Tag Archives: family

Family New Year’s Eve

I’m excited, because I get to spend New Year’s Eve with my sister, my husband’s brother and their awesome spouses.

The kiddos will be there as well, but they’ll probably be playing, chilling and fighting in the basement.

Growing up, I always thought of New Year’s Eve as a “friend” holiday, and still do, in a way. Of course, having a little one means the bar isn’t so much an option these days. Fortunately, we have spectacular siblings who are also our friends, and I think we’ll have as much fun as we ever did in the past.

My siblings like to eat, drink and be merry just as much as I do – the bar and food tables are set to be fully stocked. Yes. No lack of fun in sight.

Here’s to your New Year, however you might be spending it. My best to you and yours as we sail into 2015!

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Two Against One

father toddler daughter cake face

“Caaaaaaake” -Iris

My little family eats pretty well, and I don’t hesitate to take credit for that. We’ve drifted from the chicken McNuggets and greasy ground beef of 2005 to the leafy greens and local fruits of 2014, despite mac-n-cheese and ice cream pit stops along the way.

I feel like I retain decent control over Iris’ diet, and that helps me stay on track when the work is piling up and the hours are flying by. What example would I set by eating SpaghettiOs while pushing black beans and quinoa into her face? Still, I reeeeeeally love SpaghettiOs, and sometimes, we all give in to the siren song of those beautiful refined carbs.

The trouble now is that Iris is becoming more and more aware of how much junk food is out there, and how her chubby cheeks and big eyes are the perfect tools to help obtain it. I never planned to isolate her completely; I realize that wouldn’t work, and only make what she was missing that much more alluring. What I don’t want is for junk food to be part of the routine – an expected treat.

Of course, the world works against me. We give plasma twice a week, and the playroom attendants (whom we adore) keep suckers in one of their drawers. Last week, Iris found out about them, and now asks for one every time we pick her up. The husband and I are still in talks about how to approach this. Let’s just say Iris has a champion in her daddy, who harbors great affection for white sugar and food dye.

So, last night, I took back a little of that control. This lentil rice loaf satisfied a craving we’ve had for a while, and was the perfect excuse to make some roasted root veggies. We consider this comfort food, and it makes for great leftovers. Please don’t mistake me for an animal fat hater… I eat an egg everyday, and live for my husband’s homemade creamy pasta sauces. But sometimes, it’s good to ease up, especially when there’s half a DQ Oreo Blizzard in the freezer.

Now, do we think I can counter my babe’s habit of waking up asking for cake each morning? Didn’t think so.

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A Change of Plans…

girl toddler pink sleeper booksThis was going to be a post about the opening of the St. Patrick’s Day season, in which I told you of the lovely time we had at Family Day with our friends from Quinn & Tuite’s Irish Pub.

Instead, it is a post about how I now feel like a real parent. Because I have been vomited upon by a small child to whom I gave birth. It is about plans that went from green and dancing and the making of merry to a liter of electrolyte fluid and endless loads of laundry.

On Friday evening, Iris seemed just a little off, though it was nothing a good night of sleep wouldn’t fix. I’d been telling her all day that on Saturday, we were going to go somewhere special, and see all kinds of wonderful people and hear great music to which we could dance. I created an outfit comprising a green sweater and skirt, and set out tights and green accessories.

We hung the St. Patrick’s Day decorations while listening to the Waking Ned Divine soundtrack. Iris learned about cheap bead necklaces, and squealed at the strings of Irish flag lights strewn around the house. It was awesome.

But on Saturday morning, I awoke to the noise of choking and sputtering and what sounded like heaving in the monitor. Hardly conscious, I ran down to a crying Iris, who was learning an uncomfortable lesson about being human.

The day saw us cleaning up multiple GI upsets, and washing several piles of sleepers and blankets and robes. I made the trek to Meijer (in a mounting snow storm) for some hydrating fluids. We watched hours of Thomas. Iris did a lot of resting on her parents – which, admittedly, both of us liked, despite the circumstances.

Plans change. People learn about being people, and existing in a family unit. Still, even though my child seems to have it out for my favorite holiday and its festivities (beginning with her March 17th birth), it’s beyond worth it to have my own little rockstar who heals her unhappy tummy, in part, with books.

Oh, and also – February is over! Spring is only three weeks away, whatever the snowbanks out my door might say. Happy March!


Filed under Of Family and Children, Seasonal

Winterfest 2014!

people on frozen lake snow

My husband’s step-family has a wonderful tradition called ‘Winterfest.’

Essentially, we get together somewhere with an expansive outdoor area, and spend hours drifting between sleds, four-wheelers, bonfires and tables of food and drink. It’s awesome.

At my first Winterfest in 2009, I forgot that I wasn’t 10 years old, and ripped the knees of my mom’s old snowpants when I tumbled during a rousing game of “Wolf.” I also ate squirrel. It was good – tasted like chicken.

This year, we gathered on the family’s 80 acre “resort,” which is actually the recently (officially) acquired plot of land, lake and cabins that the group has frequented as renters since the 1950s. The weather was perfect for it – cool and snowy but mild enough for us to spend a few hours by the frozen lake. Iris and I took a couple trips around the ice behind a four-wheeler, during which she uttered numerous “Whoa”s.

I still prefer the lake in the summer. And the cabins (dormant plumbing = communal bucket). But we had a wonderful weekend, rounding out the cold with the pool and card games at the hotel. Already looking forward to next year!

