Matt, this year has been huge for you. From realizing a lifelong dream to work on an America's Cup campaign, to facing a major job change and landing with people who share your vision for helping people in great need, to welcoming our little girl into the world. I have loved watching your quirk and character through it all...
milk breaks with the cats...
immersing yourself in nature...
connecting with the men you love to go deeper with God...
taking up occasional pipe smoking and getting out onto the water with the crew at Thain...
hamming it up with the Roddy crew...
cooking ala Jamie...
enjoying wine country with me (a little too much?)...
feeling fabulous and healthy...
making my pregnancy fun and easy...
falling in love...
and proving to be an amazing daddy...
Happy 29th Birthday, Matthew William Roddy. You are such a gift to so many people and we are all grateful to get to share life with you.
This morning Avonlea and I are off to the gym, then to pick up some used books to occupy a friend in the hospital, and finally home again for naps and house projects (hers and mine, respectively).
And tomorrow? I have a day off. A DAY OFF. Matt is taking the baby for the entire day and I am off to enjoy whatever adventures befall me: coffee shops, journaling, prayer, and maybe a ferry ride are on the docket. And (gasp) an uninterrupted nap maybe too. This is my first day sans bebe since she was born. I'm already drunk with the freedom.
Enjoy your weekend everyone! And look for some pictures later today of the bean on our trip to Cali from Matt's iPhone.
My pile of books to read, or that I am currently reading, is beginning to stack up, and I'm starting to imagine it teetering and tottering over me like the piles of garbage that Shel Silverstein's Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout wouldn't take out. But unlike garbage, which are the things people don't want, these are treasures to me. I was inspired to make a list by Alisha, who posted a similar post last month.
My list, in no particular order:
The Grey King: The fourth in the "The Dark is Rising" series by Susan Cooper and a Newberry Medal Winner (my own lifelong dream is to win a Newberry for something I write). I had no idea this series existed and I am loving reading my way through it. I had come to a point where I wanted the novelty (no pun intended) of reading a story for the very first time and I wanted it to be children's fantasy. Alas, as good at the Harry Potter series and the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings are, I've read them so many times now that I need to wait awhile before plumbing their depths again. I found this series on a website of recommended reading for Potter lovers and promptly checked it out from the library. It's a wonderful weaving of Brittainic legends (King Arthur, Herne the Hunter, etc.) and locales (Cornwall, Wales) and epic battles between good (The Light) and evil (The Dark) set in modern day with child heroes at the center of the stories. It's satisfying my appetite for this genre just perfectly.
The Unprejudiced Palate: Part memoir, part cookbook, part manifesto for life and good eating, this food libraray classic came to my attention from Matt Dillon, chef-owner of The Corson Building in Seattle, who is doing (author) Angelo Pellegrini inspired dinners this spring at the restaurant. Apparently he was one of the first food writers and his pesto recipe was the first ever published in the U.S. in the 1960s. He describes working on his father's vineyards in the Chianti region of Italy before emigrating to Seattle and becoming a professor of English at the University of Washington, Sunday afternoon meals from his backyard garden, and waxes poetic on the simple life of handgrown food, napping, winemaking, and cooking. I imagine it will be a bit like reading "Under the Tuscan Sun" in reverse: Italian brings la dolce vita to America. I am in love.
Unspoken Sermons: A compilation of the written sermons of one of my all-time favorite authors, George MacDonald. As our home fellowship delves into the gospel of John, I have been turning here for expositions on passages we have read. Deeply insightful and soul-stirring stuff here and I look forward to taking it one sermon at a time.
From Time Immemorial: A gift from a friend offering a pro-Israel interpretation of events in the middle-east. After a long conversation on the topic, and many admissions on my behalf that I know very little of the details and history of this dispute, he asked if I would read it. I said I would, but *whoo* this thing is thick. I'd also be interested to read a pro-Palestine or neutral tome on the topic. But, then, do I really want to be an expert on post-Zionist Israel? I'm not sure. This one might be a skimmer.
