I really didn't know what to do for my birthday, but then I thought about how tough this winter and 2016 has been for me and for so many of the people in my life. This has been a hard season. And so, for my birthday I wanted to focus on JOY. I wanted to have a joint birthday/Valentine's celebration that celebrated life, because it is so precious and such a gift.

The day started with Stephen coming in the room at o-dark thirty announcing, "Good thing I'm half cat." This was followed by Taylor walking in declaring, "This is an activity for the whole family." Bob quickly made sounds to indicate that both of them needed to leave the room quickly and let us sleep, but I found myself laying in bed laughing out loud. I started my day with deep authentic laughter that told me it would be a good day.

Bob made my favorite breakfast: pancakes, eggs, and turkey sausage, while I enjoyed Dunkin Donuts coffee and a virgin mimosa I concocted that was so tasty. As I told the boys about our plans for the day, their eyes filled with excitement and it set the tone for the rest of the day.

We started our activities by having the whole family go to church (which meant a lot to me), then we headed to Frank's Cinebowl, where we proceeded to play air hockey and arcade games. This was followed by bowling and a buffet of my favorite menu items, as well as my favorite fountain drink: diet vanilla ginger ale. Then we headed in to Kung Fu Panda 3. I have to admit, I wasn't excited about this movie, but it was the only animated movie playing. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually very well done, and then I had to wonder, what did I have against pandas in the first place? Plus, the kids loved it! These days, whenever we watch a funny kids' movie, I mostly enjoy watching their faces during the funny parts. It makes my heart so happy to see them laugh with such abandon.

After the movie, we made a quick stop to get provisions for the snow storm and then headed home to decorate my cake and order pizza. The rest of the evening was spent chillaxing, and after the boys went to bed Bob and I talked and binge watched episodes of VEEP.

In the midst of everything yesterday was chocolates, hearts, love notes, smiles, glitter glue, play doh, singing, laughter, hugs, and kisses.

What I thought about most as the day wound to an end was what made it so special. We did a lot of fun activities, but we didn't do anything that we couldn't do on most any given Saturday or Sunday. Beyond the activities, what really made it special was my attitude from the moment I started laughing in bed to the moment when I kissed Stephen's forehead Good Night. I started the day knowing that I wanted to nurture and revel in Joy. What would it mean for my life if I started every day that way? To choose joy in every moment; to try to instill it in others.

It's a good reminder, and a worthy aspiration.  Every day is a gift and an opportunity to choose Joy.

What follows shall be a fair amount of rambling, but they are just thoughts I have to get out.  This has been playing through my mind over and over again lately, and I just need to write through it.

Lately I feel like I've been drowning in a sea of responsibilities.  Never enough time to stop and reflect, some days it feels like I don't have enough time to breathe.

I've been stressed.  I can feel it coming out of my pores; stress leaking out of my eyeballs whenever I get weak and let my guard down.

I've said to Bob more than once, "I'm not happy.  And I don't know why."  Life is running over me like a freight train, and I feel powerless to grab on and slow it down.

I know this is what so many people deal with every day.  I think about this.  How many other people are out there feeling like they can't breathe, barely holding it together.

I don't think what I'm going through is unique, nor is my life overly complicated or unfolding in some particularly bad way.  I'm just another average person struggling to balance work, life, health, spirituality, and the world around me.  There are tons of things that are going well in my life -- so much I have for which to be thankful.  I know that, and I count my blessings each day.  I also look around and see so much tragedy.  Maybe I need to stay off of social media (I've thought that more than once recently).  But I don't want to shut myself off to global and national struggles.  And I don't want to be uninformed about the challenges my friends and loved ones are facing and sharing online.  I don't want to stick my head in the ground, but I need a way of coping with the pain I see all around me.  And I need a way to process my own life stressors.  I think in many ways I'm managing stress a lot better now in my current state than I did even one, two, or more years ago.  But still....

So all of this brings me to what I've been grappling with lately: putting my trust in God.

It's a simple concept really but so so very hard to understand inside my heart.

