Apr 082015 Posted in Just Words15 Responses

Things Made of Love

When I was 21, I stripped all of my beliefs and definitions down to their barest bones.  I was a shattered reputation and a broken heart and lost somewhere between learning to trust my instincts and believing my instincts would always, only betray me.  I was a blank slate, and facing a lonely and daunting future, and so I did what all sane humans do when they are craving love and companionship – I got a dog.

I got a dog.  This is a eulogy.

I’m not sure what I believe about dogs and their souls and heaven, but I believe there is a well, or a current, of love that exists beyond what I understand. We touch it occasionally- the first moments after the birth of a child, meeting a stranger who seems so familiar, a glance across a room that speaks a thousand words in a few seconds time, the faces and voices that appear in our deepest dreams- I like to believe a good dog is something borrowed from that holy place. A bit of that perfect love given temporary limbs, that we might understand something new about what it means to love wholly, selflessly- that we may feel seen and held and cherished.

Caper was my safe place this side of heaven.  Through the most unsteady, sleepless years of my life, he anchored me to something unmovable and holy and true.  Where I was, he wanted to be, and whoever I became, he adored.  The hundreds of nights I came home defeated to an empty room, empty apartment, lost-gone on wanting things I could never have, he greeted me tail wagging, caught tears, and slept by my side.

It sounds silly, but it simply is – Cape was the way I was loved, and he helped me rebuild.

He loved who I loved.  He hated kids.  He lived for table scraps and couch snuggles.  He was the least dog-like dog I’ve ever known.  He’d raise a cynical eyebrow across the room at you one minute and be huddled up in your lap the next. He made space for a toddler who climbed and tugged and adored him, because she was mine, and so his also.  He waited in the living room every night, always, until I went in to bed.  We were always the last two souls awake in this place.  My nights feel still.

Caper died this week, his head in my hands as I whispered “You’re a good boy, buddy,” again and again and again.  On that last ride to the vet, he lifted his tired head to rest it on my arm, and we drove as we’d driven for the last decade, and I rolled down the windows and sang him made up songs.  He knew where we were going.  I knew it was time.

I’d be wrong not to tell you that I feel a bit untethered – he was the keeper of all of my secrets, and now he is gone.

So I’m sad, friends.  But here is what I believe about joy- open all the windows, and it comes in to find you. Unexpected doorstep offerings from lovely friends, sweet baby kisses, good food, long walks- joy finds its way through the cracks in the sidewalk, takes your sadness by the hand like an old lover and sits by silently, stirring up gratitude, settling your soul.  Water and fire.  The bread and the wine.

I will think of him having returned there, to that well beyond my understanding.  I will think of that love now reborn in first smiles and deep kisses and soulmates and old friends. Because all things made of love are eternal, and isn’t that everything?

Things Made of Love - Girl of Cardigan

Goodbye, old friend.

Girl of Cardigan

Feb 112015 Posted in Dear Beautiful Girl, The MotherHood, Wear Your Baby6 Responses

LILLE Love Letters – On Love

As part of my partnership with LILLEbaby, Fabes and I are participating in the #LILLEloveletters series.  I’ll be writing to her on different themes throughout the year.  For this first installment in the series, the theme is “Love.”

LILLE Love Letters: On Love - Girl of Cardigan

Dear Beautiful Girl -

What can I write to you about love that hasn’t been written a thousand times before?

You are teaching me, every day, the width and breadth and depth of love – the limits it will stretch toward, the tired way it laces your hair through my fingertips after a long day of toddler battling, the ache it anchors in the squarest center of my chest, the wounds it is carving on my soul.

We speak of love as though it were an independent thing, a wonder that forces itself on us and comes and goes at whim, a fickle magic that cannot be cultivated or captured.  We speak of love as though it turns the world easy, the days giddy, the months short, the years golden.

LILLE Love Letters: On Love - Girl of Cardigan

I want to tell you a different love story, tiny beautiful girl.  I want to tell you that love is the bravest thing, a stubborn thing, the grip of strong fingers onto precious arms, a steady voice humming lullabies while hurricanes swirl overhead.  Loving you is the most natural thing I’ve ever done, and also the hardest and most impossible, because love opens us up to loss and fear and the tension of living with something we long for.  Loving you means allowing my heart to break in my chest when you cry, or hurt, or rage.  Loving you invites your pain and makes it my own.  Loving you sacrifices a piece of me, gives it to live and ache and die and mourn with you.  Loving you means I no longer belong only to myself.

