Friday, June 29, 2012

Stay at Home Steam of Consciousness

We really should get outside before it gets too hot.  Well, I haven't had breakfast really, but I don't feel like eating. Did I get Thomas's laundry done yesterday?

"Thomas, do you want to go have water time outside?"

Maybe I shouldn't put a swim diaper on him today.  I think they may be too small.  I thought I bought a size last year that should have lasted for two summers.  His butt cheeks do hang out.  So, I guess they are too small.  That could be why all that pee ran down his legs yesterday. Well, I'm not buying him new ones.  He can just wear regular diapers. I'll have to pry a disintegrating mass of bulge off his bottom, but I'll deal with that later.

I guess this outfit will do for him.  He's going to get it wet anyway.  Maybe I shouldn't even dress him.  Well, it is kind of cool out there, and maybe Brandy watches us through her private fence.

"Mommy, I wanna color."
"Okay. We can color."

I should get some coffee.  Or write my to do list.  We don't really have anything to eat today except those quesadillas we've been eating for two days now.  If I need to buy groceries I should probably get in the shower, but I don't want to shower because then I'll just have to shower later after I mow the yard during Thomas's nap time.

"Mommy. I color this page."

Oh shoot.  I need to get on that daycare application.  I think I have to get Thomas into the doctor's office so he can get approved to be with the other kids. Heck, who knows if all those other kids are safe.  Like I can think about that right now.  Okay, coffee, that's what I need.

I should just take it easy this morning. I never do that.  I can sip coffee and read one of those books Paul put on my Kindle yesterday.  Yes, that sounds great.  Thomas, you're choking me.

"Thomas, you're choking me.  Get off my neck."

No, I can't rest.  There's too much to do today.  Hmm.  Is there? I haven't written my to do list yet.

"Thomas, what a pretty color! I love.... what is this?.... yeah, green-yellow. I love green-yellow, don't you?"

I can't believe I haven't lost more weight this summer.  I really should have gone to boot camp this morning.  Or I could have opted not to eat that cookie for breakfast.  Hey. Time-saving strategy. Let it slide.  Thomas is putting stickers in his belly button.  I probably should do something about that.  Oh, what the heck.  It's not hurting anybody.

Oh, my phone's ringing.  I recognize that number. Library.  My books are in.  Okay, my day is saved.  Once I get us outside and start working and then we do other stuff I haven't yet figured out.... we will go to the library.  I'll be able to think once we're out there. He's coloring the carpet.  Oh Lord.

"Thomas!!!! Stop.  What are you thinking? No. No. No. We don't color the carpet."

Oh man.  Now I have to Google how to get crayon out of carpet....

..... So, 18 steps.  Yeah, no biggie.  18 steps.  Okay. Hmm. Maybe, I can do that after having a heat stroke attempting to mow the wild prairie in my backyard in 100+ degree heat during Thomas's nap.

Oh look! Nathan posted a photo of Thomas on Facebook!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Four Year Anniversary Post

Some can say, or feel they can say, what death is like.  Generalizing all my references ranging across "back from the dead" eye witness accounts to the harrowing words of Dante's Inferno, I've gathered this is what death might feel like:

I lie there. I'm peacefully aware that there is now separation from my soul in the spiritual world and my body in the physical world.  People surround me. I can hear their voices and see flashes of their faces searching for me, but I do not respond.  A white light glowing overhead seems to call me from my stupor.  

I'm dying.

Wait, no. I'm at the dentist's office.

Angels welcome me to Heaven's gate. [Beyonce's voice is heard somewhere above my head, streaming from an XM radio station.] Jesus strolls through the golden streets on his Segway to check out who's on the scene.[Image inspired by humming from the equipment behind me.] I'm on stage surrounded by my screaming fans [screaming drill] for an all out, no inhibitions, dance craze madness [thank you, nitrous].

I'm terrified of the dentist. Maybe I watched Little Shop of Horrors at the wrong juncture in my childhood. Whatever the case, this little experiment of Me + Drugs + Making Parallel Heaven and this Dental Hell of Mine = Peace thing would only work as the cheap trick that it was for so long before I would have to turn to another focal point. 

So, I imagined that my husband was at the side of the chair with me, holding my hand.  I thought about all the things that are tied up in the simple act of us holding hands. 

A solitary tear escaped the corner of my right eye, rolled down my temple, and buried itself into my hair that lay on the stiff, plastic chair. 

