Beautiful Blogging: Christina Rosalie

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Christina has always been one of my favorite online authors. Her words as well as her photos sing and dance and tenderize and DID I JUST HOLD MY BREATH THROUGH THAT ENTIRE POST? Yes. I don't think I blinked, either. 

The very best writers do not write because they want to tell stories but because they have to. It is a daily requirement. Like going to the bathroom and blowing your nose when it's full of... yeah. Because when you HAVE to write, it shows. Even if you don't want to, necessarily. (Some of the best writing happens when we don't want to write. Some of the best parenting happens when we don't want to parent and some of the best _____ happens when we don't want to ____.)

"Do what you HAVE to do," I tell my kids. "Even if sometimes you don't want to."

FashionPassion before function.

This community was built on that idea. Remember? Before there were ad banners and site meters and SEO and link-bait and self-promoting fan pages, we were all just writing because it was the only way we knew how to listen to each other and hear ourselves.

Christina is one of the first blogs I read back in 2005, and her voice has always been pulpy with wisdom and hope. (Years ago, when friends would ask who to read online, I would would first send them links to Christina and Kate, both of whom pushed me to write hearter. They still do.)

And so. Into the winter we go...
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The winter stayed and stayed. Snow came, then fell again with a vengeance, white, whiter, small hills gathering curbside. Softer snow layered with frozen rain and sleet. Our own glacial record, keeping the things we lost: A single mitten, pocket change, our sense of permanence, the feeling of home. It was the coldest year on record. Biting. Sharp. I spent from November until April in Sorrel boots; wore my grey woolen beanie hat indoors; stopped smiling at strangers (not for lack of interest but because it required too much exposure of cheek and neck). The days grew longer, but the cold lasted. And along with it, a growing, restlessness, a gradual anxiety; a realization that this, here, might not be enough anymore for many reasons. Some more complicated than others. The least of them being the weather, but the most acceptable to share about here.

In retrospect the universe was probably conspiring. In the moment it felt like everything skittered right up against the edge. Things happened slowly, then all of a sudden. It felt like it feels when you almost fall on black ice, but catch yourself just before and walk away, your heart still beating hard.


Everywhere else spring arrived. I watched on Instagram. People had cherry blossoms, camellias, daffodils by the arm-full. Here, it was snow or days of spitting sleet. Temperatures in the low teens. Hunched shoulders. Worry. The feeling of having outgrown our circumference. Uneven footing. A flirtation with change. The idea of moving West. An inkling. A passing remark, here. A half finished sentence there. What-ifs showing up in my morning pages; the words “spend more time on the Pacific” in my 37 before 37 list; and then we started looking in earnest. Then we flew out, fell in love with the city of roses and bridges, saw friends, ate so much good food, interviewed many places, and T landed his dream job.


Or something. Something like that. Sort of. Minus the hundred thousand anxious moments. Minus all the things beyond our control. Minus the anxiousness stitched together to make days, and the logistical conversations we had over and over again on repeat... 


Read more, here. 
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Here are a few more of Christina's words from a post she wrote in January which took my breath away. Of course. Always and forever. 

***

...The boys want to poke their booted toes in; I imagine hypothermia. My voice snaps fiercely in the cold air. They look surprised. And when we come close to the shore, they walk along the lake’s broken lip where the cattails rattle, and as the ice cracks and bows under their weight, they laugh with glee and stamp harder. I bark warnings, imagining them sinking under.

So here I am, learning to exist at the edge of the unknown, where my fears rise up again and again. I am afraid what I can’t control, of the things I do not know, of outcomes that aren’t certain, of edges I don’t know how to trust.

It takes a long time for me to realize why I am here, skating on dark ice; how these moments are exactly the metaphor I need.

My breath catches. I release it.

Out there, on the wide open of the icy lake the fishermen silently sit on over-turnned buckets, not moving at all.

Their stillness is a kind of knowing I must learn. Their patience quiet and long.

Wearing thick parkas with fur close to their cheeks, they watch the small hole at their feet for signs of life. Sometimes there is a flicker. Once, twice, they pull in a fish. But the point isn’t that quick action; that flick of wrist and tug of line. Waiting is. Waiting, until even that ceases to be the point, and they simply are. Being. Hearts beating a steady thunder under layers; breath gathering in the stillness above them, signaling a silent gracious prayer: to be alive. To be alive.

