I really do have things that I want to blog about, but whenever I sit down to type, I become overwhelmed by the mountain of events/thoughts/ideas that I haven’t shared…..so I don’t end up writing anything at all. Great strategy, right?? ๐Ÿ™‚

I also haven’t been sure what I want to do with this blog, or how I want to tell my stories. Things have been challenging for me in the mother ‘hood lately, and I don’t know exactly how I want to write about it in this space.

I know I want to remember these times and document the things I’ve been learning. I especially want to pump a fist of solidarity to the other parents in the trenches alongside me. But I’m not quite sure what I want to say or how to make it meaningful or how to make it so it’s not such a downer to read about – because life really is wonderful even when it IS challenging! I am extremely happy and my days are full of joy. I can feel myself becoming a better person and I love it (even if it isn’t a comfortable process).

But the difficult times –> re-organizing priorities –> blogging falling to the rock bottom of my To Do list.

So for now, I will leave you with this quote I love:


taken from THIS awesome talk

So much truth right there. I feel like I’ve been in “survival mode” for so long now — I used to hate it, but now I see it as an opportunity to really dig in and analyze what is most important in life. I like to think of it as a minimalist lifestyle challenge ๐Ÿ˜‰ I may not have a minimalist/un cluttered home yet, but I have learned that my kids can live with one bath a week and that it’s not necessary to actually fold their clothes. SCORE.

love, rach


Peace out, 2015.

I’ve kind of been waiting for this year to be over ever since last January left us with me: 8 months pregnant, husband: no job, andย child #1: almost-two-year-old who hated sleep.

Things have worked out, and they did so wonderfully, in a big-picture sort of way! And even in short-terms ways we had miracles, such as CHILD #1 IS NAPPING AGAIN, ALMOST EVERY DAY (!!!!!)

But my typical happy, optimistic outlook has been challenged in a multitude of ways during the past year. I’m sorry to say it, but I did not win this optimism battle very frequently. Maybe 25% of the time. And that 25% happened after much coercing and pep-talking from my dear spouse (he has a difficult job sometimes, I don’t envy him. But I sure am grateful for that guy).

But you know what? I survived! We all survived! And gosh darnit, we did our best, and next time around our best will be even better. There were a lot of wonderful, joyous things that happened too, ย amidst all of the ones that were simply “memorable” (to put it nicely).

Here’s to a new year, hopefully with no more Unexpected Job Losses, Road Trips From Hell, Moving All The Way Across The Dang Country, and Really Really Struggling To Manage Two Very Active Toddlers All Day Every Day In An Unfamiliar Place. (ideally I’d like to maintain my current level of “slightly struggling”. That would be good.)

I am also crossing my fingers for at least one full night of rest. Just one night out of three-hundred sixty-five….that’s a reasonable dream, right??? Eh, maybe I’m five years ahead of myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

love, Rach


The Diet of Motherhood

this part is humorous. I get a little serious later but I totally intended for my daily menu to be chuckled at ๐Ÿ˜‰

Breakfast: 1 huge bowl of cereal, eaten well after you’ve made scrambled eggs for the kids (which are now strewn all over the table and floor). Must tell toddler “no” approximately 5x when she asks for a bite because you’re feeling hungry and not very charitable. You remind her that she can go eat the “eggs and bread” she specifically ordered you to prepare. She reminds you that you never actually gave her the “bread” portion of her desired menu (oops). Throw a piece of bread in the toaster and the eggs in the microwave, because now she has complained that they are cold, and she settles down to….play with her food some more. Return to your cereal to find it disgustingly soggy. Eat (drink) it anyway.

Snack: 1 cup of yogurt. Toddler noticed you halfway through eating and demanded equal shares henceforth.

Lunch: Stolen bits and pieces of baby lunch. Seriously coveted toddler’s lunch (frozen microwaved potstickers) but whaddya know, she ate all of her food for once.

