Choosing happiness

How is it possible that an entire month has passed us by already? Really, December 2? That pretty much blows my mind. This fall has been a whirlwind in the best way possible and it feels that we are all wholeheartedly embracing this new season of life. I greatly enjoy my job and especially after…

cchitnis-bviHow is it possible that an entire month has passed us by already? Really, December 2? That pretty much blows my mind. This fall has been a whirlwind in the best way possible and it feels that we are all wholeheartedly embracing this new season of life. I greatly enjoy my job and especially after the election, I feel like the work I am doing at our school is all the more important. In fact, I can’t think of anything more important than working at a school that is shaping young minds to be empathetic, inclusive and non-biased learners. The boys absolutely love their school- they run down the walkway every single day, eager to get to their classrooms, give their teachers a hug and greet their friends. Every morning I wonder how we got so lucky. We are a mixed race family, my husband is an immigrant, and yet everyday my children go to school they feel safe and known. How incredible.

In between my work at the school, I am still taking on writing and photography jobs. I haven’t quite figured out the whole work/life balance thing, but I am happy (albeit exhausted) and I keep repeating to myself “this is just a season of life, remember to be grateful.” A few things have fallen by the wayside including working out, seeing friends, and unplanned time in my studio to create, knit and sew. The most I manage right now is a few rows of knitting before I fall into bed each night. Good enough for now.

Here is what this year has taught me. Happiness does not equal perfection. It is messy and sometimes exhausting but mostly, it is a choice. Events may happen that leave us feeling scared, vulnerable, worn out, and hopeless. And yet happiness is still there for the taking. For me, my purest moments of happiness occur around 6:30am when my two boys wake up and find their way into my bed where they wrap their sleepy limbs around me and cuddle until our alarm clock rings. I kiss their sweet brown cheeks, and run my hands over their little shaved heads, and marvel that I’ve been given the honor of mothering them.

As we enter into this holiday season I wish you happiness. I can’t think of a better gift.

*the above picture was taken during a recent work trip to the British Virgin Islands.

Baa-ble Hat

I’m preparing a wonderfully rich post about writing a book proposal but despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t finish it this week. So instead I present you the cutest hat, modeled by the cutest boy. The Baa-ble hat knits up super quickly and is great for using up scrap yarn. As an added bonus-…

baa-ble hat1I’m preparing a wonderfully rich post about writing a book proposal but despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t finish it this week. So instead I present you the cutest hat, modeled by the cutest boy. The Baa-ble hat knits up super quickly and is great for using up scrap yarn. As an added bonus- the pattern is free! It’s funny; as the boys become more aware of my knitting and sewing projects, they are beginning to choose items that they’d like me to knit. Vik saw me eyeing this hat on Ravelry and said “I’d like that hat, mama, with green and blue.” Well alrighty then! He knows exactly what he likes. And when I finished it he wore it for the next three days straight, even to bed at night! I’m loving the ability to knit for my boys and actually have them excited about wearing the finished product.

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A Style All His Own

We’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…

_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!

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Decisions (and celebrations!)

It’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…

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!”

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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.

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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!!

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First Day of School

It 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…

_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 😉

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Vik Turns 3!

My baby turned three this past week.  WHAT?  Three years old, I can hardly believe it.  He is such a little man, probably due to the fact that he is constantly trying to keep up with his older brother.  He is such an incredibly calm spirit with a determination and grit that is well beyond…

_MG_7204My baby turned three this past week.  WHAT?  Three years old, I can hardly believe it.  He is such a little man, probably due to the fact that he is constantly trying to keep up with his older brother.  He is such an incredibly calm spirit with a determination and grit that is well beyond his years, and for such a young boy he is so very self assured.  He amazes me every single day and it is a privilege to be his mama.  It was such a joy to shower him with love for his birthday!