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I love her.

I love her light. And her truth. The dance she does with her words, be it waltz or running man. Thanks for sharing your gifts, sister friend.

GGC

It was Revi. In the Ergobaby 360. At Kidspace. #whoareyouwearing

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This post is the book-end of my three month #whoareyouwearing sponsored partnership with Ergobaby which is the most incredible company to work with. I just have to say a few words about them, specifically Christina Soletti, who is one of my closest friends these days and with whom I have had so much fun with during this series. (When I got the idea for it I texted her in all caps and was like LET'S DO A BABYWEARING STORY SERIES AND WE CAN CALL IT WHOAREYOUWEARING! GET IT? OMG I MADE A PUN I LOVE PUNS! And then Christina was like, "Cool! Let's do it!" And so we did.)

If it isn't obvious, I am a babywearing fan to the nth degree.  I am SO EXCITED for Ergobaby to welcome, today, their brand new and much anticipated carrier, the Four Position Ergobaby 360--a carrier that front-faces ergonomically so babes who want to front face can and still be comfortable. (ED: I was just told the 360 is already sold out on the Ergobaby site but is available to purchase, here.)

I was able to take the 360 for a spin a few weeks back when we took the kids to Kidspace (which I have NOT done a "Places to Go" post on but that is DEFINITELY on the list).  Revi doesn't usually ride on the front unless she's sleeping. (This is the only way to transfer her if she falls asleep in the car. Bo is non-transferable, meanwhile.) Revi only wanted to ride facing my "ta tummy" so that is what we did.
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I'm pleased to announce the next five #whoareyouwearing winners and look forward to reading our last week of #whoareyouwearing entries over the next few days. I have five more Ergobaby carriers to give away, which I'll elaborate on toward the end of this post. In the meantime, here are some of YOUR stories...

I didn't realize I picked two twin mamas until it came time to post this post and I wanted to emphasize what a game changer being able to wear my babies has been for the last two and a half years. I know I've written about this before but, really, my only piece of twin mama advice is to buy a carrier and wear a kid when you can. It is SO hard to get one on one time with your babies, especially if, like me, you weren't able to nurse them. Anyway, here are five mamas/babes who won ERGOS through our #whoareyouwearing contest. Thanks for letting me share your stories, ladies!

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Alex is our first baby, and since day one my husband and I have been carrying him everywhere. We were told that having a baby would slow us down, and it has, but it hasn’t. With Alex in the Ergo, every day has become more creative. Our visits to Colorado are usually a week of downhill skiing, but this year we spent the afternoons snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and hiking, and loved every minute of it! Back home in Pennsylvania, my husband rides the stationary bike with Alex in the Ergo, slowly rocking him to sleep ~ a pop’s creativity at its finest! Our little guy loves to be cuddled and carried, and we love to move. With a carrier it’s a match made in heaven. There's an update to our story... we sold our house and are moving to Colorado this summer. Oh, the time that Alex is going to spend in the carrier as we hike every new trail we find!

My sister, Sarah, and I recently started a blog called Live Seasoned. It's a nature-inspired lifestyle blog that focuses on the feelings and flavors of each season. 


***

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Picture of my husband and me wearing both babies at about 3 weeks old.

Once the twins arrived, babywearing became second nature. My husband and I learned about all the different types of wraps and slings and carriers. It's kept us sane, it's given us a chance to bond with each baby. It's been life saving! After our struggles breastfeeding and my decision to exclusively pump, I spend way too much time cleaning parts and bottles. I've learned to look forward to that time every evening when I can wear one of my babies and do the dishes. Looking down at their beautiful eyes reminds me why I work so hard to provide for them, even when I'm elbow deep in what feels like 2,000 bottle parts! We love babywearing and can't wait to see where it leads us next. 

