Staying Up Too Late

2015-11-15_0001Has the time change leveled anyone else or is it just me?  The boys were in a great routine, waking up at a respectable time (7:15am) and then BOOM…say hello to the 5am wake-up call.  My husband just returned from a two-week trip to India which means I had morning duty.  It was brutal.  Luckily my mom came into town to lend a hand and every morning at 5am I’d bring the boys into bed with me and try to hold them off until a more reasonable hour, say 5:30am, before turning them loose and letting Grammy deal with them!  All this to say I should be getting myself to bed at a sensible hour, say 9pm.  But I’ve been pulled in by some great books lately, and so I stay up way to late and totally vow never to do it again the next morning (only to repeat my behavior night after night).  That is the tough thing about juggling a packed schedule; my only downtime is at night, and the kids go to bed at around 8.  So if I want a few hours to myself, it means staying up later than I should.  Anyway, that was a super long introduction when what I wanted to say was that I am tired, but I have some great book recommendations :)

The Gates of Evangeline: I enjoy mysteries set in the South, and this Southern Gothic mystery set in Louisiana pulled me right in.  A bereaved mother living in NYC begins to have dreams about children in danger.  Only they are not just dreams.  Following a premonition to the South, she begins to uncover the truth behind an age-old unsolved crime.  A well-written and entertaining mystery with a great sense of place.

Fates and Furies: I can’t decide how I feel about this unusual book.  It is the book of the season, topping every list, and yet I’m not sure that I loved it.  I was certainly captivated and intrigued, but it left me feeling a bit cold, as though I never really connected fully to the characters.  The story centers around the marriage of the two main characters Mathilde and Lancelot (Lotto): her enigmatic, him egotistical and self-absorbed.  If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Did You Ever Have a Family: The book begins with an unthinkable tragedy: the night before her daughter’s wedding, June Reid loses her daughter, her daughter’s fiance, her ex-husband and her boyfriend in a house fire.  From there, the book delves into the lives of the community members in June’s small Connecticut town, and the stories of those she meets as she attempts to flee her despair.  The story is hauntingly beautiful and will stay with you long after you finish.


Catastrophic Happiness: I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Catherine Newman’s latest book and I am already half-way through.  It could not have come at a better time.  It arrived last week at the end of my solo-parenting stint when I was completely burnt out.  I cracked it open simply to give it a quick browse one night and quickly found myself pulled in, laughing to the point of tears as Newman absolutely nails the exhaustion, absurdity and joy of parenting.  The prologue “It Gets Better” was my absolute favorite as it pokes fun at all the exhaustive qualities of early parenting, while promising that it will get better. “You know how you’re tired,” Newman writes.  “So tired that you mistake talking in an exhausted monotone about your tiredness for making conversation?  You won’t be tired.  Or rather you will sometimes be tired, sometimes rested, like regular people are.  You won’t look forward to your dental appointments just so you can recline alone for forty heavenly, tartar-scraping minutes.”  YES- I actually remember feeling blissed out at a dentist appointment shortly after Vik was born- it was the first time I had been without a baby on me for a whole hour!!

The Thing About Jellyfish: This is next on my list.  I downloaded the sample on my iPad and ripped through it (LOVE that you can sample e-books!).  It’s a YA book about a girl who loses her best friend in a drowning accident and becomes convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting.  I’m already hooked.

That’s all for now folks, but please do share suggestions of your own!  I’m planning a post devoted to podcasts soon, both for children and adults.  Listening to podcasts has completely changed my life.  Seriously, we listen to children’s stories now in the car, and it turns even a short drive into such a relaxing and enjoyable experience!  I’ll share my recommendations soon!

A Style All His Own

_MG_9771We’re having a gorgeous fall here in Providence.  Every street is breathtakingly beautiful, full of fiery red and golden yellow trees.  It is a magical time, and now that we’ve figured out our schedule in a way that makes everyone happy, we’re sinking in and enjoying the ride.  I was thrilled to finish Vik’s first sweater a few weeks ago in time for fall, and even more thrilled that he’s wanted to wear it.  I think I made the mistake of lumping Vik’s style preferences in with Vijays; comfy pants, t-shirts, loose, easy clothing.  It turns out Vik has a style all his own.  He LOVED wearing a tux and shiny patent leather shoes for my brother’s wedding (pictures to come). In fact he loved it so much he wore the full ensemble the day after the wedding to the casual brunch.  My favorite Vik story from that weekend was when he was getting ready for the wedding with my mom- they were in her bathroom brushing their teeth and he said, “I’m going to have shiny shoes and shiny teeth, Grammy!”  Imagine that said with the cutest little 3-year-old lisp. Ohhh, he slays me.

