valentine’s day nostalgia

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Today I’m feeling nostalgic and thankful for these treasured moments captured in Paris two years ago. I’m so terrible about printing images, but my sweet friend and photographer Ashley Ludaescher sent these to me. While I still have yet to frame them (soon), I stare at them often. My heart is overflowing with love for my children – so much so that it hurts at times. It’s incredibly cheesy but true. Their unconditional love for each other, and for us, is overwhelming. At times I don’t even feel worthy of it. I hope everyone experiences a love as pure and true as this in their lifetime.

happy valentine’s day | joyeuse saint-valentin 

forward motion

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I’ll be honest, it feels very odd to return to my usual content, especially since this happened before the election. While I’m resuming my “regularly scheduled programming”, please know that behind the scenes I am working harder than ever to do my part in brightening the future of America. I plan on sharing a separate post with helpful links very soon. Thank you to all of you who have commented, emailed, and reached out via social media to thank me for sharing my thoughts. You are not alone – we are not alone. So here’s to forward motion, to progress, and focusing on the positive.

 

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trainside

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We had every intention of introducing the kids to an old-fashioned train for years, but somehow it only just happened. While we have many options in our area, we chose the WK&S Railroad in Kempton, a privately owned heritage railroad company founded in 1963. They operate over a landlocked remnant of a former Reading Railroad line – ring a bell, Monopoly fans?! They have quite an impressive collection of motive power, to include two Porter steam engines (circa 1920’s-30’s) that they are currently restoring. The 1940’s coach we rode in has been immaculately preserved, and was pulled by one of their three diesel engines. The gentleman you see below has been working at the railroad for over 40 years, and uses a family heirloom timepiece to keep things running smoothly – this place truly transports you in time.

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unschooling

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“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

John Dewey

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If you’re a parent, it’s the time of year when your social feeds are flooded with school buses, shiny new backpacks, and carefully curated wardrobes and lunch boxes. We’re inundated with emotional posts – from bittersweet tears and separation anxiety, to more relaxed and joyful (?) send-offs as the years pass. We have yet to join these ranks. This will be our fourth year watching from the sidelines, and we’re still feeling uneasy about getting in the game. We don’t have all the answers yet, and most likely never will. What we do know is that we’re in a season of life that goes by all too quickly, and we’re holding onto it with all our might. I’ve avoided discussing this topic here for so long, because it’s a highly charged and personal one. Every family has different needs and goals…I’m sharing our journey, with respect for your choices.

The gravity of parenthood has never been more evident to me than when making decisions about our children’s education. Those decisions and questions began years ago, when Henry and Marie were still in utero. What educational path would we choose? Public, private, homeschool, charter? Where are the best school districts? What type of learners will they be? Which environment will suit them best? The questions are endless – it’s dizzying and overwhelming. Add the societal pressures, and it’s enough to make me want to crawl under a rock. We’ve received advice (both solicited and not) from family and friends, and have toured a myriad of schools. The cost of a (secular) preschool education has left us in a state of shock, and we haven’t felt right about any of the options we’ve explored. We’re waiting for something to feel right.

Until that happens, we’ve decided that we’re not going to decide (yet). We are giving ourselves (and the kids) another year to get our bearings, find a more permanent home, and choose an educational path. Of course, we’ll continue our quest and research in the meantime. If we choose the traditional route, we wouldn’t enroll them in kindergarten until they are six (two years from now). So, while the kids will remain “in the nest” for a bit longer, we’ve already started providing a bit more structure to their learning (more on that soon). I’m so thankful to have the luxury (and choice) of being at home with my children, and letting them learn at their own pace, for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. What path did you choose, and what has worked best for your child? Would you change anything, if you could? Please share!

 

tour de france

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The countdown to Le Tour de France has begun! I started watching around 2004 (despite not even owning a bike) and my love for it has grown each year since. This is the ONLY sport I think about, look forward to, and obsess over. I’m a hardcore Francophile, so…DUH. However, there are many other reasons why this race gets me going. The lead up to it, the excitement, the preparation of all involved. The stamina and athleticism required to withstand even one day (with or without drugs) amazes me. Seeing the different regions and towns in France is a highlight for me – this year, the race begins at Mont-Saint-Michel, so I’m anticipating stunning scenery. I’ve been grooming the kids for a few years, and they’re finally old enough to watch it with me! Even if it’s for a few minutes, I’ll take what I can get. Vive le Tour!

this amazing graphic is by dave foster…you can buy the print here!

six year blogiversary!

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I’m celebrating my SIX year blog anniversary!! The official date was three weeks ago, but you know…#life. I’ve also had my nose to the grindstone – I have big plans for this year, and promise to keep things exciting! I’m commemorating the occasion with a look back at some of my favorite posts. It’s fun (and occasionally cringe-inducing) to look back through the archives…for me, it all began with a beret! This collage of images represents some of my favorite posts, and the press and collaborations I’m most proud of. I had no idea what would become of this space six years ago, but I’m oh so grateful for it’s growth and success, and the friendships I’ve developed in the process. I still enjoy it immensely, and it (almost) never feels like work. Thank you, as always, for joining me here  – a huge MERCI to each and every one of you.

my top six favorite posts

a day in parispaper + plans | the new fleurishing | henry et marie | things I’m afraid to tell you | my personal paris