Weird and Surprising Parenting Things I Never Expected

March 30, 2016

em and stroller Michael shot this photo while we were running home after getting caught in an unexpected downpour. We were soaked but Maya was dry in her little chariot. We laughed so hard.

On the topic of unexpected things that make you want to run for the hills (or at least your bed)….a few surprising parenting things I never knew I’d be thinking about before Maya arrived.

  1. You can hear the baby’s cries in your ears just about all the time, especially when she isn’t crying. And then you say things like “Is that her?” over and over again and drive your husband nutty.
  2. There are things like wonder weeks and sleep regressions that like to partner with growth spurts to totally mess with sleep and naps and eating and that makes everyone nutty.
  3. The most useful thing about Google at 4am is to tell you that every other mom of a one, two, three and four month old baby is going through some version of exactly what you’re questioning. And they are also up at 4am googling sleep regressions and wonder weeks and simultaneously going totally nutty.
  4. Make a clear plan on what to call the pacifier, since calling it the paci is too Texan and soother is too Irish and nuk-nuk (I think my German aunt called it this?) makes Michael look at me like I have three heads.My parents used to call it the plug, as in put a plug in that baby to shut her up! Ha! Choose a name that doesn’t make you feel nutty when you say it eight million times a week. (We’re still working on this – suggestions?)
  5. You spend so much energy getting them to go to sleep, and then thirty minutes after they’ve fallen asleep you miss them and half-wish they’d wake up. I’m pretty sure it’s the definition of nutty.

Any other new parents as nutty as we are I am?

The Best Spots in Houston Heights

March 29, 2016

best-spots-in-houston-heights I’ve mentioned before that we’re camping out (not quite literally, although sometimes it feels like it!) in a neighborhood just northwest of downtown Houston called Houston Heights while we wait for Maya’s adoption to be finalised in May. We chose it after spending approximately three hours exploring – three tacos, two hipster coffees, and a few boutique strolls later and we were sold. It’s biggest selling point? Extreme walkability. We hoped against hope that we’d have a baby that we’d need to be walking around the tree-lined blocks at all hours of the day, and we could picture ourselves enjoying the varied architecture at any time of day. Or, as Michael put it so eloquently, “I know what you’re going to do. You’re going to walk around and look at houses all day long.” Too true, old chap, too true!

Little did we know that we’d have barely a month to set up shop and explore our neighborhood before Maya arrived and we started all that walking. (We’re still pinching ourselves, nearly six months later!) But we made quick work of the neighborhood and established firm favorites in just a few weeks.

So first, a deluge of neighborhood details. And then, below, our favorite spots. If you’re familiar with the neighborhood, I’d love to hear your suggestions! We do still have a long list of places we want to try, although Maya is not always invited which makes getting through the list a little tricky!  mansion-houston-heights Oh, the houses. The houses are such fun to walk around and imagine living in. This is one of our neighbors’ houses. It’s enormous and I’d love to see inside that turret!  houston-heights-houses We call this house Pottery Barn. Everything about it is exactly pottery barn.  houses-houston-heights houston-heights-details houston-heights-festive They don’t mess around with Christmas decorations either!  trees-houston-heights snack-cart-houston-heights This is our neighborhood snack man. I’ve never caught up with him when I’ve had cash in my pocket, but one day I will!  houston-house-numbers Just in case you forgot you were in Texas!

And now the best spots (according to us and our seven months here!) in Houston Heights.

First, coffee, because we’ve spent the most time in these places looking for boosts of energy after broken sleep.  2nd-cup-coffee-houston-heights A 2nd Cup – The closest coffee shop to us – and the one with the best mission (all profits to end human slavery). Very nice staff and lots of room for the stroller without going over anyone’s toes. But also very, very slow. So just make sure you have time to wait.  boomtown-coffee-houston-heights Boomtown – The most reliably delicious coffee but very busy on the weekends and most of the time it smells really strongly of cigar smoke. Apparently they share a vent system with the cigar lounge next door. I haven’t a clue how people work all day on their laptops there! I usually make Michael go in while Maya and I wait outside.

Revival Market – Revival is our favorite coffee spot in the neighborhood. The coffee is good, the staff knows Michael by name, and they have fun events that make our big neighborhood seem like a small neighborhood. Also they do delicious lunch.

