Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Alex and I never really, deep-down appreciated the closeness of family until we moved to Spokane. It's easy to take two family Thanksgiving dinners for granted when you are driving from one to the next, sleepy and fact, it's easy to be completely ungrateful for them and even complain about how you wish you could stay home and take a nice long nap on turkey day. It's easy until you move away, to a town where you have no family, and receive zero invites for in-town holiday gatherings.

We tried to make ourselves feel better about our first holiday alone by talking about what a nice change it would be...we would only have to consume one meal and could follow it with a nice little walk and a long nap afterward. But we quickly realized how lonely and "un-special" a holiday can feel without the chaos, the fun, and the sense of belonging we felt in the company of our families. A couple of "lonely holidays" away from home have taught us that sometimes family is what you make it and we've had a blast inviting other stragglers we know to join us for holiday meals. These stragglers have become our "Spokane brothers", "Spokane grandpas", and "Spokane moms". By now the three of us have a complete pseudo-Spokane-family!

This year we are especially grateful for our families who we WISH so hard we could eat 2 dinners with! We are equally thankful for the generous people in our lives who treat us like family even though we're not...people such as the Potratz family who have invited us to join them and their family this turkey day. If and when we move back home we will surely pay forward their kindness by extending the invite to make sure no straggler we know is left to spend the holidays alone-holla!!

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love! X's and O's.

A few straggler holiday flashbacks...

A very interesting Turkey Day '09 with our "Spokane Grandpa".

Christmas Eve dinner with the Potratz fam.

The other Alex...our "Spokane cousin"...a Christmas morning game of cards.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wordless wednesday: places that inspire

the haunting landscapes of photographer Sally Mann

more here

places that inspire.

the place that inspires me...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog it like it's hot

Saw this video today & thought it was too funny not to share. I decided today was the day to find out whether or not my baby's gangsta so I broke out a variety of Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Brother Ali, and Wu-Tang Clan. None quite seemed to do it for Herbie. He lay there completely reaction-less, staring at the damask window panels. Well that was fun anticlimactic. We're not ruling anything out completely just yet & tomorrow we'll test his reaction to Arcade Fire & Death Cab...Herbie the Hipster? haha.

On a funnier note, yesterday Alex & I decided to go to Trader Joes...well Alex decided...I opted to skip it til it dies down a bit as I've heard that place is insanely busy. Anywho, baby in tow, we elbow our way into that shit show and Alex says, "Ohhh it's just a grocery store?" I'm still laughing.

H's reaction to Meatloaf's "I would do anything for love"
Tsk...can't blame him.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

11-11-11 Bassinet D-Day

I can't help but kiss these cheeks, this nose, these lips ALL DAY LONG!

11-11-11, a day that will be forever remembered in our parenting history as Herbie’s Battle with the Bassinet…

Prelude to our most challenging 12 parenting hours EVER: My beloved NPR posted an article on my FB newsfeed warning of the dangers of co-sleeping. Apparently a woman co-sleeping with her 2 month old fell asleep breastfeeding; when she woke, her child was not breathing…what an absolute nightmare! Our last 5 weeks have been a sleeping struggle; we've wanted Herbie to sleep in his bassinet, but he's never liked it. We even try putting him in when he's fast asleep...but I swear, it’s like an inner alarm goes off as soon as his back touches the mattress...he knows! He will wake himself up within 10 minutes of being placed in his least favorite place! We've also tried to have him sleep in his car seat, swing, and a co-sleeper bed with little success. So at mama's side on the couch it has been. Obviously, this is not ideal for many a reason but it worked allowing us to catch some much sought after z’s. After reading the article however, I vowed, "No matter what…co-sleeping NO MORE!" H was going to HAVE to sleep in the bassinet or in the co-sleeper bed…not cuddled up next to me.

