a little wiggle

You can see his shoulders and back straighten up, he struts his stuff now.  He hauls wood.  He knits.  He cooks a bit.  He writes and he writes and he writes.  He is stubborn, and puts a firm foot down when he believes he is right, (oh I wonder where he got that from).  He knows what he likes.  He is willing to try.  He is as malleable, and sweet, as he is strong, and determined.  His smile is like spun sugar, all sparkly and crunchy and delightfully playful. He is resilient. This boy. I can flip my top and whirl into an anger of frustration, and then I feel his calm gentle hand on my shoulder, a reminder, a silent note.  This boy.  This boy.

His pride in his creations is palpable.  You can see his chest expanding with his breath held, unable to fully release it until the masterpiece is  complete.  And again and again he poofs his chest up with a sort of, “Yeah, I did that.” look.  It amazes me what this seemingly little boy can really do.

I felt like he would be a baby forever.  The nights I spent up and rocking and nursing him seem like another life time already.  I can remember sleepless nights where a friend suggested a way to gently be during those endless dark skies, waiting for the sun to rise.  I would pretend the only living things on earth were him and I.  It was just us sitting on the cozy round papasan.  Us and the twinkling stars and the shiny moon.  And somehow this helped my weary, new mama shocked eyes.

I would hold that little baby and stare off the porch into the rainy day or hoist him on my back with a nervous newness and dig in our itsy community garden spot.  Pulling up the weeds and chatting with the neighboring plot tenders, I felt so proud to be a mother to him in all his cuteness and wiggly, velvet skin.

Now I’m dangling in the space between being a mama to all these little babies, and becoming a mama to a young boy.  In this tiny space of oh my, oh my, I don’t know what I am doing, but my heart is filled with so much excitement for the trying.  I mean he can read words.  He can write letters.  He is wondering about everything in this world.  His thoughts are coherent and fluid.  His feet are skimming this earth and it makes my heart swell and deflate at the very same time.  I’m not sure why I never thought this day would come.

But it did.

He has a loose tooth.

For the last three nights I have kissed my baby goodnight, wondering if tomorrow will be the marking day.  The day we all settle into this new spot.  This comfy new chapter book where we are surrounded by not only sweet toddlers and babies, but charming boys that inspire us and challenge us and make us smile at their toothless grins.

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one last full set of baby teeth photograph…


the happiness factor

When I was just a little child (little child)
Happiness was there awhile (there awhile)
And from me it… it slipped one day 
Happiness come back I say

Cause if you don’t come
I’ve got to go looking
For happiness

-Bob Marley

The level of dopamine found in humans, (a chemical found in your body that can be attributed to emotion), begins to decrease beginning at around age 20.  Lowered levels of dopamine are found to be links to causes of Parkinson’s, ADHD, and schizophrenia.  It has been attributed to the addiction of sugars and cigarettes.  It can be blamed for lust or craving.  It has had numerous fingers pointing at it declaring it to be the responsible party for lack of motivation and attention.   Dopamine regulates mood and metabolism.  In fact, scientists have found that rats with obesity have dramatically lower levels of dopamine.  It is probably the most well-known chemical in our brains, it has even been referred to as “the Kim Kardashian of molecules”.  It can be attributed to so many mental illnesses, the studies really are only just beginning.

Sometimes I wonder if this beautiful feeling has to be so fleeting?  I see my boys react with such unabashed joy to the simplest things; laundry basket boats, flower petals, jumping, splashing, monster trucks, sitting in the car, breakfast, cake, oh cake, “fast” sneakers, grasshoppers, trees, bubbles, the list goes on and on- and when I see this I can’t help but think, “I want that too.”.  It seems unfair that these everyday occurences mean so much to new eyes, and become mundane and normal just two decades later.  I have heard that 50% of your “happiness” can be attributed to your genetics.  10% is related directly to money (though interestingly enough, once your basic needs can be met, money does virtually nothing to the level of ones happiness), and the other 40% is up to the human being themselves.  It is their choice.  It is our choice.

There are specific things that people can do to increase happiness, build close friendships, stay in contact with family and community, exercise, have a varying schedule, pursue something you are passionate about, get in the “zone” or in a “groove” with something where your mind is taken by the subject, breathe fresh air… but these are things we know already.  And sometimes, even still, it is difficult to slap on a smile, or find the joy in the not much.

As a mom, sometimes as a very tired mom both mentally and physically, it is overwhelmingly difficult to muster up the energy to make this choice.  But I swear I try.  And the trying often turns into pretending, and pretend long enough and you just are.  It works.  It really does.

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Sometimes just by proximity a bit of that wonder occasionally spills over onto me.  And when it does,  I feel free.  

It’s easy to trudge through motherhood changing diapers, making meals, cleaning up after them, mopping milk, changing more diapers, breaking up fights, planning, more cooking, more breaking up fights, more everything, and never seeing the light.  A conscious effort is necessary at times.  But it can be done.

IMG_5499 IMG_5484 IMG_5452 IMG_5427Because honestly, there is so much to smile at.

