Monday, September 15, 2014

the tooth fairy's first visit

we were at the dinner table two weeks ago all together as a family when you said "mama, i think my tooth is wiggly." i think your papa and i basically started tearing up at the table at the thought of this new passage.

while we were away on our trip you lost your tooth on september 6th, the day after my birthday (well, a family friend pulled it out as it was really close.) i have to admit i was so sad because i missed being there. i already had a felt tooth fairy pillow for you and wanted you to have it so we had the tooth fairy come the night i returned. luckily i got home by your bedtime and read you this passage.

this night it is a special night
as fairies dance upon the roof. 
all the fairies must alight,
for elodie just lost a tooth!

the fairy queen gives her commands,
twelve bright fairies must join hands
then together in a circle stands
to guard elodie while she sleeps.

the tooth fairy into the circle leaps
the hidden tooth she takes
ah, but has far to go
before elodie awakes.

three times around the world she flies
over valleys deep and mountains high;
skirts the storm clouds thick with thunder,
wings over waves all wild with wonder.

deep within their earthly homes
finally she finds the gnomes,
who upon the tooth must work
never once their duty shirk. 

some are hammering, hammering, hammering
some the bellows blow
others sweat at the sweltering forge
and then cry out, "heigh ho!"

the tooth's been turned into a shining stone,
a glimmering, glowing gem
the tooth fairy takes the gnomes' good gift,
and bows to all of them.

before the sun's first rays are shown,
she returns to elodie's bed,
with one more gentle wish
away she's flown again!

the tooth fairy brought you two gold coins and a little crystal. you were so excited and put the coins in your piggy bank and the crystal on your nature table.

i was a little sad when you were going to lose your first tooth but now you have a new wiggly tooth and i just can't help but be excited for you!

Friday, September 12, 2014

take me with you - montauk

my husband travels all the time for work. sometimes we try and all travel together as a family as we did this summer and sometimes he travels alone and i stay with the girls. it is rare that we travel without the girls and i'm always a nervous wreck leading up to a trip without them. last week we took the second trip away from them to the east coast. michael had an event on shelter island in the hamptons and another in chicago so it was quite literally a whirlwind weekend away.

i haven't been to the hamptons in over seven years and we decided to stay in montauk. i remember trying to find a place to stay back then and the options were limited as it was a sleepy little surf town and fishing village. it has changed tremendously since then and is still my favorite area of the hamptons. we opted to stay at the crow's nest inn which is on lake montauk rather than the uber popular surf lodge. i'm so glad we did. it wasn't super fancy but the design elements were perfect. i also had an insane birthday dinner out under the almost full moon.

i love how different it feels from california. the east coast is so beautiful in the summer. it is so green, lush, and humid. the road leading out to montauk (the 27) has such good memories for me. it rises up around you and all you can see is the road and scrubby pines. you are surrounded by water and the dunes but you can't really see much of a horizon. the fast moving clouds move over the road like a mirage. it is such a dreamscape.

some highlights:

lobster rolls at lunch lobster rolls on route 27. make sure you visit it and the clam bar directly across the street for delicious chowder and clam strips. this area is actually called napeague between amagansett and montauk. 

a sunset sail on a locally chartered catamaran

a tour of the montauk lighthouse - the oldest light house in new york

a swim at ditch plains

hiking in hither hills state park, such lovely dunes

dinner at the crow's nest

brunch at the surf lodge (i preferred surf lodge for brunch over their dinner menu)

stuart's in amagansett for fresh fish (so good!)

balsam farm stand in amagansett for local produce

i hope we get back before another seven years go by!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

my cure-all

we keep slipping off to the beach to make late afternoon drippy castles and mermaid tails. fresh sea air and the rhythmic waves have a tendency to wash away all unnecessary thoughts and i love seeing the girls also getting pulled into the ocean's reverie. i'll be squeezing every last beach day out of this summer!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

planting a garden

at some point in april we let our garden go to seed. i was working long days and coming home tired and not motivated to be in the backyard. now that we are home from this long summer i wanted to recommit to a garden for our family.

we enlisted the aid of laila from garden school foundation who also created a bountiful home garden for our friends at heirloom la. i've had gardens periodically growing up but know very little about the right times to plant and how deep to put the seeds, etc. elodie was so eager to learn and it was beautiful watching her get dirty from such hard work.

we planted lots of herbs and plenty of chard, sweet peas, kale, fennel, and sweet potatoes for the fall. francesca had a good time as well - mainly eating and playing in the dirt. i can't wait to see our little garden in a month or so! what do you like to plant in the fall?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

on sabbatical

putting pen to paper, or sitting in front of the keyboard in this case, after a two month long hiatus is hard. i joked to my friends that i was on sabbatical after working so much the first half of this year. and truly, stepping away from the computer and the cyclical nature of a life online has been a blessing. i rarely checked my email and was able to wholly ignore the "25% off" and "free shipping" messages that constantly bombard me (even though i'd unsubscribed from everything i still receive so many ads!)

this summer i was walking on a balmy evening down cobblestone streets with elodie in the french riviera town of antibes. our trip was winding down and i started to turn my attention towards home and all that meant. still summer. not working. beginning new projects. spending time with my family. i asked elodie what she missed most and she replied "i miss my stuffies" and i asked if we could stay gone for longer if she would. i knew the answer was yes for me but was surprised it was for her as well. than i began thinking what i missed the most about being away. the answer was, and still is, nothing. 