LILLE Love Letters: On Love - Girl of Cardigan

Love makes us vulnerable, for we are made of breakable stuff – we are beautiful mistake-makers who betray and hurt and fail.  I will fail you, more times than I care to, and we will fall apart and fall back together, but let me tell you this: Loving you is the best work I have ever done, that I will ever do.  Loving you is so much more than worth it.

LILLE Love Letters: On Love - Girl of Cardigan

Love is our battle cry in the broken places.  It is the bravest thing, and the hardest, and a fierce and mighty weapon against the forces that would rob us of each other.  Love is a conquerer, and it is yours to choose, to cultivate, to celebrate, and to give.  Love is the way we belong to each other, the way we carry each other, and the thing that carries us.  May you love with ferocity, beautiful girl, with reckless grace, with wild abandon, with all of your heart.

LILLE Love Letters: On Love - Girl of Cardigan

And I will whisper to you, as I have done every night since the night you were born:

I love you bigger than the sky

I love you deeper than the sea

I love you wider than the world

I love you taller than the stars

And you’re my best girl.

Girl of Cardigan

Jan 232015 Posted in Just Words, The MotherHood7 Responses

Please Don’t Ask Me For Directions (A Tale of Woe)

Yesterday I gave a very sweet lady terrible directions.

Not just terrible.  Wrong.  I sent her in the exact opposite direction than I should have.

She pulled up next to us in the Target parking lot as I was unbuckling Fabes from her carseat.  ”Excuse me?” she asked kindly, “Can you help me?  I’m trying to get to this other Target…”

And I, who posses the world’s most unreliable sense of direction and the world’s most acute awareness of said unreliability, chose this moment to go rogue and give this woman directions without pulling out the smartphone in my pocket that holds within it all known knowledge in all of the known knowing.  If it were me trying to get somewhere, sure, I’d tap that sucker into Google, but for the world’s sweetest 70-something lady who has been driving around for an hour already, aw heck – let’s wing it.

I gave her directions.  We smiled, we laughed, and as Fable was hollering “GOODBYE!” at the white station wagon turning out of the parking lot, it occurred to me that I AM THE DEVIL.  Because I realized, in that hopeless little moment, that I had sent her quite literally in the exact opposite direction she needed to go, a mistake that would likely cause her at least another hour of confusion and being lost.  And it was too late, because she was gone.

“GOODBYYYYYYYYE” yelled Fable.

Folks stop and ask me for help and directions more often now that I have Fable with me.  I wonder if there is something that seems reliable or nurturing or safe or friendly about young mothers that inspires this phenomenon.  ”Aw, she keeps a toddler alive!  I bet she knows how to get to the zoo.”

People.  Let me tell you, NOBODY IN ALL OF KNOWN KNOWINGNESS is a less reliable source of information than the parent of a child under ohletssay 5.  We don’t sleep.  We eat poorly.  We are distracted, and often frazzled, and usually late.  We are listening to you while simultaneously discovering half of a peanut butter sandwich from God-knows-when in our pants pocket.  We are surviving on coffee and community and Cheerios.

Please Don't Ask Me For Directions - Girl of Cardigan

I spent our entire shopping trip thinking of ways to save the woman I had led so terribly astray.  ”Perhaps if I put it on the internet!” I thought, brilliantly, with a sudden and obvious total lack of understanding of how the internet actually works.  Because sweet senior citizens with no GPS or Mapquest access are clearly going to be checking my Instagram for regular updates on whose day I’ve completely effed up.

“GOOOOOOOOOOOOODBYE!” (my kid is the world’s most enthusiastic goodbyer.)

I’m imagining a scenario for this woman, because I have to live with myself.  So as far as we’re concerned, me and all of you fine folks, this sweet lady turned in to the parking lot of the completely wrong Target I sent her to, confused and annoyed, only to pull up next to her old high school sweetheart in the meet-cute of the century.  And they talked for hours and ate pretzels and Slurpees and they will be married and sit fireside and sigh over the sweetness of life and fate and love and absent minded young mothers with good intentions and horrible senses of direction.

Maybe if we all believe it.  It’s a good story, after all.

And they lived happily ever after.

