Family & “Family,” Holidays & *Signs*

This past holiday weekend, I was feeling soooo homesick. Sure, I have a boatload of amazing friends here who now feel like family, plus I am SO lucky to have a surrogate “West Coast family” (my brother’s in-laws), who could NOT be more welcoming or warm to be around. (I spent a super fun and relaxed day with them on Saturday.)

And yet, this weekend I felt this deep aching for my family, our traditions, the familiarity and predictability of our holidays spent together—kooky quirks ‘n’ all. (I’ve also been feeling a bit disconnected recently from some of my home friends and craving their company and conversation, too.) Life feels so full as of late, and I am forever feeling I am dropping the ball on communication with someone who I care deeply about. It’s hard to keep up. And sometimes I worry the distance is actually taking a wee toll—yet I am determined to not let it win. It’s a balance, for sure.

Anyway, I didn’t quite know how I’d spend Easter Sunday, and since this is a veryyyyyy last-minute town, the invites started rolling in around Saturday afternoon/evening (!). Why do I worry? I should always remember that things will unfold as they should (sometimes just a bit later in this non-committal NW land!).

So in an unexpected, random outcome of events, I ended up going to a friend’s friend’s lovely brunch in a LOVELY West Seattle home, and the meal was exactly what I had been craving. Egg casserole just like my mom’s, banana bread, mimosas, overflowing spinach salad, pesto deviled eggs (um yum!), a beautiful, long table set with fresh flowers (just like my mom’s or aunt’s). It was a full house of adults and cute kids and a really mellow, easy vibe that just permeated the light-filled home. (I so crave to be this kind of host!)

When I walked in, I learned the happy news that this chica I really like was coming (who looks sooo much like my cousin Jen—Sunday was Jen’s birthday, and who has the name “Besty,” like my mom’s wonderful aunt), as was Betsy’s son Elliott (the same name as my D.C. cousin Pat’s son).

I suddenly released a massive sigh; the sadness lifted…I can’t fully explain it, but I no longer felt that my family was so far away.

Okay, Universe, I said. I get it. It’s all good.

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I’m more and a more a believer in tuning in to these “signs,” these little lil’ zany love taps. Sure, you could write them off as silly “coincidences,” but I’m keen to draw more from it all.

Hoping you had a lovely weekend, surrounded by love & light, family & friends.

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Easter Coastal Getaway

Seabrook is an odd little place, a “new town,” established on the Washington coast in 2004. It’s very picket-fence-Americana with a beachy twist (and currently, lots of construction in the works). I kept saying I felt like we were on a production set, ‘Gilmore Girls’ to be exact. Our beach house was airy and spacious, though, and the perks ranged from a private hot tub to an awesome front porch con rocking chairs, perfect for a morning cup of joe or an evening cocktail. Our weather was glorious Friday and so-so the other days, but I think the ocean is pretty darn spectacular, rain or shine.

An absolute highlight was a spontaneous pitstop on the drive home at a roadside BBQ joint that was friendly, delicious and FULL o’swines. Pig heaven. There was a group of local ladies in the corner singing happy birthday to 80-something-year-old Judy, and one of the young servers delicately polished the restaurant’s cook-off trophies up front in between delivering piles of brisket. Matt and KL treated (they are so generous!), and we shared a huge hunking slice of pecan pie, which, in my mind, made it feel like a real holiday. Hope you all had nice Easters, too!

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*f-a-m-i-l-y*

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I love these guys something fierce.

(Sometimes I love them so much it hurts a little.)

Sure, on occasion we may make each other a wee bit sad or mad or even batty, but in the end, we are family. They are everything.

They are my heart.

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Office-less

[Christmasing up my kitchen]
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It’s strange, but this seems to be the time of year I most miss having an office (one of the few occasions, I will add). Yep, even the awkward holiday parties with co-workers and dreaded name-pulling for the office gift draw have an allure when viewed from afar. Indeed, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

At festive times of year, it’s nice to be part of a community (even if it’s not one you love every day). So go sneak an extra cookie from the office kitchen tin for me, will you worker bees?

Sun Soaks & Happy 4th!

I’ve been absolutely LOVING my home these past weeks. I have to pinch myself sometimes—to remember to fully soak it all in. Very grateful.

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HAPPY FOURTH, America! Wishing all those celebrating safe & happy festivities:) Enjoy!

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Confession

Being over here on Memorial Day Weekend proves a bit rough for me (last year, and now, too. My current homebound, solitary sickness doesn’t seem to be helping…)

Instead of:

warm blue skies, pool openings, flip flops, flags, bare feet tickled by  backyard grass, pumping stereo music, barbecues with family & friends, omnipresent star-spangled Americana, vibrant sundresses, burgers on the grill, potato salad, deviled eggs, six-packs of cold beer, pitchers of lemonade

It seems to be:

gray skies, wet sidewalks, chilly air, tea, sinus infections (today, anyway. BOO)

Womp wah.

We had a glimpse of summer here, and now winter is back. This isn’t how my body rhythm works, what it expects. Something feels off, time-wise. This holiday should be spent outdoors, wrapped in the goodness of sun and annual tradition you can count on, year in and year out.

I’m trying to steer clear of Facebook and Instagram and other social media outlets that have that nasty ability to exacerbate the grass-is-greener syndrome.  I’m happy for you over there today, I really am; I just wish I was there, too.

{Photo taken earlier this weekend while exploring the incredible waterfalls of Oregon’s magnificent Columbia Gorge}

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Happy, happy Mother’s Day!

The older I get, I’m finding, the more meaning holidays like Mother’s Day hold. Today, I am of course, thinking of my wonderful, amazing, fantastic mum—the absolute best in the whole wide world, I’d have to say:) (All day I was quite jealous of all the mother-daughter duos I spied walking/chatting/laughing around my ‘hood and the weekly Sunday street fair; if my parents weren’t arriving this Wednesday for a visit–hooray!!–I’d have been really, really homesick.)

But today  I am also thinking of all the motherly and maternal figures who’ve played a pivotal role in my life thus far; there have been many—the strong and wise women who’ve shown me unconditional love and support, who’ve inspired me and provided me glimpses of the kind of woman I’d like to be. I’m thinking of the friends who are first-times mums (congrats, y’all!!) and the ones who’ve just become mothers for the second, third, even fourth (!) time. I’m also thinking of those who spent this day, for the first time, without a mom with whom to brunch or stroll or even call. For them, my heart is heavy…it just aches. I want to invite them over for cuppa (or a stiff drink—their choice).

In a way, these days may be silly Hallmark traditions, yes, but they are also opportunities to pause, to reflect, to express gratitude—to not simply assume that our loved ones know just how much we love them. We get to say it out loud.

So, happy happy Mother’s Day to my staunchest, most loyal cheerleader, who time and again comforts me with tea and smile cookies and laughs and the reassurance, always, that everything will work out just fine. I love you, Marme!

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