i watched irene come rolling in from the south via twitter and i was getting pretty antsy. since i knew we were safe i was sort of hoping for a little stormy show. maybe some loud rain to fall asleep to. instead, we got some quiet rain overnight, a few leaves on the sidewalk in the morning, and a new pond in central park in an area where there used to be just grass.

we stayed inside and played it safe and watched mad men online with the rest of new york (the server was so overloaded we only got every third frame and so it was like watching all of sterling cooper doing  the robot), and then we got bored and decided to venture out for a careful walk, to see who all was brave enough to be open. (our neighborhood chinese place made a KILLING, they were open both days, and packed every time we walked past).

{lansky's is in our hood, and it's totally name dropped in the first season of mad men. i now want to go to every restaurant named in the show that is still open, wearing pin curls and lipstick, and also candy cigarettes are involved somehow.}

did i mention we watched wayyy too much mad men over the weekend?
i'm thinking of bringing back the pin curls, betty draper style.

(after just three hours in them today, my hair fell completely flat, soooooo.)



oh, irene. the sun never quite made it out of bed this morning, we could tell she was coming. so we wandered around the neighborhood for a bit before the rain started to fall, my holbslicker and the huckumbrella and i. we could feel the electricity bouncing between the gray misty clouds and the coming storm on our arms all afternoon. we popped into a few bodegas to see what all was left on the shelves, and searched out open restaurant for a quick lunch before we headed inside to wait out the storm.

we found a thai place. it wasn't terribly fantastic.

but don't you worry. huck is ready for lady irene. 
he says, "bring it, sister!"

we're lucky to live in a safe zone. we've been emailing friends to make sure we're all prepared. we have plenty of water and batteries and sugary snacks. we feel ready to wait this one out. there's mad men on the netflix, i have some needlepoint to attend to, and there is a squishy baby who is just learning to crawl around the house. what more could we need?

i'm feeling pretty good about it. thanks everyone for your concern.
i'll be sure to keep you updated.

stay dry, east coasters.
see you on the flip side!

this week, on the babbles:
at baby's first year we're talking about lead poisoning, the best small cribs,
and explanations for some of your baby's weird habits.  

at the new home ec,
homes of the movies: you've got mail (oh yes oh yes oh yes!),
a round up of wood paneling inspiration
and how to minimize lead poisoning in older homes.



this week has challenged me a bit. i think it's cyclical; feeling on top of the world one minute and then suddenly realizing that what you are standing on isn't solid at all, but actually a small pile of mud, and then down you go, slipping until you're flat on your bum and feeling pretty silly.

it's the moment that you first notice the mud that's the killer. if we never noticed the mud, would we ever really be in the mud? (deep thoughts.)

on sunday the world is probably going to end. well, maybe not. our teeny apartment isn't in an evacuation zone, but our new one is. we don't move in until october and i am worried about my new fridge. oh dear, my poor fridge! i imagine it there in my cute new kitchen, bravely withstanding feet upon feet of standing hurricane water, and i wish it good courage.

good courage, awesome fridge!

i texted my mother to tell her we were compiling a 72-hour kit, and also, most likely dying soon.

she texted back,

"i can see you now, hauling 72 hours worth of diet pepsi through the city."


first of all, is i'm obsessed with this sweater.

secondly, yesterday afternoon i survived an earthquake. i feel an exclamation point might belong there maybe. exclamation point! at first i thought i was just dizzy, and then i realized i was actually bouncing

being on the ninth floor of a skinny old apartment building during a mild earthquake feels like what i imagine sitting on top of a stick of string cheese might feel like. which is to say, wobbly. 

thirdly, we recently had an anniversary. happy anniversary to us! we went into brooklyn for sushi and the bridge, and then dunkin donuts because it was right there on the corner and looked SO GOOD. oh look i have photos for this part!

happy anniversary, baby.
(insert joke here about earth shaking things, i'm too tired to come up with one.)



the other day i tried on a pair of hot pink skinny jeans. they were, like, hot pink. with zippers on the ankle. i don't know much about this whole ankle zipper thing, except whoever invented them must not sit cross-legged ever. 

i realized as i tried them on that, should i bring them home with me, they would be my second item of hot pink clothing meant to be worn on my bottom half. and as i realized this i wondered to myself what all that would say about me as a person, a person owning two bottom halves made of hot pink, and hopefully it means something flattering, but i wouldn't get my hopes up.

i bought them and then brought them home with me in my strollah, with my bebeh, and my three twelve-packs of diet pepsi sticking haphazardly out of the undercarriage storage.

the holbsamundo used to have zippers on his shoes, he informs me as i type this incredibly poetic bit of literature. he is waxing nostalgic about these shoes now, and about "putting quarters in them" for the purpose of "making phone calls" after school.

furthermore, there are no fewer than thirty-six cheerios strewn about the floor at this moment, currently. i look at them, all sad and abandoned, some of them ground up into magical cheerio dust, and this is how i know i have become an adult. 

this week, on baby's first year:

and, on the new home-ec:
(can you tell what's on my mind these days?)
architecture in film (you've got mail coming up first!)




eight years ago today it was a tuesday. the sun was warm, the hydrangeas were in bloom, and i had blackberries in my bouquet. everything was upside down at the time. jobs were hard to come by, money was tight, and i had two semesters to go until graduation, but we closed our eyes and we took a leap. by the end of the night i had grass stains on my dress and a giant smear of blackberry across my hip. 

last night the moon was bright. huck's head was heavy on my arm as he slept. i could feel all sensation in my left hand leaving me. i looked over at my ginger, also awake and restless, and i couldn't stop the grin from taking over my entire face. 

there we were, just the three of us. the friend of my friend in the accounting program at byu with the smattering of copper freckles. the baby i thought we might never have. the twinkling lights of the city out the window of our too terribly tiny apartment but we're making things work. the friend of my friend is now my husband, with the beautiful arm hair and the dimple in his chin, who is sometimes my foe but is always my best friend.  

marriage isn't easy. it takes so much more than puppy love or chemistry or even the deepest of friendship to make it work. and today our marriage is an eight year old. a third grader. our marriage is old enough to be baptized and have its sins forgiven. 

so today, baby, let's forgive each other of our sins, buckle that fat baby into his stroller, and go get dinner at our favorite sushi place in brooklyn. 

i sure do love you, b.

red hair and all.



