donuts and broccoli

It has been quite a week for this family right here. I completely lost my adventuring mojo over the weekend thanks to a 4-day headache. It started off promising with a trip to the farmer's market Saturday morning. I didn't buy anything other than a frozen latte from a new coffee shop, but there was a new donut shop promoting their goods. There was a long line, Gracie had thrown in her towel, and the heat was starting to take my will to live, so I reluctantly decided to try it another time.

I would live to regret that decision.

That evening, an acquaintance of mine visited that exact donut shop and posted many tantalizing donut pictures. Isn't that how it always goes? That night, I literally dreamed all night long about those donuts. I had actual dreams of going in to the donut shop, sampling donuts, watching them make donuts, picking them out, eating them, etc.

I'm still not over it and I never will be.

We stayed home from church on Sunday since my headache was on day 3 and I couldn't handle life anymore. James was a gem and decided to do some cleaning while I convalesced in bed with my current Charlotte Bronte novel and a lukewarm mug of coffee. I heard a loud scream and discovered that while James was vacuuming the stairs, Gracie sneaked up behind him and stuck her head right next to the vacuum before he realized what was happening. Do you see where this is going? It sucked a small clump of her hair right out. It was traumatizing for all of us.

She's completely fine, but I'm still not over it and never will be.

Yesterday morning, James forgot his lunch at home, so Gracie and I dropped it off. This morning, he texted me that he had forgotten his wallet. He's at a conference downtown for the next few days. I hate driving down there with a fiery passion, but I pulled it together and drove to the heart of downtown to drop off his wallet. I had no trouble getting to the hotel, but I had nowhere to pull over so I turned the corner, thinking there would be a spot. That would be another decision I would live to regret. Thanks to endless road construction and 47 one-way streets, I drove in circles one block south of where I needed to be for 15 minutes. As soon as I thought I had figured it out, I would turn the wrong way again. Tears were welling up in my eyes by the time I finally turned down the right street. In the heat of the moment I tend to lose a little self-control with my language, and since Gracie is a parrot and I don't want her yelling any 4-letter words, I've subbed the word "broccoli" for any adult language I feel tempted to use. This probably isn't good for helping her get over her picky eating, but at least no one will be offended if a toddler is talking about green vegetables. Everyone in a 10 block radius could hear me screaming "BROCCOLI!" whenever I saw another blasted one-way sign.

Since I was a hop, skip, and a jump from German Village, I decided to take Gracie on an impromptu adventure. German Village is probably my favorite spot in the city, but I rarely go because it is a hassle and a half to get to, and you're guaranteed to have to park 32 blocks away from where you want to be. Like all trendy places, it's the most difficult spot in the city to get to, and half the streets were closed due to construction.

We walked down to the bookstore, and I had remembered on the way that I had a gift card waiting for me that my friend got me for my birthday. Gracie had the time of her life climbing the stairs and picking out books. It is nothing but providential that my favorite coffee shop is next door to my favorite bookstore, so we went in for an iced coffee. Gracie taste tested it and declared it to be "dee-wishes!" We went down the street to a fancy bakery for macarons. We shared a strawberries and cream and a lemon poppyseed macaron, and I hid the key lime mint and coffee in my purse for later.

We got home, ate lunch, and as I did the dishes, Gracie fell down the stairs. She's figured out the baby gate, which shouldn't be a surprise since she's the same baby who took her entire outfit off while strapped into her carseat right after her first birthday. Which reminds me, I need to go buy duct tape because we've regressed to last summer's diaper removal days. I would consider potty training, but she thinks her singing potty is the world's best toy and nothing more than a toy.

I've been itching for change lately. That's a dangerous thing to say. I thought James' new job would scratch that itch, and for the most part it has, but I'm in that place of wanting to change everything now. I sit on the couch and eye-laser our stained rug and rundown coffee table. I want to take everything off the walls. I have a plan to rearrange Gracie's room to make it more toddler-friendly. 7 times a day I wonder if I should purge parts of my book collection or leave it be, and that's when I know I'm starting to leave the reservation. I'm still on the verge of partially dyeing my hair blue even though I may risk my parents disowning me. Or maybe I should just chop it. Or start curling it again. I delete Instagram off my phone and then redownload it at least three times a week. I feel weird and restless, and maybe it has something to do with scrolling through Zillow more often than I should instead of digging into my Bible. We've been watching the The People v. OJ and I'm so engrossed I can't even think straight. We have one episode left. I don't know the last time I was so into a show. I've stayed up late googling things about the trial and asking my mom dozens of questions. I vividly remember her sitting on our hunter green leather couch in our Nevada living room watching the trial. I constantly think about when I was a kid I couldn't imagine anything from my childhood looking dated, and the other day I saw someone selling "vintage" 1990s kids clothes. So maybe what I'm dealing with is a mid-life crisis.