Also, now my hair is blue.  (just thought I’d throw that in there)

Please Don't Ask Me For Directions - Girl of Cardigan

best hair ever by @heatherbsimon of @tribe_hair_studio

Here are three sweet things for your weekend:

I’ve been resisting Everlane for so long for no reason what so ever, but I finally caved, and folks – these just might be the perfect affordable tshirts.

These lovely thoughts on why so many members of our generation are drawn to homesteading from my lovely friend Kelly of Little Fall Creek.

This recipe for the ultimate in comfort food cookies.  Complete with teeny, tiny peanut butter cups.

May you all head in the direction that leads you home.

Girl of Cardigan

Dec 302014 Posted in Just Words, Love14 Responses

May We – A New Year’s Manifesto

Every year is our first, and our last, and our only.  This year:

May we play.  May we look as ridiculous as possible as often as we can in the name of abandon and giggling and childhoods full of smiles.  May we be the first to give ourselves over to the joke or the game, to fall on our prideful swords, to hold ourselves loosely, carefully, with good-hearted scrutiny and abundant grace.  May we suspend our cynicism and our disbelief.  May we listen to stories, learn them, and tell them.  May we make the laughter happen and keep it living as long and as loudly and as well as we can.

May We - A New Year's Manifesto - Girl of Cardigan

May we seek to be uncomfortable, for those who are too comfortable have much to fear and little to do.  May the knowledge of injustice spread like hives on the skins of our souls.  May we itch and ache and writhe for solution, for salvation, for equality and freedom.  May we be less generous with our opinions and more generous with our time.  May we be the last to speak and the first to arrive, shovels in hand, to do the hard work of change-making.  May we save our words for the spaces within which we also intend to do.  May we be hashtag activists AS WELL AS front line warriors.  May we seek, and move, and be.

May We - A New Year's Manifesto - Girl of Cardigan

May we speak the hardests truths, the deepest shames, the secrets that own us with their silence.  May we give ourselves and each other the offering of honesty, coupled always with kindness.  May we follow conversations to the darkest and most frightening places and find within them healing and closure and community and truth.  May we burn the bridges that lead to our destruction and toast marshmallows and glasses of champagne.  May we say the thing we are afraid to say, and in doing so, set ourselves free.

May we love with ferocity, as though loving is our best and only right, our last and only desire.  May we choose words that open doors and speak them.  May we look up from our lives to greet each other, wide eyed and willing, vulnerable and alight.  May we sling the sounds of love across canyons, collecting the echoes and naming them our battle cry, our rebellion, and our proof.  May we throw our bodies into love’s softness – may we rest there.  May we rest.

May We - A New Year's Manifesto - Girl of Cardigan

May we become archeologists discovering the moments of our own time.  May we seek them with intention, brush away the debris, protect and discover and claim them.  May we be curators of memory and authors of adventure.  May we grasp stubborn-fingered at every possible joy.  May we loosen our grip on our wallets and our devices and our forward momentum.  May we sit open-palmed in the warmth of the sun.  May we collect simple treasures – soil between fingers, sand, sea… may we breathe deeply as though we might swallow the sky.  May we fill our lungs and our bellies and our minds with worship, and gratitude, and the warmth of each other.

May we take each other’s faces between our hands and whisper truly:

It is never too late.

We are always beginning.

Every year is our first, and our last, and our only.

Every year is ours.

May We - A New Year's Manifesto - Girl of Cardigan

Girl of Cardigan

 

Images by the incomparable Shannon Hannon Photography.

Nov 032014 Posted in Dear Beautiful Girl, Faby Baby16 Responses

525,600 Minutes – The Second Year

Dear Beautiful Girl -

You became a child in the moments I wasn’t looking – while I slept, or wrote, or there were dishes to clean.  Otherwise, surely I would have seen the shadows of your baby self fluttering from your face, witnessed the shrinking of the infant creases in your wrists and the disappearance of dimples on your knuckles.  Surely I would have noticed the moment the top of your head began to smell of sunshine and wet soil and Playdoh and strawberries instead of that unnamable new baby perfume. I would have captured each fragile moment of your metamorphosis, frozen and kept them, written each of them down. Surely I must have been sleeping. Surely I must have been doing. Because look at you, beautiful magical child of a girl.

