April 30, 2014

An Ode to Spring

Colorful tulips that provide a burst of color in front of the house.

The tiny green leaves that are finally starting to appear on the tips of tree branches.

The slow lengthening of days.

Putting away the winter coats, hats, scarves, boots, sweaters.

Pulling out the storage boxes of shorts and t-shirts.

The smell of strawberries on my fingers.

That first day the boys get to wear shorts.

Spending a weekend day working in the yard.  Raking, planting, watering.

The peaceful sound of rain.  

Opening the windows to let in fresh air.

The smell of grass and mud.  The smell of green.  

The happy sounds of boys playing baseball.

People making fun of my white legs and I don't care.

Feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Watching the seedlings sprout and grow in our windowsill, reaching for the sun.

We are stuck in the cold, gray, wet part of Spring here in New England.  I had to remind myself that the warmer days are on their way.  They're taking their sweet time in getting here, but they're coming.  In the meantime, there is a lot to appreciate.

April 29, 2014

Spring Weekend

Spring is such a tease.  April loves oscillating between warm, sunny days and cold, dreary ones.  This year, we've only had a couple of those warm ones, so I was all the more grateful for a trip south to visit family.  

In my hometown, April is warm and green and full of flowers.  Putting on my sandals and shorts felt amazing.  We spent a day at the beach, watching the kids run and splash and squeal.  They were so happy!  We ate out a lot, we spent time hanging out and talking and laughing.  With little kids, the atmosphere is almost always loud and chaotic, but it is most certainly fun.  My sister and I fit in a yoga class, my husband and brother-in-law fit in a man-date, and we even managed an awesome night out as grown-ups!  (Thank you, Mom!)  

The highlight of the trip for most of us was a Sunday morning kayaking adventure.  We took the kids in tandem kayaks through a waterway over to a little island where they could run and splash and squeal some more, and we then enjoyed a well-earned brunch afterwards.  The sun beat down on my shoulders, and I soaked it in.  I didn't bring my phone, for fear of getting it wet.  With no pictures or instagramming or facebooking...did it really happen?  It felt really good to leave it behind and stay in that moment.  It is etched in my memory.

It was a fabulous weekend, full of laughs and relaxing and good food and fun and, most importantly for me this time of year, warm sunshine.  Hooray for Spring!  Now, of course, we're back home in the cloudy cold.  I'm going to cling to the memories of this past weekend until Spring makes its arrival here. 

April 22, 2014

Thoughts of Spring...

Finally, finally, the boys are running around outside in shorts.  Their excitement is contagious, and I just adore the sounds of happy squealing coming in the open windows.  It's been a very chilly April, and that makes the warmth all the more satisfying now.  Of course, it's back to chilly tomorrow, but we are leaving on Thursday for sunny and warm North Carolina, so it's all good.

Easter was really nice.  We spent the day with Kevin's family.  His mom hosted, and she cooked lots of family favorites for an Easter brunch.  The boys found eggs in the yard, and they had fun with the books and toys that filled their baskets.  Meanwhile, we all had fun catching up.  Kevin's aunt and uncle bestowed upon us a rather large box full of their old vinyl records.  What fun!  I'm listening to The Beatles' White album right now.  I'm thinking Stevie Wonder or Linda Ronstadt is up next.

Yesterday was Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts.  The boys and I spent the day in our local town center, playing catch, saying hello to friends, and cheering on the runners.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, and it felt just like Marathon Monday always has - a big wonderful block party.  The crowds were huge, and everybody was happy.  If only the Red Sox had won, it would've been perfect.  

I haven't written much here lately, but I've been thinking about what I want to do with this space.  Taking a step back sometimes is a good thing, and I tend to come back even more motivated to create posts.  I want to update the blog, though.  I want a new name and a fresh design.  I have no idea how to do that, so it may not happen any time soon, but I've been thinking about it.  I actually sat at the computer a couple weeks ago, typing in possible names, but of course they were all taken.  (Including maryloves.blogspot.com, unfortunately.)  So we'll see.  In the meantime, I'm thinking May will allow me to get my writing groove back.  

We are off on Thursday for a long weekend in the sun.  I'll be back next week with a tan on my shoulders and a spring in my step! 

