On swollen fingers and a baby ring tradition

I’m at the 36 week mark, and I’ve been lucky to not have as much swelling with this third pregnancy as I have with my other two. I think, mostly, it’s because I’m so busy chasing little boys around that my blood is circulating constantly and fluid simply does not have the time to accumulate. There have a been a few days when my feet were painfully swollen, such as on a long car trip over Labor Day weekend. But, it has been a far cry from the pitting edema I experienced regularly, especially with my second pregnancy, and especially when I was sitting at my desk all day.

While my legs and feet (and face!) are not as swollen as before, if I get too warm, I have noticed my hands starting to swell and my rings feeling a little tight.

And while there is nothing comfortable or attractive about my newly puffy hands, I’ll be honest, I get a little excited…

You see, in addition to the engagement ring and wedding band I wear daily, I have a few other special rings that I don’t get to wear often. They are sized a little large, so pregnancy is the perfect time to pull them out and wear them in lieu of my wedding band and engagement ring.

Pregnancy rings | swollen fingers during pregnancy | Heirlooms | Cocktail rings | the Maypop

The first ring is a pear-shaped cocktail ring that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Madeline. We are so lucky to still have Grandma with us, and I often wonder why she parted with this gorgeous ring. Before I got married, I wore it almost every day on my left hand. Unfortunately, it does not fit a finger on my right hand perfectly, and it seems too gaudy to wear it on my left hand with my other rings, so I rarely wear it now. After I finish having children, I’ll definitely have this one permanently sized. But for now, I LOVE pulling out this gorgeous ring when my hands are a little swollen.

The other rings that I wear are from a diamond waterfall cocktail ring that belonged to my paternal grandmother, Grace. When the ring was passed to me, it was missing a few stones. So, I had the various-sized diamonds reset into two anniversary bands. I love wearing them together (and wouldn’t mind having a few more stackable rings to wear with them, but I digress). As with the cocktail ring, they are a little large for my right hand, so I also don’t wear them regularly. And again, once I’m finished having children, I plan to have them sized to wear more often.

Pregnancy rings | swollen fingers during pregnancy | Heirloom Opal Ring | Cocktail rings | the Maypop

Since this baby is due in October and will have an opal birthstone, I’ve been wearing one more special ring. My maternal grandfather made this fire opal ring, and it’s always been one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

Pregnancy rings | swollen fingers during pregnancy | Heirloom Opal Ring | Cocktail rings | the Maypop

In the meantime, and ever sentimental, I love pulling these special family heirloom rings out when I am pregnant. It’s comforting to know that they still fit when nothing else will, except maybe Eric’s t-shirts, one of which I wore embarrassingly in public yesterday.

How’s that for making lemons from lemonade?

Looking towards the future, and always thinking of my sweet boys, I also get excited about these rings, passed down from my grandparents, one day being on ring bearer pillows in their weddings.

I’m not sure if it’s a Southern tradition or a modern tradition or where it originated or anything else, but I’ve always heard that you use these “baby rings,” the rings you wore (real or faux real) when your hands were swollen during pregnancy to tie to the ring bearer’s pillow as a “stand in” during the wedding.

Nautilus shell ring bearer pillow | beach wedding inspiration | the Maypop

Nautilus shell ring bearer pillows via By the Seashore Decor

If you don’t have any family heirlooms, then I think pregnancy is the perfect time to invest in a ring to wear now and pass down later. Here are a few vintage rings with various birthstones that I found on Etsy. All would make beautiful, special, timeless heirlooms but are still statement-worthy for now.

Pregnancy Rings | Vintage Christian Dior Ring | the Maypop

For a September Baby – Vintage Christian Dior via Syrtis4

Pregnancy ring | vintage opal ring | the Maypop

For an October baby – a stunning mix of opals via Estate Deals

Pregnancy Ring | Vintage amethyst and jade ring | the Maypop

February – Amethyst and Jade via Crown Estate Jewelry

And if you’re not the sentimental sort, then buy the largest, best looking fake you can afford. Why not rock a crazy “diamond” for a little while?

