I was in Portland just a few months ago and stopped by to visit my long-time friend Claire Coffee (NBC's "Grimm"). She has been one of the ultimate Zooey supporters from the beginning, and it's so crazy to me how much we've both evolved. She's now a state away and shares a home with her husband Chris Thile and their sweet baby boy Calvin. Of course, to make our fourth shoot (first, second, third) together more memorable, I asked Claire to showcase how her morning usually goes for our Mornings series. It's as eventful as I imagined - and pretty darn cute. - Lucia
What is generally your morning routine now that it includes Cal? How has it changed since having him?
I’ve always been a morning person, but it used to be infinitely easier for me to get out the door in the morning. Now, after a few minutes of giggles and face grabs, I relent to Cal’s requests to start the day and we head to the changing table. Then, I grab a quick shower while Cal plays with something wheeled on the bath mat. I am so grateful that I can wear sweats to work, since my “getting ready” time has been cut to about 13 minutes before Cal loses his patience, and coffee is of much more importance than mascara these days. Speaking of, after I’ve thrown on whatever’s on top of my drawer, we head downstairs and I start an aeropress of coffee, which usually gets interrupted by Cal’s requests for milk. I catch up on some e-mails while feeding him, then put him down on his mat in the kitchen and finish the coffee. If we have to get right out the door, I make some sort of toast with peanut butter, but if I have more time I’ll walk him through the making of eggs, spinach, and toast. Then we have play time. Cal loves our piano, so I sit with him while he bangs out some fresh tunes on the keys. Then it’s time for second breakfast for all!
Are there things that you do in order to ensure it's going to be a good start to the day?
The most important thing for me in the morning is to make sure I feed myself. I also make sure that all the dishes are out of the sink the night before, since coming downstairs to a sink full of dirties is the biggest bummer for me, especially now that there’s not a lot of time to catch up during the day.
And of course, how do you take your coffee?
I like black coffee, made in an aeropress or chemex. But living in Portland has ruined me for regular drip, so unless the beans are from a great roaster (some favorites are Ruby, Roseline, Kuma, heart, Parlor, Mad Cap…), I drink it iced.
You just moved this past summer! Can you talk to us about how your aesthetic has changed or expanded? What did you imagine for your home to look/feel?
It’s so exciting and also so overwhelming to own a space! The main thing that has changed is adding home renovation to my design obsession. It’s such a blast to be able to change walls, floors, and surfaces to your taste and whim. What started as a light renovation to a couple of our bathrooms has evolved into a full scale gut remodel of the new house (including finishing a basement), so I am learning a lot. My old aesthetic was thrift store chic, but as I’ve grown up, I’m trying to incorporate more clean lines, bright color, and less rust. I love using local artisans where I can - Portland is chock full. A favorite new piece is our coffee table made by Lemay and Rivenbark Design Lab, two women who specialize in custom metal and wood works. I got to choose the piece of wood and help Allie and MC design the shape of the table. The wood is so unique and the shape anchors the living room. I’ve also developed a tile obsession. I went way over budget on our powder room after finding some gorgeous calacatta marble herringbone tile by Oregon Tile and Marble, so I am now finding ways to make up the expense on our basement bathroom (i.e. creative ways to use subway tile!). I love adding touches from when the house was built (1923), like a 1920s dictionary (from Northwestern, my alma mater) and a wall collage of 1920s maps of all of the cities my husband and I have lived. My main design goal for the house is that is undeniably “us," and that it feel really comfortable to anyone visiting.
I don't think it's a home/neighborhood we would ever want to leave! What do you do on your downtime with the family? How do you spend your weekends and how do your weekend mornings differ? Do things running at a slower pace?
We live near The Rose Garden in Portland, so family downtime always includes a walk to that gorgeous place, sometimes with a glass of rosé for fun. Once Cal starts walking I plan to spend a great deal of time in our backyard learning how to plant things. The previous owners of our house were wild about birds and foliage, so we lucked into some gorgeous mature trees and rose bushes. If Chris is in town, we love going out to dinner. My husband and I are food obsessed, so we’ve gotten pretty good at finding the most baby-friendly restaurants with the least sacrifice in food quality. Our favorites are Lincoln and Luce. In addition to cooking, some of the most insanely delicious food in Portland have the most warm and lovely service, and are ever patient with a table for two and a half. The Oregon Zoo is another favorite outing, and one that is very close. Cal won’t ride in his car seat happily for more than 7 minutes or so, making proximity of the utmost importance! Things definitely run at a slower pace, especially if Chris is out of town. I rely on Postmates and don’t make many plans, since leaving the house alone with the baby is a monumental task.
And how has life changed since having Calvin? How has your perspective on motherhood changed if at all? I feel like a lot of new mamas I know learn to love even more and more.
The most alarming change is just how comfortable I’ve become with wearing bodily fluids. At any given time, there’s at least a little bit of puke somewhere on my clothes. I try to draw the line at poop, but I once returned from a bunch of errands to find a swath of yellow decorating my jeans pocket from a blowout that morning. Life has gotten much simpler for me since having Cal, and my days more fulfilling, if totally exhausting. There is no more worrying about whether I’m prioritizing the right things or stressing out about whether or not I’ve accomplished enough in a day. Keeping Cal happy, safe, and away from kitchen knives are the priorities, and I do for myself whatever I can after that, trying not to feel bad when my productivity wanes.
Motherhood has made me so much more patient. It’s also taught me that the human body has such powerful instincts! A mother’s drive to protect her child is so fierce, and we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have. It really is such a profound love. Overwhelming, even.