Saturday, June 26, 2010


Wouldn't you love to be proposed to with this ring? I would. Love, love, love. by jenniferyijewelry


My friend Shannon is currently in Paris. So I have been thinking about Paris and French things lately, and there are lots of wonderful french things to covet. Like these amazing animals by Frederique Morrel. I want one above my mantle. The artists find antique tapestries throughout France and then apply them to the taxidermed-like animal figures. Aren't they amazing? I think I have a special appreciation for them right now because I am reading Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel by Yann Martel, which prominently features a taxidermist and devotes much to explaining and really defining the art behind taxidermy. I am also loving this chair, called the Corvo chair and designed by French woodworker and artist NoƩ Duchaufour Lawrance. Each chair is handmade and completely unique. It looks so feminine and comfortable, doesn't it? And could easily fit in a room with a more modern aesthetic or a more traditional one. And when it comes to baby and kids clothes- oh my! I have already shared my love of Catimini (which, as an aside, brings me to a funny story. I had asked Zach to dress Tate in one of his Catimini outfits for Ben and Andrea's housewarming party, and when he arrived, it was on backward. Zach claimed that this was a natural mistake since the buttons (which are supposed to snap up the back) should snap up the front. After all, he claims, these are baby clothes we are talking about. Once he had identified this, we realized that all our Catimini outfits only snap up the back, a potentially annoying trait as any parent who changes a dozen or so diapers a day can tell you. Zach's response to this realization? "Don't French babies poop?" We laughed and laughed and ultimately decided that French babies must be so chic and sophisticated that they either a) don't actually poop, or b) politely babble "maman, les poope es dans ma butt" while coyly looking over their shoulder as they wait for aforementioned maman to unsnap their cute french catimini outfit from the back. Whereas American babies like Tate just wail).

Ok, where was I?

Oh yes, french children's clothes. Obviously, the old standby Le Petit Bateau is classic for a reason. I absolutely love the few Petit Bateau outfits we got for Tate, and they will be among those I save for posterity (since, believe it or not, he is officially growing out of some of the first outfits we bought him). Aren't their items so darling? And they are incredibly well-made. So cozy. I can imagine cuddling Melissa's little girl Annie in this.

So Parisian, isn't it? All Tate needs is a pint-sized beret and a little red bike.
I mean, could this Picasso-esque t-shirt be any cuter? (And, in case you're like Zach and would want to know, Le Petit Bateau onesies do button up the front).
And last but not least, I wanted to leave you with a recipe for my some of my favorite french snacks, chouquettes, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. I could eat these airy, crispy, crunchy, eggy, custardy little puffballs all day. Truly. I could. But they need a special sugar, which I could order online but would probably be much more special if purchased from the specialty bakeshop in Paris mentioned in the recipe... (hmmm...if only I knew someone in Paris who might read this...)

Friday, June 25, 2010


It has been a week of firsts. Zach's first Father's Day kicked it off, and I was finally, finally able to give him his present, which has been in the works for 4 months at least. Let me tell you, picking out a first Father's Day present is serious business. Somehow I needed to capture the awe and respect I have for Zach as a dad- and the warm sentimentlity I feel when he cuddles with Tate- and of course, my own wonderful feelings towards my dad came into play because I can only hope that Tate and Zach have the kind of relationship my dad and I do. So as I was contemplating all of this, I kept thinking back to one of my favorite memories of my dad growing up: sleeping on his chest. I would lie there and pretend to be asleep and listen to his heart beat, and feel his chest rise and fall, and I felt so perfectly safe. And I couldn't get that image out of my mind, so I decided to go with a leather chair for Zach's Father's Day gift.
But this is not just any "daddy" chair. It is the biggest, squishiest, softest, reclining chair you could ever imagine. Perfect for father-son cuddling. And the best part? It in no way resembles a recliner at all. No ugly handle on the side. And no cheap velour. You can count on Ethan Allan to come through on both the design and comfort. And boy, is it comfortable. I must have sat in 30 different recliners during this venture, and this is by far the snugliest chair in the bunch. The only bad news- it won't arrive until mid-July. So sadly, Zach didn't have much to open on Father's Day itself. But I am hoping that the moment he sinks into his cozy chair, the wait will have been worth it.
Other firsts: Aunty Lissa and Uncle Brian and Grampa Coach got to meet Tate for the first time, and a weekend of fun ensued. Tate's first baseball game! And trip to a museum (first was to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum where we got to see the Spruce Goose! This weekend his second will be to the Portland Art Museum). And he rolled over for the first time in the doctor's office at his 2 month check-up (he rolled over! At his 2-month check-up! Which is two months ahead of schedule for normal rolling over, according to his pediatrician. Isn't he the most remarkable child ever born? So advanced!). And on Tuesday he met his Grams (Zach's mom) for the first time. And on and on and on... the firsts are just never-ending.
Awe at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum...
First baseball game (it was chilly!)
At his first outdoor concert (which, coincidentally, was his second wine-tasting)
Thoughtful on Grampa Coach's lap
Which brings me to my most bittersweet first... today is my first day back at work (or yesterday was my last day on maternity leave). This has been much more gut-wrenching than I had thought. Not because I am worried about him- he is with Zach, and I don't think any daddy has ever doted on their son more. And not because I feel guilty- because really, I don't. Tate is as loved as any person ever was, and I know that he will be fine. But mostly because, selfishly, I just miss him. Flat out, fundamentally miss him. And missing someone you love, all day, every day, frankly just sucks. So I am conflicted; both happy to be back at work and not just worrying about work, but also sad to be back at work and missing baby Tate.
How about you, friends? Any words of advice for a newly working mom that help get you through the days?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy housewarming!

