457 posts categorized "Parenthood"

On being human

Birthday post balloons

Today is the day I turn 37 years old. It's funny, getting older, duh, because you essentially always feel like the same person you always were. What's this 18 year old doing with two children? Weird.

But I don't sit down to write about the weirdness of aging, I just trust we're all in the same boat. I sit down in the hopes that I can write this morning, as a birthday gift to myself, with bravery and honesty and, in the greatest hopes, to ease someone else's burden.

Last year, and I suspect in different ways, in many years to come, was a tough year. I'm sure I've alluded to it here before, and I know that piques your curiosity, and we all die to know each other's nitty gritty, but it'll have to suffice that it just was and that I have a family and that I cannot share all my details here. Anyway, if you can move past that bit, I'll get to the part that really matters, I think.

For the first few months of feeling really, really shitty, I walked through my life mechanically. I smiled for my kids, I waved at friends in the carpool line and I bought groceries. I made dinner. I did laundry. Those things required little thought. And then, when no one was around, I hid in my room and cried. I sat on my couch and stared. I felt justifiably sorry for myself, and then I also indulged in feeling sorry for myself because OF COURSE people have it far, far worse than I do.

Then - and I think this is the important bit - I began a Rocky sequence. I got off the couch. I began running - slowly and with lots of walking at first. I weaned off of my SSRI (slowly, slowly). I lost 30 pounds. I bought a small, run down house. I worked hard, hard, hard to fix it up (we're under contract!). I prayed, I meditated (poorly), I went to therapy. 

Then - and this part is even more important - I also failed. I cried on the phone to my sisters and my best friends. I indulged in a lot of anger and self-pity. I looked healthy habits in the eye and gave them the finger. I snapped at my kids. I was, and am, and probably always will be, full of mental writhing. In short I failed a lot.

Also, I keep failing. Also, I keep running. Some mornings I don't run. Some mornings I slog through two miles, miserable the entire time. Some mornings, like this one, I am King Kong running through the neighborhood, conquering all that is in front of me. Sometimes I succeed out of spite and a sense of life doing me wrong. Other times I am able to harness gratitude and compassion and peace. Those are the best times and they are rare and hard won.

My point is, and I'm not even sure I have a point, but my point is I am failing and succeeding at the same time and I have a feeling you are too. A Rocky sequence is sexy and movie-worthy, but it doesn't actually feel that way when you are inside it. 

I am in a boat with the rest of you, I imagine, and yet most of us feel like our friends and neighbors are in the better, well-balanced, shiny boat. The one where no one argues, no one makes poor decisions, no one grapples with the weightiness of being human (ever wish you were just, like, a fish or something?). 

We all know social media picks and chooses what it shows us (everyone on instagram can make the most swoony pies, while mine look like a jumble of assorted fruits smashed inside a lumpy crust). We also all know by now that those portray the highlight reel, the things our friends choose to show us. We also all know some of the gritty behind-the-scenes. But, still. Why is it so hard?  Why does Facebook tire me out and leave me feeling crappy? Is everyone going about their instagram-worthy lives while I press my face into the wind? I know they're not. 

The other day I saw a quote - one of those ubiquitous wall-quotes hipsters love to hang up in their gallery walls - and it said, simply, "Patience and discipline," I love that. I can do that. I can't do it perfectly, but I can keep trying. I can wake up some mornings in despair (looking at you, my best friend in the world) and put my shoulder into the hill. I can experience the tough and the shitty and the beauty and the transcendence. I can acknowledge the truth in opposing opinions. I can try my best to live in the exquisite slivers of a nuanced life. 

I hope this helps. I hope you feel less alone. I hope you know that while a few people must be living insufferably balanced hipster lives, the rest of us are right there with you just trying our best. xoxo 

Cool Christmas card idea

2013 Sypert card

I am endeavoring to work on a simple + awesome gift guide for 2017, but in the meantime thought I'd put this up for those of you who like to mail out cards (me) but find it kind of an obnoxious task. And - I promise, much as I'd love it - this is not a sponsored or affiliated post or anything like that.

Minted - a company I've used several times for our Christmas cards, is offering a new service. You text them the photo you've chosen and they send you back five different options for cards. You choose one, give them some text details etc & then they put it in your shopping cart! Woot! (Plus, I love their business structure of working with independent designers).

