Tibault & Toad


Who am I? Hello! I'm Noël Elizabeth: wife to Alan Edward, and mama to Indigo Lily (born January 23, 2011) and Tennyson Elliott (June 4, 2013). We live in a house built in 1872 in the suburbs of Chicago where we do our best to learn how to make good food, grow good things (including our little people), and endeavour to live creatively and efficiently. Welcome.

What's in a name? The name Tibault and Toad dates back to the summer Alan and I were dating. It combines the names of two pets we had that summer: a goldfish named Tibault, and a toad named. . .well, Toad, of course. Tibault was the final third, and first successful, goldfish of that summer; he was shiny and brave, and obviously a fighter. Toad was caught in the garden and spent the summer in my room in a little glass terrarium, sleeping under a piece of bark and happily eating the tiny crickets I caught for him. We used to muse that Toad seemed like the sort of fellow who most likely wore a tweed vest and enjoyed a good pipe, and would have taken a liking to our goldfish friend if given the opportunity to meet. Either way, to us they became a pair, and so, Tibault and Toad was born. The name will forever be an allusion to that golden summer when our love was new and we first set foot on our grand adventure together.

Why do I blog? When Alan and I were on our honeymoon, we picked up a leather-bound journal with beautiful, marbled paper edges. We were inspired by the journaling that Davy and Sheldon VanAuken did together in A Severe Mercy (one of my most favorite books) to keep a record of their adventures together. We still have the journal - it's in a drawer in our office - but it probably has under a dozen entires in it. Why? I really, really admire avid, life-long journalers; they have a level of self-discipline which I suppose I just do not possess. This blog has become my replacement for that journal. By making it public, I feel a level of accountability that keeps me dedicated both to write, and to stay creative and productive so that I have things to share. As a result, I have a record of a large portion of our marriage together so far, which is so precious to me. Also, I'm an introvert who happens to love relationships and making connections, but I'm not very good at small talk; it takes a long time for me to finally connect with people, and therefore it isn't a super common occurrence, even though I crave it. I didn't initially view this space as a means to relationship, but it has surprised me in the community it has afforded me; it is a common occurrence for me to have a total stranger or long-lost acquaintance contact me to connect or ask questions because of the blog. What a blessing! Those are the things that keep me motivated to continue to share in this space. Thank you to everyone who continues to visit me here!