Happy Easter!

Hello friends! Wishing all those who celebrate, a happy and joyous Easter holiday! As you can see, the Easter Bunny has already visited our new house (thank goodness he got the memo about our change of address – and let us turn on the lights, just to capture a quick picture). All the baskets are filled and lined up for the kids to enjoy in the morning. We’re hoping they’ll take pity on their dear, old parents and save us some jelly beans and cream eggs…

XO,

N&N

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Travel blog: Marathon, TX

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If you have a look at a map, you would probably describe where Texas is situated in the United States as south central. Put your finger in the middle of North Dakota, draw your finger all the way down, and you’ll land smack on top of it. Yet, if you live in Texas, you’ll discover it is a place that does not describe itself as that at all. It wavers between ‘southern’ and ‘southwestern’ and just plain ‘Texan’ (the Lone Star State was indeed once its own republic). It seems as though Texas encompasses both elements of the deep south and of the southwest, while still maintaining a strong sense of its own identity.

When you think of far West Texas, you immediately think of Big Bend National Park – dinosaur fossils, majestic Chisos mountains, black bears and hundreds of species of birds surrounded by canyons, rivers, and 150 miles of trails: it’s a hiker’s paradise. Driving along the 90, the main highway, through Big Bend desert, south of Fort Stockton, you’ll stumble upon Marathon, TX.

At first glimpse, it doesn’t look like much. How could a town with population:470 in 5.2 square miles look like anything? In fact, if you visit the website for Marathon it states simply: Marathon – where there’s nothing ‘to do.’ Ah yes. Perhaps not much ‘to do,’ but a visual feast ‘to see.’ There are luxury hotels amid inns and colourful B&B’s, adobe houses fashioned from clay, water, sand and organic matter, all painted in vivid, remarkable hues…chili peppers adorning houses as they dry out in the sun…tiny church steeples…and mesas, cactus and desert that roots you in the gateway to New Mexico and Arizona.

Truth be told, I fell head over heels in love with the desert that day. The rich warmth of the sun as it fell on our shoulders in the early hours of the morning was all it took. Nothing ‘to do’ but to take it all in.

XO,

N&N

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Moving on

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We’ve officially booked a moving company so it would seem that we will be out of our apartment in less than a week’s time, once SXSW is finished.. We have very much enjoyed living in this townhouse – it really is a fantastic location – and will probably miss many aspects of it. Mind you, the past few months of renovations have really started to wear on us though, and we will be ever so grateful to no longer have the entire family woken up at 7am daily because of demolition. We hope that whoever has bought our place will enjoy it, and feel the good energy from our happy, loving family who lived in it, brought a brand new baby home to it, and were proud to call it home for the past 14 months. That is, if the good energy will still be inside once the builders have smashed it to bits and totally remodeled it. HA!

On the bright side, we have managed to find an apartment roughly 25 blocks north of our current location, in an equally good area where we can walk to even more useful shopping and amenities. Our ¬†new complex has a fabulous outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, a lake with a large park and playground, and lots of conveniences for us. We’ll be able to walk to many of our doctors’ offices, pick up coffee at Houndstooth (our very favourite in Austin), shop at Central Market daily (also our very favourite in Austin), and maybe even go to Uchiko for a date. Top Chef fans may remember that Uchiko’s Executive Chef, Paul Qui, won Top Chef last year. He has since left the superb tutelage of Tyson Cole and is slated to open his own restaurant here in town sometime this month.

While there has been a whirlwind of packing and cleaning for days on end, baby Reed has been enjoying hanging out with Alina and Finnlagh, honing new skills (most often at night while crawling out of bed and looking to party). Simple things like rolling balls back and forth across the carpet between the children bring them all together in a way that is gentle and safe for the baby, and buy me extra time to get my work done packing. All of the moving distraction has actually proved quite handy in that I ordered many things online and completely forgot about all of them. Every day this week there has been a wonderful package (or more) awaiting us. Today it was a huge shipment of Easter and summer clothing for the children, yesterday a long-coveted Harry Potter Lego book for Finnlagh and more diapers and baby supplies for Reed… earlier in the week a wooden baby walker, dvds, more books to read for the grown ups, a new iPhone case… I must say, not that I wish to endorse Amazon terribly, but good gracious, do we ever love Amazon Prime. Free two-day shipping on absolutely everything along with loads of television and movies for only $80 a year…you can imagine how much we use this service since we live car-free, not to mention their Amazon Mom program which ships baby supplies according to our preferences and delivery needs. A virtual license to print money.

