Time Flies

“Time flies when you are having fun.”  That’s how the saying goes.  I see time literally flying by.  Today is the last day of school for the kids.  How did this happen?  I feel like we just got into our routine!  (We’re finally making it to preschool on time!)  Weren’t we just talking about apples on the trees and making book bags?  As I dropped the kids off this morning, I got a little choked up thinking about how far we have come from our first days at preschool a few years ago, when we all had tears.  Now my oldest is learning to read and sends me off with a smile.  My husband helped me to realize something important.  He said, “Time flies when you are having fun, but can feel interminable when things are not going well.”

This week we also celebrate our ninth anniversary of being married.

Had I known how important the choice of a partner is at the time of making this choice, I would probably still be single.  That is not to say I wasn’t focused on finding love in my twenties.  I was.  But, that had more to do with a happily-ever-after fantasy and an idea that my life was moving forward.  I wasn’t truly envisioning life together for the next 75 years.  Washing dishes, watching sunsets, raising children, drinking wine, and sitting on the couch together.  When we chose to be together it was more like the Bruno Mars song, Marry You.  “Its a beautiful night, we’re looking for something dumb to do… Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you!”  When Gus proposed to me in the waves at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island, I said to myself, “I’m in love with this guy!  Of course I’ll marry him… Why not?!?”

I would chalk up finding my great partner to luck and timing.  My husband sometimes reminds me (in jest), that I “shot the moon” when I met him.  But, he is correct.  I did shoot the moon.  And, so did he.  We are well-matched.  We are not alike in everything, but rather challenge each other to think about life in different ways.  We work on our differing communication styles daily!  I believe that there might be other people in the world that we could have ended up with, but our timing worked.  We were ready to meet one another.  We have mapped our lives previous to meeting and strangely enough (having grown up on opposite coasts) there are at least three other times we could have met.  We both agree we probably wouldn’t have fallen in love had we met at those other times.  Luck and timing.

I’m probably not the first to tell you this, but marriage is work.  It is negotiation and compromise.  But, it is also the most wonderful thing to have a “great partner in life”.  In my toast to my husband at our rehearsal dinner, I described the feeling of being with him, as “coming home.”  Thankfully, that feels more true today than it did nine years ago.  He is my best friend and the first and last person I want to talk to each day.  Everyone has their own criteria for love, whether we really know what we are looking for or not.  I don’t think either of us really understood the big decision we were stepping into – I think young couples rarely do.  It is a choice of faith and hope and a bit of luck as well.

I feel supremely lucky to have found a great partner to share all these moments with and I cannot believe that nine years have gone by so quickly.  If we weren’t happy (most of the time), nine years or nine months might just feel like a lifetime!

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Defining Success

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”
― Elizabeth Stone


Along the way I’m sure you have heard a version of this quote by Elizabeth Stone.  Sure, it can be thrown in the category of cliche, but it is also very, very true.  As parents, our hearts break when our baby emits his or her first cry or when our toddler falls down while taking first steps.  It is the seemingly impossible idea of separating from these little ones that causes us pain.  The underlying realization is that we are, actually, separate people.  Parents cannot protect their children from every form of hurt.  We know that growth is the goal, yet growing pains, by definition, hurt.  As my children experience new things and grasp growth opportunities, I feel their vulnerability at a visceral level.


We’ve made a push to get our oldest son swooshing down the slopes by participating in weekly ski lessons at our local hill.  I won’t lie – it has not been pretty.  The experience has been fraught with extreme push back and small successes.  Lots and lots of effort, put forth, with a smile, by my lovely husband.  I think it is also safe to say husband considers himself part sherpa at this point in the game, with all the toting of gear involved.  Throw in a healthy dose of anxiety and tears, and that pretty much sums up the season!  As we recount this experience to friends, we remind them (in obnoxious voices full of authority) that the key to teaching kids to ski is to keep expectations low.  We are laying the foundation… (said over and over like a mantra).  This is a necessary element of sharing this sport with our family.  We realize that it will probably be many years until we are actually all skiing together, but this weekend we experienced our first glimpse of success!


