the kids are alright (we’re ok too) and why it’s important to have girl time…

IMG_2128 every once in a while a few of my friends get together for some much-needed girl time.  we are all moms and sometimes we need to take a  few hours to cut loose without the kids.  once, we made what could have been an ill-fated trip to ikea in portland, but instead it turned into a wonderful day-long road trip with a stop in hood river, great food, beer, conversation and company.  even though things didn’t go as planned, the day turned out better than we could’ve imagined!IMG_2213this weekend we got together at my house on one of the hottest days of the year and we just hung out in my kitchen drinking cucumber freshies, talking about life, sex, kids and having a great time unwinding from life.  we actually all had our kids with us this time and, even though they ranged from 17 months to 15 years, everyone got along splendidly and had a blast playing and watching movies downstairs while we hung out.

the afternoon turned into an impormptu dinner of salmon, rice and corn that my husband cooked for all of us and the kids.  a significant other or two joined us and we had a most lovely evening.IMG_2183when i think about the bond i have with this particular group of women, i realize that the most common factor is that we are all moms.  we are all strong women and our mom-ness doesn’t define us but it is definitely something very important to each of us. it joins us in a kind of unspoken understanding.  it doesn’t phase us that, more often than not, we don’t finish a sentence because someone little interrupts us, or that the conversation can bounce from subject to subject in the blink of an eye with no cohesion.  i love the bond that i have with these women.  we are all so different, but so much the same too.

cheers, girls.  i love you.

e

p.s. i’m working on getting the cucumber freshies recipe posted along with the apricot goat cheese bites.

around the house…

i know i said i’d be back with some new posts, and i am, but it just took longer than i thought.  we’ve been really busy around the house and i just haven’t made the time to blog as much as i thought i would.  i’m also trying to stay off my computer a little more because i am actively trying to be more “in the moment” with the boys.

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a few weeks ago i was able to take a never-before whirlwind trip with my three best girls to portland to go to ikea.  harry had broken his bed and i wanted to get the boys new twin beds.  i made sure they were in stock before we made the four hour trip.  we made a day of it and stopped at pFriem Family Brewers in hood river on the way.  once we got to ikea, of course they didn’t have the beds i needed!  i am not gonna lie: i was pissed!  but, i changed my outlook and just enjoyed the day with my girls.  even though i didn’t get a bed, i did get the much-needed light fixtures for my kitchen, and for the first time ever, i didn’t spend a ton of money at ikea!  we had lunch at Miss Delta in the mississippi district (which is just the coolest neighborhood, aside from my own) and, as always, it was incredible.

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christopher and i have been doing some spring cleaning and improvements around the house lately too.  we found a great leather couch at goodwill–my karmic reward for not getting the bed i wanted at ikea–and our good friend found us the perfect bed at the Habitat for Humanity store in town!  now i just need another similar twin bed and the boys’ room is almost done.  i built a console for the living room to store our vinyl records (see picture at the top); we had our first-ever garage sale, and got rid of a lot of stuff that was cluttering up the garage; and i also totally refinished our front porch, which badly needed a new coat of paint and/or a complete new surface replacement.  i chose to go the refinishing route and used the Olympic Rescue It paint/resurfacer from Lowes (this is not a sponsored post–i wish–but i just liked the way this product worked and wanted to give a shout-out.)  now my porch looks awesome!

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you can see how it filled in the cracks in the wood!

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we still have a lot to do as the weather continues to warm up: planting the vegetable garden, re-seeding the lawn, adding a small patio extension in the backyard and getting our compost bins going.  whew, that seems like a lot!  oh, and we decided that we will homeschool the boys for kindergarten, so i have curriculum to research, classes to choose for them and all the planning that goes into this new endeavor.

i have some fun things in store for the blog too: a tutorial on re-covering a midcentury chair, some home decor styling tips, a peek at the boys’ room decor (when i get it done) and i’m going to start doing some room tours through the house!

hope you have a happy monday!

cheers,

e

on thanksgiving, family and other s%*t…

i realized that my last post was quite a while ago.  blogging has not been my priority lately.  we have been having some family struggles and we are doing our best to help, comfort and support.  i know i’m being cryptic, but it’s not my story to tell.

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however, i have been thinking a lot about how i interact with people.  a long time ago, i was very much a pleaser.  someone who put my own stuff on the back burner (or pushed it completely off the stove) in favor of other’s needs.  i was super nice.  always happy (actually, not at all) and willing to do whatever was asked of me.  after going through my divorce nearly ten years ago, i realized am realizing that i am much happier with myself if i adjust how i interact with others in my life.

