Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Recap

Short on time here but wanted to get a few quick thoughts down before I hurry off to wrap up what's left of 2013....

For starters, this year was a tough one for me.  It will go down in the books as quite possibly the hardest.  There was so much adjusting....  learning to be a mom and then a working mom.   Learning a slew of new skills as enormous changes occurred at work.   Learning to set boundaries.  Learning to ask for help.  Learning to accept help.  Learning to say no.  Learning to say yes, even though the house is a mess, there's not enough time and I'll be tired tomorrow...   

I made some amazing new friends.  I let go of some relationships that had run their course.   

Like anything, results take hard work.  I was tested to the limit this year.  And I made it to the finish line - proud of the work I was able to produce, proud of the mother that I am, proud of the wife, friend and daughter I am...  Content with who I am.  

I can and will do better.  And am looking forward to packing the tools that 2013 helped sharpen to make 2014 an excellent one.  

"When the stresses of life build up to a certain point, whether it's the loss of someone you love or the loss of a job or a divorce, we all would understand when you say, "That really broke me down," meaning it was a change that ended in making us a little more cynical or scared or unable to cope. But there is this other possibility that after the breaking, we can open up more into who are supposed to be, in the way that a flower breaks out of the confines of a bud into its full blossoming." - Elizabeth Lesser

Friday, December 27, 2013

Brene and Elizabeth Gilbert

A few great excerpts from Brene's interview with author, Elizabeth Gilbert.

as the great Boswell said: “A fly, sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince. But one is an insect, and the other is a horse still.” SO DO YOUR WORK WITH A NOBLE HEART, and then put it forth. Because who are the stately horses in this world? Anyone who dares to show up and do her work, despite her fear. 

Your six-word memoir:  Always had passion; learned patience slowly.

I was raised by tough, stoic people who kept a tight lid on all their emotions, and who never, ever talked it out. I was taught that there are only two possible responses to all interpersonal troubles: 1) you silently get over it on your own, or 2) if you can’t silently get over it on your own, you vanish from that person’s life forever without another word. So I either bury my discomfort, or I run for the hills.
It has been the excruciating work of a lifetime for me to try to learn how to change this pattern — how to stay in the conversation longer, how to sit through the fear and discomfort of interpersonal emotional openness (especially when it comes to expressing my own anger, which is the emotion that I least comprehend and most fear.)
I’ve had some successes of late with being more open to this process, but OH MY GOD IT IS SO SCARY FOR ME, and sometimes I still totally fail — still run for the hills. But at least I pause first.  In other words, I am still far from the person I wish to be with this particular manifestation of vulnerability…but God knows, I am working on it. Harder than anything, harder than ever.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Remember this...

  1. Expressing appreciation is always a good strategy. If one wants a behavior to be repeated, express appreciation for it. Failure to do so is not neutral, it's a deterrent.

Monday, December 16, 2013


I need to remember this today... this holiday season.... and 2014.   I am guilty of taking on too much, demanding too little and ending up in a suboptimal headspace for myself and those closest to me.

In the words of Brene Brown:
• Make a mantra. I need something to hold on to—literally—during those awkward moments when an ask hangs in the air. So I bought a silver ring that I spin while silently repeating, "Choose discomfort over resentment." My mantra reminds me that I'm making a choice that's critical for my well-being—even if it's not easy. 

• Keep a resentment journal. Whenever I'm marching around muttering cuss words under my breath, I grab what I lovingly refer to as my Damn It! Diary and write down what's going on. I've noticed that I'm most resentful when I'm tired and overwhelmed—i.e., not setting boundaries. 

• Rehearse. I'll often say, to no one in particular, "I can't take that on" or "My plate is full." Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice. 


Friday, December 13, 2013

Tabletop Trees

I'm buying a mini-tree next year.  So perfectly charming.    

