Thursday, May 31, 2012

Green Grocer Goodness

Yay!  It came today!

Last week I signed up with Washington's Green Grocer, and you've never seen a family so excited about a vegetable delivery.  We've been talking about the box for the last few days. My boys' eyes lit up as we carefully unpacked each specimen, and discussed all the yummy things we could do with them as we put them away.

There are a lot of reasons I'm excited to start using this service specifically.  I like that I don't have to commit to a certain number of weeks, and they deliver right to my door.  While the produce isn't as local as a CSA, they do work with regional farmers for as much of their goods as they can.  It's also fun.  I'm not specifying anything that I do or do not want in my box (which you can do if you want) so I may end up with items I would never think of buying in the store.  I'm looking forward to trying new things and finding new recipes.  It's also going to challenge me to plan my meals around the vegetables I have, instead of around a meat.  Too often I think of veggies as a side, and forget that they have just a much right to the starring role.

It may end up being a little more expensive, but I figure if I use it all, it's worth it. Of course, there's also the fact that the produce is not as "pretty" as you find in the store.  I know that really, that's a good thing.  Things are grown to be picked and eaten fresh, not shipped across the country to sit in a store and look appealing until someone buys it.  Still, it's been ingrained in me that apples should be big and shiny, oranges smooth and bright, and my lettuce triple washed.  Hopefully this summer I'll get over my "pretty fruit" thing, and learn to just savor the flavors.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Woes, I mean, Joys of Home-Ownership

I am forcing myself to write today.  For one thing, it's been a week and I feel I need to, and for another, if I don't, I will simply stress out about my house.  I'm at that point right now, where there is so much to do that my mind all but shuts down trying to figure out where to start.  I feel like one of those Looney Tunes characters put in charge of a baby.  A baby that crawls across the telephone wires, over the crocodile pit in the zoo, bounces off an awning onto a car in rush hour traffic, only to be miraculously saved by a window washer who picks the baby up by the diaper with his squeegee and plops him into his room.  Right now, I'm Sylvester, frantically running in all directions trying to take care of things.  I'm getting electrocuted by the wires, snapped at by the crocs, falling onto the pavement and getting mowed down by oncoming traffic. I should take solace in the fact that the baby will ultimately be saved, but I know the window washer is going to dump his dirty water on my head as I am about to enter the building and head upstairs to check on him.

What has started this not so slow descent into madness is the "quick" powder room remodel my husband and I planned to do over the weekend.  We're no strangers to DIY projects.  We had the vanity built and stained, my husband has had experience installing a toilet and sink, so most of our trepidation was related to installing a tile floor.  That was new to us, but we figured, we did our research, it was a small room, we'd get through it.  All of that changed as we started to demo the existing bathroom.  (I should clarify, that while I am using we, it was really my husband that did most of the work).

Without taking you step-by-step into the project (I will save that for a later post, hopefully after we have the room finished and are laughing about this whole thing); I will say that we found extensive water damage in the sub floor.  We now have the floor removed to the joists, and need to throw out the existing insulation and remove a section of the ceiling below.  I don't see how the water damage wasn't showing on the basement ceiling.  My only guess was that it must have been painted over by the previous homeowners or by Fannie Mae.  I'm just glad we started this project six months after we moved in, and didn't wait a year or two from now.

I know there is an end to this project in sight, but in the meantime, I have tools scattered all around my first floor and everything that was in that bathroom is in a corner in my kitchen.  When I come downstairs in the morning, I literally pull my hair when I see the chaos.  I need to have some semblance of order (and safety) before I babysit for a friend on Saturday.  She's never been to my house, and I'm afraid she's going to cancel her plans and march out with her son as soon as she puts her foot inside the door.  So right now, deep breaths, patience, and hard work.  That will see us through.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wedding Bells Are Ringing

Friday morning, my sister and her fiancĂ© tied the knot.  They had a simple wedding ceremony at the courthouse.  It was a sunny day, and the judge married them outside in a small, grassy corner of the lot.  It was beautiful and quick (my favorite kind of ceremony), and that evening they threw a kickin’ party with family and friends.  Everyone had a wonderful time, and the bride and groom could not have seemed happier.

That’s the overall summary of the day, and it’s true and accurate.  It would be interesting, though, to see the whole day, before and after the festivities, through the eyes of each guest.  I only know my version, and while I want to reiterate that I had a wonderful time (I know you will eventually read this, Em) the summary just doesn’t cover it.

To start, I didn’t get enough sleep.  I had been baking and frosting cupcakes most of the day before.  My brother came over and hung out with the kids so that I could focus, but it still just took a long time.  I think I frosted the last one around 9:00 pm, and was too wired to go to sleep just yet.  I regret that decision, because I was awakened at 4:00am with a crying toddler and a howling dog.  Going back to sleep was nearly impossible, and I probably only grabbed 30 minutes or less before we had to wake up and get ready to go.

