Giving Thanks For Those Around the Table {our captain has come home!}

The most important part of Thanksgiving dinner has always been the people seated around the table. Though pie is surely a close second.

On the eve of this Thanksgiving, I’m feeling thankful for those around my table.

Two months ago our Cope sailed away on schooner Roseway.21514238710_9077ed7728_k That was weird.21702166825_341453a866_k Interesting how the whole family dynamic shifted.

My friend, Lindsey, who sailed the ocean blue many many years ago, nodded her head at the strangeness. “Yeah, and she’s the oldest of your kids. She’s your captain. Your captain is missing.”

Yeah, that was right. Our captain was missing!

21711410531_aa2d356702_k The mates missed their captain.

In the end, it wasn’t all bad. 1st mate, Nellie Mak, had to start high school without her. I was sad about this fact, but many others thought it terrific; the boy would have to navigate high school on his own. And he did just fine.

The best part of having someone gone is realizing how much you like having them around.

Brynne was particularly excited about taking over the captain’s sleeping quarters. She got busy right away, cleaning and organizing all the captain’s drawers, throwing out what she deemed “nonessential junk.” (isn’t that thoughtful? ha :). She made the bed, fluffed the pillows…and then slept in her sister’s room exactly once. It just wasn’t the same.

21875132735_0208668129_k In the meantime, Cope and her crew mates were having a most amazing adventure (and thank you to all the ocean picture takers; none of these are my photos!) GoPro included!

And the girl was happy.21687426488_f52189c36c_k She saw the world in a way she has never seen it before. Lucky!22558649980_3dc617710a_k She learned many a sailing skill. For instance, how and where to barf over the side of a boat is an art form: “Not on the high side and definitely not into the wind!”22872751082_f1d8bb8536_k She sailed in stormy seas and calm waters. She had spiritual experiences and felt close to the divine.22412118245_12343fcd3e_k She witnessed almost magical creatures.21597567873_9cf2ac535e_h Best of all? She missed us, too.

She wrote home often (we were lucky!) while being tossed and turned by the waves. She understood what a big deal it was, for a hand to stretch forth and say, “Peace. Be Still.” 22733008222_b0839a4c6c_k And her soul was stilled, too.23103932742_1e91418660_k The crew stopped at many an island22218588485_769ebe5c31_h And had a 14-day journey from Florida to Puerto Rico with no land in sight (“that was about the coolest and hardest thing I’ve ever done.”)

She stood at the helm, learning how to sail Roseway, (“much harder than it looks,”). She had a watch group that was on every 8 hours, 24 hours a day. “If you’re off just one degree you’re in big trouble! Now I know what all those conference talks are really about…”

At night, they were required to be locked into a harness when on deck. Because, as their instructor told them, “If you go overboard in the middle of the night, we’ll never find you.”22031712999_731af85a3a_kCheerio!

22757763871_67232d081c_k This was an adventure, but it was also SCHOOL with no electronic devices for two months (makes a mama happy!) They studied Maritime Literature, Maritime Science, Maritime History, Nautical Mathematics, and Seamanship. 22467899878_0a793ddaa5_kThe closer to the Caribbean they sailed, the warmer it became.

IMG_3279-1 As ocean water was the only way to get clean, baths were super fun!22698193850_d26566e15e_k 22218590875_2418eed932_k 23091755876_91372dedcd_k It was truly a life-changing adventure she will never forget.

And she got a wicked-good tan.

The anticipation of greeting our girl and her mates felt more exciting than Christmas!

It’s been a tough fall for our community. We’ve lost friends in a variety of ways. We’ve all been contemplating how exactly we are supposed to navigate loss. Some people come home. Some people don’t. Some still wander.

With Cope gone, this feeling felt especially heightened. I had the morbid mother thoughts, what if she never came home? How would we go on without our captain?

It was also heartening to see the way our community rallied around each other. As one friend put it, “If I’m getting sick, I’m getting sick here.”

When things were beginning to calm again, our beloved doggie, Lord Tennyson, was hit by a car (our van!) when he decided to test the whole New Hampshire Live Free or Die motto, by making a run through the electric fence and into the road. He did live free (but nearly died) .