Today, I am celebrating four years of life shared with my husband! In these past four years, I've learned so much about love, what it is and what it isn't. I've witnessed clashes of passion and pangs of disappointment, memories unfolded and frustration dissolved. I've received gentleness, compassion, forgiveness, and truth. 

Most of all, I've been given an intimate understanding of what it means to receive Christ's love.  My husband, more than my Mom, my friends, or my sister, knows deeply my faults and failings [as well as all my lovely attributes].  My husband sees and knows such a fullness of me, and yet he holds my hand. 

Some can say, or feel they can say, what marriage is like. 

My marriage hasn't been a walk through gumdrop forest where my husband says, "Sweetie Pie. Look up! There's a unicorn flying across that rainbow!"

I won't tell you what marriage is like.  Maybe you are prancing around gumdrop forest.  I will say this. I'd take all the conflict and difficulty and fear-inducing visits to the dentist's office this world has to offer if it means I get to hold my husband's hand through it all. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nap Time Tricks

I'm loving my time to work and play at home this summer. Mainly, it has been busier than I anticipated. It doesn't require the same kind of effort that I gave to the school year. In some ways it is easier, like when I allow myself breaks to build block towers with my toddler or to sit and soak in the moment of my son transforming yet another object in our home into a weapon, shooting at me while I guzzle coffee.  In some ways though, the stamina it takes to be an at home mommy AND get stuff done has put me to the test.

It's been well over two years since I gave birth to my son, and I'm still learning life can be wildly interrupted and still be productive and fun. It's the code of children all over the world to splice into Mommy and Daddy's work flow and schedule.  There's a lot of flexibility and understanding and patience that comes with two years practice, but being at home full time means a complex web of relaxation and erratic bouts of extreme home makeover as soon as toddler finds fascination in his book or banana.

By far and large, there is only one thing I dread when I think about being with my toddler all week, just he and I. It's not spilled milk or relentless piles of toys finding their way into my sun room.  It isn't ridiculous nonsense banter between us. I'm more than okay with all of that.

I dread the ten minutes after he has fallen asleep for his nap.  The house is so quiet.  So quiet. I peek into the master bedroom and see the soft lighting and carefully made golden comforter, and it calls me like a crack dealer in an alley. 

As a child, my siblings and I would have the chance to stay with Grandma and Grandpa Heitkamp for a couple days during the week kind of visit. On more than one occasion, I witnessed my Grandma taking a mid-day cat nap.  I spied her curled near the cast iron stove on what was likely the most uncomfortable [and cheapest] spread of carpet known to man.  As a child I couldn't figure out how she could possibly wake up, without an alarm, from such a short nap. Looking back I feel like if I had been her, I would have worried that more than twenty minutes would have either set me on fire or sent me into the chiropractor for a back realignment.

If I say yes to the Crack Dealin' Comforter, I black out for two hours.  I can't do short naps, long naps, or any variety of naps.  So, here are the cheesy tricks I've developed to utilize in those ten minutes to make sure I don't say 'yes' to the allure of my bed:

1. The Timer
As a time management strategy, this can be used anytime. However, at the nap time dip of energy, I see it as a way to negotiate a compromise with myself.  I do one "rotation" at minimum.  If I am so absolutely exhausted that I still feel like taking a nap after the rotation, then fine.  However, I've never had that happen.

Here's how:  Set your timer for 25 minutes.  Get to work in one area of your home.  Do everything you can to clean/work in that area for 25 minutes. Do not touch your cell phone, laptop, Kindle, etc. for any reason until your timer announces that you can rest for 5-10 minutes.

* I used this method during the school year when I was exhausted at the end of the day but knew that I had even more work to do after Thomas went to bed. It works like a charm!

2. The Frog
To "eat the frog with breakfast" means to tackle your most dreaded task 1st thing that day.  When in teaching mode, I tried to stick by this rule as a means to get the energy and enthusiasm started in the morning.  However, while at home, I've found it is necessary that I eat another frog at nap time.  For me, I like making life at nap time feel like a new day, once again.

For a reference point, sweet Betty Beguiles wrote about her experience using this method. Check it out.

3. The Question
This method is equal parts silly and simple. I merely ask myself a question to get my lazy butt moving in the right direction.

Who do you admire? Imagine what he or she is doing as you're contemplating the easy road.

My question always changes, considering what inspiring person I've studied or met as of late.  Today, my question was: "What's Ron Clark doing right now?" [He's not taking a nap. That's for dang sure!]

