stream of comfortness

IMG 0274Two days ago Abigail pooped in the potty. Four days before that, Lucas pooped in the potty. To celebrate, their grandparents are flying in from New York.

Okay, no. I’m not high. My father and Carol have had this trip planned for a while, and I’m beyond excited. They arrive this Thursday and are off on Tuesday, and in between all that, I’ll be trying to squeeze South By Southwest events into my days.

We took the sprouts to celebrate Purim this past Sunday at the Michael Dell JCC, where we hope they’ll go for pre-school, if they ever get in off that waitlist. Grr. Lucas is an adventurous child, always ready to try something new (the jumping castle). Abigail is an observer. She needs to check things out for a while before actually doing them, and even then, she’ll cry for her mama.

I can’t believe I’m heading to Fort Lauderdale next week for the Literary Feast, or that Moose will be coming out in paperback this summer. I need to find a dress to wear to this Literary Feast cocktail party. And then figure out how to pack it.

Today I’m going to Michael’s Craft Store to buy, well, more crafts for the kids. Googly eyes and feather boas. I used to love dress up, and I know they say to just give them your old clothes to play with, but really, stained tee shirts? That’s not very whimsical or dramatic now is it?

We just bought the kids a playscape for the backyard. When we’d moved in, there was already one in place, but we had them remove it, thinking we’d build a pool. But then we joined a country club, and with the kids not having swimming lessons, we just held off. Then the question became, how long do we see ourselves staying? It was worth building a pool if we thought we’d be here for five more years, but the truth is, we just don’t know. So, we went ahead and bought the kids a new world of wood and plastic. And it’s being installed as I type.

I’m having guest room “issues.” The New York room needs new sheets and pillow cases. A new spring pattern. I was checking out the Yves Delorme outlet site, but I’m still not feeling the love. I want people to stay with us and to think, “Wow, I never want to leave this room.” I want a Brewster’s Million’s “I can die in this room.” Please for the love of sateen, spare me the “They’d be happy to stay on a mattress on the floor. It’s all about the company.” Of course it is. When I stay somewhere, I couldn’t care less if it’s a pull out sofa or a king size featherbed. Yet, I love the idea of pampering our guests. When they arrive, I’d love for the dvd player in their room to be playing soothing music, with a sleep track at the ready. The room should be clean, plush slippers, and happy colors. Orange & Blue with white sateen. Evian facial mist (which is totally overrated, but I like the idea of it). I love small things that make people feel taken care of.

I wonder why the hospitality in me is even there–that need to go all out. I think it’s the way I learned to show love. It’s how my mother mothered me. Not in material things, but in comforts: in hospital corners and ironed linens, in thoughtfully prepared meals with fresh herbs and the time to add a garnish. In sweet endings on napkins. I love in the details of comfort.

4 YEARS AGO: Geni Tales



  1. Can I stay with you? Guest rooms like that make me feel loved. My friend has one like this. She leaves bottles of water with Advil on the night table after our long nights of laughing and drinking too much.

  2. I always WANT to be that sort of hostess…and then I get bogged down in the mundane details of cleaning and organizing and miss out on the truly memorable. Thanks for the reminder and the nudge – my mom's coming to stay next week and she's going to be pleasantly surprised!

  3. I'm the same way, hostess-wise.. I like to cover every little detail of what my guests could possibly need or want. Which often gets me accused of "going over-the-top." For people who don't travel often, traveling feels so out of the ordinary; I like to accent their out-of-the-ordinary experience by providing them with comforts that extraordinary or extravagant, little luxuries they'd never indulge for themselves. Just because it goes with the whole feel of travel, and it feels good on both sides. So yay for an awesomely decked-out guest room!

  4. and the car wash pics cracked me up.. I took my niece through her first carwash when she was around ten months old. It was a big hit. And, um, we went through the car wash four times that day. Because Aunt Lisa will do anything to win affections, you see. (laugh)

  5. That picture of Lucas and Abigail holding hands is too cute for words. They are adorable.

  6. Your guest room sounds lovely. I want to hide in it.
    My dry face thinks facial mist is glorious, actually. And I do have some in the guest bathroom.

  7. has great interesting bedding and it happens to be on clearance, just got a set myself!!

  8. The pictures are adorable.

    And you sound like you should open up a B&B. One day. When you retire, or something. Because now you're far too busy for that sort of thing, and so in the meantime…I think you're doing an excellent hostessing job. I have a friend who is the same kind of host as you. Amazing, really.

  9. What a great family picture of all of you, have you ever thought about putting it on canvas? I saw a bathroom re-done on DIY where they hung a photo blown up on canvas, very dramatic and striking.

  10. OMG, my guests sleep on the most uncomfortable sleeper sofa in the world. There is no closet for them – the closet in that room is my closet – and there is no dresser for them. The room has a TV in it that is our only TV, so if the kids want to watch a show, the guests have to share their room. We have to walk through the room to get to the ironing board and the elliptical trainer in the sunroom.

    Our guests are definitely not pampered, but the fact that we live in SF means we get lots of guests anyway. The state of our "guest room" means they leave soon.

    I guess we can live with that.

