Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, recap.

It's amazing what can be accomplished in a year.   2014 was a year of growth for my family.   We moved, got a dog, and my wonderful teenage stepson came to live with us full time.  At this point last year, I'm not sure I would have anticipated any of these changes.

Reminds me of the line, people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime.  A year gives us plenty of time for things to transpire, change, evolve or dissolve. One of the miracles of life is that none of us know what truly lies ahead.    I will focus my efforts in some areas that are important to me and hope that my attention manifests into results.  I will also sit in patience as 2015 begins to unravel what it has planned.   All the while, doing my best to choose love over fear, peace over judgement, presence over angst.  

A few highlights of my 2014 - it was a year well lived.   

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Christmas prayer

May the spirit of Christmas fill each and every one of us with peace in our inner experience as well as our outer experience.  Fill us with hope for things to come and acceptance for what has passed.   Fill us with forgiveness.  Fill us with joy.  Fill us with gratitude.   Spirit of Christmas, remind us of the miracle of it all - in giving, we are rich.  in suffering, we are broken open.  in everything, there is You.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I have this desire to create.  It comes in waves but these days its really speaking to me in a volume that is getting harder and harder to turn down.   I have a few ideas brewing once the bustle of the holidays quiet down and am looking forward to what 2015 may hold....

"Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves" - Julia Cameron, The Artists Way.

(image and tons of inspiration at this artist's site including a phenomenal article.) 

Monday, December 22, 2014

From our home to yours....

Merry Christmas and all the best for a wonderful 2015!

Photos courtesy of the lovely Esther Mathieu 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Give an ornament

If you're stuck trying to find a thoughtful gift for a friend, or just want to add a personal touch to the package - try a Christmas ornament.   Price points vary from small to large and you can probably find something to make it personal - is she a pet lover?  celebrating a baby's first Christmas?  celebrating the first year married?  Or when all else fails just a lover of pretty things.  

These handcrafted ones via Etsy are beautifully packaged and make a nice keepsake

 Perfect to commemorate a new Mr & Mrs 

Whether there is a new monogram or you simply want to add it to a pretty wrapped gift

If your kids are old enough, have them make their own ornaments to give as gifts to family members.  I have homemade ornaments hanging on my tree given to me by my "baby" cousin who is now in college! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cranberry Wreaths

I have two full bags of cranberries in my freezer from our office Farm Share.   So glad I didn't overdue it with more chutney than anyone could conceivably consume....

Time to get crafty with these  sweet "wreaths"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Another year, another party....

I've written about our annual Family party before.   This past weekend we celebrated yet again with 50 or more of my extended family.  As per our tradition, my mom led the kid's sing-along, Santa visited with presents, and the adults held their holiday swap.   There was more home cooked Italian food than you could possibly handle.  This party is a highlight of my mother's year.  She counts down the days and then talks about it for weeks after....    Joseph was dressed in his holiday finest and totally content to just follow his "Me" (J's abbreviated name for his favorite person, Grammy) around.  Those two, I'm not sure who is more obsessed with who.   A fortunate problem, I know....

Lucca got christened by having to sit on Santa's lap and as always, he was a great sport.  Never a complaint, never an eye-roll, just a willing and lovely kid.   Although he was slightly mortified when his dad posted his pic on Santa's lap on FB for everyone to see!

More than the presents, more than the food is the tradition of the party.   It is a time to honor my grandparents and Rapallo family for what they created --- an ALL ARE WELCOME party with absolutely zero frills where every single person feels loved, welcome and part of this special FAMILY.   Until next year.....

J in the Christmas spirit.  (my mom's been going to this party since she was his age!!)  

The loves of my life

Santa Sighting --- I think Joe's expression speaks for itself.  Lucca is saying, "Oh crap. they weren't kidding!"

Lucca has his inaugural visit with santa. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Something from nothing....