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what might have been

Camping!  Oh the woods of Vermont have so much to offer.  From the miniture mossy lands lurking in the decomposing layers is such all the way to the towering mountainous views.  Hmmm… I love it to the core.  I have found home.  That is certain.

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But, I will be honest, for if I wasn’t what exactly would I be doing, writing here?  

It was one of those weekends where quite frankly everything got on my nerves.  A single whine, disagreement, a burned piece of french toast, (my husband… in general) all easily sent me reeling.  I was falling fast into the depths of anger, grasping for anything on my way down.   After the good portion of our first morning was spent searching (with many wrong turns and no baby backpack) for a waterfall (which ended up looking more like a water hill to my crabby eyes), I decided it was in everyone’s best interest for me to take a hike.  Alone.  And fast.

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I would like to say the effects of such a decision set in immediately.  But again, that would be a lie.  It took a full twelve hours and a good nights rest to let the energies of my hours alone gain momentum enough to change the course of my minds eye.  Turns out there is no such thing as going the wrong direction.


It seemed as if every corner I took on my hike I crossed paths with the Appalachian Trail.  I even caught glimpse of a few hikers, who over my few miles reached celebrity status in my mind.  I just kept thinking I want to do that.  When will I get to do that?  It’s too late for me!  All this self-pity.  All this regret of what might have been.  All this fear of whats to come.


I climbed atop a big old rock and set up a spot so that no travelers would not catch sight of me, but I could watch them come and go as I pleased.  (Totally creepy, I realize this now) As I looked around I thought of the glory of such an adventure.  I thought of the life changing realizations, the breath-taking views, the camaraderie, the simple pleasures, the memories.   I thought about them, and I felt just plain old bitter.  When I couldn’t take much more, I slid down the rock, careful not to slip too fast on the mossy stones, and wandered through the woods, continuing to search for my yellow trail markers, with a heavy heart.  It feels terrible and guilty and wrong to wish for anything other than these gorgeous faces to be by my side for always.


IMG_4979But, I have to imagine, we all do this, even if for only the briefest moments.  And surely, its clear from my writing that I love them with all a heart can hold.  But I think for a weekend I wished I had done something else first.  Something extraordinary, something selfish.


This morning I woke up and willed myself to be a morning person, and lo and behold I was back.  My husband was once again a tall drink of water, breakfast turned out just right, I liked my dog, and whines sounded less… whiny (mostly).  I can’t explain it other than I just had a change of heart.  Those cuddles were just too good.  Hearing, “Mama, I love you faster than a peregrine falcon” made me smile too deeply.  The sight of worn in, painted up carharts, the smell of coffee perking on a fire, my boys.

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I have learned that an actual language of the heart exists.  And that the energy it uses to forward information within your body is simultaneously projected in the areas around you.  Your joy, your passion, your frustration, your anger is all transmitted outwardly and is picked up by others knowingly or not.





the wind of my soul

This weekend, at one last family beach trip with some of my favorite friends of the south, I looked around at a sand bar that formed islands as far as I could see, I promise it might have been longer than a mile, at pelicans hovering just inches above the thick salty sea, at my children and my dear friends children nestled in close to one another floating and frolicking in tide pools with grins plastered to their faces, and at my own two feet sunk deep into the sand with a rising tide swirling at my hips.  “This place feels like a vacation”, I thought to myself. “Just when you are leaving.” I admitted.  Waiting this long to realize that is too long.  I will never make the same mistake.  I think  back on all my days with my two feet on the ground I realized that they are all just that.

A vacation of sorts.

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I am glad I am alive.


Moving magnifies the lack of permanence in life.  It forces me reflect on how big my boys were exactly one year ago when we went to the beach for a birthday party, or how my friends babies have grown so since we were last at a picnic, or how much I expected of my oldest when we moved here and he was a mere four months older than my youngest currently is.  It makes me feel the difference deep in my bones and wish that I had a better way to hold on.  But we don’t.  It doesn’t work that way.  You have this.  You have here.

Saying goodbye three times in three years is a lot.  It is sad to see tears in your dear friends eyes when you embrace them until you don’t know when, it is sad to sit in the passengers seat and shed them silently so your children don’t worry with a speechless husband at your side knowing not what to do but stare at the road.  But, more important than a fleeting moment of sadness is the idea that I have these souls speckled across the continent with a bit of me stored somewhere inside them.  And that I had the chance to have all these wonderful memories filed away in me.

IMG_2101 IMG_2120 IMG_2111 Motherhood forms a different type of friendship all together.  The camaraderie and understanding is uncanny to any other stage in my life so far.  We can commiserate and congratulate all at once all with the best intentions and with the eye of a common soul.  These children of ours, they give us so much to think about.  So much to search for and strive for.  So much to smile at.

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I am so grateful for the days we have had here.  Things became quite real to me last night, when handing over some houseplants.  This step of the process always makes the whole thing come to life.  Pictures are stacked in a corner, the walls are bare.  Knick knacks are safely tucked away and the rest awaits for the movers expertise.  Though a constant weight of sadness tugs at my heartstrings, and behind that is a layer of fear, I am ready for the adventure that lies ahead.


I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul.  Where I will end up i think only god really knows.  -Cat Stevens

Thank you Georgia.  You have been good to me.