Category Archives: Personal

Merry Christmas

Tower HillWe made it back to Michigan and spent the past few days relaxing with my family.  We’re so lucky to have the next few weeks to spend together.  It is the greatest gift of the season- time to unwind, unplug and reconnect with family and friends.  Of course the sugar cookies, Christmas movies, and bottomless mugs of hot chocolate certainly don’t hurt!  This year has been full of ups and downs and joys and sorrows, but when I reflect back I mostly remember being surrounded by love- the love of my two precious boys, my supportive husband and my incredible circle of family and friends.  All of you who read and comment and send little messages of love and support are a part of that, too.  Thank you for taking the time to stop in my little corner of the world. I certainly love sharing it all with you; the beautiful stuff, and the hard stuff.

I’ll see you back here after Christmas with a really beautiful story to share- a story of handmade love and community.  Until then, my sweet friends, I wish you and yours a most blessed holiday season.

xo

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Instagram…finally

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.51.19 PMSo there’s this thing called Instagram…have you heard of it?!

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I know I’m about 5 years late to this particular party, but I finally joined last week. Once I did I immediately understood what all the fuss is about!  I hope you’ll come and follow along.  There’s also a link and a peek at what I’m posting over on the side bar.

One of the first things I realized is that it becomes so much easier to find out about cool events that your friends and fellow authors are putting together.  I have been a long time fan of Maggie Battista’s site, Eat Boutique so of course I followed her on Instagram.  When it popped up that she’d be hosting a book signing at Farm & Fable, a gorgeous shop in Boston, I decided to attend.  I’m so glad that I did- not only was it a great to meet Maggie in person, but I also walked away with a signed copy of her gorgeous book, Food Gift Love.  I definitely tend to the introverted side, especially when it comes to networking in my field.  I am much happier behind my camera, or squirreled away in my studio.  But when I force myself out into the world I’m always glad I took the leap.  It feels great to get out there and meet people who are passionate about creating things of beauty.  And I can assure you, after a quick flip through her book, Maggie has created quite a thing of beauty.  I feel like I have Instagram to thank for a great event, and I can’t wait to see where else it will lead me!

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Decisions (and celebrations!)

birthday6It’s funny…by now you’d think I would realize that I am a writer.  After so many years of keeping this space, and writing for pleasure and work, it is in my bones.  Writing helps me to bring clarity and intention into my life, and yet when things get hectic, my writing often falls to the wayside.  Writing down my thoughts last week helped to bring such clarity to our current situation…well that, and the wonderfully supportive comments and emails I received.  Several readers asked the question, “Is there something that you could do to ease your schedule?”  When I sat with that question, I realized that the answer was a huge, resounding “YES!”

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birthday5Vik started preschool this year and it has been a difficult transition.  He is only 3 years old, yet he is an independent, mature child.  He attended summer camp this past summer and absolutely loved it.  So we figured he was ready for school, although we didn’t start his brother until he was almost 4.  It turned out to be a situation that wasn’t a good fit for Vik.  Vik is extremely chill, and the wild class environment wasn’t at all suited to his personality.  He would begin crying the night before school, and wake up in tears.  And this is a child that isn’t prone to crying.  Coupled with the fact that I work on Tuesday and Thursday, the two days that Vik is in school, which meant that I didn’t see him for the entire day, it was clear that the school situation was causing undue stress.  And so we pulled him out last week.  The decision was so clear, and the relief was so instantaneous.  Now, two mornings a week we have nowhere to be and the three of us- myself, Vijay and Vik- have unstructured time together before I go to work at noon.  It has been the biggest blessing.

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birthday8Thank you for being here…and thank you for gently voicing your support and asking the tough questions.  Isn’t it funny that sometimes a very obvious solution might be hiding in plain sight?  We are still adjusting to this new schedule, and there will still be moments of stress, but gaining those precious hours with my boys gave me renewed energy to tackle this season with positivity and thankfulness, starting with a huge 5th birthday celebration this past weekend!!

