Tag Archives: family

Late summer bliss

August is winding down, people are talking back to school, stores are selling Halloween candy and pumpkin spiced nonsense… and I’m here, pretending to be immune to it all, soaking up some late summer bliss.  

late summer bliss balloon

This has been a summer to remember.  

Fortunately I have an Instagram feed and recently acquired old school journal to help with that remembering… (most days I forget where 90% of the things we need are… and then there was that one time Grace announced, “Mom, one of your children is missing!”… it was Nicky.  And he was in the driveway.  And yes, I was sure to write that down because it seemed both hilarious and intensely terrifying.).  

late summer bliss

The kids and I have spent nearly every day of the last 2 1/2 months down the Cape, free from the rush and routine of our city lives, which has been both exhilarating and disorienting.  We’ve missed Nick terribly while he’s been at work during the week, and packed as much adventure into our weekends with him as possible.  

late summer bliss tomatoes

late summer bliss 1

We put quite a dent in the summer bucket list we made as a family back in June (which I wrote on the first page of the aforementioned journal… I am basically a middle schooler trying to have the best summer ever).

FAMILY SUMMER BUCKET LIST 2017

  • Take an airplane ride (Grace) — LOL. NO.
  • Cape Cod Museum of Art (Elizabeth)
  • Feed the ducks at the lake (Nick)
  • Go on adventures (Grace) — I’m going to make an executive decision and call this done
  • Go to Provincetown (Elizabeth) — We took an impromptu drive up last weekend, but I sort of want to go back again immediately, if not sooner.
  • Farm visits (Elizabeth) — We’ve been to the Taylor-Bray Farm a few times this summer
  • Get a library card (Grace) — One of my favorite days!  We’ve made good use of that card.
  • Drive a race car (Grace)… this hasn’t happened yet, but we are taking her to the go-carts next week, so… that must count?
  • Plant a garden (Elizabeth) — Nick upped the ante (and kept things alive) by adding a drip irrigation system 
  • Play in the sprinkler (Grace)
  • Pirate museum (Nick) — We went to the Wydah Pirate Museum in July to see treasure from the Wydah, a pirate ship that wrecked of the coast of Marconi Beach in 1717 (the dive site is still active)
  • Berry picking (Elizabeth) — Blueberries!
  • Mini golf (Elizabeth) — I think we accomplished 3 holes before Nicky tried to go swimming in the decorative water feature thing
  • Bowling (Nick)
  • Eat at Hangar B (Elizabeth)
  • Band concert (Elizabeth) — we made it to 3 of Harwichport’s Music in the Port nights
  • Play in the pool (Grace) — No pools, but lots of “underwater diving” in Nantucket Sound
  • Make a safety plan (Grace)… can you tell she’s my daughter? Safety first, fun second.  Also, a safety plan would have really helped on a day like this one… so maybe I should get on this.
  • Go to the playground (Grace) — and not just any playground, legit the best playground
  • Fireworks (Grace) — Maybe this weekend in West Dennis?
  • Make tie dye shirts (Grace) — She made one for herself, Nicky and all of the cousins
  • Go to a “baseball concert” (Grace)… I think she meant a game… and I totally blew it (the Cape League season ended two weeks ago)
  • Bubbles (Nicky)… a solid contribution to the list
  • Drive in movies (Nick)

There’s still time, people.  THERE IS STILL TIME.

late summer bliss days cottages truro

I knew this would be a fun summer, but I hadn’t anticipated that it would be more significant than that.  My time alone with Grace and Nicky truly has been something special.  Something to cherish.  Something to reflect on. Something to miss when they’re older and can drive themselves to get ice cream.  Something to learn and grow from as a mother (and, like, a regular person). 

Late summer is perfect for this sort of thing (learning, growing, reflecting).  

late summer bliss lifeguard stand

late summer bliss 2

As the season begins to shift, we inevitably do too.  

Soon we will fall back into our routines.  We’ll spend more time actually doing things, and less time counting boats and birds.  We’ll have more structure to our days, and less sand in our shoes.  We’ll have a little time apart (likely important for the sanity of everyone involved) while the kids are in school.  And we’ll eat less ice cream (again… important).

late summer bliss days cottages

But for now, for these last few weeks, we’re going to live in our late summer bliss.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you living your best late summer life?

To just be happy.