sure i miss friends and family. yes, creature comforts are nice (i really missed mexican food and doing laundry at my house - i was a wrinkly mess at the end) but i missed none of my material possessions. it is nice to take time to reevaluate what matters most and at this point for me, if i am with my family and near an ocean, than i am happy. i would let someone clean out my closet in exchange for allowing me to spend one more day exploring somewhere new. i've always been this way but have lost track of it in the last few years of homesteading. it seemed for a while we were always acquiring something new. 

the definition of sabbatical at it's core is a rest from work or a break. tripping the circuit to see things in a new way is something we could all stand to do much as some people are eating clean for 30 days or sharing what makes them happy for 100 days. 

right now i feel uprooted in the best way possible. detached from the cycle of needing things. i don't want to look at mood boards or shop a sale. or look at my phone for that matter. i know soon the old habits will creep back in but for now i'm savoring this blank slate. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

if this isn't nice, what is?

i was at a birthday party this past weekend and was having a conversation with an acquaintance of mine. i don't really know what we were talking about but it revolved about being grateful for our lives - all of it - the good, the bad, and the ugly. she mentioned a phrase from a kurt vonnegut story that her husband would say when they were having a sweet family moment and it made me tear up. i'd been looking for something to sum up all of the moments i've been having lately and this seemed perfect...

"if this isn't nice, what is?" 

just a sentence to help pause and take stock of how terribly beautiful this human experience can be. i hope that i can incorporate this into my daily lexicon.

here is the full passage:

one of the things (uncle alex) found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. he himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. we could be drinking lemonade in the shade of the apple tree in the summertime, and uncle alex would interrupt the conversation to say, "if this isn't nice, what is?" 

so i hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. when things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, "if this isn't nice, what is?"

- kurt vonnegut (by way of mylissa - thank you)

photos from a trip i just took to bainbridge island, i can't wait to share the photos!

Monday, August 25, 2014

take me with you - paris (part 1)

ahhhhh this post is going to be long. mainly because it's for my memory. i was so excited to bring the girls to paris, especially elodie. the idea of teaching her to use a map, navigate the metro, see the eiffel tower...well, i won't soon forget it and hope that i can bring both of them back as they grow. i'd love to walk down the same streets with my twenty five and twenty two year old daughters and point out where they were when they were mere children. such a wonderful thought. we really tried to limit ourselves to one big activity a day even though there were so many tempting itineraries and things that i wanted to see. i've been to paris several times while living in france and in the years following my stay. i thought back to what the wow moments were to me and built our days around revisiting those things.

we arrived mid-afternoon after taking the tgv from london. i love train travel and all the different train stations in europe. we checked in to our airbnb just around the corner from la bastille (technically still le marais.) i actually prefer staying nearer to la bastille. it's so vibrant and the grand boulevards are close to the canals and the seine. we were walking distance to the picasso museum, all the great restaurants and shops in le marais, as well as some good shopping (bon ton and merci were highlights!)

i would highly recommend renting a flat while in paris versus staying in a hotel. airbnb in paris can be a bit maddening as it seems parisians (and i obviously might be generalizing, this was just my experience and an experience of a friend who was also looking at the same time) are a bit slow at getting back to you and don't update the calendar frequently. i finally was able to book a flat after contacting the host several times. it was worth it in the end but a bit hard!

i loved having a cheese shop, bakery, charcuterie, and even an organic store (called bio in france) within walking distance. we were always picking up lovely things for our meals and became friendly with the local merchants.

day 1 highlights//

my husband's a coffee snob to the nth degree so each day we literally planned our itinerary around our espresso. thankfully it worked out.

we started out with a stop at télescope coffee before heading to the musée d'orsay. we took a roundabout walk through jardin des tuileries then across one of the many love lock bridges. this one was la passarelle de solférino rather than the structurally challenged pont des arts.

it was hard to choose just one museum while in paris. with a five year old and a toddler (and a laundry list of activities) it was just the way it had to be. musée d'orsay is an easy winner as it's a stunningly beautiful structure (an old train station) as well as chock full of all impressionist masterpieces.

tip for families: don't wait in the long queue right at the entrance of the museum, rather head over to the far right entrance which is for vips/wheelchair accessible/and in small print...families.

it was a rather moody day and we walked along the seine back to our flat. that night we made a big pot of soup, gave the girls a bath, and stayed up with friend drinking wine and eating cheese until the wee hours. home sweet home in paris.

day 2 highlights//

again, we chose a cafe with great reviews. this time, coutume instituutti which was in the institut finlandais near la sorbonne. perfect espresso. definitely worth the trip.

we then headed to cathedrale notre dame de paris. francesca and i walked to the seine and watched the boats and an accordion player while michael and elodie waited to get in. then we joined them inside while a mass was taking place. it was so beautiful to hear a chorus singing while walking through such an important piece of history.

afterwards, we headed back to le marais so that i could introduce my family to one of my favorite lunch spots from my early twenties...l'as du fallafel. there is always a queue up the street but it goes quickly and is worth the wait. it was exactly as good as i remembered and i loved seeing elodie sitting on the street corners with a half dozen parisians and other tourists digging into her falafel sandwich.

that evening we went to montmartre to see the basilique de sacre coeur and to have dinner at le refuge des fondues with our friends brian and bri. i stopped to pick up some strings of lights for elodie's room from le case de cousin paul which was right around the corner. it's so fun to wander the streets of montmartre!

stay tuned for part 2 in paris...