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Entries in Jaxson (19)


The Sun Sets On Four

Dear Jaxson, here we are again.  It seems like yesterday that I wrote about you turning four and now we are saying goodbye to four and welcoming five.  I'm not really sure if the time is going by faster because your growing up so quickly now or because I turned the dreaded seventy this year and that is pushing us forward quicker.  Either way, I am here again to thank you for such a great year.  Every year with you is so special and because of that, I want you to remember our times together when you are a big, big boy and so I write for you and include photo's from each year of all the awesome things you have done.  You know I do the same for Liam...because I don't want either of you to forget, as you travel through life, to have lots of fun and to keep trying new things.  That's how you grow in love...with people, projects and things.  Don't forget Mother Nature either.  Right now you are really good at taking care of her and she really needs lots of help, so keep Mother Nature on your list of things to take care of.  So my sweet boy, lets have a little look back at what we did together when you were four.


How can we go forward without looking back...this was such a big day for you and you love the smoke coming from your birthday cake. You blew all the candles out at once...Great job.  I couldn't do that this year at my birthday. So many candles would probably set the house on fire...great job Jaxson.

This was your gift from Nana and Papa so you could have a bike at our house.  It certainly did not take you long to learn how to go fast on this.  Actually, you like to go fast everywhere.  Cool helmet you picked out.

Your first year driving the big boat in Maine.  This was really a special day and yes, once again you wanted to go fast.  It was such a fun summer at the Maine house with you and Liam.  Papa and I had lots of fun and were glad you could come so often.  

Some photo's don't really need words.  You just look at it and know you want to remember that photo forever.  This is one of those photo's of you Jaxson .  It just melts my heart.  You are so sweet and handsome.  Maybe because you are mostly smiling and laughing and in this shot you are sharing your sweet spot.

When we weren't at the Maine house in the summer, we were at Gooserocks beach in Kennebunkport.  It's one of our favorite beaches and you and Liam love early morning kite flying with Mom.. Shh, everyone is still sleeping.

After summer and so many trips to the beach and lots of boat rides, making smores at the campfire at the Maine house, it was time for Fall.  Canobie Lake Park is where we go every September and this year, another first for you, driving the bumper cars.  It was a bit tricky for you to learn to turn the wheel but once you got it, yup, off you went, really fast.  Go Jaxson. Catch up to Liam if you can.

So many things happened in the Fall.  In October we rented a trailer at Point Sebago in Maine and that was such a fun long weekend, that we decided that this year we would rent one for a whole week in the summer. You did really good at the campfire this year.  Remember last year, you put a burn in Liam's jacket...whoa.

Also in the fall we went to the Audubon and you and Liam practiced your camera skills.  It makes me so happy that you both love being in the woods and always want to bring your camera's.  You got your first very own camera this year and you got some really good shots..don't worry about the people with no heads, that will come next year.

I would say by the looks of these last two photo's that Nana has something out of order.  I think this one belongs in the late summer, early fall group.  Can you guess why, Right...we don't have coats on. It sure was a fun day at the Audubon.  I learned how to lean my camera on the rock and it took a photo all by itself.

So, lots of new lessons for you last fall...You are now doing karate, which you love.

How proud were you when you got your award for breaking that wood in half with your foot...Nice job Buddy. How to be a great Crouching Tiger Cub.

You played soccer for your second year and now your really good at it.  So nice that Mom was your coach.

Then Thanksgiving and Christmas came..and we went to the Tea House to see Mrs. Clause.  I loved that day best.  Liam and you, then Mom came home early from work and met us there. Both you and Liam are the best tea buddies. When we are home we have it everyday together.  You both were pretty excited about the holiday season.  I got excited because you were excited and that's one of the things that so nice about having you and Liam in my keep me excited each time I know I'm going to be with you or even just running over to your house for a hug, a kiss and a high five. 

Remember these...your favorite Christmas present from this year.  You march to your own beat when it comes to dressing and I must say, you have very good taste.  A bit on the wild side but that's how you roll.  I like that about have a mind of your own and you stand up for yourself.  Don't ever change that and going forward don't lose your ability to be a bit edgy.  It makes you who you are and you'll always stand out in a crowd.  You know me, I like to sparkle whenever I can, ya, you be the same way.  A little bit of sparkle keeps them guessing...

