on simplicity

gift of the sea

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Life is BIG right now. BIG and SCARY and EXCITING and worthy of words written in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

I find myself easily overwhelmed these days. So, I thought it would be good for me (and maybe you'll enjoy it, too) to reflect on simplicity and how it has a emerged as a major theme in my life these past couple of years. The upcoming series of posts will be about why simplicity is so important to me, how it has changed my perspective on nearly everything, and practical ways I've incorporated it into my everyday life.

Check back soon.

(Picture is of me gathering shells on the Jersey shore earlier this year.)

favorite weekend snippets

simply GORGEOUS weather. didn't have to turn on the air conditioning once. love the feel and sound of breezy air coming into our home and gently stirring things about. there's a mess of papers on the floor now, but I don't care,

you should look into getting yourself a husband (if you don't have one already) that will, in one weekend: wash both cars (by hand, of course), do routine car maintenance, do the laundry from start to finish, do a week's worth of grocery shopping, and most importantly, remember to bring home donuts for a saturday morning treat,

accidentally stumbling into a department store clearance sale + nothing to do on a saturday afternoon = a trunk full of half-price goodies like ralph lauren towels, luxurious supima cotton sheets and pyrex glass storage containers,

impromptu photo shoot of me and my growing belly; the pictures turned out nice and I actually felt quite lovely for the first time during my pregnancy,

celebrating 4 years at one of our favorite restaurants, very much enjoyed hearing the waitress call us "lovebirds." talked about baby names and speculated on who we think our kid will look like; was so content and happy that I wondered if my heart (and my extraordinarily full stomach) might explode,

making way for baby continues; spent all day sunday sorting, cleaning, and organizing. threw away piles and piles of stuff. my back aches and my feet hurt, but twas a small price to pay for the supreme satisfaction I now feel.

bright blue days

Dearest husband,

This morning, I followed my usual get-ready-for-work routine. Stumble out of bed, shower, lotion, hair, make-up if I feel like it (but usually I don't, you know), clothes, then, and always last, jewelry.

As I slipped on my wedding band and engagement ring, I lingered for a moment. I let myself revisit that place, four years ago, where we stood under a bright blue sky and pledged our love and commitment and unending devotion to each other.

I thought to myself: wasn't that a great day?

Tonight we ate sandwiches from a paper bag for dinner. Quite different from the fancy lobster skewers and potatoes au gratin and bubbly champagne of four years ago. Tonight, instead of a first dance, you sat on the floor of the bedroom with your new drill bits and fixed my squeaky chair. Tonight, in our mutual exhaustion, we snuggled on the couch and enjoyed a new episode of The Office.

You kissed my forehead and rubbed my belly and waited to see if the baby would kick for you.

Wasn't it a great day?

Love and kisses, your devoted wife,


hello, self.

You never know what treasures you'll find while rooting through the deep, dark recesses of your desk at work. While searching for a red pen, I glimpsed a beat-up yellow post-it note tucked underneath a box of paper clips.

On it, hastily scrawled in my handwriting, was written this:

less is more

quality over quantity


small spaces

use less, consume less

freedom in simplicity

I remember jotting these down -- what was it? A year ago? Maybe even two. Time gets a little fuzzy between the four walls of my office. I don't know how the note ended up in the drawer or even what compelled me to write those thoughts down in the first place.

But I do know that I was meant to rediscover them today. My thoughts returned to me, gift-wrapped in dust and crumbs, lifting my spirits and giving me a renewed sense of confidence and purpose in the many difficult decisions that he and I have had to make lately.

We all need that little boost every once in a while.

sugar pie, honey bunch

That is the song that uncontrollably pops into my head when I look at these pictures.

You know that I love you
I can't help myself
I love you and nobody else


In and out my life
You come and you go
Leaving just your picture behind
And I've kissed it a thousand times


Every time I see your face
I get all choked up inside

I can't help myself
I love you and nobody else.

(Isn't the first image the cutest. thing. ever? It looks like the baby is playing a game with us, or something equally adorable. And the second one, the profile shot, is just so sweet.)

favorite weekend snippets: baby edition

choosing a crib + stroller during a second, less traumatic trip to Babies 'R' Us; so glad to have those big decisions done and out of the way,

opened the doors and windows to welcome fall into our home; practically ate up the cool weather with a spoon,

going to the gym for the first time in, oh, MONTHS; coming home energized and pleased with myself - only to promptly fall asleep for two hours (my stamina is non-existant these days),

finally started the long process of transforming our adult-only flat into a family nest; although we will be living amongst boxes and piles and messes for the unforseeable future, I am ecstatic to have made a wee bit of progress,

realizing that pregnancy has turned me into the cookie monster (so to speak - also the cake monster, ice cream monster, candy monster, etc); spent my saturday morning satisfiying my sweet tooth by baking decadent sugar cookies smothered with whipped vanilla frosting,

blinking back the tears in my eyes as I watched him feel the baby kick for the first time. overjoyed to share it with him, finally. as chris mcandless said: "happiness is not real unless it is shared."

i think i'm in love

Friends, meet skeletor.

skeleton baby

Creepy, huh? But of course I think he/she is adorable with his/her bony features and hands clasping the sides of his/her face. (I know, all this gender-neutrality is tedious, isn't it? Such is the price I pay for wanting to be surprised!)

