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Entries in Jaxson (18)

Tuesday
Mar142017

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 secret...it's always best when the boys and Jenna come...

 

 

Friday
Jan272017

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 air...kids 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 F-Stop..by 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"...it 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:

Acknowledgment..to Liam, Jaxon and me...you know what that makes this book, right?  A keeper.  Thank you Terri for your books, your words and for this gift...as I was following you, you were also following me. How sweet is that...

So at the end of the day...you 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.


 

Tuesday
Jan032017

Happy Birthday Papa

First thing this morning Facetime rings...it'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 them...so 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 swim..it'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."

 

 

 

Thursday
Dec152016

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...

 

Tuesday
Dec062016

My Buddy and Me

It's a rare day when I get to spend any time alone with Jaxson.  I was looking back at my blog post over the years as I continue to make hard copies of them, and now books for the boys this Christmas, shhh, don't tell them, what I discovered and should have known, was that there is defiantly a second child syndrome. It doesn't happen because you love one more than the other because it would be impossible for me to love Jaxson anymore than I do, it happens because of circumstances.  The time and space now needs to be shared with two and the second child simple doesn't get as much personal attention or alone time with family members. It's just the way life is.

After seeing that reflected in my blog post, going forward, I will be much more aware of time spent with Jaxson but also, with time posted in the blog space.  There have been times when we have shared precious time together and because I let life get in the way, I failed to post as often.  Jaxson has made his way over on my Facebook page...he has a huge following there.  As a matter of fact, I get more likes and comment when a story about Jaxson goes up than I do about any of my other posts.  He deserves equal space here also.  He is so smart and entertaining.  He is happy and makes those of us around him happy to. He's growing fast now...and he's just learned how to whistle so I see the big boy trying to emerge as me and his Mom try to keep him small.  He is not going to let that happen.  One on one with him though offers such great moments, memories and oh my gosh, he is so loving with his kisses and hugs..So keeping with those thoughts in mind...you hopefully, will be seeing a lot more of Jaxson over here on the blog.  We have a lot of catching up to do before he moves on in a year or two.  I don't want the boys to have lopsided books.

Having said that, a few weeks ago, I picked Jaxson up at school and we had a few hours before getting Liam. Instead of going home I took him to a place both him and Liam love.  The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. We go there often when the weather is not nice enough to be outside.  A few weeks before our visit, they had just opened up the new Moon room.  Jaxson loved listening to a video of how the moon works with the planets and stars and he was fascinated by it..and of course the head phones were a really big deal.  Why do kids love wearing head phones so much. Also in this room you could touch the moon at another display.  Can you imagine... you just close your eyes, which we did, and we touched the moon.  It really did feel just like Swiss cheese...and then he was off. He never walks, he tells me it's the fast sneakers.

Don't even ask me.  I have no idea what this thing is or does...well, I know when you plug it in just right, it lights up. So let's just say, while he was busy with this project, I just stepped back, took a photo of what it was and hopefully Santa will bring it for Christmas.

We didn't have a lot of time but Jaxson told me right when we got to the Museum that we had to save time for the gift shop.  A fabulous place for little ones to shop on their own.  So after a giant cookie and a juice box we headed to the shop.  He got a Moon puzzle for Liam and a Moon for himself.  Then it was time to leave and go pick up Liam at school.

It was a lovely few hours with Jaxson.  I hope he understands how much it meant to me to be just with him. In those moments, as he played and skipped and felt the connection to the museum and to just us, I hope he also had fun being just with me. The museum was lovely and fun but honestly, the best part, the part that I hope sticks with him later, was really the conversation in the car, coming and going.  Holding hands and skipping as we walked through the plaza to get to the museum...and more conversation about how much I loved that we got to spend this time together...to let him know that he is not number two or second child but that he is always and will forever be, my best Buddy...my number one Buddy...and time-spent with him is like finding a shiny penny on the ground and knowing that its's a good luck day. The hugs I got as I lifted him out of the car when we got home, were the perfect ending to time spent with Jaxson...love you Buddy.  

So going forward we made a pack to go out by ourselves some days...and of course I have that same pack with Liam now...I'm soaking it up for as long as it last. 

Life is about adventures and time-spent with those you love...don't let it slip by while your waiting for something better to come along...because soon that window will be gone.