Now if I could only wrangle the four of us into a decent photo...

Happy card-ordering! xo

PS - above is our card from 2013 (totally heartbreaking) & and the same post on how to make your own custom holiday card, if you're more in the crafty mood :)

When your plans for a Brooklyn Brownstone ish Halloween become more Miss Havesham

Brownstone Halloween Brooklyn

I wanted to stack heirloom pumpkins and create a spooky, cobwebby scene on our front stoop. You know, kind of like some stylish Brooklyn-ite might put on her brownstone stoop.

Instead, our chickens began pecking the pumpkins, and then the squirrels jumped in. I mean, literally. We found one waist deep in the bright orange bottom pumpkin. 

So I give you our Miss Havesham stoop instead ;)

Holey pumpkins

See the hanging rat?

Spider web

By June, This is the Zombie House. 

Sobe hose  June note

Truett's impaled, disembodied zombie hand, creeping out of the water meter.

Zombie hand  limp

Top image via Short & Sweet

Two Friday Favorites

Friday links - Manger

I do have a bit of Friday links for you!

One, the GORGEOUS picture above which is, of course, from one of my favorite blogs, Manger. I follow both Mimi & her uber-talented husband on instagram. His photography is so worth the endorphin release :)

Then, randomly, how great do these Swedish dishcloths look? I'm on a bit of a tear to reduce plastic + ugly things in our home, and these fit the bill nicely. 

And, lastly, I've been thinking a lot about parenting this week. I know the young parents in the world right now are overwhelmed and inundated with too much information, but this short article was calming & helpful for me to define ways of being firm + loving. (Otherwise my general advice to new parents is to NOT GOOGLE, or follow parenting click-bait)

Ok, I lied, one more. I love this post from Bunmi Laditan for some comic relief (shout out to Clyde for posting on FB)

Also - for more up-to-date posts, I often post to instagram if you'd like to follow. 

(photo credit from, duh, Manger)

A blogging break

GDI - blog break

I'm sure you've noticed my inability to post very often these days. I feel kind of uninspired, and I don't want to just plop any old thing onto the screen in order to post. So, I'm going to take a break. Recharge, hopefully come back in a week or two refreshed and inspired :)

In the meantime, I'd love to link to my favorite posts from GDI for your perusing pleasure. xoxo

A super yummy chocolate cake.

A tiny but impactful home improvement tip.

Baby June dances.

A fun place to eat here in Columbia.

One of my absolute favorite kid books.

Our kitchen renovation reveal & the break-down.

A bright red lipstick for fall.

Camping in teepees.

How to make pumpkin spice latte at home.

Ways to unknot your busy life.

Why cooking at home is so great.

Where to find some lovely art.

Movie nights.

The sweetest baby in the world turns four.

While my wild-man turns seven.

Just for fun, pregnancy pictures with Truett.

Planning a Christmas party.

Winter soups.

Love you guys. xoxo

(image via)

Friday tidbits

GDI - coffee pumpkins

Good Friday morning! What are you up to this weekend? If you're on the east coast, I hope you have a safe place to chill. We'll be playing lots of Jenga, cooking & watching movies :) Hope you have a great weekend, and see you back here next week.

Let's do some links.

Good to keep in mind during a renovation.

Oh dear, now I want to make a tiny toaster. Found via swissmiss.

I LOVE this raspberry Halloween costume. I think I'd rather use plastic balls to balloons, though, because I'd anticipate some popping along the way (ahem, looking at wild men like Truett).

Hoping to make these pickled okra later today.

A really simple way to enjoy all those gorgeous heirloom pumpkins. Also, you could save the seeds & try your hand at planting them next season.

Oh! these drawings.

All I want in this life (besides everything) is to do an eating tour of Italy. Holy.bananas.

I just got one of these at Costco and it is the softest, cutest sweatshirt ever.

Off-season but man, these bright pink blossoms just make me feel good.

That's it - have a great weekend!

Hurricane Matthew & other updates

GDI - June tree

Yesterday we got a voicemail saying school is cancelled for the next three days. I was a little confused - because hurricane Matthew isn't really supposed to hit Columbia all that hard - but then I heard it's because we are re-directing our school busses to Charleston for an evacuation. I think everyone is still reeling from last year's 1,000 year flood

My plans are as follows: Halloween crafts, movie night at our friend's house, & lots of cooking. Come on by, if you're looking for something to do.

