I Love Lamp: Back Deck Is Mostly There!

The fence hasn’t been stained yet and we’re still not sure sure about the furniture lay out etc and the ground outside needs to be re-graded but I just couldn’t wait to show you a little of how the back deck is looking right now BECAUSE WE ARE IN LOVE! Seriously. We live there now.

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This morning our pal Theresa came over with her wee ones Frankie and Lulu. Frankie and Amina were born about 7 hours and only 20 feet apart so it is the sweetest freaking thing when they get together.

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The space is baby and dog heaven. Enclosed, right off the kitchen, plenty of space to rumble, fresh air. It’s grown-up heaven too! We’ve been having morning coffee out there, reading and nursing out there, eating dinner out there…

They poured the gravel the day I went into labor, came back on Monday two days after we got home to pour the cement, then finished the fence the next day. (!!) While construction right off the house might have been some folks’ newborn nightmare, it was weirdly comforting to us. We love a good home improvement! And Amina ADORES cement trucks so I am not remotely exaggerating when I say she was visibly more excited by the two that came than the arrival of her sister, haha!

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Her sister, about whom, she is getting more and more curious and sweet with each passing day. Amina has been giving Felix kisses before she takes her afternoon nap, pulling off her socks to touch all her tiny toes, offering to share bits of her meal with her. This morning she said yes to having her in her lap and we pretended to eat the bananas off her onesie and I just about cried it was so tender.

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Aaaand I just heard her wake up from her nap! More soon.

Welcome Baby Felix!

Meet Felix Willow Weinberg!

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She’s our solstice babe, born a mere 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital. (!!)

Everyone is doing great. It is so, so sweet to see Amina and Felix together. Currently, Amina’s main way of interacting with her little sister is to a) show her her favorite books and b) touch her tiny toes.

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It’s been summery and wonderful since we got home— warm days, dramatic thunder storms, spectacular sunsets.

AND there’s been some serious progress made on the back deck! Here’s a little sneak peek:

More baby pics and more deck pics to come. For now I should probably go take a nap since that’s what all the little ones are currently doing, right?

I Love Lamp: Back Deck Begins

Today was the first official day of work on the back deck, and like with the kitchen, it was probably the loudest! It was gonna take no less than a jackhammer to get the top layer of that awkward concrete pad off.

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Technically the work began yesterday when the electrician came and moved the generator.

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But believe it of not, that just didn’t feel quiiiite as thrilling as the jackhammered pad.

Amina was vaguely curious about the demo, but seemed much more thrilled by running around the barn—

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And being the one in charge of Waldo’s leash.

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Also: HOW BEAUTIFUL OUT WAS IT TODAY??

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Oh summer, you are so lovely.

Summer and Fall Workshops at the Spruceton Inn

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Details including workshop descriptions, schedules, rates ($200-$675), and how to sign up on the Inn’s website here!

Reverse Vacay

Steven and I did the reverse vacay that most of our guests do— we went to Brooklyn!

Thank you Wythe Hotel for the loveliest stay and the little present for Baby Girl No. 2. What a wonder it was to sleep in until 8am!

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Thank you NYC for pizza by the slice.

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Thank you Roots Radical Salon and Persons of Interest for cleaning us up good!

Thank you Kings County Imperial for the best damn Chinese food.

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Thank you Mcnally Jackson for the book on books on books.

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Thank you Reynard for satisfying every pregnancy craving from fancy donut to harissa smothered sandwich.

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And thank you Mom and Dad for watching Amina so we could get away for the night before the wonderful madness of high season and the new baby both arrive!!

Springtime Means Frog Hunting and Property Improvements

It’s been a wet but fun spring so far.

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We’re trying very hard to not let the rain stop us from getting out there to frog hunt, fish, pick some flowers, hit the playground… I’ve been reading The Montessori Toddler and it’s giving me the extra push stay engaged and curious even when it can feel dreary out.

‘Tis also the season of property improvements before the summer rush at the Inn. I’ve been touching up scrapes and such in the rooms, getting screens replaced, repainting signs…

AND we expanded and re-graded our parking lot which sounds like such a snooze but it makes both me and Steven SO happy, haha!

