March 28, 2013

Color Splash

Dying eggs is one of my favorite holiday rituals. It's the perfect activity to brighten up the tail end of winter and usher in some fresh spring color, plus we all love hard boiled eggs in this house. I had been planning to try all natural dyes this year. I kept seeing these glorious images of beautiful hues relying only on cabbage leaves, blueberries, beets... I want to be the woman that takes the time to slice and boil several different ingredients and to present a rainbow bowl of eggs drawing only from nature. Instead I am the woman who ran to the drugstore today to get a trusty package of PAAS and plopped a few pellets into cider vinegar. Time has not been on my side lately, and while I truly value pouring effort into even the smallest of projects, I'm learning that sometimes a corner can get cut and it's really okay. We still had fun.

Little Smith did very well only touching with 'one finger'... until he didn't. He grabbed an egg and, knowing that he was breaking the rules, ran off across the house with his treasure. It was actually hilarious, especially when he inevitably fell and smashed the egg. He loved watching the colored peel slide off and quickly gobbled it down with his dinner. No wasted eggs here!

And now we are heading off to New York to spend the week-end with family, egg hunts and a full table with loved ones, good food, and lots and lots of dogs. I have no idea what to wear since it's still freezing and most of the clothes that cover my belly are black (which doesn't seem appropriate for the pastel season). I will probably try to squeeze into my clingy purple dress and just blend in with the eggs.

Hoping spring finds us all this week-end. The forecast here is promising and I did see a patch of crocuses yesterday. I've been smiling ever since!

March 27, 2013

farewell auf wiedersehen adieu

Nearly a year ago I wrote this, and if you've been reading that long you probably thought (hoped!) that I had quickly replaced those boots and moved on. But nope, I held onto them for another summer, and fall, and winter. The holes got so bad that my feet were soaking wet the moment I left the house and I even contemplated lining them with shopping bags... but I don't use shopping bags, so I never implemented that plan.

I'm generally cautious with money but I wouldn't say I'm frugal. I have been known to splurge; on that perfect soup pot, high chair, salad bowl, and don't even add up my grocery bill. But when it comes to something just for me, not the house or our family but mine all mine... I just can't pull the trigger on a purchase.

I had new boots in my virtual shopping cart time and time again over the months, but couldn't follow through. A few weeks ago we were strolling around my hometown, I was sloshing along in my drenched socks and carefully avoiding every puddle of slush (in my rain boots) when James finally forced me into the local shoe store. Less than ten minutes later I had brand new water tight boots covering those wet socks... almost a year of hemming and hawing and suddenly it seemed so easy. There's something about a real store that pushes along decision making, and supporting a local business feels good too.

So these green boots are mine all mine, to jump feet first into all those mud puddles that spring will be bringing our way. So long to my trusty purple pals, you will be missed!

March 25, 2013

Details B3.03

saturday serious about toast muffin of the week (strawberry peach) the queen dragging the hostage outside sunday hot sauce bump around the house nap

Time has been flying away from me. We started a bit of work on what will be the 'kids' room. It's early, especially since no one is actually moving in there until the fall (it will mean the end of our guest room and both my mother and cousin will come to stay once the baby arrives). I'm consumed with this project though, and itching to get as much completed as possible so that I can devote the spring and summer to gardening and camping. I'm sure we'll have so much else going on that we won't get things completed as early as I hope, but I'm enjoying dreaming up ideas and schedules.

The baby is moving more these days, wriggles and flutters and all much lower than I remember from the last pregnancy. When I hit twenty weeks, the chart compared her size to a 'banana' and for some reason that made me laugh. I keep picturing a banana in my belly, which seems simultaneously tiny and huge. 

We've started making muffins (doughnuts to Little Smith) every week. He loves them and enjoys helping measure and stir and make messes. It's another way to fill these cold afternoons while we wait for buds to appear.

