Curveball

Life is funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, when things feel easy and light, BOOM…curveball. Our surprise came in the form of an unexpected pregnancy this summer, and seeing as it has been…oh, let’s say about half a year since my last blog post, that means we are…

Life is funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, when things feel easy and light, BOOM…curveball. Our surprise came in the form of an unexpected pregnancy this summer, and seeing as it has been…oh, let’s say about half a year since my last blog post, that means we are quickly approaching the due date of our baby GIRL! In fact it could be any day now. When I found out I was pregnant I was shocked, and then when I found out it was a girl, I was doubly shocked. In all honesty, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I’d packed up and given away all our baby items and we were officially in a different phase of parenthood, one that included full time school for both boys, Saturday soccer games, solo time as parents, regular date nights, and a fully potty trained family. I was working more hours and enjoying my job, which is at the boy’s school and allows me to be a big part of their daily school lives. I was mulling over a new book idea. When I found out in early July that I was pregnant I felt panicked. How would I possibly manage a third child on an already very full plate? Add to that the exhaustion and nausea that accompanies the first trimester, and I’ll admit to spending much of July crying on my mom’s lap. Slowly I have been working my way towards finding the joy in this surprise, but I’ve also allowed myself to feel all of my feelings around this pregnancy. I think as women we are so often told that we should feel absolute radiant joy around our pregnancy, and if that is not the case, we can be bullied into feeling like we’re somehow emotionally broken. But it is okay to admit to feeling overwhelmed. It is okay to admit that you’re scared the life and family you love is somehow going to change with another addition. And it is definitely okay to be exhausted by the amount of work each additional child brings to a mother. It is okay. I am a human being with complex emotions and this pregnancy has seen the range of those emotions on display. I was determined to find the beauty and joy in the 9 months of pregnancy, to realize some larger dreams, and mostly to spend time cherishing my boys. That didn’t leave much time for blogging, but I did manage a few pictures and I’d love to share those with you here.

Late August and September were gorgeous. I was feeling a bit better, though still quite exhausted most of the time. I spent hours in my garden, relishing my abundant harvest. The boys swam like little fish all day every day until the first day of school. They began their school year with such joy and confidence. Just look at those handsome faces. September was also busy with travel, including a fiber workshop at Saipua’s Worlds End Farm. It was a weekend filled with all of my favorite things, farms, flowers and fiber. I viewed it as a last hurrah before settling into a busy school year and pregnancy, but it turned out to be far from my last trip. I couldn’t have predicted the incredible travel opportunity that would come in the next few months! October was a gorgeous month and I carved out time to stoke my creativity with regular photo/ styling dates with my friend Linda. We’ve had so much fun pushing each other in the areas of photography, cooking and styling. Whenever we get together, magic is made. Of course, in the midst of all this, I was knitting like a mad woman, having finally fulfilled my dream of being able to knit for a baby GIRL. During my moments of feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, crafting for baby girl has brought me joy and peace. I’ll never take for granted the power of handmade, especially to soothe us when times are emotionally challenging. Once November rolled around, work became increasingly busy. When you work in admissions, the season begins in full force in November and doesn’t slow down again until March. But I still managed to fit in one more creative outing that included wreath making and homemade marshmallow decorating. Around this same time, just when I thought I’d be slowing down over Christmas break and relaxing with my family, I got an opportunity to work on a project I’ve been dreaming of for a decade now. I won’t pretend it happened out of the blue…it took months of work to lay the foundation, but when I finally got the green light, I found myself booking a trip to India while close to 7 months pregnant. My parents watched the boys over the holidays, and my husband and I took an 8-day whirlwind adventure through Jaipur and Udaipur. I simply cannot wait to tell you more about this project! I can’t share much, but here are two of my favorite pictures from the trip! Once January hit, I pretty much buried myself in work and haven’t had a chance to take a breath since. I’m actually really looking forward to my maternity leave (2 months off!) though I’m not naive to the fact that caring for an infant is exhausting. With the boys at school, I’m hoping baby girl and I will have some precious bonding time for those two months. I never quite experienced that with Vik because I was caring full-time for a toddler (Vijay) from the moment Vik was born. I remember those dreamy first weeks with Vijay though, and I look forward to carving out that time with our new addition. As always, thank you for being here and checking in. However infrequently I post these days, I still treasure this space and the conversations that have been had here. I’m not much for social media these days – real life seems to get in the way of an online presence! But you can find occasional updates over on Instagram, and I’m sure I’ll be first announcing baby girls arrival there!