Pregnancy ring | Nordstrom Ariella Cushion Cut Ring | the Maypop

Just $38 at Nordstrom!

Have you heard of this tradition? Were you able to wear your rings when you were pregnant, or did you get something else too?



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Top 5 dinosaur books for children

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

Harrison loves dinosaurs. I’ve talked about how we look for dinosaurs in our neighborhood during our evening walks, about how we need just the right gear to search for fossils, and about how we spend countless hours reading library books on the topic or picking up books from our favorite bookstore.

Today, I want to talk a little bit more about the dinosaur books that Harrison likes the most. Our library has a twenty-five book maximum, and there have been many visits where we filled our basket with almost dinosaur books exclusively. I’d confidently say we’ve read more than one hundred dinosaur books, both fiction and nonfiction. Naturally, several books have risen to the top.

Below are the top five dinosaur books for children that we continue to check out again and again or have even added to our own home library.

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children

#1

The Dinosaurs Of Waterhouse Hawkins

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

This book is our favorite, and it is one we’ve added to our own personal collection.

Do you listen to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcasts? Well, I feel like Waterhouse Hawkins should be one of the featured topics.

Seriously – until Harrison picked up this book at the library, I’d not heard of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins. I did not realize that, in the mid-1800s, he created some of the first true-to-size models of dinosaurs. I was unaware that his dinosaurs were part of the Crystal Palace Exhibition.

And I certainly had no idea that several of his Crystal Palace Dinosaurs survive today.

If you’re intrigued, then you’ll love this book. Part story, part documentary, beautifully told by Barbara Kerley. It’s a longer read, but Harrison (4) sat through the entire book. It helps that is superbly illustrated by Brian Selznick, as is evidenced by the book’s Caldecott Honor distinction.

#2

Dinosaur Named Sue: The World’s Most Complete T. Rex

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

Harrison likes this book primarily because it is about a T Rex, his favorite meat-eating dinosaur. Specifically, it is the story of Sue, the largest, most complete, and best preserved tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found. With the Waterhouse Hawkins book, it’s the story that is so compelling to Harrison. With Sue, it’s the realism told in such detail. I can see his little mind absorbing every detail of Sue Hendrickson’s discovery.

This is the book that makes him want to be a paleontologist. This is the book that has him dragging me around the woods searching for T Rex skeletons.

Me? I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Sue in person at the Field Museum. I’m partial to this book because I’ve seen first-hand how magnificent she is and because knowing her story only makes her that much more astonishing.

#3

Dinomummy

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

Similar to Sue above, Dinomummy is the story of a dinosaur fossil discovery, a duck-billed hadrosaur. What makes this fossil unique is that it is the best preserved dinosaur mummy – three-dimensional and complete with some skin and soft tissue!

What makes this story unique is that it is told from the perspective of Tyler Lawson, who was just sixteen at the time of his find and only six when he began hunting for dinosaur bones found his first fossils. The photographs in this story are really amazing too; even I found myself studying the pages, staring at the dinosaur mummy and especially its skin.

As with the book about Sue, Dinomummy has Harrison convinced that he himself can find a dinosaur fossil. In fact, I think he’s even more convinced by this story because he realizes Tyler was so close to his age when he found his first fossils. My challenge is encouraging this passion while also trying to explain that we don’t exactly live in the dinosaur fossil-rich Hell Creek, South Dakota area. We’ve found lots of shark teeth and ray crushing plate fossils, but they unfortunately pale in comparison to a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton or hadrosaur mummy.

 

#4

Inside-Outside Dinosaurs

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

This is a simple book, but it is still one of our top picks. Each two-page spread is illustrated with a dinosaur skeleton followed by an illustration of that same dinosaur, with skin and other details, on the next two page spread. The illustrations are fun, neither extremely juvenile nor overly scientific. The only words are the names of the dinosaurs and meanings of the names (ex: BRACHIOSAURUS, “arm lizard”). Harrison really likes “reading” this book independently and studying the pictures.

This book was one of the most helpful for early reading and letter recognition. I didn’t anticipate this when I checked it out at the library, and I was surprised when he wanted to spell every long name, pointing to each letter in every dinosaur’s name.

