Glory days

October 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

I missed my window for choosing what Lena was going to be for Halloween. (Was there ever a window?)

In any case, if I had any say, Lena would have been Max from Where the Wild Things Are for Halloween. Plus I would have been able to make a sweet sweet costume.

via etsy


Instead, when asked what she wants to be, Lena will alternate from a variety of animals, then demanding that we all go as a family of dragons. Until finally landing on….a circus queen.

Lena wants to be a circus queen. And has stuck with that for the past couple of days, which pretty much means it is a Real Decision.

How the heck do I make a costume for a circus queen? I’m thinking cape and wand-ish thing, and maybe I’ll buy a tutu and make a crown and call it a day. But most of all, Lena, this is not a cool costume. Maybe I’ll just convince her to be a dinosaur…

via esperrygood


R is for rawr

September 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

I saw this on the lovely Abby’s blog. (We were at UNC at the same time, but I’ve only found her blog through a mutual friend Angela.) And it’s a rainy saturday and I thought it would be fun to do. So here it goes. My alphabet.

Ambition: To be happy, to be a role model for my daughter.

Bad habit: I’m not the most patient of people. And I spend too much time on the internet.

City: Chapel Hill. I grew up here, I live here, and spent a long time feeling “stuck” here, and have now grown an intense pride and love for my hometown.

Drink: Coffee.

Education: B.A. in Biology and a minor in Chinese and creative writing from UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently deciding between a Master’s in Genetic Counseling, or PhD in Biology. (Molecular Genetics?)

Food: “A meal without cheese is like a beautiful woman who lacks an eye.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin Cheese. And snack foods.

Guilty pleasures: Netflix. And Ryan Gosling. And shoe shopping.

Hometown: Chapel Hill. Born and bred.

Ice cream: Chocolate chip cookie dough/Lena’s leftovers.

Jonesing for: Shoes. Always shoes.

Kryptonite: Lena.

Lookalike: I don’t really have one. No one consistently says I look like anyone. I think Alex looks like Ryan Gosling though.

Movie: I saw Midnight in Paris and walked away wanting to spend a year in Paris. It’s still in the back of my mind.

Nicknames: RACHAELS–Like Ray Charles. Rach. Mama. Mommy. RGB.

Obsession: Being ok. And Blogging. I have an obsession with blogs/blogging.

Perfume: Does the scented soap I use count?

Quirk: I need to be doing something with my hands when I watch television. So recently I’ve been making these tiny rosettes for bags and things. Does that count as a quirk.

Regrets: As silly as it sounds, I don’t really have any. The only ones I would have would be things I didn’t too, but there’s still time. I don’t believe in regrets. I think when I did I was being too sad.

Starbucks: Like I said, coffee.

Talent: I think I’m actually a really good mom.

Vacation: Anywhere with Alex and Lena. I want to go to DC with them soon. And, staycations are the new vacations. Naptime at this point is a vacation to me.

Wine: Light reds. Pinots and Shiraz(es?). And bottles shared with friends.

X: X to dwelling in the past.

Years: 23, for another month.

Zen: When Lena falls asleep. My early morning runs.

Thanks for indulging me. :)


August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Do you guys have any mantras? You know, things you say to yourself and repeat…whenever? They might be embarrassing, they might be mood changing, but everyone has one, right? Here, I’ll start.

I have a few.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling kind of intimidated, like I’m not doing enough, and some of my parent’s friends come over bragging about how great there kid is doing in grad school I think, Only you can make yourself feel inferior. Thanks Eleanor Roosevelt from a middle school inspirational poster.

When I’m running, this is the embarrassing one, I tell myself, Look how good you look!

And days like today, when something just isn’t quite right and I’m in one of those moods, I borrow a line from the amazing Ms. Zora Neale Hurston, and I say quietly, I love myself when I am laughing, and then again when I am looking mean and impressive

I love myself when I am laughing
and then again when I am looking mean and impressive.

I love myself when I am laughing
and then again when I am looking mean and impressive.


July 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Vacationing with kids is really fun. This summer has been fun. I’ve taken Lena to an out of town wedding, we went to LA with my mom, we were in Florida last month, and wow, Lena and I are awesome travelers. Except, vacation with Lena is not really a vacation. She wakes up earlier than she does at home, she doesn’t sleep as well, and whiny voice I don’t ever get to do what I want to do.

You know what would be really nice? A staycation. Some time when I’m at home and no one else is around and I get to do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it.

Things I would do on my imaginary staycation:
-Watch Freaks and Geeks
-Eat cereal for every meal, but not at meal times
-Never change out of sweatpants
-Watch Mad Men
-Finish the Song of Fire and Ice series
-Drink tea in bed
-Finish my art projects for my room
-Go to the gym for a leisurely hour in the middle of the day

I am clearly the most exciting person ever. It’s a good thing I have a kid, otherwise apparently I would never leave the house.


July 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sometimes, in order to confuse my daughter and amuse myself, I choose to speak to Lena only in lines from movies.

Specifically, Rex, from all three Toy Story‘s.

Me: Will someone please cover my eyes?
Lena: What.
Me: Now I have GUILT!
Lena: What mom.

My kid has completely mastered the declarative “what” by the way.

“Now I have GUILT!”

hahahahah I crack myself up.