19th Street at Yale

Food:

Torchy’s Tacos – Famous in Houston for their funky tacos. My favorite is one with a fried hatch chilis and scrambled eggs with salsa verde. Sounds insane but it’s delicious. Also, margaritas are a good bet.

shade-houston-heights Shade – Shade just got refurbished, so it’s new and spiffy inside. It’s great for a glass of wine and one of their small bites – and you can get home before a certain tiny person’s bedtime!

Carter & Cooley Delicatessen – An old school deli with walls covered in old photos of the Heights. Their sandwiches are positively packed with yummy ingredients. Their chili is also very delicious and their lemonade is perfectly artificial-tasting. houston-heights-19th-street Browsing:

Crazy vintage/antique/junk spots – There are lots of vintage, antique and junk shops all around 19th Street at Yale and down some of the side streets west from Yale. Some of them are hilariously overpriced, but some of them have some good deals. There’s also a Goodwill at 20th and Yale and because it’s an affluent neighborhood, it also has some good finds.

manready-mercantile-houston-heights Manready Mercantile – Everything you’d need for the hipster dude. It’s well curated with a mix of new and vintage.

Big Blue Whale – The sweetest little old school toy shop.

6th/ White Oak

Los Cucos – This is a chain and I think very under the radar. But their margaritas are my favorite, they have a killer happy hour deal, and it’s walkable from our house. Plus their food is really delicious. Their patio is on a busy street but it’s spacious and Maya likes the fresh air. coltivare-houston-heights Coltivare – Another outdoor patio with even better ambiance that only makes the gourmet pizza tastes more delicious. Bistro lights over a garden and outdoor coolers (I know, only in Houston!) make it lovely almost year round. The indoor seating is really loud, so we always prefer the patio.

Christian’s Tailgate – Kind of a giant sports bar and not totally my speed, but the sandwiches are yummy and it’s a necessary evil when you don’t have television and want to watch the Patriots or any sports in real time!

11th Street lola-restaurant-houston-heights Lola – for brunch! And milkshakes. It’s fast and the pancakes are delicious.

8 Row Flint – Very new, very popular, and $5 cocktails from 2-6pm. Michael claims they make one of the best old fashioneds he’s ever had. Also, a tad trendy and a tad pretentious. They have valet parking which makes me roll my eyes whenever we drive by, but we don’t need that since we live two blocks away!

Ruggles Green – Casual healthy food. You order at the counter and they give you a number and bring it to your table. Great salads and pastas.

The Boil House – For months we walked by the Boil House and wondered what the story was. It was always closed. Turns out, it’s seasonal! They do boiled shrimp and crawfish, New Orleans style, and they’re BYOB with picnic tables out the front that are always packed. The owner is also pretty much the nicest – a self-proclaimed foodie who, by day, sells medical supplies or something like that.

Red Dessert Dive – I have one neighborhood mom friend and whenever we need a late afternoon break from our respective mom duties and don’t have the energy for walking the streets with our strollers we go to Red’s for coffee and sometimes dessert. I brought a huge piece of cheesecake home for Michael a few weeks ago and he declared it was the best dessert he’d had since getting to America. High praise! Plus, they make really yummy chai lattes that taste like spices and aren’t too sweet.

And now, a few more little spots around our hood….

houston-heights-fire-department The old Houston Heights Fire Department building, now used for parties and events.  antique-stores-houston-heights Overpriced antiques!  greetings-from-houston We take all our visitors to this sign on the back of the gelato shop on 6th near Heights Boulevard. Photo op! houston-installations Houstonians love their lawn sculptures. And more often than not they involve guns. Go figure.

houston-heights-19th houston-heights-library And lastly, our sweet library a block from our house. I will always have fond memories of finishing our adoption paperwork here before our internet was installed in our apartment. I can still feel how hot and muggy it was outside and the air conditioning inside while I printed page after page of paperwork.

 

Happy (Grateful) Friday!

March 18, 2016

elderflower Happy Friday, everyone! Michael and I are enjoying one last weekday of his spring break. It’s been such a nice week having him home and spend time as a family of three. When Maya arrived he wasn’t able to take any time off work, having only started a few weeks earlier at his school, so this time together has been extra special.

It’s also been even more special because we come so far toward reaching Maya’s adoption fundraising goal – like 3/4 to the goal in just one week! It’s the first week we can remember when we haven’t had a fraught and worried conversation about how to make it happen. And for that – the generous donations from so many of you and the perfect timing with Michael’s week off, we’re so grateful. It has been a quiet, peaceful week full of lots of Maya’s giggles and family walks around the block.

