Monday, November 28, 2016


We had a great visit/Thanksgiving/Family Reunion. My favorite moments were watching my kids with their cousins. Dean became fast friends with another three year old and frequently I heard him calling out "Friend?" whenever he had lost his cousin, whose name he couldn't remember. Gianna was reunited with one of her cousins the morning after Thanksgiving and upon seeing each other they ran and hugged.

When we left Portland last week Gianna had a fever and a terrible, barking cough. I almost kept her home. Now the other three members of our family are in various stages of the same cold. The only thing worse than all of our coughing on the flight home was the whining puppy two rows over from us. While there were plenty of people that glared every time one of us had a coughing fit, I am thankful for the kindness of strangers in our travels who showed compassion by offering cough drops and free bowls of applesauce to us.

We woke up yesterday morning, back home from our travels, to flowers blooming in the rain and budding poppies. Look at that camellia! The anemone bulbs I planted a month or so ago have already sprouted. I hope they survive the frost whenever it arrives. It is still autumn, my favorite season, but I can already feel it slipping away. December starts this week. Vincent hung Christmas lights on our house this afternoon. Dean turns four in less than two weeks! Once his birthday is over we will put up a tree and bring Christmas inside.

My sister in law gave the kids Christmas books as a goodbye gift as we left for the airport on Saturday. I read one, A Wish to be A Christmas Tree, as our plane was taking off and tried (and failed) not to cry. My sentimentality gets the best of me when I am sick or sleep deprived. I was both that day. It's a very sweet book and I look forward to reading it again when I'm feeling better.

I am really looking forward to a hot cup of completely not organic Theraflu tonight. Zzzzzzz...

Monday, November 21, 2016


The last week was kind of a blur. On Monday I had one of the busiest days I've ever had: take Dean to school, drive out to another school to volunteer at the district's Clothing Closet, pick up lunch from a drive-thru (terrible idea on all levels), pick Dean up, pick Gianna up, go home to do homework and prep dinner, go to community center for the kids' swim lessons, back home to eat dinner, off to yet another school for an auction committee meeting, finally back home for a glass of wine before falling into bed. A few short hours later the misery began. Somewhere on my journey I either got food poisoning (from the always-a-terrible-idea drive-thru lunch) or caught a stomach bug from one of the four schools or community center I visited. Since most of the week I have been on the White Flour Diet of dry toast and saltines with some occasional broth, I don't have food photos this week. Who wants to look at a bowl of saltines? Not me.

I managed to get some stitching in on the advent calendar that I'm fairly certain won't be ready until a year from now. I haven't done much embroidering before and I'm enjoying it a lot. It is simple and so satisfying to complete a tiny task such as a number. Earlier this year I ordered an ornament kit from the amazing Alicia Paulson at Posie Gets Cozy and was accidentally sent an embroidery sampler instead. She promptly sent me the kit I had ordered and I got to keep the sampler. I'm looking forward to getting into it after I finish the advent calendar.

Tomorrow we are headed to Missouri for a Thanksgiving Family Reunion for my husband's family. We are all looking forward to it. I am trying my hardest to get back into prime eating and drinking form! His big Italian Catholic family really knows how to have a good time. I read a great post last week about the election and the holiday where people are sure to be around family members with varying political views. "Bring whatever you like for food and go heavy on the love. We need that most of all." I'm going to keep it in the back of my mind during our trip.

Now that I am almost feeling completely back to normal I am playing catch up (doing loads of laundry, cleaning out the fridge) and getting ready for a five day trip (packing all of that laundry, gathering snacks and activity books for the plane). I even snuck out to our local bookstore to pick up Zadie Smith's newest book. I've loved her ever since White Teeth and am looking forward to escaping into this book a bit.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2016

The World Keeps On Turning

Shock, sadness, outrage, fear, disappointment, frustration - I've been feeling it all this week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Turning the Calendar

Halloween yesterday was a great success! Unlike last year, the rain held off and gave us hours of rain-free trick or treating. Highlights were the middle school dance team dressed as zombies dancing to Thriller in the middle of the street, seeing so many friends and neighbors, Vincent's Snape-as-Death Eater costume that he made himself (including the mask!), and getting the kids to bed by 8 despite all of the candy consumption.

