Happiness is: tomatoes and basil

05/31/2012 at 8:24 am | Posted in Happiness is | 6 Comments

tomatoes and basil

Can you just smell this picture?

Oh basil. You are the essence of summer. Along with sunscreen, burning charcoal and salt air.

We’re growing our own little basil plant from seed, so while we wait patiently for our own harvest, I’m buying it from the market. I tossed the batch above with some chopped cherry tomato, balsamic viniagrette and cooked whole-wheat pasta. It made the perfect little salad. I also love to make insalate caprese, bruschetta and pesto. Yum, yum and yum.

How do you like to cook with basil? Any recipes to share? (pretty please)

Happiness is: live lip-dub proposal

05/30/2012 at 10:24 am | Posted in Happiness is | 5 Comments
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This totally knocked my socks off.
Like, tears and goosebumps and laughing out loud.
Hope you love it too.

(Thanks, Melissa, for sharing!)

UPDATE: Here is a lovely interview with the couple on The Today Show.


But do not despair because somewhere there is a heart

05/30/2012 at 9:49 am | Posted in me | 4 Comments
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One more wedding post, and then I promise, we’re back to Happiness Is and low-cal recipes and pictures of squishy baby rolls …

I had the honor of reading these beautiful words at the wedding last weekend, and I think you guys will fall in love with them, too. My reading was adapted from This is For You, by Rob Ryan.

At the wedding, I made the mistake of glancing up at the bride and groom after line three and got choked up. I had to tell myself not to ugly cry. Just read the words. Don’t think about what they mean. And breathe.

It worked. Thank goodness.


But do not despair because somewhere there is a heart

That is beating that is meant just for you

And one day this will be the other heart that will beat inside of you. And on that day you will feel whole for the first time

This heart will be growing and yearning as your heart grows and yearns.

Somewhere, somebody closer than you might think.

Can there be anything more wonderful than the emotion of relief? When you have feared for the worst and then things turn out to be not so bad after all.

You feel as if you have been handed a brand new future to make whatever you want from it.

A new life.
A new start.
You feel brave.
You feel hope.
Anything seems possible.

What is important – I don’t know anymore.

What happens when you see less and less the good and more and more the bad?

Is that when you begin to die?

I have this feeling of longing for something that will last.

That will improve

The thought of improvement gives me hope.

Without hope I won’t survive.

I just want things to improve.

I promise that one day, I will take you to the quietest places

Where all you can hear is the whistling of the wind through the air

Don’t just look at and enjoy the beauty of a glorious view

Look at everything and see the goodness of it

Because it is all out there waiting for you

Straight hair and afro hair

Small boys and old women

Goldfish and whales

Sparrows and emus

Deserts and glaciers

Elephants and little ants

I promise that one day I will take you to the loudest places

I promise that one day I will take you to the highest places

My home will have no windows, doors or floors

Nor bricks or mortar

I care naught for them

My only home is in your arms

And nowhere else

Except perhaps in these many tiny scraps of dreams and paper

If I was thirsty, would I draw a drink?

If I was hungry, would I draw food?

If I was homeless, would I draw a house?

If I was lonely, would I draw a picture of you?

But what if I had everything that I could ever want?

What would be left to draw?

What left to say?

I don’t know if I could bear that.

And day by day, I filled my world with more words and more dreams and my heart became a place where I could escape to and talk to you and hold you close.

And years from now, I will return and see that wind and rain have washed these words away. But they stayed in my heart to this day.

All of these thoughts were of you. All of these dreams were of you. And my darling, that lonely child still lives inside me. I have not changed. These promises I make to you, I WILL FULFILL.

Here comes the flower girl

05/29/2012 at 2:55 pm | Posted in family, Small Fry | 4 Comments
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Before I dig into this post, I need to start by saying that the bride and groom have asked for privacy, so you won’t see their photos or read their names here. What you will see, though, are a zillion more pictures of Little Miss Flower Girl in all her glory.

Sound okay? Great.

Here’s one more shot from the rehearsal dinner because I just can’t resist sharing it. I took it with my phone using Instagram and my favorite filter, Amaro. Doesn’t she look divine? Also: note the sparkly lip gloss. A flower girl must-have, Lily tells me.

And here’s my view from our hotel room bed after the rehearsal festivities. Marc stayed downstairs for a little while to hang out with his cousins while Lily and I hit the sack. Tuckered little girl. (And big girl.)

Wedding day! Lily and I had a ball with the bride in the hours leading up to the wedding. We took pictures, ate chocolate and did lots of hugging … and a little bit of happy-crying. Here we are just before leaving for the wedding:

Lily was dressed in head-to-toe Gap. I found her dress, shoes and hair flower at separate times, all part of separate collections. Because I like to make things difficult for myself. Really, I just got lucky. Everything was on sale and everything matched.

Peep toes!

Unwrapping a photo-bribery Starburst candy:

Lily LOVED her little basket of flower petals. In fact, during the photos after the wedding, she was so determined to keep them from fluttering out of her basket in the breeze that she rammed her hand in there and WOULD NOT BUDGE. Seriously. In every photo with the flower girl, one of her little hands is clutching the basket by its handle while the other one is stiff-arming those petals into place.

Silly Lily lives up to her nickname in this shot (and isn’t Marc handsome?):

After lots of dancing and waaaay too much sugar:

We had such a wonderful weekend. Sophie stayed behind with my folks, and we sure did miss her. But it was such a treat to spend special time with Lily and Marc. Brought back memories of our days as a little threesome.

