Summer Bucket List


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.



Whole30 Two Weeks In


Whole30 guys, it’s a thing. The hubs and I have been on the Whole30 plan for nearly two weeks now (12 days to be exact). Time for a little update!

We started the program as a means to reset our diet and build a stronger food foundation. We are a health conscious family with a taste for good food and good flavors so we were already eating pretty well. But I was battling a strong sugar addiction and Simeon wasn’t particularly feeling at his prime.

So we committed to the program. No sugar, dairy, grains, soy, corn, beans, legumes, or alcohol for 30 days. Ahem. Yeah.

And you know what? Here in Vermont during the abundant harvests of summer this is actually very, very easy to do-–and super delicious, too! There’s so much amazing produce available all the time that we’re fortunate to be in the very opposite of a food dessert. So, what’s it been like these past two-ish weeks, really?

Days 1-3: Yay, no cravings

I found the first few days to be unlike I expected. No cravings! Nope, no strong desire for toast, cheese, or muffin. Though it was a bit painful to see an unwrapped cut of Alpha Tolman cheese from award winning local cheesemaker, Jasper Hill, just sitting patiently in the crisper. Actually that was really, really painful. But as long as it was out of sight it was out of mind. (And then we got to happily share it at our son’s first birthday party; win-win).

Days 1-4: Cooking!

Besides a lack of cravings I also found myself diving into cooking. Simeon and I usually unevenly share dinner cooking duty, about 70/30. But these days, it’s been more like 60/40 in my direction –-or so it feels for this non-cook, Sim might disagree, he would know better. Nevertheless, I have really enjoyed meal planning and selecting what recipes from the Whole30 book we might try. And so far, so fun! This is a tremendous benefit for our family. Not only has the kitchen always intimidated me but being married to a professional chef hasn’t exactly helped. (He’s just so much better at it than me, what’s the point?, pouts my ego). But now, I feel like I’ve conquered the stove and am prepared to take on any recipe! Maybe not Julie-and-Julia style, but you know, basic dinner or breakfast. And for his part, Simeon, as much as he loves to cook, isn’t always keen to come home from a day in the kitchen to spend more time in the kitchen. So ya, we’re all pretty happy about this development, I think.

I think we’ve even found a few new dinner staples we’ll be adding to our regular rotation once the month is over so we aren’t automatically falling back on pasta as an easy go-to on nights we’re out of meal ideas. So far, this past week we’ve enjoyed stir fry, coconut curry, cauliflower rice with bolognese, green salads, eggs all which ways, green and fruit smoothies (and smoothie bowls like you see above!), steak and veggie salad with sunshine sauce, and more.

Days 5-7: Hm, that would be so good right now

Though the addictive cravings seemed to have disappeared, there were a few thoughts of how nice it would be to enjoy a crisp cold beer after a long day. Or how nice it would be to enjoy a cup of coffee with cream. Or how annoying it is that aaallll the hot dogs and aaallll the bacon include some form of added sugar (I think there is one or two brave brands out there that doesn’t but they aren’t sold at a store near us).

It’s just annoying to find added sugar in your mayonnaise, you know? What the hell, Hellmans?? At this point it felt like we should just throw up our hands and say, oh well. But we committed to the month, and so we carry on.

Days 8-10: Cleaner gut

By the evening of Day 8 and into Day 9 I suddenly felt ragged. My energy was at an all time low and I felt like I was recovering from major fatigue or illness. My stomach was constantly queasy and I could barely move without feeling like total crap. Which is probably exactly what was happening. I was getting rid of all the leftover crap! ‘Nuff said.

Days 10-12: Reaping some rewards

Woohoo! The other side of that fatigue and nausea was just as beautiful as I imagined! Let me count the ways… Of course, my energy is way higher, my mental acuity seems to be sharper i.e. words come to me faster and I have more mental stamina, the fine lines in my cheeks are less visible, my eyes are shinier, my gut is cleaner, and my clothes are the tiniest bit looser.


I’m looking forward to how the next couple weeks will go and curious if the cravings will reap their ugly heads one more time or if we’re slowly killing them off without noticing.

I did have dreams about food last night, which was something the authors of the Whole30 program said would happen. How weird is that? We humans are a funny animal.


