Tuesday, August 31, 2010

tomorrow and tomorrow and for as long as we both shall live.

Tomorrow is September 1.  That happens to be the anniversary of the day that I got a husband and new last name.  The third anniversary, to be exact.  It was a pretty great day, but the ones since have been even better. 

I thought it would be fun to look back at that spectacular day when we invited of our friends and family to travel to our destination wedding, in the middle of central Tennessee, to a small town called Bell Buckle, where we got married, in a beautiful, old, red barn.

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I sat beside you and became myself. – Joshua Radin


Three years down, five billion gazillion to go.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Hello, insane amounts of inspiration, I missed you.

Week 19 of this baby growing adventure has launched me full-force into a creative frenzy.  At last.    Since the middle of May… I have not created one single piece of art.  Talk about a dry spell, but you can blame the nausea, the inability to keep anything down, the repulsion of most food, the exhaustion, and the insufferable heat for that.  Oh, the things we do for these babies.

But all of a sudden, I’m back in the game.

I felt the first tiny dose of inspiration on our weekend adventure and went on the hunt for the perfect supplies.  I found just what I needed from the fun etsy shop, White Serenade and finally, on Saturday, I sat down to create a bit of art.


Like a trusty old friend, my paints and brushes were there to cover the canvas.  My handy mod podge and hot glue gun did what they do best.  My creativity did the rest.  Here’s the finished collage.


It’s hard to read, but the cards are old French vocabulary cards with the English translation on the reverse side.  If you know me, you know I love English.  I love French.  I love words.  I love words that are spelled correctly.  I don’t even abbreviate.  And now we are getting off the topic.  Some cards are showing the English side, some the French.  For the most part, I arranged the words to create little phrases, but you’ll just have to come over to read them. My husband thinks one of the cards was used on purpose, just for him.  That card would be “to smell.”  Alas, I regretfully admit that was not intentional.  The face of the clock was from an old clock Eiffel tower that I used to have, I saved the clock piece for some reason.  I added a new battery and voila, this piece of art is multi-functional.  The small cameo brooch is from the great stash that belonged to my grandmother, I just felt like it needed a little something else.   The embroidery hoop is from somewhere. 

Did I mention that I made this to go in the bathroom?  I thought it would be a perfect companion for the shower curtain, which I still adore.    It hangs across from the sink.  But, we have a small bathroom, so unless I take the door off the hinges, you can’t see the full view at once.  I do love my blog, but there are limits, I’m not taking off the door.

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The shower curtain is from Target.  And yes, that is a cute little potty for the toddler, but so far, he refuses to use it for anything other than a stool, to play in the “wa-wa.” He loves cleans hands.

So, there you have it.  I finally made something new.  I’m working on another piece too, I’ll share soon. 

Have you made anything new that you love? 


PS.  My crafty friend Jessica did a little interview over here, check it out, she’s funny.

PPS.  I just ordered more of those cards, so stay tuned for some new more vocab turned art fun.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Let the games begin…

You can be quite certain that since Thursday morning, I’ve thought of little else besides the fact that we are having a baby girl and all the fun that means. I’ve also thought about how wonderful my little boy is and how he gets sillier every day, don’t worry, he’s not being neglected.
I’m looking for fabric to make her bedding, because this time around I am quite certain I don’t need to shell out huge amounts of $$ for mass produced bedding, when I have what creativity and a sewing machine that I know how to use.  Besides, most of them are too “cutesty” for me. I’m still scheming the design and colors but, here are two fabrics that I have fallen for already, this one and this one too.  Why yes, that’s a city map of Paris.  I’m also envisioning a few rows of ruffles.
Hanging Cages in LimeCity Map in White
and I’m starting to see all of the cutest little things that a baby could need…

Like these precious rattles
And sweet mobiles like this one
Or this origami mobile.  But, I think I’m too right brain creative for such detailed endeavors like origami… where are my detail loving friends?
I’m also going to need to increase my knitting skills, because my little winter baby will need half a dozen cute sweaters, in every major color, to coordinate with her outfits.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to since Thursday… oh and eating this delicious tiramisu that the husband brought home last night.  AND catching up on Project Runway… starting to strongly dislike the designer I liked the most, her name starts with a Gretchen.
Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, August 27, 2010

4. continued. not the adventure I expected.

