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Month: July, 2015

Steve & Justin

I’ve been meaning to share this story of our friends’ Steve and Justin’s real wedding.

The first same-sex wedding at the White House.

Jon’s telling of the story is wonderful. And I’m thrilled that it can finally be shared with the world.

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

Sunny: Spending two weeks at Camp Kimmy. Making herself right at home with a rainbow array of straws.
Kaki: Rosy-cheeked and winded after running laps around the football field at the school where Auntie Kimmy teaches marine science.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

Separation. AGAIN!

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Courtland and I just returned home from a whirlwind trip the South Coast of Massachusetts to drop Sunny off with Auntie Kimmy for 2 weeks of art camp by the sea. We spent the night, we sisters four, and beat the heat in the ocean for a few hours this morning, but then Kaki and I loaded up and headed back west.

She cried for a solid hour, bemoaning their SECOND separation, and expressing dismay that we KEEP MAKING THEM SAD AND NOT TOGETHER!

The reality is, they’ll be reunited in three days when James and I drop Kaki off at my parents on Cape Cod, and Kimmy and my parents juggle the two of them while James and I head to Chicago for a wedding and then Michigan to meet Sunny’s FGP’s newest addition, a sweet baby girl (OH-M-GEE BRING ON THE INFANT SNUGGLES!). But three days feels like an eternity in the life of a preschooler. And so sob she did.

How lucky they are to have one another and a love like this.

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Hurricane John Boehner

Thank you, Doda, for putting this on my radar.

YES! Love.

Closet slash Study slash Echo Room // in progress

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We are slowly but surely turning what was Courtland’s nursery and toddler room into a hybrid closet slash office (and by office, we mean room with a desk in it – which has yet to be purchased) slash room where we can dump an air mattress if we need an extra place for guests to sleep.

When we moved into the house, the walls were bright mustard yellow and we crammed a crib and bureau and changing table into the tiny space. See bright yellow background in these photos below. I wish I could find the BEFORE pix of the space, but alas, you’ll have to trust me that it was a bit of a hot mess.

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In fact, we referred to it as “Courtland’s Closet,” so it’s apt that it is now indeed functioning as such. The area where the girls clothes now hang was where we had the crib and then toddler floor bed tucked when Kaki inhabited the space. Then we transitioned the girls into a bedroom together this fall, which demanded that we create a closet space since our house has very little storage.

James set to work and turned that nook into a space for hanging clothes, bins and drawers to store all the girls clothing. A trip to Home Goods outfitted us with the purple and grey bins, and it’s been functioning as a closet ever since.

We loved the shades from CellularWindowShades.com we used in the girls bedroom, and decided to give one of their cordless, top down/bottom up shades a try. We opted for the licorice color as I like how it pops against the white walls and blends with the grey tones of all the accent colors. We once again got it in black out, so that when people sleep in that room, it’s plenty dark, and so when I’m editing photos at the desk, I can block any sun glare as need. I would say that I even prefer the cordless to the corded we have in the girls room. Less hassle. Less extra. Two thumbs up. Yay MADE IN VERMONT!

It’s taken us forever to commit to the set up for the other side of the room, so I thought I’d share the progress as the kick-in-the-butt I need to finally finish the space. The girls currently refer to it as the ECHO ROOM, since it’s so empty besides their clothes that the echo-capacity is intense. Motivation to find a solid rug and some wall hangings to absorb some of that sound.

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

Sunny: It’s been busy ’round these parts. Sunny spent the week at art camp making all manner of projects. Her favorite medium was clay.
Kaki: This week she started swim lessons and ballet class. While it took her a bit to warm up to the swim lessons, she took to the dance classes in a heart beat. Our little performer. 

