The Rustic Wreath Workshop was really the catalyst for all the floral design workshops offered. For years, my dear friend Sharon and I would meet up one October Saturday paper bag, clippers, and step stool in hand to walk around the Stanford Campus foraging for fall goodness. Any yellow, orange or brown foliage was lovingly transported back to her cottage to be attached to a grapevine wreath. When I moved to New England I dreamed of doing the same thing in my very own barn. This event is my dream come true!
Thinning peaches has to be one of the most challenging tasks of late spring for me. Seeing a bounty of 20 baby peaches on a limb knowing that I should only leave 2 is painful and almost scary. Why is it so hard for me to trust the process? Do I really want 1000 small peaches or do I want 75 perfect ones? Part of the challenge is that I don’t really know the answer to that question. Is there a lesson to be learned here? When my calendar is jammed packed am I really doing anything well or am I just trying to get through to the next to-do? Do I crave that busyness? Do I consider it a badge of honor? When I am intentional about what I say yes to and I am truly present in that task, I hardly think about the satisfaction of crossing it off the list. The luxury of lingering in a good moment is a gift I don’t give myself often enough. Am I the only one missing out because of my willingness to overcommit?
This year has turned into an opportunity to be intentional about how I spend my days. Realizing this has caused me to be even more intentional about my intentionality. Savoring time with AJ before she starts kindergarten, dreaming and scheduling events and workshops in the barn, being available to spend quality time with Keith’s Aunt, investing in friendships new and old.
And so, as I look at the huge pile of peaches that will never be I’m reminded of all the things I could be doing, but most likely should not be doing. Saying no to good things and saving my yes’s for the best.
One thing I've learned living in New England is that the change of season is highly anticipated; none more than spring. Surviving another winter is something that bonds us to our neighbors and there is a true sense of glee when the trees remind us of what has been hidden away for such a long time. It is a magical time of year with bright yellow forsythia and light pink cherry blossoms, daffodils and tulips and the fresh green of new leaves. It is cool air and warm sunshine, baby farm animals, rapidly growing grass and longer days. It seems that this is the shortest of the four seasons so it is a good practice to take time to bask in the beauty. The humidity and mosquitos of summer will be here soon enough!
.Now that I've lived in this darling community for 5 years, I thought for sure I would have learned about all the fabulous home stores. Boy, was I WRONG! I recently discovered The Purple Rose Home in Northborough... what a treasure trove. Owned and operated by mother-daughter team, Vickie and Kim with the help of floral designer Janice these ladies are bringing simple, but fabulous style to the masses. I was inspired at every turn and a little bent that no one had told be about this lovely stop yet. Please don't hold out on me, friends! I crave the goodness.
One year ago today we received the call we had been waiting for for almost a decade. The China Center for Adoption Affairs had finally matched us with a healthy little girl. Although it took 3 additional months of paperwork before we got to meet the little girl on the blue chair, we couldn't help but look at our 2015 Christmas tree wondering how different 2016 would be. Miss Amelia Jade, you continue to be a gift.
Wow! For so many years this was a day I dreaded. Going to church and having to pass by the sweet children handing flowers to all the mothers or even leaving the grocery store to the seemingly "one size fits all" farewell of Happy Mother's Day. A few years ago, I just started pretending that people were saying "Happy Birthday" instead which allowed me to respond with genuine gratitude instead of bursting into tears or scratching their eyes out for being so insensitive.
Having my mum's extended visit include my very first Mother's Day was a thoughtful treat. It still doesn't feel real to me so the anticipated emotion was left in her capable hands. For me, there were no tears and no overwhelming sense of "arrival." It felt like many other days in the past few weeks with a neglected to-do list (including this post that I began 2 days ago!) What was missing, however, dims in comparison to what was: countless well wishes from sweet friends and family that have been waiting SO LONG with me, a gorgeous handbag to commemorate the epic occasion, and most importantly this lovely, silly, sweet, and sassy little girl who calls me MAMA. Alas, the long awaited tears... I've arrived.
Wow, time sure flies when you’re having fun! I’m embarrassed by how long it has been since my last post. As a first-born child of German descent I am the girl who doesn’t allow too much fun before the chores are finished. After a very busy 2015 wedding season (23 for the year) and all the ironing that piles up while I’m celebrating other people’s love stories, the holidays, and snow shoveling there is little time left for the “fun” of sharing our latest and greatest with you. Alas, the silence in broken and I can cross “BLOG!!!!” off my ever growing to-do list.
Speaking of waiting… you may know, we have been in the queue for a Chinese adoption for over 9 years. When we signed up the wait time was 8-12 months, but that is clearly not the way it turned out. I’m elated to report that we recently received “THE” call from our adoption agency and we’re headed to China in just a few days to pick up our daughter! Along this journey many people have reminded me that God’s timing is perfect, to which I would sarcastically respond “Whatever that looks like” while rolling my eyes. Well, what do you know? THIS is what it looks like! Our little miss turned 2 years old on January 10, my Dad’s birthday!
