some days as i putter around the house, changing diapers and folding laundry and tossing plastic horses back from whence they came into their gray felt toy bin, i'll stop and realize that i feel a little bit like i am playing house. all these green army guys dotting the floor and the smears of yogurt on the couch stop feeling like a mess. instead they become the very best kind of make believe. make believe this life is mine. and then i laugh at myself because this is my life. and plenty of people would look at it and think, "yuck." plenty of people would look at my marriage and think, "limiting." plenty of people would look at my daily list of things i accomplish and think, "silly."

but somehow i feel like i lucked out big time. somehow i feel like i'm living the dream.

it's not like my life is anything particularly noteworthy or exciting or special. it's just the life of a mom cleaning up after a baby. i mean, you see it every day in commercials: frumpy mom in a button up mops the floor. frumpy mom in a button up makes decisions about the peanut butters. frumpy mom in a button up and frizzy hair sacrifices herself and her former ambitions so that her kids can run around like ungrateful brats in stain-free clothing, playing soccer and drinking juice and leaving messes in their wake. it's the kind of life businessmen in suits look down on and tsk tsk about, all the while trying to turn a profit off it. you know, "bon bons and soap operas and mini vans." that's all this is.

and yet, this is it. for me, this is it. brandon goes off to work and i don't feel jealous of his importance or his title. i rather respect his sacrifice all the more, because i had that life once and i hated it. it was not forme. this right here, this is the promotion. and huck's not the boss, like some might think. i'm the boss. i'm more than the boss. he is my kingdom, that little turkey, and this little apartment on the upper west side, this blessed little home,  this is my palace. and i will tell you something: it feels regal, the work i do here. in here, i am a queen. 

i feel so lucky, because i had to struggle for this first. this silly little life of cleaning up after a baby and sudsing down the high chair tray for the millionth time and counting to three for my cooing little songbird over and over. i had to fight for it first. i was allowed the time to discover how very much i wanted it. my mom always told me this would be the case when i'd call her crying after another failed month, but it never really seemed believable. after all, it's just housework and dirty diapers and negotiating the emotions of a very small person. i mean, it is a little menial. but she'd tell me that my fight would make my baby sweeter, and the late nights easier. the messes smaller. 

as always (always always), my mom was right. how is she always right? and it's weird to me sometimes that i find such odd satisfaction in the sweeping. haha, weirdly, i love sweeping. i see god in the sweeping. i see angels in the laundry. in the middle of sleepless nights, i feel heaven in my arms. heaven that for me could just as easily have been hell, if i hadn't been given the chance to know how i wanted it so badly.

i never thought this day would come but it has and i am going to say it in bold because in my life this is a milestone: 

i am grateful for those two years i struggled to get pregnant.
 i am grateful for every horrible moment of them.

today. folding little baby clothes that will be smeared with hummus within a few hours. sweeping up cheerios. and more cheerios. cheerios that seem to scurry away under the couch to multiply and replenish the living room while i'm not looking. stopping at the dinner table to run my hand along its bumpy surface and admire my place settings. a pot of soup on the stove. a fridge stocked full of pepsi and a freezer full of frozen chocolate. this is not a bad way to live. this is not a kingdom i'm embarrassed to rule over. i rule powerfully here. with grace and elegance and mercy. and also false lashes. ;)

today is a gift.

i am just feeling terribly grateful.



the holbrooks have a dinner table!

we decided it was time to find a dinner room table when we signed the lease on our apartment last year. we have the perfect little dining area here, so rare in the city! but if you'd have asked me a month ago, i'd have told you it honestly was never going to happen. because first i had to find a table that i liked. then i had to convince the red haired one that it was THE TIME.

you know what i mean.

here we've been married going on nine years and we've never had a table before, so why NOW THIS MINUTE? you see how that snags?

then there's the matter of the price. we had enough ear-marked that if a good table were to go on sale, we could afford it. otherwise we were buying an upper lower class table. so it became a waiting game. when a table i liked went on sale, it got even more tricky, because brandon is slower to decisions than i am, and by the time he'd say yes to a table on sale the table would no longer be on sale... aaaaand we'd be back to the drawing board.

then there were a few "sure, get the tables," followed by a few "oh gosh, but am i SURE?" followed by a few intense chickening outs.

this went on for months.

but then, i found her. and then, she went on sale! a REAL sale. we pounced.

well, first we discussed it for a week and then brandon said okay but then i stalled on it so then brandon said YOU HAVEN'T ORDERED IT YET? so then i said, I THOUGHT WE WERE STILL DECIDING? to which brandon went DRAMATIC EYE ROLL . . . and then i pounced.

and now she's here! oh table my table!

