birthday number 2, take two

Someone was quite eager to get started. Before daddy even lit the birthday candles, Rivers was rehearsing for his shining moment. Having waited patiently for over a week to devour his birthday tart, until his cold disappeared, he was certainly practiced in the art of extinguishing a flame with the first breath. Too perfected for his mama to capture the reflected glow of the candlelight and his efforts without a relight.

Maybe we’ll do trick candles next year to slow him down a bit.
Daddy allowed Rivers the honor to (attempt to) cut his birthday dessert. And with the pie cutter in hand, he created a smiley face instead. “Eyyyyyeeee. Heaaaa.”

A few weeks prior to Rivers’ birthday I was racking my brain with what to do for his cake. His daddy’s birthday is not even a full month prior. Two winter birthdays can put a bit of a damper on creativity, especially since there is relatively no fresh (local) fruit, and this season they both needed to be gluten-free.  Good thing I have two chocoholics in the family!

Sometimes I don’t know if Rivers fully understands me when I speak to him, but during a brainstorming moment I asked if he would like a peanut butter-chocolate tart. His entire face lit up, eyes widened. He nodded steadily and calmly, letting the weight of my question sink. That settled that.



30 (things to do) before 30


March is really kind of a lull month for blogging. Perhaps more writing takes place this month than any other time throughout the year, but it all happens in my private journal and tucked away at night. It’s my birthday month, so inevitably it brings reflection and thoughts for the future.

It’s too easy for me to get stuck in my own head and feel frozen, unable to cope with my feelings or enter the present moment. My 2014 resolution word, mindfulness has really stopped me in my tracks. It’s forced me to reevaluate some of my habits that aren’t conducive to a healthy lifestyle, or at least not the life that I want to lead.

I really want to dig my feet into the soil of this thing called life and cultivate something truly amazing. I needed a little time away from the screens to be present with my family and plant some positive seeds for healthy growth and habits.

One thing I realized in my time of reflection is that I need to take the time to love myself. It feels so silly to write, because I feel like ‘Of course I love myself,’ but I can’t recall the last time I did a good deed just for my own gain. I’ve compiled a list of adventures and challenges to accomplish within the next two years, my 30 (Things to Do) Before 30. Most of the list contains items that I’ve always wanted to do, but blew off until tomorrow, and then unfortunately tomorrow turned into years of neglect. Of course some desires or goals take time and money. There are plenty of travels I would like to do in the next two years, but I tried to keep my list realistic. I still have quite a bit of work (and fun) ahead of me.

My wish isn’t to simply cross of items on a list, but to spoil myself, challenge myself, respect myself enough to stop pushing off my desires and leaving them in daydreams.



Jonathan made me a small birthday cake to take to work and share with my coworkers. When I returned home I found a new one, a banana-vanilla cake with blueberry-coconut frosting. Immediately I pulled out my phone to catch what little natural light we still had from the day, but he stopped me. He’d already taken photos. “I took them with the good camera. I thought you might want to show off your cake on the blog.” Ha. He’s the show off.

I’m so blessed.

and one to grow on


Everyone warned us  how children “grow up so quickly.” Jonathan swears they were right, that it feels like yesterday when I was laboring our son into the world. For me that is not at all the case, or it hadn’t been until this week. The in-between birthday parties week. The week that started on his actual birthday, back when he was still a baby, before he learned to toddle to our outstretched arms, or throw up his hands and say “ahhhh-done” at the end of a meal.

Uh, what?

What happened to my baby and who is this new kid?

I’m pleased we decided to throw a party the weekend after his birthday.  We went back and forth for the longest time, but in the end we realize our son is a social butterfly. He vies for the attention wherever he can get it, from our friends to strangers on the subway. If only I carried a cup, I’m sure his college would be paid already.  The extra week between celebrations gave him a grace period to learn a few steps to impress his guests. A crowded room full of adults cheering him along as he walked and no camera out to catch the moment. I don’t know which part of that is more impressive. First steps certainly, but twelve smartphones all tucked away is also surprising. Talk about living in the present moment! I was so engaged in conversations, catching up with friends, that I didn’t even think to photograph the cake with the birthday boy before it disappeared! Not that it would have mattered. I think he took one bite from someone’s plate before he darted off to play with (another baby) his buddy.

I’d been looking forward to the first cake smash since day one. Luckily I had a couple test cakes stored in the freezer. I cut the size slightly and frosted it for a photo op the following day. Unlike the snowstorm that dumped all over us during the party, the sun beamed through the kitchen and granted a pleasant glow to the morning. Like it was meant to be.

It’s almost impossible to take photos of this guy nowadays. Everything is a blur unless he’s eating. The one activity where he sits and focuses. Funny though how perplexed and grumpy he appears when he’s focused. ©fourwoodthinking ©fourwoodthinking ©fourwoodthinking ©fourwoodthinking

©fourwoodthinkingRecipe coming soon!


cheers to a first birthday

bearmountain1-2bearmountain6tassajara-bananabreadbearmountain3 bearmountain2bearmountain7One year olds, they have no concept of birthdays. What do you do? High-five your partner, pop open the champagne and toast your mimosa glasses to a job well done, I guess. We have a party planned next week, so for the actual day we decided to celebrate quietly.

Flurries fell, then rain, then flurries again. Following my cookbook challenge, I baked banana bread in an effort to warm up the kitchen. Just as we retrieved our sweet treat, the sun broke through the pale sky and we high-tailed it outdoors before the weather changed its mind again. The bread was still steaming as I sliced and packed.

About an hour outside of New York City, the mountains are in reach and there isn’t a skyscraper as far as the eye can see. We took a little walk, spied ice blocks moving along the river, crinkled forgotten leaves and breathed the frigid fresh air until our noses turned red, indicating it was time to return indoors.