clairebidwell Kelle Hampton discussing how writing about the ordinary can actually be quite extraordinary, in our first workshop at Spark Retreat. As @daniwriter so eloquently put in a recent essay, "It helps to remember that every single moment you whole heartedly experience becomes part of your instrument, part of what you know." #ineedthisspark 8h

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clairebidwell Waking up in Ojai. (I didn't sleep in the hammock. Although it was tempting.) 10h

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clairebidwell California Dreaming 1d

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clairebidwell Taking @etst and @amflav to all my favorite spots on our drive up to Ojai for the Spark Retreat. Had to show them this old abandoned motel across from the ocean. It's my dream to someday buy this place and turn it into a writing center. 1d

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clairebidwell Thursday morning. Important playground meeting. 1d

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clairebidwell Ballet Wednesday. (An outtake from a couple of weeks ago since Jules and I ended up home, nursing her second ear infection this month.) I never get tired of these ballet photos. The girls always grumble at first, and then they get up there and strike the most crazy and beautiful poses. 2d

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clairebidwell Adding this one to the long list of things I never imagined upon becoming an author: having to audition to record the audio version of my own book. 2d

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clairebidwell Tuesday morning. 3d

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clairebidwell 4d

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clairebidwell Warm January nights are for backyard picnics. I love how easily impressed kids are by anything out of the ordinary. Eating mac and cheese in the backyard with the cats is suddenly a grand adventure. Vera acted like romantic heroine from the 19th century, and Jules just kept saying, "This is so GREAT." And then we all watched the sky turn pink before heading back inside. 5d
  •   dawnimz P.s. LOVE Jules' sweater. Reminds me of one I used to wear 25 years ago in elementary school. Sweet flashback 5d
  •   tammisalas Good Sunday night stuff. 5d
  •   anderslara Awesome. Wish that were an option for us in January. Sigh. 5d
  •   kellybergin JULES is wearing the sweater! So grown up. 5d
  •   clairebidwell @kellybergin Vera got MAD. And then Jules gloated. It wasn't pretty. 5d
  •   kellybergin @clairebidwell HAHA don't tell her Sadie wore it a few times, too! 😬(I love JULES' evil side.) poor V. 5d
  •   cmabeau This is adorable! 5d
  •   quirkiekids So fun! 4d

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clairebidwell Sunday afternoon. Painting in the buff. 5d

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clairebidwell Wine, tarot, and cassoulet with some of my nearest dearest. 6d

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clairebidwell I'm crying, and laughing. 6d

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clairebidwell A cake, in honor of my mother. Double-layer, pink, of course. 6d
  •   mimisp2 with Pink Frosting 6d
  •   mimisp2 6d
  •   facingwest99 6d
  •   tarascanvas Perfect :) 6d
  •   serendipity_ali We do this every year for my mama as well. How special to celebrate and talk about our mothers with our daughters. I know they'd love them so. 6d
  •   lisalocklin I'm gonna have to do this on my moms birthday every year. What a beautiful gift. Double layer pink! 6d
  •   ehud26 6d

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clairebidwell My mother lives on in these two, dancing in the aisles of the grocery store with their pearls on. 6d

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clairebidwell Half a life. Today marks 18 years that my mother has been gone, exactly half my life. As of today I have been alive just as long without her, as I was with her. There are so many milestones in my journey of grief that have given me deep pause -- graduating college without her, getting married, becoming a mother, publishing a book -- but this one, simply having survived so long without her, breaks me open in a new way. She was a lot of things as a woman -- irreverent and daring, smart and creative, absurdly beautiful and glamorous -- but as a mother, she was something else entirely. Never once in our time together did I doubt her love for me, but even more so than that, she continually demonstrated a curiosity and respect for who I was an individual, for who I was separate from who she was. She was deftly interested in me and my experience of the world. Losing her, just as I was really stepping out into the world, rocked me to my core, and has affected everything about who I have gone on to become in her absence. In the last few years, particularly as I have embarked on the journey with this new book, I have felt more connected to her than ever before, and I know that she is still part of me, and that she is proud of who I have become as a woman. I cried in bed this morning, with my two sweet girls snuggled up around me like parentheses, and when I explained to them why I was crying, Jules patted my head and laughed, and Vera said, "Well, mom, let's just talk to her." So we all stared up at the ceiling in my bedroom and talked to my mom, and I knew in that moment, that nothing will ever separate me from these girls, just as all these years have not really separated me from my own mother. 6d
  •   shhdch Ps I look forward to meeting you in Ojai this week 6d
  •   maggiegoble 6d
  •   mamag_est2007 Thank you for sharing this Claire. I lost my grandma yesterday, my mom's mom, and it opened up a new door of feelings for me. As I was telling my two little ones at bedtime about their granny Nats dying and being in heaven with my mom, my oldest said in true 6 year old fashion "they must be having a party!" Children have such a way of knowing or hearts. 6d
  •   jewelsntreasures Thank you for sharing @clairebidwell We found out this week that our daughter's birthmom passed away. There is nothing that has made me more sad for my daughter than this. I appreciate your words more than you know. 5d
  •   spring01 Beautiful words as always. Thank you. 5d
  •   islabooks I just started your book. I want to say Oh, Claire. I'm so sorry. But I'm starting to realize you have thought much more about your mom, and treasured her more, than I have about mine who's still here. It's beautiful the way you honor her. 2d
  •   kclarkeross 1d
  •   tnmfg 1d

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clairebidwell Vera has taken to hanging a lot of important-seeming signs around the house lately. I just realized that this one has been on the front door for the last 24 hours. (It reads: black shoes red sandals purple shoes, with accompanying illustrations.) I wonder what the mail man will think. 1w
  •   sparkin76 1w
  •   kmktaylor My 4yo has been taping signs and decorations everywhere, too! 1w
  •   nicholebernier14 Love old doors. I once bought one at Brimfield, schlepped it home pregnant. 1w
  •   katischehaberfield my 8 year old always tapes signs up when it is ice cream day at school (fundraising) so that I don't forget to pack $2 per child. There's usually signs hung on my door, the fridge and the bathroom! lol 1w
  •   mimisp2 Probably was the highlight of his day! 6d

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clairebidwell Thursday afternoon. 1w

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clairebidwell Thursday morning. I call this look Barbie Secretary. 1w

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clairebidwell Ballet Wednesday. It's funny how your life can seem like one long stretch, every week the same, but nothing is ever really the same is it? 1w
  •   katemarkie Cute! Do they do a ballet/tap combo class? My little one is in a combo right now.... 1w
  •   lindsaybennun Vera's lines. Like whoa. And Jules has a signature lip thing going on. Your girls really are something else. 1w
  •   amandabuck2 Yes 1w
  •   belivy I hope this will be a new series! The kids are absolutely adorable in their uniqueness! 1w
  •   brettne Is it still ballet or has it morphed into tap as well? Love either way. 1w
  •   lauriataylor Precious 1w
  •   heathercooperloves good heavens the faces. 1w
  •   texasmegan Absolutely adorable. Love from Fort Worth TX 1w

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