Friday, December 30, 2011

it's a girl! and we will call her Amelia

We are parents! We welcomed our little baby girl Amelia last Monday night, just a few days before Christmas. Everyone but my mother was betting on a boy. What a surprise she turned out to be. Amelia was born with a full head of black hair—just like her mama!—a full 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long. Not a tiny little thing. Already she has stolen our hearts with her suckling and little cooing noises.

People wonder where her head of hair came from. Well take a look at the picture my sister Emma found from our childhood. (That's me in the middle.) Look at that hair!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the babby room

We don't have a ton of space in our home, so when it came time to decide where to put our babby and all the babby treasures, we had to make a tough decision to give up the space in our beloved den to make room. We would move the sofa and T.V. out into the great room. The idea of it made me a little nervous. (Put the T.V. in the same room where we cook and eat? Ack!) But it was better than putting it in the bedroom. And after we came up with a design plan, we both felt pretty good about things. Then when we actually moved the furniture and set up both rooms, we wondered why we never did it this way from the start.

Here was the den before:

And here's our new nursery, which we love:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

due date

Today is my due date. I had a doctor's appointment this morning, which went well. This afternoon, I have a prenatal massage scheduled and the EatingWell holiday party. But there is no sign of babby yet. Could be 2 more weeks. I don't mind. It is a good day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

a pregnant pause

Where have I been the last 9 months? I've been pregnant. And something about the experience has caused me to direct my focus inward, rather than to externalize. I haven't been drawn to my writing for some time now. But I know that my writing is a part of me and as I near the end of my pregnancy, I feel the pull to my keyboard once again. Perhaps it's the knowledge that this little rumbling, tumbling meatloaf inside me will not be my own anymore as it leaves its world of one (me) and comes outside for the first time.

When that happens, I hope that I will want to write even more. For now, I am writing to use up time. Isn't that terrible? I never have enough time, it seems, and now that I've stopped working, and have all the time in the world to myself, I wish I didn't have soooo much free time.

Anywho, all the veterans say to make the most of these quiet, restful days alone before the baby comes. So I'm doing my best. I will go to as many yoga classes as I can. I will get a massage. I will get my toes done. I will bake cookies.

I most certainly will not vacuum or mop or clean the tub. Well, maybe I'll clean the tub. We'll see...

Since I haven't been posting, I thought I'd do some highlights over the next few days if it's still just me and the couch. Last month, Col and I took a trip to East Hampton, New York to surprise my friend Brooksie at her baby shower. We called it our "baby moon—the last hurrah—and got a nice room at an inn in town. We visited the beach and just enjoyed ourselves. Col convinced me to dip my feet in the water (in November!). It actually wasn't that cold when it was just my feet, but then all of a sudden, a big swell came in and soaked me up to my knees. Kind of exhilarating actually (thank goodness we weren't too far from the car).

Monday, August 15, 2011

July, she will fly

It's a chilly rainy day—one of the first we've had since spring. On my drive home from work tonight, I passed a maple tree that was half orange already. An early changer, but could it be that fall is so close when I haven't even posted my pictures from berry picking from July 4th weekend?

Every year right about this time of year I am reminded of that old Simon and Garfunkel song that I love so much April, Come She Will, a love song to fleeting Time. This year Time seems more fleeting than ever. But I am cherishing these days.

So, yes, we did go berry picking in July. We picked strawberries and I made jam. We picked blueberries, which I froze. We celebrated birthdays, spent time with family. We did our annual picnic & concert on the Green at Shelburne Museum. It was a full, wonderful month.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

in search of the perfect creemee

It's official. I'm pregnant. This week marks the halfway point, and all I have to say is, "holy cow, that went fast!" and "where's my next creemee coming from??" What a lovely summer it's been—hot and sunny. Perfect creemee weather actually. And the little pea and me need all the calcium we can get right now. So hey. I tried the creemee made with fresh strawberries at the Charlotte Berry Farm. That was quite lovely. I tried the creemee that everyone's been talking about from Cookie Love in Ferrisburg. Verrry creeeeammmy. Mmm! I even had a soft serve from McDs when we were on the road. Hey, it did the trick. But the best creemee I've had so far this summer? The mocha creemee from the Bluebird Tavern kiosk on Church Street. A. ma. zing.

Are there other creemees I need to know about?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

my best friend

In a couple of weeks, Col and I will be celebrating our 6 year anniversary since we first started dating. Sometimes I feel like it's been twice that long. But honestly the whole trip has been a real breeze. That's because my boy makes it so easy. Even if I TRY to pick a fight with him sometimes (now, why on earth would I do that??) he always knows how to talk me down off the ledge. He's so patient with me. He makes me laugh. He inspires me to step out of my comfort zone—and that keeps life exciting!

Col has taught me so many things. And not just how to be a better person. He taught me how to snowboard so that we could spend our weekends together in the winter and now I'm good and I love it and I can't wait to go again.