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We’ve also got two house projects on the must-get-done-in-the-next-two-months list: Baby Girl #2’s room and a back deck for us all to enjoy!

Baby Girl #2’s room is slowly but surely coming together (pics soon!) and won’t take a construction crew to complete. The back of the house on the other hand has had quite a journey. Remember these pics from the first summer we lived here?

Here’s what it looks like now:

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That concrete pad basically serves as a spot to dry Steven’s waders on occasion and to get in and out of the basement. It’s awkward and unfinished and we really weren’t sure what we wanted to do with it longterm, but after completing the kitchen and having Amina, we realized it would be really lovely to have an enclosed outdoor space just for us.

What we’re looking to do is expand the footprint of it so it squares off the entire back of the house, then fence it in so it’s completely private. (We love you Inn guests, but you don’t really need to watch us drink coffee in our robes as we wrangle the kiddos, right?)

I am SO EXCITED. Obviously I’ll take pics and post about it as it comes along.

For now, we’ll just keep enjoying our outdoor blanket time and sunsets looking out over the new parking lot.

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We Should All Dress Like Toddlers

Seriously though. We should all dress like toddlers. Or at least like Amina dresses herself because girl is a sartorial INSPIRATION to me. I know I’m the one buying her clothes so I’m kind of giving her the supplies, but she is the one creating the art in these ensembles:

It’s kind of silly, but I really do look forward to seeing what she chooses every day, how she adds and subtracts to the outfit as the day goes on, (bandanas are BIG right now but seem to only make an appearance in the afternoons?), how she mixes all kinds of colors and prints and textures with abandon. I mean, why not put a bathing suit over tights and carry around a teapot given to you by your namesake? Maybe because it’s terribly uncomfortable and impractical, fine. Maybe we never actually left the house in that one. But all in all, dressing herself is absolutely a form of self-expression for her right now and I am loving what she has to say.

I Love Lamp: The House Lately

Did some spring cleaning. Thought I’d show you what the house looks like these days.

Last year we did some rearranging for Seder but have since gone back to this set up downstairs:

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We spend lots of time in this room with Amina rumbling around, reading books, playing with blocks and backhoes… And I love that we unpacked that bright orange Moroccan rug there right after our trip simply because we wanted to look at it immediately and that’s where it’s stayed.

Oh Waldo. Always so classy.

Oh Waldo. Always so classy.

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The main additions being a high chair on the barn door table and a swing from the rafters for the baby, no toddler, who has since arrived! Don’t know if we’re going to do two high chairs eventually with Baby Girl #2…

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Speaking of her though, we’ve got to start getting her room ready! It’s still set up as an in-a-pinch guest room/storage of non-maternity clothes and lots of art work.

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Like Amina, we’ll set her up in a bassinet in our bedroom for the first few months —

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—but I’d still like it to be ready for her by the time she arrives. What a relief to not be buying and registering for loads of baby things this time around! We keep joking that at the very least though, she has to get her own totally new outfit to wear home from the birthing center. I mean, that’s only right, right?

Bookshelf: Late Winter Reads

While my ideal reading situation is in a hammock on a summer day with a bowl of popcorn and a cold drink within reach, snuggled up by the wood stove in the winter isn’t half bad either. Here’s what I’ve been reading there lately:

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Future Perfect: a Skeptic’s Search for an Honest Mystic by Victoria Loustalot. Modern psychics. Horoscopes. Trump. I snuck down to NYC for the launch of this one because it’s written by my pal Victoria and ate it up in basically one sitting on the bus ride home.

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Brath Waite. First off, PERFECT TITLE, right? Moving on: Like most Americans, I read embarrassingly little by non-American authors so I was extra happy to realize that this book I’d been hearing about was written by a Nigerian woman and takes place there. Yes, it’s a super dark murder story on one level, but it’s also just a great window into daily life as a young working woman in Lagos and this one very particular family. Super quick chapters, totally binge-able voice.

