An Interview with My Boy

Sometimes I write over on the website, Preemie Babies 101.

Last week, I posted an interview I did with Tucker, asking him about his experience as the big brother to a preemie.

HIs answers were so clear, so honest, so dear, that I just had to share the interview over here with you.

I’m including the first couple questions below, but to read the entire interview, please click on over to Preemie Babies 101 website.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on his responses.  You can either leave a comment below or on the preemie babies site.

I hope you have a great day!

An Interview with a Preemie Sibling

Tucker, what do you remember most about Andie’s birth?

I don’t really remember much.  I was too young.  I think I remember staying with a lot of different people.  I think if I’d been older I could have remembered more.  And I didn’t really know what was going on.

What one word would you use to describe that time in your life?


(To read the rest of our interview, please click here.)

What about you?  Have you ever thought about interviewing your own kid? If so, what questions would you ask?



Lee took this photo last week on the morning of my 46th birthday.

We were in Lake Placid, NY, vacationing with my entire clan.

A big, celebratory dinner was planned, but as I do every year, I longed for some quiet, reflective, soul-nourishing time.

Lee set his watch alarm early – 6:30 am – and after waking our big dog, Meg, filling thermos with creamy coffee and wrapping egg sandwiches (mine gluten-free) in aluminum foil, we snuck out of the house before anyone woke, driving to the marina where we’d rented a boat slip for the week.

There’s something so magical about feeling like you’re the only ones awake, which is just how we felt, slowly driving the boat out onto that still, silent lake.

Lee drove, I sat in the bow, and Meg had the large back seat all to herself.

We cruised in silence, taking in the rustic cottages, stately adirondack pines and rocky shores lining the island around which we drove.

Without need for consultation, we arrived at a cove on the far end of the lake and Lee cut the motor.

We floated and looked around.

“Is that a bird?” I whispered, pointing to a light brown object close to shore, “or the top of a rock?”

Meg sat up at the sound of my voice.  Lee squinted ahead.

“Bird, I think,” he whispered back.

And a moment later, our eyes caught the pair of loons that had emerged from the shadows.

“Mama and Papa,” Lee whispered.  And as if on cue, one of the loons let out that hauntingly beautiful loon call and the smaller brown bird swam to their side.

We landed the boat on the dock at the nearby trail head which leads up the back of Whiteface Mountain.

Typically a four hour hike, we walked just a half hour or so, our usually slow, lopey Meg, full of vigor and joy, leading the way along the moss lined paths.

Lee took the above photo when we arrived back at the dock, after I’d asked for a few minutes more to just sit and be.

Just sit and be.

It was a wonderful beginning to a new year.

What are some of your favorite things to do on your birthday?

Summer Inspiration

This summer, I’m treating myself to an online writing/photography course. The class is called Unraveling: Ways of Seeing Myself, and taught by the wonderful, Susannah Conway, with whom I took my first online course, Blogging from the Heart, earlier this year.

Our first Unraveling assignment was to think about our feet. Susannah encouraged us students, 90+ women from all around the world to “Look down at the ground and see where you are in the world.”

Each week we share four of our favorite photos.

These are mine.

The second week’s task was to focus on our reflections; to catch glimpses of ourselves reflected back to us in the world.

Here are my photos from that assignment.

In the meantime, Tucker is reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s book, The Namesake for his summer reading assignment.  In particular, he’s been asked to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of being raised bicultural.

When I came across this poem, I was struck by how it so aptly captured all three; feet, reflections and life between two cultures.

My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in
the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears


My grandmother puts her feet in the sink

        of the bathroom at Sears

to wash them in the ritual washing for prayer,


because she has to pray in the store or miss

the mandatory prayer time for Muslims

She does it with great poise, balancing

herself with one plump matronly arm

against the automated hot-air hand dryer,

after having removed her support knee-highs

and laid them aside, folded in thirds,

and given me her purse and her packages to hold

so she can accomplish this august ritual

and get back to the ritual of shopping for housewares

Respectable Sears matrons shake their heads and frown

as they notice what my grandmother is doing,

an affront to American porcelain,

a contamination of American Standards

by something foreign and unhygienic

requiring civic action and possible use of disinfectant spray

They fluster about and flutter their hands and I can see

a clash of civilizations brewing in the Sears bathroom

My grandmother, though she speaks no English,

catches their meaning and her look in the mirror says,

I have washed my feet over Iznik tile in Istanbul

with water from the world’s ancient irrigation systems

I have washed my feet in the bathhouses of Damascus

over painted bowls imported from China

among the best families of Aleppo

And if you Americans knew anything

about civilization and cleanliness,

you’d make wider washbins, anyway

My grandmother knows one culture—the right one,

as do these matrons of the Middle West. For them,

my grandmother might as well have been squatting

in the mud over a rusty tin in vaguely tropical squalor,

Mexican or Middle Eastern, it doesn’t matter which,

when she lifts her well-groomed foot and puts it over the edge.