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_MG_6978I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating…we are so lucky to spend out summers on this little lane of ours.  We’ve known all the families on the lane for twenty years now, and many of them have been here for generations before us.  They all look forward to Vik’s party every summer, and I love knowing that he’ll grow up celebrating with this wonderful group of people.  We kept the party centered around old-fashion fun: sack races, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, Simon Says, clothespin in the bottle drop, face painting and of course, a pinata.  We made finger sandwiches, cut up a few big watermelons, and made mini-chocolate cupcakes.  Everyone had a blast, Vik especially.  Happy birthday my sweet boy…we love you so!

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Little Bites Trailer

I am thrilled to share with you the trailer for Little Bites.  We had so much fun making this video, though I will admit that with four little guys on set it was a bit chaotic!  But that is life, and that is the reality of our time spent in the kitchen.  It’s messy, and…

I am thrilled to share with you the trailer for Little Bites.  We had so much fun making this video, though I will admit that with four little guys on set it was a bit chaotic!  But that is life, and that is the reality of our time spent in the kitchen.  It’s messy, and real, and wonderful.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Little Bites.  I’d certainly love to hear your thoughts!

This Mothering Gig

This past weekend was Mother’s Day and it was lovely.  But let me back up.  The week before Mother’s Day my husband was out of town once again and it felt like all the treading in the world could not keep my head above water.  Nothing huge happened, just the small day-to-day trials that can…

_MG_3361This past weekend was Mother’s Day and it was lovely.  But let me back up.  The week before Mother’s Day my husband was out of town once again and it felt like all the treading in the world could not keep my head above water.  Nothing huge happened, just the small day-to-day trials that can slowly drive you mad when you are going at it alone.  And for the record, my husband has been out of town for 25 days over the past month.  So there’s that.  The hardest thing about mothering, for me personally, is the loss of order and calm.  Two rambunctious boys = all out wildness for most waking hours.  I like a clean house and quiet hours to write/sew/photograph/knit. I like to wake up slowly and settle gently into the day.  Not going to happen when two active, energetic boys share your home.

This past Friday around 5pm, after an especially long week alone, a sense of calm came over the house.  Dinner was made, the house was tidy, the laundry was folded, and the boys were playing nicely outside.  I settled onto our front stoop with my knitting to enjoy the unfolding evening, when out of nowhere Vijay decided to use his baseball bat as a spear and it goes sailing through the basement window.  Glass shattered everywhere, covering the basement (which is the playroom) with a fine sprinkling of glass.  The window must have broken into 2 million pieces, I kid you not.  I pretty much lost it.  Not at Vijay (although he did earn himself a time out for being ridiculous and chucking his bat through the window) but just at everything.  I felt every ounce of energy drain out of my body, and I decided that I wasn’t going to do a damn thing to rectify the situation.  I poured myself a large glass of wine (and I pretty much never drink, like ever) and closed the basement door, and then sat down and wrote out a to-do list for my husband.  #1: Clean up the basement.  #2: Replace the window.  And so on.  Sometimes, you just have to know when to hand off the baton (and when to call the kind, and very handy next-door neighbor to cover your window with plywood).

But now my husband is home, and all is right with the world.  It is spring and the neighborhood is dripping in blossoms.  Vijay made me a crown for Mother’s Day (“because crowns make you feel special”) and I received gorgeous bouquets of flowers.  I slept in and watched Game of Thrones and knit in bed, and I puttered around the garden.  We walked to Three Sisters for ice cream and played in the park until dark.  It was lovely.  My boys gave me good snuggles and told me they loved me at least 100 times.  It’s not easy, this mothering gig, and there are moments that call for large glasses of wine and the admission of defeat, but I certainly wouldn’t trade it for all the gold in the world.  Without the difficult moments, the ones that test our patience to the limit, there wouldn’t be such moments of joy: heart-stopping moments when a little being looks up at you with all the love in his heart, and all the trust in his world.  I hope you had a lovely weekend celebrating the mothers in your life!  xo

