Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Butcher, the Baker, the Painter and the Mini Hat Wearer

Old School Romance

I am not much of a doodler, but today during a community Bible study I attend on Thursday mornings my mind wandered during the lesson and I found myself making swirlies and 3D boxes on the border of my notebook. The next thing I wrote was Grant's name, surrounded in hearts and boxed in with a thick black border and triangles on the corners.

It was straight up 7th grade who's your boyfriend of the week affection.

And as I sat there looking at his name and making it more bold with outlines and more hearts, I realized that I was getting butterflies in my stomach. Thinking about the man attached to that name and the fact that he was MY man. His fantastic beard, his love of a good book and an even better cocktail, the way he washes Pursy's hair during bath time with such serious devotion, and the way he still asks me to sit on the toilet (closed) while he takes a shower- just to talk to him. All of that good stuff and piles more- it's all him, and thus it's all mine.

I thought about the first time I doodled his name in my journal. I was 22 years old, dating a 33 year old man named Craig Lockhart who lived in a condo and owned a cat named Smokey, just trying to have a good time seeing what was out there- man wise. I didn't know that people like Grant existed, but not long after I met him I wrote his name in my journal. Swirley and bold, just like today.

I also tried out my name with Craig's...

Christy and Craig Lockhart. Christy Lockhart. CML. C&C Lockhart. Christy McCoy Lockhart

And in the corner, very small and almost hesitant, I wrote Christy Martsolf. I remember that writing it felt naughty at the time. I hardly knew Grant and had been with Craig for 6 months. We were happy and I wasn't actively looking around. I certainly wasn't thinking about getting married.

But then came you.

 My hands shake
My knees quake
It's every day
The same way.
Cos then came you.
Then there's you.
I keep your picture
In my worn through shoes.
Then there's you.
Then came you.
When I'm lost,
I look at my picture of you.

And somehow
I'll make tonight our own
I'll show you every way I've grown
Since I met you

And right now
I'll be the boy in your next song
I'll learn the parts and play along
If you let me.

If you let me,
I'll show the world to you.
Yes, if you let me,
I'll know just what to do.

Cos then came you.
Then there's you.
I keep your picture
In my worn through shoes.

When I'm lost
In your eyes
I see a way for me 
-Joshua Radin

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bread and Butter Days

One of my favorite foods is bread and butter. Specifically, the Tuscan Pane bread from TJ's and my Brummel and Brown yogurt butter. (does that make me a yuppie foodie or just endearingly ironic? hhmmm... what would Zooey do?)

I have passed this affection to my children.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oui, Oui

I was having a facebook message exchange today with a dear friend of mine who reappeared in my life after over 10 years, thanks to... well, facebook.

This lovely woman introduced me to almond butter, used book stores and a fantastic little French bistro just on the west side of Columbus, whose name I can't even remember and I'm sure is no longer there. She is now married with two gorgeous babes and eating up life to the fullest. (literally, she is. Am pretty sure she is a vegan, which I experimented with in college and gave up after two weeks... I was SO hungry. I returned to my vegetarian ways, which included lots of peanut butter, soy hot dogs and Diet Coke. Oh, the irony..)

We have been talking for a few days now about books, how Mamas find time to read and whether it is okay to read on a Kindle and still call yourself a book purist. This sweet broad buys books she really loves in three forms- hardback to keep, paperback to give away and e-book to have in her purse whenever the mood strikes to read it. It is so crazy, and I love it.

So this blog post and glimpse into our life is for you, Kimberly. You are a beautiful woman.

Dinner tonite for Knox and Pursy was bread with butter, slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and apples. Looking at their plates with so much white food I felt a moment of guilt. But then I watched them eating such simple and delicious things with independence and happiness, and released myself of any shame that I wasn't introducing them to exotic and interesting foods tonight.

I named it our Parisian dinner, poured myself a glass of wine and joined them at the table.

Oui, I am a good Mama.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Know Who I Am and I Know What I Like

Today feels comfortable and right, like when you put on your favorite outfit and it immediately makes you feel _____ (whatever you most like to feel- sexy, interesting, strong, confident, stylish, equipped...). Everything going on today is exactly how I like it.

