Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Favorite Books

we're big into books, and baby van has tons of cool ones. in fact, when my friends threw me a baby shower last year around this time guests were asked to bring books instead of traditional baby gifts. we ended up with a unique collection of some hand me down books, picture books, poetry books and classics.

here are some of our favorites.

i think my personal favs are The Country Western Alphabet and Nevermind Your Ps and Qs: Here's the Punk Alphabeti picked up these two in portland last summer. the art is hilarious and i love the adult references. plus, it's important our kids know these things, ya?

"W is for Willie, can you see him through the smoke? He's got to hit the road again to save the farming folk."
punk /new wave rock influences, Elvis and Elvis. 

the jolly postman is another gem. we received this from van's auntie kristel and real life postman uncle josh! you get to peek in to envelopes and read the letters that all the classic fairytale characters write to each other. too cute.

vanny is a 4th generation californian, so this one was a natural choice. i love simple counting books, especially when they are cardboard and rep california. we're proud californians here.

and this one! oh, how i love this one. it's indestructible. literally. like, it's made to never rip or tear. i've tried! and i think van loves it because when he's eating it and crumpling it with his chubby baby hands he thinks he's doing something bad. i'd love to collect others. the old mcddonald one is super cute - it's set in south america and the illustrations are very fun.

van and i love to read good night, galaxy which is from the same series as good night, california mentioned above. i love nerdy science shit and van loves to go look at the moon and stars with tony while i make his bottle each night so this book was an obvious choice. good intro to the vastness of the universe for a little one..."good night nebula, good night black hole..."

we close out most nights with whoever you are by mem fox. it is freaking adorable. it's a little baby sized cardboard book that teaches that we are all more the same than we are different. and the illustrations are amazing - how cute are these two?!

"Smiles are the same and love is the same."

i seriously love children's books. probably more than regular books. your little ones reading anything good lately? i'm always looking for more to add to the collection.

Monday, November 5, 2012

First Halloween

last halloween i was just starting to look officially pregnant. and this halloween i had a sweet little 10 month old to celebrate with.

about a week before halloween we went to a little pumpkin carving party at a friend's house. tony carved while i kept van from covering himself in slimy pumpkin inners or stabbing himself with a carving utencil.

a guitar. with an amp!

i took the friday before halloween off to take van to bishop's pumpkin patch in wheatland. it's the same place we used to go with my parents when we were little. and since we went on a friday and not a weekend, it wasn't packed at all. we ate some lunch, walked around and went on a hayride.


on halloween day i got off work, dressed the baby and snapped some photos before taking him to my friend's house and my parent's house. he can't walk or eat candy, so we didn't do any trick or treating. my friend's sweet mother made him a corn muffin (he loves those) and he had some beans and quinoa at my mom's. he loves food, so it was a treat for him to get to eat at two different houses.

cutest sailor ever, right?

back home. he was over it.

van's sailor shirt was from The Wishing Elephant and his hat was from It's Sommertime. both shops shipped exactly what i ordered and were very speedy. my shirt matched his and was from Royal Kane. i wore a sailor-inspired hair bow from WhimsybyKrista.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Too Cute

a week ago my cousin's talented hubs came and snapped some photos of van. i've been having some hobby photographers take his pictures every 3 months. it's nice to look back on a more professional set of photos of your kid to see how they've grown and changed. funny when i stop and see these, i'm really more taken back by how he looks the same. the same, only bigger. interesting how some retain features as they get older. i still think i look a lot like my own newborn pictures. weird!

anyways, here he is....the cutest nine month old in the land!

photos by PTice photography.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Loaded Minestrone

i love minestrone soup. growing up my family would go to the same italian restaurant, owned by an old friend of the family, almost every friday for pizza and pitchers of budweiser. well, the kids drank coke. sometimes we got to use the bartender gun thing to squirt our own coke into our own glasses. yeah, be jealous. 

anyways, every so often i'd stray from the pizza tradition and get a lasagna. the lasagna would come in it's own personal little dish that it was baked in. the sauce had a really great slow cooked beefy texture, and i especially liked this particular lasagna because it came without ricotta. i've never been a fan of ricotta.

while the lasagna was always delicious, the best part about ordering it was that before it came to your table you'd get a warm, garlicy, buttery roll, the best green salad with the most perfectly tart italian dressing you've ever tasted and some bomb minestrone soup.