I bought a little print for my wall that says Pray More Worry Less.  It's tiny.  And it's how I've been trying to live lately, needing to pray more and worry less.  Worrying is going to kill me.

But it is so much harder to put my trust in God.

Worry is what I know how to do.  I'm so good at it, I can do it without even realizing that's what's going on.

I've seen what happens when I really get deep into my prayer life.  I've felt God's presence, and I've seen how constant prayer has worked in my life.

But I also have those doubts.  Was that really God working there, or did I just think through the problem deeply enough to be able to resolve it in a way that worked for me?  

There have been a couple of times when I really did feel God's presence, but even now I look back and wonder if it was a fabrication of my own psyche.

I said the best prayer awhile back, for a loved one, for God to help prevent a hardship for that person.  It didn't "work."  But then I wondered if maybe I'm praying for the wrong things.  Instead of praying for God to "fix" it, maybe I need to pray for others to be able to feel His presence.  To feel the incredible peace and comfort that comes from those God moments.

I have to remind myself that God's son was crucified.  Crucified.  This is life for God.  I tend to read the Bible with a fairly open interpretation.  At my roots, I am a scholar of language and my philosophical beliefs center around the ways in which man has objectified and manipulated language (to further human agendas) even before it was written word.  So the Bible to me is an important text, but first and foremost it is a text and should be read as such.  But I think about the fact that Jesus died on the cross, that Jesus suffered in his human form, and I remember that as beautiful as life is, it is also pain and suffering.  The gift of God is life after death; it is not avoidance of pain and suffering here on this earth.  The gift of God is the amazing love and grace we, as His children, gift to each other.  This is how we hold each other up, this is how we help each other, by trying our best to reflect God's love, make it through these hard and painful times.  

So maybe I need to pray less for God to help us avoid pain and suffering and more for friends and loved ones to feel His love working through others, surrounding them and filling them with the peace we can only know through Him.

All of this leads me to the realizations I came to yesterday.

Two things I've been worrying about lately.  Trying to pray about them but not doing a very good job of actually putting my trust in God.

The first instance is the fact that little Stevie has had multiple cavities.  I have felt such shame over the fact that I let my child get cavities.  I have really been down on myself over this.  It's been a perfect storm of contributing factors (we didn't realize he wasn't getting any fluoride -- now we have him on a fluoride vitamin/supplement -- he loves sweets, and he hates to brush and floss).  It doesn't really matter the reasons.  It matters that I have been working very hard to forgive myself and not be so hard on myself, because I can't help feeling that I've let down my little boy.  Because we had such a hard time getting in to see the dentist (its own long story) the result is that one of the cavities was so bad he had to have his tooth pulled.  It's a baby tooth and there is no permanent damage for his permanent tooth, so that is a positive.  Needless to say, I have been alternatingly beating myself up and trying to be kind to myself.  

And trying to find God in all of this.

So yesterday was the day.  And I was so worried.  I've been upset about all of this for so long and have had so many conflicting emotions, so many of which have been tied up in these feelings like I should have been protecting him.  It's my responsibility as a parent to protect him.  I should have not given him so many sweets.  I should have forced him to brush his teeth.  I should have held him down and forced him to let me floss his teeth.  I should have remembered that we don't have fluorinated water and made sure we were giving him supplements.  I need it to be clear how much responsibility I felt for all of this.  It has been eating me up.

So the big day came yesterday.  Bob messaged me the whole time and let me know that Stevie was doing really well.  I left work as early as I could to see him for myself.  I got home and found my little sunshine boy, happy as can be.  He was so happy, so full of joy.  He was his beautiful, bouncy, resilient self.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks: I had not given him any credit.  I had not factored in at all Stephen's strength of character.  His resiliency.  

And then this realization came to sit lightly on my shoulders: I had not given Him any credit.  

In all of my worrying, I had left no room for God.

God made that little boy; he made him perfectly for me.  Not necessarily for me.  He is a child of God.  He was made perfectly for God.  But let's not forget God's other child, who suffered.  Life is not a promise of no suffering, but God will make us perfect (in our own messed up, sometimes painful ways).  He will help us cope when coping is necessary, and He will offer grace and redemption and the opportunity to have life everlasting (that's what I keep telling myself).