There is a pot of lentils and onions simmering on the stove, slowly and luxuriously turning into our next meal. I am drinking a cup of mid-morning coffee from my favorite mug. Snow has been quietly falling for the last two hours and the ground is covered in white happiness. I can't feel how cold it is until I open the door to put the recycling outside and then immediately run back in and put my feet in my slippers. Knox and Pursy are playing together in her toy kitchen, creating interesting fusion foods like watermelon, fish and egg soup. Charlotte Gainsbourg is on Spotify and I am enjoying her progression from 5:55 to Stage Whisper. My bangs are almost long enough to catch back in a low ponytail.

And in 7 hours, I am going on a date with a handsome bearded stranger. It has been so long since we went out on a Friday night, I think I might put on eyeliner and my knee high brown boots.


Monday, January 21, 2013

So That's What is Going On Inside That Head...

"When I was wittle like this (puts thumb and index finger about 1/2 inch apart) I was on a wiwwypad like a frog. Haha. That's so crazy, huh, Mama?"
             -Purslane Claire taking a break from her blueberry pancake this morning.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Acting As a Woman in Love

Some days Grant is easier to love than others. We just celebrated 9 years of marriage and are very familiar with the reality of living together. We truly know each other. All the gritty bits that no one else knows, like the fact that our walk-in closet is his junk drawer or that he doesn't put anything away after he makes his lunch in the morning. But more than his daily living habits, in 9 years of marriage I have discovered some of his deeper struggles as a human being and have been surprised by my own inability to love him in spite of them. I have learned that some of these gritty bits of his personality are endearing and some are annoying as shit.

He just came back from two weeks of travel for his new job- a week in California and a week in Boston. When he is gone, I miss him terribly. This time apart always makes me evaluate how we treat one another, and I vow to treat him with more kindness, patience and love when he returns. I can get pretty horrible after a long day with two babes and if he doesn't meet my expectations for help and empathy when he comes home I can be fairly snarky and passive aggressive. The worst combination- it's like an emotional sucker punch. I say whatever comes to mind without passing it through my wifely love filter, then retreat into mopey silence.

I justify this behavior by dwelling on his failing to meet my expectations. He didn't take the babes off my hands immediately so I could finish dinner, or he made a comment about how messy the house was. Both giving me permission to snap something about how we should trade jobs for a day and see what the house looks like after he spends 10 hours with two babes whose new favorite activity is taking all the couch cushions off and jumping on them. These snappy retorts are always unhelpful, but I keep doing it hoping for a different response from him other than defensiveness and confusion.

Then I read this from Tim Keller's book The Meaning of Marriage:

"Though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings... The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you love your neighbor, act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. Whether we do good to another self, just because it is a self made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less."- C.S. Lewis

"Having said this (the above quote by Lewis), it is important to observe that of the two- emotion and action- it is the latter that we have the most control over. It is the action of love that we can promise to maintain every day." - Tim Keller

In other words, by acting as a woman in love, I will come to truly love Grant. I can show him that I love HIM, not my idea of him or the man he is when he fulfills all my expectations. I can't promise to like him every moment but I can promise to love him with my actions. Even when all that means is that I keep my mouth shut when I would rather speak my piece.

The fact of the matter is that I hit the jackpot with Grant- he is attentive and helpful and sacrificial and brave. He puts our family first in his decisions about everything he does- even when his life would be easier if he just moved ahead and asked the babes and I to adjust. He is a good friend and I really love just hanging out with him drinking a beer and playing cards. He is interested and interesting, which makes him a great conversationalist. I could go on, but the point is that I am not dealing with a dead beat husband or lazy Dad. I am married to a human being who has flaws and is not always lovely.

But he is married to a human being too. And one who is much more difficult to love, if I were being truly self-aware and if what I have confessed about myself in this blog post is any indication... If we both decide to actively love the other more than ourselves, we will find ourselves truly in love. Not with an idea or a hope, but actually a person. Free of each other's expectations and grateful for the moments when we choose to act like we are in love instead of demanding the other person do it first.

(now, to send this blog post to Grant's email so he can read it and start actively loving me)

Going out to celebrate 9 years of Grant being smart enough to marry me.

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Mid-January Resolutions (or: taking the pressure off)

I don't make New Years resolutions anymore. They look great on the first page of a fresh new journal, but just end up looking sad a few weeks after. Especially if "journal daily" was resolution number 1 and all the pages are still blank.

