Monday, December 22, 2014

waiting...

'Tis the season of waiting. Of watching. Of listening and hoping and saying silent prayers of please and thank you all at the same time. It is the season of patience and wonder. Of creaming butter and sugar together, and drizzling chocolate and stirring endless cups of cocoa. Of the scent of pine wafting through the house, of needles on the floor and counting the days and the nights. It is the season of wide eyes and many questions and even more yes.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year in our house...wishing you and yours a very blessed holiday season, and a happy new year!













Wednesday, December 3, 2014

silence laced with breath...

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Last night the four of us snuggled in bed and watched the Toy Story Christmas special on TV. We sat under the heaviness of the down comforter, smooshed up against each other.Our hands all gravitated to the same place, and for a few moments there was no fidgeting, no "he's taking all the covers!" or "she's elbowing me!", no complaints about the spot they ended up with... just hand holding. I could feel all three of my favorite peoples skin at once. These are the small victories of motherhood, of life really. Connection. Touch. Love.

After the television turned off my girl asked me to snuggle her to sleep. Normally we try to give them time to wind down and hope they fall asleep on their own at this point. But they still ask often for someone to stay upstairs, or for snuggles. I said yes and her eyes danced. We snuggled together side by side in her flannel clad twin bed, flanked by countless stuffed animals. I looked across the room and caught my little guy's eye, in his own bed with his gazillion guys and books. After she fell asleep I migrated to his bed and got under the covers, his legs gravitated towards mine. 

The kids sleep so differently, it never ceases to amaze me how their personalities come out in their sleep patterns. He likes the covers up to his nose, and fidgets to sleep... but then once asleep sleeps soundly. She pushes covers off, lies still to fall asleep, and once asleep she never stops moving...

With his little body fidgeting next to mine I gazed up at the ceiling and started wondering about how many hours my husband and I have spent waiting for children to fall asleep. A lifetime. Two lifetimes. The thought and feel of my son as a tiny baby nursing to sleep came over me, and my body could feel his tininess. He would move non stop while nursing, and then all of a sudden his body would relax and sleep would overcome him. I'd use my index finger to break the latch, and a dribble of milk would decorate the side of his open mouth and cheek before it fell onto the sheets. The sheets always smelled of breast milk... 

Our children have never been "good" sleepers. My little guy spent the first year of his life being nursed and rocked to sleep... he spent only a handful of nights in his crib. My girl... oh my goodness. If we thought our son was a poor sleeper, we were so unprepared for her. She spent even less time in her crib than he did. We would rock, sway, bounce, sing, swaddle, anything to just get her to settle in for the night. There was a period of time when we literally walked her to sleep. She'd be in one of our arms, and we would pace the room, or the tiny apartment we were living in, until we could ease her into a bed - hers or ours - and then we'd cross our fingers for an hour of alone time before her next waking. 

I remember many nights, even ones not that long ago, where I felt trapped beneath a child, unable to move without waking someone. That feeling of going out of your own skin because you simply want time to yourself. During those moments of feeling suffocated, I wish I knew that it was okay to feel that. I wish I reminded myself that for every time I felt that way next to my child, my body tensing up when they moved and my voice stuck in my throat wanting to scream, there were ten others that I was able to sink in and enjoy the snuggles and cuddles and love on them. I wish I knew back then that those feelings are okay to have. To ride them out. That as a mother you're allowed to be human.

All I heard back then was how much I should enjoy every moment of motherhood. Every snuggle, every sleepless night, that I would miss them one day. Here's the thing, I miss their tininess. But I don't miss the time we spent trying to get them to sleep. At all. Relationships morph and change, and accepting them as they are is what makes magic. I still have closeness with my babies, it just looks a bit different since they are too big for me to carry in my arms for an hour as they fall asleep. 

But in the same light, I don't regret those times. Even the ones where I was jumping out of my skin. They're all part of our journey. And they're all okay. 

