Let your light shine

Dear Matthew,

When I was a young girl, I often sat beside my grandmother in the old adirondack chairs on her back lawn. One summer afternoon, as the sun’s golden rays lengthened and dipped between the cornstalks of my grandfather’s garden, she told me that her wish for me is that I would always surround myself with good people, because good people make you even better. I’ve kept her words tucked into my heart ever since and I can still see her blue eyes and hear her beautiful voice.

What I didn’t know then is that the day would come when I would drop you off at kindergarten and come home to a quiet house, without you, and realize that you, my sweet little love, are exactly who she meant.

Sharing my days with you has made me a better person. Over the past nearly six years, your laugh, your joy and your eternal kindness have enveloped me.

I am a little bit calmer because of you. A little gentler. A little sillier.

We laid in your bed recently, talking about the approaching school year and I teased you, asking you to please stay home with me because I would miss you too much if you went to kindergarten.

You looked at me, put your hand on my cheek so very gently and said, “But mommy, if I stay home, my teacher and friends will be sad.” And you know what, buddy? You’re right. They would. Because you have sprinkled my days with joy and I’m certain you will do the same at school. And they’re so very lucky to have the pleasure of knowing you, Matthew.

If my grandmother had ever had the chance to meet you…to see your goodness…I know it would have been one of her life’s greatest joys.

So, you enjoy kindergarten and let your light shine, my sweet boy.

Let it shine so very bright.

With a heart filled with gratitude,




My beautiful Katie,

I see you, with your lean arms and legs, your big girl teeth and your chapter books and your baby rolls and sippy cups are but a distant memory.

You are seven.

And seven has been a rough age for us.

You push back in ways that you never have.

You offer your endless opinions on my every decision.

You are forever in a state of negotiating.

And at times this stage delights me because you are growing into your own person, questioning, reasoning, growing comfortable in the knowledge that you are you, not just an extension of me.

But if I’m honest, more often than not, you absolutely exhaust me and I welcome your bedtime for the chance to regroup.

I worry. A lot.

I worry that I’m failing you… that there are so many things I have yet to teach you.

As you walk out the door for school in the morning and leave your backpack sitting on the kitchen floor, I resolve to work harder to teach you to be more responsible.

When you’re hard on your brother after a long day and you use that voice… you know the one… I make a mental note to be more vigilant about catching you and guiding you to speak from a place of kindness, even when, especially when, it’s difficult.

When you glare at me when you’re unhappy with a decision I’ve made, I see you as an adult who struggles with authority.

I worry about everything.

And I think too much about how to help you grow into a well-adjusted, happy, thoughtful adult.

Daddy has been away on a business trip this week. While he’s been gone, you have slept in our bed, as you have done when he’s away since you were just a toddler.

Last night, I crawled into bed beside you, hours after I had tucked you in. I rolled over and placed my hand on your back as I leaned in to kiss your cheek goodnight.

And in that instant, as I felt my hand span the width of your entire tiny back, I was reminded that you are only seven.

In the ways that matter most, you are still a little girl. And if I keep seeing you as an adult, I suspect that I will spend the rest of my days wishing I had seen my little girl while she was still here with me.

You will grow up and go and perhaps there will be things I don’t get to teach you along the way.

But I won’t waste another day of now, worrying about then.

I love you, sweet Katie, and I promise that I will work on savoring you during every part of our journey.

With a heart that is forever learning,


girl gardening


It sat in a block on the sideboard, heavy and foreign.

My grandmother’s cerulean eyes sparkled as I peeled off my layers.


“I have so many fun things planned for us,” she said.

She always did.

Every weekend.


“First we melt this big block of wax…”

Her excitement simply couldn’t be contained.


“Then, we’ll WHIP it! With the hand mixer!”

There in her entryway, these moments… our moments together… were all that mattered.

To both of us.

Coat, complete with mittens, connected by a long string that ran through the sleeves so that I wouldn’t lose them.

“And once it’s all fluffy, we’ll cover this form with it!”

Those eyes connecting with mine, her joy was just too big for her.

“Before it dries, we’ll sprinkle it with GLITTER! It will be a yule log for the table!”

This is how our winter weekends began. Yule log or Christmas trees made from last season’s J.C. Penny catalog.

The weekends stretched before us, just waiting to be filled with projects and the kind of love that filled her house so full that I’m certain it leaked from beneath the doors and warmed the outside.

