is hidden away in a memory's bouquet

originally posted last year on BOXING DAY! Enjoy!

Thank you cards are terribly important to me.

I am behind on my own birthday thank you notes now and it makes me feel prickly, but with the kiddos I like to get right on it while the memory is still fresh. My parents made me sit down at the wood table and take pencil in hand at a very young age and express gratitude. I can remember that it was a bit taxing as a child and somewhat annoying as adolescent, but I think it has made me a better person.

I think it taught me two things:

Yr time is love- a phone call is quicker- but yr time and effort show love & the handwritten word is sacred.

So- I make my kids think about taking time away from play and the drama of the day to say thanks and I also plan on keeping a small writing center this year for Finn to explore the lost art of letter writing.

(INSERT MAJOR DREAMER HEAD HERE)Someday I want to hold a letter writing workshop and travel the country in a silver Airstream and show people how delicious is is to write love letters again.

I love texts and little words floating in and out of computers, but the sound of pen to paper makes me most delirious.

The way letters bend and sparkle across a page cannot be rivaled by even the greatest font foundry. The way "I love you" looks in bold black sharpie or the backwards wonky letters of a preschooler can buckle my knees and break my heart...

Write letters.

Love Letters.

***Here is a simple and fun way to make thank you notes for those little ones who cannot yet write a proper thank you.

1. Take a photo of child with gift.

2. Ask the child how the gift makes them feel.

3. Write that sentiment on the blackboard along with thank you.

4. Print photo and include with simple handwritten child signature or scribble scrabble.

How sweet of a thank you is this?

And for those truly against having to send thank you notes or super eco friendly - you can email it although I think you know what I think- mail it mail it!!

Happy Boxing Day!

This is my husbands favorite day.

It is the day of true sloth like behavior for this family.

(Leftover food and drink and feet up-like all day)

^^^^^^^^^^Some other cool chalkboard links:

Here and Here and Here


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"Old Spice. Phil says it's a timeless classic."

Blaise will be two in a few days and I went and took his yearly click today.
The same date as last year. (how sweet is he?)

I am taking a photograph each birthday with a prop so I will be able to watch them grow and to give them some cool photos in their adult life.
Finnian wears his dad's shirt in his yearly click and Blaise wears an amber necklace.
I wrote about birthday traditions and ideas last year here.
I did not make this idea up as I recall reading about a woman who dressed her baby girl in a vintage Pucci shift and took photos. She hung them on the staircase. It was gorgeous seeing her grow into the dress.
So you should do it too!
And don't fret if yr kid is a bit older and yr just starting.
Just think of collections.
Many of one thing is always cool.
No matter how many.

The Yearly Click:

1. Choose a prop that the child can grow into or outgrow for drama.
(like a dress or a shirt of an adult in child's life or a piece of jewelry or something fun like a clown nose even!)

2. Commit to keeping the prop in a safe place and taking a yearly shot on the child's birthday or birthday time frame.

3. Write the age and date on back of print! yes PRINT it out! My mother and grandmother told me to write the dates on everything and I laughed! Now I am screwed with several photos and it has only been 4.5 years with Finn! Seriously we do not remember all that we think we always will.
6 months old and 8 months old look the fricking same to me now!

4. Display them! (staircase/wall/nursery)

5. Have fun and guess what? Yr creating amazing memories for the future! Yr an archiver of lovely.

title post- My Girl 1991

"Well, I don't know; we were exploited. But they were nice about it."

Disco Baby, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

In 23 days Blaise will be two years old.
In the tradition of birthday parties in our house-
this will be his low key birthday.
Even with the low key family year parties there must be a theme...
Finn has chosen the theme for Blaise this year.

Pancakes and Disco.

I mean honestly...How bad ass is that?
I must start planning how we are gonna get granny in a catsuit.

title quote- The Last Days of Disco 1998

With a voice as big as the the sea

I need to not be so busy bc my gal wants me to talk more about Christmas.

I am more in the mood after Finnian's Christmas program this morning.
It's like Christmas music continues to makes me cry. WTF?
Of course the children may have intensified it but the last few years I am even like in a mall and some slow holiday tune will play and I will feel it coming on.
I will be a wreck by the time I am an old woman.