Fast forward to 7:30pm. Herb falls asleep after his bottle, so we retire to the boudoir where I ever so gently place him on the co-sleeper bed. Surprisingly he sleeps through it…go me-maybe this won’t be so difficult after all! Hopeful, I climb into bed next to him (right next to him), fluff my pillows, turn out the light, and lay my head dow…H startles himself and wakes up…FAN-freaking-tastic! He starts crying and I try to soothe him by giving him his pacifier. It works! After about 5 minutes he drifts back to sleep and I get ready for some serious z’s myself by laying my head on the pillo…”WAH”!!! Seriously!? This kid has impeccable timing! This continues for the next HOUR until he finally, FINALLY falls asleep and stays asleep! At this point I am so frustrated and worked up that, though Herb sleeps restlessly for the next 2 hours, I lay uncomfortably awake, listening for ANY and EVERY tiny sound or movement he makes. 9:30pm H wakes for his feeding….and REPEAT the above situation. Fast forward, yadda yadda yadda…I won’t continue to bore you with the details, but 12 hours, a very tired mommy and daddy, and an incredibly frustrated cranky baby later, I lay on the couch with my munchkin by my side, doing the one thing I set out never to do again! I’m embarrassed to admit my mommy failure, but I was literally at my breaking point…angry, frustrated, and beyond tired!

It’s times like this when we wish we had about 8 nannies, 2 professionals, a manual, and a glass of wine! But here’s to small victories…this morning I waited for him to drift off, then slyly swaddled him to keep him from startling himself awake. We hadn’t swaddled him previously because he hates it and grunts like a pig trying to kick himself out of the blanket. Anywho…swaddled, he ended up napping for over 30 minutes in his crib!!! HALLELUJAH people!!! Tonight we're crossing all of our fingers and toes, hoping, wishing, & praying that by swaddling the babe, he will sleep and we will win the battle of the bassinet!

11-11-11 also marked Hudson's five week birthday! Our sweet-thang is looking more like his mama, and less like his old man every day! He actually quite resembles his handsome little cousin Ayden...which means he definitely got the Butcher family genes! It's so amazing watching him change from previous pictures and we can't help but wonder what he will look like as a toddler, 4th grader, teenager...oh boy...I need to get off this computer and get back to snuggling my tiny 5 week old while I can still hold his entirety in my arms. Much love. B&A

Baby Ayden...Hudson's look-a-like cousin.

5-week-old pic of Hudson for comparison.

H & mommy getting in what will likely be our last fall walk of the year.

H always sleeps during our walks.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm dreaming of a grey Christmas

I have 3 good reasons to celebrate my favorite holiday a little harder than usual this year...

1. Baby H! Christmas just isn't the same without chillins! Even Alex, a self proclaimed Scrooge said, "I'm actually excited for Christmas this year!" Well, well, well Mister Brady...SO AM I! Even though H is way too little to open any presents this year, we can't wait to carry on our favorite family traditions and start a few of our own.
2. I'm done with school, which means I won't be locked in the CAD lab drafting 'til 3 am while everyone else in the non-interior-design-school-world is decking the halls and singing carols over eggnog.
3. I'm on maternity leave for the entire holiday season! What, what!!!!! That makes this my first Christmas to not work retail in 5 years! And though I have plenty to keep me busy, I'm hoping this will be the first year I will actually have time to do a little Christmas crafting.

This year I'm dreaming of a grey Christmas...with lots of bright accent colors. I'm a novice the crafts I'm tackling will be simple, modern, and (hopefully) inexpensive!

For our mantle I'm loving this color block yarn tree, minus the wood pedestal.

Or maybe these cutie cute yarn trees.

How cute is the paper garland in this pic?! I bet I could make this for under 10 dollhairs!

I'm loving this simple festive yarn wreath!

Or even better, this Starbucks yarn wreath-in grey of course!

These grey felt stockings from Etsy are adorable and would be super easy to make!

One for Hudson...

Love me a vase of simple white spray painted branches with silver ornaments, minus the birds.

In non-pre-Thanksgiving-Christmas-decor related news, little man and I made our first trip together to Target today...let me tell you, it was the FASTEST I've ever made it out of that place in my LIFE! Luckily Target at 10am hosts a plethora of stay at home mommies with screaming children. As Hudson began crying in the children's clothing department I felt rushed, and yet so at ease...I think we'll be back soon.

