Having it All, For a Moment

Did you guys see this wonderful opinion piece about having it all last September in The Sunday NY Times? I was just lucky enough to uncover it recently- I admit to reading an embarrassingly low amount of news! 20140119-012230.jpg

It completely resonated with me, particularly, as we embark on this new year with our lofty goals and resolutions. You see, I've spent a lot of time in my head thinking about what it means to have it all. As I was deciding to move from part-time to full-time work last summer, the idea of having it all became an even louder conversation in my head and in our home. To "have it all" should mean a full time career that I love and am good at, a perfectly organized and clean home, a well- balanced, home cooked meal eaten around a table by all members of the family...at the same time, a child who is happy and attends a good preschool, a husband who feels cared for and loved, and enough time to get in enough exercise, right?! And, when I saw someone through their blog, on Instagram, or in "real" life that seemed to have it all (see above criteria), it made me crazy when I felt I couldn't accomplish the same.

But, you know, having it all, as Delia Ephron so perfectly explains it in the opinion piece, does not, or should not, mean what we think of it meaning- the accomplishment of a perfect career, marriage, children, in that order. Instead, having it all should better be defined as a moment, or moments if you're lucky, when what you have is exactly what you want. Having it all can mean that your football team makes it to the National Championship game (or Super Bowl) or that you woke up (well rested) before your child and enjoyed your first cup of coffee while reading in the morning's peace and quiet or that you perfected a homemade cocktail or that you enjoyed a delicious dinner...or, when you have found profound peace with the one you love (For now, I can claim this one!...and, while it may be fleeting as we can't well anticipate life's curve balls, I'm holding on with clenched fists to this amazing feeling and thanking my lucky stars that the one I love loves me back in the same way!).

20140119-012431.jpg

I want to have many "having it all" moments this year, but I'm under no impression, and certainly hope I don't give that impression to you, that my life is all about having it all. It's a journey of ups and downs, but when you have exactly that thing you want at that exact right time, it sure feels awesome...kind of like having it all.

* Top photo taken at Pensacola Beach, December 2012. Bottom photo taken at Alki Beach, Seattle, October 2013.

First Hike of 2014: Twin Falls, North Bend, WA

20140111-042804.jpg A few weekends back, we took our first hike of the year- Twin Falls. It was the first official hike that Jack did all by himself (no carrying required) and it was kind of a tricky walk in the woods- steep in some spots, icy mud where the trees gave a lot of shade, and 3 miles long. Even Miss Sadie made the hike with us...but, she suffered from the exercise later on in the week when she had a sprain in her right shoulder which made getting around a big challenge for her- poor old girl.

20140111-043015.jpg

20140111-043046.jpg

Despite a few bouts of whining from Jack that he was tired, I think we all had a lot of fun. It felt so good to be outside, taking big breaths of crisp and fresh Pacific Northwest air, and enjoying each other and the day away from distractions.

20140111-043105.jpg

20140111-043120.jpg

20140111-043234.jpg

20140111-043317.jpg

Already excited to do our next one and so happy that I have made this a priority of ours this year!

A Personal Dialect Map

Have you guys taken this dialect quiz published in the NY Times a few weeks back? Boy, I was pretty surprised by my own personal dialect map (shown below), particularly that the cities my dialect is most common to are Lubbock, Texas (?!), Amarillo, Texas (?!), and Little Rock, Arkansas!!! I've never even been to Texas and only spent a few days in Little Rock, which was quite a fun time but I can't say I identified with place....Hmmm. 20140112-031707.jpg

I took the quiz a second time the following night (which had some different questions so its worth a retake) and got the following results:

20140113-092315.jpg

Turns out my southeastern upbringing shines through despite my current Pacific Northwest locale. And, Little Rock shows up again...I'm so intrigued by this! David also is a true southerner it turns out...he identified most with Shreveport, Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi.

The questions are interesting...I've never even heard of some of the words and phrases that people in our own country use! Would love to hear what location of the country your dialect most closely fits!

