NINE


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Now you are nine. Your childhood is in it’s middle age. You are so big and so little, so old and so young. You are so confident and so unsure. You are changing so much every day, and still the same beautiful girl. You are kind and funny and sincere and curious and quirky and loyal and creative and trusting. You are a daydreamer. You are a never-stops-jigging Irish dancer. You are so much, with so much ahead.

This promises to be a monumental and adventurous year, my dear Emma. Sparkle and grow and leap higher at every turn. We’re right here to help guide you when it gets bumpy.

Happy birthday, sweet Emma Magnolia. You are loved.
xo

[Nearly-New Year]

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I get so excited for new beginnings. Blank pages. Fresh starts.
I’m the kid that never slept (excitement, not nerves) the night before school started.
I’m the kid that stays up to watch the ball drop every year, and keeps celebrating with every time zone after mine…another new year! another new year!

2014 ended well for me. Beautiful, wonderful surprises and so much love…I’m still basking in the happy glow. I’m not, as in some years, racing toward the next calendar with relief or anticipation. But I’m ready.

Do you do resolutions? I do lists.
I mean, I always do lists. Every day I make lists, some more efficient than others.
And I do words. The words that keep popping up on my not-exactly-resolution lists for the new year: Exuberance, Momentum, Love, Listen, Abundance
It will be interesting to see the ways in which they keep shaping the days ahead.

In 2015 I want to take action. I want to see greater success in my career. I want to write more letters. I want to remember everyone’s birthday, and sing them Happy Happy. I want to love my body more. I want to be healthier. I want to run a race. I want to downsize. I want to surround myself only with things that make me happy or make me think or help me live. I want to de-clutter, physically and philosophically. I want to see more art. I want to see more shows. I want write. I want to read more books than ever, to myself and to my children and to my husband (yes, we read aloud; always have). I want to dance more than ever. I want to sing more than ever. I want to be brave. I want to tell people how much I love them. I want more touch; hugs, cheek-kisses, hand-holding…I’m tactile but timid, and I want to be more outgoing. I want to be a loyal fan. I want to find the perfect shoes and the perfect lipstick, and the perfect way to wear a scarf in my hair. I want to find a new signature scent. I want to travel. I want to stay home. I want to listen to old favorite songs and cry. I want to find something new. I want to find the perfect milk-alternative for my coffee. I want to apologize quickly when I’m wrong, and forgive quickly when I’m wronged. I want Exuberance. I want Momentum. I want Abundance; of success, of money, of joy, of love. I will approach all things with love, and never be embarrassed to be sincere. I will be a listener; I will hear your words, your heart, and the messages of the universe.

In 2015, I will be bigger and better.
It’s a new year, and I’m in love already.

Wishing you amazing, wonderful, easy things in the year ahead, my friends. I am so truly grateful for each of you, and your presence and love make this world so much better.

xoxo

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[idling]

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Darlings! I hope your holidays have been brilliant and easy and glittering and lovely thus far. We ran and ran (concerts, rehearsals, pageant, singing, champagne, santa, and so much more) until The Littlest dropped with the flu and slept on my chest for three days straight. It was equal parts heart-wrenching and relaxing, and although we lost a few days, the quiet confinement has been welcome.

Today, we snuck out for the sweetest bookstore/lunch/photo date, only returning when it got too cold to snap the shutter. I’m forced to admit that I’ve caught this cough, and happily taking to my bed for a bit longer, covered in children, cats, books, pens & paper.

Simple joys.

[be back shortly with Big! New! Things! but first, let’s enjoy the small days of little light and long nights and the end of a year in the life. xo]

[monday LOVE list]

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Off the top of my head:
Boundless joy is my goal at the moment.
Boundless, loving joy.
Gratefulness.
Good light.
Belly laughs.
Connection.
Sincerity.
Kindness.
Quiet calm.
Giddy excitement.
Simplicity.
Abundance.
Respect.
Luck.
Reflection.
LOVE.

This is where we are. So much excitement brewing. So much love surrounding, so much love extending.

Happy Monday, my friends. You’re something wonderful.
xo

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[photos: Philadelphia, November 2014]

[Thanks Giving]


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[Thanksgiving Throwback: 2011]

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

*

My heart overflows on a regular basis.
I’m in love with my family, I’m in love with my friends, I’m in love with my city. I’m in love with books, I’m in love with music, I’m in love with the ocean, I’m in love with golden light, I’m in love with laughter, I’m in love with words. I feed on compassion, on thoughtfulness, on promise, on memories, on daydreams, on pictures, on hugs and kisses and hand-holding. I’m thankful for time, for this moment, for kindness, for abundance, for a voice. I’m thankful for quiet. I’m thankful for adventure, for dedication, for loyalty. I’m thankful for good coffee and good chocolate and good times. I’m thankful for every day, every minute. I’m thankful for sincerity. I’m thankful for love. LOVE. So much love, always.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. My heart is with you today, overflowing as ever.
xo

[here we are]


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Here we are borrowing mom’s glasses and doing am impromptu/unintentional Alex Vause impression.

