We live in Seattle, where space is tight. Our house isn't tiny (I know of families of five squeezing in comfortably and with lots of chic style into 600 square foot New York apartments), but I do feel like we're busting at the seams sometimes. (Seriously, if I step on a Lego, dinosaur or truck one more time



I was thinking today while I was on my jog: Is everyone's home as wild as mine? Seriously. Is there someone leaping off a couch, or crying about the stuffed animal that the dog chewed up, or whining about wanting candy in your house---right this minute? It's why I love getting out for jogs solo while our babysitter is here or after my husband is home from work. Jogging keeps me sane. And when I get back to the house, I am a better mama for the 45 minute break when I'm alone with my thoughts and my iPod. Some photos from our wild household: He found his tongue and is always sticking it out at us! Carson and Russell being "robots"---the latest favorite activity. And Russell (2) has developed an obsession with "mama's book"! He carries a copy around the house everywhere. It's very sweet.



That gorgeous, delicate blossom? It's a blackberry vine! Yes, the wild, gnarly weed of the Northwest has a great moment of beauty in the late spring/early summer and if you blink, you'll miss it. Have you ever seen a blackberry blossom? I strapped the baby in the Bjorn carrier and took the kids out to the alley behind our home in Seattle and photographed the blackberries in bloom. Why, you ask? Well, they play a vital role in my recently completed third novel (I'm so excited about this story--can't wait to share more!), and I wanted to document them in bloom. The kids were also thrilled to go on an adventure in the alley. They love the alley, especially Russell (2) who loves rocks, and dirt, and mud puddles (are you seeing a theme here?). Look at those delicate, soft blossoms! You'd never know that they're attached to vines thick with thorns! P.S. I'm craving blackberry pie!



So, even though I'm running around like a madwoman prepping for the launch of The Violets of March (it's out next week! Can you believe it?! And have you pre-ordered? Thank you so much!), I've still been keeping up with life as normal, which means the usual drill: taking care of little boys and a baby and forging ahead with all my magazine work, including my beloved (three years now on the job!) Glamour.com health and fitness blog, Vitamin G. And, I recently had the chance to interview Gwyneth Paltrow, a truly memorable moment. Gwyneth has a new cookbook out, My Father's Daughter, which I think is pretty great. It's packed with delicious and healthy (for the most part---the brownies don't count) recipes and memories of her late father. So sweet. A funny story to share: I'd set up a phone interview with Gwyneth on Friday for a time when I'd have childcare, but due to a scheduling mix up, she called two hours earlier---at 7:45 a.m. when I was in my bathrobe nursing my baby. The 2-year-old and 4-year-old were watching Sesame Street, and I was simultaneously spooning cereal in their mouths. Yeah, not exactly great timing! Gwyneth's PR rep said it was her only window to do the interview, so I had two choices: a.) cancel, or b.) figure out a way to plow through, with a baby in my lap. Yup, you guessed it---I did the interview! When Gwyneth came on the line, she was kind and lovely and assured me that she's been in my situation many times when she had to do an important call while bouncing a baby or while her kids ran around in the background. She was so reassuring and fun, I felt like I was just talking to a fellow mom who is so used to the chaos of motherhood. So, as the baby nursed (you can imagine how awkward this was), which was my way of pacifying him while I talked, I took notes. I should also add: I'm a third-time mama, so I'm skilled at the art of multi-tasking while nursing, but that still didn't make it easy. Colby---2 months old---didn't really want to play along, so he fussed a bit as I took notes (wiggling around in protest) and asked questions as quickly as I could. I will always remember the time I interviewed Gwyneth with a baby in my arms, and I hope it will be a reminder to others (and to myself) of what we can accomplish as mothers. :)



Do you read the beautiful blog Nie Nie Dialogues, written by the brave, inspiring Stephanie (the mother of four and survivor of a near-fatal airplane crash)? I adore reading her blog and came across this gorgeous passage she wrote about motherhood, which gave me goosebumps: I love when I stay at home all day and cook, clean, organize, garden and other wonderful housewife-work. Which is what I happily did today, and feeling very content about it. I strongly believe that housework is the most rewarding feeling. I enjoy the thoughts of my children coming home from school to a clean warm home. I love thinking that when they use the bathroom, the white tile is clean, fresh smelling soap and plenty of fluffy toilet paper available. I love when they drop their backpacks and coats down in the entryway, {sometimes} and run to the kitchen to see what is cooking, and I love when there is something cooking. I love seeing rocks and treasures in Ollie's jean pockets when I do the wash. And I hate to think that my children will be old one day and I won't do those things for them anymore. I do those things for my husband and children to show them that I love them so. Beautiful. I hope she writes a book soon. I'd so love to read it.



He's growing like a weed, this kid. He's on his way to being 8 weeks old. How did this happen? (And, ahem, why is he still waking up 4 times a night!) We love this little baby, and his ambiguously red hair. His eye color? It's anyone's guess right now. Some days they look blue, others, we're certain they'll be brown. Today, I'm kind of thinking hazel.



That's Colby, our new baby (7 weeks old today!) on the day he was born. He's a spunky little fellow (with strawberry blondish hair to match), and a few days ago I was convinced he had colic---you know, the mysterious crying "illness" that some babies seem to have. I'm pretty gun-shy about colic, because our firstborn, Carson, had it, and let me tell you---the boy cried for the first 9 months of his life. We survived by bouncing, rocking, running the vacuum cleaner---anything to keep him moving and fuss-free. Anyway, Colby is a pretty intense baby by nature (and by that I mean he knows what he wants and he wants it now!), but when he began going through some extreme crying fits this past week, I was convinced that he was following in his big brother's footsteps. And I was so worried. Looking back, the first year of motherhood for me (four years ago now) were some of the hardest months of my life. Every mom wants a happy baby, and instead, mine was extremely fussy. I always tell people that I cried along with him, every day of his life, just about. I was certain I was doing something wrong. Why else would my baby cry so much? The good news is that Carson eventually stopped crying (we still don't know why he was so fussy), and his intensity bloomed in other wonderful ways. Today, at age 4, Carson is a sensitive, kind, creative and exuberant little boy. We're so proud of him. (For the record, our middle boy, Russell, now 2, was the world's easiest baby. A nice breather between two intense kids!) Colby is intense too, but I can do without the colic, thankyouverymuch, which is why I'm happy to announce that I think the cause of Colby's fussies is not colic. He's been mellow for the past few days---just crying at the usual times (when he's hungry or tired). He still makes me walk with him 24-7 (no sitting down for mama!), but at least we've got the crying under control. For now. Which brings me to the point of this post: I survived colic with my firstborn. And, subsequently, I want to reach out to other moms going through the same experience. A baby who cries persistently has a way of making mamas weary. It's exhausting and difficult in every way (especially when your sister's or best friend's baby is calm and content---makes you think you're doing something wrong!), and the experience can exacerbate postpartum depression (I know about that) which can be solved by taking some maeng da powder, but that's your decision. While I was going through my firstborn's colicky phase, I loved talking to women who had "survived" colic. Their stories got me through it. And, I want to offer to help other moms in the same boat. Is your baby colicky? Are you at the end of your rope? Need tips on how to deal? I am so here for you. Email me. Let's talk.