So I am making resolutions for my life as they come to me and I feel pressed to actually do them. Motivated by a little extra alone time during the day now that Knox and Pursy play together for a small amount of time without intervention from me, or perhaps finally making the decision to return to the way we used to do something, and doing away with the shortcut that became habit when life was crazy.

One of these resolutions I want to make on this mid-January day is making food from scratch, rather then answering the siren's call of ready made food wrapped in pretty Trader Joe's packaging. I make amazing granola in the crockpot. It takes 3 hours of stirring and drying, but the end result is delicious and I can add in whatever I want. My favorite is vanilla, almond, clove granola made with real maple syrup and whole oats. Granola is one food item I believe is adulterated terribly by making it low-fat, and so I eat smaller quantities and enjoy every bite when I make it myself and bask in the full rich taste glory of good fats and simple ingredients.

I also make amazing, make you believe in God guacamole, and last week was shamed (by no one but myself) when I took dinner to friends who just had a baby and served them pre-made guacamole. I had the excuse of the avocados I bought not being ready, but what cook in her right mind buys unripe avocados and thinks that happy thoughts will make them ripen by the next day? Poor planning and the knowledge that I could buy a substitute.

 I need to take that pre-made option away from myself. So here is my list of foodstuffs that I have become way too comfortable opening up the jar or package or bag just prior to serving. I believe that I can make all of these things with just a little practice and a good recipe.

1. Tomato sauce. Spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, salsa... these things are very easy to make and I use them in so many different meals it would be well worth my time to make a big batch of stewed tomatoes and then separate and riff to make these different tomato sauces.

2. Granola.

3. Waffles. I have a great recipe for buttermilk waffles and really like my waffle iron. If I tripled the recipe and made a batch of batter even once a month, I could freeze it and we could have homemade waffles once or twice a week.

4. Chicken tenders. Sometimes it does make more sense to put more value on my time and just buy the pre-breaded chicken tenders from Joe's. They aren't frozen, the ingredient list is just chicken, bread crumbs and herbs, and dinner is ready in 15 minutes with no prep time. BUT when I make homemade chicken tenders with buttermilk, fresh herbs, panko crumbs and eggs... there really is no taste comparison. Plus Pursy loves when we get all messy and eggy in the kitchen together. You can't really put a price on that...

5. Sweet potato fries. This one really is ridiculous. It takes such a short time to prep the potatoes, then they just hang out in the oven and cook while I am making the rest of the meal.. and again, there is no taste comparison with the bag of frozen fries.

6. Pre-marinated pork loin. Puh-lease.

7. Yogurt. We eat a ton of it, and I have a home yogurt maker sitting in the cupboard above the stove. You know, the one in every house where you put things because it feels better then putting them in the basement because that admits defeat? I had one failed attempt (which really was just my ignoring the directions and trying to make lemon yogurt when the book very clearly said avoid citrus if you are using a pre-made culture starter) and put it away.

8. Peanut butter. Mr Rogers showed me how to make peanut butter when I was 10 and I still remember how. I don't know if it would taste as good as Jiffy Natural, but it would still be cool to have a jar of homemade peanut butter in the fridge.

So there is my homemade food ambition. The start of my resolution to make more things than I buy.

Reading this does not give you the right to hold me to this resolution or ask me how it's going, unless you have personally observed me succeeding.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm Ready for My Closeup, Mr DeMille...

Knox woke up from his nap and we snapped some photos. I didn't realize until halfway through that I had the lens zoomed all the way in. I actually like the results, even though you can count pores on a few of these extreme close ups. But I love how perfect his skin and eyes and lips look in the afternoon light and post-nap glow.

Man, I love this little guy.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mom Fail

On Christmas Eve, we took Pursy and Knox to Phipps Conservatory to see the train room, special holiday plant and light displays, and Santa. We spent most of our time reminding Pursy not to touch the plants, particularly the rare orchids, and chasing around Knox who decided the Conservatory was a great place to not be in the stroller.

Walking through one of the arboretums, we came across a table manned by an elderly volunteer and set up with a flat of parsley seedlings, soil and small trowel. Purslane very skillfully and very proudly potted her own plant and carried it around the rest of the time like she had just singlehandedly created life.

She made a plant.