What's your trick for creating energy when you are most in need?  I would love to hear your tips!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not My Thing

There I was, standing in the kitchen, sobbing while my shoulders moved up and down methodically when I said it. "You don't understand. This [insert dramatic motion of arms signifying what was in front of me] is not my thing!" That, and then I went back to more tears.

My husband smiled.  He and I thought of those words I had just said and a montage of gifting disasters played out in our minds: the Christmas ties, the Springfield Boathouse incident, the money clip, the Bones Exhibit-lessness. This day would go down in the history of our marriage as yet another day that I missed the mark for making a special day special. As soon as he unwrapped that KitchenAid toaster oven, I knew I should have flicked the frugality angel off my shoulder the day I searched the aisles for that elusive, perfect gift. Because that elusive, perfect gift sure as heck wasn't a toaster oven.  The hesitant look on Paul's face said it all. Bless his soul.  He has had to work on perfecting that look for over four years now.

Next week Paul and I are going to, I hope, dine somewhere special and clink to four years of marriage, four years of delving deeper and deeper into understanding selflessness is not our thing!

Paul never had to say what he was thinking as a response to my bold proclamation of "This is not my thing!", but there was no need.  I can read my husband's mind from time to time. It's one of those super hero powers no one told me I would inherit after loving someone for five years. We both knew my proclamation was total rubbish.

Setting up surprises and picking out the perfect gift is not my strength.  And while I would usually say that life is a lot about playing up your strengths and not worrying too much about the rest, that's not how marriage works. Marriage weans us away from our selfishness. Sometimes it's sweet and gradual like water wearing down rock. Other times it feels like we've been in a head-on collision, paralyzed, wondering in our beds what's next.

Paul doesn't care to open the perfect gift, but he is just like each and every one of us.  We desire to see our worth affirmed:

       * Daughter, you are worth so much that I'm willing to welcome your anger if it means I'm able to get this message across to you.
      * Son, you are worthy of my time. I'm exhausted from work today [and you don't know that], but I'm going to teach you how to play Chess tonight since you've been nagging me to do so for weeks now.
      * Co-worker, you are worth so much to me that I refuse to gossip about you.
      * Friend, you are worthy. I don't know how to help you like I feel I should, but I'm here to sit and listen and not leave until I hear you laugh.
      * Neighbor, you are worth so much to me that I will do my best to remember all these elaborate dog stories you keep telling me each time I visit. And that's a lot of dog stories. Like, seriously, there is no end to these dog stories.
      * Student, you are worth more than you know.  I will teach you wholeheartedly every day, every minute, even when you've made it clear to me you don't care.

Here's what my thing is. Seeing the good in people. Knowing their worth. Affirming it.  I'm not sure if I'll ever miraculously pull off a surprise for Paul without a hitch. But I will fight to affirm his worth [even when it makes me uncomfortable or takes a lot of energy or it feels like I've done so with no happy results one hundred other times] and to allow no excuses to get in my way of figuring it all out.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Paul wasn't thinking about the validity of my statement, "This is not my thing!" On second thought, having been with my husband for four joyful years, I would like to take another guess at what was going through his mind in the moment of silence that followed my statement where he smiled and then wrapped me in his arms.

I bet he was thinking, "Yeah, well toaster ovens aren't my thing either!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Why, Mommy?"

I had just told Thomas, my two year old, that we would eat chocolate cake but that we would share: one plate, one glass of milk, one fork, one piece.

I opened up the fridge and grabbed the container of milk. As I shut the door, I heard my son ask, "Why, Mommy?" with his head tilted to his right and his palms facing up and out beyond his shoulders in that universal stance of questioning.  I stood at the counter smiling at his look of query. Oh, happy day!

He has no idea what this means.  Maybe, even, he's like the rest of us---big people, adults---who think things so often, the line between said and unsaid is fuzzy.  Maybe he has been thinking Why? for quite a while now, but I know this is the first time I've heard it.

So, what does this mean? Why am I thrilled about this simple two-worded question?

1. You remember Discipline Reform School, or whatever it was I referred to it as? Well, that's going great and all, but I'm still at home with a toddler, one whose unrivaled fight for independence and authority is not quite an equal match to his entry-level vocabulary.  The use of that simple word why means another outlet for preventing and diffusing frustration. I try my best to explain to him why he shouldn't touch the flame or spray me with jet-force blasts of water, but I'm so happy that, if I forget, he will remind me to tell him why.

