Saturday, September 2, 2017


After writing my last catch up to 2017, I discovered that I had drafted a "Ketchup" for 2016. . . it's all about Archer, so I'm including it here. Truth be told, I'm not convinced anyone reads this. This is more my journal than anyone else's literature, so I kind of don't worry about doing stuff like this. But if you are out there reading this, thanks so much for your continued patience and indulgence: 2016: So, this is me catching up. It's going to be word heavy, because a lot has happened. Have I already mentioned that I left my job of 11 years? I loved that job. Felt defined by that job. . . until I didn't. Until it became a thing I dragged myself to every day. Until it became a a thing I actually feared, like spiders or heights. Such a deeply unsettled place, filled with other scared and sad people. How does a thing turn like that? When I took sick leave, I couldn't read books or look at magazines or watch TV. I couldn't bear other people's news. I'd been drowning in other people's emotions for years. So, very very strange. But I changed my life utterly. Jobless and supported by my husband, I became the mother to the world's best baby. Loads of mothers think their babies are the best, but that's a subjective declaration based on the blindness of maternal love. But that is not the case in this instance. Here are the facts and you decide: 1. This baby stops frickin' traffic (No lie. This happened in Pittsburgh this past Spring. A lady pulled over on a busy street to scream at us about how she almost had an accident while staring at our beautiful baby. I swear. She did. I am not making this up). 2. He has had a full head of dark hair since birth that has never fallen out. (*whispering because it seems unfair to get to say this out loud: And when he was born, that dark hair had gold tips. . . like he'd just come back to the mainland after surfing in Hawaii for a month). 3. He started sleeping through the night at 2 months old. 7pm to 6am. Crazy. 4. Before he understood what emotions were all about, he rarely cried. He cried only if hungry or sitting in a poo diaper. He's more complicated now at 1.5 years old. But still, a very happy kiddo the vast majority of the time. 5. He was adopted and so came along with a whole other family to tag on to ours and we love them. Being a mom feels lucky. To get to stay with him at home feels like a gift. But to also get along so well with his birth family is a fucking miracle. I thank my lucky stars daily. 6. He's funny. 7. He's brave. 8. He'll eat almost anything put in front of him. 9. He's never had "stranger danger" and is sweet and gentle with everyone he meets. 10. He calls me "Mimi" or sometimes "Meemo" (god, I love Meemo.) 11. He loves dogs. All dogs. Every dog. And barks at everyone he sees. 2017 Update: He no longer calls me "Meemo" *sigh. But he does call me "Mama" which I love to no end.

Catch up

It's been 2.5 years since I wrote here. My last post was correct. 2015 was when we finally got to meet our son. We were matched with a family that chose us just a few weeks later and by March, we had Archer Stewart Phillips--the most perfect, easiest, most beautiful baby in the history of babies (this is a completely objective opinion, obviously. . . all kidding aside, he WAS sleeping through the night at a mere 2 months old and he was born with a full head of beautiful brown, gold-tipped hair that never fell out, so. . . ). We're still pals with his birth family and we see them a few times a year. But with the addition of Archer, everything in our lives changed. We had a new team member with new needs. Our social lives changed. The pull home to Cincinnati to a simpler life and the chance to be closer to family (cousins!) and the family farm got more urgent. So, we sold our little Cicero bungalow and moved all our stuff, our bebeh, and our wee dog to Cincinnati. A short stint in my folks' house in Hyde Park and then we found the perfect Money Pit in Northside. So, now we're on Pullan Avenue in a stretch of lovely old (1800's old. for real.) brick Victorian homes. There are coffee houses, small Mom&Pop restaurants, two (TWO!!) record stores, a public library, breweries/music venues, a public swimming pool and splash pad, and more playgrounds than you could shake a stick at within a 6 block radius of our house. And the neighborhood is lousy with 2 year olds. It would be hard for the house-situation to be better. At some point, I will write a whole post just about the house. . . because there are stories there for the sharing. But, while everything is not easy 100% of the time and we miss our chosen family back in Chicago, life is a little gentler here and we feel lucky and we feel like we're home. So, that's the catch up for anyone still out there reading blogs. I will feel free to just pick up like I never left off.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Make A Joyous Sound

We've been super lucky lately.  The holidays were great.  Christmas in Cincinnati with family and old friends and lots of little ones to taunt and snuggle and read to. And then the lead up to New Years back in Cicero with Scott in for a long visit. Getting to watch how happy Dan was with his twin in town was amazing. Then a bunch of good friends in our house who braved the cold to come to our homemade tomato soup and cheese sammie New Years party. Super special few weeks.