Four years ago on August 28, 2006, I got an important text message from a boy, we’ll call him Matt.  I never expected to meet him, I planned on spending a year traveling the US, working with students, having adventures, and writing a book about it. You can read part one here.  I did not plan on getting important text messages from a boy, but I did and  I never wrote that book.
The message read, “Would you like to accompany me on a walk  tonight?”  I was very pleased to get that message.  I did want to take that walk.  This wasn’t the first walk that we ever took together, but I knew this one would be different.  I remember the other walk, very well.  One night, after driving back from L.A , I convinced Matt that we should go on a walk upon returning to the camp.   Let me point out, at first he thought I was crazy.  You see, we were doing our training in Angeles Crest Park, in the mountains, where wild animals lived and roamed free and ate people. A few girls had unhappily reported that they had seen a bear around the camp.    Whatever.  Technically, I extended the invitation to the other two people in our van, but I knew my friend Rachel would decline, arranging a good opportunity for the two of us to be alone.  This meant that the other guy would also decline because he had picked up hints of our growing interest in each other.  Matt thought I might be crazy enough to go out on my own, so he agreed to join me and act as my protector.  I never planning on going without him.   He still insists that he didn’t believe me until I showed up at the main lodge ready to go. 
In the beauty of the night on a glorious mountain, the sky sparkling with an impressive display of stars, we talked, we walked, we found a small dock by a tiny lake and were mesmerized by the glowing blanket of dark blue, speckled with brilliance.  There were moments were we said nothing and we were comfortable with the space and silence between us.  It was perfect.  I never thought about the bears, but I’m sure in the back of his mind, he was wondering how he’d fight off any beasts that would come across our path.  Lucky for him, no such beasts appeared.  We returned to camp, alive and with growing mutual interest.
Back to the the other walk.  THE walk.  I replied that I would like that, after doing what every girl does, showing my friend the text and then trying to hide our giddy faces from the rest of the people.  This time we were all at the company condo, back in the city, away from wild predators of the fur kind, at least.
Later that evening, I had just taken a short nap, training was exhausting.  I didn’t bring anything with me, except my phone and we left.  I was a little groggy and still rather tired, so he suggested coffee to ensure that I would stay awake.  Who am I to refuse coffee?  We walked to the Starbucks down the street and then I ordered, he said he didn’t want anything.  At that moment I “realized” that I didn’t have any money with me, so I told him.  He hesitated for just a second and informed me that I could pay him back later.    I was a little shocked at that statement, but sure I could pay him back later. (I still tease him about that).
In his defense:  He was nervous and didn’t want to seem too eager, but he assures me that he didn’t really want me to pay him back. 
Latte in hand and that silly moment behind us, we started walking to a park.  Our conversation was casual and slightly uneasy,  he was nervous, so nervous.  It was cute.  As we walked through the neighborhoods with tall fences around the perimeter of each home, he told me that they were probably collecting parts to build giant robots that were going to come to live and take over the world.
I didn’t care about robots.
I still don’t care about robots.
I think we talked about other things too, but I remember very little of that.  We finally arrived at the park and found a nice spot on a hill to sit.  He was gaining the courage.  I was getting impatient.  I asked him if there was something more that he wanted to talk about on this particular walk.  That was a his cue.
He took an obvious deep breathe.  I smiled, he was so nervous.
The details of the conversation are for us, it was the start of something that would change both of our lives, forever.  On the walk home, he was no longer nervous, but relieved and excited.  It would have been a long walk back if I would have said, no. 
Four years ago on August 28, 2006, I started dating that boy who asked me to take a walk with him, the one we call Matt…. the one I never planned on meeting.  When I left for California that year, I anticipated a great adventure, but I had no idea that it would last for the rest of my life and that I would share it with him.
Just for the record:  I still haven’t paid him back for that coffee.
Last year, we bought a cute little robot ornament for our Christmas tree.  We both said it was because H would like it, but truthfully, it reminds me of that walk.
On Wednesday, we will celebrate our third wedding anniversary. 
In October, our little boy turns two. 
In January, we will meet our baby girl.
How’s that for an adventure?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

