Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hubby is home and what do we do?

*Disclaimer: I'm not in Kathmandu at the moment and havn't been since late June. If you are reading this thinking "this is completely weird because Nepal sounds just like home!" I am so sorry. I am in the US on R&R for the summer, taking in a few movies, a little Starbucks and clean tap water. I'm lovin' it. But will also love being back there in late August - hopefully with tales to tell. So if you have no interest in my really not so interesting life, just feel free to click away. I'm not offended.

Well I did make it to the airport in time to see my 6'5" husband loping towards baggage claim and sort of skipped behind my little guy in the stroller with joy. I really and truly am supposed to be a grown up but I really just don't care because I was excited!

So the poor guy is completely jet lagged. I allowed the rest of us a full week of "nothing officially scheduled" to get over it but he is pretty much getting no mercy. I practically handed all our progeny over right away! We are booked, booked, booked with appointments, ballet camp etc. this week. I'm a terrible wife.

As I looked at the schedule this week I noticed that yesterday was really going to be the last opportunity for my Kit to see the Kit Kittredge movie which has been the topic of discussion ever since we arrived. (An aside but I had to laugh when her cousin from LA arrived a few weeks ago and had, of course, already seen it because, well, she had been the premiere! Only a Hollywood kid could say that so casually). As a matter of fact it is quickly departing the movie scene. It was now only playing in three theatres in the WHOLE DC area. Clearly the time had come. Kit was prepared with her Kit Kittredge haircut. For real - she insisted on cutting off her long hair to be like her doll. Thank God there isn't a 80's Punk American Girl doll yet. It is ok - the cut is actually really cute. Annnnywayyyy - we went to see it with my sweet Mom. We even took the two year old just because we were desperate. He actually watched it! It was a sweet movie - Kit loved it - Mom loved taking us (I think).

Ah - my moment of peace for writing is over. How do people do this at Starbucks?

All of this to say ... I finally get my husband back ... and I make him see an American Girl movie. He's a saint.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hubby Countdown

Whooeeee. It is way too late for me to be thinking about blogging but here I am. My very wonderful husband whom I haven't seen in five weeks is taking the red eye from CA and arriving at the crack of dawn. He told me he'd take a cab but ... I am a pretty big believer in picking up people at the airport so I am going to take however many hoodlums are awake tomorrow and head out there. I realize this could backfire. I may somehow miss him and he takes a cab. Pretty much I am deciding right now to be prepared for that to potentially happen.

I'm just feeling all warm and fuzzy. Is it just anticipation or is it the excessively cheesy Hallmark movie I just watched with my Mother in law - (and really liked ... a lot. I'm hopeless)?

Who knows but I better hit the sack soon or it sure won't be pretty. I am already woozy from a two day roadtrip to see friends with the terrific trio. It was completely fun but I am EXHAUSTED.

So enough. He arrives in eight hours!

In a daze,

Monday, July 21, 2008

Farm Day!

I am a total urban/suburbanite and generally feel pretty out of place in the country but every year I look forward to Farm Day with GREAT anticipation! I physically start to relax when I get off the turnpike and start heading onto the two lane roads leading to Deb's family farm.

My friend Deb grew up on this farm in Pennsylvania and her parents still live there. When she moved to Washington after college we were part of a large and ever growing singles group at our church. Fifteen years ago a bunch of either single or newly marrieds started going up to the farm some Saturday in July just to sit under the huge shade tree by the lake, swim, canoe, eat fresh corn that was probably picked that morning, and generally just do some Olympic level hangin' out.

Now the "day" has evolved a bit. Farm Day is more like Farm Weekend for the many families that camp out over night. (Because we are serious camping weenies (see Borderlands post) we have never done this ... but our oldest keeps begging so maybe next year) When we were single or childless I remember a lot of volleyball games. This year the fifty kids that were there were launching water balloons across the lake to where all those lazy parents were just lying around in the shade. The kids are getting older and the conversations about them have shifted from preschool chatter to IB programs. (Although there are still a few of us with little ones happily sitting at the parental feet of those who have gone before us.)

