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.