Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks


Giving thanks is one of my favorite things. I think it contributes to my happiness more than anything else. As I sat with four generations of my family, I was so struck with how the attitude of gratefulness has been passed along, how it has been taught and practiced. 
It is my greatest inheritance. 
I love this holiday and what it means. I love these people I share my life with, and I am so thankful. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past

Two Thanksgivings ago, Sena and I flew across the ocean with my friend Lorien to meet our friends in Paris. Watching this video has become something of a Thanksgiving tradition round these parts. Happiest Thanksgiving to you all.
 My goodness has my little girl grown.

Monday, November 25, 2013

This Weekend- Rock Fishing

This weekend one of my little buzzards flew pretty far from the nest.

My alarm went off at 3:15 on Saturday morning, and I woke up Gus to dress him in layer upon layer of clothing, and send him out the door with my sister in the darkest pre-dawn hour.

Claire and Andrew took Gus with them on fishing tournament. All day long, my phone was vibrating with pictures of my sleepy eyed boy with his little thumb up.  Despite his exhaustion, which eventually led him to passing out face first in the cabin, it was declared the best day of his life, which is bittersweet for this mama, because how dare the best day of his six years of life be so far from my side.
When I sent him off Saturday morning, my heart filled to maximum capacity. Gus is funny and articulate. Sometimes he fools me into thinking he's older than he is. But under piles of warm clothing, in his rubber rain boots, I saw him for the little boy he is. He is still so young, still has so much growing to do.

Claire assured me that he was on his best behavior. Although Gus can be a bit of a wildman and could use some practice listening to his mama the first time, he shows off well.

While Gus was gone, Sena and I snuck off for a mommy-daughter lunch date. I love that my kids get along so well together and that they do so much together, but I know it's important for them to get time apart, to pursue their own interests and to get to be the center of some adult attention. But I sure was glad when Gus finally came home late Saturday evening. I think Arlo might have been even more excited to see his crazy brother.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Family Compact

I came home last week and Sena had something for me to sign, written in her neatest handwriting- a family compact based on the one the Pilgrim's signed at Plymouth.
I have never enjoyed signing a contract so much before.

  1. We agree to always show respect to each other.
  2. We agree to allow Gus to win in arm wrestling.
  3. We agree to eat Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner together.
  4. We agree to pray each day. We agree to pray for each other.
  5. We agree to forgive each other quickly and completely.
  6. We agree to bathe "occasionally."
That's a list I can stand behind.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Weekend We

This weekend I spent hours upon hours working alongside my tireless mom, priming and painting my kitchen cabinets. The ample storage suddenly seems like less of a blessing when you're refinishing it.
For at least one of those many hours, my bigger little man joined me in the basement to prime cabinet doors.

I realized that Gus has my mama's heart, a hardworking, helper's heart. He is kind just like she is, and full of so much energy and love, just like she is. As I rolled and brushed downstairs with Gus, while my mom did the same in the kitchen, I was overwhelmed with how lucky I am to have these two. 

And I can't wait for my kitchen to be finished because it is gonna look amazing. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Autumn Outside

The weather is changing, and the dark sets in early.
I can feel bits of sadness creeping in. I miss summer.
And so I'm doing the things I know to do to keep my spirits flying just a little higher. 
I'm trying to make myself go outside, even if it's cold, even if it's dark. 
The fresh air feels good. The exercise, as little as it may be, keeps me happier.
This weekend we made a giant leaf pile. 
Sena loved it. Gus immediately jumped on a stick and declared it a bust.

The next night Sena, Arlo, and I bundled up for a nighttime walk. Arlo fell fast asleep in his sling. 
Sena held my hand and told me storeis of her American Girl dolls. 
Our house felt a little warmer when we came back inside.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

This Weekend We- Moment For Me

On Friday Tom and my dad took Sena and Gus to a local high school's performance of Princess Bride, which happens to be our family's favorite movie. Arlo hasn't yet come to appreciate the Man in Black and Buttercup, so I stayed home with my littlest.

The two of us put things away and folded laundry, stopping to play and practice taking steps. And I put him to sleep in a quiet house, and was able to get up and enjoy the quiet all by myself for a couple of peaceful moments. There was time to shower without rushing, time to clean up dinner dishes without interruption, time to waste in silence. And this extrovert who loves people to be coming and going, who loves conversation and kids in the other room, loved those moments with her whole heart. Not because she wants them often, not because she needs them the way some folks do, but because they were special.

The next day Tom took Sena and Gus fishing with friends, and Arlo and I got even more alone time. It was the most peaceful weekend and about as different from last weekend as it could be. I love both types of weekends. This was just the one I needed right now.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Telling Our Story

I've been thinking about the story I want to tell in this space*, thinking about why I come here and what my goal is.
I have a story I want to tell, and although it isn't unique or incredibly special, it is ours. It's the story of my growing children and my smart husband. It's the story of friendship and lots of family. It's the story lived on the water's edge and filled with small parties. It's the story of weeknight dinners and Sunday School. It's the story of looking for joy and cultivating gratitude.
It's the story of a little boy taking his first steps on wobbly legs.

