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A Weekend in a Snow Globe

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A snowy weekend away in The City with James. It looked magical but sure was a giant pain in the ass when trying to walk home from a formal affair in full length fur, or say while dragging a suitcase through the black slush and shin-deep puddles. I’ve never felt so grateful to live on back country dirt roads in Vermont in the heart of February.

We arrived home from Florida on Friday only to turn around the next morning to high tail it to New York for a friend’s bridal shower brunch and then evening wedding. It was glamorous and extravagant and stunning and so so fun. My parents watched the kids, and we had a blast on Friday evening staging a fashion show of potential wedding ensembles and digging through old college photos to prep my present for the bridal shower with their help. I can’t even begin to express my love and gratitude for my parents and all they do for me and my family. They are beyond…

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^^It snowed rather heavily so I was particularly grateful that my mother loaned me her full length fur complete with hood for traipsing through the city in an evening gown in the crazy winter weather.^^

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^^We made a stop at Barneys to admire my friend Maja’s bag designs for Byredo. She’s been working on this collection for months and it was incredible to see her hard work and talent on display in such a high profile locale. Maja, you never cease to amaze!^^

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^^We then danced the night away, enjoying an evening all to ourselves, in celebration of two of the most enthusiastic, warm-spirited people I know. A celebratory end to an indulgent and wonderful week.^^

It’s been rocky since returning home to Vermont, a painful juxtaposition to the happiness at the heart of the previous week, making our adventures all the more sweet. And I’m reminded, “Real isn’t who’s with you at your celebration… Real is who’s standing next to you at rock bottom.” Grateful for this man who’s with me for the highest highs, the lowest lows, and all the mundane, everyday stuff in between. And for a support network that rallies together in even the hardest and scariest of times. You provide hope and laughter and comfort during moments that I would have thought that impossible. You are all my gravity.

8/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Sunny: Florida was chillier than usual (though we certainly weren’t complaining given the negative degrees happening in Vermont), but it meant that we really only had one day that was hot enough for a full day at the pool. Sunny took advantage of every minute, and turned into a full blown prune after hours spent in the water. Our little mermaid.

Kaki: The mardi gras beads were such a hit. At a parade on Tuesday she collected over 50 and declared, “This the best fun!” She’s been wearing an assortment of them every day since.

Sunshine

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En route home. We soaked up as much Vitamin D as our skin could possibly absorb. Thanks for the winter respite, Florida.

Currently Reading

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer Weiner ever since jumping on The Bachelor/ette franchise this summer when a college classmate was one of the contestants on the show. I loathe the show and everything it represents with every fiber of my being, but it is like a train wreck in that it is so very hard to look away. Jennifer’s live tweets are what have kept my faith in humanity alive despite getting sucked into the vortex of some of my worst feminist nightmares realized on a hugely mainstream and popular stage.

Here recent Op-Ed in the NYT further confirmed my support of her work and commentary. It’s fitting to share in light of my post yesterday.

Show me a body part, I’ll show you someone who’s making money by telling women that theirs looks wrong and they need to fix it. Tone it, work it out, tan it, bleach it, tattoo it, lipo it, remove all the hair, lose every bit of jiggle. (Full piece here)

Baby Belly

Mama, it looks like there is a baby in your belly.

I visibly wince and look up from my book.

An insecurity that hovers just beneath the surface, particularly about my mid-section, particularly post-two pregnancies, comes rearing to the fore. Fashion magazines of wash board abs and the harsh reality that my body is anything but collide at the words of my oldest daughter.

As I take a deep breath to respond, James jumps into the conversation…

Sunny, we shouldn’t…

And I cut him off before he has a chance to finish his thought. I know that he is about to “defend” me and try to protect me from any comment that might make me feel critical of my body. (A body he adores, and that I adore, but of course find myself critiquing in moments of weakness or nostalgia (Oh if I’d only appreciated my body before two babies made me “soft”!) (Such outrageous thinking as my body is fucking badass for creating such incredible human beings and bringing them into this world. They’ve made me tougher and more amazing – not softer! Not less anything!). But James’ attempt to tell Sunny that we shouldn’t say that to a woman (because it is considered inherently a criticism rather than a neutral, or GASP! positive statement) is about to do more harm to our daughter’s perception of beauty and health and wellness than he realizes.

Does it? Well, I don’t have a baby in my belly. But I have lots of yummy food from last night’s dinner and ya know, mommy’s tummy always sticks out a little bit, especially after having you and your sister live in there. That belly was once your home, so sometimes it might look like a baby is in there, because once upon a time TWO babies lived in there.

Well, I love your belly, Mama.

And I tell her that I love my belly, too, because I want my daughters to love their bodies, whatever form they take. I want them to push out the noise and the demands and the ridiculous standards that will tell them that they are somehow flawed, or not enough, or too much, or less than, or lacking, or in need of change. And they remind me to do the same.

I love my belly, too.

7/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Sunny: Five years, nine months
Kaki: Three years, six months

LOVE

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We’re using today as an excuse to celebrate love of all kinds, especially the love between sisters. There’s nothing quite like it. And I feel so fortunate to not only experience that love firsthand with my own sister, but to watch it unfold between my daughters.