Not to get too bogged down in tradition this year's innovation was a PIG. Or a HOG? Can you tell I'm not a farm girl - I don't know if there is a difference or not but this oinker was HUGE. And PINK. And after ten hours of roasting it was DONE. You have to be a committed carnivore to eat something that you can look in the eye. I'll post a photo when I can because - well - you have to see Hamlet's little snout and hooves to really take it in.

For we day trippers the day culminates with THE TRACTOR RIDE for the kids. Jim just pulls the huge trailer bed behind ye olde John Deere around the farm while kids snatch rasberries from the bushes or hop on and off to run along side. At this point the sun is setting and the light is beautiful. When the loop is complete everyone hops off to raid a superfantabulous ice cream sundae buffet. Next year I am taking more pictures!

While all of this is quite obviously just good clean fun for all involved it really is so much more than that. We have lived over half of our married lives overseas and being able to reconnect with people is always a huge gift. Many people no longer live in the DC area but travel from whereever they are to Farm Day during the summer. This is the one time I ever see a majority of the people who come. I love seeing how kids have grown. I love having long coversations with friends neck deep in the water.

Deb and Jim - again and again we thank you!

It is just a sweet, sweet time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ode to a rental

Transportation has always been just that to me. I'm generally don't covet fancy cars and see the utilitarian nature of the most unsexy of vehicles, the dreaded minivan, as just no big deal because it is practical for we Mommy types (at least once you reach that three kiddo mark). So when I scouted around for a minivan to rent for the summer I discovered that ... it just wasn't going to happen. Way, way way way way too expensive. So I went with plan B and rented something smaller. We're making it work.

I am living in my rental chariot as I ferry kids to and from different camps, go and visit friends, raid a kiddie clothing sale etc. It has been officially christened with crushed Cheerios. It has my requisite snack stash for the kids, and one for me. I bought some contraption that can both play and charge my ipod in the car and this is a happy thing. It has a few design features that mean I wouldn't buy this car but hey, it's transportation and I'm grateful. (Zero visibility! I keep thinking I am going to make some poor squirrel into road pizza before its time).

The kids assume it is "our car". Therefore, no problem Mom for me to draw on the seats, right? Ai yai yai.

It costs a bundle to fill this puppy! Join the club right?

Mostly, frankly, I am just glad the thing works. I know it is serviced, fairly new and is unlikely to have ... issues ... for the two months I'll be driving it.

So rental chariot - I raise my drive through coffee to you and give you a pat on the hood for taking us on the road.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The most incredible Blackberry Cobbler

OK let me just tell you that bloggin' just aint easy from where I am sitting. This wacky computer won't let me "sign in" on my own blog ... just when I am commenting elsewhere and then I can sneak over here and voila - I am signed in here. It is just too bizarre. It took me awhile to figure that out as well. And not so interesting. Sorry, but I had to vent.

OK ... THIS IS THE ALLTIME MOST FABULOUS SUMMER DESSERT YOU WILL EVER HAVE. Not that I have ever been accused of hyperbole or anything.

Amy is in her eighties and works for my Mother in law. She has the energy of someone half her age (cough) and then some. She is completely amazing. For years now she has made this incredible Blackberry Cobbler that I just drool over. Last summer I finally made her coach me through it. She kept saying things like "I don't know, I just add a ilttle of this and a little of that". No way was that going to cut it in the recipe department. I was a hounddog I tell you. Persistent. According to my culinary dictionary (I am completely in touch with my inner cooking geek) this really wouldn't be a cobbler but some other type of fruit dessert (a fool, a pie, a something else) but since Amy calls it that - that is what it is.

Sharing it with the masses (Ok the three people plus my family who actually read my blog ...) is a public service. Here you are.