Last night I snuck back into my own room before he fell asleep all the way. It was late, and he has a way of ooching my rear end out of his bed. From the next room over I could hear him tossing and turning, and then all of a sudden there was silence, laced with breath...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Writing Naturally: Winter

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November came and went in a heartbeat... I don't know how it's already December. I could say the same thing about 2014 in general. Didn't we just take down the Christmas tree from last year? Weren't we just baking gingerbread cookies and singing carols? Even with the feeling of the days and months slipping through my fingers, I'm glad we are here. The kids opened the first window of their chocolate advent calendar this morning... their expressions always of surprise and excitement as they find a bit of yummy chocolate in the tiny box. Today they were heart shaped, and they tell me they were so very delicious!

And with the change of seasons it's already time to think about the next session of Writing Naturally. I'm excited to share that registration for Writing Naturally: Winter is now open. Click over to see details. 

This last month I've wavered on whether or not I wanted to offer more sessions of my online writing course. Ultimately when I started it, I knew I wanted to offer it seasonally. But the more that time went on the more other courses I saw popping up, and I kept feeling like why should I offer mine when so many other people are offering theirs?  Why not? Every course that I see in the works is unique and designed by individuals who are creative and thoughtful and have their own take and spin on the writing process. I truly believe the same about Writing Naturally. And so I would love for you to join me. To be a part of the unique mix of daily emails and coaching, to inspire your writing journey, to write words and join in community and ask questions and dive into the process... 

Writing Naturally: Winter will take place January 5-16th. Give yourself the gift of setting aside time for your writing, give yourself a bed of words to fall into after the hectic holiday season. I'll be there, waiting with encouragement and inspiration. Join me.


Click here to see what previous participants are saying about their experience with Writing Naturally.


Friday, November 21, 2014

lost grains...

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I find them everywhere, the grains of sand. In the slots between the wide wooden floorboards in the kitchen. Mid July finds me swearing at the grains. They stick to my feet and get dragged from room to room. The annoyance of sand on my feet, fresh out of the tub... bits of sand finding their way into carpets and shoes. 

But by February, even November, I long to find stray sand. Hanging out in a bucket, or a coat pocket. The bottom of a fabric grocery bag that was used to lug sand toys and beach towels to and from adventure days on the beach. The grins put smiles on my face as I remember the cry of gulls, and the warmth of the sun on my skin, the salt soaked bathing suits and SPF 30 drenched faces. The memories bring warmth when quilts won't do. The glimpses of sunshine, or the sunset of a perfect August evening. 

So next summer I will not dust my sandals off, clapping them as a call to forget, to leave it all behind. The grains... I will not sweep each one. I will remember, each summer, the cold of winter and the grain of sand... poetry for the hope of spring.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Walden with Mr. G...

We went in the name of irony. On a November night, with rain in the air, the signposts dark. He was from Canada, a guest at the hotel I where I was working. He was there every few weeks on business. Mr. G.... Mr, but he was only a few years older than myself, a college senior, living off campus and working 40 hours a week.

Walden, he said. Is it nearby?
Not far, I told him, let me look it up.

And then we hatched a plan, we'd go after my shift ended at 11:30. We rove down 95 to 495 in my little blue Saturn, windshield wipers furiously doing their job. I forget what we talked about. He made fun of how I said college. The Moulin Rouge soundtrack played through the speakers. We passed the parking lot on the left and barely saw the sign. I pulled over and hit the hazards. We jumped out, camera in his hand.

Take a picture of me in front of the sign! Laughter was on his voice.
Why are we doing this, again? I asked.

Back in the car he explained, his friend despised Thoreau. Mr. G... was indifferent to the writer, and always wanted to be contrary. And so years before Instagram selfies, we took his picture to send along to one of Thoreau's supposed biggest critics. A picture of Mr. G.... giving a thumbs up at Walden. It was then that I knew that there'd never be an us...who poses ironically at Walden? And it was that thought that was my final mental argument when I said goodbye for the last time to Mr. G...