Little did I know when I started From China Village five years ago that it would end up being such a big piece in the puzzle of growing our family. The number of people who have commented on our fundraising site to say they’ve followed along from their little corner of the world and have been inspired by Maya’s story brings me to tears at least several times a day. Or the grade school and high school friends I’ve been able to reconnect with and plan summer visits through this part of our journey to adoption. Or Michael’s former Irish students who have donated or shared our story. Or my sweet sister-in-law in Dublin whose classroom full of fifth graders decided to designate half of the profits from a school entrepreneurial project to Maya’s adoption fund. Or even the complete strangers – Michael and I look at each other in disbelief and say “But we don’t know that person, we don’t know them at all!” It’s been quite a week and our cup of gratitude runneth over.

And now, gushing over (for the moment), here are a few things I found around the interwebs.

I’ve started writing occasionally for a lifestyle site here in Houston called Urban Swank. I have my first post up about European spots that are more enjoyable in the off-season.

A short video about a program in Texas taking care of teen moms. So much heart in this – and let me tell you, so much need.

Incredible wall murals make for great one-day house inspiration.

A visit to pretty pastel Estonia.

And a little trip to Shakespeare & Company in Paris.

A heartwarming story of strangers scooping up a woman who had just learned her father had died in the grocery store.

The Dublin Science Gallery is hosting a Mexican feast with my favorite Mexican chef!

Just reading the word posture makes me sit up straighter! Here are tips for improving your posture and why you should bother (hello, 320 extra calories burned a day!)

Our favorite store for baby lovies is having an Easter sale through Saturday!

I have long been a Modern Farmette fan – although Imen and I have yet to meet in person! – and she has just released the most beautiful cookbook.

Happy weekending, everyone. I hope it’s downright lovely!

Best of Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2016

dublin-spike

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from muggy Houston! It’s so strange not to be in Ireland on Paddy’s Day for the first time in seven years. Not that we’d usually get up to anything special, but it’s odd not to be freezing cold!

Michael is still on spring break, so we’ve been taking it easy and gearing up to give Maya a taste of her first solid food. We’re thinking avocado since it’s green – for the day that’s in it! I imagine we’ll all end up covered in it before long.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts about Dublin with you, in case you’re looking for a little Irish fix and aren’t feeling the corned beef and cabbage (which we never ate over there anyhow!).

First, if you’re ever in need of a whole lot of info about my favorite spots in Dublin, just click on the Dublin tab up at the top of the page. It’s a great place to start!

My Styled in Ireland posts always remind me of lovely afternoons in some of the best Dublin spots.

How to say I love you in Irish might be particularly useful today.

Or how to make the best Irish coffee with a recipe from one of the fanciest restaurants in Dublin.

A few sweet Dublin details.

How to survive driving in Dublin – although Houston drivers make me miss Dublin driving!

And of course, even more Dublin inspiration in my e-guide, handy Delightful Dublin.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends. I hope it’s a nice March day for you!

With Gratitude

March 15, 2016

Thank you. Thank you to all of you who shared my post, who donated to our adoption fund, and who wrote the kindest comments that warmed our hearts. I woke up on Saturday with the lightest heart I’ve had in months, full of sheer relief and in awe of the generosity of so many of you.

In just twenty-four hours, we achieved HALF of our goal. Twenty-four hours! It’s so incredible. We still have a little ways to go, but the finish line is in sight and we’re so grateful for the village that’s helping to make Maya an official Westbrooks.

We received donations from family members, blog readers, my high school classmates and college classmates, friends from Ireland and friends from Houston. It’s a feeling I can’t really explain, except to say that it felt like hundreds of the people who care about us most were lifting us up. It’s a relief to know we aren’t alone in this.

Thank you. xx Emily, Michael and Maya

Another Nursery Nook Look

March 11, 2016

maya-nursery-quilt Maya’s nursery is slowly coming together. We started with an empty room and a five day old baby back in October, so the fact that there’s art on the walls and it’s feeling more cosy is an achievement! We’ve come a long way from the early days of just a pull out couch and a bassinet! (Truth be told, we’re not in a position to collect very much anyway, considering we’re heading back to Dublin and we can’t take it all with us! Although I may try…)

Yesterday while Maya was napping, I hung two new things over her crib. First, a mobile my mom whipped up while I was back in Maine a few weeks ago, with the stuffing help of my friend Becky’s kids – Lola and Dexter. We thought fish might be cute, and my mom had leftover fabric from making Maya’s quilt. She sewed, then we stuffed! But seriously, she also made the quilt. And the bunny (see below)! And the bunny has bloomers! When I got back to Houston, I assembled the mobile and very quietly tapped a nail into the wall to hang it while Maya napped. maya-nursery-bunny The other fun thing I hung with the mobile is a little heart-shaped plaque that I ordered from an Irish Etsy seller, The Mood Designs. About a month ago, Etsy Ireland reached out and asked if I’d like to do a little shopping in return to sharing what I find online with my readers. I was so excited to find a new-to-me shop with just the perfect something special for Maya’s nursery.

