State of the Union: We have been busy, but having lots of summertime fun! We spent Memorial Day weekend camping in Pensacola. Everett was enamored by the beach and could have happily played in the sand and tickling tide for hours. It was a HOT weekend though, so we had to limit our outdoor sun exposure time to early morning and early evening. He still slept peacefully each night in the tent, but naps were a different story. Given that the heat turned our tent into a daytime sauna, we were sentenced to afternoon drives with hopes that the roaring A/C and motion would bring Ev a few sandbags. All in all, we had a wonderful little vacation. Everett got to break lots of “rules”–very little napping, staying up past bedtime, and eating lots of salty Goldfish crackers in the sand. Despite the lack of sleep and excess of junk food, he was a “happy camper” once again and we look forward to our next outdoor adventure!
I am thankful… for my solid and loving marriage. Ben and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary this week (and that’s 14 total years since our first kiss in case anyone is counting!) To celebrate, my thoughtful guy made me dinner Sunday evening. Thanks to online archives of Gourmet magazine, he located a recipe that he cooked for me in December of 1998 when I came home for holiday break from college. I think it was to celebrate our 6 month “anniversary” of dating–a real milestone at the time. He was just a senior in high school, but he knew well enough to take his wooing prowess to the kitchen. I remember being highly impressed by the meal complete with different wine pairings for the appetizer, entree, and dessert–though at that time, I think we both thought wine tasted like rotten grape juice and we’d probably never even heard of a kumquat. While both our palates and love have matured, the dinner still tasted just as delicious and made me feel even more special than a lovesick teenager. Sauteed Chicken Over Wilted Spinach With Kumquat Sauce–food to nourish memories and the heart.
I am learning… how to be artistic! This past week, I went to one of those “sip and stroke” places where you bring your own wine and an artist guides you step-by-step through the process of turning a blank canvas into art. I usually cringe when I have to free-hand a stick figure, so I figured this would be an experience but did not expect to bring home anything wall worthy. Once I let go of my perfectionist urge to make each brushstroke follow the exact trajectory as the modeling artists’, I felt a sense of calm and play take over. Blending, streaking, smudging, dotting, blotting…oranges, pinks, and shades of blue ultimately turned into a decent– if not pleasant–sunset scene. I must make time for this type of creation more often. While there is no latent Picasso here, I think there could be a new hobby tugging on my sleeve.
I wonder… if I need to change the title of these blog posts. My “snippets” seem to be growing into full-size canvases and my “quips” are more like reflective wordstorms. “Blankets and Yarns”? Doesn’t have the same ring.
On my mind: Letting go of opportunities. I have lots of thoughts on this experience that I will save for a longer post, but I turned down two different part-time job opportunities last week. The short story is that neither were a perfect fit and I have reconciled my identity crisis enough to realize that I really just want to focus on being a mommy for a little while without always having that “something extra” on my plate to fulfill me but also to nag me and make me feel torn. I’m going to use this time of career absence to find something that I have lost in adulthood….or more accurately never quite found: hobbies.
On my heart: My friend’s brother who suffered an aneurism while studying abroad. He is making some progress and will likely be airlifted back to the states this week, but has a long road ahead to recovery. While these types of situations are always hard for everyone close to the sick or injured, I find myself with a different and deeper emotional tug now that I am a mother. My heart goes out to his mom, who has been wading through a different language and culture to be in a foreign country’s ICU with her son. I just can’t even fathom that level of worry and heartache and desperate hope.
Weekly Reader: I’m about halfway through Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. I am loving the narrator’s matter-of-fact and unadorned voice that tells an intriguing “true-life” tale of American history, while showcasing the richness of an individual’s adventure through life. After doing extensive family research, Walls is telling the memoir of her maternal grandmother–another beautiful blending of fiction and nonfiction spun with an unexpected tone. It’s hard to rival her first work, The Glass Castle, which will forever stand in my top five list, but I am enjoying the read quite a bit.
What’s Cooking: We decided to join a meat CSA this year and have been really happy with our first month’s bounty. So far we’ve had pork chops, a steak, Italian sausages, and hamburger. It truly does taste better than anything we’ve purchased from the grocery store and we feel good knowing that it comes from a sustainable farm just miles from our kitchen. We are also on a beet kick again, roasting up some yellow and red jewels from the farmer’s market to decorate an arugula salad with parmesan and walnuts. Yum…looking forward to that meal this week!
“Ev”Capades: On Friday (June 1st), Everett officially took his first steps between me and Ben. There were only about 3 topsy turvy shuffles, but he made it as a biped for that short route! He is getting pretty comfortable holding our finger and walking, cruising on furniture, and even doing some rocking downward facing dog poses in preparation for a free stand-up. I think we only have a couple more weeks before this boy is running and never stops! Sign language is going great–he has mastered “please” and seems to be able to follow one-step directions more and more aptly everyday. We gave up bottles about 3 weeks ago and except for Everett’s desire to rise with the sun (at 5:20), he is sleeping really well: about 10-11 hours at night and one big nap in the afternoon that often lasts 3-4 hours.
Happy Highlights: This past weekend, Ben participated in the first annual Sylvan Park Yard Olympics. A plan that he plotted with our friend Chris turned into a truly impressive showing of fraternity and frivolilty. While Ben contributed his heavily worn washer’s set, Chris and some of our other neighbors put a ton of work into the Saturday event that included 36 guys (18 teams) competing in 9 events ranging from “beersbee” to “cornhole” to “darts”. There were even opening ceremonies that included a torch lighting. The gals mostly corralled the kiddos, but it was a lot of fun to watch a bunch of grown men be silly and soak up their share of competition, sunshine, and beer, of course. Here’s a “promotional” video that our friend Chris made to give you a taste of the shenanigans.
Looking Ahead: June! So much to look forward to this month! How is it already summertime? I’m looking forward to lots of pool and splash time with Ev. This week my mom’s group is heading to a great new splash park downtown and to the zoo. I’m so thankful to have found Band of Mothers–such a great group of women and kiddos! I’m also excited for my friend Deborah to come visit, who I have not seen in about 4 years–and also to see my dear friends Julie and Stef who will drive to St. Louis from Minnesota just for a reunion with me. My St. Louis visit will also include meeting new babies! Baby Winnie and Baby Asher are here and doing great! And here’s hoping that my new nephew-Baby Max-will be here by my visit as well. So many tiny toes to tickle and mamas to hug! I can’t wait!