April 16, 2014

A Few Things...

I know I haven't written much lately.  Not sure why, except I haven't quite been able to organize my thoughts enough to express them.  I've been reminded of the fragility of life lately, and those heavy thoughts can weigh you down if you let them.  The one-year anniversary of the bombings brought many tributes and articles - mostly hopeful and inspiring stories, but they also brought tears and more heavy thoughts.  

So I go outside, look at the sky, and lift myself up again.  Life is good, full of the little treasures that keep it beautiful.  Hugs and snuggles from my boys, the start of baseball season, blooming daffodils, a (mostly) clean house, the return of Mad Men, a challenging book, good friends, future plans...  Next week brings Easter, Patriot's Day, and a trip to Wilmington, NC.  It is shaping up to be a good one.  I'll find my groove and write more soon, I promise.  In the meantime, more links (some fun, some serious) from around the web...

This is one of the articles I was talking about.  It's about the Richards family, who lost their 8-year-old son in last year's attack.  My heart aches for them.

The trailer for Gone Girl.  I know how it ends, and I still wanna see it.

10 Things This Child of the 80s Wants Her Kids to Know.  Classic list.  Singles seems a bit out of place, but I adore it as much as the others, so I'm okay with its inclusion.

Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?  Long, but really interesting article.  I can name quite a few pretty well-accomplished Gen Xers, and of course there will always be exceptions, but it's intriguing to evaluate the entire generation as a whole.  To think about my own personal life, where I fit with the Gen X mold and where I might be a little different.  Much of this resonated with me.

Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important.  I love poetry, and yet I'm not exactly sure where I came by this.  We did spend time on it in high school, but I think it was a college literature class that really drove it home.  I wished I could've taken another class more solely focused on poetry.

The Pernicious Rise of Poptimism.  An interesting take on the current state of music reviewers.

This documentary about Elliott Smith is another movie I want to see.

April 15, 2014

Thinking About...

One year ago...and anticipating next Monday.  Today we look back, but I hope Monday is about looking forward.  I am expecting a big, beautiful party to celebrate life, strength, community, and love.  I will be there.  

April 8, 2014

Memories, Stress, and other Stuff of Life

I feel like we are finally turning the corner into Spring.  Granted, that means lots of rainy and cool days, but it also means the occasional sunny and warm day, teasing us with a glimpse of what's to come.  Today is one of those rainy days, but we did get some sunshine over the weekend.  We went to our first Red Sox game of the season.   To me, baseball is one of the best signs of Spring.  It was a cool but sunny day, and we had a great time.  After the game, they allowed kids to run the bases on the field.  It was so much fun to watch them run as fast as they could around each base!  I often think, as they get cool opportunities like this....will they remember it when they get older?  As I think back on my earliest memories, it's interesting which moments I've retained.  Some of them are the "bigger" or more unique days, but most of them aren't at all, and I wonder how or why some memories stay with us over others.

I mentioned that I haven't been feeling great in the last couple weeks.  Part of it is physical - not sleeping well, upset stomach - and part of it is stress.  As my sister astutely pointed out, most likely those things are related.  As you know, I'm not currently working, but the plan has always been for me to return to work in the Fall, once Nathan starts school.  We are getting closer to that time, and my job search is slowly kicking into gear.  I'm trying, and apparently failing, not to let it stress me out.  I simply don't want to go back to the way it was before.  The boys are older now, but in many ways the logistics have become harder, with after-school activities and other considerations.  At this point, though, it is mostly a fear of the unknown.  I will try to let that go, and I will deal with issues as they arise.  Easier said than done, of course, but I will try. 

What else is on my mind?  Dinner.  I swear, the energy it takes to figure out what to make every single night is tremendous.  I get lazy at times, especially when Kevin's not home for dinner, but I don't like to do that very often.  I want to make sure my family is eating a variety of healthy meals.  Do you have any family-friendly favorites you'd like to share with me?  I need some inspiration.

Have you heard of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey?  If you haven't, you should.  It's a 13-episode series being shown on Fox and National Geographic.  It's a revival of a show created by Carl Sagan in 1980, and this current version is hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, for whom I've professed my admiration before.  It's really well done, and it's fascinating.  We've been watching it with Aaron, and it has prompted some interesting conversations.  It's really, really cool.  

