Monday, April 14, 2014

GRACE NOLL CROWELL



A few weeks ago when my sister and cousin came to visit, my cousin shared with us a book of poems that she was reading at the time. 

In the whirlwind of speedy days, I like the way I have to 
slow
              down 
in order to read a poem.

This particular one measures my breath as I steadily walk through it and then ends up taking my breath up and out and out, and then back deep into my own heart. There, a bit of poetic license! and now the poem:


[by Grace Noll Crowell]

Out of an olden golden book I take
Bright words and weave them into a lustrous thing:
A bow of promise for my own heart's sake,
A glory for my spirit's comforting.
And when the day is dark I set it there
Where I can see its colors on the air,
Its fabric spun of God's own precious words,
His everlasting covenant to man:
It pierces through the darkest cloud, it girds
The whole of earth and heaven in its span:
These promises that I have set apart
Into a bow of comfort for my heart.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

AND WE'LL SPRAY THE TOWN GOLD




There are bad things, like visible panty lines when you are wearing a maxi dress and piles of laundry that never get folded. And there are good things, like gold spray paint.
Some other good things that I’ve made mental notes of this past week include being part of a group of people singing their hearts out, and making up a song about bunnies hopping and windows going up and down and having your wee daughter sing along it with you.
But back to gold spray paint. It’s become a thing in my life. I bought this can of gold spray paint months ago, because why not? But never used it. And then recently, I seized upon our black Ikea coffee table in a frenzy, took off its legs, got some new legs, sprayed those gold, painted the table top and voila, a new coffee table. There are some problems with it, like the many coats of paint dripped down the sides and dried in werid stringy ways (which I temporarily covered up with washi tape) and I need to screw the legs in more tightly, but right now I’m enjoying how instantly different it makes the living room feel, and thinking about what else I’m going to do with the table.
Spray painting the legs was so fun, my brain instantly went to wondering what other things I could spray, and remembered these pair of booties that I had gotten from F21 a while back. F21 may have its problems but I really love these shoes because they are so comfortable and as you can see they are well worn. I was bummed when the adhesive on the heel started coming off. It was peeling in a way that made them look ratty and unwearable, but with spray can in hand, I peeled the adhesive all off and painted the heel down in gold. A new lease on life! This is all too fun, what’s next?  
While I was taking photos of the new and improved coffee table, Sloane kept jumping in front of the camera, asking, 'me?' and crouching in front of whichever direction I pointed the lens. She's not always this happy about me snapping photos of her but she must have really been in the mood to pose for some photos. So, here is the picture of the coffee table:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SPRING AT FOREST HILL PARK





The word I have on the brain these days is, “hustle”. Hustle in the sense that I want to get things done, but also hustling to make sure that I am practicing and honing my craft.  I feel like a cheeseball having written the phrase, ‘practicing and honing my craft’, but I’m excited about things, so have a slice of cheese. I’m really feeling the energy and winds of a changing season; I’m feeling the highs and lows, the excitement and depression… all necessary for the honing process. I’ve also been so busy I can hardly believe it; but it less a complaint, and more a humblebrag. I like so much every single thing that I’m doing, and I want to do even more; I just keep running smack into the restraints of time.
I think the word of this year for me is going to be ‘balance’.  Because really, the golden egg is finding this balance. Of finding a sustainable and lasting means in which to live out my dreams to be all the versions of myself that want the challenge and opportunity to grow. And since I have this blog, believe you me, I’ll keep you updated.
On Saturday night while getting ready for bed, Ken asked me what my favorite part of the day was and I freeze framed that moment for a few seconds. That moment of unloading my weary body into the bed, chatting with my husband, who also happened to be exactly the person I want to be talking to at that moment, and being asked what my favorite part of a full day was.  This should be the stuff of fairy tales.
One of the things we recounted was the afternoon in the park. When we got to the park on that afternoon, Sloane had fallen asleep in her car seat and Ken was half asleep in his grown up seat, but I felt like a giddy kid; giddy about the spring day, about being able to spend the afternoon in a park, about seeing my friend who I only get to see on rare occasion these days. We feasted on crab legs and I kept exclaiming, “this coke zero taste so good with these crab legs right now” and not much else because I was too busy stuffing crab meat into my mouth.  Sloane didn’t get any coke zero but she got some crab and then chewed on pieces of a giant orange the size of her head. We meandered about, half-heartedly played on a playground and considered letting the food coma overtake us so that we could nap on the grass. We left the park slowly, my arms full of a toddler stuffed with oranges, sunshine and hugs.