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Brothers

Two weeks ago we moved Vik’s crib into Vijay’s room.  The boys have been asking to share a room for the past few months, and with everyone having established solid sleep habits, we decided to give it a shot.  It has been one of the sweetest things I have witnessed as a mother.  Once I…

brothersTwo weeks ago we moved Vik’s crib into Vijay’s room.  The boys have been asking to share a room for the past few months, and with everyone having established solid sleep habits, we decided to give it a shot.  It has been one of the sweetest things I have witnessed as a mother.  Once I tuck them both in, I often stand outside their door for a few minutes and listen to their conversations, which mostly revolve around potty humor.  It usually takes at least two or three warnings before they finally settle in and fall asleep- first they have to chat, then they toss things from the bed to the crib, occasionally we hear the patter of little feet as Vijay sneaks out of bed to grab more books or retrieve a pillow he tossed at Vik.  When they hear us coming up the stairs to tell them to quiet down, they dive under their covers and hide, giggling non-stop.

The truth is that these boys have a special relationship.  It’s as close-knit as I’ve seen between siblings, and I think that is due to two things: being so close in age and always being together.  It’s also due to their personalities; Vijay loves being a big brother and has never, not even once, displayed signs of jealousy towards Vik.  He seemed to understand as soon as Vik was born that his job was to be an older brother, and take care of him.  He takes that job seriously.  Vijay started school this past fall, and only attends two mornings a week.  So other than that, the boys are always, always together and have been since the moment Vik was born.  I’m not great at organizing playdates or meeting up with other moms- we kind of make our days up as we go.  We are always out and about, at the children’s museum, library or gymnastics, but it’s always the three of us, which means the boys have become their own best friends.  Things will be changing soon enough as Vijay’s school days ramp up next year, and Vik starts preschool.  My emotions are running high these days as it feels like we are nearing the end of an era.  I’ve been at home with the boys for over four years now and that might be changing in the near future as well.  Things are shifting- it is all good- but I’m holding on to this time we have together, appreciative of every moment, even the frustrating and tiring moments.

The boy’s room is a work in progress- it’s very simple, just Vijay’s bed, Vik’s crib, a small shared dresser, and a bookshelf.  I’d love to get bunk beds once they are big enough- I know they’d have a blast with that.  But for now…it is perfect.

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P.S. For those of you in other parts of the country flaunting pictures of blooming trees and bright sunny skies, I’m going to need you to cut that out.  Here’s a little snapshot of what we’re enjoying here on the East Coast.  I know….life isn’t fair, but do you have to rub it in?  🙂  We had another epic snowstorm last week, though this weekend the sun peeked through and started melting the snow.  Though we’ve got a long way to go until spring.

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2014: A Look Back

Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at…

_MG_6077Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at the year that was…but I thought that such a year required a bit of reflection and as I scrolled back through my posts, month by month, it occurred to me that 2014 was quite a year.  Settle in…this is a length one!

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Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.59.02 PMJanuary: We kicked off the year by spending a month in India and Bhutan.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime and remains my most cherished memory of the year.  When I returned home, I launched my first pop-up shop, which was super fun.  That led to selling my wares at Squam and another pop-up shop later in the year.  I’d love to do more of these in 2015!

_MG_7396February: We renovated our cold, dark attic and turned it into a light-filled studio where I spend my working hours writing, photographing, sewing and knitting.  This place is my sanctuary.

_MG_8010March: I finished my first real sweater, Antler, with short rows and shaping and all those knitterly things that I have come to know and love through the course of this year.  This sweater remains my greatest knitting achievement and my most worn handmade piece.

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_MG_9210April: We spent the most heavenly ten days in Dominican Republic with my parents and younger brother.  It was the perfect break from the freezing spring that we were experiencing back in Rhode Island.  Luckily, we made it home in time to catch the blossoms.  The weeks where our beautiful town is in bloom are always some of my favorite of the year.