On the day she was born, we had fabulous house guests in town, which required champagne. Now, it’s true that almost every visit “requires” champagne so she could have been born on any number of days, but who am I to argue with perfect timing? A few days later, I spoke at a Ladies Breakfast at church and shared my story of infertility and all that nonsense. I shared our status in the adoption process as well. That opportunity served as an invitation for a few women to journey with us in prayer for this process; THAT was the first day she spent in the orphanage!! You may remember from an earlier post that my friend Indelisa came for a visit. In addition to the gallery wall in the dining room, she helped with a long over-due project of framing ABC cards for our then non-existent-daughter’s room. We spent an entire afternoon assembling them, thinking of the little girl that would stare at them someday; praying that “someday” would be sooner rather than later. THAT was her first birthday!!! And, yes, there was champagne!
We are not allowed to share many details here, but once she is ours I will happily share all the sweetness that Lady Amelia Jade Harrop embodies. Eeeek!
Today's post comes from a very special guest blogger, my sweet nephew, James Bryan Hall. JB and I have made tons of fabulous memories over the past 9 years, but lately he has been making some pretty epic ones all on his own. Last year, he joined the Scouts and it has been nothing but fun ever since. Here is what he has to say about it...
The reason I love scouts so much is because we get to do lots of fun things. For example,I love to go to camp! The camp I go to is called Camp Lassen. They have lots of cool things there. They have archery and pellet guns. The last time I went, I got a bullseye in archery! There is also a lake that is 56 degrees. It is really cold, but also really fun! They have a really fun climbing wall to! It is the highest one I have ever seen! I have reached the top many times. It is kind of scary looking down. I'm the only one in my family that has reached the top. Not even my dad could reach it.
Because of scouts I am more courageous and adventurous. Thank you for helping me become a better person by supporting my scouts. I love you and miss you Aunt Wendy!!!
Cue the "awww!" So besides being crazy proud of this guy, why am I telling you all of this? Well, if you are reading this and I have ever sponsored your child in a walk/run/read-a-thon, purchased wrapping paper or Girl Scout cookies, or any other creative thing their school or sports teams had to sell here is your chance to return the favor. Enjoy some popcorn and help support the scouts! Shameless request to be redeemed here.
Simple Pleasure #3 ~ The Garden
I know I've said it a hundred times, but summer in New England has been a far more challenging transition for me than winter. When voicing my plans to relocate, people would always comment on how cold it was and ask if I was "ready" for the winters. Freezing, snowy, long, etc. My answer was always, "yes, of course!" I have a coat addiction so I knew I'd be warm as well as adorable. Plus, you can always put more clothes on. No one EVER mentioned the summer. Heat, humidity, and mosquitos all missed the list of warnings. No one said, "Hey, your fabulous antique house isn't air conditioned (nor do the windows open, nor are there 3 prong plugs to accommodate a window unit anyway!!") No one said you can't eat dinner outside because there are so many mosquitos that you feel like you are on the menu. Thankfully, it is just a season so it passes almost as quickly as it arrived.
Although hot and humid are my least favorite weather conditions, the garden is thriving. We got into the habit of weighing our tomato harvest after watching the numbers add up at our friend Jeff's house from his prolific potted tomato plants. Last year we had 13 varieties of tomatoes for a total harvest of 67 pounds. What a great return for our efforts and an incredible cost savings were I to purchase those same heirlooms at the store for $6/lb. This year, Keith started seeds for almost all of our plants in the basement, some as early as February. He meticulously spritzed them with chamomile tea and peroxide to ward off disease and kept them as warm as possible with lights and mylar blankets. His hard work has most certainly paid off! The garden is producing like crazy. I wish I was in the habit of weighing more types of produce as I harvest it but so far, we've picked 158 pounds of tomatoes! Yes, you read that correctly. Ninety one and a half pounds in a 7 day period alone. OH.MY.GOODNESS. Now you know why my blog posts are so few and far between! If you aren't getting married this weekend or fruit flies aren't hovering on you on my kitchen counter then you get pushed to tomorrows list!
Beyond tomatoes, we are growing the following:
2 types of green beans, shell beans, 6 types of potatoes, sweet potatoes, 5 types of squash, 2 types of cucumbers, 6 types of melon, blueberries, strawberries, leeks, shallots, rhubarb, carrots, parsnips, fennel, salsify, celeriac, peppers, asparagus, 10 types of pumpkins, kale, brussels sprouts, and a partridge in a pear tree!
Hi - I am a wedding and event planner that recently moved from the San Francisco bay area into the Phineas Wright House, in Bolton, MA. Here, you will find stories about our New England life, the fabulous discoveries that each day brings and all the things that make me smile. Thanks for visiting!
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