It was terribly traumatic, with three kids in the car, going to school. I held him in my arms as he bled from his mouth, nose, and left eye and I could not stop crying. I realized that we could not lose our best beloved

When the kids were in school (worried sick) The Professor and I drove to the vet. The Professor was sure it was the end. I could not handle this assessment and forced him to think more positively, darn it!

Tenny was away for three days. Every time I came home I missed him. He wasn’t there to greet me. He wasn’t there when I left the house. He wasn’t following me around the kitchen. I hadn’t realized how much I talk to my small and furry friend :) His muddy, annoying paw prints all over the kitchen floor were suddenly endearing.

So it is with children, isn’t it?

The vet was “pleasantly surprised” that he recovered so well. His left eye was sutured shut for a week so that he looked like a pirate, (so fitting for our captain’s arrival.) He may or may not see out of his eye again, but he lived to bark another day.


It’s gut-wrenching to have your people (and beloved pets) leave you. Sometimes it’s needful. It’s good. But before Cope left, I kind of thought that other kids left home, not mine. Aren’t we still that young couple with babies in diapers? What a terrible realization…they will leave. Every last one.

Good thing I like The Professor so much. Even when he’s cranky (kisses, honey! :)

A friend wrote to me, after I posted about Cope leaving on her ocean trip:

“Hi. I hope I did not sound patronizing in my note to you. If anything, your post touched a nerve and I am in a rough place over this “growing up and growing a way” stage. My deepest fear has been overwhelming me lately and I am at a loss about how to cope with it. *** is being what I hope is typical of 21…she is pulled away and doing her own thing. Sometimes that shows as being thoughtless . Her own wants and needs top everything and it is painful, to see and to experience. I desperately want her to WANT to be around me on occasion and to feel connected, and she is on her own course. Yes, growing up and having “wings” is good – I am just praying that her foundation is with me as well, and that we can have a good relationship into her adulthood. Ocean seems so long ago, and …she came back. Now I am waiting again….and my heart hurts.”

Sometimes my heart hurts, too.IMG_3036But other times it sings.

One way or the other, I believe this: we all make our way back home.

On the eve of this Thanksgiving, we are cherishing the captain’s return. This Thanksgiving there are no empty chairs. Or dog beds.

I am thankful for those seated around my table. I’m also thankful for those who have departed, who are on different life journeys, to places we cannot yet comprehend. In a different way, they are with us, too.

“We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another…that we may all sit down in heaven together.” -Lucy Mack Smith

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! May we enjoy one another and give great thanks to be surrounded by the ones we love so much.

And don’t forget to enjoy lots of pie, too :)



Thankful for the Good Ones

Last night Brynne was writing the answer to an assigned essay.

The question: “Is religion important to a region? Why or why not?”

Brynne quite indignantly wrote: “Religion is important to a region because it helps solve problems and causes less contention between people. Without religion, there might be more conflict, more worldwide issues, and more separation between different people. Religion unites and connects people and places all over the world.”

In the wake of the Paris bombings, I nodded dumbly.

Brynne writes this with all the conviction she has, because of her good religious experiences.

But another 11-year-old classmate wrote: “Religion is stupid. It’s people who commit suicide.”

Brynne thought this was stupid. I really hope she didn’t tell him so. You see, we’re all working on taming our passionate responses :)

This 11-year-old classmate writes because of his experience: he has none. What he knows of religion comes from the news; he hears of terrorist attacks, where people tie bombs to their body and kill others. All in the name of their God or Allah. If your religious exposure is based on the news, why wouldn’t you think religion is horrid?

I feel a slow burn when I read the terrorist reasons for the Paris bombings: Vengeance for “prostitution and vice.” As if they, the chosen ones, are justified in carrying out God’s punishment.

Didn’t the Ku Klux Klan and Hitler have similar egotistical justifications?

Extreme examples, but there are millions of people who have terrible interactions with “Christians.”

