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June 2011
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August 2011

Hardy Boys Merger



I had a hard time finding ideas for moving two toddlers into the same bedroom. I’m wondering if that’s because it’s not such a good idea?

Sam really wanted to move into Jake’s room, he’s brought it up repeatedly so finally this morning I decided to do it. The “merger” was way more labor-intensive than I’d planned for because, well … I didn’t really plan it at all. Which some of you know is totally not like me. Bunking the boys together has been in the back of my mind ever since we started visualizing a bathroom upstairs. We’re managing with just one but there’ve been a few times a second bathroom would be just heavenly. (Like the time when our one and only toilet was broken for a day).

And while I’m dreaming … this bathroom would double as a laundry room instead of the laundry-room/pantry broom closet I’ve got going on now. I’m a believer in creating space for our dreams … so, now I have an empty room perfect for our new Ultimate Utility room.

The room isn’t actually empty, because in a smallish house that would be silly. I’ve got plans for that room too, but for now it’s just a mess of possibilities.

As you can see below, the boys were pretty excited and happy about the new Hardy Boys room … I hope I still think it was a good idea in the morning!





p.s. I know, it’s been awhile since my last post … I’m working on getting back into this being one of my top priorities, but I’m still adjusting to a new work schedule and getting regular workouts. (Which is somehow giving me more energy, I never used to believe that, but more on that another day!)


* 8:30 p.m. So far I’ve only been interrupted three times writing this post.

*11:30 p.m. So far, so good … fingers crossed.

Green Zone: Pitter-Patter

If you get a chance to pick up Saturday’s News-Register, my “Confessions of a Green Wannabe” column ran in the special Green Zone section. I don’t have a link to share yet but the issue is on newsstands around the county, for local readers who don’t subscribe to our community paper(ahem!).

I only have 600ish words to work with so I couldn’t list all these links in the paper but am happy to do it here and encourage you to check out the cool and cute stuff created by local (mostly) stay-at-home mamas.

I absolutely adore this store and love going there with my kids because there is a playroom for them and the staff is super understanding when they don’t stay right where they’re supposed to. I also love shopping there because awesome deals are to be had like Sam’s $3.00 Cars slippers!

I’m excited to share the awesome owner, Jennifer Johnson, is willing to take some Nathalie’s Notes products on for a test-run. I am so, so excited about that!

Pitter-Patter Children’s Consignment store in Newberg (619 E. Hancock). 503.538.4215

Little Red Wagon

Little Birdie & Me


Sweet Pea & Pumpkin

Heidi Boos with Stampin’ Up

Mo’s Bows

Glitter Bug Girls

Baby Bumz

Betty Jane Designs

Casey & Kyle Comics

Simply Cute Creations

Forget Me Not

Lil’ britches

BE your own kind of beautiful

Handknit treats

PJ Creations

p.s. Fun fact: love that I ended up having to do my interview with Jennifer with both of my children, in my sweaty work-out clothes sporting the frazzled-mom look. She didn’t bat an eye and knew I was just doing what a work-from-home mama’s gotta do!

For my parents …


My dad just celebrated his 80th birthday! I can’t write something in honor of my dad without including my mother because it is the combination of them that made me who I am. As they are both celebrating round birthdays and 37 years of marriage, it’s a good time to reflect on the impact they have had on all of us.

Without my parents I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have always wanted to make them proud of me, it is only recently I’ve learned that they were always proud of me simply because I was theirs.

My parents aren’t the super affectionate, American style of parents my friends were raised by. My parents did tough-love and hard lessons. My parents did strength instead of weakness. My parents did blunt truth over comfort and ignoring the elephant in the room.

My parents taught me the fine art of compromise, but also to hold my ground.

My parents taught me to believe in myself even when others didn’t.

My parents taught me about taking risks, being strong, accepting consequences with grace and to continue, always, to dream, set goals and work hard to achieve them.

My parents have taught me the art of adjusting to life’s curvier turns while staying the course.

I am a writer today because my parents always believed in me and my potential. From buying my first typewriter as a little girl, to endless trips to the library to financing my education and reading my work with constructive feedback, my parents are one of the reasons I continue to work in a field I love.

I am the mother I am today because of the lessons I learned watching them include us in their life from fancy dinners to backyard picnics. They taught us to embrace life through travel as well as enjoying what we had at home. They taught us about nutrition, fitness and the fine art of, well, art. They taught us to be thankful for our blessings, to see them everywhere and to share them with others. They taught us the importance of sitting down together to share meals, stories and each other.

I am the wife I am today because of what I learned watching my parents work through many of life’s difficulties, protecting us from their stresses and respecting each other, compromising and learning to navigate the challenges of life together. My parents have been through more than anyone I know, and have come through it all stronger, still standing, still smiling. And so do Martin and I. For that, we are thankful.

