My darling, fuzzy nephew was born right before Sam and I got home from Maine. And I'm so proud of my sister-in-law; she delivered Finn completely naturally at a birthing center in Holladay, UT. Her first baby was born in a hospital and besides the beautiful baby at the end, the experience was pretty negative and not something she wanted to repeat. This time around was hard and a lot of work, but according to her, absolutely amazing. Finn was born at 6am and then all went home at 9am! She didn't tear one bit thanks to the experienced, gentle coaching of the midwife. Finn went straight to the breast and they were able to snuggle and nurse for two hours before they even weighed him or cleaned him or anything. It is so important for moms and babies to have the chance to just be together and let those good hormones do their work.
I asked Vanessa a few questions and here are her answers:
What was the biggest difference between your first birth at the hospital and Finn's birth at the birthing center?
What was the best thing about your experience?
think the best thing about my experience was how much I felt cared
for. My midwife was truly concerned about the well being of me and
Finn. I felt relaxed and confident that she would do all she could to
make sure everything went well and that I had a say in what I wanted
out of my birthing experience.
I would have to say that the very best thing was having a natural child birth. It was a lot tougher than my first birth, but also that much more rewarding. I had such a feeling of empowerment once I made it through. I keep reliving in over and over in my mind. It really is one of the greatest things I have ever done.
We're not vegetarians, but I hardly ever cook meat. Mainly it's for health reasons and also because raw meat kind of grosses me out! But for nursing or pregnant mamas and growing baby boys, I often find myself wondering, "How can I squeeze more protein in?" I recently got turned on to hemp seeds, which I love! They're super high in protein and good fats and we've been putting them on salads, eating them by the handful and even in smoothies. Sam's munching on a mouthful above. They've got about 4 grams of protein in a tablespoon, so a few spoonfuls on a salad really beefs it up, so to speak.
Another new favorite is baked tofu. I know, I know it look kind of gross, but it really is my new favorite way to eat it. They have it in the deli at Whole Foods and I used to get it for Sam because he loves it. Finally I just asked the friendly guy behind the counter how they make it and it turns out it's super easy. Just marinate it in soy sauce for awhile and bake it at 325 until it's firm. I don't really know how long, an hour or two. I never set the time, I just check on it periodically. And if you forget about it, no biggie, it's nearly impossible to overcook. We crumble this over salads too, and Sam likes to just eat hunks of it.
Did you know quinoa has all nine of of the essential amino acids? Amazing, right? It's also got lots of good minerals like iron. We usually eat it as a base for cold grain salads (with cukes, tomatoes, herbs and oil and vinegar), but it's also really yummy just with butter as a side or as a breakfast cereal with rice milk and honey.
So that's how we get our protein around these parts. How about you guys? Any secret weapon, power-packed snacks? I'm always looking for good protein snacks beyond the old celery and peanut butter standby.
Clay and I are trying a little experiment this next month. Our garden is quite tiny (we do live in the city, after all), but it's jam packed and overflowing with veggies. So, we thought it would be fun to see if we could live mostly off our garden for the next month. We're not going to be militaristic about it, obviously there are things we eat that aren't growing in our garden. But, with what I've got in food storage in the basement and what's growing in our front lawn gardens, we aim to be as self-sufficient as possible. Clay gave Rockefeller and Nellie a little pep talk, but it seems they won't be aiding us in our experiment just yet. They're still a couple months too young to start laying. So, we'll be buying eggs and imagining they came from our chickies:) I dug out all my veggie-based cookbooks and I'm ready to get creative! We'll let you know how the experiment goes!
We got a big warm welcome home from our garden, exuberant with speckly beans; tart,juicy tomatillos, and herbs and greens all gone to seed with towering flowers. In fact, the herbs lent themselves nicely to a happy-birthday-bouquet for my sister-in-law. Not traditional vase filler, but pretty nonetheless. I even added some of that purple spinach, turns out it's not all that tasty, nicer to look at than to eat.