(ps. not to replace my real tree...)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kindness Elves

I don't have a problem with the Elf on the Shelf.  Sure, it's a lot of work for the parents but the reward -- the awe, excitement and magic, makes the work worthwhile.   However, I think this author is on to something with incorporating a bit of kindness into the tradition.   Not saying we'll do away with Elf on the Shelf, or try to make this kindness elf a nightly tradition, but wouldn't it be nice to blend a little of both into your child's holiday experience...  via ImaginationTree

  • They will be holding little suggestions for acts of kindness, love or helpfulness that we can do together that day for e.g. “Let’s collect some of your toys and give them away to the children’s hospital”, “let’s make some cookies for the neighbours”, “shall we visit an elderly friend/ relative?” etc
  • When they see the children doing kind and lovely things, they will leave a little note for them to find in the morning e.g. “Oh I loved it when I saw you sharing your new book with your little sister” or “you were very kind to help your Mummy load the dishwasher!” etc
  • Some mornings they may wake up to find the elves have lined up their shoes, tidied their coats, got the breakfast things ready or fixed a broken toy etc. Modelling direct ways to be kind and helpful as a prompt for the children in the day.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas wish

The traditions.  The memories.  The happiness....   What I love most about the holiday season is the spirit.  Your Grammy loves the holidays so from mama's earliest memory, I recall Christmas being so exciting, so warm, so joyful.   As Dad & I decorated the tree last night and played my favorite Christmas songs, I realized that we are building the spirit of the season for you, Joseph.   

Although you're too young now, I hope you grow to love this time of year.  I hope we can fill your home with as many happy memories as I was blessed to have.   I hope the *magic* of Christmas -- the thoughtfulness, the overwhelming generosity, and genuine hospitality -- fills your little life, now and always.   

Friday, December 6, 2013


There are people throughout history who seem to be super-human.  Whether or not they are heaven sent, will remain a mystery.  Mr. Nelson Mandela was one of them.  Mandela served 27 years in prison after a conviction of attempting to overthrow the government and later went on to become the first black South African to be elected President, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and an international symbol of democracy, peace and the "father" of South Africa.

In the wake of his passing, I will pause to recognize the great man who forever shaped history and also hope that as he passes forward his strength and courage will remain here on Earth --- sprinkled amidst us all.  Rest in peace, great leader.

 (mandela via pinterest)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

connecting the dots...

Two and a half years ago I started this space.  As I've said several times, I'm grateful for it.  It has become a morning ritual which I enjoy, an online journal and safe place for some of my favorite images, quotes and excerpts and a place to very gently work through the tangled mess of my mind. 

Years ago I read Joslyn's thoughts on simplicity.   I've spoken about it here quite a bit but it's also never been far from my thoughts.   In this world of so much abundance --- how does one quiet the mind?  I think the answer is a combination of gratitude and simplicity.  Thankful hearts for what we have and a simple and clear vision for reaching what we'd like to see more of.    The abysss of the internet with it's thousands, no millions, of articles, youtube clips, pinterest pics etc. can leave even the most focused person wondering if they in fact are struggling with an adult form of attention deficit disorder! 

But one of the ideas I started this blog with was the famous line from Steve Jobs, "You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path."

And that's what I've been doing.  Gathering the dots.  Curating what I like, what makes me excited, what I come back to time and time again.   I can say with certainty, that I'm beginning to create an image out of these dots I've been gathering.   I thank this blog space for helping facilitate that.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Desk Space...

If there was someplace I could be right now it would be here.  No distractions, just a place to buckle in and get it done.    I'll try to imagine I'm there instead of my cluttered, messy desk.   Enjoy your Tuesday, friends. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Simple Holiday Season....

The holidays are my favorite!  I simply love the hustle and bustle, the gift giving, the gathering with friends and family, the music and the general spirit that fills the air this month.  

In honor of the start of the season, a few pics to remind us it needn't be fussy or complicated to be good.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Love Via Lou Reed

Sunday was our anniversary.  Seven years of marriage, eleven years together.   Wow.   How is that possible?!   Before I know it, I will have spent as much time with my husband as without.   Our life and relationship isn't without challenges, but who's is?  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  I'm proud of the life we're building, the parents we are, the problems we've overcome and the future that lies ahead...

I am married to a wonderful man - who helps me be a better version of myself and together we are working towards  the life of our dreams ~*   

On a related note, did you see this Farewell lovestory written by Lou Reed's widow.   It is hauntingly beautiful.  A few excerpts here, but I highly recommend you read the whole thing. 

