Celebrating baby

I like babies. They’re so cute. They’re like puppies only without the all that mindless wagging and licking. And I’ve realized that I also like throwing parties for babies.

It’s fun. Especially when it’s not your party, you can just let the guest-of-honor roam around the room to mingle, stopping every now and then to throw her head back in carefree laughter. Meanwhile, I can refill the punch bowl and make sure there are enough mini quiches to go around.

I hosted with my friend Hilary, and here we are with Rhea, the lovely mama-to-be.


Record scratch…we’re all mamas-to-be.

Ziga zig, owwww.

Because making babies is our jam.

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Flowers

Um, you can’t quite see the raspberry braid in all it’s gooey glory, but there it is to the right, slightly out of frame. It was Hilary’s mother’s recipe, and it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.

The end.

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Juice in Jars

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Paper Straws

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Food Table

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Chalk Board

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Macaroons

We (by “we” I mean my husband and Jen Peters, because I am not a graphic designer, I’m pretty handy with a magna doodle, but that’s about where my expertise ends) made these fun cards with wishes for the baby. We had everyone fill them out and hand them back to Rhea to keep.

One of my favorite answers was, “I hope you ignore the bitches.”


Well said.

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Wishes

They also created a game of I Spy

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower I Spy Game

 And a chocolate bar wrapper, because in my option, no party is complete without chocolate.

Hippo Brigade Baby Shower Chocolate Bar Favors



Softness of the Morning

Right now my family is starting to look for me. It’s 7:15 am I hear tiny foot falls upstairs. They sound brisk and determined. It’s Berlyn. She’s always looking for someone to hang out with in the AM. When she wakes up she demands our attention immediately, just like she did when she was a newborn. Never outgrew it. Now as an almost six-year-old, she ambles around in the morning, directionless and loud.

But I’ve been downstairs now, for two hours, by myself. And to tell you the truth, I love it, and now I’m used to the quiet and the softness of the morning. And I want to hide from everybody. Shhh…

I’m not here. I’m not your mother yet. I’m just a delirious woman sitting behind the couch with a cup of tea, and a lap top researching cloth diapers.


Keep the lights low.

Stop making noises.

Do you really need a bowl of cereal right now?!

Why is getting into a cereal box so loud?


Did you just spill milk?


Alright, I’m coming out from behind the couch.



SND CYN Studios is this inspiring and collaborative work space where independent creatives can all work together. This space is home to artists, designers, photographers, producers, and developers.

And it’s where my husband works.

I’m pretty jealous of him, because it’s amazing.

This was a major upgrade for Pat, because before he was here, and before SND CYN studios even existed, he sat in the spare bedroom in our home, doing various Apple commands while I tried to tip-toe around around the house with our two children and schizophrenic dog, which proved to be extra fun when he was on a conference call…

With Ty Mattson at the design helm of the project, they just finished transforming this 125-year old lima bean factory in Irvine into the most epic work space ever. Seriously, I want to work here. I don’t know what I’d do, but I think I’d do it really well.




[Conference room, aka "The Champ"]


[The Gallery]


 [Front entrance]


[railroad sculpture made with the rail ties from the track that runs right behind the studio]


To commemorate their completion of the office, they had a huge party this last weekend.


[Setting up the boozy area]


[ The gallery and a shuffle board table]



[Ice cream sandwich truck rolled up and handed us gourmet ice cream and cookie combinations that were heavenly]


[They had custom SND CYN logos on them. The paper was edible, and I ate it. Edible, but not tasty.]





I think this should be my new desk. Sorry I can’t afford to pay rent, and I don’t have any special skills. But I’m really fun to have around in the event that an impromptu dance party should break out, that’s appropriate in an office setting, right?

*all photos from Instagram.




