Happy New Year!

It’s 2017!

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A handmade sign at the Four Freedoms march in Pittsfield, MA

The start of this new year is not filled with as much joyful expectancy as I’d normally expect to feel. It’s hard for me to feel well while watching the calendar flip every closer to Trump’s inauguration. I can’t help but feel mostly mournful over the future. When I try to muster courage for what’s to come I retreat into my personal world to find some bit of joy.

Thankfully, a few ordinary things have added positive drops to my happiness well this week and I was reminded that only I can truly determine my state of mind this year. I will not wallow. I will act. I will not stay down. I will rise up and speak out. I will not ignore my blessings. I will amplify them.

Thank you to my old friend who didn’t realize what a powerful impact his random email had on my relatively normal workday afternoon. Thank you to the 1300+ people of Pittsfield who marched on Saturday for the heart of our democracy and the cornerstone Four Freedoms. Thank you to my family-of-friends who gathered–as is our yearly tradition–to share in the blessing of our long-lasting friendship among lots of good eats and good drinks. Thank you to my extended family-from-marriage whose love and conviviality always brightens my heart.

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Mama Bittman, Baby Bittman, Dada Bittman!

This year, no matter what, I will hold my little family close, relish the pure love and joy that enlivens my son, and send meditations of well being across this country. 2017, bring it on.

I am weary

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health winter timeI am so weary from the news of the day and my spirit aches for renewal and assurances of a lasting peace. And all the while, Earth has been steadily spinning so that night will come and the moon will rise and tomorrow will bring another dawn.

I posted this to Facebook this afternoon. With more new articles coming every hour with updates about President-Elect Trump’s deeply troubling business debts and conflicts of interest, allegations of Russian interference in our election, the Syrian crisis, and how I’m going to afford day-care, I want to weep and weep and weep and weep.

This is not who we are. This is not the Universe I know and trust. And yet, isn’t it? The web of life connects, contains, and corrupts. Decay is a part of the essence of birth and of life. These aren’t platitudes–it’s the core of our existence. So I try. I try to stay with the feelings as they come: shame for not being more actively involved in the fight for justice, fear for how my life and my son’s life will change in the years to come, despair that so much good may be undone, and grief over what could have been. My silent tears seep through my skin and I try to absorb the truth. This is what I feel. This is what is real. This is the truth today.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

playing in the snowHappy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours.

I feel so lucky to have my family with me in these interesting times. Though there is a lot to feel disheartened about these days, right now I am reveling in my beautiful, healthy, happy family. And for them, I am very, very thankful.

May this season remind all of us what is at the heart of all our efforts during the rest of the year: those people who make up our circles of family, friends, and loved ones and the incredibly diverse humanity of which we are a part.

xo

Currently

IMG_4529IMG_4557Celebrating the launch of my best friend’s food truck! North Folk mobile bakery and custom catering is now in business!

Finishing my thesis paper and getting started on my final presentation. 1+ more weeks to go!

Enjoying watching Eli become more confident walking on two legs. He’s so fast!!

Rearranging a closet in the house as an office space. Can’t wait to share the pictures of the transformation soon!

Swapping old clothes for new-to-me-old-clothes. Some friends and I recently got together over the weekend for a girls brunch and clothes swap. Good cheap fun!

Listening to music just so I can watch Eli bounce along in rhythm. He’s got a good ear, for sure. Also, listening to James Taylor in concert at Tanglewood! A favorite way to celebrate 4th of July weekend in the Berkshires (20,000 other folks thought so too, apparently).

Looking forward to late August when my most pressing responsibilities outside of homelife will be wrapped up.

Savoring my evenings now that Eli is falling asleep in his crib on his own.

Rewatching the Great British Baking Show and eagerly awaiting the release of the next episodes of season 3. I always feel good after watching that show – I love it so much!

Feeling really good and healthy on the Whole30 diet and considering extending it somewhat past the 30 day mark…we’ll see.

Walking a lot with Eli and his little buddy Sam when I have them together on Wednesday afternoons, and…

Trying to exercise more now that I feel like I have a little bit more energy and strength from eating so clean.

Needing to go to sleep earlier but seriously failing. Now that evenings are somewhat free again, I can’t seem get enough of them!

And on that note, I better sign off and say goodnight (or good morning!). 😉

xo

 

Summer Bucket List

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Summer is well under way but by no means is it too late for a Bucket List!

