Beautiful Baby Bump

I got to do a photoshoot!! This time of my effervescent cousin, her husband, and a baby bump built for two. (Twin boys!)

Sometimes I think I want to stop everything else in life and just take pictures of people wearing lovely smiles in beautiful gardens. But then, half the fun for me is that the people I photograph are some of my closest friends and family. I have a feeling it’s not all hugs and heart emojis once you start a business.

It’s impossible to take a bad picture of these two and it was hard to narrow down the 553 shots to a reasonable amount. (Seriously, do these guys even blink?) I could publish another post with another dozen and it would be hard to tell which ones were my first picks.















And the best for last…


There is so much joy here, it makes the tough times of the past year seem miles away. And to think—the best is yet to come!

Pasta bolognese
Parmesan broccoli

In Which She Unleashes the Metaphors

The kids have gone back to school full-time, as in “full time,” as in they get out 90 minutes early, there’s no school on Wednesdays, and Vincenzo chose to stay remote. But it feels like they’re gone full time. Naturally, now that I have more time to myself, I expect Great Things of said self.

I just finished up a set of stories about woodland creatures in winter, and writing each one made me happier than the last. It’s a cast of quirky characters with big little problems. But now the well is dry, which makes me uncomfortable, like when you have an itchy tag in your shirt that you just can’t fix.

People say it’s okay to take a break—that it’s healthy and important. But I take after the tiny chickadee in my stories, who is not going to sit around waiting for the sun to return but will go find the sun and bring it back to everyone. (And she does!)

So I make myself sit at my keyboard and keep my fingers moving, even if it’s to write, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WRITE over and over again, like a naughty kid sent to the chalkboard to write sentences.

When the boys are gone for at school, here is my schedule:

1. Write for an hour or two
2. Feel creatively spent
3. Read for an hour or three
4. Visit Kevin in the cloffice to report that I’m lazy, I should be writing more, I’m wasting the day, I’m out of ideas, I wish the boys were home, I want another baby
5. Cook, clean, garden, answer e-mails—do all the Mom things that would make me happy if they didn’t also make me feel guilty

(My therapist tells me that #5 is not healthy.)

I wish I could copy/paste my mentality from the when the boys were at home full-time to now. Where even half a page of I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WRITE sentences felt like a huge accomplishment. Where instead of saying, “I only wrote for an hour today,” I’d say, “I wrote for a whole hour today!”

When I was at the gym this week, some guy came up and said, “I’ve been watching you work out, and you’re killing it. Killing it!”

I want to channel his ebullient voice and apply it to my writing life. Because this sage (extremely repressed) part of me knows I’m killing it. That reading on the couch for an entire afternoon is just as important as writing for an afternoon. That anything I write counts, not just the stuff that makes it onto the final page. That ideas will come. That rest is important. That not every writer is meant to sit in a room, pounding out words for eight hours a day. That some (many? all?) write in spurts, as inspiration and busy schedules allow. That I will always have something to write because for me, writing is like drinking water.

But the overachieving, anxious part of me says, “BS! Only writing stories counts. Only writing good stories counts. Go write one. Now!” I am both the princess trying to spin flax into gold and also the jerk making her to do it.

It’s a compulsion. An obsession. A passion. It’s an itch that can’t be scratched. It’s trying to wring another drop out of the washcloth. It’s a baby bird that can never be filled up with enough worms. I keep writing, thinking maybe I will feel satisfied that I did everything I need to and can spend the rest of my life browsing REI and watching nature documentaries.

But I keep wanting more. What even is my goal?

Right now it’s to write something that sounds like and says exactly what I want it to sound like and say, and for certain people to be so moved by it that they publish it and put into the hands of many other people who, too, feel moved by it. If I could just do that once even, I could relax.

Kevin shakes his head. “You really don’t know yourself, do you?” He points out that the minute I reach a goal, I move the goal posts. He says I’m trying to hit a moving target. (He can do metaphors, too!)

But I have to believe that someday I will feel satisfied—that my words will go out in the world and make a life for themselves. That they won’t be hanging out in the basement, eating all the Cheez-its forever.

It’s a big pile of flax I’ve got to spin. If only I could remember that one name, that one word, that could make me do what I so very much want to do.

Great. This post is done. And now, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M GOING TO WRITE!

Pita pizzas

Different Whidbey

For spring break this year, we went to Whidbey, only not the same Whidbey I’ve been blogging about these past 13 years–we did the sacrilegious and rented a house instead of staying in our family cabin.


The house was charming, the location was stunning, and, as all our favorite VRBO’s, this one some good quirks.  Like having windows where there shouldn’t be windows…


and not having doors where there should be doors…


and having some bathroom art that just shouldn’t have been at all.


The house should have come with a PG-13 rating, right? We do love us some quirks. But really, the house, the little town nearby, the beach–the whole weekend, really, was perfect.

The boys kayaked.


Rocco flew a kite.


Actually, it’s hard to see below, but he outsourced the kite flying to this chair so he could go fly a different kite.


Vincenzo finally emerged from his cocoon.


Leo flip-flop hop-scotched.


Vincenzo built a tiki bar.


At some point, Batman was signaled.


In the evenings, dozens of seagulls gathered on the beach to pick up clams in their beaks, fly up, then drop them to the ground to crack open and eat. There was drama, thievery, daredevil acts, and even romance. It was better than TV!


Leo’s not really into kayaking, kite flying, beach-combing, playing board games, or fort-building. He is into taking baths, so he spent the three days  making rounds between the hot tub, the slipper tub, and the jetted tub. We’ve decided all future vacation rentals will be based on the amount of available tubs.


With quarantine still going on, I dream of the day I’m comfortable enough to fly to Hawaii or California or New Zealand, but in the meantime I feel fortunate that we live an hour and a half way from the northwest’s version of paradise. There might not be any palm trees, but you don’t even miss them.


Or the curtains either.


Pasta primavera
Overbaked blondies (that’s not some new gourmet thing—we just majorly overbaked them, but my childhood upbringing prevents me from throwing them ou

Easter ‘21

Is it a sign your kid is getting too old for egg decorating when he gets too tall for the pictures?


Well, at least two of them still fit.



Of course, those two lasted about 30 seconds before the egg decorating devolved into this:


On Easter Eve those same two went to a glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt…


…which quickly devolved into this:


Then I went home and worried because Leo still believes in the Easter Bunny and he’s old enough I should probably tell him, but as a sweet, fragile soul, he will be crushed to find out the truth. But in the midst of all my worrying, he popped into my room and said, “I think it’s funny that I don’t believe in magic, but I do believe in Santa. Unless Santa is your parents…” He got about three words into asking The Question before he decided against it, but the way he said those three words told me he knows, and he knows I know he knows, and it’s more like a fun joke than a soul-crushing truth. My kids have all handled this so much better than I did! I went to sleep on Easter relieved that I won’t have to pull the whole “I Love You Forever” stint and creep around Leo’s house playing Easter Bunny when he gets married and moves out.

The important thing is, the Easter Bunny came anyway,  even with everyone knowing what everyone knows.

You can see by his hair how fast Leo was going on the egg hunt.


Kidding! His hair always does that.


It’s enough to make Rocco’s hair look  calm and mild-mannered.


Vincenzo looked more like a bleary-eyed parent on Easter morning than a 15-1/2-year-old.


I didn’t get the perfect Easter picture, but I got one that manages to capture all three boys’ personalities: one grinning mischievously, one hiding in the background, one exuding confidence.


Yup. And that’s about it.

Fridge and freezer dive:
Hot dogs
Fried rice
Baked potatoes and creamed eggs
Girl Scout cookies