Friday, March 12, 2010

5:00 Fridays

You might imagine that I am difficult to live with. I'm testy, persnickety, hyper, emotional, opinionated, oh, the list goes on. Not many people can put up with me. I get that. I owe Mac Daddy a lot for putting up with me. He's a gem, that one. I might be foolish but I'm no fool. I know a good thing when I see it. Mac Daddy is the Mac Daddy of husbands. If I had fewer student loans and more dough he'd get more than a blog post for our anniversary.

Mac Daddy and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary on Sunday, March 14.

That's 10 freaking years. Married. Happily. More than happily.

4 cities.
2 apartments.
4 houses.
3 home renovations.
2 kids.
2 cats.
1 dog.
7 jobs.
1 true love.

It's so cliche to say this, but really, where has the time gone? We met at work. We were friends. I used to set him up with my girlfriends. Wiley E. Coyote came around and dropped an anvil on my head to get me to see the light. We easily transitioned from friendship to relationship because, well, we were friends. Real friends. We celebrated our 30th birthdays together (Mac Daddy threw me a surprise party worthy of a blog post all its own). We traveled to some amazing cities, dined in dives and hoity toity venues, and gotten our groove on in juke joints all over creation.

I first fell in love with Mac Daddy when he unabashedly hopped onto the dance floor and rocked out to the likes of Andy Kim, Earth Wind & Fire, and The Gap Band. We have always laughed so easily together, though he doesn't think I'm nearly as funny as I do (rather, am). I like to say he has Funny Envy. Mac Daddy is more sarcastic than funny; the two are indeed mutually exclusive. Mostly we can laugh at each other's expense without getting our britches in a bundle. And when we do get our britches in a bundle...well, that's another story...

Mac Daddy and I got married in Key West on somewhat of a whim. That kind of no frills fun affair suited us perfectly. Our simple wedding was more about us, less about fuss. We were under the glorious banyan trees in the gardens of the Audubon House. Those trees are magnificent, seeming to defy gravity and the very assertions you had about nature. The limbs climb every which way, sweeping up, across, down, and back up again. Intertwining along the way, peppered with leaves so hearty you can carve your initials in them (As tradition goes at the Audubon House, we did just that, with our wedding date too). The banyan tree's trunk is sturdy and thick, elegant in its rugged simplicity. The kind of tree that beckons you to climb its branches in a fit of frolic, have a seat to chill in a comfortable silence, lean against it for unfailing support.

In typical laid back Mac Daddy and Key West fashion, today's drink would be best imbibed from a tin cup chalice.

Which incidentally, was our first dance.

And tin is the traditional 10th anniversary gift.

The Mac Daddy

2 ounces Hendricks' Gin
Juice from 2 key limes (Fresh! You can't possibly use imitation juice in Mac Daddy's signature cocktail!)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Few sprigs of fresh mint
Key lime wedge for muddling and garnish

Muddle a couple limes wedges with the simple syrup and mint. Add to martini glass. Shake gin in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour over simple syrup, lime, and mint. Garnish with a key lime wedge. Have a sip with someone you love. And remember, the things worth toasting are the ones keeping you toasty every night.

Chalk this one up there with things that make you go hmmmm.

Happy Anniversary to Mac Daddy! You make my world bright and have given me the life I've always dreamed of. I love you.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Old Navy Work Out Gear Rocks for Gym & Grocery Store

You are aware that I hate to work out, right? I mean, sure, I go to the gym. I even go to a Butts n' Guts class twice a week (not that I'm a poster child or anything). I haul my butt to the gym because I know it's good for me. And yes, I admit I feel better after a good sweat. But I don't enjoy it. Ever.

What I do love is to at least look the part. Gone are the oversize shorts and trade show T-shirts. This mama has graduated to far chicer gym attire. I don't need to wear bags to cover up my flaws. Instead I simultaneously embrace and mask them with the right fit, color, and proportions.

I've been a loyal Target shopper for many years. The workout clothes suit my budget, size, and style. It's no Athleta but it's...shall we say...fine. Just fine. The fit isn't all that great, and teh pants lose their stretch after a couple sets of squats and donkey kicks. I'm no high end fitness freak so I can't justify spending oodles on gym clothes. I could never find a happy medium.

In steps Old Navy.

