All Things Bright and Beautiful

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Here are some shots of Mary Tobin and her dear abuela from a few weeks ago, when we made our first trip to Cholula, Mexico where my suegros [in-laws] have a house.

Cholula indeed was beautiful, and full of the bright colors that I love. In these pictures outside of Santa Maria Tonantzintla on our first day there, we asked “Donde esta Mary Tobin?” or “Where’s Mary Tobin?” to get her to smile and be playful for the camera.

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Dientes?” “Teeth?”—another of my photo tricks.

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Thinking . . .

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There she is!

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By the end of the week, all she would’ve needed to smile was to see Abuela. They were best buds. Abuela taught her to wipe her nose and throw away the tissues, waving bye-bye boogies and/or adios, moquitos! They smelled socks (don’t ask), played with osito [bear], and dissolved into fits of giggles in the early mornings.

I’m planning some posts for the coming weeks with pictures, stories, tips, etc. from our Cholula trip, as well as some of our recent and not so recent travels that I never got around to blogging. So check back if you’re interested.

Hope your weekend is bright and beautiful! I anticipate Mary Tobin will go bonkers with excitement this weekend: Tia Raquel is coming to town, and tomorrow we’re going to the zoo [!!!!].

How to Style a Coffee Table, toddler version

Ours is like this, but different. Source: via Josie on Pinterest.

I enjoyed this short tutorial (with video) by Cupcakes and Cashmere about setting up your coffee table in an attractive, effortless looking way. (Hat tip: Long To Love’s Friday Favorites.)

To make it work for us, I followed some of her steps, and made some minor modifications.

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Start with a stack of hardcover books. Three books usually work well. Play around with it to see what looks good, with the largest on the bottom. Go for picture books, not novels.

Easy. We’re at no loss for hardcover books that are picture heavy. I went with some colorful choices.

Choose books with varied subjects. Our selections were mostly animal focused in content—instead of, say, impressionist art, old New York, vintage fashion, or Ansel Adams photography.

Next, select a tray. I switched out the tray for an indestructible bowl. (It’s also important that this bowl can function as a funny looking hat when we find ourselves putting on dinner shows for Mary Tobin.) If you have an indestructible tray, go for that. For us it worked to sub the bowl for the tray, because the tray is supposed to corral all of your objects from the next step. . .

On the tray, place fresh flowers, along with objects from around your home that will be a delight to the senses.

Toddler version: nix all of that. No flowers, candles, matches, or sharp rocks.

In the bowl we’ve got colorful blocks. Who knows? Your adult guests may enjoy them as well. If we had some attractive Waldorf-esque wooden toys, that would’ve been nice.

And, let’s be real, here’s how my clever arrangement devolves on a normal day:

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But it’s easy to put back into place!

My advice is tongue-in-cheek, but I am not making fun of this video; I really did enjoy it. I was cracking myself up as I tried to follow the steps as well as I could given our circumstances. (And I hope my attempt amuses you, too . . .)

I do love it when Mary Tobin’s toddler world and our grownup world coexist peacefully and as smoothly as is reasonable. That has meant:

  • For baby stuff: limiting the amount of it, choosing things that I like the look of, and having alright looking storage for it.
  • For adult stuff: limiting the amount of it (ackk), and putting a lot of things away for now, or at least out of reach and out of the Mary Tobin zone.
  • In general, getting rid of superfluous stuff (which is so hard for me!).

Stuff stuff stuff! It also helps that I’m OK with bright colors.

Side note: I’m thinking of painting this coffee table. Any suggestions?

What’s on your coffee table right now?

Midweek Motivation: Be a resting place.

-Saint Bernard of Clairvaux


Be a safe place.

Other Valentine’s thoughts:

Who Has Seen the Wind?

windy sundayOur attempt at a photo shoot on a windy day, resulting in Mugatu hair. Obey my dog.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

-Christina Georgina Rossetti, The Golden Book of Poetry (1947)

My mom recites this poem to Mary Tobin when they go out on our balcony to watch the birds and see what they can see. It’s the same one my grandmother Mamacella recited to us.

Linking to Little Days.

Playground Uniform: Frenchie Hat

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We’re doing our best to get outside for some fresh air every day despite winter and crummy weather. Fortunately, it hasn’t been very wintry lately, and the princesa and I have gotten into the habit of heading to the park after lunch.

Where, by the way, alcohol (including my afternoon martini) is prohibited:

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Probably my favorite of all Mary Tobin’s cute hats came from my sister-in-law Courtney, who is a closet online shopping fiend. I call it the frenchie hat since it looks vaguely French sailor to me. When she wears it I can’t stop taking iPhone pics.

My view at the bottom of the slide (don’t worry, MT fans, it’s a mini-slide and I spot her the whole time!):

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Standing tall:

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Do you love it or what? Or do you think she looks like a pirate? Or like Katherine Hepburn or Jo March wearing an old-timey slouchy hat?

Wish I could pull off hats with such panache. . .


I couldn’t find the Frenchie hat online—the brand is Bubele— but here are some similar styles.

And I’m linking up with thescribblepad‘s Little Days.