#5

Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

Oh how we adored this story! This is a true work of magical fiction and fun. While on vacation, a safari in Africa to be specific, the Lazardo children stumble upon a dinosaur and the eccentric and wealthy parents agree that they can keep the dino as a pet. They name him Bob, and the hilarious adventures that follow are reminiscent of Emily Elizabeth and her adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Harrison giggled as we read this one, not so secretly wishing that we would stumble upon our own dinosaur pet. I secretly wished our vacations included a safari in Africa, but I’m getting off topic.

The pictures are fantastic; William Joyce is as great an illustrator as he is a story teller. It is a perfect bedtime story, with just enough ups and downs to stay interesting. I’d consider it a modern day classic, in fact.

 

Do you have a junior paleontologist on your hands too? What are your children’s favorite dinosaur books? Please share in the comments!

 

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On hostess gifts and getting by with a little help from my friends

Simple hostess gift idea | dress up a bottle of wine | the Maypop

I’m a little teary as a write this post, overwhelmed with sentimentality and gratitude; humbled by the love of friends; and excited about the new baby soon joining our family in a few weeks.

Throughout this pregnancy, my friends have made me feel so special. They’ve done things like bring me my favorite pad thai and homemade biscuits and jelly for no reason. They’ve driven me around (I hate driving). They’ve given me maternity clothes. (I’d given everything away after two pregnancies, and I’ve refused to buy anything this time around. My wardrobe is sad. Very sad). They’ve watched my boys while I went to the doctor. They’ve filled the late afternoon and evening hours that are always so tough for me when Eric is out of town. Sometimes, they’ve come up here for pizza and a movie and then headed home just when it was time to tuck the kids in for bed. Other times, they’ve cooked dinner for us, helped me bathe the boys, and then sent us home in borrowed pajamas so that I could put them straight in bed when we got home. They’ve listened to my crazy hormonal breakdowns and have then promptly forgotten them, as only true friends will do. They’ve visited despite the mess that my house is right now because I’m in fierce nesting mode and have too many decor projects going on at once.

Like the Beatles, I’ve thought several times to myself lately “I get by with a little help from my friends” (but not high, it seems prudent to note especially when I’m expecting).

Folded notecard via Recipe for Crazy

Folded notecard via Recipe for Crazy

 

And today, they gave me the sweetest baby shower. I told them it wasn’t necessary, that I didn’t want anyone to spend more money on me, and that this was, after all, my third pregnancy. But they insisted, scheduling the loveliest brunch (my favorite meal), bringing the cutest monogrammed cookie favors (which my boys devoured before I could snap a picture), setting the table with a gorgeous arrangement of hydrangeas, and showering me with gifts anyway.

To show them how grateful I was, and feeling crafty, I thought I would whip up a little hostess gift. But, after a couple of failed DIY attempts, I decided to go the safe route, opting instead to dress up a bottle of wine.

Simple hostess gift idea | dress up a bottle of wine | the Maypop

With fall in mind (despite 90 degree temps), I focused on deep, rich reds as a color palette. I selected a Malbec with a dark cherry foil wrapper, added a fiery pincushion and some purple-red leaves, and then wrapped them up with craft paper and twine.

Since the hostesses are also mothers, I thought “a little wine to cope with the whine” was appropriate to scribble on craft paper tags left over from the Bow or Beau shower I cohosted a couple weeks ago.

Simple hostess gift idea | dress up a bottle of wine | the Maypop

 

I thought this hostess gift turned out cute, certainly much better than the failed DIY, and it was a reminder that simple, classic gifts are often the best.

However, this bottle of wine still seems so paltry compared to overwhelming sense of gratitude I have for my girls.

babyG3shower

I feel so blessed to call this group of women my friends. I’ve written about this before, and it only becomes truer with time; they really are like family to me. And, because I don’t have any family in town, I cherish their friendships that much more. In fact, as the shower wrapped up, they were already planning who will watch the boys when I deliver and how and when they will bring us meals once the new baby arrives.