Or maybe I'm still just upset that I never got those donuts.



just a couple of homebodies looking for some adventure

I've noticed a weird change in myself this summer. If I stay home too much, I start to feel, for lack of a better word, depressed. I'm a homebody to the core. When it's so humid outside you need gills to breathe, I want to hunker down in the air conditioning, lick a popsicle, and sprawl out in front of the fan wearing a shirt that says something along the lines of "Do Not Disturb Until Fall." I think we had been home just a little too much, because we had a very bad day on Monday. I decided we would go out and explore the next day. It was so hot and muggy I felt like I was immersed in a hot tub. We went to the park of roses. It's a local botanical garden that looks like the Midwestern version of how I imagine the grounds of Pemberley would've looked. I've always enjoyed flowers, but I've fallen in love with them lately. I want to be surrounded by beautiful flowers at all times. I was in heaven. Gracie only had eyes for the giant fountain. It's surrounded by a little fence, and she cried and cried to touch the water. Sometimes rules just need to be broken, so I hopped the fence with her and stuck her in the fountain while no one was paying attention.

The trip overall was a success and worth drowning in my own sweat and the residual allergy-induced sore throat. After nap time, we went to Target on the hunt for blackout curtains for her room. Hers are sheer, and I've been wondering if that's been partially responsible for the nightly singing of Daniel Tiger jingles two hours after she's been put to bed. I don't know if it was running around the park in the heat or a dark, cool room, but she went right to sleep.

Yesterday's adventure was story time. I know I said I was going to go back last summer after our less than stellar experience, but we never did, though we did try the disastrous story time at the bakery. I woke up yesterday morning and decided to give it another shot. Gracie started crying as soon as we walked in. The librarian was taken aback when she didn't want a purple S stamped on her hand. She clung to me and scowled at the other kids running and screaming. The rude mom from last summer walked in after us. I recognized her immediately. True to form, she was bragging to another mom about her son's lengthy daycare naps. The librarian shushed everyone using her magic wand or whatever contraption it was, and everyone stopped talking except Rude Mom. She kept talking and talking and talking. As a vehement rule follower (other than the fountain incident), I wanted to kick her. She's still at the top of my list of people I could probably never be friends with.

Gracie sat on my lap and clutched her paper about the letter S. Every time there was singing and hand motions, she burrowed into me and scowled. As much as I wanted her to participate and have fun, I felt like I was reliving my childhood and completely understood. I hate any and everything that requires group participation. It's how I'm wired, it's in my DNA. I would get actual tears in my eyes in high school and even college when we were told to split into groups. Granted, we weren't splitting into groups (I would've walked out!), but I still have memories of hating being forced to do hand motions or participate with everyone else. I would feel ridiculous and wanted to hide in the corner with a book. And that's exactly what Gracie and I did. She ignored the singing, cried when I tried to help her do the motions, and she grabbed a book off a shelf and nestled back in my lap. A boy ran past me wearing Paw Patrol sandals, and I spent the rest of the half hour thinking about how strange children's clothing can be. I'm not a fan of character clothes on kids because I'm a kill-joy, but what if adults walked around with ruffled bloomers with their name embroidered on the back? Or sandals covered with the face of Don Draper or the cast of Downtown Abbey? I'm not saying I hate the idea, I just find it funny.

I think it's time to own up to the fact that we just might not be storytime people. That feels sacrilegious to admit as lovers of the library and voracious readers, but a room full of screaming kids and annoying songs is not fun for either of us. Books are meant to be enjoyed in silence, preferably with coffee and chocolate. I rewarded her with a trip to the park to "play swing" afterwards, and that thrilled her to her very core.

Summer is my least favorite season, but I'm trying very hard to enjoy it. So far, it hasn't been so bad. I'm trying not to think about the upcoming fall, but just enjoy the fact that I don't have to wrestle G in and out of a coat 17 times to get her out the door, in the carseat, in a building, etc. I'm loving the afternoon thunderstorms, evening walks with podcasts, mornings at the pool, watermelon with every meal, wildflowers and bright green leaves and grass, playdates, my tomato plant that's nearly as tall as I am, playing on the playground, and popsicles every night before bed. The summer I was pregnant was the hardest season of my entire life, and it wasn't until just now that I could think about heat and humidity without immediately thinking of crippling nausea and emergency room IVs. This summer I'm spending time cleaning and organizing, reading old, classic literature, and listening to good music. It's making all the difference.