Sunday, April 6, 2014

SLOANE AT 20 MONTHS




This past week had some drama up in here and I had the front row seats. My 20 month old put on quite a show, and I was genuinely confused, then slightly terrified and then exhausted. Turns out, after I peeked into her mouth after putting the pieces together, her gums were swollen and bleeding and she was miserable with pain and crankiness. GIRL, I feel you, I told her. I have lived with wisdom teeth pain for months and there is nothing like that searing pain in mouth to rock your world. I've been keeping a watchful eye on her and her gums since, doing all the things that the filtered internet advice says to do, and wishing on all my lucky stars that these episodes are few.  After those few days of terror, the days have melted into the most pleasant of days with her being the sweetest little thing, making me wonder if those days were all just a nightmarish dream and marveling at this new whiplash world of toddler-dom.  






She's asleep now as I write this, we are all happily tired with the glow of a full weekend and I'm having one of those moments where I can't believe how lucky I am to have this sweet, fiery, smart person in my life. Maybe awash with even more appreciation after a hard couple of days, I am in wonder.

In wonder and fascination that at 20 months...

- She is potty training herself at daycare.  Apparently, one day she started marching herself to the bathroom and standing next to the toilet, announcing that she has to poop or pee, and then when she is seated upon the throne, she does her business and diligently washes her hand afterwards. She hasn't been doing that at home consistently but we are going to pay attention and see what happens there. 
- She knows how to put socks on by herself, tries really hard to put on her pants and shirt by herself, closes the door behind her (pulls it shut and then up on her tip toes to reach the doorknob), opens the mail that we let her bring in
- Her favorite color is yellow
- She is stringing sentences, like "I wan seeeee" and "mo nanana (banana) peeas" 
- She is getting better and better at singing along with her favorite songs. 
- She always points out when Rusty's food and water bowl is empty (with great concern) and wants to help fill it up. 
- She loves to laugh and I see peeks into her sense of humor 




I am forever clutching my heart these days, trying to hold my heart together from falling apart into smithereens about the fact that I have to watch this baby grow up right before my eyes, leaving each day behind, never to be lived again, with the next day witnessing a slightly more grown up version of said baby.

Time is both a blessing and a curse in this way.  It's a blessed thing to leave behind the hard days, but it's a curse in that you know that the sweetness of this time will never be again. 

During the first few months of all this the thing I knew I would miss the most was how teeny tiny she was, how she laid like a lump, her newness.

The next few months I knew I would miss her plumpness, those rolls, that dawn of awareness in her eyes as she noticed everything. 

In these recent months, I know I will miss this time of learning who she is, and the absolute and pure joy that lights her face when she sees me.  I am her favorite person right now and I am soaking in every bit of it. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

OUR WEEKLY MEALS


Now this may be more information than you want to know about what we eat, but I've been getting questions about how we do our meals during the week and so here it is in sort of a nutshell. This is how we have been eating for the past two months now. It's not too much of a change, but the biggest difference is that 1) ken has cut down on rice, pasta and breads and eating a whole lot more vegetables and 2) ken started preparing our meals for the entire week on Sunday. Since he has been focused on getting healthier/leaner/stronger, eating well has become a priority and I couldn't be happier about this turn of events. Especially since that means he is totally on board with preparing and cooking meals. It looks kind of funny all laid out like that, but I wanted to take a picture one Sunday evening of our labor and there it is. It's not everything, but I've numbered what is on there and have included the recipes below. We plan for dinners and then pack leftovers for the next day.

Most of these meals Sloane can eat, but I also prepare separate meals for her, especially in order to pack her a lunch that she can eat on her own without too much of a mess. Also, if you were wondering about the technicalities, ken and I eat paleo about 80% of the time, but Sloane eats everything in moderation, including brown rice and whole wheat breads.  

