Sunday, July 15, 2012


As someone who's been obsessed with magazines from a young age, I've read countless articles defining the variety of female body shapes and the clothing and accessories that best match them. Through the years, the labels have evolved slightly but one thing has remained the same: they're always worded in a short, sweet, simple way meant to make every shape sound attractive.

Pear, straight, athletic, curvy... Missing from the list is the one that fits me. You know, the one that's specific, illustrative, and dead-on accurate. Relatively proportional most of the way down, with oddly placed speed bumps on either side of the upper thighs. I'm thinking something like: Python that swallowed a whole cheese wheel and is storing it about three quarters of the way down its throat.

Needless to say, bathing suit season can be a little stressful. But as I packed for our trip last week, I took an unusual tact. I shoved every bathing suit I owned into my duffel bag without trying them on (most of which I hadn't worn since our honeymoon back in 2009) and hoped for the best.

On our first day at the beach, I had an important decision to make that would set the tone for all of Beach Week: sport the trusted Speedo—the Spanx of swimwear—and live with the Sudoku board tan lines later, or blindly throw on a bikini and run out the door. I chose B and never looked back (or down.)

I spent the rest of the week obsessing over the shapes that really matter.

The perfect half moon of Hudson's smile as he learned to ride a tricycle. The giant almonds that were his eyes when he first saw the ocean's waves. The triangles of the swimmies he wore into the pool that so reminded me of the ones I, too, wore as a kid. The star shape of his arms, legs, and head as he launched himself into the pool time and again.
Hudson loses his inhibitions.
At night, he and I would climb up onto a white stool in the room we shared and peek out the round window—reminiscent of a porthole on a ship—to say goodnight to the water, the sun, the clouds, the birds, the crabs. One night, on his own, he said, "Goodnight, boat. Goodnight, man on the boat." And my arms mimicked the shape of the window, hugging him tightly to acknowledge his awesomeness.

The view from our window.
I am so grateful for the time we shared. Watching the sun rise from the beach each morning, and luring crabs with chicken necks off the pier in the evenings. Listening to Grammy Pammy's infamous tales. Hearing about Nic's upcoming book, and the new chapter he, Abby, and Frances will begin this summer in Oxford, Mississippi. Logan, Hudson, and I, getting to spend time together as a family, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

Years from now, I won't remember what I wore or how I looked, but the memories of our week together will stay with me forever.*
Polaroid portrait of our little family on the porch.

* I know just the place where there's plenty of room to store them. I hope they like cheese!

Friday, July 6, 2012


For the first time in a long time, I left work the day before vacation without a major project looming over my head. I felt comfortable knowing that I'd prepared as much as I could for being away. And, now fully staffed with a pretty awesome crew, I know that whatever comes up in my absence will be handled and well.

The best part of the day was the time between work and going home to clean, do laundry and pack. We took a detour to the local park for our annual company picnic—or "family cookout" for those that have been scarred by the inaccurate history lesson on the word "picnic" (I'm thinking of you, here, Buddy.)

For three solid hours, Hudson owned the Bouncy Castle like his life depended on it. Having missed the chance to jump his heart out at the Richmond 4th of July celebration (there was no way we were waiting for an hour to have him bounce for 2 minutes on the scalding hot slide), he was in heaven today. He claimed the Castle all to himself.

On the drive home, we told Hudson that tomorrow morning we'd be going on an airplane and that at the end of the trip, we'd be at the beach. "I want to go to the beach!" he yelled. "We're going!" we yelled back.

What seemed like ages away way back in January when we booked our flights, is finally here. 

BEACH WEEK 2012 here we cooooooooooome!

Monday, July 2, 2012


I went to college in a really small town in Pennsylvania. Population: 5,710. The middle of nowhere.

Towne Tavern
There were two bars downtown: the college bar, named after our mascot, and the other bar. The Towne Tavern. While the "e" in the name was added for historical flair, we liked to think of it as commentary on the bar's clientele; it's differentiating factor. Students did not go to the Towne Tavern. The townies did. And we were definitely not townies.

We were sophisticated visitors. Just passing through to get our liberal arts degrees. On our way to something bigger and better.

Fast forward to the present. Hometown, Richmond, VT. Population: 4,500 (at best.) It's definitely safe to say that I'm more than making up for old times lost.

Here in Richmond, it's not uncommon to visit the grocery store two or three times a day, each time running in to at least 10 people we know. The sign reads, "Richmond Market & Beverage" but we all call it the Market. The hardware store, from which most of the materials going in to our new house are sourced, is called "Richmond Home Supply," but everyone calls it Dan's. Why wouldn't we? After all, Dan owns the place.

Our pediatrician lives right across the street and Hudson loves to watch him mow his lawn, work on his house, and go for walks with his wife. "What Docta Parker Doin?" is a question he asks at some point every day, whether we're in the yard, driving to school, or getting ready for bed.

This past weekend alone we watched the American flags go up along Main Street in prep for the upcoming 4th of July celebration; floated down the river in our canoe; went on a family bike ride across the rolling hills of farm country; went down the slides at the playground; enjoyed our Sunday morning ritual of scones and black coffee from the Bakery; kicked some balls around the local soccer-camp fields; and visited with good friends—all without leaving the village. And when tragedy struck here on Saturday afternoon, there wasn't a single one of us that didn't hear, see, feel, or mourn its affects.

Old Round Church
Part of the weekend was also spent looking for inspiration for the front door of our new house. We searched online and read through books featuring the best historic homes and buildings of New England, only to find ourselves directed to our proverbial (and almost literal) back yard.

Sure, on most summer weekends, the adjacent field is full of cars with out-of-state plates. And when the wedding celebration ends, they all—including the bride and groom—go back to where they came from. Do any of them know that we too got married there? That we're on a first name basis with the guy who climbs up into the steeple to ring the church bell for their ceremonies? Do they know that in winter we fly down their "parking lot" on our Mad River Rockets? Probably not. And that's just fine with me.

With the addition of trusses and roof decking this week, the "big hole" on Cochran Road—the project everyone in the village is talking about—has now become the "Big House." Its roots reach far deeper than the basement slab. It is the home in which we hope to share a glass of port with our new family when all is said and done. The place we hope to see our son grow into an honest, mischievous, and caring young man. It is the physical representation of all of the love and adoration I feel for this amazing town.

At breakfast last weekend, my friend Amy and I daydreamed about the variety of up and coming businesses we might attract to our downtown if we just rolled up our sleeves and got to work planning for it. (Full disclosure: to date she's done more than her fair share in this department.)

Maybe, someday soon, we might find ourselves welcoming that new brew pub she and I chatted about. So what if it's only for us townies? I wouldn't really want it any other way.