Friday, March 28, 2014

Staying Home and Making Bread

When I was in graduate school, I told someone once that if the whole academic career thing didn't work out, I would like to just stay home and make bread.  And while I am not saying the academic career hasn't worked out--it has just taken a different route--I am currently staying home and making bread (Strawberry Banana Bread, to be specific).  And I am sewing.  And planting a garden.  And watching a sweet baby grow each day.  My house is filled with trays of seedlings, fabric scraps, and stacks of burp cloths.  While this new life has its challenges, I am reveling in the activities that I love, but haven't previously been able to tackle as passionately as I would like.  

And, lucky, blessed girl that I am, I still get to pursue that academic life as well.  I know that the role of adjunct is absolutely fraught in the academic community, but I am thankful for the flexibility that it provides.  I I am lucky to have a husband with whom I have planned our budget and expenses to allow me to work like this.  I am lucky to have a department chair willing to work my schedule around Jordan's.  I'll be teaching online this summer, and then going back for a main campus class in August.

In the meantime, I am happy to have grading disappear from my to-do list.  I have a new planner/notebook that I am loving and have spent way too much time making customized planner pages and meal-planning/grocery shopping lists.

Friends coming for dinner tonight.  Homemade pizza and apple crisp on the menu.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Waiting for Spring

The weather lately is enough to drive anyone crazy.  Saturday was gorgeous--low 70s and sunny.  We worked in the yard (more on that in a bit) and generally enjoyed ourselves.  Yesterday, it was snowing (again)!  It didn't lay, but the rain, sleet, snow mess was rather depressing and made the doctor's appointment/ grocery store run fairly miserable--I don't like being wet and cold and I certainly don't like for the little fellow to be wet and cold!

He has been getting so big!  He is holding his head up more and more and reaching during tummy time.  We have begun to let him sleep unswaddled, and when I go in to him in the morning, he smiles (his smile is just like Jordan's--minus the teeth!) and puts his hand on my arm, and I am left a melted puddle in the floor.  When he yawns sometimes he lets it out as a little yodeling coo.  And he sings.  I kid you not.

So, the work in the yard.  We are re-doing the flower bed in the front yard.  It is an oblong island with a lamp post on one end and a bird house on the other.  When we moved in, it contained a crepe myrtle (which we moved a while back), zebra grass, lavender, Mexican heather, blackeyed susans, daisies, Chinese fringe flower, a yellow bell, an azalea, a butterfly bush, a rose, and a camellia.  And it was a mess.  So, we spent Saturday removing most everything--sickly shrubs and weeds were rooted up.  We still have a bit more extracting to do, but in the end, there will only be the Mexican heather (which is thriving--I think it like the sandy soil), the butterfly bush, and the camellia.  Then, we will replant with lavender, peonies, blackeyed susans, cone flower, and irises.  Pretty, pretty.

I am particularly keen to have this bed looking nice because it is what people see when they drive up, but, more importantly, it is what we see when we look out.  I chose flowers in the hopes that our little population of birds will appreciate them.  We have a whole community of cardinals and blue jays (who like hanging out in the Bradford pears), house sparrows (who have taken over the bird house), and house finches (who foolishly try to build nests on our porch each spring--really, we don't mind it, but they knock the nests down themselves when they fly off).  The sparrows are feisty little things--I have seen them defend the bird house against intrusive starlings and squirrels twice their size.  By the way, I found a neat website that helps with bird identification here: What Bird.

Easter is coming, and I am preparing my Easter dress.  Which won't actually be a dress because they are too difficult to nurse in.  I decided to wear a skirt this year, but couldn't find anything I liked when I went shopping--an excellent excuse to break out the sewing machine, and a skirt is so easy.  I am not even really using a pattern--I found so many good tutorials on Pinterest, and some lovely fabric on sale at Joanne's (I couldn't choose one, so it looks like I am making at least three skirts!).

The wrap pictured above is Avocado Egg Salad.  I know that this will disgust most people--Jordan couldn't believe I ate it, but I thought it was delicious.  I found the recipe from Never Homemaker on Pinterest as well.  It is tasty.  And seems right for spring.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Part-Time Nomads

Last week was spring break at the university, so we planned an epic trip--probably not that epic by most standards, but since this was the first vacation with a baby, it seemed pretty epic to us!  We spent the first part of the week in our hometown--we go home at least about once a month, and divide our time between Jordan's parents and mine.  We got to see all of our grandmothers as well as assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins.  

On Thursday, we headed to Hanging Rock State Park.  Jordan and I had visited a couple of times previously, but this time we were going to stay overnight.  The park has several cabins.  In the summer, they are rented by the week only, but during the off-season, you can rent by the night, with a two-night stay minimum.  We had never seen the cabins so we weren't sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised.  They are cute, spartan little affairs, all golden pine boards and high ceilings.  No TV.  No cell-phone reception.  Heaven.  We had expected some bad weather in the form of rain and a bit of freezing rain on Thursday night--we checked the weather report just before we left.  However, just after we carried all our stuff into the cabin, flakes began to fall. And fall, and fall.  It was still snowing when we woke up the next morning and continued for most of the day.  Absolutely beautiful.  We watched DVDs on the laptop, played Rook (where Jordan beat me soundly) and Scrabble (where I returned the favor), and read.  Jordan read Mockingjay out loud while I fed Nathan, and then I snuck in some time with my current book, Edward Rutherford's Sarum, which, judging from its size, I will still be reading when Nathan starts kindergarten (it's too big for me to read while nursing!).  

In the afternoon on Friday, the snow stopped, and the skies began to clear.  We bundled Nathan up as soon as he woke from his nap, and went to hike to Tory's Den--apparently the site of a skirmish during the Revolutionary War.  Since we hadn't been expecting snow during the trip, we had only brought sneakers--not boots.  I solved the problem by wrapping my feet in grocery bags and tying them around my ankles before putting on my shoes--not cute, but effective: no wet feet!  We finished our hike and then drove out to see Moore's Wall and then the park lake as the light was dimming and the shadows lengthening.  

The next morning, we got in another hike at the Lower Cascades, before heading north.  My niece was celebrating her first birthday, and we went to her party where everything was pink, polka-dotted, and sweet.  Nathan did wonderfully considering we traveled a few hundred miles total, slept in three different locations, and saw dozens of people in the course of a week.  He has the makings of a champion hiker, and he already has one state park and two waterfalls under his belt.  We are looking forward to new adventures!