He has tried to teach me things that I didn't end up loving. For example, he tried to teach me how to surf once on Nantucket, but I had a panic attack while I was on my board thinking about sharks and drowning that I had to go in. But at least with surfing, we can still be together. I can sit on the beach and watch him on the water and say to myself, "That's my boy. He loves life so much. And that makes me love him even more."

Monday, May 30, 2011

after a long silence

You've probably wondered where I've been. For forty days, I've been silent on my little online journal. It's not for lack of things to say. On the contrary. But sometimes, when happenings are so large and intense that they overwhelm the senses, it takes a good dose of thoughtful reflection to absorb and appreciate them. And then to be able to describe them.

I've always been moved by Wordsworth's poem I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud. In it he describes walking into a vast, neverending field of dancing daffodils. At the time, he gazes at the beauty, but it isn't until much later, in quiet reflection, that he comes to truly appreciate all of the richness that experience brought him. And it isn't until that point of quiet reflection and realization that he is moved to write about it.

I feel like I haven't given myself that time to reflect. And thus, no reason to write about it.

But this week, I am not going to work. I am not putting any pressures on myself. And I am taking time to be by myself and to reflect. We should all be so lucky to do this every once it a while. I am counting my blessings!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

spring scenes in the city

I'm a country girl of sorts. But I find beauty in cities. There's something about a metropolitan skyline, juxtaposed with earthly elements, that just heightens your awareness of the natural beauty around us. A pink sunset reflecting off a glass building. An apple blossom canopy over a dingy old fire hydrant. Yes, there is beauty in these things.

Here are some images that I took recently (on my phone no less), one in Burlington, a couple in New York. Perhaps it's the dirty, man-made city stuff framing Mother Nature in such an unexpected way that makes her look even more charming and awe-inspiring.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

running in the rain

For many people, I think inclement weather is considered good reason enough to put off a workout. Not me though. I don't even need that excuse. For me, a mere "I'm tired," is enough to keep me from putting on my running shoes.

But the rain, I could run in the rain all day. I love the cool, wet on my face. The sound of puddles splashing as I pass by. The verdant landscape all around me that seems to pop with a bright spring green in big contrast to the gray skies above.

I think this rain-running love started way back when I was training on the ski and cross-country teams in school. When you're training, you don't just not run because it's raining. Your coach will see to that. So you learn to enjoy it.

But like I said before, it's not bad weather that holds me back. It's my excuses and lack of motivation. Without a coach around to hold me accountable, I'm realizing that I need a support system to keep me going when "I'm too tired" seems to roll off the tongue so easily these days. So the other day, my sisters and I decided to be each others' support systems.

But today, on the first day of the new motivated me, I texted them to see if they wanted to go running with me after work. Turned out neither of them could make it. I was feeling sorry for myself. For a little bit. But the thing about a support system is this: when all else fails you need to be able to support yourself.

So tonight I left work with all intentions to go running. I got home, fed the cats. I was hungry, so I had a snack. I could feel the urge to run waning with every minute I stalled. So I bargained with myself: "just go for a walk and if you feel like running, you can." That was enough to get me out the front door. But as soon as I got outside it started raining. A good, solid, steady rain. "I can't walk in this," I thought to myself. So I started running. I ran the whole way and got home drenched and hot and chilly all at the same time. But it felt so good. And I was so proud of myself for just doing it. All by myself. So I wanted to celebrate this little moment somehow. So here it is: I went running. Yay!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

springish pasties

The kind of spring we've had this week—the cold drizzle and whipping wind, the smell of damp earth, the robin redbreast hopping about the mud puddles—reminds me of England. In particular, it reminds me of a walk along a certain Dorset footpath and through the wild windswept pastures of Worth Matravers, which slope down to the sea in a disquieting fashion.

It was after (or before? I can't quite remember) that walk, we stopped by the local pub for some of what our Uncle Richard told us were the best Cornish pasties and cider around. They certainly were. It was on that day that many traditions unfolded, not the least of which our famed Butterboots. I often think upon that day with such fondness and nostalgia. I would love to go back... But in the meantime, here is the Cornish pasty recipe that I tried to recreate with mixed success and which I'm thinking of trying again for a pasties & cyder night very soon.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

powder on the mount

One of the popular courses of discussion at my work, besides food of course, is the weather. That probably goes without saying at many a workplace. Especially with such a snowy winter as we have had. And what I've noticed from these kinds of conversations is that you can immediately detect the skiers and riders from everyone else. They're the ones that, when April 1 rolls around and the weather service puts out a winter storm warning predicting 6-8 inches of snow, are crossing their fingers for powder. Whereas everyone else just gets depressed. I belong to the former group.

So yesterday at work, when the only wet coming from the sky was a cold, damp rain, and some anti-snowy colleagues began to gloat, "I knew that forecast couldn't be true," I found myself slightly annoyed. "I'll show them!" I thought to myself and set my alarm clock for 6:45 a.m. this morning (Saturday). I dragged myself out of bed and called the Stowe line. They had 6" of fresh snow! With Colin on the other side of the world and my snowboarding friends out of town, I packed up my stuff and went to Stowe solo.