Recently I saw a Facebook post that read, “Act like Christ, not Christians.” This seems to come up during election time and these days, it’s always election time.

With the news cycle only reporting the horrible and shocking, we don’t hear of the food drive up the street, the coats donated to a domestic abuse survivor, or the Thanksgiving baskets assembled. Which is too bad, because the Christians that I know, respond.

I’m better for my religion. It’s been the conduit for spirituality and knowledge. It’s how I make sense of the world. It gives me a vision of who I really am and what happens next. It has made my family happy. It’s kept my parents married. It forces me to be less selfish. I cling to it.

So why are some people worse?

Huffington Post reports that millennials are less likely to be religious than their parents because of our culture change and emphasis on individualism. I begin to wonder? Without religion, who will organize my mother’s funeral? How will anything get done?

In January, the terrorist group al-Qaidain, Muslim extremist attacked the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing a drawing depicting the Prophet Muhammed.

Al-Qaida’s Yemeni leader Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi said:

“As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we, the Organization of al-Qaida al Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God.”

And it’s not ending. There is a sweet and innocent new generation of terrorists being trained Here.  “My father reminds me of Osama bin Laden, who terrorized and fought the Americans,” Abu Ashak, a boy in the camp, told Dairieh. “One day my father will be like him, and I want to be like Osama’s son.”

It’s no wonder, with this kind of news, that after the Paris attack, Joann Sfar, a cartoonist for Charlie Hebdo, wrote a controversial Instagram post: “Friends from the whole world, thank you for #prayforparis, but we don’t need more religion. Our faith goes to music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and Joy! #Parissaboutlife.”

Christians verbally attacked him.

To which Sfar responded with more cartoons:

unnamed unnamed-1

Dear Christians. Perhaps we have not opened the great history book called, The Bible. Perhaps we need a refresher course on how Christ actually behaved?

Just as I was feeling terrible and hopeless, convinced the world was going straight to you know where, I read two great responses from the church to which I belong:  the late Gordon B. Hinckley responds to terrorism Here and, and Dieter F. Uchdorf recounts his life as refugee, calling on us all to remember the humanity we all share. I began to feel a bit better.


As Dieter F. Uchdorf has taught us: if we are criticizing, bullying, writing mean things on Twitter, there is a very simple solution: Stop it.

If you haven’t seen it, listen to the Paris pianist.

One other thing happened too. A very short conversation with my sister, who is about the kindest, most patient person you ever met (I mean, the hours she spent math tutoring me!)

Sister has been babysitting twins three days a week for a young, single mother who is really down on her luck. If you’ve ever babysat 3 1/2 year old twins all day, three days a week, you’ll know the energy it takes.

Sister has been doing this a long time.

As I busily cleaned up the kitchen I asked, “Are you getting paid pretty well?” Sister paused and very carefully said,

“Um…I’m getting paid in blessings from heaven.”

“What?” I exclaimed, snapping to attention. “You’re babysitting three days a week for free? Like, until they go to kindergarten?”

“You know,” she said. “I kind of think of it as a service. Some people go to India. Some people volunteer in orphanages in Russia. Some people travel the world doing these amazing things. And, I don’t know. This is just something I can do.”

All was right in the world again.

It makes me teary writing this. Thanks, Andrea, for once again reminding me: there are really good people in the world.


A Fall Smoothie With Beautiful Beets

The true story is that I have only recently become enamored with beets. When I was little we were served them microwaved from a can, and I detested everything about them. They were right up there with canned peas. Blech. We’ve come a long way baby.DSC_0168 Now, our love affair is going strong. A great benefit to adding beets to your green smoothies (besides the nutrition!) is that it turns the smoothie a beautiful red, masking green things. Red is a much more palatable color to drink – who knows why? Beets are such a wonderful way to fool your children and other small creatures under your care.DSC_0227 I have recently discovered the gorgeous orange beets in the supermarket. I had to buy them on principle, alone! Why, I’m practically giddy every time I enter the produce aisle.DSC_0173 As I was trying to get a good photograph I looked outside at the fall leaves. Mother earth became the perfect backdrop for our fall smoothie. DSC_0167

A Fall Smoothie With Beautiful Beets

  • 1-2 Cups Water
  • 1 Red Beet, peeled, raw or cooked
  • 1 Orange Beet, peeled, raw or cooked
  • 1 Cup Frozen Spinach or Kale
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut
  • 1 Cups Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Avocado, skin off
  • 1 Carrot, scrubbed
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

Directions: Throw it in the blender and give it a whirl! For more smoothie recipes go HERE.

