Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a cheesy twist on tradition

yesterday i stumbled across an easter project that looked so easy and adorable i just had to copy it—and take all the credit for it. no one (except you guys) has to know i didn't dream this up myself, mmmmkay?

here's the inspiration:

 and here's my version:

i love these cheeto "carrots" because they're such a fun (and cheesy!) twist on traditional easter-basket goodies like chocolates and peeps. and they were absurdly easy to make. i just bought some triangular cake-decorating bags at michael's, filled them with cheetos and tied them with green curling ribbon. i printed 20 or so of these cute, free easter tags on brown card stock and attached one to each bag.

my cheesy "carrots" are going to coworkers, nieces and nephews, and maybe even some lucky kiddos at evie's daycare. (i'm sure their parents will just love me for handing out cheetos.) 

Monday, March 25, 2013

yummy finger paints

some mornings i wake up thinking, how the heck am i going to entertain my toddler today? evelyn's room full of toys, stuffed animals and books keeps her busy for a while, but that's it. she moves through everything so quickly, her 15-month-old attention span fleeting. i've been wanting to try finger painting for awhile, but evie still puts most things in her mouth and, well, paint isn’t the best source of nutrition.

on saturday i had a brilliant idea: edible finger paints! (okay, so it wasn't my idea, per se. it was my idea to google toddler finger painting.)

i used plain yogurt and four different colors of food dye. i covered the kitchen floor with newspaper and put my naked baby in her high chair, whom stared at the colored yogurt for awhile before dipping her chubby fingers in it and swirling it around. it was such fun to watch her little eyes light up at the mess (er, art) she was making—the mess mama allowed, encouraged even!

the colored yogurt kept evelyn busy for a whole seven minutes before she realized it tasted good and gobbled it all up—just enough time to snap some photos of her deep in concentration.

Friday, March 22, 2013


dear evie, 
last night you were such a patient girl while mama made you try on ruffly dress after ruffly dress in search of the perfect easter outfit. i know how much you hated the one with the pink tutu and lifelike ice cream cone on the front.

dear boot camp class,
i'm so happy tomorrow is the last time i'll have to go to you. you've kicked my butt every saturday for the last two months. i think i'll take a nice and easy step aerobics class next time instead.

dear spring,
are you here or aren't you? you get my hopes up with your beautiful weather one day and then give us freezing rain and wind the next. not cool.

dear jeff,
thank you for cooking dinner last night while i worked out in the living room to my nike training club iphone app. i'm sure i looked ridiculous curling cans of diced tomatoes and attempting those burpees and sumo squats, but you cheered me on anyway. and the steak and swiss chard you whipped up was such a tasty reward for burning all those cals.

i'm so happy i didn't watch you yesterday and chose to save you for tonight. things are getting pretty intense now that elaina's turned off her emotions. 

dear baby sister caitlin, 
happy {early} birthday! and congratulations on landing your first job. this year is sure to be a great one.

dear arms and legs,
you need a tan. i bet you're looking forward to our beach trip to balboa island the week of memorial day! i sure am.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

those darndest days

today i'm so excited that my new bloggy friend cheltz is interviewing me for her darndest days series, which celebrates childhood. check out her blog to see my answers to questions like: what do you love most about your daughter? and what's the best lesson your parents taught you? (mom, dad, i know you're reading. i promise i didn't embarrass you!)

on another note, i'm trying so hard to wean myself off most social media, but it's nearly impossible with all the new apps out there. yesterday i made my first two vine videos:


plus, a thursday throwback, taken last year on easter. (time, stop moving so fast!) 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

shoeless swinging is the best kind of swinging

don't you just love when it's warm enough to kick off your socks and go barefoot?

if not, evie loves it enough for the both of you.

she wears her trademark scrunchy smile (the one reserved for her favorite things) every time we visit our neighborhood playground, when the smell of freshly cut grass tickles her nose and the spring breeze plays with her hair.

on this day, before i take her shoes and socks off, she's ho-hum about the bucket swing. (she'd rather go down the slide.) but as soon as her feet are free and she feels the wind between her toes, swinging is the best thing in the world. 

bare feet just feel good.