After lunch: Microwave leftovers from the night before. Kids are screaming. Hastily grab the much-too-hot bowl and a fork, sit in view of the kids. Attempt to entertain with silly songs and happy faces while stuffing your face. Hope they don’t notice you’re eating. They do. Stand up so they can’t reach the still-too-hot bowl and end up with a kid stuck to your leg.

After-After Lunch: Stomach reminds you that you haven’t eaten enough. Make yourself a PB&J and pour a glass of milk. The TV is on and successfully babysitting the toddler, so this meal goes much more peacefully. Crisis occurs right as you’re finishing up. Leave your dishes on the floor and forget about them until after bedtime.

Snack: Grab a string cheese during a moment of calm. Realize you should grab one for Toddler too. This trickery allows you to actually eat the entire thing by yourself.

Dinner: Huge bowl of cereal, part II. Consumed well after children are put to bed (you fed them leftovers and part of the dinner you had started cooking before you gave up on that idea). Throw some box-made brownies in the oven. Eat a good deal of the batter and 2 huge brownies plus a glass of milk. Will probably eat more brownies and some Halloween candy before you retire for the evening.

Additional Note: Super thirsty all day because water bottle was stranded behind enemy lines (in the room where the baby naps). Naturally, the only time you gave this any thought was during nap time.


I feel like what I ate today gives a semi-accurate picture of how my life has been going for the past 6 weeks or so. Granted, today was not a “normal” day as I was babysitting a friend’s 10 month old (who takes long, wonderful, amazing naps)….but my meals still happen this way quite often. Because my kids have never been prone to long naps. I don’t have much down time.

It’s been a rough couple months (kind of excruciating if I’m being brutally honest). Teething baby, gassy baby, waking 5x/night baby, plus sassy toddler. I still don’t feel like I’ve got this whole caring-for-two-kids-every-single-day thing down. Add that to the fact that we just moved to a new area and are extremely far away from family…AKA, I don’t have a totally solid support system yet (though my new friends have totally saved me lately and I am super grateful for them!). It’s just difficult. I am normally a very secure and stable person, but moving to new places and making an entirely new set of friends throws me for a loop and makes me totally insecure. I find myself continually second-guessing my interactions with others, reading in to things people say, worrying that people think I’m nuts because literally the only times I’ve spoken with them are when I have been intensely sleep-deprived and “not myself”, not wanting to complain or open up about my struggles and risk sounding totally pessimistic and whiny….but I digress.

Life wasn’t meant to be easy, right? And at least I know I’m not alone. Being a Mom is hard, period. Doesn’t matter what life situation you’re in, how many kids you have, or even how much money you make. It’s hard for everyone. And I feel like there is such a deep connection we women can develop through shouldering this burden together โค

TQFTMDMCCIC: Local CT Creamery Edition

Never fear, dear readers, The Quest For The Most Delicious Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream is moving full-steam ahead! Obviously since I have left San Francisco and my beloved Mitchell’s Thin Mint (review here), I had to scope out another winner on the Eastern seaboard. And I’ve found one that’s quite good!



The only photo I managed to take of the sign and farm, it’s actually quite picturesque. So, you know, click on through to their website for a better idea of what it looks like there ๐Ÿ˜‰

THE SCOOP: House flavor “MJ Rell”. It is described on their website as, “Our mint ice cream with green sprinkles and dark chocolate chunks, our version of mint chocolate chip” — you had me at mint and dark chocolate chunks.