We decided to commemorate the end of the season by heading to Canada.  In a carefully orchestrated dance, with little one hanging out with a fabulous Australian babysitter, we attempted to ski for the first time as a family!  We put the boys in lessons for two days with the experts at Whistler.  We skied together in what felt like an actual “date” on the mountain.  We saw the boys coming away from their lessons feeling successful.  And on the last morning of our trip, Gus and I took both boys (ages 3 & 5) skiing down actual mountains.  I don’t even mean the bunny hill!  We took them up quad ski lifts, on purpose.  We rode the lift together.  We executed getting off the lift successfully.  We watched the boys make turns.  We actually skied together!

It was exciting.

It was exhilarating.

And... It was absolutely terrifying!!

There was the immediate fear:  If something happens, can I get to them fast enough?

Then there was the bigger underlying realization:  My heart is currently skiing down this mountain!!


This was not the topic I was expecting to write about upon our return.  I expected to expound on our feeling of success.  Something like… “We did it!  We remembered all the gear!  We rock!!”  Also true.  But, in the moment of witnessing my oldest “fearlessly attacking the steep” (as his instructor eloquently put it)… I experienced fear.  Why, you say?  He was having fun.  He was truly skiing.  He was going faster than me.  And at some point I realized I was totally out of control.  I don’t wish to parent my children in a bubble (as much as the idea conceptually appeals to me), not really.  I am truly excited to see how they grow, where their passions lie, and what makes them laugh… Danger exists every single day.  I know that.  And, as you know, I like to think that is is possible to find joy in the everyday.


There was just something so remarkable about experiencing such combating emotions in the same, exact moment.  To feel the pride associated with success, right alongside the fear of what might happen in the next instant.  Awesome and scary.  My mind jumped to what it will be like when our children learn to drive… when they make decisions about drugs and alcohol… and, when they become adults.  I had one of those crystal clear moments realizing, “My mom and dad must have felt this exact same feeling… Wow.”  I guess this is all part of growing up!

In Between

There is a phase in friendship where all feels natural and wonderfully close, but there is a phase right before all that loveliness that feels like a lot of work.  As thirty-somethings with three kids, there is not the abundance of time that we once had during college days to forge friendships – through all night gab sessions over beer and mediocre pizza.  Most recently we were making baby friends.  This is a special phase where new parents support one another with bleary-eyed conversation fueled by coffee and wine, all while googling over our new little lovelies.  But time goes on, and relationships shift.  Families begin to reallocate time and energy resources to the school community.  It makes sense, I get it.  We’ll be there soon.  With Sam starting kindergarten this fall, I am really looking forward to settling into that new community and being a part of things too.

But right now, this minute, we are in a funny place.  We have friends, lots of great friends – some near and some far.  Yet, I see that we (and they) are all in transition.  Everyone is so damn busy!  It is tough to actually carve out time to see one another.  People talk about the times in one’s life when close friends are made: early childhood, high school, college, post-college work, when babies are born, and when those babies start elementary school and you meet those kids’ parents… The cycle goes on and on.  Plus, add to that the many geographical moves that take us away from loved ones, and there you have it.  We’re currently in between.  It feels like we are starting over (again).

I yearn to jump forward to a place with a cozy group of friends that feels comfortable, like your favorite hoodie.  The one you reach for when you just want to be yourself, to be known.  Lately, as we meet new folks and try to find our way, it feels like wearing beautiful heels all the time.  The ones that you take off the minute you walk through your front door… And maybe that’s the problem.  Eureka!  Maybe I have solved it after all!  We need to go out into the world with a big smile and favorite-sweatshirt-attitude versus a high-heels-attitude.  We’re nice people.  Yes, a bit sleep deprived, but we try not to let this fact get us down.  Our favorite shows are: Parenthood (well, obviously) and Mentalist (Simon Baker, enough said).  We’re semi-sporty.  We enjoy long walks and great conversation.  We’re perfecting our creme brulee recipe in hopes of wooing you and yours.  Just FYI… we’re looking for some new friends and you might be next on our list.  Watch out.