A concluding word: If you are new to smoothies, you’ll want to add more fruit than vegetables. If you stick with it, your palate will adjust and you won’t need so much fruit. For this smoothie you could use just one beet, rather than two. You could add a banana for taste and creamier texture. Chia seeds are a fantastic source of fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients. They will thicken your smoothie considerably, especially if you let it sit.

Sometimes I use leftover beets from this salad for the next day’s smoothie. I’m all about easy.

Seen this book? I want it. In fact, I wish I had written it.

Happy Weekend! Drink a smoothie. Feel like a champ.


Just Because We Can Save the Day, Should We?

Halloween started out as magically as it always does in New Hampshireunnamed with this scene lighting me up daily. The foliage was spectacular this year.

We crunched through countless leaves, breathed the crisp wood-burning air, and debated over just the right costume.

As the kids are getting older, Halloween is also evolving. This year I only had two trick-or-treaters. Eldest was somewhere on the ocean blue, and Boy was deemed too old and went to a dance. Where once there was four trick-or-treaters, now there are two.

Hermione was practicing her spells and getting her hair ready. Apparently, even wizards have to do their own hair!unnamed-1 But tragedy struck early when Hermione lost her wand at Hogwarts. We were right on time for a fun-filled evening when halfway to the first house when she realized she was missing a very special accoutrement.

“My wand!”

I looked at my watch. “How about we go look for it after we trick-or-treat?”

The thought was too horrible to imagine. You see, after spending every penny she had ever earned ($36), Ms. Paige bought a Hermione wand. For three months she had looked at it daily, inserted batteries, and taking it out to wave around so the little magical tip would light up. And then every night she put the wand back in its special wand box.

For three months she had dreamed of walking around in the dark with her long wizard cloak, flashing that wand in the dark and lighting up the world. Go trick-or-treating without it? For shame!

So we went back to look for it.

We looked up and down and all around. It wasn’t in The Professor’s office or in the dining hall or dropped outside, or with Moaning Myrtle in the girl’s bathroom.

She put on a brave face until the panic was too great and mighty tears fell.

Soon, half of Hogwarts was looking for Hermione’s wand!

“Honey, I’m sorry, but I just don’t know where it is.”

“No, no, no!” she sobbed. “I need my wand!”

We were now, at 6:30, quite late for trick-or-treating.

When all seemed lost and Hermione’s devastation had wrecked her Halloween, Brother saved the day: he found the precious wand in-beween two couch cushions.

Never was there a happier Hermione. Tears were dried, hugs given, and finally we set out into the night.

unnamed-3 Hermione and the soccer player gathered their many treats.unnamed-2And said hello to Daddy who was dressed as a football coach for a Halloween Saturday night game!

With only a few houses left, we walked through crackling leaves and held out our pumpkins for a few more tricks or treats.

Throughout the night, many children wanted to hold Hermione’s wand. I have a very sweet Hermione. She has a very soft heart. She didn’t want to, but she handed it to children who waved it around to light up the sky with that special lit tip. She watched it carefully, nervously. You see, it had already been lost once and Hermione was feeling even more particular and possessive of her prized possession.

All was well until we came home and what should Hermione discover? The wand’s tip was broken. It lit up, but the clear plastic tip that sat atop the wand was gone.

Now, my sweet and soft-hearted Hermione could not handle this discovery. The great depth of despair was heard round the neighborhood, I’m sure.

“I’m sure we can fix it, ” I assured.

“No! We can’t!”