"...Lou and I played music together, became best friends and then soul mates, traveled, listened to and criticized each other's work, studied things together (butterfly hunting, meditation, kayaking). We made up ridiculous jokes; stopped smoking 20 times; fought; learned to hold our breath underwater; went to Africa; sang opera in elevators; made friends with unlikely people; followed each other on tour when we could; got a sweet piano-playing dog; shared a house that was separate from our own places; protected and loved each other. We were always seeing a lot of art and music and plays and shows, and I watched as he loved and appreciated other artists and musicians. He was always so generous. He knew how hard it was to do. We loved our life in the West Village and our friends; and in all, we did the best we could do.
Like many couples, we each constructed ways to be – strategies, and sometimes compromises, that would enable us to be part of a pair. Sometimes we lost a bit more than we were able to give, or gave up way too much, or felt abandoned. Sometimes we got really angry. But even when I was mad, I was never bored. We learned to forgive each other. And somehow, for 21 years, we tangled our minds and hearts together.
....Lou was sick for the last couple of years.   As meditators, we had prepared for this – how to move the energy up from the belly and into the heart and out through the head. I have never seen an expression as full of wonder as Lou's as he died. His hands were doing the water-flowing 21-form of tai chi. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world, and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped. He wasn't afraid. I had gotten to walk with him to the end of the world. Life – so beautiful, painful and dazzling – does not get better than that. And death? I believe that the purpose of death is the release of love.
At the moment, I have only the greatest happiness and I am so proud of the way he lived and died, of his incredible power and grace.
I'm sure he will come to me in my dreams and will seem to be alive again. And I am suddenly standing here by myself stunned and grateful. How strange, exciting and miraculous that we can change each other so much, love each other so much through our words and music and our real lives."


Monday, November 25, 2013

Joseph Turns 1!

What a great birthday celebration we had.   On Friday, I took the day off and met up with a few of his friend's at the Children's Museum.  The kids loved it.  There was a great room for 0-3 year olds.  Perfect for crawlers, cruisers and early walkers.  The kids had so much to do that it left the mamas with plenty of time to catch up with each other ---- always a bonus! :)   Joseph loved crashing in the "waterbed" at the end of a long day of playing....

The Birthday Boy got new boots!

 On Saturday, we hosted a small birthday party with just a handful of our closest friends.   My super talented friend made his adorable cake and we had the party catered by Redbones BBQ.   I would absolutely recommend Redbones for your next event.  They delivered everything piping hot, set it up and everybody seemed to really enjoy it.  The food was just as good as it is in the restaurant!   And there was SO MUCH OF IT.

  We sang Happy Birthday, had some laughs with our friends, and celebrated the completion of a wonderful year!   It was just perfect.  Happy Birthday, Joseph Campos.  We love you!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

1 year


And then you were 1.   What a year, Baby J! 

On the Eve of your Birthday

My boy.  My handsome, kind, affectionate son ---- tomorrow you will turn one.   The Earth has made its way around the sun and you have arrived, nursed, grown, laughed, crawled, giggled, rolled, ate, slept and been an absolute joy to everyone who has had the honor to be a part of your first year.

My boy.  My wonderful, funny, giggly son ---- You have a depth in your eyes that makes me feel as though you've seen a million sunsets.  You have an intuition about you that makes me sure your soul is not young.  When mama was sick after a difficult birth process, you were an absolute angel. Breastfeeding with no difficulty, sleeping soundly with your dad, all 7lbs 12oz of you strong like a little bull. You knew mama wasn't well and you gave me time to heal.  I thank you for that; it was the first gift of so many I was about to receive from you.

My boy.  My beautiful, easy-natured, smiling son ---- You trust the world is a good place.  Not a trip to the grocery store has been made in your first year where you haven't smiled to a stranger.  You light up the world around you.  You not only brighten the world of the people lucky enough to spend everyday with you, but you possess a kindness that makes strangers stop, comment, or smile.

My boy.  My gentle, smart, loving son ---- This year has been a year like no other.  You entered our life and have altered it forever.   You have brought so much.  You have tapped into a love that we have always possessed but only you could access.  My heart is so very full.   My life is so very good.   There is nothing but gratitude for all that you are, all that you've been and all that is still to come.   May God continue to bless us all.  May your second year of life be as spectacular as your first.   My birthday wish for you, sweet son of mine, is nothing more than your continued health and happiness.  You are a wonder.  A true miracle.  

