Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What We Learned: 16 Months

I had contemplated turning these monthly installments into a more irregular feature.  I figured Shrimp and Kings readers were perhaps already updated enough that they were more than unnecessary. Hurrah he cries when he is sad!  Hurrah, he has entered the oral stage!  Hurrah, Bennett eats peaches!  Hurrah, his bowels are regular!  But, then his sixteen month birthday only happens once in a lifetime, and leap day only happens once every four years, and I was forced to post two monthly updates last March.  So, now you're stuck with a sixteen month update and my decision to keep up with Bennett's learning for the forseeable future.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. 

Bennett learned the value of play dough.

We learned that Bennett is afraid of flying bugs.

Bennett learned his love for things that go.  Helicopter.  Airplane.  Truck.

We learned that he may be afraid of bugs, but he is still all boy.

Bennett learned to clean up after himself.

We learned that garbage cans make for great toys.

Bennett learned the love of pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and brownies.

We learned that sugar highs are no laughing matter.

Bennett learned that the world is full of many words.

We learned it is entirely possible to double your vocabulary in one weekend.

Bennett learned he is afraid of scissors.

We learned that no amount of hair in the eyes is worth the trauma of a trip to the salon. 

And if you think this is bad, you should see him in a smock.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Close to Home

I've always sorta kinda liked Dierks Bentley music.  However, I have found the most played songs on the radio to be a little corny, cliche, and predictable.  But his newest hit, Home, has really resonated with me.  It reminds me of our bumpy road back to Nashville.

It’s been a long hard ride
Got a ways to go
But this is still the place
That we all call home
It’s been a long hard ride
And I won’t lose hope
This is still the place
That we all call home

Ok, so maybe it's still a little corny, but I like it.  In fact, I was singing it on my ride home from work yesterday.  My windows were rolled down, the sun was shining; the air smelled like spring.   I was excited to be picking up Bennett a little early so that we could make a pit-stop at the park. 

He was toddling around the playground, sliding down the stairs and climbing up the slide.  On the other side of the jungle gym, I noticed a guy with a familiar face.  He was chasing a toddler not much younger than Bennett.  Could it be?  Nah, he looked nothing like this.

His hair was clipped short and his curls were gone.  He was wearing a hipster hoody, slouchy shorts exposing his white boy chicken legs.  Perhaps?  Nope...definitely him.  I watched him out of the corner of my eye and he definitely caught me staring.  What was I thinking?

Other than a potential Zack Brown run-in, I haven't had any confirmed celebrity sightings in quite some time.  Besides, I have a track record for saying ridiculous things when I meet A-listers.  I once told Giada that my favorite recipe was her secret to homemade donuts (aka deep-fried Pillsbury biscuits).  When I met Senator Ted Kennedy at the Capitol all I could muster was, "umm, hi."  My words never flow free or easy.

Our kids crawled through tunnels and up stairs and down slides side by side.  We shuffled past one another saying excuse me and awkwardly laughing when they tumbled.  Either he got tired of the stranger pretending like she didn't know him, or he just had a lot of leavin' left to do, but he took his girls and left.  It was Bennett's first brush with fame, and he hardly noticed.  Am I the only one who wants to chase celebrities down the road I go?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flashback Friday: The Letter W

This Flashback Friday post is brought to you by the letter W.

W is for Wet.

W is for Whitley.

W is for What was she thinking.

When Whitley read my post about looking polished and perfectly accessorized, she was reminded of one of the many occassions I did just that.  Picture it, April 2006, I was marching in the Cherry Blossom Parade as Princess Minnesota.  We were required to wear a suit, in a parade.  It could not be black.  We would be on our feet for hours and therefore comfortable walking shoes were a must.  The princess commission gifted us with matching pink hats to coordinate with our matching sashes.  They had no idea that they would be also be distributing matching ponchos.  It poured down rain.  There were fifty ladies marching in pastel color suits, tennis shoes, baseball hats and princess sashes down Constitution Avenue.  I would like to think that I was not the only princess dressed like a middle-aged commuter.

Even if I was, I had quite the cheering section.  My dad was in town for the week of princess festivities, Rocky, Bobby and Tom, and Whitley, the only person that dared record the moment for posterity.  So, let us all thank Miss Whitley for yet another installment of embarrassing wardrobe public appearances.  And, let me just say that if you go to all the trouble of tracking down pre-digital camera pictures, I'll happily showcase them in future flashback fridays.  For the love of a blog, and the letter W.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You've Got a Friend in Me

Being an adult is hard.  You have to pay the bills, go to work, clean your house.  You have to make tough decisions like will I use my tax refund for my 401k or a trip to the beach?  There is no one else to answer what's for dinner or are we there yet.  Even harder than budgeting and 9-5ing, has to be making new friends. 

