the happiness jar 003


(Photo of my sister and I from July 2014)

It’s been a busy weekend, and there are a few things happening this week about which I’m not so excited, so it will be a good exercise today to remember the things making me happy.

  1. Baby sisters who live 5 minutes away (especially after 10 years of being hours away!)
  2. Impromptu gifts of fruit tea and this bracelet from above-mentioned sister.
  3. Receiving fluff mail — especially when it’s our new favorite sling.
  4. Fresh local blueberries from our crop share.
  5. Driving an hour to meet an old friend and her family for dinner AND a baby who did not cry. the. entire. car ride.
  6. Babies with ticklish thighs. More specifically how my baby laughs when we tickle his thighs.
  7. When Trader Joe’s has their gluten-free grain sandwich bread AND gluten-free chocolate cupcakes in stock.
  8. Target trips when Charlie falls asleep in the sling while my mama and I are ogling baby clothes.
  9. Burnt hotdogs from the grill (just a little bit black; not totally charred).
  10. Shih tzu snuggles.


an imaginary itinerary: Washington, D.C.


There needs to be a word in the English language that means homesick, but for missing a place that isn’t home, but became home for a short time. I was missing DC a lot this past weekend. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to come back to Massachusetts for a long time, and I’m very happy we’re back, but there are certainly things I miss about the district. Like throwing Charlie in the sling and walking down the street to Brookville to buy groceries (no carseat required!) or picnicking in the front lawn with our neighbors. We have no trips to DC in the near future, but if we were going to DC next weekend, this is what I would do, assuming of course we could stay in our old stomping ground, Cleveland Park.

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I’m assuming we would fly in on a Friday afternoon, which is slightly unrealistic because JetBlue only offers flights from Hartford twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon, but since this is an imaginary itinerary anyway, we can make it work 🙂

As soon as we got in, we’d head over to Cleveland Park and settle in for a bit. I always feel like I need a nap after flying!

We’d pack up a big bag with a blanket, cheese, gluten-free crackers, a small cutting board and knife, grab some cash at the ATM and take the Metro down to the Sculpture Garden for Jazz in the Park. I’d want to be there by 4 p.m. to make sure we got a spot in the shade for Charlie, preferably behind the fountain on the side of the park near the Archives. We’d buy a pitcher of sangria, and I bet Charlie would love the music.

We could walk to the Red Line through Chinatown/Gallery Place, although our options for dinner would be limited with Charlie in tow. Without him, WC and I could sit at the bar at Oyamel and get some small plates and margaritas for dinner, but since we brought the little guy, we may want to just take the Metro home (after stopping at Red Velvet Bakery for a gluten free cupcake) and bring some Pho home. It’s been a long day anyway.

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I hate how when you’re actually living your life day-to-day you don’t think to take photos of the seemingly mundane things, and then when they’re not there anymore, you wish you had them. DC has this chain of coffee shops called Firehook, and their flagship location is on Connecticut Ave in Cleveland Park. In the back of the shop (which is very tiny inside; definitely leave your stroller out front), there is an amazing courtyard with grape vines, adirondack chairs, metal tables, and a big fountain in the middle. Anyway, the backdoor to the courtyard was in the alley where our trash dumpster was, so we went there literaly hundreds of times. And I never took a picture. So first thing Saturday morning we would go to Firehook so I could get a large soy spiced chai latte and we would sit in the courtyard and read the Washington Post and I would not forget to take a picture.

I’d want to go to Mon Ami Gabi in Bethesda for lunch because they have the most delicious sandwich specials and decent gluten free bread, which is hard to find anywhere, especially here.  Afterwards we’d go to Georgetown Cupcakes to get a dozen gluten free cupcakes to bring back because, even on a Saturday, the line will be much shorter at the Bethesda shop.

If we could get the baby to sleep in the car (ha!), I’d want to drive out to Chrysalis vineyard in Virginia (our favorite!). I’d want to stock up on Rubiana and Sarah’s Patio Red, buy a cheddar ball and sit out on their patio with Charlie.

We would definitely need a nap before dinner, but once we woke up, I’d want to head over to Coppi’s Organic on Connecticut for a delicious plate of gluten-free pasta. Yum!

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I miss Sundays in D.C. the most. We would wake up Sunday morning, throw Charlie in a sling, and walk down to the Dupont Farmer’s Market, stopping at Firehook on the way. I would need to remember to pack a cooler to use on the plane, because I would definitely want to bring home some of Chris’ Marketplace gluten free crab cakes and Everona Dairy cheese.