I'm hoping my adventuring mood lasts. There are parks and splash pads and nature trails to visit. This morning our very exciting adventure was the grocery store. We got caught in a severe thunderstorm, Gracie was in a very bad mood and throwing fits, and I was scared our groceries were going to go bad since we had to wait for the constant lightening to pass before we could leave the store and then the car once we got home. Maybe I don't need to leave the house as much as I thought.

It seems we've come full circle.


summer stories & a summer playlist

2017 is going to go down as the year of the car repair.

On Monday evening, I pulled the beef out of the fridge to make dinner just to realize it had gone bad. The problem was, the meal I was making was supposed to feed us for several nights. In a huff, I drove to the nearest grocery store for some more. I was already an excellent mood, obviously. I got in my car, and the air conditioner would only blow blazing hot air. It was 90 degrees outside and 87% humidity. I could've cooked dinner on the passenger seat. I'm pretty sure I got heat exhaustion from the 7 minute drive.

We took it in this morning, and something called a compressor is broken. I only have a vague understanding of what a compressor is, but what I do know is that it costs $1100 to fix. Remember a few weeks ago when James' car broke down while he was driving to work and cost us another grand? And we just had to buy all new tires and wheels for his car. And it just had some wiring issues we had to fix. And we've both had about 17 flat tires and dead batteries since New Years. We literally started off New Years with a broken down car and it has been the theme of the year. We have had not one car issue in 6 years of marriage and I think they've all decided to pile up at the same time. It wouldn't be such an issue if we hadn't desperately scraped every last penny together over the past few years to buy a house, only to spend every cent of that money on car repairs. And my car still desperately needs tires!

I think God might be trying to teach us something here. With the way God has provided for us lately, I'm listening. I'm done worrying about it. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

In lighter news, how was your 4th of July? We had a pretty quiet but fun day. We took Gracie to the pool in the morning, and she was out of her mind excited. We swam and splashed and, I was definitely the envy of the pool with my 2001 NYSNC towel. If that's not enough to make me feel old, something in my shoulder got very wonked up from holding Gracie in the pool, and I can barely move my right arm without screaming. We took her outside in the afternoon to teach her to ride her tricycle. She's still slightly small for it, but she's slowly getting the hang of it. She'll be fine once she grows another inch. We didn't do fireworks because it's a little too late to keep her up, and it was so bloody hot I had some heat exhaustion issues from being outside so much. It was a good excuse to have a pineapple and a watermelon popsicle. Don't you ever say I don't know how to party.

This morning we dropped my car off at the shop, which is turning into our second home at this point, to get the AC fixed. I woke up with a migraine and felt like I was drugged along with that alternate-reality sensation that sometimes comes with it. We dropped James off at work, and I was very confused on how to get out of the parking lot because it's gated with security guards. In my migraine stupor, I had left the house wearing clothes that are barely a step up from pajamas with insane bedhead. Well-dressed, important looking people were flocking around the car on the way to their offices, and I was so wrapped up in trying to find the exit that I drove James' car up and over the curb right in front of the entrance of the building.  First impressions haven't always been my strong suit. I was mortified. I screamed "OH MY GOSH" which I'm trying not to do, because Gracie has been saying it constantly and I don't think it's 2 year old appropriate (probably because I was never allowed to say it as a kid and I still feel my mom's glare if I say it--hi mom!). Every time she says it, I say "we don't say that, Gracie" and I give her an alternate phrase. Well, after I screamed it, Gracie said "Mama! We don't say oh my gosh!"

She keeps me humble in more ways than one. I'm loving this age of hilarious toddler phrases. James got her out of the crib the other day, and she ran into our room to wake me up. The first thing I heard that morning was "MAMA! What happened? Did you poop?" I didn't, but what a way to wake up. Every time we leave the house lately, she has a whole list of things she asks if we can take. "We take Pooh Bear? And Mickey Mouse? And hat?" and then she looks at me, very concerned and asks "Mama, we take my toes? And my knees?" More than once she has asked to take the toilet and the bathroom door with us. I have no idea, but bless her. This is probably not interesting to anyone but my family, but I never want to forget these cute little comments.

Since we're in the middle of summer, I threw together a summer playlist. Music is so seasonal to me, and I swear I can hear the humidity and heat in some of these songs. I cobbled a bunch of these songs from other playlists I've listened to and loved, and I even threw some of my old favorites in that you've probably seen before. My inspiration was a funky, jazzy, 1960s vibe. Some songs are from the 60s, some just sound like it, and some don't at all, but they just feel summery to me. This playlist makes me want to put on a sundress, cat eye sunglasses, and red lipstick, and cruise down the road in a convertible on the way to a pool party with the cast of Mad Men.