I had that realization about Stephen and about getting out of the way of God, and I realized that it can apply to many other situations and people in my life as well.

Something we learned with my home group last year that continues to stick with me:  Sometimes when we try to fix someone else's problem, we are actually getting the way of God who has a much better plan for that person.

So many times I put so much pressure on myself to fix others' problems, and I have to remember that I can't fix it.  That is all God.  I can pray for him to guide me and to lead me in a way that might bring comfort or aide to that person, but it is all on God to work in that person's life.  

Powerful to remember.

Finally the last point.  

I am helping with the kids choir this year, helping so that the kids can sing in the contemporary service, since they haven't had the capacity to do that in years past.  It has been a wonderful experience but one I have found a little daunting, since I have been feeling overwhelmed lately by just the mere act of existing.

I have been beating myself up over not doing more.  I didn't get the music to someone in time for them to be able to practice enough, and I was stressed out over how we were going to have accompaniment for the kids this Sunday.

In this area, I have also been working hard to pray more and worry less.  I know enough to know that God's got the church, God definitely has kids singing.  It's kind of like a thing for Him.  

But I also worry.  That's kind of like a thing for me.  

So I've been worrying, probably more than I even consciously realized.  Mostly just kind of being upset with myself.  Seems like it is one more thing I've screwed up on.  One more way I'm letting myself and others down.

Yesterday a favor was asked of the praise band.  And as we marched the precious Littles in to our contemporary worship space, God light shined through the stained glass windows and the sounds of this full band playing their song filled the air.

I was surrounded by His presence.

Telling me to stop trying to control everything.  Stop feeling that it is all my responsibility.

Open up.

Open up my heart and let Him in.

We went back to the choir room and did a cute little body percussion activity with the kids that had us singing (and using our bodies as percussion instruments), with the final line saying "If anybody asks you who I am, tell them I'm a child of God."

What a beautiful, simple message.

I am a child of God.

I have no tidy way to wrap this up, and the sweet peas just woke up.  I guess all of this is to say that as I continue to balance all of my responsibilities and all of my life stressors, I just need to keep remembering that I am a child of God and I need to put my trust and my faith in Him.
Heard this on the radio yesterday morning and then saw it on Facebook that same day, and I can't seem to get it out of my mind:
Sometimes things happen in life that are so horrible our minds have a hard time processing them. And, we just don’t know quite where to place the horrific. Deep inside us an honest question often bumps around our heart.… Where was God?
Where was God when that earthquake hit? Where was God when my sister died? Where was God when my friend’s child got cancer?

Sometimes we'd rather make an excuse for God than be brave enough to actually go to Him and ask.

I know where God was. He wasn't too busy, cold or heartless, and He certainly wasn't caught off guard. He was there each and every time. He’s grieved over the brokenness of this world, and He reminds us that one day He will make everything right; especially those circumstances we can't possibly understand right now.” - Lysa TerKeurst

From today’s P31 Radio Show, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee” — a production of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Wow, can't believe it's been one year since my last post.  Mental note: don't wait so long to get your thoughts down on the screen.


Just wanted to write about a little lesson or experience I had this morning.  So last night the boys were pretty hyper, as they often are, and a couple of times, I found myself saying out loud, "God, let me me love them the way You love me."  It sort of became my mantra throughout the evening whenever I felt that one of them was pushing me to the end of my patience.  

So I said it a few times last night, made it through the evening without losing my cool, and didn't give it much thought after that.

This morning I got up with my alarm and managed to get showered and dressed before the boys woke up.  I had a chance to be calm and reflective and felt quite at peace when the boys finally came downstairs.  First Taylor came down, sleepy and begging to watch television.  Begging, begging, begging.  Didn't matter that I said not until he had had breakfast and done his morning routine: he just kept right on asking.