And Clay makes a yummy salad with Chinese cukes, tomatillos, tomatoes, basil and dill. It's so delicious with the fresh herbs that we don't even add dressing!
Yesterday Sam pulled up a carrot and gnawed on it fresh from the garden (getting his daily dose of healthy microorganisms!), perfect for little teethers!
Remember last week when I mentioned how I try to choose quality over quantity when it comes to Sam's toys? Well, check out The Wooden Wagon; it is ALL quality and I want every single thing! They have beautiful, wooden, European toys, just the sorts of things that will stay in your family forever, get passed from kid to kid and still manage to survive bubble baths, trips to the beach and whatever other adventures best-loved toys manage to find themselves on.
If you're looking for a little something for your own kiddo or a present for an upcoming birthday, now's the time to stock up as they're having free shipping for the rest of the month!
One of lines they carry are the beautiful, carved wood Ostheimer toys. I love this quote from Ostheimer:
Their folk art toys are so charming, I want some for myself! How rad is this rooster rider?!
And not everything is wooden. They also have those beautiful Waldorf dolls, that, in my opinion, work just as well for boys as for girls. Trying to raise a sensitive boy? Preparing an older sibling for a new baby? Get them one of these sweet dolls!
Their stuffed animals and soft toys are so sweet and lovely, I especially love these felt balls and this darling carrot doll rattle.
The Wooden Wagon is giving away a surprise selection of toys to one lucky winner! So, leave a comment and cross your fingers to get a delightful package of goodies in the mail from them. Doesn't that sound lovely? I wish I could enter my own giveaways!
To enter leave a comment. You can add extra comments for extra entries letting me know you tweeted, blogged, added a button, or otherwise spread the good word about the Wooden Wagon! Good luck!
Well, we're back home in Utah, refreshed and relaxed from our trip to Maine. Here are few memories from the last two weeks:
:: Lobster traps piled high by the river, down the road from my parent's house.
:: Fried clams and french fries with a girlfriend at the restaurant we used to work at in high school.
:: Camden harbor in the evening.
:: Going with my dad to his writer's group at the Wiscasset library.
:: Watching Sam get to know and love my parents.
Today is a big day for Utahns, as big as the Fourth of July in the rest of the country. We missed the parade this morning because we had a very sick little Sam on our hands (more to come about this; I took him to a natural healer and am so excited to share the experience!). But, since Clayton actually has pioneer ancestors that passed this way, here are some thoughts from him. (The picture above is of my ancestors that settled in Maine.)
July 24 1847 is the day that the first Mormon pioneers arrived in theSalt Lake Valley. Many companies of wayworn handcart emigrants, about seventy thousand in all would follow over the next decades. Eventually they would arrive by train. I had ancestors who came both ways. I revere them for their courage to leave their homelands to gather with the saints. It is a miracle that they made it at all. They buried children, spouses and good friends along the way, worn out and starving. They traveled one thousand three hundred miles on foot with only a few posessions, up mountains and down mountains, over plains, through rivers. They sang songs and danced in the evenings in spite of the cruel journey “..thus merrily on our way we go until we reach the valley,O!” They sang sobering songs too:“Come, Come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear, but with joy wend your way...”
I get really tearful when I look at what they accomplished, these people who gathered from all over the world. I look at the City of Salt Lake with pride. Evidence of their industriousness surprises me around every corner. The Pioneers transformed what was a desert into a shining green city and a beautiful place to live. Driving through quiet streets, marveling at the granite spires of he Temple they built, peeking into beautifully kept homes, in the careful plan of the city, I still see the fingerprints of those first pioneers.