“This is the worst Halloween!” she sobbed. “I hate this Halloween. It’s the worst in the whole history of Halloween!” The sobbing went on for a full half-hour as I scoured Amazon for “harry potter replacement tip bulbs” to no avail. Tricky magic wand makers. You can’t buy a replacement tip, but you can buy the whole wand!

Hermione was so out of control that she was banished to bed. She cried so loudly that we could not be in the same room. Finally, when she was quiet and hiccuping I laid next to her on her bed. Her cheeks were wet, her hair soaked with sweat and tears. The sadness hung heavily in the room. Poor Hermione.

I kissed her cheeks and left. I went back to the computer and clicked on the Hermione wand. Only $36. Free shipping. I put it in my cart. But just before clicking, “Buy,” I let the mouse hover.

What was the right thing to do here?

For the first time I realized Amazon was not my friend.

When I was a kid and my toys broke, my parents most definitely did not rush out to the toy store to buy a new one. They were sad with me and said, “I’m sorry.” And then went back to reading the newspaper. They did not have an Amazon with a “1-Click” shopping option.

But…how happy I would make her, my girl who is truly appreciative, who says, “thank you so much mommy for being such a nice mommy,” almost daily. Who kisses my cheeks and never forgets to hug me good-bye. She isn’t a spoiled brat. She would truly appreciate this gesture.

Still. I hesitated.

If I clicked, was I being a hovering, helicopter parent whose child wouldn’t be able to leave for college? Was I enabling? Or was I just being nice? I remembered the news story I had heard on NPR that we spend way more money because of the ease of clicking “buy now!” 

It’s just so easy.

I pushed back from the computer. I did not click, “buy.” And I was sad for Hermione.

The next day Hermione came downstairs. She was still down in the dumps, still mourning the magical tip of her special wand.

“I’m sorry about your wand,” I said. And then went back to doing the dishes.

That’s life, isn’t it? It sometimes really stinks.

A few hours later, Hermione had bounced back. She waved her wand around a couple of times. Adjusting.

One of the hardest things about being a parent in the land of more-than-plenty is saying No when you are able to say Yes.

There’s nothing in my nonexistent parenting handbook that says, “For best results, Do EASY!”

I wouldn’t fault a parent for buying a new wand, but I am curious. I could have saved the day, but I didn’t.

And just because we can, should we?


Game-Changing Weekend Links

Cope has sailed to the Puerto Rico! Apparently she was snorkling today. She will be back in her mama’s arms in 14 days! Here’s a schooner snapshot from Instagram:


Have you seen the Daylight Savings Movie Trailer? It’s hilarious!

As soccer is winding down, I’m thinking about sports again. Please, let’s stop killing dreams.

Want to know how much the first page of a novel matters? It matters! Read HERE. To get into the contest is a HUGE deal! Congrats, Julia! She’d love feedback – and you could win prizes.

I love Clover Lane and Sarah’s philosophy on life and motherhood:

“What if we took all the money and time we put into tutors and coaches and private lessons, and invested instead in making our children holy? Not well-known and praised and celebrated for what they do, but humble and meek and truly holy in who they are?”

Apparently, not all relationships are good for your health. Read HERE.

Fabulous podcast by bestselling author, Whitney Johnson discussing her new book, Disrupt Yourself. MUST BUY.

The one ritual you must do everyday. I dig this stuff!

Happy Weekend, friends!


What’s For Dinner? Steak and Cheese Subs

Do you know how important family dinner is?  A favorite new find is The Family Dinner Project, which I think is wonderful and weird. Wonderful that we recognizing dinner’s importance. Weird that we have to be reminded just how important it is.

Is it really so hard to gather all together for just one meal? Looking back at our fall schedule, I may need to raise my hand with a guilty, “sometimes.”

Fascinating article on rituals HERE. What’s a good family ritual?  Bruce Feiler, bestselling author of The Secrets of Happy Families, says it’s THE FAMILY DINNER! Feller writes in his book:

“A recent wave of research shows that children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, commit suicide, and develop eating disorders. Additional research found that children who enjoy family meals have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthier diets, and higher self-esteem. The most comprehensive survey done on this topic, a University of Michigan report that examined how American children spent their time between 1981 and 1997, discovered that the amount of time children spent eating meals at home was the single biggest predictor of better academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Mealtime was more influential than time spent in school, studying, attending religious services, or playing sports.”