Then Stephen came down, and I could tell right away he was still waking up and was upset.  He was tearful and emotional as he told me that his leg hurt, and he had wanted to cuddle with me, and could we just lay down on the couch.

And I'm thinking to myself, I've got to get us all fed and ready and out the door.  I've got to get Taylor on the bus and Stephen ready and to pre-school all in time to make it to my 9am meeting.  I do not have time for dramatics!!  Plus, how am I going to turn this around?  An emotional Stephen in the morning can tend to last all day long.

But something inside of me just said that I needed to love them.  I just felt an incredible urge to lavish love upon them.  I was tender with Stephen.  When he told me he was cold, I got his favorite blanket and wrapped it around him as he sat on his chair.  When he said he wanted pancakes (frozen, mind you), I scrapped my plan of Cheerios and said, Sure.  Taylor then let it be known that he would like waffles.  Sure.  I offered Stephen chamomile tea or milk or water.  He said he would really like hot chocolate, and I said, Sure, why not!  They asked for whip cream, and I said Sure!  They started to bicker about who would get what mug.  And that's when I told them, "Boys, I want to shower you with love.  I want you to know how dear and precious you are and am happy to give you hot chocolate and whipped cream.  All I ask in return is that you accept my love.  Just accept the love I give you; don't argue about the form it takes."  They started asking about marshmallows, and I replied, "I want to shower you with love.  What do you need to do?"  Immediately they replied, "Thank you for the hot chocolate, Mom!"  They were even thankful for the mug I gave each of them.  I don't think it was so important that I gave them the hot chocolate.  I think something special happened in that moment when I told them that I wanted to shower them with my love and that all I asked was that they accept it.  How often is a kid told that?  How often are they given something and purposefully asked to accept it.

After breakfast we were walking upstairs to finish dressing and do morning routines and Taylor was just singing and smiling.  He remarked, "I'm so happy and it's all because of this one special mother."

Both kids ended up being super happy this morning, and I felt very happy and lighthearted too.  Stephen was precious going into pre-school and just took his time carrying his little backpack in and going down the stairs.  He had so many things he wanted to tell me.  I felt a little bit rushed, knowing that I was on the edge of being late to my meeting, but I kept telling myself to take time to be in the presence of God.  Because of that, I was able to enjoy and cherish the time with my little one.

And now I'm just reflecting on my morning.  I keep thinking about how I have a million things on my plate.  I'm sure I won't get them all done or will drop something and feel bad about it later, but for now, I just feel at peace.  I had this moment this morning where I could have gone in one of two directions.  I could have chosen to be frantic and stressed and just push the boys in the direction I wanted them to go.  But instead, I chose love.  I think God spoke to me in that moment and directed me to love on them every way I knew how.  Maybe because I asked Him the night before, let me love them the way You love me.

Would it have been faster if they could have gone upstairs by themselves and gotten themselves dressed?  Yes.  But I knew when I asked Stephen to go upstairs and change out of his pajamas, I just knew that he would not do it on his own.  And I knew that I would end up asking repeatedly and finally getting upset with him for not listening and doing as I asked.  So instead of going down that road, I said, "How about I go upstairs with you and help you get ready?"  It was on the walk upstairs that Taylor told me how happy he was.

At the end of the day, this is sort of small thing: surviving a morning without yelling at my kids.  And I'm sort of patting myself on my back, which is probably not good.  But I think it is also so important to reflect and process my journey with faith right now, and it's also so important to pause when things go right with parenting and ask yourself, why did that work?  What worked well and what would I change?  What can I do to have these experiences become the norm in our household?  I wouldn't say that I spend all of my time being upset with my kids, but I'm not sure I'm showering them with love 24/7 either.  And most importantly, am I being present with God as much as possible?

For sure, tomorrow morning I could do the exact same thing and have everybody crying when we leave the house.  I've been around the parenting block enough to know about the wild variations in moods and situations and everything else.  But for one glorious moment, I feel like, I'm on to something.  And I think the most important thing is actually about asking God and then really being present to His response.  Maybe I didn't know in that exact moment that God was telling me to give the kids hot chocolate (or whatever else I did), but looking back, I know that He was moving me, and I'm thankful that I was present and embraced that conviction to shower them with love.
Perhaps this title should also be called Nourishing Myself.