H officially reached the 1 month mark yesterday! He also officially gave this thankful mama a huge break by ending a 4 day growth spurt in which he ate 5 ounces every 2 hours and fussed every hour in between. We're now back to more manageable-sized bottles of 3-4 ounces with 3 hour naps in between. I never thought I'd be so psyched to get 3 solid hours of sleep...I'd feel like Rip Van Winkle if I slept a solid 8 nowadays.

One month later I still feel like I'm "getting to know" our new family member, but I'm starting to anticipate H's needs and I'm better able to decode his signals...I now know the difference between his "I'm hungry", "I'm tired", "I want to be held" cries & anticipate the fanatical "Oh, Hell NAH!" cry I'm sure to hear if I'm slow to respond. H is absolutely hilarious when he is trying to poop...maybe I'm just easily amused, but the intensity on his face kills me every time! He also makes me smile huge whenever he smiles...I can make him smile about 25% of the time if I say "muah" and kiss his lips...he opens his mouth wide afterward and really seems to like it. He even smiled last night for daddy for the first time...Alex was thrilled.

I'll end this ever thrilling post with a pic of daddy, one month old H, and Bender-Bend chillin' in Hudson's favorite room of the house...truly he is visibly more calm and happy in his room than anywhere else!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

32 going on 19

Today is a good day: I combed my hair and did a 10 minute makeup face...I feel like a supermodel.

This morning Hudson and I ended our 5-day-nothin-but-jammies-fest and donned actual clothing to meet up with WSU friends Jasmine and Kendra at a local coffee shop downtown. I don't know why, but I realized almost instantly after walking in that bringing a baby into a coffee shop isn't much better than bringing a baby to a bar. For the first time ever, I felt uncomfortable and old surrounded by TOMS wearing, study grouping, non-car-seat-toting young people...the clientele hadn't changed, but something in me had. My totally selfish twenties had given way to my now selfless thirties with the arrival of my BOJ, Hudson. I no longer felt like a 21 year old trapped in a 32 year-old's body...I definitely felt thirty something. Not that there is anything wrong with that (hey-I no longer have homework anddd I can rent a car!), it was just an unexpected, thought provoking experience. While I sat in the way back waiting for my friends to arrive I stared at my child's perfect face and wondered what 19 year-old Bonnie would think of her older 32 year-old self?

I think young Bonnie would be surprised to know she'll be living in SPOKANE Washington, of all places-I know she'd be a bit saddened to know that she was no longer 5 minutes away from her mom and brothers. 19 year old Bonnie imagined eventually living in Seattle working as a successful "business-woman" which is 19 year old talk for "I have no idea what I want to do when I get older". (I think I just used to like the idea of having an excuse to wear all the women's suits in the J.Crew catalog.) Given her rocky start in the "figure out what to do with the rest of your life" department, 19 year old Bonnie would really be pleased and proud to know that she went back to college after a realllly unsuccessful first semester and earned a degree (with honors) in a field that she actually loves and will gain fulfillment (not just a paycheck) from!!! 19 year old Bonnie would be PSYCHED to know she is a home owner, and the fact that it is an older home with loads of original charm would be the cherry on top! And I'll bet younger me would faint when older me told her what her 20's had in store: that she'd marry the guy she'd had a crush on since junior year of high school! And in her 30's...she would finally see Paris and become the mother of a beautiful son!!! But I think what I'd be the most proud to share with my younger/less wrinkled self is that the insecurity, awkwardness, & uncertainty she is carrying around from her pre-college years would someday be replaced by the kind of confidence & authenticity she had envied in people she looked up to most!

