Wednesday, July 20, 2016

1,000 (or so)

I have been keeping an eye on the blog, trying to make sure I captured a particular post, so it could be celebrated. Yeah, I missed it somewhere.

Number 1,000.

That's a lot of posting. That's a lot of Stacy posting. I've contributed here and there, but this blog, largely a journal of our family's life, is all due to Stacy. I wanted to say a huge thank you to her for always making sure there's some record of all the things we are feeling and doing. So much of what she does goes unnoticed, unrecognized, and unrewarded. She is so many things to me, to our family, and to our friends, and I don't want her to spend any time feeling unappreciated.

She started blogging almost 10 years ago, and a lot has happened in that time. Let me share just a little of that:

*Two new houses, and two moves
*A new business
*A puppy
*Loss of several loved ones
*Many "roads less traveled" taken
*Thousands of miles logged on trips across the country, to Florida, New England, and other stops
*Several big cities visited (New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and more)
*Hundreds of piano and violin lessons
*3 black belts in the family
*The evolution of several friendships
*A constant exposure to new people and experiences
*Binge-watching so many great TV shows
*So many Harry Potter stories and events
*Endless laughter
*Bittersweet milestones
*Embracing life as it comes
*Exchange students
*Countless house guests
*Dinner parties
*Games, games, and more games
*Home projects (oh, the projects!)
*A new car (yes, only one in 10 years)
*Baseball games
*Blizzards and snowball fights
*Beach trips
*Food. So. Much. Food.
*Fun holidays
*Fantastic birthdays
*Frustrations and venting
*Celebrations and cheering
*Lots of pictures
*Brutal honesty and vulnerability
*Kilts and steampunk outfits
*Long conversations
*Comfortable silences
*Love, love, and more love.

Thank you, Stacy, for all you've documented and shared! You are incredible!

My beautiful Boston girl

Monday, July 11, 2016


New fire pit
(well, old firepit, but we've made it a permanent place in the backyard).

New glasses and haircut.

New job. 
Before her first shift

After her first shift, where she got a nametag

My kids are growing up and I've truthfully never been so busy in my life. I feel like I haven't come up for air in months. Nothing means more to me than my family and I love, love, love these wonderful people. And Scout. Here's a picture of Scout.

Friday, July 1, 2016

This week's highs and lows


Picking Kate up from a week away at writers' camp. I missed her like crazy!

A welcome home dinner of chicken satay, coconut rice, and salad with mango and avocado

While Kate is awesome at getting the most out of any experience, this camp wasn't as great as the others she's attended. The kids attending weren't as into writing as kids she's met at other camps. She loves the classes and the teachers and learning and writing and having fun, but this camp isn't on the "must do again" list.


She started working the very next day. A 9-hour shift no less!


She was definitely tired after a week of camp and a long day of work. 


Our trip to DC on Sunday. We got to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time - take NO H8 pictures! This organization began as a loving, peaceful response to the hatred and marginalization inherent in California's Prop 8. It represents voices silenced by legislation like Prop 8 and other similar legislation around the world. Their mission is to promote love and respect for all human beings and that is something I can get behind.

It has significant symbolism for me personally, because Prop 8 was definitely a straw for me in my own personal life journey. It was a time when I knew I needed to leave being a part of an organization that didn't fight for the rights of the LGBT community, because even my membership felt like a complicit endorsement of hatred and discrimination toward an already-oppressed group of people. Leaving that organization has cost us friendships, strained family relationships, and invited judgment, but I wouldn't do anything differently, because despite all of that, a profound peace and authenticity has come into my life from living a life of principle, one that aligns with who I am and what I feel.

Kissing at Ford's Theater

It was amazing to be there with so many people also willing to stand up and not hide their support. It felt right and good to be a part of something that builds and connects rather than tears down and destroys. I'm very glad we could do this.

They were incredibly efficient, too, so the lines moved quickly and the photographer was amazing. We're so excited to get our pictures! Since it was so efficient and thanks to our awesome friends for playing with Scout for the day, we were able to do a couple more things in the city, including going next door to Ford's Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was shot.