I was tired, and some other things weren’t going the way I thought they would.  I’m not going to go into it in more detail, but let’s just say that my husband and I were not getting along.  We got lost on our way up to the hotel.  In fact, this weekend, we got lost almost every time we got into the car.  Sometimes it was bad directions, misleading road signs, sometimes I read the directions wrong, but if we had to get somewhere, we got lost.  Ed and I are not good together when we are lost and there is a time crunch.  Voices were raised, and I think at one point I even yelled, “Look, we don’t have to like each other, but if we’re going to pretend to be happy one day, it’s going to be today!” 

Things got better after the ceremony.  Both families and the best man and his date went out to lunch (the one place we didn’t get lost going to, mainly because it was a straight shot from the courthouse and we passed it on our way there).  My family had eaten almost nothing until then; my boys had a granola bar and Ed bought some Pizza Combos at a gas station (a choice that more than irked me at the time, since I was very hungry but the smell of them makes my stomach turn, at least at 9:00 in the morning).  After lunch, the idea was that we would all go back to my mom’s hotel room, and Ed, me, and the boys would take a nap.  Only one of us got a nap.  It wasn’t me; it wasn’t the boys.  My husband has the gift of being able to sleep anywhere, anytime.  I lay in bed, watching cartoons with the boys, and shot jealous, resentful looks his way.  After all, I’m the pregnant one, I’m the one who didn’t sleep the night before, and I’m the one who will be driving an hour and a half home after he had taken advantage of the open bar.  I needed sleep!

There was nothing that could be done though, so I tried soaking in the tub.  I think the designers at the Sheraton must have figured that most of the people who would be bathing are size 6 women, and made the tub only as wide as the berth of their hips.  After a very, very quick soak, I went down to set up the cupcakes at the candy bar.  My sister loves candy, always has, so that’s what she had in lieu of wedding favors at the table.   Everything was looking good, and I started to rally.  While I had been helping out downstairs, Ed took the kids to get something to eat, and brought me back something as well.  By the time we headed to the party, he and I were friends again, for real.

The rest of the evening was just fun.  Ed and I took turns shepherding our kids away from the dance floor during the vow exchange and the important dances.  Apparently I don’t need to buy any more toys; I just need to invest in 150 square feet of parquet flooring.  They tore it up.  I can understand the reasons people have for not inviting kids to a wedding, but I love it so much more when there are a few little ones rocking out on the dance floor.  Some of my favorite wedding memories have been of dancing with partners under the age of 7.

As for what happened for us after the festivities: nothing.  We left early and drove home.  Ed had some coffee so he could stay up with me on the drive, and when we got home he carried the kids up to their rooms and let the dogs out.  Then we slept.  Our falling action was rather dull, but I’m sure some of the other guests have much more interesting after stories to tell.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Some Awards? You're Too Kind

I'm honored to be the recipient of two blogging awards.  Eliza at Ellie's Blank Book passed the Kreativ Blogger and One Lovely Blog award along to me.  Thanks so much!

There are a few conditions upon accepting these awards.  Mainly, I need to tell you all a little more about myself by answering some questions and providing some facts.  I am not very good at writing about myself directly, but I'll try to make it interesting.

What is your favorite song?
Can anyone really answer this question?  I probably have a list of about ten, depending on my mood, what I'm doing, the weather.  I suppose if I have to provide an answer, it would probably be This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads.  I never tire of it, and every time I hear it it seems to affirm my admiration/adoration of Mr. David Byrne.

What is your favorite dessert?
Pie!!!!! Fruit filled, custard filled, a tart or a galette; put something sweet in flaky, buttery pastry and I'm there!

When you are upset, what do you do?
This largely depends on why upset.  I normally deal with little upsets with some deep breathing, or a quickly muttered expletive.  When it's something really big, I try to find some alone time and just work it out.  Nobody wants to be around me at those times, my husband will attest to that.

What is your favorite pet?
Such an unfair question!  I love all my four-legged children.

What do you prefer to wear, black or white?
I'm exceptionally pale, sometimes borderline translucent, so white does not work for me.  Black is not always any better, but I like how it sets off my red hair.  Kids make wearing white impossible, and cats make wearing black a pain.

What's your biggest fear?
I have a number of irrational fears, that all seem perfectly reasonable to me at 11:00 pm when I am laying in bed trying to get to sleep.  I'd share them now, but I try to reveal my neuroticism slowly.