In middle school I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond over and over again. I loved the story of free-spirited Kit who defied convention, and *sigh* found love in the end. I always swooned at the ending, it was so romantic and adventurous. We all imagine ourselves a Kit of sorts, different than those around us, misunderstood, but clearly the heroine. It's a great book for young girls (or boys!) to read as it celebrates thinking for and being true to yourself. There's also a theme running throughout about looking beneath the surface, beyond the stereotypes and gossip. But it's certainly not a boring moral tale, the good lessons are just added benefits of a wonderful story. And the setting, while not in Maine (I was trying to think of a Maine book for this week) is set in Puritan New England and certainly has elements familiar to me. The author did an excellent job of creating a believable setting, the type of background that colors your real world. You know it's a great book if you wonder throughout your day, "What would Kit think of this?" or contemplate whether or not you'd be comfortable doing whatever you're doing in Puritan New England. It's a great read aloud book or perfect for climbing a tree with to read in the shady branches.
Ooh, I'd been thinking about this the whole trip! We finally picked up some lobster from a local fisherman just down the road. Would you believe it was only $4/lb? The price of lobster has just gone way down because of the lack of demand due to the sluggish economy, which is a bummer for the lobstermen, but kind of awesome for us.
Lobster is such a messy affair, and that's half the fun. The notion of lobster being a fancy food, must only be held by those who never eat it. Because once you dig in there's no being dainty or delicate about it. It's all juice squirting, shell crushing, meat sucking deliciousness. I remember once I brought a boyfriend home from college and we had lobster. I looked up from dismembering my crustacean to see a look of horror on his face. It felt like that scene in Splash where the mermaid bites right into the lobster, shell and all, only to realize a moment too late that people on land don't do that.
I suppose it is a rather gruesome affair if you're not used to it, and I can recognize the irony in the fact that I don't hesitate to suck the meat out of each and every skinny lobster leg, but that I get squeamish about cooking a whole chicken (I kind of hate dealing with raw meat, which is half the reason we eat so many veggies!). And yes, I will admit that's it's rather hypocritical that I made my dad drop them into the boiling water because I can't handle it, but am all too willing to dig in when they emerge from their steam bath twenty minutes later, an appetizing shade of fire engine red (they're greenish-brown when they go in).
But, all that moralizing and concern about double standards and whatnot is all too easy to brush aside after that first succulent, butter-drenched bite. Oh, baby how I love lobster! It is Heaven on a plate.
Just try not to stare into their beady eyes...
I have to admit, my parents can be kind of rad. My mom suggested going for a swim in the old quarry, buried deep in the woods, a kind of locals' secret. Mom, Sam and I walked the long dirt road and then turned onto the narrow, overgrown path that leads to the quarry. My dad ran on ahead to get his daily exercise.
The path reminded us of some sort of fairy kingdom, overgrown with moss, shrouded ponds and tree-formed forts were scattered along the way. If they didn't bite so awfully much I might have mistaken the swarms of mosquitoes and no-see-ums for little winged fairies!
The quarry is separated by small strip of land from the ocean, and so, is full of salt water, but salt water that's the perfect temperature for swimming. It felt so lovely to loll about in the buoyant, warm water. We all agreed it must have some sort of salutary benefits because we all felt pretty amazing afterward.
Maine has had more than it's fair share of rain this summer, so when we had a really hot day that actually felt like the tail end of July we scooted on down the road a couple miles to the closest sandy spot. And we parked ourselves there for the rest of the day! I've got the sunburn to prove it.
My mom briefly went back to the house to make egg salad sandwiches and pack up a little picnic lunch. Everything tastes so good at the beach. Something about the air and ocean works up an appetite like nothing else. My mom snuck a little fresh basil into the sandwiches and it was so delicious!
The sky was so huge, I wish I could have captured it. How amazing to lay on the sand and see nothing but blue, broken by a few wispy brush strokes of cloud.
When Sam wasn't collecting snails, wading in the water or eating seaweed, he napped in this little shelter I rigged up for him.
