This is what greeted us as we pulled into the neighborhood - we had to pull over and catch it. No filter.
This is what greeted us as we pulled into the neighborhood – we had to pull over and catch it. No filter.

Chapel Hill was hanging out in the high 90’s for far too long, and we needed an escape the hot hot air, so we headed North, to Fries, in the mountains of Virginia, just over the border from North Carolina.

We took Sean’s mom with us. It was Felicity’s first time up at the cabin, and she not only facilitated me reading a book and having writing time (thank goodness for grandparents!) but she managed to read SEVEN books herself. It was that kind of week. One mostly spent just sitting on the porch, enjoying the milder temperatures and doing almost nothing.

We did make a couple of forays out – to the creek off of the New River where Maya sat with Sean on rocks mid-stream, to the wonderful consignment and antique stores in Galax, to the ice cream parlor, and to the grocery store. But that was it.

The cabin has very little phone service and no internet, so it opened up so much space for Maya to learn how to play dominoes, to do puzzles as a family, and to watch The Wizard of Oz with Maya for the first time. She loved it. She is not yet so technologically advanced and jaded that she scoffs at the old production value. It was still magical. Now she requests that I do the “bad witch” voice while she pretends to be Glenda or Dorothy. “I’ll get you, my pretty – and your little dog, too!”

We found pink beginner roller skates at the consignment store and Maya was on the moon. Thereafter, three or four times a day, she would suit herself up in the helmet, knee pads, and pull the skates over her white lace ballet flats and practice going back and forth on the porch. She graduated quickly from needing full support to scooting along on her own.

It has been a long time since the cabin has felt like a getaway for me – I haven’t been able to sit down and read with small children needing my hands, but this time, with more adults than kids, and Maya becoming so independent, it felt like a relaxing break.

Maya trudged, nude, up and down this hill between the cabins all day every day. THAT is vacation.


Nana with Maya


Lola, photo credit: Maya


I had no idea she was taking this. Photo credit: Maya
I had no idea she was taking this. Photo credit: Maya


Nina, photo credit: Maya
Nina, photo credit: Maya


Cole, photo credit: Maya
Cole, photo credit: Maya


June in Pictures (in Mid-July)

She is calling this her “Elsa braid”
She does not like having her picture taken. Most times, it’s a sneak attack on my part.
“Look, Mama, it’s a heart leaf!”
Serious old man at the pool
We weren’t sure who Cole looked like (Maya looks exactly like Sean), until we saw this picture of my sister, Audrey.


I Heart Eighty Degrees

porch Cole

I have no idea what the temperature is outside right now, and it’s still very muggy, but it is well below the high 90s that have blanketed our days in the past few weeks.

There was a big storm last night – the first one to actually spook me in a while – I thought a tree may very well come down on us. The porch door flew open of its own accord; I considered moving into the basement.

But this morning, it was cool in the early hours. I would have rather been sleeping – the storm and a restless baby had left me bereft of the necessary REMs, but Cole and I were up before most others and we swayed with the Ergobaby and coffee on the drenched side porch. Few cars passed by. We could hear frogs from our creek (swamp) and birdsong. It was the first time in a long time that I wanted to be outside. I appreciated that, even as my eyelids pulled down on me.

Now, it is later in the afternoon, and the air is thick and heavy with southern damp, but we are on the screened porch. The rain comes back in short reminder-bursts, seemingly in a steady effort to keep the temperature down and the trees bowing under water’s weight.

Cole is happily, lazily, lounging in a bouncy chair, and I am able to write. He has not approved of being put down the last few days. Maybe I can get ten minutes before he stirs if I set him down asleep; if I’m lucky, I get thirty. It’s as though he struggles with sleep-surrender unless his body touches mine, preferably if I am erect and walking. There is nothing sweeter. Sleep and productivity for me have been staccato.

But now, out of the omnipresent air conditioning, sinking in amidst the swoosh of passing cars, the caws and hoo-hooos (who-whoos?) of large birds, the breath of blown tree limbs, and the intermittent patter of rain, he is soothed: his senses, I imagine, engaged and satisfied beyond what a sound machine provides.