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Where I Stand

15628151567_4a5affe490_oIt’s been hard to find the right words to describe this season of our lives and all the changes that we’ve experienced.  It is tempting to sum it up into one word- busy- and leave it at that.  But really it feels much more complex.  There is a certain amount of guilt- I am away from home and the boys much more than I’d like to be.  Just the other day my son cried as I left for work, “You are too busy for me, mama.”  My heart shattered.  There is a certain amount of loneliness- I dearly miss our sitter, whose presence was a bright spot in my week.  There is a certain amount of excitement- weddings and birthday parties to attend- along with the inevitable letdown that comes afterward.  There is a large amount of mourning: the loss of free time, time to cook, knit, sew, create.

It’s funny, when my boys were babies I spent most of my days trying to pass the time.  There were hours spent pushing the stroller aimlessly around town, attending story hour at the library and wiling away the afternoon at the park.  There were long afternoons when the boys were napping and I was stuck at home in a quiet house.  Life felt busy, but the busyness was all due to motherhood, and really, our time was our own to spend how we wanted.  I loved it, but at the same time struggled against the monotony.  Now when you add in school and working outside of the home, there is this feeling that our days are not our own anymore.  Free time is precious and dwindling.  I can only imagine how it will feel once the boys are involved in sports and after-school activities.  There is this part of me that wants desperately to go back to those slow days of new motherhood.  I wish someone had told me how fast it goes.  And I wish that I would have listened.

I feel a bit lost right now, if I’m to be honest.  I speed through the week- working Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday- rushing between school drop-off and work, then back home to throw together a lame excuse for dinner.  I drop into bed exhausted, with no will to craft or read.  Without my creative pursuits I am adrift, an anchor-less boat bobbing in a rough sea.  This space may be quiet for a bit as I figure out my way, but I hope to see you here on the other side.  I’m not sure what blogging will look like moving forward.  Maybe once a week, maybe once a month.  I hope when the dust settles, you’ll be here.  I do so cherish this space, and the conversations that we have.  Life is beautiful, and hard, and then beautiful all over again.

xo

The Whirlwind of Fall

_MG_9066After such a leisurely summer, fall has taken us by storm.  We are adjusting to a new school schedule, a new job that takes me out of the home for 15-20 hours a week, a traveling husband and a calendar filled to the brim.  In the coming weeks we’re celebrating the wedding of my brother, along with Vijay’s 5th birthday, and the wedding of one of my best girlfriends.  Whew.  And that’s just October!   Busyness has been on my mind, and I am really pondering how best to strike a new rhythm to our days now that I am working out of the home.  This has meant crock-pot recipes galore, asking for help when I need it, and trying to accept that there will not be as much time in my week for creative endeavors.  Everything in life has its season and I think we are heading into a busy season, one that will stretch us to new heights, and teach us to appreciate our quiet moments together when they come.  I’m learning to embrace the new challenges and rise to the occasion.  In the midst of all this newness, I headed to Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend to celebrate an old friendship.  Her wedding is coming up in a few weeks, and I planned a girls’ weekend away so that we could all celebrate the bride.  The weather was exquisite, the meals delicious, and the company even better.  I should have snapped a million more pictures, but as part of this new phase I’m learning that sometimes it is just as important to be in the moment and allow the beauty to exist in the mind’s eye alone.  Here are a few snippets to share…  Fall is most definitely in the air.