My dad took a break from working and rode his bike down to the beach to join us in our picnic. Then he, Sam and I set out across the vast, sandy expanse the tide had left behind as it rushed out. I'd never seen so many hermit crabs! And we practically had the beach to ourselves. How delicious to run across rippled sand still damp from the retreating tide. I love the way it shifts beneath my feet. I felt like a kid again, hunting for treasures, feeling the sand on my sunbured skin.
We are a rugged breed, we Yankees. And innovative and hard working too. Up and down the peninsula my parents live on, nearly every other house has a sign for some sort of cottage industry whether an art gallery, a sewing repair service or a hair salon. It's part of how people make it through the winter when everything all but shuts down around here. Maine is an entirely different place in the winter.
My dad and I got some flowers here for my mom on the way home. Not only are they beautiful, but the prices are way better than at a store and I much prefer their arrangements. It's like that with a lot of these little business. I'd rather do business with our neighbors and it's often better quality, and of course more personal and friendly.
Along with having a little something to sell or odd jobs to do, most Mainers are pretty self-reliant and independent too, whether it's siding your own barn or, like my uncle, adding solar panels and those things that heat water onto the side of his house. He's been working on this project since last summer and it's pretty exciting. He also, of course, sells rhubarb from a cute, little stand and has a B&B, soon to be an off-the-grid bed and breakfast!
My other uncle (in the top picture) has the ultimate homestead. It's so gorgeous, situated right along the river is a little valley nestled in the trees. He has several gardens and grows enough to keep himself fed all winter with the help of his root cellar and some ambitious canning. He also takes it upon himself to outfit a handful of old ladies and other friends and family with plenty of garden extras. When we lived here I'd always see him out and about delivering extra produce. He also taught high school history and was a state representative for many years. I wish my local rep was a gardening, clothesline-using, homesteader!
My mom is Swedish, and so, much of our family traditions and culture are influenced by her heritage. The twisty candle holder above we got on a trip to Sweden when I was eight. And Svenske pankokker (Swedish pancakes) are a staple around here. Swedes traditionally have them with lingonberry jam, but in a regional twist, we top ours with homemade strawberry jam.
Sam enjoyed his very first Swedish pancake and it was a big hit. He's sitting in the high chair I mentioned earlier; it also converts into a little seat with a tabletop on wheels. I love it.
My aunt Sonja, my mom's older sister, is a crafter extraordinaire. I can't remember a Christmas growing up where my brother and I didn't receive handmade mittens from her. She made a beautiful quilt for Sam and she's constantly knitting beautiful, cable-knit sweaters for my mom and dad. Her latest project was this special, Swedish blanket. She saw one like it at a friend's house, studied it carefully, bought the materials and went to town. She just invented the patterns herself and wove in all the colored threads by hand, I'm so impressed.
I love how my mom's history permeates our home. It especially comes alive at Christmas when we put the Swedish flags on the tree and hang tapestries of the Tomte, the Swedish elves that put candy in your shoes. I'll have to remember to share some pictures this winter.
On a whim I picked up this little travel set of Windsor & Newton water colors and a pad of water color paper sized just right to mail as post cards. I used to paint and draw all the time, up until about the middle of college when I just got out of the habit. Then I married a brilliant artist, and well, I just sort of let art be his thing. But, it's a part of me too and I started remembering that while at home.
Sam and I spent a foggy afternoon by the ocean. He hunted snails and I dabbled in paint and water, enjoying the swirling together of colors and the wet, salty air. I don't think I've ever seen a day where the ocean didn't look beautiful, no matter what the weather. In fact, I love a mysterious, gentle mist to cloak the landscape. It was still warm and the fog softened things, made the view more romantic, quieter, gentler.
I did manage to take a break from painting long enough to gather a few treasures for the Natural History Museum. We've collected quite a few goodies for the museum this trip, including an antique shell collection my dad spotted at an auction!
