Little Style, Poetry & Words

LITTLE STYLE :: I Toss My Butterfly Net Across Her Laughter, To Remember This Moment (brought to you by Fabkids.com)

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

I get a little grumpy when it feels like the world is spinning without me, and it seems that way every time the seasons change. Northern California had its first rain on Labor Day, and the red clay drank up the water thirstily, the dust sliding from the waxy Live Oak leaves and running in rivulets into the cracked earth. I know the scent that thirsty ground gives up, and I know the coolness that falls in those drops.

Soon in the Midwest, the mercury will dip and everyone will pull open the bottom dresser drawer, reaching to the back into the sea of only-just-abandoned knit socks. The apples have already started to fall, red and green and sweet-smelling, tumbling from the crooked branches into the leaves and grass. I know the way an orchard apple tastes, seated on the crumbled stone remains of a farm someone once loved and lost.

And I know the faces belonging to all the laughter that rings from the Sierra Nevada in the West across to the northern end of the Mississippi, and I know the threads of family that tie us all together.

And sometimes it seems that everyone, everywhere, just keeps on spinning, dipping from summer into fall and through the winter and back up into spring, while Florida trudges steadily through the humid fog, and I with it. I lose track of whether it’s March or whether it’s September. I lose track of the hemisphere. In the constant green, the constant jungle, the constant rain, the passage of time seems as fluid as the tropical rains that turn sidewalks to streams.

But there is always somewhere I see time. I see it daily, in her rapidly growing face, I see her changing quickly, changing out of my reach and control, changing like the waves that never stay the same shape or height — unless I seize the scene, grasp it breathlessly with the grip of lens, and press it into a stolen moment, flat on the page.

This is what I do with my Aveline Alenka, my little ocean of joy. I toss my butterfly net across her laughter, I blink and remember her golden face for a moment, tucking it away into photographs.

And these photographs sail from the headwaters of the Everglades up to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and across to the Golden State, and they sail into the hearts of waiting family, who see and feel and hear the passage of time through these colors infused with life.

We see the passage of time together, and we are connected. We are connected like the rain that falls across the Sacramento Valley, like the snow that tumbles down the Minnesota pines, like the steam that rises up off the Everglades. We are connected, for we are family, and no side effect of meteorology or geography can ever change that.

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received a sample Fabkids.com box in exchange for my participation and promotion. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.

Fabkids.com is a subscription service based on your style preferences, allowing you to receive a personalized 3-piece box of children’s clothing and accessories each month. Unlike other subscription box services, Fabkids.com lets you know what that month’s shipment will be ahead of time, so you’ll always love what shows up on your doorstep. Find out more about the styles, outfits and options available — for both boys and girls! — at Fabkids.com.

Life in Photos

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: A favorite moment, one month ago in California

“…or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe..

…I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.” -Billy Collins

Summer Vacation Tour, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: NorCal with Me: The Launch of the Summer Vacation Tour, a Virtual Travel Series

I am so excited to launch the Summer Vacation Tour, a brand-new virtual travel series! I have enlisted the help of some amazing friends and bloggers, and over next couple of weeks, they will take you to places like Costa Rica, London, Paris and more. This series wouldn’t be possible without their photos and perspective, so a huge thank you to each of you who contributed!

To kick off the series today, I want to share NorCal with you. It was really hard to narrow down what I wanted to say, since my love for this place is a whole lot bigger than I can convey in just a handful of photos. But, I’ll try… :)

THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY of NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

My top five things to love about the Sacramento Valley

  1. The people, of course! This goes without saying, since California holds a huge treasure trove of my dear friends and my husband’s family, whom I love like my own.
  2. The food! It’s less expensive, fresher, and there’s more variety than anywhere else I’ve lived. California produces more than half of the United States’ fruit, vegetables, and nuts. When you break it down to specific foods, the percentages are even higher — nearly 100% of the nation’s pomegranates, kiwis, olives, figs and artichokes come from California. The state also provides 90% of the nations’s avocados, 85% of the nation’s garlic, 75% of the nation’s lettuce…and the list goes on. This is all available to locals at farmers’ markets, and is reflected in the state’s restaurants, too, which are widely diverse in terms of different cuisines and different countries represented. (No, actually, not everyone is a vegetarian. Californians cook up a mean tri-tip steak, a cut of beef the rest of the US has rarely even heard of. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, and I don’t even eat beef!) Oh, and did I mention food is much less expensive there?
  3. I love Californian style. I love that Californians, by and large, are a stylish lot. Clothing and looks pop up in California long before they appear in the rest of the United States. In fact, our family jokes* that if one moves away from California to another state, one doesn’t have to buy any clothes for five years! (*very much based in fact)
  4. The weather in the area surrounding the Sacramento Valley is perfect. Spring is a gorgeous display of every kind of bloom imaginable, and definitely the greenest time of the year. The hot dry days of summer are countered by the refreshing Delta Breeze which blows in each evening and creates as much as a fifty degree difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Autumn’s crisp days and crunchy leaves swallow up the summer haze little by little, until it’s suddenly winter. Winters in the Sacramento Valley are cool, wet, and deliciously windy (although the strong winds which blow everyone’s fences down in December and January always seem to take people by surprise!) It regularly freezes in the Valley, and just 30-45 minutes away, into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and beyond, winter is white. An hour outside of Sacramento, snow is measured in feet, not inches.
  5. Is it cheating to say that a favorite thing about this location is…the location? The Sacramento Valley is right in the middle between the Golden Gate Bridge and Lake Tahoe. Enough said, right?