Look at you.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

There is a core of fire that runs in you, a deep and profound confidence, a sureness of self that you wear in your eyes and your tiny new voice and your goofiest smile.  It is the thing that holds you, that stands you on your feet in rooms of strangers, meeting their eyes, holding their hands, singing them songs.  It is the vault of your secrets, the part of you that waits to reveal what you are learning, what you are seeing, what you know, until you have it all mastered and the moment is safe and specific and completely yours. You trust your own timing. You carve your own way. You meet strangers from a place within your spirit that knows its own worth and trusts the God-thing in new faces, the potential for love, the desire to play.

I envy this in you, the Fableness of you.  I watch it, and learn it, and let you teach it to me.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

You, at two, are generous with kisses.  You are prone to spontaneous bursts of enthusiastic hugging.  You are fully convinced that life is not worth living unless we stop and dance whenever you feel the rumble of heavy bass.  You love your grandparents and aunts so passionately that occasionally, when they are not with you, we must yell their names in car at the top of our lungs, a lament to the heavens for the brutal injustice of their absence.  You are convinced that all food falls into one of two categories: soup or cake.  You prefer the latter.

And somewhere within you is a magic bit, a fiery core, a sureness.  I watch it, and learn it, and let you teach it to me.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

You love Daniel Tiger with a love that borders on obsession.  You take fantastic care of your babies, kissing and wearing and tucking them in.  The sight of a bus sends you into literal spasms of joy.  You call all the trucks and trains and trolleys “Toot.”  You still laugh whenever the wind hits just right.  You still take my face in your hands like you’ve been trying and trying to tell me something I haven’t understood.  You still prefer to fall asleep on the back of my neck or lying with our noses touching, eye to eye.  Your feet no longer fit in the palms of my hands.  Your feet used to fit in the palms of my hands.

You are still the thing for which I am most profoundly grateful, still the someone who drives me to ground and renew and trust and seek after my maker, still my very best girl.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

My promise to you, tiny beautiful magical child of a girl, is to name the sureness in you, to remind you of it, to feed it and nurture it and help it to grow.

Happy Birthday to you, my most beautiful girl.  I have loved every minute of your second year on earth, and I promise you that I will love every minute of every year with you that follows, even the hardest minutes, the angriest, the bleakest.  You and I will continue to work our way through our imperfect days – we will rely on grace, we will cling to each other, we will celebrate.

We will measure always, always, always in love.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

image by Shannon Hannon Photography

Girl of Cardigan

A note to you, reader: Some day, our girl will come back and read these letters – I’d love for her to know the names of the friends and strangers who have watched her grow.  Now is the moment to let us know you’re here!  Please leave your wishes for Fabes in the comment section below, so I can share them with her, as I have shared her with you.  

 

 

Oct 162014 Posted in The City, The Lists4 Responses

Local Good – Portland Goodness for Your Fall

Local Good - Portland Goods for Fall - Girl of Cardigan

I don’t do a lot of round ups around here, but you all know how I feel about fall – specifically, Portland fall.  Love.  Big, big, cozy wooly love.  I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite autumn things that are made right here in Portland, that you might share in them, love them, snuggle and knit them, and generally take a touch of my favorite season in my favorite place into your home if you so choose.  Because FALL guys.  Fall.  Mmmmmmm.

1) You can’t fake Portland fall without legit coffee.  Thankfully, the seriously legit folks at almost-too-hip-to-handle Coava will ship their delicious magic to your door.  Sweet of them, no?

2) For those of you with littles, cold season is often completely un-fun.  I love this all natural alternative to Vicks to rub on congested little chests and the soles of sleepy toddler feet.  Baby Carrot Children’s Herbal Chest Rub.  Maybe also I use this on myself.  Maybe.

3) I always want to knit green things in the fall, so my seasonally misaligned cravings bring you this delicious wool from Knitted Wit.  Dyed to order and available in several weights.  Heavenly.

4) The difficult-to-track-down-but-so-incredibly-worth-it Mulling Spices lip balm from Wee Mindings.  It isn’t on their website, but email and ask for it.  Reminds me of the Lip Venom I was addicted to in high school, but without the numb and swelling cinnamon madness and, instead, just the perfect spicy lingering yum.  If you’re local, I picked this up at Portland Homestead Supply Co in Sellwood.

5) Local artist Scott Erickson is one of my favorite artists and humans, and I am seriously coveting one these Society6 totes with his Rise print.  Society6 is hit or miss for me, but I do love their totes, and this one... yes please.

