Sunday, September 26, 2010

we've moved! (again) has moved to! Join me as I start a new adventure in the good ol' U.S. of A! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

14 months

Dearest loo-loo,

14 months?!? Really?? My, what a difference a month makes. In a matter of weeks you have gone from baby to full-blown toddler. I am trying to wrap my head around all of the latest developments.
Two months ago in London, you could barely pull yourself up and still needed our help to walk. You weren't even just wanted to be propped up so you could practice cruising the furniture. Now you are practically running around the house, squatting to pick things up and doing the "triangle" to get yourself from sitting to standing.
You have a lot to say, but no new words yet. You can say dada and mama and I think you said apple ("abbuh") when I was feeding you applesauce on June 3, but I'm not sure because you haven't said it again. You've started to point at things and do a half cry when you want something...this is not good. So we're attempting to teach you a bit of sign language so you can communicate your needs. You're catching on very far you can do "more" and "please."
You're so smart. You know where your belly, knees, toes, ears and fingers are. If I ask you to go get a certain object, you usually come back with the right thing. Your favorite new activity is reading. You love to sit in my lap, turn the page and point at the words. I might go insane if I have to read "Where's Elmo?" one more time, but I know it will pay off in the long run.
You love to give kisses and hugs upon request. They're always open-mouth, slobbery kisses but we love them nonetheless!! I love to do "nosey-nosey" with you too!
I love to make you laugh. Things like silly faces and sounds tickle your funny bone and it comes out of nowhere. In the mornings you help me make the bed and you squeal with delight when I do the "parachute" with the duvet. You've also started covering your face with your hands or hiding behind the curtains to play peek-a-boo. It's so adorable.
You love to be outside. Lately Christiana has been taking you out in the afternoon so I can get some packing done. You make the rounds around the compound, say hi to the guards, dance for them, play on the tennis court and touch all of the trees. You love to practice walking up and down the stairs when you're outside too. I can't wait to have our own yard in South Africa where you can run free.
You're such a barrel of fun. I can't wait to do all sorts of fun summer activities with you when we get back to VA...only a week now!

Your #1 fan,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

best in show

Since we're going to be in South Africa for 2-3 years, I've also been working on a design for little man's "big boy" room. I love orange + aqua together (or pretty much any color with aqua) and originally wanted to do a scheme like this serena & lily room:

But then I came across this room designed by kate dixon featured on design*sponge:

How FUN is that?!! I love the vintage circus look and was blown away by the creativity. What kid wouldn't want a ferris wheel in their room? I obviously can't transport a ferris wheel to South Africa (not to mention the fact that C would probably destroy it), so I created my own take on the room:

I think theme rooms are sort of cheesy, but you can translate the basic elements without being too literal (i.e., a "big top" tent translates into a red+white striped rug).
I have this wonderful old dresser handed down from my Grandmother that I'll paint sun yellow and add fun knobs to (my take on the yellow in the ferris wheel).
I found the super fun (and super cheap) bedding from Target that reminds me of running lights used on vintage carnival signs. The table + chair set is also from Target and looks like pricer versions by mod brands like EcoTots, etc.
I did order the circus prints by Jeff Shumway, but they were only $55 for the set, so if C decides he doesn't want a circus room in a few years, it's no big deal.
I love the yellow Bertoia chairs they used, but at $400 a pop, they're a little over my budget. I originally bought a Thonet-style bentwood rocker for $50 off Craigslist for C's room, but it was too uncomfortable for nursing, etc. so I got a comfy rocker + ottoman instead. Now that he's a little older, I can move those pieces to our bedroom (thankfully they don't look like baby furniture) and use the bentwood rocker. I plan to paint it sun yellow as well and maybe upholster the seat.
It looks like they painted a chalkboard wall behind the Bertoia chairs. I don't know that they'll let me paint in S.Africa, so instead I'll use these fun chalkboard wall decals.
How great is that flashlight lamp? Reminds me of what kids use for a "spotlight" when putting on shows (at least we did).
What better way to start a kid's art collection than with this red Eames elephant? It's probably the most expensive thing in the room, but it's a design classic and will hopefully be a piece he'll treasure for years to come.

I'm really excited about the room and hope it comes together in person as well as it does in my head.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

to take or not to take

Let me preface this post with the fact that my family is as blue collar as it gets. My father is a general contractor and my mother is a receptionist. They worked extremely hard to give us kids everything they never had and more. They also taught us the value of hard work at a very young age. My first job was cleaning toilets where my mother worked. I payed my way through college and made sure I got my money's worth.
So never in a million years did I imagine that I would be living in Africa with my own housekeeper. This is Christiana (gotta love the expression on CW's face):

