If you've been reading for awhile, you know that I married a widower with four kids. Our love story talks about how we came to meet and fall in love (not yet marry, that is for chapter four). It doesn't talk about the little intricacies though like the insecurities that can come with falling for a man who was with the same woman for 14 years, blending families--ours and his--together smoothly, and how the friends he shared with his late wife would accept me, his new wife.
All of those things have gone remarkably well.
But I'm going to talk about the last one.
Making friends with the friends my husband shared with his late wife has been such a pleasure, particularly because of this family. They live in Minnesota, the state he lived for quite some time while he was married. They came to our wedding (3 days before Christmas--it was no easy task! Especially for man who has a major hatred of flying! And for having six--yes six!--kids!). And since then have driven to Massachusetts (yes, driven--remember?! He hates to fly!) from Minnesota twice (and hopefully a third this summer!) to see us in the summertime, to boat on Lake Winnipesaukee, and to talk about all things health-related. See, here's where Jessica and I initially bonded. We love to talk about our omega-3, non-processed, granola-crunching, essential oil, tree-hugging ways. She is so wise. But, our friendship quickly became about more than that and when I say that we so enjoy their company, I mean it. If only they lived closer.
Now, besides being so cool and fun to hang out with, Jessica sends the most amazing packages*. It is like Christmas morning and that is no lie.
I just received this one. Could that be more fun and more stuffed with the coolest goodies?! And get this--yesterday was her birthday, and I forgot.
Better late than never?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA!!!
So, this is to Jeff and Jessica, and their lovely brood--we love you guys!
*I realize I recently posted a little package from a different friend, so while it may seem like I'm trying to say, "Look how loved I am!" that is not the case... though it is the truth.
Also, if you send me a package there's a good chance I'll blog about it, so why don't you give it a try?
Remember I wasredecorating? Well, it is coming along quite nicely. It's not finished yet, however. I know you are all waiting with bated breath to see the finished before and afters. Hold your horses. We'll get there soon enough.
But, here is one of the most exciting transformations yet! With two bottles of $3 spray paint... voila!... something ugggg is turned into something fabulous (so sorry if you are one of the five people in the world who prefer these brass chandeliers to something actually pretty else).
Who needs Design Sponge when you've got Tales of Me and the Husband!?!
I almost can't even write that with a straight face.
My parents were in town this weekend. Never for long enough, but such is life. My sister Meghan and her husband Brent hosted the six of us for a lovely dinner last night. Lovely people, lovely ambiance, lovely food... I enjoy using the word lovely and lovely it was.
We celebrated my Mom's belated and my Dad's early birthdays since us Boston-folk don't get to see them on the actual day of birth. We celebrated it over a lovely roasted vegetable lasagna, and lovely bread, lovely wine, and lovely sour cherry apple crisp. Are you getting sick of that word yet? Too bad.
And then, while the men watched some Olympics, the ladies danced. We can't help but be extra inappropriate when my Mom is present. The shock value is just too fun. But--don't tell her I said this--the apples do not fall far from the tree.
Look at her act all coy. Silly woman. You can't fool your own kin.
When you grow up one of four sisters, you enjoy any attention you get. Pathetic, really.
Lady Lee passed this Bogart Award on to me a couple of days ago and since I fear that in 10 years I will be a lethargic nobody, I've been reticent to publicize that information. But, I'm going to dream big here, so bear with me:
I'll be 35 -- woah! I hope my husband and I will have added to our already large brood of children but that we are still sane and giddy with love for each other. And that we continue to date as much as we do now, which is a lot. One of the best things about being married to this guy.
I hope my four step-kids (who will be 17, 19, 26, and 25 at that time) will be successful, confident, contributing members of our society and who treat others with compassion and kindness.
I will be in a home--doesn't necessarily have to be the dream home--but it will have a tub big enough for my 5'10" frame without having to have either my knees or shoulders sticking out of the water at all times. And a pantry off the kitchen with big steel restaurant style open shelving wouldn't be so bad either. Ooh, and a second floor washer and dryer instead of the basement. Okay, if it's my dream home, I won't complain.
