Monthly Archives: May 2012

Snippets & Quips – May 18th

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State of the Union:  Warm sunshine, summer on the brink.  Life is good.  I’ve got one more week of work left.  I’ve really enjoyed conducting final assessments and seeing how much my little readers have improved since the fall.  Of course, I am getting sentimental with these kiddos as I reach the last few days of this job…but in the end, I know that moving on to other opportunities is the right move.  On that note, I have a couple of offers on the table for new part-time jobs.  While I am thankful, I am also still in that constant state of turmoil.  Part of me really wants to jump on and ride these waves, while part of me yearns for calmer waters.  Do I go with scatter or focus? An Impressionistic blur of bustle and busy…or a still-life landscape with crisp edges and finite borders?  Both portraits are rich and full and worthy of high art, but offer such different experiences for the creator.

I am thankful… for a thoughtful husband! On Mother’s Day, Ben woke up with Everett and made me a special breakfast: waffles with homemade strawberry syrup and fresh whipped cream.  It was delightful.  That afternoon, I had a good phone chat with my wonderful like-a-mom “Aunt C” and enjoyed some summer clothes shopping by myself.  How I love to shop alone!–perusing the sale rack for an hour with no pressure to move on, dawdling in the dressing room, wandering mindlessly through the swarms of harried shoppers. A great mama’s day and start to the week!

I am learning… to just keep putting myself out there and opportunities will surface.  It can be a difficult thing to do in both the personal and professional realms, but I have found that taking advantage of any opportunity to get to know someone or explore a new experience is usually rewarding.  In the past year, I have landed job opportunities and developed many great friendships by taking a few risks and unfurling my assets, quirks, and weaknesses for others to see.  Some days, it feel exhausting–but in the end, I think it builds a richer life.

I wonder… how Ev will do on our big camping trip next weekend.  We are headed to the beach for Memorial Day weekend!  Driving to Pensacola to set up camp near the sandy shore. Everett was a fantastic camper as a 6-month old…but he was not really mobile yet.  We shall see what new adventures this second round will bring!  I will have to suppress my spazzy mom flare-ups when Everett attempts to crawl into fire ant mounds and eat sand, but I am excited to watch him dip his toes in the tide.  Perhaps he’ll surprise us all and take his first steps on the sand!

On my mind: I must get into a workout routine.  Ben and I are both in a total rut of inactivity.  I really don’t have any good excuses.  I’ve been running once a week with my friend Jess, which has been a great motivator–but it’s starting to get too hot for my defective sweat glands to cope.  My plan is to reactivate our Y membership this week and to try to do the free yoga in the park on Saturdays whenever Ben is off.  I just feel physically weak–so my aim is to focus on core strengthening and muscle tone, rather than abiding by my typical philosophy that a workout is not a real “work out” unless it involves intense cardio.

On my heart: Everett has started to show a glimmer of a desire to cuddle…for the first time since he left my womb!  He will crawl up to me and play a game where he lays his head on my chest and then lifts it to grin at me and giggle.  He repeats this process three or four times before needing to secure his independence and scurry away.  I am in heaven.  Yesterday, he even let me hold him in my lap to read four or five books in a row (we usually can’t get through 1!)  His current favorite is Dr. Seuss’ Alphabet.  He giggles at every page…especially G: “Goat in Goo Goo Goggles!”  My sweet boy.

Weekly Reader: Trying to power read through “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys” before my mom’s book club meeting on Tuesday.  It’s been an interesting read… the overarching takeaway is the importance of modeling and teaching boys how to express their emotions.  Goodbye macho man.

What’s Cooking: Garlic scapes!  So excited they are finally at the Farmer’s Market!  We discovered these gems at our farmer’s market in Minnesota and have spent the last few weeks hounding the farmers here about their harvest date.  They are only in season for a short time, so we bought 3 bunches last week and will probably do the same tomorrow.  If you’ve never tasted them, I highly recommend you harass your local farmers and check them out.  Sautee them in a little butter with salt and pepper–just like a garlicky green bean.  Yum!  Other new recipes we tried this week: Cuban black bean stew and a sausage, kale, white bean & polenta dish.  Both turned out to be good, quick vegetarian meals to add to our rotation.