_MG_9788And in preparation for the beach wedding we went to last weekend he came with me to the store and personally picked out outfits for him and Vijay to wear- crisp navy shorts and collared dress shirts.  They looked quite dapper.  And so that brings us to this sweater: Vik has been growing more and more curious about my knitting, always asking who I’m knitting for and wondering when I’ll knit him a sweater.  And so I decided it was time to give it a whirl, starting with a very simple crewneck sweater.  He loves it and wears it with pride.  Makes my heart happy!  You can check out the details on my Ravelry page.  It looks like I finally get to start knitting for at least one of my boys!




Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.51.19 PMSo there’s this thing called Instagram…have you heard of it?!


I know I’m about 5 years late to this particular party, but I finally joined last week. Once I did I immediately understood what all the fuss is about!  I hope you’ll come and follow along.  There’s also a link and a peek at what I’m posting over on the side bar.

One of the first things I realized is that it becomes so much easier to find out about cool events that your friends and fellow authors are putting together.  I have been a long time fan of Maggie Battista’s site, Eat Boutique so of course I followed her on Instagram.  When it popped up that she’d be hosting a book signing at Farm & Fable, a gorgeous shop in Boston, I decided to attend.  I’m so glad that I did- not only was it a great to meet Maggie in person, but I also walked away with a signed copy of her gorgeous book, Food Gift Love.  I definitely tend to the introverted side, especially when it comes to networking in my field.  I am much happier behind my camera, or squirreled away in my studio.  But when I force myself out into the world I’m always glad I took the leap.  It feels great to get out there and meet people who are passionate about creating things of beauty.  And I can assure you, after a quick flip through her book, Maggie has created quite a thing of beauty.  I feel like I have Instagram to thank for a great event, and I can’t wait to see where else it will lead me!






Decisions (and celebrations!)

birthday6It’s funny…by now you’d think I would realize that I am a writer.  After so many years of keeping this space, and writing for pleasure and work, it is in my bones.  Writing helps me to bring clarity and intention into my life, and yet when things get hectic, my writing often falls to the wayside.  Writing down my thoughts last week helped to bring such clarity to our current situation…well that, and the wonderfully supportive comments and emails I received.  Several readers asked the question, “Is there something that you could do to ease your schedule?”  When I sat with that question, I realized that the answer was a huge, resounding “YES!”




birthday5Vik started preschool this year and it has been a difficult transition.  He is only 3 years old, yet he is an independent, mature child.  He attended summer camp this past summer and absolutely loved it.  So we figured he was ready for school, although we didn’t start his brother until he was almost 4.  It turned out to be a situation that wasn’t a good fit for Vik.  Vik is extremely chill, and the wild class environment wasn’t at all suited to his personality.  He would begin crying the night before school, and wake up in tears.  And this is a child that isn’t prone to crying.  Coupled with the fact that I work on Tuesday and Thursday, the two days that Vik is in school, which meant that I didn’t see him for the entire day, it was clear that the school situation was causing undue stress.  And so we pulled him out last week.  The decision was so clear, and the relief was so instantaneous.  Now, two mornings a week we have nowhere to be and the three of us- myself, Vijay and Vik- have unstructured time together before I go to work at noon.  It has been the biggest blessing.




birthday8Thank you for being here…and thank you for gently voicing your support and asking the tough questions.  Isn’t it funny that sometimes a very obvious solution might be hiding in plain sight?  We are still adjusting to this new schedule, and there will still be moments of stress, but gaining those precious hours with my boys gave me renewed energy to tackle this season with positivity and thankfulness, starting with a huge 5th birthday celebration this past weekend!!