  1. Breakfast sausages: We get ground pork from Whole Foods and make our own breakfast sausage so we can avoid all the extra sugar and preservatives that usually go into breakfast sausages. The cherries give it the sweet flavor; sometimes we use raisins or craisins.
  2. Egg muffins: Since we make pork sausages, we don't put meat in this like the recipe calls for. Instead, we load it up with tons of vegetables like spinach, red peppers and whatever else we have on hand. We eat the egg muffins and sausages for breakfast every morning. 
  3. Baked meatballs for Sloane: These are really simple to make, good for packed lunches, and great for high amounts of protein.
  4. Pulled pork: This is one of those recipes that make us so thankful to have a slow cooker. It is minimum work for a really delicious and flavorful meal.
  5. Raw vegetables: We get a ton of vegetables, mostly from Costco. Avocados are a great source of fat and I love eating it with everything.
  6. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash: We usually try to roast or sautée these in bulk and eat them with whatever protein we are eating that day. 
  7. Spinach and other greens: This giant 2 lb bag of Costco is like $4 and we throw it in just about everything and anything, or eat it on its own, sautéed on the pan. Luckily, sloane also likes spinach.
  8. Grilled chicken: ken found this great recipe for grilled chicken and we haven't gotten tired of it yet!
  9. Steak: We usually also get some steak if it's on sale or the price is good and grill it up with the chicken.
  10. Sauteed vegetables: This here is sautéed red, orange and yellow peppers, with mushrooms. A delicious side dish.
  11. Taco Lettuce Cups: The meat is packed with flavor and we have gone to simply eating the meat with guacamole and pico de gallo, without the lettuce (because we always have leftover lettuce that ends up going to waste.)
  12. Plantain lasagna: This is a great recipe that you can make several meals out of. Sloane loves this! 

Some other things
Butternut squash soup: ken made this a few times and it is so good. 
- we sometimes get the wild caught Alaskan salmon from Costco (in their frozen section); it's a great price and really good and simple to prepare for a meal (it can go straight from freezer to oven) if we don't have anything prepared for that day.
- we always get fruit for snacks; these days it has been apples, bananas and oranges. 
- we also get nuts to eat as snacks; although, ken is realizing he might have some sort of allergy to them.
- for sweets, ken has been getting super dark and intense with the high cacao dark chocolate and eating a couple of pieces when he wants a sweet kick
- we also get a ton of eggs from Costco to have on hand, which we love; oh the versatility of an egg!
- for extra energy and protein especially before and after workouts, we have been making smoothies out of bananas, almond milk and protein powder or almond butter.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

LENNEKE WISPELWEY




These ceramics by Lenneke Wispelwey, a Dutch ceramicist, make me happy. The combination of these soft pastel colors and angular shapes is right up my alley, an alley that has been pretty gloomy during these past few months. Spring is here!







Monday, March 31, 2014

LOIS TURNS 21




I spent this entire weekend wishing that it would stop raining, to absolutely no avail. But it didn't matter all that much because we were too busy celebrating a birthday, and a 21st birthday at that! Sure, a night out on the town got replaced by a couch viewing of Wreck it Ralph, but no one minded at all, and come on, have you seen this Wreck it Ralph movie? It had us laughing with the sheer glee of all its creativity while we stuffed ourselves with chocolate cake and sparkling wine. It was pretty darn fun. 

If I ever get in the mood to complain about my lot in life, I always do an about face when I remember the wonderful ladies that I know...including my cousin, Lois, who is turning a smart 21 years old today. A lady with depth of soul and empathy like the ocean, wonderful humor and an amazing set of dance moves. 









Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MAYMONT PARK


So it's gotten to the point now that we are all living a little bit like urchins in our caves, trying to stay warm and survive the winter, and then when there is any sign of sun or warmth, we scuttle out to get whatever we can get before we scurrying back into our respective caves again. I paint a grim picture but that's how I'm feeling about the fact that it's the last week of March and it was snowing when I walked out the door this morning.

Let's - for the duration of however long it takes to scroll through a post - pretend that it became spring and stayed spring! Saturday was grey and overcast but it was warm and breezy and all of that gave us a really pleasant backdrop for a stroll through the park with the babes. We scooped as much fresh air and warm breeze as we could stuff into our buckets. We savored the stillness of the air. I daydreamed about the hot,  sticky days to come.



