There is so much to see and do here in Vermont and the surrounding areas in the summer. I hope we can cross off quite a few of these activities–especially now that Eli is at an age where he can truly appreciate some of them.

Arts & Entertainment

  • Antiques & Uniques
  • Bread & Puppet
  • Circus Smirkus
  • Tanglewood

Farmer’s Markets

  • Craftsbury Farmer’s Market
  • Burlington Farmer’s Market
  • Montpelier Farmer’s Market
  • Portland, Maine Farmer’s Market ?

Places to Go

  • Family hike
  • Picnic at the lake
  • Visit Cape Cod
  • Caledonia Spirits Tasting & Tour
  • Shelbourne Farms
  • Blueberry picking
  • Strawberry picking

30 Things You Can Do With 10 Minutes

My baby is now walking. He can scoot quickly on all fours or toddle on two, but however he gets there he’s very happy to explore whatever spaces and places he can find. He requires near constant vigilance. I applaud his curiosity and encourage his adventurous spirit. But it doesn’t leave me with much time.

I’ve written before about the dance to do all that there is to get done while watching a young child. And so I won’t belabor the point. In fact, what I really want to write about is the positive. The snippets. Those juicy quick bursts of time when certainly, something could get done. Perhaps while Eli is engaged with a toy, rolling a ball, or practicing walking… that’s when I can scratch the itch to do just one thing more.

But sometimes I forget what I can do in such a short amount of time. And in the rush to find the right use of those precious minutes *poof* they’re gone. So, I came up with a list. A list of 30 things I can do with free minutes to make life better, easier, more manageable, more pleasant, or more effective.

Now I won’t forget. Maybe there’s something here you’ll want to do in your free minutes too?

1. Write a list of ideas. Work out that creativity muscle!
2. Start a rough draft of a blog post. Doesn’t have to be perfect, just get something on the page. In true fashion, I wrote this post in a burst of many, many small moments.
3. Write an email thanking someone who has positively impacted me: for example, a podcaster, a company sales rep, a former teacher, a good friend, the creator of a product I use and love…)
4. Make tomorrow’s to do list
5. Journal
6. Take a few deep breaths
7. Stretch
8. Do yoga exercises
9. Visualize
10. Read a few pages
11. Write a postcard to a friend
12. Break down a big scary goal: Make it into the teensiest baby steps. (There will be lots and lots and lots of baby steps if you do this right).
13. Call mom
14. Check Craigslist: Especially the free stuff section
15. Make next week’s meal plan: Perhaps Whole30 inspired?
17. Order a book from the library: Free reading!
18. Organize a closet
19. Tidy up: The kitchen floor could always use a good sweeping
20. Sketch
21. Color in a coloring book: That’s so hot right now
22. Schedule social media posts
23. Select tomorrow’s outfit: One less thing to think about later
24. Plan a fun weekend activity: Look up a new-to-me local hiking trail, search for a nearby concert or live show, message friends for a brunch date
25. Write an Amazon review for a recent purchase
26. Download a new podcast
27. Backup and delete old photos from my smartphone: Then take lots more of the kiddo now that there’s space again!
28. Take stock of the pantry and fridge: This makes it easier to start or add to a grocery list
29. Laundry: Always
30. Write a gratitude list

Grateful, Then and Now

I just came upon this old post I started writing around this time last year. Eli was about one week old and I was feeling full of love and appreciation for my life.

It’s a treasure to come upon now as I celebrate a one year old and all the things that are still so true: a community of wonderful friends, a happy healthy baby, an amazing partner, and the love and connection of our extended family. Gratitude for all this and more wells up in me as I look at this sweet little person, so tiny and new; unaware then of what wonders were in store for him in the days that followed and what joy he would deliver to us all through his sweet, innocent existence.

***

imageI’m sitting here filled with deep gratitude for so many things that have helped make life wonderful this week. Things I want to remember… I’m grateful for:

My mom who came to help and has helped immeasurably. From cleaning up after us to making dirty dishes disappear to treating everyone for nagging allergies, she’s been an incredible support.

A community of friends who lined up to feed us healthy homemade (and delicious!) dinners to the point of overabundance. Everyone should be so lucky.

A tidy house.

A happy easy baby.

A husband who offers to change a diaper, soothe the babe, or bring me water before I can ask.

The sweet generosity of family whose gifts are treasured and whose tender well wishes are.

If I am left wanting it is for nothing as meaningful as these.