corner view, 1 year ago, 5 years ago…

…and maybe just a few others to boot! This time of year I can count on there being a stash of photos in my files of Lovey & the girls as we mark each Father’s Day.

Lovey is the quintessential modern day Dad- which is to say he’s more Mom than me most days. He doesn’t see his role as an aside to his life and neither do they. He cooks, he cleans, he changes diapers, feeds the babies, walks the crying babies at all hours, stays home with the sick ones, paints their sparkley nails, teaches them to change the oil in the car and bake a pie, shops for their purple twirly skirts, pulls their hair up in piggies, takes them to the birthday parties, practices the timed math tests, drives them to their therapies and activities and practices those outside of the weekly visits. He lovingly reads them stories and tucks them in at night as well as greeting them with hugs and kisses each morning. He is their Dad- a kind, loving, gentle and spirited soul who is as blessed to love them as they are to know him.

 

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

corner view: dinner party

 

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

 

What our family brings would be seasonally and categorically dependent on our resources and responsibilities. Now that it is summer here, I tend to dip back into one of my oldest favorites. 20 years ago, I had a wonderful mentor. He is such an inspirational academic, boss and all around human being. When he was at his busiest and most stressed he would respond with food preparation. So during classes, board and staff meetings there would frequently be an offering that he had prepared. This salad was one of my favorites and the recipe was one of the many gems I gleaned from my time working and learning from him. To this day when I bring the salad to potlucks I get requests for the recipe.

Spinach and Fruit Salad

12-16 oz of fresh spinach, delete all non-tender portions

1+ pint strawberries sliced

4-6 oz. whole pecans, toasted lightly

Optional: medium size grapefruit- peeled, deveined and sliced or 1 tart orange, or ½ avocado

Dressing:

(make 8-24 hours ahead before serving)

1/3 Cup red wine vinegar

1/2 Cup Peanut or Canola Oil

1 TBSP Dry Mustard

1/2 Cup fine sugar

1 ½ TBSP finely minced onion

1/2 TBSP Poppy seeds

Blend together and refrigerate. Dressing typically separates so shake well before use.

Preparation:

Layer (2+) spinach, fruit, pecans, dressing

 

corner view: Collections

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

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I’m a bit of a hoarder by nature so what I have one of, I tend to have, well a collection by default. But one thing I seek out and collect on purpose- Salt!

corner view: pretty eyesore

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

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DSC_1471DSC_1725DSC_1805DSC_0700Wildflowers or weeds? I guess it depends on your perspective on life yes? Most wouldn’t consider the Foxglove in that category, but they are quite poisonous!

corner view: what makes me happy

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

Decaf coffee with milk. A run in the morning. A yoga practice. A story being read to me. Time to think and write. Laughter. Humor. Wit. Speculation. Sugar. Weight loss. Kindness. Knowing I matter. Effort- my own and those whom I love. Netflix. MGD 64. A bakery run. Benedict Cumberbatch’s English charm. My BFF moving back. My husband hanging out with me. A meal cooked for me. A day that is far too busy. A day with absolutely nothing planned. A schedule and routine. A sour cream rhubarb pie baked by Lovey in my oven and the smell of it when I enter the kitchen at the end of the day. And then breaking that same schedule and routine spontaneously. Pictures. Bounce houses. Reading with Sugarplum. Flowers. Sherlock. Invitations. Learning to draw with Zuzu and the pictures she gives me. The little dip of her head as Sugarplum shyly guesses the color I’m holding up. The house momentarily cleaned up and decluttered. The wide-open charismatic grin of the Quail. Friday night pizza picnic & movies in the living room. Grilling to Pandora and the sounds of the girls splashing in the kiddie-pool. The enunciation of the last syllable on the Quail’s words. Running with Zuzu. The purposeful stride, giggle and sparkle in the eye of Sugarplum as she runs after her sisters. The brutally honest, unconditional love of a seven-year old who manages to let me know I should be less mean and never die in the space of one paragraph. The giggling of the sister’s antics from the front porch. The baby’s insistence that she also get her hair cut, get her face painted, climb into and buckle her own carseat, use a fork just like her sisters. Time to internet surf. Chocolate covered caramels with sea-salt. Seasonal expectations to hunt easter eggs, strawberries and blueberries and apples and pumpkins and holiday trees. Inclusion. Too many books and blogs and articles to ever read. The expectation of a coming vacation. A day trip to the mountains. New friends. My life right now.

corner view: something to celebrate!

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

 