I’ve been trying to be good about blogging since once we move, it might get disrupted for a little bit of time while all of our services get set up. Incidentally, you have probably heard that Google Reader will be no longer; if this is how you have been following my blog, I don’t want to lose you, so please remember to bookmark https://nikoandnonnie.wordpress.com¬†Speaking of which, how do all of you keep up with your favourite blogs? I use the Bloglovin’ app which updates everything all in one place – very, very handy. You can find a link for Bloglovin’ and a Subscription on the column to your right –>

Hoping to have more for you as the week progresses…I do have a fair bit on my blog list I can’t wait to share with all of you!

XO,

N&N

Neighbourhood spaces & update

I wanted to begin this post by letting you know that I have put the shop on holiday until we are fully moved into our new place (which means that yes, we have finally found a new apartment!) Niko & Nonnie is currently in vacation mode, but you can receive an email letting you know as soon as I’ve re-opened, just by clicking the link above. I really do apologise for any inconvenience, but my hands are so full these next few weeks, I just didn’t think I could manage. All current orders placed through either Etsy or myself directly will ship out this week. I can’t wait to get back in the swing of things.

We’ve gotten a bit fed up with the packing to be honest. It interferes with the rhythm of our homeschooling, has to be done while Reed is napping (coinciding of course with my one-on-one free playtime with Alina and Finnlagh), and is just generally boring and exhausting. But we’ll get through it. We’ve done it so many times our boxes are packed like perfectly intricate puzzles – it’s a bit over the top!

This afternoon, as the sun streamed through our windows and the gorgeous day beckoned, the children and I threw in the packing tape and the scissors, grabbed keys, a couple of diapers, wallet and were out like lightning. We took our time admiring all the wildflowers in bloom, picked up some coffee and treats, and took turns snapping shots with my iPhone. Here’s what we turned up.

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XO,

N&N

Citrus and such

Regular readers of this blog will undoubtedly know about my love of any and all things citrus related. When I say ‘I’ what in fact I mean is ‘we’ (our family) but my citrus obsessions during my pregnancies reach skyscraper heights. In fact, I have known the last two pregnancies (with my middle and youngest children) that I was pregnant very early on, simply by walking through the produce aisle of the grocery and smelling oranges.

I do in fact ridiculously adore citrus, wear orange blossom perfume (my favourite is this one) and have a fairly dangerous Sumo orange addiction. Have I told you that I once spent an entire afternoon driving around Vancouver with my mother (who was visiting at the time) buying up all the stock of Fleur d’Oranger perfume and lotions; I had heard a rumour they weren’t going to be selling them anymore – and I panicked. I was even gifted all of the perfume sampler bottles, but mostly because I think the beauty ladies could see the desperation in my eyes. My poor mother. On the bright side, she did get to see a fair bit of Vancouver that day.

You may also remember that one of the things my darling husband said to lure us down to Texas was to promise to buy me a lemon tree. Always true to his word, he delivered. Not just any old lemon tree – a Meyer lemon tree. Meyer lemons are from China and are thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarine. Are you an orange or are you a lemon? What you are is delicious.

When we first bought our tree during the mild winter months of 2012, our neighbours assured us that by the following Christmas, our tree would be bearing fruit. Well, Christmas has long since passed and nary a fruit or any visible inkling of fruit has shown up on our tree. We’ve showered it with love, decorated it for Christmas with shiny bells…we’ve even re-potted it in a wonderful terracotta pot and planted tulips all around it.

Since then, I’ve been reading about people with Meyer lemon trees in Austin whose trees produce 500 lemons or more. Can you imagine that? I’d probably have to patent my Meyer lemon popsicle recipe and start a whole new business, wheeling popsicles around downtown. Hold that thought…

Here is our tree, as it stands today on a beautiful, breezy afternoon in March. It may not be bearing fruit now – perhaps it never will. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Coming home to this delicate, tender tree will always symbolise, to us, how it has been for our family since we arrived: that life can be unexpected and surprising, and not always deliver an outcome in the way you’d once hoped. Growth can be slow, and steady…and strong.

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Eight Months

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Eight months // Time for skipping crawling altogether and wanting to stand and cruise every moment. That little pointer finger that passes over everything with such fine and intricate detail…textures, patterns, tracing water…Shaking your head emphatically yes/no…

Hugs/kisses/sweetest snuggles/pats on the back…

Hearty belly laughs and an inquisitive mind that is always turning and thinking…the purposeful drop and clink of toys into a basket, only to dump them out once again…

There is nothing so precious in all the world, our little Reed Anders.

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