Goodbye, PawPaw

20140108-090340.jpg We will surely miss you and that infectious smile of yours that made your eyes twinkle and your whole face glow with warmth and cheer. I feel so lucky that our little Jack had the privilege of knowing you- many memories from his early years that you are part of like holidays spent in Pensacola, his first birthday party, his first trip to Auburn to celebrate the 2011 National Championship team, and your 90th birthday party.

I hope you are somewhere enjoying your birthday cake and good food while catching up with all of the family and friends you've had to say goodbye to.

Your spirit will always be part of our family. We love you, PawPaw!

Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine of Fifty-Two

"A photo of Jack once a week, every week, for one year." I've been taking photos, yet not sharing them here in any sort of timely way. Trying to find my way back to this space. Life gets busy!

20130902-024448.jpg Jack: Speeding down the big slide at Dolores Park, Mission District, San Francisco.

20130902-024927.jpg Jack: Face painting on Aquarium school Field Trip with Dada.

20130902-025121.jpg Jack: Playing bad guys with his bestie at Redhook Brewery.

20130902-025204.jpg Jack: Kissing his balloon Minion at the Portland Saturday Market.

Four and Five of Fifty-Two

"A photo of Jack once a week, every week, for one year."

20130806-084709.jpgJack: He has a major sweet tooth (and his parents wrapped around his fingers) so he gets to eat things like Sponge Bob Popsicles with gum ball eyes!

"A photo of Jack once a week, every week, for one year."

20130806-085020.jpg Jack: Love is sharing your juice.

Mamaw

20130712-120823.jpg My fiercely devoted fan group is dwindling...I've lost three grandparents in two years and I am now left without any. Don't get me wrong, I still have an amazing group of supporters, an abundance of wonderful life cheerleaders, but there's just something about a grandparents unconditional, blinding love that cannot be replaced. And, I will miss it fiercely.

When I stop to think about it, it's no surprise that Mamaw was the last to leave us. She was the most strong-willed, had never been hospitalized or even taken many medications, and was just too stubborn to stop carrying on despite her battle with advanced dementia.

The last time I saw her was at Christmas. When I went to the long term care facility to visit her, I'm not certain she knew who I was, but the following day, when talking to to my aunt, she referred to my sister and I as "those girls who are always laughing" which in some sense made me really happy.

She made some of the most delicious foods I have ever eaten- butter beans, chicken and rice, turnip greens, rutabaga, and chicken dressing. For every special gathering, we would crowd into the small kitchen and eat her bounty of southern cooking. Everyone would stare in awe at the amount of chicken dressing and butter beans that I managed to squeeze onto her white plate with the rim of green flowers and leaves. And, she would shake her head, close her eyes, and laugh when I went back for seconds! She often just sat back and watched us all with a slight smile on her face, softly humming to herself. Her family made her proud. And, she liked to please us.

I think I can thank her for my sweet tooth. She made candies at Christmas that we all looked forward to- haystacks were my favorite- I can still taste and smell the crunchy butterscotch bite, she liked the sickly sweet divinity. On Christmas Eve, I would often catch her with a half-eaten piece in her cupped hand.

Some of my favorite things about Mamaw: How she used to tell my cousins, sister, and I to "Stop wallerin' on the couch" when we weren't sitting still The feel of her squishy hair Her garden of flowers Shelling peas and pecans with her on the back porch Her handwritten letters she sent to me in college- always in cursive, most of the time in pencil in order to correct her mistakes Her love of sports, especially college football

I love you, Mamaw. And, will miss you to the moon and back.

** The photo above was taken at Christmas in 2010 when Jack was just 1 year old. I love this photo so much, as Mamaw was not a fan of having her picture taken, yet she was a fan of my boy- both of those things can be seen in this shot as they admire the light and colors in the Christmas tree together.