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood. Her dad’s a Catholic priest, she’s a (frequently lewd) poet, she met her husband in a chat room at nineteen. She’s not really like anyone I’ve ever personally met or read before and I just LOVED THIS FREAKING BOOK SO MUCH. It’s a memoir mostly about the year or so she and her husband move back home to St. Louis with her family as they try to claw their way out of some medical debt. But it’s not one of those books you read for the plot. Rather, it’s her keen eye for humanizing detail, her sense of humor, and her (unsurprisingly) poetic turns of phrase. One of the only modern memoirs both Steven and I enjoyed equally.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney. This one kept popping up in my media and was recommended by several friends. There’s some wonderful writing in there, but in all honesty I have a hard time getting excited about a book that at the end of the day is about an affair between a married actor and a much younger university student.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson. It’s been almost two years since I read The Argonauts and this book came up in conversation at the bar with one of our Inn’s Artist Residents Aditi Natasha Kini who is SUCH a hoot and a talent I had to abide by any and every recommendation of hers immediately. It’s short, it’s dreamy, it’s supposedly about the color blue but about many, many other things at the same time. I also enjoyed it in mostly one sitting.

Eileen by Ottessa Mosfegh. Intrigued by the interview where she confessed that this book started out as a “joke” or mostly an exercise in attempting something mainstream that could make her money and a name, I first read My Year of Rest and Relaxation which both fascinated and bored me, then her novella Mr McGlue which generally speaking I liked more. Both were incredibly dark and full of characters you’d never want anything to do with in real life but Mosfegh has something going on that just keeps compelling me despite also alienating me. Eileen fit right in. A strange little window into one very particular woman in very particular circumstances.

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. SO MANY good lines about writing and writers and writing students. You could only pen something this spiteful and loving of that community with decades of experience. Such clear prose, such insight about everything from city life to dog owning to suicide. I’m excited to read more by her.

A Tale for The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I’ve been picking this one up and setting it down at bookstores for a few years now. I love a novel that weaves together two different stories, but I was intimidated by its length and subject matter (post-Tsunami Japan, teenage bullying). I brought it with me for my trip to Austin and really enjoyed having all that travel time to dig deep into it.

Like a Mother: a Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes. Finally! A book that goes beyond, “Your baby is the size of an eggplant and has eyelashes now!” The chapter on the placenta is worth it alone. Lots of great science and cultural critique in here. It could also be called We Know So Much More About Viagra Than We Do About Any Part of Labor Because the Medical Industry Worships Men. It’s the only pregnancy-centered book I find myself recommending left and right.

Austin Getaway

Last weekend I snuck off to Austin to meet my dear college pal Kate for a long weekend and it was just the trip I needed to get me through these last doldrums of upstate winter.

We stayed at a little spot I’ve had my eye on for a few years now called Hotel San Jose. It was hip but not distractingly or annoyingly so. And as always, it was absolutely delightful to be on the other side of the Front Desk for a change!

Our room was tucked away on the second floor as far from the pool and bar as we could get which I had not requested in advance but was totally key since I was not exactly pounding the frosé and micheladas with the rest of the guests…

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Kate’s frosé. Which yes, I totally shared with her :)

Kate’s frosé. Which yes, I totally shared with her :)

It was a great spot to call home for a few days— the blooming wisteria and the bamboo bowing in the gentle breeze made the place feel so calm even when it was packed with people. It was also really conveniently located for all the neighborhoods we’d been told to explore.

Both Kate and I had rounded up a bunch of recommendations before arriving, oh so many more than we would ever be able to eat/see/do in just three days, but I figured I’d pass along the ones we particularly enjoyed:

FOOD & DRINK:

  • Elizabeth Street Café. Sweet little Vietnamese spot just a few blocks from the South Congress stretch. So good we went twice!

  • Launderette. Classy new-American spot tucked away in a residential neighborhood. I had prawns in shishito & Iberico ham butter something or other with grilled sour dough and ooh I’m drooling again just thinking about it.

  • Odd Duck. Kinda pricey but totally delicious and experimental farm to table. We tasted everything from goat chilli egg noodles to pork belly to curried carrots.

  • Torchy’s. Franchised taco spot that looks cheesy but was really damn good. The South Congress location was an easy walk from the hotel. Must admit that everyone had talked up the fried avocado taco but both Kate and I wound up liking the barbacoa and green chili pork ones more much to our own surprise.