2016: A Year in Review

2016 was quite a year, chock full of extremes, and bringing with it intense joys and sorrows. Although it is tempting to rush into 2017 without a moment’s pause, I thought it might be cathartic to look back on the year that was. Mostly, I want to say thank you for being here this year….

2016 was quite a year, chock full of extremes, and bringing with it intense joys and sorrows. Although it is tempting to rush into 2017 without a moment’s pause, I thought it might be cathartic to look back on the year that was. Mostly, I want to say thank you for being here this year. Your comments, emails and support have meant the world to me and I greatly appreciate this community. Travel: It was a year of incredible travel, starting with a family trip to Jamaica in February. Shortly after, over Easter weekend, I took a solo trip to NYC while my family all met up elsewhere (I couldn’t get enough time off of work to join them). It was an interesting year, trying to balance a working schedule with so many travel opportunities. There were trips that I missed out on, and others that we squeezed into a long weekend. Somehow we always find a way to make it work, and with big travel plans on the horizon for 2017, that’s a trend I see continuing! In May we attending the most incredible Indian wedding in Vienna. The entire experience still feels like something out of a fairytale. I’m pretty confident that this will go down as the most extravagant wedding we will ever attend in our lifetime. The summer found me traveling the coasts for my Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet book tour, which was such an incredible experience. My favorite destinations included San Francisco and Seattle. While in Seattle, I also had a chance to visit Floret Flower Farm, which was definitely a highlight of my year. The beauty and abundance of this small farm is nearly indescribable. I returned home with just enough time to pack up and jump back on a plane to Michigan where I spent the month of July with my family at our cottage in Northern Michigan. July is always my favorite month of the year, and Torch Lake is where my heart is most at home.  In September we met up with my parents in NYC for a quick trip, where we watched the US Open and toured the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Once the school year started, our schedule kicked into high gear. But I did manage to sneak in a few more trips, one to NYC for a food photography workshopand another to the British Virgin Islands where I was shooting the first annual Caribbean Food Festival on Peter IslandIn November, we traveled to Chicago for Thanksgiving (I never even got around to posting that trip!).  And I wrapped up the year with the most relaxing and restorative girl’s weekend on Cape Cod, right before heading home to Michigan for the Christmas break.  Looking back there was so much adventure, coupled with incredible opportunities. It was a year where I felt accomplished in my professional life, releasing my third book, Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet, which received such positive feedback and press, and landing a sponsored book tour with Vitamix and HawaiianShavedIce.com. I continued to write for a wide variety of publications, and also balanced my writing career with a part-time job at my boy’s school. There was plenty of knitting and sewing to be done, although not all of it made it onto the blog.  Despite all of the joy, for our family 2016 will go down as a year of heartbreak. My beloved mother dealt with crushing depression, a side-effect of her worsening Parkinson’s Disease. We tried our best to rally around her during her darkest moments, but we all felt incredibly helpless and watching her suffer was so painful. I’ll be writing a bit more about that journey in the weeks to come. But if there is one positive (and trust me, it is a stretch to find a positive) it is that the journey through her mental illness gifted me with such clarity. It brought into focus that which is important in this life, and that which is not worthy of my time. By the end of the year, I found myself saying no to additional work and instead using every spare minute to spend time with my family. My boys are growing up so fast and they are my ultimate joy in this life. As I look ahead to 2017 I am prioritizing time spent with my family, health, and happiness. I wish you so much peace and love in the coming year. Let’s hope it is a great one!

Highs and Lows of High Summer

Here we are nearing the end of August and nearly a month has past since I last wrote. It’s not for lack of wanting, but this past month has been difficult. It’s funny…I keep running into acquaintances who follow me on Instagram and they’ll say, “You’ve had the most gorgeous summer ever!” And yes, it…