dear baby girl

Today is August 26, 2010, your daddy and I got to see you on the ultrasound monitor.  We got to see your sweet little arms and legs and that beautiful baby girl profile of yours.  Practically Audrey Hepburn.  You’re simply lovely. Already.
We are all so thrilled that you, a little girl of our very own will be joining us and making us a family of four in January.  When I say we, I mean, mostly your daddy and I, because your big brother doesn't really know what’s coming.  He’s very unaware that his whole world is going to change in a few months plus, he doesn’t really speak in full sentences and usually just talks about dogs, books, and birds, but if he really knew that he was going to have a baby sister, I think he’d be really excited too.  He seems to like babies, he points out every single one, but none of them have ever come home with us to stay.  Don’t worry if he doesn’t want to share his mommy at first, he’ll get used to it, it’s not really his choice.
Immediately after we found out that you were a girl, we went to Target to celebrate with Starbucks (I’ll tell you all about coffee, well you already know a little about it) and of course to buy you some clothes.  We are going to have so much fun, I’ll do my best to keep you very fashionable.  It’s important to look good, but remember, it’s more important to be a good person.  If you aren’t a good person, then clothes won’t help.  And you don’t have to choose one or the other, just so you know.   It only took a few minutes of me going crazy over all the sweet baby girl dresses and jackets for your daddy to realize that he was in serious trouble. 
We bought you a little grey onesie with the cover design from the Beatle’s Abbey Road album.  We like the Beatles around here.  In fact, your brother’s middle name is from one of their songs.   Back to the outfit, it’s grey with just a few touches of pink.  Grey is my favorite color and I think it looks better when you spell it with an “e” instead of an “a.”  Both versions are acceptable, though.  Spelling is also very important, but you’ll learn about that too.  In case you wondered, pink is a good color, but there are so many other great colors, don’t limit yourself. Variety is good. Oh and great style is about mixing, not matching.
I have so much to tell you and you have a lot of growing to do. I’m going to keep all these letters in a journal for you to read one day, just like I did with your brother. Then one day, you can read it and keep it, if you want.  I hope it’s alright if I share a few of your letters here, for other people to read… they might enjoy it.
Well, we can’t wait to meet you, but we’ll happily wait until January, so you can keep growing and developing.  A lot of people will tell us that you will be here before we know it, and just in case you wondered, that is a terrible phrase, because the truth is, I do know it.  I do.  It’s not like I’m clueless or anything.  I know it’s not January and and I also know you’re still not ready to come out, THUS, I know it, making “before you know it”… incorrect. 
Love you.
19 weeks tomorrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

a weekend at grandpa’s. part four: conclusion.

This is part four of a series of posts on my recent trip up North to my grandfather’s house, the last time before he would be moving away from his gorgeous lake house to an assisted living home.  If you missed any of the posts, start  here.



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I really enjoyed recording the memories from our weekend trip to my grandfather’s house.  Living  a life of beautiful moments and priceless memories is very important to me, so I believe that no event is too insignificant to remember, because too many things are forgotten. 

As I get older, I am beginning to see that all those silly people who said, “time goes by so quickly, don’t wish it away,” were annoyingly right.  It goes.  Quickly.  So, remember, cherish, love, and live intentionally. 

To conclude these posts, I want to share a few last words.  These are not my own, but I’ve already shared my best.  These words are beautiful, honest, and true.   I leave you with these thoughts from my amazing husband, Mr . Moore.