Monday, March 24, 2014

WORKING IT OUT WITH TYCHO




It has been a very busy couple of weeks over here and continue to be, so I can't quite post the way I want to, but I thought I'd share a piece of ebb and flow. Part of what makes everything feel extra packed is all of the new responsibilities that I have at work - I'm trying to keep the stress at bay and manage the workload as I go, accepting the steep learning curve, putting my head down and putting in the legwork, and all that. Tycho's new album, Awake, has been the best music to listen to while I'm at work and really need to focus. Through the miracle of the internet, you can listen to the whole thing up there, but I recommend you put in the $9.99 to buy it, avoid the ads, support the artist and then label it "work music". I promise it will put you in the zone to get some serious work done.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

INSPIRED BY LATELY


Here are some of my favorite pins as of late that are inspiring me:




Stella McCartney Kids: Adorable bunny butts and a really fun swimsuit


Colors to inspire me for spring via Calmcalmcalm

Daydreaming about light and indoor plants

This instantly makes me nostalgic for those certain types of summer days

This print really truly resonates with me right now.  And I love the design on these matchboxes!

Raw chocolate pie, it's going to happen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

EVEN WHEN I'M MOVING SLOWLY I HAVE WORDS TO SQUEEZE OUT





Listen, I was terribly tired this week. Time was not on my side and that always feels unfair, even if we all know that time is one of the most fair distributions of things that ever was and can be. It's frightfully relative in its perception. The slipping away of time can raise feelings of despair and crankiness in you like you wouldn't believe. If you've been there you know what I mean when I describe that slightly bewildered feeling that you get when you pass by a mirror and get a glimpse and think. 'Wait, who is that?'.... is that what I look like right now?' And no amount of fixing will do. You take a deep breath, and just keep going, sludging along the best you can.


I can pretend to be 100% chipper, but I am what I am, and what I am is still tired. So I'm 80% chipper and 20% in the depths of despair. I'm a little bit in the fog, and this is what winter is like for me, but now with an extra layer of can-a-girl-get-some-sleep. There are hours in the day when I feel wholly unlike myself. 


Most of that to say, my main goal for this past weekend was to try to sleep as early as possible. I got my bod into the bed at 9:30 on Friday night but my crazy brain WOULD NOT SHUT DOWN when I needed it to.  The next night was no better and the baby felt a tortured need to climb into bed with me at 3AM and press down every part of my face with her fingers. 

We had a couple of visitors while Ken was away this past weekend. We breakfasted with one of them, had a relaxing afternoon with another, and then had some lady time just me and my baby at the mall. 



Sloane surprised me several times this past weekend. One of these times was after her bath on Friday night. She went around to all the rooms on the second floor, to pull each door shut, one by one.  Her method is as such: she pulls the door to as close to the frame as possible, and then gets up on the tippest of her toes to grab the underbelly of the doorknob and pull it until it clicks shut. 


Another one of these moments was when we were at the mall. I meant to pop into one store for just one quick thing, but it was a blessed sunny day and Sloane was so into perusing the items that we made an afternoon out of it. This little girl of mine is FULL of opinions.  My eyes got wider and wider as she would say "yes" this and no" that to colors and items of clothing, and Sloane do you remember the time when you were convinced that a yellow shirt, and only a yellow one, would do?? 


Oh the conversations we have. It's a skill, and a privilege, talking artfully to a one and a half year old.  And why is it so fun siting in a mall food court with my one and a half year old, munching on chicken and fruit, people-watching together? 

I'm clenching these moments in my hands, to give it a good hard squeeze, as if it was a sponge or those hand exercise ball thingies. I know they won't last. It's as simple as that. 







You know what's funny? I sometimes catch myself calling Sloane, "Eunice", my baby sister's name.  Eunice is not a baby anymore, she is one of my best friends, but that older sister thing, it's built in real deep, you know? 


If you are a thrillseeker and are used to the high and lows, then parenting a toddler might be right up your alley. Just a different kind of alley. There are moments of euphoria when you don't think anything could be better and then they're our moments of absolute exhaustion. There's also the element of unpredictability and surprise so you never really know what's going to happen - which can be a good thing if you are an adventurer or a terrible thing if you are a planner.  I feel glad to be a little bit of both.


This post was meant to be a recap of a weekend, but it's a little bit all over the place, and you'll forgive me if you made it to the end. One last thing. I'm still (slowly) marching through Gilead, a few pages here and there whenever I can steal a moment alone.  I read this passage in it the other day and clutched the book to my heart, "True Love!" I sighed: 


"Last time she brought back a copy of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine that was worn ragged, all held together with tape. She just sank into it, though, she just melted into it. And I made scrambled eggs and toasted cheese sandwiches for our supper so she wouldn't have to put the book down."