I know that this bit of discomfort will pass.  Like everything else, it will shift and change.  In a few weeks, or months, or years (please god, no), we will nudge each other and say… “Wow!  Look at this group of friends we are a part of!  I don’t even remember a time when George, and Sally, and Sue weren’t around!”  Its probably just around the corner…


Love Note to Our Nanny


About a year ago, life changed in a big way for our family.  No, I am not talking about the birth of our daughter… well, one thing led to another, I suppose.  No, I am talking about the addition of a nanny to our family unit.


While pregnant with Tatum, it was clear to me that if another chickadee was going to join the nest, this mama needed some help!  Still, I was reluctant to ask for assistance, and even more reluctant to really want another person floating around in our midst.  Although this person was only going to work part-time for us, being a stay-at-home mom, I realized I would need to like this individual, as well as respect him or her.


As a first step, we enlisted the help of a tried and true nanny placement service to help us find our very own Mary Poppins.  We went about our search, meeting various people who looked great on paper, realizing that no matter how great someone’s resume was, we were looking for someone who would just “click” with our family.  I had been advised by a veteran-nanny-searching-parent that “with the right person, it won’t feel strange to have someone in your home”.  So, like finding a mate, chemistry obviously plays a big part in finding a nanny.  After a few missed connections with nannies from the service, I began to wonder if we would, in fact, find someone.  Already the baby was born and we were still searching with no great leads on the horizon… Then, as luck or fate would have it, the perfect person fell into our life at the perfect time.  We spent a few weeks gingerly feeling around the edges of this new relationship, wondering if this person might like us as much as we liked her.  Thankfully, the rest is history.


Dear Andrea,

We think you are wonderful and feel so lucky to know you.  Thank you for all that you do to keep our family moving forward.  You are flexible and kind and have mixed right into our chaos.  You add order to our mess and fun to our routine.  Because of you, I know my way around our ironing board (whereas before I didn’t even know where it was).  Our laundry is washed, folded, and put away (often on the same day)!  You are the extra set of hands that allow me to hold my baby and not feel guilty that the dishes haven’t been done.  You are the board that I bounce ideas off of and you keep me accountable with all the projects I take on.  Your refreshingly frank nature means that you usually mention if you think my methods could use a little tweaking.  You are teaching me that it is okay to ask for help.  I trust, respect, and like you… The kids love you.  We love you.  Thank you.  You don’t know how much this means to our family.

Love, The Poole Family


This has been a pivotal year for all of us.  It speaks to growth, change, and adaptability.  Our family is larger now, not by one, but by two.  This is not a forever situation.  There will come a day (sooner than I would like), when our nanny will move on with her own life.  The relationship will change, but my hope is that she will stay a part of our family.  By total chance, we found someone who has grown to love us as much as we love her.  We feel so lucky.


What a Difference a Year Makes


This week my baby turned one.  Her birthday coincides with the the New Year holiday; a time for fresh starts, moving forward, and reflection.

I find that I am always sentimental during the first anniversary of the days, hours, and minutes before any of my baby’s births.  I think about what we were doing “at this time last year.”  I try to imagine the impossibility of what it felt like not to have met the little person we have spent the last year loving.  I think of my labor and when the contractions started.  Were we at the hospital?  Were we at home still?  Was Nana here yet to take care of the boys?  I have been blessed with straightforward, lovely births, so this reminiscing evokes a feeling of love and empowerment (I know that I am lucky on this front).  These memories are something I treasure as a gift my children have given me.  I never knew I could be so strong as during the births of my children.  My last baby has just turned one and is moving out of babyhood.  She walks and climbs and is beginning to talk.  As I say goodbye to the birth chapter of life, it is with bittersweet feelings.  I hope to carry with me the strength I experienced in birth into my future adventures.