  11. Beautiful pictures of the kiddos!!

    It seems like yesterday when you shared their arrival with us! Time sure does fly.

  12. Congrats on the potty progress! Your pictures look amazing; love the kiddos in matching shorts :) And your family pic. Hope Phil is doing alright.

  13. As a little girl, I loved dress up too. Still do, come to think of it. I have a beautiful antique armoir that is my boys' dress up closet, filled with pirate gear, crazy hats, rainbow wigs, wizard robes, space suits, lab coats and a few dresses for our visiting girl cousins. We have accessories too, magic wands, binoculars, masks, capes. The day after Halloween, I hit the stores for the clearance costumes. They are on the verge of outgrowing those games, but not quite.

  14. Have you ever thought of sending them to one of the Stepping Stone School's here in Austin for pre-school? They have a bunch of locations are have a really great program for all ages, especially when they get to pre-k. You should check it out. Easier than dealing with places that have waitlists and such.

  15. Could your sprouts be any more adorable? No. I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

  16. I love your blog! I like to put fresh flowers on the nightstand and/or bathroom when we have guests. I hope that your husband is doing well. When is your next gig in Austin? Do you ever come to speak/hang out at book group gatherings? Our long time group loved you at the Book Fair and think you might like us too. Hope to see you soon!
    Take care.

  17. So. Long time lurker here to say I clicked over thinking "well–maybe there will be some photos of the kids". I wasn't disappointed. You don't know me and I don't know you, but I love watching your kids grow and change.

  18. Stephanie-
    When will you be speaking at the Literary Feast? I live in Boynton Beach and would love to come.

  19. I just had to second a previous poster's idea that you should one day open a bed and breakfast. You would be an excellent hostess, as evidenced by the parties you throw, your guest rooms and attention to the little details, and your interest in food/wine and cooking. I would totally stay at your place!

  20. mom2boyz had a great idea about checking for dressup items after Halloween. I started doing this for my niece a few years ago. She absolutely loves to play dressup so I always hit those sales to find her new clothes and accessories for her dressup closet!

  21. i don't know how schmancy the literary feast cocktail party is, but if you haven't been to pangea on the drag, there are cute dresses there. might be too casual, but very cute nonetheless. and of course all the boutiques on soco, but i'm poor these days, so not able to shop for all the delights i'd like to…..

    FROM SK: And I'm fat these days, so not able to shop for all the delights I'd like to… so it goes. Thanks for the tip.

  22. I'm so jealous you get to go to the Literary Feast. A friend of mine went a couple years ago and said it was so much fun and that the food was really good. I wish I could go, but $150 a ticket is more than I can afford. Still, if I can scrape enough change out of the couch cushions and throw on a dress from Ross in time, I'll come and say hi to you and welcome you to this crazy city that I write about.

    FROM SK: There's also a FREE part of the event on Saturday, during the day. Would love to meet you.

  23. Thanks for the updated pictures of the babes. Do you frame alot of these pictures? I envision the family room walls covered in black frames of different shapes and sizes, with all your favorite family photos in them :)

  24. I typically do not like to shop at the mall, but Arden B at Barton Creek Mall has very cute maxi dresses that are reasonably priced, and if you are not feeling thin they are a great thing to wear and flattering as well.

  25. DWELL Bedding! I just bought an exquisite set from them and the fabric is butter soft. I was surprised as the thread count is "only" 300 but these are of such a high quality that they are softer than the 600 count I had before. Oh and their colors are just beautiful! I got it today from Anthropologie and am still a little giddy considering I paid $100 on sale, (mistakenly priced!!!!) where it usually retails for close to $400 for the duvet and shams. Yay me!!!

  26. OK, after all your posts about Abigail and the poop digging, the oranges kind of gross me out. But I love their matching plaid shorts.

  27. What's the latest with your living room makeover? You posted "before" pictures, not sure about the "after." Would love to see how it turned out!!

  28. Wow – Beautiful pictures. Just curious – what lens, f-stop, etc.? I aspire to use light and cameras like that!

  29. Hi Stephanie – I think you check these comments before you consent to their posting. And feel therefore it's the most direct way of getting your attention. I really wanted to know:

    What sites do you recommed looking at, or where should I go, to find out if my blog has any potential? I never hear back about it. Though I believe in it and a few close friends say they really appreciate it.

    Have kept in touch with yours over many years now, and would love to know how you drummed so much interest all round.

    Would be sincerely grateful for some feedback from a pro. About where I go! Any help so very much appreciated.

    Best wishes, Arhan xx

  30. the kid's autistic….you can tell…he never smiles and has a look of deep anxiety and worry

  31. OK random question… How do you like the Britax car seat? Which ones did you buy for the twins? I need to get one for my daughter for her first birthday and am at a loss. Would really appreciate your opinion.

  32. Abigal is gorgeous! Is there a reason why you hardly post pictures of Lucas? Maybe he doesn't like the camera?

  33. I used to like reading you and I have to say, I am having a hard time stomaching it anymore. You can't write a single entry without whining about living in a state you dislike.
    Geez. Getting old. Move if you hate it so much. Nobody forced you.

  34. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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