1/52, The New Year

A time for setting goals and reconsidering plans, the New Year seems like a good time to embark on what’s known as “The 52 Project”. It’s just my kind of project – it has minimal rules, a loose structure, and plenty of room for inspiration. The 52 project is simply a commitment to create a portrait of each of my children, once a week, for a year – or, 52 weeks. That’s all there is to it.

Lord knows how this time is flying by.

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Nora- a snowy hike in the woods. Just me & her. Some much needed alone time with my girl.

Henry- His personality is starting to shine through. This boy is all smiles and giggles, he just goes with the flow and takes it easy on his mama.


Amsterdam

My favorite way to travel has always been to pretend to live in a new place. To stay in an apartment where I can cook, in a neighborhood where I can walk and shop and generally do the everyday things I do at home. It sounds boring, sure, but it’s actually a great way to refresh and refocus. You get the a real sense of what it might be like to live in a new place, and I’m always amazed at how somewhat subtle differences in cities can have such a huge impact on how it feels to live out a day there.

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Fall Photo Dump

Well, the season has nearly passed us but it will remain one of my favorites (this fall in particular, and this season of my life especially). We’ve expanded to a family of four and have – so far – managed to keep up with our desire to get ourselves and our little ones into the great outdoors as much as possible. I’m attributing my lull in posts to exactly that. But in an effort to keep up this little record of our lives that I love so much, I’m dumping all of our remaining fall themed photos into this post. Enjoy!

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Apple Picking / Pumpkin Patch

Ah, the quintessential New England experience. Can’t let fall pass by without indulging in some apple picking (and the subsequent apple cake, apple cider and apple pie binge…)

Truth be told Nora was an absolute handful for most of this outing, mostly sitting in the stroller and being a grouch. So Chuck and I ended up doing most of the apple picking (with 8 day old Henry in tow!). We were apparently a bit too enthusiastic while trying to convince Nora that this really WAS a fun activity, which is possibly why we ended up with so many apples. I’m talking like 20 pounds of apples. Maybe more.

…there’s a lot of baking in our future.

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Henry James

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Though I’ve done it once before, I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that my body knows how make another body, complete with perfect, tiny toes and a button nose. And not just a body, but a little soul that will grow to have his own personality, passions, and opinions. Despite being the most basic of biological occurrences, I still find it to be nothing less than mind blowing.

There is no better day than the day you get to meet your babies. Those little ones you’ve spent so long waiting for. They’re always a thousand times more beautiful than you ever imagined – their faces more innocent, their cries and coos even sweeter, and their smell even more intoxicating. My heart melts when I see little flickers of expression on my babes’ faces, making them look so precisely like their daddy.

So welcome, Henry James. Named for your grandfather James Joseph, may his strength, determination and wisdom inspire you as you grow. May your name serve to remind you that you are of a long line of strong men, so loved for their devotion to their family. We already love you so.

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Vacation / Farmhouse in Maine

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So, here are the pictures from our charming week in a farmhouse in Maine. We found a property rental that included this little house, situated in the middle of a 70 acre working farm. It was exactly what we needed – some good, quiet family time. It had been a long time since Chuck had taken time off from work that wasn’t a long weekend or a work/vacation combination. I think it was good for his soul to really close the computer and turn off the phone (same goes for me.) Outdoor time is so important for our family and it’s always something we need to be intentional about since we live in the city. It’s easy to forget how good it is to be outdoors, but the second we pulled up to this little house and were able to let Nora and Auggie run free in the fields, we exchanged a look that said “oh yeah, we needed this.”


The Magic of the Woods / Life with a Toddler

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Some days (especially some mornings) it feels like my child and I are pulling in completely opposite directions. Despite endless efforts to make our home an accessible, child friendly, Montessori-style environment, there are days when all she wants to do is destroy the pile of mail and chuck all the shoes down the hallway. To play in the dog’s water bowl and scream at the pantry door for some mystery item that apparently doesn’t exist – though she’s convinced I’m withholding it from her.

Enter the magic of the woods.

Freedom to explore. Freedom, for me, to get some head space and solace. Freedom for a toddler to be a toddler. And best part is, the mess is all part of the fun.

Children are fascinating to watch in nature. It’s striking how often Nora is delicate with plants, berries, even rocks. How sure footed she is climbing rocks (and how appropriate it seems for her to climb rocks, when climbing on the table at home is such a “no no”). The woods take away all those rules and stresses and suddenly we’re no longer pulling in opposite directions anymore. We’re both just enjoying being present, together, outside.

The nap afterwards isn’t bad, either.


A Chilly Day in Rockport

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A few weeks ago we made it out to Rockport, one of my favorite coastal Massachusetts towns. Chilly beach days in the fall are my favorite, so it felt like an extra treat to have one at the end of July. Wearing sweaters and watching clouds with hot coffee in hand is the best way for us pale people to enjoy the coast.

It had been a year since our last visit to Rockport and it really made me notice all the changes that have happened since. Last year, it was squishy little 6 month old Nora’s first dip in the Atlantic. She hated it and cried on contact, but it was adorably sad and a memory I love. This year, the little daredevil repeatedly dragged us back into the frigid water, running into the tiny waves, climbing on rocks and showing no signs of being phased by the chill. Sometimes I’m not sure where this little water baby came from.

We also couldn’t take the train out this year (it’s such a gorgeous ride) because this big pregnant belly of mine has become too cumbersome, and conserving energy is the name of the game in the third trimester. So the car was less exciting, but more practical. It’s crazy to think that next year we’ll be there with both a toddler and an infant in tow. It all seems to fly by when you break it down by year, so I’ll just keep focusing on each day.


Digging in / Slowing Down

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I read a piece of advice a while back (which I’m sure I’ve twisted and changed to the point that it’s probably even not recognizable as the original advice anymore, but it serves me just as well) that said something along the lines of “when you’re feeling frustrated, try digging in to where you are instead of pushing back or running away. Get more present, not less.”

It’s advice that’s served me well in the last few months and inspired a whole lot of family-love and home-love. When I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by motherhood (and who doesn’t, sometimes?) I stop and question what it is I’m not enjoying at the moment, and focus on digging in to that piece and turning it positive instead of looking for a break. Somehow the house has suddenly stayed tidier and small walks around the block have felt more satisfying. Cluttered corners have become happy homes for objects that inspire peace, and more soulful cooking has been happening on weeknights. The garden is flourishing and we’re all just a little more relaxed.

So even though it’s the middle of summer, and nesting feels absurdly contradictory to the weather, I’m digging in to home and trying to appreciate the little things. The slower things and the smaller things.

And, we continue to wait, wait, wait for this little babe to arrive.