Archive | March, 2013

a trip to IKEA with Grammie


My mom, my kids*, and I took a trip to IKEA while she was visiting. I thought I only needed storage bins, but… well, you know how trips to IKEA go. What with lunch in the cafeteria, the kids’ section, the obligatory ice cream cone pick-me-up, and all our own shopping, we somehow spent four and a half hours inside the store. With two kids under two!

We got some sign that we had overstayed our welcome when — in our last 15 minutes at IKEA — a number of things happened:

  • As I attempted to swipe my credit card at check out, Gil emptied the entire contents of his stomach all over me. We’re talking rivers of milk.
  • Lena, bored of waiting for me to mop up myself and Gil after this episode, charged into the men’s bathroom and giggled at our attempts to coax her out.
  • I loaded Lena into the car and said, “Does something smell like dog poo?” and then looked down to find Lena had be stomping in a pile of it and the whole mess was now all over her shoes, my pants, and—worst of all—the back seat of the car.
  • It started raining.

But of course there are no pictures of these unforgettable memories. I only managed to take pictures of all the happy times, and that’s what I really want to remember anyway, right?!










* “My kids.” I have kids, plural! Elliott and I still smile every time we say it. Geez Louise, life is crazy.

12 :: in family, Lena, memories

Lena reads her letters

Last week I was reading Lena a bedtime story and she started to name the letters on the page for me.  Just for fun, I took this little  video to send to our families.  I give the credit for Lena knowing these letters to the hundreds of times we have done her wooden alphabet puzzle in the last few months.

Do any of you know: if Lena knows her capital letters at this age (23 months, almost 2 years old), could she possibly learn to read by age three?

Of course now — with a little brother in the house and a mother with much less time on her hands — Lena’s progress may slow down…

11 :: in Lena, video

6 Tips for Sharing Your Bedroom with Your Baby

Have you ever thought about sharing a bedroom with your baby, or — if you’re already a parent — is this something you’ve already done?  There are so many reasons to share a bedroom with your newborn, including lack of space in your house, the ease of feeding during the night, the nervousness of a new parent, and the simplicity of comforting a newborn who is sleeping nearby instead of across the hall.

Sharing a bedroom with your baby can last for a few days or a few years.  When Lena was born, we lived in a studio apartment.  We shared a room with her because there was literally no other option… our apartment was only one room!

With Gil we chose to share our room again because it seemed to allow everyone to get the most sleep.  Gil sleeps better when we’re nearby or quickly available to soothe him when he wakes. As a nursing-on-demand mother, I sleep better when I can feed him as soon as he’s hungry and doze off next to him while he nurses.

Sharing a bedroom has required some adjustments for us, though, because this is our room and our space.  There’s a lot of baby paraphernalia that does not need to occupy space in our bedroom.  The rest of the baby gear can be stashed away in Lena’s bedroom (which is really now — gulp! — the “kids'” bedroom!), ready to be used after the newborn haze dissipates and our lives take on some routine again.

I thought I’d share what has worked for us organizationally during these newborn days.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice as well!

1)    Safety first.  Prepare to share your bed with your baby… just in case he ends up in it.

In the first photo in this post, you can see that Gil is lying on a very tidy, uncluttered bed.  Elliott and I brought Gil home from the hospital and transformed our bed in order to minimize any risk of suffocation for our newborn.  To do so, we removed our thick down pillow top and our down comforter, took two pillows off the bed, and turned up the temperature in the room.  Now we can sleep with no more than a sheet on the bed and no more than one flat pillow for each of us.

It’s a drastic change in the winter when you’d really like to snuggle under a thick comforter!  But the risks were too great.  Anytime I nurse Gil in bed and doze off next to him, at least I have the peace of mind that I have eliminated as many common suffocation risks as possible.

If this advice has you nervously looking at your bed, wondering if you should overhaul everything and start fresh, clean, and simple, there is no better time! I recommend Coaster Furniture, which has a lot of beautiful bedding options, including many that would be comfortable and safe for a new baby, your partner, and yourself.


2)    Keep a minimum of diaper changing supplies within easy reach.

I stored the basic diaper changing supplies on our dresser: diapers, wipes, and Vaseline.  (We use Vaseline for almost every diaper change as a barrier cream to protect Gil’s skin.)  I keep extra wipes and diapers in Lena’s room and replenish the stash as needed.  I also store a bottle of infant massage oil, Vitamin D drops, a bulb syringe, and an infant thermometernearby in our room.

Recently Updated1

 3)    Have a good trash solution.

We have a Diaper Champfor cloth diapers and a hands-free lidded trashcan for disposable diapers, wipes, and other trash. I keep all our cloth diapers in a box next to the Diaper Genie.  All of these things are right next to the bed where I change Gil.


4)    Use all the storage in your co-sleeper, if you have one.

