this is one of my favorite bridges to cross while biking on a local bike trail.  i decided to google some quotes about bridges to go along with the pictures. it was interesting to see the different themes associated with the seemingly simple image of a bridge:

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.
 Isaac Newton

one can use a bridge to get from one place to another - be it physically, mentally, or spiritually.  a bridge can be used to unite 2 opposite sides - for example death can be a bridge bringing together estranged friends - and love can be the bridge that ends hate.

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself;
 for every man has need to be forgiven.
George Herbert

the idea of crossing a bridge and celebrating the transition from one place to another came up quite a few times....yet there were 2 main ideas about what to do with the bridge when crossed - leave it intact or burn it.  i had a hard time seeing the benefit of burning a bridge.  it seems disrespectful to the person or place you are leaving behind.  i don't doubt that there are people and places that warrant a complete elimination from your life - situations that you never want to experience again or people that you would be happy to have to never see again - yet the thought of burning the bridge after you leave that place seems to me that you haven't healed and still hold anger inside.  i prefer the celebration to be not only one of joy to leave a situation/person - but rather that you have left a much wiser, happier person.

I demolish my bridges behind me - then there is no choice but forward”
 Firdtjorf Nansen

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us,
with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke,
and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”
Tom Stoppard

“The only bad thing about burning your bridges behind you is that the world is round”

maybe the next time you cross a bridge - or are getting ready to do so - spend some time to really reflect on the journey

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river
slipping slowly away beneath you,
you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.”
winnie the pooh


watch for fallen rock

for as long as i can remember our family went to the pocono mountains for vacations.  my parents had land there with the intention of building a house on it but at one point in their lives they needed the money more than a second home - and they sold it.  but still we went up - staying at the homes of other family or friends. 

i remember one trip in particular when we drove up with a neighbor.  i saw these signs along the road and asked her what "watch for fallen rock" meant.  i don't remember all the details but she told me a story about an indian that went missing and these signs were put along the road as reminders to watch out for him.

fast forward to adulthood and i'm sure its no surprise that i now know what the "fallen rock" signs really mean.

yesterday my husband and i drove up to check on our home up in the poconos.  everytime i drive by these signs i remember the story of the missing indian named fallen rock - and yesterday was no exception.  i like to pretend the story is true and try to imagine just how sad it was to lose Fallen Rock.  i start with the "watch for fallen rock" sign (which i noticed they don't have anymore on our particular route)  and i imagine the tribe of native americans placing these signs out of desperation (of course ignoring the fact that the making of these signs and the existing of native americans to this area are many many moons apart) then as each "fallen rock" sign passes by i can hear the mountains calling out for this special indian - with the wails getting louder and louder at each passing.  

while writing this post i decided to google fallen rock just to see if anything came up.  i was surprised and sooo pleased to see that it is actually a legend and not some cute story a creative neighbor told me 35 years ago! all these years i only remembered the tiniest bit about the story and now i can read the entire legend!  i also thought that fallen rock was a little boy - turns out it was a princess. 

i cannot remember if i've ever told the boys this legend.  they have never asked about the signs and my guess is that because the story is so foggy in my mind - i never offered the information.  but not anymore. 

i cannot wait to go to the mountains with my boys and my niece and nephew (or really anyone).  i will definitely point out the signs to them and share the legend of the indian princess with them.  my hope is that they will remember it their whole lives and share it with their children for years to come...as in the tradition of the real Native Americans. 


at a loss....

for words that is....
its been 4 days since my last post and i had to force myself to write something today.  i know the best way to get past a writer's block is to just start writing....but i am so uninspired lately!  i haven't pulled my camera out either.  some weeks i have a hard time deciding what to write about because there are so many thoughts running through my head.......not lately.

its raining here today. i'm not minding it so much because i am at work.  this past weekend was absolutely beautiful.  spent a lot of time outdoors doing yardwork.  it felt so good to feel the sun on my skin - to walk barefoot in the grass - to crumble the soil in my hands.  this weekend i was inspired - to paint a patio chair, to widen flowerbeds - to prepare the veggie garden for planting....but not to write.

