“Don’t Postpone Joy”

As summer wraps up, I have been having a difficult time landing on a topic to present to you.  I have so many themes running around my head, design ideas, sumptuous photos, and beautiful food to show you… and like the season, all ripe for the picking.  Yet, my mind keeps landing on something different…

While on vacation I saw a bumper sticker that stuck with me.  This bumper sticker reads, “Don’t Postpone Joy.”  I can’t get it out of my head.  There have been a few tragic losses in my immediate community – families that have lost their fathers in strange and surprising ways.  Immediate ways.    I keep coming back to the fact that life can be taken from us swiftly, permanently, and without apology.  Maybe it is the nursing hormones still in my system post-baby, but all I want to do is wrap my family in a forcefield to protect this life that we are leading, right now, in this minute.  I feel scared and thankful all at the same time and then I think… “Don’t Postpone Joy.”

Have you ever read something from a crazy source that just resonates?   Sometimes I feel this way about Lululemon shopping bags.  The bags are stamped with all sorts of truths or mantras such as, “That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.”  Or, “Do one thing a day that scares you.”  “Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment.  Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.”  You get the idea…  All good thoughts.  Sometimes cliche, but still probably true and certainly good reminders.

We live with so much hustle and bustle.  School is beginning, we are all getting back into our cherished and hated routines, and I feel it is especially important to clear my mind, remembering what is important.  My kids are accomplishing milestones, having growth spurts and tantrums and leaving the nest in little ways each day.  In the next few weeks I am sure that my baby will start to walk…  All of this makes me both proud and desperately wish that I could stop time.  “Don’t Postpone Joy.”

So here, right now, I will present a few moments of our Joy over the last few months and try to encourage you to think of yours.  “Don’t Postpone Joy.”

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Pretty Packages

Because who doesn’t love receiving mail… and a pretty package at that?  All Poole Party Designs packages come “ready for gifting” with beautiful tissue and bow.  Gift wrap included.  Why, you ask?  Because I love making pretty packages and hopefully it takes one thing off of someone else’s to-do list.

This clearly is a family affair.  My assistants went with me today to the post office to mail the first round of shipments out to our customers!  My what a great help they were!  I know you are jealous.  These guys are the best in the business.

Thanks everyone for all your wonderful words of encouragement!  I appreciate it so much in these early days!

Arrgh!

Poole Pirate Picnic success this weekend!  We celebrated Sam’s 5th birthday this weekend by treasure seeking with a bunch of little scallywags!  Despite being  under the weather over the past few weeks, we pulled off a pirate picnic like we were a bunch of true buccaneers!  From hand drawn treasure maps to hand sewn burlap treasure bags to crafty Solo cup and aluminum foil hooks, we outfitted ourselves for mutiny!  Our kiddos became pirates over the course of a scavenger hunt that led them all over Luther Burbank Park, using their treasure-map reading skills to discover jewels (ring pops), booty (pirate booty snacks), weaponry (glow-in-the-dark swords), and pirate costume (hats, eye patches, and hooks). All ages got into this pirate extravaganza – the eye patches were especially popular (thanks, Target!).   The last treasure of the evening was a beautiful firework show, sponsored by the city of Mercer Island as part of their yearly Summer Celebration.  What a fantastic evening!  Yo ho ho, me hearties… Until next time!

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Conservatory

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Conservatory Coastal Home is a new store in Port Townsend, WA.  The little town of Port Townsend has many wonderful stores and cool treasures to discover and we have been enjoying getting to know all that is there, as a home-away-from-home in the last few years.  But, Conservatory is a store of a different caliber.  They absolutely had me at “hello.”

First, let me say that I try very hard not to shop with my children.  I do lots online (thank you, Amazon) and other than that, I try to enlist sitters when I really have to get out there and hit the stores.  But, as we were doing a little vacationing last week and wandering Water Street, Port Townsend’s eclectic main drag, I could not stop from going into this lovely, light-filled space.  As our entourage (stroller, grandmother, dad, kids spilling out from all sides) entered the store, I did not see the expected look of fear pass over the shop gal’s face, but rather, she calmly pulled something small from under the counter and smiled at my children… what???  My older stepped up to the counter to say “hello” and see what it was.  This fabulous new store actually gave my children a little gift to hold in their hands as we browsed the store – what a wonderful idea!  (You may or may not know that I am a total sucker for packaging, so this also spoke to me.  A sweet little muslin bag, sporting the “conservatory” name, holding two little adorable goldfish.)