“I go to the ocean to calm down, to reconnect with the creator, to just be happy.”

–Nnedi Okorafor

In a world such as this, it’s so easy to worry, to fear, to fret.  To slip into a funk and hide there (and if there are good snacks, maybe stay there for a day or two).  So when we have a chance (no matter how fleeting) to just be happy, I believe it’s imperative to take it.  

Bring a friend (and sunscreen) with you. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Pretending I am a Polar Seltzer limited edition expert (mostly I just drink a lot of seltzer and imagine I know about flavoring)
  • Can I kick my iPhone addiction? Great article on creativity and boredom from qz.com
  • Attempting to convince Nicky that his name is not, in fact, Grace

Where do you go to just be happy?

Free summer fun in Boston | fitness, cultural events + family activities

Free summer fun in Boston… Because the only thing better than summer fun, is free summer fun.  I think.  

Even better, still, would be if this free summer fun came with some sort of plan that enables you to prevent your toddler and preschooler from running in separate directions, at high speeds, at the same time, in public…

Holler at your girl if you have such a plan.  In the meantime, there are so many great (and yes, free) events being held in the Boston area this summer.  Here are a few that caught my eye.

FREE SUMMER FUN IN BOSTON

free summer fun

Sail Boston

June 17 – 22, Boston

All events are free + open to the public (see the link above for full listing).  I’m hoping to catch a few sail by’s (is that a thing?) at Castle Island as the ships depart next Thursday, and will definitely be taking the kids to see the ships docked in the Seaport earlier in the week.  You can find the list of ships by pier locations here.

W.E.L.L. Summit Yoga + Barre at the Lawn on D

Sunday, June 25th from 8 – 11 AM at the Lawn on D, 420 D Street in South Boston (see link above to register, attend one or both classes)

  • 8:30 AM: Barre with Jessica Diaz
  • 9:20-10:40 AM: Summer Spark + Revive Yoga with Emily Griffin and Sara DiVello

Summertime at The Street | music, kids’ events, yoga, etc.

June through October at The Street, 33 Boylston Street (Rt. 9) in Chestnut Hill (see link above for full schedule, and this Eventbrite link to register for events).  Highlights include:

(Very cute) side note:  That’s Grace playing the street piano at The Street a few weeks ago.  We took her to Shake Shack after her end of the year gymnastics performance.  A+ idea, if I do say so myself.

Free Fun Fridays | free admission at the area’s best cultural venues, courtesy of the Highland Street Foundation

This great annual program sponsors admission at several different museums and institutions on Fridays throughout the summer.  Check the schedule (linked above) for featured venues, June 23rd through August 25th.  Highlights include:

  • June 23rd: Peabody Essex Museum
  • June 30th: Boston Children’s Museum, The Garden at Elm Banks
  • July 21st: MFA in Boston, Tanglewood
  • August 18th: ICA in Boston, Cape Cod Children’s Museum
  • August 25th: Boston Harbor Islands National + State Park

Seaport Sweat | free fitness classes in the Seaport

June through September at the Seaport Common, 85 Northern Avenue (see link above for full schedule).  The highlights include:

  • Monday: Box and Body with Monique at 6 PM, Kick It by Eliza at 7 PM.
  • Tuesday: HIIT with Athena at 5:30 PM, Boxing Conditioning with Monique at 6:30 PM.
  • Wednesday: Yoga with Jenna at 6 PM, Kick It by Eliza at 7 PM.
  • Thursday: Kick It by Eliza at 5:30 PM., HIIT at 6:30 PM.
  • Friday: Yoga at 12 PM.
  • Every other Wednesday: Free bike tune-ups with Landry’s, 7:30-9:30 AM.

More (free!) fitness in Boston

If you’re looking for additional (free!) fitness classes throughout the city…. from yoga to line dancing and yoga to boxing, Jamie Ducharme at Boston Magazine has a great round-up here: Your Ultimate Guide to Free Fitness in Boston.

City of Boston events | including a roller disco…

There are a number of great events on City Hall Plaza this summer, including the 4th annual Celebration of Summer (yes, a roller disco in honor of Boston native Donna Summer) and the Tito Puente Latin Music Series.  See the link above for the full city calendar.  You can also find summer reading, programs and resources through the Boston Public Library — each branch has a full calendar this time of year!

I hope you enjoy a really fun, interesting, peaceful, happy + safe summer.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is on your bucket list for summer?