cchitnissummer_9063 Here we are nearing the end of August and nearly a month has past since I last wrote. It’s not for lack of wanting, but this past month has been difficult. It’s funny…I keep running into acquaintances who follow me on Instagram and they’ll say, “You’ve had the most gorgeous summer ever!” And yes, it has been gorgeous in so many ways. But social media is terribly one-sided I’m afraid. In fact this summer, Instagram has really been an escape for me- a way to showcase the beautiful moments of each day and escape the underlying realities. cchitnissummer_9104 cchitnissummer_9074 cchitnissummer_9125 Since January, my mom’s health has been declining. The link between Parkinson’s and depression is well established given the fact that Parkinson’s affects many parts of the brain that are crucial to controlling mood. My mom has been suffering greatly for the past eight months, and without getting into the specifics, I can tell you that it has been an emotional roller coaster for the entire family. There were many points at which we thought we might lose her. For those of you that have been reading here for a while, you’ll know that I count my mom as one of my very best friends. And so not only is this entering into the very heavy territory of ‘caring for your parents as they age’ it is also veering into the ‘losing your best friend’ territory. A double whammy of emotions, if you will. cchitnissummer_9106 cchitnissummer_9045 cchitnissummer_9089 cchitnissummer_9124 So in between a book tour, a month in Northern Michigan, and an August filled with wonderful work opportunities, I’ve been back and forth to the Detroit area trying my best to be there for her. Mental illness is a bitch, to put it bluntly. There is no outward sign of disease, and yet the suffering is so real and so terrible. There are moments when I lose my patience and think, “Just pull yourself together.” More moments than I’d like to admit. I want to see her fight to reclaim her happiness, and yet I know it’s not that simple. Throughout the past year, with all of its heartache, I have realized how incredibly thankful I am for the support of my husband, who has been loving and caring for my mother as if she was his own. And then there are my boys, who love my mom with such a pure, selfless love. Their presence brings her great joy during this dark time.cchitnissummer_9008 cchitnissummer_9015 cchitnissummer_9022 cchitnissummer_8962cchitnissummer_9016 cchitnissummer_9019 cchitnissummer_8971And so here we are, all finally back in Providence, settling in for the school year ahead and hoping that we’ve made it out of the woods for now. It will be a year of great change for us. Both boys will be in school full-time this year, and I will continue working at their school part time. It is going to be busy, to say the least, but the boys are ready. It’s quite amazing to see how they’ve matured and grown this summer. They are busy these days running around with their friends, eager to spread their wings. It all reminds me of how precious time is, and how unbelievably fast it all goes by (I mean, remember when I had two little BABIES??!!).cchitnissummer_8985 *The photos here are from my quick trip to NYC- Saipua and Frances Palmer’s gorgeous home studio and gardens. So much beauty.

Cottage Living

This past month has been one of healing and rest, family-time, quiet moments and great adventures. There is no place in the world like Northern Michigan. We are so blessed to spend the month of July with my parents at our cottage. My husband comes for the first week, heads off to India for work,…

Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis18 This past month has been one of healing and rest, family-time, quiet moments and great adventures. There is no place in the world like Northern Michigan. We are so blessed to spend the month of July with my parents at our cottage. My husband comes for the first week, heads off to India for work, and then returns for the last week. It’s a pretty sweet deal. I’d love to share with you some of the beautiful moments that unfolded over the past month. Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis14Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis8 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis10 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis17 Our cottage sits on the shore of Torch Lake, on an unpaved road near the teeny town of Alden. We’ve been lucky enough to call this ours for the past 25 years, and most of the families on our lane have had their cottages for generations. A few of our neighbors are now on their fourth generation of ownership. It is extraordinary to watch our children now play together as we once did- picking wild black raspberries, running down the lane from house to house, whooping wildly while playing king-of-the-raft, sunset games of badminton and late night s’more roasting. Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis7 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis15 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis4 In all honesty, I hardly took any pictures this year. I was too busy sailing, paddle boarding, reading, boating, hiking and enjoying the time with my kiddos. I wish I had captured the joy on Vijay’s face the first time he popped up on water skis. And I wish I had a picture of Vik, sound asleep on a windy sail across the lake, the waves soothing him to sleep. I especially wished I had captured the many moments my boys shared with their grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends. These precious moments will have to live in my memory.Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis27 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis12 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis22 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis23 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis24 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis25 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis26 I did take quite a few pictures on the roadtrip my mom and I took one day through Old Mission Peninsula. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for exploring all the little farmstands and antique shops that dot the peninsula. We stumbled upon a lavender farm, a u-pick flower farm, countless gorgeous barns, adorable farmstands, a stunning field of sunflowers, and off-the-beaten path antique shops. I came home with a stunning bouquet of snapdragon and a few new graniteware items to add to my prop collection. And the prices (especially compared to Brimfield)- SUCH a steal!!thrifted finds Northern Michigan, thrifting Northern Michigan, u-pick We ended our day in Traverse City, grabbing a late coffee at the new and incredibly hip BLK \ MRKT and savoring one of the best meals I’ve ever had at Alliance. We also popped into Wood + Cloth and Darling Botanical, all housed under one roof in the Warehouse District of Traverse City. I also made a stop into my all-time favorite antique shop, Wilson Antiques. Wood + Cloth Darling Botanical Darling Botanical1 Darling Botanical3 Darling Botanical2 MRKTAlliance, Traverse CityIn all, a gorgeous roadtrip and the icing on the cake of a gorgeous month. Well, to be honest, the real icing was celebrating Vik’s FOURTH birthday (my baby is four, what happened??!!). It’s really the highlight of the summer- a celebration with friends and plenty of old-fashioned games (pin the tail on the donkey, drop the cloths pin in the bottle, sack races, face painting and hot potato). Vik's 4 birthdayVik's 4 birthday1Vik's 4 birthday2 I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the sun setting over a vast field of sunflowers, and our nightly sunset show…because, you know, Michigan likes to show-off every now and then! Sunflower fields, C Chitnis1 Sunflower fields, C Chitnis Sunflower fields, C Chitnis2 Northern Michigan, C. Chitnis9