The fact that I wanted to move into this store upon first look, may or may not have something to do with the fact that it is the beginning of summer and I am loving the idea of all things “beach.” Regardless, the style is impeccable.  It is a wonderfully edited selection of coastal type things that could live anywhere.  An eclectic combination of rustic vintage and stylish modern pieces.  There were some cool leather chairs that I am still thinking about, as well as gorgeous lamps and other one-of-a-kind objects.  As I walked through the store, my mom actually said to me, “If you were to open a store, I think it would look like this.”  I couldn’t agree more.  As I already mentioned, I would just happily move right in, if they would have me.  There is fabulous old brick making up at least one of the store’s walls.  Interestingly, the store is located in the N.D. Hill Building, which was built in 1888 and is on the National Register of Historic Places!

       

       

       

       

Upon looking into this business since returning to Seattle, I have learned that the store was opened by a husband and wife team, Sam and Heather Pollock.  This pair has had a very successful farmer’s market soy candle business since 2007.  Their candles are absolutely sumptuous and sport very intriguing  scents.  We actually have been enjoying an “heirloom tomato” variety at our house for the past few months that I randomly picked up some time ago.

If you find yourself thinking about a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula and you make your way to Port Townsend, this store is a definite “must” on the list of stops to make!  I am happy to report that we did not break one single thing in the store and I believe we will be happily invited in again the next time we make our way over to Port Townsend.  Thank goodness for those sweet little goldfish!

Conservatory Coastal Home is located at: 635 Water Street, Port Townsend 98368

Here is a link to their facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/Conservatorycoastalhome

Product Testing

So did I mention that my baby spits up?  There are many words for this: burp, spit, spit up, puke… you get the idea.  Whichever name you like, it is a total mess.  As a mother of three, with two kids who didn’t spit, I didn’t understand this element of parenting.  It is part preparedness and part spontaneity at all times.  You learn the signs and you learn the best way to hold the baby, as well as where every type of towel resides all over the house.

In addition, you learn the value of a burp cloth.  I had been given burp cloths with the other children and found other uses for them… rag for wiping down counter, lovey, face wiper after spaghetti, but never spit up.  Now I get it.  Now I am a pro.  Now I know burp cloths and understand the merits of what makes one good and what makes one great.  There are many burp cloths out there.  From plain old dish rags to embellished treasures, I believe the magic lies somewhere in between.  Having a background in clothing production, I am a self-proclaimed stickler for details.  I notice the small things and there is a part of me that is always ready to give my feedback:

  1. Absorbency is paramount: I believe that cloth diapers reign supreme in this category.  Most other cloths allow the spit to just slide right off.
  2. Style details: The importance of this has to do with the fact that it will be your primary accessory for quite a long time (the doctor tells me 12 months is totally possible – yikes).  This is your chance to add that splash of color that you might not feel bold enough to wear on your own!  Go for it.
  3. Attractive from both sides: Sometimes its important to be able to flip the thing over or find another corner.  You get my drift.  Life moves fast, you’ve gotta be ready for anything.

Through months of daily product testing and market research, I’ve found that there might be some room for improvement in the category of burp cloth.  I’ve come up with a solution that incorporates my love of style and cool fabrics with the function of a truly absorbent (read: boring) diaper.  I have been having fun experimenting with this and have been so inspired by the incredibly fun fabrics from a local business, Drygoods Design in Ballard, WA.  (Check out this site if you have a hankering for some great fabric: http://www.drygoodsdesignonline.com/.)  I’ve come up with some winners and we are getting plenty of use out of each and every one I crank out.  If you come over for dinner sometime,  feel free to hold the baby ~ we’ll arm you appropriately…

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Holding A Memory

I was given a lovely gift this weekend from a close friend.  It was a journal titled, “Mom’s One Line A Day.”  The purpose of this book is to log a quick thought about each day as it happens, realizing that we are all so busy that one line might just be attainable.  It has room for 5 years of thoughts, all lined up for easy comparison between year one and year five.  A snapshot of what was happening then, as compared to what is happening now.  Or years from now, it would be an easy way to look back to see what we were up to during a certain phase of life.

