First Day of Kindergarten

First Day of Kindergarten

Twas the night before Kindergarten, and all through the house, everyone was so nervous and excited (or nervicited as Pinky Pie would say) they couldn’t sleep.

Hair was washed and braided so it would be easy to brush in the morning.

The outfit was selected and laid out.

Backpack was packed, again.

Extra stories before bed.

Lots of talking about what school would be like.

Toes tickled, forehead kissed, little girl all tucked in…

but she just couldn’t sleep.  “I’m starting to think morning isn’t ever going to come,” she said after getting up the fourth time to see if it was time to get ready for school yet.

I was in a slightly different state of mind. My plans to print out the cutest little sign for her first day of Kindergarten photo were foiled when my printer quit on me. So I spent those hours between tucking her in and tucking her in again using her back-to-school markers to make a sign for her by hand.

Gem's first day of Kindergarten | CoffeeJitters

Our little family of three walked to school together that first morning. Another family joined us with their new kindergartener. With each new turn and cross street more people joined our walking caravan to the school. As we approached the last corner before the school, we saw families flooding together from all directions, and we could hear the chatter of what must be thousands of voices. I was not prepared for the roar of sound when we walked on to the blacktop and over to the designated line-up spot for her class. So many children. So many parents. Especially for the kindergarteners, in many cases there were two parents for each child.

The bell rang.

The kids lined up, and followed their teachers into the classroom.

The parents stood there and stared at the building. Especially the kindergarten parents. How long was it ok to stand here and stare at the building like a crazy person before it gets creepy?

The principal came out and invited parents in to the cafeteria for coffee and a hard-sell on volunteering, before we all wondered off in different directions, a little overwhelmed at this new feature of our lives.

At the end of the first day of school, she was predictably exhausted

end of first day of kindergarten

The end of the second day was as well.

end of second day of kindergarten

But every morning, she bounces back, ready to take on another day of school.

This is part of our routine now: the walk to school, wondering which families our timing will sync up with for the next 4 blocks, parents starting to recognize each other – and each other’s kids, kids recognizing each other and excitedly getting caught up on everything that happened since 3:40 yesterday, friendships forming – for the adults and the kids.

It’s a beautiful life. <3



Summer tastes like a ripe, juicy tomato picked fresh from the garden and shared with your best friend.


We recently spent a lovely summer evening with family, sitting around their new fire-pit in the back yard. The girls picked a tomato from the garden, and then shared it with each other.

We’re all heading back to school, the weather is changing, and our thoughts are turning to autumn, but it’s so lovely to savor this last little bite of summer.

coffeejitters border pink
10th Wedding Anniversary

10th Wedding Anniversary

My best friend, Dee, was helping me lace up the bodice of my wedding gown when we heard the sounds coming from another bathroom on the other side of the house. Dee looked confused, but I just smiled. I knew that sound. I knew that voice. That was my soon-to-be husband, singing his heart out in the shower just an hour before our wedding.

I took so much comfort in hearing him sing like that. Here he was getting ready for this monumental step and his heart was full of joy.Judy Schwartz and Aaron Haley Wedding 2004

Ten years later, it still fills my heart with comfort and joy to hear him sing in the shower – and it takes me right back to our wedding day.

We packed a lot into these ten years: 3 degrees, 5 apartments, a bout with cancer, and  longer period of healing from that battle, 14 emergency room visits, too many hospital overnights to count, and the most amazing little girl.

Today was our 10th wedding anniversary, and it was like a snapshot of the entirety of our marriage: It was a crazy day that included me being sick, taking Gem to school, picking her up from school, going back to the school for a conference with her teacher, going out to eat to celebrate our family, and stopping by the party  at her school on our way back home. A busy, and at times overwhelming day full of ups and downs, love, illness, school, celebrations, learning, communicating, and just being happy being together.

10th Wedding Anniversary DinnerIt’s a beautiful life.



Beauty is imperfection

Beauty is imperfection

The dress is on backwards, her (my) shoes are on the wrong feet, she’s holding her camera backwards, her hair is a mess, and there’s a dog pinned under the door. Also, the lighting is off, and it’s not well focused or composed. There is not a thing I would change about this picture. This snapshot tells a story about our life. It’s messy, and lively, and it’s spontaneous. It’s beautiful, and those little imperfections are part of what makes it… well… perfect.

I love this picture.

beauty is imperfection -

Beauty is imperfection

I have a mint green blanket that my grandmother knit for my baby. My grandmother was in her late 90s, had arthritis in her hands, and she was close to blind, but she was determined to knit this blanket for my daughter. The blanket was probably knit, in it’s entirety, several times with the number of times mistakes were caught, ripped out, and re-knitted, and yet the finished product is still full of dropped stitches. Those holes make the blanket even more beautiful to me. If the blanket was completed flawlessly, it would be easy to overlook the effort and determination and love that went into making that blanket. That’s not to say that a perfectly finished blanket made by someone’s grandma isn’t beautiful, but for this blanket, the flaw carries the story.

I struggle with perfectionism, and sometimes it’s paralyzing. I get stalled on a project because I can’t see a perfect outcome with my abilities, or with my resources. Of course, we want to do our best, but then get busy living. Those little imperfections are sometimes the best, most memorable and most endearing parts.