Monday, October 9, 2017

Eighteen Years: A Brief Retrospective

We were married 18 years ago today, before the digital photo age really took off, so I don't have wedding photos in digital form. Maybe one day I'll scan them in!  I also noticed that once Finn was born, the photos of "just us" dwindled and the photos of "us with children" surged.  Of course!  

Thanksgiving at home, around the turn of the century. 

My best friend's wedding, June 2002.

My brother-in-law's wedding, July 2005 (Devon, England). 

Helsinki, Finland, September 2006. (In the days before the phone selfie--we just turned the camera around and hoped for the best.)

Thanksgiving at the in-laws'--I don't remember which year!

Easter at the in-laws', March 2016. (What's up with my hand placement?) 

Valentine's dinner, 2017. Taken overlooking our beautiful valley. 

I'm endlessly grateful for this man and our life together.  Worth celebrating!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Cure for Mid-Life Crisis

(Actually I haven't touched this stencil in a month.  But I *am* almost done cutting it out.  After experimenting, I've decided I'm an x-acto knife devotee.  Just have to pace myself to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome!  Once it's all cut out, I'm hoping to stencil a skirt to have as a little handsewing project this winter.)

Right now I'm very busy homeschooling, keeping house, reading as many books as possible, and indulging in a new interest: learning to play the violin.  The backstory is a little crazy: twenty years ago I decided that if I hit mid-life and felt a crisis coming on, I'd do one of three things: 1) go to medical school [this is NOT going to happen]; 2) buy a ridiculous sports car [again, NOT going to happen] or 3) learn to play violin.  

Well.  I never told anyone this, but it was the list my little 20-year-old brain invented...back when I thought medical school and sports cars were worthy of my time and attention!

A couple of weeks before I turned 40, our pastor's wife asked me out of the blue if I'd like to have her violin to borrow for a while.  Hmm. 

So I got the violin.  And I just happen to have a friend who is a Suzuki violin teacher.  And she just happens to be free on Tuesday nights at the church 5 minutes from our house. Things fell into place....

so a week after turning 40 I had my first lesson.  

How long will this last? I don't know, but I do know that so far the hour I spend practicing each day somehow pays me back in dividends later: I'm more relaxed, and more productive, after fiddling around with the violin.  It's good therapy, and it's making me happy during this season of life. Learning a new skill is fun (so far) and best of all, Finn and I sometimes plunk out a duet while he sits at the piano and listens to which notes I'm playing.  He's on his fourth year of piano, and I think this year he'll eclipse my own skills on that instrument. 

Mid-life is feeling great!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

In My Mother-in-Law's Mother Land

My mother-in-law's family has deep roots in eastern Virginia: she grew up on a large plantation in Prince George County, and one of her ancestors once owned Smith's Fort Plantation. When we were in that area for a family reunion recently we enjoyed seeing her oldest brother's renovated farmhouse on the edge of vast cornfields.  He's not living there yet, so it is gorgeously open and sparse and full of light.

The agriculture in that region is staggering: enormous fields of corn, soybeans, and peanuts....

...and then the occasional darling little lot of cows. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Governor's Palace

Our first tour in Colonial Williamsburg was at the Governor's Palace.  The tour group was enormous and the guide spoke too quickly; Finn was in almost tears trying to soak it all in. If I could offer one piece of advice to tour guides, it would be: speak slowly.  People can't process new information that fast, and just because *you* know it by heart, doesn't mean we do!  (If someone who spoke English as a second language happened to be in the group, they were probably totally lost.)

All that aside, it was a nice tour. 

We are reading  The Scarlet Badge right now, so when the guide began talking about Lord Dunmore, the last colonial governor of Virginia, my children remembered reading about him in the book! It was fascinating to hear of his escape from the palace by night just before the revolution. 

Here's my husband at the edge of the closed, extremely unkempt maze.  Tradition dictates that before you graduate from William and Mary you must (illegally) jump the wall at the Governor's Palace at night and run to the middle of the maze.  "Did you do that?" Finn asked in awe.

Nope!  Trespassing has never been my thing.  And they still gave me my diploma, which is entirely in Latin.  So no harm, no foul. 

And no misdemeanor charges, either.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mortar and Pestle for Weight Loss

I realized last week that if I had to go through this in order to get my supper, I'd be a lot slimmer.  

(September 2017, Jamestown, VA.)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

William and Mary, Revisited

A new place on campus (with an echo spot!), near very old redwood trees.

The legendary Crim Dell. 

Flags commemorating 9/11 in the Sunken Gardens (we were on campus on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks).

Flowers over the President's fence.

Our children climbed a live oak at the very east end of campus.  I ran past it a thousand did I never know it was the perfect climbing tree?

Children notice these important details!

We didn't have enough time for the climbing and exploring, so I've vowed to return with an entire day reserved for nothing but tree-climbing and eating candy.  May it be so!