Did you know Old Navy is cranking out fitness wear now? It's all super cute and comfortable. And what's key for this 60-inch powerhouse is that the styles come in petite sizes! Trumpet fanfare ensues. The yoga pants I got to try out as an Old Navy Brand Enthusiast are softer than the stretchy pants I wore post-pregnancy (many moons post-pregnancy...ahem). The moisture wicking fabric is light and really works. But again, since I'm no real athlete, what I love best is how the gear looks. I am that superficial after all. As an active, busy, overscheduled mom (bet you readers can't relate to that at all, eh?), I don't have time to actually shower before running errands. I mean really, it's a banner day when I sneak in a shower at all. Usually a swipe of mascara carries me until I can hit the shower. However, I do like to look more fashionable than frumpy at any given time.

I'll be checking out the racks at Old Navy to stock up for summer workout wear. Try it out out and let me know what you think.

Here's what I'll be dropping into my shopping cart:

Active mesh skort (in bright purple!)
Piped active shorts
Racerback tank
Graphic mesh racerback tank
Foldover yoga pants
Active shorts (though I have miles to go before I can wear these for public consumption)

Thanks for the test gear, Old Navy! Even if I'm never the poster child for Butts n' Guts (the "After" image, natch), I'll at least look good and feel great trying.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Read Read, It's Good for Your Heart

I remember when Bird was born some people from the church we had joined threw a baby shower for us. Being the most clueless of mothers, I asked the pastor at what point we should start reading to our son. She emphatically charged, "NOW! It's never to early. Read now. Read often. Rejoice." And so from that point on we have cuddled our son in the crook of our laps and read to him. All the classics and treasures and gems from Indian folklore to add a bit of culture to our repertoire. Thank you, Pastor Julie, for your sage advice.

Fast forward several months. Norman, ranking among the kindest, most generous guys I know, gave me and Mac Daddy one of our most favorite gifts to welcome baby Deal into our family: Honey for a Child's Heart.

We loved flipping through this book pointing out our childhood favorites. Sadly, one my favorites isn't listed, and it's not available at my local library. I'll give you my firstborn* if you can get your hands on Andrew Henry's Meadow. I can still picture the tattered lime green cover and ink illustrations. I remember never tiring of that book and daydreaming about escaping to my own meadow. Honey for a Child's Heart speaks to the value in reading aloud to your children and really creating a reading culture in your family. Setting an example is key. Read here about the example I set for Bird. I have about three books on my nightstand at any given time. I carry a book with me practically everywhere (Note: I need an eReader to lighten the load.). My kids see me reading All. The. Time. Reading trumps TV in this house (because we have DVR to watch stuff later).

When I was a child, life at home was rather tumultuous. I craved an escape but had nowhere to go. Books were my light, my savior, my sanity. My most happy times were when my nose was pressed into a book. Then, and now, I was careful not to bend the spine, maintaining the primness of the books I held so sacred. I've lately been reliving my childhood through books that moved me way back when. So far I've read the likes of A Wrinkle in Time, The Borrowers, Sounder, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Bridge to Terabithia, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is remarkable to see these tomes through my 41-year old eyes. Most remarkable is that I still love those stories. I cried at the end of Sounder even though I knew the ending and had been anxiously anticipating it through the whole book. Bird just finished a couple Roald Dahl books -- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Danny Champion of the World. Tonight he embarked on the ambitious journey of the first in the Harry Potter series. I applaud him!

You have no idea how proud I am to see my Bird read. His first experience of "the book was better than the movie" was with The Indian in the Cupboard. Throughout the movie he kept remarking how it had taken liberties with the book. Well, he didn't phrase it that way, but you get my drift. I swell with pride at the very sight of Bird curled up in what we call the comfy chair with a book. He stays up late with his nightstand lamp illuminating the words that beckon him to dreamland. He recounts tales to us at the dinner table and on a good day, he reads to his little brother. The beauty of those two little boys nestled shoulder to shoulder in the comfy chair makes my heart pitter patter and my pride gleam.

Deal, while only four, loves books too. He can sit quietly for ages with his face pressed to a book. At a glance he'd fool you into thinking he's actually reading. He could spend everyday at the library, and they know us by name there. Once, when given the choice of the library or the park, both boys screamed "Library!" in unison. You have no idea how proud I was. Deal and Bird both love when we read aloud to them. Even though Bird can read on his own now, he still relishes that lap time when he gets to hear the words leap from the pages in our character voices. Our laps are getting smaller, but our love for books is growing deeper.
Read on.

*You shall get my firstborn when he is in the throes of disobedience and defiance, not to be returned until he is docile and ducky in demeanor.
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