“You can’t do that,” one of the women protests,

turning to me, “Tell her she can’t do that.”

“We wash our feet five times a day,”

my grandmother declares hotly in Arabic.

“My feet are cleaner than their sink.

Worried about their sink, are they? I

should worry about my feet!”

My grandmother nudges me, “Go on, tell them.”

Standing between the door and the mirror, I can see

at multiple angles, my grandmother and the other shoppers,

all of them decent and goodhearted women, diligent

in cleanliness, grooming, and decorum

Even now my grandmother, not to be rushed,

is delicately drying her pumps with tissues from her purse

For my grandmother always wears well-turned pumps

that match her purse, I think in case someone

from one of the best families of Aleppo

should run into her—here, in front of the Kenmore display

I smile at the midwestern women

as if my grandmother has just said something lovely about them

and shrug at my grandmother as if they

had just apologized through me

No one is fooled, but I

hold the door open for everyone

and we all emerge on the sales floor

and lose ourselves in the great common ground

of housewares on markdown.

So what’s inspiring you this summer? Have you ever taken an online course, or thought about doing so?


Follow-Up on My Boy/Man

I thought it was fitting after publishing yesterday’s post about my boy growing up, that when I arrived to pick him up at work in the afternoon he was all excited to show me what he’d accomplished.

I was a bit surprised when we walked right past the chicken coop he’d cleaned, the holes he’d dug for fence posts and the white picket fence he’d painted.  Instead, we went around the farm house to the trampoline in the field behind.

“I finally mastered my flip,” he told me with big, wide eyes.

I thought I should say something about work and the appropriateness of time and place, but instead I kept my mouth shut and watched as he demonstrated his “mastered” flip.

“He looked like he needed a break,” I heard from Tucker’s boss who’d walked up behind.

And I smiled, knowing that no matter how big Tuck gets, a part of him will always remain a little boy at heart.


You can click on the picture to watch the 40 second video. Note the fist pump at the end!

Observations on Little Ones

My sister’s kids came down from Vermont to stay with us for a few days. They’re nine and six, just as mine were only a few short years ago.  Yet somehow, as I’ve aged and adapted along with mine, I’ve forgotten all the sweet, little things about little ones.

Like how no matter how late they go to bed, they still wake so early (6am) and how those little bellies are so super hungry after a full night of sleep.

I’d forgotten how a few picture books, read in a fun, animated voice, can be the highlight of a day.

Or how there is no need for probing questions to get them talking.  That they talk freely, an unfiltered stream of all that they observe and see.

How if asked to do something, they actually do it. Right then and there.  What a concept.

How they smile for photos and come running when I find a cool bug or tadpole or inchworm.

How they actually put on sunscreen and how covering their little backs takes just a bit of lotion and a few swift swipes across those bony angel wings.

How an afternoon bowl of ice cream with raspberries is a special treat and how a soda with caffeine isn’t even a consideration.

I’d also forgotten how they can’t reach glasses or bowls in the cupboard and how pouring their own lemonade usually means more on the floor than in the glass, and how they’re constantly watching and imitating the bigger ones; longing for their own bigger somedays.

But most of all, what I’d forgotten, is that for now, how they have no where else to be, but right by my side.

What about you? Are you still in the midst of raising little ones or have your littles grown big?

Before My Eyes


Yesterday he was one,

and then he was five,

soon eight, then ten, then twelve.

Today he’s fourteen, turning fifteen in a month.

 And all along, so much more little boy than man;

his talks of someday fanciful and improbable.


And then six months ago, 3 inches and 11 pounds overnight.

Suddenly the boy who subsisted on air was eating five meals a day.

And then another 3 inches and who knows how many more pounds.

We often stand back to back;

I still have a 1/2 an inch on him,

but not for long.

Each morning now I drive him to work at the local farm.

As I study him telling me about pigs and fencing, chicken coops, soil composition and cooking garlic scapes, I realize that before my eyes he’s gone from little boy to so much more man.