Little Smith is still happy with what's left of the snow. We took a family walk on Sunday and he actually walked the whole way by himself, stretched between the two of us and clasping each of our hands. Whenever he spotted a snow mound he would steer us all towards it and crush it beneath his boots. I told him that mama likes the green grass and the leaves on trees and the flowers... and he said 'I 'ike 'no mama'. He's a snow fan, just like his pop. I'm glad someone is  enjoying these last moments of winter.

March 24, 2013


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

Morning fog. There are some mornings where Little Smith wakes up perky and excited to meet the day, but much more often he is grumpy and groggy. I am not a morning person. I do not see birds singing when I open my eyes, even on the loveliest of days. I generally want to roll over and go back to sleep, but I always imagined that had something to do with my insomnia... I usually could use more sleep. But this kid sleeps 11 to 12 hours a night, so I'm thinking that maybe some people are just better at that transition from sleep to the real world. It's not easy for us, so give us some time to whine and complain and rub our eyes before we start this day. Thanks.

part of Jodi's 52 series.

March 20, 2013

Cabbage Soup

Cupping some warm soup, served in a heavy bowl, while the snowflakes fall outside is one of the true joys of living in New England. Our spring may come late, and our fall may hit early, but with these long winters comes a real appreciation of 'cozy'; snuggling up a little tighter to your bed buddy, putting your toes just a hair too close to the fire, standing by the warmth of the oven, and that soup... there's just nothing as comforting as soup.

So in honor of St. Patrick's Day and a very snowy and cold start to spring, I made some cabbage soup. It really did take the edge off of this slow thaw, and as with most rustic soups, it's ridiculously easy and adaptable.

Vegetarian Cabbage Soup: 
  • 1 small head of cabbage (or half of a large head), coarsely chopped
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 small potatoes (or two large), peeled and chopped
  • 1 16 oz can of cannellini beans (or equivalent prepared), drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1-2 cups water (plus more as necessary)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or fresh is even more lovely)
  • * rind of parmesan cheese (optional, but adds so much flavor- save all of your rinds they are magic!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chop and prepare all of the vegetables. Rinse and drain the beans. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed stock pot. 

Add the garlic and onions and saute a few minutes until translucent. Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, and potatoes and stir a few minutes until the cabbage just begins to wilt. Add a bit of salt along with the cheese rind, bay leaf, caraway seeds, and thyme and stir together.

Add the vegetable stock and 1 to 2 cups of water depending on how many veggies you have ( you can always add more as it cooks). Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered. Add the beans and stir together. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and the veggies are tender, about another 30 to 40 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool a bit and enjoy. 

I like to serve this soup topped with a little grated parmesan or a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese. For a hearty dinner, we pair it with a side of soda bread (big daddy doughnut bread as Little Smith calls it) and sausage. Our favorite is Field Roast veggie sausage (the apple sage is perfect with this meal), but any will do.

If you find yourself watching for snow melt and crossing your fingers for signs of spring flowers, try a bowl of soup to warm you up and pass the time!

March 19, 2013


summer and fall 1978

Tonight I stood in front of the mirror and staring at the reflection, I had this moment of getting caught, really looking back into my own eyes. My first thought was that I looked like a stranger, and then I was hit by this wave of familiarity... this is the face of my mother and my father. I have now reached the same age that my parents were in my early memories of them, I actually knew them when they were this young and I do resemble them both. It's more than just features, I look at images of my mother balancing me on her hip and I recognize my same physicality, I see my father's lip curl and it's so much like my own. I've always known that my parents were real people, my upbringing was relaxed and I didn't have that veil of authority where you can't comprehend the humanity of your elder. For the first time though, I am really relating to my memories of those early years from the perspective of the adults. I am so different from both my mother and father, my marriage is different, my relationship to parenthood is different... and yet I hear my mother's pacing when I tell a story, I recognize my father's humor in my jokes, and I see both of their eyes staring back at me in the mirror. Those genetics are mysterious, what's passed down, what we rebel against, how we can work so hard to travel a separate path, only to find we've completed a circle. It scares me a little, but I also appreciate the beauty in all the connections.

