Friday, July 3, 2015

Cookie dates, climbing, weddings that turn into mini vacations and much more.

Cole has figured out how to watch a movie while on a cookie date with Mimi. 

Bevin is an expert climber. For reals. 

 We went to Allie's wedding in May and survived. It turned out to be a mini vacation!

Spring Farm is a summer paradise. 

Berry picking is addictive...

Bevin is itching to figure out how to ride this thing...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Happy 5th birthday to this cute little guy. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mongaup: A little slice of paradise

Last weekend we went on a two-night camping excursion to Mongaup Pond, a hidden treasure in the Catskills. We get no service there because when at Mongaup, you are really in the sticks. I love Mongaup for its beauty and serenity, but also because I cannot connect with anyone else but my family when I am there. So this time, I left my phone in airplane mode hidden in the truck for all but our last hour of being there. The photo above was taken by Keith, who walked down from our site (C-91 --- best site EVER) into the woods to join us for a morning walk with his cup of coffee in hand.

Bevin LOVED camping as usual (this is her third summer camping) and begged to go outside if ever she felt trapped in the trailer (which wasn't often). She had a ton of fun just chasing or being chased by Cole in and out of the woods surrounding our site. And, at one point, after a little bout of misbehaving on our second (and last) morning there, Cole actually listened to me and sat in a camp chair for 40 minutes looking peacefully through books.  While we didn't do a ton, we managed to squeeze in some bike riding, a short hike, a trip to the fish hatchery, and of course chips around the campfire. It was just what we needed to recharge.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bike rides

I just went on a bike ride around our neighborhood with these two cutie pies! 

Big boy

He's going to be 5 next month!

Monday, April 20, 2015

We (still) love to hike and camp (part 2)

Cabin camping with friends was a blast. We went on three different hikes, played in an awesome playground and watched the sun set two nights in a row. The weather was crystal clear (though sometimes windy) and the hill we stayed on afforded us a perfect view of the surrounding hills. Allison made me an birthday apple pie and everyone sung happy birthday to me Saturday night. 
And then I did something I rarely get to do- I stayed up to watch the sun set over the mountains in front of our cabin. So perfect. 

We (still) love to hike and camp [part 1]

My birthday just passed yesterday. And so we spent the weekend in the great outdoors to celebrate. Almost. We stayed in a cabin, which is kind of like luxury camping. Allishawn and Juni were there to help me celebrate. It was an amazing time at Wilbur and Betty Davis State Park outside of Cooperstown. 

I'm just going to post some pics since I know I'll never have the chance to finish this blog post. 

Sunset the first night. 

The first early morning 


Bevin, double fisting the snacks 

The third cup of tea is a necessity 

The big kids can play too!

To be continued....

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Poetry share

I am in the midst of an amazing poetry unit with my students. After returning from winter break on Jan. 5, we will spend the final week reading poetry (from other authors) they submitted on the last day of classes, and then they will write their own poems. All the while, because I've been so inpired to write, I've been sharing my poetry with them. My goal is to show them that poetry can be fun, inspirational, and need not be perfect. Here are some of the poems I've written. The last two I have not yet shared with them because I just wrote them in the past week.

“The Forgotten Ones”

the forgotten ones
have just gone a day or two on a diet of rug fibers,
old cheerios and hardened raisins that your demon spawn could not be bothered to pick up.
Yet, you
the forgetters,
feel we should pay rent
to cover the cost of the most disgusting expensive cat food
we’ve ever eaten.
It's about time you realize that
We earn our keep.

Exhibit A:
you make hollow threats to your youngest demon to the effect of
“Leave the cat alone!”
“Kiwi doesn’t want to be touched
(the ever-effective:)
“Don’t pull her tail,”
and then walk
out of the room
with the knowledge that your youngest demon is occupied for the moment,
you expect us to babysit free of charge.

Exhibit B:
you allow that same little animal obsessed toddler
to say “goodnight kitty” 62 times
while she is crushing one of our lungs and squeezing the other’s precious tail
with the knowledge that she could be hurting us:
we call this mean-cat-owner-syndrome.
You should look into treatment.

Exhibit C:
you search for your demon spawn
only to find them harassing one of us
you say
“Oh he’s just playing with the cat”
and then walk away
to check your phone,
we call this severe cat neglect.