oh well

how do you get past these roadblocks?


but instead........

if i were here:

i wouldn't care that my camera cord is missing and i can't upload pics
i wouldn't care that i got on the scale and after weeks of hard work - i'm only down 2.5 lbs
i wouldn't care that is going to be absolutely beautiful today while i'm stuck inside an office

but instead:

i'd be hiking with a friend and our kids on a camping weekend
i'd feel the sun's warmth through to my core
i'd be having a non-crabby day

but that's okay...the down days make the up days all the more worthwhile!  and tomorrow i'm having lunch with a dear old friend......and its going to be even warmer than today!!

see now i feel better already


pre - st patricks day excitement.......

the boys have already started talking about setting their leprechan traps in the hopes of catching one and grabbing all his loot.  the traps they set are pretty elaborate but have yet to catch anything....except magic beans....which we plant in a pot and wake the next day to find they have magically sprouted into chocolate shamrock lollipops. 

being italian - i'm not very good at coming up with irish foods to eat on st. patrick's day...but i want to try something for tomorrow - i just have no idea what.  i'll google later to see if there is something i can whip up.  otherwise - it'll just be chocolate shamrock lollipops for dinner.......at least for the boys - since i gave up chocolate for Lent................


using others as your mirror..........

"everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves"
~ Carl Jung

i've read that thought (or very similar ones) in a number of self-help books. those around us are our mirrors.   basically whatever you find yourself picking on someone about (or nagging someone about) is what you are supposed to be changing in yourself.  while i can understand how it can be true - it is not one of my favorite ones to actually work on.  you see - that would force me to see the darker side of me...the meaner one...the one i am trying to work on changing.  and who wants to do that! well i do - and i do work on it - but in baby steps....not all at once.

what i didn't really think about (and what i like MUCH better) is that the opposite can be true too!  i recently read somewhere (and i'm sorry i cannot remember the source!) something i found quite interesting.  here is what you do.  pick 4 people you admire - they can be anyone you've met, never met, want to meet, have read about - whoever.  list the qualities and characteristics of that person you admire the most.  most likely most of those characteristics will overlap each other.  take a look at that list of characteristics.  those are the traits that you have not fully developed yet and what you aspire to be!  once you develop those traits - undoubtedly you'll find other people who inspire you and you do it again.

i like that second exercise much better. to me it sounds more positive - more like the goodness is inside me and i just have to identify it and accept it - and finally own it.  it reminds me of this recent post about inspiriational bloggers.  it's not as negative as the first one - where you have to confront the bad to get to the good.  while both are very worthwhile activities - i may just focus on the 2nd one for a bit.


identify the problem........

i am currently reading the happiness project by gretchen rubin. in a nutshell - gretchen lives a nice life yet feels that she should feel happier based on all her blessings in life and decides to devote a year to becoming happier. every month she picks an area to focus on and within that area she comes up with 3 or 4 resolutions she tries to follow that month. the book itself is happy and easy to read and i've been enjoying reading her ideas and how they are working out for her. i'm thinking that after i finish reading the book i'd like to really sit down and think about what i'd like to change and set up my own resolutions chart to chart my progress. some of her ideas are things i already do - others aren't that important to me - and still others are ones that i really like and am trying to implement right now.

one such idea is identify the problem.

such simple words - common sense to many i am sure.......but until i read them in her book - it had never occured to me to use that as a guiding principle in reducing my stress.

here's what i mean - my youngest is not a strong reader. periodically his class gets assessments. i want to keep those assessments to see his progress. so i empty his folder - pull out the assessment and throw it on the counter until i can actually put it away. well - that paper gets mixed with other papers and a huge pile of crap develops. i go through the pile - pull out the things i can immediately put away and am left with the other stuff i'll get to..........more stuff gets added to the pile and the cycle continues.

when overwhelmed i get stressed...most people do. i don't know what to do - i see crap lying around the house - i have piles of laundry - i have back to back activities forcing me outside the house all day...so just look past the mess and do nothing - which then causes more stress. so when i see his assessements being thrown in the mix it drives me insane and i think again why i haven't just put these papers away!

