Monday, October 31, 2011

happy fall

Finding the perfect pumpkins with my girls

What a beautiful, crisp, autumn morning it is today - we couldn't ask for a more perfect Halloween - even I get a little giddy on this most wonderful holiday :-).   I absolutely adore everything about this time of year:  the bright blue skies, cooler days and evenings, sweaters and jackets, leaves changing and dropping, the World Series, pumpkin patches, school Halloween parades and parties, roasted pumpkin seeds, neighborhood gatherings . . . even the last minute scurry to put costumes together!

One of our favorite traditions is listening to Jerry Seinfeld's "Halloween."  It's hilarious and the kids never tire of hearing this classic stand-up routine.  We keep the cd in the car during the season and listen during long drives, plus the illustrations in the book are fantastic.  CLICK HERE to listen.

This tradition is one for the ages . . . I'm sure my grandkids will be listening and laughing along with their parents in the years to come.

Some pics from the past week:

Caroline with best friend Sophie and good guy friends Sam and Tyler after the CJH "Thriller" dance performance

Fall Tradition:  Pumpkin Patch with best friends Gracie and Emily

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

welcome baby owen

While we were away, my brother Travis and his beautiful girlfriend Kristie welcomed this little bundle of perfection into the world.  The girls were dying to to get home and hold our new little cousin.  He is absolutely adorable and we all agree one of the cutest newborns we've ever laid eyes on.  So, without further adieu, we introduce . . .

Owen Terry Howick
October 18, 2011
9:45 am
7 lbs. 12 oz.
20 inches

Some pics from our Sunday afternoon visit:

Owen, you are SO loved!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

we survived

8 days
6 states
2 big cities
4 children
1 rental car
2 subway systems
2 hotels
3 airports
3 roundtrip bus trips
500+ miles on the road
15+ miles by sidewalk
30+ miles by bike
2.5 mile hike
192 hours of family bonding
2+ sibling arguments per day needing a referee
1+ incident per day that threw us into intense (make you pee), hysterical laughing fits
1 embarrassed 16-year old son (because of said hysterics by the rest of us)
7 new inside jokes to keep us going until the next trip
200+ pictures (at least)
2 exhausted parents needing a vacation from our vacation!

pictures to come . . .
after I sleep, unpack, and take a nap :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

of course

heading back

It's been six years since the older kids have been back east (and since I was a blonde ;-), and in a few days we're taking the whole crew.  We were looking at some pics from the last trip and can't believe how much Ryan (then 10) and Caroline (then 8) have grown and changed over the past few years - they were so little, and the same size to boot!

What we are looking forward to the most:
  • Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square (especially the "Hershey Store"), FAO Schwartz, Museum of Natural History, MOMA, Rockefeller Plaza, American Girl Place, "Top of the Rock"
  • Indian dinner and Ukrainian dessert in the East Village, breakfast bagels downtown, pizza in Soho, hot dog vendors, Serendipity frozen hot chocolate
  • Knock-off purse shopping in Chinatown, browsing Tiffany's, wooden escalators in Macy's, the Apple store on 5th, Lincoln Center fountains, the Dakota and Strawberry fields, playbills!
  • New England fall foliage, biking the historic Minuteman trail, Walden Pond, Louisa May Alcott home, Plymouth, Cape Cod, THE NO NAME, regatta on the Charles, the Freedom Trail, Italian in the North End, Cambridge, the Co-op, the Back Bay, Fenway.

some favorite pics from 2005 . . .
Times Square (on our way to see "Hairspray")
Rockefeller Plaza
Quintessential NYC
Caroline in heaven at the American Girl Place
The Lion King!
Central Park
heading out to Ellis Island via Statue of Liberty
walking the Brooklyn Bridge
gotta play on the FAO giant piano!
The Mayflower
chatting with the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation
Lexington Green
 Louisa May Alcott home in Concord, MA
 The Old North Bridge
 celebrating Chris' 40th at the No Name in Boston
 gearing up for the Red Sox game . . .
 Ryan hoping to get his ball signed
  future Harvard students?
The Old State House - walking the Freedom Trail

Well, it's back to work to get the house in order and start packing . . . here's to our adventure and creating memories for the little girls who had to stay home last time :-).