In other news, our Jeep broke down 150 miles from Vermont while I was at a wedding shoot last weekend, so James and the girls had to come out to the North Shore of Boston to rescue me on Sunday after driving home from the Poconos on Saturday night. It is exactly the demise I’d predicted for that car. We abandoned her at a Sears Auto Center, and she’s being donated for tax deductible benefits and our sanity.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

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

Sunny: She spent the week in the Poconos with her Ghillie and Ranger fishing up a storm. She claims to have caught over 20 fish. Her favorite, of course, were the Rainbow Trout. (iPhone snap since we weren’t with her to document the event!)
Kaki: Meanwhile, back in Vermont, Courtland requested nightly handling of the baby chicks, filling in her sister’s Chick Whisperer shoes very nicely.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

Soul Sister

We’re hand in hand strolling from her preschool to the ice cream shop. She’s singing one of her signature made-up tunes at full volume, causing smiles to explode on the faces of passing strangers. Sunny skies. Fresh air. Small town life. Me and my second born.

Mama, Cookie Sumbustion (combustion) is my favorite flavor. But I sometimes like to eat Purple Cow, too. We’ll have to look at the menu and see what they have today. You like Mud Pie but it has coffee in it and that will make me sick. But remember when Noah (friend, age 3) drank his mama’s coffee, that was so silly. My hand is so sweaty, but I like holding your hand, so I guess I like being sweaty…

I let her ramble on, quietly delighting in the explosions of thoughts and language coming out of my child who was rather delayed on the verbal front. While her pronunciation of words still needs plenty of work, she is anything but non-communicative these days.

Our ice cream rendez-vous is a happy affair. She has a full conversation with a lady on a nearby bench about ice cream flavors and sprinkle color choice. Smiles and giggles abound. When it’s time to head to the car, however, I feel her energy shift. I feel the frenetic, unpredictable quiet take hold.

I don’t want to get in the car. I want to walk home.

I explain, calmly, that our home is not a walkable distance and that we need to get into the car and get home to the dogs.

But I want to WALK home.

As her voice elevates, I know that our happy scene is about to devolve into tantrums and tears and frustration.

And so it does. And she screams and stomps and shouts and whines and cries the entire 15 minute ride to our house.

In the heart of my frustration, my mind is swirling with mean, cruel thoughts about my child, the child that only moments before I had so proudly and blissfully walked hand-in-hand down the street has turned into a demon that I cannot tolerate or begin to understand.

Why does she do this? I whisper across the seat to James, under the shit storm unfolding behind us.

Because she’s 3. Because she’s sensitive. Because she’s our Courtland.

And that is the heart of the matter. Our Courtland, who has always ridden the highest highs and lowest lows often within mere minutes of one another, is one heck of a ride.

Bed time was a similar event, though by that time in the day my patience is spread so thin that my once calm responses begin to mimic my child’s tantrums as I stomp and yell and cry in reply.

And yet, this is how we ended our evening. Her, asleep on my chest, after she’d crawled into my arms and we’d said our “I’m sorry for yellings,” “I’m sorry for not listenings,” “I love you to the moon and backs.”

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The ultimate display of unconditional love, to forgive and end the day with words of kindness and gratitude. And wake up the next day, knowing you’ll brave another unpredictable shit storm and feel so gut-wrenchingly grateful for it.

Independence Day // 2015


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We had another memorable 4th of July weekend with James’ family in the Poconos. There was summer camp, and red, white and blue, and fly fishing, and bonfires, and s’mores, and lake swimming, and family bonding, and cocktail parties, and dancing, and hanging with dear friends, and bronzing, and five dog madness, and even some rainy day reading by the fire that lasted briefly enough to not soil the spirit of the weekend.

All the makings of a successful 4th of July holiday.

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Cherry Season // 2015

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Last week was Cherry Week at Cartwheel Farm. Our dozen trees ripened and were speckled with red, signaling the all-too-brief yearly harvest of sour cherries. It took us 3 days to pick and then pit the 10 cups of cherries that we put in our annual Sour Cherry Pie. So much work. But a tasty 4th of July treat.

This recipe from the Smitten Kitchen is now our go-to. That almond crumble for the top is everything!

We may need to consider investing in a cherry picker, because right now only the birds benefit from the spoils of the higher branches. And Penelope and the chickens delights in those that fall. It’s a delicious week for all critters, particularly the pie beneficiaries.