atlantic ocean 2
pond pine cones
pine forest
atlantic ocean 1
mom and elle
west virginia 2
rosemary at the ocean
loblolly pine by samantha spigos
woodpecker damage to a swamp tree by samantha spigos
the ocean at sunrise by samantha spigos
rosemary sleeping at sunset by samantha spigos
west virginia 1

A compilation of images from an impromptu female road trip to South Carolina’s Lowcountry last summer. It was one of the most beautiful weeks of my life: introducing my daughter to the ocean, and fumbling across the hot sand with my sister and mama. I witnessed for the first time loblolly pines, cypress knees, and Spanish moss. I was not ready to share these images a year ago, but today I am. That topmost photo remains my favorite image of Rosemary and I, from her very first encounter with the Atlantic.

Have you taken a spur of the moment road trip somewhere? If yes, where to?




In the last four weeks, we have participated in no shortage of self-induced upheaval, insomuch as we went from having Very Routine Lives to routine-less, travel-heavy existences in far flung spots on the map. This was a month that saw our toes in the frigid Atlantic and laughing at seals while aboard a fishing boat named Dasakamo; a month that watched us move out of Vermont and into a two-story brick house in our home state; a month that had us pouring Austrian beers at a resort biergarten not two days after weeding a dahlia patch on a friend's produce + flowers farm in the middle of nowhere. Nothing has felt routine save the baby in Sam's belly kick, kick, kicking. Which, as it were, occurred for the first time at the beginning of this whirlwind month during a magical trip to Peaks Island, Maine . . .

As vacations are concerned, this one was especially memorable. The five of us stayed with a positively inspiring couple in their oceanfront home on Peaks Island. Not a bad place to conduct our final hurrah. There was a lobster dinner with the day's catch, cooked in ocean water. There were sauna sessions followed by a mad dash into the numbing waters of the Ocean. Morning walks around the island ushered in our days; a late night movie capped them. And a few hours before traveling home, we were treated to an impromptu, breathtaking tour of Casco Bay by way of our host's boat. We rode by pairs of mega-athletes tethered to one another, swimming from island to island (excuse me?) on our way to Chebeague Island, a rural fishing island that was inexplicably home to mouthwatering breakfast sandwiches and pastries. We purchased Robert McCloskey's One Morning In Maine for our baby because, you know. A month later we're missing our friends to be sure, but relishing what was a perfect coda to our time in the Northeast, lived alongside some very special people.





Last Sunday, our entire immediate family — 15 of us — flew or drove to Quincy, Massachusetts to surprise Erica, Sam's oldest sister. She entered religious life with the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth in July of 2016 and is currently in formation. She was gifted a five-hour long "family day" and was incredibly excited to know that we were coming with Sam's parents. She never dreamed that all 15 of us would be waiting for her. We rented a house and hugged and laughed and cried and ate pastries and soaked up every blessed minute of those five hours. Everyone had a verbal present for Erica — be it song, poem, letter, rap, or in our case, a blog post. Below is what we read aloud to her. Mark took all of these photos. It's a gift in itself to be able to relive the radiating joy which, if you ask us, was probably making the house physically shine. To everyone who loves Erica, we hope you feel like you were there with us, with her. In spirit, you were. —m+s

Currently, 15 of us are under the same roof, either asleep or awake, but no matter the case, there lives a deep and familiar sense of anticipation. Earlier today, all of us were en route to Boston for a two day Rendezvous Of The Highest Order. By way of plane, train, and automobile, our caravan has arrived. Because, as perfect timing would have it, our sister— the one who lives in a convent and is becoming a religious sister — has been given five hours to be with her family, us. And as perfect timing would have it, this week we all found ourselves journeying from Colorado, Ohio, and Vermont to make this given gift a reality. Can't say how we all managed to pull this one off, only that we have and that a reunion of this sort has us intoxicated with gladness.  

When we tell people we have five hours to be with Erica, they tend to be shocked by what sounds like a lack of time. Understandable, sure, as five hours isn't much time. But, ah! It is! Let us shout it from the rooftop, It is enough, It is enough, It is enough! Last summer, when having a nun for a sister felt impossibly hard for Sam to adjust to, Erica wrote that maybe it would be a cathartic and healing process to put into words, here on our blog, what she, Erica, might be thinking and experiencing. It was inconceivable that either of us ever be able to do this. How could we imagine, much less put into words, what Erica— spiritual gangster, brilliant beyond reason, and hilariously lovable Erica—would be thinking? Impossible. Impossible until this evening.

Of all the nuggets of wisdom, of all the emotions felt, of all the letters exchanged, I feel assured that the thing that Erica would want us all to experience is, really, quite simple.
To want what we are given.
That's it. That's it and it's everything.

She would want us to let this truth that says that happiness is Here + Now ring out like a joyous symphony in our hearts. She would want us to know that the Lord she has devoted her life too is Generous + Unceasing in love. She would want us to embrace the reality that what we are given in life, by God, is All Gift, as she puts it. She would want us to feel freed of the bondage of wanting for more, just as she is free in the convent despite a life that, from the outside, must seem terribly Un-Free. She is free and so are we. 

And this is how five hours can be just enough. 
A morning update: Very shortly we're heading to get our Eri. It's an enormous surprise. The 15 of us are in various states of readiness — especially the 15th, a tiny baby girl, no bigger than a mango, who is hard at work growing inside her mama's womb (blog note: that's my future sister-in-law, not me). Today is everything. When you want what you are given, 5 hours is Totally + Completely enough. 




When it comes to being in love, words have never done my heart much justice. It almost seems a disservice to attempt any sort of quantification of what position love assumes. Still, I feel drawn to marking special occasions with some amount of written word. Love letters, I guess. For all that I have yet to understand about marriage, or the incredible chaos of love, I do know that I'm thick in it. So when I sound maddeningly like mush, as I am oft to do, let us blame Mark. As it were, in a couple days he will have been rounding the sun for a quarter-century. 25 on the 29th. Without further rambling, here's a "happy almost birthday" commentary on my best ever life accomplice.

If you know him, you love him. Affable, gentle, with a touch of grandiosity in his storytelling. Smarter than most of us, but brilliant because he doesn't care for being smart so much as he simply loves to learn. Always saying he knows nothing about music because he "does not know music theory", yet he constantly fills our house with melodies from his piano, ukulele, percussion instruments, and a soon-to-arrive violin bass guitar. Skims every page of the newspaper before throwing it into the fire (a similarity to my grandpa that I am convinced is not coincidental). Will happily talk sports for hours with anyone interested, but just as easily discuss the merits of linen versus cotton with his wife. Will make you feel there has never been a better cook than you, and he means it. A real slam dunk of a human being. 

Thanks for building every fire and for keeping our house — literally and proverbially — warm.
(P.S. Can't wait to have your babies.)

All of these images are from our journey to Greece in May 2016.
Photos 1 & 3 were taken by Mark, and are two of my all-time favorite images. Though none so good as photo 4.