In 2008, in the midst of a nationwide financial crisis, my husband could not take no for an answer as he marched forward into the world of self-employment.  What started as a vision - create a gym where not only he would teach his craft, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but he would build a team.... a group of open, real, kind, committed, accepting fellow students to train with and together improve their lives through the camaraderie of the sport.

Six years later he continues to do just that.  As those of you who are familiar with self-employment no doubt understand, it is a roller coaster.  It requires more dedication, more stamina, and more commitment than most of us (I'm raising my hand!) could possibly muster.   I've observed, not just through his journey but my own parents and other friends who have chosen that path of life, that to be self-employed is far beyond "being your own boss" - it involves a spirit of risk-taking and perseverance that is not for the faint of heart.    There are no paid vacation days, there are no promotions, there are no bonuses, or paid lunches.   But --- there's something else.   There is the knowledge that things are being done your way and when you're authentic and true to what it is you're doing, those lucky enough to reap the rewards of your commitment to the business are so much better for it.  

On Saturday, the adults of Fenix BJJ gathered for another graduation ceremony.  In that room, the passion, the friendship and the lives that have been bettered by finding and committing to Fenix Jiu Jitsu was palpable and unmistakable.   It put the wind back in our sails and answered the "WHY?" we do it.   It started as a vision.  There was no team.  There was no Fenix.   There was simply a coach who knew what he wanted to do.   And this right here is the currency for which he works....   

Congratulations, Ronaldo Campos and all of Fenix for making dreams come true.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Let it go

The theme of this month's article club is, "Let it go".  And important and relevant topic as we wind down the year and get ready for the start of a new one.   This article will be the starting point for our discussion but I'm sure it will lead to a dynamic conversation as this can mean many things to many people.

I am reminded of these words, "In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."  It's never easy to surrender even when it is unobjectionably the best choice to make.   We resist change and enjoy our creature comforts despite how stuck they make us.   Let 2015 be a year dedicated to releasing what no longer serves me.  


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter Foliage

We cut down a lone birch and a straggly evergreen tree the other day. I think the greenery should make for perfect holiday decor.   

Feeling inspired:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I've had this map on standby for the playroom since we moved in.  Since I'd like to paint the room eventually, I wasn't in a huge rush to hang it and then I did realize that without a protective cover, what would stop my toddler from scribbling on it, tearing it etc.   (I should start a post series about why Pinterest ideas look great but aren't practical - grr).  Anyways, I found this solution which may work instead.

Monday, December 1, 2014


A busy holiday weekend full of food, love, and the celebration of a new marriage!!

Trying to stay ahead of the chaos of the season by tackling it in small increments.  My holiday cards were done in November,  I have bought a few gifts, have some ideas, and can hopefully pace myself right thru the month.

A few weeks before we hosted J's 2nd birthday at the house, I came across this article emphasizing the difference between entertaining and hospitality.  It really stuck.  In entertaining, the focus tends to be on perfection - setting the perfect table, having a spotless house.  In hospitality, the focus is on making guests feel welcome and comfortable.  As the author breaks it down she says, in entertaining the focus is on one's self.  In hospitality, it is on others.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


My baby turned two last weekend.   TWO!   That means for two full years you've been lighting up our life, making us laugh, and bringing such joy to everyone who has the pleasure of knowing you.  Here are a few things you do....  I know, one day it will seem impossible to remember (sniff.)

:: The Wiggle!  Oh J, your dance moves are beyond precious.  Lucky us, we've caught them on video because no words could ever do justice to your adorable wiggle.

:: Animal sounds.  What does the cow say, "moo".  The horse says, "neigh", the kitty says "meow", the dog says "woof " --- more like fffff --- but I gotcha, little one.

:: So many hugs and kisses and blowing kisses and more hugs.  Your ease with affection is so admirable.