Sunny’s February vacation starts today, so we’re off to sunny Florida to visit Ghillie and Ranger and escape the piles of snow on the ground. A much needed tropical respite!

Wishing everyone love in all of its many, beautiful, complicated forms!

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I hope you know by now, no matter where you are, that the way Life sings through us into the whole, wide world is something like magic & you will always be the reason I’m not afraid to love.

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everywhere I imagine being alive, there you are & all I can do is say thank you to a universe that has you in it.

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It’s not that I can’t live without you. It’s that I live so much with you that I don’t want to miss a bit of it.

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It only took a moment to decide to love you, wildly with my whole heart & the thing that amazes me again & again is that it really is as simple as that.

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I will carry you with me to the end of my days, remembering all those moments you taught me to trust my own heart to be alive.

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All quotes from StoryPeople.

SNOW MO

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While we’re certainly sick of shoveling (namely James, and namely for lack of space to pile any more mountains of the fluffy stuff), it is such fun with the kids and dogs. Given how sick we’ve all been, I was grateful for Monday’s snow day, as it provided time as a family to just get outside and have some fun in the ridiculous mounds and mass quantities of snow. We put the iPhone 6 to work and made snow-mo (har har) after snow-mo.

And we were all so worn out and physically wiped from traipsing through the snow that everyone went to bed easily and happily. Here’s a compilation of our favorites from the afternoon. I particularly love our voices in slow motion.

St. Onge Sweaters

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The snow days preceding my trip to Seattle and then my cross country travels gave me ample time to finish these two sweaters for one of my oldest and dearest friend’s daughters. I find knitting to be a (relatively) relaxing and (definitely) rewarding activity during these cold winter months. I tend to retire my needles once the days lengthen and I can spend my time playing outdoors, but I love to hunker down and knit for those I love during these dark days of winter. It’s a time consuming activity, but I get so much joy from gifting handmade items that I’ve been able to carefully construct and personalize.

I’ve been meaning to make something for these sweet sisters for some time, and Clara’s 1st birthday was the perfect occasion. I love this little cardigan pattern so much – not only because it is a breeze to make, but because it fits for years and can be used during all the seasons. I worked with Spud and Chloe’s Sweater Yarn (holy amazing! I don’t think I’ll ever knit another baby/kid’s sweater in any other yarn) in Splash because the color reminded me of the color of Lydia’s little sailboat growing up. A huge part of our friendship is rooted in the sea, and we spent our childhoods sailing side by side. I loved finding a color that hinted at that history. I then couldn’t resist sourcing the buttons from Danforth Pewter, a Vermont company. Given that I now live in VT and Lydia went to College in VT, we both hold this state in high regard. And, I went with sea-themed buttons, opting for sand dollars that remind me of sunny summer days diving off the edge of boats into the sea to collect them from the sand bar and scallops that lined the shores of our beaches growing up.

I knit a size 18 months for the 1 year old and a size 5 for the 3 year old, and hope that they’ll enjoy them for years to come.

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.

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For details visit my Ravelry project here

Happy

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Another triumphant snap of Sunny on a snowy incline. If there were a soundtrack to marry to this kid’s skiing adventures, it’d be Pharrell’s “Happy.” And, yes, I understand what a giant cliché that is, but it’s so fitting for her affect while she’s slipping and sliding downhill.

She and I spent Sunday afternoon skiing together, and we had to take one very long Green Circle around the edge of the mountain to get to the bunny slope chair lift. It took us a full hour. There was lots of falling and clothes-saling (loss of skis, apparel, etc) and face planting. Each time she rose, quietly determined to continue on. Forty-five minutes in, her mood began to falter. Tears started to flow on one particularly hard fall. I reminded her that she was doing so well, and being so brave, and learning so much. Each fall was actually a sign of progress.

I thought her eyeballs might freeze to the roof of her skull.

I was worried that that run would derail her positive feelings toward this winter sport. Learning to ski is a fine balance of fun but also tough learning through falls and spills and slips and twirls. Fortunately, in the home stretch of the hill, she hit her stride and I snapped the above photo as she slid to the finish.

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Fortunately, the bunny slope provided great opportunity for practice and confidence building. By the end of three hours, she had mastered getting on and off the chairlift without any problems, and would zoom down the mountain, easily navigating around other people on the hill. She did not once ask to take a break, so we skied until our tickets allowed.

It was snowing hard, but that didn’t seem to slow her down, even though she was wearing my adult sized goggles, that she quickly abandoned and instead just skied full bore into the snow, mouth wide open, tongue out, catching snowflakes as she flew. As I was beginning to feel the chill, I asked her, “How’re you feeling, kiddo?”

HAPPY!!! 

(And we’ve got the chairlift selfie to prove it).

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We shared genuine moments of laughter – joy where we were on the same page. It’s one thing to extract joy from observing your child in the world and another whole level of awesome to experience a mutual, shared human amusement with your child. At one moment on the chairlift I was nearly blindsided by happiness, and Sunny must have felt it too as she leaned over unexpectedly and kissed me on the cheek. No words exchanged, but world’s communicated.

While my body was physically exhausted from hauling and dragging and schlepping her five year old body around the mountain each time she took a spill, I felt so energized upon arrival home that evening. The therapy of a day out in the snow and cold buzzing down a mountain with my eldest child.