Two and a Half

comments: 81
























Playing with Phyllis Mouse and a Calico Critters' cottage. Phyllis is wearing Juniper's boots. Amelia is exactly two and a half. I don't want to forget what this time is like. How she can take Phyllis out of her high chair and put her back in twenty times, and I'm fascinated. How she's starting to talk in pretend voices, especially the floaty, high, very sweet voice, with a lisp (that's not pretend), doing dialogue for her animals and objects, sometimes so softly I can't hear what she's saying. How she can keep herself occupied now for long stretches with the smallest of things, without needing anyone else's attention. How she loves her routines, and talks about the things she regularly does when she's not doing them (for instance, talking at length about going to the museum when she's taking a bath). How amazing her memory is, and her eye; encountering any new thing that reminds her of something she already knows makes her exclaim it with delight. How sweet she is, putting her animals to bed under pieces of Kleenex, with blocks for pillows, kissing their noses and saying, "Good night, I love you, sweet dreams." Oh, oh. I love you, girl. I love you so much.

I just finished a hilarious book: Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe. My gosh. I laughed out loud while reading the dialogue so many times I lost track. So deadpan. No plot. Lots of swearing (be warned!). Totally prosaic details of everyday life. I loved it. Now reading The Swan Thieves, which my mom gave me for my birthday. I didn't read any of the reviews or blurbs or even the back cover (sometimes I just like to read from cover to cover without knowing even one word of the summary, so I have no expectations), so I can't really tell you about it yet, but I'm 165 pages in. It's a little dark, and a little slow, but I'm sticking with it. Have you read it? I do love nanny novels. I've read several: The Country Life (super weird, I loved it), The Diary of an American Au Pair (terrible title — apparently the original title was Do Try to Speak as We Do, which I think is waaaaay, better, personally; however, I loved this book and have read it several times), The Nanny Diaries (not so much, kind of depressing). Wait, what other nanny novels are there? I feel like I've read others I just can't remember. I love the genre.

Dearest Ginny and Grace are having a stitch-along for My Sweetiepie sampler! Please join them if you want to stitch along and post progress photos on Flickr and Instagram. I actually got a little teary-eyed last night when I read Ginny's post and the sweet comments, and then read some sweet emails I received after people started getting their kits in the mail. I can't even really explain why, just so many things. I always feel like crying after I put something new out there and someone says something nice about it. Thank you, ladies. You made my day, truly. Xoxo

Don't you just love this picture of Joni Mitchell at her house in Laurel Canyon (1970)?


"At night it was quiet except for cats and mockingbirds. It had a smell of eucalyptus, and in the spring, which was the rainy season then, a lot of wildflowers would spring up."
                                                                                                                                                    — J.M.

Photo (by Henry Diltz) from an article in last month's Vanity Fair, the only magazine I seem to read every month, my grocery-store guilty pleasure, along with Harry's chocolate pudding and already-cut-up cantaloupe. I've been dabbing the house with eucalyptus oil every other day now and listening to Blue.


Such concentrated playing. I always love to see mine playing happy imaginative games and talking to themselves and toys and everything else. The photo of Joni Mitchell is gorgeous, she's quite a lady. CJ xx

Such loveliness, it's always like soaking in light and happiness when I visit here.

Lovely pictures! Just beautiful.

Amelia's hair is so so beautiful. That is all.

Your reflections about Amelia... So sweet, so familiar. You know, I'm sure, that every word, every picture, every moment you enjoy with her will be a treasure for always. It all goes by so quickly. Happily, I am discovering that the pleasure of children's growth, and company may change, but is still wonderful, still amazing. If this blog were a magazine it would be my one subscription, my happy pleasure. Thank you for your good works~

I loved Love, Nina. It was wonderful. I have her new book, Man at the Helm, from the library right now. I picked it up on Monday and I'm going to start very soon, as soon as I finish the book I'm reading now.

I don't have any children myself, but I always fine the myriad ways children play so fascinating. They'll all have such a different style. :) Beautiful photos.

I need to show my haircolorist that shot taken of the back of Mimi's locks! Gah! The colors are amazing!

Lovely photographs! Always a treat!

Yes, love the photo of vintage Joni. Blue was one of my favorite of her albums.

oh joni....always a toss up for me...such a fan of the 70s ladies..joni or carole king? love both. oh my but your photos are just out of this world. bless your heart when you talk about amelia at play i could just cry thinking of my BIG boys when they were tiny...they plowed many a field...she is just such a doll. love it.

Oh, I miss those sweet, sweet days. My kids had no tv at all until they were teens, so they would play together like that for hours. It's good you're recording it...I've forgotten much of it exactly, but cherish the memories of those long days listening to them play and arrange and talk for their little friends. Enjoy and thanks for sharing with us. Amelia's hair is gorgeous! She's a lucky girl.

Have you read The Pleasing Hour by Lily King? Another nanny/au pair book to add to your queue if not ...

Your little girl is the most adorable, sweetest child : )

As always, with every single one of your posts my soul is soothed and warm. Two and a half?! My goodness, each precious days adds up.

Blue was my one of my absolute guideposts when I was a teenager. I can still sing almost every song by heart. Thanks for posting about it.

2.5 lovely years. times goes by fast. i know they say that when the babes are tiny and their breath is sweet - and i know you've relished every moment of every day. as you should. oh what preciousness. happy happy.

I remember reading an article about a linguist interested in childhood language acquisition, so he clipped a microphone above his 2 year old's crib. When he listened he discovered that his son knew so many more words than he used in everyday life, and that before falling asleep he would rehearse what happened that day and talk through what would happen the next day. They're learning language at the same time they're becoming more aware of their world and they use it to help them organize and process the exciting things that happen to them.

I love your blog for many reasons, but I so identify with your thought patterns and I love that. Case in point with the Joni Mitchell picture at the end. :) Happy day to you!

Why does 2 get such a bad rap?
She is the dearest little buttercup. :)

I don't know why, but this post made me think to recommend "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" to you. That picture of Joni Mitchell must have done it! I read that book in complete rapture and even reread passages out loud because of the author's beautiful way with words.

Also, Amelia is adorable.

Alicia - wow - I received my Sweetiepie kit today in the post - super super fast as I'm in australia. Lovely packaging, thank you for creating such a beautiful kit. Happy half birthday to Mimi, your photos are lovely as always. xx

Thanks for all those nanny books. Therefore I'd like to add my favourite nanny related movies The King and I, The Sound of Music and how funny in You've got mail nannies play a part,too!AriadnefromGreece!

Lovely post, as always. Amelia's beautiful hair is quite amazing!

For an alternative account of nannydom, try Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy's fascinating book The Rose and Fall of the British Nanny. Quite an eye-opener in many respects.

Your little one is always so adorable. I love to see those photos of her, just day to day things but a beautiful record filled with happy memories. Sharon x

The Swan Thieves is a favorite of mine. Stick with it - you'll be glad!

That photo of Joni Mitchell was taken by the very wonderful Henry Diltz

2 is the best. But then so is 1 and I'm pretty partial to three. And maybe all the other years. The sweetness.
That is a great photo of Joni Mitchell!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.