The Barn party and other stuff…

We had our Summer Barn Party this weekend. After taking the summer off last year, we were back into it this year and I think it was a success. Partly I know this because I did not take any pictures, too busy. But the man got around for a few.

I know this guy had a good time. Dropped food, another dog to play with, kids galore…this was him at 7:00 p.m.
I, also know this guy had a good time because I have pictures of him in our kitchen making this same face. It is his good time face.

These guys definitely had a good time. One is wearing his hat sideways…I mean doesn’t that scream good time?

And this girl!!! She fell asleep on me while reading the next night…she never falls asleep on me.

A great reminder of the awesome people in our lives. One day we will get a band back here.
But until then…We know great people, kids had a ball…so many kids, amazing food, and a keg that was dealt with very nicely. My favorite parts-the late night conversation and the breakfast the next day with the people who stick. We live a charmed life.

Other news on the home front…
We may have some cantaloupe!!! Fingers crossed….

Feeling a strong, strong love for succulents.

Everyday…more and more…she blows my mind.

Unplanned days

When I woke up yesterday morning, it was in a fog of grumpiness still lingering from the day before, but by the end of the day the fog had been lifted and in its place I found family, friends and fried zucchini. I took Molly and her friend to gymnastics yesterday morning and ran while they were in there bouncing and falling and spinning. On my way home, we got an invitation to go to the zoo with the cousins so we did.
I am getting pretty adept at the mad dash around the house, assembling snacks, sunscreen, clothes, kids. The beauty is the addition of Ella’s hands to accomplish these tasks. So within 30 minutes we were back in the car. I haven’t been to York Wild Kingdom in a couple years. That poor elephant is still there painting her pictures and playing the harmonica. The deer are more contained. The attack goats are still posted as Kid-Friendly. The snake still freaks me out. My kids still are ready to look at something else before we have even laid eyes on the things we are supposed to be looking at and it is a constant reminder to stop and look and see. A quarter worth of duck food=one nugget of food. Motorized boats cost 1.25 to drive for a few minutes and probably was their favorite part of the zoo if you asked them (Thanks Aunt Sri!). However, I am hoping that somewhere in their subconscious the best part was the big old tortoise who gave up his lettuce lunch to walk over to the fence to look at us looking at him and we all sat there somewhat quietly to marvel over his shell and skin and eyes and face and I had chills. It was my favorite part.
Work schedules, stair building and threat of rain postponed our plans for pier fries and pizza for dinner with the Osbornes. And I lolled around trying to be productive when our friend, who is family-less for the week pulled up in the driveway for a beer on his way home from work. Then Jennica called on her way home from the doctors and said she was coming over, she didn’t care what I said. ( I would have said, of course) So soon we were thinking about dinner and everyone was staying and zucchini was picked from the garden, steak pulled from the fridge, mushrooms chopped, stories/jokes were flying about an unsuspecting wife at Bon Jovi concerts and reality t.v. and pampered chef and things kids say (Tell Abby I am ready to talk to her now) wine was poured, another beer was retrieved, kids were shrieking, puppy was wild and jumpy, fried zucchini recipes were looked up and Ella was cooking. At that moment in the most crazy, frenzied, loud moment…I was complete and happy.


I am no meteorologist, but this sky was awesome. I was anticipating a severe thunder and lightning storm to follow, but NOTHING…a couple rumbles of thunder in the distance and a short rainfall. But I will stand by the fact that the sky, the glow of the whole space in our world last night was AWESOME.
We celebrated a special little girl, who turned two, last night. And as the grandmothers, mother and I sat around the table, the conversation turned to the day of birth and the events and turns that have occurred over these two years. I felt lucky to be a part of this family. I felt proud of my girls for being so sweet and so excited to be a part of this little girls birthday celebration and Molly’s assembly of too small dress-up clothes, jewelry and shoes in a pink purse as her gift. It was a good moment and a good reminder that all the little bits, events, and moments make up these times where you feel connected with people. So when I was racing getting kids dressed, feeding puppy, letting puppy out, gazing at all the work I have to do for this course and wondering when I will get it done, piling another dish on the existing pile of dirty dishes, pulling something clean to wear from the HUMUNGOUS pile of clean clothes on the floor and thinking “man I have to fold these”, letting puppy out again, chasing puppy to get him back inside, pulling something out of his mouth he shouldn’t have, thinking “UGH I JUST WANT TO STAY HOME!!!”…I let all that go when I saw the biggest smile on earth light up a room when we all sing Happy Birthday and realized we have a place in someone else’s world…that is so much more than all the other stuff. It is awesome.

To make up for the yick…

We have had more tried and true recipes around here…including taco night, ice cream brownie sundaes with a make your own pizza/sleepover night. The best part is that now Ella makes the brownies all by herself and lead the other two girls in making them. That is officially the first thing Ella can make all on her own.
The girls visually appealing pizza. “IF we don’t like the veggies, we can just pick them all off” Thankfully they liked them.

Proud of their work.

And before the pizza making there was a flurry of blueberry picking. When you get a request to make blueberry muffins from the freshest berries around, you can’t say no. Plus being up at 5:30 with the pup…what else do I have to do? So yum. These come from my favorite Moosewood Cookbook, New Classic. Best muffin recipe ever!!!

New things.

Well life has picked up a pace yet in the same breath slowed us down. The newest addition has brought big love into the house. My first night alone with puppy, kids, and an on-line course to start left me a little overwhelmed to say the least. Trying to read Harry Potter, with a puppy who just hit a second wind left me wondering a little bit what we had done. But just like with kids-the next morning was a renewed energy and the sweetest puppy love that made me forget all the terror from the night before. Sooooo I think we will keep him. 🙂

Two nights ago, I took a deep breath and decided that I would make brussel sprouts. I used a recipe from Splendid Table’s How To Eat Dinner. It was the second recipe I made from it this week and sadly the second recipe I didn’t love. The dish was Pan-Browned Scallops with Brussel Sprouts. I love scallops and the recipe had bacon in it. Please-I was kind of counting on it to be amazing.

This was the dish all done and plated…it looked pretty and it kind of smelled pretty. But I have discovered two things…A. I do not like fresh tarragon. B. Brussel Sprouts, at least cooked this way, do absolutely nothing for me.

Do you know who else doesn’t like brussel sprouts but does like chocolate pudding pie enough to be dared to eat one more brussel sprout for an extra big piece of pie…..

Yeahhhhhhh she does. Getting Ella to try things is probably one of my biggest joys. Mostly because she will-I totally love that about her and then also because she is always very dramatic and funny when she doesn’t like it. I basically chased her around the house taking pictures of her eating it while cracking up.
Love that kid…

This is my religion…

I didn’t really want to run today. But I did. Passed a couple on the way out…the woman said, “Are you really running to the top?” Yup. And then I was feeling it…
Here is part of the last section of the one mile hill up to Westcott’s Lookout. It’s a doozy.

But this is the gift you get on the way back down. (Pic does not even do it justice) Warning you can spontaneously burst into tears and shout “yahoo” when Foo Fighters “Learning to Fly” comes on and your endorphines are pumping…just sayin’.