If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal—that is your success. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
—Henry David Thoreau

michaelmas spread

Welcome to Our Common Hours.

The quote above, from Henry David Thoreau, has been used countless times. I’m sure you’ve seen at least parts of it (actually a mash-up from two different sections of Walden) on Pinterest, or on another blog somewhere. I’ve seen it, too—well, the second part, at least. But, this is Thoreau we’re talking about, and his words seem to transcend the cliché; no matter how often one encounters them, they always seem new.

After five years of blogging at Monadnock Mama, I decided it was time to make a change—it’s mostly cosmetic in nature, and I plan to continue blogging about the same things I always have. (You might have noticed that some members of the site’s header got a bit of an update, too.)

In calling this new space “Our Common Hours,” I am borrowing Mr. Thoreau’s phrasing and using it in a way that I hope better describes what my blog has become over the past five years—a scrapbook of our everyday lives, together; just as he said, our common hours. The roots of Monadnock Mama stretch back to when I had a new baby and I was a new blogger. I thought that if I picked a name that sounded similar to some of the popular blogs I read (and still read!) I might trick people into thinking that I knew what I was doing – ha! But, I don’t need the crutch of emulation anymore.

I have found my voice, both in words and pictures. Both of my children are now out in the world, doing many interesting things—and, so am I. We face new adventures and challenges as we “advance confidently in the direction of [our] dreams,” and I feel like the time has come for my blog’s “identity”—essentially, its name—to reflect that shift.

But, I did not leave everything behind. I brought all of Monadnock Mama with me (and I’m leaving a copy there, too, in case people still find their way there somehow). Our Common Hours will hold all of our old memories, and will be home to all of our new ones.

lillia september
zane september

“A portrait of my children every month in 2016.”
Note: With both kids now in school, I’m shifting away from a weekly portrait project to a monthly one.

Lillia: September was a very busy month for you: Two dance classes, plus Nutcracker rep; running for Student Council VP (you lost, but put up a good fight); plus, Newspaper Club—you were even published in the Walpole Clarion (p 19). On top of that, you are dominating your school work, and currently have straight A’s (in fact, 7 out of 9 of your grades are A+’s). Your science teacher read your most recent paper to the whole class and remarked that “a highschooler couldn’t have written it better.” You’re quite the amazing kid! My favorite story this month: You happened to be passing by the library when the kindergarteners were visiting, and you immediately ran in to give Zane a hug and kiss. I think that pretty much made his year—according to his account, it was nothing short of a celebrity-sighting. Some big sisters wouldn’t give their little brother the time of day, so thank you for making him feel special.

Zane: Well, the novelty of kindergarten may have worn off a bit—it seems like I often hear, “Do I have to go to school today?” But, you always seem to have a great time once you’re there. Your teacher says that at least once a day you say something completely endearing, and I believe it. That was certainly my experience with you when we were home together. This month you’ve been playing outside by yourself quite a bit, too. I keep a window or door open so I can hear you, and I always make sure to tell you to stay in the yard, but I think you are enjoying this new freedom. And, it is time. You are five! We are lucky to live in a safe town, on a quiet street, where you can roam a little bit without me worrying. Yesterday we watched some videos of you as a baby, which is something you really enjoy. Even though I often think of you as being “little,” when I watch those videos I realize what a real kid you’ve become!