Thursday, June 27, 2013

How we eat cake

Getting ready to bake another strawberry cake, and looked into archives to access the recipe. I was reading the post, and sent it to Shane with a note that it reminds me of our walk in the woods.

His response to me had me CHOKING on laughter. I love him.

“At each forkful, I appreciated the delicate crisp of sugar breaking at the surface under gentle pressure, the juxtaposition of berries in the wedge, their tenderness and yield from the lower temperature baking over an hour, the golden crust.”


I have to call B.S. on that. I love how I’m basically described as a pig stuffing my face with three pieces of cake (one of which I supposedly tried to hide) while you were appreciating “the juxtaposition of the berries in the wedge.” I’m sure that you had at least three pieces.    

I think it’s time for me to start up my own blog so the truth can finally be told.

Monday, June 24, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4361-4374)

a pool to put my feet in
berries ripening on the bushes
the longest day
a friend to let us use their recital costume

a painless tooth loss
a dollar to stick under her pillow
salty pita chips
a comfy bed
summer days

David singing to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the recital
this man of mine
my little girls giggling in the pool
a time such as this

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Recital 2013

Erin didn't want to dance in the recital this year, and she told me that from day one of ballet. I didn't think much of it. And when the time came to commit to dance in the recital, I asked once more. She was adamant. No.

Well, one day, she let it slip--her reason for not dancing. She didn't want to take her earrings out. When I heard that, I contacted her instructor and asked how to get Erin in. It was too late to order a costume for Erin, but they did want her to dance and wondered if I could borrow another dancer's costume in a different show. So that's what we did.

Erin's earrings came out (and went back in, with much drama--despite no pain). And an awesome mom from another class let us borrow her daughter's costume. Erin really loves dancing. But I think she gets some serious stage jitters--especially if it involves taking her earrings out (if I could tell my mom--I'd say kudos on making me wait to get my ears pierced till I was older. Five was way too young for my girlie).

Lanie is a pro. She thrives on this type of thing. While she might not like talking to people she doesn't know well, she'll dance her heart out in front of a theater full of strangers. (I totally get this.)

Erin going to dress rehearsal
Lanie going to dress rehearsal
Erin, before we left
Love this shot.

Erin. Poor girl.
Erin. Notice the growing apprehension ...

Lanie. She loves to dance.

I only got called back once to comfort Erin before we got our seats. She knew all her moves and was graceful as graceful can be when her group performed. Lanie smiled beams from her face during her dance. Afterwards, David and Anita gifted them each with their own package of cookies.

I clapped and woo-hoo'd and held David's hand. Discovered this remake of a favorite song: Harvest Moon.

Lanie danced to Here Comes the Sun. And Erin's group did (a slightly different version of) this number from Wonderland. (The first time I heard it and saw her dance to it was the day I was heading to meet a friend at Panera, and home was such a multidimensional word. Still is.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On last firsts

Her eyes were so wide and she stared off because she still couldn't believe her tooth came out. Just before bedtime, she was racing Shane upstairs and telling him she would brush her teeth herself. Shane told me then she stopped talking and fished in her mouth because the tooth had come out on its own.

This makes me laugh because just two days ago she sat in my arms during Lanie's segment of rehearsal and cried because she thought her tooth was going to come out NOW and it would HURT.

Thankful it happened when she didn't expect it, and it didn't hurt her at all.

We didn't think she'd get to sleep last night because she was so excited.

And, fortunately, the tooth fairy didn't forget to slip a dollar under her pillow (or to make Shane's lunch).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On Betsy and Tacy and loose teeth

Erin and I are reading through the Betsy-Tacy series. The first book starts off about two neighbor girls, five years old, named Betsy and Tacy. It's our special time together to sit and cuddle, and she jumps so eagerly into the storyline. Today, reading of two nickels, and the story girls thinking five plus five equaled nine. I read on to the next line, and Erin says, "Five plus five isn't nine, Mom! It's ten!"

She stops me from reading for a second to show me her wiggly tooth. Shows me how it bends forwards and backwards, and I think of last firsts. The last first tooth to lose.

"Come with me," I say. "Let me take a picture of your smile with all your baby teeth. That one is going to come out soon, and I want one more picture of you with your baby teeth."

She didn't want to wiggle it for the picture, and I'm ok with that. Not a fan of wiggly teeth in general.