Where I Stand

It’s been hard to find the right words to describe this season of our lives and all the changes that we’ve experienced.  It is tempting to sum it up into one word- busy- and leave it at that.  But really it feels much more complex.  There is a certain amount of guilt- I am away…

15628151567_4a5affe490_oIt’s been hard to find the right words to describe this season of our lives and all the changes that we’ve experienced.  It is tempting to sum it up into one word- busy- and leave it at that.  But really it feels much more complex.  There is a certain amount of guilt- I am away from home and the boys much more than I’d like to be.  Just the other day my son cried as I left for work, “You are too busy for me, mama.”  My heart shattered.  There is a certain amount of loneliness- I dearly miss our sitter, whose presence was a bright spot in my week.  There is a certain amount of excitement- weddings and birthday parties to attend- along with the inevitable letdown that comes afterward.  There is a large amount of mourning: the loss of free time, time to cook, knit, sew, create.

It’s funny, when my boys were babies I spent most of my days trying to pass the time.  There were hours spent pushing the stroller aimlessly around town, attending story hour at the library and wiling away the afternoon at the park.  There were long afternoons when the boys were napping and I was stuck at home in a quiet house.  Life felt busy, but the busyness was all due to motherhood, and really, our time was our own to spend how we wanted.  I loved it, but at the same time struggled against the monotony.  Now when you add in school and working outside of the home, there is this feeling that our days are not our own anymore.  Free time is precious and dwindling.  I can only imagine how it will feel once the boys are involved in sports and after-school activities.  There is this part of me that wants desperately to go back to those slow days of new motherhood.  I wish someone had told me how fast it goes.  And I wish that I would have listened.

I feel a bit lost right now, if I’m to be honest.  I speed through the week- working Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday- rushing between school drop-off and work, then back home to throw together a lame excuse for dinner.  I drop into bed exhausted, with no will to craft or read.  Without my creative pursuits I am adrift, an anchor-less boat bobbing in a rough sea.  This space may be quiet for a bit as I figure out my way, but I hope to see you here on the other side.  I’m not sure what blogging will look like moving forward.  Maybe once a week, maybe once a month.  I hope when the dust settles, you’ll be here.  I do so cherish this space, and the conversations that we have.  Life is beautiful, and hard, and then beautiful all over again.

xo

Country Living, September Issue

It’s always thrilling to see your name in print, and when it is attached to an article as lovely as this one, the thrill is over the top.  I pitched this story to Country Living well over a year ago, and through many staff changes and lapses of communication I stuck to this story like…

_MG_7627It’s always thrilling to see your name in print, and when it is attached to an article as lovely as this one, the thrill is over the top.  I pitched this story to Country Living well over a year ago, and through many staff changes and lapses of communication I stuck to this story like a dog with a bone.  It isn’t always easy being a freelancer, throwing your ideas to the wind and hoping they find a place to land.  And sometimes even when they do land, you have to fight for the right to actually write them!  I know…  But the article is gorgeous, the pictures by Stephanie Rausser are stunning and it was such a pleasure getting to know Erin of Floret Flower Farm.  All in all, a great win!  I hope you’ll grab a copy of the September issue (on stands now) and take a peek.

