|image credit: dooby brain|
Friday, 22 October 2010
Monday, 18 October 2010
When Scott continued to refuse Bridger asked, “Okay, but can you at least tell us what it starts with?”
What about you? Any hilarious cussing stories to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Friday, 15 October 2010
|Just after birth|
Six months ago today I was sitting around Sara’s kitchen table drinking tea and bitching about still being pregnant. Kelly had a watch with her constantly that day because Joel needed to apply cream to his eczema every 15 minutes.
Saturday, 9 October 2010
Since the last few days have been a bit rough (fit throwing 6 year olds, starvin’-marvin’ 5 ½ month olds, husband away all week, etc.) I have decided to avoid the cleaning and go to my happy place while the baby sleeps. Specifically, my fat and happy place: Italy. We asked Bridger about a week or two ago what his favorite country to visit has been and he declared, “Italy!” When we asked him why he replied, “because they have the BEST desserts!” I couldn’t agree more. I pretty much think they have the best of everything gastronomically speaking.
My favorite thing to do in the whole world is to go out to eat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner—I’m not bothered. Just out! Could that be declared a hobby? If so, it’s my favorite one and if I do say so myself I’m quite good at it! Plus in terms of spousal/hobby compatibility I married the perfect man. He loves to go out to eat as much as I do.
Going out to eat is far more than a hobby when we’re traveling, however. What’s the use of visiting every local monument if you never really experience the country they’re in? How on earth are you going to really learn about a new culture if you’re only ever around other tourists? What better way to encourage your children to try out the local language than through ordering their food or asking the sweet, non-English speaking server where to find the bathroom? Especially when their sweet “dov’e la toilet?” earns “ahhhhhhhh’s”…from every nonna (grandmother) within earshot. What better way to brush shoulders with the locals than by sitting side-by-side with them allowing them to introduce you to their favorite foods? You can learn a lot about a country through their food—but that’s a different post.
Bearing all that in mind, Scott and I feel you can never really experience a culture unless you eat out! We love to discover the tucked away hole-in-the-wall restaurant with good local grub and local people. I feel suspicious of places in foreign countries that advertise an ‘English Menu’ (and don’t even get me started about ‘air conditioning inside’). Where’s the adventure in that? Sure I may end up with frog intestine or mosquito eye balls, but if that’s the local delicacy isn’t that what I ought to be eating!?!? Here's the thing: If the parking lot is full? Line around the corner? Stuffed to the gills with folks speaking a totally foreign language? I’m there! I have even been known to hail a local walking down the street of a place we visit and inquire about the best place to eat. There’s nothing better than a local’s suggestion.
So imagine our chagrin when our first night out in Italy was a totally bust. Well, not total. The food was delicious, the service wonderful, the restaurant packed with locals. Try as we might though, bedtime is bedtime and baby Asher didn’t care that Italians don’t even begin eating dinner until well past his! The proprietors were very accommodating. Ushering me into the room with desserts (yum!) to bounce him and feed him, and turning off the lights to soothe him. Scott and I took turns bouncing and soothing and walking. At the end of the night we were bummed. How on earth were we going to really experience Italy if we couldn’t go out to eat? We decided we needed a new plan.
Thankfully local food can be found in places other than restaurants and Plan B can be nearly as fun as Plan A! More fun, if it takes a crying baby out of the equation!
We discovered (again by a local’s suggestion—namely our hosts, Gil and Ken) where all the best local food was sold. No need to be disappointed about not having a server to suggest the best thing on the menu. The 20-something guy at our deli was happy to play the same role. He sent us home with stacks of locale prosciutto and bresaola. The hilarious restaurant game of “I wonder what we ordered? Can’t wait to find out"--solved in the pasta section! Cartons of handmade pasta so local it didn’t even come with a label. We were never quite sure what we were getting, but it was always delicious! Gnocchi and ravioli and tortellini. Vats of Pesto Genovese. Balsamic vinegar so smooth you could have drunk it plain.
The tiny grocer was full of Italian produce. Six types of garlic, gorgeous Roma tomatoes, apples, and cavalo nero. Huge, ripe peaches and delicious pears.
The sweet lady at the bakery thought it was hilarious to try and figure out what we were ordering. We’d jabber away at her in English and she’d jabber away at us in Italian, and though we never quite got what we planned to order we always left with something incredible. Measuring with our hands the amount of foccacia to saw off the slab. Inquiring after which items were chocolate. Stocking up on fruit tarts for Caid and vanilla filled cookies for Bridge. We also managed to communicate what village we were staying in--thanks to Bridger's interpreting skills--and find out a bit about where she lived--again thanks to Bridger. Making friends with the locals!
It doesn’t get more local than picking ripe, luscious figs off the tree right behind your villa (with permission of course). We ate like kings. Every night. Washed down by €2 bottles of local wine so delicious it broke your heart to not be able to bring a drop of it home.