2012 draws to a close and I am struck by how different life feels this year versus last.  Last year we were in love with our newborn, wondering how we would get through the first days, let alone the year, as a family of five.  I think about how we were closer with some friends and alternatively more distanced from some family.  Poole Party of 5 did not exist.  We didn’t know who our next president would be.  What a difference a year makes…  I grew up with a phrase that my mom would tell me in times of discord.  She would say, “Make friends with change.”  Of course there is not a much truer sentiment, yet it drove me crazy.  Nothing stays the same.  We know this in our heads, but I believe it is harder for our hearts to accept.  I friend recently said, “Think back five years to what your life was…”  Well, we had a 6-month old little boy that we loved deeply, but were still getting to know.  We lived in a different house, in a different city.  We didn’t know what our family would become, or who our little guy would be.  One year is a blink.  Five years is a deep breath in and out…

While I was in labor with Tatum last year, the song playing on the iPod when she was born was “One Day” by Matisyahu.  It is such a powerful message for peace.  I love the imagery of my baby entering the world with such a hopeful message.  (I have linked to the video and copied the first verse lyrics below.)

Video Link (click here)

sometimes I lay
under the moon
and thank God I’m breathing
then I pray
don’t take me soon
cause I am here for a reason
sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around
all my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
there’ll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day (x6)

As much as things change, we do have elements that continue, unmarred by the date on the calendar.  My wish for the future is peace and a time when “there’ll be no more wars / and our children will play”.  I don’t know if this will happen in my lifetime, but maybe in our children’s lifetimes.  I still wonder why I am here, but I know that one of my purposes was to be a mom.  To love my children and my husband with all that I have.  To give forgiveness when someone hurts me and to try not to do harm to others.  I’m not big on New Year resolutions; every year they are the same – dental floss more and exercise more.  But maybe a hope for peace is good too.

Christmas Fudge

Note:  I started this blog on a whim, not really having any idea how to do it, where it would go, or what I would write about (or if anyone would read it).  I didn’t expect to enjoy it quite so much.  I thought of it as an exercise that might be good for me or allow a larger conversation to begin about what might be next on my life agenda after having these babes… As the year comes to a close, I am enjoying thinking about how this blog is evolving.  The blog has allowed me to ponder thoughts and memories out loud.  Hopefully these meanderings have an element of universality so that on occasion they hit a chord with you and allow you a moment of introspection as well.  Anyway, that is my hope…


My grandmother made Christmas lovely.  As I have mentioned in a previous post, the women of my family have an attention to detail and a love of beautiful things.  Being of German descent, Christmas Eve was the big deal on her side of the family and my sister and I always looked forward to the Christmas Eve celebration at her home.  Her table was set just so, in the same familiar way each year, with china and silver and little wooden snowmen.  As is custom in the German tradition, presents are opened on Christmas Eve, so that, too, was exciting to us.  We could barely contain ourselves as we sat through a traditionally long dinner; instead salivating over the presents we knew were waiting for us.  Part of what my grandmother clearly understood was the ability to truly think of the individual when giving a gift.  We knew that we would love whatever she had picked out and felt her love, through her recognition of our individuality.  The gifts of the past are a happy blur, but the love I felt when looking at a package she had carefully wrapped stays with me.

One of the gifts I remember that she gave year after year was a gift to my father, a notoriously difficult one to purchase for.  Instead of trying to find one more “thing” he wanted or needed she made him fudge.  Each year he would open the tin and find individually wrapped pieces of her Christmas Fudge and immediately dive in.  I believe he loved it – both the gesture and the fudge recipe itself.  I few months back I referenced my grandmother’s book of recipes that have been in my possession since she passed.  Her Christmas Fudge is one of the recipes that was inside.  I tried it for the first time this year and my father will be receiving it for Christmas.  I hope I do the memory justice.


(taken from my grandmother’s handwritten recipe)

48-60 pieces

3 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cups Parkay margerine (I used butter)

2/3 cups (5 1/3 oz can) Carnation evaporated milk

1 – 12 oz package semi sweet chocolate bits

1 – 7 oz jar Kraft marshmallow creme

More than 1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (1/2 of a 6 oz jar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

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Combine sugar, margerine & milk; bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.


Keep lid on as much as possible to prevent graininess.  Boil 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly (mixture burns easily).