She is my angel. At first I scoffed at the idea "help"...thought it was way too pretentious. Then I learned that you have to clean everyday here to keep the bugs and dust away. I like to clean, but not that much. I also realized that this poor girl would have to move and find a new job if we did not take her (she was previously our neighbors' steward). Now I can't imagine life without her. She has become part of our family. CW actually burst into tears yesterday when she went home for the day.
So here I am at a crossroads, trying to decide if we should take her to South Africa with us. She has brought it up several times and has practically begged me to go. I am really struggling with this. Here I have the opportunity to change someone's could we not take her?? I cannot imagine being stuck in a place like this with no way out. No opportunity to change your life if you so desire. People don't realize how good they have it in America. No matter how bad the economy gets, we still all have the basic American dream: that we can be whatever we want to be if we work hard. Opportunities like that do not exist here. The rich get richer and the poor stay poor.
Yes, she would still be our housekeeper in South Africa. But at least she would have the opportunity to see what a real, functioning economy looks like. To breathe in fresh, diesel-free air. To see what other opportunities are out there for her. Heck, to even get on a plane for the first time and see a place other than her village or Abuja. I would be begging to go too if I were her.

lemongrass love

Would you buy a yellow sofa? I normally wouldn't either, but I'm pretty much obsessed with this danish modern sofa from cb2:

It reminds me so much of the Orla Kiely "lusk" petite 3-seater that I fell in love with in London:
I know it's not very practical, but it's just so fun! I love the idea of a yellow sofa in front of a charcoal gray or chocolate brown wall. It would really pop. My husband usually gives me carte blanche when it comes to decorating, but he's drawing the line with this one. I'm trying to convince him that if he hates it we can always recover it or repurpose it, like as a settee in the bedroom or a banquet in the kitchen. I ordered a swatch of the "lemongrass" fabric it comes in, and sure enough it's a perfect match to my Orla pillows:

What do you think? Should I go for it?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

scandi style

I use to be anti-Facebook. It weirded me out. But I love that it has reconnected me with old friends I've lost touch with over the years. One such friend happens to be a talented interior designer.
Since I will be making some major furniture purchases soon, I want to make smart decisions for once. Instead of buying things on impulse and hoping that they work together, I want to come up with as much of a plan as possible to avoid buyers remorse. I needed a bit of direction and to define my style once and for all. I needed a consultation.
After throwing a bunch of ideas at my wonderful friend, it was decided that my style is Scandinavian. Why didn't I know this? I'm very drawn to whimsical graphic prints like Marrimekko and designers like Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen make me swoon. I don't like super mod pieces, but I love a good mid-century danish modern table. Oh, and I love IKEA...but who doesn't?
But even though I'm into bold & color, I am also very drawn to light & airy...things like Belgian linen. White-washed furniture. Blues and greens. Vintage chandeliers. Apothecary-style bottles. It makes me go "ahhh."
At first glance, it seemed my tastes were disparate. But upon further research, there is a definition for this soothing style that also happens to claim its roots in Scandinavia. The "Gustavian" (as in King Gustav III of Sweden) style was Sweden's response to the popular Louis XVI style of the time. The elements are similar, but the Swede interpretation was more indicative of their natural surroundings...a much lighter version. Distressed furniture, lots of blue & white and a bit of sparkle define the style. I was so inspired that I put together a little mood board:

I finally have a design style...Scandinavian!! It makes me feel much less schizo knowing that at least all of the looks I love hail from the same region of the world. I guess sometimes you need someone else to connect the dots for you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

13 months

Dearest CW,

I have to admit that this is my favorite age so far! You are doing so many new things and are such a barrel of fun lately! You started walking on May 6 and nothing can stop you now. There are cabinets to open, rooms to be explored, plugs to pull, shoes to are a little man with an agenda! Your current favorite objects include keys, phones, shoes and balloons. We had a little party for you and your friends on May 8 and two weeks later, you are still playing with the balloons (I don't know how they've stayed inflated).
You have very strong legs and are extremely flexible. You have this trick you do where you balance things on your toes while laying on your back. It's hysterical and you know it, so you do it often for me...sometimes we even do it together! :)
You're very smart. When I say "where's my nose?" you point right to it. When I say "where's your lion?" you go right to him, bury your face in his fur and squeal with delight. It's the cutest thing. You are starting to understand cause & effect now and how most of your toys work. It's fascinating to watch you figure things out. My current favorite thing you do started within the past couple of days. You retrieve a book from "your" shelf on the bookcase, climb into my lap and put the book in my hand. When I'm done reading, you put the book right back in my hand. I think I read "Who am I: Insects" about 20 times today. That's ok thrills me to pieces that you love books! I will read to you for as long as you want.
You are such a good eater! We usually do cheese toast and applesauce for breakfast during the week and pancakes on the weekends. I have a feeling you're going to love Grammie's oatmeal pancakes...maybe she will make them for you this summer! Lunch is usually pasta and veggies or a chicken & cheese quesadilla with a banana or peaches. You love vegetables and the green ones are your favorite. If I give you mixed veggies, you will literally sit there and pick out all of the peas and butter beans first. I wish I could be like you!
You're very good at sharing. All day you offer your toys to me and you even try to feed me during mealtimes. I hope this continues!
It's amazing to me that a baby can go from completely helpless to walking around in one year! You've turned into a little boy in just a matter of weeks. I just love to watch you and your chubby little legs toddle around the house, picking things up and exploring. If only I could know what's going on in that little head of yours. But my favorite thing is when you turn around and give me that precious smile. It lights up my world.

All my love,