  • La Condessa. Fancy Mexican worth every penny. The smokey octopus something or other was just amazing. Both Kate and I felt kinda trashy thinking the chips weren’t salty enough though, haha!

  • Lick Ice Cream. Looked super sterile and boring as a location but OMG the beet & mint and the goat cheese & thyme & honey flavors were so well balanced and delicious!

  • White Horse. A low key but popular honky tonk spot that totally hit the spot for us. They happened to be live recording the band that night which was cool. We saw my brother’s freaky doppleganger and Kate hit the dance floor with an old man named Dick who reeeeally wanted to take this pregnant lady for a spin too, but by that point our rather epic day was catching up with me and the idea of two-stepping my belly around for an entire song felt insurmountable. I would totally go back and get out there next time though!

  • Franklin’s BBQ. We went but we went too late— overheard chatter in the long line about everything that was sold out already so that’ll also have to be a next-time spot.

  • Room Service. We had rooms service the first morning at the hotel in our matching striped robes and it was a really fun treat.

SHOPPING & ART & SWIMMING ETC

  • Tesoros Tradiing Company. I had an afternoon on my own before Kate arrived and I happily spent a solid hour of it at Tesoro’s fawning over textiles and jewelry and pottery. I wound up getting a few straw baskets and hats as well as a beauuuutiful vintage Bolivian blanket that’s hot pink, bright orange, and teal. (Where should it live??) Easy walking distance of the hotel.

  • Allens Boots. Also on South Congress. It’s where Steven bought Amina her little black cowboy boots when he went on tour for Fred & The Lumberjack when she was just a few weeks old. I somehow managed to not buy myself a pair and frankly I’m still shocked.

  • Uncommon Objects. No photos allowed in this vintage spot that’s set up like an antique store had a baby with a museum. Found some good weird treasures, like a peach colored metal tape dispenser for Steven which sounds odd but trust me, the guy loves his old, hefty, metal office gear. * shrugs *

  • Blanton Art Museum. Bite sized (says this born and raised NYCer) and lovely. The Ellsworth Kelly was especially serene.

  • Barton Springs. I was totally dubious that a spring fed public pool would be at all my jam, but we went on Monday morning so it was just us and handful of senior citizens doing laps and it was sooooo lovely. Barely a ten minute ride from our hotel too!

It was restorative and fun, even with all my ridiculous flight connections and ending the whole thing with a drive from the Albany airport at 2 in the morning!

It was also the longest I’ve ever been away from Amina which was good and hard for all the obvious reasons. I missed her (and Steven!) like whoa, but I was also having plenty of fun and enjoying some independence. I think the fact that Steven and I regularly split childcare 50/50 made the trip easier for me than first big trips have been for some of my other mom friends who usually shoulder more of the day to day baby care— there was no filling Steven in on what her routine is or hoping she’d be ok with him doing everything. And being able to FaceTime them for even just a few minutes each night was so dang tender. I mean, iPhone kisses aren’t real kisses, but I’ve never been happier to see a little blurry face up so close!

All in all I obviously recommend Austin as a quick vacation spot!

Baby Girl #2!

Excited for summer not just for the sunshine but especially for the arrival of Baby Girl #2!

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Woohoo! Sisters! Sisters? It’s totally new territory for both me and Steven which is kinda fun. Growing up with a brother I was always fascinated by my girlfriends’ relationships with their sisters. There was an intimacy that was just so different from the closeness my brother and I shared. Like everyone with a second kid on the way we keep wondering how the two of them will be different, how they’ll be similar. At this point we’re so convinced they’ll be different that I think we’ll be genuinely shocked if #2 comes out anything other than dark haired, dark eyed, and super shy!

Ok, back to hanging out with Baby #1!

Austin And/Or New Orleans Recommendations?

I’m popping down to Austin at the end of the month. I went for an oh so brief 18 hours when we were on book tour for To Timbuktu, but I hardly got to experience it at all so I’m really excited to have a long weekend there! I’ll be staying at the Hotel San Jose which I’ve been hearing lovely things about for years now.

