Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Celebrating Summer and Light


 A few days ago I was contacted by Paperless Post** to ask if I wanted to participate in a collection of inspirational posts about celebrating the Summer and I thought it was a really nice idea.

Summertime is one of my periods of the year. The warmth and the long days are definitely worth a celebration, particularly in the Northern hemisphere.

I remember celebrating 'la noche de San Juan' -St. John's Eve- when I lived in Barcelona. It is a truly magic night. People go to the beach, set up huge bonfires meant to scare evil forces away, party the whole night and enjoy the light. Reading a bit further I found out this was a christianized pagan holiday in honour of the solstice, marking the longest day of the year. It is a night where fairies and other creatures of the underworld are believed to run lose, among which La encantada, a young, beatiful girl with long hair appears near caves or water streams, combing her hair, carrying a mirror. The legend, dating back to medieval times, is associated with Lamia and other folkloric creatures (like mermaids or the greek nymphs) and symbolizes fertility and youth. The mirror she holds is a symbol that represents a door to other dimensions. On St John's Eve, anything can happen.


Marking the seasons brings us to the moment, makes us reflect where we are.  Lately, I spend life running constantly, doing those everyday things to keep us all going. I reach the end of the day quite tired (brain dead would be a more appropriate term). But occasions like this are perfect for taking a pause, for remembering to appreciate the light around us, to celebrate the little things: taking long walks, painting my toenails bright and shiny, admiring the beautiful peonies that only bloom at this particular time.

Do you celebrate the summer solstice?

* Painting of Lamia by William Waterhouse
**This is a non-sponsored post, I just thought it would be fun to participate in a series focused on celebrating summer time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A flamingo-themed nursery

This post was due ages ago. I never shared Y's. nursery, but we put so much effort in it that I thought it was as good a time as any to show it to you!  


When we started putting our baby’s room together, we didn’t really have a colour scheme, except maybe: "mix all the colors". Little by little, though we found the bits and pieces that “glue” it all. We first chose the fabric for the curtains. These were actually a project for January Joy,  but we ended up asking our local Turkish tailor to make them because it turns out we are both completely clueless with the sewing machine .


We also had a pair of flamingo wall-stickers that we got in Barcelona just before I moved to The Netherlands. At the moment we did not know where they would end up, but we knew they would be a part of our home together. When we were dating (and still now, when we travel) we visit zoos whenever we can and we always end up taking a photo with the flamingos, so they are a bit special to us.


For the furniture, we knew we wanted colourful items, which are often difficult to find, or else, they are called "designer items" and are priced accordingly. At the baby shops everything was in the boring tones of white, grey, wood or black and the ready-made rooms were extremely expensive anyway. We chose a simple drawer chest (a Hemnes, from Ikea) to be used as a changing table, that we found in red, score! We have added some porcelain knobs in different patterns to give it a quirky touch (found here). We liked the ones from Anthropologie, but after a bit of searching we were happy to find a great selection of porcelain knobs at a local source and at accessible prices (€2.95 per  piece).


As for the walls... we wanted to continue with the flamingo theme.  I had a postcard from the famous ‘American flamingo’ painting by John James Audubon, and a Mexican flamingo-maraca that we put by her small bookshelf. My mom quilted her a lovely Flamingo-and-chick blanket, to go with her light blue crib that we first saw during a day excursion to Ghent. 


After searching quite a bit  (read going crazy) on Pinterest  I found some quite unique vintage Alice in Wonderland prints  on Etsy, from a 1950’s edition illustrated by Marjorie Torrey  that we hung on one of the bare walls.


Choosing the frames was kind of hard, but in the end we settled for good old  Ribba’s from Ikea that  the husband managed to convert into transparent "floating" frames by using glass in the front and in the back of the frame, so that the original pages of the book are still readable from the back. 


When she was born she received a WWF flamingo plush from a dear dear uncle and now she has a yodeling dancing one that she loves to play with.  Oh, and let's not talk about the flamingo-obsession that started with her birth. We have quite the collection of flamingo paraphernalia: onesies, leggings, shorts, a sweater, toddler-sandals, postcards (that I am hiding from the husband, using them as bookmarks), a lovely winter-hat, a couple of dresses, a t-shirt....

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Papadag (Daddy day)

This post has been written by the husband. Though he has written a couple of other posts he will most likely not be a regular feature, but maybe now and then we'll get to hear M's voice (If i can convince him to write more!)


When we found out that Amanda was gonna start working full time we had to look for a daycare for Yulia. Normally daycares in the Netherlands have  huge waiting lists, but luckily, we found a really nice one that was able to take Yulia on short notice. Their philosophy however is that no child should be in daycare for more than 4 days, so we had to find a solution for the 5th day. Since 3 of the 4 grandparents live in Mexico and the grandmother in the Netherlands is still working. We had to find a different solution.

So we did some calculations in Excel and we came to the conclusion that I would be able to take a papadag (daddy day). A papadag is a day (or in some cases more than one) in which the dad stays home and takes care of the child(ren).


My first day I was a bit scared. Sure, I had taken care of Yulia before. I knew how to change her diaper, give her food, entertain her, but I had never done one full day of baby tending. I didn’t know how to organize myself and the day in such a way that stuff would get done and Yulia would be happy. Also, Amanda advised me to go to a playgroup that Yulia loved and Amanda attended with her every week. I didn’t like the idea of going to a place with only women talking about women stuff.

Up until now  I have had four daddy days and I love it. I love our morning walk to the playgroup, I love playing and dancing with her at the playgroup, I love having fancy lunch with her at M&S and going home to play some more.

During the playgroup I talk to the different moms (there are 2-3 dads as well), nanny’s and au pairs and during her nap after playgroup I have time (2 hours) to run errands (Amanda edit: this means going to the french bakery and getting Ă©claires). I know that Amanda is going through a huge change and misses Yulia a lot, but I am very happy that I get to spend quality time with my amazing daughter.

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