6) My friend Mollie of Simply Carried just introduced me to the magic that is the Green Tea Facial Cream from Urban Oreganics.  Guys, I have the most incredibly sensitive skin, and thanks to my dance with Acutane in early adulthood, my face basically falls off every year in October.  It’s incredibly attractive.  This completely organic, vegan, magical cream is saving my face.  Literally.  Face SAVED.  I cannot say enough nice things about it.

7) It’s fall.  It’s fall, so we eat chocolate – that’s a thing, right.  If you’re going to eat chocolate, eat this chocolate.  You’re welcome.

8) House Spirits Coffee Liqueur is one of my favorite things to give as a gift, to get as a gift, to cozy up to… it’s delicious.  I dare you to find someone who doesn’t like it.  Okay, no, your teetotaler friends don’t count.  Nice try though.

My loves – cozy up.  Cozy in.  Stay healthy, keep your faces on.  Love your fall.

Girl of Cardigan

Disclaimer: No products, money, or other incentives were exchanged in the making of this list.  I just really like this things and thought maybe you would too.

Oct 022014 Posted in Dear Beautiful Girl11 Responses

Dear Beautiful Girl – The Story of Orange

Dear Beautiful Girl -

There were pipe cleaners spread between us on the floor, feathers and buttons and bells and beads for fairy building on a rainy afternoon.

“Red?” I offered.

“Nuh”

“Green?”

“Nuh!”

“Pink one?”

“NUH!”

I watched the river of tension begin, the one that travels your tiny body when the words to communicate the thing you want most will not come.  It starts with your fingers, which form tight balls of fist on stiffening arms.  Your knees flex, your torso bounces, your head protests violently side to side.  I watched the river run through you, tiny beautiful wild thing on the other side of the pipe cleaners, and with a touch of desperation I asked you a question.

“Which one do you want, baby?”

You stilled, suddenly, and looked me square in the face with those wide wild blue eyes and said firmly:

“Orange.”

Dear Beautiful Girl - Orange - Girl of Cardigan

Which is how I discovered you can say orange, and at the same time, that you know your colors.  I handed you the orange pipe cleaner, and you smiled casually and went about your fairy building business.  I, baffled, spent the next hour grilling you – “Which one is red?  Which one is brown?” and watching in disbelief as you chose the correct pipe cleaner EVERY SINGLE TIME.  You had shown no interest in colors, never indicated that you might know them, never before been able to point to the “red circle” or grab the “blue ball” and here they were, all colors, suddenly yours and owned and mastered.  I did not teach you this.  Did I teach you this?  Did you teach it to yourself?  Were you teaching me?

Maybe Elmo?

You are a keeper of secrets, tiny wild thing, wood sprite, tempest mine.  You hold your cards close until you are sure of your hand. You wait to reveal your strategy until you know the game is already won.

Your words are coming, flooding in now by twos and threes in a day, but they were slow to find you, and my heart breaks for the disappointing times I haven’t been able to interpret your frustrated grunts and gestures.  I can’t imagine how strange and silent it must be to understand and not be understood, how noisy and cluttered the things you want to say must become on the back of your tongue.  I can’t imagine the chorus of learning and knowing and becoming that is booming in your mind.  Words have always been my gift, and I am desperate to give them to you, impatient to share them, terrible at waiting, ready, ready, so ready to know.

“Mama. Dada.” you read, pointing to the letters on the drive-through sign.  Later, you are at your chalkboard scribbling “letters” underneath the ones you asked me to write and muttering “Mmmm. Aaaaah. Mmmmm. Mama.”

Everything is stirring.  Anything might be.

Dear Beautiful Girl - Orange - Girl of Cardigan

Minutes ago, and also years, you were the tiny body held closest to mine, soothed simply with carrying and feeding and songs.  You were mine as much as the palms of my hands or the beat of my heart.  Now, seconds later, a swift skip in time, there are secrets between us – things you know and have not yet chosen to tell me, things you are that I haven’t discovered, things you want to say that are simply awaiting the words.  And motherhood is always the opening and the breaking, the push and the pull – as you are becoming, you are more and more your own and less and less mine, but as you are becoming, I have the privilege of getting to know you, the you I will know for the rest of my life, the you I will watch you grow into.  There is always, daily, the loss and the gain.

