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Migratory Birds | A Playlist for Transitions

In the late spring and early summer, before the air becomes too weighty, I love to toss a blanket in the yard and watch the sky––the shifting clouds and migratory birds. Hammocks are perfect for this, too. So are car windows. Although the weather this time of year is too warm to lounge outside without water nearby, figurative shifts are always taking place in our home, even when the movement is too quiet to notice.

The kids are away with grandparents this week, and I’m stealing time a bit to sift through books and write down ideas for the year ahead. Although the summer season will linger here for quite a bit longer, a figurative shift in routine is looming for our home, one that involves messy tables and piles of books and art supplies again. It’s funny how swiftly these years seems to circle around again.

I am feeling more settled these days with Liam moving into the high school years, excited for some of the material he will be studying and learning this year and our conversations along the way. Still the years seem so brief––so very brief. Homeschooling has a way of slowing the years a bit, even as it demands more of the hours in a day, but I am understanding how precious this gift of time with my children will be in the nearing years ahead. I sense we are in a sweet spot right now.

Whether you’re preparing for a new school year or still enjoying the lazy days of summer or planning a last minute road trips, here’s a relaxed playlist for you, melodies that tend to flit and float right along with you.

Shortline RX Y | The Breech Dustin Tebbutt | Migratory Birds Western Skies Motel | Here in Spirit Jim James | Mexico The Staves | Youth Glass Animal | Forest Fires Alex Flovent | Honey and Milk Andrew Belle | Love is All Tallest Man on Earth | Anchor Novo Amor | Holocene Bon Iver | Garden Western Skies Motel | Afterglow Jose Gonzalez | La Belle Fleur Sauvage Lord Huron | I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For Joey McGee | Atlas Hands Benjamin Francis Leftwich |Smoke Medic | Bloom The Paper Kites  

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MUSIC IN THE HOME | a playlist for Daily Rhythms

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“Music is the art of thinking with sounds.” ― Jules Combarieu

Books and music have always created a backdrop for our days at home together, even as the specific rhythms have varied through the years. During our children’s early childhood, I kept a small basket of instruments on the shelf for play throughout the day. And often we set aside a small portion of our homeschool morning for raucous singing and dancing together. Music time doesn’t always need to be serious, and these sort of moments can be a simple tool for bonding and playful experiences with sounds. If too much of this tends to stress you out as a parent (raises hand), my advice is to tuck certain instruments away until this daily time together. Wink.

Although much social and scientific research has revealed the positive effects of music on the developing brain, I’d argue it’s also good for the soul of the home. Music can lift and encourage heavy days, help heal fragmented emotions, and quiet noisy hearts and attitudes. It can even at times give language to emotion in ways young children might struggle to express. One moment a few years ago, when Olive was unhappy with me, she stomped away and then abruptly turned to the piano. She looked at me, pounded out three staccato bass notes, and then walked away. I laughed aloud of course but was also awed at how much she had communicated to me through those three notes, more than she might have been capable with her words. For her, sounds intuitively connected with her emotions and thoughts, even at age three.

As our children have grown older, music still makes up much of our days and evenings together. A record is often spinning or the iPod is humming through the speakers, sometimes quietly in the background, other times blasting for energetic clean-ups, impromptu dance parties, or even in the kitchen when the kids love to play “guess which soundtrack?” We listen to a variety of sounds during the day here, often complimenting (or re-directing) the activity and mood, and although we own a lot of music, I have also used the Spotify app for years to easily browse new music and create private and public playlists for the home. The kids have several of their own, too––a fun way for them to explore their own style.

For those of you interested, I’ve included a playlist below entitle Daily Rhythms, a sample of songs our family is enjoying together right now. The music feels quiet, but varies in energy, much like the plot line of our days at home. Spotify also now has a Kids & Family category in their app/site, too, which includes specially curated playlists for different age groups and activities––an easy cheat when we begin to feel in a rut. We particularly love Milk & Cookies and Bedtime Stories––a playlist with short stories, like Peter Rabbit and the Three Little Pigs (perfect for rest time). Pop 4 Kids is always fun for a brief dance party in the living room when our bodies and brains need rejuvenating. Enjoy!