_MG_7631Anyway, this year there are going to be some big changes.  I am going to work part-time at the school where we will be sending the boys once they start kindergarten.  I’m excited and nervous, wondering how I am going to juggle it all.  The boys will still attend their sweet little preschool just a few mornings a week, so my husband and I are going to be switching on and off for childcare, as we’re also losing our amazing sitter this year.  I’m ready to be back in the workforce, working with a great team and being a part of something bigger than myself.  I am also thrilled with the idea of being a part of my kid’s school in such an official capacity.  It feels so right!  That being said I still have my third book launching in April, as well as talks of a fourth, but we’ll just have to see about that!  I’ll always keep writing and photography as part of my life, and I hope to keep this space lively for years to come as I so enjoy it!  But life is shifting, as it tends to do, and I couldn’t be more excited for the new direction.

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Thelma and Louise

Years ago when I was living in Chicago my mom came to visit for the weekend.  Because I lived in the tiniest studio apartment, she stayed in a nearby hotel.  On the last day of her visit I was in her hotel room watching her pack.  I was sitting on the bed chatting away when…

8303883355_2eddd51333_oYears ago when I was living in Chicago my mom came to visit for the weekend.  Because I lived in the tiniest studio apartment, she stayed in a nearby hotel.  On the last day of her visit I was in her hotel room watching her pack.  I was sitting on the bed chatting away when she suddenly grew serious.  I remember her saying something along the lines of, “I have to tell you something.”  And I knew at that moment, because of the look on her face and the tone of her voice, it wouldn’t be good news, and my eyes instantly filled with tears.  My mom was and continues to be my best friend in the whole world (aside from my husband I suppose, but that is a different type of friendship).  We genuinely enjoy each others company and have so many interests and hobbies in common.  In fact, there is no one I enjoy road tripping and traveling with more than my mom.  We love checking out new places and stopping for pictures, and we can hardly contain our excitement when we come across a roadside flower stand, or a sweet little shop or an interesting old barn.  With a house full of boys, I appreciate our shared interests more than ever now.

IMG_4119But back to that hotel room in Chicago. “I’ve been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease.”  And there it was: the explanation as to why she had been tripping and falling so often, and why she had such trouble navigating her arms to put on her coat, and why she’d get a tremor in her lip that wouldn’t cease.  At the time, she was in her mid-forties with a young child at home (my little brother)- a picture of health and vibrancy.  I was angry- that is often my go-to initial emotion- it just seemed so unfair.  So unbelievably unfair.

IMG_0322As I’ve watched my mother deal with this disease over the past decade, my love for her has only deepened.  She is the bravest, most optimistic person I have ever met, and continues to live life to the very fullest, doing so much for others and never letting her decreased mobility or pain get in the way.  In fact, I don’t think we will ever know the real toll of the disease, because she is not one for self-pity or dwelling on her pain.  She takes medication every morning, and the disease is progressing, though if you were to meet her, there is a good chance you wouldn’t know that Parkinson’s was at play.

IMG_7274Who knows what the future looks like at this point- she could live to be 100, or the disease could progress more rapidly.  We don’t know.  But what we do know, and what a diagnosis like this brings into focus is that NOW is the time…  The time to travel, to be together, to make memories…because really, in the end, what else matters?  It is in this vein that we planned a road trip of a lifetime.  Beginning in Savannah, Georgia, where we’ll kick around for a few days, my mom and I will drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains, ultimately arriving at Blackberry Farm for a weekend workshop with the one-and-only Natalie Chanin.  It’s a “girls only” trip, as my boys would say.  Once the trip is over, we’ll all meet back in Northern Michigan to spend the summer together at my parent’s home. We’re planning on lots of late nights, rooftop cocktails, photo excursions, fried chicken, ice cream, Southern roses, and inspiration enough to last us for years (I can’t wait to share!).  We’re packing our bags for take-off on Sunday.