It also feels like we've seen loads of great live music lately at Fitzgerald's and the Hideout.  Dan and Scott playing together. Dan and Ziegenhagen and Liesl at the Hideout.  And last night we saw a bunch of country sets at the Hideout rounded out by Nora O'Connor. And then the show slid into a deejayed dance party--Dan and I shaking it and being silly together.

I feel happy. I feel surrounded by love. I feel good at loving other people. And I feel lucky lucky lucky.

I also think this is the year when we will meet our baby. 2015 and our family will grow a bit. It's exciting and terrifying and wonderful.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Morton Arboretum's Illumination show is totally worth it. If you didn't make it this year, you should plan to go next year. 

Pretty lights and a few special interactive bits (hug a tree, sing to a tree), plus enough big fire drums along the trail to keep you from freezing.  Our favorite bit was probably the light show on the hill that was choreographed to classical pieces. 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hiking on the 1st Day of the Year




Turns out the best thing to do on the first day of the new year is take a chilly walk on the prairie. Extra nice that Scott was in town for the family walk. 

We were cold, but happy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Day 2015

What a lovely year 2014 turned out to be. I mean that on a very micro-just-in-my-life-quieting-and-becoming-settled-and-smoothing-into-a-small-loving-thing sort of way. Important to clarify because the much larger world was frightening and disappointing in so many ways this year. But my tiny isolated world was rich with family and friends and the kindness of strangers and creativity and reading and becoming still and better at being a friend and maybe even a better human.

I blogged infrequently, and this is often a place where I try to slow down and think things through with words. But this past year, I spent a lot more time quietly thinking inside and alone in my noggin.  That was important and good and helpful.

But now it's New Year's Day. . . maybe my favorite day of the year.  I can't help but take stock of the previous year and dream big dreams for the coming year. I throw clutter away. I organize things. I cook savory cold winter meals and try to remember that simple is often better than complicated. I am terrible at that last one. (for example: for New Year's Eve, I planned a "simple" grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner for a small group of friends. That's a meal that usually takes me about 12 minutes to get on the table for me and Dan.  But I couldn't just open a can of Campbell's tomato soup for people I love. 3 hours of soup making, another 2 of bread making and sandwich item prepping. Crazy. . . but it was delicious.  Sometimes, though, friends just need a cup of tea and cinnamon toast because they're there for your company and listening and warmth, not to be impressed by your cooking prowess. Important to remember. . . ).

So, here's what I want (all within my power to get) from 2015:

1. A baby. I think this will be the year that a teeny-tiny lands in our laps. I can't wait to meet them. . . but I also can't wait to meet the dad that I know Dan will be. It's hard to imagine even more love in my life, but I so want my heart to grow in that way.

2. To be really present for the people in my life. To listen and support my giant family--both the biological and the chosen.

3. To grow a small creative business. If it grows in the future? Super. But for now, I just want to get over my nervousness about failing and just use the act of throwing myself in to learn new things. Exciting.

4. To learn how to make croissant dough and then translate that into morning buns like the ones we ate a few years ago at Tartine's in San Francisco. It may seem like a small goal compared to the other things in this list, but that trip on the west coast bloomed something in me and Dan. We flew home more in love and together than ever before. The feeling has lasted and grown and it makes me want to create a tangible edible piece of that magic at home to celebrate that.

5. To continue on my road of remembering who I am and what I am capable of--which means writing and being wildly creative and learning ukulele and not setting limits on myself based on fear. I can do anything I put my mind to. . . you can, too. Join me in this.

So, for today, I'm just going to relax and be contemplative and enjoy the quiet of the house. The brothers Phillips are here, listening to music and being quiet.  LP is curled up nearby. There's actual sun slanting through the windows and glinting off the Christmas tree in a winter in which the rare amount of sunlight in Chicago can be tallied by the hour rather than by the day. It feels lovely and filled with luck and happiness.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Riding the ferry to Ocracoke right now and I can't believe how different this year is from last. Mostly because I'm so happy. There's no panic, no hidden panic. There's just big deep breaths and smiling smiling smiling.

If you are crushingly sad or worried in a way that closes you up inside, please get help or take a break or practice yoga or something.  The world is a spectacular joy-filled place. I promise.

Okay, I look a little crazy eyed there. But that's a lie. That smile is a genuine sane smile . :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Pillows on Fivetrees

Hey Folks! My darling husband bought me a digital drawing pad for my last birthday and it's come in super handy this year of creating.  Hot off the presses are these new pillows that I designed/drew, had printed on fabric and then sewed into cute little plush items for the nursery or kiddo's bedroom.

Posted in the fivetrees shop just today. . . . Hope you like them!

And with an impending vacation on the horizon, I suspect more animal head designs or scaled down ornament sized pieces will be on their way before the holidays are upon us!