She carried it through the double doors to the outdoor maze and gave Grant a suspicious up and down glare before entrusting him with her precious plant so she could go play. She seemed relieved when we headed back inside and her little treasure was safely back in her small hands.

Every day since then, the seedling has lived on our windowsill where it gets plenty of light and she can easily check on it. I gave her the responsibility of watering her plant, and get a kick out of watching her very seriously pouring her small cup of water on the seedling and then telling it to "have a drink!".

A few days ago, we had an unseasonably warm weekend. It was 60 degrees and we decided the plants needed to enjoy the sun as well. Pursy carried her seedling and I carried my indoor plants outside to the picnic table where they could carry out their biological created purpose of taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen.

And then we went to bed.

Can you guess where this is going? My hardy tree/plant survived the overnight drop in temperature just fine. Purslane's little seedling looked like this.

To say I felt horrible is way understating the feeling I had. I  put the plant next to the stove while I was making my morning coffee so it could thaw gently. I whispered encouraging words to it, begging it to revive and not be the day I had to explain death to my 2 year old daughter. I did a Google search about extreme temperature survival for parsley seedlings.

Today, the plant is actually looking like it might survive. That small limb hanging over the front of the bowl is a gonner, but the other little branches are perking up. Come on, little plant.... you can do it. You can save me from a tough heart to heart with a sweet little girl who is pretty sure she made you herself.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Best Friend

Pursy and I were lying in her bed while she was drifting off to sleep, talking about the day and the names for all her animal friends.

Me: Which animal is your favorite?
Pursy: Umm, I like Pooh.
Me: Me too. But I like you best.
Pursy: I like you best, Mama. You're my best friend.

I'm sure more wonderful things have happened to me in my life, but I can't think of them right this minute.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Disappearing Beauty

 I don't want to write one more blog post about the tragedy of thin celebrities and what they are doing to our expectation and idea of beauty in our culture. But as I watched the Golden Globes last night, I felt like it kept hitting me in the face- these women are redefining beauty and taking away elements that our society has held as standards for such a long time. The breasts, the curvy hips, the beautiful glow. So many of the woman walking the red carpet last night looked exactly alike. Different dress and hair, same rail-thin arms, tiny breasts and impossibly small hips.

And I know some bodies are genetically small. I hesitate to categorize a thin body as one that should be critiqued more than a larger one. Every individual has the right to define beauty for themselves, but we as a society also affirm what we hold up as beauty by the accolades we give our public figures. Our celebrities, our sports figures, our musicians and artists. 

But I have a daughter now. And so I watch these parades of celebrities through different eyes. I look at the women who have been given the power to define beauty in our culture and wonder if they realize the message they are sending to daughters around the country.

I am up for the challenge of helping Purslane define beauty for herself. I am ready to talk about self confidence and individuality and when it is appropriate to just fit in and survive. But I do think it is unfortunate that our societal concept of beauty is the pictures of the women above, and we didn't do more to affirm how gorgeous they were when they looked like this:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The End of Sentimentality

When children are little, you realize quickly that you lose two free arms. You also lose a full night's sleep, drinking your cup of morning coffee while it's still hot and sitting through an entire meal without getting up 27 times. But babies are so cute and little, you give these things up willingly. Or at least without much protest.

When they get bigger, you lose the luxury of going to the bathroom alone, running out to grab something at Target quickly and having a phone conversation where you can actually hear the person on the other end. Again, little inconveniences that you expect when you have little people running around discovering the world around them and eating it up.

But one thing I continually struggle with, and have for the past 2.5 years, is the loss of ideas and items that carry deep sentimental value to me. Giving up the possessive feeling that a kiss when Grant walks in the door shouldn't be delayed by anything, let alone two babes who right before he walked in were completely engaged in wrestling on the kitchen floor. Giving up the belief that I should be able to read a book in less then 3 months because I love reading and love how I feel so much like myself when I am curled up on the corner of the couch with a coffee and a fantastic read. Giving up the rights to MY STUFF- particularly my Burts Bees, cell phone and last bite of blueberry pancake. If you don't understand how a pancake can be classified as sentimental, you haven't had my blueberry pancakes yet...

But this was a doozy. When I found this on the floor, I cannot deny that I struggled with loving my children for a few minutes. This is a symbol of everything that was sacred and undeniably cool about my dating life with Grant Martsolf- the mixed tape. He made me two of these in the 6 weeks we dated before he proposed, and the music on it reminds me of the sweetest of times passed and musical loves gone by. Unless you still listen to Medeski, Martin and Wood, sweetie??