Afterwards, we’d head over to Medium Rare for their bottomless brunch with steak and eggs. They have the most amazing “secret sauce” for their steak, and WC and I also loved their salad dressing. The service is great, but pre-Charlie we loved to sit at the bar 🙂

We would have to go take a nap after brunch, and *maybe* then take a quick walk to the zoo. When we lived there, I pretty much swore off visiting the zoo on weekends (when the lines to get into the panda house are insane!), but as tourists we don’t have the luxury of that choice.

For dinner, if we had time before our flight, I’d want to go to St. Arnolds for their delicious mussels and fries (and aioli!).

Thanks so much for letting me share all of my favorite places (and old instagram memories from) around DC. Can you tell how much we love to go out to eat?! I’m sure we’ll be back soon to visit our amazing family and friends there, and hopefully we’ll have new memories to add. xo

lazy afternoon at the pool


We have been trying so hard to get Charlie to enjoy the water. My mom bought him a float off Amazon, Craig brings him in to dip him in the afternoons, we play with him under the big umbrella in his exersaucer next to the pool, nothing. He loves the bath, but something about the pool wasn’t working for him. Until today. Of course he would love the pool in a water ring sling. Wearing him in a ring sling makes everything better.



the happiness jar 002

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  1. Good friends who drive far to visit and spend the afternoon chatting and telling funny stories by the pool.
  2. Friendly’s Reeses Pieces sundaes being on sale for $1 at Big Y.
  3. When you buy 4 pots of sunflowers, 4 pots of black-eyed susans and a hanging patio tomato plant at a huge flower sale with your mama and the total comes to $24.98.
  4. New earrings bought from Nordstrom’s sale.
  5. The best iced chai tea I’ve ever had from Sylvester’s in Northampton.
  6. Getting a few minutes at night to crochet the blanket I’ve been working on (I’ve never finished an afghan, although I’ve started approximately 11).
  7. The look on Charlie’s face when I come into a room.
  8. Being able to breastfeed my baby.
  9. When the really wonderful attendant at the small town post office spends 10 minutes helping me repackage my sling so that it fits in a flat rate envelope and will not get wet.
  10. Instagram. I’m not sure why specifically; I just really like instagram lately.

love notes from mama: four months


I’ve been taking photographs of our little man on each monthly milestone, and I thought I would write little notes to accompany them, to someday give to my love. I hope you won’t mind my sharing them here. ❤


Dear Charlie,

My favorite thing about you is the joy you bring to our lives. Your face lights up whenever our eyes meet, especially if I’ve been in another room (even for a second!) or when you see the bathtub. You laugh hysterically when we make raspberry noises or wash the rolls on your neck (sorry to your teenage self for exposing that on the internet). You watch in amazement at the paper cranes I’ve hung above your changing pad, in awe at your rainbow fairy mobile, and are amazed by string lights. You are a chatterbox, and you love to talk, but when the cool breeze blows the branches of the trees, you quiet quickly to watch the wide world around you. Your father and I say that if we do anything right, we hope to foster the joy and wonder you have for your entire life.

I hope that you never let anyone take away your joy. Never let anyone dim that light in your eyes, no matter what happens. Some day, you’re going to get your heart broken, or you’re going to fail at something about which you cared deeply. It will be hard to not feel jaded, but sweet boy, you must remember how strong you are, and find joy in the little things until it is restored entirely. I know you’ve only been in this world a very, very short amount of time, but I feel pretty confident that this joy is your gift to the world. How lucky we are to be your parents!

With all of my heart, I love you, Charlie Daniel.





the happiness jar 001

IMG_4716 I’m feeling a little unsettled lately, and so I wanted to think of 10 things which make me happy lately, to help perk me up. Hopefully it will suffice as an update, too (:

  1. Charlie’s laugh. Our 4-month-old is so full of joy that it’s contagious. He started laughing a week or two ago, and laughs like crazy whenever we wash his neck (which we have to do all of the time since the little guy has so many rolls!) or put on lotion.
  2. Mama and baby yoga on Tuesday afternoons.
  3. Blaring the Wicked soundtrack in the car when it’s just Charlie and me.
  4. A husband who was willing to move halfway across the east coast so that I could be closer to my family and who can cook anything on the grill (and the stove, and the oven).
  5. Extended maternity/paternity leave.
  6. Crop share at a local farm where we’re able to pick strawberries or peas or raspberries once a week and bring home fresh veggies.
  7. Kind pediatricians who support exclusively breastfeeding and call the next morning to see how your babe is doing after his shots.
  8. Whole Foods trips with my little family when WC picking out good wines to try and Charlie falls asleep in the sling.
  9. Ice cream sundaes.
  10. When Charlie falls asleep on my chest.