My wife's Grandfather is 89, and his name is Fred. Fred lives in Minnesota, in an unusual house, on a lake. He built the house in the 1980's to help welcome him and his wife into retirement...his wife, Irma, my wife's Grandmother, passed away recently, and the house that love built has been sold to another couple, nearing retirement. Grandpa Fred is moving to an assisted living home... We spent the night in Fred's unusual house, heard stories, saw loneliness...indulged in sentiment. I will always remember the house that Fred built, not for it's unique charm, detailed craft, nor energy efficiency...I will always remember the house that Fred built for it's warmth, and the man who built it.
Age comes like a thief and takes...but the unusual house that Fred built stands as a testament to the purpose it served...and the accomplishment of one man with great vision and skill to accomplish something great.



Thursday, August 19, 2010

a weekend at grandpa’s. part three.

This is part three of a series of posts.  Find the rest here.

Part One.  Part Two


“Tell them the story about how you met mom, Fred,” said my mother, as the four of us sat in the cozy living room, a straight relic of the 70’s, clearly untouched by time, in the quiet of the evening hours.  The commotion of the day had ended, the tormenting toddler was soundly asleep, and my sister and cousin were watching Twilight from the laptop in the loft, sharing a pair of headphones, occasionally giggling and swooning—as girls do.

Out of his gentle mouth came the first sentence that shifted our attention to the reality of loss; the very reality of why he was moving out of his beautiful home. 

“Oh, well she would have been able to tell that story much better than I can.”  His composure remained strong, but in the inflection of his words, we heard both the loneliness he was now feeling  and the sweet love  of those memories. 

This is their story.

He was born in 1921. He remembers the great depression well.  He fought for our country in World War II.  He spent most of his adult years caring for his mother, never marrying.  He was the head supervisor of the successful box plant in town, a position and reputation that many respected.

Jump ahead about forty years, my grandmother, Irma, had recently become widowed, her children were grown and out of the house.  Fred and Irma both attended a wedding of someone from town.  Her son-in-law was playing in the wedding band. He was kind, gentle, and shy.  She was bold and opinionated.  She asked him to dance.  He was unsure of his dancing abilities, but agreed.    It all started there and months later, she was also the one who suggested they get married.  They did.

Both in their sixties, they had found love, a first of sorts for both.  For him, it was the first time being married.  For her, she finally found a loving, gentle, and kindhearted man who would fill her life with joy and goodness, much unlike the years prior.  My mom being seven months pregnant, with my brother and living in another state missed the wedding, because the doctors cautioned against travel at that point in her pregnancy.  She regrets it still.  It was a simple wedding and my grandmother wore a yellow dress.  Yellow was her favorite color.  My mom hates yellow.  It’s one of my favorites. 

Nearing retirement, Fred started construction on the beautiful lake house that would be their dream home.  It was finished by 1989, every detail so precise and full of fine craftsmanship, accompanied by the beauty of the blue Minnesota waters and grand trees.  It was their own haven.  In their home, little changed but time did not stand still.  Their children aged.  Their grandchildren started their own adventures to adulthood, marriage, and families and now the great grandchildren are coming and growing with each new day.  The world around them changed, but so much stayed the same here.   The decor looked  just the same as it had ten years before, with only the photographs being updated to announce the times.

As time continued, their age and its affects came too.   It happened first to her and it came in the form of a stroke.  And then another.  While his mobility wasn’t what it used to be and his vision was fading, they took care of each other the best they could as she attempted to rehabilitate and get well.  Things didn’t improve and in 2008, they said goodbye.

Death is certain and life is precious, and they shared both.  They just got a later start on it than most. 

As my husband and I sat in the living room with my mom and grandpa, listening to the sweet beginnings of their story, we squeezed each other’s hands, perhaps to hold back our own tears… perhaps to say, never go away. 

His wrinkled, kind face smiled a most tender smile and he said, “We would have been married 30 years this month,” and he paused, “I hope they were good years for her.  I know they were good for me.”



We squeezed each other’s hands again, even tighter this time… but this time, it didn’t stop the tears.




{Tomorrow, the conclusion of this week’s posts on our weekend at grandpa’s.}

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You need new recipes.

