December 29, 2012

Bit of Merry

Hello there! It's been a long break, but a much needed one. I haven't been feeling entirely well, so it's been a real treat to have Pop around to help out so much and let me get some extra sleep. We did do a lot of traveling and aren't quite done, but we've also had a little down time at home too, which has been sweet. I could use even more.

It was a lovely Christmas, we were at my mom's and were treated with a fresh dusting of snow on the magic morning. Our dear family friends, David and Cindy, made it a very exciting day for Little Smith.... David made him the most amazing slide and play structure. It's so beautifully constructed and that slide is getting quite the workout in its new home in our kitchen. Lucky little guy.

Tonight we are getting our first real snow in Boston, it actually feels like winter. I'm especially looking forward to New Year's... we have no plans, which originally had me a little bummed because it's always nice to celebrate with friends, but actually with all of the travel and obligations we've had going on, it's going to be really nice to just make a fire, sip some bubbly, and wait for that midnight kiss. 

Looking forward to catching up on everyone's holiday festivities. It's good to be back!

December 22, 2012

Babymoon 2010 / Bay of Fundy

As promised, here are a few more images from our camping trip in the Bay of Fundy. Our main destination was Fundy National Park and the surrounding beaches. The tides here are some of the most dramatic in the world, rising over 50 feet. It's pretty insane to watch, you can literally see the water level change just from observing for a few minutes. The landscape was completely transformed depending on the time of day, and we made sure to revisit each beach several times to reflect on that difference.

I ended up lying down and taking a very deep snooze on that rocky beach, the perks of being pregnant. Luckily James was there to watch and make sure I wasn't washed away in the fast moving tides.

In general camping while pregnant is very easy. The active day and early to bed schedule  worked perfectly for me and if you have a secluded campsite the bathroom is never too far for those middle of the night needs (ahem). It would probably be less comfortable to get down on the ground in the second half of the third trimester, so best to choose a time when you are still pretty limber... or go for one of those cushy air mattresses. 

One of the most famous features of the area are the giant cliffs and rocks that have been eroded by the extreme tidal flow. They really are beautiful, and it's amazing that some of them are still standing when they're so top heavy... I suppose they won't last forever!

My favorite memory from the trip was our sunset walk. We started out along the beach by our campsite with plenty of light, trying to get to the water's edge. That tide goes out far, so by the time we finally reached our goal it was very dark and we still had a long walk back (with no flashlights). We managed to stumble our way home, tripping over driftwood and rocks along the way, and seeing a few pairs of glowing eyes (possums, raccoons?). Luckily I came prepared with a snickers bar in my pocket or things might have turned ugly.

It's definitely a beautiful place and was a perfect trip for us. I can't wait to go back one day and maybe make it up to the section in Nova Scotia, which I've heard is stunning. I feel lucky to live within driving distance to so many gorgeous spots, it's one of my favorite things about New England.

see more from this trip here.


This will likely be my last post before the holiday madness. I had hoped to throw together a festive grouping of details, but it's doubtful that I will pull it off with pile of to-do's I'm facing. I think I'll have my hands pretty full and will be silent for most of next week, but I will be back with lots of updates from our celebrations and I'll show you our Christmas Card (a little boring, but cute enough). Wishing you all a fantastic holiday full of joy. Can't believe it's almost 2013... sheesh!

December 19, 2012


Before I could read, my father told me a fib. He would say that the little paper tab at the top of each Hershey's Kiss was a fortune. I loved those 'kisses', in part because I was a fan of chocolate right from the start, but also because I loved hearing my new fortune. I would hand him the paper ribbon... 'Hmmm, this is a good one, you will be visited by a mysterious guest... you have many hidden talents... you will travel far', a miniature gift with every chocolate morsel.

When I finally did learn to read, it was completely crushing to realize that each 'kiss' was identical, 'Hershey's, Hershey's, Hershey's'. No adventures or predictions, just plain and simple branding. It seems ridiculous now, but I felt betrayed and let down in discovering the truth. 

I've always held onto these fantasies. I was far older than any of my friends when I finally made peace with Santa. When I got push back at school, I would maintain that Santa only visited if every member of the household believed, and clearly their parents were doubters. One Christmas when I was twelve, worries were creeping in, and I started dropping helpful hints to my mother, 'I hope Santa doesn't have the same wrapping paper as you do... because you know, he probably wouldn't'. I didn't want to stop believing, I needed it all to be true.

Little Smith is still too young to know where his presents come from, but as a parent, I do struggle with this whole idea of lying, fibbing, or making things up. Those fantasies made for wonderful memories, I can't even imagine a childhood without the joy of magic. Still, it feels uncomfortable to be deceptive in any way to such an innocent and beautiful little boy. I don't want him to feel betrayed the way that I once did, but I also don't want him to miss out on the all the fun. 

I know that I'm going to commit to Santa, but the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy... eek it's just going to be so tough. I think the idea that helped me the most, as I was making my (very slow) transition from fables to adulthood, was that all of this magic does exist in spirit. Santa represents the spirit of a holiday, an inspiration for us to share with the ones we love.