Exhibit D:
When the squeezer-biter-demon
belly crawls under your bed
to pull our tails
and you say "oh they love the attention,"
we call that everything-that-is-wrong-with-this-world.
So what if our litter box smells because we don’t know how to cover things up?
So what if we gallop down the hallway between midnight and 2 a.m.?
So what if we crash land on your stomachs just as you are falling asleep?
So what if we howl in the face of any closed door?
So what if we drink from your water glasses the minute you turn your backs?
So what if we play with the noisiest Christmas ornaments at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday?
Serves you right.

Consider this:
We are the babysitters who don’t charge.
We endure torture on a daily basis.
Does anyone hug your face for extended periods of time?
We didn’t think so.

Not only that.
we keep your bed warm
and we love you
despite the hard evidence
that you have forgotten us.

“The Paper Clip”
My son the teller of tall tales
tells me his sister has swallowed the paper clip
when I saw her out of the corner of my eye
throw one out.
He says, “she scooped it up, “
He cups his hands.
“And swallowed it.”
I picture the plastic coated paper clip
traveling down her esophagus, falling into her stomach,
and I briefly wonder -
would she poop it out?

“Cat scratch”
“Did she scratch you?” he asks gently.
He kisses her face, the scratch on her nose
a defensive cut from the “good girl, kitty.”
Her eyelashes flutter.
She leans in to his kiss, into his big-brother-body.
Her protector.
She smiles so broadly,
her lips have reached the end of her face.

“Mommy, can you?”
Each day:
Can you not go to work tomorrow?
Can you button this?
Can you unbutton this?
Can you bring me home a treat?
Can you read this?
Can you come in to see us in the morning?
Can you kiss me while I’m sleeping? Like this?
Can you tuck me in?
Can you follow me out to the living room?
Can you watch me while I pee?
Can you go to the garage with me?
Can you get me that remote control car? The one up there?
Can you kiss my boo boo? It’s on my foot.
Can you stay home tomorrow?”

Each day:
Mommy prays for Friday.

“There is poetry”
You’re teaching?
Yes.  That’s what I do.
On the last day of school before break?
The last period?
Oh Wow.

Poetry is wow.
It’s beautiful and moving and touching and soothing.
And we are sharing it.
You are welcome to join us.
Students walking, reading, talking
through a gallery of poetry.

These past two weeks
have been an eye opening examination of
everything that I’m about: ideas, words, feelings, beliefs.
I live it.
I think in it.
I teach it.
I learned that there is poetry
in the way you take apart the words,
dissect them,
define them,
give them your own meaning.

And there is poetry
in the way you write
in response to something
you thought you’d have nothing to connect to.
But there is so much there that you didn't  see.
At first.

And still there is poetry
in what you eventually saw,
what you heard and discovered
underneath the veil of the stanzas,
beneath the speaker's words.
They began to speak to you.
Those lines of verse.
“looked down one as far as I could”
“all the dark blue speed drained out of it”
“engrave them on your hearts”
“how your heart pounds inside me”
“I never liked you - not one bit”
“so he opens his throat to sing”
“did you know that a day is longer than a year”
“me: I’m weeping”

There is poetry in the way
some of us have been inspired.
Me: writing poetry at my kitchen counter.
Me: falling asleep reading Billy Collins; waking up thinking about Emily Dickinson.
You: writing poetry as we are reading poetry
You: writing poetry when you don’t even realize you are.
You: appreciating poetry (even secretly liking it)

"I woke up and poured out a poem"

You can take the girl out of the city
and - contrary to popular belief -
you can take the city out of the girl.
I don’t care what they say.

The F train doesn’t live in my heart;
I never long for the Q38 on windy days.

I don’t wake up yearning for gum spotted sidewalks
or well landscaped parks.

I yearn for the wild
the untouched woods
a fern covered hillside
flowing, gurgling waterfalls on either side of the windy, hilly road
a sunset over the Shawangunk ridge.

I don’t miss gated windows
and triple locked doors.
I never have an inkling for honking horns on endless repeat.
I don’t miss lamp-lined streets lighting up the way home in an orange gold haze.

I only want unadulterated darkness
in which you can tip your head back
and stare at the clear sky,
and the stars
on endless repeat.
in awe
on endless repeat.
I only want earth shattering silence
so I can sleep in peace and quiet
in my house in the mountains.

Friday, December 12, 2014


"I'm a statue. Just keep talking over and over, Mommy. I won't say anything."
My serious yet not so serious boy.