1185004_10202034632526327_412508624_n1. snow in the south on November 1st!

2. snow melting

3. Two Annas, an Elsa, An Olaf & Sven

4. Restaurants handing out cups of hot pie at the town trick or treating

5. The candy tax

6. The fact that my children like the suckers best and I don’t. That makes the candy tax much less painful for all involved.

7. Halloween Donuts

8. Cake offers

9. 4.62 miles at a 12 minute mile

10. Friends willing to take your kids while you attempt to clean

11. cool air

12. friends to run with

13. Running friends to drink coffee with

14. volunteering at your children’s Halloween party

15. a school raising funds and awareness on behalf of your child

16. a work place raising funds and awareness on behalf of your child

17. V8 & cottage cheese after a week of too many sugary indulgences

18. Vest season

19. your kid’s friends

20. Trick or Treating

21. Good report cards!

31 for 21: Day 25 gratitude

  1. 10458733_10205073406333773_3032605953960587604_nListening to audiobooks on youtube
  2. Seth Myers doing the late show- it’s like getting the best part of SNL 5 nights a week
  3. A snack of popcorn with parmesan on it
  4. unexpected time with family
  5. grapes
  6. time to read
  7. kisses & hugs
  8. an uneventful flight
  9. a chance to say good-bye
  10. a long layover
  11. Jerry’s Donuts
  12. Texas BBQ brought home
  13. three little voices over the phone
  14. a husband who is all in
  15. a moment to wish a soldier well on his first deployment
  16. stories to tell
  17. youtube
  18. going to the movies
  19. decaffeinated coffee
  20. babies
  21. my family

31 for 21: Day 18: gratitude


  1. For having a lot to be grateful for these days and wanting to start documenting it again.
  2. Lovey joining the Down syndrome Family Alliance Board of Directors.
  3. Zuzu’s loving her Jumprope Team.
  4. A Daisy/Brownie leader being willing to step in and pick up Zuzu so she can join in.
  5. The way Sugarplum narrates her way around her day.
  6. The Quail’s teacher noticing the difference between when she is being obstinate and when she truly just needs help.
  7. The way the Quail says gua-nana for Iguana.
  8. Listening to the Quail read her weekly alphabet books to her Grandma over the phone.
  9. Zuzu riding up front in the car.
  10. Sugarplum announcing that she needs to do her homework too and then following along on Starfall as we click through the color red.
  11. Offers of cake, donuts, egg biscuits, pumpkin chili and candy.
  12. New friends to run with.
  13. Running for 30 minutes straight at a 12 minute mile pace.
  14. A compromise reached with Zuzu of leggings under shorts for the fall clothes.
  15. The Quail’s teacher deciding to do a fundraiser and awareness campaign around Down syndrome in the month of October in honor of the Quail and another student.
  16. Netflix
  17. The Quail being invited to birthday parties by classmates.
  18. Zuzu’s continued exuberance over being 8.
  19. 110 crunches in a day.
  20. Three little girls sleeping in beds and all the cribs taken down.
  21. Eeking semi-regular writing time into my day and how glad I am after I’ve done it.


DSC_38931. watching the baby treat the glowworm like her own baby

2. Sugarplum’s pulling down a boppy and blankie and dragging it over to me to nurse just about anytime I sit down at the computer.

3. realizing Zuzu and I have the same eyes down to the hazel mixed in with the blue

4. bad mood’s passing

5. Zuzu’s request to go surprise Daddy with a breakfast treat

6. Dinners with Lovey

7. back to school night for 2!

8, a VSD almost closed

9. a doctor’s reassurance that we are out of the risk of need for open heart surgery

10. a gallon of figs!

11. dinner reservations

12. a salad of avocado, bacon, egg, mozzerella & arugala

13. a  nursing toddler

14. a nursing toddler sleeping through the night

15. kind words

16. new teachers

17. homework binders

18. a 6 year old’s excitement to get started on their homework before school even starts

19. non-disability families getting involved and learning about the disability community

20. end of summer swim lessons

21.  Welcome to the new class letters in the mail


DSC_49151. The Happy Berry

2. pictures of blueberries

3. fresh corn

4. sauce of avocado, sour cream, lime, milk and S&P to taste

5. a busy weekend

6. children playing in splashing water

7. Zuzu making a new friend

8. school supply shopping

9. DSFA- Greenville

10. work lunches!