:: Run!  You don't walk most places anymore, you run everywhere.  Your little feet - pure excitement to get where you need to go.  Even if it's just the bathroom to help someone flush the toilet! :)

:: And last but not least, The Bus.  Your obsession with the school bus.  Whether it's watching clips of Wheels on the Bus on youtube or seeing the kids on the street get picked up by school bus or seeing a real bus drive by us.  Your excitement is contagious!

Happy Two Years old to the love of my life.  My angel.  My sweet, sweet baby boy.   You are everything I ever dreamed of and so much more.  

Friday, November 14, 2014


What if this is really how we approached each day:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Redoing the Little House

I really hope I'm not too late in the season to paint the playhouse and ideally the pool shed too.   They are such an obvious part of our backyard "landscape" and with their sweet little window boxes and charming mini-size, I think we could really make them great.   We'll see if the weather permits it.

(image, image, image)

Friday, November 7, 2014

We did it - Article Club

After talking about it for years, I finally got my act together and organized a fantastic article club!  Modeled after this one , I invited a handful of lesser known friends to join me.  I purposely wanted to extend the participation list, so that I could get to know some new people and we wouldn't be tempted to fall into the familiar roles that can exist with deep rooted friends.  

We started the group with this article - intentionally broad so that we could get to know each other before focusing in on a more specifically themed topic.   Next time, someone else will moderate - picking the article and the location.   And we met at Bronwyn, enjoying a cozy Bavarian atmosphere while we chatted.

I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and is looking forward to the next one.  I am!!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tiny Beautiful Things

Dear Sugar columnist, who turned out to be Wild author Cheryl Strayed, hits it out of the park in this collection of essays.  Wow.  It reads like a perfect combination of memoir, self help and guilty-pleasure beach read.  It's not for the faint of heart and she doesn't hold back.  But her ability to tell it like it is, being honest without being hurtful, is the gem of the book.   One of my favorite reads!

“Don't surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn't true anymore.” 

“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.” 

“You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that's all.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What to do with cranberries

The last few weeks of the Fruit Share via the CSA, we got fresh cranberries.  If you've ever tasted a true cranberry, you know it's virtually unpalatable because it's so tart.  I hated the thought of tossing the bags of cranberries, but how much cranberry sauce can you really eat?

But I saw these ideas to use cranberries with your holiday cocktails - perfect!  I'm going to freeze them tonight so they're ready to go in December.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Joe went to preschool dressed as an extra from The Town.   CLASSIC!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30

Been plugging away at a few big projects this week.  It feels good to get them completed.

Trying to be more dedicated to some practices, including this space.  So on this beautiful fall morning....
 :: Grateful for a sunny day
 :: My baby being able to grow in a house filled to the brim with love
 :: Hot coffee, warm oatmeal and a fresh banana
 :: Peace in my heart


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

23 months

Our final month before you turn 2!  I can hardly believe how fast you're growing, my sweet, sweet boy.   These days you still zoom your cars and trucks across the floor, you have about 10 books that you read almost every day - pointing out your favorite parts of each page, you would watch Teletubbies and Mother Goose Club cartoons all day on the ipad if we'd let you but we try to contain it to only after dinner or a weekend afternoon.   You are super affectionate and will hug everyone without hesitation.  You never say goodbye without also blowing a kiss.

When we go to your room in the morning or come home from work, you greet us with a look of such sincere and true love.  My heart just melts as you excitedly yell "mama!!!" every time!
Sweet Baby Joseph, you are pure and simple goodness.  You have made life so good.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Petit Lemon - free print

Did you know that the site - Petit Lemon - offers this alphabet poster FREE.  that's right.   No cost.  I think you pay $3 for s&h and that's it.   I ordered it last week and it arrived yesterday.  Not only is it super sweet for a nursery but it's a great learning tool for an almost two year old who likes to practice the alphabet.

I also ordered these sweet cards.   They are small, but perfect for those occasions you just need to tag a gift with your name and you don't want to spend $5 at Papyrus or run out to CVS.   I'm always glad to have cards on hand.  Most of them are birthday, but there are some more neutral cards that can be stuck on a shower or miscellaneous gift.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Desserts

Cute and not complicated Halloween dessert inspiration...

