The Loves of My Life

Looking at these pictures makes my heart swell. One moment I am completely unaware of the involuntary beats and the next I can feel every part of my heart as if my it has been swaddled and all I can do is concentrate on the warmth that radiates through my body from that space. And I am reminded of a quote that I've read and discussed many times, a quote that perfectly embodies Romeo's tragic flaw, "Did my heart love till now?" 

Only for me, instead of wondering that for a different person each week, I have that feeling again and again for the same people. And so, for me the quote transforms from beautiful and tragic to a principle in the infinite capacity of lasting love. 

And I am reminded of my dad, who often looks up from the table with bright eyes and sincerely says, "This is a best bite I've ever had" or, "This to best bite of my life." As a child and teenager, I used to scoff at his sentiment, but now I am in awe of it, craving that superlative experience over and over too. And I wonder if maybe the key to true and lasting love is having that feeling again and again, allowing yourself to wonder at your love over and over for the same people.
They are the loves of my life. I am in awe of them each and every day, and I hope that never stops.

Also, on a slightly less sentimental note, these pics are from this past hot and gloomy (which is what I'm blaming the graininess of the pictures on) Saturday, when Jason, William, and I spent the afternoon all together in the kitchen. Jason and Will sorted and chopped and stirred and made the entire house smell amazing. The delicious recipes that all three of us happily ate for dinner that evening and lunch the next day are below if you are interested.

Balsamic Bruschetta 
(Jason says to sub fresh mozzarella.)

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld: A Request More than a Review

I just finished this book yesterday, and it's due back at the library tomorrow. If I can't renew it, I might just buy myself a copy, a real, live hard copy so that I can re-read it and then make my mom and my sister read it too because I'm positive it's one of those brilliant books that will give you a very different experience upon the second read, one of those books that I just can't stop thinking about, one that I feel needs a few glasses of wine and some in-person discussion. So, I have a request... Will you please read All the Birds, Singing and then come to my house or meet me at Robust's patio, and I'll happily provide the wine?

And no. I'm not going to tell you what it's about, and I don't think you should read the synopsis. I've been approaching more and more books without having read the synopsis, and I find it's a much more provocative experience. So really, that's two requests. A do and a don't, or a don't and a do. Don't read any synopsis, ever again (Okay. If you try not reading the synopsis and find you don't enjoy the experience, you can go back. I give you my permission as long as you really try.) and do read All the Birds, Singing.

Also, hi! I'm back after some traveling and lots and lots of reading and online shopping.

Summer Reading

There is something about this time of year. I always thought it was because I was just getting out of school (first as a student and then as a teacher) and had more free time, but this year school began and ended without me, and that last week in May, I still felt the call deep inside to read. Voraciously. Apparently, Will has been feeling the same way. He just can't get enough reading time. Besides bedtime and nap time, he has started reading in the car, and I often find him reading a book after he wakes up from a nap.

He has just started putting himself down for his afternoon nap and for the night. (Basically because he just stopped falling asleep in our arms.) After the first couple of times that he rolled around in his crib, putting himself to sleep, I started finding one, two, or even three books in his crib with him. We have a little ottoman where we keep his favorite books right between his crib and the rocker (You can see the set up in this post.) from which he has been lifting the books. This morning, I watched him on the monitor get one book, look at it, put it back and get another one. We (meaning Jason) already built some of these front-facing bookshelves for Will's room, but now, I'm thinking of adding one by his bed just like the family from the post did for each of their crib.
I've been enjoying downloading all of my books for free from the library. Have you tried that yet? You do have to actually go to the library to get (or renew, in my case) a library card, but after that you can do everything on your iPad (or preferred e-reader). My library allows me to download books through two different apps, Overdrive and 3M. I use both because I like the look and feel of Overdrive better, but 3M seems to have more titles available. One night while we were watching a particularly violent episode of Game of Thrones and I needed something to distract myself, I went through and looked up every book I had heard about over the last few months and either downloaded them right away or put holds (a library term that means I'm in line for the book after everyone else in line reads it) on them. 

So far, I've read and LOVED: 

And you can see everything I have on hold (and the look of OverDrive on the left and 3M on the right) below. I can't wait for my holds to become available. In the meantime, I'd appreciate any recommendations!

