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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

We had such a fabulous Easter celebration, it started Saturday afternoon and continued on through Sunday.  The weather was warm and beautiful and perfect for the kids to run around and hunt eggs and treasures.  Everyone was so excited to find eggs, even Luke got in on the action.  I loved watching everyone and literally basked in the happiness - oh wait, maybe it was the sun - whatever it was, it was great!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some books offer such a special reading experience that friends pass it around, offer it up as a book club recommendation, or compare it with other favorite reads.  “The Kitchen House,’’ by debut novelist Kathleen Grissom, appears well on its way to becoming such a book.In this story, set in 1791, a seven-year-old Irish girl becomes orphaned while making the treacherous sea journey from Ireland to America. With no memory of her past or her family, she is taken to the ship captain’s tobacco plantation in Virginia, where she is to live as an indentured servant.  Assigned to work with the slaves in the kitchen house and placed in the care of the master’s mulatto daughter, Lavinia bonds with her new slave family. And just as quickly they come to love her as one of their own.  Yet, as the child grows, she is also accepted into the “big house’’ by the captain’s wife, who battles opium addiction as she struggles to cope with running the plantation in the master’s long absences. Young Lavinia must learn to straddle two worlds, that of master and slave; black and white. In time, she must inevitably confront her torn loyalties, and the decisions she makes will hold irreversible consequences for everyone on the plantation.
I had heard about this book from several different sources and finally picket it up a few weeks ago.  Ever since I finished The Kitchen House I have been trying to decide what I thought of it.  It is clearly well written and a fantastic story, but the primary word that keeps coming to my mind has been "heart breaking".  I had expected to be uncomfortable with the front row seat to a story about slavery, but I hadn't expected to be so affronted with the oppression of women in general in the culture.  One reviewer stated  "If I had to speculate on why the book is popular in this area, I’d say that it’s because women here feel such freedom and privilege that they are intrigued by a time and place that’s so different from our own."  Another reviewer explained “This work poignantly shows how 18th century Southern white women were just as oppressed as the slaves, by both their husbands and culture. Women like Lavinia were simply allowed no voice, and at best, were considered pretty adornments. Lavinia couldn’t possibly help her black family or even herself, because she had no power in the world of men.’’
This is one of those books that I am glad I read, although I'm not sure I would say that I enjoyed it.  It definitely made me grateful for the time and place that I live and that I don't face the fears or repression that these women did.  However, it saddens me to know that even though a lot of time has passed, there are still areas of the world where not much has changed for women.  Seems like a never ending struggle and the only way anything will ever change is through education and awareness.  Reading the book and writing this review makes me realize I need to figure out how to do more.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013


In a lot of ways, my mom is very traditional.  About the time I started junior high, my birthday and Christmas presents started including items for my trousseau or dowry.  When I was in high school I received a cedar chest, better known as a "hope chest" since I  clearly  needed somewhere to store all my precious table cloths, dish towels, silverware, etc.  Sadly, I think all of my mom's efforts may have backfired.  By the time I finally got married, my cedar chest was completely out of style and I was happy to leave it behind at my parent's house.  For years my mom put up with it because I didn't have extra space in my townhome, but once we moved into our house, she packed it up and had it loaded into Tim's truck while we were there for Sunday dinner.  It made it to our garage where it sat, unloved and unwanted.  I haven't wanted to refinish it because it somehow felt wrong, like I was ruining such a nice piece of furniture.  Finally, I decided that was silly and that I should do something to change it so it would work in our house.  Cory found a local woman who refinishes furniture so I took it over, dropped off the grandma furniture, and a week later, returned to a fabulous piece.  The chest is now in Erika's room and I couldn't be happier with the transformation.  Hope chest mission accomplished.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Eleven Months

Sometimes the laughter in mothering is the recognition of the ironies and absurdities.  Sometimes, thought, it is just pure, unthinking delight...Barbara Schapiro

This little man of ours just keeps growing and changing and with every day, we love him even more.  He is sweet and funny and brings me so much joy every day.  It seems like an old lady description, but he truly is a delight.
*It took him a while to decide he liked real food but now that he figured it out, the kid loves to eat.  He especially likes bananas and mashed potatoes.
*Luke loves Everest and is fascinated by any dog he sees.  That is the one thing he can "say", if you ask what the doggy says he will respond with a little noise - not quite a bark, but his version of the dog.  He sits ad watches the dog out the sliding glass window and giggles.
*After spending lots of time online and going to several stores, I finally bought him a big kid car seat yesterday.  It hasn't been installed but we are one step makes me a little sad to make such a big transition.
*Another transition, we had to lower the crib.  He has figured out how to pull himself up to his knees and sometimes to standing.  We thought he was in there sleeping, little did we know what the monkey was learning.
Some of the other highlights...

In the past month he has gone from one to six teeth -
 they are all different sizes so he looks pretty funny,
no matter, he is still perfectly willing to
cheese it up for the camera.

He loves to play with his drum,
Even better when he can get his hands on our real drum
Luke has finally started to crawl,
Usually he only crawls if there is something he really wants
Like the heater vent,
His favorite toy
His hair is getting longer and crazier
And I absolutely love it
He and daddy are best buddies
Stopped at the playground on a run
He had his first swing by himself

He loved the slide

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Morning Musings

I am not a morning person.  Anyone who knows me well would say that there should be numerous exclamation points behind that statement as I really don't like mornings.  I have a hard time waking up and usually lie in bed until the last possible moment and then wake up kind of mad.  For years, as soon as I have managed to drag myself out of bed, I have headed immediately to the gym or outside to bike or run.  It took getting my exercise fix for me to wake up and be a reasonable person.
Enter Luke...We have been so lucky that he sleeps well.  He almost always sleeps through the night then wakes up between 5:00 to 6:00 a.m. to eat and then go back to sleep.  On the days I work, these early morning feedings are mine and for once in my life, I couldn't be happier about getting up early. When I leave for the day, I go to the gym and to work and am gone for a long time, so these morning feed are our special time together.  Luke is so cute, he usually wakes up just enough to eat and keeps his eyes closed, trying to stay asleep while he eats.  I snuggle him and tell him stories and we enjoy the morning silence.  Once he's been fed, changed and burped, it's time to wrap him back up and put him to bed.  He opens his eyes and gives me a smile before I leave which totally makes my day.
Last week after I left the house I just kept thinking about him, what a sweet baby he is, and how lucky I am to start my mornings with him.  I knew that having Luke would bring us a lot of joy but I think I underestimated how completely he would change my life.  I'm grateful for our mornings together and all of the other time that I get to spend hanging out with my boy.