i don't quite know what kind of rolls our friend served. i can't figure out how to make a dressing so delicious and sour and peppery, but i make a goddamn excellent knock off of that ridiculously good minestrone.

i'll go ahead and call it "loaded minestrone" to denote that there's a little more going on in there than in the minestrone you might be used to. but it's super good, super easy and super quick to make. i can't stress the ease and tastiness of this enough. the only dishes you dirty are your knife, your cutting board and a pot, for crying out loud.i serve it at our christmas parties and people flip their freaking lids over it. i can't wait for it to cool down so i can start making this again. i think van will love it too.

wish i had a more delicious looking photo...

loaded minestrone soup
serves many. probably 8 big servings.

2 containers of chicken stock (or veggie. whatever)
1 large can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 can of kidney or lima beans ( i like lima)
1 zucchini diced
1-2 carrots diced
1 potato diced
handful of small pasta (little shells or little elbows)
1 small onion, diced up small
several cloves of garlic
olive oil
3 heaping tablespoons of dried oregano/italian herbs

heat some olive oil in your nice big soup pot. add your onions. after a couple minutes when onions are looking a little soft, add your garlic, carrots, potato and zucchini. sprinkle all contents of your pot with salt, pepper and italian seasoning. stir this mixture all up for a few minutes.

add your cans of stuff. don't throw out the juice. dump it all in there!

bring to a boil. when your carrots and potatoes seem almost soft enough to eat, toss in a handful of your small pasta.

once pasta is cooked and veggies are soft it's dinnertime. i like to serve mine with some good quality oven toasted bread and grated parm. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oh, this face...

this handsome six month old face. i made this my desktop background while in a meeting this afternoon. i minimized my screen several times to get a glimpse at this cute little guy. i never get sick of this kid.

i've said it before and i mean it...he is my favorite thing.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Enough with the Labels, Okay?

i'm over it. and when i say "labels" i mean literal, physical, handwritten or typed out or chalkboarded labels and shit, labeling items that don't need labeling.

like cutesy little drink tables that label things like "beer" or "wine." or taco bars with labels like "lettuce" or "salsa." or shelves in bathrooms with labels on them that say "towels."

labels should be there to help us out with things that might not be so obvious. so if there's a mystery keg, go ahead and make me an artsy little label that let's me know what i'm about to tap, such as "downtown brown" or "shock top." help me to know which of the salsas at your party is spicy and which is mild. label things vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. that's helpful. is this sun dried tomato hummus, or roasted red pepper hummus? thanks for the little folded card in front labeling it, i couldn't tell by looking at it.

"i'm gonna put a bird on a bird, put it in a jar and label it."

you know portlandia's put a bird on it? i said awhile ago that i wanted to make a follow up called "put it in a jar" to clown on all the silly things in jars. mundane things or ordinary thoughtless things that somehow become special and funky and "indie" (i hate that word) because they are now in their cool jar home.

like this nonsense. cute, but come on. there's not enough basil there to create anything meaningful.

once i make my "put it in a jar follow up", i'm going to follow that up with "label it." anyone have fred armisen's phone number?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Badass. So so so badass.

seriously. does anyone even come close to tina turner?

i was going to list all the cool elements of this video until i realized every freaking thing about it is amazing.

Monday, May 28, 2012

We're Having a Party

i love me a good party. my sister, mom and i spent our weekend prepping some of the decorations for our nana's 80th birthday party next weekend. i found this party online awhile ago that really inspired the look for my nana's party. we even went with shades of green for ours too.

my talented friend christina designed the invitations. we made them into postcards to save a little cash on mailing. a ton of family told me just to do evites for something, but i love receiving something beautiful and printed and hand addressed in the mail.

my pretty nana...no idea what year. she looks like she might be in her late twenties? early thirties?

we made vertical hanging garland out of scrapbook paper circles and some hemp twine stuff i bought at michael's for about 10 dollars. 

every few circles is a scanned photograph of my nana.

we also used the hemp twine stuff to wrap around mason jars and various vases to be used as centerpieces. we stamped some round tags with nana's initial.
mark it with a 'p'

usually when i plan parties i worry about whether or not the decor will look good. i'm really not fretting about this one at all. i think once everything comes together, it will look awesome! 

