From Christmas.

We surprised the kids with a finished clubhouse in the basement - complete with a sign made by my dad and a bounce house just outside of it. One of those Christmases we'll hold onto for a long time.


Disney World.

From a trip to Disney with the family: the perfect Christmas gift.
 meals in EPCOT.
 beach and pool hangs.
 princesses to meet (and to be skeptical of).
 naps to take - anywhere.
 a new land (Star Wars!) to wake up early for.
 uncles to carry you.
 spaceships to see.
 water slides to go down - all by yourself.
 pirate beds, and pillows to use to make "pigloos".
 fish to see - Maisie's favorite.
 wilderness to explore.
and autographs to take stock of on the way home.


Holiday party.

At Tao, of all places. Very swanky, very loud, very good apps.


Tree lighting.

From the town tree lighting: one of the most magical nights of the year.


Santa at the Plaza.

Over the weekend, we went into NYC to introduce the kids to the Plaza's amazing Santa (a true gem, really). Ahead of us were several families in matching outfits, hair held together with several coats of hairspray, bows fluffed and sweaters free of lint.

And then there were these kids, whose parents clearly lack observation skills and should probably be concerned that the baby is scarred for life. Go, us.


From the first week of December.

a Christmas reunion dinner with friends I love (8 years of friendship: difficult and easy to believe). afternoons in the office with the best December sunsets. mornings in Central Park, dusted in snow. cold deep down to your bones, and we are alive - here at the close of a decade - to feel it.


From Thanksgiving.

trips down and back while the babies sleep. a table that has not changed in years (familiarity we love). a stroller race through the George Mason campus. voices in the kitchen. family stories. blessings counted.


10 years ago.

One decade ago last weekend, Blake drove up to Massachusetts to propose. In a parking lot in the pouring rain, he asked if I would marry him, not knowing the mountains there were to climb or the small, everyday moments that would take our breath away or the tears we'd shed over broken things or the way our hearts would explode when our babies were born.

And I said yes, knowing that all of these things would be better with him.


To remember.

The smell of her semi-sweet baby breath. Mullet curls. His little lisp. Him getting out of bed every night to snuggle (heater fears). Her head-over-heels run. Her love of books (current favorites: Blah Blah Black Sheep, the Disney Easter book). His requests for the same bedtime songs every night (Mommy Loves You, You Are My Sunshine, I'll Love You Forever, Lightnight McQueen on repeat). Their laughter coming down the hall.


Autumn, New York.

A weeknight in Brooklyn at the MOFAD, struck by all of the things I have yet to learn. Dinner at Hearth in the East Village, with the vegetable dishes of my dreams. Mornings in Central Park, running the loop en masse, an awakening of the city - my favorite day part, and favorite place to spend it.

Chicago Meetings.

From Chicago for meetings: leaving in the wee hours of Monday morning, landing to snow. Dinner at the delicious Galit. Long meetings and coffee dates. Home to snuggle babies, to fill the dishwasher, to talk (actually talk) with Blake.

This, it seems, was the cadence of our year.


The kids lately.

loves books and her brother's LEGOs and throwing herself over the couch. gives us kisses when we say goodbye. dislikes diaper changes and car rides (still). sleeps with my old blanket pressed up against her cheek. 
throws birthday parties for his stuffed animals. constantly curious about the spelling of words. loves LEGOs and superheroes and letting his mind wander. resists staying in his own bed. says "I love you" after bedtime songs. 


Halloween 2019.

Halloween parades and parties at school, multiple costume changes, trick-or-treating through downtown Guilford, the sheer excitement in approaching every "spooky" house, sugar before bedtime, all of the stuff of childhood.


FNCE in Philly.

From four days in Philly for the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo - talking about sodium reduction, cardiovascular health, the future of food. Equal parts inspired and exhausted in my return.


Part 4: Oxford, Notting Hill.

From the last leg of our English journey:
 a stop at Blenheim Palace to see where Churchill was born.
 very ornate, very rainy.
 a wander through Oxford's colleges - Christ Church a favorite. it put our college dining halls to shame...
 and had strong Harry Potter vibes.
 we ate at Eagle and Child, a spot that Lewis, Tolkien and Dyson used to frequent.
 and returned for one last day in London: dinner at The Shed (our favorite meal), a run in Kensington Gardens, breakfast at Granger & Co and stops to get a few keepsakes for the babies.
 we stayed in a charming little inn above a pub.
 and stopped by the Portobello Road Market and perused bookstores before heading to the airport.

The most beautiful country and best person to travel it with.