Thursday, December 31, 2009

how will you spend the last day of 2009?

My last day of the year started with a lazy morning and was followed by an afternoon at the beach. Pizza, we've discovered, tastes best served up with a bit of sand and sunshine. Now, I'm home and relaxing on the back porch (okay, yes, it is a lanai but I like to call it a porch and pretend I still live up north) and drinking a delicious cup of tea and catching up on blogs I like to read (okay, I don't have too much catching up to do - I've had lots of free time on my hands lately). Tonight we're going to spend the night at my parent's house and play board games. All in all, I'd say that this is a lovely way to end the year.

Do you have any new year's resolutions? I always make them and then forget them. Ah well. This year I resolve to not take myself so seriously. How's that? Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ahhhhh . . .

Yesterday Leslie and I treated ourselves to facials at the Aveda salon. Heaven. They put all of these really nice smelling creams all over your face and then keep covering them with really warm wet cloths that smell yummy. Really, heaven. To add to the pleasure overload, you get a foot and arm/hand massage thrown in for good measure.

If I become insanely rich someday, along with my personal chef, I am going to build a spa and employ someone to give me a facial every week.

On another note, I am loving all of the creative energy that I am having during my 2 week holiday. I have been playing and trying out lots of new art projects for the littles. I'm so excited to see the littles again and try them out! I'll share photos of the kids trying batik and monoprints in the new year . . .

Friday, December 25, 2009

ho ho ho

Our Traditions We Kept This Year:
trimming our tree (and one in Leslie's room as well)
Lori and Paul's cookie exchange
Bret's famous sugar cookies
celebrating with Char and Carlos the weekend before Christmas
Christmas Eve dinner & presents at my mom and dad's
a special Christmas breakfast
Bret making Christmas lunch
going to a movie in the afternoon (Sherlock Holmes)

Traditions We Skipped This Year:
the beach on Christmas day (kind of rainy for the beach)

And Maybe a New Tradition . . .
hitting the day after Christmas sales with Mom and Les in the morning (not sure why we don't usually do this but sounds like a good idea to me!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When I was about 4 years old my mom had a miscarriage. I'm not even sure how I knew about it. I remember staying with my aunt and knowing that my mom was in the hospital and thinking that she was there to have a baby. For some reason this stuck with me all through my childhood and I always wondered if that baby would have been a sister. I loved my little brother but I really really really wanted a sister. Someone to dress up. To play dolls with. To tell my girly secrets to.

My brother went into the army and moved to Germany when we were in our early 20's. He called home and said he had a new girlfriend. He sent photos. He was crazy about her. When he called to invite me to the wedding in France I couldn't wait to go. It was an adventure. It was exciting. It was really outside my box. But most importantly, I was finally getting that sister. I think one of the first things I ever said to her was "I always wanted a sister."

Well, having a sister was everything I hoped for. While I didn't dress her up and we didn't play dolls, we did go shopping and do crazy art projects and take trips together and I did finally have someone to share my girly secrets with. I was devastated when many years later they divorced. But somehow she and I managed to stay friends and keep in touch.

And now she has an amazing little boy. She looks radiantly happy and I am beyond happy for her. She is such a good mommy already and her boy is a lucky little guy. And even though she is not my sister on paper any longer - she will always be my sister in my heart.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

i never knew

I never knew it was so easy to make homemade tomato soup. For years I just relied on the old red and white can - dumping it in a pan and adding a can of milk. A few years ago I discovered some pretty tasty tomato soup in a box. No addition of milk needed! But yesterday's cool temperatures got me in the mood to make homemade soup. So, throwing caution to the wind, I gathered supplies and made soup for dinner. Bret and Leslie said they loved it - and they ate it all so I guess it was a success. Here's the recipe:

Saute an onion, a few chopped carrots, a couple of stalks of celery chopped small, a little thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic in olive oil. When it's soft add a box of chicken stock, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of white kidney beans (that you've rinsed to get rid of the salt). Simmer for about 30 minutes. Then puree with a hand blender.

This soup was really yummy and easy to throw together from things I just had on hand. I don't think I'll be going back to the red and white can any time soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

gratitude list

I've been reading Katrina Kenison's follow up to Mitten Strings for God which I read when Leslie was in preschool. While Mitten Strings was written as a guide to living a simple life with children, her latest memoir, the gift of an ordinary day, is about how to move into middle age with grace and thought. How to navigate the turbulent waters of life with teenagers as they prepare to go out into the world on their own. How to discover who you might be when you are no longer defined by your role as mother. While Leslie still has a few more years here with us before she goes off into the world, I found this book to be so right for this particular time in my life.

In gift, Kenison writes a gratitude list, as she embraces "the muddy magnificence of now" and realizes her old habit of longing for the future has no place in the world she inhabits as a 40-something year old woman. In the past few years I've been making an effort to take the time to be still and be thankful and really live in each and every moment NOW. So much of my past was spent wondering about what might happen in the future. What career path might I go down? Would I be able to get pregnant? Would I be able to have more than one child? Would my marriage be strong enough to survive the tests it was put to? What next? Now, I don't spend too much time wondering about what will be. It's enough to be happy in this moment. Thankful for the the many blessings in my life. Ignore the imperfections and embrace them along with the moments of true bliss.

And so, with a nod to Katrina Kenison, here is my gratitude list for today:

My daughter choosing to sit in the room with me (instead of in her room) while we both type on our computers, the lovely coolness of the day, the companionable silence of our house.

A day with friends, Bret feeling enough like his old self to cook for them, laughter, quiet conversation, company.

Leslie's room filled with art and music and fashion and laughter, a teenager who still wants to be with us and talk to us and let us into her world.

A job that lets me be creative and allows me to sing and dance and paint and do all sorts of things that I might not do if I didn't have ten little people to teach about the world they live in, a job that lets me be home with Leslie in the afternoon, the realization that my days of nurturing her are drawing to a close in the not to distant future and how that makes them sweeter still.

A cup of tea, Leslie asking me to please bring her the last piece of peach bread.

My parents stopping by with an impromptu pizza, throwing together salad, making 3 ingredient cookies, playing dominoes after dinner just like when I was a little kid eating Sunday dinner at my granny's house.

Our life today, right now, just as it is, with all of it's imperfections and joys and ups and downs. Because it is ours.

Thank you Katrina Kenison for a lovely read.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Education

Bret and I saw the film An Education last weekend. Loved it. Loved the period (early 60's) and setting (London). Great fashion. Great cars. Really, really lovely to look at. And the coming of age story was interesting and surprisingly believable - a 16 year old girl falls for a 30 year old man. The man is charismatic and smarmy at the same time. He somehow convinces the girl's parents to let him take her out and even to spend the weekend with him. Okay, I have a 15 year old daughter. I can't imagine ANY 30 year old that I would encourage my daughter to marry - but somehow it is plausible that these particular parents would allow this. Anyway, if you get the chance, see this film.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I miss winter. Real winter. Michigan winter. Put your layers on, don't forget your mittens and hat and scarf, let's go out and play in the snow winter. No school, snow day, unlimited possibilities of what we can do to amuse ourselves, there's no way I'm driving today winter. Let's go downtown and look at the lights and do a little shopping, don't you love the way your boots crunch in the snow, let's stop in here and get a hot cocoa winter. I miss winter. I surely do.

ps happy birthday little blog. you are one year old this month.