“Ev”Capades: We are in a screaming phase.  My little boy’s volume dial is stuck on max decibels.  Some times these banshee calls are just in fun, but other times they are shrieks of frustration.  With being right on the cusp of both walking and forming some words, I think his little brain is telling his body to do things he can’t quite manifest yet.  Everett’s getting closer to walking everyday and will now walk while holding on to our fingers.  We are so excited for him to grasp this big move towards independence!

Happy Highlights: We toured the Hatcher Dairy Farm with my mom’s group this week.  We’ve been buying our milk from them every week at our farmer’s market, so it was great to see the farm in action.  Everett enjoyed petting the cows and climbing on the hay bales…and he got his first taste of chocolate milk.  I’m just so happy that he is able to drink milk and that we are not forking over funds for Neocate Toddler!

Looking Ahead: Ben’s on call this weekend, so Ev and I will have some mommy-son bonding time.  Next week, we’ll be gearing up for our trip to ‘da beach’!  We leave on Friday when Ben gets off from call.  We’ll be doing an anti-rain dance and hoping for smooth car travels and peaceful nights under the stars!

Petting Ivy, the dairy cow.

Milking the cow! 🙂

Climbing the hay bales in the dairy barn!

Giddy up!

Snippets & Quips – May 11th

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State of the Union:  It’s been a gorgeous week in Nashville.  Temperatures have been mimicking a Minnesota summer and the sun has been shining bright.  We have all been frolicking outside as much as we can!  On the downside… after a several month hiatus from teething terrors, they are officially back in full swing.  Poor Ev is extra irritable as he gnaws on his fingers and points to his aching mouth in distress.  I am going through a fair amount of Tylenol and patience this week, as we all await those pearly whites to break through his red swollen gums.

I am thankful… for our Nashville friends and neighbors.  We have met so many truly wonderful people here that have become our local family.  Since our “backup nanny” is out of town this week, I’ve needed to lean on them to help with babysitting on my work days.  Everett spent Wednesday morning at my friend Jess’ house and Chris and Katie took him to the zoo this morning with their boys.  And our downstairs neighbors, Amanda and Brad, are going to watch Ev tonight, so Ben and I can go out on a date.  We are so lucky to have dear friends who love our little guy and so generously offer us their time and energy.

I am learning… how to really listen to Everett. He is getting better at communicating his needs everyday, even if he doesn’t have any words yet.  If I really wait, watch, and listen closely to him–I can usually figure out what he is “telling” me.  It is exciting to start to see his thoughts and wishes come to the surface.

I wonder… how Obama’s declaration of support for same-sex marriage will influence the politics around this important civil rights issue.  I am proud of our president for taking a risk during an election year and hopeful that words carry power that will ultimately lead to action.

On my mind: Career questing again.  I just can’t see to let it rest.  While I am perfectly content with being a full-time mama, I am wondering what path I will pick up in the next five years when my kids are in school.  Will I go back to teaching AP English classes to high school students?  Will I capitalize on my master’s degree and take on a coaching or specialist role?  Or will I find an entirely new way to put my knowledge, skills, and passion to use? College-level teaching?  Administration and policy?  Back to school?  I am content with riding on the pause button on my professional track, but I do see myself at a sort of crossroads. If I am going to give something new a try, it seems like this natural break is the time to do it.

On my heart: Mother’s Day is on Sunday, so I am conjuring up good memories of my mom and missing her dearly.  I yearn to share my own motherhood joys with her and have the chance to tell her all of the ways her own mothering has nurtured my own.  I want to tell her than when Everett holds his mouth just right and subtly bites his lip, I see an exact copy of a facial expression that she used to wear when she was concentrating on a task.  I want to tell her that I give Everett a “binky” on his nose like she used to do to me… a light little tap on the nose while saying “binky” in a sing-song tone.  I’m not sure where this little gesture of affection originated (or why it was called a “binky”), but I remember what it meant:  it was a nonverbal way of saying, “I adore you.”

Weekly Reader: Not much reading has happened this week, I confess.  My nights have been busy and late, ending with me collapsing in bed rather than curling up with a book.  While I was out and about doing fun stuff like running with my friend Jess and hitting up the wine bar with my friend Amanda, I am aiming for more book time next week.

What’s Cooking: a black beans and quinoa recipe recommended by my friend Kerri, our go-to meal of Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale, and cilantro hummus that Ben made.