A lot has happened since Scuba became so ill and since we lost her.  Not the least of which is, I've gained almost 10 pounds.  It was sort of the perfect storm, actually.

Scuba was very sick at Halloween.  We lost her in early November and then had Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  On top of all that, Bob and I ran our marathon at the end of October.  So, we stopped running, and we went into a mode of spending much of our extra time at the animal hospital.  I switched from a nightly cup of tea to a nightly glass of beer and started eating for comfort.  As we moved into the holidays, I indulged as anyone would.  Life is too short not to enjoy some Christmas cookies and a glass of homemade egg nog.  I'm sure that the depression I felt over losing the Roo didn't help, either.

Needless to say, I came into the New Year with some new goals and some new pounds on the bod.  Not a huge deal, but since I have lost 20 lbs. in the last two years, I have been used to seeing the scale go down and down.  Now, in the past three months, the scale has been going up, up, up.  Not a good feeling.  I still like how I look and how my clothes are fitting, and I am very happy with my progress in the gym (I can do 3 pull-ups in a row!).  I'm lifting heavier and can see more muscle definition, which is good.  But I know the weight I've gained is not all muscle and water weight.

As December ended, I got rid of a lot of the processed sugar in our house, and I started refocusing my efforts on providing clean, nourishing food for my family and myself.

As I reinvigorated my efforts at clean and healthy eating, I realized just how lax I had gotten in my diet and in our family meals, snacks, and treats.  I had slipped into recycling the same meals over and over again, as well as turning to a lot more convenience meals.

Now that I am doing more menu planning and bringing in some old favorites, as well as trying new healthy recipes, I am finding my attitude in general is brightening.  I'm feeling a little more joyful and even playful with my kids.

I sometimes forget what a huge impact all of the food has in the areas of my life.  I don't know why that is.  I think that sometimes life just gets so busy, and perhaps so overwhelming, that we start to lose focus on what's really important.  For me, I can see how my life has blurred out of focus over the last few months.  That's not to say I haven't been very aware of how precious life is and the value of what is important in my life.

During the month of Christmas, I worked very hard to remember the meaning of the season and to have all of my actions come from a place of joy.

After the holiday was over, though, I paused and reflected and realized that even though I felt a lot of joy throughout the season, I am not sure I ever felt completely at peace.

Some of the reasons for that may be too personal to share here (or even to fully understand myself), but some of that most certainly came from the hectic nature of the season, from trying to be all things to all people, and from a general blurring of focus.

As I'm writing here, I think I am coming up with my resolution for 2014: I want to live a simple life.  I would like to live more simply so that there will be less moments where my focus becomes blurred, when I lose the sense of what's truly important in my life.
Awhile back, I saw a blog post that revolved around the motto Live Simply So You Can Give Generously.  That is what I want to do for 2014.  The first step of this will be figuring out what "living simply" means for me.

How do you live simply in this 21st century?

I've talked about some of this with Bob already, and I am glad that he is also on board with such a goal.  I think this is the kind of change that is going to affect the whole family, hopefully for the better.  I think we will most certainly find some challenges in the fact that he and I will both define "simple" in different ways.  That could cause some serious, serious challenges.  We're just going to have to work through them, though.  It may mean that both of us will have to let go, a little bit, and trust in the other person.

Letting go and trusting -- may have a lot to do with living more simply.

Let go of fears

Let go of anxieties

Let go of the desire for more and more stuff

Let go of ego

Let go of distractions

How to do it all?  I'm going to need a plan.  But right now I will start with baby steps.  Right now I am happy with making a menu, providing healthy food that nourishes my family and also nourishes ME, both in my body and my spirit.