The question of how we hold our memories has been one that spins around in my head periodically with no real solution.  There are moments when all I want is the ability to stop time.  As I lay on the floor, watching my baby learn to roll over, I want to wallow in the moment, hold it close, and imprint it on my brain.  As I see my four-year old son ride his bike without training wheels for the first time, I want to know that this proud, bursting feeling will be with me for the rest of my life.  Having been through the baby stage before with two other children I know that I will be able to hold onto pieces of the moment, but not the whole thing.  It will pass.

People who have lived through parenting often tell others to “treasure every moment, it goes by so quickly.”  I understand the validity of this statement, but I also find it absurd.  Even when one feels blessed with health and happiness, there are still dirty dishes, sleep deprivation, and shirts covered in spit up to distract from beautiful moments.  Hence my frenetic efforts at documentation… taking photographs on the last day of school, creating baby books, and writing down these random moments.  As I do these things I wonder why I cannot trust my brain to keep these moments for me for a later date; why I must rely on these outside mediums as vaults for something so treasured?

As my friend gave me this thoughtful gift, our babies were laying side by side – hers, six weeks old and precious for all his scrunchy newbornness, and mine, (almost) six months old and stretching out for her freedom.  The miracle of growth and the passage of time were staring us in the face as we looked at what happens in just four months of life.  We sat there in awe of what is occurring before our eyes and in our hearts.

I am left knowing that I can (and will) keep documenting with the best of them, but the real key is to try to stay present for all of it.

Now, I need to go wipe some spit up off the floor.

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Rain, Rain Go Away

It rained, and rained, and then it rained some more…

  1. Thankfully I am married to an ingenious man who built tarp city in our backyard.  Note to self for future parties, May is not a reliable month in Seattle for backyard barbecues (oh well, chalk it up to optimism)!
  2. I think we did provide a first to our good-natured party-goers – I’m sure no one had participated in pinata thrashing in the pouring rain before Sunday (still fun)!
  3. The party was a success in that the birthday boy was thrilled to have his friends over.  Cupcakes were consumed.  The food was a hit, as we served Copper River salmon, hand delivered by B from Cordova, Alaska!  What a treat.

Thanks for being good sports, friends!

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Party Time

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The day has arrived!  Today is my son’s 3rd birthday party.   Weeks of planning, preparation, and agonizing over internet photos have come to an end and I am excited to celebrate with our friends and family.

In my last post I did not mention my hopes for this blog.  Over the past five years I have been figuring out my roles as mother, wife, etc…, but had placed the role of “creative force” on the back burner ~ this was true with the exception of “the birthday party.”  I found that “the birthday party” was a palatable enterprise because it was a contained event, did not need to be duplicated, and still supported the above mentioned role of “mother.”  Now that I am beginning to feel inspired to be creative in other areas of my life, I will remember “the birthday party” as something that reminded me that (as tired as I am sometimes) the creative spark is still inside, waiting for its time to shine!

I grew up in a house that truly celebrated birthdays. It was a day to feel honored and special.  My mother would set the scene with some fabulous theme and my grandmother would bake the cake.  Her beautiful creations live on in my memory from checkerboard and rainbow interiors to a three-foot bright green crocodile that supported my Crocodile Dundee themed party.  As I frost my son’s cake today, I am thinking of the women who raised me to appreciate hard work and beautiful things.

Now, if only the rain would stop…

Rebirth

I find myself in a period of rebirth and re-imaginings.  My third child was born almost five months ago and I think she will be our last.  As I transition out of having babies, there is something wonderful going on inside my head and heart.  I love my children more than life and have devoted all I have to them and our family for the last five years.  Although I expect to continue doing that for all my years to come, there is something more going on.  I am finding myself again.  Stay tuned… good things are coming!

The attached link is a very thoughtful piece that was brought to my attention and speaks to my soul.

I have been in a phase of “motherhood as all consuming life force”.  I am moving towards a rediscovery of who I am and who I have always been.  This rebirth feels like a marriage of something that existed before, intertwined with something new and different – something that has been evolving and exists in an embryonic state.  I find myself feeling excited about what is next for me.

“This is what women do not tell each other. I want to say it here: You will die when you become a mother and it will hurt and it will be confusing and you will be someone you never imagined and then, you will be reborn.” posted in The Sage Mama , Sept 22 2011.