Plus, we never wanted for ambiance on our picturesque covered balcony—many nights looking out at the rain. Put the baby down to bed. Heat up the food, poor the wine, and sit. And visit. And be together. Add a sweatshirt or a fleece after a while and sit some more. Then when big boys start rubbing their eyes we’d get the book out. One boy on my lap and the other on Dad’s. We’d read and snuggle. Then we’d tuck them in and turn off the lights and sit a bit longer. Sipping the delicious wine and listening to the village clock chime away the hours.
Fat and happy. So happy. Who needs Plan A?
Thursday, 7 October 2010
I’m doing that thing. That thing where I don't go to bed. I do this when Scott is away. I always have, but these days it’s also because I'm terrified of the night. It’s near torture. Desperate for sleep but knowing in 5 seconds I’m going to have to wake up to a crying baby who for about a week now has been needing to nurse every hour around the clock. And that's so totally true. But so is the reality that he smells good. And he's sweet. And he's so grateful when I lift his little squishy body from his bed and snuggle him up and feed him. And his sweaty little head against my arm is delicious and fulfilling in it's own way. So I will persevere. And go upstairs. And quit doing the thing. And remember that this is a season. That I won't always feel so sucked dry and mind numbingly, life alteringly tired. I will remember that there will come a day when he's too big to sleep on my chest.
I will go upstairs and kiss the big boys before I crawl into my bed and I will remember the leaf and pumpkin paintings the six year old and I painted instead of the insults he hurled. The “this is sort of like an at-home date!” instead of the “you’re the worst mommy ever.” I will remember the biggest boy who pressed my hand to his face when I tucked him in and said, "oh Mama, I MISSED you today." I will remember the 6 year old who wanted to sit by me in the sunshine. Whose solution to the fact that "we just fight. Every. Single. NIGHT!” was "to snuggle more and do less chores except the cooking and the unloading of the dishwasher."
I will remember that they are mine, but only for a short, short time. That I will get more sleep and have more sex and be skinnier and have a cleaner house, but I will also be more lonesome and long for their loud, wild voices. I will remember that there will only be a very short time when I can solve every one of the baby's problems with my snuggles and my breasts. I will enjoy days they stay home sick from school even if it dissolves into complete freaking out meltdowns. Because I love them. And I do know it is an incredible privilege to be their mother. To be a mother. And I remember that it is not all that I am. But for this moment, this one right now…it is enough.
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
I love Fall--all damp earth and rubber wellies and wet dog. Its wood fired cinnamon scented yumminess. Its pumpkin flavored deliciousness. Its wool sweaters and down vests. Its greedy insistence on all the year’s best colors—pumpkin orange and cranberry red, and plum, and deep, deep browns. I. Love. Fall.
Something about it makes me pull out all my cookbooks. I want to spend every spare moment baking spiced cakes and standing over my red Dutch oven turning out hearty stews and soups with hunks of brown bread.
I tend to clean the house really well (who made the rule that Spring should get the best cleaning?). Organizing closets and throwing things away. Bringing out the sweaters and putting away the shorts. Well, who am I kidding really. I live in England. The sweaters are needed year round and I think I only wore one pair of my shorts twice this summer—and that was when I was home in Colorado.
Strangely I’m coming to appreciate the English ‘Autumn’ as they refer to it. At home Fall hits all of the sudden. The days are warm and the nights are crisp. The aspen leaves turn in September and everything is a blaze of color. We spend the weekends going to corn mazes and pumpkin farms and driving up Highway 285 to see the trees. We drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes and eat a lot of green chili and plan costumes for Halloween.
English Autumn comes on gradually. You wake nearly every morning to mist. The fog is ridiculously beautiful, but must be complained about incessantly. The leaves change slowly, slowly. Only small patches of yellowish leaves until a big storm hits much later in October and blows all the leaves off the trees. Until then there’s still so much green and the fall flowers are bright and pretty. Weekends are for wellie walks and roast dinners. We eat leeks and potatoes and thick pork sausages with gravy. London Starbucks baristas may say “Ew, NO! Pumpkin?!?!” when you ask for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but there’s nothing like an English bitter ale on a cold, wet day (even if I am one of the only women drinking beer).
Here Autumn is marked by the length of days. They rapidly get shorter and shorter and even the boys note that it’s hard to tell when to get up because it’s all the sudden dark in the morning. Halloween is only barely celebrated, but I can’t wait for Bonfire Night and fireworks!
Fall is one of those halfway places. Where I long for the familiarity of my old home and all of my ‘old’ favorite things, and yet I revel in the comfort of my new home and all my ‘new’ favourite things. It’s funny to me how much I ache for Colorado this time of year and yet how dearly I love this little village.
Leave it to Fall to teach me to love this cold, damp country.