Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Friday Night Lights

Last night J came in from his 'Guys' Night' that started after I walked in the door from my Ladies' Night at about 9pm. Fast forward to 2am and, other than the laundry being folded and put away and me snugly ensconced in bed, no further progress on Operation: Move Across America had been made.

As it was 2am, and I was just shutting down the laptop, J asked if I'd been working. Uh, no. Just spending some quality time catching up with my boyfriend Tim Riggins. If this name means nothing to you, that means you're missing out on what will most likely be one of those shows that has a cult following more after it's off the air than it did while it was on; Friday Night Lights. What drew me in initially was it's similarity to one of my favorite high school movies Varsity Blues. But, what's kept me is the phenomenal script, the amazing depth of the characters, and the convincing portrayals of them by the actors.

The marriage of Eric and Tami Taylor, the head football coach and his wife the guidance counselor turned school principal is so 'real'. While they have their arguments, and aren't afraid to stand up to each other or have a stand-off, there is no doubt that these are two people who very much love and respect each other.

As for my boyfriend? Tim Riggins, played by Taylor Kitsch, is so much more than just a very pretty face. He's that vulnerable bad boy that we all just want to take aside and give a big hug...or a swift kick in the rear.

Small town politics, social gossip, college admissions, relationships and heavy issues such as rape and race relations are handled seamlessly on this show that I only wish I'd started watching sooner. I'm all caught up and ready to start watching the final episodes on live TV. It has been confirmed that this will be its final season, but ABC will be airing the show in syndication from the beginning starting this fall. You can watch seasons one through three on netflix on demand, and some of the current episodes on hulu or

I think another reason I love it, is that it reminds me of going to home games as a kid. In a small town, sports are so important, both for the athletes and the community. The prospect of taking my kids to home football games is yet another reason I'm excited to find my way to Walla Walla. If you'd love to get swept away by the town that comes together, despite their differences, on Friday nights to watch the games under the big lights, tune in to Friday Night Lights on NBC.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

T minus 10 days

As I look around at the growing nakedness of my apartment, with boxes shoved anywhere they can be, it's starting to hit me...we're leaving in ten days. No longer are we counting months or weeks, but days. The movers come a week from tomorrow, and I feel like I still have a lot of packing to do, but I've also already done a ton. The good thing about starting this early has been that I've been able to get rid of a lot of stuff! I've hauled about 8 garbage bags of clothes and shoes to the Planet Aid collection box in the last two weeks alone. Add to that the 8-10 bags of papers that have been taken to the recycling and I'm feeling pretty good about the way I'm going about this move.

Last time, we were stuck at the last minute having to just dump whatever I thought we couldn't live without for the time it would take the movers to get to us, but ended up that it wouldn't fit in our car...that's even after we'd purchased a gynormous sky box, which will soon make it's way from loft to the lofty heights of the freestyle again.

While I'm on the verge of tears when I think about what we'll actually be leaving, the prospect of a new home, new places to explore and some permanency are really exciting. To get even more excited, I decided to start nailing down the details of the room in our new home that will be priority Numero Uno; H and Charlie's room. With each box we pack and picture we take off the wall, I can feel H's anxiety rise. When I loaded his dresser into the car which I planned to deliver to someone via craigslist sale after dropping him at pre-school on Friday (his last day of school, no less) I thought he was going to lose it.

I explained that this dresser had just been temporary, but that we were going to use Daddy's dresser in his room because it was bigger, would be painted a cool color, etc. Then we got to start talking about the coveted robot sheets, which he drools over each time the Land of Nod catalogue is delivered to our house. Today, I bit the bullet and ordered them. I also called a Walla Walla furniture store, Walker's Furniture, after finding a great bunk-bed set that can be separated to two twins until H and C are old enough to make the climb. They were nice enough to hold the sale price for us, since we won't order them until next week.

Next up, paint colors. With a light grey (Gentle Rain) base, there will be a center section around the room with fun, bold stripes in Dragon Fire, Southern Blue and Utah Sky. Of course, H can't live without the Ugly Dolls that are pictured in the bed as throw pillows.

I hope that having a fun bedroom will help to make the transition less sad, although I know full well that material things won't take the place of friends it will, at the very least, make him understand that this is his home, and not some temporary resting place.

Last up, but very big news for our family, is that we're going to be making a new addition in August. No, silly, I'm not pregnant! That would give me the gestation period of a dog...which, coincidentally is exactly what we're getting! Since this is my first dog, I'm so excited that we have what I feel like will be the perfect opportunity. We'll be inheriting my girlfriend's seven year old lab, who is an awesome dog. H has been asking for 'a black labrador' for a long time, so I'm really, really looking forward to it.

I've been obsessively reading websites about incorporating an older dog into your family, introducing your children to a pet, and balancing all that will come with having a canine member of the family. I fully admit that I will be learning as I go but, as with having my kids, I'm as ready as I'll ever be! Will there be frustrations and imperfections? Yes. Will I take a little bit to get over myself and my gross-out factor with animal hair? Absolutely! But the most important thing to me is that I'm genuinely excited, and looking forward to having that something added to our family that fills the house with affection, a standing date with a leash as I'll have someone counting on my to move my booty every single day and, yes, a responsibility that keeps you grounded to your home-base.

