April 30, 2013


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

Pleased as punch, checking out daddy's 'jeep car' and gearing up for a bike ride. Last year we had to wrestle with him to get this helmet on, and actually during the winter when we went skiing he refused too (we were moving at a snail's pace so it wasn't a big concern). Suddenly he LOVES the helmet... victory! It's such a treat when things are just plain easy.

*part of jodi's 52 series

April 28, 2013

Details B4.02

warm enough for bare feet, cold enough for tea giving up on his nap strike flowers for me from them squeeze sorting walk in the woods bump shadow apples and pancakes flowers for them from me

We've been spending long days outside, skipping naps, tending to our garden, picnic lunches,  and playdates in the park. I'm exhausted, my legs hurt from walking (and even a little biking), my back aches from gardening, and hauling a toddler, and oh yeah- that growing belly too... and I couldn't be any happier. It's a great feeling to be spending most of our time on the move again, and I know that this pace is going to be short lived for me this season, so I'm packing it in while I can.

There's a lot that isn't getting done; work deadlines, progress on the kids' room (which is making me very anxious), paperwork and housework, but with this new burst of nice weather, it just seems wrong to focus our efforts on inside tasks. Little Smith persistently reminds us 'outside, outside, me go outside!', and I have to agree. We've earned a little sunshine and in my case, some freckles (even with sunscreen - sigh). Rainy days will come, to catch up on everything that awaits, but for now we're pretty happy with these brilliant blue skies. 

April 25, 2013

Country Kid

a visit to the 'butterfly house' (i can't believe this was only 8 months ago!)

I spent my childhood in an idyllic place, full of natural beauty and so safe that I was free to play with my friends in the stream behind our house until the skies went dark. We built forts, searched for tadpoles, collected tiny pieces of broken bottles and wedged them into an old stone wall so that it sparkled like magic, looked for fairy rings, and got into our fair share of mischief. I never considered myself an 'outdoorsy' kid; I wasn't athletic and preferred to draw and read, but I did have an appreciation for nature that was just part of how I grew up. 

I often think about where we live now, this is where Little Smith is growing and will make his own memories, it's far more urban than my childhood home. I appreciate that we have such easy access to so many cultural institutions and events, that he is experiencing more diversity than I ever did, and I know he loves having exposure to subways and construction sites that only a city can provide. In my soul though, I'm a country girl, and I want my son to respect the natural world, to be immersed the way that I was.

So although we are in a city, I work hard to provide a life that includes lots of 'country air'. We spend days at our community garden (which also happens to be a large and beautiful preserve), we visit local farms at least once a week, we go for walks in the woods, and we even make frequent trips up to New Hampshire and Vermont and back to my home town in western Massachusetts. 

He's still so young, but already Little Smith is at home outside. My mini naturalist, he can identify trees, has some killer bird calls, and is nutty for butterflies- specifically monarch butterflies. He jabbers away constantly about monarch caterpillars and bubberfies, and carries around his plastic versions like they're his babies. Last weekend as we worked in the garden, he ran free, chasing small white butterflies (or moths?) all afternoon. I think he's got a good dose of country in him, and it's a delight to help him discover it all.

April 24, 2013

Strawberry and Honey Scones

Strawberries and honey are one of my favorite combinations (I do have a sweet tooth!), and a perfect spring reward after a long winter. I'm jumping the gun on fruit season here, but our market has these amazing displays of overflowing berries and we've been powerless to resist, I know everything will just keep getting more and more tasty as the season comes into full swing.

We've been indulging in lots and lots of strawberries and for the most part I've been enjoying them fresh. I like to throw them into my morning yogurt or lightly sweetened whipped cream and drizzled with honey for dessert. I decided it was time for a few of these berries to make their way into some baked goods, and flaky cream scones seemed just the thing. 

Strawberry and Honey Scones:
  • 2c flour (all purpose and cake both work)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp sugar (plus more for sanding tops)
  • 6 tbs cold butter
  • 1c cream (plus more for brushing tops)
  • 1/4c honey
  • 1/2c strawberries, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

In a food processor (I like to use a processor for most dough because it keeps things from getting overworked- feel free to do it the old fashioned way too), combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar and pulse. 

Chop the butter into slices and add to the processor. Pulse until the butter is completely combined and no pieces are larger than a pea. 

