Saturday, April 12, 2014


On April 10, Ingrid was slightly confused when presented with a bagel complete with three lit candles. To me, her facial expression tell me that she appreciates the extra effort but is rightfully confused with the celebratory breakfast. Regardless, she played along and answered these questions with excitement and honesty - in true three-year-old fashion. Here's the first installment of twenty questions. I'm planning on asking her these questions every year on her birthday. 
  1. What is your favorite color? Pink and purple. 
  2. What is your favorite toy? All of the princesses. 
  3. What is your favorite fruit? Apples. 
  4. What is your favorite TV show? Super Why 
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat at lunch? Bagels (influenced by breakfast) 
  6. What is your favorite outfit? My pink dress 
  7. What is your favorite game? Candy Land. 
  8. What is your favorite snack? Cream cheese, Goldfish and crasins (again, although cream cheese is great, she was influenced by her breakfast) 
  9. What is your favorite animal? Monkeys! 
  10. What is your favorite song? Ingrid got down from her chair to loudly sing, "The dreams that you wish. Will. Come. TRUE!" 
  11. What is your favorite book? Cinderella and Five Little Monkeys. 
  12. Who is your best friend? Eden and Immi and Audrey. 
  13. What is your favorite cereal? Snap, crackle, pop and yogurt. 
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Throw snow! 
  15. What toys do you like to bring to bed? Cinderella, Pumpkin and Ducky. 
  16. What is your favorite thing to drink? Juice. Orange juice! 
  17. What is your favorite holiday? Birthday holiday and St. Patrick's Day with Andrea. 
  18. What is your favorite breakfast food? Yogurt. Peach yogurt! 
  19. What do you want for dinner? Pasta. 
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A big girl.
My heart melted on that last one. She's already growing up way too fast for my liking. Happy birthday little lady! You fill our lives with happiness, joy, love and laughter. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 Book List

photo source

Here in Wisconsin, we're dealing with a winter that won't quit. Rather than state the obvious and complain about slush, salt and cold temps, let's wrap ourselves up in the positive. Wisconsin winters are the perfect time to reflect, read and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate (or three). Here's a list of books to read in 2014:

Nine to Five Inspirations 
After devouring Lean In, I discovered that this was the first book on career development I've read since hanging up my college graduation gown. Gulp. Let's expand our knowledge on the subject by reading:
I once read that the best parenting advice will come from your friends, family and other new moms. This was from a parenting book, oddly enough. Even if the best tips come from other moms, I loved the philosophy behind Happiest Toddler. I'm looking forward to reading these others:

Good ReadsI've heard nothing but good things about the following five. After watching here on The Daily Show, I'm especially excited about I Am Malala. 
What are you reading these days? Any books that should be added to this list?

Monday, February 3, 2014


So in love with her braid and "crazy" bun. 

This weekend was a tough one for little Ingrid. She came down with a hacking cough on Thursday and today, thanks to a newly-purchased humidifier, she's starting to sound like herself. She's been couped up for days and has been a trouper throughout the recovery process. Granted, she's watched about 1.6 movies a day, which is her version of a perfect day. Sorry, movies plus Goldfish crackers = Ingrid's perfect day.

On Friday afternoon, I fired up my laptop from the living room so Dan could work and Ingrid could rest (instead of hacking on toddlers at daycare). Girl has ever-so much going on in her little head right now. She's a bundle of energy and imagination. Her verbal stream-of-conscientiousness can get tiresome, but here are some highlights:

Same same! When colors, shapes (or princesses) match up, Ingrid declares "same same!" Just like hummus was once hummy, I'm savoring these moments before she realizes it's "same thing!"

Just like _______. Insert any Disney princess here. This is exclaimed when wearing a necklace, skirt or hat. Or dancing. "Mom, you're wearing a skirt just like Cinderella. Mom, you're wearing a necklace just like Princess Aurora." Or, "Ahwoorah."

I don't want to take a bath. I want to take a bath. I don't want duck in bed. I need ducky. Translation = Ingrid needs to sleep.

Thank you so much, for everything. She grabbed my face, looked deep into my eyes and said this phrase, slowly. I started to tear up and tell her how much I loved her. She cut me off mid-sentence by informing me "Cinderelly said that, 'member?!" 

"Harper is ________. My friend. My dog. So cute!" Finally, after almost three years of ignoring, Ingrid is embracing Harper with her tight little toddler hands.

Can I have yogurt? Morning, noon, night and middle of the night, this kid will always and forever want yogurt.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bye January!

January, you've really outdone yourself this year. You remind me of Regina George from Mean Girls. When we first met, you were warm, inviting and you told me to wear pink on Wednesdays. Since enduring your - (read: negative) 20 degree days and relentless snow, I've had enough, January. It's time to say goodbye and hope that February is a better friend. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

11 things about me

photo from 2013 

I enjoyed the question set from The Paper Mama's 11 things about me. I love anything right now that doesn't involve the wrath that is the polar vortex. I'm doing my best not to complain - or even comment - about the weather. Distract yourself by answering these along with me, ok?

