Day of Love

Eric asked me to marry him (in a pretty awesome way) on Valentine's Day, so I try to make it special. This year, instead of hunting for a sitter and angling for a reservation, we stayed in.

The boys came home from school clutching their Valentine teddy bears that the fifth grade class had offered for sale as a fundraiser. Thinking I was being a super-cool mom, I ordered one for each boy. As it turned out, there were only a handful of kids who didn't get them, which kind of wrecked my vision of myself, but made me quite relieved my kids hadn't been among the sad few to go home bear-less!

When Eric arrived home from work, he brought chocolate for the boys and separate bouquets of flowers for Marley and me (hers were the pink tulips in the picture below). It melted my heart, but Marley was a little confused when I took her flowers from her, put them in a vase and then shrieked at her every time she tried to climb up on the table and play with them.

We fed the kids an early dinner of heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate-covered strawberries and Biltmore grape juice in special red glasses. They ended their evening with chocolate-peanut butter brownies and a dramatic reading of my journal entry from that fateful night eleven years ago.

While Eric got them to bed, I put the finishing touches on my special surprise dinner just for us: Pad Thai. (I had told Eric that he could request a "genre" of food, and he chose Thai.) I had never made it before, and was a little nervous since I was using an "authentic" recipe, but it turned out to be a perfect choice because most of the labor-intensive steps could be done in the afternoon.

Maybe it's pregnancy-induced agoraphobia, but I loved our home-bound Valentine's Day. I think we'll make it a tradition.


Week's end

A few weeks ago Eric and I snuck off on a little getaway with our dear friends Brian and Lindsay. We met halfway between our two homes, in Asheville, N.C., where we spent the day at the Biltmore Estate. It is a magical place. In my pregnant state, I loved getting to see the room where Edith Vanderbilt gave birth to her daughter Cornelia, and where Cornelia later birthed her own two sons. Wouldn't it be incredible to be able to stand in the very place you entered the world, preserved exactly as it looked then?

Photography isn't allowed inside the house, but we spent some time walking around the grounds, which were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. From Seattle's Volunteer Park, to Durham's Duke Gardens, to Atlanta's Linear Park, Olmstead's parks have strung the cities of my life together. I'm guessing a lot of people can say the same. The whole trip, though just a little over 24 hours long, was restoring.

We returned home with gifts of old-fashioned candy and Biltmore grape juice for the kids, who had had their own adventures next door. I've decided that I'm definitely a short, but frequent person when it comes to getaways. No more weeklong trips every two years- I'll take handful of stress-free overnights anytime.


Last night both boys had a birthday party to attend, so Eric, Marley and I seized the opportunity to go eat some meat without our two little vegetarians in tow. We headed to one of Atlanta's most famous places to eat: The Varsity.

When you walk in, you're confronted by a counter-full of impatient cashiers shouting "what'll ya have, what'll ya have!?" right in your face. Apparently that's the draw...I'm not sure why, but we had fun just being out together as a threesome.

Marley and I shared the double hot dog and fries meal, and Eric had the chilidog/ chiliburger combo with a side of onion rings. Then I remembered that I had once promised myself I would never again eat a hotdog while pregnant. Thank goodness for Tums...

After dinner we took Marley to Kohl's to buy her some much-needed new shoes. We scored the CUTEST little boots ever for 12$, thanks to my procrastination and Marley's willingness to wear sandals and flip-flops through half the winter. To top it all off, as we were paying for the shoes, I spotted a maternity store and "quickly ducked in" to look for some tops. Thirty minutes later, I emerged to find my very patient husband asleep on a bench with Marley running circles around him. I really do like him :).

We picked up the boys and everyone rushed to bed, so that Eric, little Eric and I could be well-rested for our "Sole-mates" race this morning. It was a 5K where, in honor of Valentine's Day, you could combine times and ages with your spouse. Eric and I had a combined age of 62 and a time of about 46 minutes, 28 of which were mine (and the baby's).

Little Eric AMAZED us with his speed! I reassured him at the start that I would be waiting for him at the finish line...but he was waiting for me! After I managed to catch up to him at the 1-mile marker, we ran together for most of the race, until he surged ahead at the end for a time of 27:27. He shaved FIVE minutes off his PR (the one other 5K he's ever raced), back in the fall. All in his Vibram 5 finger shoes- adorable:).


Dear Patty,

It's been years, but I thought of you yesterday. I know you've long since moved on from being camp nurse to 100 girls in the Virginia mountains, and heaven knows I'm not the skinny, bug-bitten ten-year-old you comforted during her first summer away from home.

But yesterday was one of those days- and I remembered the Sunday afternoon of parents weekend that first summer. I was so sad to have to say goodbye to my family for another three weeks. My counselor noticed something wasn't right and asked me if I was feeling okay. I silently shook my head and the tears spilled out.

I lied and said that my stomach hurt, so she sent me off to the infirmary, where you gave me a hug and a spoonful of Pepto-Bismol and let me take a nap on one of the red bunkbeds. When I woke up I felt better and went back to my cabin and friends. At the end of the summer, of course, I cried when it was time to go home.

Let's just say that yesterday, my stomach hurt. And oh how I longed for a nap and a hug (I'll pass on the Pepto this time) to make it all go away. But the memory was almost as good.