Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a lot of thinking

Being an adult is sometimes strange. By that I mean, well, a lot of things I guess.

It surprises me sometimes that I am still learning. Not facts, per se, but learning pieces of wisdom. Or even, opening a new room in my brain, my emotional self, my soul, that I hadn't even explored. There are whole possibilities to my life that I haven't even spent time delving into before. It boggles the mind and to be quite honest, takes up a lot of mental space during a day when I am supposed to be getting other things done. Like, ahem, work.

Lately, the topics of death and mortality have been creeping into my brainspace. The reality of it all. The inevitability that someone has to go first: either the people I care for, or me, myself. One of us will have to go through the other's death (unless an asteroid hits my house or some freak accident happens where more than one person is involved). It's not a super fun topic, but it's real.

I've never had anyone close to me die. Two of my grandparents passed away before I ever knew them. When I was in high school, my 4th grade teacher died and my choir sang at his funeral. It was the first funeral I'd ever attended. Two Decembers ago, my grandpa died and I went to that funeral. I have some childhood memories of him, but I never really knew him either. The hardest part of going to his funeral was watching my dad (who wasn't really close to grandpa either) grieve for his own father and knowing that someday I will have to witness the death of my parents.

I recently read The Ghost Map-- a strange book choice for me. It is about the cholera outbreak that happened in London in the mid 1800s, and touches on urban planning, microbial biology, epidemiology, the history of science, and other subjects that are far out of my usual scope of thought. I found it fascinating and grotesque. The night after I read the chapter describing the first victim in that outbreak, an infant, and the sickening details of how people die from the water-borne disease, I had an extreme case of the heebie-jeebies. Those people had no idea what was happening to them, and once they got sick, they died very quickly. I felt vulnerable. I was scared of losing my children. I was scared to drink the glass of water by my bed.

The thought of losing a dear one has always given me pause. How would I react? Is there any way to prepare myself for it?

In the first few years of knowing Ben, I was so afraid of losing him. Not because he would break up with me or leave me for someone else, but because I was afraid he would die. It frightened me.

I hadn't given the idea much thought for years, until yesterday. I stumbled upon the blog of someone I know in real life. The mother of two of Addison's school friends. She and her sweet boy-girl twins came to Addison's birthday party and I have chatted with her briefly at preschool potlucks. In passing, I had wondered why I never saw the kids' dad, but obviously it was none of my business. I quickly got sucked into her blog. Her husband died when the twins were very young. And somehow she manages through her grief.

It has given me a lot to think about. The ways my life would be different if Ben were suddenly gone. The un-fun things I would have to handle on my own. The logistics. And oh, how I would miss Ben terribly. I would miss his corny jokes and loving touches, his daily receipts and coins around the house in piles from his pockets, his flirty gestures and cooking biscuits and bacon and whipping up terrible homemade cocktails.

I don't know how to end this post. There is no proverbial ribbon to wrap this up and make anybody who has suffered a loss feel better. I wish there was.

I guess I better get off the computer and go snuggle with my husband.

Good night!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day: Weekend in Review

Happy Valentines Day from me!

It was a lovely weekend, by all counts. I am appreciating the weekends even more right now while I'm working extra hours for a few weeks. I look forward to having my quiet Mondays back, but for now, I am squeezing in as fun good family time and taking care of me time as I can!

Addison had a Valentine's Day party at school on Saturday, which was fun because it gave me a reason to dress Drew up like a living Valentine!

Sweet Valentine Drew

Isn't she sweet?

I was proud of Addison, too because he truly made all 30 of his Valentine's for his friends by hand. I didn't get a picture of them, but I made a heart out of Elmer's Glue and he sprinkled the glitter on each one. He also wrote his name and his friend's names on about 8 or 9 of them and I did the rest. Not bad for a 4-year old! Then he helped me choose a lollipop for each one and tape it on. Hooray for handmade! It was a bit of work, bu mostly a lot of fun. I was proud of myself for letting glitter get all over the place and not worrying about it too much.

listening to John Mayer

On Sunday, Ben and I got lucky. Addison went to his first "dropoff" birthday party for his best friend, and my mom was in town and watched Drew for a couple of hours. We were freeeeeee!

Now let me just say, we get our fair share of dates. We are lucky enough to have wonderful family members in town who are frequently willing to take the kids so we can go out when one of our friends has a birthday or, well, just because. But these types of things are usually at night when we are already exhausted from the day, and our destinations are usually to group functions and certainly all planned out.