Tips and tricks

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

After being in school for twelve years, we’re programmed to believe that summer is a time for play and relaxing and vacation. And then we enter the workforce, and I’m all, ‘So…when’s my last exam so I can get the hell out of here?’ ALAS. It does not come. But that doesn’t stop me from “planning” my summer. More pool visits! Baseball games! And then it’s like, oh yeah, nothing’s changed. I’m still working, and like, the weekends didn’t get longer or anything, just hotter, so does anyone else want to take Lena to the pool? It’s too hot out.

I do have some summer projects that I want to work on. (Again, with what mythical free time again?) I scored some cheap canvases at Michael’s, and I’m working on some arty things, for my room and for Lena’s room. Since we’ve pretty much decided we’re going to be hunkering down with my parents for the foreseeable future, it’s time to take some of the stuff off the walls of my old room which Lena now resides in, and make it a little more nursery/kid room friendly. (CHARLISS: I still have that picture of those skateboarders we met on campus that day, remember????? When we were taking that photography class??? So every night I snuggle in bed with Lena and look up at my walls and think, ‘there’s a picture of two shirtless boys with skateboards that Charliss and I met when we were like 14. that’s an awesome thing to be hanging in Lena’s room.’)

I’ve been hanging out a lot on Check out my boards. It’s a super cool way to curate your online interests. I surf a lot of blogs throughout the day, and pin some of my favorite things, whether it be style-y stuff or art projects I want to do or food I want to make.

Where was I going with this? Oh yes, so this summer is about simplifying my life. Just working on bits and things to make life a little smoother. I wrote about this earlier, and I’ve been more present with Lena, and I’m super satisfied with that, and I’m going to work on me too, a little more. I’ve already started on cleaning out my closet, getting rid of clothes I haven’t worn in years. I’ve donated over three trash bags full of clothes, and I’m about to donate some more.

The one thing that has really helped in ways I could not have imagined is It’s an online free way to manage your money. You can link up all your accounts from different banks, credit cards, loans, and it’s in one easy place. It sets up a budget for you, and has an easy way to set goals for yourself. Whether it be saving for college (Lena, btw, is going to a in-state public school, because HOLY SHIT college is going to be expensive in 15 years.), or saving for a down payment on a house. I recommend any recent grad 20-something with little to no money manage experience to check it out. Seriously, it’s amazing. The other thing that it does, is just by signing up for it I’ve started saving more money monthly. I know this won’t go for everyone, but there’s this crazy psychological thing, that when you write things down, and document them, you’re more aware of what you’re doing, and you’ll do them better, or if it’s a vice, you’ll do them less. It’s why a lot of diet and exercise programs have you keep logs. If you write down everything you eat for a week, by the end of that week you’re less likely to gorge on a whole bag of Dorito’s. On the flip side, if you’re running every day, and you’re logging those times and mileages, you’re more likely not to skip a run just because you’re feeling lazy, because you’re tricking your mind into thinking that your little log is the end all be all. This guy I work with is trying to quit smoking, and he just writes down every time he smokes a cigarette, and with very little other behavioral change, he’s been smoking less, just because the act of writing it down is enough to make him think twice about when he smokes. This is sort of what’s happening with me and I’m thinking twice before I whip out my debit card to splurge on coffee in the morning. I’ve made my lunch for the past two weeks, so I’m not spending on that. When I want to make something new for dinner, I’ve been trying to use stuff out of our pantry, instead of gratuitous trips to the grocery store where I end up buying new nice smelling soap or nail polish along with groceries. Because I need them! It’s cool. It feels really good. Go check it out.

Last night after the bath, I painted Lena’s fingers and toes. She was beyond ecstatic. It was the ultimate big girl moment. One foot is green, the other is pink, and her fingernails are orange. I painted her fingernails in bed, and all throughout the two chapters of Charlotte’s Web I read to her, she lay back on her pillow with her hands outstretched in front of her, admiring her new fingernails. She kept her arms extended and her hands out for much longer than necessary, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her. My grown up girl.

Starting to pay off

June 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

Last night, Lena let me read Charlotte’s Web to her.

I had forgotten how much I loved this book.

The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell–as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep.

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

I grew up with this book and I haven’t opened it or even thought about it in years. And last night, taking off the worn jacket and beginning to read it to Lena, I can’t describe the familiarity of the words to my ear, my wonder, piqued again by these small heroines, and noticing that Lena too, is listening quietly. Here is one of those moments, so whole and tangible, when Lena gives me so much more than motherhood. She’s taking me back. I can’t describe what children’s literature means to me. I grew up reading. Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume. Hatchet, The Giver, Cheaper by the Dozen, Walk Two Moons, I could go on and on and on down to Archie comics that I read every morning while eating cereal. I loved to read, and I still do, and Lena is reminding me how enchanted I was by these books. How much I loved and craved stories, the worlds that these authors created. How much I learned from them.

Although, I was saddened to learn that in the most recent versions of Are You There, God, It’s Me Margaret the elusive “belted sanitary napkins” have been changed to “adhesive sanitary pads”. Not the case when I was growing up, and until I got my period I was still quite under the impression that I too would get to have the little pink belt attached to my…well i think the logistics were still a little unclear at the time.

To Lena,
Thanks for keeping me young.
Now go to bed.

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