Also, William in a tank top... I cannot get enough of those white upper arms.

They Fit!

Remember those white skinny jeans that I hadn't been able to fit into since before I was pregnant? Well, today, on National Donut Day of all days, I decided to try them on, and as you have probably figured out by now, they fit! I'm glad I tried them on because I have been eating really well lately, but I often let myself cheat and then cheat a little more and then a little more until I am eating a lot of junk. These pants fitting were the motivation I needed not to join in celebrating National Donut Day.

As far as weight loss, I don't have much to report. I'm currently at 157 lbs, but as I said, I have just started eating really well again in preparation for our beach vacation in a few weeks. So for now, I'll take the jeans as progress and hope to see a little more (less?) on the scale soon. Also, I have been really happy with my results from our push-up challenge... at least in my shoulders and upper arms. I'm hoping if I keep going, the results will start to progress until I am ripped all the way to my elbows. I am up to ten real push-ups/30 total in one minute. The plank challenge, on the other hand, is brutal. I hate it, and if there are any results, they must be hidden way under there where I can't see them. Or maybe, my jeans fitting are the result? Yeah, I'm going to choose to believe that instead. It's much more positive.

Also, please excuse the awkward cell-phone selfies, but I wanted to show you proof... And I still need to teach Will how to use a camera.

Freshly Picked

Will and I have something serious to talk to you guys about (about which to talk to you ladies, really). You're probably going to need to sit down and take off your sunglasses for this.

It's no secret that babies' feet are shaped like blocks, a fact that, as an aunt, often left me frustrated and my nieces and nephews barefoot when in my care, a fact that I was sure was going to torment me as a parent, but then, just when William was starting to pull himself up and cruise all around, necessitating something more than slipper socks on his feet, I discovered Freshly Picked Moccasins. Easy for me to put on (not to brag, but I can do it one handed), hard for him to take off, enough traction without turning his foot into even more of a block, high-quality leather that wipes clean and wears well, and fun colors. Serendipitous, I say!

Now that Will is walking, running, and dancing his way through each day, we have moved on to our second pair. Will also owns Converse, Sperry's, Target, Gap, and Old Navy shoes, but really, our go-to shoe for playing, shopping, picking strawberries, puddle-jumping, strolling through the botanical gardens, or going to church is his Freshly Picked Moccasins.  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you already know this.
Freshly Picked is such an amazing company that when I contacted them to let them know how much I loved their shoes, they sent me another pair to review. I really can't recommend these shoes enough. Unlike other shoes, these were easy for Will to walk in when he was first starting to strut around. They have never caused so much as a red mark let alone a blister or callous. And, Freshly Picked is offering a pair for me to giveaway to one of you! Yeah, now I've got your attention! See below for details.
***GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Because so many of the people who entered were family and friends, I numbered all your entries and used the random number generator at (as opposed to just swirling my finger in the air and pointing... I don't know) and am so happy to announce that Maggie B. is the winner! Congrats! Even if you didn't win this giveaway, you will feel like a winner every time your easily slip the pair of moccs that you order your little one. I just ordered the next size up in Iced Mint, but I also have my eye on Goldenrod and Glacier... and Neon Green is kind of awesome. How will Maggie B. decide? ***AND NOW ENDS THE LONGEST EVER GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

First, a quick disclaimer: Like I said before, Freshly Picked is an awesome company that has lots of giveaways, so the winner of this giveaway can not have won any other giveaway including a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins within the last 60 days. Alrighty?

To enter, please visit Freshly Picked to peruse thier beautiful products (They just added some totes to their line and have some of their moccasins on sale right now!) and leave a comment below. For an extra entry, you can like my page and share this post on Facebook and/or follow me and regram this on Instagram. If you choose to complete either of the extra entries on Facebook or Instagram, please come back and leave another comment here letting me know that you did so that I am sure to count your entry. This giveaway will close on Friday when I will announce the winner. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions I can answer about the moccs and good luck!

Alright, you can put your sunglasses back on now.

Also, a fun little bonus of the high-quality leather is a sweet footprint, from the heel to each little toe, that gets worn into the sole of the moccasins, a sweet keepsake after your babe outgrows his or her moccs.
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