December 30, 2011


Last year, on the last day of the year, I was sewing little ballerina slippers for Evie. I was doing a lot of sewing. And renovating a bathroom. And gazing out at a snow yard planning for my spring garden. I had no idea, of course, that by spring we'd have the house on the market, that before summer we'd be gone, living a very different life in a very different place.
Most years I look back and think, yes, there were some surprises, but all in all, it's about what I thought it would be. You never know what's around the corner, but the unexpected isn't that extreme.

This year was not one of those years.

Two weeks off from New York has done me a world of good. I was getting to the point where I couldn't see the forest for the trees, or the beauty and excitement for the chaos and noise at least, since, well, there isn't really a forest in New York. But having stepped away from it for a bit I'm glad, mostly, to go back and dive into the city again. To spend our last four months squeezing as much adventure out of our time as possible.
I'm going to make a wild guess and say that 2012 is also going to be a year of change. I'll look back next December from...somewhere....and say "I'd never have guessed this is where we will be!" But as long as everyone is happy and healthy, and, if possible, there is a garden involved, I'm sure it will be a good thing.

Here's to the unexpected. Happy New Year everyone.

December 28, 2011


Someone once told me, years ago, that the problem with moving was that, once you leave the place you start, you belong everywhere and nowhere. And the more we move, the more places we go, both to live and to visit. The more I find this is true. In every place, we leave a little piece of ourselves and take a small bit of it on with us.
Everywhere is home. Nowhere is home.

We are visiting my parents, who live in a small city in the middle of Missouri, where Will and I lived once when Briton was a toddler. So coming here is, in a way, coming home. Except leaving New York is leaving home. And passing through Charlottesville is visiting home. And thinking about Ireland, or Portland, that's dreaming about home.
This place is as different from New York as it can get. New York is a big big city where the spaces are small. Where the outside is loud and clashing and indoors you need to be quiet so you don't disturb everyone above, or below, or next door. Here the city is small but the spaces are big. Supermarkets are SUPER. Aisles are wide, options are many. I stood for several minutes the other day gazing at all the options for deep fried meat coatings. Ten different fish frys. Six types of bread crumbs not including the varieties of Panko or cornmeal. In New York you'd have to span the city, visiting a dozen different stores, to find them all. They are there, because everything is, it's just harder to find them.

And in the same vein, the outside here is quiet, blissfully so. No taxis or firetrucks or millions of people clicking along sidewalks, talking, sipping their coffee. Just quiet. Yet inside it is loud. Because it can be. Because my kids can make as much racket as they want and no one will hear it. Except, of course, those of us inside with them. But that's ok too because they can go to a different floor, a different part of the house.

Right now we are in the thick of deciding where the next home will be. Weighing options. Do we choose a place we want to be but a job that is not, perhaps, ideal? Or a job that is ideal but a place that is not, yet, home. Do we go back to the places we love? Or find a new place to fall for. It's an ongoing debate.
The truth, of course, is that Home is where we are. We've gotten good, after seven cities in eleven years of marriage, of making home wherever we land. But having an option to choose, or at least consider several options, of where we will be next, is both exciting, and daunting. It's like standing at a fork in the road with no map, not knowing which is the best path to take.

Right or Left.

Right or Left.

December 27, 2011

a good christmas

Very merry indeed.
The sweater fit (yay!)
The dollhouse suitcase was a hit (yay yay!)
And Santa managed to both find a unicorn at the last minute when he suddenly realized that the one that was ordered never arrived (yikes) and also to make (make!) a one of a kind Ninjago without staying up too too late on Christmas Eve. Whew.

December 23, 2011

happy happy

With all the traveling and family-ing, I've been neglecting this space this week, but i know you understand. Have a very Happy Christmas/Hannauka/Kwanza/Solstice/Winter weekend everyone!

December 19, 2011

perhaps i am a city mouse after all

Although not in the long run, I'm sure of that.

We are currently three quarters of the way through a road trip to the midwest, via friends back in Charlottesville for one blissful day (miss you all!) and now a stop to see Will's family in Kentucky. Hysterically (or maybe it's just sleep deprivation) all four of us - well, five actually since the dog should be counted here - have had a "we are not in the city anymore!" moment.

On the view out the window in New Jersey -

Briton - "Are we in Africa?"
Me - "No, we're in New Jersey."
Briton - "What is that out there? It looks like the African Savannah."
Me - "That's grass."

Upon exiting Manhattan at dawn over the George Washinton Bridge -

Will - "Wow, is it me or did it just get dramatically brighter out there! The sun just suddenly came up!"
Me - "No, we just aren't driving in between buildings, so we can see the sky."
Will - "Ahhh, you're right!"

While discussing the possibility of playing in the backyard at Will's Grandparents house -

Evelyn - "Can we go to the park back there?"
Briton - "That's not a park, that's a yard. But behind the yard is the Common, like Bowling Green."
Evelyn - "OK. Can we go to the park back there?"