Yikes. It’s so simple.

I’m going to help you out with a simple family favorite: steak and cheese subs.

It’s so easy you can sit back on the couch while the kids make the dinner!

Easy, yummy, filling, with carbs, fat, and protein. Add a side of brussel sprouts and you might have perfect :)


DSC_0497 We used to buy these subs before we had children. Now, to save money, we make them ourselves.

Start with a little olive oil over medium heat. Throw in sliced green peppers and onions. The Professor loves mushrooms, but the darlings vetoed them. Feel free to add!DSC_0458 Cook a few minutes until softened! If you like your onions caramelized, keep on cooking.DSC_0471 Add shaved steak. I can find this in the frozen section of my grocery store and one pound costs about $6.DSC_0474 It cooks really, really quickly. Add salt and pepper to taste.DSC_0484 In less than ten minutes you’re ready for the cheese.DSC_0487 Put slices of American Cheese atop the steak, onions, and peppers. This is personal preference – I like cheesy!DSC_0492 In about three minutes you’re done!DSC_0495 Add a side of broiled sprouts, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper – YUM.DSC_0510 And that my friend is all it takes – dinner in less than 30 minutes. Wouldn’t Rachel Ray be proud?DSC_0512

Steak and Cheese Subs


  • Olive Oil
  • 6 Bulky Rolls
  • 1 lb. Shaved Steak
  • 9 pieces American Cheese
  • 1 Medium Onion, sliced
  • 1 Green Pepper, sliced
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions, pepper, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add shaved steak. Cook until steak is no longer pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add American cheese. Let melt, stir.
  4. Toast bulky rolls in oven, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately! (with the brussels :))

Enjoy – and have a spooktacular weekend!


Two Girls Running

This was the weekend of two girls running, me and my Brynnie. When all the training from the last several days, weeks, months, and years culminated into something golden. That’s what running is: a very personal affair.

IMG_2302 When the 5 a.m. morning runs are worth it. Because often, at 4:30 a.m., they definitely don’t feel worth it. The is a “wishful thinking” sunrise. These days, we start in the dark and end in the dark, running only by the light of the headlamp. When I asked Brynne to join me she said, “NO WAY.”

I’m particularly grateful as Me and the Training Table were best friends a month ago:IMG_2283 We spent quality time together, with our amazing friend and athletic trainer, Kelly. She got my IT band back to cooperating. I was made to roll on the foam roller, stretch, strengthen, ice, and stem. Geez, am I getting older?IMG_2284 Stem is when you get hooked up and shocked with electrodes. It feels like little needles poking at you. Electric currents stimulate the muscles around your injury and interrupt the pain signals, reducing inflammation and swelling. At one point last month I was in so much pain I could not run at all, and could only walk with a limp, eating ibuprofen for lunch. Oh, those were the dog days of September.

The upside of being sick or injured is the humility, and the reminder that we are lucky to have such miraculous bodies that know how to heal. It’s magic. I remember one afternoon when I  I could finally run across the soccer field, I wanted to sing-song like Buddy the Elf, I love my legs and I don’t care who knows it!

This amazing book helped Kelly diagnose me…it’s fabulous and would make a great Christmas gift :)


IMG_2448 Being injured is hard. I’m so impatient. I worry I’m losing all the training. Would I ever run again? Could I go on living if I couldn’t run? Drama queen.IMG_2101 Meanwhile, Brynne was doing her thing, training every day with her cross-country team. She’s only in 6th grade, but lucky to be coached by fabulous coaches who live and breathe running and correct training principles. The improvement made in mere weeks leaves me in awe. It once again solidifies everything I know about achieving anything: it’s ALL about the training.

Brynne suffered some setbacks too. Sometimes she had pain in her hamstrings, knees, and gluts (gotta stretch the butt!) We both focused on eating well, drinking more water, smoothies for breakfast, protein at every meal, and getting sleep.

