Lovely Links

the week in pictures via nbc news

a school teacher catches snowflakes as she leads her students in the falling snow (from the week in pictures via nbc news)

I’m starting a series called “Lovely Links”. Every Friday I’ll post links to things I’ve discovered throughout the week and want to share. I hesitated doing this because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to bombard you with a bunch of links, but truthfully, I look forward to link lists on other blogs.  So without further ado…

How did I not discover this blog until a few days ago?

I still haven’t found chairs to go with our farm table that my father-in-law made for us two years ago, but I’ve had my eye on these for a while.

I recently discovered Skillshare. Have you heard about it? It’s a place to learn “real world” skills — anything from business courses to audio mixing — from incredible teachers who know their stuff. Something I want to do this year is push myself creatively and try different artistic outlets, and this class looks like fun.

We all have capes.

Loving these Yellow Owl Workshop stamp sets for the kids.

This jacket.

This emotional ad.

This lightweight volume conditioner and these firming eye gels.

Pigeons are kind of beautiful. No, really. Take a look.

I’ve made these “cupcakes” twice this week. My kids are obsessed with them.

This magazine.

This sweater for the boys.

This article on ways to teach your child how to play alone.

Grab your tissues. The movie trailer for The Fault in Our Stars is here!

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Happy Friday, friends!


Blog crush: Lindsey Mead of A Design So Vast

I’m working on some behind-the-scenes things today — spiffing up this little Inter-nook of mine (as best as I know how, which really isn’t much) — so instead of posting something I want to direct you to one of my favorite writers, Lindsey Mead.

Lindsey blogs at A Design So Vast but the piece I’m linking to today is at HuffPost Parents. In “A New Season”, Lindsey reflects on what she calls “the happy golden years” and exposes the more complicated mother-daughter relationship as her daughter approaches the “pulling away” years. If you have a daughter, whether newborn or on the cusp of the teen years, as Lindsey’s Grace is, you will relate to Lindsey’s words (and her words are always beautiful).

You might also notice that brand-new Facebook widget over there to the right (scroll down). I finally started a Joy, Lovely Joy FB page and would love (LOVE) for you to join me there…or “follow” or “like” or whatever the correct terminology is.

Thanks, lovelies. Now go read Lindsey’s HuffPost piece and then go poke around on A Design So Vast. You just might fall in love. I did.

Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and Coretta Scott King. Oh, my.

Joy, Lovely Joy Newbery Caldecott winner 2014

The American Library Association announced yesterday the 2014 winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals, the two highest literary honors for children’s books. The Newbery is awarded for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature and the Caldecott for outstanding artwork.

Winner of the Newbery Medal goes to Kate “As-If-You-Need-A-Last-Name” DiCamillo for Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. She of such literary gems as Because of Winn-Dixie (2000 Newbery runner-up) and The Tale of Despereux (winner of the 2004 Newbery and a book that recently sparked a life question from Mia, which I quickly answered, then answered more honestly in this post) was recently chosen for Ambassador of Young People’s Literature. Flora & Ulysses is about a tween who befriends a squirrel with super powers.

“The right book reminds us of who we are.

It also tells us who we can become.”

~Kate DiCamillo

Brian Floca was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in Locomotive, which is about a family of three traveling from Omaha to Sacramento in 1869 aboard the brand-new transcontinental railroad. It received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and placement in a slew of “best books” lists.

Newbery Honors went to:

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Caldecott Honors went to:

Journey by Aaron Becker

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

The Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults went to Marcus Sedgwick for Midwinterblood.

Honors went to:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

The Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award went to P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Honors went to:

March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes (Yay, Nikki!)

The Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award went to Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me, illustrated by Bryan Collier (written by Daniel Beaty).

Honors went to:

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson


The kid’s on his own (see also: poop in the bathtub)

I was giving the kids a bath the other night when a splashing contest ensued, and amid all the laughing and shrieking and water spraying, Wyatt slipped under water mid-splash, mouth open. As I dove to retrieve him, I slammed my knee into the side of the tub. I pulled him up and out of the tub by his arm. He gasped for air, then cried and looked at me as if he wasn’t sure whether I was his steadfast savior or the root of his calamitous suffering. I woke up the next morning to find a an angry bruise blossoming on my kneecap and thought of eggplants. Actually, I spent more time than I care to admit considering the spectrum of nightshade vegetables and which one my kneecap most resembled.

Rewind a few weeks prior to the above incident: Same bathtub. Same kids. I noticed Wyatt being very still and quiet in the corner of the tub. I asked if he was doing what I thought he was doing, but he shook his head no in that sweet and innocent way of a two year old. And then he waved at me and said, “Hi, mama,” which should have tipped me off because that’s Wyatt’s dead giveaway that he’s doing something he knows he shouldn’t be doing. Not one minute later, guess what floated into view?

Moral of the story: I’m not bathing Wyatt anymore. The kid’s on his own.

Wyatt Joy, Lovely Joy

the cuteness slays me

Totally unrelated but worth mentioning: Mia is watching TV in the next room, and this is what I hear:

Zach: “Is that Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle?”

Mia: “Yeah”

Zach: “Yessss.” (Imagine a fist pump.) “I know them.”

Happy Friday, friends.

Because of Motherhood

I’m scrolling through the gallery of pictures on my phone — all 1800 of them, the majority of which feature my kids — when a question presents itself: Have I faded into motherhood? And also: Am I so consumed with motherhood that it’s all I see?

I rarely capture a sunset or the way ice clings to branches or the rippling of water in a rain puddle. Unless my child is a part of that composition, it usually doesn’t occur to me to grab my camera. And when I look at snapshots taken from various sources over the past six-plus years, I’m only in a handful of them. This is in part because I’m usually the one behind the camera (there’s a reason why Zach calls me “Mamarazzi”), but if I am in fact fading into motherhood — if I’m to be swallowed alive by this gig — I’d at least like some documentation.

The thing is, I don’t feel that I’m a mother more than I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, but I’ll admit that motherhood might be the glue that holds me together. There’s no question that we change the moment we become mothers, and motherhood is perhaps the only role we take on that requires us to change abruptly, continuously, and without hesitation.

Because of motherhood, I’ve learned to speak when I might have stayed silent. Because of motherhood, I’m more conscious of tipping my chin to the sky, open to God’s plan. Because of motherhood, I’m hyper aware of the miracle that is life — to create it, to sustain it, to keep it safe from harm and sickness — it’s all miraculous. Because of motherhood, I want to support other mothers who are advocating for their children, or beginning a new business venture to fund their adoption while also helping other families adopt, or exhibiting the raw beauty of motherhood by saying “screw you” to a diagnosis. Because of motherhood, these things matter. They matter a whole lot.

If motherhood was peeled away and all my pieces came undone, I’m not sure I could be put back together. So, am I fading? Am I already so far gone? The more I thought about this, the more I realized that motherhood is also a sisterhood when we open ourselves up to it. And I don’t mind at all being immersed in it.