Storybook Story…

(photo courtesy of BBC)

Loved it. Loved the dress, the hats, the boys choir, the carriage, the titles, the lack of last name…Most of all loved the fervent celebration. We are a people hungry to celebrate something beautiful and full of promise, are we not?

Another Post about [Better] Coffee

Weeks with little sleep seem to present a consistent theme…

I met the owner of Harbour Coffee at the library a few weeks ago. We chatted books, and kids and schools. When she left she invited me to stop by her coffee shop.

So I did. (Marketing lesson for us all here…)

I went by this morning and was stunned. What was this place? How long has this been going on in my town and I haven’t known? Was I really still in Williamsburg? Here are a few of my impressed first impressions:

1. The coffee was really really good. I know that means a lot coming from someone who just wrote passionately about Wawa. But trust me.

2. It didn’t feel like Williamsburg. And I love it here. I do. But it’s really hard to be anywhere that doesn’t feel Williamsburg.Candles, bricks, costumes, pineapples, fifes, ham biscuits, horses, ghosts, golf, fudge, corsets, outlets, pancake houses…Harbour doesn’t feel Williamsburg-y, and yet it doesn’t feel franchised. It feels like its own place. Fascinating.

3. No one seemed to judge my laptop. I think I have the original laptop. I actually think it might be the same size as my Gateway Desktop from 1999, just with the screen attached to the keyboard. We got it on sale last year. Apparently everyone else was going for laptops called “Air” and “Thin” and “Wispy”. We figured we could ride that trend out… Then out came the Ipad. I am so grateful for my computer but I get a little self conscious in certain spots. Especially because I always have to plug it in. And ask for help pulling it out of my bag… This place had nothing but love – even for us I-less folks. (And I just might have seen saw a few hefty looking Dells sitting around too…)

4. The employees seem to like their jobs, and each other. This is essential in a place intent on facilitating good food and good community and good vibes.  They make you feel like they are part of something that you want to be part of too…but they are not so much a part of that something that it’s inconvenient for them to take your order.

5. Suz would approve. Suz, who is currently drinking espresso somewhere in Bangladesh, is my guru of all things both purposeful and indulgent. I felt her blessing as I sipped my medium roasted brew…She will be proud to know that the Burg no longer (solely) runs on Dunkin…

6. Sweet, Inspiring Story. You can read it and find directions here.

Maybe caffeine is the theme of the week in preparation of tomorrow’s short night…I am headed to the beach to attend the Royal Wedding with my mother, on her couch. We will be roasting a pig in honor of the new couple, well not really. But good times – and commentary will no doubt ensue…What I just can’t figure out is, if you are Royalty, why aren’t you allowed to have your wedding at a decent time?  I mean, 5am? What time does Kate have to get her hair done?

6 Minutes

We live behind a WaWa.

Not next-to-its-dumpster-behind, but one-street-over-behind. Before you start worrying about our resale value, I must add that it is the prettiest, colonial, flemish bond convenience store you have ever seen. It could be mistaken for just another Bed and Breakfast (maybe).

It is a wonderful place for so many reasons.

Very very early this morning, I darted (intentional word choice) to the Wawa  for a cup of Hazelnut coffee. I wore one of what I like to call my “Celebrity Undercover Ensembles” complete with rainboots and a baseball hat.

 I can get there, get coffee and be back in the house in 6 minutes, or in the time it takes for Sophia to paint one picture of a rainbow. (Travis was home. I don’t leave my children alone – yet)

I know I can brew my own coffee at home for cheaper. But after a long (yet short) night…the Wawa run is about something deeper.Depending onthe time you find yourself in this 24 hour Walk-In Vending Machine,the demographic varies greatly. Late night? Dressed up sorority girls looking for snacks. 8 am? Professional crowd on their way to work. Between 5 and 7am? That’s my group. We’re the Zombies.

Who are the Zombies?

We have a look of shock on our faces. The unspoken questions are being asked by our posture – and our outfits: That was it? That’s all the sleep I get? It’s really a new day? I have to do it all again? Starting now?

We don’t look at each other. Or the cashiers. Our movements are slow and sluggish with a singular goal: caffeine. The Wawa employees understand. We do not have to sign anything. We are not handed a receipt. We swipe our cards and stumble out.

And for some reason, those 6 minutes help me. They confirm what I suspect – the night is over, I must take on the day.  The loneliest, non-rational and despairing thought for me on my Zombie Mornings is that the rest of the world still sleeps.

 And they don’t. I mean who would, when you could be at Wawa?



“Happy Halloween Mommy!”

Now, Foo loves a good off-season Holiday Greeting.  But her exclamation today amidst Easter egg debris, with her mouth full of bunny chocolate, caught me.

It did look like Halloween – in pastels.

I teetered on the edge of The Decline into Mom-Guilt: Why didn’t I craft my way through Lent with my children? Why haven’t we had a Family Seder?

But then I pushed through and mothered the way  I mother – for better or worse. 

We read.

We read The Story in different Bibles. We read Snow White and talked about Resurrection parallels…

And last night I read. I was tired and disconnected and disappointed that Holy Week felt like just another Busy Week. I longed for ritual and silence and a beautiful cathedral with the Stations of the Cross in stained glass. Swim Class at the Rec almost provided all of that – almost.