Monday, June 17, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4320-4360)

for her window sills wide enough to hold a little boy stretched out on a rainy day
sheets of rain
shoes on feet
a basement retreat during tornado warnings
texts with a sister

and her prayers
hoo-ting and ruckus from owls and frogs after the storm
and no rain
a sunny next day
bunny sightings

and a snake sighting
color samples like splendor, harmony, and even cotswold
white on the trim in the laundry room
Viviana every week
a closeness for Erin

cupcakes to celebrate half birthdays
a yellow bird perched on a nearby chair
Lindsay chats
and Cinderella
a fox trotting through the field

lightning bugs outside the window
a farmer friend, his hands that held and hugged, his quick smile, and his trademark wave
for treasure in darkness
my parents' former neighbor who counts the years too (25)
a snake in the pump house

sunshine for yard work
clean windows
ice cream sneaks with Erin
errand runs with Lanie
a car on loan while mine is in the shop

pictures in a slideshow of fathers and daughters
lamb on the grill
the scent of ground coffee
birthday cake (strawberry cream torte for Lori's 51st)
lunch on the patio

the hard talk across the kitchen island
the hard business of keeping past past
the hard choice to reconcile
the hard work of sifting trust and truth
things that end well

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The snake at the pump house, and here

My dad, sister, and Linda are coming over tomorrow for lunch. I am marinating lamb to grill for gyros. As much fun as it is to plan a menu, I equally enjoy prepping the house and yard for friends and family: sunshine hours of grass mowing, trimming back rhododendrons, pruning branches of awning trees, sweeping off patios and walkways, cleaning the windows, planting mint in a planter, pulling out cushions for patio chairs.

Shane had his share of things to do. He was down at the pump house doing something and he called out to me when he saw me, "There was a snake right next to my head."

He hates snakes and big spiders. I'm not very fond of them either.

"Where is it?" I asked and made my way down to him. "Was it a black snake?"

"Yes, but not as big as I've seen them."

We went into the pump house, but the snake had moved on.

"If this had happened at the other house, I wouldn't have gone back in until I had something to kill it," he laughed. And then, "This place has changed me."

His words may have been matter-of-fact, but the implications were not lost on me. I smiled and thought of all of us, and the changes, and to myself I know: it was supposed to, this place--it was supposed to change us.

My next project is redoing the laundry room. I've already started painting the doors and trim ... white. And while we wait on tripping over to the second-hand cabinet store, I'm going to try my hand at sanding down the powder room vanity and staining it something rich and nutty.

Monday, June 10, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4293-4319)

iced coffee
clean clothes
$6 tank tops

heart cutouts
kids in tow
a sunny day to take pictures
green fields

step aerobics
and that I didn't collapse doing it
fresh berries in a colander
moments of neat and tidy
sangria with Shane

the short couch in the basement ...
that held a cramped couple and a cat
his yes to here, "If you had to do it over again?
lunch with friends at the table
good last days before Julie leaves

Snacking with Julie and Amy
ice cream, ice cream, ice cream
a Saturday, full
and worship with my favorite verse
good tears from it
for cuddles with a sick girl

days without TV
the race marked out for me
a niece's wedding

Thursday, June 6, 2013


She climbs up on my lap. Smells of strawberry yogurt. Chocolate smudges on her chin (Nutella on toast). She wants me to warm her up, and she is longer across my lap than she used to be.

"Mommy, in six more days I'm going to be six and a half!" she announces.

I laugh and hug her closer.

Monday, June 3, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4264-4292)

for grapevines with wild fragrance that I could stand outside in morning quiet and breathe, breathe, breathe it all in
clusters of butterflies in a delicate, fluttering swarm around our car

and a friend to witness it with us as we drove to the playground
water parks on a HOT day
spoonfuls of Dippin' Dots
preferred parking right at the entrance
and witnessing my kiddo ride a roller coaster I rode when I wasn't much older than her

a super kind stranger who gifted a toy to Erin who secretly was hurt she lost
a cat-napping husband on the ride home
for lunches to pack
for answered prayers, even though they weren't the answers I was expecting
a new washer

and the whimsical little tune it plays when my laundry is done
loads of clean clothes to fold and put away
for friends who share their worries and insecurities
air conditioning
yard sales with Erin

our dog
and that she literally stops to smell the roses
tacos for dinner
the charm of art in the park
a visit at David and Anita's house

Erin in their pool fully clothed
and Anita pulling her around like a tug boat
her offers to make me cushion covers for the wicker chairs
being saved from a very near hit in the intersection
chocolate ice cream

Erin up past bedtime coloring at the table next to me
worship, in the every day