A Work in Progress

Where did we really begin?

It was the first glance. If “OMG” and texting had been the norm, my friends would have been sick of hearing from me that day.

It was the first kiss.  I liked him, oh so much, but was attempting to play it cool.  I wanted the opposite of what I had just come from, to be aloof in the face of love.  But in the end, confusion clouded my thoughts.

It was the first date.  On Valentine’s Day, a movie, fancy truffles, and making out were on the agenda.  Being that I was a senior, and it was a Saturday, I was allowed out until midnight.  Being that he was a junior, and a rebel at heart, he had gotten himself grounded.

It was the first admission of love.  On a regular night of chain smoking and diner coffee, I told him, through serious, “I really mean it,” tears.

It was the first separation.  All in all, a span of twelve months.  In the face of Italy, New York City, London, Spain: my thoughts drifted back to him.

It was the first “this isn’t working.”  In what twisted reality does a high school romance really last?

It was the first exchange of vows.  Among friends and family, we made a promise to something bigger than ourselves.

It was the first child, then the second.  Those tiny, entrancing, beautiful beings that made everything around us simply stop for a moment.

It was the first thought of escape.  The grown-up life of marriage/house/children/career felt more like sacrifice than happiness.

It was the first realization.  We have so much more to learn from each other, more love to cherish, more paths to explore.

Where did we really begin?

We are a work in progress.

And oh, what an fantastic work it is.

Posted in Family, Marriage | 4 Comments

A Year in Happiness

I welcome the new year lovingly with open arms, laughter, and a smirk.  I flippantly wave goodbye to year 2011, a small part of me wondering if perhaps a double middle finger is in order (this is the same small part of me that only swears when #1: children are not present #2: I am slightly intoxicated #3: I am talking about something that gets me riled up such as “Legos for girls!  They’re pink!  RUN to the store!  Aren’t those marketing researchers brilliant?!?”).  Last year was not unlike the first weeks and months after a baby is born: you get through it because you have to.

2011 delivered so many changes, so quickly, that it was hard to catch my breath.  The new year started with an error in judgement on my husband’s part.  We rode the roller coaster of Jake quitting and gaining a new job, to find that the same old monsters hid underneath the shiny exterior.  My parents world drastically changed, leaving the rest of us, my sisters and I especially, trying to navigate through the rocky terrain.

But it is unfair to judge 2011 so harshly, to focus on the negative without highlighting the brilliant light that was always there, shining through the cracks.  Moments of happiness peaked through every day.  Last year delivered more happiness than I can account for, now that I try to recall: Lily’s sweet “I love you, Mama” and watching her boldly step into her own kindergarten self; Vivienne’s intense gaze and small hand stroking my cheek; weighty goals accomplished; secrets shared between friends over a cup of coffee, a martini, a lunch; insanely fun adventures traveling to new places; connecting with a family who “got” us, with love and acceptance, from the very beginning; joy in first birthdays; new opportunities to grow our careers; promises vowed and love renewed.

2011 threw some curveballs and piled on the complication.  But happiness was always there.  Happiness IS always there.

Sometimes it is hard to know where you left it, and where to look.  Sometimes you forget that there is always someone there waiting, wanting to hold you when the light is just too hard to find.  Sometimes you don’t realize your world creates itself through the choices you make, and even when you are utterly stuck, a path can always be uncovered.

A new year marks a new beginning like a breath of fresh air.  I breathe in the hope, the humor, the love, and wrap my arms around 2012.

Posted in Family, Friends, Marriage, Work | 2 Comments

My Husband is Fabulous

My husband, Jake, is fabulous for many reasons, most of which I probably don’t talk about enough, and definitely don’t blog about enough.  Stepping through the doorway after coming home from work, it is oh-too-easy to focus on the wet laundry in the machine, mountains of dirty dishes piled up, random toy bits scattered about the living room.  Why isn’t is just as easy to focus on the wonderful dinner waiting to be served, the fact that he took our daughters to the grocery store and taught them about new foods, that he is the kind of dad who sits on the floor and plays dolls?

My husband is an incredibly fabulous man.

Case Study #1:

Jake has been an Executive Chef for the last five years.  His drive, passion and commitment lend itself well to the culinary industry, and he seemed to thrive on the 50-80 hour weeks.  He recently took a position as a Sous Chef and now works a *gasp* 40-hour work week.  So what has happened to those other 40 hours he often worked in his job before?  He grasps at any opportunity to be creative with cooking, which often leads to fabulous results.

Our friends held a jello shot party tonight.  These were their rules: “Don’t buy a package of jello at the store for a few bucks and throw some booze in there.  This is going to be a hard core jello shot party, with prizes!  Prizes will be awarded for 1. fanciest, 2. most unique, 3, most delicious!” This is what has consumed Jake for the last week (We are SO going to win all of those prizes.  Do you like how I say “we” like I had anything to do with this?).

Jake’s Jello Shots

#1. Pancake and Bacon; buttermilk pancake base, bacon infused vodka and maple “jello,” cooked bacon

 

 

#2. Dirty Martini; vodka, vermouth and olive juice “jello,” cocktail olive

#3. S’more Shot; (nonalcoholic) graham cracker “shot glass,” chocolate panna cotta, homemade marshmallow fluff, toasted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4. Bloody Mary; jalapeno garlic infused vodka, tomato juice, hot sauce, bloody Mary seasonings, celery, gerkins, black sea salt

#5. Rum & Coke; coca cola, rum “jello,” mandarin orange vodka “jello” (for the ice cubes)

Cheers to fabulousness!

Posted in Arts & Crafts, Friends, Marriage | 4 Comments

Thirty Then, Thirty Now

To celebrate this milestone birthday, I decided to do something I do well: make a list.  What are your “then’s” and “now’s”?