I blog at hollyrusso.com


***

Mary and Zinashi from Finding Magnolia ::  @marymuses
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My babywearing story begins with Zinashi. Though she wasn't a baby when she joined Jarod and me and magically transformed us from a couple to a family, I wore her as if she were. She had been carried on her Ethiopian mother's back for much of her childhood, and it was simply what she knew and what comforted her. At age three, she was tiny, and I could wear her for hours with ease. When nothing else worked to soothe her, I put her in the carrier on my back, and we walked. We walked every day that we were in Addis Ababa during her adoption process, and we walked nearly every day after we came back to the States. Our walks tapered off after awhile, and over time she grew so well that she wouldn't fit in the carrier anymore. I set it aside, knowing we'd have another little one join our family someday, and we would use it again. Now I use it for Elvie, and Zinashi uses a doll carrier for her stuffed animals and dolls. We are often both wearing someone. Zinashi tells me that her dolls and animals like it because they feel safe and loved. If that's not an endorsement for babywearing, well, I don't know what is.
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Mary & Elvie 

Read more about Mary, Zinashi and Elvie at Finding Magnolia. 

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Kate Sargent from @mammakittiwake
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I first got into babywearing when Cali was around a few weeks old. I got a simple carrier and thought it was the bees knees. I was keeping my babe close and it just felt natural. My lovely friend did tell me, however, that it wasn't the best for my back and for Cali's hips...so she kindly lent me her wrap and showed me the basics. So comfy and I loved Cali sleeping on me as soon as we set off anywhere... It really has been an amazing journey so far.  Every time I look down and see Cali staring back smiling, my heart melts!
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***

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Sarah with daughter, Claire
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...and her twin sister, Etta

I have twin two-year-olds and am really not sure how we would have survived this far without babywearing. In the early days, our colicky twin was often only content when worn by one of her parents. These days she's a happy-go-lucky toddler, but she still adores being worn and will get excited if she sees we've got a carrier out, which is good news for me because I love the closeness and kisses I get when they're strapped on. Her twin sister was a chilled-out baby, but we love wearing her too, particularly because she has Spina Bifida, which makes it hard to just sling her on a hip like most people do with their toddlers-- she can't cling on with her legs to support any of her own weight, so using a carrier is the only way to tote her for extended periods of time. I really just don't know how we'd do it without baby wearing-- it's the best, both practically and from a snuggle-loving-standpoint. As they get older, I treasure each time I get to wear them, because I know it won't last forever. 

You can read more about Sarah and her family at http://erniebufflo.com.


***

P.S.  Here's a lovely photo of Dani and River in the Ergobaby Wrap, which was not around when I had babies and I so wish it was because it's the coziest.
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Anyway. 

Hi. 

I could talk about carriers all day, especially as I am very much aware that this is the end of my babywearing career. (Although I did wear Fable on my back the other day so maybe not?) so I'm savoring these last few moments with Revi on my front or my back, sleeping, awake... Feeling her close to me is such a joy. Feeling all of them close is kind of my everything. 
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***


I have FIVE Ergobaby 360 carriers to give away! ONE here on GGC and four on Instagram. To win? Post your #whoareyouwearing babywearing story in the comments below AND/OR on Instagram. (If you post on Instagram, be sure to tag #whoareyouwearing and @ergobaby and/or @girlsgonechild.) I'll pick ALL WINNERS next THURSDAY, APRIL 24TH. 

Good luck to all and thanks to everyone who has joined the #whoareyouwearing party these last few months. It's been such a joy reading your stories and seeing your photos. So much love to all. 
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GGC
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Goodnight Moon Game, etc

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This is really weird because I'm not even really a fan of Goodnight Moon. A thousand years ago I wrote a really snarky post about my utter DISDAIN for Goodnight Moon which STILL gets comments all these 7897829 years later and I always feel mortified because who hates Goodnight Moon? What the hell was my problem? Anyway. The other day Archer and his friend were playing chess and Bo and Revi wanted to play chess with them and there were lots of tears when I had the boys set up outside. Bo and Revi pressed their faces against the window and sobbed because they wanted to play games, too.

So.
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I busted out the Goodnight Moon Game that the girls received on their birthday last year but weren't quite old enough to play. It was unopened so it felt very special ripping through the plastic and setting it up for its maiden voyage. Here is a video I cut down from a VERY LONG video of Bo and Revi playing the game. (They played for TWENTY MINUTES which might be a record.)


Anyway. I have lots I want to write about the last two weeks and the results of no added sugar + no dairy + no dyes. (We don't really buy anything with dyes but we do occasionally buy treats when we're out, and sprinkles, etc... do have dyes, so....) Because several of you have asked, the upshot is that we have had ZERO night terrors since cutting dairy + sugar. (Bo was waking up with a terror AT LEAST every other night before we cut these things.) There is much more to write about on this subject and I will absolutely do so when time permits for me to ruminate on all of the recent happenings in this regard. Thank you all so much for your comments and messages, by the way. It's been SO helpful for us and countless others I am sure.

