Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Blog Index

Entries in Liam (21)


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.



Step Out and Take A Chance

Dreams deferred are most often dreams that never happen. Sometimes we just have to step out, take a risk, without letting anything stop us.  How will we ever know what we are capable of if we don't at least try. How will we ever know what our true passions are if we don't challenge ourselves and most importantly, how will we live a life of  commitment, dedication and authenticity to our creative side,  if we never take that first step.  The simple answer is, we won't. 

These are the ideals and idea's that Liam is helping me work through these past few years.  At seven years old he is already my hero for trying new things and for not letting obstacles get in his way.  He is brave and he challenges himself in many ways...through sports and through the arts.

For a long time now he has been asking me for Irish Step Dancing lessons.  It was a gift that I really wanted to give him but we couldn't find a place close enough to where we lived to do this for him.  So for awhile, he would forget about it.  Not for long though.  Each time we would go to a pub or see a show that had step dancing as part of the entertainment he would start on me again.  Each time I told him that as soon as we could find a place, we would send him.  This year my daughter told me of a dance company coming to her work out center and they were offering Irish Step Dancing...I called and in fact they were coming, just in time for his birthday..I signed him up.  There was one caveat though that I thought would throw a monkey wrench into his desire to try this dream of his.. THERE WERE NO BOYS IN THE CLASS.

So, on Liam's birthday, we gifted him the lessons. He was very excited.  I did not tell him about the all girl class.  On his first day, we went.  Upon entering the studio he looked around and stood in the back.  The girls were already dancing..three little ones.  Before he knew what was happening his very lovely, Irish teacher, Miss Jackie, called Liam in like he had been going to this school for years.  I swear he didn't know what hit him but jump in he did.  I sort of slinked away so he couldn't see me and ask to leave.  In the end, I was the one who was surprised, not Liam.  At the end of this very first class he told me that he loved it and would be going back.  Then I asked him about all the girls...he said, no problem.

After only three weeks of lessons for all of these sweet children, they did a little recital for a local Long Term Nursing Center. The girls were so cute in their tutus and Liam was so smart in his velvet pants, white shirt and red tie. For that special occasions his Mom got him his first pair of step dancing shoes, which he now wears each week for his lessons. Come now, with me, as we revisit that wonderful day for all these little ones who so proudly showed off their new found talent.

Not one to be left out..Jaxson sneaking in for a photo opt.

Miss Jackie...full of motion.

The holidays are now over and Liam, once again, is back to dancing.  I think of him often when I'm deciding an issue, especially if it's a challenge for me.  I think of his tenacity, his perseverance in never giving up until he finds a way to make things happen.  Mostly I love that he is so willing to try, to accomplish dreams that most kids don't even seek.  He doesn't always go on to continue year after year on one of his endeavors but he always gives it a fair shot.  He took horse back riding lessons for over two years and although he doesn't ride anymore because of sports, it's still a love of his.  The seed has been planted.  Maybe someday he will ride again with no fear of it.  The point is, he tries. 

I feel like this year I want to try different things to challenge myself.  Take a few different classes, work on my web-site, learning how to make changes to it, finding the light more often even if it means getting up earlier or staying out later. Writing more with passion. A craft I so love doing and of course reading is always top on my list but this year, more technical books. I'm not setting huge limits for myself...but I am opening myself up to new possibilities...I did tell you that is my word for the year, right?  Some things will work and perhaps some won't but it won't be because I don't step over that line and try...

I'm going to keep following Liam's lead.  He is so good for my spirit and he's also good for finding adventures. 

Do you have anything you'd like to try this year?  Something new and exciting...if so, make it happen...

Having the courage to take the steps we want to take is the only way we will know where we want to in yourself.




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."





To The Moon and Back

If you were to ask Liam what that expression means he would tell you that that is how much my Nana loves me...and he would be right..I have been telling him this each time I see him, for five years now..I am having a hard time wrapping myself around the fact that he is turning five..I remember, like it was yesterday, the first time I held him, in a hospital room, thirty minutes after he was born. From that very first moment, he stole my heart and has never let go..In this last five years he has grown into a lovely little boy...full of life, laughter and love.  He has given us so much joy and happiness.  

Both Papa and I have so many wonderful shared  moments with him to smile about..we cherish each visit with him and have been so privileged to have had him each week in our care.  Next year he will be in kindergarten all day, making friends and beginning his "big boy" adventures...and although we will continue to be important to him...he will grow into his own little for the rest of this year, I will hold him close, enjoy the bond that we have formed and wait and watch to see how he  expands his horizon. 

I know you have seen so many photo's of him over the years...but I just couldn't let this day go by without a few of my favorites as he's grown.  Time spent..that's the gift we have cherished the most  with him...and now Jaxson. I always wanted to be a Grandmother but honestly, I never knew it was going to be this takes some of the sting out of "maturing..



How quickly the years have flown by, like a lazy Sunday afternoon...I look at him now and know that he moves on in confidence and a sense of his own as he rides off, leaving his toddler hood behind, Papa and I will always be on the sidelines, watching and loving him..Ah these kids, what a great ride they both have given us...I think we'll sign up for another year of learning and laughing with them.

Happy Birthday Lil Man....

"It's the little moments, that make life big"..Kobi Yamada

"If you want to keep your memories, first you have to live them." Bob Dylan