As a parent of young children, you have to constantly remind yourself that people are more important then things. Or, my darling offspring are more important then my sentimental possessions.

I love you, Purslane and Knox. Lucky for you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Simple Question

Why is your right to bear arms more important than safety of innocent civilians?

I understand that if you are one of the 100K that signed the petition to deport a British journalist for adding his opinion to the call for tighter gun control that you have several concerns.

1. That Americans need to defend their amendment rights or they will lose them. Sure, okay. But are there any significant words (especially those written over 200 year ago) affecting how a society functions that haven't been debated or rethought or updated to reflect change in culture that happens naturally over time? Think of the Bible. I believe that God's laws, intentions and heart for humankind is contained in those words, but I don't wear a head covering to church and have several tattoos. I also believe in evolution and am against slavery. The point is, if we took every word in the Bible literally and did not consider cultural context and overall intention, Christians would have a really difficult time living everyday life in our present culture.

*and while on the subject of context.. let's just read the original statement.
 Article the fourth..... A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

What do you think about the fact that your right to bear arms is linked to a well regulated militia?? There was a context to civilians bearing arms (as well as a debate to whether the original intention of this amendment applied to citizens at all), and it isn't so you can have a pistol in your bedside stand in case someone breaks into your home to take your stuff.

In my mind there is a very clear cultural intention.The second Amendment isn't about making sure citizens get equal face time to debate whether or not America should be a free nation. The new colonists literally needed to be armed with muskets (read: one shot, reload guns) to protect their freedom.

How are you using the Second Amendment to push back on tighter gun control in 2013? How many of the gun murders in the past 100 years have been citizens protecting themselves against government tyranny? And how many have been mentally unstable individuals who got ahold of a semi automatic weapon and destroyed lives? Or, in my neighborhood, kids getting ahold of handguns and killing other kids.

2. Hunting. I don't really even feel this is worth mentioning. From my understanding of guns legally used for hunting, there is not one multi-firing weapon on the list. I believe all hunting guns have to be single shot. (can any hunters help me on this?) In the last 50 years, 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the entire world happened in America. Mass shootings are not done with a single shot rifle, they are done with a semi automatic assault rifle. So keep your hunting rifles, I am not after them. Also, the skill involved in hunting requires a serious knowledge about the guns used so thank you to all my hunting friends who use your weapons safely and responsibly.

3. You don't like some of the decisions made by the US government over the past decades and are pushing back so hard because you feel like your control over your money, your health care, your job, your religious expression, etc has been diminished. I understand. In a democracy, we like the idea that when we elect our officials, they will represent our personal ideals.

At the end of the day, let's say that you have to give up your guns. You lose your right to protect yourself with an instrument that the rest of us just have to trust you know how to use safely and wisely. You lose your Second Amendment rights with tighter laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who will not use them simply to protect themselves. Let's say that happens. And let's say because you gave up that right, a classroom of 6 year old children gets up in the morning and goes to school because they are still alive.

I know it is more complicated then that, but it is a simple question. What are your rights worth in the commodity of human life? It is unfortunate that we all can't have unlimited rights and that our wise and altruistic behavior wouldn't allow for peace in our present day culture. The world unfortunately won't work that way until Jesus comes back. In the meantime, we can actually prevent the loss of human life by imposing stricter gun legislation.

Isn't it worth it?

I want to urge those of you who are fighting so hard to keep gun laws loose to remember the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes,

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."

Too many faces are being punched. Stop swinging your fist.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Delusions of Being a Cool Kid

Every once in a while, Grant and I will be driving somewhere and ask the other person "Does this (jacket, shirt, hairstyle, etc) make me look cool?". Of course when you are not the person asking the question, it sounds ridiculous. We are early 30's well educated parents of two children in a respectable home, jobs and circle of friends. We are not overtly dysfunctional or unable to handle real life. According to Maslov's hierarchy, we should have left the need to "look cool" behind in high school.