Until recently, I haven’t been cooking much.  The very idea of eating is a chore, much less cooking for my family.  Unfortunately, I think they had their fill of hot dogs and mac n' cheese.  But I’m starting to feel much better and even some days I notice this foreign feeling of hunger.  A few weeks ago, I picked up the latest issue of  The Food Network Magazine, while on a recent date to the local  B&N, my husband let my buy it because I convinced him I would cook again.  I wasn’t lying.  I think I’m make five recipes so far. Now, I need a subscription. Hint, hint.   Here are a few of my favorites.
  Picture of Baked Fish and Chips Recipe
1. Baked Fish and Chips.  Who doesn’t love them?  I prefer tons a malt vinegar on the side for dipping.  No frying required.

2. Picture of Rosemary-Mustard Pork With Peaches RecipeMustard- Rosemary Pork with Peaches.  This one was off the charts delicious and scrumptious.  The recipes calls for grilling the meat, but there’s no grill here, so I used the oven, still wonderful.  It’s also slightly fancy, so it would be impressive for a dinner party… and still so simple. 
Picture of Shrimp-Salad Pitas Recipe
3. Shrimp Salad Pitas.   The husband loves shrimp.  He could eat it all day.  The was a perfect summer dinner, because it only required a few minutes to broil the shrimp.  So light and rather healthy too.
Picture of Tomato Salad with Cheese Crisps Recipe
4. Tomato Salad with Cheese Crisps.  I made this for lunch, because let’s be real… the husband doesn’t want to eat a bunch of tomatoes for lunch.  But me?  I love tomatoes, especially the ones I’ve been getting from the garden market across the street.  I used to eat tomatoes like apples with salt shaker in hand.  Yum, yum, yummy memories.  I didn’t use heirloom tomatoes, I know that would had added to it, but it was still a tasty little lunch, if I do say so myself.  Aren’t tomatoes so pretty?
5.  Homemade Soba Noodles.  My friend Kristin spent a month in NYC doing yoga instructor training and she shared her recipe for Soba noodles.  It was really tasty.  I will admit, I didn’t add tofu, because I don’t really think that is food.  Maybe you do, that’s wonderful.  I’m still a no-tofu necessary kind of girl… we can still be friends.
And just for the sake of being authentic and transparent.  I also made a version watermelon sorbet from good old’ RR, but I must have forgotten that watermelon is actually really sweet already because, I added too much sugar and now it’s unbearably sweet… as in downright gross. (We’re not really huge lovers of sweets around here).  My fault, I’m sure if you followed the actual recipe it would be a lovely summertime treat.  For now, my version will sit in the freezer until I feel motivated to clean out the fridge or I need that cake pan.
So… there you go.  Six new recipes. You’re welcome. What have you been making lately?  I’m always looking for new things to try.  I am not afraid of new.  I love new.  I’m one of those rare individuals who crave change… but that is an entirely different subject. 
P.S.  That still doesn’t mean I want to eat tofu.

Monday, August 16, 2010

a weekend at grandpa’s. part two.

{Find part one here.}


After a full day of exploring the house, seeing relatives,  playing in the lake, and dealing with an angel of a toddler who had rejected his entire afternoon nap, we executed an early bedtime for  him  and escaped to the dock with fishing poles in hand, just us.  The sun was gracefully setting and the world around us was still except for a few loons who softly glided across the water signing out an enchanting tune. 


A handful of eager little fish practically jumped on our lines at the promise of a tasty worm.  I named them all.  It was fun, we laughed.  I impressed my husband with the fact that I could bait my own hook and remove my fish from the line.  Our hands became covered in worm slime and fishy smells.   But most of all, those moments of fishing were serene and refreshing as the commotion around came to a pause and a cool summer evening happened upon us.


Dark, silent clouds rolled across the blue water, increasing the levels of grey in the skies and intermittently little showers poured out onto the earth.  Have you ever watched the rain dance on the lake?  It’s mesmerizing.  It’s like a soundless orchestra playing a beautiful symphony.  You can’t hear anything, but your eyes take it all in, the rhythm and notes of heaven’s song.  IMG_4935

These moments of  reveling in the beauty of the cool air, the still water, and the majestic sky eased my busy mind.  For most of the day, I sifted memories of being a small child who traveled a great distance with my family for a visit to the grandparents house.  My world was so different in those days.  I was so different, but I suppose, so much the same.  Yet, here I was, no longer the child, but an adult in this place flooded with memories of my past, a place equally familiar and foreign.  Or perhaps, this place remained familiar and I had become foreign?  This place knew nothing of who I had become, only who I had been.     These quiet minutes momentarily merged this place of my childhood with the person who I am today. 