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Our Lizzie

IMG_1096It is an emotional time for our family as we prepare to say goodbye to our beloved sitter, Liz.  Truth be told, I’ve been in a state of mourning as we get closer to her departure.  I simply can’t image our lives without her.  She has been with us for over three years, starting just a few months before Vik was born.  During that time she has become so, so much more than a babysitter- she is a huge presence in our lives.  New motherhood is difficult.  It is lonely and isolating and overwhelming. But when Liz would come through the door, I always felt this huge wave of relief knowing that with her help, everything would be okay.  Over the years Liz has traveled with us to India, Northern Michigan and Tortola.  She has watched the boys on our first overnight away from them.  She has cooked them countless meals, read them thousands of stories and passed endless hours at the libraries and parks around town.  She is truly one-of-a-kind, with a heart of gold and she has showered our boys with love.  She graduated in May of this year, and is now leaving to teach in Europe.  I hope she has the adventure of a lifetime.  I was joking with her yesterday that no one must ever leave Rhode Island because I have never seen quite the fuss over a person going away.  There have been parties, friends demanding goodbye dinners, brunches and drinks, and parades in her honor (okay, maybe not parades, but close enough!).  But really, all the fuss is just a testament to how deeply this girl is loved.

It’s funny…you never know who is going to come into your life and change it for the better.  When shy little Liz walked through our door over three years ago I could have never guessed what she would come to mean to our family.  I’m hoping ours is a connection we can maintain for a lifetime.  She better make room in her little apartment, because the boys and I are going to crash her party…I can guarantee that.  We just can’t go that long without our Lizzie.

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Country Living, September Issue

_MG_7627It’s always thrilling to see your name in print, and when it is attached to an article as lovely as this one, the thrill is over the top.  I pitched this story to Country Living well over a year ago, and through many staff changes and lapses of communication I stuck to this story like a dog with a bone.  It isn’t always easy being a freelancer, throwing your ideas to the wind and hoping they find a place to land.  And sometimes even when they do land, you have to fight for the right to actually write them!  I know…  But the article is gorgeous, the pictures by Stephanie Rausser are stunning and it was such a pleasure getting to know Erin of Floret Flower Farm.  All in all, a great win!  I hope you’ll grab a copy of the September issue (on stands now) and take a peek.

_MG_7631Anyway, this year there are going to be some big changes.  I am going to work part-time at the school where we will be sending the boys once they start kindergarten.  I’m excited and nervous, wondering how I am going to juggle it all.  The boys will still attend their sweet little preschool just a few mornings a week, so my husband and I are going to be switching on and off for childcare, as we’re also losing our amazing sitter this year.  I’m ready to be back in the workforce, working with a great team and being a part of something bigger than myself.  I am also thrilled with the idea of being a part of my kid’s school in such an official capacity.  It feels so right!  That being said I still have my third book launching in April, as well as talks of a fourth, but we’ll just have to see about that!  I’ll always keep writing and photography as part of my life, and I hope to keep this space lively for years to come as I so enjoy it!  But life is shifting, as it tends to do, and I couldn’t be more excited for the new direction.

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Thelma and Louise

8303883355_2eddd51333_oYears ago when I was living in Chicago my mom came to visit for the weekend.  Because I lived in the tiniest studio apartment, she stayed in a nearby hotel.  On the last day of her visit I was in her hotel room watching her pack.  I was sitting on the bed chatting away when she suddenly grew serious.  I remember her saying something along the lines of, “I have to tell you something.”  And I knew at that moment, because of the look on her face and the tone of her voice, it wouldn’t be good news, and my eyes instantly filled with tears.  My mom was and continues to be my best friend in the whole world (aside from my husband I suppose, but that is a different type of friendship).  We genuinely enjoy each others company and have so many interests and hobbies in common.  In fact, there is no one I enjoy road tripping and traveling with more than my mom.  We love checking out new places and stopping for pictures, and we can hardly contain our excitement when we come across a roadside flower stand, or a sweet little shop or an interesting old barn.  With a house full of boys, I appreciate our shared interests more than ever now.

IMG_4119But back to that hotel room in Chicago. “I’ve been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease.”  And there it was: the explanation as to why she had been tripping and falling so often, and why she had such trouble navigating her arms to put on her coat, and why she’d get a tremor in her lip that wouldn’t cease.  At the time, she was in her mid-forties with a young child at home (my little brother)- a picture of health and vibrancy.  I was angry- that is often my go-to initial emotion- it just seemed so unfair.  So unbelievably unfair.