I am who I am because of my parents, personally and professionally. I will be eternally grateful to them.

I am glad they were born and wish I could be there in person to celebrate these milestone birthdays. They are, however, my internal compass, always on my heart and in my mind.

Aj ja vas!

Zivijo, zivijo, zivijo!!!

For the love of awesomeness

Happy Crack. Mad awesomeness.

Those are just a few words I’ve used to describe my new passion: Pinterest.

It was one of several things this week I found myself asking: How have I not heard of this before?!

I don’t even know how to describe it, it’s one of those things where you’ll likely do one of these things:

1) Be mildly interested but not curious enough to click on the link and join in the fun.

2) Sure, you’ll look but you will tell the part of you that wants to dive in that the last thing you need is another time suck. And you’ll be right. BUT maybe you could exchange something else that’s sucking your energy and check out something that just might be your daily dose of happy crack. Just sayin’.

3) Or, you might click on the Pinterest link, suck in your breath a bit as you behold the simple genius behind this mad awesomeness and start pinning your happy heart away. (If you fall into this camp and need an invite, email me or leave a message in the comments with your email and I’ll send you one with joy in my heart. p.x. would love it if you follow me and let me know you’re on there so I can follow you too! Too bad the social media lingo is so … sixth-grade please-sit-by-me-in-the-cafeteria sounding!)

But what the hell is it?

Oh, right. It’s a virtual corkboard of coolness. It’s a place where people pin photos that take their breath away like this:


or ideas they want to try like this:




or words to live by like this:


words to live by

This is the best guide I’ve found about getting started: Pinterest: a beginner’s guide


Okay, so the next thing many of you likely know about but I just discovered Pandora – (thank you Paul for helping me with that!) internet radio where you type in an artist you like and “they” customize a radio station with music you can groove to. For free. Sweet.

Bonus: you can click to see the entire lyrics of a song in case you’re one of those people who consistently hears them wrong.

And finally, I accidentally came across a copy of Mental Floss magazine while chasing Jake down at the library. Seriously, how have I never read that? I totally geeked out on an article called:

10 incredible Moments in the History of Editing

By david wanczyk

Can I just tell you how happy it made me to know that there were enough other people on the planet that think it’s cool to care about edits that changed history to justify the cost of producing a magazine? Love that. If you’re one of us, did you know Catch-22 was originally titled Catch-18. Now I’m full of more fun facts like that, FYI.

So, there’s a few of my favorites for this Friday!

Happy Weekend.

- signature

Eating in the image of the beast

I have started this post so many times, so many ways … I’m just going to come out and say it.

It’s been a month since I’ve had more than a bite of meat. I’m not ready to say I’m a vegetarian because I reserve the right to change my mind. But I don’t think that’s going to happen because to my utter surprise I love the way I feel after not eating meat for a month. So much so that I’m not sure I ever want to go back to it.

Don’t worry I’m not going to go all born-again-vegetarian on you. I won’t be all judgey-judgey to you carnivores, you know me better than that, but I will share what this experience has been like for me.

First of all, I wish I could tell you the inspiration behind this lifestyle change (because it is much more than dietary) came from reading something beautiful and smart-sounding like Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle or Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (both of which are on my read someday list). But no.

Instead, the book I have to admit changed me was the shallow-sounding yet shockingly smart and sassy little book called “Skinny Bitch.” Yes, Skinny Bitch. Two words I rarely use much less identify with. But there you have it.

The craziest part was that my meat-loving husband also read it at my request to get past the title and just skim it so we could talk about it. He blew through the whole thing before I did and came to the same conclusion as me: we’re done with meat. The book actually heavily promotes a vegan lifestyle but we are not done with eggs, honey and cheese. However, we are using less of the above in our cooking and getting healthier versions (organic, soy, locally grown, etc). than we were in the past.

Here’s the super crazy part: it’s been relatively easy to make this change. With the amount of fake meat products that don’t taste like shredded pulp, and even available at my favorite Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, combined with the plethora of cookbooks, websites and blogs dedicated to this kind of cooking it hasn’t been as big a deal as I thought it would be.

In fact, it’s been better. Here is a classic Matt compliment that sums up what I’m trying to say:

“Wow, babe, great dinner. Another one! I’m starting to think it was just the meat holding you back.”

Maybe so.

Why? Why? Why?

That seems to be the most FAQ question lately but the answer is longer than I can get into in this post. I promise to revisit it but for now will leave you with this one thing. I’ll just say it, I’m no animal-lover. I’m just not. Which doesn’t make me a hater, but I haven’t been an animal rights activist in the past. Some people don’t particularly adore kids. That doesn’t make them bad, just not someone you’re going to ask to babysit yours. I’m like that with animals.