FullSizeRender-1Now, let’s go see about getting our Thelma and Louis on…!

p.s. If you have any recommendations to share (Savannah or anywhere along our route) please do!

p.s.s. This was shared with the full support of my mom, it is really her story to tell, though it is a part of all our stories…xoxo.  And the gorgeous flower photos you see here were all taken by my mom…my artistic, beautiful mama.

Brothers

Two weeks ago we moved Vik’s crib into Vijay’s room.  The boys have been asking to share a room for the past few months, and with everyone having established solid sleep habits, we decided to give it a shot.  It has been one of the sweetest things I have witnessed as a mother.  Once I…

brothersTwo weeks ago we moved Vik’s crib into Vijay’s room.  The boys have been asking to share a room for the past few months, and with everyone having established solid sleep habits, we decided to give it a shot.  It has been one of the sweetest things I have witnessed as a mother.  Once I tuck them both in, I often stand outside their door for a few minutes and listen to their conversations, which mostly revolve around potty humor.  It usually takes at least two or three warnings before they finally settle in and fall asleep- first they have to chat, then they toss things from the bed to the crib, occasionally we hear the patter of little feet as Vijay sneaks out of bed to grab more books or retrieve a pillow he tossed at Vik.  When they hear us coming up the stairs to tell them to quiet down, they dive under their covers and hide, giggling non-stop.

The truth is that these boys have a special relationship.  It’s as close-knit as I’ve seen between siblings, and I think that is due to two things: being so close in age and always being together.  It’s also due to their personalities; Vijay loves being a big brother and has never, not even once, displayed signs of jealousy towards Vik.  He seemed to understand as soon as Vik was born that his job was to be an older brother, and take care of him.  He takes that job seriously.  Vijay started school this past fall, and only attends two mornings a week.  So other than that, the boys are always, always together and have been since the moment Vik was born.  I’m not great at organizing playdates or meeting up with other moms- we kind of make our days up as we go.  We are always out and about, at the children’s museum, library or gymnastics, but it’s always the three of us, which means the boys have become their own best friends.  Things will be changing soon enough as Vijay’s school days ramp up next year, and Vik starts preschool.  My emotions are running high these days as it feels like we are nearing the end of an era.  I’ve been at home with the boys for over four years now and that might be changing in the near future as well.  Things are shifting- it is all good- but I’m holding on to this time we have together, appreciative of every moment, even the frustrating and tiring moments.

The boy’s room is a work in progress- it’s very simple, just Vijay’s bed, Vik’s crib, a small shared dresser, and a bookshelf.  I’d love to get bunk beds once they are big enough- I know they’d have a blast with that.  But for now…it is perfect.

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P.S. For those of you in other parts of the country flaunting pictures of blooming trees and bright sunny skies, I’m going to need you to cut that out.  Here’s a little snapshot of what we’re enjoying here on the East Coast.  I know….life isn’t fair, but do you have to rub it in?  🙂  We had another epic snowstorm last week, though this weekend the sun peeked through and started melting the snow.  Though we’ve got a long way to go until spring.

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Love

Wishing you so much love and laughter this weekend.  Whether you celebrate with candy and cards, or in a more quiet fashion, I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day.  I feel incredibly blessed to have these boys in my life, all three of them!  They shower me with love on the daily.  I’m a…

IMG_1534Wishing you so much love and laughter this weekend.  Whether you celebrate with candy and cards, or in a more quiet fashion, I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day.  I feel incredibly blessed to have these boys in my life, all three of them!  They shower me with love on the daily.  I’m a lucky girl.  xo

2014: A Look Back

Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at…

_MG_6077Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at the year that was…but I thought that such a year required a bit of reflection and as I scrolled back through my posts, month by month, it occurred to me that 2014 was quite a year.  Settle in…this is a length one!

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Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.59.02 PMJanuary: We kicked off the year by spending a month in India and Bhutan.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime and remains my most cherished memory of the year.  When I returned home, I launched my first pop-up shop, which was super fun.  That led to selling my wares at Squam and another pop-up shop later in the year.  I’d love to do more of these in 2015!

_MG_7396February: We renovated our cold, dark attic and turned it into a light-filled studio where I spend my working hours writing, photographing, sewing and knitting.  This place is my sanctuary.

_MG_8010March: I finished my first real sweater, Antler, with short rows and shaping and all those knitterly things that I have come to know and love through the course of this year.  This sweater remains my greatest knitting achievement and my most worn handmade piece.