Monday, March 18, 2013

closet turned lovely little office

it's a typical weeknight. i serve evie's dinner, exhale some mmm-mmm's as she attempts her roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato, and take her upstairs for pajamas and teeth brushing. i don't dare mention the word bath let alone put her in the tub. she's going through a phase of kicking and screaming and nearly hyperventilating at the thought of sitting in that lukewarm water. (who knows.) 

i open the linen closet to fetch a washcloth and—timberrr!—the guts of the closet spill out into the hallway. i don't even blink, because i'm not a bit surprised. we've never organized the thing. since we moved in, we've crammed it with towels, washcloths, sheets, sleeping bags, baby gear (a crib mobile, baby bjorn, bouncy seat and so on), costco-size packages of toilet paper and diapers and baby wipes, and extra bed pillows and comforters, you know, in case we ever have houseguests. (so far we've had two.) 

once evie's in bed, i get to work—not organizing, but creating a pinterest board that i'll use as inspiration for my new closet: a mini office! i've seen plenty of closets-turned-offices but have never been truly motivated to create one until that crib mobile fell on my head. i'm glad it happened, because we have tons of office stuff that could use a home.

i don't have a before picture, but here's the after picture. our messy closet is now a lovely little corner at the end of the hall, perfectly organized and completely usable. it feels good!

Friday, March 15, 2013

my power song

power song  \ˈpa(-ə)r\ \ˈsȯŋ\  noun  :  the song you play when you need extra motivation

•   •   •   •   

early this week, i needed that extra motivation—to smile, to sleep, to relax. i was bummed about evie's upcoming ptosis surgery and, in general, feeling pretty sorry for my little family.

i knew things could be infinitely worse, but i didn't care. my dad reminded me that some babies are born without ten fingers or ten toes, or blind or deaf, and that's life. evie's droopy eyelid (her pirate eye, he calls it) is part of what makes her unique.

although it was thoughtful and kind, his sentiment didn't help much.

what helped? was getting in my car at the end of the day and hearing my power song on the radio. it's a guilty power song; i'm kind of ashamed to admit it's the one that lifts my spirits and lends the motivation i need to get through the workday. but it is. jeff and i went to nine weddings last year (nine!), and i asked the dj to play it at every single one. in august, my sisters and i sang karaoke to it in front of our entire extended family, the night my grandmother hired a karaoke company to come to our vacation home in ocean city, new jersey for some good old-fashioned family fun. 

when i hear my power song, i think of my family on karaoke night and my friends who were married last year. it makes me jump up and down and belt out the words, off key, even if i'm stopped in traffic and the car windows are down and people are staring.  

that day i heard it on the radio on my drive home, i wanted to listen to it over and over and over again, but it's not on my ipod (because the radio station used to play it every 20 minutes). i tried to buy it from itunes while sitting at a red light, but i couldn’t remember my stupid password! so i settled for the one-minute preview on repeat.

and here’s my power song (please don't make fun of me):

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

lately in iphone pictures

{1} we spent part of yesterday afternoon on the front porch bench, rocking and listening to the birds. we love you, spring! 
{2} our rustic entryway. 
{3} when evie wakes up from a nap, she doesn't like to get right up and get on with her day. she likes to hang out in her crib for awhile with some good books and a few of her best stuffed animal friends. it's pretty funny. instead of taking advantage of the extra 15 minutes, i usually just sit in my bedroom and listen to her chattering through the monitor. 
{4} pretty excited about my new wedge sneakers! wish i could wear them every day.
{5} swimming lessons with daddy.
{6} stopping to smell the daffodils on a sunny day. so glad evie's reminded me to do that every now and then.
{7} date night! at a concert in portland.
{8} our cat fred, looking especially irritated about the camera in his face.
{9} out of the blue, i told a coworker how much i loved her zucchini cake (it's literally the best thing i've ever tasted), and the next morning a gigantic piece of it was sitting at my desk. such a sweet surprise. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

toy store mania

i used to write about my favorite restaurants and museums in san francisco, one of the hippest cities in the country. i wrote about my life there: wine and witty conversation, too-expensive dinners and the crazy yet beautiful things i experienced on my walks to and from work.

my, how life has changed.

today i'm writing about a trip to toys r us.

