New Butterfly Garden at Pathways for Children!

Pathways before -2©Kim Smith 2014Breaking Ground!

Pathways Before ©Kim Smith 2014Pathways for Children “Before” Photo

This week we broke ground for a butterfly garden at Pathways for Children. I think it has been several years since Caroline Haines, the COO of Pathways, and I, first began discussing the possibility of a pollinator garden for Pathways. Then in the summer of 2012 we had an amazing Monarch Butterfly program for the children, and believe me when I write that it was truly a fabulous event because it just so happened that very day, several of the caterpillars pupated right before the children’s eyes! Caroline, the teachers, and the students had the “bug.”

After meeting with Caroline, Pathway’s Bernie Romanowski, and teacher Sandra, we determined the best use of the space would be to create an outdoor classroom within the flowering pollinator garden—no easy task as the front elevation is one long narrow sliver of space. Fortunately, though, the front of the building also faces primarily south, which is ideal for planting the most fun and colorful of butterfly, bee, and songbird attracting plants.

Pathways Liberty Mutual Volunteers ©Kim Smith 2014Liberty Mutual Volunteers

Bernie secured a bobcat for exactly two hours and proceeded to rip out the overgrown and diseased trees and shrubs. Under Bernie’s direction, we were then joined by a dream team of volunteers from Liberty Mutual who, in less than five hours, completely transformed the front to the beautiful canvas you see below. A fence, two- foot wide trellised pergola, and table are yet to be installed. And, the Manchester Garden Club has graciously offered to lend a hand with the planting!

Bernie Romanowski ©Kim Smith 2014 copyThe Amazing Can-Do Bernie Romanowski

Pathways new butterfly garden ©Kim Smith 2014Our Canvas

Stay tuned for more updates to come!

Reminder ~ My Garden Tour and Film Screening at Willowdale Estate Tuesday Evening

Willowdale Estate Tulips ©Kim Smith 2012On Tuesday, May 13th, at 6pm, I will be giving a free guided tour of the butterfly gardens at Willowdale Estate, located in Topsfield. After the garden tour, we will have a screening of my film, Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, and serve a selection of Willowdale’s exquisite refreshments. I hope you can join us!

For ticket information and to RSVP click here.

BST Banner FINAL To learn more about Willowdale, visit their beautiful new website here.

Mother’s Day Through the Years


Mother’s Day….what a happy, special, sometimes bittersweet holiday…to celebrate or remember…or wish and hope, or feel an overwhelming rush of mixed emotions.

The happiest of my Mother’s Days have been the most recent.  I’ve been so fortunate for the past six Mays to not only honor and cherish my own mom, but also feel the joy of being a mom to two fantastically amazing, gorgeous, and rambunctious boys.  But, not a Mother’s Day goes by that I don’t think of those who have already said “good-bye” to their own moms…..or who secretly feel an extra pang of sadness while others are celebrating because they’ve either so badly wished for children and have not been so blessed….or, unimaginably, they have had to watch their children leave this earth before them.

Not a Mother’s Day goes by that I don’t take a quiet moment to say “thanks” and to give pause to honor anyone who may secretly be hurting rather than celebrating.

My Mother’s Days have spanned over four decades….and, possibly like yours, they have run the emotional gamut.

1972:  My mom’s first Mother’s Day as the mother of me (she had already welcomed my older brother and sister into the world and was, by then, a pro).

1972-1989:  My school-aged years.  I’m sure I went back and forth as children do between celebrating my mom and missing the opportunity to celebrate her enough in my adolescent naive years.  I’m sure I made a slew of clay ashtrays (even though she never smoked) in addition to other art teacher inspired gifts.  I’m sure I wrote some poems, but I’m equally as sure I never attempted to cook for her or give her breakfast in bed…as that has never been an area of strength.  I’m sure that some years I made her smile with my thoughtfulness and other years, I am ashamed to say, I probably didn’t do nearly enough.  Either way she was always the most amazing, most inspiring, and bravest mom I know.  And still is.

1990-1994:  My college years.  I hope, dear goodness, that I at least called during these years. I was away in Virginia attending college and living the life.  For which I have her to thank.  And yet, I probably didn’t thank her nearly enough.

1995-2001: Grown-up Mother’s Day.  My clay ashtray making days were well behind me…and at some point school systems caught on to the fact that making ashtrays was not very PC.  We had some lovely trips to the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, maybe a polo match or two, and some shopping sprees.  Mother’s Day as a grown-up celebrating my mom gave me that much more respect for all that she did.

2002:  As a newly wed, Mother’s Day this year was full of “when will you have children?” or….even more importantly, between my husband and I, “Are we ready to have children?”