There was also a moment where I thought we had veered out of the town we are visiting this evening, only to realize that the lack of a bazillion lights was just because it's, you know, a suburban neighborhood.

And also. The dog didn't want to pee in the grass at first. She kept looking for sidewalk.

We've also had a difficulty with needing to stop and only being able to find a Walmart at that critical moment. Which has led me to spend some time, across a few states, perusing some of the quality gifts on offer.
"Style with Comfort!" So true.
While the name, here, was the initial selling point for me, now I'm leaning toward "zippered back hatch" as the best part of this particular item.
But if neither of these two floats your boat, I picked this paper up on route and noticed that it has some holiday gifts on offer as well. Would you prefer a "Just Busted" T-shirt or coffee mug?

Ahhh, road trips.... So much fun, so many miles.

December 16, 2011

snippits of the week

Winter fun. And packing. And one more project, ok, two more, ok three more. That's how I'd sum up this week. It's been a little stressful, cramming all those things in, both the fun and the work.

We're heading off on a road trip so I'll leave you with a few images from our week o winterness in New York. Here's to a relaxing weekend (and few weeks!)
Have a great weekend

December 15, 2011


I've been spending part of the mornings, in between multiplying fractions and explaining the many uses of the dash, making goodies. Candies, some from a list of recipes I inherited from Will's dad, who inherited them from his mother, and some that are just favorites of mine.
Yesterday I pulled them all out from their various cupboard/fridge/freezer hiding places, along with one of my fruitcakes, cut into cubes, and boxed them up, ready to give out during a little (big, long, seeing lots of friends and family) trip we'll be taking in the next few days. Cranberry bark, truffles, rum balls, fudge and of course, fruitcake. Yum.
Now if I can just stop myself from nibbling on them.
What's your favorite holiday cookie or candy? Where did the recipe come from?

December 13, 2011

field trip

Yesterday, Briton and I (and a whole group of homeschoolers) visited MFTA or Materials for the Arts which might be the coolest thing I've seen in New York. I love that the city sees the wisdom in supporting artists by providing a warehouse full of stuff for them to use and from a recycling standpoint, what a great way for companies to re purpose their leftovers, scraps and odds and ends. Fantastic.

As part of the tour, the kids got to "shop" for items to create a marble maze and spend a few hours putting them together. The folks that work there were incredible about supporting the kids in their creations, offering just the right amount of guidance while letting them do their own things. Briton was only about a third of the way done when our time was up so they suggested that he fill up a bag with double sided tape, linoleum samples, plastic scraps and corks from the table to take home. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent doing more gluing, taping and testing.
I wish every town had a place like this. So freaking cool.

December 12, 2011

a christmas mission

Last night, we went on a very important mission. Two important missions, in fact. We've been waiting and waiting until Daddy had enough time to come with us. Waiting so long that little hands had lost their first version of the letter so we had to write a new one at the last minute.

The escalator, which started out shiny and modern, became older and narrower the higher we climbed. Up, up, up to the eighth floor of Macy's where there is a very special mailbox.
And then, into the long line, past a miniature village and dancing bears and a talking tree and where the (over the top - hey, there might be a talent scout in the audience!) elves danced and sang and wound the kids up into a frenzy until at last, there he was.
Evie was a little scared at first. After watching A Christmas Story, she didn't want to get pushed down a slide with Santa's boot. But of course, the real Santa would never do that. The real Santa would say that of course she wanted a unicorn, he knew that she loved them. And he would not flinch when Briton blurted out the longest gift spiel ever (Iwantalegoninjagodoubleswordredspinnerthatdoesn'texistandthreecardsthatdon'texistbutthatyoumakesothatI'mtheonlyoneintheworldwhohasthem.)
It's good to believe.

December 9, 2011

snippits of the week

It's been a little bit crazy around here this week, crazier than normal I mean. Will is days away from the end of term which means he's working day and night and we don't see him much, and the kids and I are heavily into holiday making.
Lots of making. With much more to come as well (cookies! I have cookies to bake still this week!)

Gingerbread houses have been decorated, and nibbled on. And nibbled on some more. Somehow I don't think they'll make it to Christmas.
Evie's doll suitcase is slowly but surely taking shape. Three rooms out of six are mostly done, the other three are a little done and I've made one dress and one pair of shoes. Still a lot left to work on, but at least I'm making progress!
Our friends the firemen have been decorating as well. They have an enormous tree in the firehouse. It's HUGE!
I know I shouldn't, I have so many other projects in the works, but I've started a hat for myself because IT'S COLD! And I've been looking or something to knit with that very fuzzy yarn lurking in the bottom of my stash. It's a twined project which means I have to pay close attention, but lots of fun.

Hilarious, as always
Briton and I went to a homeschool game time where the kids could play chess, pool, shuffleboard, ping pong and a variety of other games. What did my boy choose? He spent two hours rolling four sets of pool balls into the holes over and over so that he could watch the underworkings of a pool table. Engineer brain.

Have a happy and cozy weekend with lots of snuggles everyone!