Nourishing Traditions: A gift from health hardcore-ist Nina and have seen it cropping up all over the place. It's a fairly advanced health cookbook focusing on homemade, organic food and delving into the unknown lair of sprouted grains, tonics, organ meat (eek!), and whey-based cooking. Dear Katie Gray has agreed to take it one recipe at a time with me and I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and learn some new things.
Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook: Another cookbook, given to me by Jenn after we went to the restaurant in Berkeley together. Alice Waters is credited with starting the slow food revolution and her cooking is world-renowned. This is my next cookbook to explore as I'm finishing my time with Lynn Rosetto Kaspar and Jamie Oliver.
Jesus Wants to Save Christians/ Pagan Christianity?: These are both books (different authors) that critique contemporary Christianity and challenge the way we look at "church," or, "churchianity" as I like to call it. Matt's read both and I've gleaned the gems from him along the way, but I'd eventually like to read them both for myself.
Life Together: Along the same theme, Bonhoeffer's take on how to be the body of Christ. I've heard it's really good.
Eat Pray Love: I started this one a while ago and set it down not far in, not because it wasn't good, but because I got distracted (probably geeking out on kids fantasy lit). Alisha reminded me about it recently and her glowing recommendation has it in mind again. I also did so love Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk last spring.
Juicing. Fasting, and Detoxing for Life: Looking forward to the fasting part after I'm done breastfeeding (9 months to go!) and enjoying the rest as supplementary for time being.
Await Your Reply: A hand-me-off from Andrew on his last visit. I hope I get to it! It's a mystery, which interested me.
Not pictured: Love and War: Matt and I are reading John and Stasi Eldredge's latest on marriage and have been really impressed with it. We're reading it aloud to each other, so it's slower going, but really good.
Anne of Green Gables: Having seen the film so many times, I never bothered to read the books, but having made my child Anne's namesake, I figure I'm way past due. It's my next children's lit to read after I finish The Dark is Rising series.
What about you? What are you reading and why? Any insight on things I've got on my list?
Less than 24 hours after arriving home from our Easter at the coast, we took sweet Avonlea on her very first plane ride to California. Matt's good friend Gavin was having his wedding in Riverside, just inland from L.A. We decided to fly in a few days early to join the wedding party for a day at Disneyland. Even though we knew that Aves would be too young to appreciate it, we LOVE Disney and Gavin's kind fiancee, Kim, volunteered at a local charity so that we could have free tickets.
The flight went so well with the baby. We checked an extra suitcase instead of carrying it on, since we had the stroller and boppy with us and our hands were more full. Did you know that you are allowed to gate check your stroller and car-seat at no extra charge AND bring on an extra diaper bag as a carry-on? Pretty great and an accommodation I hope the airlines don't add to the list of things they now charge for. Taking the advice of some other moms, I nursed Avonlea on take-off and landing to help with her ears in the changing pressure. And then I thought it would be best to just let her stay snoozing on the boppy (nursing pillow) with my nursing apron over her to keep the light out. It worked like a charm, and I'm sure all that white noise of the jets helped a lot. Hardly a sound from her the entire flight, both ways. Score.
And then there was Disney. Well, I did get to go on about two rides: Space Mountain and Indiana Jones, which happen to be my two favorite, so I'm satisfied. But it was monumentally less than I would have done if I weren't with the baby. Matt did about 5 rides: the same as me and Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Tours. I spent a significant amount of time shuttling back and forth from Main Street, where they have a baby care center for nursing and diaper changing, a wonderful amenity.
The thing about Disney is that it's hard to be on a time schedule in such a crowded place with all kinds of obstacles and lines to make things difficult. And it's hard to convince a baby to wait--especially when it's time to eat. In light of this, we had two major fiascoes with the baby.
