Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31: In Search of Summer

Outdoor concert season is upon us, and we kicked it off at Wolftrap this Saturday listening to a Prairie Home Companion. My favorite parts: sharing a blanket with some strangers who generously welcomed us into their space (whew! That lawn sure does get filled up!), a delicious meal prepared by my sister including chocolate cake made out of beets, playing footsie with Ben, some amazing bluegrass music, and then arriving at my parents house to pick up the girls to discover Lily fast asleep on my mom's chest. And, of course, Garrison Keillor-- whew, that man can make me laugh.

Once upon a time, many years ago, my family lived right up the street from the park, and I remember sitting in the front yard with Ben listening to the concerts. Then again we went there as newlyweds to see this same show-- Prairie Home Companion-- just be fore we embarked upon our journey to Boston. And now, here we are, young parents, sneaking away for a date. I think these seasonal rituals can be such powerful benchmarks of where we have come from and where we are going... they just give such a beautiful rhythm to life.

Don't forget to check out how others are celebrating the season! I've been enjoying everyone's entries.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29: In Search of Summer

We took a little stroll in the country this morning-- a stunningly beautiful, magical spot in the country that Ben and I have been to, but have never actually seen (we picked up a friend there once at dusk, not realizing it was this whole arboretum). Quite the little adventure, complete with mythic structures, a treehouse, some horses, this beautiful old building, and so so many beautiful plants (oh, and some amazing barbecue sandwiches in a little town on the way home). Oh, it was wonderful, and all I could manage was turning to Ben every now and then and saying, "I'm so happy." What a gift it is to discover the freedom that we have in our family to explore the world together.

Where have your weekend wanderings taken you?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27: In Search of Summer

A long afternoon spent frolicking in the yard in bathing suits. The girls were sticky, sandy, and wet, so we just spent the rest of our time waiting for Ben to come home feeding crackers to Selma (ahem... I mean eating crackers) on the deck. I don't think we even noticed that it was hot and muggy out, truth be told.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26: In Search of Summer

A carousel ride, a picnic, and a visit to the museum (and a beloved "train ride," during which my two hands were more than full, hence the lack of pictures). I guess there's nothing new under the sun, but it certainly is magical to see the difference that a year makes for not one but two little girls. The picnic and museum, a huge hit for both girls. The carousel? The thrill of a lifetime for one, and a little scary for the baby of the family. Oh well, there's always next year.

Won't you click on the new button to see how others are searching for summer?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Playing Farm

A yearly ritual now. I've heard that the farm has outdoor bluegrass concerts, too. I think we're headed back there in the near future... although, as always, a visit only leaves my heart longing for true country. And that, I suppose, is as it should be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pentecost Wisdom

From the pulpit at our church:

"The only sin that is unforgivable is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Which means, in essence, that we refuse to be forgiven. So it's a catch 22: if we refuse to be forgiven, we're not. If we allow ourselves to be forgiven, we are."

Wishing you a joyful Pentecost, filled with Spirit and forgiveness.

Birthday Treats

Did I mention it was my birthday yesterday? The day after my anniversary, which makes May a particularly joyful time around here.

If this weekend is any indicator, I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty wonderful year. I am spoiled: the Washington area's best almond croissant after church on Sunday, two children taking a blissfully long nap Sunday afternoon, and a feast of salmon, asparagus and potatoes followed by homemade chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream frosting. It's a pretty sweet life, my friends.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, a new lens to play with in the coming weeks. A birthday that was more extravagant than simple, but I am left full and smiling.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Top Six for Six Years

It's our six year anniversary today... and, like the year we were married, it falls on a Saturday. The Saturday we were married: 90 degrees, deafening chirp of cicadas, thick humidity. Today: a temperate 60 degrees, an afternoon shower, still and quiet outside. What both days have in common: I am with this amazing person that I get to call my husband.

In honor of this day, I thought that rather than sharing more of the sentimental words that come so naturally but that you may be just a little bit tired of, I thought I would look back at six of my favorite blog posts about Ben, our marriage, that sort of thing.

The bathing strike. I am happy to inform you that all members of the family have more conventional bathing practices these days.

Ben as a teacher.

Valentine's day with two cute girls waiting tables.

Ben in an apron.

In honor of our five year anniversary, in the thick of life with small children.

