Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sweet and Slow

If you were to ask me "what's new?" I would wrack my brain for a moment.

"Oh... the Chesapeake's Bounty started carrying local ice cream," I might say. "I had one, single delicious shot of tequila on Saturday." "Man, that Game of Thrones finale."

The real answer is obviously, nothing is new.  Not one thing.

We pack make-shift baskets to bring to the pool. I stop to bring along an iced coffee. I tell the kids we aren't getting french fries today. We get french fries every day. Sena and Gus jump off the board over and over again. Arlo and Alamae play in the baby pool, making friends, losing toys. I come home and avoid cleaning.

We keep the windows open and the humidity brings out the citrusy smell of the tung oil we used on our floors a few years back.

I don't feel like cooking. I feed the kids blueberries and yogurt as often as I can get away with.

In these moments, you can almost believe that summer will last forever.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dinner with the Newlyweds

Last night we visited the newly weds. We ate an adorable dinner in their adorable house in their adorable new town. If I didn't love Joanna and Geoffrey so much, it would be easy to hate them. It's all just too damn cute. Too much quirk. Too much charm.

They have all the right glassware, and they know how to garnish a plate so it's pretty, but not fussy. And their apartment is loaded with weird things and old things and beautiful things. It's one part museum, one part antique store, one part bar, and a few parts pure home comfort.

And that's why it's perfect that they bought an antique store just around the corner from their new place. These two know. They have vision. An eye for the unexpectedly beautiful.

All my favorite stuff has come from Joanna. So many of the things hanging from my walls and perching on my shelves have been birthday presents and Christmas gifts from my dearest friend. And now everyone can benefit from her knack for making spaces both more fun and more elegant, while still being completely unexpected.

I'm sure I'll talk about it loads more, but for now mark your calendars: July 8th is "Meet the New Owners"  at Evergreen Antiques on 69 Maryland Ave., Annapolis MD. You could also go like the Evergreen Antiques on Facebook or follow them on Instagram. Joanna and Geoffrey haven't taken over those accounts yet, but you can use them to keep up with what's going on during the transition period.

I'm excited to spend afternoons working at the shop for them. Just as I'm excited for all the dinners and parties to come in this space. I'm excited for more evening strolls to get ice cream at Annapolis Ice Cream Company. And maybe most excited to watch my kids fall even more in love with two of my favorite people in this world. Alamae certainly warmed up to Geoff this go around.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This Weekend We // Watched My Best Friend Get Married

Fourteen years ago, Joanna and I tried to throw our first party. But before it began, we got nervous that no one would show up. So we left. When we returned an hour or two later, our suite was full of people who appeared to be having a great time, despite our absence.

Since then, we've learned a thing or two about being hosts. Somewhere along the line, we even started serving food and not just cans of Natty Boh and boxes of wine.

This past weekend Joanna threw her most amazing party yet. She married the nicest, most dapper guy in the world, and they had one heck of a throw down to celebrate. A rehearsal dinner overlooking the Severn.  A ceremony in the most beautiful church in the whole state. Crab cakes. Two bands. A boat ride. Open bars at every step of the way. Here it is Tuesday, and I am still reeling from the excitement of it all.

I was especially grateful for the quiet moments tucked into hidden spaces throughout the weekend. The late night spent with her on her parents' front porch, drinking rose and talking about all the same things we've been talking about for all these long full, years of friendship. The moments watching her mom teach her how to make the silky scrambled egg while she wore the nighty her grandmother rather inappropriately gave her for her tenth birthday. Grateful for the round of drinks shared when she and Geoffrey spontaneously showed up at the Irish Pub where a group of us had congregated between ceremony and reception. Those moments complimented the hours on the dance floor. The glasses held high in celebration.

I cried more at their wedding than I am accustomed to. I knew it was coming almost as soon as I sat in my pew, but by the time I had to go up and read a passage Joanna and I had talked about at length, I had a hard time keeping myself together. God is love. And to know love is to know God. It's powerful. Love is powerful. It joins us to God. Joanna knows that. I know that. I had to stop mid-reading to take a deep breath.