Voting on the leadership quality they feel is the most important
After Ford's Theater, we walked back toward the metro via the HUGE barbecue street festival that was being held. We got so much free stuff this trip (free parking and free shuttle - sure, that's because the metro is being repaired, but still; a guy at the BBQ festival handed us free tickets which was a boon because it also allowed us to cut across rather than walking 7 extra giant blocks to get around it - especially good because Kate's feet were sore from all the walking at writers' camp; Ford's Theater was also free because apparently it's a national park now and we didn't know that, so that was a nice surprise). The BBQ people were awesome and they let us pass through without stamping our hands (because we were about to take pictures) and they recognized us when we got back so they let us right in! So friendly!

Max spotted a sign for lobster rolls at a restaurant we walked past, so Kate and I picked up two of those. We got to enjoy a nice chat with the guy from Boston who ran the place. We took our lobster rolls and ate those as well as some good BBQ goodness at the street festival. It was so great to be in a place with more diversity than our tiny town. We talked with people who live in DC and danced to an all-female band right alongside people on the streets. It was great. A gay man came up to us and asked about our NO H8 pictures and he thanked us twice very sincerely and was even a bit emotional about being supported like that. That was a sweet interaction.

If you look closely, you can see the Capitol in the background


Washing off the temporary NO H8 tattoos. I kept mine as long as I could right up until bedtime, and basked in the glow of a great day.


Working on and finishing a home project that I've been excited about for some time. A magnetized spice wall rack! Until now, all the spices have been crowded in a congested cupboard and cooking (something we do a lot) has involved various spice containers falling all over us while we access them. I saw something like this in the background of a picture someone posted on their blog, so I did a little research and we figured out how to make it happen! Also? I love working on projects as a family. This one even involved lots of rapping and singing ("Hamilton," of course)! And I'm so happy with the finished project! Foleys. We get the job done.

It's so pretty! And handy! And generally awesome. :) It made us smile the next morning to wake up and see it in the kitchen. I love that feeling you get when you wake up the next day after completing an awesome project and you see it and are renewedly happy about it. Bring on more cooking! This is especially handy since we're making Indian food this week and it requires a lot of spices (usually just about any spice starting with "C"). And yes, we've alphabetized this in addition to labeling them.


It's been an emotionally challenging week for me. I feel like I'm in a worse-before-it-gets-better kind of place. Sometimes I feel like I'm walking around in a haze. I'm incredibly exhausted. I feel like I've been running a race at high speed for years now. I'm not depressed and I'm not anxious (all the time anyway). It's something else entirely.


Taking my daughter around to follow up on places where she's applied for jobs as well as some fun volunteering positions.


Dealing with the rough side of that process - hiring freezes, rude interviewers, etc. She's such a great, hard-working, responsible kid. One manager was so rude, she didn't even allow a chance to find out how awesome Kate is. Her loss.


Looks like rude lady's loss is another's gain. Not 3 hours after the rude, dismissive interview, Kate got a call from another manager who is so eager to talk to Kate, that he had someone who doesn't usually handle the interviews call her right away to get her in this weekend! Woot!


Several repairs on the old van, including new brakes, new tires, and a new muffler. Those phone calls about cost from the mechanic always stress me out.


The new van is such a dream to drive. It's really wonderful. As usual, we didn't get a lot of extra bells and whistles, but even what's standard now is fancy for us. Plus it drives so smoothly!


On to July! This month brings another writers' camp (the really great one - great classes, kids who like to write, Kate's friends, etc.) and a several-week visit from out-of-state friends. Two of Kate's friends who came back in April will be spending a lot of time with her this month! Max has opted to not committing to too much stuff so he can play, ride bikes, swim, etc. A true kids' summertime! We've not scheduled a lot on purpose, but even the few things we have include fun stuff like games, anime, summer movies, smores around the fire pit, friends coming over, Harry Potter stuff, etc. And Hamilton. That's a given. Lots and lots of Hamilton playing in our house. All the time. So much Hamilton.