One thing I’ve just learned about the Etsy site is that you can search by where things are made, which is really fun and especially useful if you’re looking for something made in Ireland, for example. There’s a little box you can tick on the left hand menu that will filter by location after you’ve searched. I just chose a category, I think ‘baby’, and then filtered for all handmade things made in Ireland.   maya-nursery-crib I have to admit, I almost had the plaque inscribed with the day we met Maya instead of her birthday, because to us that’s when it feels like she was born. It just feels like there’s no way she could have existed before we knew her! But I went with her real birth date instead. We’ll probably just celebrate both days forever and ever!  maya-nursery-mobile I’m hoping the last little details of her nursery will come together next week while Michael is on spring break from school. We’re going to grab a shelf from Ikea this weekend and I’m going to run to Staples to have a color engineer print made – for $7! Once those are hung, the only thing that’s still on the list is a rug to cover those bare polished concrete floors. I do love them, and they hide all manner of dirt, but when Maya starts crawling I want something cosier under her knees and hands. Right now, we just bring her into the living room to play on a blanket on our living room rug, but another space for her to play in our tiny apartment would be much appreciated.

Thanks to Etsy Ireland for letting me do a little guilt-free shopping and continue my Etsy appreciation!

Dublin Daydreams / Spots I’m Missing

March 7, 2016

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This post is sponsored by Stay.com, All opinions are my own. A year ago I put together a little itinerary on Stay.com showcasing Dublin for first-timers and it’s a great place to start your Dublin daydreams. You can download the Stay.com city guide app right here. 

Sometimes I let myself have a little daydream about our normal days back in Dublin – our favorite restaurants and coffee spots, the place we’d sit in the car and look out at the sea and the city and talk about our dream of moving to Houston and adopting a baby. Just a year ago, Michael and I were busting our buns to buy our house there so we’d have a home to come back to, and packing up our little apartment and storing everything away so we could take our big leap to Houston. So much has happened in a year, so many prayers answered and dreams made reality. Gosh, we are thankful.

It would be an understatement to say that it’s really fun to now be able to think about the Dublin spots we’ll get to introduce Maya to for the first time. I can’t wait to see her face when we take her to see the ocean or when she’s running around the beach chasing seagulls. And of course, even though Maya won’t care so much about some of my less kid-friendly spots yet, I’ve been thinking about how much fun it will be to return to those as well.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, spots I’ve been daydreaming about lately.

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Howth

We spent so much time in and around Howth that it’s easily the place I’m most excited to show Maya and most excited to get back to. I’m excited for Howth hikes and the smell of gorse and the view of the sea. And for grabbing coffee with Michael strolling along the pier – this time with a stroller! We’re going to have to bundle our little Texan burrito against the wind. She’s going to be shocked! (All about Howth here, here and here.)

Coffee

Speaking of coffee, oh, we miss Irish coffee. Not the alcoholic kind, although those are better in Dublin too. We have four coffee shops within a 6 block radius of our place in Houston, one is terrible, but three of the four we frequent often enough (one Michael goes to so often they give him free coffee nearly every time!). But we really miss Irish milk, which makes a cappuccino taste like dessert in Ireland. (I wrote about a few of my favorites Dublin coffee spots you can check out here.)

Restaurants

I am going to seriously miss Mexican food when we return to Dublin – cilantro is $.38 a bunch at the grocery store here and way more flavorful than any I’ve had before. Not to mention $2 taco Tuesdays which has become a fun little treat each week. But aside from Mexican food I’m excited to get back to some of our favorite Dublin restaurants – the Winding Stair, Brother Hubbard, The Black Sheep, Etto and the Pig’s Ear. And a few spots have opened since we left and we’re very excited to try them when we return.