Adding to yesterday's excitement was getting my first phone call ever from Gianna's school, telling me that she had been poked in the eye with a pencil. As we drove to the doctor's office we talked about how Halloween was the best day to potentially have to wear an eye patch, and how we would drizzle fake blood down her cheek coming out from under the patch. What's scary than a vampire? A vampire with a bloody eye patch! Fortunately no eye patch was needed, just some yellow drops that revealed no actual damage was done and Halloween festivities weren't impacted at all.

Now it is time to put away the Halloween decorations and hold off on Christmas decorations as long as possible. I went to Target yesterday and there was already a huge Christmas display up. I'm not ready to celebrate winter yet! I'm going to hold onto fall as long as possible.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Foggy Fall

My favorite view from our living room is of the distant trees in the top photo. The house across the street isn't much to look at but the trees just beyond its' roof are always worth a peek, especially if they're layered in morning fog.

My new evening ritual is to get in bed, knit (still working on Gianna's sweater), and watch old episodes of Gilmore Girls. It's a good routine. Cozy. Once the sweater is finished I'll switch to stitching all of the ornaments I've cut out for a new advent calendar.

A few months ago Vincent started listening to the Harry Potter books. He'd watched all of the movies but hadn't read the books. I was busy listening to other things, but have now joined in with him for book six, The Half-Blood Prince, and I'm really enjoying it. It's a great change of pace from all of the political podcasts and radio I'm also listening to. I read all of the books, but it has been years and its so nice to be in the world of Hogwarts again a bit each day.

I had a good morning today: packing lunches, getting the kids off to school, Boot Camp (so many jumping jacks!) and shopping for new athletic gear with a friend. Then came a call from preschool that Dean had a fever and could I pick him up? Now the weekends' plans of friends' birthday parties, a visit to the pumpkin patch, etc are on hold. Time to load up the slow cooker with bones and veggies for broth and settle in with a book.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cabin Fever

This has been a week of highs, lows, and boring middles. The first half of the week was beautiful, sunny fall. My birthday was six weeks ago and I finally got my friends together for a birthday dinner. Having a birthday at the end of August has always been difficult. I have postponed many parties since so many people go out of town that week one last time before schools starts. We had dinner at my favorite restaurant, Kachka. It is Russian cuisine and is so amazing.
A few days later Dean and I went to the hospital early in the morning so he could have a cyst removed. It was tiny but uncomfortable and the doctor said it would eventually rupture if we didn't take any action. The hardest part was watching him get put under deep sedation for the procedure. The staff worked quickly and soon he was woken up with a popsicle to which he replied, "yum," and I knew he was alright. I was so impressed with everyone who worked with my son that morning. Thank you to everyone who works in the healthcare field! After that my job was to keep him calm (ha, ha) and home so he didn't pop his stitches. We did lots of coloring, crafting, reading, and tv. We even baked an apple cake that didn't rise like it was supposed to, but still turned out to be delicious.
Then Thursday night, right before I pulled dinner out of the oven, the power went out. There went my plans to crisp up the chicken skin under the broiler. Cooking dinner by headlamp isn't my favorite, but it was a bit of an adventure.
By the time the weekend rolled around I was really ready to get out of the house and do something. However, yesterday morning as we were making plans for the day Gianna came down with a fever, which of course led to another day spent at home. There was also a looming storm which had us busy; me baking bread and making soup (with the leftover chicken) before dinner time so we would have food if the power went out again, and Vincent pulling down the bean trellis that was threatening to topple with each new gust of wind. Fortunately we didn't lose power and were able to stay cozy in our warm, well lit home. Happily today everyone is feeling good and looking forward to school tomorrow.