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_MG_9210April: We spent the most heavenly ten days in Dominican Republic with my parents and younger brother.  It was the perfect break from the freezing spring that we were experiencing back in Rhode Island.  Luckily, we made it home in time to catch the blossoms.  The weeks where our beautiful town is in bloom are always some of my favorite of the year.

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PROMO-IMAGE-PITCH-PERFECT-THE-ART-WIDE-700-WEBMay: I made my yearly pilgrimage to Brimfield Antique Show.  I think I bought $2 worth of quilt scraps, but my favorite part is taking pictures of all the interesting things you find at the show.  It is always sensory overload, but I can’t help being pulled back year after year.  I also kept busy teaching Pitch Perfect, which was such an amazing experience.  I will be teaching the course again this year, online through Squam.  I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon!

_MG_0210June: Ahhh, June.  The weather is finally warm, and I take my yearly getaway to Squam.  I always look forward to my time here, and every year I am so grateful that I get to be a part of this amazing community of makers.

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_MG_2646July: My most favorite month of the year!  Every year we spend the entire month in Northern Michigan with my family (I even wrote a guide to the area here).  It is a true old-fashioned summer; swimming in the lake, playing on the beach, visiting the dunes, riding bikes into town for ice cream, spending time in nature, watching my boys running wild and free with the kids along our dirt lane, learning to water ski, eating our weight in cherries….the stuff of life.  Northern Michigan, specifically our family cottage on Torch Lake, is my happy place.  And how lucky is Vik that he gets to celebrate his birthday “Up North?”  It is my most favorite place in the whole world and we are so darn lucky to spend our summers there.

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_MG_3163August: It is all about the garden in August.  All the good stuff is ready to harvest, including cherry tomatoes, my favorite.  You can feel summer beginning to wane in August, and that is always bittersweet, but August holds such beauty that it is worth staying in the moment.

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_MG_5473September: What a busy month, full of new experiences.  Vijay started school, which was very tough emotionally for both of us but has turned out to be the best thing we could have ever hoped for.  I started contributing to Gardenista, which has been such a privilege and has given me the chance to explore some amazing gardens and shops.  My husband and I went on an overnight trip to Vermont, our first time as a couple ever away from the kids for a night.  And I made a quick trip to Squam, arriving just in time for the fair and a day of relaxing.  Yes, we were on the move in September! I also made reading a priority again, and you all chimed in with amazing suggestions.  I’ve been making my way through the list and have yet to be disappointed.  Expect plenty more book reviews in 2015.

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_MG_7267October: As we settled into our new school routine, which consists of preschool on Tuesday and Thursday morning, we also celebrated Vijay’s fourth birthday with all of his sweet classmates, and the local fire station.  It was a PARTY!

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_MG_8634November: What a gorgeous fall we were blessed with in Rhode Island.  It was sunny and sparkling almost every day, and the leaves were absolutely riotous.  I paid a visit to Tower Hill Botanic Garden for Gardenista and had the most amazing time wondering around their fall gardens.  I also finished my favorite sewn wardrobe addition…this quilted vest from The Purl Bee.

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_MG_0093December: Here I thought December was such a slow and peaceful month, but we traveled to Chicago for Thanksgiving (returning the 1st of December), then I took off for Martha’s Vineyard to finish up a few book details, and after decking out our own small tree, we packed up and headed to Michigan for Christmas and the New Year.

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sewnAll in all, it was an amazing year.  In addition to all of our travels and all the excitement, it was the year that I felt my work life finally dropped into place.  I was hard at work on my second book, which is so near and dear to my heart, I contributed regularly to Edible Rhody and Gardenista, I taught Pitch Perfect, and launched a few pop-up shops.  2015 is going to be filled with even greater accomplishments…I can feel it and it makes me so very excited.  2014 was also the year of making…between sewing and knitting I pretty much have made a complete wardrobe, and with each piece I gain a better understanding of my fit and personal style.  Above are just a few of my favorite makes of 2014.

I try to keep this a place of positivity and beauty, so it is interesting to scroll through these posts and see so many of the harder emotional things missing.  But it is also a beautiful reminder of how much we have to be thankful for and how unbelievably blessed we are as a family.  If 2015 is half as gorgeous, we’re in for a great year!  And after that look back, I’m excited to move forward.