I’m not sure how I got so lucky. I love you all so much! Xoxo

 

 



Charger plates: proper etiquette

Etiquette for charger plates | the Maypop

I mentioned these gorgeous Pottery Barn Black Inlay Chargers in yesterday’s post. It’s been a little while since we talked about etiquette or manners, so I thought I would follow up today with a brief post on charger etiquette.

In general, and particularly in formal settings, the charger plate is used to serve the courses preceding the main course, such as soup or salad. Although, the salad course historically came after the main course. In fact, we could digress completely on the topic of courses and their proper orders…

Nonetheless, the charger should be on the table when guests are seated. The early courses are served with the charger underneath. The charger is then removed prior the main course being served. At no point should food be served directly on the charger.

If you’re serving an informal dinner and are surrounded by your friends and family, then I think it’s okay to improvise on the charger etiquette.

For example, let’s say you serve crackers and pimento cheese around your kitchen island before dinner.  After this classic Southern appetizer, you lead your guests to your dining room, where you’ve set the table ahead of time with your newly monogrammed napkins and the dinner plate directly on top of a pretty charger.

Vintage monogram in fresh colors | the Maypop

via Southern Living

You and your guests then sit down for a dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and biscuits, all served family style.

And, in this case, I would say it is perfectly appropriate to enjoy your finger-licking goodness together, dinner plate on top of charger, and then remove both the dinner plate and the charger together, before serving warm peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

To sum, remove a charger after early courses but before the main course during a formal meal. During an informal meal, the charger may remain for the main course, but it should certainly be removed along with the dinner plate prior to serving dessert.

 



Heirlooms – Mom’s China

A few weeks ago, I had some rare time without my little boys. I ran several glorious, kid free errands. Truly, the amount of things I was able to do in just a few hours without kids was amazing.

In addition to running some practical errands, I also popped in a few shops on King Street just for fun. I brought a plate of my mother’s china with me, and I decided to see how I could mix it up. You know my penchant for heirlooms, for keeping them fresh and current in particular, and this is just another post in that series.

I had so much fun pairing mom’s classic Barclay 5103 china – brought back from Japan by her dad – with newer, contemporary dishes. Below are a couple of my favorite looks. I only had my iPhone with me that day, and I’m no photographer, so bear with me on the pictures.

Heirlooms: Mom's China meets Pottery Barn Zebra stripe and dark chargers | the Maypop

 

Stop one of two was at Pottery Barn. I started with these Black Inlay Chargers. I loved the masculine dark, inky contrast against the white, dainty floral plates. I layered my mom’s china on top of the charger, and I topped that with a Pottery Barn Zebra Plate.

I personally think that animal prints are classic patterns, but there is something about them that also always seems to feel very contemporary at the same time. Don’t you agree?

Heirlooms: Mom's China meets Pottery Barn Zebra stripe and dark chargers | the Maypop

After Pottery Barn, I still had some time before I had to pick up the boys. So, I walked a little farther down the street to C. Wonder.

I’m going to apologize again for the pictures. The store lighting was great, but it created severe shadows and glares. You’ll have to trust me that this combination was even better in person.

Here I mixed my mom’s china with a fabulous chevron-patterned plate in orange and deep pink melon shades.

Heirlooms: Mom's china paired with C Wonder plates | the Maypop

In person, the orange in the plates really brought out the orange details in my mom’s china – in the center of the flowers and around the band.

The plates were on clearance and are no longer available online, but C. Wonder does have several other sale items still in stock that would freshen up a classic table setting like this Navy Ikat Dinnerware or these Zebra Stampede Napkins.

C Wonder Navy Ikat Dinnerware | featured on the MaypopC Wonder Zebra Stampede Napkins | featured on the Maypop

Side note, if I ever have to pick just one store to shop in, it would be C. Wonder. They have a perfect mix of things that feel classic yet fresh. The store is eclectic, yet still well-edited. It’s not so large that I feel overwhelmed or paralyzed by options. I can buy shoes, clothes, and dishes under the same roof. And, they monogram! (See this post for my favorite monogrammed tote bags).