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Back to It

george martha washington wedding painting

On January 6, 1759, George Washington married the widowed Martha Dandridge Custis, making her and her two surviving children active characters in 18th century U.S. history.

On January 6, 2012, my mother’s eldest sibling married a sweetheart he’d dated six decades in the past. She’s brought so much to our family with her love, generosity and culinary skill.

Sometimes, we have to circle back, and connect with pieces of our earlier selves. It might be an old flame; it might be a lingering (albeit nerdy) fascination with a long dead figure of patriotism. These pieces usually still have things to teach us.

Getting back to a routine after the holidays has its pros and cons, but the truth is that I’m ready for the structure. I have a new guide for prioritizing, and plenty of plans with which to fill my time. I’m nurturing various pieces of me that are the foundation of who I am now, and feel, as much as ever, that I’m doing it right.

As we start the new year, I want to pause and thank you. The fact that you’re reading this blog is something I appreciate, and also means that you might know me better than some folks do in “real” life. But more than that, you may be one of the many people who, through direct contact, have encouraged me to continue doing my thing. You’ve helped me look to 2014 with positive anticipation, and better, expect things from myself. Man in the Mirror and all that.

To the week, me hearties!


Filed under AutoBio, History Buff, New Story

A Rest from Labor

couple in front of cabin

Happy Labor Day!

This was us in 2005, in front of Cabin 5 at what used to be Fox Lake Resort.

We are there now, as we speak, relaxing with family for the holiday weekend. Today, the entire property (including 80 acres and a lake!) is owned by the hub’s step father and his kids. They’ve made amazing improvements to the mid-century cabins, as well as the beautiful property surrounding them.

Cabin 5 has been reroofed, stained and generally improved, though it retains its 20th century charm and simplicity.

Iris is still a bit young to do the whole weekend, so she is home in GR with her grandparents. We grown ups are taking the time to feel a little less like grown ups, and recapture some of the reckless abandon enjoyed by the kids pictured above. That means pink gin drinks, Uno and maybe some tuna-mac. Living on the edge in Northwestern Michigan.

Enjoy your holiday! I hope you and yours have at least most of the day off, and that the weather is favorable. See you when we resurface!

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Into the Water!

family in lake water beach

Just some proof to document a real dip in the lake this summer. Not THE lake of course… Lake Michigan is just too cold this year.

We once again visited our lovely neighbors at their campsite, and the weather was perfect for a little Wabasis beach time. This is us before tucking in to a dinner of prawns, corn on the cob, veggies and grapes. Oh, and Manhattans.

Summer wins. Summer most definitely wins.

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Filed under AutoBio, Seasonal

Christmas in August

father daughter gift bag presentsMy husband’s father’s family has started a tradition of Christmas in August. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I have a few complaints about the holiday season. However, this new practice has actually captured what I like best about the holidays, and left out the snow and other distasteful things.

The tradition started last year as an excuse for all getting together. Over the past decade, each year would see us gathering for a bridal or baby shower or  wedding, but Iris was sort of the end of that – at least for the foreseeable future. Now we need to find other reasons, and Christmas in August was our aunt’s wonderful idea.

It’s great. Our branch drives the three hours to Ft. Wayne, IN (in great conditions because it’s August!) and is welcomed to a house full of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There’s eating and laughing and swimming in the new pool. No one has to dress up, and the food is Mexican take out, so all anyone has to do is assemble their own tacos. Our generous hosts have time to relax and everyone has a fabulous time.

We do exchange gifts, but in the white elephant sense. This year, we came home with Eggies and a Macy’s box full of nylons. I gave away a “stained glass” golf themed picture frame, for which I paid $1.47 at Goodwill.

Of course, I enjoy a lot of the cozy festiveness that comes with the winter solstice holidays. But the important thing is being with those you love, and Christmas in August allows us to focus on that. I’m already looking forward to next year.

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The Weekend of the Gross (but satisfied) Americans

cake with heart red lobster bagOur weekends have been a bit crazy as of late, and the husband – thankfully – suggested that we make an effort to hang out as a family this Saturday and Sunday.

There was lots of sleep, quality time and entertainment for everyone. It was nothing short of spectacular.

Just one complaint do I have about this most excellent of weekends: Too much indulgent eating. Normally, I would have no problem with a couple days of dairy, sweets and not enough roughage. But I’m still trying to recover from the birthday/Saint Patrick’s weekend… my body wasn’t ready for round two.

I won’t go into graphic detail, but the picture up there is a good representation. My husband loves making cakes, and apparently felt that Iris’ birthday cake (which we only just finished a few days ago) hadn’t been enough. The Red Lobster bag contains a sinful quantity of Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Let’s just say that few things are more exciting to pescetarians on a budget than a full gift card and a menu with more than two options.

We certainly didn’t go as crazy as we could have. I made sure to weasel some apple and greenery onto our plates, and even did a little yoga yesterday. But today I’m determined to stick to that detox diet. Determined I tell you!

Happy Monday, loves.

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Family, Beach House and Morning Cake

family on beach matching green tee shirts

It was a very busy week and weekend, and I am far too brain dead to write a real post.

Know that my lovely, extended paternal  family was here from Ohio to spend a week in a beach house overlooking Lake Michigan.

Understand that I had a fabulous time hanging out with aunties, uncles and cousins in a mid-century cottage, where they honored me and the baby with gifts and balloons.

Cut me some slack for giving into the IHOP red velvet pancakes at their sendoff breakfast.

The above photo was taken by my talented little cousin, who is heads taller than me and about to enter his senior year of high school. Gah.


Filed under AutoBio, Of Family and Children