And, for the record, after refusing to walk down the aisle alone during the rehearsal, Lily sailed down by herself during the wedding. Like a boss.

Hope your long holiday weekend was lots of fun. I’m ready for another one!

Steppin' Out: the flower girl on "practice night"

05/28/2012 at 9:55 pm | Posted in me, Small Fry | 9 Comments

Check out Little Miss Flower Girl!

All last week, Lily was so excited about being in a very special wedding that she told anyone who would listen all about it. She raved to her teacher about painting her nails (“fingers and toes!”) and talked non-stop about her dress and shoes and what would the basket of flower petals look like.

So it’s no surprise that she had a blast this weekend. Total blast.

Lily took this shot of our feet. Isn’t it cool? And aren’t the bride’s shoes fabulous?

These were our rehearsal dinner outfits. My maxi skirt came from Loft, and the top is an oldie from H&M (Which I wore in our last SOS. Oops.) My sandals are from Target, and the necklace is my all-time favorite Anthropologie purchase. I wish I’d done something different with my hair. It looks the same in every single picture of me. And I just got it cut! I guess old habits die hard.

Lily wore head-to-toe Target, and she carried this sweet little beaded bag, which belonged to my grandmother. She stuffed it with tissues for her runny nose and a Hello Kitty lip balm. Because of course.

More wedding photos coming soon …

Happiness is: spring farmers market haul

05/24/2012 at 8:22 pm | Posted in Happiness is | Leave a comment
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farmers market fruit and veggies

I think Sophie’s new favorite place is the farmers market. She couldn’t eat the peaches fast enough. When she saw me stop at a vendor and pluck a wedge of peach off a plastic fork, she kicked her legs and flapped her arms. Juice dribbling down her chin, it was a sight to see. Big sister was happy as a clam too, especially when we hit up the “cookie lady.”

The farmers market is also one of my favorite places, especially during spring and summer. And now that we’re eating much healthier, I imagine we’ll be there often.

Those blueberries were the best I’d ever tasted. The strawberries were overripe because of the wonky weather we’ve been having lately, so I rinsed, cut and bagged them to use for smoothies. The cucumber and some tomatoes were chopped up that night for one of my favorite little salads.

And the peaches? They didn’t last long.

Needle and thread

05/23/2012 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Motherhood | 2 Comments

There are certain times — little glimmers of moments — that stop me in my tracks and remind me I’m a mother. Not a little girl playing grown-up. Or even the 18-year-old I still feel like I am in many ways. But an honest-to-goodness mother.

Bending down to fasten shoes.

Wiping little faces with my spit.

Cutting blueberries into quarters.

And last night, sewing.

Let me preface this by saying I am most definitely not a sewer. I ship all repair work off to the other women in my family, even buttons. Pitiful. So when Lily’s dance teacher advised us to “tack down” the ribbons on her recital costume, my heart sank. Another project I have to dump on Laura or my mom.

True to form, I carried the little rainbow-colored leotard up to my room and put it in “the spot” so I wouldn’t forget to ask for help. Then I carried it downstairs days later to give to Laura. Then I forgot. Then I hung it in Lily’s closet because the recital was still weeks away so why not? Then I brought it downstairs again, where it stared at me from its perch on the kitchen counter, right beside my purse and the diaper bag.

Until last night.

For whatever reason, I got out my little sewing kit, found some hot pink thread and a needle and sat myself on the couch. And I sewed. I just looped and looped and looped over each little knot, securing them to the dress. Those suckers aren’t going anywhere, no matter how much Lily shimmies on stage.

And when I finished, I felt proud. Motherly. This little flicker of realization skated through my mind and filled my heart, however briefly.

This is real.

Swell Stuff: the coolest postcards

05/22/2012 at 11:37 am | Posted in Swell Stuff | Leave a comment

wood postcard

sheepcard by formesBerlin on Etsy

When I saw this in my Facebook feed the other day, I clicked instantly. I love getting real mail, especially postcards, and I just think these are so neat. They arrive flat, with simple instructions for how to pop out the shapes.

How fun would it be for this little guy to arrive in your mailbox?

Speaking of postcards, Sophie received her very first one yesterday, from Nana who’s on vacation in the Ozarks. Lily decided she liked Sophie’s card with the golfers better than her card of the waterfalls, so she switched them. Sophie didn’t mind.

Big-girl bike

05/21/2012 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Small Fry, snap happy | Leave a comment

Oh my word my baby is up on a bike someone hold me please.

Yes, there are training wheels. No, this doesn’t do anything to soften the realization that LILY IS GROWING UP RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES.

I took a million photos of this moment because look at her. Isn’t she awesome? Tentative, but brave. And so determined to do it.

And the tender way Marc is helping her … oh my heart. Love this guy.

Sophie sat happily in the grass watching us. For like four seconds before she jet-propelled herself all over the lawn and driveway (and, yes, the street, briefly).

Lily got used to the height and wobbly-ness. Marc also taught her how to use the brakes. But she didn’t want Daddy to take his hand off her back.

For now.

Happiness is: birthday balloon garland aftermath

05/16/2012 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Happiness is, snap happy | 3 Comments

I actually forgot that I’d taken these photos until I discovered them on the computer this week. Such an awesome surprise!

On the day after Sophie’s first birthday party we tossed the balloon garland out into the yard and let the girls have fun.

Sophie wasn’t too interested. But Lily? She couldn’t get enough.

Here’s my new favorite photo of the girls. And my heart goes KABOOM.

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