So as the book was going into the details about how animals are treated in common slaughtering and butchering practices, I cringed but wasn’t ready to throw in the blood-soaked towel. Until I got to the reminder about “you are what you eat.”

You either believe that’s true or you don’t. I do.

So when the authors wrote that when you consume most of the meat commercially available (I’m paraphrasing) you are literally eating fear and anxiety.

As a person consciously working toward reducing my anxiety levels this hit home.

Guess what?

The other day I was in the middle of a particularly stressful time of day for me, the part where your kids are hanging on you and the fridge door as you try to figure out how Cinderella's godmother turned a pumpkin into a coach so you can use those powers to turn random leftovers into dinner?

I felt this strange feeling in the midst of the chaos and didn’t quite recognize it. With a start I realized it was a sense of inner calm.

That felt better than any meat I’ve ever tasted.

Serenity Now (plus a freebie)

 Serenity Now - freebie 

If you read my most recent post you know I’m done with the whole shame thing. Which means I can tell you I’ve been a self-help junkie for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been drawn to things that help me understand myself and others. I love that stuff!

Even though I love it, I’ve felt a little shy about it, like maybe there was something really wrong with me to be so attracted to that kind of thing. The other day I realized if that’s true I am so, so, so not alone since some of the books I’ve collected are best-sellers.

Which got me thinking … my personal self-help odyssey has been a journey of synchronicities where someone loaned me a book with exactly what I needed to read; or a song came on the radio making something I was mulling over click into place; or a seemingly random conversation triggered just the thought I needed to make an important decision; or a quote I read on a teabag revealed a message I needed to hear. You get the idea.

All that is to say, I’ve decided to start my own “self-help” category here to share some of my favorite quotes, books, living lessons, etc. I guess, in a sense, I’ve been doing that all along but now it’s official – I’m calling it something. And you know me, giving it a label makes it real.

The other day my beautiful friend Mel reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where George's father goes around screaming "SERENITY NOW!" whenever he needed to calm down. While screaming "SERENITY NOW!" might not work for most of us, laughing sure does.

Evoking the unlikely combination of Frank Costanza and Faith Hill, I came up with as funny reminder to myself for when I’m feeling less-than-Zen. You are welcome to copy it, print it, share it, whatever. If you like it, it’s yours.

I hope you’ll like more of that kind of thing as I work toward turning the product line of Nathalie’s Notes from my dreams to my reality.

A few ideas for how to use my first Nathalie's Notes freebie:

  • Save it as your desktop picture.
  • Print it out and frame it. Keep it or give it to a friend.
  • Paste it into your journal. (What? You don't have a journal? We need to talk.)

Here it is: View this photo

To hear Frank's "SERENITY NOW!" for yourself click  


Go ahead, get pissed. Just don’t stay that way!

I was reading some questions and comments on a parenting board I like when I saw a mom asking how to handle a situation that leaves her feeling angry. Another person responded by telling her that if she was so angry she had little, or no tolerance. So, you know I had to say something.

Are you kidding me? As soon as you start telling people it’s not okay to be angry with their children is when things get dangerous. If you can’t admit that you’re angry, you can’t get help figuring your way through it. And that’s a problem. Why is it that some people advocate for allowing children to feel their entire “rainbow of emotions” but don’t yield that same courtesy to the parents?

Here is a link to a parenting site I poured over last night looking for some solutions to our recent parenting challenges – I’ve been sort of a Zen-Banshee lately. It’s about handling our anger as parents – see?! It’s normal, thank you very much. There’s a lot there to digest, if you can approach it without feeling defensive, all the better. I caught myself cringing a few times but liked the overall concept.

I was most struck by the idea that one of the reasons our children can push our buttons like no other is that in the moment that they {insert behavior that makes you insanely, intensely and instantly furious} it triggers how you felt as a child. (Enough with the eye-rolling, already, just consider the possibility). So for me that looks like, when Sam utterly disregards something I’d just told him, a simple request even, and does whatever he damn well pleases underneath my fury, I feel: dismissed, ignored, unimportant, useless, not heard. These are feelings I remember from early on and understanding that this is what might be happening was eye-opening in a hopeful way. Make sense?

For the article on parent-anger, I only take issue with the last line, #16 I get her point but don’t think shame is the right word to use there.

If I could help eradicate one thing from our personal and parenting arsenals it would be shame. Okay three things: shame, guilt and blame.

Writing as I go, learning as I live and sharing that here with you is one of my ways of combating those things.

This video, sent to me by my friend Rose, is 20 worthwhile minutes and helped me find the courage within myself to start this journey back to my favorite self.

20 minutes of inspiration …

Back soon,