What is your attitude mostly?
I've mentioned this before, but I would classify myself as an easily discouraged optimist.  Also, I'm a romantic.

What is perfection to you?
I don't believe it exists, except for the occasional moment, and then you just know it when you're in it.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Made for TV Christmas movies.

Okay, now to provide ten random facts about me:

  1. Part of me still wants to work in a zoo, because that seems to be the only way I'd ever get to hug a baby lion, tiger, bear...
  2. I actually love to clean, but hate putting things away (which is why anyone who's been to my house doesn't believe that I love to clean).
  3. I pick paint colors based on their names almost as much as I pick them for their hue.
  4. I love old black and white movies, especially musicals.
  5. I have a thing about eating "beautiful" fruit.  While I'm not as picky as I used to be, I still sometimes pass off the "uglier" pieces to my kids, who don't seem to have my hang ups.
  6. I have an amazing memory for people, faces, and names.  Sometimes I think it puts people off.
  7. My husband and I recently spent an absurd amount of money on a wind chime, and we both think the purchase was worth every penny.
  8. I love to work with my hands, whether it be in the kitchen, the garden, or with art and craft supplies.
  9. I don't own any, but would like to wear vintage clothing.   The fear of coming across as a hipster slightly deters me, but I like the style and back then dresses were designed for women with curves.
  10. I hate the question, "So, what do you do?"  What people are really asking is, "What do people pay you for?" which most of the time tells you nothing about the person you are talking to.
This award is normally passed on to six or seven other bloggers out there, but I'm horrible at singling people out for these things.  I've actually only recently started actively following blogs, and a lot of those I would like to pass it on to have received it recently (sometimes several times, not that they don't deserve it again).  That said, I'd like to send it to my sister-in-law, Alisa at The Little Red Rice Bowl.  She's an active cook, crafter, and has some stunning photography. Check her out!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Irons in the Fire

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and a Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there.  I had a wonderful day on Sunday.  My husband went to a bachelor party for my soon to be brother-in-law on Saturday, so I knew that I wasn't going to wake up to smiling, well-dressed children bringing me breakfast in bed.  In fact, Sunday was a lot like most other days of the week.  I comforted my oldest child when he woke up in hysterics at 5:00 am, I got them dressed, went grocery shopping with the two of them.  At first I thought I was going to want a break from my normal Mom routine, but when is a better time to embrace it? After all, that's what we're celebrating on Mother's Day.

In some ways, Sunday was even busier since I had to make potato salad and a strawberry-rhubarb tart to take to a farewell party for a neighbor.  I'm a little jealous that I was not able to drink any of the 12 gallons of sangria one of our friends made, but I had a wonderful time at the party and ended the evening on a high note watching Sherlock on PBS: Masterpiece Theater.  Not going to lie, I looked forward to that most of the day.

My husband also started working on one of our many projects on that day.  We're building a farmhouse vanity for the powder room on the main floor.  I found the plans on .  Right now it looks like this:

but hopefully it will just take a few more hours of work to make it spectacular.  I went ahead and made a spreadsheet of everything I want to do/make/buy for each room.  It's a little overwhelming right now, so my next step is a schedule.  I know the nesting drive is kicking into high gear when I'm willing to commit to a timetable.

Everything is on hold until Saturday, though.  Tomorrow, it's time to get organized.  My sister's wedding is on Friday, and I need to start preparing to bake the cupcakes for the reception.  I've never baked this much at one time.  I'm fine with the baking part, but I'm not looking forward to all the washing of dishes that will be happening on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A to Z Reflections

I've taken a little over a week off from blogging.  That used to be my norm, but after April, in which I blogged 26 out of 30 days, a week off feels like I've almost abandoned it.  What have I been doing with myself?  Some reading, some house project planning, and watching a lot of Mad Men.  

The A to Z challenge was a lot of fun, and I think it delivered on the promises of the hosts.  I "met" a lot of new people, I think I've learned to be a better blogger, and I most definitely have become a better follower of blogs.  I love to leave comments now, where before I might have been a little hesitant, worried that they weren't pertinent, or that they didn't say anything new.  Now that I've posted more, I realize that even a simple "Love it!" shows that someone has actually taken the time to read your words, and felt enough to let you know.

I am most inspired by the sincerity and passion of some of the new bloggers I've found.  There are people out there who can just write, and write well.  I would read their descriptions of sorting the recycling, if that's what they were posting.  It made me realize that the subject of a post can be anything, if it's written with clarity and honesty.  There are people out there who are making their dreams a reality, who have found their passion and are actively pursuing it.  This blows me away.  Not only am I still trying to find my passion, but I also have a history of letting anxiety get the better of me.  Thank you to all of you who aren't letting it get to you, or at least not letting it win.