 

April 2017 | Currently

This is what life feels like at the moment, as I realize May is less than a week away:

  • Press 1 if you’d like time to slow down.  
  • Press 2 if you’d like to time to speed up to the part of the day when both kids are asleep and you can hear yourself think.
  • Press 3 if you have no idea what you want.

Now imagine me pressing 1-2-3 over and over again on the imaginary keypad of an imaginary phone.  Basically, that’s April in a nutshell.

april 2017 currently

APRIL 2017 | CURRENTLY

Currently enjoying

currently april 2017

  • What I’m calling a gentle return to consistent running (as gentle as things can get while pushing the beast that is a double running stroller).  No pressure, just getting out there.  Granted, I am registered for a few upcoming races, but in the interim, I’m enjoying getting back in the groove.
  • A turn for the better, weather-wise.  We spent this past Sunday visiting the baby animals (including two lambs that were only 3 days old!), checking out the plants, and enjoying a picnic lunch at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon (about 30 minutes from the city).  It’s remarkable what good weather and fresh air can do.  Like, it practically makes me a nice, normal person.

Currently watching

currently april 2017

  • Nick and Clark follow each other around, looking for adventure.  And snacks.
  • This Heineken ad, which seems like a masterful foil to Pepsi’s faux protest nonsense.
  • The last few episodes of The West Wing.  I must have inadvertently and magically saved them for times like these.  Imagine if CJ was Press Secretary in real life?

Currently reading

currently april 2017

Currently listening to

  • An old Ben Folds playlist. Nick and I danced to The Luckiest as our first dance at our wedding, and I think I played it thirty-seven times this week.  Grace asked me to turn it off all thirty-seven times.  Whatever, kid. Also on the playlist: Still Fighting It, Fred Jones – Pt. 2, and Philosophy… that intro always makes me wish I could jam on the piano. 
  • A whole slew of podcasts.  Current favorites: Pod Save America, With Friends Like These, Body Kindness, From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, Call Your Girlfriend, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Up First, and Book Club Appetizer.  I’m also looking forward to DeRay Mckesson’s new podcast, which launches next week.  I’ve all but sworn off TV news (I can’t quit political rantings on Twitter, however… old habits), and find that a lot of these podcasts fill the void nicely.  Without driving me insane.  

Currently feeling

currently april 2017

  • Grateful for moments of solitude here and there, not to mention a loving + supportive family.  I found this piece of “almost sea glass” (in cobalt glass, no less) while taking a solo beach walk at the Cape towards the beginning of the month.  It wasn’t sharp enough to worry about someone’s safety, so I’m certain the right thing to do would have been to throw it back into the surf so it could become actual sea glass… but I kept it.  In a lot of ways, I’m feeling like the human version of somewhere between almost sea glass and actual sea glass.  As I shared in an earlier post, this month has felt like a real time of transition.  Having quiet time to reflect has been really good.  Life is amazing and strange and weird and wonderful.  Also, if I write a memoir, please talk me out of titling it “Almost Sea Glass: The Elizabeth Story.”  And more importantly, talk anyone and everyone out of publishing it.
  • Excited for the next few weeks.  Full schedules, full hearts, can’t lose.  Or whatever they used to say on that football show. (JK…Friday Night Lights was the best.)

OK.  Time to turn into sea glass.  Or maybe, like, put on real pants.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • All about Comic Sans (aka the font that burns my eyes) from The Guardian
  • Painting “magic beans” with Grace (in reality: they are seeds we found on the sidewalk and maybe this isn’t the safest idea… but regardless, we are painting them with sparkly neon paint)
  • The Benefits of Solitude from The Walrus

What has been the highlight of your April?

 

 

Currently | February 2017

February is wrapping up.  And no, it’s not a leap year.  Consider this a friendly PSA that my birthday is basically moments away (March 1st always seems to sneak up on people).  I’m not always so clear on how timezones work, but I think I’m already 35 on the other side of the world.  Meanwhile, Grace keeps asking if I’m 45 yet.  So there’s that.  

But I don’t want to rush February out the door just yet.  Despite the country imploding, I’m grateful we had things like my nephew’s baptism, Valentine’s Day, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, Hillary’s message to the people and 70 degree weather to celebrate.  We left our jackets at home and walked on the beach.  We spotted the first plants sprouting.  Spring is coming.

