Friday, February 06, 2015

home movies

I am not sure what my long-term solution for video storage and play will be, but for now I've noted I come here to show videos to the kids, so I'm adding a new one. Hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

holiday goodness

I started to publish this post at my new site, but then I decided it had more of the trappings of a family update, so I'm moving it here. We had grandparents visiting for almost the entire two weeks of vacation, and we took trips to North Conway (snow! and the Polar Express) and Rockport. The girls are at a lovely age where they play together for hours, and our Christmas loot was a perfect manageable amount of stuff, which was the result of a team effort. Go team!

In other news, here are some random questions to which my family thinks I know the answers no matter how many times I do not know the answers:

1. What is that smell?

2. Where are my ______? (socks, books, keys, or Charlie's favorite since seeing The Lego Movie, pants)

3. Why am I getting this "Everyday with Rachel Ray" magazine and are we paying for it?

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you're feeling good about the start of a new year.

It snowed when we visited North Conway. Gorgeous!

Snuggling with her new loot.

Coloring is Vivi's favorite activity.

Rockport in winter.

Not quite beach weather.

They enjoyed having a bed in the living room.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Charlotte is four years old! She can carry on a real conversation and even adds lively inflection to her voice. But at the same time, she still seems like our baby. We think back to when Vivi was four, and she seemed like such a big kid. We've always treated her that way. I guess that's why people always say the first child ends up with a different personality than the last. I just never thought we'd view our own children that way.

Next week Charlie starts pre-k, and I am going on the same emotional roller coaster that I did when Vivi started pre-k. Only this time I won't have another munchkin at home with me in the mornings! Just what am I going to do with myself?

At this point you might be I going to blog here again? No, I am standing by my decision not to post here regularly. I'm writing today because I want to give Charlie the same attention Vivi got in all her birthday posts in years past. Charlie's posts from previous birthdays are here: {three}, {two}, and {one}. Here goes...

Dear Charlotte,

When I look back at what I've said to you in your previous birthday letters, I laugh when I come to the word "opinionated." Yes, that still fits you to a tee! On your birthday, you crawled into bed with me to snuggle. I began to sing Laurie Berkner's birthday song, and mid-way through it you said, "Don't sing, Mommy!" It's funny to me that, so unlike Vivi, you have never wanted me to sing impromptu songs to you. On the other hand, you do love for me to sing bedtime songs, but only on command. Lately you've been requesting I recite "The Goops" at bedtime, and you always laugh when I get to the last line, "Are you?"

We gave you a Betty Bunny story for one of your presents, and you've been wanting me to read it every day. You take it up and down stairs with you when you go so that it can be near you. Vivi has struggled with some gifts being just for you, particularly the Elsa and Anna dolls and the My Little Pony. Even though we explained to her at her birthday that if she didn't share with you, you might not share with her, she has been taking it rough and cried quite a bit on your birthday. Luckily, you are a sweet little sister and have been more compassionate toward her than even I have. You offer to share your toys with her, at least part of the time. Your generosity and genuine love of your big sister is so sweet to see. Today we dropped Vivi off at school, and you whispered as she walked away, "But I wanted to play with her all day."

I am not the greatest replacement for a playmate, but we have fun playing card and board games together. Right now you'd rather play crazy eights than do almost anything else. In fact, when I asked you what your favorite thing was that you did today, you said playing crazy eights. I will miss how open you are still with your jokes, shouting words like "Poopie!" and then busting out laughing. We all love to make you laugh because it is such an unreserved, gleeful sound.

We love you to pieces, sweet girl.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

a new place to play

Hey y'all,

I have some fun news. I am starting a new website where I can share notes about motherhood and my writing process. I don't plan to include specifics about my kids because, as I mentioned in my last post, I am trying to give them their privacy back. But I do want to let you in on what I'm working on now, and I hope it becomes a place to do that. I am also hoping it does not become a place that will, as Stephen King puts in his memoir,"leave me feeling like either a literary gasbag or a transcendental asshole." But you can be the judge of that. So go take a look and tell me what you think! And if you like it, you can sign up to follow along here. I'm also still at the same Twitter and Instagram accounts if you wanna hang out there.

Cheers & xoxo,

Friday, May 02, 2014

some things I wanted to tell you before I go

Every time I try to type the word "blog" today it comes out "glob," which makes me giggle. That I suddenly keep mistyping the word is somehow fitting for what I want to tell you today, which is that I am no longer going to write posts here.

Now that I'm writing this post, I realize you probably already saw this day coming. I could do a whole cutesy "It's not you, it's me" bit, but you know that already. My mom and I have this joke when I want to transition to say something about myself. Instead of beating around the bush, I jump in saying, "Well, that's enough about you, let's get back to me." I suppose that's what a blog is all about, right? Back to ME.

Writing a post announcing the end of the blog does seem overly dramatic in part, but on the other hand I don't like the idea of people coming here expecting more posts when that's not my plan right now. I guess I don't feel sad because I know that whenever I want to, I can start something new. That's the beauty of the Interwebs!

I began blogging in 2005 when I had only just learned what a blog was. I called it Aimless Digressions, and that title truly represented the topics I wrote about, which spanned from what it was like to live in DC to the new camera I wanted to buy. I really enjoyed playing with that new toy for that year or two that only my friend Caroline read the blog.

Then I got pregnant, graduated school, moved to England, had my baby, and moved back to DC all within one year. I didn't write very often then, but in those years that my dad, my mom, and my uncle Joe started reading the blog, I began to find my writing voice and enjoyed keeping my family updated on what was happening overseas and back again. I enjoyed having a digital baby book too.