But it lingers. And is exacerbated mostly by hipsters. I really wonder how I can be self-conscious when (we call him Trader Joes' Short Pants Guy) walks around so confidently in a pair of gray skinny jeans obviously made for a young teen girl or a slim middle school boy. But I find myself with the passing thought "I bet that guy is really cool" because he just doesn't seem to care. Or maybe he cares way too much but just knows that there is nothing he could possibly do once he has left the house to make the pants any longer or any less snug. So maybe he leaves quickly before he changes his mind and just goes confidently to work, releasing himself of any option to second guess his choices.

Either way, I bet he is really cool.

So here is my attempt to put on my too-small gray pants and leave the house quickly before I change my mind. Here is my list of personal facts or admissions that either make me a huge dork or cooler than Short Pants Guy because I am letting them see the light of day.

1. My first concert was Yanni. Long haired, glorious mustached, white linened, no need for a second name music king of the 90's. This secret I have carried around all of my adult life was a huge reason why I took Pursy to her first concert when she was 11 days old and made sure it was unbelievably awesome. She won't remember it, but she heard Matt and Kim and Titus Andronicus play an outdoor concert at Penn State. Purslane, your teenage self will thank me.

2. My first crush was on David Bowie in Labyrinth. Does anyone remember that cult classic? Jennifer Connelly plays a teenage girl who wishes her little brother would disappear and he ends up being kidnapped by the Goblin King- a white tights and fur half coat wearing Bowie. My friend Sarah and I used to watch it over and over in her living room and giggle everytime he walked across the screen in those tights. If you don't know or can't imagine what I am talking about, go watch the movie. You should actually go watch it anyway- Grant found me a DVD at a consignment shop a few years ago and it is one of my prized possessions.

3. I have a very strange and very limited manifestation of OCD. I count letters in signs and billboards, add them up and try to make it divisible by 3. (???) If the natural number is not divisible by 3, I will add in the spaces between the words. If that doesn't work, I start to get anxious and have to look away from the sign. My favorite number is 27 because it is divisible by three but also if the numbers 2 and 7 are added, it is divisible by 3. It is a perfect number and makes me feel very happy.

4. I stir all hot beverages with chopsticks. This can be a cute and quirky habit of mine, until I am somewhere without access to chopsticks and have to stir the cream in my coffee with a spoon. It feels awkward and diminishes my enjoyment of the beverage.

I think those are the biggies. "Grant, does this make me look cool?"

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Year Before 10

Well you leave me hanging
by the skin of my teeth
I've only got one leg to stand
you can send me to hell
but I'll never let go of your hand
- Tom Waits

Nine years ago today I was sitting at my parent's dining room table leisurely drinking a cup of coffee and writing my wedding vows in a notebook with a quote from Anais Nin on the cover. I was getting married.

It wasn't that I hadn't thought about getting married. But at 23 I already had one ex-fiancĂ© and didn't really feel any rush to go down that road again. My application for the Peace Corp was almost completed and I already imagined myself doing ethnographies in Papua New Guinea. I wasn't really worried about a long term life plan or finding my purpose. I just wanted to graduate and move on to what was next.

Then I met a boy.

A boy who knew exactly what he wanted and exactly how to get there. His Mom told me later on that Grant came out of the womb knowing that he would one day get a PhD and so she wasn't surprised at all when he told her that he had met the girl he was going to marry. The day after he met me. He spent 6 months wooing me away from my boyfriend with camping trips to Utah, cigarettes on the back steps of dive bars and pictures of him working with orphans in China.

That all was 10 years ago. And 9 years ago today that determined boy and this free spirited girl got hitched.

The last 9 years have been better then any Hemmingway novel. There has been heartbreak, natural disasters, terrible fights with doors slamming and cars driving off, freezing apartments in Colorado and steamy shotgun rowhouses in New Orleans, dinner parties with colorful characters laughing with their heads thrown back, four cross-country road trips with keys to new places in our hands, walks around university campuses in Virginia and Pennsylvania while one of us finished yet another degree, books devoured in separate corners and the best parts shouted across the room, two delicious children, camping trips and fancy hotels. We have laughed when we should have cried and cried when we should have laughed.

Nine years later and the smartest thing I've done in my life is come to the conclusion that there was nothing in life I wanted to do that I didn't want to do with him. I wasn't sure I could get married, but I knew that I could marry him.

