October 15, 2014
by Tricia
12 Comments

For your bucket list

If you’ve never been to a wedding on the beach, that is something you need to fix. Put it on your bucket list. Crash one if you have to. Stand in the sand, just beyond the white folding chairs, and watch the veil fly in the wind, mingling with the clouds and the sky and the foamy white waves. Listen to the man and woman vow to honor and love one another through sickness and health as their toes curl around the sand, even if they are complete strangers. Just be there and you won’t regret it. Beach weddings are truly magical.

beachaltar

Weddings are transcendent things for me. Each one reminds me of my wedding, no matter how different the venue, how varied the circumstances. They remind me of the vows I made. And they reveal just how much life has passed since the day I stood in a white dress and promised that my hand would always be there when he reached for it. They remind me that those vows you make on that day are so hard to keep. It takes work. So much effort. So much more than love. Somehow, watching a couple start down that road reminds me how worth it all of it is. The work, the effort, how deep you have to reach to keep going and hold on. I come away from a wedding wanting to go back. All the way back these eight and a half years to that day when we started.  And then, since you can’t go back, I vow to go forward and remember that we promised. We vowed. And it is worth the effort.

I need more weddings in my life.

And more sunrises like this one.

sunrisebeach

We made a mommy-daughter road trip to be there. 4 hours there one day and 4 hours back the next. To watch my cousin marry her love.

It was my girl’s first wedding. And she was fascinated. I explained the wedding party to her as the men and women processed in. I called out for her the moment when it was official. They were married. And she stared, her eyes glued to them the whole time. To her, the bride was a princess and the whole event magical. As they danced her first dance, she didn’t miss a step.

That she got to wear a fancy blue dress that made her feel like a princess made it all the more magical. That it was at the beach, that she got to dip her toes in the water, a gigantic added bonus. How she managed to stand in the water, which must have been below freezing, is beyond me. But she loved every second.

girlstaringatocean

Right below ‘attend beach wedding’ on your bucket list, you should add ‘dance in the ocean in your fanciest dress.’ These things, friends, will be the memories that keep you smiling and warm for the rest of your life.

fancydressocean

October 13, 2014
by Tricia
6 Comments

73 Questions

I’ve seen a few of these question posts floating around and thought it might be fun to do one myself!

To give credit where it’s due, I got the idea from Lindsey. I rarely reveal these kinds of random facts but I couldn’t agree more with Lindsey that the answers to these questions create a very revealing kaleidoscope about a person. I hope you feel that you know me just a bit better when you’re through!

These are the questions that Vogue asked Sarah Jessica Parker during an in-person interview. I omitted a few that were not at all relevant here so the result is slightly less than 73 questions. I also watched that video of SJP after answering the questions myself and was delighted to see we answered two in a row exactly the same (tell me if you ever discover which ones).

Also tell me if you answer them too. I’d love to know you better.

1. How long have you been in the area?
Since 2001.

2. What’s your favorite season in Washington DC?
Cherry Blossom season (spring)

3. What’s your favorite activity in Washington DC?
Walking around Eastern Market on a Sunday morning with my family (and coffee)

4. Would you ever leave Washington DC?
Yes.

5. What are three words to describe living in Washington DC?
Rich in history

6. What’s your favorite movie?
I don’t have one.

7. Favorite movie in past five years?
Don’t have one of those either.

8. Favorite Hitchcock film?
Not so much a Hitchcock fan

9. Favorite TV show that’s currently on?
Parenthood

10. What’s a book you plan on reading?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

11. A book you read in school that positively shaped you?
A Prayer for Owen Meany

12. A book you read in school that you never think of?
Heart of Darkness

13. On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now?
7

14. iPhone or Android?
iPhone

15. Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram

16. Vine or Snapchat?
Neither

17. Who should EVERYONE be following right now?
@heychookooloonks on Instagram. Her photos make me remember the joy of life.

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Weekend inspiration from @upsideup.

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18. What’s the coolest thing in this room?
The tissue paper flowers my daughter made for me for Mother’s Day

19. What’s your favorite downtown restaurant?
Founding Farmers

20. What’s your favorite food?
Pasta

21. Least favorite food?
Peas

22. What do you love on your pizza?
Just cheese

23. Favorite drink?
Chai

24. Favorite dessert?
Chocolate chip cookies

25. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Dark

26. Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Alligator

27. What’s the hardest part about being a mom?
That in every joyous milestone comes the pain of them pulling away but you still have to let them go.

28. What’s your favorite band?
Dave Matthews Band

29. Favorite solo artist?
I don’t have one.

30. Favorite lyrics?
The lyrics to Jack Johnson’s Talk of the Town. Specifically:
“I want to be where the talk of the town
Is about last night when the sun went down
And the trees all dance
And the warm wind blows in that same old sound
And the water below gives a gift to the sky
And the clouds give back every time they cry
And make the grass grow green beneath my toes
And if the sun comes out
I’ll paint a picture all about
The colors I’ve been dreaming of
The hours just don’t seem enough
To put it all together”

31. If your life were a song, what would the title be?
Turn it around

32. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
Norah Jones (ooh or maybe Stevie Nicks)

33. If you could master one instrument, what would it be?
Piano

34. If you had a tattoo, where would it be?
Promised my Dad I’d never get a tattoo so I’ve never let myself think about that.