I just buried my head in Blaise's neck and let my tears drip down his fat back and he giggled and giggled and the whole church smelled like childhood and pine cones and I just had to eat at Bob Evans I was so overcome.
I know what will make me freaking happy though is watching A Christmas Story this weekend and eating these. How bout you?

photo via

I'll follow you/When the stars go blue

The Perseid meteor shower happens this week. I seem to come back again to a cyclical thought pattern around this time of the year. I am crap with my memory. I tend to forget large chunks of time, but luckily I am life long friends with Michelle who can tell me the color of shirt I was wearing on May 15 of 1992 if I questioned.
However, I
always recall the meteor showers. It seems that no matter the state of my life during any particular late summer, the the Perseid meteor shower makes it all better. I am planning on waking up Finn this week so he can see it. I know this may or may not have a good outcome, but it is important I think. Because from what I read about next year, a last-quarter moon will be super bright and make it more difficult to see the Perseid's. I can't see him having to wait until he is 6 to see this amazing show.

Finn is announcing all sorts of facts to us lately:
A star is a large ball of gas (yes)

The Earth is our planet and it is the biggest in the universe.
(well, actually not )

I will go to space camp (oh really?)

Stars are so twinkly and tiny.(tiny?)

Sometimes he asks me questions that I have not the answers for. I don't know about Pluto apparently. I am thankful for the library. We talked lofty today at breakfast. We talked about Copernicus and the sun. It was all too much for him so we played Thomas the Tank Engine instead.
After a bit he asked how we know how big and far away these stars and planets are bc
there are no maps and as hard as he tries he cannot reach up and touch one.

(Even on his red plastic chair in the backyard)

I agreed that this was tricky. I told him that there are smarty pant math people out there who make up math puzzles that tell us these things. As I was talking I realized that to Finn it all must come down to faith and believing in what I am telling him.
So, I gathered him up in my arms and explained that although there was no map that we could hold in our hands that charts the distance between or the size of our hearts...that we just knew it was a direct line and that they were massive when they beat for each other.

And even if we are very far away from each other-
although they might seem small and far away- our hearts- are really quite enormous and always within reach if you believe.

Kinda like the stars for a four year old...

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When you're standing on the edge of nowhere/There's only one way up

We did the whole big fair thing today with my mom. The fair is a vital part of my past. I grew up in a town so rural that we were actually released from school for such things as Fair Day and Hunting Day. Seriously.

Anyhoo, I love the dirt of the midway and the colors of the fun. We had a blast and although as beat down haggard as I am now it was so very worth it. The most inspiring part of my day came from a very unlikely spot. We watched a magic show under a pavilion to catch a bit of relief from the heat.

The magician (who was very good) told us a bit of a story at the end of how people said he would never make a living following his passion. He spoke of how people said he was foolish to pull cards from thin air and expect a real life. He gave everyone in the audience a tremendous amount of hope in the flourish of his tricks and the obvious authentic joy he had from performing. He spoke to us and told us to follow our passion because it can work. His family at the bottom of the stage who had a table full of his magic tricks and toys for purchase beamed up at him. It probably isn't simple to a magician. It is most likely tough, but it is just like being a painter or a writer or a dancer. It is reaching down so far until that rabbit becomes real. Until you can grab him...

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I swear I can see your soul

Daddy has a birthday today
we made you lots of cards and trinkets
36 and devastatingly handsome
36 and I would so pick you up today like I did so many years ago
At a party or a bar
take you home and never let you go
You are beautiful
and you know how to do most anything
you tell stories that pop my irises
and the world could fall inside out
as long as you are near me
Happy Birthday Joe.

We made steak and fries and took a walk to the candy store.
A pretty good day.

And wake up where the clouds are far behind me

We made felt hanging mobiles today. I think we may string them together and frame Finn's doorway with the sweet circles. Like a cool kids version of the 70's bead curtain... We listened to The Essential Judy Garland and ate cold pancakes. We are making mothers day gifts that are so sub par this year that I cannot in good faith share any sort of photos or tutorials. It has been busy and time is running out. Grannies know we love them even if our paper crafts are crap right?
I am off to make a frappe-
I drink these all day long when it is warm out. When I lived on Mykonos I became a bit of a junkie for the Nescafe and for the strong Greek Coffee! I was so highly caffienated that I smiled the entire time I lived there. Shop owners and gyros boys would call from small open windows, "Here comes Ms. America." I loved it.
I also fell for creperies and have yet to recreate a crepe in real life like one in Mykonos town. It is kinda like when I go to eat at a Mexican restaurant and I nearly die in ecstasy at the white cheese that melts all over my food and makes me curl my toes in pleasure. I always ask the server (to Joe's horror) what kind of cheese it is and where I can purchase it. Every single time the server tells me with a shrug, "Mexican cheese". I can't make a crepe or find my elusive cheese, but I can frappe yr heart out. Check this video out and make one!

so sally can wait/she knows its too late as we're walking on by

Well, I picked up my macbook today. 

