this photo is old and blurry, but i love it. mostly because it was taken by emet, but also, her eyes. and that runny nose!

I was raised on fairy tales of the Disney variety, never thinking twice that the good people at the House of Mouse weren’t actually the ones responsible for those stories. So, naturally, when I discovered the Brothers Grimm, I was a little miffed that ol’ Walt and his team of animators positively bastardized the complexities of the German folklore.

When Emet was born, one of the sweetest gifts I was given was a complete and unabridged collection of the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I suppose the only thing more complete would be an untranslated version, but sprechen sie Deutsch I do not. So, English it was, and oh! The language in those stories is just poetic.

It was a few years later, when I was in training to become a Waldorf teacher, that I learned just how important these particular narratives – and the eloquent language contained therewithin – are to young children. The curriculum of the Early Childhood and the First Grade are based entirely upon classic fairy tales and so it was that I decided my children would not bear witness to the animated movies of my childhood. Also, I’m of the media-free childhood persuasion, so it wasn’t really an issue.

As my children have grown, they have indeed been exposed to their fair share of movies and television shows, albeit far less than the average American child. And yet, purely by coincidence, the Disney movies were left unwatched. A few months ago, we were at a restaurant where each of my big kids were given a coloring page. Emet’s was Sponge Bob, and Jade’s was Belle. And while Mr. Squarepants was instantly recognized by the both of them, neither Emet nor Jade could name the princess or the film from whence she came. I felt a little bit proud and a little bit sad, because truly, I loved those movies. LOVED THEM.

So, when my handsome mister called me into his office a week or so ago to show me a trailer he’d come across of a live-action version of Cinderella due to hit theaters this coming Spring, I rolled my eyes a little because, honestly, how good could it be? Only so good that I cried. Not once, not twice, but three times. Every hair on my body was standing on end, and the flutters in my heart told me I had to share this with my daughter.

I will never forget her eyes as she watched, like saucers they were, filled with stars and fairy dust and all the magic I remember from when I was a little girl. In that moment, I knew exactly what I had to do. Why, read her Ashputtel of course, a tale which she’s heard at least a half dozen times.

When Christmas morning came, there was a small package finished with glittering gold ribbon addressed to the youngest maiden of the house. And when she opened it up, she squealed with delight to find her very own copy of Disney’s Cinderella.

To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I saw that movie. I’m almost positive I was Jade’s age, or thereabouts. But when she and I sat down later Christmas day to watch it together, from the moment the first note of the overture sounded, I was mesmerized. I remembered all the songs, all the funny little things the mice say, all the magic. Sharing this film with my beautiful girl, at an age when she is more than ready to appreciate it purely as entertainment, well, it was perfect.

She and I have a date to the movie theatre this coming March, and we are so excited we can hardly stand it!



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One of the reasons I don’t write about extended family is because it’s a complicated subject. There are lots of hurt feelings, practically an ocean’s worth of water under a very long bridge, and for most of my adult life, I have chosen to remove myself from the chaos. For several years now, I haven’t spoken much, if at all, to any of my relatives on either side of my splintered family, a practice that is equally liberating as it is isolating.

The truth is, I carry around an awful lot of pain and sadness, big armfuls of agony I’ve somehow managed to collect one way or another. Hard as I might try to shutter away the darkness and to pay extra close attention to the good and the beautiful, it is always there, right under the surface, and it comes out to haunt me when I least expect it.

Like during the Holidays, for instance.




This is it, folks. The home stretch. All the candles on the Advent Wreath are illuminated, we’re more than halfway through Hanukkah, and tonight is the longest night of the year which might be the one I look forward to most of all. I love a good Winter Solstice the way I love a good song, a firm tug on the old heartstrings kind of thing. Also, there’s a new moon tonight and I read somewhere on Instagram that this will actually be the longest night in history? I’m not sure about that last bit, but it sure sounded mystical.

This part of the year just gets me, you guys. It’s my spirit season, I think, because I’m always filled with so much gratitude and inspiration, something about looking back and forward all at once, celebrating what has been and what is yet to come. All the caroling and cookie baking and tidings of good cheer, all the decorations and the stories and the movies, this stuff thrills me through and through.

We spent nine straight hours cleaning our house today – it might actually be shining like the top of Chrysler Building, thank you very much Mrs. Hannigan – and tomorrow morning, the Salvation Army will be coming by to collect a dozen bags filled with things that have worn their welcome with us but that might find new purpose elsewhere. I’ve intended to make this a sort of tradition for the past few years, and the fact that I’ve finally managed to pull it all together is extremely gratifying.

With only four sleeps until Christmas morning, the excitement is mounting by the minute. Our halls have had a proper decking and our tree is finally all gussied up in her holiday finest after spending three straight weeks standing in our living room naked as the day we brought her home from the lot. I’ve named her Aster, fitting for the lovely late bloomer she’s turned out to be, and she smells divine.