Monday, October 10, 2011


I am finally getting around to posting a few thoughts swirling around my head regarding the past general conference meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, held the first weekend of October.  As you may know, I love general conference and eagerly look forward to hearing from our prophet, the apostles, and other general authorities of the church.  There is always at least one talk that deeply touches my soul, one talk that urges me to do a little better, one talk that reminds me of who I am and of my purpose, and one talk that speaks directly to my heart of the undeniable truth and validity of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and all it encompasses.  My testimony is always strengthened as I listen to the testimonies of others as they bear personal witness of the Savior, the restoration, a living prophet, and the Book of Mormon.

Elder Callister's talk immediately peeked my attention because of its wisdom, intellect, and strength of testimony regarding the Book of Mormon.  It also followed two of the most beautiful messages of the conference, given by Henry B. Eyring and Robert D. Hales.

Indeed, I was taught and inspired by all the messages, but will never forget Elder Callister's powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  He is right when he notes that there is no middle ground concerning this book, it truly is the word of God . . .

 "That is the genius of the Book of Mormon—there is no middle ground. It is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud. This book does not merely claim to be a moral treatise or theological commentary or collection of insightful writings. It claims to be the word of God—every sentence, every verse, every page. Joseph Smith declared that an angel of God directed him to gold plates, which contained the writings of prophets in ancient America, and that he translated those plates by divine powers. If that story is true, then the Book of Mormon is holy scripture, just as it professes to be; if not, it is a sophisticated but, nonetheless, diabolical hoax." 
- Tad Callister

Friday, October 7, 2011

of human bondage

I read this book YEARS ago, and just finished it again yesterday.  It now ranks among my top five novels of all time. Truly a masterpiece of brilliant proportions with power to stun readers with universal emotion and truth.  I was moved to tears as I read Maugham's final words - grateful for the heart wrenching and passionate life experience of Phillip Carey.

The writing is fascinating from beginning to end, and oh how I wish I could take raw emotion, regret, faith, sorrow, joy, pain, idealism, pride, happiness, disillusionment, beauty, love, irrationality, hope . . .  and capture it on paper. Somerset Maugham did just that almost a hundred years ago in this observant classic which continues to haunt our innermost fears and desires, and persuade readers to question the purpose of living in a world that at times seems hopeless.

Of the several dog-eared pages of my book, one passage in the final chapters stands out as Phillip faces the handicap that he has struggled against for so long . . .

He accepted the deformity which had made life so hard for him; he knew that it had warped his character, but now he saw also that by reason of it he had acquired that power of introspection which had given him so much delight.  Without it he would never have had his keen appreciation of beauty, his passion for art and literature, and his interest in the varied spectacle of life.  The ridicule and contempt which had so often been heaped upon him had turned his mind inward and called for those flowers which he felt would ever lose their fragrance.  Then he saw that normal was the rarest thing in the world.  Everyone had some defect, of body or of mind:  he thought of all the people he had known (the whole world was like a sick-house, and there was no rhyme or reason in it), he saw a long procession, deformed in body and warped in mind, some with illness of the flesh, weak hearts or weak lungs, and some with illness of the spirit, languor of will, or a craving for liquor.  At this moment he could feel a holy compassion for them all.  They were the helpless instruments of blind chance.  He could pardon Griffiths for his treachery and Mildred for the pain she had caused him.  They could not help themselves.  The only reasonable thing was to accept the good of men and be patient with their faults.  The words of the dying God crossed his memory:
Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

i want to write something so simply

i want to write something
so simply
about love
or about pain
that even
as you are reading
you feel it
and although it be my story
it will be common,
though it be singular
it will be known to you
so that by the end
you will think -
no you will realize -
that it was all the while
yourself arranging the words,
that it was all the time
words that you yourself,
out of your own heart,
had been saying.
~ Mary Oliver

Saturday, October 1, 2011


i can't get enough . . .


basically, all i've been eating the past week - it's an addiction.

my simple recipe:

toast 1/2 ciabatta roll
lather with pesto
add a slice of provolone ('belgioioso' from costo is divine)
melt in microwave for 10-15 seconds (or not, tastes great either way)
top with fresh, sliced garden tomatos

enjoy . . . crave . . . repeat when hunger strikes.