IMG_2594With two weeks left before my 13.1 and Brynne’s state meet, we ran through trails, with full hearts and clear eyes (can’t lose!)

When you run a half-marathon, the long run is the most important run of the week. Ideally, you run at least a couple of 10 or 12-milers. I was lucky to get two ten-milers in with my running buddy the last two weekends before the race. The first 10-miler I was limping afterward. The second time, after a lot of glut stretching, I was feeling good.

Now, could I run a race at a faster pace with more mileage than I had trained for? Could I pull out a personal win?

5549833133_f0701357b2_b Well, I sure was going to try! October 24th was our day. My race was at Cape Cod, at 7:30 a.m. Luckily, Brynne’s state meet was on the way home, in the afternoon. I could finish my run and find my way to my girl in New Hampshire. All the stars would align, right?

unnamed-3 unnamed-2

While we were driving, my Cope, OUT AT SEA, called…her only phone call of the whole trip! What a treat. She’s well. She’s happy. The hurricanes and whales are cooperating. Man, I can’t wait to see her.

Cape_Cod_National_Seashore I drove to the Cape with my friend, Robin, who likes to run half-marathons on her birthday. How awesome is that? We arrived in Falmouth on Friday night and were greeted by the sweetest hosts ever: Leonard & Patty! Patty made us a delicious mac ‘n cheese and apple cobbler before we were tucked into our matching twin beds at 9pm that overlooked the water. The 1890 house (with lovely wallpaper!) was dreamy and made me want to stay and write a novel. But first I had to run.

IMG_2683 One of the most anticipated moments of any race is how good the shirt is. The Cape Cod Half gets an A+++. Love me this tech-shirt. Fabulous fish.

It was an early start, chilly and overcast – perfect running weather. The course was flat and curved out by the water, with friendly crowds and many water stops. My goal was to run a 1:45 which meant steady 8 min/miles. Sub 8s would be a home run. I glanced at my watch only a couple of times, wanting to run by feel. The lasts three miles are always the toughest, but just as I began the last mile one of my favorite childhood songs came on: Xanadu. I felt the same happiness and sense of possibility I did when I was rollerskating in the dark basement when I was 10 :).

I could hear Brynne’s voice in my head, too, when just weeks earlier, we were running a 5k together and in the middle of mile 2, arguably the hardest mile, she said, “I’M SO GLAD I HAVE LEGS!”

Yes, this was that feeling – I’M SO GLAD I HAVE LEGS! I came through the finish line with a 1:44 and thanked God once again that I had legs that could run.

IMG_2713 Loved the Finishers Medal – another fish!

Birthday girl Robin came soon after. We hugged. And all was right in the world. Who’s in for next year with us???? IMG_2696 These thermal wraps were terrific

IMG_2706 I love to watch a finisher’s face. The pain and joy is always apparent. Let me tell you something else, ladies. I could not have run a 1:44 time in my teen years or my 20s because I had not paid the training price. I remember when a 5k felt like a killer. I remember when I had to walk during 8-milers and ten miles seemed totally impossible. Talent and health was there, but not the time and training. I really love watching a woman realize her potential late in life – because it’s never too late!

Afterwards, we climbed into the car and drove back over the bridge, headed toward the state track meet where our children were waiting to run.IMG_2709

We arrived to see these girls at the start line, just beginning their warm-ups.IMG_2714 Aren’t they glorious?IMG_2711 And then the gun fired! Anxiety turned to exhilaration.NH Middle School XC Championship-117-X2 warmups Love these girls and their determination.DSC_0154 Brynne is #80. “I look so desperate,” she said. Yeah, sometimes that’s how it feels. She ran a 2-miler and it was hard but she finished strong. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort.unnamed Two Girls Running. And Paigey there to cheer us on! Soon, I suspect she’ll be running girl #3.IMG_2717 IMG_2682We headed home on a cold Saturday evening, exhausted, relieved, glad the day was done. And started talking about the next one…