Anyway, our 19 week anatomy scan was a good time. Lots of limbs and organs flying all around the screen -- I am glad to report that all the pieces of our baby are in mint condition. The sonographer doing the scan was in a hurry because they were running an hour behind with their appointments, so it went a lot quicker than I expected. Which ended up being a good thing because I spent the whole time being nervous that we would accidentally get a flash of the baby's private bits and pieces. (We didn't.) I was quite relieved to get out of there without an inkling as to whether or not I'll be attending football practices or ballet recitals for the rest of my life. (GENERALLY speaking, of course. Who knows. Maybe I'm gestating the next Gene Kelly.)

I mean, don't these look like dancing feet to you?

19 weeks, foot.

I was amazed at how detailed these scans are. We saw the four chambers of the heart, both kidneys, the cerebellum area of the brain -- we even saw the lens of the baby's eye. It was fun and so reassuring to see that everything is progressing normally. We feel so blessed.


With a baby like that, how could we not?

I have a couple more pictures I'll post a little later.

Why I Hate Babies 'R' Us

Here's something you should know about me.

I don't think I have the baby gene.

You know the one I'm taking about. The one that triggers women to ooh and aah over other people's children, the one that takes pleasure in shopping for baby gifts, the one that causes ovaries to ache when confronted with a picture of an adorable child in a magazine or on television.

Take my cousin Analissa, for example. She TOTALLY has the baby gene. As little girls growing up together, I remember that her bedroom was filled to the brim with baby paraphernalia -- everything from baby cribs to baby bottles -- so that she could play "house" or "babies."

In contrast, my bedroom had a spotlessly organized desk complete with a hanging whiteboard so that I could play "work" or "school." I would pull out my little elementary-school textbooks and teach my students (i.e. stuffed animals) math and english. And then I would carefully record their grades in a ledger book. (Yes, I realize this makes me a total nerd).

Years later, my baby gene is still missing-in-action.

Walking into the baby mothership that is Babies 'R' Us with my mom (who, it must be noted, was the one who suggested the visit to the superstore in the first place, likely a result of her very strong can't-wait-to-be-a-grandmother gene), my general lack of interest in all things baby reared its ugly head once again. I felt like I had just landed in a foreign country and couldn't speak or understand the native tongue. What's a Johnny Jumper? Wait, is a binky the same thing as a pacifier? Is a Bumbo like a Dumbo?

The other thing I disliked about my venture into Babies 'R' Us was that it seemed to reinforce all those things that already annoy me about our typical American way of life -- supersized stuff, the unneccesary posing as the necessary, image-conscious, convenience at any price, way of life. In general:

we buy big houses with rooms filled with things instead of people,
we value busyness and speed over reflection and growth,
we spend countless hours fixing our hair, doing our makeup and shopping for clothes while neglecting the care of our souls and our intellect,
we know more about celebrity break-ups and hook-ups than we do about current political and social issues.

We are all guilty of it, to some degree or another. And I know I'm crossing into annoying soapbox territory here, and I'm sorry. It's just that in my own life, I am weary of it. Yes, it has a purpose and a function, and in the right place at the right time, stuff can be pretty darn fun. (Speaking of which, I can't wait to get my hands on this little beauty. Green, please!)

But don't you ever feel like it is all just... too much? Do you ever find yourself craving substance?

It's sort of like with weddings. All that worry about the centerpieces and choosing just the right typeface for the invitations and deciding who willl scatter the rose petals down the aisle before the ceremony -- only to find that one of the most memorable parts of the day was discovering that my cheeks hurt from smiling so much because I was insanely happy just to BE MARRIED to him.

For the record, I am over halfway through my pregnancy now and have made two baby purchases - a set of gender-neutral onesies and a board copy of one of my favorite children's books. Not that I should get any awards or anything, but I am pretty pleased that I've been able to resist getting caught up in all the decorating and buying and really just focus on the miracle happening within.

I know I have to start buying baby necessities soon. But I find myself yearning for intangible things, instead.

Like the sweet, swift kick in the gut my baby gave me late last night. It startled me so much that I laughed and smiled and put my hand to my stomach and whispered, "I'm anxious to meet you, too!"

Huh. I guess I do have the baby gene, after all.

Postscript: As my mom has wisely pointed out to me, a lot of the "stuff" that I am disenchanted with now is going to make my life INFINITELY easier once the baby actually arrives. I get it, I really do. I will probably be thanking the good people at Babies 'R' Us for selling me my diaper genie or my nursing boppy pillow or whatever. So, I'm trying not to let my general apathy for all things baby cloud my common sense, even if I DO secretly harbor fantasies about letting my kid sleep in a drawer and giving him or her a cardboard toilet paper roll to play with.