PROS: AMAZING mint ice cream. I appreciate that it isn’t dyed green, and that the mint flavor isn’t artificial! Plus, this stuff is made from some GOOD cream. I mean, it is the creamiest ice cream I have ever put in my mouth. If you can smell the cows that produced the milk that became the ice cream you’re holding in your hands….that’s a pretty good sign. And the dark chocolate was GOOD. I know I’ve said before that I don’t like to “chew” my ice cream and that I prefer chocolate shavings to chunks. That still stands….but I think the MJ Rell is an exception to my rule. It’s like they threw a roughly chopped chocolate bar in there and it’s amazing! Photographic evidence:


CONS: While the sprinkles were fun, they did occasionally detract from the amazing minty chocolate combo. As fun as sprinkles are, they don’t really taste like anything. Also the day we went, it was like 88 degrees outside and crazy humid. So the ice cream melted quickly (also evidenced in the photograph above). And due to the heat, we couldn’t see the cows like I’m told you can some days (I’m assuming they were inside or in a shady place). But that wasn’t the ice cream’s fault. The only fault in the ice cream was sometimes the sprinkles, and I’m totally coming back for a full cow experience. Cows + ice cream = toddler entertainment gold mine, I’m telling you.

FELLOW TASTE TESTERS (and additional comments): Our new CT friends/neighbors came with us! We had a park playdate in the morning and this place was 5mins away, so we started our lunch with dessert ๐Ÿ˜‰ H slept through the whole creamery thing, crazy kid. D got herself some black raspberry, but she ended up stealing a lot of mine because she wanted the chocolate. Haha. It was quite delicious as well! I also brought home a quart of their toasted almond flavor for the hubs. He isn’t a fan of coconut, so he didn’t care for it, and I’ve been slowly finishing it off….seriously, creamiest ice cream in all the land! Good, good stuff.

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Basically, if you find yourself in Western Connecticut, you should definitely stop by. Or you should just come visit me and we’ll have an ice cream adventure! I like that idea best.

What do you call Connecticut natives anyway??

That’s been our #1 question ever since we moved here. The hubs is really pulling for Connecticutters ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wait what’s that? You didn’t know we had moved?? And it’s all confusing because didn’t we JUST move to Colorado????

Don’t worry, I’m just terrible at updating my blog lately. And talking to people personally. So….our life updates are more like gigantic surprises. Isn’t it fun?!

So yes. We moved to Connecticut in July, and fulfilled our lifelong dream of living in all 3 ‘C’ states, in alphabetical order, in the same calendar year. California –> Colorado –> Connecticut. BAM. We should win a prize or something.

The hubs is now working for Blue Sky animation studios, and it’s wonderful! They’re the place responsible for bringing you Ice Age, Robots, Horton Hears a Who, Rio, and Epic. They’re just finishing production on the new Peanuts movie now, and le husband is working on Ice Age 5 (it’s basically the next Land Before Time franchise). They are infinitely more stable than other animation studios, and this is a full-time (not contract based) job. *sigh of relief* We even found a fantastic home to rent with wonderful neighbors! What more could we ask for?

I had never been to the East Coast before we moved here. Did you know it’s GORGEOUS?!


We have a garden to cultivate! And it’s huge! So excited for next spring. 

And those are just shots from our current property. This place is amazing. And we are happy. Hopefully we’re settled for a while, I’ve certainly had my fill of moving this year!


The Water Bottle


Today as we were engaged in the exercise in futility known as “attempting to depart for a location in a timely manner with children in tow”, Daisy brought me my water bottle. 

She had just grabbed her own to take on the journey, and then decided I needed mine as well. I took it and thanked her, but as I was running up and down two flights of stairs searching for my shoes, I opted to leave it there – as pictured – on the bathroom counter. Because it really improved my speed and aerodynamics not to carry it, I guess?? And also I didn’t actually need it. 

Daisy noticed almost immediately and began running after me with a chorus of, “Mommy! Your water! Where your water?! You need it! I find it!!! Ok. Just a minute.” And then began to search for the water bottle as frantically as I was for those blasted shoes (which never turned up, by the way).

I coaxed her out of finding it, because we really needed to get going. And though I was grateful she thought to bring it to me in the first place, I’ve seen how long it takes that kid to climb stairs…and we wanted to be out the door five minutes ago. Thank goodness she (sometimes) listens to reason and abandoned her course. 