{Written during one of the Writing Naturally workshops. I'll be revisiting pieces I've written during the in person workshops and the online course... and sharing here.}

Thursday, November 6, 2014

grey sky

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November is like this. Grey skies. Lots of grey skies. Darkness comes so early in the evenings... it always surprises me, every year. How it can start getting dark, the shadows changing, by 3pm is a mystery to me. It doesn't feel natural, and yet on the other hand it feels comforting and cozy and perfect.

NaNoWriMo is going well... I'm plugging along. The first day began and I struggled to work my way to the word count with my story from last year. It tugged at me, and not in a positive way, for the rest of the day. Sunday came and with it brought a bit of snow, and a lot of relaxing, and finally I was all tucked into my bed with flannel sheets and my laptop and I was ready to write. And then I couldn't. So I scrapped the story, last year's that I was so excited to work on and through, and then I started over. I easily caught up to the previous days word count and kept going. 

There's something to be said for resistance, absolutely. It's always there to help you. The trick is navigating what it means. In some cases it means "yes, the struggle is worth it." In others it's a true sign to let something go. 

I'm still learning those how to navigate the brutal honesty of resistance. 

{can you tell I'm reading The War on Art by Steven Pressfield? There are parts I love and parts I'm just kind of meh about... but it's worth it. I just wish the book were a little bigger because I find it truly award to hold... have you ever read a book like that? It just didn't physically fit... hmm...}

Back to the work, my friends... 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October

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Well, hello there... long neglected blog. It's been a month. I haven't typed words here for the entire month of October. This month blew by like leaves carried on strong gusts of wind... with change in the air and color dancing across our eyes. 

This month held birthdays. Travels. Writing Naturally. Mentoring. School days. Sick days. Days. There has been much going on both on and offline. And it's all been good

Writing Naturally: October was an experience I will not soon forget. I was able to witness openings, awakenings, growth, and many ahha moments for the writers who participated. Amazing. {a few of the participants had some incredibly kind things to say about the course, they're over there on the "testimonials" page, look to the top and to the left!} There will be a Writing Naturally: Winter session, I'm thinking in January. Stay tuned... 

I'm sitting here with a cup of earl grey, and my novel from last November printed out. My trusty plain old college rule notepad that holds notes on where I wanted to go with the story, the second story line that needs to be woven through... 

Last year as many of you know the kids and I had Lyme, and I was on serious antibiotics for most of the month of November. It was not a pleasant experience... but during that experience I was also writing my heart out for NaNoWriMo. After November I took a break, and tried many times to go back to my story. I couldn't. I ended up having almost a physical reaction every time I opened up the file. I kept remembering the physicality of November, and it really doesn't have anything to do with writing. It's all tied up and meshed together in my head: the Lyme, the medicine, the fatigue and aches and pains and other issues, the story, the words.... 

And so this year I'm determined to move forward. Today I reprinted the story, and I'm excited. The kids can't stop talking about Halloween, and I can't stop thinking about how Saturday is the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2014! I'm going to rewrite my story, without feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at the stack of papers or open my computer. I'm going to push through. Because the story is there. It won't let me go. There's so much work to do, so many words to write {ahem... 50,000...} and it's going to happen. 

As long as it's been, as many gaps as there are on this blog, time wise, I still adore this space. I may not be a consistent blog writer any longer, but in this season of more work than blog it's nice to know it's still here. This space. I have a feeling it won't be another month before I'm back... 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Acadia

If you've spent any time reading this little blog, you're well aware that my family and I have a love affair with the coast of Maine. Last week we spent five nights camping at Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park. We could hear the fog horn and lobster boats as we were snuggled in our sleeping bags, and the scent of campfire mixed with salt air will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We marveled at the power of waves as they crashed against slabs of pink granite. We stood in awe of mountains. We gasped at the sight of a lighthouse standing on the cliff, so perfectly picture postcard Maine it might make you sick if it wasn't so beautiful. 