father’s day brunch

IMG_4732 For Charlie’s first Father’s Day, WC, Charlie and I went to Delaney’s Grill for brunch with my parents and my sister and her boyfriend. Celebrating Father’s Day used to be a big struggle for me because of the difficult relationship I have with my biological father. I always remember being frustrated in school that teachers never gave me enough time to make two Father’s Day crafts! As I grew up, I realized that the title “father” is much more about relationship and less about biology. When I was pregnant with Charlie, as I felt his soul growing inside of me (I know that may sound ridiculous, but mothers who have given birth, back me up on that!), I finally truly realized what a huge sacrifice my stepfather made when he married my mother and raised me as his own, without every having the legal obligation (or protection!). He was younger than me when he met my mother, and while I know some fantastic men, I can’t imagine any of them so willingly and selflessly taking on a small, strong headed little girl, and loving her like her own, not at this point in their lives. Anyway, I know how lucky I am, and it was very important for me to recognize how much that love means to me in Charlie (Daniel!)’s name. IMG_4727 Now I’m also lucky enough to help Charlie honor his daddy (his onesie was from Baby Gap). I know I’m still very new at all of this, and WC and I have a long way to go in this parenting world, but I know I wouldn’t have survived Charlie’s time in the NICU with having WC by my side. When Charlie was born and the neonatologists ran him over to the NICU, I screamed at WC to follow and do skin to skin as soon as possible. As I begrudgingly spent two days at home to recover from the infection I developed as a result of our long labor, WC diligently spent the days in the NICU, celebrating the milk I pumped. He’s truly an exceptional daddy, and we are lucky to have him. I hope you all were able to give the special men in your lives a little extra loving this Father’s Day ❤ Thank you for reading.

milkshakes and old photos

There is a place in Georgetown that delivers milkshakes. They are delicious. Actually, I’m not entirely sure that they actually taste any more delicious than most milkshakes, but the fact that they are delivered makes it seem so.

So, yesterday, being 37 weeks pregnant, I was starving, and WC was taking a nap, and I wanted to order from the place with delicious milkshakes (they also have delicious salads), but I couldn’t remember what WC ordered last (besides a vanilla milkshake), and I didn’t want to wake him up. So I went on his laptop to see if Eat 24 saves orders (they don’t). However, his iPhoto was open, and I saw some pretty amazing photos I didn’t even know he had from our wedding week!


Actually, I kind of remember him taking some of these pictures because he was playing with color and contrast on his camera.  But I digress.


We got married December 27, 2013, in a private ceremony at Elkin Creek Vineyard in North Carolina. It could have been anywhere, really. We wanted an intimate, low-key ceremony and I googled elopement + vineyard and sort of fell in love with the location. The first photo above is the creek, right behind the cabin where we stayed the day before our wedding, and the second photo is a swing right next to where we had our ceremony, a few minutes after we arrived at the vineyard. We have fancy professional photos at the swing right after our ceremony. There are a couple of our professional photos on our amazing photographer’s website in her wedding gallery (I love the black and white one on the main page), and of course we have all of the digital files from our photographer, but I love seeing the week through his eyes.

IMG_0634I remember a day or two before our wedding we drove about 40 minutes into town to sign our marriage license, and we were behind this big truck full of chickens? hens? in these teeny, tiny cages. It broke my heart, and now I only eat free-range eggs.


A day or two after our wedding, we explored the vineyards around the Yadkin Valley in NC. Honestly, we had no idea NC even had wineries or vineyards, but we knew we wanted a December wedding, and figured NC would be warmer than DC (but still driving distance). We were pleasantly surprised! Everyone was friendly, our vendors were fantastic, and we had an amazing week. This beautiful vineyard was called Raffaldini, and made to look like they took a villa out of Tuscany and put it in NC. Our favorite wine was probably the Rossa from Elkin Creek and we loved the cider from McRitchie (the wine glasses we got at the tasting there are still WC’s favorite to use at home).



My name is Krystal, and I live in Washington, D.C. with my incredible husband, who I lovingly call WC and shih tzu, Teddy Roosevelt.  I teach preschool and am very passionate about play-based early childhood education.


And of course, WC and I are expecting our first little person in a couple of weeks (but, now that we’re considered “term” wouldn’t be upset if he/she came any day now (; ). My mom (with me on Valentine’s Day, below) keeps telling me to write down everything so I don’t forget it, so here is a place for that. Thanks for reading!