So, here's my menu for the week:

  • Sunday: Asian-inspired flank steak salad with spicy cauliflower soup
  • Monday: Chicken Parm Zucchini Boats
  • Tuesday: was supposed to be chicken, sweet potatoes, and green beans, but I think we're going to have to fix up some warming Chili
  • Wednesday: Marinated Salmon with Siracha Cream Sauce, green beans, red pepper
  • Thursday: Sauteed chicken, cauliflower, and broccoli
  • Friday: Family Pizza Night

This past Thursday, we had to say goodbye to our beloved Scuba.  It was, perhaps, the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  I would love to fill this post with all of our favorite pictures of her, because we do have so many, but more than that, I would like to just write about our Roo.

I want to proclaim to the world what an amazing companion she was.

She was our first baby.

From the moment that Bob and I decided we wanted to commit our lives to each other, we knew we needed a four-legged love in our life.  We picked up that little girl, and the first thing she did was roll over and give us her belly.

That was Scuba.

She loved us from the moment she met us, and how could we not fall in love with her.

We embarked on our life together as a team of three.

She was there as we worked through our long-distance relationship.  She was Bob's buddy for about 1 year, and in that time they really forged their close relationship.  He has always been her favorite, and I have always said, I can understand why she would love him so.

I remember her coming to stay with me in Athens.  I remember walking around Park Hall, introducing her to my peers and colleagues, saying, "This is Scuba!  Oh, and my fiance, Bob."  Scuba always took first place in our lives.

She traveled with us to Boston, and we spent a lot of time exploring New England together.  We planned our whole Vermont and Maine vacations around her.  One of my fondest memories is going to to Boyden Valley Winery and sitting in the Adirondack chairs, sipping wine, and eating cheese.  That, and fetching her in the water in Sorrento, Maine.

In Boston, on the days when I was weary of reading theory and making my brain work, I would pile all of her toys all over her sweet body and take pictures of her under her little mountain of toys.  She would just lay there and humor me.

She came home with us and was our constant companion as we went through two pregnancies and two little wee children who grew to love her.

These two little children just don't seem to understand why she is not here anymore.

She was so patient with them, so loving.  She was their Mama Dog.

Through every heartache I've had in the last ten years, Scuba was there for me.  Whenever I have grieved and felt loss, I was always able to wrap my arms around her and sob into her beautiful, chocolate fur.  She would lay there, patiently, and provide her constant comfort.

She filled our home with joy, with her boisterous welcome whenever we returned to her.  With her precious morning kisses and her tail wags, resulting in cacophonous noise.

She loved us with protective loyalty.  

She was always up for a ride in the car, or a swim in the pond, or a hike on any scrabble of mountain we could find.  I remember heaving her up crags on Cadillac mountain and her joining us for serene walks with little boys in their backpack carriers around Pandapas Pond.  And how she loved to chase the ducks (or just eat the bread we left for them).

She was our boon companion,

She was our Ruby; our Rhubarb; our Princess Scubins, Queen of the Prissy Paws.  During my Harry Potter days, I may or may not have referred to her on more than one occasion as Rubius Scubrid.  And she was also Scoobers.  She was our Roo.

She was our very first baby, our four-legged best friend.  She has always been, and will forever be, our "girl."

She will live on forever in our hearts.
I'm sitting here on the eve of the Marine Corps Marathon, thinking about the fact that this is likely the last marathon I will do for a long while.

Bob and I just had a wonderful dinner with the Team Homes for Our Troops folks.  We heard some inspiring stories, both from the wounded soldiers who have had homes built for them and from other fellow runners and Team HFOT members.  

I don't think I was prepared for the emotional realization of what it meant to be a part of this team.  A soldier stood up to speak.  He had his 3 year old son with him.  He had an arm and a leg amputated after his first tour in the Iraq war.  And he thanked *us* for what we were doing.  And I was just incredibly struck by the fact that he would thank us, because, of course, we should be the ones thanking him until the day that we die.  It just really hit home to me the importance of community and camaraderie.  I think it just means so much more to me to go out there tomorrow and have an amazing run and to be thankful for all that I have, for my life, and for the lives of my loved ones.

I think about the strength of our troops and the sacrifices they so willingly make, and it makes me think of the strength of the people in my life that motivates me to run and to just keep taking one more step.