We’ve enjoyed our Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeperand I recommend it if you are looking for a safe co-sleeping solution for your baby.  I also like the co-sleeper because of the pockets on both sides, which I use to store extra burp cloths and crib sheets.  There is a storage compartment underneath the mattress that is great for storing swaddling blankets as well.


5)    Stash just a few items of baby clothing in your room.

We bought this handy basket at IKEA.  It’s just the right size to store about 5-10 onesies, a couple of hats, some socks, and a few swaddle blankets.  That’s all we’ve needed on a regular basis these first few weeks.  As he grows his wardrobe will get a little more elaborate (…if his mother has the energy to elaborate beyond a onesie!).


6)    Buy or make an easy on-the-bed changing pad.

I folded this waterproof quilted sheetin half and pinned the sides together with a few safety pins to keep folded (even in the washing machine).  Gil loves lying on this soft pad in our warm bedroom.  He’ll often look around peacefully and kick away without wanting to be held or tended to.  All my diaper changing supplies are within easy reach right behind me on the dresser and extra clothes are at my feet in the basket under the bed.


I have to admit I haven’t peeked into any of my friends’ bedrooms to see how they handle sharing a room with their baby.  It never even occurred to me that there could be a system to it until Gil came along, space was limited, and simplicity was my goal.  With two kids under two needing constant attention, there was no longer room in my brain for color-coordinated tote bins!

How have you made simplicity and organization work in small spaces with your baby?  Or what have you admired in friends’ homes?

21 :: in Baby Numero Due, Gil, motherhood, tutorials

life lately

Well, it’s been three weeks and still no internet in our house… sigh. I see the Telecom truck in our neighborhood regularly, but the fire must have done some serious damage as they still don’t even have an estimate about when it will be fixed.  “Domani, domani, tomorrow, tomorrow, they say.

But life has been busy and full with my mom visiting from Virginia and we’ve made do without internet quite well (to my own surprise). Now we’re enjoying a beautiful getaway in a rented villa on the Sicilian coast. More pictures later this week! For now, here are a few more Instagram photos from around home in these early weeks with little Gil.

becca-garber-instagram-2 sweet sleeping newborn
& big sister love in the morning 2013-02-284 one of my favorites from these early days
& miso soup (hard to find in Italy so this will have to do!) 2013-02-283 my sweet little family
& Saturday morning means pancakes and eggs for breakfast! 2013-02-282 my little love
& he looks like he’s up to something 2013-02-280 ok, can’t get enough of the sister/brother snuggles!
& perfect little hands in the lamplight 2013-02-2711 reading, knitting, and snuggling with a wide-awake newborn… lasted about as long as it took to take this picture
& I spent hours of my day (and night) walking this little man to sleep 2013-02-288 reading by the fire
& oh that precious smile! 2013-02-287 Siena and Lena appropriated the toy basket
& just walkin’ around my house with a baby in my arms 2013-02-286 journaling and coloring on the balcony on a sunny February morning
& somehow he stayed awake through all of Moonrise Kingdom 2013-02-285 chubby chubby cheeks!
& Lena teaches Gil how to wear Mama’s glasses
7 :: in family, Gil, home sweet home, husband, Instagram, Lena, life lately, motherhood

a Sicilian tradition :: bruschetta


You know the feeling of biting into a perfect piece of bruschetta: the crunch of the toasted bread, the sweetness of the tomatoes, the spiciness of the garlic, the delicious flavor of herbs filling your mouth.  I’ve attempted bruschetta and been disappointed with the result, so I was glad when Maria included a bruschetta tutorial with her pasta alla norma cooking class this week.  Making perfect bruschetta might not be so hard for me now!

Here are a few pictures of the process and then the recipe is at the end of the post.


First, deseed and dice your tomatoes.  Then mix them with the olive oil and herbs in a large bowl.  Let sit while you prepare the bread.


Try to find a loaf of bread that looks something like this.  Slice it into 1-cm pieces and place on a tray to toast in the oven.


Take a break for a picture with your cute little boy…


… and to check out your daughter, who is playing with one of the many children that were running around the house throughout our cooking class.  Fun for them and fun for us!


When the bread is finished toasting, top with the tomato mixture.

Sit down at the table and enjoy with your friends!  Buon appetito!


Bruschetta Recipe


  • 1 kilo tomato (2 lbs)
  • 1 loaf of bread
  • 3 small garlic cloves (2 large)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil (or 2 fresh basil stems)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • about 1/2 cup olive oil


  • De-seed tomatoes and dice into small pieces.  Mince garlic and place into tomatoes.  Add oregano, basil, salt, and oil. Cover and let sit.
  • Put oven rack on lowest position and set to Broil. Slice bread into 1cm thickness. Place in oven and toast until warm.
  • Top bread slices with tomato mixture.
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11 :: in eat this, friends, Sicily

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