I only wish I’d had more time to shop a few other stores. Anthropologie – I’m coming for you next. I’m dying to see the Old Havana Side Plate and Doma Flatware in person, and I think both would pair well with vintage china.

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Tell me, how are you mixing old with new?



More Classic Monogrammed Bags

Remember this post with a list of monogrammed handbags and totes?

Well, I’ve found a couple more that I wanted to share with you.

First up, the C Wonder Signature Tote which is monogrammed on the reverse side of their fabulous “C” logo.

CWonderTote3 CWonderTote2 CWonderTote

 

Everything in the store is 30% off right now; so these bags are really well-priced and would be $55 – $69 (without monogram)! Such a great deal. I’m trying to decide which one to order…I have a great, tan Michael Kors tote that I’ve been carrying for a couple of years. It’s the perfect neutral tan and goes with everything, so I’m leaning in the opposite direction, towards one of the fun C Wonder patterns.

And, here they are on several fashionable ladies.

C Wonder Signature Totes

Clockwise from upper left: Eleventh & Sixteenth / The Average Girl’s Guide

Melanie Knopke / The Southern Perfectionist

The other classic tote is from Madewell, their Transport Tote.

MadewellTote

 

This humble picture does not do this classic tote justice. Check out the #totewell gallery on Instagram to see this gorgeous bag in action; that’s how I came across this classic bag.

PS – the Transport tote is not the only thing Madewell will monogram. See a full list of items here.

 



National Bow Tie Day – My Favorite Bow Ties

nationalbowtiedaybadge

 

Did you know today is National Bow Tie Day?

I love a Beau in a bow tie! Here are a few of my favorite bow tie brands.

Let’s start with a bow tie for the smallest beau. I’m so smitten with the sweet Bow Swaddles from The Beaufort Bonnet Company. In fact, I’ve already bought one to wrap around my newest baby, monogrammed, of course.

Beaufort-100_large

And, once they’ve outgrown the sweet bow swaddle, your beaux can wear the Baylor Bow Tie, also from The Beaufort Bonnet Company.

bow_ties_large

Next up are the rich plaids and paisley prints in the Fall collection from High Cotton Ties, in both Boys’ and Mens’ sizes.

HighCottonBairdSmall HighCottonBoonSmall HighCottonSterlingPaisleySmall HighCottonMcLeanSmall HighCottonHunterGuncheckSmall HighCottonCrawfordSmall

High Cotton has great options for Saturday game days too.

High Cotton Red and Old Blue Tattersall Bow Tie_Small High-Cotton-Purple-and-Gold-Oxford-Bow-Tie-Small High Cotton Red and Black Tattersall Bow Tie_Small High Cotton Orange and Purple Oxford Bow Tie Small High Cotton Orange and Navy Tattersall Bow Tie_Small High Cotton Black Houndstooth Bow Tie_Small

Another favorite of mine is Mo’s Bows. More than anything, I love Mo’s story (he had me at Granny’s scrap fabric). I love his vintage suitcase. And, I love supporting a young entrepreneur.

Mo's Bows

Mo Bridges via Memphis Parent

And, his bow ties are super stylish.

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Small_Green_Polka_Dot_1_grande

MG_0444_grande

For a classic, All-American look, check out Collared Greens, also available in Boys’ and Mens’ sizes. (how could I not love a company named for my beloved collard greens?).

collaredgreenscollage

And finally, the stunning collection of feathered (yes, feathered!) bow ties from local Charlestonians, Brackish. I spotted these luxe bow ties in a window display on King Street, and they stopped me dead in my tracks.

Brackish_Bow_Ties_LowRes-47_large

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PS: Not sure how to tie a bow tie? Here’s a Gentleman’s Guide:

How to Tie a Bow Tie



Bow or Beau – A Gender Neutral Baby Shower

If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@mrsmaypop), then you’ve probably seen a few snippets of the adorable Bow or Beau themed baby shower I hosted for a friend this past weekend.

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | Gender neutral baby shower inspiration | the Maypop

 

My friend, Ashlee, is having her first baby and is due in early October (just a couple weeks before me). She’s decided not to learn the baby’s gender and to instead be surprised at delivery. How I wish I had been able to hold out and be surprised myself for at least one of my babies, but the planner in me just can’t bear the thought of not having everything ready in advance.