When you are young, the kid with the best lunch becomes your friend, the girl with the prettiest sneakers, or the one sitting next to you on the bus.  Friends seem to fall in your lap.  Your mom introduces you to her friends' daughter.  She surprises you when she turns out to be pretty cool.  Nice even.  Then as you get older and are faced with big decisions like pre-med or on-campus, friends come to you.  A nice girl moves in across the hall and invites you on an errand.  She becomes your confidant and a friend you hope will stick around until you are old and gray.

Then you are launched into the real world.  Friends move away and you move on.  Work interferes with lunch.  It becomes all to easy to sit on the couch with your boyfriend than socialize with strangers.  Babies get sick and plans get cancelled.  Old friends get neglected and new ones are hard to meet.

I am so lucky to have friends that I've known for decades.  My friends know the good, the bad and the ugly.  They know that just because I'm silent or busy or distracted doesn't mean that I value them any less.  But many of my friends live thousands of miles away, and sometimes a girl just wants to laugh out loud with a glass of wine and your girlfriend sitting next to you. 

I have tried making local friends and feel like I am failing miserably.  I'm new to Nashville, but not.  I know people, but I don't.  My interests have changed, my time is limited, and I feel like I've become this shy wall flower. Gratefully, Bennett has proved to be quite the ice breaker.  Several weeks ago, I met a group of moms at the park.  Our children were the same age, some were new to Nashville, and all but one had lived in D.C.  What a strange, small world.  On another afternoon, when waiting for the doctor, I met a little girl and her mom.  The conversation was easy.  She seemed both nice and normal.  Her daughter was called in and we said our goodbyes.  I could have cried when the nurse handed me a note with her phone number. 

Our first playdate was a success.  The kids got along as well as fifteen month olds do, sort of playing along-side one another.  It allowed the moms a chance to have typical first date conversation about jobs and siblings and nap schedules.   I was thrilled when she agreed we needed to do it again sometime.  But I had to control my enthusiasm when she suggested we meet up for coffee, sans bebe.  I think she might like me, really, really like me!

We may have to have a few dozen more playdates and coffee dates, but I'm looking forward to sitting on the couch with that glass of wine and belly laughs.  I've had some wonderful people teach me how to get there and now I know not to take it for granted.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pretty Things

Sometimes, the blog world can get overwhelming. So many pretty things, pretty people, pretty plates.  But there are days like today when I am reminded that there are simple things to do and do well. These should be things to aspire to, so today, I am left wanting...

I want to be the kind of person who has fresh cut flowers in my home.

I want to make more time for homemade treats.

I want to look effortlessly put-together.  Note to self, buy more fun jewelry.

I want to take Bennett to the beach.

I want to respond to keep better touch with my friends and not reach out only when I need them.

I want to drink out of those pretty French wineglasses Ina garten uses.

I want to host dinner parties again.

I want to post more, write more.  Be a better blogger!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Recap through Iphone-Colored Glasses

I had a candy-hearted filled Valentine's Day, and I sincerely hope you did too. I appreciate the sentiment of a Hallmark holiday as much, if not more so than the next lady. Sure, everyday should be Valentine's Day and I agree that you shouldn't limit yourself to once a year to give the one you love copious amounts of chocolate.   But on a crazy, hectic day like I had yesterday, you could use a little chocolate.

My day began like every other day with wrestling my munchkin into clean clothes.  Let me just say, my child is not a morning person.  He will sleep in until the last possible minute, and then prefers to leisurely sip his milk and take his time getting dressed.  For a working momma, this can become a challenge.  Good thing he's cute.

My first assignment of the day was on the other side of town.  As in, over the river, through the woods, and through cow pastures to my meeting we go.  No joke.  

From there, I hosted a panel of experts from government, banking and real estate.  It was a smashing success and all I wanted to do when I got back to my desk was put my feet up.  Thankfully, I had a little surprise waiting for me.  Rocky had sent me flowers from the shop that made me and all of my roommates flowers from our first Valentine's Day nine years ago.   They were just as beautiful as I remembered.  Score one for the rockster!

