Oh for the Eyes to See…

I was caught putting this in the recycling bin the other day:

 I mistakedly assumed I was in the clear because:

A. It wasn’t a piece of artwork or a craft (what are the rest of you doing with all of those?)

B. In regards to artwork and crafts, we I lift up recycling as not throwing away, “but contributing to the growth of new trees.”

From death, life.

But, I am rarely in the clear – Viscous Disposer and  Purger that I am.

“Daddy said I could keep it!!!”

“But what are you going to do with it?”

(indignant pause) “So many things.”

And she did. It was Red Riding Hood’s basket, part of a ribbon pulley she built, and one night, when we walked to dinner, she carried a single chicken wing back for Travis.

The Purger stands corrected.

“Reason is the natural order of truth. But imagination is the organ of meaning. ” C.S. Lewis

Brave. (We were just at Rockbridge…)

And I’m not sure this is what my blood pressure needed:

Sophia coming down the ZIP LINE!

Rewind, to the following exchange:

T: She really wants to go, they have this special harness…even three year olds can go.

N: WHAT?! Because some 12 year old with a carabeener up on that platform says it’s safe, we are going to let our 5 year old ZIP LINE!

T: Neen. It’s fine, relax, that guys says it happens all the time.

And  I look to see said guy, in crisp polo, official nametag, and some sort of patagonia footwear  (do they make footwear?), and I concede. He did have a Walkie Talkie. It added up to the picture of mountain camp credibility.

But, upon this sight:

(that’s her, the tiny one, to the right) I needed a stretcher, and Olivia just kept whimpering “Don’t make me do the zip line, don’t make me do the zip line,” as if this was a new family rite of passage.

But that five year old, stood up on the Platform of Fear, and when Travis counted down, did not hesitate, but went flying through the trees.  Just like Diego.

And I am still amazed. We can do hard things. We can do brave things.

Rockbridge is a Young Life Camp outside of Lexington, VA. I know about half of you reading this have been there. Travis spoke for The Covenant School’s Annual Retreat, and the rest of us went along for some mountain adventures, hang out on the denim couches and fresh baked bread.

Our Spare Oom [For Peter (and Susan, Edmund, and Lucy)]

Last month when we reconfigured our whole house, we ended up with a temporary “spare room”. Olivia’s old bedroom will soon be converted back into a nursery, but in the meantime…

We have a spare room, or as Mr. Tumnus would call a Spare OOm, or as the girls call it, quite candidly “The Junk Room.”

Can I just tell you that this is what our house, family,  and yes marriage has always needed? A place to dump, store, and hide.

And look! There’s even a Wardrobe in the Spare Oom! (And a variety of paint splashings on the wall – that’s for you Ann)

But now we must move on to the next phase of Household Readiness 2k12. The problem is that having a Spare Oom is strangely addicting…

Remember that scene in Father of the Bride?

You know the one –  when they show flashbacks of Annie running down the stairs in different stages of her life?

And we cry because the visual so sweetly captures the irreversible passage of time.

And we cry because  the scene on the basketball court is coming ( or we’ve already gotten through it, I can’t remember the exact sequence…)

And we also cry when we watch it now, because we know they made Father of the Bride 2 and that was just wierd.

(And I, for one, kind of cry, because Kimberly Williams was so brilliant and beautiful in that role and it should have opened up the world for her and instead she will be the “Girl from Father of the Bride” for her entire life and career and that is just kind of a bitter irony of great roles, thank you Jason-Alexander-George-Costanza.)


Yesterday was great and happy and there were no tears…just excited and nervous girls in pink polo shirts and khaki skorts.

But I couldn’t help wanting to freeze the moment, and thinking of that scene and how time seems to be suddenly quickening, and how glad I was, just this once, that we didn’t have any stairs.

Peace, Love, and Sandy Toes

(I saw those words handpainted on a wooden sign slung over the gate to a beach cottage. It’s inspired me to come up with a mantra for my front porch. So far all I have is “If plants look wilted, please water on your way in”)

I grew up in the tourism industry. Simply put,  at a very young age I was acutely aware of the crazy crazy people out there, and that they tend to leave behind good stuff.

So our childhoods were filled with stories of Shocking Human Behavior, and a growing appreciation for the many wonders a Lost and Found can hold.  

I’ve long since traded one tourist town for another…and for a while I naively thought that they quarantined the Shocking Human Behavior to the other side of the bridge tunnel.

They didn’t. They can’t.

This past June, the girls and I were having a picnic on the palace lawn (yes, I hope your daily life uses that phrase) and a family passed us, in conflict. Well, really the Dad was screaming at the son in that really horrible, terrifying way that made me wonder if he was suffering from more than a rough night on a rollaway bed. It was awful. It was sad. It was very, very public.

And they were both wearing tri-cornered hats.

Truth stranger than fiction, my friends.