Piggy Baby

so, rice cereal was a bit of a success last week. the only issue we had was van's natural ravenous nature. it's like he couldn't eat it fast enough. i've been giving him a bottle and then following it up with cereal a couple hours later. he's doing pretty well with it and it's definitely making for some good photos.

nom nom nom...

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Year Ago Today...

i was scared out of my gourd at the sight of the positive pregnancy test sitting on the counter.

and today i'm having a freaking blast with my little mini-me, who will be 4 months old tomorrow. he's my favorite thing!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Very Best

it's a sad, sad day.

i really feel like i have so much to thank him for. his music is part of my soundtrack. his voice is so ingrained in my mind and so tied up into all these experiences i've had throughout my life; singing along to the weight and cripple creek during impromptu acoustic living room jams as a young child, inheriting my parent's vinyl collection and listening to the last waltz on my first record player in my room as a teenager, seeing the levon helm band perform at the outside lands music festival in san francisco a few summers ago...

thanks for everything, levon.

Friday, April 13, 2012

But You Say He's Just a Friend...

this post has had me thinking today about the age old topic of whether or not men and woman can be platonic friends.

here are my thoughts.

i hate it when i hear girls/women say things like, "i just get along better with men" or "i prefer being friends with men...women are jealous and catty." you know why that is, girl who doesn't like other girls? it's because you are probably skanky and untrustworthy. one of those women who enters a party and makes a beeline for where the guys are. one of those women who meets another woman and then pretends she doesn't know who she is the next several times they meet. a woman who for some reason cannot relate to or establish relationships with her own kind is a big fat red skank flag. there's a reason other women don't want to be friends with you.

i also hate it when girls/women say (regarding a male friend), "oh he's a brother to me." uh, no. unless he's your brother, than he's not a brother to you. i guess maybe you can say things like that if you are an only child and therefore lack an understanding of sibling dynamics. i know that there can be a level of comfort you can have around certain males you've come to be close with and have known for years and years, but unless he emerged from the same uterus as you did, he's not your brother. a brother is someone you were raised with. daily. you share parents. you share 50 percent of your genetic material.

i think that people in romantic relationships can have platonic friendships with people of the opposite gender under the right circumstances. such as:
  • your friend's boyfriend/husband
  • a friend of the opposite sex that you made prior to becoming involved in your current relationship*
  • co-workers
  • friends of the opposite sex that you made through your significant other (his best friend, his brother, etc.)
*as long as there is complete transparency about the origins and nature of said friendship with your significant other

while i really love women (i have a really cool mom, three really cool sisters-no brothers, and a handful of really cool lifelong girlfriends), i also value the friendships i have with men. i have a quality handful of cool guys in my life. since hooking up with t five years ago, i haven't acquired any new close male friends other than the ones that i've come to know and adore through t- his good friends and bandmates. since we've been together i've also dropped or distanced myself from several mediocre guy friends i had. i don't really think it's necessary or appropriate to be hanging out with a bunch of random periphery male friends, fielding late night texts to come meet up at a bar or party somewhere.

back to my male friends. mine, meaning the several that are my friends. not my girlfriend's husband, not my coworker, but the friends that i've connected with on my own accord and grown to love....

one is a long time friend i've known since middle school. we don't spend much physical time together, especially now, but he comes to visit whenever he's back in the area for a holiday, we meet up for concerts when i'm in his neck of the woods and we engage in a nice google chat every once in a while. i introduced tony to him shortly after we started dating. they like each other too. that's a nice bonus, though generally i don't really think the friendships i have with people i see so infrequently should be any of tony's business. but it's nice that the three of us can spend time together.

one is one of the dearest friendships i've ever had, man or woman. i met him through my older sister when i was a teenager in high school. he was in his early twenties. as i got older we developed a friendship on our own, and my sister drifted out of this picture. i share more interests with him than i do with any of my female friends, with the exception of maybe one. he was my going out partner, always down to hit up a bar on a whim or drive three hours to see a show somewhere. he got me hooked on wilco. he's responsible for all the late night breakfast slams i've ever consumed. he could always talk me into "just one more drink" or to stay out "just 10 more minutes" every time we went out. he cleaned my vomit out of his mom's car once. he carried me out of poor reds when i was poisoned by golden cadillacs. he just happened to strike up a friendship with a cute guitar playing electrician he would go on to introduce me to many summers ago. he, tony and i were three peas in a pod for a long time. then he shacked up with a lovely girl of his own and became a father himself a couple months ago. funny how things work out. we couldn't have planned it like that if we'd tried. we'll get to raise our sons together.