There are a few projects that need finishing, a few packages that need wrapping, and at least a half dozen movies that need watching before the big day arrives, not to mention countless cookies that need to be baked and eaten. All the makings of a cozy, quiet, homemade holiday with my happy, healthy(-ish, we’ve got some coughs and runny noses), adorable family in our super clean home in the hills of sunny San Diego. All my Christmas wishes granted, and I haven’t even opened a single present!

Wishing you and yours a week filled with joy, from the bottom of my very happy heart.



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Christmas, I can’t believe you’re here!

What a year it’s been for this little family of mine, a year filled with surprises and a whole lot of growth. Our life has blossomed here in San Diego, and this has truly been one of the most magical seasons of all my 31 years.

As we were exchanging gifts, I sat back and watched my two kids shower their parents with the sweetest and most lovingly crafted presents. They spent their piggy bank money on chocolate bars for us, and worked together to paint and sew and wrap packages for us all to unwrap. My mama’s heart overfloweth! I could not be more more proud of those two, I tell you, they are the most magnificent young people in all the land. Only, they’re not quite so young these days, and every now and again I am reminded just how big they’ve gotten. I will never forget the tenderness of this morning, not ever.

The rest of today will be spent in my most favorite way, dancing around in the kitchen making a festive feast for the ones I love, followed by cookies and a movie. And maybe even a game or two of Catan. Heaven.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always a poignant time, and already I can sense the potency of this day and the next few to come. It won’t be long now before we welcome 2014, the birth year of our baby!

We are a lucky bunch, and today our home is positively bursting with love and gratitude for all that we have, and for each other most of all.

Merry Christmas, Friends!



27 Week Belly Shot, 12/18/13

I was describing my general state of being to my doula/dear friend/cherished colleague Amanda earlier this week, and she joked that it sounded as if I were still in my first trimester. And it’s true! I’m easily nauseated, overwhelmingly exhausted, and unexplainably emotional. To be honest, that’s kind of how it’s been this whole entire pregnancy. Actually, all of my pregnancies have been like this. Despite the physical similarities, however, this one has been a completely different experience.

From the beginning, I have approached this pregnancy with new perspective. I’ve had a long time to reflect upon my previous two deliveries, and decided a while ago that if ever given the opportunity to bring another life into the world, I’d do so outside the traditional medical system. My reasons for this are many, and perhaps one day I’ll actually get around to writing about how and why we made this choice, but for now I will simply suggest The Business of Being Born as a great documentary on the subject of hospital versus home birth.

Through this process of allowing pregnancy to happen without hardly any intervention, I have become more trusting and confident in my own body and its inherent ability to grow, birth, and sustain a baby. Because we haven’t had any ultrasounds, we rely entirely on heartbeat and movement to monitor the growth of the baby. As such, I find that I am much more in tune with all the various bumps and nudges in my belly. Quite a bouncy little thing, this baby, and I absolutely love it.

We have decided to wait until the birth to find out whether the baby is a boy or a girl, and I can’t even begin to tell you how fun not knowing is turning out to be. Our family has bonded together in the sweetest way as we eagerly await the arrival of our newest member, and I’ve managed to fall in love all over again with each of these radiant souls I’m blessed to share my life with.

With just a few days left until Christmas, our house is buzzing with preparations for our simple celebration. The kids have been hard at work all month long, handcrafting and carefully wrapping no less than two dozen presents, all of which have been placed with care under our tree. My fingers are busy stitching up some last minute gifts, and there is baking to be done and movies to be watched. And a proper Christmas feast to be made, my favorite.

This is a really, really special time in my life. I have always loved this season, and to think that next year we’ll have a new little person to celebrate with is just about the best gift I have ever been given.



Hello, December!

After a much needed week-long break from school, I was jolted awake by my alarm this morning and wasn’t all that happy about it. The kids, however, were both eager to return to their rhythm and made it out the door in record time for a Monday.

This Thanksgiving Holiday was nothing short of perfect. Most of it was spent at home, which is pretty much the only place I want to be these days, and there was so much food it was kind of ridiculous. I started preparing our feast Tuesday evening and couldn’t have been more pleased with how it all came together. I even made the best pie ever, which just so happened to also be the prettiest.


I mean.


Have you ever hand cut leaves from pie dough with a paring knife? Because wow, that is some tedious work. Can’t wait to do it again!

Seriously though, spending quality time with my sweet family in our little nest was just what I needed. We watched some favorite Christmas movies, ate too many molasses cookies, and even managed to put up some of our decorations. The kids spent most of yesterday making and wrapping presents, and at the end of the night as we lit our first Advent candle, I was overcome with gratitude for this beautifully chaotic life of mine.

In other news, I received a few texts and messages recently of the “You’re pregnant?!?” variety, so I thought this might help clarify things a bit.


And that’s before I started eating for three straight days.