Our little town held it's annual celebration this past weekend. No matter how grand the floats, how lovely the beauty queens or how copious the amounts of candy thrown at big parades, I always prefer the small, home-grown variety. There was a HUGE parade in Utah for the 4th, but we opted not to fight the crowds. There were rumored to be 1 million+ people there! They're have to be handing out Cadillacs along with the tootsie rolls to get me to brave a crowd of a million- yikes! I much prefer a parade where you can arrive five minutes before it starts (which really means arriving on time because they always start late) park and stand wherever you want, and wave to the little girl playing in the band who lives down the street. That's her in the middle, the cutie-pie with with the brown hair.
Prior to the parade we hit up the book sale put on by the tiny town library. I would have stocked up if it weren't for that darn over-the-weight-limit suitcase! I did buy one book that I've been reading, maybe I'll report in Friday's review...
I'd totally take a kayak tour from these guys, wouldn't you?
I love the creativity and quirkiness that thrives in small towns. The two local markets represented, as did their dog...
Our favorite part was definitely the bagpipe band; it was the coolest! All those old guys marching in unison, all done up in their kilts with cheeks puffing, belting out good Irish tunes. For some reason I almost got a little choked up at this part. I love thinking about the people who settled this peninsula hundreds of years ago (my ancestors!) and the heritage that we still cultivate.
Our cute neighbor from across the street dusts off his antique cars for the parade and he and wife slowly cruise down main street, waving and smiling. And, I don't know if it's like this in your hometown, but since the parade always ends much too soon, and since firetrucks are bright and flashy, make loud noises, and kids love them (as evidenced by Sam below) they're always included at the end of the parade, flashing and honking, the lucky kids of firefighters riding along and waving.
Have you heard of Little Alouette? Well, let me introduce you! Family owned, made by hand, locally sourced wood, free of all bad stuff (yucky paint, chemicals etc.), beautiful designs, the kinds of wooden toys that will stay in your family forever. Yep, just thinking about them makes me happy.
Sam doesn't have many toys, on purpose. In fact, it's time for another "weeding out" of his collection. I aim for quality, rather than quantity, hoping that he'll develop an appreciation for good design and craftsmanship. And that I'll spend less time picking up toys and hopping up and down after stepping on errant action figures and legos. The wooden toys at Little Alouette are exactly the sorts of things I like to see on Sam's shelves, and in his chubby little paws.
The designs are so organic and lovely; don't you just want to touch them? If I were a baby, I'd be all over them! They have a Wee Wood of the Month Club you can sign up for for your own wee one or for a friend. I love the idea and what a fabulous shower gift!
And for the winner of this week's giveaway (or their lucky expectant friend...) you'll get one of their beautiful, organic teethers made from locally-sourced wood and finished with organic flax seed oil! Your baby is thanking you already.
Just enter a comment, tweet, blog, add a button, you know the routine! Winner announced Friday.
Good luck and thank you Little Alouette!
One of my dearest friends who I always visit when I come home to Maine is actually one of my mom's dearest friends too. She taught my Sunday school class when I was about 11 or 12 and ever since then we've held annual girl camp outs with canoeing, foil dinners, skinny dipping, blueberry picking and foot massages. Only in the last few years have the camp outs fallen away as we girls have moved to all corners of the country, but we still try to get together with Chrissy whenever we come home.
Chrissy's home has the peaceful loveliness of a temple. Her home is full of thoughtful details (cool water with lemon when I arrived!); blooming, growing things; delicious and healthy treats and plenty of handmade goodness. She and her husband built their home stick by stick and it's still a labor love, changing and improving as the years go by.
Each thing in her home is there with purpose, there is no excess, no quantity in lieu of quality. She'd rather have fewer wooden spoons, than oodles of plastic ones. Deep blue, glass dishes are washed and dried by hand in a beautiful, gray slate, farm-style sink.
One of the wonderful things about Chrissy is that she LOVES her work as a reflexologist. She derives genuine joy from giving other people comfort and health and considers it a privilege to share her gift. And what a gift it is! I absolutely melt under her hands. Some people just have knowing hands and she is one of those people. She can read the bottoms of your feet and ascertain the health of the rest of your body, even where you're carrying stress or if your digestion is sluggish.
