springtime is lovetime

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

Boy do we need some springtime, e.e. cummings.

We’ve spent this winter bundled and cold and we’ve spent a lot of time shoveling. Well, Hugh spent a lot of time shoveling. After each snow storm I went outside and helped shovel until the neighbor kids came out to play. Then I had better things to do like help the littles up and down our dirt pile sledding hill and attack Hugh with snowballs.







Although sometimes I just admired the snow from the back porch instead of venturing out in it.




Since today is the first day of Spring, I can finally begin to picture life in that backyard with some veggies growing in the corner and a couple of butts with a couple of beers in those adirondack chairs.

Once we rebuild and refinish them, that is.

Bring It On

The last part of 2013 was such a non-stop whirlwind, I started to wonder if it would ever end. I wanted to leave the rough spots of 2013 behind me and jump head first into making 2014 the best year yet. But when I had time to stop and think about it — while vacuuming water out of our basement — it occurred to me that we did a lot last year. Most of it was great, some of it was tough, but it was all time well-spent.

We started 2013 on top of Camelback Mountain in Arizona.

Camelback Mountain, AZ, New Year's Day 2013

I bought Mickey Mouse sunglasses at Epcot.


Roadtripped to Charleston with a bunch of girlfriends.

Matching tees!

Hosted a bridal shower.



Got peer pressured into running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.


We celebrated our first wedding anniversary with an afternoon at the batting cages where Hugh proposed.



I cried through our best friends’ wedding.


We spent my grandpa’s birthday with him in the hospital.


Packed Memorial Day weekend full of outdoor adventures with friends and both of our families.



We carried on an annual beach tradition with friends.


We reunited with family in Virginia.


And in Oklahoma.


And vacationed in Isle of Palms, SC.


I spent an incredible girls weekend in Nashville.


We got to attend Lucy’s baptism.


We bought a little house.


We celebrated the life of one of my most cherished family members.


Dressed up our home with Hugh’s very first live Christmas tree.


And rang in the new year in New Jersey with old friends.


Yes, 2013 taught me a little about loss and change and wet basements, but it also taught me that I can run and that Hugh and I make a pretty good home improvement team. It also reminded me that we are surrounded by incredible friends and family who helped us through home-buying, moving and maintenance and who are generous with hugs when you need them.

And as for 2014, well it’s already off to a big start. I began [yet another] new job on January 2nd, and Hugh is becoming a master landscaper as I type this. I don’t like to make resolutions, but I do like to make goals and set milestones to look forward to.

In 2014 we will:

  • Dry out the basement, once and for all, then tackle our two-page project list
  • Run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler together
  • Celebrate two anniversaries and a big birthday in Key West with great friends
  • Not let work run our lives, but strive to be great at our jobs
  • Watch my brother graduate from our alma mater
  • Spend time vacationing with both sides of Hugh’s family
  • Never lose sight of how fortunate we are

Bring it on, 2014. Bring it on.

Steps for the Hitching

Shortly after Hugh and I got engaged, I received an email from my Grandpa Snooky — a mastermind of Mr. Fix-it solutions who was very excited for our upcoming wedding. The subject, “Steps for the Hitching,” made me nervous. Had Grandpa laid out a series of steps Hugh had to complete in order to marry into the family?, I wondered.


Grandpa and I had talked a few days earlier about the height difference between Hugh and me and how I would have no choice but to wear uncomfortable high heels in order to bridge the gap during our wedding ceremony. I had joked that he could fashion me some sort of device so I wouldn’t have to wear heels. Never one to back down from a challenge he followed up with a plan, and was probably only half kidding.


My alarm hadn’t gone off yet, but I was awake and sitting in bed when my dad called last Wednesday morning. I already knew what he was going to say. My Grandpa Snooky had died the night before.

I had been preparing for that call since May when we all gathered in the hospital for Grandpa’s birthday as he awaited test results to determine what ailed him. What followed were months of ups and downs — weeks at a time when he needed no help at all followed by weeks when it seemed like he deteriorated so quickly. Somehow despite that I knew it was coming, despite what we all know about cancer, the fact that he is gone has left me so, so sad.

While I stood in the snow clutching my mom in the Mt. Holly cemetery on Saturday, I kept imagining how he used to greet me with a grin and a hug and a shoulder squeeze. And how my heart sank when I saw him on his back on the dance floor at our wedding, until I realized that “Shout” was playing and he was doing the gator. And how earlier that evening I danced with him to a Black Eyed Peas song when the dance floor was still empty because he was too excited to wait any longer to start the party.


I am not sad that he is gone — after seeing him over Thanksgiving and clutching his hand at his bedside, it is comforting that he’s not battling sickness anymore. There will always be a distinct lack of grinning and chuckling and shoulder squeezing in the future, but I see pieces of him in my dad and brother and uncles and cousins all the time. And I hope that I have at least a fraction of his spirit and zest for life. And if I do then he can never actually be gone.

I’m just sad because I don’t want to ever forget any of that. I want to always remember him saying grace before a big family meal, preparing for months for the annual family reunion, and eating corn on the cob so enthusiastically he bruised his upper lip. I want to remember how excited he was to see pictures of our new house, and how he asked for a picture of the backyard “so I can see what Hugh will have to deal with in the Spring.” I never want to forget how proud he always looked on Christmas wearing his Santa suspenders and white beard, and how Grandma would roll her eyes and laugh.

And I never want to forget how lucky I was to have him for 27 years.

I Am Thankful for Friends Who Can Cook

Friends Thanksgiving probably wouldn’t have lasted past its first attempt in 2009 if our friends weren’t such good cooks. But it did because they are, and Sunday we hosted the fifth annual Friends Thanksgiving potluck at our house (which has been our motivation to get unpacked and settled in the last month).

A vat of mashed potatoes. Creamy pumpkin mac and cheese. Corn casserole, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, oh my. And a festive cider-bourbon cocktail to wash down pecan, pumpkin and derby pies. If any of you want to start inviting me over for Sunday dinner on the regular, that’d be alright by me.

This motley crew of 20 fit squeezed at one family-style dining table set up in our modest living room.


And it was awesome.

IMG_3485 - Version 2

Despite their reluctance and their snarls and their sarcastic comments as I say squeeze in tighter…almoooost readdyyy, every time I get to pull out the tripod and set the self timer it means I’m with some of my favorite people — having a good time, celebrating something, adventuring, or just enjoying a huge meal on a frigid Sunday evening in November.

And really, who wouldn’t be thankful enough for that to want to grab it in a picture?