And if you’re curious and would like to more about the whys and hows of the Whole30 program (or just want to know exactly what we’ve gotten ourselves into) more information can be found at



I Can’t Believe It

Eli is sleeping in a crib.

In his own room.

Without any fussing or whining about it.

At all.


Let’s back up.

Since his birth until now we were co-sleeping–rather successfully I think. I never experienced the kind of sleep deprivation I had been warned of and duly dreaded. Sure, Simeon and I were tired after the birth and our regular night time schedules were wonky for a few months, but overall I’d say we were lucky to experience quite a quick return to what amounts to a normal night’s sleep for most adults, roughly 6-7 hours per night.

Since we were getting sleep and Eli was still night nursing like a champ, it was only reasonable not to fix something that wasn’t broken. And I definitely had no interest in moving him to another room just to get up every few hours to walk over and nurse him. I’d prefered staying half asleep myself and moving hardly at all. So co-sleeping continued. Until the wheels started to come off…

Maybe a month or so ago I started to get this antsy feeling like Eli was really ready to sleep on his own. He certainly appeared to want Mama to put him down and fall asleep nursing but I also want to eat ice cream for dinner. Just because I want it doesn’t mean I actually want it, you know? It was starting to take longer and longer to get him to fall asleep and it was harder and harder for me to leave the room without him waking and crying out. Plus, night nursing was taking too much from me. It didn’t seem like he really needed all those calories. I had to respect my mama intuition–something had to change.

Before Eli was born I had purchased a few books on sleep to prepare for what I thought was going to be that epic battle for shut eye. But since we hadn’t found a battle to fight, I had put the books away. Recently, I brought one back out and now I can’t help but to sing it’s praises.

The Happy Sleeper by Heather Turgeon, MFT and Julie Wright, MFT gets all the gold stars. This book gave us a game plan to win back our bed and our nights. Simply said, in two days the transition was done. I’m still picking my jaw up from the floor.

Essentially, the program requires that you brave a night or two of crying (NOT crying-it-out style) in order to help your baby discover their capability and trust their independence.

The book carefully explained that the crying is really just a reaction to a shift in a deeply entrenched pattern not a result of insta-trauma from a newly negligent parent.

The protocol is as follows:

  1. Put baby down awake, but drowsy.
  2. If baby cries, wait five minutes, then go in a do a “check.” Stand by the door and say a phrase that communicates your love for and confidence in your child. Ours was, “Good night Eli. I know you can do this. I love you.” Then leave.
  3. If crying continues, repeat step #2. Continue your five minute checks as long as baby cries. (The checks make it clear to baby that you’re there and that you’re responsive, just not taking on the responsibility of “soothing” any longer.)
  4. If baby is making other noises, don’t interfere. This is baby learning how to self-soothe.
  5. Rejoice because the baby is down and you have your evenings back!*

*(I added step #5, can you tell?)

In all seriousness, night one was difficult. Eli protested mightily when we put him down and for many hours after. It was torturous to hear him cry and not be able to swoop in and save the day. But I thought the analogies offered in the book were apt. For example, just because he wants to climb a bookshelf doesn’t mean I’m going to let him, even if he cries.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened on night two.

We went through our newly minted bedtime routine: bath, nurse, play, books, songs… I picked him up and put him in the crib. One little wail… And then nothing… Still nothing.

He went to sleep! And stayed asleep until a few hours later to nurse. A few minutes later I put him back in the crib… And no noise. Not a peep. Just back to sleep he went! The program worked. And he is right this very second asleep in his crib in his own room. He went down awake and now he’s asleep. It feels like a mini-miracle. Was it always this easy? Could we have done this months ago? I don’t know, because honestly, part of me probably wasn’t ready for my baby to leave the bed. Eli grows up on his own timeline but my mama heart has to keep up. And sometimes, I think my heart gets heavy with the passage of time and slows down. But then, of course, I see how well he’s doing and what it means to our boy to be present with him right now and I’m back to my lighthearted self. And I keep up. So here we are. With a child on his own and guess what?

We are thrilled. What a discovery! I’m so grateful I listened to my instinct that he was ready to do this–that we all were ready to do this. And I’m especially grateful that Simeon was game to try out the protocol, even though he hated every minute of it. That’s partnership!

So, may you ‘sleep like a baby.’ Because right now that statement is truly making my heart sing.