CURRENTLY | February 2017

currently february 2017

Currently eating

  • …like summer has already arrived.  Tacos, tomatoes, salads and strawberries.
  • …dinner with Nick most nights after the kids go to bed (as opposed to snacking from the babes’ plates at 5 o’clock).  It’s been such a nice change.

Currently watching

  • So we watched like 5 minutes of a PBS special featuring various spy cameras disguised as animals, both because it sounded cool and it was not about the government.  The idea is that you get to see animals behaving as if they were not being spied on.  Unfortunately we caught the part where the baby monkey spy camera fell, and the real monkeys thought it had died and were, like, mourning.  It was devastating.  Did I mention that I am generally an emotional basket case?
  • Superstore + Homeland (they sort of balance each other out)
  • 900 “how to sew” YouTube videos 

Currently reading

Currently making

  • …plans for a meaningful Lenten exercise.  In the past I’ve given up Diet Coke, snacking, sugar and swearing (but not all in the same year… I’m neither a saint nor a martyr).  Other years, I’ve added more prayer, more intentional acts of kindness and more time away from technology.  For me, Lent is the ultimate lesson in patience.  In waiting.  In remaining hopeful.  Perhaps I’ll simply meditate on that lesson.  While not drinking a Diet Coke. 
  • A set of mini, mono-printed art journals.  It was a random Tuesday night project, but I am thrilled with the results.  I’ll share photos later this week.
  • A “good behavior” jar.  I am semi-mortified and semi-amazed at how well it’s working.  (To clarify: We are rewarding Grace’s good behavior, not mine…)

Currently listening to

  • “Call on Me” (Ryan Riback Remix) by Starley — it’s the perfect windows down in February song
  • Call Your Girlfriend (podcast)
  • This Irish Flute & Tin Whistle playlist on Spotify… baby Nick and I had music class this morning and the teacher broke out his tin whistle (apparently we missed the Irish flute last week).  Nick was mesmerized in class and keeps dancing and clapping along to this lively mix.  I think it’ll do wonders, too, for those times we are nearrrrrrly home and one or both kids is starting to nod off in the car.  

I hope you’re enjoying these last bits of February and looking forward to a lovely March.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your February?

My happy Valentines.

Pretend these two aren’t sitting in the middle of our glass coffee table (strictly off limits).  Precious moments first, safety second.

my happy valentines

I look at my husband and our two happy Valentines and I could just gush about how I love them so.  On and on.  And on some more.  

Instead I’ll leave you with a line of Hafīz:

“And Love says, ‘I will, I will take care of you,’ to everything that is near.”

…And a wish for lots of love + care today.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you spending Valentine’s Day?

Grace is 3

Grace is 3… and what an incredible three years it has been.

Grace is 3

I could not be more grateful to be her mother. She is kind, sensitive, and endlessly curious. She is full of spirit and compassion.

She loves trucks, farms, creatures, stickers, rocks, art projects, gymnastics, grocery shopping and adventures. She speaks up for others (often suggesting that Clark needs some “peace and quiet from our noisy fun”). She is observant and remembers everything.  She captures the smallest details and delights in things I might completely miss if it weren’t for her wonderful declarations about birds nests and police cars and seagulls.  

Grace is 3

Without fail on our morning drives to school, she tells me she will “be a good friend, a good listener… and not take a nap.” She recently told me she couldn’t eat beans because she “is a human bean!”

She favors rules, routines and order. She loves her brother and wishes he wouldn’t do “tricky, dangerous things” like climbing on the table.  

Grace is 3

Grace wears a size XXS leotard, but her heart is so big it fills the whole house.

She is the best motivation for speaking kindly, clearly and honestly. She is the best motivation for seeing good + God in all things, and in all people. She is the best motivation for doing what I can, when I can to make this world worthy of her, her brother and all children.

Happy Birthday, Grace! I love you beyond measure.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who motivates you most? And how?

Winter rest

This time between Christmas and the New Year has turned into the perfect little winter rest.  Nick had a few days off from work, we let Grace play preschool hooky for the week, and welp… baby Nick, Clark and I live on a very flexible schedule that revolves around naps and snack time.  And laundry.  But mostly snack time.

winter rest

We’ve been hiding out (but not really, because everyone knows we’re here) down the Cape, watching the birds.  And eating soup.  Hanging up some artwork and setting up a basement gym.  Reading my favorite Wendell Berry poem and resting.  Binge-watching Super Store once the kids are in bed.  Coloring and playing trains.  Trying to perfect my recycling system.  Hunkering down and staying in.