A small getaway.

Whew, that was fun to gather up! It really is amazing how many different facets of a person you discover through marriage. And with that, my friends, I am off to a romantic dinner with my husband with no children. It will be bliss.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Bike to Work Day

We did it, did you? Well... when you work at home, you've sort of got to do something extra, so we biked one town over to one of the official "bike to work" rest stops: quite the fun little morning trip, especially when in the company of a good friends. They even had free bananas and refreshments... quite enjoyed by the little ones, as you can see.

Ben did it, too. I'll have to add a picture of him later. He's just too cute on his bike.

(btw, not my bike... maybe one day I'll upgrade from my ramshackle rebuilt hybrid. ;-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to Become a Gardener

Go past the old house,

down the gravel road (past the playground!).

You'll see a sign.

And behold the land of many gardens. Chaos from afar, but take a closer look and see,

what great care has been taken to cultivate the earth.

Don't forget that gardens need plenty of water,

and plants, like people, seem to benefit from a little structure.

Don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for little pieces of beauty. They're all around.

Many thanks to my Aunt Margaret, who invited us to her little plot of paradise this morning and taught us many valuable lessons about gardening-- and sent us home with many plants and bags filled with treats. What a nice way to spend a morning.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The wonder of every day things like apple sauce cups.
New windows that let sunlight stream in our rooms.
One furry member of our family whose leg is on the mend, and whose spirits remain high.
Growing hair.
Little children whose health is improving and who are sleeping soundly at night.
A new pediatrician that makes my baby smile.
Floors that are swept and mopped... for now.
A trip to the library that yielded a good book for me.

Won't you join me?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Becoming Industrious

working energetically and devotedly; hard-working; diligent: an industrious person.
Obsolete. skillful.

Oh, how my admiration for the industrious has grown since becoming a mother. What I wouldn't give for this trait to come to me more naturally. It really is a virtue, isn't it? And something that takes so much practice.

I remember the first time I cut up a whole chicken into pieces (my favorite part is using kitchen shears to cut out the backbone). It was something that saved money, that was practical, and that I had never dreamed of doing myself. A bit gross, but truly rewarding. Ben always beams with pride whenever he comes into the kitchen and I am cutting up a chicken, that alone being incentive to do it as much as possible. :-)

Industriousness is rewarding, but you sort of have to be intentional about learning how to become industrious-- a story from a mother, an anecdote from a book. It's really not something that our society teaches very well. Did you know you can melt down the little nubs of soap that are too little to use and use them as spot-cleaner on really dirty laundry? I had no idea, until I watched some of these videos of Mrs. Meyers, the lady behind the cleaning supplies. Or that you should always save the picked over bones of a chicken in order to make chicken broth? Add some veggies, cook it for an hour, and then freeze the stock in ice cube trays. Each one is a quarter cup.

I love the sayings of the desert fathers. They are so thoughtful, and at times, very entertaining. Talk about an industrious bunch.
Take this one: "There was in the Cells an old man called Apollo. If someone came to find him about doing a piece of work, he would set out joyfully, saying, 'I am going to work with Christ today, for the salvation of my soul, for that is the reward he gives.' " What a lovely thought, to think that our day-to day work, cleaning stains, cooking meals, tending to gardens, can bring such lofty spiritual rewards. That in becoming industrious, we are working with Christ towards our salvation. It certainly makes me want to do each task with a little more intentionality, a little more energy, a little more devotion.

What are some examples of industriousness in your own life? Who do you look to as a model of industriousness?

This blog a part of Steady Mom's 30-minute blog challenge.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Simple First Birthday

This year we decided to keep things simple for Lily's birthday: an afternoon at our local park, Popsicles for everyone, and our favorite friends, neighbors, and family members. No gifts, no entertainment (except for some frisbees, our trike, and some balls), no cake. What would be better for a teething one year old than some delicious fruit pops? And some pink balloons, of course. Maybe we'll get more elaborate as time goes by, but I must tell you, we didn't miss any of the frills, and our birthday girl was happy as a clam. And we have arrived at the end of the day feeling happy and relaxed because it didn't really feel like entertaining, you know?

How do you celebrate birthdays? Simple or elaborate? I'm not knocking the moon bounce... just give me your address and I'm there. :-)