IMG_0322As I’ve watched my mother deal with this disease over the past decade, my love for her has only deepened.  She is the bravest, most optimistic person I have ever met, and continues to live life to the very fullest, doing so much for others and never letting her decreased mobility or pain get in the way.  In fact, I don’t think we will ever know the real toll of the disease, because she is not one for self-pity or dwelling on her pain.  She takes medication every morning, and the disease is progressing, though if you were to meet her, there is a good chance you wouldn’t know that Parkinson’s was at play.

IMG_7274Who knows what the future looks like at this point- she could live to be 100, or the disease could progress more rapidly.  We don’t know.  But what we do know, and what a diagnosis like this brings into focus is that NOW is the time…  The time to travel, to be together, to make memories…because really, in the end, what else matters?  It is in this vein that we planned a road trip of a lifetime.  Beginning in Savannah, Georgia, where we’ll kick around for a few days, my mom and I will drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains, ultimately arriving at Blackberry Farm for a weekend workshop with the one-and-only Natalie Chanin.  It’s a “girls only” trip, as my boys would say.  Once the trip is over, we’ll all meet back in Northern Michigan to spend the summer together at my parent’s home. We’re planning on lots of late nights, rooftop cocktails, photo excursions, fried chicken, ice cream, Southern roses, and inspiration enough to last us for years (I can’t wait to share!).  We’re packing our bags for take-off on Sunday.

FullSizeRender-1Now, let’s go see about getting our Thelma and Louis on…!

p.s. If you have any recommendations to share (Savannah or anywhere along our route) please do!

p.s.s. This was shared with the full support of my mom, it is really her story to tell, though it is a part of all our stories…xoxo.  And the gorgeous flower photos you see here were all taken by my mom…my artistic, beautiful mama.

Because it’s my Birthday

8303876461_06fd140682_oI turn 32 today…and what better way to celebrate than a throwback pic to the 80’s.  Man…the 80’s were hilarious.  Candy cigarettes from the corner store and fake balloon breasts.  Those candy cigarettes actually puffed plumes of powdered sugar “smoke.”  Can you imagine getting away with that today?  I’m on the right and my older (much cooler) cousin is on the left.  Has she got the pose down, or what?!  I’m trying my best to keep up, but I look hilariously awkward.  At the risk of sounding like a little old lady…where does the time go?  And come to think of it… after nursing two babies, I might take another whirl with those balloons.

Counting Our Blessings

_MG_3061My husband has been out of town for the past two weeks, 15 days to be exact.  He was in Nepal in fact, right in Kathmandu where a massive, magnitude 7.8 earthquake has killed thousands and destroyed great swaths the city.  The destruction, pain and loss is unimaginable.  I was making breakfast when my husband called and up until that point I was completely unaware of the earthquake.  I never have time to check the news or learn of world events while juggling the morning routine.  “I wanted to let you know that I am safe,” he started by saying.  Safe from what?  And that is when I learned that a last minute meeting in Delhi had changed his plans and taken him out of Nepal just hours before the earthquake struck.  He felt the earthquake in his hotel in Delhi.  The hotel shook for an entire minute.  It is hard to process this information, to try to come to grips with what we could have lost, while at the same time mourning what so many others have lost.  I vacillate between feeling lucky and terrified.  Terrified that every time he travels I will live with this pit of fear in my stomach.  On Saturday I asked a friend to watch the boys for a few hours so that I could plant my garden.  I needed to get outside of my head, dig in the dirt and work out my thoughts.  I ended up going on a long walk afterward, capturing the blooms around town.  Sometimes you have to seek out the small joys and remind yourself that life is such a gift, not to be taken for granted.  My husband comes home tonight.

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