On Monday morning we plum ran outta diapers, with less than 24 hours remaining in our family vacation. 

I snuck into Alex's room early that morning and asked to borrow her zippy little Volkswagen. And then, keys in hand and sudden freedom on our horizon, my Huckleberry and I set out for adventure! And intrigue! And the closest Target. For diapers.

There is nothing more defeating than buying an entire pack of diapers knowing full well you'll only use up a tenth of them with no room to spare in your luggage, but there is also nothing better (when you are me) than a car with a car seat carrying a fat gurgly baby, and also the baby is mine, and plus we have free excuse to go to the Targets. Diapers for everybody!

In the car I cranked up the stereo and rolled down the windows, and sang as loudly as I wanted. Huck jammed along in the back seat, blabbing and singing and kicking his legs and making buzzing noises with his lips. And as I glanced in the rear view mirror at his little monkey toes pointing to the sky, I thought to myself, 

"Oh, so this is what it would have been like if I had gotten pregnant sooner, and we hadn't moved to New York, and we had lived another life, and that life included Target."

Sometimes I feel as though my life is like a chapter book. Or possibly a collection of essays, or short stories. One place and one time and one person for a while, before morphing and changing, becoming another place, another time, someone new to discover, new to become, leaving trails and traces and entire lives behind, and always starting fresh. 

My book would go like this.
Chapter One: A confident, half-naked, free-spirited childhood spent in Arizona. 
Chapter Two: An insecure adolescent feels super awkward in Connecticut.
Chapter Three: The angry, contrary years at BYU.
Chapter Four: The newlywed years in Oregon.  
Chapter Five: That one time I moved to Brooklyn and suddenly became myself.
Chapter Six: When New York Natalie became Moscow Natalie, a girl who daydreamed in wheat fields.
Chapter Seven: That awful and blessed summer in San Jose when I was--well, I don't even know who I was then.
Chapter Eight: The end of Moscow and coming face to face with New York Natalie all over again. 
Chapter Nine: We become a mother.
Chapter Ten: Suddenly there is a pay check and it no longer upsets ulcers to go to the grocery store, and I can buy clothes for the baby and nobody panics.

Being a chapter book is tiresomely overrated, I am afraid. It involves the painful shedding and growing of new skins. One more Once Upon A Time, only to eventually leave it behind again, fully and completely. 

Often times I find myself wishing I could have lived a life of continuity instead. Staying in one place from start to finish. Being just one person, from beginning to end, one person I know and understand. One long, meandering paragraph.

As we pulled up to a stop light I read the intersecting street name out loud. It tasted foreign on my tongue though I knew the street well. I glanced back at those toes in the mirror again as the dark Portland clouds in the sky moved overhead. I remembered past trips to Target, I remembered past dreams of baby toes. I remembered when those baby toes were mine in the hot Arizona sun, when suddenly, there I was. All of me there. All of me at once. 

Every version of me I've ever been, every chapter I'd ever lived, violently crashed in on me with a whoosh of familiarity and recognition. Like time had stopped and sped up and rewound and played and I was finally in one piece.

And it was that summer in San Jose: the sun beating down through the windows of the blue Volvo and onto my arms as I drove--anywhere and everywhere--seeking adventure, or more likely, seeking to outrun what felt like perpetual sadness. It was those long years in Idaho spent daydreaming in rearview mirrors, pretending to see outstretched baby toes and imagining the life I longed for. It was the tanned little girl of five years old with no fear and ambition for miles. And it was Oregon, in a place I've never understood but sometimes call home, with my New York drivers license burning a hole in my pocket and my very own baby eating a Cheerio he found somewhere in the car seat. 

It was all so weird and painful and splendid. 

And then the light changed, and it was just me again. 

Fragmented in a borrowed car, running out of diapers we'll never finish.



we have had so much fun in portland the last two weeks. huck has been having the time of his life with baby theo.

this week i had a lot of blog firsts . . . like, first word theft (it was super weird seeing my brunch post on someone else's blog . . . a little flattering, but mostly weird), my first time being recognized in a j.crew, and having my first run-in with really persistent, really strange, sort of frightening emails. i'm not sure how i feel about any of it, actually. 

last night we went on a little family walk around the neighborhood and through the old garden center i used to work at over summers in college. the place is really beautiful. somewhere in the last few years john must have bought these weird mannequins. weird, mostly fun, kind of frightening. pretty much this week in a nutshell.

babble posts: 
the truth about getting your period back after baby
what to do if your kid is a biter
summer jim jams
drinking thru a straw and sleeping (or not) on vacation

 . . . and the new home ec blog!
what makes up a well-stocked bath,
a little tour of my apartment,
what comes first? vacuuming or dusting?
kick your top sheets, and doily projects! oh doilies!



one sunday while my mom was in town, we decided to play hookie from church and visit the cloisters, which, if you're going to play hookie it may as well be to see medieval religious art. 

the cloisters is a branch of the metropolitan museum of art dedicated to medieval and religious art, set inside a castle located wayy up on the northernmost tip of manhattan, it kiiiiiiiind of felt like hogwarts.