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PROMO-IMAGE-PITCH-PERFECT-THE-ART-WIDE-700-WEBMay: I made my yearly pilgrimage to Brimfield Antique Show.  I think I bought $2 worth of quilt scraps, but my favorite part is taking pictures of all the interesting things you find at the show.  It is always sensory overload, but I can’t help being pulled back year after year.  I also kept busy teaching Pitch Perfect, which was such an amazing experience.  I will be teaching the course again this year, online through Squam.  I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon!

_MG_0210June: Ahhh, June.  The weather is finally warm, and I take my yearly getaway to Squam.  I always look forward to my time here, and every year I am so grateful that I get to be a part of this amazing community of makers.

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_MG_2646July: My most favorite month of the year!  Every year we spend the entire month in Northern Michigan with my family (I even wrote a guide to the area here).  It is a true old-fashioned summer; swimming in the lake, playing on the beach, visiting the dunes, riding bikes into town for ice cream, spending time in nature, watching my boys running wild and free with the kids along our dirt lane, learning to water ski, eating our weight in cherries….the stuff of life.  Northern Michigan, specifically our family cottage on Torch Lake, is my happy place.  And how lucky is Vik that he gets to celebrate his birthday “Up North?”  It is my most favorite place in the whole world and we are so darn lucky to spend our summers there.

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_MG_3163August: It is all about the garden in August.  All the good stuff is ready to harvest, including cherry tomatoes, my favorite.  You can feel summer beginning to wane in August, and that is always bittersweet, but August holds such beauty that it is worth staying in the moment.

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_MG_5473September: What a busy month, full of new experiences.  Vijay started school, which was very tough emotionally for both of us but has turned out to be the best thing we could have ever hoped for.  I started contributing to Gardenista, which has been such a privilege and has given me the chance to explore some amazing gardens and shops.  My husband and I went on an overnight trip to Vermont, our first time as a couple ever away from the kids for a night.  And I made a quick trip to Squam, arriving just in time for the fair and a day of relaxing.  Yes, we were on the move in September! I also made reading a priority again, and you all chimed in with amazing suggestions.  I’ve been making my way through the list and have yet to be disappointed.  Expect plenty more book reviews in 2015.

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_MG_7267October: As we settled into our new school routine, which consists of preschool on Tuesday and Thursday morning, we also celebrated Vijay’s fourth birthday with all of his sweet classmates, and the local fire station.  It was a PARTY!

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_MG_8634November: What a gorgeous fall we were blessed with in Rhode Island.  It was sunny and sparkling almost every day, and the leaves were absolutely riotous.  I paid a visit to Tower Hill Botanic Garden for Gardenista and had the most amazing time wondering around their fall gardens.  I also finished my favorite sewn wardrobe addition…this quilted vest from The Purl Bee.

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_MG_0093December: Here I thought December was such a slow and peaceful month, but we traveled to Chicago for Thanksgiving (returning the 1st of December), then I took off for Martha’s Vineyard to finish up a few book details, and after decking out our own small tree, we packed up and headed to Michigan for Christmas and the New Year.

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sewnAll in all, it was an amazing year.  In addition to all of our travels and all the excitement, it was the year that I felt my work life finally dropped into place.  I was hard at work on my second book, which is so near and dear to my heart, I contributed regularly to Edible Rhody and Gardenista, I taught Pitch Perfect, and launched a few pop-up shops.  2015 is going to be filled with even greater accomplishments…I can feel it and it makes me so very excited.  2014 was also the year of making…between sewing and knitting I pretty much have made a complete wardrobe, and with each piece I gain a better understanding of my fit and personal style.  Above are just a few of my favorite makes of 2014.

I try to keep this a place of positivity and beauty, so it is interesting to scroll through these posts and see so many of the harder emotional things missing.  But it is also a beautiful reminder of how much we have to be thankful for and how unbelievably blessed we are as a family.  If 2015 is half as gorgeous, we’re in for a great year!  And after that look back, I’m excited to move forward.