Brand new hard drive and nothing could be saved as it was a major malfunction.  
I am trying hard to forget about the last 6 months of photos and the last 8 weeks of my novel and all those book marks and software...OH MY. It really takes some resolve for me not to get depressed. I simply have to learn from this dammit. Back up back up back up. 
I am feeling less than creative this weekend though. I think I am allowing myself to stew a bit and not force myself to create. 
I am organizing tonight and unfurrowing my brow. 

Today was sweet as it was my BFF Michelle's daughter Mia's first birthday party. I met Michelle in the 5th grade. Unicorns, LYLAS, swatches, charm necklaces and the rest is history. Years. I loved her Baby's Prom theme! We all dressed up and had a blast. My favorite photo is not of Mia and her cake or all the lovely kids, but of Michelle filming her daughter eat her birthday cake while we all sang. It is that sweet moment I caught that makes a lump rise in my throat and tears threaten my eyes now. It is the moment of yr child's first birthday and of all milestones realized and recognized in an instant. 

Where tomorrow shines/Gold and silver shine

We have a sick wee one this Easter weekend- so Finn and I went solo to the neighborhood morning hunt. He invited Jack and they had a great time running for the eggs. I will be using a Paz kit today for our eggs, all my red cabbage, turmeric, & onion skins dreams of natural dying have gone away with the addition of a sickly baby. We are getting ready to put our legs up on wooden stools and feast on the egg hunt bounty. Have a great day with yr Easter weekend traditions. xo

Just had to trust imagination/my heart going boom boom boom

I met Kenneth Koch once.

"Rose, where did you get that red?"
I love this book so much. It is tattered like no other book I own. When I worked with elementary school kids through the arts council I used this book religiously. I also used it in classrooms and after school programs. It is a beautiful rare book. I am introducing it now because in April for National Poetry Month I am going to resurrect all my old lesson plans and share them with the web.
Koch used great poetry to teach children how to be to harness what already lived inside their endless imaginations. He taught kids to soar and through his books I was able to teach poetry to even the very young kindergartners. This book should be in every one's house because poetry is accessible to all of us. We all think and we all process and if we can learn the road from the mind to the pen, then we will soar. I can't wait to share the simple lessons with you in April. I have been reading Finnian poems for a long time and just now I am starting to create poems with him. I am teaching him that words are powerful and can help him express his feelings. I am giving him small gifts for the future. Gifts that might not unfold themselves for decades, but one day he will hear the lines from a poem, perhaps a Blake poem:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
in the forests of the night

and his mind will twist and stretch for a bit
and he will think back to the home he grew up in
and he will smile and remember that his mom said it was true
poetry makes you feel

Holly King and Oak King " A solstice duel"

So Finn is fond of all things pointy and sharp. He loves a stick, a sword, a light saber. He wants to fight and wrestle and dominate the universe. Dress up is his one true love. I love this about him as he is able (on most days) to separate the warrior from the pal. Yet I feel like I am constantly stifling his creativity and knights tale mindset he has acquired with requests to STOP IT!. I think if his brother were older and could do more than fall over on head that I would not mind the creative play. I found something to do this year to celebrate solstice that will involve a battle- a duel- a chance to use his small plastic sword and armor.
We are going to begin the family tradition of a backyard winter solstice duel between the holly king and the oak king. I love the story...
Anglo-Celtic mythology metaphorically portrays the cycle of seasons as a recurring conflict between the Holly King, who reigns during the half-year of waning sunlight, and his brother the Oak King, who reigns during the half-year of waxing sunlight. In their midwinter clash, the Holly King yields to the Oak King, even as the old sun dies so that the new sun can be reborn. As deep winter approaches, the Holly King withdraws into contemplation. Within his chalice, he nurtures the nascent new sun, and perhaps sees visions and dreams of the year to come.
Finn is so going to love this. I wanna be one of the kings. I wanna make the neighbors stare harder. I see crowns and robes and hot chocolate and photographs I will share.