Our amazing friends Ben and Andrea just bought a new house, and as part of our gift to them, we wanted to throw them a housewarming party. So last Sunday, I packed up my kitchen and hauled it all to Andrea's at 6 in the morning and we flew around organizing and setting up and fluffing tissue paper flowers and all in all making a wonderfully festive and celebratory housewarming party. And even the weather cooperated- it was the first truly sunny and gorgeous day of the year so far, perfect for an outdoor brunch. Ben and Andrea (but especially Ben) are big Bloody Mary fans, which is what led to the decision to host a brunch event. Also the fact that at housewarmings, of course everyone wants to see the house, and it is easier to ooh and aah over paint colors and furniture layout in daylight. So brunch it was! Drinks centered around a Bloody Mary bar, something I haven't done before but will do again, since I thought it looked beautiful and the guests seemed to have a great time making their own garnishes. It all started with jalepeno infused vodka, accompanied by a buffet of sorts for all the different skewer options: olives and onions and pickled asparagus and pickled green beans and beef jerky...
We also had mimosas, and lemonade (with bright yellow straws!) for the non-drinkers.
As far as food goes, I made egg strata, potatoes, muffins, cookies, a bagel and lox platter, yogurt and granola parfaits... it was an impressive spread, if I do say so myself, and it was all topped off with colorful, pop-art donuts from Portland institution VooDoo Donuts.
It was a beautiful day and I was so glad to celebrate with Ben and Andrea. Their home is officially warmed... Cheers!

Tate is 2 months old!

As promised, I wanted to post Tate's two month old picture in the orange chair. I have to admit that sadly, month one's pic debacle (ie: blurry pics, me not being sure where I wanted the chair, and trying to snap the picture before Tate tipped over) have really thrown a kink in the aesthetic of the whole thing. This month went much better, but unfortunately, the pictures don't line up or really "feel" the same. But that said, I imagine that it will be less noticeable as each month goes by, and I figure this is a great learning experience for baby #2. Plus, it does accomplish what I wanted it to, which is mainly showing how much he is growing. Can you believe it?
Here are just a few of the things Tate is good at now that he is two months old:
- smiling at us!
- yawning crookedly
- holding his fists in front of his mouth when he's really hungry
- sounding like a baby dinosaur
- glancing at us sidedways from half-closed eyes
- sleeping through the night! (well, he's not good at it yet, but he's doing it some of the time)
- splashing the water out of the bathtub
- generally looking adorable

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Birthday Weekend & Around the House