(pretty excited, aren't you?)

last wednesday at 3pm, when rain threatened and the world was quiet and i was desperate to get out of the house, evie and i ventured the toy store. it was our first trip to a toy store, so i wasn't sure what to expect. would she love it? would she scream if i told her she couldn't have something? (kids are always screaming in toy stores, right?) 

we arrived and the aisles were empty and quiet, all for us. evie toddled over to a colorful musical toy she liked and sat down right in front of it, in the middle of one of those empty aisles, and started playing. when she grew tired of that toy, she moved on to the next. and then the next. and the next. 

new toys bring evie boatloads of happiness.

besides seeing evelyn wide-eyed and giggly and happier than ever, the best part was getting to snap photos without feeling the tiniest bit silly, because there was no one around. (i'm not usually self-conscious when photographing, but i was down on my belly taking pictures of my kid in a toys r us. that's weird.)

we spent nearly two hours (two hours!) playing in the aisles. so, you know, it was only appropriate to buy a few things: a play kitchen, a new bath game ("bathketball"), a baby doll, and a 19-piece outdoor barbecue camping set.

this mama loves the toy store! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

jamming out

jeff has started playing the guitar again. 

evie has started copying everything we do. 
{we laugh, she laughs. we cough, she coughs. we kiss, she puckers up.}

put the the two of them together? and this is what you get.

be still my heart.

Friday, March 8, 2013

the newlywed game

after just four months of marriage, jeff and i feel like we know everything about each other. 
absolutely everything.

that's crazy, right? 

i'm convinced we don't. there's got to be little things we don't know about each other. little things we can still talk about over dinner besides evie and work and our favorite tv shows and the food.

to prove we still have a lot to learn, i thought it'd be fun to ask jeff some silly questions, put him to the test. i wanted to see how much he really knows about me.

his answers are in blue, and mine are in pink.

what is meghan's favorite animal?
j: a dog?
m: i love monkeys and giraffes equally. they're both so weird.

what is meghan's occupation? explain as much as you can.
j: she's a copywriter. she writes product descriptions for an online store.
m: creative copywriter at a large retail company.

if meghan could retire anywhere, where would she choose?
j: somewhere sunny and warm. hawaii, even though she's never been.
m: a warm beach where i could watch the sun set over the water every day.

what is meghan's favorite pro sports team?
j: none? maayyyybe the blazers. or 49ers? better put the oregon ducks on here too (and yes, i know they're not pro).
m: pro sports? pro sports. hm. the trail blazers is the only team that comes to mind. final answer.

what is something on meghan's bucket list?
j: go to hawaii. go on a big family trip before we have to pay full fare for evie's plane ticket.
m: travel europe with my family (preferably before someone turns two so we don't have to buy her an airline ticket).

what is meghan's favorite candy or sweet?
j: peanut butter m&m's.
m: peanut butter m&m's, duh.

what's something meghan would love to have in her dream home?
j: a living room that's separate from the room with the tv.
m: gosh, there are so many things. a wood-burning fireplace in the bedroom is number one, but i'd also be happy with an enormous kitchen that has a breakfast nook. (hey, it's a dream home.)

if meghan could watch only one movie over and over for a week, what would it be?
j: father of the bride or father of the bride part II.
m: house bunny. it never gets old.

who chose the wedding colors? what were they?
j: she did, but she made sure i was okay with them. meghan will probably give a long description of the color. i'll just call it yellow.
m: i made most of the wedding decisions, but i ran everything past jeff to make sure he didn't completely hate anything. so, i chose the colorsmustard yellow and grey with splashes of plumand jeff happily approved them.

if meghan could teach a monkey one trick, what would she have it do?
j: change the litter box.
m: easy! i'd teach it to clean the kitty litter box. (holy moly, that thing is gross.)

he did pretty well, eh? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

oh, the places you'll go!
{at the portland children's museum}

my dear evelyn:

you have brains in your head. you have feet in your shoes. 
you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

and as your mama, of course, i'm curious to know
what you'll be like when you're fully grown.