Do YOU have any recommendations for me when I’m there?

I’m also considering a trip to New Orleans. I went with a bunch of college girlfriends about four years ago and it’s calling my name again. I reeeeally want to stay at Hotel Peter and Paul. Any other recommendations for down there?

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Winter

Still very much winter out here!

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Though Amina, Waldo, and I did get about an hour out in the garden the other day to enjoy some sunshine and do some summer planting scheming. So looking forward to all that.

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For now though, we’ll be snuggling by the wood stove and generally just trying to lean in to the last of winter. For the next few weeks I’m going to be covering for our Assistant Innkeeper Hannah while she’s off on a trip to Morocco (SO JEALOUS, duh), so you’ll find me behind the bar more often that I usually am.

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See ya for a drink here Saturday night?

Florida

Steven, Amina, and I snuck off to St. Petersburg (Florida) earlier this week for some much needed sun, sand, fish, and grandparent hang-time.

Amina surprised us all with a complete aversion to the soft, silky sand. Whoddathunk??

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Once we got her in sandals she was a much happier gal.

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St. Pete’s is apparently where all the Midwestern grandparents go to vacation, so hanging out with her on the beach was basically like hanging out with a movie star. EVERYONE stopped. And EVERYONE told us about their own twenty-seven grandchildren.

It was actually quite sweet.

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Steven’s folks oh so kindly looked after the little movie star too so Steven and I could sneak away for greasy baskets of fried fish, take dips in the ocean, and read while stretched out in the sun.

Ohhhhhhh it was delightful.

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We're Hiring at the Spruceton Inn

UPDATE: POSITION FILLED! Thank you everyone who applied. 

We're hiring another Assistant Innkeeper at the Inn

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Like I said on Instagram: My baby is still a *little* too young to work the Front Desk and Bar so WE’RE HIRING! Assistant Innkeeper, 30 hrs a week. You’ll be joining me and our other Assistant Hannah (@comeandgoblues) as we do the little bit of everything that it takes to run this place. No hospitality experience required. Ideal start date is ASAP, but if you’re worth waiting for, we’ll wait! Details on our website including how to apply at sprucetoninn.com/jobs

Returning to Morocco

I was nervous to return to Morocco. Excited too of course. After a long and rather relentless winter we all needed a break from daily life here.

But I was anxious about a lot of it. Would I feel stupid and tongue tied having forgotten all my Arabic? Would it be awkward with our old friends? Would the plane ride be a nightmare with a baby? Would we get sick? Would the baby sleep in all these new places? Would we feel old and unadventurous having all our hotels reserved in advance, leaving no room for spontaneous adventure?

So glad I spent all that time worrying instead doing, oh, anything else. *Smacks forehead with hand*

I want to write about 10,000 parts of the trip but look, it's already been a month since we returned and I'm only just getting around to posting so let's get realistic Casey. For now, I'll tell you about two parts:

1. The meeting of the Aminas was the sweetest thing ever. 

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We basically landed and headed straight to our old block. So many heart-melty, happy tears. Giggles. Kisses. Like I said on Instagram:

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14 years ago Steven and I met here while studying Arabic. I lived with a host family who showed me what genuine, unfussy, and fun hospitality is. We’ve been coming back for years, usually showing up unannounced at their door with a big box of cookies. This year we brought cookies and a baby named after my host Mom.

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It was so tender and fun and I somehow found enough Arabic in the recesses of my brain to communicate easily, to just chat and laugh. I've written about my love for "Big Amina" (vs. our "Little Amina") here before. It was such a joy to fill each other in on everything that's been happening in the six years since my last visit, all while Little Amina was passed around and fed nibbles and generally spoiled. 

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I'm really glad we planned our trip so that we began and ended in Rabat. Having several opportunities to hang out together put less pressure on everyone.

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Ugh, I might cry all over again just posting these photos. And by "might cry" I mean, "am definitely crying right now". Special can seem like such a trite word, but this family is so special to me, and bringing Little Amina over to meet them was basically the whole point of the trip. 

