I was recently in Denver with my tennis team. We went to lunch at the Nordstrom Cafe to celebrate a win, which was a treat because we don’t have a Nordstrom in Fort Collins. I am not even a shopper, but walking into Nordstrom made me want to shop and eat. Someone ordered the tomato jam jar and I could not stop eating it. The tomatoes in my garden are peaking right now so a few days after I got back I set out to recreate it. It is so delicious and perfect for a summer appetizer if you have some ripe tomatoes for the jam. Continue reading
The cool morning turned hot and the kids ran in what seemed like circles pummeling questions at me not allowing time for my answers before they fired off the next one. We were trying to get out of the house for 24 hours to celebrate 15 years of marriage with a little quiet and togetherness. Grammy and Grandpa were in town and Carla our awesome babysitter was also on duty. I am always anxious before leaving the house. Even if we are just going to dinner, it is always so hard for me to leave. Darren always reassures me that they will survive without us and that our caretakers are completely competent. I know all these things, but leaving on any level gives me anxiety. I don’t even like leaving the animals so the three kids are tough for me. Continue reading
This summer was different from those in the recent past. I think a couple factors let me categorize this as one of the best ever. First, I am not pregnant and I am not the mother of a baby or a toddler. This very significant fact is bittersweet. Time. It doesn’t stop. Everybody keeps growing bigger and I just picked up my niece who is now a freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was the flower girl at our wedding!! For the past 11 summers, I have been either pregnant, nursing or the mother of a baby or a toddler. Continue reading
Spring skies unleashed with decisiveness, pelting the earth with rain and hail. Spring turned to summer and it hailed again. Somehow our garden has survived.
We are in the heart of summer when the priorities are swimming, hiking, impromptu barbecues and less routine. We are settling in to our new space physically and mentally. There are STILL boxes and blank walls and rooms in transition. If I let it, it could send me over the edge, but I don’t care (mostly). I am happy with the prospect of our life in this house and thoroughly enjoying the now. For the first time ever in our 20 years of togetherness, Darren and I are in sync about a house and know that we will be here for a long time. We are spending our days in the yard. We are constantly weeding what feels like Jurassic Park and we play with the chickens.
Ella helped me plan and plant the garden this year. She dug in, suggesting veggies and herbs that she wanted and liked. We took trips to the nursery together and she stuck out the majority of the project. In past years both girls start out enthusiastic and dessert me at some point in the process for friends or play. This year was different for Ella and it connected us like nothing else has in a long time. We are always connected by the fact that she needs me. For the first time in a while, I feel her happiness in just being with me in the garden. It feels good.
Darren has been working a lot. He is putting in his time so we can take off on a road trip at the end of the month. Yesterday, he had off for the holiday and we got out of dodge for a bit and escaped up the Poudre Canyon for a family hike. We rejected the 75 requests to invite a friend or meet up with a friends and got away alone as a unit – just for a few hours.
Liam hiked like a big kid for the first time. I carried the empty kid carrier on my back and resisted the urge to hurry him along as he bent over every few feet to pick up a “golden rock” or observe one of the hundreds of little butterflies that were out and about. We didn’t make it very far. Darren and I exchanged knowing looks that communicated what we were both thinking. What happened to our days of power hiking? Isn’t it funny that we are here together almost 20 years later together and we are responsible for these three little lives? They are so painfully slow.
Lots of drama ensued after Liam fell backward off a little footbridge into an icy cold stream completely drenching himself. We made our way back as the storm clouds thickened and hoped our night of fireworks would not be wiped out by the weather.
We lucked out.
As I sat watched the short, beautiful display, I was thankful. I was thankful for freedom and family and friends. I was thankful for the now and my place in this world. I delighted in Liam’s shrieks, “That one was my favorite! That one was so awesome! ” He did not stop shouting about how cool it was the whole time and Darren and I looked at each other and smiled.
Juliet and her bestie, Charlie brightened up my afternoon with a little lunchtime theater. Charlie is always the lead, Jules is content to be the back up and Ella is the director, very at home behind the scenes delivering orders to her younger counterparts. Liam is still trying to find his place in this game. He hasn’t figured out his role yet, but he will.
Summer takes my job to the maximum and I am savoring it. I am a dictator, a democratic leader and a peacekeeper. I am a housekeeper, a cook and a chauffeur. I am a teacher, a coach and cheerleader. I am a personal shopper, a financier and a vacation planner. I am friend, an enemy and a negotiator. And, after 5 PM, I might be savoring our summer moments with a Moscow Mule or a glass of wine in my hand because we all need a little help multitasking.