I sneak into your room in the early morning and whisper words into your sleeping ears, the ones that I want to give you, the ones that I want you to keep.  I love you bigger than the sky.  I love you deeper than the sea.  I pull your damply sleeping big girl body onto mine and breathe in the still-baby smell of you and give you the best of the words that I know. I love you wider than the world.  I love you taller than the stars.

You are my favorite mystery, tiny beautiful girl, and I count and I cherish your words as they come.  And time is a thing that will keep on slipping as we try to catch it.  Let us revel, let us whisper, let us celebrate the trying.

Girl of Cardigan

 

Sep 252014 Posted in Wear Your Baby142 Responses

The Catbird Seat Giveaway

Lovely friends -

It has been a long, crowded, hot summer full of projects and tantrums and giggles and growth.  We have added six chickens to our family.  Fable has added dozens of words to her vocabulary, including orange, but not including red, green, or blue.  I got to officiate not one but two beautiful weddings.  We’ve gutted and rebuilt a room of our home, visited friends and family, and generally had a lovely time.  And I’ve missed you.  And it is my absolute joy today to welcome you back to GOC with the reveal of one of our summer projects, of which I am incredibly proud, and a fantastic giveaway for you.  Yay fall!

I’ve come to love my friends at Catbird Baby this year – loved working with them and learning about the carrier industry, loved their creativity and the way they welcomed me and embraced what I can contribute.  Last June, Beth and Nicole flew up to Portland, and together with my gorgeous friend Liz of Fishgate Films, a few friends, and this lovely city, we made The Catbird Seat, which has become one of my very favorite things.  I’m so glad to finally share it with you!!!

Catbird Baby makes a fantastic couple of carriers, and they have such a heart for families and babies and safety and connection.  It has been my privilege to work with them, to use their wonderful product to carry my girl, and now, to share it with you!  Catbird Baby has generously offered one winner their choice of the carriers featured in The Catbird Seat.  You can choose the Catbird Baby Mei Tai in Sunset or the Annika print, or the Catbird Baby Pikkolo in Zephyr Gray or Georgia print.

Both of these carriers offer four positions (front facing in, front facing out, hip, and high back carries) and both are fabulous for babes 8-40 lbs with no infant insert necessary (YAY!  I hate me an infant insert.)  Either one would be a fantastic addition to your existing carrier collection, or a wonderful first or only carrier for families just getting started with babywearing.  You also get my help making sure you are completely hooked up with all the tutorials and answers you need to make sure you’re using your new carrier well (you sort of already have that and can email me anytime, but hey, free carrier!!)

Details on how to enter are below!  If you need help choosing, well, you know where to find me! A winner will be chosen and contacted on Saturday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Psssst… want to double your chance to win? Head over to the Catbird Baby blog and enter their giveaway too!

Girl of Cardigan

Aug 182014 Posted in Just Words3 Responses

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila

Mom Jeans is a collection of thoughts on personal style from mothers of young children all around the world. Some are fashionistas, some would call themselves the furthest thing from fashionable – all of them are wildly beautiful, and all of them inspire me. Enjoy!

Mom Jeans: Notes on Personal Style - Girl of Cardigan

Hello, my name is Lila. I’m an urban-girl-turned-mom-and-maker, living in the city of San Francisco. Here I raise my little guy, Grayson, and run my business, Lingering Daydreams. I play hockey, make quilts, and explore with my husband, who I met in college many years ago. On my blog I write about my life, my love, and my adventures in entertaining. My blog started as a way for me to be sure that I was living in the present, dreaming and doing instead of getting lost in what could be. It continues to be that today, growing and changing with me and my life.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

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My personal style is cozy/urban with a little hipster tossed in for good measure. It has been a fun road. I started out of college as an elementary school teacher and allowed what I thought teachers should wear to guide many of my purchases. Now that I have left the classroom, I have found the freedom to express myself in my style. So fun.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

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Biggest challenge in maintaining my style? Baby puke. And dirty hair. Gone are the days of “hand-wash only” and blow-dry-and-go. Cotton is my new best friend, easy to wash and wear, and sock buns are an absolute go-to for me. I love how they look, they keep my hair away from little fingers, and they are quick once you get the hang of them.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

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My must-haves include:

- Layers! I especially love button down plaid shirts and large open sweaters. I like my plaid shirts a little over-sized, so I often go for a slightly fitted, mens shirt like this one. And I am a sucker for a sweater. Batwing, short, long, I love them all. I am super into the aztec patterns that are everywhere now, so cute. Both items are great for nursing and make a basic cotton tee look like an outfit.

