Messy Artist

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This picture is proof that a second child changes you. With Parker, I remember being so dang clinical about everything. Art was done in a sterile environment. I would drape furniture and rugs with plastic before any potential mess could be made and a speck of paint on a location other than the paper would set my eye to twitching. So ridiculous, right? Ah well, you live and learn. With Lexi, I set her at a table with her paints and brushes, drape a smock over her, and let her go to town. While she’s painting quietly in her room, I have a chance to fold that 6th load of laundry, answer some emails, and look up recipes (because for some crazy reason, my family expects to be fed daily).

When I walked back into her room and saw that she turned herself into a living canvas, I laughed. She was so obviously enjoying herself, the paint was non-toxic, and I had just enjoyed an hour to myself. So, instead of hauling her off into the bath tub, I grabbed my camera to memorialize her art….and my growth as a parent.

Pumpkin Patch

One of the coolest things about living in the country is that the pumpkin patches here are –wait for it– actual pumpkin patches. In my former urban life, the common practice was for churches and other organizations to bring in pumpkins by the truck load. Here, pumpkins stay on the farms that grew them. It changes the feel of the pumpkin picking process entirely.

We went on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, but we were only one of four families looking for pumpkins. This reduced the sense of urgency and speed with which the process occurred. No lie, there used to be so many people fighting for pumpkins at our Florida pumpkin patch that it felt like an Easter Egg Hunt! Not so in our sleepy mountains. Here, leisure is king.

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Parker spent some time building a pumpkin snowman and Lexi spent her time trying to find the perfect baby pumpkin. Girlfriend is all about the babies.

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Once their pumpkins were picked, they had little patience for photographs (I maaaaay have a tendency to over-document things). patch05

On the way back to the car, we passed this super cool old truck. Alas, this is the only pic I snapped before losing the little humans’ attention entirely. I made a mental note to go back and do an actual shoot in front of that truck — it’s pretty glorious.
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Now, all that remains is the carving of the pumpkins. The good news is that with our cool fall temps, the pumpkins won’t rot before Halloween. Excellent.

 

A Life Worth Living

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When I was in 5th grade, I distinctly remember walking into a library and having the realization that all of the world’s knowledge was at my fingertips. I could learn languages, facts about countries, stories about survivors… I only had to have the time and the motivation to do so. I began to read voraciously and never stopped.

To this day, I don’t understand two things: wasting time and being bored. Learning is a gift, not a chore–and there is so much knowledge to be had! People think I’m nuts because I wake up at 4am. How could I not? There are already too few hours in my life on this earth and frankly, I don’t want to squander a single one. I have this sense of urgency as if there won’t be enough time to see, to feel, to know. 

When I see people who just move through this world without purpose; neither happy nor sad…just there…it blows my mind. It’s like being a survivor of the apocalypse. I want to yell, “WAKE UP! Life is beautiful even when it’s tragic.” And so I find myself moving through this world seeking others who aren’t just alive, but who are truly living. When I find them, I exhale. I’m not alone after all.

Fall Foods

This week feels like the first real week of fall. Last night was the first night that our heater kicked on and my drive to work this morning was punctuated by the first hint of gold, burnt orange, and blazing red leaves. I don’t know what it is about fall, but something about this particular season makes me want to hang out in the kitchen; cooking and baking for hours on end. In this spirit of overcooking, I thought I would re-share some of our family favorite recipes that are perfect for these brisk days. Oh and don’t worry, even if you’re still dying of heatstroke down in Florida, just crank up the AC and pretend with us, won’t you?

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

Chicken/Veggie Pot Pies

Meatball Subs

Pasta Fagioli

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Chicken Piccata

Euvarlakia (Greep Meatball Soup)

Tomato Bisque Soup

I hope that this gives you some cooking inspiration! I know that I’m happy to finally have the urge to cook homemade meals because let’s be honest, there a limit to the number of days in a row that I feed my kids cheese quesadillas. Oi.