August 25, 2014

The Rockaways

If you've been following along with our summer, you know that the Noels have spent a great deal of time at the beach. See, we discovered early on that the girls' ridiculously early morning rise time worked to our advantage if we went with it. Saturdays you can find us jumping from bed and into swimsuits, throwing up messy hair (don't care), and tossing some beach toys into a larger-than-life beach bag (bless the Targets). We pile into the Jeep and drive with the windows down, even though it's still a bit chilly at 7 a.m.

There's a bagel place right before the stretch and bridge and toll that gets you to the Rockaways. Old Country Bagels, perhaps? The name escapes me. It truly looks like nothing, as all the real gems do. Order an everything bagel with bacon, tomato, and avocado, you're welcome. And don't forget one large iced hazelnut coffee, which, God bless New York, seems to be a staple in coffee shops from Brooklyn to the East End. 

This past weekend was likely our last weekend in this routine. I'm not complaining about the cooling off--I can tell the air is starting to crisp around the edges. I'm eagerly awaiting what is coming. But I suppose it is bittersweet for me to let go of summer this year. This summer sort of seemed like a holding place, maybe. Us, the four of us, here in this crazy new place and figuring it out, and yet falling into this lovely weekend routine that didn't require much. Just a short 30 minute drive and some chewy bread and cream cheese before hitting the sands and enjoying the beach to ourselves for almost a solid hour, really.

I like the beach that way. Yes, I'm traditionally not a beach lover, but what a way to start a day. It reminded me of the summer I lived in Florida, right before I left for London, and that was a summer of finding myself, I suppose, if I need to pick one. When all the resorts were finally closing up their offices and the sun was starting to set, I'd pretend that I liked running and I'd jog all the way down to the end of the island. It struck me then as it did this summer: It's outrageous to reach the edge of something. Morgan once told me that she felt claustrophobic visiting me in Colorado because she knew there was no water nearby. I sort of get what she was saying now.

I spent a lot of hours this summer thinking about that. How even though my mind knows it can't fathom infinity, it sure felt like infinity looking out over that glistening empty water these weekend mornings. And I could ponder it while the girls squealed and got braver and braver by the waves each week and while my crazy husband would dive in months before it was really warm enough to bear the temperature. We'd walk parallel to the boardwalk and pick up shells and smooth stones. Every time I pick up a shell, I think, "I've no use for this. What am I going to do with it?" Yet I can't ever resist taking a piece of the day with us, my own little treasure to steal away.

I guess I wasn't expecting it, but the beach is now a very big part of the New York Noels. There will be new adjustments as we begin fall and fall lends itself to winter and then we see the turn of another year. But these first few months, we got to stand on the edge of time, just waiting, staring out into infinity, and soaking up the sun in the moments before the rest of this adventure begins. 

August 22, 2014

Apartment: Bedroom

Hands down, I think I'm most pleased with how our bedroom turned out. Maybe it was lucking out and finding furniture that was the perfect mix of rustic and modern; maybe it's just that we sort of let a little go a long way; maybe it's all the white and the perfect light. Whatever it is, I feel that our bedroom is very peaceful, which is just exactly what you want in a bedroom.

This is another room where we started from scratch. Five years into our marriage, we were more than ready for a king-sized bed. Trev, I love ya! And I love my own bed area! We opted for a Sleep Number mattress too, which is proving helpful since we both have different tastes in mattresses. (And considering I've totally thrown out my lower back this week, it's helpful to increase the firmness on my side in times like these. That's what I get for carrying one kid on my back in the Ergo and the other on my hip, I suppose.)

All of the windows have really wide sills, and I've loved dressing each of them up. I have a nice little collection of succulents going on in our bedroom, which I think probably adds to the calm. I like green in a room. Of course, everything else was white and Trev said we needed some color, so that's where the pom-pom garland came into play. Yeah, he absolutely did roll his eyes at that.

We brought a few pieces with us--the mirror, the trunk, and the railroad hooks were all in our bungalow, and I like how even though this bedroom is very different, they still work great. I also had those vintage posters in our old home. The Vogue prints were a gift from Trevor and I had them hanging in my office. He scored the old ads at a garage sale years ago, but we never made use of them before now.

Mostly, this is a room for sleeping. Sometimes the girls will snuggle with us in the mornings, but usually they like to get busy playing. Occasionally they'll sneak in later in the day to read books or hide in our closet (not pictured--but it's a walk in!). All in all, the room sits pretty vacant during the day, yet I still like to take the time to make sure everything is crisp and neat each morning and again in the afternoon. I think it makes for a restful bedroom and makes it feel like a grown-up spot in the house--a place that belongs to just me and Trevor. 

Bed and dresser: CB2
Mattress: Sleep Number
Bed linens and Curtains: Ikea
Manhattan skyline pillow shams: Build Your Block (a lovely birthday present from Claire)
Mirror: Thrifted
Trunk: Stolen (From my parents! Muahaha!) and refurbished
Alarm clock: Ikea
Vintage plates: a gift from my grandmother
Railroad hooks: a handmade wedding present from Trevor's childhood friend!
Pom-pom garland: Iammie

August 20, 2014

1,000 Words: Chicago

I've always been more a words person than a visual person. I like things in my mind's eye. But I've also always enjoyed the phrase"a picture is worth a thousand words." I'm not a photographer, won't even pretend to be. But I want to be better at telling our story with pictures too.