“when i have said my evening prayer,
and my clothes are folded on my chair,
mama and papa switch off the light,
i'll still be 11 months old tonight.

but from the very break of day,
before the children rise and play,
before the darkness turns to gold,
tomorrow i'll be one years old…
one kiss when i wake,
one candle on my cake.

a goodnight kiss for the eleven month old
to send him to sleep and to dreaming.
and blessings to the one year old
who'll be carried from bed in the morning.”

(poem via The Littlest)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftovers....

Could this idea (and free download) be any cuter if you are hosting Thanksgiving?!   My mom is also super gracious and cooks us dinner once a week when she watches the baby.   She sends home a plate for my husband.  I think I'll give her a few of these take-away boxes and a label "From Grammy's Kitchen".

Monday, November 18, 2013


Whether it's yoga or Oprah or Buddha or your favorite self-help author, a similar and consistent message seems to run through the teachings ---- PRESENCE. NOW. ATTENTION. AWARENESS.

It seems to be the key to happiness.  The more we master our mind, control the wondering thoughts and really, truly be present and appreciate the unique goodness of the moment, the more likely we are to feel content.

I'm happy to report that I'm getting better at that.  The anxiety is dissipating and the worry and anticipation is lessening.  Meanwhile I'm building my awareness that *right now*, not yesterday and not tomorrow, is pretty fantastic.

Coming in from a wonderful weekend, I feel calm, grateful and happy.


Friday, November 15, 2013


There was an interview in O Magazine this month with the parents of one of the young boys killed at Sandy Hook.   Of course, the article had me in tears and the whole thing was quite moving but one thing that truly haunted me was the mother recalling the morning of the massacre.  She said her 6 year old son, Ben, asked her what Forgiveness means....   At the time she didn't think much about the question; he was always curious and probably had heard the word in Sunday School or elsewhere but as the events of the day unfolded the "coincidence" of the question lived in her.

Powerful.  Chilling.  Provoking.

So on this beautiful fall Friday, I wanted to reflect for a moment on forgiveness.   There are so many wonderful words written on it.  My life has been extraordinarily blessed and I have not been so massively wronged that I am in a struggle to forgive.  Sure, there are people that haven't treated me well.  Sure, there are people I don't care to ever speak to again.  But I don't harbor ill-will towards them and most of the time what went wrong was either a lack of knowing better or their mistreatment led me to discover something truly better for myself.  As they say, people are either a blessing or a lesson.

Because so many have said it better than I, here are a few thoughts to share.  If you're angry with yourself, with your family, with your boss, neighbor or ex, I encourage you to let it go.   Breathe it in and release.  It does not serve you.

"Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different" - Oprah

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die" - AA

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -CS Lewis

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude" - Martin Luther King Jr. 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Your local library

Did you know that your local library probably offers discounted museum tickets?   Ours has passes to the Children's Museum, the Aquarium, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardener, Peabody Essex and the zoos.   What a great resource.   I've been meaning to take Joseph to the drop-in Story & Rhyme Time that they host too.    

And for the house:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


"Worry is interest paid in advance on a debt you may never incur" - unknown.


What you're doing

Oh, little one.  I have been waiting until your first birthday to write a blog post capturing all that you are up to these days but I just cannot hold it in.  You are growing so fast it's hard to comprehend.  Some days I swear I leave for work and come home and you've learned something new.   Over the weekend you played peekaboo with dad and I.  You hold the corners of a blanket and we say "Cade Jo-Jo" (where is Jo-Jo, in Portuguese) and you cover yourself....  then pull down the blanket and laugh.  everytime!  Then we give you high five, and ask you to wave and we do it all over again.   It's so fun to interact with you.   We can also ask you "Cade a bolla" (where is the ball) and you hurry right over to the soccer ball ....one of your favorite toys.  

We can't help but call you our Cuddlebug because you are the master of cuddles.  You snuggle right into whoever is with you and fit yourself in as comfortable as a little babe right out of his mama's belly. You are such a caring soul.   I know that without doubt.

So my little boy, every single day continues to be a blessing.  Every single moment with you warms our heart.   Thank you for coming to us.  We love you so very, very much.