Where I Stand

15628151567_4a5affe490_oIt’s been hard to find the right words to describe this season of our lives and all the changes that we’ve experienced.  It is tempting to sum it up into one word- busy- and leave it at that.  But really it feels much more complex.  There is a certain amount of guilt- I am away from home and the boys much more than I’d like to be.  Just the other day my son cried as I left for work, “You are too busy for me, mama.”  My heart shattered.  There is a certain amount of loneliness- I dearly miss our sitter, whose presence was a bright spot in my week.  There is a certain amount of excitement- weddings and birthday parties to attend- along with the inevitable letdown that comes afterward.  There is a large amount of mourning: the loss of free time, time to cook, knit, sew, create.

It’s funny, when my boys were babies I spent most of my days trying to pass the time.  There were hours spent pushing the stroller aimlessly around town, attending story hour at the library and wiling away the afternoon at the park.  There were long afternoons when the boys were napping and I was stuck at home in a quiet house.  Life felt busy, but the busyness was all due to motherhood, and really, our time was our own to spend how we wanted.  I loved it, but at the same time struggled against the monotony.  Now when you add in school and working outside of the home, there is this feeling that our days are not our own anymore.  Free time is precious and dwindling.  I can only imagine how it will feel once the boys are involved in sports and after-school activities.  There is this part of me that wants desperately to go back to those slow days of new motherhood.  I wish someone had told me how fast it goes.  And I wish that I would have listened.

I feel a bit lost right now, if I’m to be honest.  I speed through the week- working Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday- rushing between school drop-off and work, then back home to throw together a lame excuse for dinner.  I drop into bed exhausted, with no will to craft or read.  Without my creative pursuits I am adrift, an anchor-less boat bobbing in a rough sea.  This space may be quiet for a bit as I figure out my way, but I hope to see you here on the other side.  I’m not sure what blogging will look like moving forward.  Maybe once a week, maybe once a month.  I hope when the dust settles, you’ll be here.  I do so cherish this space, and the conversations that we have.  Life is beautiful, and hard, and then beautiful all over again.


The Whirlwind of Fall

_MG_9066After such a leisurely summer, fall has taken us by storm.  We are adjusting to a new school schedule, a new job that takes me out of the home for 15-20 hours a week, a traveling husband and a calendar filled to the brim.  In the coming weeks we’re celebrating the wedding of my brother, along with Vijay’s 5th birthday, and the wedding of one of my best girlfriends.  Whew.  And that’s just October!   Busyness has been on my mind, and I am really pondering how best to strike a new rhythm to our days now that I am working out of the home.  This has meant crock-pot recipes galore, asking for help when I need it, and trying to accept that there will not be as much time in my week for creative endeavors.  Everything in life has its season and I think we are heading into a busy season, one that will stretch us to new heights, and teach us to appreciate our quiet moments together when they come.  I’m learning to embrace the new challenges and rise to the occasion.  In the midst of all this newness, I headed to Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend to celebrate an old friendship.  Her wedding is coming up in a few weeks, and I planned a girls’ weekend away so that we could all celebrate the bride.  The weather was exquisite, the meals delicious, and the company even better.  I should have snapped a million more pictures, but as part of this new phase I’m learning that sometimes it is just as important to be in the moment and allow the beauty to exist in the mind’s eye alone.  Here are a few snippets to share…  Fall is most definitely in the air.








Our Lizzie

IMG_1096It is an emotional time for our family as we prepare to say goodbye to our beloved sitter, Liz.  Truth be told, I’ve been in a state of mourning as we get closer to her departure.  I simply can’t image our lives without her.  She has been with us for over three years, starting just a few months before Vik was born.  During that time she has become so, so much more than a babysitter- she is a huge presence in our lives.  New motherhood is difficult.  It is lonely and isolating and overwhelming. But when Liz would come through the door, I always felt this huge wave of relief knowing that with her help, everything would be okay.  Over the years Liz has traveled with us to India, Northern Michigan and Tortola.  She has watched the boys on our first overnight away from them.  She has cooked them countless meals, read them thousands of stories and passed endless hours at the libraries and parks around town.  She is truly one-of-a-kind, with a heart of gold and she has showered our boys with love.  She graduated in May of this year, and is now leaving to teach in Europe.  I hope she has the adventure of a lifetime.  I was joking with her yesterday that no one must ever leave Rhode Island because I have never seen quite the fuss over a person going away.  There have been parties, friends demanding goodbye dinners, brunches and drinks, and parades in her honor (okay, maybe not parades, but close enough!).  But really, all the fuss is just a testament to how deeply this girl is loved.