I cried and cried while she and Geoffrey danced their first dance to "Atlantic City." Yes, Bruce, maybe everything that dies does someday come back. That line offers the best marriage advice I could ever give.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Jettie Blythe, You Are One

My life is dominated by little people. It has happened gradually. The first years of motherhood were not this way. But the years have piled up, and so have the children. Now I have four of my own, a niece and a nephew. And my friends have kids too. They are everywhere, these smiling, sun kissed monsters. Ready to wipe their dirty hands on your clothing. Ready to steal the cupcake from off your plate.

On Wednesday we celebrated my niece Jettie's first birthday. Jettie who is smiles or tears, and nothing in between. A little girl with her father's disposition, her mama's sense of humor, and an impressive vocabulary. Who both my boys treat better than they treat their own baby sister. Jettie with her cat eyes and charisma. She's something special.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This Weekend We

Just as usual, we showed up early to Alumni Weekend, the first family to set up camp on the stretch of river in front of the boathouse that wasn't there when I was a student. 

We putzed about the shore while we waited for friends and familiar faces. I had a few relatively quiet hours of contemplation while my kids took naps, jumped off the floating docks, played with plastic dinos in the sand. It was a strange experience, being in a place I was once so young and unformed, now with four children and more than my fair share of laugh lines. 

Almost as soon as we got there I regretted the fact that we wouldn't be staying all weekend. Although we usually park ourselves on our spot for three days running, this year we had to leave Friday night because Saturday was filled with soccer tournaments and restaurant shifts. But we made the most of the hours we had, eating St. James pizza and drinking Natty Boh's.

The memories of these early summer weekends have started to take on as much nostalgic weight as the three years I went to college there. Arlo has been alive longer than I was a student. The lengths of time are like an apple and an orange. How can I compare them? Time moves at different rates. It feels completely different. 

I waited until after sunset to jump in to the water with Joanna, but our swim was cut short because Alamae was screaming from the dock, inconsolable after her mother abandoned her with a splash. But even now, three days later, I can still feel the river water on my skin. Those moments swimming to shore, navigating around oyster beds eager to slash my feet to bits, those were my favorite.

Saturday was spent on the blazing soccer field dreaming of shade, wishing my son would lose his first game so that we wouldn't have to stay on for the next. My wish was not granted, however. They won and Gus scored a goal, which almost made it worth it. His little hop and the look on his face as he turned around to see his family, thumb up as he does. 

On Sunday, after church, we went to visit Claire and Andrew and Jeffrey, with the intention of helping them pack. They're moving back to the Beach this week. However, packing plans were abandoned in favor of heading to Andrew's sister's pool for the afternoon. Arlo was the oldest of the six kids playing on the steps and hanging in the shade. It was a simple, merry scene, that has resulted in a renewed effort to beg our father to put a pool in our parent's yard. Because while I prefer to swim in natural bodies of water, around here they become inaccessible during the height of the summer. And I just don't understand a summer without swimming.
Because I like seeing how things change and how they stay the same:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Found in 1 Corinthians

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

ALWAYS protects.

ALWAYS trusts.

ALWAYS hopes.

ALWAYS perseveres.

NEVER fails.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Women's Wisdom

It took me a long while to warm up to baby showers. They felt forced and too traditional. Stuffed to the brim with cloyingly sweet sentiments, made in China plastic gadgets, and birthing horror stories. I did my best to make the most of them, but in my heart of hearts, I was not a fan.

In the past few years, I've done a 180. I now see them as one of the few places where women come together to share their experiences and wisdom, to discuss pregnancy, labor, motherhood, and what it means to be a woman. 

Women want a place to share their stories and laugh about the indignities they have suffered while in the process of creating another human being. They want to talk about their pains and triumphs, their questions and their profound concerns. They want to hear that they are normal and that they are amazing and strong and doing it all just fine. 

On Monday, we gathered on my mom's deck to eat lasagna and drink wine and tell our tales of pushing and potty training, in celebration of a mother five times over. It doesn't matter how many babies you have, it feels important to celebrate the arrival of each of them, and to celebrate.

Watching my nephew's birth just a little over a week ago, reminded me how truly amazing and beautiful birth is. I was actually jealous that Claire was giving birth and I wasn't. And while at the shower, when women were discussing engorged breasts, I was utterly shocked to find myself feeling nostalgic for an altogether unpleasant experience. 

I should probably rush to start a Go Fund me account to get Tom a vasectomy, otherwise I fear I'll be the next mother five times over celebrating under those umbrellas.