I do feel very strongly that food has A LOT to do with our behavior/well being and I'm slowly weaning my kids off of sugar as much as I can without ruining their lives. Anyway, this is not where I wanted to go with this post but here I am, rambling about sugar and things that have nothing to do with the Goodnight Moon board game.

Which is an awesome game for twos. Parties of two. Two year olds. Two legit two quit.
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I mean, who needs an iPad when there are cards to place on top of each other/throw across the room when you're totally over it? Goodnight Moon Game, man. Who knew?

GGC

Bunny Slope DIY: Sunglasses Glasses

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Hey there, guys. SO. This isn't really a DIY (not that the others were, either) and maybe everyone knows this about glasses but I've spent much of my vision-impaired years confused about which frames are worth investing in and realized, recently, that when it comes to glasses frames, the options are ENDLESS.

Literally, endless -- and not in a literally, you guys sense but a LITERALLY literal sense. Literally. Because while eyeglasses tend to have a similar look, size and shape, SUNGLASSES come in every which way design OMG forever.

And so.

When I went in for my eye exam last month and it came time to pick a frame for my new prescription, I went with sunnies sans... sun..niness.

I had been heartbroken for months because Bo Destructosaurus'd my favorite pair (which I bought at a novelty shop for $10 and had fitted for my prescription lenses years ago.) Because they were made of the cheapest plastic ever it wasn't hard for them to break. I superglued them every week or so and then one day the glue just wouldn't hold. (So I taped them. And then one day the tape wouldn't hold either.)
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Anyway... when I found these Stella McCartney sunglasses at the sunglasses store, I thought HEY! THESE LOOK JUST LIKE THOSE OTHER ONES I BOUGHT FOR TEN DOLLARS THAT ARE HELD TOGETHER WITH GLUE, TAPE AND MY DIGNITY, So I purchased them, had them fitted with my prescription and the rest is history!

Anyway. To reiterate, for this DIY, you will need:

Any great pair of sunglasses
An optometrist/prescription from your optometrist
A week

And, then, BAM!
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New glasses. That do not look like anybody else's glasses because they're actually sunglasses. (You can do this with cheap glasses from 7-11 too. They just break... easier.)

Anyway.

Here are some more great frames that would rock as all-day spectacles:
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Lou/Moorea Seal/I love her lipstick
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Binoculars?
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Whatever you're into/put a prescription on it/Happy Spring Break for those who are Spring Breakin. May your glasses be filled with sun.

GGC

Story Time: I am a Pizza

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Over the last couple of weeks, Fable has been working on books in the back seat of the car.  Every morning on the way to school, Fable asks me or Archer to help her spell the words she wants to include in her books - some of the stories are about princesses and weddings and volcanos. There is a book about fairies and another book about fairies, but this particular story is about pizza. I didn't know anything about it until it was finished. She's like me that way. (NOBODY CAN READ THIS UNTIL EVERYONE CAN!)

She took it to school to share it with her class before bringing it home to show us.

The book is called I am a Pizza and it's about, in Fable's words, "Being yourself even when people want you to be like them. Like cookies or hot chocolate or mushrooms. Mushrooms might want you to be mushrooms like them and cookies might want you to be cookies like them but you're not cookies, you're a pizza. And at the end everyone knows that you are pizza because you told them. And then everyone is friends. That is what my book, 'I am a Pizza' is about. "

And it's perfect. One of the greatest children's stories ever written I think. 
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I had something in my eye on the last page because, hello. I mean, the whole crew is there, intermingling, rallying around pizza with acceptance -- the hot chocolate and the lettuce and the french fry and they're all just hanging out being their rockin' food selves. (When I asked Fable why she didn't color the last page she told me she wanted it to look different because it's the most important part of the book.)
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Because you're not cookies, you're a pizza. Go get 'em, pizzas of the word! And hot chocolates! And mushrooms and lettuce and cookies... and whatever food you feel like being today! If you accept yourself firmly and unapologetically, eventually, those around you will too.
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(It's like her name is Fable or something.)

GGC