another one of them is one that i see and hear from pretty infrequently. i actually met him through the friend mentioned above. i thoroughly enjoy this friend. i really like his brain. i really value his perspective. he's an insane talent. we go months and months with minimal contact and will meet up for a 6 hour lunch where we talk our faces off. and i love his wife. i love love love her. writing about these two makes me bummed that i don't see them more often. they are both brilliant people...and so fun.

my fourth and last real male friend is someone i met through t but developed a friendship with outside of tony. we just really clicked. he's one of the smartest most interesting people i know. t and i hang out with him all the time. he and t spend time together one on one, and often he and i spend time together without t. while i have a lot of love for so many of the people i've gotten to know through tony, i can say for certain that had i met this friend on my own we would definitely be friends. he is the type of character that i naturally gravitate towards. like i said, i love the boys i met through t but i don't think my paths would have crossed with any of them had there been no tony to connect us.

i should close this by saying that i used to have another really close guy friend. i had 100 percent platonic friend feelings for him for almost the entire duration of our friendship. we went to concerts together. we drank beers in his backyard with other friends. he invited me over one night to watch a new show called the office, which we would go on to view together every thursday night during my senior year of college. while i had a feeling that his interest in me was a bit more romantic than my interest in him, we maintained a really lovely thing. he never crossed any lines and things never really got awkward. until i found out he started dating a girl in secret and i flipped my shit. he saw the charm in my tantrum and things worked out in my favor.

here's proof:

tony and sweet van

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easy, Ready, Willing

so so so so cool. these are some friends of friends of ours and their awesome cover of hall + oates' "i can't go for that" has pretty much gone viral!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

good times!

our little family had such a nice little saturday yesterday. we woke up, got ready and headed to our friend roman's first birthday party. here's baby v and i wearing a party favor:

we got coffee on the way home and just laid around. despite ingesting 16 ounces of an iced vanilla latte with almond milk, i could hardly keep my eyes open at 5 pm. i took van and had a little catnap until around 6. van woke up in a fit of rage after his pacifier dropped out of his mouth and was too worked up to fall back asleep. i, on the other hand, was still feeling beat. tony took van to play some tunes in his nursery while i fell back asleep until almost 8. yessss!

i woke up starving, and tony immediately offered to pick up some mikuni for us. woohoo! right before he left, i went on facebook and saw that our friends, the golden cadillacs, were going to be playing shady lady from 9 to midnight. the combination of feeling refreshed by my long nap and wearing my favorite new sweater had me really wanting to get out of the house. plus somehow, by the grace of god, my bangs and eyelashes weren't all crimped by my nap...a sign that we should definitely hit up the show.

so we called gramma to come watch van and headed out for fancy cocktails and some modern, california-inspired honky tonk. so spontaneous of us.

birthdays + coffee + mustaches + naps + sushi + last minute babysitting grammas + cool sweaters + GOOD live music + gin cocktails = good times.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Catcalling Douchebags

in browsing www.hellogiggles.com this morning i came across this article on street harassment. it perfectly illustrates why cat calling (street harassment) is the most gross, obnoxious and inappropriate thing ever. it discusses the different ways in which these harassers operate and talks about the slippery slope of street harassment- how hissing and whistling can turn to stalking or even rape.

street harassment is one of those experiences that seems to unite women in disgust. it doesn't matter what you're wearing, what you're doing or even how old you are...there will always be trashball guys that get off on making women feel threatened and uncomfortable.