This is my second Christmas season without her.

Last year, grief turned everything to a muddy gray. The lights, the songs, the joy of Christmas were heavy and intrusive and my mere existance was set to auto pilot.

I thought I understood grief. I’ve lived a lifetime without my father. Grief has always occupied a space inside me that’s low and throbbing. My grief there from so early on, like a ring deep within a tree.

But this. This is different. This guts me.  There’s a stabbing pain that jars me when I least expect it.

When I see the perfect chunky silver glitter that I just know would glisten perfectly on whipped wax. Or when that Restoration Hardware tome cries out to be turned into a tree. In an instant, the pain in my chest is so intense that I have to sit down. And remember to breathe.

I thought I knew grief.

I thought it would fade and live alongside my grief over losing my father.

I suspect I was wrong.

Perhaps grief is like a snowflake. Each loss different from the next. Each individual crystal so amazingly unique.

Party people: An Invisalign giveaway

My lovely friend Cam Bowman, who blogs over at Growing Up Goofy, graciously offered to co-host a fun Invisalign party with me last weekend.

There was fantastic food and sangria (courtesy of Cam’s amazing menu planning, party planning and amazing cooking!).

There were photos.

There were smiles, laughter and tons of questions from everyone.

We ate, drank, laughed and learned a ton about Invisalign. cocktail napkin pears with gorgonzola caprese skewers 2014-09-17_0005.jpg eppa sangria 2014-09-17_0007.jpg 2014-09-17_0008.jpg 2014-09-17_0009.jpg 2014-09-17_0010.jpg

I was never able to have braces when I was a teen and once I was into my adult years when I first heard about Invisalign, I assumed that my window had closed because I always thought that Invisalign took forever to work and that it was much more expensive than traditional metal braces. Nope. Totally wrong.

It turns out that the average Invisalign treatment is 12 months for adults. And the cost? Roughly the same.

Now that I know that, I think an Invisalign treatment may just be in my future, because really, what’s 12 months?

And when Katie and Matthew are older, we’ll be turning to Invisalign Teen because I love that there’s a less socially-awkward option than traditional braces that allows them to play sports without risk of injury and doesn’t leave them sneaking if they want any of the foods on the banned items list. (Teens are going to eat candy and chew gum. It’s a losing battle if we think otherwise!)

Special thanks to Drs. Cater and Galante for joining us for dinner and staying to educate us and share so much great information.

If you’re like me and you think you know what Invisalign is about and think it’s not for you, this Straight Talk: Smart Path to Straight Teeth Infographic has so many more details about why Invisalign is such a great option.

Thank you again, Cam, for co-hosting this fun event with me. I’m still dreaming about your Pots de Creme!

And to those who joined us, we’re so grateful that you set aside a Saturday night and spent it with us.

Finally, if you’ve always dreamed of getting Invisalign, it might just be your lucky day. Simply enter below for a chance to win a full treatment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Although this is a sponsored post, all of my opinions, as always, are completely my own.

Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza

Brussels sprouts pizza, pancetta pizza, Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza

It’s September, but that doesn’t mean that the best of the fresh produce is behind us. I can’t get enough Brussels sprouts at this time of year, so I’m using them in any way I can dream up. This weekend, that meant Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza. This amazing dish will be in heavy rotation at our house this fall!

Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1⅓ cups shredded Parmesan
  • 1 shallot, sliced into thin rings
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • pizza dough
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, with a bit extra for brushing the crust
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Lightly flour a baking sheet and shape pizza dough.
  3. Brush pizza dough with olive oil, then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Set dough aside.
  4. Rinse and drain the Brussels sprouts. Cut about ¼ inch off the stem end of each sprout and peel off the leaves. When they become difficult to peel, trim off another ¼ inch and continue removing leaves. Repeat the process until you have peeled off all the leaves; discard cores.
  5. Set leaves aside.
  6. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with kosher salt.
  7. Increase the heat to medium high and add Brussels sprout leaves. Saute until the leaves are bright green and slightly wilted but still crunchy, roughly 3 minutes.
  8. Transfer leaves to a paper towel.
  9. Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium low and sauté pancetta until crispy, approximately 5 minutes.
  10. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  11. Sprinkle pizza dough with ⅓ cup Parmesan.
  12. Top dough with Brussels sprout leaves, pancetta and shallots.
  13. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
  14. Remove pizza from the oven and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
  15. Serve!


About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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