Archive | October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

30 Oct

I like that holidays here are sprinkled with salt water. On Saturday we dressed Abigail in her cow costume and headed to the aquarium for some Halloween fun. We meandered around playing games, looked at exhibits we’d seen a hundred times, and said hello as we bumped into friends from town. The weather was perfect at 60 degrees and sunny, the fog holding off until we drove home.

Today was reserved for pumpkin carving. I probably make a bigger deal out of carving pumpkins than necessary, but my dad was a great pumpkin carver. I still remember the year he carved, “Trick or Treat” into one of our 3 pumpkins. This was back in the day when geometric shapes had a monopoly on jack-o-lanterns. 

On Halloween, I remember waiting eagerly for my dad to return from work. When he got home we would spread out newspapers and sketch our designs on white paper. We’d push up our sleeves and help pull out gooey pumpkin guts. Then he would carefully carve each face just as we had envisioned it onto our pumpkin with a knife from the kitchen drawer. No fancy kit. No stencil.

We’d get dressed in a hurry and head out for old fashioned trick or treating door to door in our neighborhood. Over time we learned which houses liked to give out frights in addition to treats.  I was always content to hang back on the street for those houses, ghostbusters being about as scary as I liked things.

This year we decided to carve our favorite monster onto our family pumpkin. Abigail danced to “Sarah’s Totally Rad Playlist” on my iPod when she got bored of counter sitting.  I scooped out seeds to roast. We popped popcorn and fired up the DVR to watch Charlie Brown. Abigail had a few mini breakdowns but it was nothing a cow costume or Elmo pasta couldn’t solve.

Hank, dying to be a part of things, chipped in to clean up. Okay, okay. This is totally disgusting, but can your dog do that?!  We let him because it was a holiday and as Ryan said, “You need to keep it real on that blog of yours.” Is that keeping it real enough?

There were lots of things that made this Halloween special, but the one I want to remember forever is the diaper-clad toddler that exclaimed, “Baboooo!” (aka Elmo) upon seeing her finished jack-o-lantern.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, friends!


Trip East Part 2: Virginia

27 Oct

On our way back we stopped for an overnight in Lynchburg. The leaves were changing but much had stayed the same, especially between the old friends we got to see. I love that town and returning after being away makes me feel that way even more. I cried as we drove through downtown, up Rivermont, and into Boonsboro — my heart thumping the silent message, Home Sweet Home. I couldn’t see everyone I wanted to, but getting to have some time with some of my dearest friends was a blessing. I miss them so much and regret not taking more pictures. But there was too much to catch up on and the camera sat untouched through coffee and snacks and dinner with the Carters and new running shoes fitted by Heather. There was one picture I wasn’t going to miss though – pictures of my sweet, precious “might as well be” niece, Maddy. Ahh. Totally in love with that baby and her mama and Joy.

On we traveled to my parents, where the feeling that all is right in the universe wraps around me like a blanket and my family warms my spirit like a hot bowl of soup.

I love seeing Abigail do all the things I did in the same space where I was once small. Like running around the yard and peeking over to see the creek. Crunching through fall leaves. Playing on the driveway. Realizing my bottom is way too big to fit in a toddler’s toy. We did some of that.

When she wouldn’t nap and cried with exhaustion, I showed her the secret that is hiding in the living room. I demonstrated moderate skills as a warning to practice, really practice, and stick with it. I wish I had…

A diaper rash ended up being a yeast infection (for crying out loud) and I longed for our cloth diapers. So my mother demonstrated her amazing prefold skills and pinned them on without even flinching. “How did you do this all the time?” I was awestruck at her ability to tame Abigail into unwiggly submission.
The things that you desperately want to know but don’t even realize you want to know only happen in those moments when you are together. Like how old I was when I wore this little blue dress that apparently in some former time was fashionable? Or how to thread a ribbon through a smocked dress sleeve. My sister-in-law/Abigail’s godmother hand smocked this dress for her daughter and I immediately needed a picture although it was a bit too cold and a strange neighborhood cat kept getting in the way.
Seeing Abigail with my sister and being so thankful for every minute they spent together because she is a superstar and I want some of that to rub off on Abigail.

I want so badly for all of these people we saw throughout the week to be in Abigail’s life in a big way. But they already are, even if it looks a little different right now. Because you can’t escape from who you are deep down inside. And we are the sum of all these parts.

Trip East Part 1: The Carolinas

26 Oct

We are all the sum of many parts. And while I sat here and tried to think of a more interesting way to say this I realized I was wasting time and Abigail is going to be waking soon and I have a lot to do before book club tonight.

But it fits, especially when I think about our trip back East — driving along highways, stopping to pick up some of the pieces of our lives, dusting them off so they shine again.

We got to meet up with some Hokie friends on our way down to South Carolina. Gayle and I had due dates just a day apart. Graham ended up being born about a week ahead of Abigail. We hadn’t seen each other since the babies, now 18 months, were born. Gayle makes me laugh, the good hearty kind. And thanks to Facebook, I felt like I already knew Graham. I didn’t think it was possible, but he is even more precious in person.