Our timing was perfect, both weather wise and in our school year. The kids and I needed a break and time to reevaluate how our year has been going thus far, what changes need to be made, what to drop and leave behind and what to focus on. Every year a few weeks into the "school year" I find that I need to back off on what I think the kids need to be learning, and focus on their strengths and interests in order to keep everyone happy and learning and thriving. A bit of perspective is never a bad idea.

In any case.... back to Acadia. The weather was beautiful. Chilly nights, but days warmed by the sun and sweaters. We seemed to do a bit of everything: Sand Beach, the Ocean Walk, Thunder Hole, Bar Harbor, the Ship Harbor Trail, Bass Harbor Light, Seawall for a picnic, Eagle Lake, hiked South Bubble Mountain and tried to knock over Balance Rock- like thousands of other we were unsuccessful, Jordon Pond and Seal Cove. 

Last night I stood in the shower and as the hot water ran down from my head to my feet I could almost see a layer of soot from the campfires fall down my skin. As the smell of woods and fire escaped down the shower drain it I closed my eyes and wished for a moment that it wouldn't all wash off. That it would stay. And so, I won't wash my sweater that I wore half the week, at least for a while. I'll hold onto the smell and the memories of snuggling in close with my husband on chilly mornings, listening to the campground come alive. Until next time... and there most certainly will be a next time. Oh Acadia, you have added countless lines to the love poem we are writing back and forth with the coast of Maine.


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If you've signed up for Writing Naturally: October, you'll get an extra dose of Acadia as I'm planning on using many of the photos in my daily emails. 
Registration is open for one more week. 
We begin on October 6th...

Friday, September 19, 2014

and the winner....

This morning I used a random number generator {I tried to copy and paste, but the formatting went all wonky....} and the winner is comment #7 - Sarah!! Congratulations!

I hope the rest of you will still consider joining me for Writing Naturally: October. Registration will be open until October 5th!

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And now... I'm off to pack up sleeping bags and extra warm clothes for a week at Acadia National Park. Have a great week! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Busy

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This morning I'm slowly sipping my tea. The shower hasn't started, we're all lazing around in our pajamas. We have no place to be, except possibly the library later to exchange books. This morning is a deep sigh of relief after a busy start to the week. 

Busy. 

I don't utter that word often. We lead a purposefully un-busy life. It's part of why we homeschool. It's part of why I say no often. It is intentional. It works best for our family. For all of us. When we get too busy things begin to fall apart. There's disconnect. 

So when we are busy, it is not the norm. I forget that busy is the new normal for many. I often hear: "yeah, but that's life. We're all busy." 

It doesn't have to be that way.  Yes, we all have stuff going on. There's always laundry to do. Projects underway. That stuff is life, sure. But not busy. Busy doesn't make a life more or less meaningful. I understand that it's not often a choice, but sometimes it is. That's the kind of busy I'm talking about. The kind of busy that gets worn like a badge of honor. It fills life to the edges. Some people thrive on that, but not all of us. I like a lot of room around my edges.

The first few days of our week were unusually busy. Today I'm glad for some breathing room, for regular life to continue. The burst of busy energy  has gone back into the occasional closet, where it belongs. Not in the forefront of our lives. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Look up

Today I looked up. I looked up and saw a new pair of boots worn by a six year old who swayed her hips as she walked, proud of her horse back riding heels. I saw the blue of the sky, the white of the clouds, shingle siding and in a mirror I saw woman who is tired. Who is happy. Today I looked up from stirring the pot on the stove to see eyes begging to help. I looked up and saw a boy who sniffled his way to my side for most of the day, I smelled his hair. I looked down. Today I looked down and saw heads closer to my arm pits than I care to admit, their length astonishing. I looked down and spent an hour playing cards on a granny square blanket in the sunshine. I looked down and saw his smile. Her smile. Them. Today I looked, and I saw beauty.

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in response to day two of Poetry in Everyday Beauty...