will you be a grocery clerk who's friendly and kind?

or perhaps a mad scientist who studies the mind?

you'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. 
you'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. 

so be sure when you step. 
step with care and great tact, 
and remember that life's a great balancing act.

just never forget to be dexterous and deft. 
and never mix up your right foot with your left.

will you drive ambulances and help save lives,
speeding down freeways with hurt husbands and wives?

and will you succeed?
yes! you will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

you won't lag behind, because you've got the speed. 
you'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

happy birthday, dr. seuss. we love you!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

mommy confession: scared to pieces

two weeks after our perfect daughter was born, the doctor told us she wasn't quite perfect. her left eye that hadn't yet opened all the way wasn't just a temporary effect of delivery—it was permanent. congenital ptosis, the doctor called it. a teeny tiny muscle in evelyn's teeny tiny eyelid hadn't developed completely before birth, leaving her with a moderate droop that covered part of her pupil. the only way to fix it was surgery, the pediatrician said. she gave us a business card for one of just two pediatric ophthalmologists in our city.

the ophthalmologist told us not to worry. that it's not uncommon. that evelyn can see fine, it's just cosmetic, and that she likely won't need surgery until age four or five, before it becomes a social problem. 

a social problem.

as i cradled my weeks-old baby in the ophthalmologist's office, strings cinched tight around my aching heart. the thought of anyone teasing my perfect girl because of a 3mm eyelid droop made me sad and furious and irritated all at once. i wanted to protect her forever.

from then on, we had appointments with the eye doctor every six months so evie could have her eyes dilated and the doctor could ensure she was still making an effort to see out from under that low lid: lifting her chin, raising her eyebrows, things like that.

all was well until last wednesday.

last wednesday, the ophthalmologist told us it was time to schedule the surgery. evie wasn't working as hard to use her left eye anymore, and it was obvious she couldn't see as well out of it.

i almost didn't believe it. i thought i'd have years to prepare. as the doctor's words sank in, i was overwhelmed with every emotion from terror to relief. i'd done my research. i knew the benefits and risks of having this surgery at such a young age.

we were handed another business card and told to meet with another doctor—an oculoplastic surgeon—this monday for a consultation.

crossing our fingers he's extraordinarily skilled and well reviewed, because we wouldn't leave our perfect girl in the hands of anyone less.

Monday, March 4, 2013

that day we were twins

i've had plenty of opportunities in the last year to dress my daughter and me in identical outfits, but i've passed them up. why? one and only reason: jeff thinks it's silly and (although he'd never come out and say it) would be embarrassed to be seen with us in public dressed as twins. i think he thinks it's on par with husbands and wives dressing alike. (i say there's nothing wrong with that, either.) 

yesterday, i was scanning evie's closet and came across a red and black flannel dress from hanna anderson, the one she wore on christmas eve. it was too big for her then. i just so happened to be wearing red flannel, too, and this time i jumped at the chance to be matchy-matchy. evie will probably never wear the dress again (it's almost spring, time to say bye-bye to flannel), and babies and mamas in matching 'fits are just so darn cute! 

we pranced around nw portland—to a coffee shop and one of our favorite restaurants—in our matching red flannel, happy and proud. jeff put up with the charade all morning without saying a word, just looking at us adoringly and snapping photos without being asked—because he knew this day was one for the record books. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

well hello there, march.

on this friday morning, march 1st, the brand-new sun pours through my open window and soaks my face with its warmth. a delicate breeze tickles my nose and eyelashes, and i invite the essence of the northwest into my lungs. this natural perfume is one of my favorites; it reminds me that it's not yet spring but not quite winter anymore, either. i'm refreshed. 

as i roll onto my side, i stare out at the bare branches swaying in rhythm with the wind gusts, and i'm comforted because i know the spaces between the branches will welcome thousands of leaves in just a few weeks. and i'm comforted because i know they'll fall in september. and i'm comforted being here, in my bed, in my room, in a home that i love.

today, everything is perfect.

{have a happy weekend.}