In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the honey, just until the honey is dissolved. Place the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add the cream mixture, mixing just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the berries, you can add another tablespoon of cream if you're struggling to incorporate those berries.

Use your hands to gather up all of the dough and make sure it's all moist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands, and press the dough to about 3/4" thick. Using a measuring cup, glass, or cookie cutter, cut the dough into 2" rounds and place on an ungreased baking sheet. You can reform the scraps and cut those into rounds as well.

Brush the tops with cream and lightly sand with sugar. Bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes.

Little Smith was super pleased to wake up from his nap and see these babies cooling. I find that scones are best eaten fresh... and for us that certainly wasn't a problem. These are really good; light, just sweet enough and just enough berries. You could top them with whipped cream and some macerated berries if you really wanted something special, maybe next time we'll have the discipline not to gobble them all up and we can try that out!

April 22, 2013


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

At the market, my reluctant shopper. This is the face he gave me when I refused him a second 'doughnut' aka muffin (they were mini's). I have to confess that I've created a little market monster. I know that it's very bad form to allow a child to eat food that hasn't yet been paid for, particularly food that is crumb producing. I am totally that mother that gets scoffed at, we make a b-line for the muffin section in just about every market and he quietly ploughs through his baked goods while I push him around and shop in peace. I know it's lazy parenting... but we do always pay for the muffins!

*part of Jodi's 52 project

April 21, 2013

Locked Inside

passing the time during friday's lock-down

I wrote about our experience at the Marathon a week ago, we felt such gratitude for our own safety and so heartbroken for all of those who were hurt in those tragic events. In the days that followed, the news focused on the explosions, but I chose not to watch or listen to any reports. It's not for lack of empathy, actually I think I am too emotional and can get pulled in so deeply that it isn't healthy or productive. 

James prefers to be connected and know what's going on, he always listens to the radio in the morning. On Friday Little Smith woke up early, just before six. The radio clicked on and I heard it get louder and louder. There had been a shoot out less than a mile from our house, a suspect was on the loose, we were in the area that was on lock-down until further notice, stay inside, doors locked, subways and buses were suspended. Later the lock-down would extend to the entire city of Boston, which still amazes me... that's a lot of people. 

My first thought was that I wanted to run away, to drive to my mom's a few hours west. The roads were closed though, and as I said we were supposed to stay put. We locked all the doors, opened the windows to let the balmy seventy degree air fill the house, and pitched a tent in our office... so we could pretend like we were outside even if we were stuck indoors. 

The streets were completely silent, the only sounds were constant low flying helicopters and occasional police and ambulance cars. It was a very strange experience, and it did feel like some war torn place and not like my home. I knew that logically we were pretty safe, and I'm a logical girl, but my mind did wander a few times... to the basement door that had been unlocked through the night until we heard the news, to the loose window in our ramshackle garage. It's difficult not to let these anxieties creep in when it's all so close, especially when you have a small child and want to ensure he's protected.

Little Smith got antsy half way though the day, the weather was the warmest it had been all season and he pressed his face against the window screen and demanded 'me go outside now!'. We tried to redirect him, we played in the tent and drew pictures and read books and made cookies and played in the tent again. 

Shortly after we put Little Smith down to sleep, we heard the news that the suspect had been caught. It was over, finally. The whole thing is tragic on so many levels, but I was incredibly relieved to have it all come to an end. I'm looking forward to turning the page on this week, to starting a fresh new Monday and celebrating Earth Day and just getting back to life as usual. I'm very grateful that I can do all of that, and again, I'm so sorry to those who are still hurting from this very difficult week here in Boston.

April 17, 2013


I continue to be amazed by how different this pregnancy is than the last one. Virtually every symptom is completely reversed, it's fascinating to me that this is the same body carrying out the same duty and it can be such a new experience (I expect that I will find this to be true when it comes to parenting as well... lots to learn, I know!). 