Monday, September 8, 2014

quiet light

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There's quiet in September. In the wind. In routine. In rhythm. There's quiet mornings and moments even through hurried afternoons of to and fro and the in between. There's quiet in the soft light of breakfast, the fading shades of evening. There's quiet light in September. The hush of sunlight...


in response to the first prompt of Poetry in Everyday Beauty...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Embrace October {a month early!}

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October is a special month in our house. Both my husband and I celebrate birthdays... the leaves change... the air is crisp... and we fall in love with our surroundings yet again. We spend more time outside, we pick pumpkins, inside we bake and decorate, it is a colorful season that calls to be celebrated. To be written about. October inspires stories and creativity and activity before the natural hibernation that occurs in the coming months. Lets embrace October. 

This morning I'm opening registration for Writing Naturally: October, an online freewriting course. For two weeks, October 6-17th, we'll focus on writing. Freely, and then more structured. It will be part email instruction, part coaching, all gentle nudging and support. 

Head over to the Writing Naturally: October page for more registration and more information! 

**If you'd like a chance to win a spot in Writing Naturally: October, simply leave a comment on this post. I'll choose a name at random on September 19th!**

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

straddling fall ideals and the heat of summer...

Last week the weather turned cool and nights were comfortable and mornings perfect for hot tea. This week... the air is hot. This week we started school. This week we dove in and the weather turned and we are straddling fall ideals and the heat of summer and sleepless sticky nights and early productive mornings. Pancake breakfasts and starting school before 9am because we are ready and chomping at the bit for reminders of rhythm and routine and structure. Afternoons turn us towards the beach, or icy drinks at air conditioned coffee shops while we finish school work... 

And I forgot how exhausting starting back is. My brain is mush. My words are used up by mid day. Nap time has never looked so good. I forgot just how much we can pack in a day... I'm waiting for my stamina to build up again, as it always does in Autumn. My zest for life, my energy, and my creativity comes back full force as the weather cools... it's the in between, the straddling, that melts my brain and has me counting down until bedtime. Not for the kids, but for me! 

Over the weekend the first Writing Naturally Workshop met, and it was on a perfect August evening. The light was brilliant, the breeze held up for a while keeping the bugs at bay until the very end, and we wrote. It was breathtaking. I learned much from that evening, and have opened registration for the fall series. If you're local, I hope you'll join me. Next week I'll be sharing about my online offering: Writing Naturally: October. It will be part writing inspiration and instruction, part coaching, and I'm excited to finally have it come to fruition. I've felt *this close* to having a grasp on it for a long, long time. 

I also wanted to share two other offerings that I'll be participating in come September. I'm so excited about both of these e-courses:

Alisha and Robin are offering another round of liberated lines, "an Instagram-based, quick and dirty, poetry and prose course", beginning September 8th. I missed the last session, and wouldn't dare miss this one! Registration for liberated lines - clear is open right now.

Jen at iHappy is offering her first e-course: Poetry in Everyday Beauty. From Jen's description: "In this workshop we will use words and photographs to capture the poetry of our everyday. Each day, for ten days Monday-Friday, you will receive a short essay and a prompt from me that you are then free to use how you wish. Will you feel moved to take pictures? To write your own lines of poetry? To journal? To share with others or to keep close to your heart? It is up to you." Registration is open now {she's offering a buy one, get one deal to share with a friend!} and it also begins on September 8th. 

Lots and lots of goodness, my friends. 


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

peaceful

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She goes from dipping toes gingerly to dancing in single movement, fingers grazing the still waters. Waves kiss the shore, ever so gently. Early morning love songs from Mother Nature... these peaceful moments before the world fully wakes.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

...hop...

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A few weeks ago, my beloved friend Christa invited me to participate in a blog hop. I've known Christa online for years now, and she's someone I look up to in many ways, and for many reasons. Hopefully I'll be able to put my arms around her and give her a big hug sooner than later. She's shown me what I can't help but call love in friendship and in such maternal way that whenever we correspond I simply feel held. I hope you hop over and meet her if you haven't already! 