11. work birthday cakes!

12. editing time

13. Lovey

14. fresh blueberry cobbler, the next day

15. Netflix

16. thin liquids and the ability to swallow them!

17. cafeteria food dates with Lovey & the Quail

18. a 6 year old’s excitement at a birthday party invitation

19. the morning light in Panera

20. strangers stopping to comment on our girls in a kind way

21. hand-me-downs!


DSC_43491. coffee

2. a night with the baby sleeping on through

3. anniversary plans

4. salads with avocado, blue and raspberries, mozzerella pearls and champagne grapes

5. photo editing time

6. too much to read

7. the mental space to read

8. waking up with some energy

9. new people to talk too

10. kindness

11. FB as a way to keep up with people

12. renewed interest in cooking

13. places to splash

14. homedays

15. inclusion

16. places to talk about inclusion

17. questions from others

18. people outside the disability world having an interest in it

19. Pappas

20. speech practice

21. Lisa-jo Baker

Gratitude Journal

???????????????????????????????1. Rugelach

2. insurance

3. too much milk

4. mental health

5. travel coffee mugs

6. spontaneous trips

7. last-minute lunches

8. new friends & groups of friends

9. too many pastries

10. missing teeth smiles

11. trying out a new camera lens

12. too many books to read

13. recipe, magazine & blog hoarding for a rainy day

14. morning editing over a cup of coffee

15. new car and booster seats

16. clean bill of teeth health

17. Vitamin C

18. a baby sleeping through the night for the first time

19. summer fruit & veggies filling my lunch bowl

20. weight loss

21. a house safe from flood damage


DSC_44001.a homemade cake

2. a back-up cake

3. little jeweled reminders of my family

4. thoughtful personalized cards

5. the man who always makes those cards

6. a walk in the garden on my birthday

7. a fancy dinner, party of 5

8. a photo session scheduled, make that a story session 🙂

9. a single perfect cuppa

10. a 4  year old taking her rightful place in THE big girl bed

11. said 4 year old repeatedly putting herself to bed since the move

12. said 4 year old getting herself up, undoing her feety jammies and going poopoo all by her ownself

13. a dollhouse organized, if not the real one

14. a 10 month old pulling up and pushing off!

15. a loose tooth

16. party invitations

17. a 4 year old’s party scheduled

18. a dear friend’s visit

19. Wisconsin gifts

20. snow on a midwestern girl’s birthday in the South

21. time to chat

I am 40.

photo courtesy of Zuzu

photo courtesy of Zuzu

I am 40 today. To be honest, I think I’ve always been a little bit 40, even from way back when a very young me mostly dressed in orthopedic Doc Martins and gray woolen cardigans with Kleenex tucked up the sleeve while sipping tea from the perch of my 1940’s solid maple Ethan Allen swivel rocker listening to Prairie Home Companion. Really the only “funny” feeling I have with this technical change in decade is the discombobulation that is coming with being officially older than the age my mother perpetually resides at in my head (It’s 37 if you are curious). I’m arriving to my 40’s in a pretty happy and contented state of being. One where “I’m good” would be the answer to most questions about the state of my life, and the changes I still feel I’d like to make one day. One where my daily boiled egg, cup of yogurt and coffee leave me feeling perky. Sound in the knowledge that it’s ok that I haven’t slept more than 5 hours at a stretch in over 6 years rather than finding it insomnia inducing.  

