spring break without the camera

Some of the  joys of being married to my school teacher husband are the many vacations he gets.  This week, Alan is on spring break! We have a whole luxurious week to spend together as a family, catching up and reconnecting.  We also have plenty of time to do some –ahem– less pleasant jobs…such as taxes and wheel alignments.

This week, I am letting the housework go, just enough to savor this time with my most important people.  The laundry really can wait and those dust bunnies aren’t going anywhere.  I am not making fancy meals and were are reveling in leftovers and a few out-to-eat meals.

I am also taking a vacation from my camera, which tends to dominate the scene here in our house sometimes, driving people crazy in the process. As much as I love to capture those moments on film, I love even more to live in the moment and just take it all in–without having to worry about editing or getting that perfect shot.

Speaking of my camera, it is the focus of something new in my life: a desire to pursue a portrait photography business from home.  As much as I dislike anything business and am not known for my tech savvy, I do love to take photos of people.  So I am giving it a shot and setting up a studio in my house this week.  Details to come!

this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

from SouleMama.com

princess for a day

Before Mia was born, and even in her early years, I was adamantly opposed to anything “princess”.  My ideas about princesses had come from watching Disney films and reading (awful) Disney books, in which the (usually) white, blond, blue-eyed, helpless girl is rescued by a strong and capable prince.  She has nothing going for her but her good looks and status and can’t do much of anything because she is wearing a hoopskirt. Please.

Through the years, I have been stubborn.  I have avoided princesses as much as I possibly could.  Yes, I know this sounds terrible and controlling and mean…but let me explain.  Although I haven’t encouraged any princess-type play, I haven’t discouraged it, either.  Above my own ideals, I value freedom. I want Mia to feel free and safe to explore and play whatever her heart desires. So I let her be, and from the sidelines, encourage discussion about those underlying meanings, more or less to make myself feel better.

Despite her mother’s stubbornness, Mia has inevitably learned about this world of princesses.  Though she has never seen a Disney princess movie and maybe doesn’t quite understand the princess stereotype yet, she has acquired a few little figurines, learned their names, and suddenly loves everything princess.

So I found a compromise. An answer to please us both. Something we could love together, while keeping this imaginary world of princesses alive.  Let me introduce Rosamond, the Princess of Colchester!

Princess Rosamond is the main character from the book, The Well at the End of the World by Robert D. San Souci.  The story and illustrations are equally beautiful, and best of all, Rosamond is a tough, intelligent, and selfless princess.  The story is much like Cinderella, but with a contemporary twist; Rosamond has a cruel step-mother and step-sister, but with her loving heart and wise mind, she doesn’t let them determine her fate or the fate of her ill father. When Rosamond reaches the well at the end of the world on her quest to save her father, she is rewarded for her good heart with riches and a promise of true love.  The riches mean little to her; the greatest reward is that her father becomes well again. When she has healed her father, she shares her riches to help the needy. In the end, Rosamond gets the ultimate reward and falls in love with a prince, and for all the right reasons: they laugh together, they enjoy reading books to each other by the fire,  and most of all, they love each others company.  Now *there* is a princess I don’t mind my daughter looking up to!

Today, Mia made a crown just like Princess Rosamond’s.  She wore the crown along with her fanciest dress and took loving care of her little sister (even though little sis was tugging at her dress and trying to eat her crown)….because that is what princesses do!

The Well at the End of the World

by Robert D. San Souci

another year, another birthday!

Alan turned 32 today! He was born on the first day of spring, which I’ve always thought a perfect metaphor for who he is.  Alan is purely spontaneous, bringing new perspectives into my life and never failing to surprise me…which is not *always* a good thing, but is what drew me to him and what gives my life its spark!  A kid at heart, he is playful, easy-going, and makes people happy.

Mia loves to make things for people and spent this whole week preparing for Alan’s birthday.  My generic Target-bought gifts didn’t hold a candle to her heartfelt creations, although I do think he is pretty excited about his new crank-handle camping lantern!

Alan is the proud owner of this make-believe fairy world: the dream of any grown man, right?

Another dream come true…maybe not, but it did pull at his heartstrings a bit.

And an extra gift to all of us today: Mia learned to tie her shoe laces–another little sign of her growing up ever so quickly.

Happy birthday to Alan, who keeps me laughing and always on my toes!


spring picnic

Today we had our first picnic of the year!