Among others, here are a few 32 year-old hopes for 40 year-old me...
  • There's no place like home...please let me end up 5 minutes away from my family again in the beautiful City of Trees!
  • Let my son be happy and healthy with a happy and healthy sibling...a little girl maybe???
  • Let me love my work by allowing me to do something that uses my degree and skills to benefit my community...that could involve healthcare/school/sustainable design or better yet-urban design/planning for public spaces...pretty please don't let me end up as a trophy kitchen designer.
  • Let the next 8 years continue to be a wealth of experiences and lessons learned. Let me continue to seek them out and appreciate the shit outta them! Let me not lose sight of the fact that money & things are not an indicator of happiness and success!!! And let me continue to learn and LOVE learning...especially now to learn with and learn from my son!
  • Oh, and a trip to Italy would be pretty great if you could squeeze it in... ;)

What would a conversation with teenage you sound like?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

Meet my dad: he was an incredibly humble man, a talented writer, & a VW enthusiast. This is one of my favorite pictures of him; it was taken about 2 weeks before he passed away, one year ago today, after his brave/brief/intense battle with pancreatic cancer. I love this picture so much because I can see the happiness on my dad's face as his dying wish is fulfilled: to sit in a Volkswagen one last time. My dad was one of VW's biggest far back as I can remember our mode of transportation with dad was a bug, baja bug, camper, or bus. As you can see, I was pretty much destined for a bit of hippy-ness. I got a lot from this man: my looks, my sense of humor, similar loves for music,travel & long drives, alleyway scavenging, camping, history, a bargain, yard sales, corn dogs, "mayonnaise whip" (chilled yellow cake mix he tried to keep Alan and I out of by saying it was made of mayo), Dairy Queen, old books, and a passion for writing. My dad would never admit it, but he kicked major butt in the writing department and I know I'm not alone when I say one of the things I miss most about him are his funny, comforting, Garrison Keillor-esque stories. Man, I wish he had written a blog! Because today is Dia de los Muertos, I wanted to remember and celebrate my dad not only by enjoying corn dogs and mayonnaise whip for dinner, but by sharing a favorite song of his & a piece he wrote for me about why he was SO in love with VWs, "A VW can make a friend, restore a friendship, bring lovers together, heal marriages, calm stormy waters and fussy children. What child is not still fascinated by the mere shape of a bug, how can 2 people remain angry within the confines of a bug, so close together, surrounded by the aroma of wet horsehair..." DRB

Missing you today and every day dad. xo B

"VW's were, as you may know, my vehicle of choice for many years. While I might have slipped in a few Chevys, occasional Ford, even a Rambler or 2, plus the occasional Fiat...fix it again Tony they called them....still, the garage saw many more VW's than any other make.

My first one wasn't really mine, but my mothers. A gold colored 62 as I recall, she had bought it used to save gas money driving to and from work in her 67 Chrysler, a mellow yellow behemoth with all power and luxury and did I mention power. The VW made it to and from her work about 3 days before she decided power and luxury were worth the cost of the gas and the VW was relelegated to parked status. My license was finally approved by parental decision, in other words I got my grades up to the standard required by the folks, and I was allowed to drive said VW to and from my first job, to and from school and around town with a girl or 2. Actually I think it was only a girl, I don't recall but one ever riding in that car. Now she's a grandmother to many and pushing towards her 6th decade just like me. But anyway...back to cars, vws.....

That bug served me for a short time, then it was decided either I purchase it from mom or buy my own car and seeing as how I'd driven and ridden in VW's most of my life, I chose something else.

Have you ever had a stuffed animal, or a object of some sort that secretly, quietly, only inside yourself...sometimes you thought it was alive, could understand you? There is something about a VW, at least one you've adopted, or I should say has adopted you, something that in the dark quiet of night, alone in the garage, or driving on a dark stretch of road, when all things mechanical are humming, you've touched the very heart of the beast, sometimes it is as if they are just not alive, but able to relate to you, to appreciate your care not just because you do of course but because they know it's more than simply keeping them running for your sake. It's the investment into the life they have, thinking of them as needing caressing, talking to, little adjustments and sometimes the thrill of new parts or repainted touched up marks of the years.

There were VW's like that in my life. Not my prettiest ones, no. Instead they were the ones who needed me, had some issues as we'd call it now, couldn't take care of my needs until theirs were met and resolved, needed me to walk them through them.

The camper you were conceived in was like that. It had been neglected and worse, rejected. The owner we got it from had just parked it, tired of messing with it, not knowing that the heart was sick, needing major surgery. Life had been good for it at one time and from the old peace symbols and rainbows stickers on the ice box door, I'd say it had been through the turbulent 60's and 70's too. Origionally a rather simple shade of green, the outside was faded yellow, dented. Inside was brush painted a off white up front with the original 1963 birch paneling covering all the camper parts, roof, doors in back.