The first came after our lunchtime. I had gone to get ice-cream after Space Mountain, and, trying to be thoughtful, got one for Matt, who was on another ride. In the time it took for him to finish his ride (forever) and come meet me (and a day), I managed to drop his cone on the sidewalk and the baby was by then fussing and overdue to be fed. He grabbed his salvaged cone and I made a beeline for the baby care center. Except that when I got there, I had to take everything out of my stroller and bring it in with me since I had to leave my stroller outside. And upon doing so, discovered that chocolate was oozing out of my purse. I pulled everything out onto the side walk--diapers, onesies, suntan lotion--before I found the source (Easter truffles, hot sun, bad combination). And as I was trying to clean everything off, Avonlea totally lost it in impatience to be fed. I was running back and forth to the nearest trash can, baby screaming, everything covered in stickiness. Yeah. Awesome.
The second snafu came under similar circumstances. I was taken with the Blue Bayou restaurant, all indigo-blue lit with warm yellow lanterns overhead, like walking into an enchanted evening from off the hot dusty pavement outside. But we didn't have reservations, so ended up at the Cafe Orleans across the street. Our "twenty minute wait" became nearly an hour and we warned not to go outside of earshot lest we be called "in just a few minutes." So we stood in a crowd of other hungry guests on the sidewalk. By the time we were seated, legs aching, it was time for the baby to eat, and I spent dinner with my nursing apron on and taking intermittent bites of our onion soup and ratatouille. Ah well, at least I killed two birds with one stone.
Despite the challenges, Disney never ceases to enchant me. I look forward to going back when my child can eat solids and can enjoy what the park has to offer just as much as I do.
The rest of the weekend was spent helping the bride and groom prepare for the wedding, and even getting out into the sunshine with a well-sunscreened baby now and then. I accidentally left her sunhat at home and the only one we could find was three times too big for her, but it did its job.
And, finally, the wedding. As some of you know, Gavin lost his first wife (and Matt's good friend) Emily in a tragic accident about five years ago. To see Kim come into Gavin's life has been an amazing experience for all of us. The heart can heal. It is beautiful to witness.
And finally, the highlight of the wedding for me, or at least the most adorable thing about it, was during the reception when the emcee invited all dads and daughters onto the dance floor. I can't wait to share these photos with Avonlea some day.
And now, home again. I miss that California sunshine (deeply), but it's good to be home and back in our own rhythms again.
This Easter we had the privilege of joining our new, dear friends Paul and Jonna Petry to the Washington Coast along with Avonlea and 7 of their 8 children. We rented a huge house, packed food for an army, and enjoyed a long weekend away by the sea.
Highlights: delicious meals (salmon with Paul's secret/sacred sauce, marinated flank steak and caprese, pasta and meatballs, and Easter brunch with homemade waffles, bacon and raw orange juice); egg-dying with the kids; Matt and Benjamin playing in the sand; Cribbage with the girls; soaking in the hot tub surrounded by beach grasses; and sitting by the fire with Paul and Jonna with a glass of wine telling stories until the early hours. What a sweet gift.
On her first road trip
Chrysalis- 11 months
Avonlea, our little bunny on Easter morning
Faith- 4 yrs
Benjamin- 10 yrs
Annabelle- 18 yrs, and Jonna
Josiah- 7 yrs, Benjamin
Not pictured: papa Paul, and Olivia- 13 yrs. And their oldest, John Paul (20 yrs), is in Uganda right now with Matt's company as a part of the building team for the ferry--if it ever arrives. It's been en route from Seattle to Kampala for quite some time now.
Hi! I'm a writer with a middle grade fantasy novel called Jules and the Djinni Master. I also freelance write (mainly lifestyle articles) and blog with other awesome middle grade authors at Project Mayhem. When I'm not writing, I chase my two kids around, tutor high schoolers in writing and composition, and get super distracted with old-school domestic projects like testing recipes, gardening, and sewing. You know, because I obviously need more stuff to do.