35. To be or not to be?
To be

36. What’s Oprah like in person?
(Left this one in because how fun! Oh how I wish I knew Oprah in person.)

37. What number of question was this?
37

38. Dogs or cats?
Cats

39. Kittens or puppies?
Kittens

40. Dolphins or koalas?
Koalas

41. Bird-watching or whale-watching?
Whale-watching

42. What’s your spirit animal?
Dove

43. Best gift you’ve ever received?
My babies

kidsandwaterfallcamera

44. Last gift you gave a friend?
A necklace with a mama bird and a baby bird that used to be mine when I had just one baby. I passed it on to her as she begins her motherhood journey.

45. A person you want to have coffee with?
Any one of the friends I’ve had trouble scheduling time with these days!

46. A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with?
Anne Frank

47. How do you like your coffee?
Black

48. What’s your favorite curse word?
It begins with F…

49. What’s your favorite board game?
Scrabble

50. What’s your favorite country to visit?
Italy

51. What’s the last country you visited?
Mexico

52. What country do you wish to visit?
Peru

53. Can you write down your favorite word that starts and ends with the same vowel?
ease

54. What’s your favorite color?
purple

55. Least favorite color?
black

56. What color dress did you wear to your prom?
blue

57. Diamonds or pearls?
pearls

58. Cheap shampoo or expensive?
cheap

59. Blow-dry or air-dry?
blow-dry

60. Heels or flats?
both

61. Can you give an impersonation of someone?
Nope

62. Can you do the same impersonation with a British accent?
No

63. Pilates or yoga?
Both

64. Jogging or swimming?
Jogging

65. Best way to decompress?
A book, my couch, a blanket and either a glass of wine or cup of tea (depends on the day)

bookandtea

66. If you had one superpower, what would it be?
The power to heal

67. Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?
Auditioning for a show in DC

68. What’s the weirdest word in the English language?
moist

69. Last question: Is this the strangest interview you’ve ever had?
Quite possibly!

October 10, 2014
by Tricia
18 Comments

Lovely Little Things, 32

On Wednesday morning, my husband sent me a text. It said, “Good luck.” I responded, “Thx. You too.”

At that moment, he was sitting in an allergist’s office with our daughter, preparing to watch her eat small spoonfuls of peanut butter for 3 hours, hopefully uneventfully. I was sitting in yet another speech therapist’s office, preparing to meet the person who would, hopefully, connect with me and our quiet little boy and help us take steps we just haven’t been able to take. It felt weird to split our family this way. Half of us in one place, the other half someplace else. All of us gearing up for big moments but separately. Our children needing such different things but needing them so strongly. It also felt weird because it didn’t feel that weird. This, right now, is life for us. Needs that split. Sometimes there is no other way.

Three hours later, we all drove home together, salivating excitedly at the thought of indulging in peanut butter cups without worry. I gushed about the woman we’d finally met, the one I knew was out there, who is right for us and our son and his needs and ours.

The worry of parenthood can be all consuming. We’ve worried about him for months. We’ve worried about her at school, at every birthday party and play date, every time she puts anything in her mouth. We worry and it’s pointless but we worry anyway. And then we act. We don’t accept that the things that hurt our children or may negatively affect their lives have to be permanent. We believe that we can change things or that things will change. We ignored the doctor when she told us that our girl would be allergic to peanuts for life, that kids don’t outgrow this. We listened to our hearts saying that the people we’d found to help our son were not the right people for us and that the right people are out there. And we persisted.

Persisting. That is what you do through the all consuming worry of parenthood. You persist.

She will not be allergic for life. She is no longer allergic. The right people for us, for our boy, are out there. We found them.  And those are this week’s lovely little things.

lookingoutwindow

October 8, 2014
by Tricia
13 Comments

The trick that motherhood plays

He says it now. Mama. It flows freely from his mouth and it’s still so new that my heart still leaps when I hear it. Naturally, I love that of all of the possible first words, the universe of things he loves, trucks and snacks and planes, he chose to form his mouth around ‘Mama.’ I joke that every one of his future girlfriends will know this piece of our history. He says ‘Mama’ and reaches the part of me that wants to be needed and called by name. The part from which all of my mothering blossoms. He says ‘mama’ and my mind and heart finally agree yes, this is it. This is what we wanted. This is life.

pickingleaves

She’s crossed the threshold into five. Big kid with big clothes, big toys, big life. But she’s not quite ready to jump to the next level. Not quite ready for any more independence and growing and pulling away. So she asks to be carried. And she melts before bed. She’s staring into the giant landscape of new and change and bigger things and she’s clinging to what brings her comfort. And when she reaches for me, begs for me to tuck her in, curls up in my lap at the end of a long day, my mind and heart finally agree yes, this is it. This is what we wanted. This is life.

pushingcar

Of course, the needing, it does hurt. That old Skin Horse knew what he was talking about. It does hurt to be loved so much that your hair has been loved off and you look worn and shabby. After a day of a million ‘mamas’ I am painfully Real. I collapse into bed, drained in every which way and wondering if I have enough in me to give it all again, and more, tomorrow.