At the very least, I'm sure my adventures in doggy-rearing will provide some very entertaining blog-fodder.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Day In Food

We woke up this morning at the blissful time of 7:42am...yes, I remember the exact time because my kids just don't sleep that late, no matter how much of a hassle they made laying their pretty little heads the night before. I noted the lone banana, and knew I needed to give them something other than the standard banana and cereal bar, so I settled on our favorite; blueberry pancakes.
J had traded some of his home brew to one of the nurses at work for some of her farm-fresh eggs. I love that we got them on the barter system; I wish I could barter for everything. I picked two eggs and cracked them open, marveling at their gloriously large and bright centers, then gave them a quick whisk before adding the milk, melted butter and vanilla. The dry ingredients per the Joy of Cooking 'Basic Pancake' recipe have been mixed with a little creative license, using half whole-wheat flour and adding two table-spoons of wheat germ.
After pouring the batter on the buttered grill, I plopped fresh blue-berries in the circles one by one before turning them, only to hear the satisfying sizzle from the juices when they're flipped. H doesn't like blueberries, so his were plain, but C got the full experience.

Breakfast dishes cleared, mama showered, and kids adequately groomed we headed out to the park with a picnic in hand.

This afternoon, H and I went to the grocery store, and I found a basket of beautiful, local heirloom tomatoes. I just love the variety of colors in which they come and couldn't resist these bright yellow beauties on such a sunny, perfect day.
Caprese salad is one of my favorites, and when you make it with tomatoes as lovely as these, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella; it's a little slice of heaven. J and I enjoyed this for dinner this evening. Now, it's time for another little local treat. Maybe you've heard of the Vermont's got two guys' names in it? ;)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Like a Chicken With Its Head Cut Off!

For the last two weeks, I feel like I haven't had time to sit and breathe, let alone write a post.

Highlights include my precious Baby Charlie making the shift to the Terrific Two's, a fantastic day out with the girls to Newburyport, which included a stop at the Todd Farms Flea Market, walking through the great antique shops like Flukes, and ending with lunch at Grogs followed by dessert and coffee at a cute bakery.

H is winding down his time at school as we start to pack up our belongings in preparation of the big move at the end of the month.

Our house is completed including sod and (I think) all the paperwork for the loan is in, now we just have to play the waiting game until closing on the 30th. One of my girlfriends emailed me offering to take the kids for the morning, and another friend offered to come occupy H in the afternoon while Charlie napped, so J and I had the WHOLE day to pack. No matter how much I hate packing, I'm so glad that J suggested we start early because we've already gotten rid of a massive amount of stuff that would have just gotten shoved into boxes had we waited until the end to start.

It's the busy times in your life that you realize how great your friends are. Over the last three years, I've been blessed with an amazing support network both near and far.

This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, beginning with us dropping the kids off with family in Connecticut, because they'd generously given their time to watch them overnight so we could attend J's graduation ceremony for the residency program and not have to worry about a sitter.

I couldn't quite hang with the big dogs for the entire after party so I took my tired booty home so that I could awake bright and early for my last training run before the big day! While J picked the kids up, I sort of stood in the loft and stared at the boxes I could be packing should I have the energy or motivation. Finding neither I headed back downstairs to watch another episode of what has become my current obsession; Friday Night Lights. Oh, how glad I was to find that the actor who plays Tim Riggins is only 2 years younger than I in real life because I was starting to feel downright pervy.

Dinner with the team over, I quickly escorted the kids home, gave them the most abbreviated wipe down possible and sent them to bed. I packed my bag, a bag for them that J could bring with when he and the kids came to cheer me on, and got my outfit laid out. By 9pm, I had reviewed the course map one last time before driving peacefully, and had one of the best nights of sleep I've had in a very long time.

5am came rather quickly, but I was wide awake, ready to face the biggest challenge of my life to date. I think I can say it was almost as challenging as childbirth because they don't give you an epidural during a half-marathon if the pain is too much, or you need to get some rest.

I dressed, rolled, ate two pieces of toast, drank a packet of emergen-c and it was off to the Y I went to stretch with my team-mates and chat away the nervous energy. I was so much less nervous than I anticipated being, and even less nervous than those first Saturday long runs. I realized as I was standing there that it was because I felt really and truly prepared.

The race was great, filled with so much encouragement by the spectators, water station volunteers and the police officers that were controlling the mayhem that is Kelly Square. As I crossed over mile 8 and was feeling good, I knew I'd be okay. However, whoever said that the last mile is the easiest, I'd like you to identify yourself so that I can smack you in the face. You are a horrible liar! I cannot even describe the joy I felt as I saw that huge FINISH banner looming ahead and I sprinted in.

Waiting at the end were H, Charlie and J. As I crossed the timing pads, H looked at me with his sweet smile and said 'Congratulations, Mom!' I swooped him up, and the emotion of the moment hit me. Swollen fingers, tired legs, I started to cry. Which is really difficult when you've not yet caught your breath so I pulled it together, and put on a smile.

And that's the last two weeks, in a nutshell.

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