Basic, comfortable t-shirts. Target is my spot for these. I literally wear them with everything. I even wore one with a gold sequin skirt once, no joke. You can dress them up with a cute skirt or dress them down with a pair of leggings and plaid shirt. They are soft on baby cheeks and easy to wash. Need I say more?

- Speaking of which, leggings. They are a staple. I love the ones from Lucy. Expensive, yes, but I found mine on Zulily for a steal. They don’t even flirt with being see-through and they have a little control-top action that is really nice to have in the weeks/months/years after giving birth.

- When I got pregnant, I started growing out my hair and my bangs. I had an idea for what was coming and wanted to be able to braid it or put it up out of the reach of little hands. Now, my favorite thing in the world is to simply twist, twist, twist, until is swirls into a bun atop my head. I use an hair band to secure it most days. If I am feeling fancy or want to feel a little more put together I use a sock bun roller like this one.

- I usually walk out of the house wearing Converse or boat shoes. Sperry’s are my favorite. Something I can slip on without too much trouble and still feel cute in.

- Great glasses and a good blush. I’ve always worn glasses, but now I appreciate them more than ever, it is like putting on eye make-up except easier. I love my wooden frames from Sire Crown, unique and beautiful. I have this blush in my bathroom and in my glove box. I find that on a tired day, a little blush makes me feel a little less tired looking.

 Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

 

For more of Lila, who I will confess to having a massive girl crush on at the moment, please visit her blog at www.lingeringdaydreams.com, and check out her adorable Etsy shop.  You can also find her on Pinterest and Instagram!  Thanks so much, Lila!

Girl of Cardigan

 

Jul 232014 Posted in A Good God, Just Words, Love, The MotherHood5 Responses

Where to Build the Fences

The toddler is dipping her toes in the water.

Across the lake, yards that may as well be miles away from her, ducklings are marching a drunken parade that is the stuff tiny Fable dreams are made of, and she wants to hold one.  She knows that between them are the depths and the shadows and the cold of the water and her inability to swim, but she is a single-minded spirit with rebellion in her soul, and today her soul cries “Ducky.”

The water is deep, but she doesn’t see the water.  She only sees what she is missing.  She only sees what she lacks.

There is a rebel of a girl who lives deep within me who only sees the lack.  She rages about the missing thing, aches to give it a name and a face and a value.  She is fear and fire, and she plants her toes loosely on the edges of disaster and insists that fulfillment is somewhere waiting in the burn and the glow.  She believes that contentment is a thing captured and granted and anchors her will in the pull of the illusive more.

I used to hate her.  I used to hide her and shame her and scream blame at her fickle fearful grasping and her tantrums and her noise.  But I’m learning to see her for what she is, what she isn’t, what she doesn’t know.  She believes that contentment is a thing captured, but I know that contentment is a victory won.  Contentment is the war wound healed from the stubborn fight of gratitude.  It is the armor chained from carefully curated observations of grace – a head on a shoulder, a glimpse of salvation, the chirp of a cricket, the clothes on the line.  It is a thing that breaks and rebuilds.  It is a thing that is broken and rebuilt.

Contentment is not the capture and keeping of beautiful things.  Contentment is watching beauty from the shore with eyes full also of the beauty beneath our feet and in our hearts and in our hands and accepting that nothing will ever be complete here, but aren’t we all worth it, and aren’t we all tragic and precious grasping love with white knuckles, yearning to know each other, following each other home.

We are each other’s, the frightened girl inside and the toddler on the waters edge and the mother-me who is learning where to build the fences and where to tear them down.

Today, motherhood is taking the girl with the rebellion in her soul in my arms and carrying her away from the edges of rivers and fires and the siren song of want.  Compassion is hearing her protests and honoring the plain and lovely sadness of her loss.  Faith is a patient hand in her hair as long as the tears fall and the presence of spirit to place something beautiful into her empty, grasping hands (the rain on the pavement, the truth of a promise, the sound of you on my skin) and hope is the whisper “Hold tightly, tiny beautiful girl.”

Hold tightly, hold tightly, and never let go.

Girl of Cardigan

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