while i was reading i recalled a scene at the beginning of six feet under years and years ago. if you aren't familiar with the show, each episode is introduced with a death. one of the deaths that always stayed with me was of a young woman who was struck and killed by a vehicle while running from a group of men who were whistling and propositioning her while as she left a party. a split second before she is hit by the car, she turns around to notice that the men harassing her were actually her friends thinking they were being funny. that scene is so poignant because it calls such attention to the disconnect between the men's actions and the woman's perceptions of those actions.  what men sometimes see as playful or funny (why, i'll never know. because they are jackasses, i guess), women perceive as a safety threat. i know when i hear a man yelling at me and making inappropriate comments on my appearance, my heart begins to race. i'm not looking to decipher who the man is or what his intentions are. he could very well be a "harmless" college aged guy looking to impress his douchebag friends, but my conditioned mind fears some psycho serial rapist.

anyways, read the article. and props to the writer, and all the women like her, who aren't afraid to look like stick in the mud "feminazis" to a bunch of ignorant and insensitive men and speak out against shit like this for the sake of women and girls everywhere. high five!

*p.s. march 18-24th is anti-street harassment week.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lovely Legs

i have a little tin skeleton (super little, the size of my palm) hanging on a random nail in the molding of our archway in the dining room. if you're in the living room all you see are these little bony legs dangling.

it's my favorite spot in the house!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Weekend is Coming Soon...

it's been a rough week. i'll be celebrating it's end by working from home tomorrow and relaxing to some of these sweet tunes. 

nothing too heavy...

van morrison. sweet thing.
fiona apple. waltz (better than fine).
bill withers. lovely day.
jackie greene. shaky ground
sam cooke. having a party
dr. dog. weekend.
gillian welch. pass you by.
los lobos. the valley.
joni mitchell. california.
ben harper. burn one down.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Sweet George...

the quiet beatle would have turned 69 years old yesterday. he's a very transcendent lyricist, which is comforting given that cancer took him far too soon. his death makes so many of his songs, especially from his solo career, even more meaningful.

happy birthday, george.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baby V's Room

Decorating baby's nursery has been a really fun little ongoing project for me. i really enjoy things like color and art and decor, so finding special pieces for van's room has been a good time.

when i was pregnant people were always asking me what "theme" the babies room was going to be. i hate themes, and that fact is really evident once you take a look at my house. i've never been one to buy the "bed in a bag" or a sofa with all it's corresponding furniture...what fun would that be? buy what you like! i received a lot of puzzled looks when trying to explain to people what van's nursery looked like, but i think it turned out alright. and as with every other room in the house, it's a constantly evolving space.

i thought i'd share some of my favorite elements.

the crib was purchased by my mom as a gift. i picked out the bike print fabrics from spoonflower, and my aunt made the bedding. i still need to get some grey sheets and have his blanket made from the green bike fabric.

Above the bed hangs this awesome little mobile compliments of gramma and granddad. i'm a pinterest geek and found a similar mobile to this and fell in love. gramma made some modifications so it would better suit van's room and voila!

this record wall mimics a larger wall we have in the dining room. i liked the idea of incorporating a little of our style into his room in a more kid friendly way. i actually bought the sesame street records at a vinyl shop in portland before i was ever thinking i'd be pregnant. who could resist a soul sesame street record? i mean, come on!

guests at my baby shower were asked to bring a book to help build van's library. my dear friend amber purchased him this awesome ikea bookshelf to hold his new book collection along with some cool odds and ends we've put on display that includes one of my dad's accordions, a vintage viewmaster we picked up at denio's (it came with a ton of slides of churches of the american northwest...zzzzz), tony's grandfather's marble collection, and a ninja turtle lava lamp. hah!

another bedroom favorite is his awesome, homemade alphabet. guests who rsvp'd to my other baby shower were each asked to bring a specific alphabet letter to help me with the alphabet display i wanted to create for van. i was expecting to receive generic letters from the majority of ladies invited but was so surprised to see how seriously these women took their task! each letter is so creative and unique. they look great along the moulding in the nursery. i'm beyond thrilled with how it looks and we get compliments on this part of his room all the time.

i'm pretty culturally involved and knew i wanted to incorporate van's heritage into his room somehow. i found these adorable italian counting cards from children inspire design, had them laminated and display them on one of the more narrow nursery walls. they have these really great luchador prints i'm considering getting so van can rep his mexican side. we'll see. my friend has an alphabet from CID behind her daughter's crib that's seriously adorable. if we had more walls i know i'd be shopping there a lot more. such cute stuff!

thanks to ikea, pinterest and my crafty friends, van's room only gets doper and doper! i'll try and share more as we begin to add and switch things around.