It’s funny…you never know who is going to come into your life and change it for the better.  When shy little Liz walked through our door over three years ago I could have never guessed what she would come to mean to our family.  I’m hoping ours is a connection we can maintain for a lifetime.  She better make room in her little apartment, because the boys and I are going to crash her party…I can guarantee that.  We just can’t go that long without our Lizzie.






Brimfield, With a Mission

_MG_8053We’re nearing the end of a large kitchen renovation, and a new look for our living room and entryway.  The former living room was near and dear to my heart- I loved the colors and playfulness, and I loved that the furniture was all secondhand, various finds over the years- but to be completely honest, it was never a very comfortable room.  The chairs were low and uncomfortable, the coffee table was always tipping when the kids were around, and the couch was stained and floppy, having lost its fluff years ago.  It was time for a redo.





_MG_8041We moved into this house 6 years ago when I was in my mid-twenties.  My style at that time was eclectic, thrifted and colorful.  It was super fun, but over the years, my tastes have changed.  Now I crave clean spaces, white walls and little to no clutter.  Simple.  Natural.  Cozy.  With this in mind, we painted the entire downstairs white, with the exception of the softest taupe in the dining room, and we sold off all of our living room furniture, save a lamp and an end table.  I chose a few new pieces of furniture and a new rug, but for the accessories I wanted some vintage finds.  So on the hottest day of September (not a fact, just a feeling) I headed to Brimfield in hopes of scoring some cute end tables and something really special to hang on the wall.








_MG_8024Would you believe I came home empty-handed?  It was so hot, and I was so overwhelmed trying to find that “perfect” piece, that I pretty much gave up after many hours of wandering.  The one little table that I had my eye on was already sold when I went back for it.  So it is back to the drawing board.  Many of the pictures here capture the style that I am after, which I guess I would call “simple farmhouse.”  Linen, white walls, soft colors, clean lines, rustic wood.  I can’t wait to give you a house tour once it is all pulled together, though it seems that might be a bit farther off than I thought!






First Day of School

_MG_8089It kinda blows my mind how much my boys have grown and changed over the past year.  They are like these little men, tan and lanky, full of mischief, brimming with confidence.  Vijay is starting preschool today, and he’ll be attending three mornings a week.  He’s pumped to be back in school!  Today was his first day and he was all, “Let’s DO this!”  Vik will officially start next week, though he had his orientation yesterday and loved it.  He’ll be attending two mornings a week.  I am looking forward to having one-on-one time with both of them this year while the other is in school.  In the afternoons, I will go to work and my husband will take over.  It is going to be a juggling act to be sure, but we’re both excited to spend lots of quality time with the boys.  These years are flying by so quickly, and we want to be home together as much as possible while we can.

Just for reference, below is the picture from last year- all nervous smiles from Vijay and relative clueless smiles from Vik!  I swear they have both grown about 5 feet since last year (check out their heads in relation to the mail slot!)…how I’ll keep enough food in the house come their teenage years, I have no clue ;)


Fall Reading List

2015-09-01_0004This summer was magical.  It felt like such a break…the boys went to camp while we were in Rhode Island (4 hours each morning where they were both out of the house…hello new world!!!) and in Michigan they ran wild and free with friends and relatives around to lend a helping hand.  In addition to lots of crafting time (see here for proof) I also had ample time to read.  There’s nothing quite as indulgent as curling up with a good book by the pool or lake.  It is one of those true summer luxuries, and I was sure not to take it for granted.  I thought I’d share some of the books that I’ve enjoyed this summer in case you are looking for a good fall read.  I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately as I know I’ll need some good books to unwind with once the fall activity level ramps up!

The Nightingale: I saw this book everywhere, from the NYT Bestseller List to every bookstore window that I passed.  Initially I wrote it off as another “it” book that would fall short of my expectations…that is until I downloaded a sample chapter on my Ipad (that’s right, I’ve made the switch).  I immediately purchased the book and hardly put it down for the next two days.  It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story set in France during WWII.  I loved the strong female characters who were forced to make sacrifices both for their family and the greater good.