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Cosy Pubs

Our new house isn’t in walking distance to our old local pub, a fact Michael laments just about every time we talk about going home. But we’re excited to be able to leave Maya with her grandparents and go out for a drink every so often! Our babysitting options here have been limited, so we’ll have to make up for a little lost time! (I wrote about how to blend in at the pub here.)

stephens-green

Busy Streets and Pretty Parks

I don’t think I ever really imagined I’d count Dublin’s busy streets as something I miss, but I miss the buzz of the city centre, especially on a sunny day. Of course, strolling through Stephen’s Green or Merrion Square is more peaceful but usually equally buzzy.

Museums

I definitely miss Dublin’s free museums, popping in and out of them whenever I had a free half hour. I’m hoping we’ll catch my favorite time at the Royal Hibernian Academy this summer – their annual exhibit of Irish artists with the walls packed with paintings, photography and drawings. My itinerary on Stay.com includes a bunch of my favorite museums.

irish-design-shop

Favorite Shops

I didn’t realize when we left Dublin how much I’d miss popping into my favorite shops every few weeks, chatting with the owners and seeing what was new on the shelves. Luckily Maya is a patient little lady, because we’ll have a few rounds to make, from the Irish Design Shop to Article and Dust. (A few more scoops from those shops here and here.)

Just looking through my photos for images to accompany this post made me a little more homesick than I’d like to be! We won’t be back soon enough that I can start counting the days, but having a little daydream every so often definitely helps.

For more spots to visit on your first time visiting Dublin, have a peek at Stay.com and download their city guide app. They have a selection of itineraries curated by Dublin locals on various topics and interest. Thanks for supporting the companies that help support From China Village! 

Happy Weekend!

March 5, 2016

houston-spring-flowers

Happy weekend, everyone! How are you? Our week was uneventful in the best possible way. Maya napped like a champ and even managed to sleep through the night a few nights, too. She still seems to wake herself up around 5:30am but we’re hoping that eases forward an hour in the near future. Michael is away this weekend visiting his brothers, so Maya and I are on our own for the first time in Houston. So weird! We’re going to do a lot of what we usually do. Nap, eat, play, repeat. The weather warm and breezy so we’ll continue some of our bottles al fresco! Maya loves looking up at the bamboo trees swaying against the blue sky next to our patio.

Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? I can’t believe Dublin got snow this week! And I’m so glad to be getting a few months’ reprieve in the winter department. It’s not really in the top 100 things I miss about Dublin or Maine. February and March have been my favorite weather months in Houston. I fully appreciate the lack of humidity most days!

The rhododendrons are blooming here in Houston (the photo above snapped on a neighborhood run last week), which reminds me of Dublin’s June rhododendron blossoms at Deer Park. It’s worth marking your calendar in advance!

Really cool wire house numbers – for when we finally get to return to that house in Dublin that we own!

Make your own edible birthday candles. Clever!

An app for choosing your baby’s name. It has swiping like Tinder, ha!

Great family habits for eating less sugar. I’m on day 5 of a month-long  (or longer?) no-sugar kick and I’m currently eating way more real foods than I had been.

While Michael’s away this weekend, so I’m going to catch up on House of Cards and maybe start the new season.

This looks like a very affordable and relatively simple DIY marble accent table.

Happy weekending, team! I hope yours is lovely!

Multiple Mother’s Days

March 4, 2016

mothers-day-ireland Did you know Ireland and America have two different Mother’s Days? It’s not something terribly interesting or noteworthy unless you’re an expat. For a few years, I thought it was quite convenient – we celebrate my mother-in-law on Irish Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday, as it’s called), which is coming up this Sunday, and my own mother on American Mother’s Day later in the spring. I don’t think I’ve actually gotten to be with my own mom on Mother’s Day since I moved to Ireland, which is crummy, but we could celebrate her from afar, which is still nice.

But do you know when two mother’s days became really annoying? When I wanted to become a mother, but I wasn’t any closer to becoming a mother. For about five years. Which is a total of ten mother’s days. Ugh.

(And while we’re throwing parental trivia around, Father’s Day? Same in Ireland as in America. Grrrr. How is that fair?)

I’ve started a kind of lengthy post about our (ongoing) infertility journey but it’s still not ready to see the light of day, so here is a small instalment. When you’re trying to get pregnant and not having any luck, days like mother’s day and father’s day are particularly hard. Not because I don’t love celebrating my mother, because she deserves lots and lots of celebrating – especially for that extra level of mothering that she manages to provide when her over-thirty-year-old daughter calls from across the ocean in puddles of tears over something relatively un-fixable that has reduced her to puddles of tears occasionally for years. (Luckily, I manage not to do this on actual mother’s day – gotta give the lady a break!)