This post is sponsored by Spotify, a seamless way for people to enjoy and share music anywhere together. Images by Kristen Douglass. All thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting businesses that help keep this space afloat. 

mixtape no. 04

springmixtapeWe’re right in the middle of our move now, straddled between two places, sleeping on floors, loading and unloading until exhaustion. The sun has been shining the last two days, reminding me that Winter is not forever and Spring is coming soon. We’ve been welcoming the new season with lighter sounds balanced with energy to keep us moving. Here’s a few to share with you, as I hope the days are warming for you all, too.

1.  Ethio Invention No. 1 Andrew Bird // 2. Little Numbers BOY // 3. Afterlife Arcade Fire // 4. Alive Barnaby Bright // 5. Ships Tyler Ramsey // 6. Halls of Columbia Pickwick // 7. Bill Murray Phanotgram // 8. Amsterdam Gregory Alan Isakov // 9. Entertainment Phoenix // 10. Will Do TV on the Radio // 11. Morning Beck

rdio | spotify

mix tape no. 03 // beginnings

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Although beginnings happen in small ways everyday, from our morning routines to new relationships and jobs and homes, this is the season we celebrate them, give tribute to them. We imagine and create on otherwise blank slates, envisioning what new will come from this particular beginning. So whether you’re enjoying your morning coffee or scratching out dreams, here’s a few sounds filled with energy and hope to keep you company. Happy Monday, everyone.

1. Pieces Black Bear | 2Another StoryThe Head and the Heart | 3. The Lion the Beast the Beat  Grace Potter & the Nocturnal | 4. Before the Beginning Young Oceans | 5. I am Mountain Gungor | 6. Clean Slate M. Ward | 7. Disparate Youth Santigold  |  8. Leaves in the RiverSea Wolf | 9. Sleeping LessonsThe Shins | 10. Explode My Soul  Jonathan David and Melissa Helser  |  11.Low RoarLow Roar

rdio  |  spotify

mix tape no. 02 // a winter to remember

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Old man Winter has finally arrived here (mildly by some of your standards), chasing the last of the leaves from the branches, forcing us into warm coats and under throw blankets. Although at times I miss the long evenings of the warmer months, I find it easier to rest, to slow down. Here’s a few tunes to keep you warm in this colder, darker season. So snuggle up and enjoy.

Listen: Rdio Spotify

1. Titanium (feat. Sia) David Guetta // 2. Iamaceo Starflyer 59 // 3. Modern Drift Efterklang // 4. Young and Beautiful Lana Del Rey // 5. Sun Breaking Through Message to Bears // 6. Lights (Bassnectar Remix) Ellie Goulding // 7. Massachusetts Ra Ra Riot // 8. Mightiest of Guns A.A. Bondy // 9. 1979 Smashing Pumpkins // 10. Travelin’ On Norah Jones // 11. Pillars Foreign Fields // 12. I Caught Myself Dreaming Paper Lights

mix tape no. 01 // the open road

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We drove over 5000 miles on our trip to the West Coast this summer, just the six of us piled into our ‘Burban. I admit that somewhere in the process, I grew a little addicted to the road–these strips of concrete interconnecting otherwise random landscapes and cities and people. We traveled through desert scape for most of the trip, watching the land rise into plateaus, oscillating in various shades of brown and red, then shifting into jagged white rocks, and finally into coastal greens. Not knowing how the kids would handle the long trip, we bought a DVD player for the car, but when we were barely across the Texas border, Olive disassembled the adapter. Sigh. We could have popped into any major city and found a replacement, yet by that point, I realized the kids also were enjoying the shaping land. Between the books and conversation and intermittent napping, we didn’t need a movie. Music, however, was a non-negotiable. Here’s some of the tunes that filled the air during those 5,000 miles. I hope you enjoy them where ever the road takes you this weekend.

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1. The Ghost on the Shore Lord Huron | 2. Human Daughter | 3. White Owl Josh Garrels | 4. Obvious Bicycle Vampire Weekend | 5. Fake Fealty Balmorhea | 6. Fortunate Son Cat Power | 7. Fireproof The National |8.  D. Song Yppah |9.  If I Be Wrong Wolf Larsen | 10. Song for Zula Phosphorescent | 11. Into Black Blouse | 12. No Widows The Antlers | 13. Kasper Sea Wolf | 13. Prelude for Time Feelers Eluvium | 14. Myth Beach House | 15. Wonderwall Ryan Adams | 16. Buffalo The Phoenix Foundation | 17. Winter Daughter | 18. Blood The Middle East

TO LISTEN:   Rdio     Spotify