Which isn’t to say that I don’t see room for improvement (like maybe increase that hours of sleep a night number for starters). What exactly would I like to change in this coming decade? I’d like to yell less. I want to be more patient. I’d like to read more by myself and with my family. I’d like to increase my technical knowledge of photography. I’d like to declutter my home, my brain and my email folders. I’d like to have a seasonal, familial, daily rhythm to the food my family and I eat and the time we spend together.  I’d like to have a weekly pattern of walking, gardening and yoga. I’d like to completely rid my brain of the guilt that piles up when I don’t meet my own expectations in life so that I can move on more quickly to trying again. I’d like to write a book.   I’d like to make a yearly book of our family’s life and one of our families recipes. I’d like to use more of what I already own more regularly. I’d like to go back to seeing more live music shows and traveling regularly. I want to continue to see the magic in the ordinary of our days.
What have I learned in the last 40 years? Here are the highlights- and yes- I know there are many contradictions in here. A little secret- there are many in life as well:
  1. What other people think of me is none of my business.
  2. It is ok to feel happy, angry and sad. They are my feelings and I don’t need to apologize for them. That said I am responsible to create my own happiness, control my own anger and curb my own crying.
  3. Ruminating over things that aren’t going well only makes ME unhappy.
  4. I prefer to find the good in my day and document it. And I prefer to let the rest go at days end.
  5. I prefer my chocolates mixed, my jewelry sentimental, my coffee strong with milk and my flowers colorful.
  6. When the next day comes, I’ll try again.
  7. Not only do I need the ability to try again, but it’s good to give the people in your life another chance as well. We all make mistakes.
  8. Listen to other people’s opinions about life, but remember they are only opinions.
  9. When someone compliments you, say thank you and smile.
  10. Share what you have.
  11. It is important to say sorry when someone is hurt by you, even if you didn’t mean to.
  12. It is possible to enjoy variety- McDonald’s McRib and High Tea.
  13. Not everyone needs a detailed explanation of what you mean.
  14. Not every situation needs resolution; sometimes the best course of action is to just let it go.
  15. If I didn’t photograph or write about it, it’s hard to remember that it happened for me.
  16. Daily structure, rules and routine help me to look outside of those for inspiration.
  17. When people offer help, if it really would be helpful- say yes and thank you.
  18. I feel better when I eat my fruit and veggies, get lots of sleep, take a walk, go outside, floss my teeth and drink lots of water.
  19. When something is bothering you, try to think about how you could fix it. When something is bothering someone else, just listen.
  20. In parenting my children, I understand and appreciate my own parents so very much.
  21. When I can’t stop ruminating on something, walk on it, photograph it or write about it. There is freedom in taking control of your thoughts so you can move on.
  22. Your experience in life is yours alone.
  23. Don’t try to control other people’s actions. It doesn’t work.
  24. Everything passes in life- the good and the bad.
  25. Expectations should be in flux- lowered when you become overwhelmed and raised when you could do better.
  26. When you can’t change your situation, change your perspective and attitude.
  27. I like to be cooked for, read to and invited over.
  28. In the moment, I am much more capable than I think I am in the preparation.
  29. A daily family meal is defined as us being together for the meal. It doesn’t matter who serves it, what it is or what time of the day it happens.
  30. I enjoy the feeling of a good melt-up (think opposite of a melt-down)
  31. Trying something new is just as great as returning to our old favorites (food, vacations, friends, activities).
  32. I’d rather have an ongoing list of things I want to do than have that list neatly checked off.
  33. When people tell me they see something good in me, I start to see it in myself and I live up to that expectation.
  34. Being able to laugh about the daily awfuls helps me to get over them.
  35. It is so very important to be kind. To others and yourself. Whether deserved or not.
  36. I learn a lot in a quiet moment.
  37. I’m inspired by images, words and food others make.
  38. I’d rather ask a question than assume I’m right or understand all that I need to.
  39. You can learn just as much from those younger than you as those older than you- if you want to.
  40. I am crystal clear how lucky I am to have the family, friends, community, health and teeth that I do.

Bless you all.


65151_10200280804321718_34018407_n1. travels going well

2. helpful fellow travelers

3. weekends work done

4. a fourth tooth, finally coming forth

5. a new coffee maker

6. a planned party complete


8. a mental space to write

9. catching up with cousins

10. champagne and cheese balls

11. a photo walk

12. vintage finds

13. memories connecting family

14. a successful surgery

15. strength

16. food blogs

17. recipes

18. a childhood apron

19. home

20. a shared meal

21. an inaugural day