My friend Sarah wrote a book

 

It is honest and funny and raw. And it’s  poetry – poetry. Poems that cause me to linger over the words and images and allow me to revisit the verses again and again.

Sarah is in the Poet-in-Residence over at Simple Mom. Don’t we all need a poet-in-residence? 

We went to William and Mary together years ago and  reconnected this winter, both of us three baby girls later. Often now she’ll come over on a weekday morning and we talk life and faith and writing and art and how we love our houses and how our houses plague us.

We angst over raising daughters and both marvel at what mothering has shown us of ourselves. We talk about the foggy years of early-parenting and how learning to put it into words helped us see our way through. I usually announce my newest sleep/schedule philosophy and Sarah nods encouragingly, never asking why it’s different each time she arrives, or why with the third, I don’t have more clarity.

I cherish this slim volume  and it makes the perfect Mothers Day gift or shower gift or wow-sorry your kid threw that horrid fit at Trader Joes and you spent your morning mopping pee off your floors with baby wipes-gift. (In fact, give it tied in a bow with a new pack of baby wipes.)

But even more so, Sarah’s poems, and her tender, honest, funny candor serve as a sweet reminder, no matter the trenches we are in – there’s beauty to be found, and much to laugh about.

You can order what it is is beautiful here.

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Confessions of a Dinner Dreader, and Shauna Niequists Newest Book…

So I dread dinnertime. It is not a love story at my house. I dread it . Every day I say to myself, “Must we do that again?”

I enjoy cooking the same way I enjoy exercising: rarely, alone, and without the pressure to accomplish anything The kids are young and picky. Leila needs to go to bed the minute I sit down…that being said,  the hours between four and six are not pretty.

Confession: Sometimes I try to do a large after school snack and a large bedtime snack and skip that THING in the middle. Olivia then always catches me. “When’s dinner?” I am incredulous. You never eat it. How can you miss it?

Here’s the catch. I believe in dinnertime. I believe in gathering around the table, I do. I have memories of our dinners growing up that are like Amateur Hour.  A lot of laughter. Many spontaneous performances… Costumes even…

Some huge milestones have happened across tables. Remember, my 30th birthday was a dinner party and it was perfect in every way.

We just haven’t gotten there in our family yet.

Shauna Niequist’s newest book builds a sweet and steady case for gathering around the table – and bringing all of our imperfections with us. She makes her case the most natural and convincing way possible: by sharing her favorite memories and stories about eating together. 

Oh Shauna. I believe. I do. Bread and Wine challenged me by making it all sound so possible. Even for us,The Dinner Dreaders.

The book includes great recipes. Some life changers for broccoli and (yes truly) scrambled eggs. It also encourages and affirms the teeniest baby steps, (the way I choose to walk these days. )

The other night I cooked dinner, Travis was coming home late and the girls started crying about eating it. So I heaped it onto two dinner plates walked out my back door and took it to my neighbors. Now, I only got halfway there – providing the food, but not the gathering. Am I hopeless? Bread and Wine would say no one is…I’ll take that as encouragement and take another baby step tomorrow.

 

Swim Lessons

Had you been in the womens locker room at the James City County Rec Center Friday morning, you would have heard a small voice shouting, “I don’t want to learn to swim! I don’t want to learn!”

Then a Firm Mother Voice saying. “You must learn to swim. It is something you will need your entire life.”

Then,

“NOOOOOO! I want to do gymnastics!”

Now, with all due respect to my Professional Gymnast Readers, gymnastics is the total glam fantasy sport around here. They dream of taking gymnastics with twinkles in their eyes. They practice on the couch cushions.

“I will do the balance beam, flips, and swing on the rings,” proclaims Olivia, quoting verbatim “Dora’s Gymanstics Adventure.”

I nodded and signed her up for swim lessons.

Swimming is a lifetime sport, I reassure myself, along with bowling, golf, tennis, and according to my high school in the mid-90’s badminton. The uneven bars can wait.

But more urgently, I cannot face the pool this summer unless two of my three can swim.

“I don’t want to learn! I don’t want to learn!”

It was hard, but she did it. Then there was applause, cheering, colored Goldfish and quiet reminders that she must do it again next week.

Dear Sweet Girl this moment was not for you alone. Sitting on the wet floor in that humid room, I counted the lessons I am learning right now that I don’t remember signing up for. “You must learn this.” I hear my own voice echoing.  Oh, how I’d rather take gymnastics.

Instead I’ll let the preschooler model it for me: don’t fear the water and keep showing up. 

For now, she’s learning to blow bubbles and kick big kicks. But this summer, I hope to see that little bobbed head bobbing without fear, and without  the assistance of a Dollar Tree swim ring.

Then onto badminton.

 

Back from vacation…

We’ve been in Florida. We lived days full of beach and pool and bike riding and peacocks. Apparently we came during Peacock Mating Season this year. (Who knew? ) They were loud and everywhere. And we are such tourists because they still thrill us.

At night, Travis and I would put the girls to bed early and curl up with bowls of Blue Bell ice cream and watch the highly acclaimed DVD, available at your local grocer, Macgyver: Fan Favorites. (Look, I’m not judging what you do on vacation okay?)

Time together was awesome.

This awesome.

 

Yesterday we drove straight back – over 12 hours in the car. I’m the one who starts breaking down towards the end. The car smells. My back hurts. I’m completely regretting my choice of Cheese Nips instead of Cheese-Its at the store. They are not the same.

This was my view of the passenger seat.

Yes, that’s a tricycle.

But this was my view to the right.

So we’re back…settling in (read: laundry) and getting back on schedule (read: more laundry.) It helps that summer arrived in Williamsburg while we were gone and we can continue the bike riding and sun basking. If only the colonists raised peacocks.

Onward!