Then we moved to Boston. I felt lonely in my new role as a stay at home mom to a newborn and toddler--and judged for my choice to stay home--in a new (and freezing cold) town. I wanted a place to talk about motherhood and how it was different from my expectations. My good friend and first reader Caroline suggested I use my free time to write more. So I dusted off the blog and gave it a new name. I am grateful to her for encouraging me find my writing voice.

In the years following that change, I have welcomed old friends here and even met some lovely strangers who have become friends. I've had some great opportunities come my way because of it, like our commercial, and I'm grateful for the writing connections it has granted me.

Though I'm saying goodbye to this space, I do see myself finding another home for my essays on motherhood. Maybe some day I will even work toward that book that is clawing its way out of my hazy memories. So much of creativity is ephemeral, and I am trying to take my time in creating a new space that will define me as well as "the lone home ranger" did for the past 3+ years.

Whatever I write, I know those posts will contain fewer personal details of our lives. Our little girls are growing up, and though I've enjoyed cataloging their beginning days here, I want to give them back their privacy. I decided to stop posting here when Vivi turned six because it seemed like a big milestone.

Thank you so much for listening to my rants, both coherent and incoherent, and for sharing your stories with me. I would love to keep in touch so we can keep chatting about what we're reading, and eating, and whatnot. I have more to say to you! Let's keep in touch on Instagram and Twitter. I will leave the blog up so you (and I!) can come back to use some of the recipes from time to time.

Thanks for the laughs! I will miss y'all.

One more tip:
This stuff smells fantastic. I think it comes from Bath & Body Works. Gitcha some.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Vivi is six! My mom came up to celebrate her birthday with us. Vivi is particularly fun to celebrate a birthday with because of how much she loves the event. She talks about and plans her birthday for weeks and even months leading up to it. She is just so excited! It's nice that her birthday is in spring because, for me, it marks the beginning of a change in the weather and even the demeanor of the people around here. Everyone heaves a collective sigh of relief that new life has sprung once again.

As in years past, we incorporated a local farm in the birthday activities. Because her birthday nearly coincided with April vacation week, we were able to sign Vivi, Charlie, and a few friends up for a gardening class. Afterward mom and I took them to eat dessert at one of those frozen yogurt places where you pick your own toppings. When I returned one of the girls to her house, her mom came out and said, "Now you can go home and have a glass of wine." That wasn't her first rodeo, but it was mine. Phew! The sugar shock was so great, it almost seemed like the ice cream intoxicated the girls for a full hour afterward. Much fun ensued, as I'm sure you can imagine.

This year I'm seeing how Vivi's growing sense of self is changing how she experiences her birthday. I was surprised to discover, come birthday morning, that she was disappointed to learn that even planning ahead couldn't make her birthday as perfect as she might have wanted. She hadn't considered that perhaps the weather wouldn't cooperate (ha, what's new?) or that she'd still have to participate in regular life activities--school, swim class, bath time--even though it was her birthday. But being the resilient, happy girl we know and love, she recovered quickly and by the end of the day, she said she had a great time despite those minor setbacks. I came to her kindergarten class and read one of her favorite stories, Bad Kitty, much to the giggly delight of the kindergartners, and then I watched as each and every one of them hugged her on their way out the door. She seems to have made quite the impression on them too.

I'm planning to write a personal letter to Vivi that isn't on the blog this time around. You can check out my previous birthday posts, a few with letters, here: onetwo, three, four, and five.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{14/52 & 15/52}: mulligatawny

{14/52}: bike trailer season!

{15/52}: sisterly love

The weather lately is wicked crazy. It can't decide whether it wants to be warm, cold, windy (correction: it is always windy), or raining. I feel for the poor weather experts who have to try to predict these doozies. Luckily we have had a few days of sunshine--enough for us to burn even while wearing sunscreen--so my need for vitamin D has finally be satiated.

It rained and was hella-windy today, so it seemed like a good day for soup. I like to tinker in the kitchen, and recently I discovered I love curry in soup. First I tried this curried sweet potato soup, which was completely delicious, even to the person in our household who lists sweet potatoes as the only food he won't eat. Next I decided to try mulligatawny, which was equally delicious.

It would be impossible for me to talk about mulligatawny and not mention Seinfeld. It's a great word and a great episode and a great soup. All great! My first introduction to mulligatawny was in a little middle eastern restaurant called Lulu's in Madison, Wisconsin (it's closed now, sadly). That restaurant offered not just my first introduction to the soup but also my first introduction to Middle Eastern food of any kind.

I learned when deciding to write about mulligatawny that it's actually a product of Anglo-Indian cuisine rather than authentically Indian. Also I learned that most recipes (including the one in my 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook) call for chicken and apples, which is such a strange combination to me. Because, you know, there aren't apples in India.

But perhaps the best part about mulligatawny is that you can make it whatever way you like, with whatever ingredients you have on hand. And it's so much more fun to say mulligatawny than "curried pea soup."

The reason I tried mulligatawny now is that I happened to discover "vegi soup mix" by Bob's Red Mill, and somehow the split peas, barley, lentils, and veggie pasta seemed to cry out for curry flavoring. I happened also to have a coconut curry chicken broth on hand, so I used it, but regular chicken stock or veggie broth would be fine too.

Pic quality isn't great, but yk, does lentil soup ever look good?

serves 8

few Tbs. of butter & oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 good-sized potatoes, diced (or whatever other veggies you like)
2 c. Bob's Red Mill vegi soup mix (or a combo of the beans above)
8 c. chicken stock or veggie broth
1 Tbs. curry powder (a mix of coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, red pepper, and onion)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper (if you have citrus salt on hand, this is a good time to use it)

1. Saute onion and carrots in butter & oil in Dutch oven over medium heat for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.
2. Add potatoes, soup mix, broth, and spices (everything except parsley and lemon), and cook covered over medium-low heat for approximately an hour or until the peas have all but disappeared and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice to brighten it up.


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