And how about a couple of cute pics of Eli sleeping in our bed just before we transitioned him? 🙂

Eli asleep 2

Eli asleep

Letter to My Son: 12 Months

Eli bday 3

Dear Eli,

I posted to Instagram today to comment on your first birthday. I thought I’d copy my post here for future reference and because it speaks to who you are and how I feel about you.

Eli bday 2

Happy birthday, my sweet boy.

“I couldn’t imagine what my baby would be like while I was pregnant. It seemed impossible that a tiny human would emerge from within me. But here he is a whole 12 months later with so much life in him. His essence is sweet and curious and contemplative.

Eli bday 1

I love his giggles and tiny teeth and copper hair and chubby cheeks. The way he watches people and listens and shares. His zesty-ness. His cuddles and hugs and how he dances. All the cliches are true. This boy has my whole heart and I’m becoming a better me because of him. I’m grateful and honored and so tremendously excited about what the next year holds.” ❤️

Eli bday 4

Love forever,


Slaying the Sugar Dragon: The Whole30 Adventure Begins

via @sugarhouseworkshop on Instagram
Sugar is a huge crutch for me. I use it when I feel tired and need a pick-me-up. I use it when I want to celebrate. I use it when I’m feeling low and want to feel happier. And I use it when I want to numb difficult emotions.

But sugar is a fair weather friend.

It actually doesn’t make me happier. For a brief tasty moment, sure. But not in the long term.

Folks, the truth is, sugar isn’t good for us. It acts like a drug in the body and alters our brain activity. (You can learn more about that in this excellent lecture from  University of California professor Dr. Robert Lustig). I’m coming to terms with just how differently I behave when under the sugar spell. Verdict? Not good. Sometimes I feel like I’m of literally two minds when I act out or say something I don’t mean to. I’ve been asking myself much too frequently these days, Where did that come from??

I’m ready to be my better self. And that means slaying the sugar dragon. To help, I’ve enlisted the support of a program called Whole30 which outlines how to eat for 30 days in order to disrupt food addictions and make other positive changes.

For the next 30 days (the 30 part of Whole30) I won’t be eating any added sugars whatsoever. In addition, I won’t be eating grains, dairy, beans, legumes, or alcohol. What will I be eating? Lots and lots of vegetables, meat, and fruit.

It’s the perfect time to try going “clean.” (If there is such a thing as a perfect time). Tons of fresh produce is available now in our region and we have an abundance of local organic options for veggies and fruits. I’m getting into cooking more and what better way to be in control of what I consume than to cook it myself!

The success of this experiment will be determined in large part to how I feel physicially, mentally and emotionally on July 20 but also in how I manage my preparation for meals and handle carvings. I’m not going to fault myself for feeling out of control but I do want to set myself up to never feel deprived. Overall, I’m treating this next month as an experiment more than a diet. 

I’m eager to see how I feel after the change in food consumption and to see what “non scale victories” arise for me. The originators of the Whole30 encourage people not to use their weight or a scale to determine their “success” but rather to focus on other wins they might experience during or after the 30 days. I’m curious and hopeful that the next month will help improve these persistent and nagging symptoms:

  • Low energy
  • Brain fog
  • Sugar addiction
  • Ashy skin
  • Dehydration
  • Irritability
  • Slow mental processing
  • Poor concentration
  • Sluggishness
  • Bloating
  • Slow circulation 
  • Numbness

It takes courage to change a deeply held habit and truthfully, I’m scared. I must learn and relearn tools for coping with life, with difficult feelings, with difficult people. I can’t blindly turn to my sugar friend and expect to feel “good.”

What is “good” anyway? What happens if we don’t take the time to be with what is?

In the wake of the Orlando tragedy I read some of the truest words about hate and fear and violence from a DJ named Tasha Black:

The underlying condition of violence is the belief that we are separate.

And paradoxically, in order to touch the place where we are most deeply connected with others, we have to go to the centerpoint of ourselves. 

If we want to deal with the root cause of fear, we have to go to the place where love lives: the place we actually are.
The center point in me, that place where true love lives is right now heavily guarded by a terrifying dragon. To heal myself and begin helping the world to heal I must slay that inner dragon and free the best parts of me.

I’ve got a plan, I’ve got support…I’m ready to go! To the place where love lives.