I’ve put a lot of effort into reclaiming myself this past year. After almost 8 years of mothering I’ve been feeling more than a bit, well, not myself. My energy level has waned, my weight has bloomed, I’m irritable, scattered and tired. So 6 months ago I started the Couch to 5K program during my lunch hour. I figured that since I had spent over 3 years of lunch hours pumping milk for the babies I could  spend that time exercising for me- and also for them- happy mom = happy kiddos and all that. After 4 months of regular running and upping my walking time outside of that though, I lost 6 inches around my waist but no real change with my weight. So in February I restarted Weight Watchers- fast forward 7 weeks and I’m down 12 pounds- I’m on my way! In February members of my on-line fitness group that I had started last fall when I began running decided we needed to create a team for the upcoming Color Run which was scheduled for April in our town for the first time. In total there were 40 of us Tired Tiger Moms and our little runners. And the day was great! If you’ve never done a Color Run or any kind of race- take this from a tired momma who has yet to feel a runner’s high- sign up for a Color Run! This world-wide phenomenon of a 5k raises money for your local charities and offers a light-hearted emphasis on fun and fitness. When my friends first mentioned it I was fairly certain I was not going to join in. After completing the C25K program I found I really didn’t enjoy running for 20-30 minutes straight and I was constantly looking for excuses to not go out and run. So I switched over to a more Jeff Galloway- type approach and settled in with doing a 5 minute warm-up and cool down with 10 intervals of 2 minutes run/1 minute walking in between three times a week. While I’ve managed to keep it up, I’ve yet to say I truly enjoy it while I’m doing it. I’ve tried audio books, Netflix and Pandora to keep my interest up. There has been a noticeable benefit in trying to keep up with the kiddos and not feeling winded, cranky and exhausted playing with them. Then the thermometer rose to 76 degrees and the end of my outdoor running stretch was clearly in sight. I’m already up at 6 am and I barely have time to use the loo on my own in the evenings- so switching to a cooler time of day is not likely. I had a little on-line temper tantrum “announcing” that I was done running until the autumn, and then, what do you know- the thermometer and I kept at it.

This past weekend came The Color Run. Zuzu and I had agreed to join in but we both had our own set of worries. For Zuzu- she was convinced a bear would appear on the race course and spent the morning of the race plotting how she would finagle getting up on the bear to ride him the remainder of the course. For me the thought of being up early on one of the two mornings I get to sleep my exhausted self in so that I could run in the cool morning air and have paint thrown at me was just not appealing. Zuzu also had created an image of buckets of liquid paint being thrown at us as we tried to run away. Yet, bless her devoted little heart- in spite of bear and paint attacks she applied her HAPPY arm tattoo, donned her Color Run glasses and anxiously followed her beloved mother out to the car. When we arrived at the scene of what can only be described as a rock concert- both of our eyes widened- mine in excitement, hers in alarm as I tried to herd over to the run’s mascot- the Runicorn. Shaking and clinging like a baby monkey to me she absolutely refused to go anywhere near her favorite animal in the world. Let’s just say she was insistent enough that I am clear it would be folly to pay for a trip to Disney for this child. We tried to join in the warm-up work-out but in spite of the pop music and enthusiasm around us she remained stricken at the thought of the paint and bears. Once we were on the course her typical anxiety acts started in, she alternated telling me her heart and tummy hurt and that she didn’t want to wear the fluorescent tutu I had gotten her with pointing out how ridiculous men looked in tutus. She was so-not-happy. And then we got to the first color area. As we ran through the fine mist of powder and wiped it off of our glasses she looked down trying to spy the streaks of yellow. About a half-mile out from there when we spotted the pink station her pace picked up and her complaints faded as she ran up to the people cheering to be sprayed. From that point on she was sold. This was fun! We alternated walking and running per her requests and six months of prep-work let me keep up with her. After we got our water and kind bars and the paint throws in the finish galley started she perked up and asked to get up on my shoulders to cheer and eventually got herself over the fencing and up on stage to join the little runners in their celebration. Full throttle this girl of mine- all or nothing. Win big or stay home. Next year- we’re bringing the whole family. Fitness seems to be the new us. My first race at age 41, Zuzu’s first race at 7. Now that’s something to celebrate!

 

Ps- Oh and I also gave up caffeine last week. While I’m not quite ready to celebrate this experiment, I am pretty impressed with how good I feel without it- I see a new more focused, calm, happy energized family life coming my way in this next year.

Next week- Back to a regular yoga practice. Yay!

 

corner view: inspiration

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

I tend to wait for it to wash over and through me like a ray of sun through a billowy cloud, a spring breeze wafting through the trees, my children’s laughter  raining down from the swing as it twirls up high in the air; the sight of a bloom pushing through the dirt or off of a thin twig as I come upon it on my walk, treating inspiration as a force of nature that comes into my senses rather than created by me at will. Early on in my nursing years it came most frequently in the night as I would wake to the rustle of little mews calling me back from sleep. I could count on it to cloud my brain as the oxytocin released and I relaxed into the simple act of feeding one of the babies. I’d grab a notebook or move us to the computer to type my thoughts into the narrative of our days. Soaking in the images of our days and their years and trying to preserve them to relive and help me see the humor once some distance had eased my view. As these times fade away and tumble from our days and nights though, the children they grow away, nurse less, question more, race away from quiet moments and I find a quiet moment to reflect harder and harder to come by. When I can stop my brain and look at what’s in front of me, when the children are happily playing, reading, coloring and climbing and I see them anew through my camera lens- and then again on my computer screen as I adjust the colors to show their bright, shiny moments I feel the happy melt-up of creativity burst into my brain and heart and my smile plays on my lips. These moments though- in the busy days of raising young and wild little bursts of energy are hard to predict. I need to find a way to purposely bring them to me, because I don’t want the feeling of inspiration to fade as time marches on. Even now- this post was made through multiple requests, questions, pauses and instead of cleaning, laundry, cooking and homework- all of which is calling louder and louder so that I can’t ignore it.