Stay tuned for part three.

Photos by Matthew Moore, a.k.a. the husband.

a weekend at grandpa’s. part one.

This weekend we traveled North to a small town in Minnesota to visit my Grandfather, (my mom’s stepfather, her father died before I was born).   It was the very first time that my husband and son ever met him.  It was the first time I was able to show them his house, which I have always admired.  Sadly, this was also the last opportunity that we’d be able to visit him at his lake front, dome shaped home.  IMG_4920

My grandmother passed away last year and he is eighty-nine.  He still lives alone.  His vision is very poor and it’s too much work to maintain the place and he’s starting to need more help with daily activities.  The beautiful home  that he built in 1988  has been sold and he is moving within the next month to a sort of assisted living place.

IMG_4854 It’s the saddest thing to know that he won’t be there for much longer.  It’s a place that feels so familiar, but ironically, before this weekend, I can’t remember the last time I visited.  The past few days were such a mix of nostalgia and bizarre unfamiliarity, I wonder if these words will do my thoughts justice.

IMG_4833 The truth is that I’ve never been close to my grandparents.  I never lived by any of them.  I never rode my bike to their house after school.  I never visited for the ritual Sunday dinner.   We’d see each other on rare special occasions and we would receive birthday cards and Christmas gifts in the mail each year, but I can’t say that I really felt close to them.   Both of my parents moved away from their small hometowns and never really looked back.  I knew they were good, kind people.  I knew small pieces of their life stories.  I know they always loved to see us (and still do, of course), but our relationships don’t go much deeper.  I admit it sounds a bit depressing, but that’s all I’ve known.   


This weekend, I was so excited that Matt would be able to finally see in person, all the stories that I’ve told him about this place.  Then, I literally spent a good part of the four hour drive, trying to remember all the “memories.”  I counted five.

1.  I remember an old photograph of my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and some of us older cousins (who were not so old then) all sitting on the grass and playing in the lake.  I was a baby, so it’s not my memory, but I remember the picture.  I am certain that was a wonderful day.

2. I remember my whole family, maybe six of us then, crammed on a small paddle boat fishing on the lake.  I remember catching a fish and naming him George.  He was small and I couldn’t keep him.  I gave him his freedom.  I’m sure he went on to live a wonderful life.

3.  I remember my Grandmother telling me that a banana would spoil my dinner.   I remember feeling so hungry and that it took eternity for dinner to actually be ready.

4.  I remember as a child sleeping in the loft, above the living room, which I thought was the coolest space ever.  They had the evening news on below, quite loudly and my Grandmother told me that I had to sleep instead of peering over the edge.  It was too loud, I told her, but she informed me that I still must go to sleep.

5.  I remember the house.  For some reason, this has been my favorite of all the memories and I’m trying to understand why.  It’s just a place, a rather spectacular home on a lovely lake, in the middle of Minnesota nowhere.  This home doesn’t fill my mind with wonderful stories of the best moments from my childhood; it is a small side note in my story.  It’s somewhere I visited a handful of times in my life.  Yet, I love it there. 

Now, I have a sixth memory to add to that last. 

This weekend. I loved sharing this place with my husband, this place that I cherish so idyllically.  I loved watching our son call after the ducks and throw sticks in the yard.  I loved listening to the story of how my Grandfather met my Grandmother and how this month they would have celebrated 30 years of marriage, if she was still alive.   I want to share those stories with you this week, because they are memories worth sharing. 


While it’s easy to understand why this new arrangement will be so much better for him, it’s still sad to know, he won’t be there, in this place that I remember so well and at the same time, so little.

What about you?  Is your childhood full of memories of days spent with your grandparents and relatives?  What are you favorite memories of those times?