It was the very best kind of birthday weekend, with love coming at me from all directions and from all across the country. But the very best gift came from Tate, who decided to sleep through the night for the first time on my birthday. Can you believe it? I woke up at 5:30 with a start, because sun was streaming in the window and I had been sleeping straight for 7 whole hours! I am wildly impressed by Tate. And the great thing is that it wasn't just a one-off; he slept through the night again last night! Lucky us. It was also a birthday weekend of sorts for Tate, who celebrated being two months old with his second orange-chair picture. This one went much better and I am working on editing the pics now. Will post the newest addition in a few days. In other news around the house, Tate received this adorable bowl from good friends Evan and Danica (and their two gorgeous daughters, Mara and Bryn) this weekend. Evan and Danica are our "aspiration parents"- the friends who had kids and are raising them in a way we admire (Zach tells the story all the time of when he was camping with Evan and Danica and Mara started teething. Evan and Danica gave her a rock to chew on. He holds this as the pinnacle of succesful parenting- not being overly concerned about germs and having a general sense of "kids are tough". We have tried to have this same attitude with Tate, with great success so far, I think, in which we try not to take things too seriously and constantly remind ourselves that "kids are tough"). The bowl was handmade by Luhrs/Bjornson Artworks and I think they did a fantastic job.
You are able to get the pottery personalized, so Evan and Danica chose trees, water and mountains to represent Oregon (along with his name, of course). I can already imagine Tate's chubby little hand holding a spoon and trying to scoop oatmeal out of it. In other recent happenings here in the Holmboe household, Tate started smiling about 3 weeks ago. This was a great moment for me. Throughout my pregnancy, I purposefully avoided reading pregnancy books or websites (did I really need to know when the baby was the size of an avocado pit?). I felt that this helped me maintain a sense of calm and prevent me from worrying about things that never actually happened. So I decided to continue this once Tate was actually born, and have avoided reading too much about baby developmental milestones. I didn't want to be monitoring Tate's development week-by-week and either stressing out over a perceived missed milestone or becoming that parent- you know, the one who strikes up conversations with random strangers in order to brag that their son started walking 3 months early and so on and so forth (on a related note- have you ever encountered these kind of pet owners at the dog park? We have and I think it is so funny. Like that little terrier is really advanced because it learned how to sit when he was just a few weeks old).
But I digress. The main point of this tangent is simply that I lean on our pediatrician to inform me if Tate is missing any important developmental steps and instruct me if we need to work with him on anything. And thus, I had absolutely no idea when in their lives babies start to smile at you. I knew I didn't know, and purposefully avoided finding out, because I kept imagining what a gift it was going to be when one day, suddenly out of nowhere, he looked up at me and smiled. At me.
And it was just as great as I imagined. I am not ashamed to admit I cried a little. Because he knew who I was, and I made him happy. And I was so caught off guard by it. But since that day about 3 weeks ago, he now smiles at us like crazy- when Zach walks in from work, or when I walk in from the other bedroom, or when I talk animatedly on the phone. And it is such fun. So now the next unknown milestone is the laugh. You can tell when he is trying- he opens his mouth really wide as he smiles, and he coos and crows and generally sounds like a mewing kitten, but he hasn't actually laughed yet. So that will be another great moment. And I am thinking that all of being a parent is going to be like this. For the rest of my life, I get to be suddenly and immensely surprised and filled with wonder at this child. It's like a treasure hunt, and I never know when or how I am going to stumble across the next great gem. Such fun.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wooden Furniture

I have been having such fun perusing wooden furniture lately, for kids and adults alike. Like this tree bookcase by Shawn Soh.
Ever since I first saw it some weeks ago, I can't stop thinking about it. This has become problematic, because, since Tate's room is small, we are officially out of wall space, and I already have two bookcases on backorder. But this one seems like such fun, doesn't it? Maybe in a few years, when I get bored with the current layout of Tate's room, I will revisit this shelf...
And how about this "rocking horse" by Celery? I love it. Don't get me wrong, I have a soft spot for the traditional rocking horse, but this version is so clean and modern. An added bonus is that it is made out of recycled materials.
And last but not least, I am coveting this headboard by Ballard Designs for our bedroom. I had sworn off any more bedroom-related purchases after the bookcase-bedding-curtain extravaganza just a few months ago, but I love the height of this headboard, and think it would be perfect in our bedroom. Also, it is less expensive than a whole bed frame (really, very affordable, I think), and once we are done with it, would be a perfect addition to the guest room. So I am thinking about buying it (although my prudent self is telling me to continue to hold off- student loan repayments are looming). But honestly, wouldn't you like to rest your head each night under a little bird? I sure would.
bookcase via the style files