When Christa asked if I'd play along with the hop, of course I said yes. I've answered these questions before, but at the time I wasn't writing much and answered in a different way than I will today. These questions can be answered in so many ways, I think it would be incredible to answer them again in another few months and to see what is similar and what has changed. But for today, here are my answers. At the end of this post I'll introduce two {because I couldn't ask just one...}thoughtful blogs that will host next Saturday.

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1. What am I working on?

I'm slowly working on the novel I wrote back in November during NaNoWriMo. I'm not sure where I want to take it, or how it will work, or even what to do with it... but it's there! I'm also making notes for another story as it comes together in my head. Daily I try to write a bit in my journal, either from prompts or just free writing what's on my mind.

Also, I'm focusing a bit on creating my Naturally Writing Workshops {the first one is on the 23rd, yikes!} Ideally after the first session I'll have some insights into how to translate the workshop into an online course, which would be more accessible for writers who are not located nearby. The workshops will be focused on free writing, and turning freely written words into more focused pieces.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While I'm not entirely sure, I will say that what makes my writing unique is that I focus a great deal on making it lyrical. I believe my writing, especially non fiction, has a sort of poetry in prose thing going on. The challenge I have is bringing my authentic writing voice to fiction. It's a gigantic work in progress.

3. Why do I create what I do?

I'm beginning to realize that I create what I'd like to read. Pretty simple. I love to read beautifully written narratives, lyrical and easily digestible. So that's what I write. I create blog posts to document, to share, to connect. I create journal entries to work through whatever is happening in my head. To see what is in my head in writing always brings revelations and new insights. I suppose in some way I write to be able to read, and then to learn. It's always fascinating for me to look back on what I've written, because while I'm in the zone I'm not really sure where the words will go, and on the page they look so different from in my head.

4. How does my writing process work?

When I was writing back in November, my process was really simple. I sat down, and I wrote. Picked up where I left off the day before, and wrote like crazy. Certain times I still do that. For the blog, or in my journal. For some reason I'm more hesitant with fiction.. Maybe because there isn't a deadline like during NaNoWriMo? There's really something to be said for having a goal made public, and knowing others are participating in the same goal, individually. These days I jot down a few sentences when I think of an idea, snippets really. I've connected a few, paragraphs are adding up as the days go on. I'm not feeling a sense of urgency, so I write descriptions of moments or even a few key words in list form. I count all of that as writing, as part of the process. As summer is winding down and we start spending more time at home again, and have more of a daily rhythm, I'm hoping to spend more time on fleshing out ideas.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions, Christa! Looking at them now, I know I just need to get my butt in the chair and write like crazy again!

And now, I'd like to pass along the hop.
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Virginia and Kara write jointly at Mea Cuppa. They weave beautiful tales of family, daily life, recipes, natural living, and so much more. 


"Have a seat and I’ll get you a cuppa coffee… let’s chat." This phrase may be the single best way to describe Kara.  She absolutely loves people- her family, her friends, complete strangers, everyone. Kara has an incredible way of approaching things in an off-the-cuff manner that draws you in and makes you say, “yes please,” to java cup number 2 (or 6).



Virginia is wife to her high school sweetheart, mother to three daughters, coping with the intense job of homemaking, and a copious consumer of coffee. When not contemplating life with her co-blogger and friend Kara over at Mea Cuppa, Virginia can be found vigorously reading, cooking, crocheting, and happily enjoying her little slice of life.

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Jennifer Hoppins writes at Imagined, Remembered, Believed. She writes nothing less than her beautiful truth, and comes to the table with warmth and knowledge in her pocket.

 
Jennifer Hoppins is a writer and home educator living in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She writes to give form and expression to the emotional truth of circumstance and change.  Celebrating moments of agency against recurring setbacks, closed doors and failed opportunity, she writes to come alive, to recognize debilitating fear, to exercise the power of written ideas, to experience the freedom of acceptance, and to observe openings in life's sometimes densely tangled path. She also writes to encourage and draw out written expression in others through mini lessons, prompts and sample stories. A turning point in her life happened on her wedding day, when both sets of parents (who, living in separate states and had never met) collided in a high speed accident on the way to the chapel.  Jennifer writes short stories, poems, a blog and has one often neglected novel in progress (which gets attention on rainy days.) 

