A few weeks ago, I played hooky from work in order to spend a quality day of goofing-off with my dear friend Shannon at the Maryland Zoo.  The timing was perfect: a) It was my first day in weeks to walk away from work without the overwhelming pressure of deadlines, b) I was given free admission tickets by my local Managing Partner, and c) God gave us a day full of sun, blue skies, mild temperatures and space to run wild.  

Nate is growing up so fast.  He's no longer a baby, but a partner in crime.  Alex enjoys the shift.

::The zoo is full of the obvious, but it's a pleasure to see the excitement through a child's eyes.  There's a fascination of watching your child timidly feed a giraffe some lettuce, observe a baby elephant lumber around, or yell at the polar bears in hopes of waking them up.  It fills you with joy and pride.

And somehow, the smallest inhabitants of the zoo, the frogs, left the two of them speechless.

I will admit that I have a fondness for the primates, which must be a result of spending days of my childhood at The Philadelphia Zoo (they still have the most amazing primate section!).

:: Discovery comes in all sizes.  A pinecone catches Nate's attention in the petting zoo.

My friend Christina and I recently agreed that we feel more aware of life, more grateful of the changing seasons, & appreciative of simple blessings since bearing children.  

As if the clarity and brightness on each picture of life is sharper and bolder.  

My heart is thankful every day for this journey.


~this moment~ letting your hair down

Make over, comb over.  It doesn't matter.  Just enjoying each other's company.

{this moment} -  A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. via SouleMama


Bring me a Bucket (List)

I came across a post entitled "You are Already Naked" on the blog Dig This Chick, and Nici talked about how Today's Mama is challenging people to come up with 15 items on their bucket list. So, I took the bait because honestly I like lists.  Not shopping lists, but goals.  I like to think about goals, to work towards them, to achieve them, and more importantly to change or remove them.  I'm a big believer that life is an adventure in evolution, and a bucket list is one of those ways to help us become who we want to be.  So anyway, here are 15 items off the top of my head in no particular order:
1) Get a culinary degree. (This has been on my list since college, but I'll take an overall degree instead of an emphasis in fine baking.)
2) Visit New Zealand with my daughter and husband and good friends who are from the country.
3) Get a motorcycle license.
4) RV in a retro Airstream across the country.
5) Learn to play guitar.
6) Learn to crochet.
7) Try snowboarding.
8) Go to a lodge in the middle of winter.  Exhaust myself with the best sledding/tubing around and then recover in front of a roaring fire with a good book or good company.
9) Visit Salzburg, Austria and sing "The Sound of Music" while twirling on a green mountain top.
10) Continually find inspiration in the everyday.
11) Take Alex back to Baker, Oregon and show her the family house still on the Oregon Trail. Teach her about our heritage as settlers, cowboys, and gold miners.
12) Learn to preserve food.
13) Make Cheese from scratch.  Feta & Mozzarella. 
14) Learn to weld. Yes, I want to learn all sorts of ways to fuse metal. 
15) Always feed my desire to constantly learn and grow as a person, as a human being, as a mother and wife, as a friend and family member.

Just Ask offers a breast and ovarian cancer screening and is encouraging people to share 15 things that I want to enjoy in my lifetime as a reminder to be aware of my health. This is my entry in the Just Ask Bucket List Getaway Giveaway. Interested? Head over to Today's Mama to get the details.


~this moment~ my fairy

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. via SouleMama



Halloween.  I always liked it, but when you have a kid, it's like having a hall pass.  Everything is fun - seasonal crafts, baking, picking pumpkins.  I'll admit that I'm bad about the candy, and Ben and I have been "training" our bellies for weeks.  When I was first pregnant, I remember putting on 13 pounds like that (snap!).  It might have been the hormones, but I think the cauldron of candy 10 paces from my office door had something to do with it too!  Moving on...

Alex was in to Halloween this year.  How could she not, seeing that she dresses up every day?  Of course, I had a premonition that she would not wear anything that I would make from hand. Alex is three with a decisive thoughts, and her #1 dress flexes with the tide.  I just knew if I slaved over a costume and she didn't wear it, my blood would boil and next thing I would be "bad mommy."  And you know what, my hunch came true.  

We were rushing to dress her before the neighborhood kids arrived at my house.  New Dorothy shoes arrived on time - check.  Rufus in the basket - check.  Clean Dorothy dress that someone else made and I scored at our consignment shop - check.  Argument about having to wear a leotard and tights underneath to keep her warm - check.  And that's when it got really messy.  

All Alex wanted to wear is a well-loved, ratty fairy dress with missing sleeves. And if I won the battle about the leotard, I knew that I had to sway with her.  It was loud, but I caved.

As you can see, Rufus (her dog playing Toto) and the basket were left at home in lieu of Greeny and the Dorothy shoes made the cut. 
In our neighborhood,  we have much more than just houses. 

We have the dock neighbors too.
Thanks Dave for making the dock a special place to visit!
It's was a new experience to walk your child around at dusk on a dock without a life vest. 

Ben and I felt insecure watching them toddle up and down the docks - it's like shoving your kid in the car and not belting them into their car seats on purpose.  The sensation gnaws at you.  We made jokes.  And I thought about how we all survived with our parents letting us roam around the back of cars and how they drank and smoked during pregnancy.  And I knew that it would be fine.
Of course, it was a neighbor's stoop, not the docks, that caused Alex to tumble face first.  

And for only visiting 6 boats and 10 houses, these kids' buckets were brimming.  I guess you could say that the neighbors are thrilled to have a younger generation around. 
 Happy Halloween you silly goose.  I think you'll love the dress-up dress I'll make you for Christmas.  xo