In the Land of Trees and Apples

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Fall in New England, with more apples than we know what do with. We start by eating vast quantities and then move on to applesauce. Um, by the way, have you eaten the Honey Crisp apple? Oh yum, I can now die a happy woman.unnamed-15 Finally, after seven years, our apple trees are bearing fruit. We don’t spray (because I’m lazy and afraid of chemicals) so our apples are not “perfect,” on the outside, but they sure are perfect on the inside. There’s a lesson somewhere in there, isn’t there?unnamed-5 We also picked up all the drops from a tree at Hogwarts on Columbus Day when we all miraculously had one full free day, with no other obligations except apples. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do applesauce this year. But Brynne persisted – and I’m glad she did! “It’s a tradition, mom!” And traditions must be followed.unnamed-6 The weather could not have been any more perfect, where I could cut and core apples outside (surrounded by bees :) The colors were popping!unnamed-4 I didn’t feel guilty about not cutting off every speck of apples – off to the compost it goes (as the chickens are no longer.) It comes from the ground and goes back to the ground.unnamed-7 After the apples are cut, they are put in a small bath, and onto the stove until they are mush. unnamed-13 Then it’s all pushed through the strainerunnamed-11 Out comes the applesauce! unnamed-9 The seeds and skin all get pushed out another chute.unnamed My 6th-grader, the newly-appointed domestic diva. She loves cooking.unnamed-3 Her sister was especially helpful! Paige was in her pioneer clothes…obviously acting like a lady.unnamed-8  The green funnel (from Amazon) makes this job so much easier when you’ve got small-mouth mason jars.unnamed-10 The applesauce doesn’t need any help, but we give it a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Mmmm. Brynne likes it best served warm.unnamed-2 What you don’t gobble, you can can. Can you do the can can? Think Thanksgiving and neighbor gifts! For the step-by-step canning, Click HERE.unnamed-1Our neighbor, Mr. Goody, is the best. So he gets applesauce. We know that in a few weeks he’ll be plowing us out of our driveway. We’ve got to make sure he feels appreciated. And doesn’t he have the best neighbor name evuh’?

DSC_0101 But don’t worry, you don’t have to give it all away.

DSC_0118I give full permission to lick the jar clean…

Happy Fall!


The Tasty Spinach & Tomato Frittata

Hakuna Frittata – what a wonderful phrase. It’s quiche without a crust and a new family favorite…(which is anything tasty that mama can whip up super-fast).DSC_0967 We discovered the frittata this summer. We’ve eaten it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. We’ve tried many variations of cheeses, always coming back to swiss. The frittata is so tasty, it was gobbled up in mere seconds by the ravenous darlings.

And it’s so easy, I’m happy to keep making it – though even the ravenous darlings could handle making it themselves.DSC_0453  As the weather turns colder, we start craving warmer breakfasts. With little time, you’ll want something quick, tasty, and comforting: que the frittata! It’s also incredibly healthy. Yes, my friends, we are WINNING at life!DSC_1118 You’ll begin with some butter in a cast-iron pan (or oven-safe fry pan), chopped onions, and spinach (fresh or frozen both work well).DSC_1119 Add whisked eggs, milk, cut tomatoes, shredded Swiss, salt and pepper – and you’re in frittata business. Let it cook on the stovetop until almost set – about 5 minutes.IMG_1371 Finish off in the oven, set on broil. In about five minutes you’ll have a gorgeous egg dish with beautiful color. Don’t you love pretty food?DSC_0421 Let’s admire the frittata for a moment. DSC_0436 Very nice, very nice (and it happens to taste amazing!)

Spinach and Tomato Frittata:


2 Tablespoons Butter

1/2 Small Onion, finely chopped

2 Cups Baby Spinach

5 Large Eggs

1/2 Cup Whole Milk

Salt and Pepper

1 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese

1 Cup Chopped Tomatoes


  1. Preheat oven to broil. In a medium bow, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Fold in cheese and tomatoes. Set aside.
  2. In a medium cast iron skillet (or oven-safe frying pan) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach and cook until almost set, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and broil until golden brown on top, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Eat your hakuna frittata – and make sure you sing!

Happy Weekend!

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