The days feel like endless rings spinning on an endless loop. Over and over, we run the same race, stumbling in the same places.

In motherhood, so many moments feel endless. Those early, hazy days and sleepless nights, nursing them for hours in the dark, I didn’t believe that time would ever end. Hoisting babies onto my hip, into car seats, shopping carts and strollers. I’m here now and this is life, isn’t it? My life will now be spent carrying small people from one place to the next, keeping them so close, my arms circled around them. I’ll forever wake well before the sun and welcome the day with a party of small feet drumming on the floor. I’ll always end my days by brushing someone else’s teeth and tucking blankets around tiny bodies.

It’s the trick that motherhood plays. She lures us into thinking that this moment, this phase, this time in our lives will last forever. Because otherwise, we’d be so overwhelmed with just how fleeting it is that we’d never put them down. We’d cradle them in our arms all night long and carry them on our hips as long as the sun shined for fear that once we put them down, they’ll never come back up.

family and tree

After a day of a million ‘mamas’ I don’t see the day in my future when I pick her up for the last time. I don’t believe in the moment when he doesn’t sit on my lap and rest a head of curls on my shoulder. When I am running on fumes and just wishing for the day to end, these moments are not real to me.

But sometimes, I see through the trick. I peek behind the curtain and see the illusion for what it is. The weight of his sweet little head on my shoulders brings me solidly into this moment when he is still small enough to sit on my lap and suddenly I can see the future. I see that this time eventually passes. Crib moves out to make space for a bed. Glider is carried out my front door to a new home, a new family beginning their journey into fleeting moments that feel like forever. There are these moments when I see it. I see the real future, the one in which they grow and change and no moment lasts forever.

kids and waterfall

The moment when I see it, the real future, is just as fleeing as every other moment in my life. It evaporates as soon as I catch it. But the memory of it lingers. My mind moves on, focuses on the things to do, the lists and the busyness. But my heart carries the torch. This is it. This is what we wanted. This is life. Don’t miss it.

October 6, 2014
by Tricia
2 Comments

Magic Light (a giveaway!)

I come downstairs in the morning, my little boy on my hip. He still wakes so very early and so we tiptoe around, careful not to wake his big sister. We reach the bottom step and turn the corner and the room glows with soft light from a lamp we have set on a timer. It turns itself off about a half hour after we go to bed each night and comes back on just before we descend the stairs in the morning. We haven’t had the timer for all that long and it still makes me happy. The soft glow of light is a much better welcome to the day than complete darkness.

Such a simple thing, really, light in the morning, to bring me happiness. Or maybe not.

It’s 2014 and if I don’t think too hard about it, I start assuming that everyone in the world could start their mornings just like this if they wanted. Welcomed by a soft glow. It’s 2014 and if I don’t think too hard about it, I forget that there are places that electricity doesn’t reach. There are places that begin and end their days in darkness and people who risk illness and injury to get a little light.

The solar tuki project in Nepal aims to replace kerosene lamps—or tukis—with solar powered ones in Nepalese villages with no access to electricity. And it was the inspiration for Barefoot Books’ recent title: Chandra’s Magic Light.

changrasmagiclight_lantern

As with every Barefoot Books story, there is a message in this one, a window into another culture, something to learn, and a way in for my girl. The story follows two little girls who come across a man selling solar tukis in the market. They decide they must buy one for their home because their baby brother has been suffering from a cough brought on by soot residue from their kerosene lamp.The girls pick and sell flowers and barter with the tuki seller to change the way their family lights up their evenings.The story of a sister helping a brother immediately drew my girl in and we learned about Nepal, the culture and routines, and the solar tuki project along the way.

chandrasmagiclight_tukis

chandrasmagiclight_nepal

I love the way Barefoot Books stories introduce us to something new. I love the way new worlds and images and words are introduced into my children’s spheres as we flip the pages. We aim to teach them about the world. Help them learn that not everyone lives as they do. Expose them to other languages and names that aren’t a part of their everyday lives. We dream about doing this through travel. Hopping on planes to far away lands so that they feel just how big and wild the world really is. But, until then, we read. We read about India, France, and Australia. We read about Diwali and Ramadan. We read about Tehran and Nepal.

My Barefoot Books partner and I are giving away one copy of Chandra’s Magic Light to a Raising Humans reader! If you love to bring other worlds and cultures into your home through books and stories, then enter the giveaway below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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