Friday, October 24, 2014


Struggling to get things checked off...  I feel like I swim in this sea full of stuff and it clutters both my life and my mind.  I'm trying to simplify and clear some things out.   Wish me luck. 

I just ordered a fantastic print on Etsy for our master bath.   The house has been stuck in terms of decor and organization.  I'd love to get a gallery wall up in our second floor hallway, some things hung up in J's playroom, a print above our console table and a storage system for our coats, bags, shoes etc.  Realistic goals for the weekend, right?   As I tell our teenager, there's enough time for work and play.   Now I need a dose of my own medicine.  

(via etsy.  Drawn to the organic simplicity of this sketch.  It's a print, so hopefully it can stand up to the moisture of the room)

Monday, October 20, 2014

What we do.

The fire got started and a few fierce hours of cards were played.  Trying to cultivate a home of gratitude, I asked my family what had been their favorite moment in the past few weeks. Mine was right there.  When the house is quiet, all are fed and bathed and the baby is asleep in his crib.   The dog curls next to the fire.  We play and laugh and talk.   More than anything else, we feel the love that binds us as a family.  I am grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people.   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


A few weeks ago, I started a new morning ritual.  Each day, the dog and I go for a walk in the woods behind our house.  It is perfectly peaceful and we've yet to see another person.   Alone in the fresh fall air, walking on damp pine needles and fallen leaves has been a wonderful way to start my day.
We walk until we reach this bridge.  I say a quick prayer of gratitude for another healthy day and we turn back.

These walks help me get quiet and disconnect.  I feel in touch with the seasons of nature, as a great reminder for the seasons of life.  Like the forest, my life is always changing.  To stay with the knowledge that it is a continuum - and although the day to day might not feel that different, to evaluate it at various points in time, would show quite distinct change.  I am grateful for that change, the opportunity that is always available to start anew.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Keeping up

Another morning started in the woods with the doggie, a made bed and laundry put away. It really is making a difference and reducing some of the clutter - both physical and mental.  It's forward progress in the right direction rather than slipping in the wrong direction, that I'm focusing on these days.  It won't always be perfect but if my trend line can go towards love and light, that's good enough for me.  

"Most of the greatest achievements on the planet are unknown to others - private overcomings, silent attempts at belief, re-opening a shattered heart. The real path of champions truly lies within - the transforming of suffering into expansion, the clearing of horrifying debris, the building of a healthy self-concept without tools. The greatest achievers have found a way to believe in something good despite being traumatized and fractured on life’s battlefields. No matter what else they accomplish in their lives, they are already champions." - Jeff Brown 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 8

What am I doing today to move towards what I want:  I woke up earlier than usual, after my morning snuggles with Joe - our conversation usually goes something like this (do you want to lay in Mama's bed: yeah, yeah.  Are you mama's little angel: yeah, yeah)  After setting him up and the nanny getting in, I took the dog out for a few minutes in the woods.  I really wish I could have stayed out there longer with him (and I know he agrees) but alas, something is better than nothing.  I loaded the dishwasher, made my bed, put a few things away, packed my lunch and off I went. 

Honestly, it's nothing earth shattering.  But it is small steps towards a better, less chaotic, life.  I'm trying to find some routines.  I'm trying to streamline and simplify to make things work better.  It's the small things, as much as the big things that will help me. 

Oh - and as I drove in, I couldn't help but be moved by the gorgeous foliage.  Even as a lifelong New Englander, it just never gets old.  

Friday, October 3, 2014


Shaking off a difficult week.  I am reinspired by the gorgeous fall colors around me, the drier skies and the plan free weekend that awaits.   I'm committed to doing some things to better my state including -

*Getting back to a daily meditation practice.
*More exercise
*Less phone use

"If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends.  If broken by an inside force, life begins."  My changes need to come from within.   They must.