I think our little family really, really loves the ocean because we find it every season, even in the winter. Here we are at another favorite place, St. Maarten.  Pinel island is special.  Beautful water and great sand and no rip tide or currant.  We all feel quite safe here and you love doing your own thing.  It's a joy to watch you play, jump and build sand castles...

But one thing you don't like about Pinel Island are the Iguanas.  I took your hand and we walked by them and then we knelt down together and you were really surprised when they just walked by.  I bet next year you won't be afraid.  I have to admit though, they are kind of creepy looking...

You learned how to whistle early in the New Year.. and you whistled all the time...then we had whistling contests in the car. Papa was the loudest, I can do songs and Liam was a bit on the not so good side and just keep whistling...I think you had your own happy tune in your sort of reminded me of my grandfather...he whistled all the time it was nice listening to you.

One cold, wet day in late winter we went to the beach at the Salem Willows with your Geiger counter that you got for Christmas.  You found two quarters.  You said "you were rich"...I don't know if you were rich but Papa and I think we are pretty rich having such great and Liam are the best.

Of course all winter long Papa and I take you and Liam to swimming lessons...but what a big year it was for you...finally, you jumped off the diving board.  I know you were scared but you decided to be brave and you were so proud of yourself.  That was a fun ride home as you relived EVERY moment of that dive.

Some days we don't do much.  I think it's good to just rest and play sometimes.  So you get your John Deere jeep out and go for a ride up and down the road at Nana's. You and Liam play post office and fill the back of your jeep with packages that Liam tapes up with duck tape and then you drop the boxes off at the neighbors houses. You always let Liam drive...but you drive when your friend Parker comes to play.  Those are really fun days and you both are so creative. 

Before you know it...spring arrives and spring means baseball season...and you are one heck of a baseball player.  You hit the ball, run like crazy to first base..not only do you step on the really protect yourself from getting tossed off...and what the heck, while your out there, you might as well do a few karate moves...practice anywhere you can...right Jaxson.

Rounding third and heading for home..go Jaxson, go.  I know that look on your face..i see it every time you think you pulled something over on me or Papa or even Mom.  You know right here that you are going to make sprinting for you...You give it your best and collect your high fives at home base...way to go.

You only have one more year of pre-school.  How can that be.  This year you learned how to write your name, and do all kinds of great things.  You learned how to pray each day and you learned how to be kind and gentle to the world.  I love how much you love everything.

Another thing I love is how you take everything to heart.  When you had to shhhish Mom because she was talking during your ceremony, you did it quietly but she got the point. You are a very good listener and most always follow the rules.

Another new sport for you is riding.  You and your pony Sneakers go out every Wednesday and you just love it.  This makes me happiest because I love horses and riding also...but Nana has a bad knee so I haven't been in awhile.  I do like to see you up there though, so proud and learning so fast.  You already know how to steer Snickers wherever you want him to go.  You know what Snickers loves best about you...he loves the carrots you bring him each time you go.  

So this is how I sort of see you now.  Riding off into boyhood, away from toddlerhood. My heart fills with gratitude and love for you.  I don't think you could ever know how much fun you are. How you fill my days and Papa's day with laughter and knowledge and the wonders of childhood that we had forgot about because your Mommy and Uncle are so grown up now.  You though, your just beginning.  We had a great year together Buddy. That's what you are, my best Buddy.  I just want you to know, one of my most favorite things about this year was our "car seat conversations"...Yes, all those rides in the car and sometimes at Costco...oh my.  I learned a know, I think your right.  We have so much fun "because we have a lot in common."  How did you ever get so smart...when you started out as a little sprout.  One more year together before you go off to big boy school.  We better keep working on making each other's "heart smile". That's another expression that you taught me and just so you know heart smiles every time you show up on my door step and yell "I'm back"...come on in little one.  You are most welcome here...