But I’m not sad like I thought I’d be.

Because really it didn’t happen overnight.

Just like he first learned to roll over and then sit up; crawl and then stand,

I learned right along with him then,

Just as I am learning right along with him now.


To Go Easy

Ahhhh, Sunday morning. And it finally feels like summer here in the North East. Although more rain is due to arrive, I’ll take this morning’s sunshine and the inspiration that arrived with it.

I’m reading Yes, Chef, the memoir of Ethiopian born, Swedish adopted, Marcus Samuelsson, which has me inspired in the kitchen.  This morning I’m baking these Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and finally trying the Ginger Syrup recipe a friend gave to me.  She’d brought me a mason jar full of the syrup last summer and ever since I poured out the last drop, I’ve been intent on making a batch of my own.  I used the syrup to make homemade ginger ale, pouring club soda over an ounce or so of the syrup, and I loved a bit of the syrup poured over my morning steel cut oats.  Here is the recipe my friend sent if you want to give it a try.

Ginger Syrup

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 c. sugar, 2 c. water, and 2 c. peeled fresh ginger, cut into coin-sized pieces.

Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes or until mixture is a thin syrup consistency.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, 2-3 hours.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve; discard ginger.

Refrigerate syrup in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

After my time spent in the kitchen this morning, I poured myself another cream-laden cup of coffee and climbed back in bed with a book of Mary Oliver’s poetry.  From her book, Thirst, I’ve read this one poem over and over again and just had to share it with you.  Each time I read it, my eyes widen and my skin tingles, pondering the possibility that life could be so profound in its simplicity.  I’m going to print it out and hang it on the wall next to my bed.



When I Am Among the Trees

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

May we all go easy and be filled with light.

And what are you up to on this Sunday morning? Do you have cherished Sunday morning rituals?  Does that poem resonate with you? Are there particular poems you love?

Wishing you a Happy Day!


Write to Heal

I had the honor to write over on Preemie Babies 101 this week.  I hope you’ll check it out, especially if you’ve ever thought about doing a little writing.  (The post is geared to preemie parents, but it’s really applicable to all.)

“Whether your baby was in the NICU for 2 days or 200, the result of having a birth experience begin in the midst of  noisy beeping machines, a multitude of doctors and nurses, and the palpable fear that persistently swirls in the NICU air, the impact can have long-lasting effects on us as parents.  The problem is, we’re so busy taking care of our new little ones, we have no time to recognize and acknowledge how significant our baby’s birth has been on our emotional state.  We’re simply trying to survive this crazy world that’s suddenly been thrust upon us and hoping and praying the same holds true for our babies.

As our babies heal and grow and eventually arrive at home, it seems there is even less time to explore our emotional state, for now our little one is under our care alone.  The concept of taking time for ourselves is nearly laughable.  Sit down? Reflect upon how I’m feeling? Yeah right.

But here’s the deal. At some point we do have to sit down and reflect upon our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, because if we don’t, they  just breed and fester way down deep in the dark recesses where we’ve tucked them away.  And by bringing our buried fears, hopes, dreams, disappointments and truths to the light, we are in fact helping our child to heal and grow as well.  A healthy, whole parent is one of the greatest gifts we can offer to our children.

So where do I begin?”

Click on this link to find out!  Write to Heal

I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start and you’re finding moments to rest, relax and breathe.

With blessings,



Ok, to everyone who told me I’d be crazy not to jump at the chance to take the kids and join Lee on a business trip to London – YOU WERE RIGHT!

It has been three truly magical days, full of unforgettable moments I hope will be forever seared in the kid’s memory banks.  They certainly will be in mine!

We arrived Monday morning and soon after checking in the hotel, explored the nearby Covent Garden where we watched street performers and the kids indulged in banana and Nutella crepes.  After long afternoon naps, we headed to Piccadilly Circus and toured Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. The kids were utterly thrilled to see the Believe it or Not books they’ve so frequently checked out of the library come to life!

Most of Tuesday was spent on top of a red double decker bus touring the city.  We caught the bus in Trafalgar Square and saw every London highlight you can imagine – St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, Hyde Park and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, just to name a few.  It was a whirlwind of a day, but a great way for the kids to take in so many sights in such a short period of time.

Looking through the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Looking through the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Today, Lee headed off to work at 7:00 this morning and while the kids were zonked out in the hotel room, I stood on a bridge overlooking The Thames, sipping a latte, chuckling over the fact that I was ever debating about taking this trip! (Again, YOU WERE RIGHT!).