This-- this was different. We had no plans, and it was gorgeous outside and it was broad daylight. I came up with a quick plan: to make it to as many photo booths in Portland that we could in the 2 hours we had. Game on!

First stop was the obvious choice: The Ace Hotel
us @ Ace
Photo Booth at Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel Photo Booth

We got our photos in a jiffy and headed to House of Vintage on Hawthorne.

House of Vintage Photo Booth

We had a little fun browsing around, too. ;)

put up yer dukes!

We were running out of time, so we decided to check out some of the Portland Food Carts we never get a chance to try. We sampled some deliciousness from this Creperie, and devoured them in minutes.


Mine was smoked salmon, cream cheese, lemon and arugula. Ben's was baked eggs, mushrooms, gruyere and spinach. To die for, really.

It was an amazing couple of hours. Long overdue. And because we only hit two of the places on our photobooth list? Means we have another date coming up soon.

to-do list

How was your Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

homemade baby food

I do a lot of cooking, and I really enjoy the whole process! I love food blogs, cooking magazines, figuring out how to make a meal out of the random things in my kitchen that need to be used up, etc....but there isn't a meal I can think of that has brought me as much satisfaction as making my own baby food.

apples and a half

I love it! Like thrifting, or getting something for a great bargain, I guess it feels a little bit like cheating! I came super close to buying a 24-pack of jarred organic baby food at Costco tonight, but I'm so glad I changed my mind. Instead, I bought huge bags of carrots, pears and plums to make for Drew at a fraction of the cost!

I drove home put the kids to bed, and got busy making carrots, peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes. I'll save the pears, plums and some apples for another day. Its so fun!

Drew has never tasted jarred baby food. Everything she's had to eat, besides some packaged rice biscuits and the recent switch from breastmilk to formula, I have made myself. The ironic thing is, Addison ate only jarred baby foods. I think I tried to make sweet potatoes for him once, he hated it, and I never bothered to try again! What can I say, motherhood was a whole different ballgame for me then.

If you've never tried to make your own, I highly recommend it! If you can steam veggies and fruits and have a blender or a food processor, you can make it in a snap! There are lots of great websites that tell you how to make different things and what foods to introduce at which ages. Just google "homemade baby food" lots of options will pop up.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A very cool giveaway!

Simplemom is one of my favorite blogs for sound parenting advice, reminders for being a good partner, and all the REAL things in life. I really enjoy the posts.

I also really enjoy the giveaways!

This one is particularly of interest to me, because one of the items is a fantastic necklace from One Pearl. Each gorgeous necklace has a standalone pearl that symbolizes one child's life changed from the purchase of the jewelry.

This resonates so well for me because I work for a nonprofit that also works to change children's lives one child at a time. It's a wonderful way to make a difference in the world!

*updated: Okay, I thought I was excited before, but now I'm really excited because there are even more giveaways on Simple Bites, Simple Homeschool, Simple Kids, and Simple Organic. How fun is that???

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

here now

fog in the gorge

I'm really missing being here lately.

I come to my blog a lot as a jumping off point to looking at some of my other favorite blogs out there. And I watch the dates from my last *real* posts get further and further into the past. I often have thoughts of writing a quick post, but then I push it to the back of my mind because I don't want to come back halfway and then abandon it for a while all over again.

But I don't care anymore. I will blog as I'm able and maybe it won't be everything I want it to be in an ideal world, but at least I'll be being authentic, and that is enough for a blog or any other part of my life!

I'm not going to try and list out all the things that have happened in the past 5 or so months, because playing catch up doesn't help me be in the now.

foggy morning

I do, however, want to have a purpose for this blog, so I know how it fits into my life, and why I keep it at all. My hope is that if I remember why I do it, I won't have such a dry spell again.

This blog is a wonderful account of some of the daily happenings in my family's life together. Without some of my blog posts, I wouldn't remember some of the delicious moments we have enjoyed together.

This blog inspires me to be an artist. It reminds me to have a photographer's eye behind my point-and-shoot camera, and encourages me to document the little ways I fit creativity into my life so I don't forget that that part of me does exist.

This blog gives me a space to talk about me-- uninterrupted. This is a luxury that is hard to come by in the life of a working mother with two small children.

So hello to anyone still out there reading! If I'm writing to the hollow corners of the internet, then so be it. This blog still serves its purpose for me. But if you are there, I'd love to hear from you! It's always fun to know if someone is stopping by as part of their day so I can give you a virtual hello!

Thanks for having me back. It feels good to be here.