Or maybe I was right all along, and Santa really will come if everyone here truly believes.  I might give that a shot this year. Of course, I still stand by fairy's, for reals... so maybe that whole suspension of disbelief will just go over with ease in this house and I won't ever have to come clean. I'd be happy to just indulge in magic forever, and I sure would be happy if every Hershey's Kiss came with a fortune.

December 18, 2012


cozy / february 2011

I do miss this snugly baby. These days I get lots of hugs and kisses, but snuggles are just tough for an antsy toddler. Like so many others, I have been feeling extra emotional and wanting even more hugs the past few days. I have to remind myself that it's just as beautiful to watch my little guy play as it is to smother him in my arms. 

After feeling sick last week, and wanting desperately for someone, anyone, to come and watch my kid for the day... this week I am cherishing each moment. I love these boys, and I am feeling very lucky right now.

December 17, 2012

Babymoon 2010 / Grand Manan

I am truly heartsick over the tragedy in Connecticut last Friday. My thoughts are with the families who are suffering, and I have been so moved by their grace and strength. There really aren't words.

I've been wrestling with my thoughts all week-end and was feeling the need for a mental escape, to just enjoy some images of a beautiful and peaceful landscape. I've been reflecting on these snapshots from our wonderful camping 'babymoon' and wanted to share them here.

The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick Canada was always on my shortlist for places to visit, and in 2010 we decided it would make for a perfect late summer camping trip. We made our way through Maine (unfortunately picking up a $300 speeding ticket along the way that completely blew our budget- thanks Maine!), spending a couple nights in Acadia National Park and then right on the border before forging into Canada. We always seem to run into trouble at the Canadian border, I used to think it was because we looked like a couple of dirty hippies, but we were pretty cleaned up for this trip and we still had our car searched. Must have been the belly!

We boarded a ferry boat to Grand Manan Island, a detour we debated since our main destination was Fundy National Park. I am beyond grateful that we decided to go for it. This island had one of the most spectacular campsites and a landscape that I still dream about. 

Our campsite was literally right on the edge of an ocean cliff with seals and whales frolicking below. There was a wooden platform bench that I imagine would have been a great hangout for some fun camping in good weather. We had a few days of nothing but crazy winds, rain, and fog... but honestly it was just perfect. We managed to get everything set up between rain showers and we stayed dry and protected. The fog made whale sightings more tricky but was also part of the magical beauty that I remember about this place.

We spent most of our time just exploring the campground, which was full of amazing rock formations, eroded by the fast moving tides. At night we listened to French Canadian talk radio and snacked on nutella, trying to keep dry and hoping our fire would stay lit. 

On our final day we drove around the small island, exploring the lighthouses and replenishing our candy supply at the market (candy was my big craving while pregnant).

I love these pictures, James took most of them and they bring me back to this trip in such a visceral way. It was a special time in our lives and also a special place. 

If you are thinking that you haven't seen enough, you are in luck... there's more! I do have some additional thoughts and images from the rest of our trip in Fundy National Park that I'll be sharing later this week. I struggled with editing these down, and now I am really itching for a road trip.

December 12, 2012

Out Sick

I've been suffering with a little bout of sickness and it's times like this when I really understand what it is to have a job where 'sick days' are not an option. I'm doing my best to entertain Little Smith, but it's definitely been a challenge and a half... is the week-end here yet?

Between feeling ill and scurrying to pull together holiday gifts, things might be a little slower around here than is typical. I will do my best though, it's such an important outlet and archive for me and I miss the dialogue with all of you when I'm away.

Hope you all are having a better week than I am (and fingers crossed that tomorrow will look a little brighter!).

December 11, 2012


little me and santa at macy's, nyc / christmas 1981-ish

I'm not sure what is more troubling about this picture, the glazed doughnut look on both our faces or the two and a half inches of leg hair Santa is sporting.

I tried to get Little Smith to do the Santa bit this year, but he let me know that there was no flipping way. I can't say I blame him, because these Santa's are really pretty creepy. I hardly want to go near them, let alone sit on their lap. Still, it's kind of classic in the 'so bad it's good' way... maybe next year!

December 10, 2012

White Light

We didn't get anywhere close to tackling all our 'to-do's' this week-end, but we did finally get our tree up! Just the lights so far.

I always go with a fraser fir, and love a tall and skinny tree. I also like the ones that aren't trimmed on the edges to be a perfect cone (and luckily that pile of skinny 'wild' trees is half the price of the other's... I think we are the only one's to give them love.)

I grew up with white lights only, we used to have these fantastic vintage bulbs with little vials of water on top that bubbled when they got warm. Those eventually bit the dust, but I found these 'balls' a few years ago that give my white lights an extra sparkle.

As for ornaments, I have a layer of glass icicles (that I am debated not using this year because of the curious toddler), and then lots of eclectic ornaments... no themes for me.

Of course my cousin thinks it's not Christmas without a short fat tree and colored lights, and my dad only likes the large size colored lights. It can be a divisive topic this tree decorating, even more so if you add the option of the fake tree (that's a pot I've never dipped my spoon in.)

The holiday spirit is slowly spreading through our house, next ornaments and stockings, then bring on the Christmas cookies!