One of Fifty-Two

Some of the bloggers that I follow have been doing a weekly series of photos of their children- a way to document a bit of life in a regular pattern. Before a few months ago, I was taking a lot of photos of Jack (and food and scenery...), but I've noted lately that I haven't touched my camera much. So, in an effort to be a better photo documenter of our life and to surely capture a moment once a week of our little man, I'm officially joining the other bloggers in this weekly photo series.So, here's to fifty-two pictures and a glimpse of his life as he lives it...

"A photo of Jack, once a week, every week for one year."

20130705-104554.jpg Jack: Helping me decorate the table for the Fourth of July

One of Those March Days...

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade."--Great Expectations

20130310-084039.jpg

Saturday. It was exactly one of those type of March days. And, I spent the majority of it outside planting flowers, gardening, playing, reading, and drinking a warm Earl Grey tea latte when the shade covered our lawn. It was pretty close to perfect (would have been better with David around). And, now we have our first lettuce crop growing and the radish seeds planted. Dots of color are popping up everywhere. And, we are all excited to be outside!

20130310-085707.jpg

20130310-084050.jpg

20130310-084237.jpg

We haven't really been affected by the time change yet as our Sunday was quite gray and drizzly and we didn't really notice when the sun rose or set...but that's okay. We spent our day indoors going to see a Pinocchio play and eating a dim sum lunch with friends. We do live in Seattle after all and the gray and drizzly makes the sun even that much prettier!

I hope all of you had a great weekend too. Are there signs of spring in your yards?

Photos from Jack's Ski School At Snoqualmie

Jack wrapped up his month of ski school at the end of February. It was a fun experience for all of us and it definitely accomplished our goal of exposing him to the sport of skiing and allowing him to become familiar with the equipment and the mountain. We are looking forward to yearly ski vacations as a family! 20130305-114755.jpg 20130305-114803.jpg Practicing with Dada and Carol, his instructor.

20130305-114904.jpg

20130305-114909.jpg

20130305-114914.jpg Carol, the ski instructor, and our friend, Hanna, who was in the same ski class with Jack.

20130305-115044.jpg

20130305-115049.jpg Superman, I mean Jack!

20130305-120108.jpg

20130305-115300.jpg Look at that hair- he already looks like the stereotypical snowboarder, no??!

20130305-115506.jpg

20130305-115520.jpg

20130305-115529.jpg 20130305-115535.jpg Practicing his superman ski arms while showing off his cape that we kept hidden under his ski clothes!

Scenes from the Weekend: A walk in Queen Anne, Blue Angels Airshow, and Very High Temperatures

We had a fun, yet HOT, Seattle weekend. We spent our days and nights sharing pizza with friends, watching the Olympics, taking a long neighborhood walk in Queen Anne, eating delicious egg dishes and pastries at Macrina, grilling Alaskan salmon while drinking chilled white wine and talking late Into the night, making S'mores (I'm kind of hooked from our camping trip!), and watching the Blue Angels Airshow at a party in Mercer Island. Watching the Blue Angels, whom are from Pensacola, made me nostalgic for home...and, it rekindled my desire to learn to fly! Our weekend was fun...I hope yours was too.

20120805-185039.jpg

20120805-185046.jpg

20120805-185059.jpg

20120805-185106.jpg

20120805-185118.jpg

20120805-185127.jpg 1 and 2 the chickens we met on our walk in Queen Anne...oh, do I want a few chickens and a goat... 3 our beet salads (roasted red beets over beet greens with sunflower seeds and feta cheese) from our Saturday night salmon dinner 4 a Blue Angel in the blue Seattle sky 5 and 6 Jack enjoying his first Popsicle, and sharing the experience with a new friend, Sydney

You and me? It is Magic, but this...well, this is the opposite.

I have watched this incredibly touching short film about MS more than a few times over the past twenty-four hours and I had to share it here with all of you. One of the bloggers that I follow at Licking the Honey collaborated with shift.ms to make a truthful and heart touching film about the reality of being diagnosed with MS and the complexity of feelings that diagnosis brings, all in the light of falling in love. I have never seen a more accurate portrayal of some of the symptoms I experience daily... Please watch this film and then share it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLhutilgq8A