Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just in Time

My parents drove down from Calgary, arriving Tuesday afternoon. We all love it when they visit, and the kids have been glued to them since they drove up. Generally, the first moments of Grandma and Grandpa's arrival are akin to Christmas. My Mom loves bringing presents and yummy home-made goodies. Anna squealed with delight over every new find, and Isaac took it upon himself to update Grandpa on his favorite cars. It was a chaotic, fun scene.
For me, a visit from the folks is a chance to Get Things Done. For example, I had the highlights in my hair redone, which always takes longer than I expect (3 1/2 hours - yikes!). I went with silver highlights over gray toner, although it looks more like blue highlights over whitish-blondish toner.  As long as it isn't green I'm happy.
I also managed to bake wolverines. These are a crusty sourdough roll filled with dried fruit and nuts, which are made by The Cheese Board in Berkeley, CA. It takes almost two weeks to make the sourdough starter, and then the rise time for the dough is a combined minimum of 8 hours. The baking of the rolls is also a bit persnickity, what with the need for ice water in the oven and all. But they're super tasty, and just how I remember them. Next time, of course, I shall alter the recipe. More whole wheat flour and a dash of cardamom? Maybe some dried mangoes to add a bit of tropical allure? Mmmm.....

Jon is taking a day off of work to get Even More Things Done, both inside and outside the house. But it isn't all drudgery. There shall be a visit to the aquarium, as well as a Caribbean cooking class for Mom and I. Jon and I also get to spend a night in the city, complete with dinner and a jaunt to the art museum (the DAM, as Jon takes pleasure in saying). While we're doing that, the kids will enjoy the fine dining experience at MacDonald's, which is considered a huge treat over here. That's what grandparents are for: spoiling the grandkids!

It's so fun to see everyone play together, and a much needed break for me. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't been handling my kiddos very well of late. Their combined pokiness, defiance, violence, and sensitivity had become almost more than I could bear. Since these things seem to come to a head whenever we need to leave the house, I've decided to take a break from almost everything this summer. That is, no classes, minimal child-sitting at the gym (i.e., getting up early to run/bike. Ugh.), and minimal outings.
That's the plan, and I wonder if I can follow through. We all like outings (once we're there), and I really look forward to the various activities we do during the week. Sometimes, these outings are all that gets me through. I wish I could say I was one of those moms that just enjoyed staying at home and playing with her kids, but it is very hard for me. I love to read books to them, play board games, do puzzles, play catch.... and they would rather play made-up games and pretend stories and play chase, and do other exciting things that I just can't seem to enjoy. They are doing exactly what they were meant to do at this age, and I can't handle joining them as much as they deserve. Some days I think I should leave child rearing to the professionals. Other days I think a mildly disengaged mom is better than no mom at all. Most days, I just have this vague sense that I'm blowing it. I suppose that means the grandparents arrived just in time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring has Sprung, but not in my yard

It is a very dry spring, after a very dry winter, and the air is cloudy with smoke from nearby fires. It seems we went from autumn to spring, skipping winter almost entirely. And now everything is brown (or golden, if I'm in the right mood). It just feels wrong to water one's perennials in March. And to add insult to injury, the ubiquitous rabbits ate each and every one of my tulip and daffodil bulbs. They dug them up! Each one! And ate them! Bah!

But hope, in the form of blossoms, springs eternal and I'm looking forward to the buds that will appear on our ash tree (at least, I think it's an ash tree), apple, and peach trees. I'm thinking about adding a plum tree (Anna's request), some blueberries, and a few grape vines along the back fence. We love fruit here, can you tell?

What I'd really like is a vegetable garden, but on account of our sloping back yard that would require a lot of effort (i.e., terracing of some sort). I tried container gardening, but that was only successful for the tomatoes. Nonetheless my urge to dig in the earth must be satisfied somehow, so I'm removing the rocks that border our yard with a mind to replace the tarp that underlies it. I let the weeds and detritus get away from me, and now I'm paying the price. [I'm told these rocks are part of the french drain which keeps water from our home's foundation. But just as likely is that the rocks are there for aesthetic purposes. Coloradans seem to have a thing for rocks.]

But back to vegetables... We joined a CSA, and I'm quite excited. I love trying new recipes and experimenting with food. We're splitting a share with someone since I'm not sure we're ready to go it alone. I'm the biggest veggie eater around here, and certainly the most adventurous, but I'm hopeful that I can find some recipes that everyone will enjoy. Or at least tolerate. Suggestions welcome.