaken area near our apartment, at
11:00 at night, and either pissing off a lot of residents in the
process or emerging as full-fledged heroes. Here's why:

is in full force in Arizona, mixing cool nights with warm, sunny days.
THOR likes to run around in the grass and stick his little nose out the
window when we drive around. The orange trees and wild desert flora are
blossoming and everything smells heavenly. Sounds like a fairy tale,
right? There is a window of about three weeks, maybe a
month that this lasts. In anticipation of the inevitable inferno that
is the Arizona summer, Cody and I want to put off using the A/C as long
FLAMING SULFUR FOREVER (see the book of Revelation for proof), so we are leaving our windows open at night to let in the fresh air, and closing them during the day to hold it in.

nights ago, as I settled into bed with my husband, our dog, and my
book, joyously reading and looking forward to a restful night, my peace
was broken by a shrill, earsplitting, incessant, and ever-changing…
bird call.

As is the case with most noises that keep me awake at
night, be it a neighbor pounding his bass through the walls or one of
those annoying car alarms where the horn honks erratically and stops IF
AND ONLY IF its owner comes to shut it the &%#! up, my first
instinct was to blow up the culprit with a bazooka. But since I didn’t
have one of those handy at the time, all we could do was close the
bedroom window- much to Cody’s chagrin, who describes sleeping between
THOR and me akin to being trapped inside a car in the middle of the
summer in Phoenix with no A/C and the windows rolled up. When that did
absolutely nothing to muffle the annoying song of what I think is a mate-less, sex-deprived, attention-starved male Northern Mockingbird,
I started to go crazy. I even tried earplugs to drown out this crap,
but I could only get an earplug in my left ear, because apparently my
ear hole in the other ear is too small to accommodate a foam earplug.
Now there’s a problem I never thought I’d have.

On that note,
I’m not sure which will be more annoying for my neighbors: the constant
bird noise, or me taking up a shotgun at every tree within a half-mile
radius in an irrational, ruthless, apocalyptic, sleep-deprived rage
until the bird noise is finally brought to a bloody end.

Originally written and posted to my former blog in March, 2008

Adventures in babywearing.

OK, so I caved. I've hopped on the babywearing bandwagon via the Moby Wrap.

Lately I have found that Linnea is simply inconsolable unless she's being held, and being a busy work-at-home mama, holding her all the time just doesn't work; but neither does letting the poor little thing cry and scream for hours on end. I've heard great things about babywearing, one benefit in particular being that a parent is freed up to actually get things done AND have a happy child at the same time… SOLD. Not to mention that some experts say that babywearing improves sleep habits, reduces stress and crying, and helps develop secure (but not dependent) attachments to mom and dad. Sounds like a good plan to me.

I have to admit that, at first, babywearing was off to a rough start for us. While Linnea is a very curious, alert little girl and loves to be propped up on a shoulder so she can see everything, and while she loves to be held, she also likes to have freedom to move. The first hold I tried with the Moby Wrap was the Hug Hold, which is basically her facing me front and center with her little legs dangling out below. And let me tell ya… when she was awake, she was NOT. A. FAN. She likes to be able to look around, and Mom's chest is not acceptable scenery. So we turned her around a la the Lotus Hold, and she loved it! Given that she's probably gonna be a runner like her mama (I mean, seriously, she's built just like me! With her dad's face! Haha), we let her legs be free and she kicks around excitedly when we're on the move. That's one thing- while babywearing, she's not happy unless we're moving. Hopefully that will change.

The Moby Wrap can be a little intimidating at first- it's literally a twelve-foot-or-so-long piece of fabric that you have to learn to wrap around yourself properly, or else it won't work. If it's not tight enough, it won't work. If it's too tight, it won't work. And as with pretty much everything else, it fits everyone differently. I chose the organic wrap because of its notable softness and pretty light green color (called Celery) and once I got the fit right, we were good to go. Linnea is a whole nine pounds now and growing, and the Moby Wrap is good up to 35 pounds- not sure how I feel about carrying her around at that size, but we'll see…

Hanging out around the house with Mama:

Poolside in Fountain Hills with the Lentz family:

Helping mama in the kitchen (and before you start FREAKING OUT, this was only for show- I didn't actually have her near any hot pots or ovens! No Linneas were harmed during the taking of this picture).

The whole babywearing thing is still a work in progress, but it's fun and hopefully she will learn to love it as much as I do! As long as I don't get pooped on!