Also, I'll be posting more regularly to instagram, so follow along if you'd like. 

Also, also, I'm almost done with this book: Eligible (it's a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice) and it is soooo much fun. Can't put it down. 

GDI - pride & prejudice

(image credit dramafever)

Simplest, spookiest crafts for Halloween

GDI - spooky mantel 2 PB

We did not, unfortunately, do any Halloween crafts this weekend. We played a bunch of Jenga & went to a birthday party, but did not get around to any of these cool crafts. Last year we made two of the bat mobiles, but this year I'd really love to cut out pumpkins, witches and bats for the windows :)

I'd love for the crafts to be simple, old-school spooky & fun to make. Here are my favorite picks.

GDI - hanging ghosts

Hanging ghosts. June is into spirals in a major way - they've been drawing them at school - and I think she would love making these ghosts to hang around the house. 

GDI - Halloween sillouettes

Spooky window silhouettes. It never occurred to me to put orange tissue paper behind the cutouts - genius! (Here are some downloads for those of you who are like me & cannot draw to save your life). 

GDI - tree arms and face

Turn a tree into a spooky tree-man. I have a feeling Truett will be ALL OVER this. I can't find a DIY for this one, but I'm sure we can come up with something. 

GDI - spiders

Make spider magnets! I think double-sided tape would be even easier.

GDI - spooky mantel

Create a spooky mantel - gnarled branches, small (painted) black pumpkins, old candlesticks (thrift store) and a plastic crow should do the trick nicely.

I can't wait to show the kids these projects, I think they'll be so excited :)

(images: hanging ghosts, silhouettes, tree-man, spider magnets, and spooky mantel)

Friday tidbits

GDI - champagne cooler counter

Good Friday morning. What will you be doing this weekend? Since tomorrow is October 1st (Halloween, my favorite season!), I'm looking forward to making some of these spooky DIY decorations with the kiddos

Let's do some fun links & hope you have a wonderful, cozy weekend :)

A new Venezuelan restaurant here in town I'd love to try.

I love these bralettes. So much lighter and more comfortable than traditional bras.

A rooftop wedding seems both magical & simple. 

Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge...

These homemade mango fruit roll ups sound impossibly easy to make. Hm...

Wouldn't it be fun to explore some woods with a scavenger hunt list? Scheming for this weekend or next. Putting the list together with your kids or friends would be part of the fun, too.

I love roasting the pumpkin seeds after we've carved our Halloween jack-o-lantern, here are some pumpkin seed recipes to make it more interesting.

Speaking of Halloween, I think I've decided on Miss Haversham as my costume :)

I especially love the kids' rooms in this house tour.

The New York public library installs tiny trains to transport your books!! My kids (and I!) would flip to see this!!

That's it - have a great weekend!

GDI - June at pool

(top image via this is glamorous, second image via my instagram)

How to sleep gently & well

GDI - bed imgrum

Good Lord I've spent half the morning researching the best hotel beds + the best way to get those beds at home (The Vendue in Charleston is said to have heavenly beds). What is my problem? My problem is that I love to sleep and am not ashamed to admit it. 

Ever since reading this brilliant article, I keep running this quote from Rumi through my head, "every human being streams at night into the loving nowhere,"

I struggled with sleep during my worst bout with anxiety, and have so many family members and friends who do, too. Which is a shame, considering just how lovely it really is.

Your room should be cool at night - like, 65 degrees - and dark. Our sweet, beloved neighbor has an orange street lamp in his backyard. I've still got to get a blackout blind for that window.

And...your bed. I once went to the store in college just to buy a comfortable pillow, came home, encased it and took a long nap. 

We have a king size memory foam with a down comforter and (mostly) down pillows. Now I'm on the hunt for a feather top and new sheets.

I discovered Brook Linen, a company highly rated for affordable, luxury bedding (not cheap, but not crazy).

And I'd love to get this essential featherbed from West Elm.

What'd you think? Any tips on the best sleep ever? 

(Rumi quote, above photo

About Me

My Photo Hi! I'm Hope. Welcome to my website all about: style, food, travel & parenting. I live in Columbia, SC with my husband and two bebes.

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