1. Are you a cat or dog person? Or, bird person?
Dog person, hands down. I've tried to like cats, including the one I lived with for a few years, but I just can't. Cats are so moody and uncertain. I have enough moods and bouts of uncertainty for one household.

2. What was your favorite food as a kid? Is it the same, or has it changed as an adult?
As a kid I loved apples and as an adult, I still love apples, grilled cheese and tomato soup. The one thing that has changed is my dislike for deviled eggs. As a kid I couldn't stand them and now, I'm a believer.

3. What is your favorite hobby?
Don't we all wish for something a little unique in the "favorite hobby" bucket? Like tornado watching or paper-making? For me, it's reading an unnecessary amount of magazines each month and pretending to knit.

4. If you HAD to move to a different state (or country) where would it be?
Montana. I fell in love with the national parks, landscape and pace of life out west.

5. Are you a winter or summer person?
Today, dealing with -20 weather, we're all wishing for summer. A season that doesn't even seem real at the moment. I choose to live in Wisconsin and take the cold with the glorious summers full of sunshine, cold beers, festivals...

6. What makes you happy?
Laughing with my family and friends and in general, Ingrid.

7. What is the weirdest question you've ever been asked?
Do you think you're actually a nice person?

Rude! And I actually do.

8. If you had to go on an adventure, with elves, dwarves, or hobbits, who would you take and why?
My friend Jamie and my sister Kirsten. They have read all of those hobbity books and would have some tricks up their sleeves.

9. You are at a rural retreat lodge somewhere deep in Wisconsin or Canada. You are approached by a taxidermist who hands you a stuffed badger and asks you to put it in your lap. What do you do next?
This is a plausible scenario. I'd nervously put the badger in my lap and confidently yell "On Wisconsin!"

10. What was your first job?
Camera operator for a local news channel? Newspaper delivery girl? One-hour photo developer? All of these jobs were short-lived and painful but, my first job was a receptionist and hair-sweeper-upper at a local salon.

11. What is your favorite utensil?
What would Shoshanna from Girls say? Well, she spelled it out for us like so:

Shoshanna: What's your favorite utensil?

Adam: My favorite untensil is... I never thought about it.

Shoshanna: Wait, seriously? That's, like, insane. Like, what if you had to pick?

Adam: I guess a fork.

Shoshanna: Okay, that is crazy. Like, why would you want cold metal prongs stabbing you in the tongue when instead you could have your food delivered into your mouth on, like, a cool, soft pillowy cloud?

Final answer: spoon.

Stay warm! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This Year

I welcomed 2014 with the delusions that I could sneak sugar cookies into the new year without anyone noticing. The Girl Scouts are really onto something when asking people to order cookies in January. Let's just tempt our silly little resolutions right off the bat, shall we? 

Who says New Year's resolutions need to be set on January 1st? It might be semantics, but I prefer to set goals over making resolutions. Striving for something better instead of making something off limits. So this doesn't happen: 

Here's what I'm aiming for (22 days late) in 2014: 

A BAD HABIT I'M GOING TO BREAK >> start going to bed at a reasonable hour. 

A NEW SKILL I'D LIKE TO LEARN >> calligraphy. 

A PERSON I HOPE TO BE MORE LIKE >> the best version of myself. Accept my faults and focus on my strengths. 

A GOOD DEED I'M GOING TO DO >> volunteer more of my time. 

A PLACE I'D LIKE TO VISIT >> new-to-me state parks in Wisconsin. 

A LETTER I'M GOING TO WRITE >> send letters and real photos to Ingrid's grandparents. 

A NEW FOOD I'D LIKE TO TRY >> might sound odd, but I'd like to cook more meat and fish. 

I'M GOING TO DO BETTER AT >> ignoring the allure of screens. Turn off the TV and power down my phone at a reasonable hour in order to write, read and create. 

What are your resolutions or goals for 2014? 

Image and post inspiration from Jones Design Company

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Falling in Like

Someone once told me that you never really own a house. You occupy a home and then pass it along to the next lucky visitors - who might stay for a few years or a few decades. 

Interesting, right? In this little 1920s home, everyone who has come before us has made their own memories and experienced their own firsts. Since moving in June, it hasn't really felt like "ours" until recently. It's easy to forget how comforting comfortable routines and patterns are until they are broken. I now look back with fondness at our little Bay View apartment because I could easily navigate around coffee tables and flip on light switches. I knew the quirks and we created a little cozy nest to call our own. In this new home, we've all experienced annoying knee bumps due to poorly positioned furniture and have stumbled upon weird quirks (outlets installed improperly so they can't be used when the lights are on - which is an issue when attempting to blowdry hair). 

If you have a similar relationship with your home, a good way to fast-track your relationship status is to create some good ol' fashioned memories. 

Game night with friends, cocktails with family or decorating Christmas trees with toddlers are all welcomed memories from our first six months. All great loves come with quirks and I'm looking forward to getting to know our little house, quirks and all. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

On Sucking the Nectar

Sucking the nectar is a modern-day version of the classic motto seize the day. My idea of sucking the nectar is rising with the sun, running until my legs burn, being present with my family and baking something so delicious I consider making a double batch. Another way to spin this: 

It's a tough motto to embrace but worth trying. 

