Thursday, January 1, 2015

hope smiles from the threshold

“[I]f this life of ours
Be a good glad thing, why should we make us merry
Because a year of it is gone? but Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering 'it will be happier'...” 
― Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Today I did exactly what I love to do on New Years Day:  I worked out this morning, and then spent the rest of the day cleaning. YES. I love the holidays, and as soon as they are over, I get super motivated to organize, declutter, and streamline for the new year. I packed up things to give away, and threw out many bags of trash. All day I thought about what a blessed thing it is to have a home with so much love, and so many things, that there is actually stuff in excess, more than we need.  

What a year was 2014.  Everyone stretched into this new space that is our life.  Kids grew and laughed. There were 1001 lovely things.  Good meals, happy home, family and friends all around. And that would have been way more than enough, but we also had a wedding, ran a marathon, and went to Italy. And yet we all have this exuberance heading into a new year, sure that the goodness will just keep coming.  The sky was so pink and pretty tonight, so full of promise.  Did you see it?

Part of my clean-up today included getting all of the photos off my phone and camera, and lo and behold, I realized how long it's been since I've posted.  I have over a month of photos, and it was a lovely month!

 Look how beautiful and wintry it is here in Maine!  Just kidding, these are from November.  We actually had hardly any snow in December.  

 Our skis are ready to go, but we haven't used them yet.  What have we been doing instead?

We re-did Reed's bedroom.  BEFORE: (We peeled the wallpaper that had been there since Hillary was born, and re-plastered the walls.)

Reed was thrilled, and we were exhausted.

BOTH kids are playing basketball which was a given for Reed, but for Skyler, joining the team was a leap of faith and we are super proud of her for doing it. Turns out, she loves it.

We had an unbelievably wonderful December and holiday season full of everything I needed.  We ate well, baked a lot, prepared gifts, and soaked in the coziness of the Christmas season. 

twenty minutes after this very sweet moment, the tree fell over and all the ornaments fell off.  

it's tiring to be such a good girl.

Skyler followed through with her idea to make fleece blankets for kids in the pediatric ward at the hospital.  Just before Christmas, she made the delivery.  I honestly take no credit for this girl's generosity and empathy. She truly understands the Christmas spirit, and I'm just lucky to be her mom.  

Christmas Eve candlelight service

 Reed was more focused on what Santa would bring, but he had his sweet moments too.

We spent Christmas morning all together, four kids, two of us, and both of our moms, packed into this room bursting at the seams with generosity, love, and gratitude.  Plus, I made cinnamon rolls, bacon, and egg strata, and for dinner, pulled off beef wellington, because I am my mother's daughter.

Christmas loves x 4

the prettiest thing I made in December:  fig, olive oil, sea salt challah
Honestly, I am still not convinced that this life isn't just a figment of my imagination.  How lucky can one person be?

Tennyson says that this year will be even happier?  Okay.  Let's get going on that.
Happy New Year to all of you.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It snowed a lot and other stories: November

Where did we leave off?  Halloween! I give you my pirate girl and my Anakin Skywalker.  
What a quick and wild November it has been.  We have spent as much time shoveling snow as we have raking leaves.  I don't remember ever having a snow day in November before, and this past month, we got one.   

My mom and I took a quick weekend trip to NYC.  It was Reed's turn to see a Broadway show with my mom, and Skyler and I were invited to travel to the city along with them.

 We even got a few precious hours with my Marjorie.

 And we gave the kids a little taste of NYC.

 CENTRAL PARK:  One of my favorite places in the world, and both kids would now say the same thing. You can do anything there!

They will never skate indoors again.

Later, while Reed and my mom set off for their date to The Lion King, Skyler and I had some time to wander. We made our way to her much-anticipated destination:  The American Girl Doll Store.
She had spent the past 8 months saving her money and was ready to put down some cash for a new doll and some tiny outfits.  Success!  After the shopping trip, she was so happy to look through her loot.  I was so happy to get out of that store filled with over-priced dolls and lines and lines of girls. It was indeed a bit of a racket, but I was so proud of her for saving her money so dutifully, and she really was so excited, it was electric.

LUCKY BOY!  The Lion King with his grandmother AND a t-shirt.

We did the obligatory walk through Times Square  This photo perfectly captures how each kid felt about it. Skyler thought it was cool for ten minutes and then she wanted out of there (I'm with her). She looks like being in Times Square is a little painful, whereas Reed totally loved it.
Reed just looked from flashing sign to flashing sign and absorbed all of the lights and energy.  I stood there looking at him and realized:  Times Square is what it's like in his head.   Times Square is a representation of Reed's brain.
Reed in his zone.

Skyler now has TWO American Girl Dolls, which means TWO dolls who need to get dressed and have their hair done in the morning.  Good thing she is so darn responsible.
As long as I'm going to raise kids in the great state of Maine, I am also going to be sure they are exposed to cities and theatre and museums and diversity.  Seeing them taking in New York made me so happy.  And huge thank you to my mom for helping it happen.  

I'm not sure how it happened, but I had NOT ONE salt bagel while I was in New York, so I need to go back soon.  

Meanwhile, on the home front, Ellis has been killing it on the football field, and he helped to lead his team into new territory:  the NCAA playoffs. This has, in turn, led me into new territory:  SORT OF understanding football, and definitely enjoying it.  

You don't know anyone who has more love for a game than Ellis has for football.  Look at that smile.
Hillary took the mic from Tim for a post-victory interview.

This was a first for Husson University, and even though they lost in a heartbreaker to MIT last weekend (in overtime!), Ellis and his team have so much to be proud of.  We are all so lucky to have Ellis in our lives.

The next hoorah was a night in Portland where we met up with Meredith, Beckett and Roz and checked out the new trampoline park.

If you want to have a ton of fun while WEARING OUT your children, you must go.
Luckily, they still had enough energy for a road race the next day.  I have run in Brewer's Turkey Trot 3-mile race every year for about eight years, and this time the kids wanted to run the 1-mile.
 I am so excited to see them getting interested in running.  And racing!  Reed asked for his own running watch for Christmas and I said YOU BET.
 On your mark...
 I didn't catch Skyler at the start, but check out Reed.  That kid's got some grit.

Then, the kids cheered while we ran the 3-mile.  It was a perfect day for running:  40 degrees and sunny.  

 I'm still happily running in all this whacky weather.  Tim has been threatening to sign up for a spring marathon, which means, you know, that I will too?  We will see.

Our 8th Turkey Trek, our annual trail run and food drive in Bangor, is indeed ON, despite the chance of another snow storm.  Hope to see some of you there.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you!  I wish you boisterous, happy gatherings of family and friends, extra sweet potatoes, and the next day, may you all enjoy leftover pie right out of the pan.

Parting Shot:  Skyler reading her beautiful story to Tim after dinner.  xo