I must make my best of the only way home
Marley deals only in stones
I'm lost on the midway
I'm reckless in your eyes
just give me a couple more throws
I'll dare you to dine with
the cross-legged knights
dare me to jump and I will
I'll fall from your grace
but I'll never let go of your hand
I'll never let go of your hand
-Tom Waits

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The End of Boob Sharing

Last night after 9 hours in the car, Knox refused a nurse before bedtime. I thought maybe he was just tired and grumpy. This morning he was more interested in reading a book with Pursy then nursing. He weaned himself the same way his sister did- on his own and abruptly. She was 14 months when she weaned and he is almost 15.

I knew this day was coming. Every day since his first birthday I have been nursing him with more attention and appreciation because every breastfeeding could be his last. And because we are 99.7% sure we are done with our biological family, it would be my last breastfeeding as well. So I stopped reading magazines or surfing blogs on my smartphone and just watched him while he laid contently in my arms and nursed. One of my favorite things to do when he is almost finished is to start tickling him and watch him laugh while still latched on- both of my babes stubbornly refused to delatch until they were good and ready and would giggle and squirm but not let go.

So today is the first day in over 3 years that I am not pregnant or nursing- the end of body and boob sharing. My body and my breasts are mine again. I can dress them in whatever I want and neither of my babes need anything that I cannot give with my clothes on. In fact, I spent almost $200 at Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale last week on new underwear in anticipation of the day I would be throwing away the enormous maternity and post partum undergarments I have been putting on quickly in the bathroom before Grant can see what I look like under my clothes during the day. He knows in theory what my underwear looks like when he folds the laundry, but theory and practice are much different. And a nursing bra that has gone through two children and three years is very different from the black lacy push up he remembers taking off after his office Christmas party a few years ago...

So today I will take a moment to hug my body and thank it for everything it has so bravely and beautifully done for me over the past 3.5 years. It endured ultrasounds and Clomid while we were desperately trying to get pregnant during our year of diagnosed infertility. It carried my gorgeous daughter for 9.5 months and delivered her naturally without pain meds or intervention. Her birth story here. My breasts fed her for 14 months, even when after 9 months there was another babe on the way. It bravely carried my happy son for 9.5 months and delivered him naturally as well. Birth Story Here. My body then recovered quickly and allowed me to run around after a toddler with an infant in my arms. And yesterday, my breasts gave their final contribution to the health and growth of my wonderful babes.

I am still 20 pounds up and I don't think my hips will ever fit into my size 28 Seven For All Mankind jeans again. We will see what happens when the dust settles but something tells me that Grant will still be doing walk by ass grabbings even if things don't go back to their original place. I am so proud of my body and so thankful for everything it has done for me and creating our family.

And as we celebrate 9 years of marriage on Friday, Grant will be thankful for Victoria's Secret and their semi-annual sale...

Five Foods I Am Ashamed To Admit I Like

We just returned from our Holiday traveling and we always eat things on the road we would never eat under normal circumstances. Somehow the need to consume food quickly gives me license to ignore all I know and believe about nutrition and simple laws of healthy eating.

But it tastes so good.

Here is my first top five list of 2013. Foods I am ashamed to admit I like. The first three are fast food/traveling nuggets of goodness that make me want to cry when Pursy asks for a bite and I can't exactly say no to feeding her crap because, after all, I am eating it, right? The last two are random and I eat once in never. So I eat without guilt.

1. McDonalds Egg McMuffins, hold the Canadian bacon. How do they get those eggs in the perfect circle?? The commercials show the employee lovingly breaking each fresh egg one at a time...

2. Taco Bell bean burrito, add lettuce and tomato. One weekend when Grant and I were camping in Utah I ate four of these in one day. He still married me a few months later but to this day makes me order my own food because he gets embarrassed to ask for special requests at Taco Bell.

3. Sheetz turkey and provolone pretzel sandwich melt.

4. Baked Cool Ranch Doritos. The cosmic disaster of fake fat, fake cheese, and fake flavoring. To be paired with a Diet Coke just to ensure your complete fall off the foodie wagon.

5. And fifth, my final food confession. Cadbury Cream Eggs. Fortunately for me these delightful treats are seasonally limited or I might end every meal with them. What IS that bright orange yolk in the middle of the soft sugary cream? Who cares... It tastes like happiness. Grant has been known to bring one of these eggs home and call it a "present". Who needs Jared's? My man went to Sunoco.