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Remove from heat; stir in chocolate bits until melted.  Add marshmallow creme, peanut butter, nuts, and vanilla; beat until well blended.  Pour into a greased 13″x9″ pan.  Cool.  Cut in squares.  To store, wrap pieces separately in Saran & put in a cookie tin.

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This was my first go around with any kind of fudge and found it to be quite easy!  I’m sure there are a million and one variations that one can do depending on your tastes.  This particular recipe has a nice chocolate flavor with a twist of peanut butter and a certain mellowness that I believe comes from the marshmallow creme.  I literally laughed out loud when I looked over this recipe, as the family tradition of quoting the necessity of marshmallow creme for random recipes (that definitely do not call for it) has been a long standing joke in the family.  This is the first recipe from the family that I have ever seen that actually does call for it!


A Holiday Pledge

I vow to slow down and stay in the moment.

I will do my best not to obsess over silly things.

I pledge to remember what is important (family, friends, health, joy)

I will continue to do things that help me to feel healthy and good (run, yoga, walks, ____).

I will set reasonable expectations for myself (and others).

I will not freak out if I forget to move the Elf on the Shelf.

If I feel anxious, I will take a deep breath.

I can feel my heart rate rising…  There is too much to do!  I am simultaneously excited and overwhelmed by the approaching holiday season.  I love Christmas.  I love wrapping packages.  I love all the little signs of the season; eggnog lattes, gingerbread houses, cutting out snowflakes (or happy little trees) for our windows… “Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things.”

I also will admit that I feel challenged by it.  Overspending and differing priorities and historical baggage, Oh My!  I become a bit of a perfectionist at this time of year and put pressure on myself to make things just so.  Growing up, I imagined a time when I would get to decide what Christmas would look like for my own family.  I dreamed of incorporating my historical traditions with what my husband-to-be knew and we would define our own values and traditions, specific to our family.  This was not as simple just deciding what the holidays would look like in the mind’s eye.  We’ve spent the last ten years figuring out this dance with varying levels of success; working to get the steps just right, incorporating family traditions that feel good to all of us, some from our past and some completely new.  And I think we’re getting there!

Ironically, the event that has both put Christmas into perspective and simultaneously turned it on its ear was our daughter’s birth last year, two days after Christmas.  Our baby was due December 30th and I was convinced that she would come early.  Absolutely convinced.  The beginning of December was busy with the knowledge that she would arrive eventually and when it happened our plans would go out the window (or at least switch to Plan B, C, or D).  The nutcracker ballet, santa pictures, preschool holiday performance, and holiday parties all happened amidst many a contraction, but without a hitch.  Gifts were purchased and wrapped weeks before Christmas.  Jam was made in the summer to be gifted to family and friends… and at some point after all that, I realized it just didn’t matter.  Each day would begin and I would think, “Will she arrive today?  How will I feel if I don’t get ___ done?”  It turned out that all that mattered was that our family was together and we were expecting a new member to arrive at any moment.  We were freed from the feeling that events were mandatory, which in turn made them more fun!  We realized that life would go on.  Christmas would happen whether we were “ready” or not.  All that truly existed was enjoying each other’s company and letting other people know that we care about them too.  I guess that could be said for the rest of the year too, but there is something heightened during this time.  Do you feel it?  Do you obsess over how many cookies you must bake or what to buy for Aunt Tilly?  I know that there is something universally wonderful about this season and also for many, something tough.  Perhaps because, like vacations that are photographed and photographed, the holidays are memorable.  They are differentiated from the rest of the year by rituals that are done over and over again in a special way.  As it turned out, we were able to do all the holiday things we wanted to, enjoy Christmas with our boys, and then welcome our daughter into the world.

For us, the holidays now mean something new.  They mean the beginning of life for our littlest.  What I learned last year and hope to carry with me in the years to come is the following.  Sure, it is fun to give and receive gifts.  Of course, it is great to celebrate the season with special events and dress up clothes.  But, the true holiday spirit comes from looking around and appreciating the life we have, the people we love, and that we are all here together.  And that feeling doesn’t evaporate when you look at your credit card bill in January.