Happy 5th Birthday Jaxson...Nana loves you to the Moon and Back

You are my Sunshine..

Sidenote: Father's Day weekend: Maine house.  Jenna, Jaxson and the big bed.  Jenna starts singing "your are my sunshine to Jaxson...he listens for a minute, stops her and says, "Actually Mom that's Nana's song for me".. 


The Many Gifts of St. Maarten

As I sit here in the middle of Blizzard Stella, with the snow swirling and the wind whipping nuggets of hard packed snow on the window above my desk...I take myself away to a warmer and gentler day.  A day where the breeze was gentle, slapping my face in the most comforting way.  Embracing me with it's warmth, relaxing every bone in my body.  Winters in New England are tough and they can last a long, long time, that's why a winter escape is necessary, if you can manage it.  That's what helps me get through days like today. Don't get me wrong, there is so much beauty in winter.  I love to see the snow and the sense of quiet that it brings.  It locks me in and slows me down and I appreciate the enforced retreat to be with just myself and my muse. I think of it as a free day. A Gift. Sometimes though, it goes on just a tad to long and it can be mighty fierce.  That's when I go back to St. Maarten...just to remind myself.  Time does not stand still and soon it will be warm and wonderful here also...


I hope you enjoyed my little tour of parts of the Island of St. Maarten.  It is always warm, it is always sunny and it is always relaxing...When I'm there, I love it and enjoy all that the Island has to offer.  Then when I'm home I'm right back into New England...because the truth is, no matter how far we travel, how long we are gone, whatever we do and experience while we are away...there is no place like home..So tomorrow, when my feet hit the floor and the bedroom shade goes up on a new day...whatever is waiting for me outside that window will make me happy...hopefully there will still be some snow to grab a shot of...but I did enjoy my little visual jaunt back to the lovely Island of St. Maarten...I'll tell you another little's always best when the boys and Jenna come...




Balancing Life with Books

Those of you who know me well, know how much I love Christmas.  I love everything about it.  The lights, the tree with all those tiny, sparkling lights, with branches full of ornaments from all all the world that we carefully hand carried home from our visits.  The smells, oh the smells of the past.  My Mom's peanut butter bars and my Nannies lemon bread...all reminders of Christmas pasts.  I love the company and I most especially love the boys who now bring the belief of magic and wonder back into our Christmas mornings...Oh how I love all of those things...I also love gifts...both given and received.  I love when I find the perfect gift for someone.  Each year I strive to get it right.  We are big in this family on homemade gifts and time-spent gifts.  It's amazing what turns up each year in my can.  The other gift that I cherish each year is the gift that keeps on giving...and that comes in the form of books.  Again, those of you who really know me, know that technically I could be called a hoarder of books.  That does not stop me from wanting more though and this year was a banner year for books.  They fill me up, they take me away, they make me a better writer, they teach me life lessons and I make new friends in them.  I am never alone as long as I have books.  So I thought you might like to see where and what I will be doing if I'm not visiting you as often this year...presenting my 2017 book list, as of now...

My son and I share a passion for books.  We can get lost in book shops for hours, as we often do.  We love new book stores and we especially love a good used book store.  We read a lot of the same types of books but he is always introducing me to new themes and new authors.  He does not forget my favorite people though...The books above were in his his book bag to me this year...Who doesn't love Mary Oliver and I still have more to collect of hers.  This year I got Long Life..essays and other writings.  I can't wait to get into that on. I'm also getting more serious about my meditation and Thich Nhat Hahn is one of my new favorite authors so Chris gifted me At Home in the World, stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk's Life.  Sounds so interesting.  Last in this wonderful bag is a new author to me, Margot Livesey.  Mercury is the name of this novel. Doesn't this description sound so juicy..."The midlife crisis takes many forms, some familiar, some wildly unexpected. In her riveting novel, Mercury, portrays a couple in their season of crisis. Patiently, precisely, she unfolds the layers of their drama, at once quiet and extreme.  She'll make you wonder how well you know your spouse.  