I found a quiet untouched corner and had powdery trails all to myself. "Where is everyone?" I wondered. I guessed they were probably back at home cleaning up their yards for spring. Or taking a run in the mud and puddles. Not me though, I was enjoying full-on winter up there.

I took some pics with my phone and texted them to Col. "Pow! Wishing you were here." He was just about to have dinner in Hong Kong. "Having pre dinner drinks overlooking HK," he texted back. (That text'll cost $0.25). I was about to ride a trail that's only open when there's lots of snow, because of all the rocks and drops. First time I tried it was with Col during the epic March snowstorm. Second time was now, by myself. So I sent another pic to prove I was doing it. He wrote back, "Wow... that's unfair! Shred the pow pow!" (Another $0.25, but so worth it: I miss my boy and having that little conversation was the next best thing to having him there with me.)

I wish I could say I stayed there all day, but after a couple of hours I was tired and ready to go home. And by that point, the snow was getting chunky and wet and slow. No, didn't last long, but it was long enough to get outside and enjoy this beautiful paradise we live in.

As I drove back to Burlington, the snow began to recede. It was a totally different world and climate less than an hour away. I walked up to my back door and noticed that the huge pile of snow that had accumulated on top of our garden is almost totally melted. I picked up a couple of stray papers that had blown around onto the yard and underneath one of them I found fresh green 2" shoots sprouting out of the dead chive patch from last year. My chives are up!

Winter at the mount, spring in the valley. I can live with that. It's the best of both worlds.

Friday, April 01, 2011

from scratch: homemade pizza

I'm trying to make more things from scratch. But, you know, I'm such a perfectionist, I've had this mental block with certain things that are out of my comfort zone. Like pizza dough. Active yeast? Scary. But as soon as I tried it a couple of times and experimented with different flours, I started feeling more comfortable with the process. I even found a great recipe from work that you can make in your food processor (even the kneading!). Here's my creation that I made for dinner tonight: homemade dough and fresh spring veggies, including spring garlic from the hot dudes at Jericho Settlers Farm, shitakes from the guy in Colchester, spinach and arugula. Yum!

Monday, March 28, 2011

a rickety, but creative, process

During both pregnancies, my sister Emma had her baby bump set in a belly cast as a memento. Hannah painted a scene of an African savanna on the first one.

When Em told me she wanted me to paint the belly cast from Teo, I was at the same time excited and nervous. I didn't want to mess it up. And it's been a reaallllly long time since I've done any painting.

Emi asked if I could do a marine life scene. So at first I thought I might do the same color scheme as Hannah's painting, but instead of silhouette, I would make the water dark and the fishies bright and colorful. So I started with a bright yellow base coat.

Then I painted on the deep blue sea...

I had turned my dining room into a studio. I was getting in the groove again. It felt good.

But then I got stuck. I knew I wanted to do mamas and babies. But suddenly school bus yellow seemed totally wrong for the whales, basking in some sun rays from above. And I wanted to make the dolphins blue too. The palette was turning tonal. "That's okay," I thought. "I'll do a coral reef and tropical fish at the bottom and they be bright and colorful." Colin even started helping me by painting some of the coral reef.

Problem was, I didn't like it. Something didn't feel right, no matter how much I painted and painted, but I couldn't put my finger on it. So I put it away for a while. I sort of forgot about it for a bit, though in the back of my mind, there was a gnawing feeling. Must. finish. that. painting.

Then inspiration manifested itself in the most unexpected place. I was at a dinner party, where my friend Kadina was painting faces. The electric green animal print she painted on my face was super-cool.

Hannah snap a photo on my iPhone and we carried on with our night. But the next day, I looked at it again and suddenly I had the inspiration I needed. I pulled out the belly cast and all of my paints and art supplies and I got to painting. Green, lots of green. I muted the sea turtles. I painted over the fire orange sea horses. I green-tinted the crabs. I even covered up the yellow strips on the angelfish. The last to go was the coral reef. I left just enough coral-colored coral for a little pop.

Now, the only yellow that's left are little specs of the undercoat peeking through the deep blue water. It looks like electrified plankton drifting through the sea.

Dang, that felt good. It's done. I gave it to Em & Kev yesterday. I'm pleased. Here it is.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

inspiration: buy local art

It's that time of year again: tax return time. Col and I decided that if we did get any money back this year, no matter what we did with it, we wanted to use at least some of it to buy some art. We've both been pining over a couple of paintings by Greg Mamczak, a Burlington artist who used to share a studio with our friend Isaac. He does these awesomely vivid paintings in his paint-by-number-style that has you looking for hours. So we got in touch and one of the paintings we liked was still available—it's one of his simpler ones from 2006. Greg dropped the painting off yesterday and we were so excited. Not only because we love it and we're adding to the art in our house, but also because we're supporting a local artist. So here is our Untitled 2006. yay!

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