Echoing Lady Lee, I will be making oodles of money because I am the most famous blogger in the world. I cook some food, try a beauty product, endorse it, go to the grocery store, write about it. They pay me.
I have written and published something.
I've been to a couple more countries-- Thailand, China, Argentina, Italy... whatev, maybe I'm even a world-traveler. No biggie.
Maybe I've met Oprah. And we exchanged cell phone numbers.
I am content.
And that's all for now.
Now, the rules are I am supposed to pass it on to 10 bloggers. I don't know if I even "know" -- in the blog sense or not -- 10 bloggers so I'll try my best.
Dear Massachusetts, Today is a beautiful day. I complain about you a lot. It's really mostly your winters that I find ridiculously long--and your springs are a little too on the gray side. I'd like a little more yellow. But, I am going to put all that aside, call a truce, and tell you today that you have given us a gorgeous day of snow and sun and we are going to go sledding. So, though it sometimes pains me to say it, thank you. Yours truly, Bridget
Dear Husband, Why do you wear slippers when you snow blow/shovel/partake in outdoor activities involving lots of snow? Do you not remember these beauties that you own (see below) that are so much
more suited for this than your fluffy slippers that I bought you for your birthday? It's really pretty silly. But, I do love you regardless, maybe even a little more because sometimes it seems like there's not a whole lot going on upstairs, even though I know this isn't the truth. And thank you for taking care of the snow. William and Lindsey, thanks to you guys too. Love, the one who cares about your slippers
i hate these chandeliers that builders between the years of-- oh i don't know... 1970 and... now-- felt the need to put in every single one of the houses they built. we have one. and we hate it. it looks almost identical to this one, just a little smaller.
the chandelier still hangs in the office that i'm redoing, taunting me from its little ceiling home tempting me to rip it out of the ceiling and chuck it in the woods out back. but, maybe i don't have to.
so i have a cold and am sitting here in bed at 11 am on a sunday morning. steve took lindsey out for a valentine's day breakfast this morning--so cute, right?--because it's a sweet thing to do for a girl with 3 older brothers and because his own valentine is under the weather and now he is at church with the kids. did i mention i'm still in bed? love that man.
i get bad colds, i think, or i am just a wimp and allow colds to halt my life. i'm not sure. either way, i'm eating congaplex like it's nobody's business and have ingested no sugar whatsoever which isn't easy considering i made pink cupcakes with homemade cream cheese frosting last night. damn.
so, i want a job and here are some ideas:
be a photographer. problem: i feel like they are a dime a dozen these days. but i want to do it anyway but sort of don't want to go to school for it (do you really need to if you've got a good eye?). also, i dont have the fanciest of cameras, but it is still pretty fancy so do i need to spend like 80 thou. on equipment first? can you just start somewhere with a good lens and charging next to nothing to do so? ok, suggest away.
national geographic travel photographer. problem: 4 kids and a hubs. no honey that is not a problem, it is a blessing, but it probably makes this job a tough one.
writer. but i don't know what i want to write yet.
okay. so that's that. oh and i should add that i can be pretty lazy so if getting to the end goal of any of these requires too much work, i might just bail on it. help.
and p.s. i don't so much want to be a teacher.
but anyway, being valentine's day and all, that's not all i'm going to talk about.
here's 5 things i love about steven andrew:
1. he's funny. i know i've mentioned this before but this is huge for me. i needed a funny man and i got one.
2. he calls me on my stuff. an expletive would've been better suited there but this is a family blog people. seriously though, he doesn't just appease me which sometimes i would probably prefer but in the long run, this is way better than the alternative.
3. he is a cuddler... a spooner... it's nice.
4. he cleans the kitchen. this is suuuuuch a turn-on for me and i think he knows it.
5. he's becoming a better husband all the time. for real. i couldn't be sure if, since he was married for 14 years before me, his husband betterment was all said and done, but it's not. he's getting better all the time. i think marriage just ripens with age. oh i am such the philosopher.
and 3 years + 2 months-ish ago i made him mine. i'm glad i did.
I'm feeling down today. But, just last night, this delightful little "just because" package arrived in the mail. What a surprise and what a thoughtful thing to do. Sour cherries (yum!), a music and picture CD, and a card that is truly perfect for me. This friend is a real keeper.
