I have days like this

Today is about stillness.

I woke up after not-enough-sleep, got the kids dressed, fed, lunches made, out the door and to school.

Went to work, picked up things, answered emails, designed some business cards, labels and ads, answered more emails.

Left the office, checked on my consignment balance and picked up some fall clothes for the kids. Organized some things in the home office, put together some Fishful Thinking goody bags for next week, heated up leftover Chinese food, tried for the 4th time this week to rid the carpet of our almost-12-year-old dog's latest puke fest, put away dishes, cleaned the kitchen.

Answered more emails, picked up the kids from school, had snack time with the kids, changed a diaper (not mine. yet.), cleaned up toys, took some pictures.

Now one tot is walking around the house in princess shoes singing songs, while the other is figuring out which toys he wants to keep and which I'm allowed to give away (one guess which pile is bigger).

And I'm sitting here typing. Tap tap tap. It doesn't sound like a horrible day, but it has been. It has been a monster of a day. It has been one of those days that makes me question what on earth I did to make the karma gods angry and pelt me with one craptastic situation after another. I fought the suckiness tooth and nail and I'm still not quite sure who won. I'm not quite sure I have the energy today to care.

While madness piled on me throughout the day, I became more and more still. I am trying to listen to my gut, my heart, my head all at the same time, but everybody's quiet today.

Today is not a day for answers, and this is ok. It's ok to have a sucky day and just be.

And now the littles are restless for mommy to stop the tap tap tapping and to start the making of the evening meal. Tomorrow will most definitely be a better, brighter day. But tonight, I'm content sitting still in whatever this is, and just letting it be.


She speaks. We just need to listen.

It's been a month since our two-year-old daughter was evaluated for possible speech delays. While we were somewhat relieved it was determined her case was not severe and that she did not at this time qualify for speech therapy, it was also a very frustrating result. What were we supposed to do now? Continue working with her as we have been? Wait and hope for her to magically one day start speaking?

Since that evaluation, our always vocal, constantly singing little girl has started pointing to items in books now and labeling them. She has been asking for items that she wants by name. She has been counting up a storm.

What's that? You don't hear her saying the words? What do you mean you don't hear the words?

Oh, you hear what we used to hear.

But then we started listening. Really freakin' listening. Hard. When she speaks, the world stops, and we all lean in closer.

And that's when we hear her. Her words are there. She just doesn't always pronounce the first syllable, and sometimes she misses the last syllable. But when we started really focusing and listening to her we knew exactly what she was saying.

She says some words very clearly. Mommy, daddy, go, no (oh how she LOVES the word "no"!), counting 1-10, and a smattering of other words. She's starting, slowly, to say more words very clearly, with precision. Now we know she actually can say the majority of other words too but not an a way that the average person can understand. For instance, "grapes" may sound like "aeapes" and "snack" is "ack." She says each word with great inflection, and when we are totally focused on her, we understand completely.

So now we just continue to work with her. Her big brother has been a super teaching assistant in her language development. She loves to copy him, and a lot of her speech development has come from her learning from him. It's incredible to see, and just fills our hearts so much.

Of course, sometimes she'll just copy us exactly and say the words clearly. Like this morning. Herding the kids out of one room, my husband said "Let's go peeps!" She promptly copied exactly what he said, clear as day.

We're getting there.


A Day in the Life...at the Office

I just posted my first story on Whrrl.com. Oh that's dangerous. Much, much too much fun to be had on that site.

Photos + stories? Hours more of internet time. I can see it now.

Husband, rolling eyes, telling me to stop with all the social media. I can see it now.

The first story is a little visit to my office. Enjoy!

More stories at urban bliss design
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C is for Cookie

While we bake a lot at our house, Thursday is our standing baking day. My son and I try to bake something different ever Thursday after school. We'll bake lots of different kinds of bread, brownies, tarts, but we really like to bake cookies. Today we went through our dessert recipe book and made a list of all of the cookies he would like to try to make, so that we never run out of ideas (and so I can prep ingredients beforehand) for our baking dates.

Apparently, I'm very enthusiastic about cookies, because while going over the recipes, my son asked me, "Why are you SO excited about cookies?!" Then when I was trying to convince him that we really should add the cappuccino chocolate chocolate chip with mocha cream filling cookies to our list, he looked at me with bewilderment and said "that's way too much chocolate!" I beg to differ. I've made them before, and think they're just the right amount of chocolate! YUM. You be the judge. Here's a photo of the last time I made them:

Here's a brief look at our list of cookies:
  • oatmeal chocolate chocolate chip cookies
  • gingersnap cookies
  • sugar cookies
  • double chocolate biscotti (because they're dunkable!)
  • snickerdoodles
  • chocolate chip snowballs
  • peppermint bark (ok, technically not cookies, but whatever)
  • peanut butter blossoms
  • midnight crackles
  • oatmeal toffee butterscotch cookies
  • gingerbread cookies
  • rugulach
  • chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies
Out of about 350+ cookie recipes, we had about 25 that we agreed we would both like. My own list would have, well, about 350+ different kinds of cookies I would like to make.

We also started discussing our holiday baking list today. What? I know it's still August. Don't look at me like that.

What are your favorite cookies to make with the kids?


Our Action-Packed 3-Day Mini-Vaca

If you follow this blog, you know my son has slowly -but loudly- been coming out of his shell the past two years. He's up for trying new adventures, which just makes this mama flying high giddy with joy. When we were given the chance to spend a long weekend in Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon, we jumped on it. As with all of our trips, I logged a decent amount of computer time researching the family-friendliness of the resort, with my son by my side. After studying the site, his own detailed list of Must Do's while we were there: golfing, bike riding, swimming, kayaking, pony rides, rock climbing, the Observatory, the Nature Center, the High Desert Museum. We were only going to be there from Friday afternoon through a Sunday afternoon, so obviously unless we cloned ourselves there was no way we were going to do all of those things. But by goly, we sure were going to try!

Growing up in Portland, Oregon I had been to Sunriver a handful of times. It is about a 3.5 to 4 hour drive from downtown Portland, depending on the route you take and the weather conditions through mountain passes. The majority of my experiences with Sunriver are pre-kids: renting a house with 8-10 other friends for a long weekend, and just sort of hanging out (read: drinking, grilling, running, biking, drinking). So I was excited to see the resort in a whole different light.

Here's what we did do:

Stopped at Deschutes Brewery & Public House a few miles outside of Sunriver in Bend, Oregon, followed by a family-friendly tour of the nearby Deschutes Brewing Facility:

Played golf at Caldera Links, a family-friendly 9-hole golf-course. I use the term "played" loosely, since nobody in our party really Golfs, per se. My 2 year old danced around and sang (wide open green spaces = perfect for just that!), and my son & his 4-year-old cousin took some breaks to try to catch the hundreds of tiny frogs hopping about the course.

Went swimming at the South Pool, one of four main pools on resort grounds. My kids LOVE the water so much. I think it would make sense for our next house to trade a backyard for just straight swimming pool.

Ate dinner while a family of deer hung around outside right next to our back deck:

Hiked halfway (ok maybe a quarter of the way) up the Lava Beds:

We also rode bikes, enjoyed ice cream in the main resort shopping/eating area, visited the High Desert Museum (pricey admission, but the kids had fun; the bat exhibit area is a must) on the way back home, and just had the best time. The drive to and from Sunriver was just gorgeous. I'll post those photos in the next post. All in all, it was an AMAZING time and we cannot wait to visit again soon!