We put time and love into that bus. The engine was rebuilt, parts painted and cleaned up shiny. Inside the seats and cushions were covered in oh so popular at the time Herculon plaid not unlike the pictures of the sofa with you Alan and I sitting on it, on facebook. Your mom herself revarnished the wood inside, it had the patina of age and wisdom, a golden honey color. When we put it together, inside the drivers door panel we wrote the date and our names and try as I might, I've not been able to find anyone in the VW world who recalls taking that door panel off a bus anytime anywhere.

The outside ended up primered, not really pretty but efficient and straight. We took great delight in stocking the little cabinets with cookware, food stuff and warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags. Of course the final touch was a cassette deck up front with John Denver of course singing us over the mountain passes, helping us to find our way to Starwood in Aspen. Actually that bus never made it to Aspen, its trips were up towards SteamBoat Springs, all around Leadville and southpark(yes there is a real southpark)and numerous jaunts up into the foothills for picnics.

I suppose we kept it for about 2 years or so. I honestly don't recall even selling it, maybe a bad memory blocked out or something. Some cars I was happy to see drive away, others I hated to lose. That was in the latter catagory, this bus. Sometimes driving down the road it seemed as if the Rockies were smiling upon it, upon us. It had to have been a happy VW, for that and for the reason that your life started in it.

The last time I figured them up, I'd had about 45 VW's of various sorts, mostly bugs and some busses, a couple of Ghias but only to part them out for they weren't popular at the time, 2 convertible bugs, one squareback and no fastbacks. The only VW I ever disliked, couldn't stand, was my last bus, the one you and Alan rode in back from Kingman, a beige 70 model. Constant trouble.

You have to adapt to a VW, they will not adapt to you for it is not in their nature to be so flexible. They are what they are, you cannot hide their shape, they will only go so fast unless you have unlimited funds and like to see them on the back of wreckers. And they have a persona that some people do not fit into at all. Mr. Muir of "Complete guide for the complete Idiot" book fame, said that when you drive a VW bus you learn to enjoy the scenery for life is going to pass much slower. True. He also talked of starting out with a distressed VW, something that needed some work, and fixing it as you drove along on your trip to Taos or wherever. True too. I have pulled engines in parking lots, changed oil by the side of the road while straddling a drainage ditch for clearance to work under a VW. And I have been certain to carry extra parts for just like children, just like pets, just like mates with issues, VW's need attention and they will demand it of you if you don't give it to them. In return for that attention they will wrap you in double layers of steel designed by engineers who could make you have to roll a window down a notch just to get the doors to close, they were that tight. They have wonderful "horse hair" padding in the seats which gives them a wonderful aroma on rainy days, on hot days, on damp cool days, only a VW has that scent.

A VW can make a friend, restore a friendship, bring lovers together, heal marriages, calm stormy waters and fussy children. What child is not still fascinated by the mere shape of a bug, how can 2 people remain angry within the confines of a bug, so close together, surrounded by the aroma of wet horsehair, the vibration of the engine risng up through their butts and beginning a mantra like chant of mechanical noise and whirrling, chugging, slight roaring sound that will bring their harmonies back into alignment surer than any marriage counselor could do.

Sometimes I think, I long, for another VW, for the companionship it brings. The car, not others who love them, just the car itself, being your friend, your confidant, your companion on lonely trips or during rough times.

It takes a weird personality to look at mechanical bits and pieces as friends, companions. As I reread this, this several days after writing it, I cannot help but wonder if maybe this machine takes the place of friendships and betrayal, if these manmade conglomerations with all their engine oil and gear lube and rubber parts and air in tires and gasoline giving life, if these are replacements for even the most intimates of life, of family. Is there a comfort within that metal shell, protection from a world of failure, sadness, disappointments, yet it also holds sweet memories and soft songs, their melodies bring back tenderness lost." Dennis Butcher