March 18, 2013

Details B3.02

strolling lunch in town show off snow structures lift staying warm apres ski spying on 'dog blue' spying on geese

These are a few glimpses of our trip to my mom's two week-ends ago. We usually get to have a 'date night' when we visit after Little Smith has gone to sleep. This time he was working through a serious sleep issue (which I hesitate to type so as not to jinx it... but seems resolved with the help of stickers!), so instead we enjoyed staying cozy by the fire and also managed a couple family lunches in town.

As I mentioned here, it was a sunny and glorious few days, and by the time we headed back to Boston on Sunday evening most of the snow had melted. I thought it was a perfect last winter hurrah... but there's yet another storm predicted to start tonight. James (king of snow) is thrilled of course, which is starting to grate on my nerves just a teeny tiny bit. It's not so unusual to have snow in March, but like most sane people, I'm pushing along spring.

Half way through last week, I decided it was time to put away my heavy coats and head out in just a bulky sweater. I've been completely freezing, so I think the denial has to end and the big coats need to come back out. It's okay, those warmer days will be here eventually. I'll be ready with my bulky sweater when they decide to come.

March 17, 2013


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

Snuggling with his besties, monkey and firetruck.

part of Jodi's 52 series.

Hope you all are are having a Happy St. Patty's day! I've got a good chunk of Irish (my maiden name is very Irish... I'd tell you what it was but then you'd google it and find embarrassing school projects- it's always the worst stuff that ends up on line!). Anyway, I love St. Patrick's day and while I no longer party until the wee hours, we still get out our green and celebrate. 

We enjoyed an afternoon of catching up with friends at their lovely new(ish) place and Little Smith tested the limits of their childproofing. He did pretty well, but he kept finding a way to weasel into the master bedroom, making himself comfortable lounging on the bed as though it was his own. He's not shy! I usually make cabbage soup and soda bread, it didn't happen today so we're having a re-do tomorrow.

And just a splash of green in honor of the day.

March 13, 2013


With my first pregnancy, it all felt completely unreal until about nineteen weeks. I wasn't showing, I couldn't feel the baby moving, and I was nervous all the time that something would go wrong. Once I learned that it was a boy, I breathed a little and finally connected to this person that was  a part of me.

This pregnancy has been completely different in every way. My belly swelled up almost instantly (along with many other body parts that seemed to stay put last time around). I have simultaneously felt more pregnant, with the nausea and added pounds, and had less time to think about the fact that I'm pregnant... less time to worry, less time to daydream about what it will be like when this new baby gets here, and way less time to obsess over gear and tiny clothes. I didn't expect this ultrasound to have the same impact that it did with Little Smith, but when I heard that we were having a girl, I immediately was overwhelmed with how close I suddenly felt to this baby. Wow, I'm really pregnant.

I admire those who wait until the delivery for the big reveal, but for me knowing that my baby is a boy or a girl seems to be an important piece of acknowledging my pregnancy. I would have been thrilled either way, but discovering that we will have a little girl in our lives before summer's end has given me happy goosebumps. I really can't believe it. I can't wait to meet her, to see her with her father and big brother and to watch our family grow. We all love you little girl, now if only we could agree on your name!


I've been moping most of the winter and pining for spring, but last week-end we got one of those perfect winter days that reminded me of why I fell in love with snow. Sun and temperatures in the mid-forties on the heels of a storm is my favorite recipe for a good day on the mountain. I can't go snowboarding this year since I'm pregnant, but even better than being out there myself was watching my two year old discover what it's like to slide on his itty bitty skis.

He was hilarious and had so much trouble keeping his legs from drifting out into a split (partially an issue with the clip on style of these skis). Personally I think he's just telling us he wants to be a boarder. He didn't venture out of pop's arm's, but we couldn't stop smiling just seeing our baby boy out there. 

James was so patient and insanely proud. This is a guy who whose love for snow borders on obsession. His perfect day is skiing for eight hours, then relaxing with a beer in front of a ski movie on mute and comparing notes on runs and conditions (sorry ladies- he's taken). This was a big moment for him, and just a glimpse of lots of adventures in this family's future.