identify the problem...

one day i found myself stressed over the messy kitchen and cluttered paper and yet another assessment had come home and thinking about gretchen's book i stopped and said "identify the problem". it didn't bother me so much that his papers weren't upstairs - but that they were mixed in with all the other stuff. so i said that's it - and i went upstairs and grabbed an old folder - brought it downstairs and stuck his papers in it. i felt immediately better. my clutter wasn't cleared b/c at that precise moment that wasn't what was making me nuts...it was specifically his papers.

since then i've stopped myself whenever i've gotten stressed and said aloud "identify the problem". i am amazed at how quickly my stress is diffused and how i am able to really look at exactly what is bothering me and not what i think is bothering me. 3 simple words. a phrase i have heard over and over and have no problem telling others - but for whatever reason - when it was presented to me in gretchen's book - it clicked.  the simple act of saying those words have made a huge difference in how i handle stressful times.

there are other ideas from her book i'd like to implement when i really sit down to do my own happiness project. if they end up being as helpful as that simple principle - then i have no doubt that i will have some pretty useful tools to implement and share with others.


Treasure mapping! (aka vision boards)

last year i made my first treasure map.  for those of you who don't know what a treasure map is its a visual representation of goals you'd like to see manifested in your life.  the ideal time to make a treasure map is during the aries new moon - which this year is april 15th.  aries is the first sign of the zodiac and the time of new beginnings.

last year i made my first one.   a few friends came over with posterboard and magazines and scissors and glue and we spent the nite cutting and sharing and pasting!  we had a total blast!  i am looking forward to making another one again this year.   

once i find out that that there is a right way to do something - i tend to do it that way.  that is how it is with treasure mapping.  there are certain rules to follow....

1 - the time before the aries new moon is spent decluttering your mind, body, space...whatever!  you may find yourself doing that naturally as spring approaches (why do you think we all feel a need to spring clean!) and this is the reason why.  you are basically preparing yourself for a fresh new start. - ridding yourself and your surroundings of clutter!  it is also the time to rid yourself of bad relationships and any negative-ness in your life.  remove it!

2 - while you can think about what you'd like to see manifest this year- you do not look up images or start cutting pictures or pasting anything until april 15th.  i won't buy a single magazine until that day.  if you want to buy mags or borrow mags you can do so now...but you cannot open them until the 15th!

3 - while you can set up your tm anyway you want - last year i followed the 9 baguas of feng shui and placed images in each specific section.  i'm not sure what i'll do this year.  i read someone's idea of making a book of sorts with 9 sections based on the baguas.  i like that idea b/c i like the idea of making it portable.  i had taken a picture of my poster and printed it out to keep in my journal - but i didn't find myself looking at it as much as i wanted.  making my journal from my board may be more powerful.

this weekend i will pull down my tm from last year and really look at it.  i want to see what has manifested and what has not.  after a quick glance i can see some things that have and others that suddenly seem to be manifesting now...and that is very likely to happen in general.

  i want to see if there is anything i'd like to possibly carry over...and other things i don't.  i want to look at what did not manifest and see if in fact i worded my intention correctly (b/c it is very important to word your intentions correctly - if you chose to use intentions)  i used a combination of images, printed text and afirmations i wrote myself on the board. 

if you've always wanted to make one but never did i'd recommend doing it!  you have plenty of time to research it before the aries new moon so you can make one this year!  you can have your children do one too.   either have them go through magazines as well or just draw pictures of what they'd like to have in the upcoming year!  it may end up a wishlist of toys (lol) but maybe one or 2 things might actually come through as "goals". 

i'm sure i'll be posting more info as the time nears and i definitely will be posting this year's board!  i have a lot of things i'd like to see manifested this upcoming year!!


and just like that.....it happened

my boys have slept together for 6 years now.  from the moment my youngest was born he slept with me.  our oldest hated being left out of the bed so he joined us too.  about 2 1/2 years later i was nite weaning my youngest and decided i needed my bed back b/c it was getting quite crowded so i put the boys in bed together.  that worked out nicely. 