As if my nine-hour day and counting wasn't long enough, I had an after work meeting to attend.  Grandma and Grandpa Ski had to pick up B from school, take him home, feed him, and entertain him until bedtime.  They had a little Valentine present for my boy, some pumped up kicks!

After two of us working nearly twelve-hour days.  Rocky made a delicious steak and risotto supper. I supplied the dessert.  Since I couldn't decide between a cupcake and a canoli, I got both!  Or rather, some cupcake genius already dreamed up this glut-fest.

Not pictured: Rocky's gift because I had a minor driver's license snafu.  Rocky's card because cupid seemed to have hid it from me.  Bad cupid!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

I waited a week for an update and all I got was this?

We had a pretty fabulous weekend.  We cleaned the house, we ate, we slept.  You know, we rocked it.  Bennett nearly doubled his vocabulary in a forty-eight hour period. He also learned how to open tupperware.
We continued our quest to try a new dining establishment once a week. We tried, and loved, Edley's in 12 South. Sadly, the bar tender left me questioning if I had really seen Zac Brown at the grocery store a few weeks ago. Who knew that face, those whiskers and that hat were so commonplace?
Ok, so apparently, very common.  Go ahead, google "Zac Brown look alike."  I can wait.  But no, really, there are a lot. 

We watched a fabulous movie, Midnight in Paris.  It was lovely.  And fell in love again.  With Paris and cheap red wine.  Cycles Gladiator Syrah pairs well with Woody Allen and the couch.    So really, it's no wonder I haven't had time to post or send Valentine's or write the great American novel.  I am entirely too busy eating, drinking and basking in toddler-hood.  You can't blame me, can you?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Resolutions Keep On Truckin'

My new years resolutions very rarely last very long into the calendar.  For 2012, we had high hopes to have a tv free day in our house, spend five minutes every day picking up the clutter, and try one new to us Nashville restaurant a week.  It took us three weeks to try a tv-free day, but so far, we love it.  Cleaning five minutes every day has happened about twice, and nap schedules and other interruptions have limited our culinary tour of our new hometown.

Well, last week, I made an exception.  I determined that food trucks count as restaurants for new years resolution-keeping purposes.  Yes, my Yankee friends, the food truck craze has hit Tennessee.  Mary and I headed out to hunt down The Grilled Cheeserie, one of Nashville's more well-known food trucks.

Mary ordered the special, and I had a delightful cheddar, tomato and caramelized onion sandwich. Even Bennett liked it.

And Bennett demonstrated a new skill.  Take that milestone charts! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Biscuits and Babysitters

When we were contemplating a move to Tennessee, we weighed several factors.  I'm not going to lie, but family nearby who wouldn't mind babysitting Bennett was near the top of our list.  Sure, we had friends who loved us enough to give up their Saturday night so we could have one too.  But, we knew it was quite a burden and it was hard to ask.  Six months later, and we've gone on two whopping dinners solo.  Babysitting a toddler is still a burden, and it is still hard to ask, even parents.

I was thrilled when we received restaurant gift cards and offers to babysit. We finally got to take them up on it last Saturday night. Mack and Kate's was so worth the wait! 
Mack and Kate's is a lovely thirty minute drive south on Hillsboro Pike.  By day, you can take in the scenic route filled with cow pastures, rolling hills and Williamson County mansions.  By night, you can take in the scenic route filled with deer, dark winding roads, and Williamson County mansions with olympic sized fountains in the front drive.  No joke, come visit, I'll show you.

The place was cozy and intimate, filled to the brim with antiques and rustic wood.  Not only would I have them cater my next event, I'd happily invite them to decorate my abode too.  We enjoyed a nice cocktail, and debated our menu like we were debating states' rights, pork chop or protective tariffs?  We ultimately decided on the braised beef rib and the scallops.  We were pleased as punch when some fluffy biscuits arrived at our table with a side of honey butter.  I had not intended to blog our dinner, but I couldn't resist when they brought our mini lions-head soup bowls to our table.  They were too presh not to preserve for posterity. 

I think our waiter noticed the flash, because he suddenly became loads more attentive.  I think he thought I must be a legitimate food blogger because from that point on, he was refilling glasses on cue, not too pushy and pacing the meal just right.  He provided the perfect suggestions for wine pairings and helped us narrow down our list of desserts.  He told us all about the celebrities that frequent the establishment and when we departed, told us to call anytime.  If we had trouble getting a reservation, he'd squeeze us in lickety split.  Or maybe he just thought we were one of those folks in one of those fancy mansions? 
Regardless, the food was good, the company was grand, and the baby was fast asleep.