My second book bag from Chris was so much fun.  Honestly, I read each books back cover while wrapping paper was flying through the and dogs going wild, laughter and conversations all around me, but still I sat with my tea and this most lovely, themed bag.  The tag is a keeper..."To Mom, a books about books, book bag.. Got it"..Love Chris."  I have to admit, I had to read it several times before I really did get it.  All of these books are about bookstores and the books.  How cool is that.  I have already read..Time Was Soft There and I give it 5 stars. It is about a bookstore in Paris that I need to get to on my next trip over, called Shakespeare and Co., which is also a book about that store. The owner of Shakespear and Company is George and oh my the surprise when I read early on in the book that he was from Salem, Massachusetts, which is my home town.  I highly recommend both and they are both non-fiction...The other book store books will speak for themselves...until I get to read them.  Of this group, the one that speaks to my heart though is Howards End is On The Landing by Susan Hill.  A year of reading from home.  I think Chris is trying to tell me something with this one..."A passionate reminder of the importance of reading and a revealing glimpse of a writer's life.  Observer.  The basis for this Non-fiction is that Susan Hill discovered one day all the beautiful books that she had on her shelves and decided, that for a year, she would re-acquaint herself with her own book shelves.  I so need to do this and i want to do it.  So I'm going to give it a try also.  I can say right now that I won't make it but what I will try really hard to do, is only by books that I absolutely must have.  Not just everything that looks good or interesting.  I have such great books on my shelves..I'll let you know how this goes as we move through the year...

Of course, not to be left out is a wonderful photography book entitled "Hearing with the Eye." by John Daido Loori...this needs a quiet Sunday afternoon, with the fire crackling and a brandy snifter of Rum Charta...Thank you Chris for the fine books...that will bring many days of pleasure to me.  I know this is a gift from the heart...and I'm so grateful.

Now as if that weren't enough books...others in my family know me well...

My new Rumi collection from a friend of Chris's.  I did not have either of these so this willl be fun to go through and the photo's are fabulous in The Illuminated Rumi...

Finally, comes the book bag from Jim.  I think his intent is to keep me reading so that I have very little time for the News shows in the next four years...This might work.  We are both readers and not really  people so this is what we do at night, when the sound of the clicking keys from our computers go silent.  Then we love nothing more than to turn on the electric blanket and head to bed to read. This year we even bought a new mattress that goes up and down at the head and the foot of the bed.  So brilliant for reading.  This bag is a very diversified bag...but I have my eye on Lilac Girls for the near future.  I have been wanting that one for awhile..Maybe it's just the title, it sounds so lovely and the girls on the cover just look so inviting...I know, I know, never judge a book by it's cover but you know, sometimes I do and this is one of those... Another Brooklyn.  Brooklyn, the 70's, coming of age...delicious.  Herman Hesse, now there is a blast from the past. I have not read Siddhartha but I'm sure it is timeless.  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers.  So many awards and great book reviews.  It's non-fiction with a bit of fiction tossed in.  I'm not quite sure...but it does sound interesting.  Finally, from this wonderful collection of books from one who knows my heart so well is...Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It was written in 1999 and is a collection of short stories which is great for me.  I need to read more short stories because I essentially write essays and it might be good to move along a bit. Jim's bag was also themed. Except for Lilac Girls and Another Brooklyn, the other three books were from the list of 100 books to read in a lifetime. Jim's addition to my photography collection is "It's Not About the Jay Maisel.  So you see I will be busy and I can't wait to find my books a home here on the shelves.  A bit of sorting is in order to make that happen...

Strangely enough, Jenna and I also share books.  We do the mysteries and girly books.  Cookbooks and magazines...we have favorties that we pass along to each other.  It's truly a book loving family. Although I didn't get a book bag from Jenna this year, she did give me a beautiful Burbury scarf to wrap myself up in as I read.  She is my girly, girl.  So much to love there. The boys, well they have their favorite books also. Liam has just started to love early Reader books, his favorite being Bisquit. Now he is reading to us. Jaxson loves books also and his very favorite from nap days in the big bed, which he still loves is How Do I Love You.  I read that to him each day he came..and when the book was over we would find other ways to say "how do I love you" is still his favorite book.  