2. I really enjoyed all of our hotels.

Back in the day, we'd arrive somewhere and spend the first hour or so trekking around town with our backpacks, checking out hotel options until we found a place that was suitably cheap, convenient, and clean (enough). The combination of a) having less time but more money b) a baby and c) hotel-owning experience all came together to mean that I reserved all of our hotels in advance. I'm happy to report that it was totally the way to go and each was enjoyable in their own way.

We started at Riad Zyo in Rabat. It's Moroccan owned which is rad (I'd venture to stay that most hotel riads are owned by Europeans), and it's a less than five minute walk from Big Amina's which was super convenient.

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The staff was also oh so welcoming and accommodating to Little Amina and they seemed to take genuine pleasure in whisking her off during mealtimes. They all got quite a kick out of her name too of course!

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Being able to put her to bed in our room and then hang out on the terrace just us was also convenient and lovely.

In Marrakesh we stayed at the very "gypset", Instagram-y El Fenn which I've been stalking via design blogs for years. In all honesty, it was gorgeous but the aren't-we-so-cool vibe of some of the other guests and the level of stress they caused the staff made for a sometimes awkward and less than relaxed vibe. Not sure if that's something I would have picked up on as much were I not in the industry myself, but it felt notable.

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We were also stashed away in a far corner of the property next to the utilities and under the restaurant in what we jokingly called The Baby Annex. What it lacked in glamour it made up for in privacy which was nice because we definitely didn't worry about disturbing other guests when Amina inevitably cried. My favorite detail of the whole experience was how hilariously off-brand their crib was.

Yup, those two little windows are our room.

Yup, those two little windows are our room.

The place that takes the cake was Kasbah Bab Ourika out in the Atlas.  I am not joking when I say that the car ride there (in our itty bitty rental through washed out dirt roads that climbed up the sides of mountains as Amina slept in the back) was one of the scariest rides of my life, but it was 100% worth it! The design was impeccable, the staff so sweet and professional and efficient and welcoming, and the location simply stunning

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We stayed three nights and it felt like a week in the best way. 

Like I said in the beginning of this post, there are 10,00 more things I want to say-- about traveling with a baby (do it! people spend way too much time talking about the downsides!), about how smart phones are ruining the world (stop looking at them all the time people!), how it was kind of emotionally intense to return to a place where I've spent so much time in such different phases of my life (hello ghosts of anxiety past!)--but the baby only naps so long and the barn renovation calls so I will leave you with a few more pictures that will hopefully tell you some of those 10,00 words. 

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Frivolous

Running a hotel can feel frivolous. Especially these days. I’ve got friends who work in immigration reform, in global healthcare, with bereaved children… and I help people with discretionary income go on vacation. Womp womp

But this past weekend there was a massive snowstorm (think thirty plus inches in just twenty-four hours) and the whole area lost power and suddenly, we weren’t just helping these people have fun— we were keeping them alive. 

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I know I know! That sounds kind of dramatic. But in the depths of winter, with roads that became more impassable by the minute and all of the hotel’s heat, electricity, and running water depending on the strength of two generators well, these people’s lives were in our hands. 

Four years in, I now know that in the middle of a Mother-Nature-meets-mechanical-failures shit-show I go into an adrenaline fueled survival mode that feels eerily calm as it’s happening. It’s a deep and bright calm that immediately illuminates what is important, and as the chaos flies in my face, each problem sorts itself into one of two clear categories:

#1 Things I can control

#2 Things I cannot control

Things I can control I make a plan for immediately. I become Action Casey! Things I cannot control I do not worry about right then. Later? Oh, you bet! But right then? No fucking way, because I’ve got stranded guests to feed and comfort, a baby who needs the same, and oh what’s that? The generator attached to our house and well just inexplicably kicked the bucket? Cool. So now I have no running water at the hotel and no water or power of any kind in the house. And the snow is still piling. And it’s dark out. And it’s getting colder. 

Yaaaaaaay.

My first thought is: At least it wasn’t the hotel generator. Heat in the rooms is a necessity. A shower and flushing toilet just became a luxury. 

So did making much of a profit on this weekend.