Mia was entranced by the half-frozen lake and found all sorts of natural treasures to play with and a few to take home.  Had I dressed Anna in more appropriate attire, she could have had a blast, too…unfortunately, I had her dressed in a way-too-cute-to-get-stained outfit.  Needless to say, her exploring was minimal and she spent most of our picnic nursing in the Ergo, which of course was perfectly fine with me.

Building confidence while Mama holds her breath…

Nursing and snuggling while big sis explores…

Examining a tiny iceberg from the lake…

Nature’s treasures…

Water in the lake–a sure sign of spring!

Location of our picnic:


one year

Happy birthday to Anna, who turned one year old yesterday.

Although the days leading up to her birthday had me an emotional train-wreck, I managed to enjoy the day without shedding a tear.

We had a small party with immediate family (sans my parents and littlest sister, who were on vacation) and Anna’s Godparents–just enough people to fill up our teeny dining room.  Mia chose matching outfits for herself and Anna, which made them look so darn cute together. The helium balloons made for a fun and wild time with the kids.  We ate a pile of Lish’s chocolate chip cookies, chocolate frosted chocolate cupcakes, ice cream and coffee.  It was perfect.

Anna loved opening her presents, which took us all completely by surprise.  Who has ever heard of a one-year-old getting excited over birthday gifts?!  She squealed at the pajamas she got from her auntie–yes, a one-year-old  excited about pajamas! Undoubtedly, a priceless moment.

Alan showed a slide show he’d made highlighting Anna’s first year. Nothing evokes memory and emotion quite the way photos and music do when used together.  I have watched the slide show eight times, amounting to a total of about ninety minutes of viewing time.  I had to get some practice in before the party; by the fifth viewing I was able to make it through with dry eyes.

After the party was over, we gave Mia a special gift.  This day was a celebration not only of Anna’s birth, but of Mia’s new role as a big sister.  Mia has far exceed our expectations and embraced her new role more beautifully than we could have imagined.  In many ways, she has grown up this past year. She has become Anna’s guardian, naturally looking out for and protecting Anna, nurturing and loving her every moment they are together.  Mia has learned to wait and accepts that she’s not always first in line anymore. She is a remarkable little person.

Best of all, our long streak of dreary days was ended. Just as it did on the day she was born, the sun shone and melted the snow on Anna’s big day.  Anna is our sunshine, and the weather was the perfect metaphor for the light she’s brought into our lives.  And of course, also for her middle name, Soleil. What a joyful day!

Happy birthday, my sweet bundle of love!

Anna opening gifts, obviously excited…

cookies Alan baked according to Lish’s special recipe.  They were delish!

Anna literally screaming with joy! She could hardly contain herself!

Excited about her Hannah jammies from auntie Daja…

and here she is snuggling her special auntie (next to auntie’s special guy)…

Wild fun with balloons…

Mia and Anna’s oh-so-special grandparents…

Anna’s beautiful big sister in a birthday crown that Anna refused to wear…

and someone who was tickled pink by a special gift just for her: a puppy for her mama dog.

A memorable celebration and the start of a new year for Anna.

this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. Happy Friday, friends!

from SouleMama.com

one year ago

One year ago today, I stood in my kitchen, cradling my basketball of a belly, posing for  a last chance to capture this short-lived, sacred moment. Alan took a picture.  Four and a half days later, in the next room, my little Anna slipped out of me into water.

One year ago today, I did not know what lie ahead.  I spent each moment knowing that the next moment could change my life forever.  I had a comfort in the unknown, a trust that things would work out according to a plan that was out of my hands.  I loved my body and trusted it.  I trusted Anna. Even though my pelvis struggled to carry Anna’s body, it opened and passed Anna through it in a birth that was healing, peaceful, and perfect.

If I could live that time one thousand times over, I would.

Happy Tuesday, and best wishes to all of my pregnant mama friends!


Grandma Mary gave us this lovely little basket of spring.  It sits in our sunny kitchen and keeps Mia and I company while we eat breakfast every morning.  Mia delights in counting the number of new blooms each morning and carefully moistens the soil with her water-filled spray bottle.

This basket, along with warm days and melting snow, remind me that our world is waking up. Our long winter sleep is nearly over; soon we will stand, stretch, and feel the sun on our skin once again.

Waking up, having survived a long hard season, is a reward in itself.  We made it!  Spring is almost officially here, and for this, I couldn’t be happier.

Tomorrow is Two-Surprise Tuesday, and one of Mia’s surprises is opening her closet to her new spring wardrobe.  I can hardly wait.

Happy spring!