2. All knowledge comes from questions. Well, duh. We all know that. But seriously, pinch my slap happy teacher self!  For the nerdy, lit toting educator that I am, this day, the day my son started asking "Why?" is more significant than all those benchmarks in his neglected "baby book".  Forget the day his first tooth pushed through his gums or the day he rolled over unto his back. This is the real stuff! 

Good thing he's not quite old enough to ask, "Mommy, why have you eaten 1/3rd of that birthday cake you made for Daddy?"

Friday, June 15, 2012

All or Nothing

I've been working out regularly for four weeks now. I don't have blow your socks off results to share.  Maybe at the start of summer break I envisioned sharing declarations to family, friends, and bloggers like: "I dropped 5 pounds!" or "I've lost 2 inches in my waist!" or "I can karate chop a tower of 10 cement blocks with my bare hands and warrior brain power!"  Alas, no such news to share.

Since working out once a day, doing anything from sweating buckets onto my toweled mat in the hot yoga room to taking a leisurely after dinner stroll with my family around the block, things are changing for my 27 year old body.  I see definition in my arms and legs. Putting on my clothes in the morning doesn't prompt me to make that frowny face at the dresser mirror anymore. And I finally saw a lower number on the scale this week, but it wasn't anything to scream about.

I do feel great! I think clearly, feel happier, and have sustained energy for the entire day, and especially on those days I drag myself to boot camp in the wee hour of six a.m. to bathe in public humiliation.

The quiet rhythm of being summer time at home mom is teaching me a bit about life. Foremost is that life is definitely not 'all or nothing'. Far from it. It's a good thing too.

I can be an intense individual. I have long touted the mantra 'all or nothing'. This past year at work I tried my best to be that all. In many ways, my hard work paid off greatly. At the close of the school year, I walked out the door and turned back to see a vision of me feverishly working and enjoying every single minute of it.  'Being all' feels really great. Knowing we have reached the peak physically, spiritually, emotionally, professionally, financially, and so on--that's what many of us strive to do each day.  The best mom. The most frugal shopper.  The girl at work with the most adorable, jealousy-inducing wardrobe. That parent who would rather be six feet under than give her child so much as six bites of non-organic food.

Go for it if you can afford it. I can't.  When I came home from my feverish work of teaching, I was quite amazed. I had let things go, to some degree.  My refrigerator contents pathetic. My discipline with my toddler lacking. My body weak. My photo albums... wait, I have no photo albums...oops. My weeds taking over the yard to such extent I saw their plot to kill all my plants and then strangle me.

The quiet rhythm of being summer time at home mom is teaching me to be gentle with myself. I wake up. Drink coffee. Sigh at the to do list. Then choose a good attitude and pick a few big things to tackle each day.  I will win no plaque, award, or standing ovation at the close of this summer for my noble work here at home because I'm busy doing a lot of those things that sit in between All and Nothing.

We can't let ourselves exclaim things like: I just don't cook. My body isn't built for exercise. I would buy cute clothes, but I just can't keep up. I would never ever ________________. Our marriage is total crap [okay, just really don't say that one]. 100% or die! [woah! craziness!]

To think less, do more, and be excited about whatever the results--this is my new aim. I'm enjoying my morning time doing that funky sumo squat move in unison with my YourShape trainer. I'm liking the pain of the army crawl across the gym floor before the gain of being able to brush my hair in the morning and saying silly stuff in my head like, Dang girl, you lookin' buff! I'm really liking this feeling of getting my butt off the sidelines to join in the race, even if it means I'm well behind that obnoxious winner in front.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Life of a Toddler

My plan this morning was to share with you how much I treasure my son, Thomas. I wanted to sketch out my joy in seeing my toddler learn, play, and grow.  I planned to post a proclamation of happiness for motherhood.

So I set to work detailing in my mind all the things I've noticed in Thomas lately: his sense of family and of home, his frequently uttered phrases [like "Hear that?" and "Where'd Daddy go?"], his newly found affection for disc jockeying his keyboard dance parties, and his mature ability to clean and organize beyond the anticipated capacity of a two year old.