(huck is excited too)

last week i had the chance to break her in properly with a little tea party.
i got her all dressed up in my mismatched china from idaho.

our chairs are these guys.
the little sheep skins are ikea
i sort of have to restrain myself from putting a sheep skin on every single surface in my house these days.
(i don't sit on them . . . we're still in the honeymoon stage where i'm terrified of spills.)

the rug is a vintage 1950s camp blanket i found at the brooklyn flea market a few weeks ago.
 it's the perfect look, but it's not actually a rug. right? so it's completely temporary until a real rug manifests itself somehow. something i won't worry about damaging. maybe something like this?

one of my guests is gluten and dairy and (mostly) sugar free.
after reading a lot of labels, basically i couldn't find anything.
hooray for twizzlers and marshmallows and merengues, which are kosher in just about every diet imaginable.

(and how cute are jenny's girls?!?)

it was a fun night,
and i felt so proud of my table. aww, proud mama.
many thanks to mara, jenny and the komenda girls for the excuse to gussy up!

p.s. i bought these hydrangeas at trader joe's just two days before, 
and look what happened!

and what i would like to know is, 

p.p.s. the left over decorations turned our french toast into quite the party the next morning.



let the day go down in history! february 23rd, the day i got to meet martha stewart!

get ready because this post is ridiculous.

so last week i was invited to attend a live taping of the martha stewart show by miss darcy miller, the senior vp and editorial director at martha stewart weddings. that there was a classic name drop, did you like it? felt all slimy right? i know darcy through a mutual friend from my brooklyn days. i promise it is much more impressive sounding on paper.

like the rest of the girls my age in this universe, i sort of worship the martha stewart. i know, i know. and it's sort of my unattainable goal to someday be as fresh-faced and effortlessly chic as all those martha stewart girls who work there. ugh. the dream. i tell you, those girls . . .

seeing a martha taping is always a treat. the woman has control of a room. and the set design! the set design kills me dead. i know, you too.

so this is how a martha taping looks, according to my cell phone:

obligatory "i'm at martha!" self-portrait

and then, yes yes yes, i met her.
hang on i feel a multitude of exclamation points coming on . . .



martha was very nice. (and very tall!) she even pretended to care when i told her my ill-thought-out story about how i got tickets for a taping the week before huck was due hoping that by having the taping to look forward to i would trick my body into going into labor early so i'd have to miss the taping, only it didn't work and i did get to see the taping. and bless her heart she listened to the whole stupid story without rolling her eyes at me once.

she gave us a little tour of the backstage area (let's appreciate for a moment how relatively calm i am describing all this. if i were telling you in person it would sound terribly high-pitched and would come with varying intense facial expressions and hands waving about the face and lots of significant eyebrows.) the tour included all of the emmys in her conference room. (hello emmys, it's nice to meet you) i counted them and then immediately forgot how many there were.

and then, yes, martha's office is backstage. reverent pause.

it is warm and it is white and it is surprisingly sparse. i wanted to sit there for hours with her and talk about honey bees. she sort of sat at her desk just like-so with her perfect posture while cute girls buzzed all about her. her golden hair formed a holy halo of loveliness. perhaps i am getting carried away now.

we weren't allowed to take any photos backstage, and in my effort to turn off my camera app i accidentally took this shot, which is strangely perfect, as backstage is basically this. full of cakes and flowers and entire bins of craft supplies, and also magical fairy unicorns dancing and balloons around every corner, and queen martha presiding in her all-white office, wearing sling back heels.



