Holding Butterflies

Not too tight, not too loose

I’m excited to show you my new house.

Welcome to our house! Excuse the mess; it’s still under construction. But we are getting close. We’ve owned two houses in twenty years, but in those houses Bill and I have finished basements, gutted a kitchen and bathroom, installed extensive hardscaping, and built pools and decks. This farmhouse is our first (and last?) experience in new construction. Building the house wasn’t even on our radar a couple of years ago… Read More

Week in Review, 5/6

We’ve had a jam-packed spring, which culminated in a huge string of days last weekend. Here we go… Matthew’s Junior Prom was last Thursday. A sweet group of kids met at the farm for pictures, and then they were off to One Midtown Kitchen for dinner and the Fox Theater for dancing. They ended the evening back at our house for breakfast and some time to just hang out. One.. Read More

Travel Odds and Ends

Thank you for reading my series! Even though I missed a couple of days, I have had so much fun recounting our family vacations as I’ve written this series. Since October is over, though, I’ll close with a few thoughts about doing the unexpected. Some of our favorite vacation memories come from doing the thing that “other people” do, not us. The thing that seemed too fancy, or indulgent. It.. Read More

While You’re Out

This post is a little random but I have some thoughts about what to carry while you’re out and about. Traditionally, I carry a large handbag or backpack when we are out sightseeing. It holds my (large) wallet, the camera, a guidebook, maybe a water bottle, sometimes a sweater. It’s convenient in case we make a couple of purchases while we’re out, because they could be tossed in the bag,.. Read More

Smile for the Camera!

You, Mom. Yes. YOU. Of all the ways to remember our trips, photos have always been the best way to preserve those memories. And I am in almost none of them. My number one photography tip is to make sure that the photographer gets in front of the camera a little bit every single day. In my family, I’m the shutterbug. That means that I have tons of shots of.. Read More

Don’t forget to remember.

I love that the French word for remember is “souvenir.” That’s exactly how I feel about the things we’ve bought in our travels. After a lot of junk purchases, I’ve discovered a couple of basic ideas for buying souvenirs while we’re gone. That apron I’m wearing in that picture is one of my favorite purchases, and I think of Windsor Castle every time I put it on. Plus, it is.. Read More

When Bad Things Happen…

Even on vacation, life happens. We’ve had bickering, exhaustion, stitches, broken bones, and IVs while away from home. How do you keep the bad things from taking over your vacation? Plan, but don’t cast those plans in stone. The name of my blog is “Holding Butterflies” because that is how I feel raising my kids–I hold them, but not so tight that I damage them, and not so loose that.. Read More

In Praise of Small Museums

The Louvre. The British Museum. The Smithsonian. Huge names. Huge museums. Sometimes, they really are too much. And it’s easy for them to dominate your attention. But today I want to encourage you to look for the little museums in your travels. When I pay to go somewhere, it’s easy for me to feel like I’ve obligated us to look at Every. Last. Thing. And then, before we’ve realized it,.. Read More

Private Guides

I know, it sounds crazy, over-the-top extravagant. But let me tell you about our experiences hiring a private guide. In 2014 we took a trip to London during the summer high season. We expected crowded sites to be overwhelming, so to help us plan our trip we hired the completely delightful Henrietta Ferguson for a few days in the city. The first morning she met us at our house. I.. Read More

Where to Lay Your Head

We’ve stayed in hotels, houses, apartments…even a houseboat! I think that the kind of place you stay really effects how you feel about the vacation. Hotels I think this is the default vacation lodging choice. There are six of us and my husband does NOT like to be packed in, so fairly quickly we started getting at least two rooms when we travel. And yes, we put all the kids.. Read More