Not that I've thought about that or anything...


currently, vol. 31

reading: Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery and Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. I found the latter on my mom's bookshelf and snatched it. It's doing great things for me.

watching: BLUE BLOODS SEASON 7 IS FINALLY ON NETFLIX ALL THE PRAISE HANDS. There has been a Tom Selleck-shaped hole in my heart since last summer. We're nearing the end of Frasier and I'm in denial. Niles and Daphne forever, even though I miss the Maris jokes.

eating: we had the best family day on Saturday and ended it with a trip to our favorite barbecue place. James got a gift card for it when he left his job, and it was the perfect way to celebrate a week at his new one. Plus, it felt like our patriotic duty to eat barbecue for the 4th of July. We got ice cream afterwards at Jeni's. Jeni's stores are all over the country now, but it started here in Columbus. There's a really old authentic German restaurant downtown that sells THE BEST cream puffs the size of your face. Jeni's made an ice cream based off it, and oh my word. I'm not sure if the ice cream or the cream puff is better.

smelling: a blueberry candle

loving: summer with a 2 year old. Hard in some ways, SO FUN in others. She thinks going to the pool is the best thing in the world. She asks to put on her watermelon swimsuit every day and go swim. I bought her a big box of sidewalk chalk, and she plays on the balcony with it all day, and then pours water from the watering can all over the ground and splashes. I love her and her innocent childhood fun. She's just so full of joy and it makes me so happy I want to cry.

cooking: I've clocked a lot of hours in the kitchen this past week. I made these cornmeal griddle cakes for dinner one night, but Gracie polished off the rest of the fresh strawberries that afternoon, so I grabbed some frozen ones out of the freezer and made a berry compote to put on top. It was amazing. I also made this mexican rice skillet dinner and it's the best thing I've made in ages. I threw in some bell peppers and zucchini and topped it with guacamole and lime juice. It's lot like a chipotle burrito bowl, so really you can't go wrong. Friday night I put my big girl pants on and made homemade pizza crust. I was scared to death, since the last time I made something similar it was a royal disaster. Since I've been making homemade bread for several years with great success, I figured it was time to try pizza crust again. I need a little practice, but it was really good, especially with some italian seasoning and garlic powder mixed in.

listening to: lots of Citizens & Saints lately. Their hymn covers are amazing, and Gracie loves to sing along with Amazing Grace. Also have a bit of a Bruno Mars moment lately. I can't help it. The Sheologians podcast has been a great friend to take on my evenings walks. Just the other day I discovered Nick Waterhouse, and I'm smitten. I feel like I'm Hidden Figures or something.

wanting: another grape popsicle. This is the summer of popsicles. There are 4 boxes in the freezer right now, all of them open. All of them different flavors. All of them calling me all day long.

annoyed by: The Week of Spills. If you remember, last week started off with accidentally dropping cracker crumbs on Gracie's head during church and then an entire mug of coffee in my purse, and then another entire mug of coffee on the couch. All three of us spilled water, coffee, and food all over everything all week long. The rug and one particular couch cushion endured the brunt of whatever dark force was prevailing over us last week. The worst of all was when a gust of wind hit my tomato plant. The little leaves took flight, and I found it lying on the rocks in front of the row of air conditioners. It's a little roughed up in spots and lost a branch or two, but I think it will be ok.

experimenting with: lipstick. I wore red lipstick to dinner one evening 5 years ago, and I felt like the entire restaurant was staring at me. It's so out of my comfort zone. Makeup in general is out of my comfort zone. I like it, but not enough to buy it and practice. My mom gave me some lipstick to play around with and I'm loving it. It gives me just a little extra color and makes me feel like a brand new woman. I've been so hesitant to wear it, because this scene from Mean Girls runs through my head every time I swipe some on:

"She had 99 cent lipstick on her snaggletooth." 


who knew you could produce so many puns about produce?

In this week's edition of Texts With My Parents, I sent the below picture to my parents. Trips to Kroger have been nothing short of disastrous the past few months. Gracie won't walk with me or sit in the cart, she just cries and wants to be held. The produce guy saw my struggle and got me a race car cart, or a "racecart." He saved my life. Gracie was so happy and well-behaved the entire time that I hardly recognized her. Anyway, the conversation quickly took a strange turn. If you're not a fan of puns, I'm sorry for the lack of joy in your life, and also you will probably hate this post. My dad and I are a force to be reckoned with when we're together, but NO ONE can rival his pun abilities. Absolutely no (p)un.

We could go on and on, but everyone around us would want to kale us.