“Ev”Capades: Everett is finally using sign language!  I was very close to giving up, feeling like he was just not going to be a kid who uses signs…but alas–just like all my mom friends said, he started using his chubby little fingers to communicate with me!  He is pretty consistently signing “more” and “all done” at mealtime, as well as using the “more” sign for when he wants to eat.  Now if only we can get the “please” and “thank you” signs going, I’ll be happy!  The boy must show some manners with these new expressions of demand!

Happy Highlights: We had a wonderful long weekend visit with the Hart Family.  It was so great to be reunited with our dear friends after almost a year and to show them our happy little livelihood down South.  Their daughter Annie is simply a doll and entertained Everett with her spunk and charm.  We listened to music in Centennial Park, tried out the new splash park downtown, hit up Local Taco for a meal, and enjoyed a zoo excursion.  We also reveled in just hanging out after the kids went to bed–cooking, drinking wine, and having great conversation.  We are so thankful they made the journey to see us!

Looking Ahead: Ben and I are going on a date tonight!  We are going to a small music venue to see Eric Hutchinson, our new favorite singer/songwriter.  The weekend also boasts our Saturday morning farmer’s market ritual, a pot luck with friends, and no work for Ben until Monday!

Sporting his long hippie hair at Cumberland Park!

Fun at the Splash Park!

Annie & Everett- buddies at the Nashville Zoo!

Snippets & Quips – May 4th

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State of the Union:  Besides the fact that I am wrestling with a sinus infection this week, all is well in the Morrison household.  We had a great visit with family in St. Louis last weekend complete with a morning at Hartford Coffee Company–one of our favorite spots near my old apartment in Tower Grove.  And Ben continues to get home before 5:00 at least 2 days a week… I will be sad for the Nuclear Medicine rotation to end!

I am thankful… to have found great babysitters for Everett.  Our regular “nanny” while I work, Morgan, just left to go back home to Oregon for the summer.  While we will miss her, we have found Allie, who has proven to be a rock star caretaker for Ev.  I only have a few more days of work left before the school year ends, but I feel so fortunate to be able to leave my baby in such great hands.

I am learning… to accept the fact that I will not be able to keep my house clean.  As I unload the dishwasher, Everett unloads the Tupperware drawer, covering plastic lids and tubs with dog hair and toddler drool.  As I fold clean laundry, Everett unfolds it and drapes it across the floor.  As I corral toys, Everett scatters them.  I’ve never been a great housekeeper, but I’m learning that now is not the time to tackle this self-improvement goal.

I wonder… when Everett will walk!  He seems to be getting stronger and more coordinated every day, but lacking the confidence to stand up on his own.

On my mind: I’ve got a job interview next week for an assistant teaching position at the Vanderbilt Reading Clinic.  I also have applications sent off to Nashville State Community College and Belmont University for adjunct teaching positions in their English and Education departments.  Still perseverating on the possibilities for part-time work…

On my heart: I’ve got two good friends who are expecting babies this month.  Courtney will have her first in just a couple short weeks and Annie will have her FOURTH just after that.  I am so excited for both of them and am sending them positive vibes for fast and healthy deliveries.

Weekly Reader: I finished  In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard and am still working on Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.  I’m also about 40 pages into Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys.  I was disappointed with Beard’s new book, since I loved her collection of short stories Boys of My Youth so much.

What’s Cooking: a new pasta recipe from Whole Foods that turned out great- first time I ever grated zucchini!  Perhaps I will try zucchini bread now!

“Ev”Capades: Mock-walking.  Constantly.  It’s all that Everett wants to do!  Every time we go outside, he points at the push toy that sits on our porch and begs to walk the sidewalks.  He spends his time in our apartment either using the Wheely Bug as a walker or grabbing dining room chairs and taking them for spins to all corners of our house.  Everett also loves to give Otis his “cookies” when we come in from walks.  He reaches into the bag and pulls out 1-or if Otis is lucky-2 biscuits to give him.  It’s a pretty cute ritual.

Happy Highlights: Our nephew Clark’s 3rd birthday party on Saturday was a blast. My sister-in-law Annie did such an adorable job with monster-themed decorations, games, and of course a monster eyeball cake!

Looking Ahead: Our dear friends, Kerri and Phil, are coming to visit us from Minnesota this weekend.  They are bringing their daughter, Annie, who is just 4 months older than Everett.  We haven’t seen them since we moved from Rochester in June of 2011, so it will be such a sweet reunion.

Posing for a picture at Cousin Clark’s Monster Mash!