Other 1,000 Words:

August 18, 2014

The Haps

Ohhhkay, some happenings! And they are exciting things, these happenings over here. Starting with: I have lost a beach towel? I'm pretty sure I didn't just leave it on the sand; and it isn't in the car; I suppose it could have gotten stuck in the dryer? Did I really miss a whole towel when emptying the dryer? Um. My closet ate it? It's a mystery, that is for certain; and it is driving me nuts. How does one lose a practically neon and larger-than-normal towel?

MOVING ON. (Not really. I will continue to haunt you with this as I am haunted by it.)

Talenti. Let's talk about Talenti. Because the other night Trevor went out with some friends and I got the chance to read Jason Good's book of lists (which is totally delightful and I would totally recommend, especially as a fun gift for parents of toddlers). And also I ate practically a pint of Talenti. This photo sparked a lovely Facebook discussion about flavors; and while I find them all delicious, Claire first introduced me to the Caramel Cookie Crunch and I shall forever be addicted. BUT we tried Toasted Almond on a whim the other day and now I'm obsessed.

Didn't I tell you this would be exciting?!

Have you seen Saving Mr. Banks? Oh, please see it. I cried the first time I saw it, and then I bawled (like snotty, nasty, ugly cried) watching it for the second time in the privacy of my own home. My parents sent me the most magical Mary Poppins box for my birthday (which also made me ugly cry); and not only did I get to relive the splendor of this movie, I just recently shared Mary Poppins with my girls for the first time. Honestly, I was surprised how much they loved it. I thought it might still be a bit over their heads? But after all, Mary Poppins does feel a bit like one of my kindred characters--perhaps behind Belle and Elizabeth Bennet? Stubborn, messy hair, doesn't know when to quit talking? That sounds about right. But the little bit of Mary Poppins in me? I like that part too. (What's "practically perfect" for Mary Poppins is probably more like "control freak" for me, but let's not get too hung up.)

Ah, yes. As far as actual, real, major life events go, we did just spend the weekend in Chicago. My cousin got married and inspired a weekend full of mini-family reunions. It was our first time on a plane as a family of four, if you can believe it. (We do love our road trips!) But we were fine and survived since we downloaded Frozen on to the tablet, obviously. When we made the decision to do so, I told Trevor I was less worried about tantrums on the plane and more concerned that they would sing "Let It Go" too loudly. We were fine on both accounts!

Somehow we've made it halfway through August already, and, I don't know, maybe it's NYC's outrageous storefronts and then covers of magazines and etc; but it has just struck me that I am on the verge of my first ever AUTUMN in New York. I'm sorry. Is it too early to speak of this? Is this entirely too girly-bloggery-cliche-y of me? But. It's fall. In. New. York. It's coming. Many more words about this are surely in the near future. (And then it's Christmas in New York, but we better take one exciting event at a time.) 

While we're talking about exciting New York milestones, I've recently determined my new least favorite conversation. People will find out we just moved here; and then they will ask "Where from?"; then I will tell them Denver; at which point in their most horrified expression they will respond, "Why? Isn't it beautiful there? What is wrong with you?" Of course, I'm instantly terrified now to tell them that I am one of those who really truly loves New York and thinks it's magical; and all of the other reasons we moved, like adventure, a good job, and etc. somehow seem pale compared to their level of horror? Still working on the appropriate response to this.

I did discover, however, that some of this East Coast brusqueness has rubbed off on me when I responded to the outrageously rude Spirit Airlines ticket counter representative in a manner quite congruent with her behavior toward us. Quite. (There's that Mary Poppins coming out!)

Happy week!

August 15, 2014


I want to remember you like this forever: bandana cape whipping behind your back, braids and beads bouncing while you dash down the hall like it's a runway into infinity. Free, free, free, and wild with youthfulness and innocence and joy.


When we were little, my brother, sister, and I would instigate what we deemed "the laughies." The point was that one person start a laughing chain reaction, the rest of us catching on until we were all simultaneously roaring. Nothing was ever actually funny, usually. The point was just to be hysterical. The fun was in the laughing, in the contagiousness. 


Edith is at that delightful stage right in between one and two where she's still as much a baby as she is a big kid. My favorite part about this last little in-between bit is the expressiveness. She doesn't understand how to manipulate emotions yet, she just knows they exist and how to express them. Her surprised face is the best, but it's the laugh that'll really get you. Oh, that baby belly laugh. Girl can bust a gut. The slightest thing can draw the biggest kick and then she'll laugh and laugh and laugh in the purest way, made from the purest joy.

Iris has begun to take note of this. In a way, she's grown out of the innocence of laughing at a game of peek-a-boo or monkey-see-monkey-do; but she sees how it entertains her little sister. If Edi laughs, she will laugh. She chooses to find the fun and humor in it. She chooses to laugh because it feels good, because to be happy is the point. 

Always choose joy, little ones, even if at first you don't get it, if there seems no reason for laughing; remember that the joy is not in the punchline but in the smile itself.