Friday Fun.

It is 10:57 on a Friday night, and I am sitting at home watching Kitchen Nightmares and eating my way through an enormous bowl of steamed edamame (u-pick from the CSA!). Toss in a mug of jasmine green tea, and this lady’s got herself a rockin’ Friday evening! Seriously though, I begged off every invitation for drinks, dinners, coffees and walks. I’m still in recovery from last night…

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Dear god. Hilarious. I. love. my. friends.

It was a lazy week for us. I’ve been studying my heart out for the GRE- hello, PowerPrep and all things Kaplan! It’s really difficult for me to study at home- way too distracting- so I’ve been leaving at night and going downtown. It’s actually been very pleasant, and I’m able to get my evening yoga in right beforehand. Win!

Tuesday was supposed to be my big study day, but I ended up taking a much-needed break from Newtown and making the impulsive decision to drive down to Wildwood and spend the day at the beach!

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So, so good, I can’t even tell you. It just felt better to get out of town for a day. I needed it desperately, and the kids LOVED going on an adventure together. We got to Wildwood, and ended up passing the boardwalk on our way to my friend’s hotel. Jack spotted the roller coasters, and for the rest of the day all I heard about was the rides and how much he wanted to go on them. It was adorable :)

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They were both really into the whole beach scene. They were (justifiably) afraid of the water, although they did brave it a few times with the adults.

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We had fun sitting in the shallowest part of the shore and letting the waves roll over our legs. Mostly, though, they were loving the sand :)

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We left the beach around 5(ish?) and went back to the hotel to dip in the pool, followed by showers for everyone, and dinner at an Irish pub. They had the most amazing french fries- giant potato wedges baked to perfection! Also, a grilled veggie wrap and homemade potato crisps. I swapped the mayo for some herbed vinaigrette, and it totally rocked my world. All throughout dinner, Jack talked about the rides at the boardwalk, and even though it was getting late, I knew I couldn’t in good conscience drive him home without letting him on a few rides. It killed me, how much they meant to him!

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One of the sweetest parts of being a mother, at least for me, is seeing how much the simple things mean to Jack and Cal. Their desires are so pared down right now, and even a few spins in a motorized tractor is enough to make Jack’s whole day. The purity of their wants is so, so sweet.

Carolyn was too little to ride most of the rides, so she sat out, although not happily.

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I felt terrible about it- I know she wants to do what Jack is doing, and it was sad to have to hold her and watch her watching Jack. We did get her on the carousel, though!

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Next year will be her year :)

It was a really quiet ride home. We didn’t pull into the driveway until about 1, but it was worth it to spend the day soaking up sun and sand and waves.

Wednesday I ran around trying to get a few errands off of my to-do list. First up: tires for the Murano! Mine were in really bad shape, and I had been putting it off. I took Jack with me, and Carolyn stayed home with Luis. In hindsight, I think next time I’d leave them both at home…

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It was a challenge trying to keep Jack from ripping apart the waiting room. Imp. We ended up leaving with my Mum and grabbing some lunch during a break in her day, which was timed perfectly with my tire work. I picked up the car, zipped home, popped the kids into their beds for naps, and ran over to the CSA to do my u-pick for the week.

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Check out all that gorgeous garlic!

It was really peaceful being out in the field by myself and picking at my leisure. Wednesday u-pick is definitely the way to go.

On my way home, I stopped to pick up a new tire for my bike. My rear tire stopped holding air and was really worn out. I hadn’t been able to ride my bike for weeks, and I was over it.

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Thursday was so dreary here, so we kept it low-key and fun. Scones with Grammy in the morning…

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…followed by CSA pickup, but just from the barn. Hallelujah, because it was so rainy, it would have been miserable in the fields. One of the girls working in the barn gave the kids each a garlic frond, so they had fun splashing in all the puddles and “sweeping” up the water.

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I gave it my best shot with Carolyn’s hat, but she chucked it into a puddle and it got soaked, so that was that.

The CSA for this week:

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Kabocha squash (KABOCHA SQUASH!), new garlic, 2 heads of lettuce, 1 celery, 1 bunch scallions, 4 hot peppers (1 jalepeno, 2 long hots and 1 cherry), 2 pounds of bell peppers, oodles of summer squash (all different varieties), new onions, a gajillion tomatoes (heirloom and regular), and new potatoes.

U-pick:

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Tomatillos, cilantro, edamame, basil, purple basil, chives, cherry tomatoes, husk cherries, and parsley.

This week’s share is disappearing very quickly. I made two huge jars of fresh sauce using most of the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and onions. I also steamed the edamame and ate it straight out of the pods, in addition to adding it to a quinoa-black bean-cumin salad. Yum!

I biked to yoga last night, and followed it with a night out with some friends, which turned into an epic event. It was great- I keep looking at the pictures and feeling so glad that I have such fun and wonderful people in my life :)

Which brings us to…today. Technically, yesterday- it’s 12:37. Today was so lovely, after yesterday’s rain, I knew I wanted to get the kids out and moving. We went over to Milk House to pick up a few items and hang out with the chickens.

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Also, a massive watermelon:

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Followed by a trip to Barnes and Noble for a book they didn’t have in stock. Bummer! But we caught story hour, so it wasn’t a total waste.

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After the kids listened to the story (read: played with the trains), we parked on State Street and walked.