This song, and this song.  Sometimes music appeals to me because of the beat - it gets me dancing.  Sometimes it's because it's fun to sing.  Sometimes it's the lyrics that draw me in.  If you get all of that in one song...well.  The second one is by a band called Brown Bird.  The guy in that band is named Dave Lamb, and he died of leukemia over the weekend.  He was 35.  Newport Folk Festival posted this tribute to him.  

Sigh.  And with that I'll say good-bye for now.  Have a happy week.

April 4, 2014

J. Roddy Walston and the Business

The boys and I used to have dance parties every night after dinner.  Somehow over time, these stopped happening consistently.  More often, the boys choose to have races and wrestling matches.  I much prefer the dancing.  I have realized it may have to do with my music selections.  A couple years ago, it was The Black Keys who inspired our dancing.  I don't listen to a ton of music that gets us up on our feet and shaking our hips.  However, last night J. Roddy Walston and the Business did the trick.

I have to share one more video today, because this is the one that got me super excited for this year's Newport Folk Festival.  I am always excited for the festival - it's truly one of my favorite weekends of the year - but the anticipation gets amped up once the lineup is announced.  They aren't even quite done announcing all the artists, but I do know that two of the bands scheduled to play on our day are J. Roddy Walston and the Business and Shovels & Rope.  That makes me happy.  I hope they get together to sing this one...

April 3, 2014

A Few Things...

photo by Abby Hyslop

I've gone a bit quiet lately.  For several reasons, I suppose.  First is the desire to put the phone down, really live in the moments, and not feel the need to write a post about every single one.  It's good to take a step back at times.  Second is the fact that I'm tired and not feeling so great right now.  I haven't been sleeping well, waking up in the middle of the night with stomach pains.  Bleh.  And last is the simple reality of Spring.  I have a tendency to become more introspective around this time.  It's the weather, I suppose.  The changing of seasons which necessitates a change of pace and routine.  I washed and put away the snow pants and boots this week.  I am reviewing the boys' clothes to see what they need for the coming warmer weather.  It is coming!  And of course the desire to get the house and yard into shape.

There is a lot on my mind, and I will write more here soon.  In the meantime, here are some fun and interesting links from around the web...

Kevin Bacon explains the 80s to Millennials.  Funny, and speaking of Kevin Bacon, did you see his entrance on Fallon a couple weeks ago?  Made me smile.  Oh and speaking of The Tonight Show, did you see Jude Law?  Cracked. me. up.

Jack is back!  Who else loved 24?  Man those first couple seasons had me hooked.  It wasn't great after that and yet I kept coming back for more Jack.  I will definitely watch this, if only for old time's sake.

The Terrifyingly Nasty, Backstabbing, and Altogether Miserable World of the Suburban Mom.  This article is so sad.  I am thankful that I live in a fairly diverse town with great people.  I'm only a couple years in as a school mom, but so far I've met wonderful people and made great friends.  I'm confident that will only continue in the future.

Once again...I love Louis C.K.

Let Your Kids Fail.  Another reminder to take a step back, allow your children the opportunities to take risks, to try new things, to fail, and then to pick themselves back up again.  I'm happy at the seemingly increasing number of articles along these lines.  Perhaps the tide is turning.

The Locavore Myth.  This is an interesting article.  I suppose people make decisions about the food they buy for a large variety of reasons.  For some people, the impact to the environment is a huge factor.  For me, the biggest things are choosing food that is tasty, healthy, and palatable to my kids.  I do like supporting local farms, particularly my own neighborhood farm, but my motivation still goes back to those three factors.  Vegetables that are picked close to home are picked when they're ripe and not refrigerated for a long time in transit.  To me, the result is that they taste better and they have retained more of their vitamins.  My motivation to eat less meat again goes back to wanting to keep me and my family healthy more than the environmental impact, although that's a bonus for sure.  What are the biggest factors behind the food you buy?

Another blog post by my cousin Krista.  If you know anyone going through a divorce, please share.  She has been through it all, both as a child and as a parent, and she has wise words to share.

Another wonderful blog post by my cousin Tiffany.  (I know...I have very interesting and talented cousins!)


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