Friday, August 15, 2014

it's not all lobsters dancing over rainbows...

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Lest you think our stays in Maine are all lobsters dancing over rainbows and hair being tossed effortlessly into sea breezes....

Last night Lucas was back in Massachusetts. My girl needed to be snuggled to sleep, so I happily cuddled with her for twenty minutes. Then my boy needed the same, so I happily snuggled for another half an hour. Figuring he was asleep, I tried to sneak out of his bed. But every time I attempted, he'd roll over, make a sad face, and pull me back in. This game continued for another half an hour, before I finally just had him climb into the big bed with me while I read until a reasonable adult bedtime {ahem...9:30... thank you very much sun and water and fresh air...}

All was sweet and calm until my girl woke in the middle of the night, and was furious to find her brother in bed with me. Where she should have been, according to her. She climbed in and fitfully slept until the sun started to rise, at what felt an ungodly hour. She woke with chip on her shoulder, a distaste for all things I offered for breakfast, and quite frankly a general sense of malaise. 

When someone in the house wakes in a state like that, the day can go two ways. We all know this. So I tried to save the day and offered mini golf, which the kids have been asking to do all summer long. And like any sane mother, I've tried to put it off until I couldn't any longer. 

It was a chilly morning, so we put on sweatshirts and I dug through my suit case to find my jeans and a striped navy and white shirt. Dressed, I felt put together and stylish {one of a few outfits that I modeled after my favorite duchess... the shirt from Boden, bought on sale for a steal!}

We arrived at the large mini golf arena and dutifully paid an arm and a leg for three clubs and colorful golf balls. It all started off fine, with smiles and gentle swings of the golf clubs. 

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And then, as any person who has mini golfed with a child, could guess, all hell broke loose. Balls started flying off the course and onto the side road {thankfully, not Route 1...} clubs became light sabers and swords, someone realized that the mini golf mecca had ice cream back at the pro shop - and the begging and whining started around the 10th hole. Around that time I not only realized that I had forgotten to have a proper cup of tea that morning, but also I looked back and saw not just one, but five other women wearing my favorite outfit of jeans and a blue and white stripped top. As we finished the course, one child flinging her arms for ice cream, the other sulking because we had to return the clubs and balls, I felt like vacation cliche.

Now, anyone who has spent time my children know they are sweet, well behaved, nary a whine children. But sometimes.... sometimes we all have a day.

We stopped at our favorite coffee shop on the way back to the condo. The kids sat patiently while I ordered and the barrista made my caffe mocha. When she passed the drink to me I sighed, saying "I attempted mini golf this morning, un-caffeinated..." She laughed heartily and smiled knowingly. "Well, you've come to the right place!" she said as she passed me my change.

On the way out the door stopped at the picnic tables, never having noticed before they were covered in chalk board paint. Tiny mason jars held nubs of pastel colored chalk. My kids looked up at me hopefully, but they didn't say a word. Perhaps they were a little frightened after I went on a long rant about being grateful and respectful and enjoying experiences while we were stuck in traffic en route to the holy grail of caffeine....

I nodded. And sat myself down on the bench and pulled out a piece of chalk. They followed suit. The conversation was easy and light. We drew for a while, and then headed back home for lunch and an afternoon swim. Fully caffeinated. Fully aware that our day turned around in a split second, thanks to the coffee shop, a caffe mocha {best $4.50 I spent all week!} and the chalk board picnic tables. 


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

six

She turned six yesterday. A few friends came to join us in Maine, and she had a party that was perfectly her. She smiled wide as we celebrated. We are all still exhausted from the events, and have spent today quietly playing with new transformers and reading comic books, making jewelry from kits and drawing with stencils... even making paper airplanes. The gifts she received yesterday truly reflect her vast array of interests, her sweet little girl-ness, and her creative side. There is so much to this six year old that leaves us smiling, bewildered, and thankful. We are so lucky to know and love her. 

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