The Storyteller

by Jessica Shyba on November 20, 2014

in Lifestyle

Today when Zoe jumped in the car at school pickup, she launched into a story practically gasping for air in between details. Her little mouth is clearly working much slower than her brain would like, but the words just trickle off of her tounge without barely waiting for the rest of her to catch up. Her big brother won a drawing in school for tokens earned, something he’s been waiting for since last year in first grade. She’s so proud of him that she doesn’t let him tell the story, and he doesn’t intervene.

He can tell that she is bursting with joy for him.


Their classrooms are right across the hall from each other. When the class lists were chosen and displayed the day before school started this year, I couldn’t believe that they would be so close to one another, despite being a year apart in grades. Every single day when I drop them off, I’m grateful that they’ll be so close and will know where each other is. In a world of uncertainty, it’s things like this that I hold on to tightly.

They were born 19 months apart, but the time between them feels incredibly insignificant with regard to their relationship. They are like twins, as thick as thieves. Always having each other’s backs, though often silently. I know that they protect and care for each other when I’m not around, and that to me is one of the best parts of motherhood.

There are nearly six years between Zoe and Evangeline, and I wonder every day what their relationship will be like.


Zoe is so protective and nurturing. Her role in the family changed when Evvie was born, but not just in the obvious way. She is always wanting to help, and I think that Evvie knows and feels that safety from her big sister as much as I do.



She reads to her sister, her little brother, her stuffed animals, anyone who will listen. Often the stories will be the ones printed, but she would much rather make up her own. Her imagination practically leaps on to the pages, adding itself between the lines because she just can’t help herself. It’s the kind of thing I wish I could capture but I know that these times are the precious ones left only to memory.


The very best kind.


Momma's Gone City

Growing up in the Bay Area, we have had ample access to everything that California is known for: Nature, beautiful weather, and amazing produce. Many of our most successful restaurants boast farm to table cuisines, and the farmer’s markets are practically bursting with some of the most wonderful fruits and vegetables. One of our favorite things to do before we moved to New York City was to take the kids every Sunday to gather our produce for the week, while letting the kids pick out something for breakfast and spending time with friends doing the same.


It’s completely true that I was more than a little naive and ignorant about some ways that New Yorkers live before we moved there. I thought that it would be next to impossible to find a local and somewhat convenient farmer’s market to go to, and began scouting out ways to source produce before we moved. It came as a completely welcome surprise that the Union Square Greenmarket was not only incredible, but also happened not once but twice a week and happened to be within walking distance from our apartment. While we didn’t have access to nature quite as easily (save Central Park), we were able to retain a part of our lives that is really important to us; Eating local and organic. I’m an advocate of buying non-toxic products and supporting companies that have the same goals, that when Earth’s Best introduced their newly branded eco-friendly diapers and wipes, I was absolutely interested in checking them out. As someone who bought their organic jarred baby food periodically for three of my children, I was confidant that this brand and I share similar standards and goals.


Many things about living on the coast in California are conducive to the life I intend to lead, and how I parent my children. We have access to bike trails, horse ranches, beaches, mountains, lakes and valleys. There is any and every sport available to us to partake in, and most of these things are accessible right outside our front door; Something that we appreciate and utilize every single day. We have produce that we can find from local farmers either at a farmer’s market or our local CSA, and there is a basic common goal within our community to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Most of these things weren’t available to us living in New York City, but that only presented the challenge to make the effort to do what we could at any available opportunity to live naturally. Part of that meant purchasing diapers that are non-toxic and eco-friendly, especially now that our state is in a critical period of water depletion. Parenting to me is making smart decisions that align with my overall goals for a successful life, and starting with environmentally conscious products is definitely a part of that.

A Chance to Win Earth’s Best® products:

Snap a selfie with Earth’s Best® products for a chance to WIN a special delivery – a wooden crate full of our favorite Earth’s Best products, valued at $100! Plus one grand prize winner will take home a year’s supply of our newly re-packaged diapers and wipes!

To Enter: From 12:00:00 PM Eastern Time (ET), Wednesday, October 22nd through 11:59:59 PM (ET), Wednesday, February 11th follow @earthsbest on Instagram and tag us using the hashtags #EBSpecialDelivery #Sweepstakes

One winner will be selected at random every other week to receive an #EBSpecialDelivery crate prize package! One lucky grand prize winner will be selected at the end of the sweepstakes to win a year’s supply of Earth’s Best TenderCare® diapers & wipes! Also be sure to check out the gallery of entries on the Earth’s Best® Facebook page.

Thank you to Earth’s Best for sponsoring this post, and thank you for reading!

{ 1 comment }

Little Sister

November 18, 2014

10 weeks is such a sweet spot. Evangeline is really coming into her own lately, and each day I’m emerging more from that newborn fade. I want to gush all over the place. She is a joy. She’s already so opinionated, sensitive, hilarious, remarkable, feisty. Maybe it’s because she’s my fourth, but every day I […]

Read the full article →

Rhythm and Water

November 17, 2014

For whatever reason, Justin and I have lived near water together throughout our marriage. The two of us grew up about 20 minutes south of where we live in Santa Cruz, and spent some of our most formative years playing in the same sand that our children do now. When he was accepted to dental […]

Read the full article →

Memories and Milk Mustaches

November 14, 2014

One of the stories that I hear frequently from my husband’s parents tells of a very young Justin getting up by himself in the morning, pouring himself a bowl of Cheerios and milk and turning on the giant television before anyone else is awake. I love the story more each time they tell it, because […]

Read the full article →

Reestablishing the Village

November 13, 2014

Last year around this time, I was in Guatemala. The families we visited had nothing but each other. The chickens ran through their dirt floored living rooms where the children played, huge smiles spread wide across their little faces. The women, draped in long skirts, wraps in their hair, dirty aprons tied around them tight, […]

Read the full article →

The Evolution of a Guilty Pleasure

November 12, 2014

I studied art in college, primarily. Growing up, it was clear to me that my outlet was creative expression; In high school I excelled in painting, drawing and ceramics. I played the violin in the orchestra and guitar in a couple of girl bands, wearing clothing creatively thrifted from local second hand stores or even […]

Read the full article →

Childhood Kaleidoscope

November 12, 2014

Evvie and I got home from Toronto late Saturday night after a long day of travel. I was emotionally and physically haggard, despite the wonderfully successful trip. The sunrises over the ocean have been glorious since the beginning of fall, and we awoke Sunday morning to the promise of sunshine and 73 degrees. I needed […]

Read the full article →

Staying Connected Through the Holidays

November 10, 2014

I probably would have never learned to roast a turkey if it hadn’t been for our move to New York City. It’s one of those things that I learned as a parent from being away from my mother, but the rather simple act of preparing Thanksgiving dinner was significantly more of a rite of passage […]

Read the full article →

International, Baby

November 9, 2014

Evvie and I got back late last night from a very quick and amazing trip to Toronto. I had been anticipating this trip for a couple of weeks, Justin and I even went to San Francisco to order Evvie a rush passport just so we’d be able to travel together in time. I was fairly […]

Read the full article →