Ashlee is a relationship builder of the most genuine sort. She makes a point to keep in touch with everyone she meets, no matter how rarely she may see them or how far away they may live. I admire her ability to nurture her friendships, and she inspires me to make stronger, deeper connections and to be a better friend.

It really was a treat to return Ashlee’s kindness and spoil her for once. I had such a wonderful time planning her party. To be fair, I can’t take credit for this little event; there were five hostesses in addition to myself, each with impeccable style and taste. We decided to divide and conquer – one handled food, another a group gift, another beverages and dessert, and so on. This made hosting the shower so easy! I offered to tackle the theme, invitations, favors, and decor.

Since she’s not finding out if the baby is a boy or girl, I settled on this precious Tiny Prints “Bow or Beau” invitation. I loved that it was gender-neutral but still pink and blue. Plus, I’m a sucker for brown craft paper. I didn’t pull my calligraphy pen out, but I did have fun hand-addressing the invitations on craft paper tags I found at Michael’s. It was a nice change from the labels I usually print to coordinate with my invitations.

 

Bow or Beau Baby Shower Invitation | Hand Addressed envelope | the Maypop

After the theme was decided, everything else quickly came together. My amazingly talented friend and interior decorator, Joy, hosted the shower at her house, and she pulled most of the decor together based on the inspiration board I created for the group. We agreed to keep everything chic and simple – lots of bows and bow ties, pink and white flowers in her enviable collection of blue and white vessels, and tassel garland for the balloons and entry.

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | the Maypop

 

 

 

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | the Maypop

 

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | the Maypop

 

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | the Maypop

 

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | the Maypop

 

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | the Maypop

 

Bow or Beau Baby Shower | Skittles Bow and Bow Tie Favors | the Maypop

Taste the RainBOW – Skittles Favors

 

Ashlee – I know I am speaking for everyone when I say it was truly a pleasure hosting this shower for you. Love you!



New Kilim Throw Pillow and a Giveaway

Lovely watercolor available at A Pair of Pears

Lovely watercolor available at A Pair of Pears

I’ve always wanted the things in my home to be beautiful. Even as a little girl, I would study magazines and try to arrange my bedroom like the rooms in the JC Penney catalog. In particular, I remember saving my money, and I was only in elementary school, to purchase one of those round top decorator tables with the particle board tops and screw in legs. Then, I ordered (with mom’s help) a dusty pink tablecloth with a ruffle bottom.

Ever practical, I also believe things should be useful. I’m not a fan of clutter, and I tend to be an over-purger. So, I don’t have a problem getting rid of items that are not useful.

Beautiful, useful things…it is an almost perfect guide to decorating.

Almost, but not quite.

You see, the older I get, and the more I grow my family, the more I want the things that surround us to be beautiful, useful, and also meaningful.

I want to be able to look at the things in our house, big and small, and connect them with a memory or a story. I want my boys to know those stories, and I want the items to be tangible ways for them to cherish our family stories.

For months, I’ve been on the hunt for new throw pillows. I wanted something classic and timeless, but I didn’t want Greek key trimmed pillows (even though I love them). I wanted something casual, but I didn’t want chevron or Ikat or trellis prints either.

I needed something that would work with the colors in my favorite rug, which are a bit unusual and not the trendiest of colors right now. And, I needed a pattern that would complement the rug design but not compete with it.

Turkish Rug | the Maypop

 

Finally, I stumbled across this lovely pillow cover on the Beautiwool Etsy shop.

Beautiwool Pillow, vintage Turkish Kilim, giveaway | the Maypop

The pattern was casual and unique, and the colors would complement my rug. I loved the kilim design on this pillow. And, I especially loved that it was handmade in Turkey.

You see, my parents were in the Air Force, and we were stationed in Turkey when I was a little girl. The rug in my living room was purchased thirty years ago while we were there, so this Turkish kilim pillow seemed like the perfect nod to the rug and to that era in our life.