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a couple of the ways i have adjusted my thinking are listed below.  and just to be clear, i am not writing this post to give any instructions because i have it all figured out.  just the opposite; this is more a reflective post for me and maybe to give out a little encouragement during this time of year.

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the worst case scenario: i will win the zombie apocalypse because i have a plan.  i always have a plan for the worst case scenario.  however, i am learning that i can’t continually let my mind travel to the far reaches of all the horrible things that can happen to my kids, my husband and my family or in my work.  instead, i repeat the polish proverb: “not my circus, not my monkeys.”  really, i am learning that there are things outside my control and i neither need to be nor should i worry about being in charge of those things.  it gives me a moment to breathe and say, “is this really my problem?”

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literally: i used to spend a lot of my time thinking that what people said to me was not really what they meant.  i would replay conversations over and over in my head until i was not sleeping, like ever, and i was sure that person totally hated me.  something like “i can’t meet up with you that day” would turn into “i have never ever liked being your friend and i can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet and i wish you would never speak to me again.”  messed up, right?  finally, i was just too exhausted to deal with that anymore.  during my divorce, i lost most of my friends.  i have one that stuck with me and we are very close.  she is amazing.  but, in making new friends, i have learned to adjust my thinking.  if someone says something to me, i believe them.  maybe that’s naive, but it works for me.  i will not be held hostage by trying to interpret someone else’s thoughts.  and on the flip-side, i say what i mean.  i don’t want anyone to have to guess.  i have a few more really good friends now and there is no bullshit with us.

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the holiday season always brings so much shit along with the cheer and wonder.  families can sometimes be the most cruel because the normal societal rules don’t seem to apply.  we often say the worst to the ones we love.  we often turn our backs because we assume forgiveness will always be there.  we crack and break under the stress of creating a perfect “holiday experience.”  we expect more from others than we are willing to do ourselves.  and, this is just awful, damaging and heartbreaking.  i am certainly guilty of this, but i’m doing my best to change my thoughts, actions, expectations and behaviors.

try kindness

during this holiday season, i challenge you to speak with kindness and intention.  say plainly and clearly what you mean and expect that others will too.  reach out to those who need comfort and compassion.  give someone some help and maybe a break before they lose it.  do not expect the moon without offering the stars.  and remember, sometimes it’s not your circus and these are not your monkeys.

but if they are your monkeys, please ask them to refrain from throwing their shit.

cheers,

e

 

image at top courtesy of the museum of the city of new york

around the house…

 this las week has been a fun one with the boys’ 4th birthday, the columbia cup/water follies (a.k.a. hydroplane races) in town and christopher’s and my 6th wedding anniversary.  the boys and i watched the air show from our backyard and then moved down to the cul de sac so we could get a better view of the barnstormers and the jets doing their tricks.

i made a delicious family-recipe cake for the boys’ actual birthday and they loved blowing out their candles.

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i start a new job with more hours this week at a new tap house in town, so i’m boning up on my homebrew knowledge again by reading charlie papazian’s the complete joy of home brewing.  i am super-sad to be leaving the West Richland Beer and Wine Shop but i need to be able to earn a little more money as we have another year of preschool to pay for shortly.  this new place looks really cool and the owners seem really nice and flexible.  plus, they are twin parents, so that gives them an extra check in the “positive” column in my book.

our little kitty, leeloo dallas, is just the cutest kitten in the whole wide world, don’t you think?  she is super sweet and gets along famously with everyone in the family.  i’m glad we decided to keep her.

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christopher took the boys out on saturday to float the river near his sister’s house in benton city.  it was their first time on the river.  i couldn’t go because i had to work; and although i was really sad to miss it, they all had a wonderful time!  a-o river!

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christopher and i don’t tend to do gifts for anniversaries, especially now since money is tight, but i did pick up four ferns for the front porch since he mentioned that his childhood home had big ferns on the porch.  i think they look lovely.  we also splurged and got our favorite champagne.  his mom gave us a wonderful gift and we were able to go out to dinner at a little italian restaurant in our neighborhood and see a movie.  she watched the boys for us.  and, as an added bonus, we ran into two of our best friends and neighbors at the restaurant!

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and our little garden just keeps giving and giving!