Our next stop was South Carolina for 3 days. It was a treat with its hot and sunny disposition.

There were cousins everywhere, so Abigail played and played. To me there’s nothing better than great-grandparents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins swirling around making their special blend of chaos.

Abigail realized that my spooky decorations were no match for Nanny’s.

We loved on Murphy.

And ate things like pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, and bacon — which may or may not have been on a sandwich together.

Finally, we took family photos in a really crummy park with a really crabby Abby, but we were thrilled with how they turned out.And on we traveled with sleepy eyes and a full heart.

To Be Continued…


The Mighty Sea

13 Oct

Sometimes I think with such clarity out here. The thoughts rushing towards me like waves on the sand. It’s the ocean, vast and powerful.
It stuns me with its beauty into a comfortable silence. Like the kind between old friends although we’ve really just met.Some people write their names in the sand, a declaration of love or friendship or politics. The letters are big, letting the whole world know.But the ocean won’t allow it, because to her, the only thing that matters is this moment, right now. So she respectfully washes them away because this is not the place. You do not own even one grain of her sand. It is on loan to you. For this one moment of this one day. So be alive and be present. It’s a gift, you know.

Perhaps the next day or the next week or the next year you will go back because the tides pull you, too. And there wrapped up on her sandy shores the mighty ocean will deliver another gift to you – the clarity once again to live in the moment.

This place is good for my soul.

I’m off to another place that’s good for my soul…I’ll be back after our trip East.


8 Oct

Virginia Tech is a big part of our lives.  It’s where Ryan and I met, fell in love, and got engaged.  Some of our best friends and favorite people are also Hokie Alums.  Blacksburg will always be a second home to us and the gorgeous Tech campus will always take my breath away.  But there is nothing like the feeling of being in Lane Stadium for a Saturday football game.

This will be our 2nd football season since 1999 that we haven’t been to a single game.  On Saturdays you can usually find us streaming a game from the computer onto our TV, which is fine but not quite the same.  You can imagine our delight in finding that the game was going to be on ESPN all the way out here!  

So we decked out our couch in maroon and orange.

Snacked on “Sid Dip” (which is what Ryan’s family calls salsa con queso because of a family friend, Sid, who always made it).  Kind of makes you want to rename it “Sid Dip,” too, huh?

We cheered, took a siesta at half time (because we have an 18 month old), and when Tech started stinking it up in the second half we realized that we forgot to put out VT barbie, who is somewhat of a floozy, but she’s cheered with me for 12 seasons so it’s cool.

Number 59 was not amused.

And when the game turned into a real nail biter we got off the couch and cheered and trash talked and curled up into the fetal position.  Okay that last one was just me.  Until we emerged victorious and Abigail emerged from a 3 1/2 hour nap!And it was fun to pretend for a minute that we were back in beautiful southwest Virginia watching the game munchkin-free….but then again she’s a pretty cute future Hokie…So wherever you are and whoever your team, may you have a happy football weekend, too!




6 Oct

Our kitchen looked like this.

I’m not proud of it.  It’s totally embarassing and the only reason I’m posting it is because, well, just wait…

Did I mention we went to Spokane this past weekend?  Well, we did.  I didn’t mention that it was over 8 hours away and Abigail refused to sleep for 4 days.  But we were having such a good time that it didn’t really matter.  Until we got home and all crashed because we were so T I R E D.  And with all of the unpacking and napping and climbing Mt. Laundry I let the kitchen slide.  There are worse things I suppose, but after 2 full days of dealing with that it really started to get on my nerves.  And then I sulked around because it was so overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start.

So this morning I started.  To make banana bread.  

And banana bread led to the discovery of my missing set of measuring spoons.

Which made Hank tap on the door to say he needed to pee.

And that made me put on Abigail’s new Peri Poncho and say, “Come on, gang!  Let’s go on a little walk.”

The fresh air put a little spring in my step.

Which had me springing inside to do THIS.   WOILA!

And that clean kitchen made me *gasp* put on earrings…and a scarf!  *That’s 2 accessories, folks.

Until finally Hank let me know it was time to just settle down and give it a rest.  

So we settled right there on the kitchen floor to eat fresh baked banana bread with chocolate chips sprinkled in to make it extra smiley like Heather C.

Sidenote:  No, I’m not getting paid to advertise for Peri Ponchos.  I just think they’re cute.  This blog is solely for the purpose of entertaining myself and my family and the 5 people that read it.  ;o)


Razzle Dazzle Me

3 Oct

A month ago our dear friends came to visit.  This weekend we whisked ourselves away to Spokane to continue the fun we had.  It was a whirlwind of activity and Spokane razzle dazzled us with it’s sparkly charm.

A pumpkin patch gearing up for its first big weekend beckoned for the girls to break it in.  The girls picked red, crisp apples and wacky gourds from bins as their red, sweaty cheeks gave away their pumpkin patch adventure. Continue reading