Turkish kilim pillow, giveaway | the Maypop

 

Turkish kilim pillow, giveaway | the Maypop

I look forward to telling our family stories with this pillow. I look forward to pointing out Turkey on a map to my boys and to telling them that mommy lived there when she was their age. I want them to know that their grandparents served our country overseas, and that my mom almost had to do it by herself, leaving her two young children and husband behind until my dad was able to also get orders in the eleventh hour. I want to tell them about the few things I remember – wearing my hair in a scarf like the local women, Turkish tea, cigarette burek, and about the pair of camel saddles that my brother and I sat on in our living room.

The pillow cover arrived quickly, even from Turkey. It was packaged beautifully but simply, tucked in a blue fabric pouch and sealed with a protective hand-painted Nazar boncuk eye bead. (I loved this detail; my mom has several small pieces of jewelry and amulets from Turkey with the protective eye).

The quality is wonderful; the backcloth is heavy, the kilim is in perfect condition, and it has a hidden zipper.

Turkish kilim pillow, giveaway | the Maypop

Here is a wider view of it on my couch. The linen covers are 20×20 and on clearance at Pottery Barn, but the kilim is only a 16×16, so I still need a couple more 18×18 pillows to round things out.

Turkish kilim pillow, giveaway | the Maypop

 

Below are a few more of my favorites from their shop. They have thousands (not an exaggeration) of beautiful things to choose from. And, Beautiwool was generous enough to send a second lovely pillow cover (16 x 16) for one of you dear readers!

 

Beautwool Turkish Kilim Pillows, giveaway | the Maypop

 

Register below to win. Giveaway ends Friday, August 29 at midnight. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



The Kissing Hand: the Perfect First Day of School Book

The Kissing Hand | First day of school book, easing transitions | the Maypop

When I was working full time, before I had my second baby, Harrison went to school every day. And, Harrison cried every single morning when we dropped him off. Daddy normally did drop offs, mostly to spare me from this agony. I loved his school, and I know Harrison did too, but he hated leaving Mommy and Daddy. He also hated any sort of transition – picking him up from school was just as difficult.

To ease his transitions, I looked to my friend and Conscious Discipline certified expert, Jessica Flowers.

Jessica spent some time teaching me how to prepare him for what we were going to do next. He still struggles with any sort of transition, and I still make a point to try to talk about what we will be doing next. Right now, I start off by singing When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do. Does anyone else think Daniel Tiger is an amazing parenting resource?

And, Jessica introduced me to the sweetest little story, The Kissing Hand.

If you’re not familiar with it, The Kissing Hand tells the story of Chester Raccoon and his first day of school. It tells of Chester’s fears about leaving his mommy and all that is familiar to him. And, in this story, Chester’s mother reveals a secret family tradition, passed to her from her mother, who learned it from hers: The Kissing Hand. (A tradition passed from her grandmother to her mother to her? Of course, sappy, sentimental, lives-for-tradition, memory-maker me adores this book!)

The Kissing Hand | First day of school book, easing transitions | the Maypop

Harrison didn’t just love listening to this story. It resonated with him. He got it. He understood it. It comforted him. He could relate to Chester Raccoon.

So after reading it together, when I would drop Harrison off at school, I would kiss his sweet, chubby, open hand, press his palm to his cheek, and remind him to think, “Mommy loves you.”

My niece is starting kindergarten this year. When they were visiting with us a couple of weeks ago, I selected The Kissing Hand from our growing  library to read to to the cousins at bedtime, in honor of Chloe’s first day of school.

The Kissing Hand | First day of school book, easing transitions, gutter bookshelves | the Maypop

She had never heard the story, and she and her little brother both loved it as much as Harrison. So, I couldn’t resist sending them a copy of their own.

I loved passing along another tradition. I know my sister in law will kiss Chloe’s palm and press it to her cheek on her first day next week, and I hope this sweet gesture provides both of them a little comfort on this big day and on hard days in the future.

What are your favorite back to school stories and traditions? I hope you’ll share in the comments.

PS – Mrs. Raccoon is full of wisdom. I also often quote her when I remind Harrison (and myself), that “Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do.”