Not pictured:

~ Here we are, not at all bothered by stores opening on Thanksgiving, because it was never our favorite holiday (owing mostly to (1) our lack of reverence for Pilgrims and the treatment of Native Americans, (2) our general disposition and striving toward thankfulness on a daily – not just yearly – basis, and (3) our general disdain for turkey). I DO like being together with people I love, and plan to do so on Thanksgiving (and other days as well, with a thankful heart), but…no one seems upset that The Rockettes, Santa, and all those folks making the popcorn at movie theaters have to work every year on Thanksgiving; why draw arbitrary lines? I don’t plan on shopping, but I hope the people working at the mall are having fun and making sweet holiday pay. I can think of many years I’d have been happy to move along after the dishes were cleared.

~ Here we are, constantly trying to evaluate where the line is between “meh, just a runny nose” and “stay home from school; let’s not infect the other snotty kids!”

~ Here we are, listening to our favorite REM songs on a loop, feeling nostalgic and big and little and shiny and happy all at once.

~ Here we are, wondering where our gloves are, and considering how long it would take to knit some fingerless mitts.

~ Here we are, laughing at ourselves.

~ Here we are, fascinated by people who seem to have mastered an elusive coolness.

~ Here we are, picking out killer lipstick for the season, and accepting that cool was never our bag so we might as well go for confidently quirky, but joyful.

~ Here we are, happy despite all the obstacles.

~ Here we are, so excited to turn 40 in just over a month. For reals.

~ Here we are. HERE WE ARE.

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[picture-post: Happy Some-day]


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I wanted to post these pictures today.
I threw them on the page (edited only for size; still trying out this fancy new camera that I’ll probably return to the store, if only because of acute sticker shock) and wrote “Happy Monday!”

…then I realized it’s not Monday.
It’s not even Tuesday.

This is probably awesome news for people that are tied to a desk from Monday-Friday (although, admittedly, those people probably keep better track of the days of the week than I do). For those of us that work the weekends, however, this is harrowing indeed. Only two more days this week to live-it-up.

Time to get out there!
Happy Whatever-Day-It-Is, Friends.
xoxo

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[If it’s Saturday, we must be dancing]


EmFeis1101_DSC00103sm[Lido Beach, NY, November 1: a three-medal day]

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Last weekend, Long Island. This weekend, New Jersey. Less than three weeks away from Philadelphia. Apparently we’re a traveling dance family now. Reels, jigs, wigs, some medals, some giggles, some tears, and lots of singing out loud in the car…this is where we are.

Sláinte!

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[picture post: on friendship]

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Eliza and Ella. Friendship.
May it always be so fun, so funny, so forgiving, so gentle, and so full.
May they always share something special and sweet.
May they always be true.
May they always be connected.
May they understand and be patient with the ebbs and flows of relationships and closeness.
May they always love each other as much as they do today.

Friendship.
Eliza’s mom (me) and Ella’s mom (Mich) have been friends for 20+ years; I’m so very very glad, and lucky beyond all reason.

My friendship, trust, and attention are more guarded than it may seem; being friendly and “midwesternly sweet” might look like friendship, but there’s so much more, so many more layers. When I give my love, really give my love, it’s with a lifetime lease. I’m not always an easy friend, I’m not always present, I’m not always together. I go off the grid. I keep a lot inside. I need extra hugs and hand-holding. People don’t always “get me”, and my charm wears off fairly quickly. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I hold true friends as close to my heart as family. I really let them in.

I’ve often been hurt, but I’ve more often been blessed. That means I’ve got some strong and amazing and wonderful friends, and I hold them with fierceness and love. Always. I didn’t know that this many years into life I’d still be going over friendship and relationships and the dynamics between people, but I’m still amazed by the process, the ways we fall together and fall apart. More than ever, I’m still honored and tickled and put at ease by true friendship, and holding on with both hands.

xoxo,
m.

* * *

PS: A good read, “Why Ending a Friendship is So Much Harder Than Ending a Romantic Relationship”.

Yep.

* * *

[on a sick day]


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[Emma, before the croup. Happiness abounds.]

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Our Emma is home today with a persistent barking cough. She’s generally pretty hearty, and sick-days are fortunately rare, but listening to the croup, and seeing the exhaustion in her eyes – even when I’m confident it will pass quickly – hurts my heart.

Motherhood is like this. So many little bruises on my own soul, as I try to weather the bumps for her; training myself not to wince, putting on my best hey, let’s not worry face. It’s not just on the sick days, of course. Navigating friendships, commitments, insecurities, growing pains…Knowing just how and when to squeeze her hand in public, that quiet code between us that says I’m right here; you’re doing great… It’s all an evolutionary part of our relationship, the way we lean together and then stretch just out of reach, giving each other wings to fly higher and deeper into our mother/daughter/woman/friend roles.

It’s all a work in progress.

To be a mother is to love more fiercely, more fully than you ever imagined. To be a mother is to have your heart ache often, sometimes just from sheer and profound joy. To be a mother, for me, is to grow and learn and try and fail and succeed and dream and make it all up as you go along. To be a mother to this girl is to breathe deeper and smile with softness and fill with admiration as she grows.

It’s not easy. Some days it’s insanely challenging (stress here on the word insane), and some days I’m really pretty bad at the job. Still, it’s wonderful, and I treasure these days.

Feel better, my big girl.
You are loved.
xo

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