And talk about jumping in with both feet… today I was really out of my comfort zone when the kids convinced (begged) me to ride The London Eye, which is the world’s largest Ferris wheel. I won’t even go on a Ferris wheel at our local fair, but there I was, in a glass enclosed bubble hundreds of feet in the air above London.  That time, it was the kids to whom I had to say, YOU WERE RIGHT!

Since arriving, we’ve been hearing that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the hottest ticket in town and knew it was true when we found out tickets were sold out until next week.  But with a bit of luck this morning, I stopped at the theater, which is right behind our hotel, only to learn that a few tickets had been returned and we had seats in the royal circle section of the balcony.  I truly, truly can’t begin to describe what an experience this musical was.  Unlike the movie, it followed Raold Dahl’s book much more closely and was so incredibly well done, including a larger-than-life chocolate waterfall, giant dancing squirrels and a glass elevator, I’m worried nothing in the future will ever compare for the kids!  Sitting in the dark theater, with Tucker on one side and Andie on the other, when Willy Wonka began singing Pure Imagination, I felt transported back to my own childhood and couldn’t hold back the tears. (Thank you, Becky and Rob.  You insisted the kids would love London theater and YOU WERE RIGHT!)


(click on the photo to hear the song)

After leaving the theater, Tuck went back up to the hotel room and Andie and I walked out onto the same bridge where I began my day to see London lit up at night. “I miss it here already,” Andie said, knowing that tomorrow we pack up our suitcases and head out to our friend’s house in the country, before flying home Friday afternoon.

“Me, too,” I told her. “Me, too.”


Love, Gratitude and Jumping in with Both Feet (plus a giveaway!)

Remember that girl who was afraid to travel to Colorado for a ski vacation?

Well, that same girl, just got back from a week in Charleston, South Carolina!

It was actually Tucker who took me there.  Well, his 8th grade class trip, to be more precise.

His class, who’s been together with the same teacher since 1st grade (Waldorf School), has been fundraising for ages in anticipation of the trip.  A handful of parents, including me, went along as chaperones.  I really didn’t want to go, ‘cause as you already know, I don’t like to travel.  But neither does Tuck, so when I reluctantly offered to go along as a chaperone, his whole attitude toward the trip changed.

There were so many highlights throughout the week – touring historic downtown Charleston, swimming and playing at the beach, canoeing through the coastal salt marshes – but for me, one moment stands out above all the rest. That moment came when another mom on the trip commented on my relationship with Tucker.  “I never knew you two were so devoted to each other,” she said.  She pointed out the moments throughout the week when Tuck would part from his friends to come over my way and give my hand a squeeze or drape his arm over my shoulder.  “It’s truly lovely,” she said, “to see a boy so in love with his mom.”   I’d fly back to South Carolina once a week just to hear that again.  It really came as such a surprise, first of all, because I’ve never looked at my relationship with Tuck through the eyes of another, but more importantly, as he’s moved into serious adolescence, there’ve been times when I was certain he didn’t even like me, let alone love me.  I’m not sure if it was that comment, or living in the midst of 31 other people for a week, sleeping on the top of a bunk bed, waiting in line for the bathroom, cramming into big white passenger vans to get here, there, and everywhere, but something cracked open in me during that week and I’ve arrived home brimming with joy and gratitude, knowing that when I take chances, when I choose to jump in with both feet, rather that letting fear talk me into staying at home, amazing things can happen.


On that note, we just found out that Lee has to travel to London for business the day after Tucker graduates, and in spite of the need for expedited passports, expensive plane fares and my clenched-up belly, we’re jumping in with both feet and the kids and I going along with him.  (We’ll have traveled more in the past 5 months than we have in the past 10 years!)  I can do this, right?

The final thing I wanted to mention is that last week, May 29th, was the one-year anniversary of the release of my book, Preemie.  I wanted to do something special in honor of this anniversary, so I’ve decided to offer one of my favorite chapters, Chapter 6 – Trains, as a free download.  I hope you enjoy it and please pass it along to others.

Please accept my deepest gratitude and appreciation for all the love and support you’ve shown Preemie and me throughout the past year.  I am honored and so delighted to know that our story is out there in the world helping others to heal.

Click on the photo below for your free download of Chapter 6 from Preemie!

With love and blessings,



Click on Photo to download Chapter 6 – “Trains”