PS When I can upload pictures again at the end of the summer I'll come back and post one here because not only is it delicious ... it's pretty. (Oh wait - like I can get blackberries in Nepal?)

Amy’s Blackberry Cobbler

1 1/2 C flour
1 stick of butter

3 pints of Blackberries
1 C sugar
1/4 t salt
2T flour
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cinnamon
a little lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450. Butter a deep soufflé dish. (approx 8 inch)

Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Knead crust ingredients together with your fingers and add ice water until the dough comes together.

Press crust into soufflé dish saving some to roll out and place on top. Pour the filling into the dish and then go ahead and roll out that remaining bit and press in on top of the filling, pinching the sides.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375 and bake another 40 minutes.

Serve this with vanilla ice cream. Ambrosia. Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2008

And now ... Camp.

Oh I think I might finally have figured out how to post from my Mother in Law's computer oh happy day!

Now that "Jet Lag Week" and "Beach Week" are officially over ... camp begins. I was not thinking straight when I signed up Kit at one camp and Lindsay another - that start and end at the same time in two different places. This was truly a dumb thing to do to myself. C'est la vie and I'll just get on with it. I just really, really wanted Lindsay to be able to go to VBS because I went when I was a kid and, you know, we just feel like we have to pass all the good stuff on don't we? But not the bad stuff ... like Girl Scout Camp. UGH. I hated it. My girls will never go even if they beg because I am sure it will be awful. I did go to a lot of great camps (thanks Mom and Dad:)) ... but GS Camp was not one of them. (I also took a lot of classes - many of which were great - the one that still cracks me up, however, was "Colonial Crafts". Candle Dipping etc. I can't even type it without laughing!)

Off to sleep so I can face the week semicoherent. Three weeks left of single parenting - not that I'm counting the days or anything.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Beach

Oh can we just live here for awhile at the retro beach house? Life is just frozen in the 50s.

It is a gorgeous morning. The breeze is blowing through the trees across the screened porch. All the grown ups have their cups of respective hot liquids. (Not everyone is a coffee achiever). There are chocolate croissants from Lingos on the kitchen counter. The kids are alternatively watching cartoons and playing with all the fun toys that are only at the beach house.

Coming to the beach is always license to eat all kinds of stuff that normally I might ration out but for some reason think all has to be consumed during the few days or a week we are here. We also do things the kids only do at the beach. I let the kids stay up late and thankfully they sleep a bit later too. They beg to go to Funland and we do. Throw up rides, cotton candy - the whole shebang. It is all just too much fun and happiness. Kinda sickening huh?

I'm chuckling to myself because it hasn't always been this idyllic. I remember being 8 months pregnant at the beach with a 20 month old in tow who didn't want to leave the beach when it was time to go. Bill was back at the house and I was stranded with the toddler, the beach toys, the little wagon etc. and I was and mad, mad, mad! I can laugh about it now but at the time I was HUGE and HORMONAL and HOT (not in the Hollywood meaning of the word for sure) and HOPPIN' mad.

The beach is a block away and we'll all pack up and go soon. (You know, after Sesame Street.) I'll take these sweet times when I can get them.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Home Sweet Home and a Laptop!

Well let us see how addicted we really are? All last week I couldn't post, respond to emails etc. because my Mother in law's computer ... is funky. I am truly in withdrawal. Thankfully my brother's laptop is available to me this week as both brothers are helping me out at the beach with the kiddos. Nice to feel connected again, however briefly.

It is nice, oh so nice, to be back in the States. I went to Chez Target like a good American Mama with the luggage still in the car so I could stock up on useful plastic items for the summer. I've gone to the swimming pool with friends. I stare at the sink water without fear of death or at least dysentery (the kids looked at me quizzically "you can drink that?"). I drive, in actual lanes, without dodging livestock. My children are not complaining about being stared at for looking different. There is music on the radio that I understand.

I probably will not be able to post so much this summer but will when I can.

Now excuse me while I have one of those fabulous Greek yogurts. Strawberry.