This is nearly a meaningless story. It didn’t take much time out of my day, it happened in the background, and I don’t think anyone else noticed it. But it was poignant to me. First of all, since when do I have a kid old enough to communicate so clearly?! Her sentences and spoken thoughts get more complex by the hour, it seems. Sometimes it makes me want to cry of pride/happiness/terror. Secondly, how did I get lucky enough to have such a practical and thoughtful toddler? Her thoughtfulness is sometimes a hindrance (See: the aforementioned interruption. Or last night when she woke at 3am crying/freaking out/asking for water…which she then fed to her monkey stuffed animal. IT WAS THREE IN THE MORNING, PEOPLE.) but when I take the time to chill out and let her do her thing…it’s pretty amazing. She is one fascinating little soul, who sees needs to be met where most people don’t. 

Kids are just incredible. And mine are both better human beings than I am already. 

Altitude Adjustment

Last week, we moved to a place with an elevation of 7000 feet. Seeing as I’ve lived more or less precisely at sea level (and within a stone’s throw of the ocean) for the past 10 years…this is weird for me.

Even harder than getting used to the altitude, though, is getting used to the idea that we no longer live in our tiny corner of California. It still doesn’t feel like we really left. I’m in denial. We lived in an amazing place, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be so lucky again. We had the best neighbors, the best friends, the best weather, the best local parks….It was too perfect.

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BRB, crying my eyes out…

Anyway. We’ve moved into the Rocky Mountainsย with my parents for a short time. Our family was one of many affected by the Dreamworks studio closure and layoffs earlier this year. Luckily the hubs had signed a time-based contract that the company is obligated to pay out, which has been great. Losing your job one month before a new baby is born is already stressful enough – it’s been nice to have that financial buffer to lessen our worries a little.

So far 2015 has been….nuts (if I’m using my nice words). Layoffs + new baby + postpartum hormonal loveliness + worst/best month long vacation ever (more on that later) + huge unexpected move = NOT MY FAVE. But I have hope it’ll just get better from here โค

Baby Daze

oh hey! I’ve been MIA over here, again. My bad. But I thought y’all might like to see who’s been taking up all of my time these days…

photo by my talented Sister!

photo by my talented sister!

We call him Hunter. 

Born 2/24. 

Weighed in at NINE whole pounds. 

Twenty-one inches long. 

(I don’t know where I find the room to grow babies of such a decent size either, Daisy was 8lb 11oz, 21″!)

He is a precious, chill little dude….and he looks bewildered/concerned 75% of the time. I can’t wait until he can interact more so we can figure out what he’s all about.

Oh and in case you were wondering….big sister loves him too:



So, yeah. Life has been a little crazy, but a whole lot of wonderful at the same time! I love motherhood. It’s the most difficult and rewarding job I’ve ever taken on. I highly recommend it. 

Love, Rach

Silhouette “hug” quilt!


I wasn’t able to do many handmade gifts for Christmas this year, but I did finish this quilt that I’m quite proud of!! I wasn’t planning on doing a tutorial when I came up with the idea. So I didn’t take many photos while making it, and this won’t be a “real” tutorial. But I wanted to share my idea and some knowledge I gained along the way!

I made this lap quilt for my father-in-law, and somehow conned my 20 month old into cooperating for the project. I didn’t even have to bribe her! It was a weirdly lucky day. Haha. It was also my first time ever making a legitimate quilt! *gasp*

I decided to make a quilt whose finished dimensions would be approximately 42″x60″ according to these handy guidelines. So for the quilt body I purchased 1 3/4 yds (or was it 1 1/2? 1 5/8? I can’t remember) of 45″ wide fabric – a quilting cotton for the front and flannel shirting for the back. The flannel shirting was soft and cozy, but the edges were super warped! Next time I would definitely go with a basic cotton flannel to avoid issues while aligning the edges. I also purchased the same yardage in a thin 100% cotton batting, and coordinating 100% cotton thread. This blanket is soooo organic ๐Ÿ˜‰

To estimate how much contrasting fabric I would need for the “hug” silhouette applique (black quilting cotton), I measured my kids’ wingspan (fingertip to fingertip). It was less than 45″, so I figured I would just cut the applique out selvage-to-selvage. I then measured from the top of her head to mid-torso to estimate yardage. It was less than 18″, so I got half a yard of the black fabric just to be safe. It worked perfectly!

