Tuesday, March 27, 2012

This Never Gets Old

First Position

She kind of looks like her T-Shirt in this one.

And now both children are crying because they're "not tired" and don't want to go to bed. We need to stop having so much fun. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Family of Four

We started off the weekend downtown to take part in the St. Patrick Day festivities. The greening of the river was the highlight:

I'm not big on parades, or crowds of people, but I did it for the children. They weren't impressed.

Saturday is typically the day I try out new recipes. I found a great one for grilled pizza on Epicurious.com that uses three of my favorite ingredients: bacon, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese. You can find the recipe here.

I love the chemistry and scent of yeast. As I was working on the dough, I thought about how I should make bread more often. It was a fleeting thought. Maybe next weekend.

Then I thought about how great it would be to make our own cheese. And how fun it would be to have a few (four) free range chickens roaming around. Then I thought about goats and goat cheese. Then, I came back to the present moment, and my dough.

Most of us know how much I love to caramelize onions. This recipe called for one tablespoon of brown sugar to assist in the process. I don't usually use sugar because I believe in my onions and their ability to caramelize on their own. If onions were a cause, I would support them. I would give them all of my money. I believe in them. I'm pretty sure onions believe in a woman's right to choose. That being said, I chose to add the brown sugar, thinking it would be a nice complement to the bacon.

And then the grilling accident occurred:

I was able to salvage it, and I learned an important lesson: charcoal gets hot.

Fiona had picked out pink marshmallows for our impromptu dessert. Sometimes, I go through phases when I say "yes" a lot. Pink marshmallows? Yes. Play in the mud? Yes. Can we get in our swimsuits and you try to get us with the spray bottle? Yes. Can we melt chocolate and dip our pink marshmallows in it? Yes. Why the hell not?

This is what happens when I say "yes" a lot:
We finally got our first seeds planted. Carrots, lettuce and sugar snap peas. I cannot wait much longer for fresh garden vegetables.

On Sunday morning, I woke up to their voices. Both girls were on the top bunk, chatting up a storm as they colored pictures. Fiona told Cyd what a great job she was doing, being only three years old. Cyd said "thank you." So. Damn. Sweet.

I love watching them grow together, sharing this immense love among us. This family of four.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On Being Human.

I realize that my shyness leaves me lacking in human skills. I struggle daily with the obligations of interacting with people I don't know well. I've become better able to manage  normalcy, but I know that my efforts are evident. This personality trait makes me appear aloof and indifferent. In truth, I care deeply about people. All people.

Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, has opened up an avenue for communicating and connecting with others and it's usually a good outlet for expression. Lately, though, I've noticed subtle snarkiness online among people I know and respect. Frankly, it's conscious meanness. And even though it isn't targeted at me, it makes me feel dark, and clutchy.

It doesn't take a Psych degree to understand the dynamics in the snark scenario. Popular kid makes fun of nerdy kid in front of peers in order to gain acceptance. Peers comment in agreement and nerdy kid is left publicly humiliated. It happens, but I didn't think it would happen with my network of friends. Among adults. It sucks and makes me question what is valued in our society. It also makes me thankful for the people with whom I surround myself. The genuine and kind.

It is during these quick glances that I feel, perhaps, maybe, occasionally, OK with being me. I'll be the first to admit I suck at things that are important when you're a human being, but I can vouch that I would never consciously hurt another person's feelings just to make me feel better about myself. Kindness and empathy comes naturally. Just don't ask me to make small talk. I will disappoint you. It's inevitable.

I've spent a good part of my life revering intelligence because it is what I crave and love and respect. But now I realize that smart isn't good enough. Being kind trumps smart. This has been lurking within me for a while and now, here it is.

Peace out. Be kind.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go... 
I wasn't wearing the appropriate footwear for wading in the creek. 

Fiona's frilly skirt did not deter her from tree swinging.

Cyd just wanted to play in the sand.

Serious hiking.


I made them pose.

Several times.

Mother and daughter.

Aunt Jan helps Cyd through a rough patch.

Fiona found a crawfish. 

Jan, our Nature Heroine, was brave enough to hold it for a closer look.

Cyd the Explorer was getting tired.

Laura likes her fancy purses.

We made it back alive.