And surely, if you have ever visited Disney World and you weren’t having the tantrum, you witnessed someone else’s complete cognitive and emotional meltdown, while wearing the Mouse Ears.

Is it the high expectations and cost of vacation that does it to us? or… Is this who we areand we can keep it concealed from the general public in our homes and daily routines?

Both options are a bit frightening…and as one whose local economy depends on vacationers choosing to leave their homes…I propose (drumroll please)  Pre-Vacation Family Seminars…group therapy, some visualization, a few role plays, and yes etiquette classes on how to interact with hospitality employees.

Make your budget. Learn that tips are not your leftover change and come up with a rotating schedule of who gets the roll-away bed.

In exchange for enthusiastic attendance and participation, vacationers receive a free night at a hotel, or gift cards to the seafood buffet.

And, (I’m really on a roll here!) like Triple A cards, these tourists will have small cards that say, I have been approved to go on vacation, and  participating merchants, vendors and tatoo parlors will recognize them with additional incentives.


Enjoy your last few weeks of summer vacations, friends…whether there are sandy toes or tri-cornered hats, may there be peace and love…


photo credit

On Being Present and Falling Behind

Tomorrow is August 1. For me, growing up, August 1 meant time to start on the summer reading assignments because school was beginning in under a month. August always felt a bit marred like that.

The girls start school in 24 days – there are backpacks to pick out and school clothes to fit and all sorts of anxieties to keep at bay.

Our third little girl arrives in about 90 days, mas or menos – there is one more room to paint, more clothes to find to fit, and yes, all sorts of anxieties to keep at bay. There is also my current pastime of constant and continual eating which is proving quite time consuming.

There are million things I am behind on and lists that I have yet to even make. At night when I could be “getting stuff done” I’ve been searching for wall hangings for the girls new room, or squinting at our newly painted converted master bedroom (Benjamin Moore Whispy Green) and wondering what picture/lighting combo could make Travis feel less like he’s on a Sprite Commercial inside Erving’s Nicaraguan school bus.

Some of my favorite people are still home from college and I can’t get enough of them dropping in like they did years ago, except magically, and stunningly, they’ve become adults.

And true confession, when everyone is asleep, and the Whispy Green is finally tempered by lamplight, I’ve  been swept into the world of Mitford, which is the most delightful, comforting, soul soothing reading I’ve done in a while:

And so I’m officially behind but present in summer right where we are. Today is the day, I keep saying I will find my planner and start, umm, making plans. And today we will make it to the kindergarten screening, but then we will go swimming, for the whole afternoon.

Summer isn’t over yet. And the rest of that stuff will get done. Or at least the important things will. (Like making it to Sno to Go.)

Because it’s almost August, but I’m reclaiming August for the present, as a true summer month. One we will enjoy fully even if it means falling behind.

Save Me From Myself (And them from me)

Sometimes I think pregnancy brings certain physical limitations as a protective shield for the rest of the world. Because this weekend, if I had any amount of strength or agility or even normal-paced movement, I think I might have singlehandedly demolished my house and built it up again using tools I carved myself, fueled only by the Taco Bell Feast, I demanded Travis bring me.

Instead, I broke up with my dining room.

We’ve always had a rocky relationship, the ol’ DR and I. As in, I hate being in there. As in, we never make it back there. As in, I’d rather eat standing up or not at all. Was it the furniture? No. We’ve always had this furniture. The color. No. We had it repainted a few months ago, and I love the color. No, some rooms are just not meant to be. And this was finally confirmed when Christie and Tara came over Thursday night and we all sat on my KITCHEN FLOOR.

So we ended it. Abruptly.  And now we have a playroom/sitting room (meaning one chair for me or you to sit in.) And we have moved our eating area into the living area, just like everyone does in Williamsburg (Brooklyn.)

This is now what my living room/chic eating area  looks like:

No. I’m sorry. I’m lying. That’s not my house. (But I do like those drapes.)

And, come on,  the mystique of this blog is built around the dramatic narrative. You’re not coming here for DIY tips, or before and after pics.

And I want you to know the cool magazine houses are breaking up with their dining rooms too…with drapes and large decorative (paper mache?) balls.

So everything in our house is a mixed up work in progress right now. I’ve moved out dressers and have clothes in trash bags – I am  that committed to my current house insanity. Yesterday I wore two different earrings to church because I’m keeping my jewelry in the kitchen.

People. We are camping in our own house, I’ve taken the family to that point. Hopefully by the end of the week we will be in new bedrooms with fresh paint and peaceful spirits. At the very least, let’s hope that tenacious fish survives.

Live Mas.

A note on Taco Bell: there are  two times I consistently want it: pregnancy and the last leg of very long road trips. And yes, I had that dorito taco. Amazing. Why  didn’t anyone think of this earlier?

Survey: What rooms in your space have you broken up with/redefined?


photo credit