The largest part of me is an optimist and is fed by hope.  But there’s that tiny part of me that is cynical and practical and maybe even a little wary.  So I’m grateful for this week, this winter rest, both because it seems like the perfect end to an imperfect year… and because I know that time like this will give me a deeper well to draw from in the future. 

That favorite poem I mentioned (you can hear Wendell Berry read it here) starts like this, “When despair for the world grows in me…”

And it ends like this, “For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

So that’s where I will be until 2017.  Resting.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Spending a few hours at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History before it closes for the winter
  • 5 heart-opening yoga poses for the new year from mindbodygreen
  • Performing a very scientific experiment involving a waffle maker + cinnamon rolls

How do you keep your well of sanity/balance/happiness/gratitude/Cheez-Its full (or at least, not empty)?

O Holy Night

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m listening to O Holy Night on repeat (this is my absolute favorite version, one I’ve shared the last few years, I think).  Granted, I’ve sort of been doing that since before Halloween… but whatever.  Some years you just need more Christmas music than others.

o holy night

I took this photo at a lovely vintage shop on the Cape called Gatherings by the Sea (isn’t that a great name?).  I’m pretending that’s why my current elf workshop situation looks like.  

Amidst the toys and socks and sink full of dishes and errant wrapping paper tubes, baby Nick is peacefully napping (safely, like, in his crib… not under piles of laundry).  And Grace is talking about how camels probably don’t fit in the manger, but they should try to come in any way, because baby Jesus loves camels.  And I’m listening to O Holy Night with the fullest heart.

Wishing you a similarly perfectly unperfect Christmas.  And a happy first night of Hanukkah.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Cookie butter rolls: sounds like Christmas breakfast to me from Food52
  • Looking forward to lots of family time!
  • Trying to find the Christmas pjs…

What is your Christmas looking like?

All is calm. (Sort of.)

All is calm, all is bright.

This is what I’ve been singing to myself as Duplos fly through the air, dishes pile up in the sink, Clark runs through the living room with a plastic ear of corn from the play kitchen in his mouth, and I realize that I forgot (for the 33rd time) that we are (still) out of olive oil.

all is calm

In a rare quiet moment this week, I found myself listening to Silent Night and wondering if Christmas Eve (like, the real one… which is to say, the first one) truly was calm and bright.  Having given birth twice, I sort of feel like “sweaty and weird” would be much higher on the list than “calm and bright.”  

But hey, miracles are miracles.  

Speaking of miracles, I’ve started wearing something other than black leggings every now and then (an occasion that needed to be photo-documented, obvi)… granted, they’re still leggings.  {I couldn’t find the exact match online, but they are Align II pants, which I live in, in sort of an aubergine.  Or like, purple.}

Back to the calm and brightness.  I find myself so easily distracted, so easily swept up in glitter and garland, so easily carried away this time of year.  There’s this weird tension of wanting to do everything (especially if Christmas lights are involved), and also wanting to hibernate.  Of having more, knowing others have less.  Of counting down the days, but also wishing time would slow.  

And I think about how moments of calm, moments of brightness can exist amidst all this tension.  (See: that first Christmas Eve, right?)

I’ve just got to pay better attention.

Children, despite seeming to have the attention span of a whatever (I’m at a loss here… and also, not a scientist… what has a tiny attention span?), are really good at noticing and creating these moments.  

We’ve been spending most of our weekends on the Cape and after a meltdown related to a donut being too big (…really), Grace asked if we could “go inside that windmill house.”  We pulled over and went to check it out, while the Nicks (I should probably get that trademarked) waited in the car.

We did not go inside (decidedly against the rules) and to Grace’s disappointment, the “windmill house” was just a windmill.  But we admired the shell pathway around it.  We read the sign next to it.  We talked about the nativity and the menorah nearby.  We held hands.  The wind whipped and cars flew by on Route 6 and the donut was still too big, but all was calm.  All was bright.  My pants weren’t black.  And my heart felt full.

Here’s to more calm + bright this holiday season.

Also On Tap for Today:

What words are you channeling this season? Please don’t say sweaty and weird.