I run first and foremost because of the day that I feel like I became a mother.  This experience is what helped give me the confidence to believe that I could do something like run and possibly one day run a marathon.

I run because of my own mother, because she inspires me with her strength and her perseverance through any adversities life has brought her.  Even though she is not as mobile as she might like to be, I run because I am and I can, so that I might glorify her.

I run because of my mother-in-law, because she has propped me up with her support on more occasions than I can count.  She is an incredibly strong woman.  She has overcome a lot of challenges in her life, and she did it while raising the man I love.

And, right now especially, I run because of my sis-in-law who teaches me every day about patience and fortitude.  Whenever I think about giving up and quitting, I think of her, and it gives me the strength to carry on.

I will take all of these amazing women with me tomorrow, as I set out on my long journey.  

I know I am not going it alone. 

Yesterday was Day 2 of our 3-Day weekend extravaganza.  Truth be told, it ended up being a relatively normal Saturday, but I think that's a good thing.  It means that we try to live our lives in ways that are both fun and functional.

Yesterday morning we went out to breakfast and then headed over to the Farmer's Market.  Above is a picture of our bounty:
  • farm fresh eggs
  • locally pastured, grass-fed beef
  • heirloom tomatoes
  • fresh pasta
  • string beans
  • Italian zucchini
  • lettuces
  • corn on the cob
  • Gala and Macintosh apples, nectarines, and two types of plums

We really had a wonderful time, and I hope to make more of a habit of going to the Farmer's Market each week, before we do our regular grocery shopping, or even plan our weekly menu.

We had planned to go straight from the Market to do some scooting on the Huckleberry Train, then to the library, then perhaps lunch and Hand n Hand Park.  But, we ended up buying stuff that needed to be refrigerated, so we had to head home.  Once home, Bob started working on mowing the lawn, and I took Stephen grocery shopping for the rest of our weekly groceries.  That's when things started to get less fun and little more "normal."

The kids were really having a blast playing together and with their toys, though, so we all ended up having fun.  First, I had a ton of fun scooting with them in the driveway (I seriously need to get my own, grown-up scooter!), then Bob did a bunch of playing with them and their Geotrax, which I worked on a couple of projects around the house.

We ended the evening by grilling out the local beef along with my awesome salmon kabobs and the fresh corn on the cob.  Dinner was amazing!  Have to say, the salmon stoled the show!  Salmon kabobs are like two sticks of buttah!!

All in all, it was a pleasant day.  We didn't go to all of the places I wanted to go to, but the boys had a lot of smiles and fun times (they did a lot of imaginative play together), so I would consider it a success!
Our daycare was closed today, and we were fortunate to find ourselves with a 3 day weekend, so we decided to take full advantage of it!

We started out our "weekend" with a date last night that included a surprise happy hour beverage with my "sister from another mister" (you will have to ask her!), another amazing sushi experience (including eel, salmon, tuna, and Aloha rolls!), and fro yo (because what date night would be complete without fro-to-the-yo?

Today, we sat down and made a list of everything we want to do this weekend.  We generated a great list, and I hope we'll get a chance to do everything.  Here's what we did today:
  • Scooting and riding skateboards at the Duck Pond (and feeding the ducks, of course!)
  • Picnic at Hand n Hand Park
  • Boating
  • Tubing, water skiing, and wake boarding -- And Bob had his best wake board trip of the summer.  We came around a corner on Peak Creek and all we could see was glass.  I knew he was in heaven!  I also had a nice trip on the skiis.  I got up right away and had a nice spin around the lake.  I'm proud of myself for jumping myself into that lake when it wasn't exactly all that warm outside, but that's just how eager I was to do some skiing!
  • Family Pizza & a Movie Night

We've got plenty of other fun activities planned for the rest of the weekend.  I'll try to take pictures, and hopefully I'll be able to do a short recap each day.

The real purpose of running isn't to win a race; it's to test the limits of the human heart. ~ Bill Bowerman, Co-founder of Nike