It's the story of a bigger little boy who helps his mama make dinner.

It's the story of a little girl who spends hours filling pages with words and pictures and a whole lot of imagination.

This past year my quasi-mantra has been from third favorite president, Teddy Rooselvelt "Comparison is the thief of joy."I realized that I spent far too much time comparing myself and my children and my life to beautiful, inspiring images, and it felt like it was robbing me of joy. Comparison will get me every time.
What brings me joy is finding moments and clumsily capturing them with a lens or with a few words, and taking the moment to be grateful for the life we have: the friends, the house, the pictures on the wall, the table set for dinner, the little hands folded in prayer. This is our story and telling it brings me joy, comparisons be damned.

*playing off some of these thoughts

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Loving Myself- Whole30 Challenge

I love me.

It's a weird thing to say, I guess. It's one of those things I feel like you aren't supposed to say. I feel like there is this idea that as a woman, I am almost supposed to be a little insecure. It is totally acceptable to admit to all sorts of body issues and to discuss your flaws in large groups of woman, but as soon as you say you like anything about your physical appearance, that you like you, that you love you, you set yourself up for criticism, not to your face of course, but when you leave. It's sort of scary to say it out loud, or type it. But I don't want to be scared. I want to love myself and celebrate myself and radiate confidence.

But even though I like myself and I usually think I'm pretty, I have always struggled with my weight. But I try not to talk about it. Because it seems weak. And I don't want to be weak. I want to be confident and I want to be secure. I don't want to be a pathetic constant dieter, who never seems to live proudly in her own skin. I don't want to rob myself of joy and pleasure while I count calories. I want to live fully, boldly, confidently. Dieting seems like the antithesis of that life.

So sometimes I try to diet on the sly, so as not to give the impression that I care. So as not to seem to concerned with my imperfections.

But today I am starting my Whole 30 Challenge. I'm doing it because I do love myself and I do think I'm pretty, but I'll admit that I would love for there to be a little less body to love. And even if there is just as much of me at the end of this challenge as there was at the beginning, I love my body and I want to treat it well. There ain't no way my diet Pepsi and a chocolate sprinkle donut are doin' me any favors.

I'm hoping this makes me feel good and energized and healthy and beautiful, and not just crazy and jonsing for some ice cream. I'll let ya know.

*That is my excited/ nervous/ confident face, in case you were wondering. I mean I figured if I'm gonna write a post that declares that I love me, I at least needed a picture of me to prove it. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

This Weekend We- Brooklyn Birthday

When I was a kid I was so embarrassed of the Chinese food place mats that declared that I was a rat. Rats were the worse thing you could be; they were motivated by money and ambition, and they did not make lasting friendships. I was embarrassed about the less than charitable motivations, but I felt cursed by the friendship proclamation. I thought I was doomed to a life of short-lived friendships, no one to ever reminisce with, no one to ever laugh back at my younger self with.

Turns out those menus are BS.

This weekend I celebrated my best friend's thirtieth birthday with her and a couple of bearded men, twelve years after the first birthday we celebrated together at a String Cheese Incident show with a couple of different bearded men.  And there was a lot of time spent laughing at those girls who would drive all over to see silly jam bands, who never trimmed their hair.

And we just kept laughing.

We laughed while she waited on me at Applewood,  the restaurant she works at, and we squealed with delight when we serendipitously  ran into college friends visiting from California in front of a sort of random bar in South Park Slope. We laughed when we went back to Applewood for brunch and while we did some thrift storing. We laughed while our waiter made our table-side liver and onions at Sammy's Romanian Steakhouse. And we howled while we crowded into the ice cage at Mehenata- The Bulgarian Bar, drinking vodka from ice shot glasses in a sub-zero drinking cave.

And Joanna even managed to keep laughing when she discovered she lost her purse over the course of the evening's festivities. That's why I love her; it's why everyone loves her.

I'm so grateful for my friend and for our friendship.

Now if only the material ambition part of that menu would kick in, I might be able to afford to go back there sometime. New York, you are pretty awesome, but you sure cost a lot of dollars.

Friday, November 1, 2013


I'm packing my bags and I'm headed to the big city for a weekend spent with my best friend, doing some of my favorite things, in celebration of her birthday. And I am excited.
I am excited to go to bars and talk to strangers. And I am excited to dance so much that my legs feel wobbly underneath me. And I am excited to eat delicious food and drink too much and to laugh and laugh and laugh.
But in order to do these things that I love, I have got to leave some people I love, my little people. Because sometimes the things you love are mutually exclusive. Babies in bars aren't cool.
So this weekend my mama will wake to comfort my little boy while I ride the subway. This weekend my dad will read to Sena while I calculate the tip on our tap. This weekend someone else will kiss Gus when he hurts himself while I walk without a sling or a stroller.
And I'll miss them. And I'll be glad to come home, but while I'm gone, I'm gonna live it up.