And what do you know? I have a picture of her!
"What's that, Ahn? Those flowers are for me too?!"
Chipotle is pretty delicious. The husband and I went there yesterday. Their burritos, however, are MASSIVE. The size of a football, packed with food. I got a chicken burrito, extra sour cream, and a clementine Izze. Yum.
I saw an Oprah just last week called Food 101 with Michael Pollan. I love Michael Pollan. He's smart, he's a great writer, and he's normal. All good things. Anyway, I started reading more of The Omnivore's Dilemma (click on the link to get your very own copy!) afterwards with a renewed vigor. And guess what I discovered? Guess how many ingredients there are in McDonald's chicken nuggets? Guess? You never will.
38 ingredients! At most I guessed there could only be like six or seven... you've got your "chicken" (put in quotes cause are we really sure?), and then your breading, some spices, some frying oil... okay that's only four. But no, there are 38. Seriously. Michael Pollan said so, not me.
I've eaten those too. I've ingested those 38 impossible-to-pronounce-things-that-have-no-business-being-in-our-food ingredients and probably enjoyed it. Not again, says I! The Big Mac on the other hand...
Anyway, Chipotle is one of the thumbs-up restaurants. Nothing is ever frozen besides their corn. Not bad. Almost all their meat is fresh, and range-free. Not bad at all. It's delicious too.
Funny story: I was at Trader Joe's once and this woman and her son were asking an employee if they sold "Izze drinks." The employee looked perplexed. She wasn't sure what those drinks were. Well, since Trader Joe's is my second home, I decided to step in graciously and lend a hand.
"They don't have them."
The employee started then, asking what these interestingly named drinks are all about.
The woman started describing them, and the employee looked, again, flummoxed, if you will.
What are they called?
"Izze," the woman and her son said in unison. The employee wasn't getting it.
"I-Z-Z-E," I spelled for her.
"I-Z-Z-Y," The woman and her son said indignantly, emphasis on the Y.
I didn't correct her and her son, though I knew they were wrong (see above picture). Don't try me in a spelling bee. You'll walk away empty-handed. Anyway, I just mosied out of there knowing that eventually they will come across these delicious drinks again and perhaps notice their spelling and not be quite so quick to correct a spelling-bee champ and felow helpfull shoppr.
I realize it's all cool and hip and what not to like Pinkberry right now and while all of those things--hipness and coolness--appeal to me, I really do love the stuff. Especially with raspberries and fruity pebbles. Now, BOSTON, when are you getting one?!
And last but not least, Pandora.
I was a doubter. I was not interested in seeing Avatar.
My friend told me to. I said no.
But I did, yesterday, by myself--going to the movies yourself is sort of magical, I think.
(Though I love my normal movie partner, he said that with 3D glasses he would've gotten motion sickness. Sort of sad and funny all at the same time, right?)
Anyway... I loved it and I want to live there. Any chance a place like this really exists and we could go check it out?
My other friend pointed out that it's a lot like the Dances with Wolves story. He's got a point.
The kids' grandparents are here from Minnesota. They are such dedicated grandparents. They went to the boys' basketball game. I was home with William and Lindsey. Steve says it's just as well that I stayed home because I would be embarrassed by his basketball-game-behavior complete with shouting at the ref for a bad call. I can't believe he's one of them (and I daresay he might be a bit biased, yes?). I'll still keep him, but really!
William had his first "theatre" experience as a member of the chorus of Annie at his school. As a result, we've all had "It's a Hard Knock Life" in our heads all weekend long. We didn't sit terribly close to the front, and the audience was in the dark, but still, every time the chorus stood, William looked for us, Steve waved, and William waved back, in front of the whole crowd. So him, so cute.
The bookshelf is pretty close to done! The rest of the room is still in process however. Anyway, I was in no state to have my picture taken, however, so here's a quarter of my face pointing it out to you... cause, otherwise, you wouldn't know where to look in the picture. Anyway, I like the reds and yellows, but I'm having some trouble with the blues and grays. They're not as obvious, "we're colored coordinated!" as the reds. Hmph.
And more lovely ideas. Oh, one step at a time. Top left is my favorite.