2003-2004: Loving being married, loving to travel, loving long days of boating and playing bocci ball on the beach….but, starting to think maybe there is more….

2005:  This was the Mother’s Day of trying like crazy to get pregnant….and starting to get irrationally angry that it wasn’t working out.

2006:  Having finally gotten pregnant, this was the Mother’s Day I had been waiting for.  The Mother’s Day where I would be almost 7 months pregnant and glowing.  But…it wasn’t in the cards.  This, instead, had somehow morphed (which seems like an odd word, but describes it perfectly in my memory) as the year that we lost our baby during pregnancy.  This was the Mother’s Day that not only was I sad…but angry and bitter.  This was the Mother’s Day that I had also learned that tumors had developed where the baby once was….and, soon there after, unkindly spread to my lungs.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was in and out of Boston doing some over night rounds of chemo.   This was the Mother’s Day that my oncologist told us that trying to conceive again in the near future was out of the question…even though there was already a crib in our basement and 1/2 of a journal written to the baby that would never be. This was the Mother’s Day that I did anything other than handle matters gracefully.

2007:  This was the Mother’s Day that, despite my doctors telling me that the best decision would be to terminate my new pregnancy because of the risk to my own health, I had refused and was now just 2 short weeks from welcoming a baby boy into this world.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was overcome with joy….and fear.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was elated….and terrified.  After Thatcher was born there would be follow up appointments to see if my tumors had come back….and those results haunted me.

2008: This was my 1st Mother’s Day…as a mom.  CatScans and follow-up appointments confirmed that no tumors had reoccured and Thatcher was amazingly healthy…as was I.  Thatcher was just 2 weeks away from turning 1 and there had never been a happier time in our lives.  Still, the hole…and the sadness, was there.  As was the thought, of “what if I had listened?”

2009:  Blessed again, this was the Mother’s Day that Finn was just 6 weeks away from gracing us with his incredibly vibrant presence.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was beyond grateful for our good fortune, but secretly felt like I was depriving Thatcher of being our baby by bringing home a new child before he was yet to turn 2.

2010-2014:  These have been the greatest of all. These have been the Mother’s Days that I have been in awe of how much the boys have grown and how crazy motherhood can be.  These have been the Mother’s Days that I don’t want to let the boys out of my sight, but, man, would I give anything for a night away.  These have been the Mother’s Days that I know I should spend the day going for bike rides with the boys and relishing in the motherhood that I so desperately fought for…but, sometimes I secretly wish that a moment of Mother’s Day involved margaritas with my other “mom friends.”  These are the days when I sit and smile as they play nicely side by side….and then think, “When was the last time I brushed my teeth?”

I am keenly aware, however, that there are others who are somewhere else on this Mother’s Day spectrum today.  And my heart aches for them…for whatever the reason.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all, whether you are celebrating or remembering….whether you are happy or sad.  Whether you are full of hope and dreams…or whether you are desperately wishing for a moment to brush your teeth and read a magazine 🙂


Gloucester High School’s Interact Club’s Pizza Taste Off Winners

Pizza Taste Off WinnersI am the president of the Interact Club at Gloucester High school, and we held the Pizza Taste Off in April. We recently awarded the prizes to the winners, and took a picture of the overall winner, and are hoping that we would be able to get the picture and a short write up on Good Morning Gloucester! Here is the article I wrote and attached is the picture!

Raising nearly $2,000 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Gloucester High School’s Interact Club hosted a successful 7th annual Pizza Taste-Off at the Cruiseport on Wednesday, April 2nd. Standing by the motto “Service Above Self”, Gloucester High School Interact Club members and advisors put in a lot of time and work to make this event happen. With donations from thirteen different pizza places on Cape Ann, voting for Best Overall, Best Crust, and Best Sauce were all tough decisions. The winner of the Best Overall category was Surfside Subs (978-281-1700, 147 Thatcher Rd, Gloucester MA). Humbled by the win, Carl Barbara of Surfside Subs told us, “The pizza is new, we just introduced it last year. It’s a recipe I’ve been thinking about since last year. So me and my manager Frank (Carini) whipped it up and people have loved it. This year we entered the contest and we’re humbled to win.”

Close behind Surfside Subs was Captain Hook’s, and then the Magnolia House of Pizza. The title of Best Crust goes to Cape Ann Pizza, followed by Essex’s new Pearly Bakers. Best Sauce, for another consecutive year, is awarded to Sebastian’s Pizza. This event was a success, and the Interact Club would like to thank all of the supporters who came to the event, the volunteers, the pizza places who donated, the Cruiseport, and would like to congratulate all of winners, as the voting was very close!
Kelly Foster
Co-President of Interact Club