The Silent Wife: I categorize this as a beach read- mystery, suspense, murder, an unraveling marriage and a Chicago setting (which I loved).  It is an easy read but kept me thoroughly entertained.

All the Light We Cannot See: BEST book of the summer, without a doubt.  Again, I was hesitant to pick it up because I get a bit tired of books set during WWII (they can start to all blend together after a while), and this had so much buzz that again, I wondered whether it would live up to the hype.  However, it far surpassed my expectations, and I was taken in after the first few pages.  This book is so well written, and completely transports you to another time and place.  The characters are incredibly memorable, which lends such a fresh view to the WWII theme.  If you read one book this fall, read this.

2015-09-01_0002The Good Girl: I can’t recall now how I found out about author Mary Kubica, but I was immediately drawn to her writing style.  This reminded me of Gone Girl, a mystery that centers around an intriguing female character and ends with a twist that you’ll never see coming.

Pretty Baby: Kubica’s second book, released just this summer, is another psychological thriller, this time centered around a women who takes in a young homeless mother and her baby.  I read this in a few days and found it hard to put down.  The main character’s emotional states are so complex and unstable (and the author captures it all so well) that it makes for an intense read.

2015-09-01_0001My favorite author, without a doubt, is Jhumpa Lahiri.  I have met her twice at book signings, and I own a copy of every book she’s written (and they are all signed with a personal message…fan girl!).  I hadn’t reread her short story collections in many years, and this past week, I was feeling like I needed to revisit her writing.  Each night, I read one story, and they are so breathtakingly beautiful that my heart kinda aches afterward.  But in a good way.  If you’ve never read her writing, I highly suggest starting with Interpreter of Maladies.

2015-09-01_0007These are the three books that I’m hoping to dive into this month:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest: I read the sample of this book and instantly wanted to read more.  That’s always a good sign.  This has been marketed as a book about food and the foodie culture, with plenty of humor.  Sounds like fun!

Tinkers: My friend Kellen recommended this book, and I have it downloaded already.  I’m looking forward to it, though I have no idea what to expect after reading the synopsis.

The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood: I’m dying to read this book after Felicia recommended it on her post about motherhood and craft, however I am having trouble finding an affordable copy.  It’s outrageously expensive on Amazon, and our library doesn’t have a copy.  The search continues…

2015-09-01_0003Finally, I just have to share with you that Vijay is finally at the stage where he is loving chapter books.  We read a chapter or two together before his nap, and another before bed.  He often begs me to read another chapter at some point during the day…I LOVE it.  I cannot even tell you how much I love it.  My mom read to us every night until we were approaching our teen years.  I believe it is such a sacred and important ritual.  The fact that Vijay loves books as much as I do is simply the best.  Vik is doing his best to keep up…but we still read a few simpler books for him each night too.  Here’s a few we’ve been enjoying lately, and I’d really love to hear any suggestions you have:

My Father’s Dragon (first in a series of three): These are short chapter books with illustrations throughout, which makes it easy for young readers to follow.  The stories are magical and feature an adventurous young boy who helps to free a baby dragon.  What’s not to love!

Charlotte’s Web: A classic, obviously.  If you can find an addition with illustrations throughout, it can help young readers follow along, and will hold their attention for longer.

Homer Price: This is a collection of very endearing and old fashioned stories, by legendary children’s author Robert McCloskey, about a boy named Homer Price growing up in a small town.  Certain stories were a bit over Vijay’s head, but he loved the story about Homer’s pet skunk and the story about the doughnut machine.  Vijay enjoys stories that are pretty tame, without too much drama, and without any villains or scary events, so this book about everyday life in a small town was perfect.

2015-09-01_0008Above, Vijay at 10 months: It makes me laugh that way back in the day I used to worry about whether Vijay would ever be into books.  Basically, I worried we had a meathead on our hands ;)  I worried about a lot of things then.  Man how things change!  So little worries me now about the boys compared to that “new mom anxiety.”  Is he on weight?  Is he getting enough milk?  Is he walking on time?  Is he talking on time?  Now my only concern is more along the lines of “Can your brother still breath while you have him in that headlock?”