Independence Day

These are difficult times we live in, an era that challenges everything we used to believe about what America represents (or should represent), a period that, for many American citizens, questions our pride in our own identity, while also highlighting our largely-underserved privilege.  Many Americans feel a great deal of distress to the point of numbness and hopelessness about the state of the nation, fearful to turn on the news in the risk of discovering yet another disgrace, mistake, or infringement on our democracy.

This Independence Day, I experience a myriad of emotions and thoughts.  I struggle with waving the American flag when so many families and individuals are being denied access to our country's borders.  I question my allegiance to this country under a leader whose values are so different from my own.  And I feel more than a little hypocritical displaying red, white and blue patriotically when today's America seems so far from what the founding fathers may have en…

Summer Solstice

Happy summer!  It has been extremely hot this month in Santa Fe, with high temperatures in the 90s.  I'm so thankful that we installed air conditioning when we moved into our house.  We have had such minimal moisture this season and the fire danger is so high that the National Forest is closed to hikers, which is such a bummer for outdoorsy folks.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the trails will open up again later this summer.  While I wouldn't trade living in the southwest for anything, I sure miss the beaches and swimming pools in the midwest! 

The annual Music on the Hill outdoor weekly music series started up again last week!  It's one of my favorite summer traditions in Santa Fe.  Every Wednesday night, families and groups of friends gather with their picnics and drinks on the grass on the St. John's College campus to enjoy free outdoor music.  The festival features a variety of genres and it's always fun to see a lot of friends and coworkers at the ev…

Tuesday Tidbits

Spring Gardening

I have been talking about gardening all spring, waiting until the weather was consistently warm enough for planting, obsessing over books about native plants, overwhelming myself with grand ambitions for transforming my yard, and procrastinating because of the terrifying question of "Where to Begin?"  Well we finally took the plunge and planted some new bushes in our front yard!  The hardest part was amending the soil to make it more conducive to planting, and now I hope we get a little moisture to keep everything alive!  I'm still such a beginner when it comes to gardening in desert, but wish me luck!  I also planted some flowers in pots along our front walkway and a rose bush near the back patio.  If everything goes well, I hope to add some bushes in the side yard next year and maybe a small herb garden.

Santa Fe "Run Around"

Earlier this month our family of three participated in the Santa Fe Run Around 5K, an annual race that supports our loca…

Spring Hiking and Cold Brew Coffee

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  It is a gorgeous (and hot!) weekend in Santa Fe.  Even though we're still a few weeks away from the official start of summer, the local schools are already on break and it feels like summer is already here.  Ady slept in until 9:00 this morning!  I guess the warm weather is wearing on her, not to mention a very busy month of May.  When she finally dragged her butt out of bed (crib), I took her and Kua for a stroll on the Borrego Bear Wallows trail.  Hiking with a toddler requires some patience and planning ahead, but it is also really fun to notice all the interesting things from the perspective of a 1-year-old and point out all the beautiful flowers, the pinecones and sticks on the trail, and the sounds of birds singing and bees buzzing.  I love our Osprey Child Carrier backpack and I'm starting to get used to the extra weight, and it seems like a comfortable ride for the little one.

In celebration of summer, I also made overnight Cold Brew Coffee …

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon

Last weekend my sister and I met up in Santa Barbara for three wonderful days of sightseeing and wine tasting, chatting and catching up on our busy lives, and running another half marathon together!  Santa Barbara is a lovely and historical city nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the central coast of California.  With its Spanish influence and stucco architecture, there were some resemblances to Santa Fe, and the cities are close to the same size, but the climate could not be more different.  This charming seaside town is known as the American Riviera and everywhere you look there are beautiful flower gardens, patios for wine tasting, restaurants featuring fresh seafood and seasonal fruit, and cheerful birds enjoying the proximity to the sea.  The weather was a little chillier than expected, and definitely too cold to swim in the water, but that didn't stop us from sitting on the beach bundled in our towels, watching the birds and enjoying the wind. …

Cancun Vacation

We just returned from our first international vacation as a family of three!  Ady has been on an airplane multiple times in her first 18 months of life, including to Hawaii last fall, but leaving the country was a big deal!  Thankfully everything went smoothly with the passports and documentation, immigration forms, and travel schedule.  We were blessed by on-time departures on both days of travel, and we had an extra seat for our squirmy toddler on three out of four of the flights, which was a huge sanity-saver for all involved! 

Our resort, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, was PERFECTION!  Our friends found out about this location a few months ago, and when they invited us to join them, we only had to think about it for about two seconds before deciding that we couldn't miss out.  All-inclusive was definitely the way to go when traveling with families.  There were fun things for everyone to do, lots of food options, and the family-friendly pools were PARADISE.  We had an ocean front room w…

Spring Cleaning

As the weather gets warmer, I have the urge to freshen up my house and make space for spring!  There are few things that cause me more anxiety than clutter.  I can't stand junk on top of tables, I loathe a cluttered entryway, and miscellaneous crap around the house just makes me want to scream sometimes.  I am always seeking strategies for getting rid of crap, preventing the accumulation of more stuff, and more effectively organizing the things we have.  I believe that I am happier when I have less clutter and more space.  A couple weeks ago I completed the daunting task of reorganizing my baking pantry, and now I feel empowered to accomplish anything!

Here are a few of my goals for Spring Cleaning this year:

1) Get rid of stuff
It is such a good feeling to clean out closets and drawers and take a car load of stuff to the thrift store.  My priorities are to purge clothes that don't bring me joy, books I don't plan to read again, decorations that just don't have a place in…