Note:  I have waited a few days to publish this because I have been feeling too distracted by my “To Do” lists, and this felt ironic.  Too ironic.  I have been feeling overwhelmed.  This is not entirely due to the holidays, but also for the planning of my baby’s first birthday!  Deep breath, Poole.  Relax.  Obviously we all go through moments of craziness.  I know that I am not alone in this… but in our best selves and in our best moments, maybe it is possible to keep a little perspective and laugh when things are ironic!

A Meditation on Friendship

Watching my five- and three-year-old sons navigate a new preschool has made me look at the idea of friendship in a new light.  I see courage in my little ones, as they approach someone new, asking them to play – asking for friendship.  Already in their young lives, they know that the answer might be yes and it might be no.  I want to make this journey easier for my children, but know that I cannot.  Lately, my older son has been talking of “marriage” with a few of his new friends.  I try to encourage him to wait to make any proposals.  Telling him that he really does not need to make a decision of such importance for some time.  Yet, I see that what he yearns for is connection and a promise.  A promise that this trusted friend will be there tomorrow, just as excited to play with him as he / she is today.  I wish it were that simple.  Maybe in the best circumstances it is.

Wikipedia defines friendship as, “…a relationship between two people who hold mutual affection for each other.”  

“The value of friendship is often the result of friends consistently demonstrating the following:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Honesty, even in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth
  • Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
  • Enjoyment of each other’s company
  • Trust in one another
  • Positively strong, deep, close reciprocitymutuality—equal give-and-take between the two parties
  • The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.”

Wikipedia goes on to say that the American Sociological Review found that the quality and quantity of close friendships in America has been on the decline over the past thirty years.  “The study states that 25% of Americans have no close confidants and that the average total number of confidants per person has dropped from four to two.”  How sad is this?

Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner, is a modern piece of literature that focuses on the theme of friendship.  There is something timeless about this novel that makes me want to revisit its message again and again as I move through my life.  It is a thoughtful, quiet work that meditates on the half-century long relationship between two couples.  Stegner looks at what it is like to truly feel known by other people.  Throughout this book, it is clear how much these relationships have shaped each character’s life and been a touchstone for important moments of growth and change.  I see this to be true in my own life.

Friendship is unlike marriage, where although it is not always lasting, there is a contract and a stated commitment.  There are rarely formal contracts in friendship.  Parties take part for as long as it satisfies a need.  Individuals are free to come and go.  But don’t we have a commitment to one another?

Where I land on this topic is I expect my friends to stick around.  As in the Wikipedia definition, I expect there to be a level of trust and mutual respect.  In the best scenarios, friends can become the family we choose.  These important relationships can be a thing that helps to define our lives.  Connection is important.  I believe that people with connection live longer, more fulfilled lives.  This is what I wish for myself and my family, a life filled with connection and community.  As we move towards this season of giving thanks, I find I am thankful for my friends.  I am thankful for how many of you have defined portions of my life and helped to shape the person I am.  You have allowed my family to become a part of yours.

“There it was, there it is, the place where during the best time of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.”

― Wallace StegnerCrossing to Safety

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The Allure of Local

Gus and I have a long-standing joke about a little something that makes me tick.  On a trip to Whidbey Island, early in our relationship, we stopped at a coffee shop in the town of Langley.   Our reason for stopping was that we were out of coffee beans.  As the barista listed off the various roast options to purchase, he threw in a final choice with the line that it was “roasted last night.”  My eyes lit up and obviously that is the one we took home.  My husband found this hilarious, because I didn’t even pay attention to the roast (or the price).  The idea being that if it was roasted last night, it must be better!  I was charmed and an easy sell for the barista’s (possibly) stock line.  Ever since then, and especially if we are on vacation, we relish those “roasted last night” moments.  To me, they are the kind of local flavor that makes a purchase different from my usual grocery store experience – it gives the item a story and makes it memorable.  To my husband, it is an opportunity to spend a few extra dollars for the same coffee beans, but he does appreciate that it makes his wife happy.  These moments make my day and they make my husband laugh.