One thing I'm not missing this time around is the heartburn. With Little Smith I carried really high, ridiculously high, and I think that contributed to the awful heartburn that kicked in early and kept going right up until delivery. This baby is actually very low, I feel her moving all the way in the bottom of my belly. The plus is zero heartburn, the downside is that I am gaining so much more weight all over. This is not a basketball in the belly pregnancy, my face and arms and legs (and many other places) are also expanding... and I'm feeling a little like a whale. That's not really like me. I'm not someone with body issues or who cares about being thin, actually I've always yearned for more curves. I guess it's just getting used to all the changes, I'm trying to make peace with my new and growing shape. I'm certainly not letting the feelings of chubbiness interfere with my chocolate consumption, still craving sweets like a maniac and fully indulging!

I keep day dreaming about what this little girl will be like and how our family will feel with another child in the mix. I'm ridiculously excited, but then I'll also see a flustered mother in the park with a newborn and toddler and can't quite imagine that in a few short months, that will be me. I start to try to figure out how I will tackle Little Smith's bedtime with a baby, or naps... we have such a set ritual. Then I realize that planning is ridiculous, we'll just have to see how it all fits and make it work. It's tough to let go!

This is a happy time. It's reassuring to feel the baby moving so often (it reminds me that I'm actually pregnant!), I'm still limber enough to feel comfortable and get down to garden or play with Little Smith, we have so many projects and plans to look forward to. I'm feeling very lucky, the second trimester really does deserve its good reputation.

April 16, 2013


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

Lounging in the big bed. This little guy caught a tummy bug and has been sick all day. I feel so badly for him, he's still too young to understand what's happening. Luckily James was able to work from home and help out, which was much appreciated since it's been a very messy 24 hours (8 loads of laundry!). The only plus of sick days are all of the snuggles, we took a long nap together this afternoon and it was pretty sweet. As much as I love holding him in my arms, I'm hoping to get back to chasing after him tomorrow. Sleep tight buggy.

April 15, 2013


Today was Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts, and also the Boston Marathon. It's become our own little family ritual to go and cheer on the runners, this is our fifth year and third for Little Smith (here's last year's very hot race). We always watch at Coolidge Corner, which is about two miles before the finish line, where the crowds are much more manageable.

Our own experience this year was as good as ever. We got there early and took turns watching runners and humoring Little Smith by checking out the Green Line (hoo hoo train). We pushed nap-time back as far as we could, but by 2PM we had a very squirmy and overtired toddler so we decided to head back to our car. We drove around with the windows down, taking the long way home and circling the river so that Little Smith could sleep. I noticed the first of the flowering trees this season, beautiful pink and white blossoms popping open. We ended up in Cambridge and were heading for an early dinner when the texts started coming in.

Friends who knew we were watching the marathon were asking if we were okay, and I had no idea what they were talking about. We slowly learned that there had been several explosions at the finish line, that people were hurt. Later we learned that two people had been killed, including an eight year old boy, and that many of the injuries were serious.

I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the coverage, it's such an unreal tragedy and our hearts go out to the victims and all of their friends and families. It's never easy to process something this awful, but when it is your own town it shakes you even harder. We're grateful to be safe tonight, and so sorry for those who were hurt by this horrible act.

April 11, 2013

Details B4.01

ready for chores getting serious leftover soup for lunch so long feet waiting for those leaves watching trucks breakfast burrs aka hitchhikers kitty love

We're getting a taste of some warmer weather and it couldn't be more thrilling. There are still some cold temperatures and gray skis mixed in, but flowers are blooming and it really does feel like a new season. Little Smith has total spring fever- he's nuts. We go to the park and he runs like a mad man and won't listen at all when I call out 'stop, stop your feet, stooop!". I'm sure the neighborhood is getting used to the crazy pregnant lady booking it across the field to catch a giggling toddler, but I do know how he feels. There's such a sense of freedom with the sunshine and fresh air.

James has been able to get home early several nights these last two weeks. It's such a luxury to see him before the sun sets, and now towards the end of the day Little Smith starts looking out the window and letting me know, 'I go outside wait for daddy'. I know this schedule won't last, but it's incredibly sweet. I'm so grateful for the bond those two share, especially as we get closer to adding this new little person to our family.

I've been packing a lot into each day, little trips and activities and get together's with friends. It's a nice change not to be loafing around the house. I had thought that being struck with terrible morning sickness in the depths of winter was the most unfortunate timing, and in some ways it probably did make things more challenging, but on the flip side I am so so happy to be feeling great and fully able to enjoy these fresh long days. Complaints are tough to come by right now, even for me (and I'm a pretty adept complainer!).