Next in the line-up: a cloth diaper trial.

Just because I love you.

Dear Linnea,

There is no occasion for me to write you a letter today, other than the fact that I am head-over-heels in love with you. Often I have these moments when I look at your little face and my heart is filled with such overwhelming joy that I could burst, I am that crazy about you. Your newborn reflexes have all but disappeared, but they have been replaced with a whole new set of curiosities that are such a joy to discover. Every day I think to myself, "I wish I could freeze this moment in time…" I see now that this is promise of that much more to cherish in the future that Daddy and I will share with you. I carry you around everywhere and you hold your little head up and look at everything around you; you reach out for things now, and you follow us with your eyes wherever we go. You sleep with your tiny arms up in the air and I'll check in on you and I always want to pick you up and hold you, but I don't want to wake you so I let you be. The nape of your little neck smells like what I imagine Heaven smells like; sweet and soft and calming and beautiful. A scent that takes me to a place I don't yet know. This is the gift of motherhood- the closest I will ever come to understanding God's love for us.

When I look at you I can't help but want so much for you; to protect you from anything that could hurt you, to save you from everything bad in this world; but I know that simply won't happen. It's strange, but true, that in the end even bad things can turn out to be for our best. And I want the best for you, my darling little girl. God willing, I will give you my best.

There's this look you get on your precious face whenever you're propped up on someone's shoulder, and you're looking around, and your eyebrows are raised and you're all bright eyes, and your rosebud mouth is open in inquiry, and… oh my goodness. You're so adorable. That's it- that's the face that I will see in my final moments, that's the face that I will remember forever in my heart of hearts as the beautiful face of my little angel.

Linnea - Kate's Birthday 

I never could have understood how amazing
being your mom would be without God's good grace in my life. And to think that He loves you infinitely more than even I do… that is a miracle in and of itself. Linnea, I love you so much. You are a tremendous blessing and I am so proud that you are mine. The years ahead of us are highly anticipated, but I will count every moment more precious than gold in the meantime.



Project Nursery: Real Rooms feature.

I am so excited to have Linnea's room featured on Project Nursery today! Kim, my client at the TomKat Studio, was kind enough to offer to feature my little girl's nursery and baby shower on their site. She is a contributing blogger for them and I was so flattered that she loved Linnea's room enough to want to feature it! Jessica of Session Nine came in last Tuesday and took photos for the post and did such a fabulous job, as always. We then had a Mommy Work Day and hung out with our kiddos and worked on each of our businesses with some HGTV in the background… it was perfect. Be sure to check out the feature and leave some love… in the meantime, here are some amazing shots Jessica took of Linnea on a bright, beautiful quilt made by her great aunt Mary!

Alley Nursery-7
Alley Nursery-36
Alley Nursery-41
Alley Nursery-44
And one shot of Mum Mum's mirror and tray set and her Bluebirds of Happiness:

Alley Nursery-15

Easter dresses.

Having a baby girl is license to start wearing cute matching outfits again- something I used to love doing when I was little, and would probably still do if it wasn't completely ridiculous to do as an adult (as in two adults wearing matching outfits- and not because they're on the same sports team). A while back, I set out to make this shirt into a cute dress for Linnea:

And it suddenly dawned on me that it must become her first Easter dress! And not only that, but it is imperative that we have matching dresses! 

Because I can. So what.

I dug through my fabric stash for the perfect springtime floral print, and happened upon a cute woven micro-floral in soft cotton with tiny blue, lavender and PINK (yay) flowers on it, one of many fabric cuts given to me by my dear Amma. I cut a pattern using a little dress Linnea already had, grabbed some black binding to match the tank top that would serve as the top of my dress, and voila! Matching mommy/baby Easter dresses!

Please forgive the quality of the picture- it was a cell phone camera shot.

I had some leftover fabric from the tank top, which was perfect for a little headband to match her dress. I sewed on some fabric yoyos and satin-covered buttons for anthropologie-style detail. It was super easy, and although Linnea is growing so fast that she probably won't even wear the dress again, I can still rock mine and she can keep rocking the headband 🙂 Another great thing about making our own dresses? It didn't cost a penny!

Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen, indeed!

p.s. I was laying on my parents' couch in a food-induced coma today when the ground started rockin' and rollin' beneath me. Trippy. Swinging chandeliers and everything. Never experienced an earthquake before so I thought it was kind of a big deal!