But mother’s days are hard because they are the days that it’s nearly impossible to avoid wondering whether you’ll ever get to join the club that gets to be celebrated on mother’s day. There’s so much mystery to infertility, so many questions about why it affects who it affects, and simply nothing that can give a guarantee you’ll ever make it into the club. It affects so many people, but then again it doesn’t affect other people. It’s such a strange one! And there’s no guarantee all the doctors in the world could figure out how to make you pregnant if you aren’t. In some cases, they can, and in some cases they can’t. The internet is awash in stories of success stories and stories that don’t end so happily. Why it happens, to nice people who would be nice parents, is a mystery. And a crummy one at that.

Even now that I am a mother, I don’t feel very excited about celebrating mother’s day. That’s not to say I’m not excited about being a mother. That excitement has not and will not ever wear off. But the thought of mother’s day still makes me feel uncomfortable. It still has so many memories of wondering and worrying attached to it, so many feelings of wanting so badly to be in a club I couldn’t figure out how to get in. I hated that feeling and a sliver of it is still lingering. I also hate knowing that I have friends and family who will still have that achey feeling on Sunday.

I wish I had some kind of suggestion as to how to make it better on those especially crummy days, but I’m not sure I do. For me, at least, having to talk about how painful it was to not know if I’d ever be a mother on mother’s day was somehow worse. Michael always made a point of giving me an extra big squeeze and reassuring me that he knew I’d be a great mother one day, and that extra love and acknowledgement did help a little. But mostly, it was always one of those days I just plastered a smile on my face (sometimes more successfully than others – I’m not always good at pretending!), avoided Facebook and Instagram, and tried not to have a major meltdown in front of too big an audience.

Great strategy, huh?

One thing Michael and I did realize after a few years was that it was kind of nice to have a few people we could talk to about how crummy a mystery infertility is. To joke and laugh and sometimes cry about how absurd and isolating and lonely it can be outside that club looking in. It was also helpful to know that we weren’t the only ones in the same boat, although it was never fun to learn that someone was having the same struggle we were. At least we weren’t the only ones avoiding Instagram on mother’s day and trying not to snark at someone when they joked about putting their misbehaving child up for adoption (I kid you not). But while our instinct was to shut out the world and never talk about it, having a few people we could vent to on Whatsapp or over a glass of wine was actually therapeutic.

All that to say I remember how it feels, how hard those days are, how hard Sunday might be for some of you. If you’re in the middle of it, you’re not the only one. If you want to send me a big old rant about how crummy it is, I am all ears and empathy. And I’m giving you a big, virtual extra hug and wishing and praying that you won’t have to feel that way for much longer.

Happy Weekend!

February 26, 2016

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Happy Friday! How are ya? It is freaking sunny and beautiful here in Houston, so there has been a fair amount of nap-time work going on out in the back patio soaking up vitamin D. Thank goodness Maya remembered how to nap this week – AND even slept through the night last night! The current magic napping tricks seem to be shorter wake time, the return of the swaddle, and absolute darkness. Long may they work! I haven’t a clue what magical combination of tricks made for that long stretch of sleep last night, but we’re going to try very hard to recreate it tonight. And for the moment, my productivity has improved greatly. I even made dinner most nights. Including this very delicious soup (although I added a sweet potato) with our latest farm share booty. I didn’t even know I liked turnips, but in this soup I’m absolutely a fan.

Michael and I have a few low key plans for the weekend – while hanging on tightly to Maya’s new and improved nap schedule! Tonight involves one strong but early margarita for me. We have a favorite Mexican restaurant (they make their own tortillas and they’re really delicious) about six blocks away so it makes for the perfect stroll. Tomorrow, on the recommendations of a friend, we’re going to check out the McGovern Centennial Garden in Hermann Park while eating bagels from the Hot Bagel Shop. We don’t eat bagels very often, but I’ve gotten it in my head that a bagel is exactly what I want at the moment.

I seem to have collected quite a parent-oriented list of links this week. Apologies, but I suppose you can see how far down the rabbit hole I really am.

I’ll be back next week with a little tour of our neighborhood and a few other fun tidbits.

5 ways Cheerios can save long flights with kids.

The beauty of waking before children. One day, maybe, one day.

A redesign of the Bible that sounds fascinating.

One very comical play by play of a American guy losing his phone, following it to China, becoming a Chinese Twitter celebrity and making friends with the man who ended up with his phone.

The things we need to stop saying about dads.

Maya is loving her made-in-Maine teething ring.