And what better way to show you how much fun it is to be a mom than to let the joy of my son speak for itself? I grabbed my cold cup of coffee, placed it on a coaster in his bedroom and unzipped the video camera out of its case.  I hit record and let Thomas do his thing.  He told me that the "T" letter block had a turtle on it and that  it means "ME!".  He fiddled with a kitchen clip and hurt himself, then asked "what's that?" when he noticed the flashy device in front of my face. I watched behind the lens as he used his practiced manners and followed the dance instructions the camerawoman asked of him: hip shaking, hand clapping, spin around the room and escalating joyous screams kind of dancing.  He smiled. Waved to Nana and Papa and gave a sweet bye to "everbody". 

I placed the video camera aside and got to work.  You know the work I'm talking about. Real life stuff. That stuff no one is about to like on Facebook or retweet on Twitter because it's just the ordinary, the necessary, the ever unfurling scroll of To Do. 

I planned the day, washed Thomas's breakfast mess off the table, put away dishes and made another cup of coffee.  Thomas and I took yesterday's yard work to the recycling center.  We came back to the house, and I gave the backyard a good stare down before throwing myself at it like a rabie infected dog on man flesh. And if you think that analogy is disturbing, you're nowhere near prepared to see my backyard.  Well, what was my backyard until said crazy attack.

While I ripped, pulled, weeded, cursed, tossed, crammed, snapped, clipped, dug, and wrenched from the ground, Thomas saw to it that the yard was properly watered.  Clothed in nothing but a Nemo swim diaper and a pair of Nike sandals my son found a heavenly level of fun with a water hose, a cracked water table, and a bucket.  In between tossing what I unearthed from the corner of the yard, catching my breath, and wiping my brow, I would peer between weeds to see Thomas shaking the hose upward in slow motion with his eyes squinted toward the sun, tongue out happily, and belly thrown forward, totally uninhibited in his crafted backyard water park.  

I was walking toward our back patio for a sip of my coffee and just then thinking that this image was what I should be sharing with you, not the filtered reality of video.  Yes, this was the good stuff--this very real image of my son's diaper so soaked with water and his face so happy from water and this joy from me witnessing it in... and then that's when I saw it: his diaper soaked with water trickling and his face not looking so happy anymore and then back to the diaper, the diaper which trickled water... but not water. 

Poop alert.  Poop alert. Poop alert sounded like a gong in my mind.  My eyes bulged. Thomas's smile dropped. My eyes continued to bulge and I could think of nothing more intelligent to utter than "Poop. Poop. Oh my gosh. That's poop down your leg."  Which was the decidedly worst thing I could have said to my two year old who chose to do the right thing and grab his diaper to effectively keep watery poop in.  As he grabbed, a river of waste streamed down his leg.

I jumped into action, pleaded him to stand firm in his spot, pried the diaper of his wrinkly butt and then hosed his little naked toddler private body parts like the step-in poop pro that I was. Poop everywhere, sure, but I was in charge.  

He stood now, giggling at the water and the poop and his nakedness in sight of neighbors who had likely gathered at their windows either from my vine ripping induced cursing or his water park poop fiasco. 

See. Life is so much fun with a toddler. It's also, at times, a lot of poop.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Letters of Love

I woke, no alarm needed, in the stiff twin bed of my brother’s room to the dark morning and reached for the folder of letters.  My back timidly rested on the wooden headboard as I quietly remembered each word addressed to “Dear ?”, reading back through each memory recorded in writing which brought me to this moment poised on the bed, pen in hand.  On that hopeful morning of my wedding day, I wrote one last letter to him, this one with a decidedly chosen “Dear Paul salutation. Happiness filled my heart as I finished out my beautiful gift.

For several years preceding that day, letters to my future husband were my anchor in the ever shifting landscape of singleness from the ages of 16 - 22.  Proclamations of faith, hope, and love were scrawled between faint blue lines.  I wrote to persevere in chastity.  I wrote for a remembrance of the single life. I wrote to plan for details of the future.  Mostly, I wrote as an act of love.  

My husband’s reaction to this grand  romantic gesture left much to be desired.  In fact, in the three and a half years we’ve been married, I’ve received  a grand total of: “they were really great.”   

For the first three years of my marriage, these letters to my future husband, apparently unappreciated by the husband at hand, served as some nagging note of unfinished business.   At moments when that green folder of carefully hand-written letters should have been far from my mind, I’ve seen it as some mental post-it note of disappointment for marrying a man who just didn’t get it.  Why was it that he couldn’t muster up more words of appreciation?

Lately, I’ve truly realized, it’s me who just didn’t get it.  