We are on the Olympic Peninsula again this weekend and feel that fall is truly in the air.  The leaves are just beginning to drop and I am starting to crave foods like root vegetables, butternut squash, and apple anything.   As part of our trip we visited the renowned Port Townsend Farmer’s Market and enjoyed some local delicacies and street music.  The Pane D’Amore cheesy breadsticks are my personal favorite.

While in Port Townsend we also stopped off at Conservatory Coastal Home and were lucky enough to meet the store owners, Heather and Sam Pollock, and their handsome family.  Once again, I was entranced by this unique store.  It has been rearranged and looks fresh and inviting with lots of new items, including a large turquoise chandelier… (still wondering if I can come up with a place for this in my home?!?!)  I had to be dragged away with only a signature candle to take the place of their Heirloom Tomato candle that we were given a year plus ago.  As sad as I am that the Heirloom Tomato is finnito, the new one sports Conservatory’s new label and is Fig-scented.  I was reminded by Heather that all the candles are soy and made within the store, a detail I’m sure you understand that I’m quite keen on.  The kids also loved their new take-away gift of a few small sand dollars, you’ll remember we were originally wooed by small goldfish toys.  Such a lovely spot!


Next stop, Finnriver Farm & Cidery.  If you didn’t know, there is a spirited cider revival going on.  This cider is not the cider you remember drinking in high school.  This new style of cider tends to be a bit less sweet and drinks more like a beer.  There is enormous variety in the styles and it is taking on an artisan element.  Finnriver boasts a tasting room, as well as a cool little farm.  Let me say that if our kids could live on a farm versus the city, I believe they would – at least for a day.  We took a walk around the farm, visiting pigs, ducks, chickens, a dog and a cat.  The family enjoyed touching the dirt and feeling a connection to the land and animals.  I loved seeing all the apples waiting to become the next round of cider and all the neat cider-making gear.  The cider tasting room was staffed with a friendly attendant, whose family was out helping on the farm.  It was a family-friendly stop that I would highly recommend.  If you are in the area, check ahead of time, as they occasionally do u-pick days for their berries and other organic produce.  We’ll try for that next time.  We are now the proud owners of Finnriver’s Dry Hopped Cider and Sparkling Pear Cider that will allow us raise a toast to the new season… and maybe, just maybe, it was bottled last week!  Until next time, here’s a taste of some fall color.

“Don’t Postpone Joy”

As summer wraps up, I have been having a difficult time landing on a topic to present to you.  I have so many themes running around my head, design ideas, sumptuous photos, and beautiful food to show you… and like the season, all ripe for the picking.  Yet, my mind keeps landing on something different…

While on vacation I saw a bumper sticker that stuck with me.  This bumper sticker reads, “Don’t Postpone Joy.”  I can’t get it out of my head.  There have been a few tragic losses in my immediate community – families that have lost their fathers in strange and surprising ways.  Immediate ways.    I keep coming back to the fact that life can be taken from us swiftly, permanently, and without apology.  Maybe it is the nursing hormones still in my system post-baby, but all I want to do is wrap my family in a forcefield to protect this life that we are leading, right now, in this minute.  I feel scared and thankful all at the same time and then I think… “Don’t Postpone Joy.”

Have you ever read something from a crazy source that just resonates?   Sometimes I feel this way about Lululemon shopping bags.  The bags are stamped with all sorts of truths or mantras such as, “That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.”  Or, “Do one thing a day that scares you.”  “Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment.  Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.”  You get the idea…  All good thoughts.  Sometimes cliche, but still probably true and certainly good reminders.

We live with so much hustle and bustle.  School is beginning, we are all getting back into our cherished and hated routines, and I feel it is especially important to clear my mind, remembering what is important.  My kids are accomplishing milestones, having growth spurts and tantrums and leaving the nest in little ways each day.  In the next few weeks I am sure that my baby will start to walk…  All of this makes me both proud and desperately wish that I could stop time.  “Don’t Postpone Joy.”

So here, right now, I will present a few moments of our Joy over the last few months and try to encourage you to think of yours.  “Don’t Postpone Joy.”

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