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Rural Towns Rural landscapes — Yes, California is FULL of the most gorgeous rural areas you’ll ever see. This photo was taken on the street we lived on before we came to Florida. Looks are deceiving, because this view is only a mile from city life. I LOVE that California is full of contrasts like that.

Favorite Places in Northern California - Lake TahoeLake Tahoe area in the Sierra Nevada mountains — From where we lived in NorCal, one could go the ocean and the snow in the same day — there’s that profoundly wonderful California contrast for you again.

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Point Reyes Point Reyes — If we’re Facebook friends, you likely recognize this as it’s my cover photo. I took this picture on our second anniversary, right before we hiked up 2,948,795,843,987 stairs to the Point Reyes light house. I was pregnant. It was a loooooong climb. But the view is one of my favorite in the world!

Favorite Places in Northern California - Bodega BayBodega Bay — I could write for days about Bodega Bay, and I’m still not sure words could do it justice (and that’s saying a lot, because I am a lover of words).

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Oak Trees and Foggy Sunrise Foggy sunrise shining through the oak trees — another photo from our old home in NorCal. I miss those trees, and the cool morning air that we definitely don’t get here in Florida.

So there you have it! NorCal, my favorite place. I can’t wait to introduce you to the other locations in this series!

This post is a part of the Summer Vacation Tour, a virtual travel series hosted here on Oaxacaborn.com. To ‘travel’ to other locations while I’m taking a brief break from blogging, click here. (Want to be featured in the future? Email me!)

Life in Photos

My seester is coming to see me!

See this? It’s my seester(in-law). As you can tell from this picture (taken in San Diego last year at cousin Julie’s wedding), we’re always perfectly behaved, and of course, we never goof around.

Especially in public.

Hannah and Gina

She’s coming tomorrow, all the way from California. I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. I mean, a year ago, she and I lived just a mile apart in the same pretty little California town. Today, she lives in my old house (what?!) and I’m 3,000 miles away. And last time she saw Aveline? The wee miss looked like this.

So yeah. I’ve missed her. This week is going to be all kinds of wonderful!

Poetry & Words

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you

Three years ago today, I walked down a grassy aisle in Grandma C’s backyard to Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me.

walking down the aisle with daddy - outdoor Norcal wedding

I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come

Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I’m safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me

And so we were married in the mountains of NorCal, with the grass beneath our feet, the towering California trees overhead, and our family and friends all around us.

NorCal wedding outdoors

We had these verses from Isaiah 41 read during the ceremony. Non-traditional, yes, but oh, so beautiful.

I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

NorCal outdoor wedding

A dear family friend and missionary to Japan officiated the ceremony.

NorCal outdoor wedding - classic urn and column with ivy and white flowers, lisianthus bridal bouquet

We walked back down the aisle to Coldplay’s Yellow.

Recessional  - Dried red milo berries on grass

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah they were all yellow,

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called yellow

So then I took my turn
Oh all the things I’ve done …
D’you know you know I love you so
You know I love you so.

wedding party - bridesmaids and groomsmen in black

Josiah and Gina - Wedding Portrait with Lisianthus Bouquet

It was all kinds of perfect.


All images courtesy of B. Sarah Klein, who, along with her sister, is preparing to launch A Sea Apart: Two Sisters, Two Countries, Two Photos a Day.

Life in Photos

Feeling small and far away (August Photo Challenge: Day 3)

It was too much, yesterday, this sense of being so far away. I went out with Aveline, out to air-conditioned shops and pushed her around in her stroller while I looked at pretty things. And everywhere I walked, I saw friends shopping and laughing together. And I walked around, alone.

I felt small and very far away from home.

Later that night, I cried. I try not to, I really do. But sometimes, when everyone you know is either 46 hours to the west or 25 hours to the north, you just can’t help feeling a little sad.

Friendship - August Photo Challenge - the August Break - Day 3 - empty wooden chair with white cushion in corner near window with white curtains

Image: Day Three (Friendship) of the August Photo Challenge.

Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

God led us to this oasis (August Photo Challenge: Day 1)

It’s AUGUST. I don’t know how something like that could have happened. Funny, the chatter today about Fall being just around the corner. It sure doesn’t feel that way here. The crickets’ dusk song hasn’t slowed; one chirp blends into the next with scarcely any time at all elapsed in between. The humid air is thick and unforgiving, holding up so much water it’s a wonder the clouds don’t come crashing down around our feet. My toenails are brightly painted orange – neon, not autumnal; more like sherbet than like maple leaves. The inside of the car is scorching, and the seats burn our summer legs as we climb in.

This is not the crunchy and dry California summer. This is not the verdant green, sweatshirt-clad Midwest summer. But this is our summer. Our summer, and we are peaceful. God led us to this oasis, this palm-tree laden land where our table is filled with food, where the pool is clean and refreshing and ours to enjoy, where the row of windows in the living room look out over roads and into the sky, and not into other windows.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see that this is an oasis. Our families are thousands of miles away. I do not have friends here to laugh with, friends to share a summer afternoon with. I get lost trying to find simple places like the post office. The street signs are all unfamiliar. It is hard, sometimes. Hard to be so far away from what used to be home.

But mostly, somehow, I am peaceful.

God saw what was going on with Israel. God understood. (Exodus 2:25 MSG)

Self portrait - leather couch, sheepskin, sitting on floor - Photo a Day - August Photo Challenge

Image: Day One (Self Portrait) of the August Photo Challenge.