Getting “it” means loving your spouse for who they are, not who you wish or hope or plan them to be.   In some ways, Paul happens to be that mysterious man I addressed during late nights when my heart was aching for a companion.  Just as I had written in the letters, we do cook together, walk together, and make plans together.  But, luckily, he’s much more than “Mr. ?” ever was.

I could not  have predicted my husband’s drive for success or his appetite for technology, his dashing date coordinating skills or his common sense parenting. In my writing, I didn’t mention someone who would teach me how to problem solve or show me how to listen. I didn’t envision a beard or the large laugh or the oldest child in a family of twelve. I didn’t write to someone about his teasing, his zest for knowledge, or his spirited story-telling.

The vocation of marriage requires much more than some delicately crafted letters.  Marriage is messy and complicated and downright frightening at times. Clinging to a vision of desired perfection can be quite damaging.  Furthermore damaging is cornering our spouses into boxed-up versions of want we think they should be.  

My letters of love are now in the working of my hands as I make the bed, the finishing of a project started, the midday text message to say hello, and in the changing of a dirty diaper sans complaint.  My words of love are now in the cleaning of my car [before being asked], foot massages, savory steak and potato soup, the bottle of wine for two at home just because, and the problem-solving sessions at the dinner table.  My ever-forming letter of love  is in my playfulness, my tenderness, my forgiveness, and my patience.

Letters to my future husband “were really great”. They were sweet, kind, and something of a fierce kind of love. However, they were much more about impressing Paul with proof of my love than they were about actually loving.  And actual loving must be tailored to fit the actual person.  I’m happy to know more of my husband than I did on that morning when I was huddled on the bed, protective over the surrendering of my words, thoughts, hopes, and plans.

Words can be beautiful, but they must be paired with even greater, grander doses of action.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Quick Takes

Yesterday, Thomas and I visited an Asian market in town to buy ingredients for pho bo.  As I tightly squeezed past customers I tried my best to not appear as an intruder.  Because here's me, flipping over bags, bottles, cans, packages, thinking Where's the English? and generalizing everything as I made my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th laps around the tiny store: Okay, Noodle Aisle, Sauce and Oil Aisle, Candy Aisle, Seafood and Things I REALLY Don't Recognize Aisle. I was so disoriented from the missing convenience of being able to read that I couldn't tell basil from ... well, I just couldn't find the basil.  

Thomas likes to say no.  He draws a strong sense of authority from it.  However, as I've recently enrolled him in Discipline Reform School, I thought I could quench his thirst for command in a more tasteful manner. And so I bring you a book we've checked out from the library twice now.  
Check it out.  Your no-toting toddler will figure the rest out. I promise.

Recently, I've been thinking about my view on friendships and how I generally let my social anxieties and introverted streaks take over too often.  Being a good friend isn't about personality type or tendencies though. It's an integral part of our life's experience. So, maybe I need to do some rethinking.  Let me ask you--What makes a good friend?

We visited Silver Dollar City last Sunday. My son was thrilled about this.  And I was too. But I just want to get one thing straight:
1.  I got pregnant three years ago
2. My equilibrium is forever off
3. And now my toddler asks that I join him in rides that spin in a twenty foot diameter under relentless, all-seeing heat of the sun where I cramp myself into a contorted position specifically designed for suffering, sweating, and under-the-breath swearing as he yells and hoots and hollers a special kind of happiness because Mom's in the backseat of him bouncing, jolting, and seeing a vision of her unbalanced equilibrium induced vomit hitting the pavement four feet below. Yeah, that.

Other than that, it was an awesome day, especially the part where he fell asleep in my arms on the train, likely exhausted from dragging Mommy unto rides and bouncing in frogs.

Summer started two weeks ago.  I've just been sitting around, watching Ellen, painting my toe nails, and eating bon bons. Um, NOT! Okay, I've had a leisurely cup of coffee [Read: I drink bottomless cups of coffee], I read and play with Thomas almost anytime he wishes, and I've had the time to rip up my string cheese abs at boot camp, but it's been super busy here too.  In fact, I've had a few moments where I've looked at my summer project list and thought: Not. Enough. Time. ACKKK!  

This morning I created my vanilla extract starter as suggested by Ina Garten of The Barefoot Contessa.
Put a dozen vanilla beans in a bottle, fill with vodka, and wait a month--so says my cookbook. We'll see. I'll put it under taste tester inspection in July.

Have a lovely weekend!