NOW, the difficult part…..tracing the child.


I have an “aisle runner” that I purchased a few years ago for the specific purpose of tracing/creating patterns. It is a semi-transparent material that is similar in feel to non-fusible interfacing. It doesn’t tear as easily as paper, which is why I love it and why it worked perfectly for this project!

I rolled it out on the floor, said “Hey! We’re going to lay down like this *lies face down with arms outstretched* and draw around your arms, okay?! It’s a special picture for Grandpa!” And just like that, the kiddo said “okay!” and laid down exactly as I had done. I can’t guarantee the same results with other children, and I can’t even guarantee that my daughter would allow this to happen again either! Haha.
I used a washable marker to trace around her fingers/hands, arms, neck, head, and face as best I could. then I let her jump up and scribble all over it with some more markers (she was in heaven).


Then I took a step back, realized it looked a little weird, and made some freehand adjustments. I even got the little one to lay down once more so I could re-trace her head in a different position. I decided to go for a stylized/cartoonish feel rather than trying to be ultra realistic. If you know you’re not going to be able to make it 100% perfect, it’s just going to end up looking stupid if you try to be uber detailed and all that. So go ahead and fudge it a little.


I took one more reference photo so I could add the signature whale spout atop her head….


And realized that I had taken a profile shot of her a few weeks before that I could use to freehand the face. Hallelujah!


After she went down for a nap (which included much despair over being forced to put the markers away….), I cleaned my tracing up a little more and cut out a pattern. I then traced the pattern onto the black fabric with a pencil and carefully cut it out! Then I placed and pinned it to the quilt top piece.

I applique’d the whole thing using the applique stitch on my machine. It is SO not perfect. The fingers ended up a bit pointy. Some details were totally lost. But you know what? Nobody cares! It still looks great!

After the top was finished, I sandwiched the batting between the flannel shirting and the applique top. Trimmed up the edges. Pinned it in place. And began the lengthy process of machine quilting the dang thing! You can’t tell in most photos, but the quilt top actually has a herringbone pattern. I used that as a guide to sew straight vertical lines through everything but the silhouette. I freehanded some funky curves through the silhouette applique last.


the applique is reversed from the pattern because I flipped the pattern piece upside down to cut it out! I liked it better with the head facing left, and it was easier to trace from the side of the aisle runner that didn’t have my scribbles all over it ๐Ÿ˜›

detail on the applique and quilting

detail on the applique and quilting

Seeing as I had never finished a quilt before, I had no idea where to start with binding. Luckily this tutorial is amazing and taught me all I needed to know! Pro tip: there is a reason they recommend to actually use a rotary mat and cutter while cutting your binding strips….I ignored this recommendation because I am lazy. I ended up with a super skinny binding because I had to go back and even out my edges later, which took a lot of the width off. The skinny binding then led to sore fingers and a much more frustrating binding process. DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, FOLKS.

so. hard. to fit all of that edge fluff inside that skinny binding!

so. hard. to fit all of that edge fluff inside that skinny binding!



Once the torturous binding was complete, I threw it in the wash so it would quilt up a bit and bam! Done! Beautiful and cozy! Throw it in the mail! Grandpa loves it and I think it is coveted by Grandma and Auntie as well ๐Ÿ˜‰ This quilt size ended up being perfect for my father-in-law. He is tall and has a favorite recliner that he always watches TV in, so this is long enough for him to snuggle up in and still cover his toes!

Anyway, hope that was interesting to at least some of you ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m bummed I didn’t take more photos, I really love how it turned out! So here is a repeated picture from above. Haha.


love, Rach