Over the weekend I read interviews from Mindy Kahling, Zooey Deschanel, Allison Williams and Amy Poehler in Elle. I love Amy even more after reading her last response: 

Elle: You've got a lot on your plate! 
AP: By the way, I just want to thank you for not having your first question be "How do you balance it all?" Why not try to do as much as you can? More, more, more, more. That's how I'm feeling right now-really lucky and blessed, and I just want to enjoy my appetite. To some people, not caring is supposed to be cool, commenting is more interesting than doing, and everything is judged and then disposed on in, like, five minutes. I'm not interested in those kinds of people. I like the person who commits and goes all in and takes big swings and than maybe fails or looks stupid; who jumps and falls down, rather than the person who points at the person who fell, and laughs. But I do sometimes laugh when people fall down. 

Fantastic, right? Balance is great but so is going for it and figuring it out along the way. 

January has been a doozey for me and I'm looking forward to rediscovering my appetite for the nectar once again. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Yearly Recap: 2013

Better late than never. Ever year, I like to recap event with this little survey. Check out past posts from 20102011 and 2012.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Bought a house, spoke at the Milwaukee Listen to your Mother and ran a half marathon.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, I didn't make any resolutions and it felt freeing. I'd like to put some pen to paper - or text and get some goals nailed down this year. I tend to be a procrastinator (hence, an annual recap a week late) and want a few more days to put this off think about this.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, two of my closest college girlfriends. I can't wait to meet them both soon!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no. Many of my close friends lost loved ones this year. It was tough to watch them grieve but through their experiences, I've learned a lot about gratitude and living life to the fullest.

5. What countries did you visit?
Last year I wrote: Nada. I may have to adjust this question to “counties vs. countries” because there aren't any international trips in our near future. 

And, that still rings true today. In typical Atkinson nature, we had plenty of camping adventures. We also spent a lot of time exploring our new neighborhood.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Lazy weekends at home!

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 15 - Started my new job (where I come to work happy each day!)
June 1 - Moved into our new home!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
Here's what I wrote last year: Running. I wouldn't call myself a runner by any stretch but, I can run. I can run several miles at a time and more importantly, I love the way it makes me feel. I feel strong and clear-headed after (almost) every run.

I'm really happy that I still can call myself a runner. After completing my first half marathon in November I felt like a complete rock star. I'm now addicted to the rush of trusting a training schedule and crossing the finish line.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Changing jobs in April. In hindsight, I was miserable at my job but I felt guilty at the time. Guilty about "giving up" after six months. Now, working at a company I love, I'm happy that I left and feelings of failure are gone.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our first home and a few weeks later, patio furniture. There's nothing like relaxing in your own backyard with a icy cold cocktail.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and daycare.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Speaking in front of other mothers, buying and decorating (slowly, slowly decorating) our home.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Blurred Lines - cabin weekend with girlfriends and anything on Songza Drop a Beat playlist - my running go-to!

15. Compared to this time last year, are you: 

  • Happier or sadder? Happier.
  • Thinner or fatter? Same.
  • Richer or poorer? Richer.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

  • Listened. 
  • Relaxed. 
  • Crafted. 
  • Read. 
  • Laughed. 
  • Ran. 
  • Practiced yoga.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

  • Complained. 
  • Online shopped. 
  • Planned. 
  • Wasted time on my iPhone. 

18. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve: Spent the day with Dan, Ingrid and Harper – we opened Ingrid’s gifts, stayed in jammies all day and watched Home Alone.
Christmas Day: Brunch with my dad and dinner at Dan's mom's house.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Downton Abbey.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Hunger Games trilogy.

21. What was your favorite music from this year? 

Since having Ingrid I miss going to live shows. Seeing She & Him for my birthday and later in the summer, Amos Lee were both highlights this year.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Hunger Games, Netflix recommendations.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
The big 3-0! This summer I hosted friends at our new house for a little backyard party. It was pretty simple, relaxing and perfect.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'll be honest here, more stability. Schedules, addresses, jobs - just about everything changed in 2013. I'm learning that the only constant is change. Next, how to cope with this fact.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Re-purposing my closet and mixing in new finds from Target. #girlonabudget

26. What kept you sane?
Running, reading, Harper, Dan, a laughing Ingrid, family, my girlfriends and cooking.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Work hard, play nice.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gift Guide for Dads who are Artists.

Shopping for my husband has always been a challenge. He doesn't want "stuff" so concert tickets and a replacement to-go coffee mug have always been my go-tos. When I stumbled up on the site Kindling Quarterly, I knew an annual subscription would be the perfect present. Here's what the magazine is all about:

Kindling Quarterly is an exploration of fatherhood. Through essays, interviews, editorials, art, and photography we highlights creative individuals whose work and lives are inseparable from their role as a parent...Men who are active caregivers are not a novelty and we do not depict them as such. 

My husband is a stay-at-home-work-at-home dad. His life, passion and profession blend together and this publication celebrates this in a sincere, realistic and humbling way. Highly recommended for anyone with a creative significant other.

The Dad slash artist in your life might also like:

Happy gifting and giving! 
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