but in the back of mind i wondered what would happen when the oldest wanted to sleep alone.  he is 4 years older and i figured it would happen eventually.....and i worried about how the youngest would handle it.

then one labor day weekend they decided they wanted to actually sleep in separate beds and they did!  they still shared a room and that was good enough.  well somehow they ended up in the same bed again....but lately the oldest was starting to complain about the bed being too crowded....and we were trying to convince my youngest to move back into his own bed.

then i started to wonder what would happen when the oldest wanted his own room! he is 10 now so its likely to happen soon....and again i worried about how the youngest would handle it.

well - last nite out of the blue - the youngest decided he wanted his own room!!! so we spent last nite rearranging furniture, bringing over posters and stuffed animals and both boys slept in their own beds - in their own rooms!!!

so many times in my parenting life i've struggled with wanting to desperately trust my instincts while fighting with what my mind (and others) told me i should do.  it takes a lot of courage for a parent to put their full faith in a child and to trust in the process of human growth and development.  so often we are told that our children must act a certain way or reach a certain milestone at whatever particular age and if they don't then there is a problem.  i've seen many parents struggle with feeling the need to make their child conform to the "expected" standard and the unhappiness and frustration both parties feel.  i'll admit i really wondered if i was doing the right thing by letting the boys share a bed for so long.  it wasn't b/c of it being weird (and you can guess that many people do think it is weird) - but b/c i was really worried about how youngest would feel about being kicked out if he wasn't ready!  i was also afraid of poo-pooing my oldest's desire to have his own space in my attempt to cushion the blow to my youngest.  but when i would get worried about it i would take a deep breathe and just believe that it will all work out when the time is right.  and i'm so glad it did.

last nite was beautiful really.  while i was reading to my youngest - the oldest came bouncing in and out of the room - obviously very nervous about actually being alone for the first time and when the time came to turn out the lights - my oldest reached over and gave his younger brother a big bear hug. 

as with any sibling relationship there is fighting and picking on each other - and lately it feels like that is all the boys do to each other......but after last nite - i am convinced - that no matter what they are truly devoted to each other and that they will always be there for each other. 


through the eyes of a yak's kid.......

by now my family is used to me photographing everything. they don't even bat an eye when i stand on a chair to get a downward shot or lay my camera on the ground to for an upward perspective.  niether my husband nor my oldest has any interest in taking pictures.  my youngest, however likes to grab the camera and shoot.  lately though, i've noticed that his shots seem to mirror mine.  i'll catch him lying on the ground and shooting up or getting real close and focusing on something tiny.  these are some recent shots he took one snowy day while being cooped up in the house.  he appears to be his favorite subject.  i don't blame him.


a taste of spring

we've had weather in the upper 50s this weekend and its been wonderful! the boys have been desperate to play on some playground equipment (their school one is still too snowy) and my husband and i have been desperate to get the bikes out. so yesterday we had the opportunity to do both.

we had to forgo our usual gravel trail and find a paved one instead. it was nice because it gave my youngest more practice with his 2 wheeler - but parts of the path were too snowy to pass so we ended up doing the same loop over and over.

it felt good to stretch our legs and move our bodies.  after a couple of hours it was time to leave.  we were hungry and the park was getting crowded - filled with people of all ages desperate to get outside too.
except for some expected rain - the rest of this week is supposed to be just as nice.  it feels so good to feel spring.


today's the day!

my husband comes home! 

the boys can't wait to see him. i can't wait to get my bed back!  its been nice sleeping with the boys this week but my youngest - who sleeps next to me - is a huge cuddle bug.  he spent his first year of life sleeping ON my belly and now - even though he is too big for that - he sleeps right up against me...leaving me barely room to move......but that's ok - soon enough he won't want to sleep with me at all and that is worse than a bad nite's sleep!

now off to clean the house so hubby doesn't wonder what i did all week..........


my friend cindy's revelation

ok - i just finished reading my friend's blog post and love it so much i want to share it with you.

take a second to go over and read it here..........


