Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Bunch for Lunch

We picked up an extra couple of kiddos for lunch today and the lineup of plates amused me. Of course, my lunch is generally the crusts from the kids' bread. Oliver Twist and me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New-new beginnings

Well, hello there loyal readers (all nine of you!). It seems I kept my "write it down" blogging resolution for a solid six weeks before taking a two month hiatus. I'm not sure that's a very good record. Alas. Easter is about new beginnings, correct? So here is a new-new beginning here on Easter's evening when my over-sugared children are tucked soundly into bed.

It has been a busy few months, I confess, and mostly busy with stuff that it's difficult for me--being a newbie--to write about publicly. A friend's sweet 2-year old (also in MK's preschool class) was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma cancer in early February, and it was a blow to our entire community. (He is now taking chemo and in need of your prayers and good thoughts) It's all I could think about for many many weeks, but I didn't know what to say about it in a blog, partly because it's not my story to tell, and partly because . . well, what in G-d's name do you say about a beautiful blonde two-year old boy with Stage 4 cancer? So I didn't write. And then we got pregnant--obviously having quietly decided about that 4th kid--and I was unable to stay awake in the evening past 8:30pm, which clearly cut into my computer time. So I didn't write. And then two weeks ago today, we had a miscarriage right at 11 weeks and then I REALLY didn't know what to say when I couldn't--and sort of still can't--see through the sadness. So I didn't write.

But there have been sweet moments of grace also. The day after the miscarriage, we went to the zoo. It was a simple day. Magical really. A Tuesday. If graceful giraffes and monkeys and one-legged pink flamingos can't cheer you up . . . The kids are the perfect age for the zoo and literally bounded from animal to animal in excitement. It wasn't Zim or SA, to be sure, but it did the trick for a Tuesday two hours from home.

We have also had a couple of beautiful days at the farmhouse with the big kids on the tire swing and Husband of Mine weeding the flower beds and MK slamming the screen door to hear the (bam!) noise over and over and over again (bam!). Those are good, cumulative memories in the making.

In March I had the opportunity to take my graduate students to DC for the national preservation Lobby Day and it was exhausting, but such a great experience for the students. I confess it made me beam with pride as the students gained confidence and poise as the day progressed and spoke passionately and professionally to our Congressional members and staffers about their communities and preservation issues. I hate to switch into professor mode, but I am lucky enough to be able to teach about something that I care about--community and places, basically--so I really do get--what's the word, my Jewish friends?--verklempt to see the students take off like that. Oh, and while we were there, I got to squeeze in some much needed laughter (i.e. girl time) with old friends from the old days.

We had an Uneventful March Madness as we had to swallow our pride and cheer (although cheer we did!) our favorite team in the Also-ran Tournament, the NIT. Thankfully the season is over and we can talk about "next year."

And of course, we have just had several days of Easter Egg Hunts and Egg dying and candy and more candy and more candy. Which I might add, is difficult to swallow (pun intended) after reading the 44 books and blogs on healthy food and chemicals and dyes, etc. this winter. I mean, really. Michael Pollan has more or less ruined colorful crappy candy for me. I stood in the Tar.get trying to decide what to buy for Easter baskets and I just couldn't bring myself to buy very much other than straight chocolate (which may have its own issues--if so, don't tell me. I've got nothing left.) And the fast food to which we treated ourselves on the way home from the zoo!? With every bite, I was thinking of petrochemical ingredients from Pollan's book and Jamie Oliver's massive pail of discarded chicken parts in the chicken nuggets. So needless to say, we are still cooking and with every week, I gain confidence in the kitchen. I say again that we're still not doing anything too crazy, but I am amazed at how easy some things are to make from scratch (salad dressings!) and I have made quinoa, which seven months ago, I had never heard of, and certainly couldn't pronounce correctly. You should have SEEN BB eat his broccoli today at lunch.

There are sweet moments of grace also.

And so I write.

Ciao a tutti.