She's one of the most delightful combinations of hippie and Christian; so peaceful and kind, so gentle in her dealings with people, the land, and any living thing. I always feel so relaxed as soon as I cross her threshhold. It's like entering a time warp though. Somehow I passed the entire morning there, well into the afternoon. Driving down the long dirt road to her homestead in the woods, you feel like you completely leave the world and all notions of schedules and hurrying behind you. Spending time with Chrissy is always such a good reminder of what's important; kindness, living mindfully, gentleness and simplicity.
How about a book from my childhood, since I'm here in Maine, steeped in memories? When I was a kid my parents would both read to me together from the Brer Rabbit stories and they'd do the voices of the different characters. My mom was a vocal performance major and can be quite theatrical and my dad once hosted a radio show on Maine Public Radio, so it was a top notch show! I can still hear my mom's voice doing Brer Rabbit, "Do what'nsoever you want to do with me, Brer Fox, but please, please, please! Don't throw me in that briar patch!"
While not so politically correct, the stories are certainly a piece of history. And if you're prepared to have a discussion about slavery and the south with your kids then jump right in because these stories are so fun to read together! Born from a tradition of oral storytelling they lend themselves so easily to funny voices, gestures and jumping right out of your seat!
Congratulations to Mrs. Not the Jet Set who said...
I've always wanted to try a glamourmom nursing top!
Please email me with your address, which top you'd like and the size and we'll get it out to you right away!
And a big thanks to Glamourmom! Check back on Monday for a great giveaway involving some fabulous, summery jewelry!
Maine is beautiful. I may be biased, having grown up here, but no matter how many spectacular vistas I gaze on, the green fields and forests of Maine just look like Heaven to me. Last weekend there was a bridal shower for a childhood friend of mine and I was asked to provide the flowers. All that entailed was leaving half an hour early with a bucket of water in my car.
I stopped along the way gathering whatever wildflowers were blooming and plenty of greenery and plants with interesting textures. I assembled the bouquets there before the party and we scattered vases of cheerful wildflowers around the house.
I remember gathering armfuls of flowers for my mom as a kid; lilacs and crabapple blossoms in May, huge, lazy lupines in June, daisies in July. Walking barefoot through the hot, scratchy field grass, stopping to examine a spider web or, if I was lucky, spotting a praying mantis to carry home to show my dad, were all integral parts of summer. My habit of eating and drinking flowers started early; my dad would gather a flowering herb that he made into a delicious iced drink and another he ground up and used to soothe burns.
Sam and I took time to get to know a friendly lady bug. She looks a little fierce in that top picture, but don't worry, she was very nice.
As a kid I used to lay down in the tall field grass among the flowers and enjoy the sense of humming, vibrant life that was so soothing and energizing all at once. I loved the feeling of hiding in the grass; it seemed no one could find you once you lay down amidst that ocean of waving greenery, and yet of still being close enough to hear the call for dinner or the crunch of my dad's tires on the gravel when he drove up the driveway.
Maine really was a magical place to grow up. And seeing it through Sam's eyes during these two weeks of vacation has reminded me of all the little things that made it so. Growing up, I think we hardly came inside all summer, merely to lay our heads for a brief recharge (unless sleepovers were involved, then there was little to no sleeping!) or to grab a bite to eat, although this was often also done out of doors. What need did we have to come inside when the outside world provided all the entertainment we could ask for?
This recipe is so amazing that I've been forbidden to share it online! I'm sorry. I begged and pleaded, but it is a treasured, secret family recipe and my mom insisted it remain locked in the family vault, or at least in her recipe box. And it is SOOOO good! I started angling for her to make rhubarb pie as soon as I got home. Once it didn't appear within the first two days I had to try more serious tactics. Mom came home to a spotlessly clean kitchen and a pile of fresh rhubarb on the table. Perfect pie making conditions!