So books, they make the world go round.  They ground us in times of trouble.  They sooth us when we are sick. They make a bad weather day sunny in there presence.  They brighten up a coffee table, even if they are never read. Mostly though, they keep us connected to each other through discussions and sharing.  They also sometimes surprise and amaze you in a gift that you could not even imagine...

This book was written by my high school friend.  It is the last book in this series.  Terri and I became friends again on Facebook and she told me how much she enjoys Jaxsons...stories and photo's.  Now imagine my surprise and graditude when I opened her book Unraveling The Pieces and found this on the fly page: Liam, Jaxon and know what that makes this book, right?  A keeper.  Thank you Terri for your books, your words and for this I was following you, you were also following me. How sweet is that...

So at the end of the never know what your gift to world will be.  I might never write a book, actually, I'm pretty sure I won't but I do hope that my blog counts, my photo's count, books count and words spoken or written count.  Use them for good out in the world and for your own pleasure.  You never know whose reading or listening...grab someone and snuggle, with a good book.

Here's to books and an entire new year to challenge yourself...

"Books are the comfort food without the calories."  Elizabeth Berg...

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” Charles Dickens.. 

The above quotes are from two of my favorite authors...they never disappoint.



Happy Birthday Papa

First thing this morning Facetime's Jaxson..."Happy Birthday Papa " so that sets the tone for the day..Jaxson and Papa have a date today, just the two of them.  Liam and Papa had their day yesterday...and all they have to do is call and Papa is putty in their hands.

I could write all kinds of wonderful things about Jim here for his birthday...we've been together a very long time but what I see now as the big love of his life is these two little guys, who think the sun shines and the moon rises because of this most generous man.  He is the keeper of all their batteries, for all there toys.  He is their number one fix it man.  When there is a problem of any kind, they call Papa and guess what, Papa always has the answer.  He plays and builds with them.  He swims and walks in the park with them.  They check out bugs, spiders and all kinds of creepy crawlies that give me the willies.  In truth, they are best buddies...

Sometimes though they get in trouble..They are not suppose to go to McDonalds but sometimes he takes they can get the latest toy in the Happy Meal box.  Sometimes they stay down in the workshop so long they are late for getting to where they need to be...but nothing is cooler than building in the workshop with Papa.  They even gave Papa a new apron for the workshop for Christmas this year. The other thing that Papa lets them do is each week after swimming he lets them get real junk food from the vending machine..I think that's part of the reason they go to's all good though in the end.

The best part though for Papa is to get kisses and I love you's..everytime they are here.  Jaxson declares him "the best"...and Liam is his best game buddy.  He has walked with them since their first steps, he still carries Jaxson in the house when he falls asleep in the car.  They have ridden on his shoulder countless times and they have driven his boat better than him and he lets them.. He is strong for them, teaching them all the lessons little boys need to know as they grow. He's already taught them how to shave...LOL   It's a wonderful relationship that these three have.

So onward Papa, for another year.  Where you walk they will follow, what you do they will copy. What you teach them they will believe.  Wishing you a very happy birthday today...and I hope Jaxson isn't beating the pants off you at the Castle...Papa your the very best...the boys told me so...

This little quote discribes you perfectly:

"Grandpa has ears that truly listen, arms that always hold, love that’s never ending and a heart that’s made of gold."





The Crane's Estate At Castle Hill

Christmas on the Cape Ann coast of Massachusetts is beautiful and timeless, at least that's how it feels when we recently visited the Crane's Estate, all decked out in it's holiday finest.  The sun was shinning, the ocean was at the bottom of the hill, the sound of music and the scent of gingerbread filled the air. It was a grand day to get your Christmas mojo on.  Nothing was left undone and it was just magical...from the moment you stepped through the front door..


“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”  Charles Dickens


The Crane's Estate is a property of the Trustee's of the Reservation.  I would really like to encourage you to visit any of their properties if you are fortunate to have a few in your area.  They are always beautiful kept and the grounds provide wonderful outdoor activities...even if it's only a walk along a coastal path...