It was my birthday yesterday. It quietly tapped me on the shoulder and handed me another numeral. Like a trophy, that I set in a room, upon a shelf, then I turned off the light and shut the door. Because the more years I accumulate, the less it seems to matter. Birthdays, I mean. I remember being younger and counting down the days until I was 10 or 13 or 6 or 9. As soon as it was September I would start crossing days off the calendar until I was another year older. I remember being so excited to age, to let peers know that I was 11, but they were all stuck at 10. I remember making the day so grand. I wanted everyone that I encountered on the street to acknowledge that I was a new age, I wanted the phrase “Happy Birthday” to be used liberally by all my family and friends numerous times throughout the day, and I wanted to feel special, from the moment that I woke up, to the time I feel asleep.

That’s it. That’s what I craved the most, it was that feeling of special. The feeling that the world stopped revolving around the sun for 12 hours, so it could revolve around me instead. Free ice cream sundaes, presents, and my brother being unconventionally nice to me for the entire day.

But now that I am an adult, with children, it’s not about me anymore. The day fizzes into mediocre with special moments dappled in when the children are napping, or behaving, or after they go to bed for the night.


Sure I felt celebrated yesterday, and we had fun, but I still had to run to the grocery store, clean poop off buns, do the dishes. And everyone I encountered through the day had no idea it was my birthday. It was my secret. I signed a form, and when it asked for the date, I glanced upward for a second, as if I needed a second to figure out what day it was. Haahaa, I thought. I don’t need a second to do the math. It’s my birthday. October 8. Should I draw you a balloon? Here you go, I did a small sketch of a pony eating cake too. Too much? Well it’s a special day.

But life gets in the way of special days. Pat and I were supposed to celebrate on Sunday, but instead of celebrating my dog went into anaphylactic shock, and had to be rushed to the doggie E.R. Instead of eating cake at a fancy restaurant, we were biting our fingernails, and praying for the best. Instead of making memories we were paying doctor bills.

And that’s fine. Because this year for my birthday, I was given perspective…

But I still got some delicious cake too.




The Weird Thing About Germany

There’s a lot spinning in my head right now. Rotating around like the heavily soiled setting on my washing machine–everything is is all tumbling around and I don’t like it.

I think the main reason my head feels this way is because my husband is in Germany right now.

germany from hippobrigade.com

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photoEating Brätwurst and drinking endless pints of beer, and I’m here, with the kids, and the dog, making up metaphors that have to do with doing laundry. And that’s fine and good, but the part that drives me the most crazy is when my husband isn’t here I get a little depressed. Pushed inward. I want to stay indoors and comfort bake all day, and let my kids stay up past their bed times because I’m lonely, and need someone to talk to.

My mom volunteered to take the kids on Saturday for a few hours because the weekends are strange for me, and I was like No! Those are my friends..and then I heard myself, felt like an idiot, and then said yes, because my friends and I needed a break, plus they weren’t my friends at all, instead they were kinda like Wilson in that Tom Hanks movie. They needed a break from me. And that was fine because I needed to nap, and there’s nothing more important than a pregnant lady’s sleep. Well, that is if you don’t count food.

I get depressed because I have weird thoughts when my husband’s away. Weird like something bad is going to happen to him, like he’s not going to come back. They are dark thoughts, and they stem from my step-dad going away for the weekend, when I was 20, and then he never came back, because he died. He left my mom a widow, and he died. And that’s my worst fear. So, ya. I squeeze my kids extra tight when their daddy is away, and I forge brief and unhealthy attachments to them, because I’m fearful…of what might happen.

And then I have other weird thoughts, thoughts that don’t make any sense. Because my husband is the sense maker in our household, and I am not.

So while he’s been away I’ve had a few ideas….

On naming our baby Dr. Future.

On selling our house, and moving into an RV for a year to tour the continent.

On buying these boots

anthropologie boots from hippobrigade.com

Wait, the boots thing isn’t irrational at all, but actually makes a ton of good sense.

So I think I’ll get the boots. And wait to embroider Dr. Future on any baby blankets.

He’s coming back very soon, so today I’ll just try to be content and if you see a very pregnant lady carrying a 5-year old and almost 3-year-old in Baby Bjorns on my front and back, whatever. Don’t worry about it. Just smile and wave.