the lantern fest – with kids!

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We had a magical family experience recently at the Lantern Fest – I’m so excited to share it with you. I’ve been wanting to attend some type of lantern festival for most of my life. Floating lanterns have a history throughout Asia, as well as many other countries, and are used for purposes like religious worship, to make wishes, and of course, for fun. I can’t remember when my fascination with them began, but it was certainly pre-Tangled era. Speaking of Tangled, many children are familiar with this concept thanks to the film, and it happens to be a kid-friendly event. Children of all ages are welcome, but I was glad that Henry and Marie are at an age (almost five) where they could really participate. There were many fun activities for kids, to include: bouncy houses, face painting, live music and dancing, and of course ice cream and treats. We ALL had such an enjoyable and memorable time…click through for more, including the breathtaking finale!

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strawberry season

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Tis the season for strawberries, and if you live in the country, strawberry picking! We’ve taken the kids almost every year to our local orchard – this year we managed it just in time, right before the heat wave. The picking window is always brief, which is part of what makes it so special. Henry and Marie were giddy to have a fresh patch to pick, frolicking and filling their baskets (a handful ended up in their bellies first). There’s nothing better than biting into a fresh juicy berry in the field, warmed from the sun. While it’s still not “officially” summer, we welcomed it with smiles and berry-stained hands.

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little moments, big kids

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I’m trying to wrap my mind around the fact that my babies will be five years old soon. What feels like all of a sudden, they’re sleeping in “big kid beds”, telling me that they want to do it “by myself”, and wanting more independence. I know this is a good thing in the long term, but it’s so hard to swallow in the short. I’m somehow now the mother of two children. Not babies, not toddlers…CHILDREN. I’m holding onto four with all my might, with five approaching at warp speed.

The passing of time is never more evident than when you’re a parent, and yet simultaneously, so much more of a blur. The little moments (that are actually quite big) can easily get lost in the background of every day chaos. I’m doing my best to be more conscious of the bath time giggles, lazy mornings, and Sunday cuddles. We still have these moments, but they’ve evolved into “big kid” versions of them. No less special than before, but possibly…more treasured.

pajamas c/o burt’s bees baby, many thanks for being part of our journey all these years!

musée rodin paris

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The Musée Rodin in Paris is situated in the seventh arrondissement in a stunning mansion, surrounded by three acres of gardens. I made it a point to see it during my last trip, and was joined by my family who drove in from the Loire Valley. It had been pouring rain prior to our visit, and as soon as we arrived the clouds parted and the blue skies and sun returned. I’ve said it before but will say it again – the weather in Paris can be so temperamental, especially in the spring. However, it was such a gift that day – the gardens were gleaming and the combination of these huge lilies and the dewdrops took my breath away. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Rodin’s work, the mansion (known as the Hôtel Biron, where Rodin once resided), gardens, and unique perspective of the nearby Les Invalides will make it worth your while.

 

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hineni

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I’ve been taking a bit of a break from (my) social media lately, and it feels good right now. What began as an unintentional hiatus due to our move organically became an intentional, and dare I say – necessary one. We’re feeling happy in our new home (despite the chaos of moving), and I’m appreciating the little things. Our previous master bedroom didn’t have a window, and just having light in our bedroom for the past few days has been incredibly uplifting. I know that sounds silly, but deprivation equals appreciation. That philosophy applies to many areas of my life – I’ve been too busy for too long and I’m ready to make time for myself, and for my family as a whole. I took a break from the boxes for a moment this weekend to leisurely read the New York Times in bed, which as any parent knows, is such a luxury. This article was waiting for me inside the pages of T Magazine, which is just what I needed to read, and moved me deeply. I relate to it on so many levels – it goes far beyond the topic of music and artistic creation, and introduced me to the word and concept of, hineni.

The expression hineni means “here I am” in Hebrew, and is used in the Old Testament. Some interpretations associate the word with an even more powerful meaning, which is “here I stand”. Leonard Cohen used the term in his song “You Want It Darker”, and when asked by a reporter what inspired him to use it, his answer was the following: “I don’t really know the genesis, the origin…that ‘hineni,’ that declaration of readiness no matter what the outcome, that’s a part of everyone’s soul.” There are issues in my life that have been incubating for too long, and I’m finally ready to face them. I feel an urgency, a need – to fully embrace this transitional time in my (OUR) life and emerge from it healthier, and more whole. I’m publicly acknowledging my personal needs, in the event that you might also be at a critical crossroads in your life and be searching for inspiration, as I am. In the words of another artistic genius featured in the article, Tom Waits, “…when dealing with emergent behavior there is nothing to do but respond…it was not the fire I imagined or dreamed of, but it was the fire I got.” I fully believe that the only way out is through – and it doesn’t have to be dark.