30 Things I Did Before Turning 30

  1. Graduated with two undergrad degrees in four years
  2. Traveled to Italy, Germany, England, Finland, Denmark, Holland, France
  3. Honeymooned in Ireland
  4. Bought our first house
  5. Quit smoking (8 years ago)
  6. Went skinny dipping in the ocean on the coast of Spain
  7. Birthed a beautiful baby girl
  8. Birthed another beautiful baby girl (at home)
  9. Kept decade-old friendships alive and made a 30th birthday celebration girl-trip to Portland happen
  10. Had a couple blurbs published in Mamalode
  11. Watched the movie “Clueless” so many times I have the entire script memorized
  12. Beat my goal of losing 30 pounds in 30 weeks by losing it in 15 weeks (a loss that now hovers between 36-40 pounds, depending on the day)
  13. Started writing for fun again and joined the throngs of “mom-bloggers,” teaching myself how to use wordpress in the process
  14. Married my perfect match
  15. Played “Kate” in “Taming of the Shrew” (among many other roles)
  16. Dabbled in oboe & piano
  17. Taught violin lessons
  18. Became an Auntie
  19. Wept with joy as my three closest friends married their loves
  20. Got my motorcycle license
  21. Attended my 10-year high school reunion
  22. Discovered makeup (finally, at age 29)
  23. Learned the ins and outs of QuickBooks and Excel (and loved every minute)
  24. Joined a book club and continue to delight in fresh reads and new perspectives
  25. Figured out forgiveness is the key to letting go of resentment
  26. Had every color of hair
  27. Secured a job that let me spread my wings
  28. Taught three freshman-level college classes
  29. Visited my familial roots in Belize and Sweden
  30. Rocked the song “Manic Monday” countless times during karaoke nights

30 Things I Will Do Before Turning 60

  1. Travel to Napa and eat at French Laundry
  2. Hire a housekeeper…or figure out that secret to controlling clutter
  3. Make my kid’s birthday celebrations unforgettable
  4. Use my fabulous fabric and sew, sew, sew
  5. Say “thank you” everyday, appreciate the little things and be grateful for all aspects of my life
  6. Have a second honeymoon in Ireland
  7. Maintain healthy, mindful eating habits
  8. Sing everyday and play my violin more
  9. Go to NYC for fashion week
  10. Publish a novel/book
  11. Continuing working to keep my marriage successful and happy and celebrate many more anniversaries
  12. Rent an RV and travel around the USA
  13. Support my daughters’ dreams, be it college, or travel, or wherever the journey takes them
  14. Buy a pair of designer heels
  15. Own a restaurant/cafe/food truck/b & b/something food related with Jake
  16. Buy a house to grow old in
  17. Interview my grandmothers about their experiences being moms
  18. Cherish and love my children everyday
  19. Take a dance/ballet class
  20. Organize photos into albums
  21. Save money for retirement
  22. Raise my tiny girls to be incredible adults
  23. Run/walk the half marathon with L. & M.
  24. Volunteer somewhere as a family
  25. Visit Australia
  26. Become a grandma (?!? Crazy to think about!)
  27. Use our set of china dishes more
  28. Create new art
  29. Be in a local production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show
  30. Continue being open to learning, growing, living through the next few decades
Posted in Family, Fashion, Friends, Identity, Marriage, Parenting, Pregnancy, Work | 4 Comments

Glimpses Into My Life of Hilarity

Driving in the car, Lily asks what a skyscraper is. “They are really tall buildings. You usually see skyscrapers in big cities where lots of people live.” “Yeah,” she replies, “But not in this tiny town.”

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We dance a lot at home, and listen to music that usually falls into the categories of punk, classical or kid’s. Vivienne’s favorite is The Ramones. Now, when we try to play anything else, she angrily shouts, “Mones! Mones!”

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“Don’t touch me!” Lily, sick with a cold and a 102 degree fever, screamed at Vivienne this morning, “Get out of my way!”  “Lily,” I said, “Please stop using a rude voice. I know you don’t feel good, but doesn’t mean you can be rude to your sister.”  “I can’t help it!” she screeched, “My throat just won’t keep it in!”

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At Zuma’s (my mother-in-law) house, Lily choreographed a dance routine, complete with classical music, a quilt to dance on, a basket with Easter eggs and dimmed lights. During the show, my mother-in-law was in charge of holding up the make-shift spotlight (aka: flashlight). About half way through, Lily says, “The light has to follow the performer, Zuma!”

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I ran upstairs to put away some laundry and found Lily and Vivienne downstairs wiping all available surfaces with wet wipes from the box they pried open. “We’re cleaning, Mama!” Lily exclaimed proudly.

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Recently I’ve been saying good-night to Vivienne’s body parts at bedtime, which she finds very amusing. After putting her in her crib last night, I said, “Night-night Vivienne! Night-night ears! Night-night tummy! Night-night legs! I love you.”

And after I walked out and left the door slightly ajar, I heard her repeating, “Night-night legs! Night-night butt! Night-night butt!” Giggles ensue.

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On a rainy, dreary day, Lily says on the way to preschool, “Today is an ominous day for a picnic.”

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We’ve been on a Roald Dahl kick in our household. Lily was especially enthralled with The BFG. The first chapter is entitled The Witching Hour: that moment in the night when everything is still and everyone is asleep, a time when all the dark things come out and have the world to themselves. When we are driving home in the dark, Lily watches out the window and if ten seconds pass without another car going by, she announces, “Mama, it is the witching hour. We are the only car out and I think everyone is asleep. Watch out for giants.”

Posted in Family | 3 Comments