a post with no pictures.............or what would i grab in a fire

my youngest dropped my laptop and i can't get it to load windows.  i could just ship it off to get fixed but i'm having a really hard time paying the $49 especially since all i need to do is a complete system restore - which is easy enough.  where i am having problems is backing up my pictures onto a memory stick - its not working - and techy i am definitely NOT..........not to bore you anymore but i hope to get it sorted soon......

so what does this have to do with a fire?  well - nothing really...but it sorta does.  i think many people have thought about what they would grab in the case of a fire.  i've thought about it - and never really came up with a solid answer - probably b/c my mind just wouldn't go there - envisioning a fire in my home.  why do i want to put that thought out there in the universe! right?? 

even though i like taking pics (and since starting my blog i REALLY like taking pictures) i do nothing with them.  before digital - i would get the photos developed and stick them in frames.  since digital - they sit in my laptop.  we even bought a printer so i could print them out and still i didn't.  it wasn't until very recently that i i just recently started making photobooks....and i even did test out the printer and filled some frames.  but on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 having photobooks and framed pics all over the house - i am about a 2. 

so back to my laptop.  being online only once a day for Lent has really loosened the hold of "computer time suck" on me...so the fact that my laptop doesn't work doesn't really bother me. (ok - it helps that i have a computer at work and another one at home to use - but forget that for a minute.)  in the past if there was something wrong with my computer i would spend hours with a tech trying to fix it.  i did spend some time with one this time around too - but when it got to the point where i had to do a system restore - i couldn't do it.

i can lose everything else - music, docs, favorites.............but i just can't lose these pictures.

and the kicker is there really aren't that many on there!  but the ones that are there i really really want to keep!  my son's boy scout events, pics of both boys playing basketball, birthday parties............


i am trying to make peace with the fact that i may in fact have to lose them if i can't figure out how to back them  up onto another computer......but i am pretty bummed about it.

but as any good lesson is learned AFTER the fact - you can believe i'll be backing pics up regularly and definitely onto snapfish........and check my smoke detectors too....


philly - through the eyes of a tourist

since i'm dealing with a missing camera and broken laptop - i've decided to write a post i had wanted to do last summer.  i live in the burbs outside philly and have gone into the city for a variety of reasons over the years....theatre, dinner, special events, airport pick-ups or drop offs.......but its not unless we have out of town guests do i visit as a tourist. 

philadelphia is a beautiful city rich with history and full of beautiful little side streets and old buildings.  i remember as a child the standard 3rd grade class trip was to see the liberty bell.......that doesn't appear to be the case anymore.  so last summer i found myself in the city with the boys and decided to pretend i was a tourist and view the sites as an outsider.  we tried to hit as many tourist sites as possible...as well as some off the beaten path spots.

there is a wonderful free program called Once Upon a Nation.  it is a walking tour of the key locations in historic philly.  there are storytelling benches set up throughout the area where you sit and listen to a story about some not so well known events in history.    kids can pick up a flag at any bench and receive stars for each story they hear.  the boys really enjoyed looking for each bench and listening to the different types of stories. 

then there were times we didn't even have a specific destination in mind.  we just walked towards the direction we needed to head into and if a particular street caught our attention - we headed down it....just looking at the architecture of the buildings and the cobblestone streets......

at one point we stopped to play in an urban playground.  we have playgrounds a plenty in our neighborhood where grass is not hard to find...the boys didn't really like to be playing on old, broken cement....but they did like the water towers.  i remember them asking if it was ok for them to actually let themselves get wet!  it was all so foreign to them - being a city kid trying to just be a kid and have fun.

we met up with a friend who took us to see the magic gardens  which is an amazing place to be.  if you ever get the chance to be in center city i would highly recommend going to visit there.  i've posted pics of some of his other mosiacs in this post.   it is the perfect place for kids to run around and just play hide and seek or simply get lost.........

like any city - while there is miles of cement - you can still find some green
and catch a performance or two

i'd highly recommend taking the time to visit your neighborhood as a tourist if you ever get the chance.  so often we take our family and friends and even our surroundings for granted.  just as its important to reconnect with our family and friends - its just as important and fulfilling to reconnect with where we live.  there is a reason why we live there - sometimes we need to be reminded of that reason and appreciate all it has to offer.