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i hope you all had a wonderful week too!

cheers,

e

one crazy summer…

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does summer just seem so busy?  it feels like we have more going on in the summer than the school year!  most of our time is spent at home playing in the backyard, tending the garden, splashing in the pool, watching pbs kids and reading library books.  but the month of july is especially jam-packed for us.  starting off with the 4th of july, the month just cartwheels with events, parties and fun things.  the boys’ birthday is in july as well as christopher’s and my anniversary.  we have had the added bonus of christopher’s mom moving to town this summer and we have gotten in a lot of “grammie time.”  all of this fun is interspersed with going to the weekly “free summer kid movies” at the theater, weekly visits to the farmer’s markets and lots of cooking, canning and pickling!

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the week of the 4th of july, our very best friends from california called to say they were (surprise!) in portland, adopting a baby!  we drove over to hood river and met them and had a wonderful day playing in the columbia river and eating at one of our favorite breweries.

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the very next weekend, christopher’s company had a huge family day at an amusement park!  we miss most of his company’s parties because we live about 3 hours from the corporate headquarters, but we did all we could to attend this one!  we left at 6 in the morning to get to silverwood by 10 am.  i was not sure how the boys would do since it would be a really long day with a lot of driving and playing, but they were awesome!  they rode tons of rides, including some roller coasters, and we all rode the ferris wheel.  i do not like the ferris wheel.  for some reason, it scares the crap out of me.  i can ride the most brain-rattling upside-down roller coaster, but the ferris wheel makes me cry.  anyway, we all survived (and harry totally loved it.)

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and this last weekend, we had a little birthday party for the boys with some family and neighborhood friends.  there was lots of splashing in the sprinkler and pool and lots of yelling and screaming and merry-making!

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this weekend, christopher and i are looking forward to having a night out to celebrate our 6th anniversary. all of this summer fun has left us all very tired!

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i hope you are really enjoying your summer!

cheers!

e

around the house…

we have been living outside lately.  it’s so warm and sunny!  we can’t get enough.  the boys are taking swim lessons and practicing every day in the backyard inflatable pool.  i’m reading a lot (mostly jason bourne and jack reacher books) and loving watching the boys enjoy the summer.

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we had a 4th of july bbq at my dear friend’s house and the boys had a blast.  the local fireworks display was visible from our neighborhood park and we all laid out on our picnic blankets and “oooohh-d” and “aaahhhh-d”!

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on sunday, we took a day trip to hood river oregon to meet up with our best friends who live in california, but happened to be in portland!  we hadn’t seen them in nearly three years!  the boys are all the same age and they had so much fun playing in the river and hanging out.  we miss you guys so much!

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i hope you had a lovely weekend!

cheers,

e

a note on friendships…

this post has been banging around in my head for a week now and i think i have my thoughts in order enough to say what i want.  i want to talk a little about friendships.  specifically friendships with other women.  if you know me personally, you probably know i don’t have lots of close girlfriends.  i never have been a woman that surrounds herself with other women; i’ve always felt more comfortable around men.  maybe it is because i was a bit of a tomboy growing up and i feel more comfortable conversing about “guy” things.  whatever it is, i have over the past few years been consciously cultivating friendships with a few women.  soul sisters that understand and accept one another unconditionally.

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these women have been with me and gotten me through some of the hardest and most joyful times in my life: my divorce, marriage, birth of the twins and many jobs come and gone.  they are my rocks and sometimes the reason i roll.  they are never afraid to push me when i need it, hand me a tissue, tell me the truth and laugh at the silly things in life.

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some of my friends have been going through some tough things of their own lately and i have been thinking about how women can succeed in life, especially when they have a village of soul sisters to lift them up.  and how i see a lot of stumbling blocks in our way.

sometimes i see blogs that disparage women for being “pinterest moms” and “overachieving” or “lazy” or “working moms” or “stay-at-home moms.”  see what i’m getting at?  it feels like women are being set up for failure.  maybe this is the reason i’ve never had a lot of girlfriends.  there seems to be a lot of drama being created by the media and these bloggers and, maybe, i bought into that…for a while.

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but not anymore.  i decided a few years ago to really work on my relationships with my lady friends.  and i’m so glad i did.  i still think there is drama out there, but i choose to surround myself with like-minded women, who also don’t buy into the drama and bullshit.  we are women who have busy enough lives that we don’t stir up any extra insanity.  we tell the truth – sometimes painfully. we support one another in our endeavors and our trials.  we are different and talented and love and celebrate those differences and talents.  we lift one another up and encourage instead of tearing one another down.  i am so thankful for the women in my life because they are rare gems.  shining lights who brighten the world with their presence.

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i am endeavoring to be a better friend and it is something i do not take lightly and it is something i work on every day.  they say that a rising tide raises all ships.  i believe this is true and want to be a part of that rising tide for the women in my life.

cheers,

e