this weekend we're studying for the bar (the red one), and packing for a week in disneyland with the short one (the other short one). it'll be kind of quiet and busy and hopefully we can put our noses down have a lot accomplished by monday. 

suuuuuch a sexy-sounding weekend for us, isn't it though?



sometimes the city can feel like two very different people to me. in the summertime it is all free and easy, you wear as little as possible and pack as light as you can and spend entire days outside. the rest of the year you trudge around in your black down coats and rush through your errands as quickly as possible. so a stolen spring day like today is a remarkable thing. the city becomes its two selves all at once--a little bit warm and free and just a little bit heavy coats left unbuttoned. i rather like that.

we celebrated the return of the sunshine today by taking a nice long detour from our daily errands and heading straight for our favorite swing set in the park. huck loves the swings more than he loves just about anything out there worth loving. almost more than he loves his bagels, but not quite. (he kept a tight grip on that bagel of his all afternoon.) i snapped some (a million) photos while we were there, because i am an instagram abuser.

we swang and slid and then picked up the apple cider vinegar and went home where i made dinner while huck napped away the last of the sunshine.

not half bad, february!

IN CONCLUSION: huck was dressed like such a hipster all day that brandon thought it would be funny if i made a hipster music video out of all the little videos i'm always taking. i told him it was a terrible idea. which meant of course that i had to do it.

so there it is.


THE GREAT COOKIE QUEST :: city bakery ::

i've probably walked past city bakery without knowing it was there about a million times.
knowing what i now know about the city bakery, this seems ridiculously embarrassing.

the place was packed when we arrived and it was packed when we left,
and the people watching in between was perfect.

armed with my official taste-tester cookie monster sidekick huck
(and my good friend erica),
we decided to try a little of everything.

but let's cut to the chase. these cookies here are amaaaaaaaazing.

perfectly dense and perfectly chewy and perfectly crystally.
and salty without tasting too salty. if that makes sense.

on a tip from an employee (who also happened to be a reader--hi kim!), we also got the melted chocolate chip cookie and the pretzel croissant (for dipping in the hot chocolate of the day--the peanut butter barge hot chocolate--it turns out there was an entire peanut butter cookie in that hot chocolate).

the melted chocolate chip cookie was basically a gooey brownie in a cookie. it was so rich i could only handle one bite, but that one bite was craaazy good.

the croissant though. out of this world.

the hot chocolate was way too much for me,
but it was heavenly as a little pretzel croissant dip.

and also--would you look at that marshmallow?

city bakery score:
(on a scale of 1-5)
flavor: 5
texture: 5 million point ten
appearance: 3
nyc experience: 5
total: 17

next time you're in the city:
city bakery
18th and 5th avenue
open 7:30am-7pm





fashion week seems to be a sort of magnet. "if you put up tents, they will come." that sort of thing. it seemed like the entire world was in the city last weekend for fashion week, and luckily that included some of my favorite friends. sydney came into town and crashed on my couch, and while she was here the two of us plus our babies met up with the girls behind orchidgrey, jen loves kev, and a few of the girls from ruche for brunch. because, brunch! why not?

i mean, i guess that barely needs explaining.

we went to cafe cluny, a quaint little spot in the west of the west village. the walk there was the sort of walk that can turn ordinary people to poets. i would elaborate on that but do i need to?

p.s. the waiters at cafe cluny all wear st. james striped shirts. i loved it.

p.p.s. i brought my gentleman caller with me instead of my camera, and so i had to steal the entirety of these photos from everyone ;).

next time you're in the city:
cafe cluny
284 west 12th street
does not accept brunch reservations
just decent, breton shirts, gorgeous europeans.
that about sums it up. ;)

i've become completely obsessed with downton abbey this month.
you too? thought so! 
(i've watched the first season twice already, it's a sickness.) 
i am positively distraught that i'll have to wait however long till season 3 starts.
if you are similarly wrecked, 
please enjoy THIS: a few downton actors out-of-character.
(matthew crawley looking all hugh granty! and thomas with a beard! YUM.)