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Steven and I can hang with “rustic”. We’ve done 120 degrees with no electricity in West Africa, we’ve done eight months in a house with no heat or hot water in Morocco, we've spent years using squat toilets that don't flush. It’s easy enough to tap back into those old selves. Especially in a house as well insulated as this one, with a wood stove and all of our sweaters on hand.

But paying guests are another story. These New Yorkers used to Seamless and Uber and landlords and constant connectivity are another story. I swear, since opening, literally hundreds of people have told me they are afraid of the dark. And it’s dark out here even when the electricity is on.

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So it’s a delicate dance, accurately conveying the potential severity of the situation to guests so they can be prepared without accidentally scaring the absolute shit out of them. (“No, I don’t think you’ll be able to head back out for dinner since I just heard troopers closed Route 42 because of fallen trees and an acci—did you bring any snacks with you? Could I tempt you with a soup and sandwich here at the bar? Tell me more about that two bedroom in Bed Stuy you said you guys might move into it sounds amazing.”) 

So Steven and I communicate with our eyes, whisper about generator error codes, and generally just keep moving and moving like we’re sharks who will die if we stop. We do NOT say aloud what we are both fearing: that the second generator will stop working and we will have eighteen people we need to figure out how to keep from freezing. (Can't control it! Won't worry about it until I have to!) 

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Obviously we all made it. The hotel generator held on, we poured free beers and discounted the rooms and sent everyone home in the morning once the storm had stopped but the power (and therefore water) was still out. Steven probably spent eight solid hours shoveling and helping push cars out of the parking lot as I bounced and nursed the baby and made coffee for guests from melted snow. Everyone hit the road in remarkably high spirits. There was a bit of a “we’re all in this together” vibe that took over the group which was very heart warming. You never know if things are gonna go the way of Lord Of The Flies.

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Steven and I could breathe easier once the Inn cleared out; now it was only ourselves we needed to take care of. Well, us and our six month old baby. But we leaned into it. We buried the meat from our freezer in the snow to keep it from spoiling. We read Mary Oliver poems about the beauty and strength of nature. We used the fold-out bed in the living room not just as a cozy place to sleep near the wood stove but as a giant mat for extended “tummy time” and now the babe can roll over on her own. We went to bed at 7pm because hell, it was dark out and we were tired.

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When the power came back on a little over two days later of course we rejoiced. We showered and flushed with abandon. We ran the space heater and the white noise machine in the nursery. (Living on the edge!) We opened and closed the fridge any time we wanted to even consider a snack. 

Oh so quickly we were back to normal. Which felt great! And then… irritating. Because all those things we couldn’t worry about when we were in the thick of it, we had to worry about and take care of now. Like fixing the fire alarm in the boiler room that got fried in the surges, washing the towers of dishes that had piled up in the bar, getting the parking lot a clean-up plow, sending out refunds and receipts, ordering more propane since we’d used nearly all of it, fixing the second generator, replying to the onslaught of unanswered emails, digging out our own car… 

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Yesterday afternoon, after getting barely halfway through my to-do list—neither Steven nor I feeling like we were getting enough done as we passed the baby back and forth—I pounded an IPA and realized: 

I wanted to punch Mary Oliver in her nature loving face. 

Oh the trees and the wild hawks and the oneness with everything! Fuuuuuck that. I didn’t need a walk in the woods or a goddamn poem. What I needed was four more beers and a personal assistant who was also a mind reader and a babysitter and a licensed electrician. What I needed was a vacation somewhere warm and Chinese delivery and to sleep through the night again one day please!

I was emotionally hungover.

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So I started to write this. Because my friend Dominique once told me, “You bitch compellingly,” and it made me laugh. And because writing can feel just a frivolous and life-saving as running a hotel.


I have to thank our neighbors who helped us through the storm as well. Knowing that we live in a community made of people who actually help each other in moments of chaos and crisis is part of what helps me keep my cool throughout it all. Thank you Gary for plowing, thank you Mike and Brian and Garrett for coming down and helping get Gary out of the ditch he got stuck in, thank you John for the parking lot clearing... Keeping our bar open so neighbors could use the WiFi and the outlets and have some free beers was the least we could do.

Also, thank you Amina for being chill AF throughout the whole thing. If only we could all be this happy with a spoon and some boob.

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