Sam helped me gather the fresh rhubarb from the garden. This is an ancient plot. I don't know how long they last, but it's come up every year I can remember. I planted some at our house in Salt Lake too, but the chickens got most of it. I'm hoping it comes back strong next year! I might have to bring home a bag of Maine rhubarb to tide us over in the meantime.
Sam has to taste everything, including raw rhubarb. He made the memorable discovery of just why it is that we bake it into pie with plenty of sugar instead of eating it raw!
My mom's rhubarb pie recipe is actually my great aunt Edith's recipe and she probably got it from someone before her. Every other recipe for rhubarb pie I've ever come across generally includes the addition of some other fruit (usually strawberries) to temper the rhubarb. But, I'm telling you, when done right, you only need the rhubarb. My mom's pie is creamy and perfectly tart-sweet. The crust is flaky and toothsome with just the right buttery, crisp, tender texture.
I told Mom I'd make the filling if she'd make the crust. I'm definitely still at the amateur pie crust-making stage and much prefer her crust to my own. There's just a certain intuition that comes from hundreds of pies made that I haven't quite developed yet. Maybe that just means I need to make more pies to practice!
She's a whiz with the rolling pin, deftly wielding it like some sort of trained swordsman. How does she manage to make a perfect circle every time when I always end up with strange lumps protruding out the sides when I roll things out? It's a mystery.
Mmmm, here's the filling all ready to be tranformed, the flavors melded together into perfect, delicious pie harmony. Sometimes I eat a little nibble of filling before it goes in the oven, but ooh! it's sour when you bite into a crunchy piece of rhubarb! There's something kind of thrilling about it, must be the same thing that drove us to eat Warheads and Sour Patch Kids when we were young. Once the pie is baked though, there's only the pleasantest tart note to offset the sweetness.
Oh, Bliss! That first slice was absolute Heaven. As was the second. And the third I had for breakfast this morning. Do you think I can convince her to make another one tonight?
When you come from a place as small as where my parents live it's easy to notice even the little changes. A neighbor down the road got a new sign advertising his bush hogging services and the across the street neighbors got three of the loveliest cows I've ever seen.
Wouldn't you kill for eyelashes like that?
We walked into the field to say hello and they were so friendly and eager to be patted. Cows are surprisingly sweet. Sam can't get enough of them and asks to visit them every time we go outside. I wonder what breed they are? I think the colors are so lovely. I love the idea of having a pet cow to milk, except that we don't ever drink milk. If only they had cows that made rice milk...
One of the things I love about my mom is her ability to find so much joy in simple things. She couldn't stop talking about how rejuvenated she felt after having laid on the sand for a couple hours a few short minutes away from their house. She said she felt like she had been on a mini-vacation. The ocean really is miraculous, I swear just sinking your toes into the sand and listening to the hypnotic waves woosh and kashoosh on the shore can cure all manner of ills.
Speaking of finding joy in the little things, Sam is another expert in this department. I love how he opens my eyes to things I've forgotten how to see. He was excited to gather snails (pronounced by Sam "-nay" with an outbreath of air through the nose preceding it for the "s" sound) and proudly show each one to me. As kids we would hum to snails to make them come out of their shells. It still works.
My dad rode his bike down to the beach and Mom, Sam and I met up with him there. While my parents snuggled and napped on the warm sand, Sam discovered the exquisite feeling of sand shifting beneath your feet as the waves come and go. He was fearless about entering the water and didn't seem to mind the cold one bit. Terns wheeled overhead occassionally collapsing their wings into an aerodynamic torpedo and slicing into the water after some hapless fish. The seagulls chased each other through the clear sky calling "Mine! Mine!" and fighting over bits of sea snacks.
Eventually after wearing himself out in the surf and the sand, Sam had a beachside snack and fell asleep. What a blissful afternoon. We're already planning on going back tomorrow!