 So I read. I picked up The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and read about Aslan – his death on the Stone Table, and his resurrection and seige on the Queen’s castle, when he breathes life into all of the statues. I needed to remember the power of what Lewis so beautifully calls the “Deeper Magic Before the Dawn of Time…”

My favorite part of Lewis’s account is not very exciting or even descriptive. But when I read it, my eyes have always filled with tears…

“When the other children woke up next morning (they had been sleeping on piles of cushions in the pavilion) the first thing they heard – from Mrs. Beaver -was that their brother had been rescued and brought into camp late last night; and was at that moment with Aslan. As soon as they had breakfasted they all went out, and there they saw Aslan and Edmund walking together in the dewy grass, apart from the rest of the court. There is no need to tell you (and no one ever heard) what Aslan was saying, but it was a conversation which Edmund never forgot. As the the others drew nearer Aslan turned to meet them, bringing Edmund with him.

                       ‘Here is your brother,’ he said, ‘and there is no need to talk to him about what is past.’   (C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.)

Tonight we celebrate, in somber silence and quiet reflection, a “finishing.” A “completion” that enables the “commencement” of so many dialogues –  words expressed on “walks in the dewy grass.” Forgiveness. Relationship. Freedom from the past.  

And yes, Foo. Your tummy hurts and I worry for your teeth. That is because our culture celebrates all things with excess- and sugar. It’s just who we are.

But this weekend is so much bigger. And it changes everything. And it brings hope. Even for a Mom who can’t take a stand against colored eggs and that dreadful plastic grass…

Somewhere over the…

(photo courtesy of Virginia Gazette)

Last Tuesday, there was a rainbow over our skies – actually a double rainbow, and it has proven to be one of the most significant events of Olivia’s life. I missed it. Travis missed it. We were at separate events, indoors. The girls were with some friends and were fortunate enough (along with the rest of the town) to take in this phenomenon.

Olivia has been talking about it for over a week.

We got her the copy of Saturday’s paper featuring the above picture on the front page. She takes it in the car with us wherever we go.

“Mommy did you see the rainbow? Did you see the rainbow? It was a DOUBLE rainbow. Where did the rainbow go Mommy? Do you have a picture of it on your phone? Where is my newspaper of the rainbow?”

There is such wisdom in her wonder. And so we talk about it again and I ask her to tell me more. And I try to learn what it is to let my mind be consumed with something beautiful and mysterious…


Hope, Hokies…and Headbands

Fact: I remember April 16, 2007. In the midst of watching unspeakable horrors unfold on the TV in our Atlanta apartment, I was taking in this new development:

Fact: On April 18, 2007 I sent the following email:

In a really sad week, glimpses of light continue to shine through- Sophia turned 4 months on April 16th and as a milestone can officially put her foot in her mouth. Just wanted to share some of the joy of this new life with all of you…She gives me hope and the reminder of all that can be.

Much Love,

Fact: On April 17, 2007 Nikki Giovanni gave a brief, profound message to a shocked and wounded university. Here’s an excerpt:

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

Fact: Amazingly, I have never been to Blacksburg.

 But I love Hokies. I stand in rapt awe of their passion and tribal sense of unity. One day I’m going to make my cousin Maria take me to Lane Stadium so I can be deafened by the blood curdling screams of wild, animalistic school spirit.  (We have Tribe Pride over here, but after 300 years the most deafening noise still comes from the rebel cannons) The tragedy that ripped apart that university and devastated local families, broke all of our hearts. Dr. Giovanni spoke to a nation whose innocence had once again been snatched away.

In honor of this anniversary,  I want to celebrate two new Hokies out there…Remember Christie? She and her sweet friend Lauren have channeled all those endless, idle hours of freshman year into a fabulous accessory enterprise! (Amazing. Freshman year was when I discovered the glory of online shopping…enterpreneurship was far fom my mind).

So here it is – coming to you from the dorms of Virginia Tech: Canterbury Designs.

Go there now.

How cute are they? Seriously? How young and fresh and hopeful and inspiring is that?

Here are Christie and I modeling some headbands on Sunday afternoon:

(She’s working on something custom for me for Easter…just you wait for the reveal…)

Its Holy Week. We remember that we must march through death to life. My prayers are for comfort in all you may be mourning, for the wounds both visible and invisible.

Fact: On April 15, 2011 that same child who, four years ago, triumphantly found her mouth with her foot…informed me that I “needed a pedicure.” (Why ever did I teach her that word?)

Time does pass. And we grow and change and move on and begin to heal, and sometimes even laugh again.

But we don’t forget.

Sheep, Pirates,Princesses and a Giveaway

Spring has arrived in our colony as I hope it has in yours. And with it? The lambs! This is my yearly obsession. I visit these “Baby Sheep” as often as possible, talk about them ad nauseum and drag visitors along when I can.

Oh the joys of having small children! They are almost as into it as me.

Part of me suspects that I am drawn to the lambs because they most resemble what animals look like in children’s book illustrations – and the movies. (Why is fiction always my greater reality?) Now if only I could find a pig that looks like Wilbur…

Okay, I wasn’t going to post about this but some pictures are too amazing not to share. It was “Pirates and Princesses Night” at Chick-fil-A tonight…

I will leave the evening to your imagination -but use this scene as a starting point…(I’m having the accordian player at my next event – no question.)

Finally, Leila at In the Tweeds is having another fabulous giveaway – this time for one of Jess’s custom necklaces! These are gorgeous pieces and can completely redefine your summer dresses (or bathing suits for that matter…) I am a bit late in posting this so hurry over to Leila’s place to enter – the drawing closes tomorrow night!