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They held hands the entire time. It was priceless! Someone actually pulled over on the street and leaned out of their window to tell me how cute the kids were! :)

Jack loves the Book and Record Exchange (who DOESN’T?!), so we stopped in to say hi.

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I ended up finding a beautiful copy of David Copperfield. Woohoo! It boasts one of my favorite opening lines ever.

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Swoon.

The kids were pretty awesome, so I figured a playground trip had been earned.

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Followed by naps, and a nondescript second half of the day. I rank a lot of tea in an effort to recover myself from the night before, and by the time Luis got home, I was ready to take a few minutes for myself. I loaded up my yoga bag and hopped on my bike- for three miles, over to the Garden of Reflection.

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It was wonderful- yoga, watermelon, husk cherries, meditation, and the spring issue of Chickpea. I loved the ride over, too- the back roads take you past some gorgeous farms. I kept stopping to snap pictures, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was, and how special I felt for getting to experience it.

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I actually really enjoy driving, and when I’m upset or stressed, that’s usually what I go to- I’ll drive the back roads near my house until my gas light comes on, just listening to music and thinking. However, nothing compares to being on my bike, and it has the added bonuses of being a great form of exercise, and also providing me with an openness and a connection that I think a car doesn’t afford. I ended up logging about 12 miles total, just from going to the garden and back and biking a few loops around town. I even stopped to stretch in front of Isaac’s, but I resisted the urge to go in, and instead came home to brew jasmine tea. Which brings me to now, as my eyes begin to itch from fatigue and a post-ride stiffness creeps up my calves. Time for bed- we’ve got another busy weekend ahead, including a trip in to New York on Sunday, and this momma needs her sleep!

Catching Up.

Shoot, I am SO far behind on life! I didn’t even post my CSA share last week. I was inexplicably depressed all week long- despairing, laying-in-bed, up-all-night, not-eating depressed. At first I figured I was just a little low, but after a third day of picking my food over and being very much inside my head, I knew something was up. The surest way to gauge my mental state is to watch what I’m eating, and how much. It’s a great way for me to keep track of how I’m feeling psychologically, as well as an entryway into the exploration of my relationship with food. I popped in to see a naturopath, who hooked me up with some camu powder and maca, and talked to me a little bit about what behaviors might help to get out of my funk. Easy: friends, more yoga, meditation, running, writing, something school-associated, and lots of time spent outside. I took the kids to parks, rolled out my yoga mat at sunrise and sunset, meditated for thirty minutes a day, and contacted my closest friends for quality time. I have a tendency toward depression- I think most people do- but if I don’t find a way to come out of it, it can screw me up for months. However, as the years have gone on and I delve deeper and deeper into those things I love the most- the interests I cultivate so passionately- I have found my depressive states to be less frequent. I try to maintain a positive focus, and find enjoyment in everything that I do.

So here I am, catching up after two strange weeks. Last I checked in, I believe I was still washing color out of my hair…

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After so much time away, I figured I’d share some pictures of what we’ve been doing these past two weeks :) First: last week’s CSA share:

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Clockwise from top left: cherry tomatoes, 2 heads of lettuce, new potatoes, cucumbers, 2 fennel bulbs, 2 eggplant, a bunch of scallions, spring garlic, green peppers, green cabbage, an heirloom tomato, and lots of summer squash. Also:

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The U-pick for that week: basil, lemon balm, nettle, chives, sage, dill, tomatillos, more cherry tomatoes, and yellow wax beans!

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And flowers, of course :)

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I honestly don’t even remember how I used most of my share. My guess is either raw in salads or roasted. I wasn’t really eating, but I do remember roasting the potatoes with some sunflower seed oil and salt, which tasted pretty good to me. We also made baba ganoush from the eggplant, which the kids loved. Jack and Carolyn are such rock stars, and will eat just about any veggie. Jack even eats salad, and Carolyn has just discovered that she loves tomatoes!

I made a discovery of my own over the past few weeks: I can’t take the kids with me to u-pick anymore. Womp womp. They’re just…too active, and too busy for me to try to get my share picked.

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It’s a shame, because I really enjoy bringing them, and they enjoy going and learning about the different veggies. However, when I’m alone with the two of them, I end up spending all of my time either chasing them through the fields so they don’t pull up any plants, or trying to keep them within sight so they don’t pick from plants that aren’t ripe. On Wednesday I may try to go with just Jack, although last Saturday I went alone and loved the peace.

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For now, we’re going to stick to picking from our own little garden, which is really beginning to flourish!

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I had intended to take pictures of our garden harvest each week, but we’ve been using all of it so quickly that it’s difficult to separate ours from what we receive from the CSA. Right now it’s all tomatoes- both cherry and roma- but the eggplant are looking great, and should be ready in a few short weeks!

Like I said, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. I love to be outdoors, and it gives the kids space to run around and let off some of that wonderful toddler energy.

Tyler Park:

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Solebury Orchards (to pick blueberries):

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The farmer’s market:

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Peaceable Kingdom Playground/Park:

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Every Friday night they have movies in the park, so that’s what the screen in for :)

The Playground at Tyler Park:

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Jack’s new trick: climbing. EVERYTHING.

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I have been trying to get them out as much as I possibly can. They’ve both been presenting some challenges lately- defiant, picking at one another, misbehaving…I know it’s just another phase, but it’s leaving me pretty worn out. Getting them out of the house gives them something to focus on besides each other (or me).

A friend of mine invited us to meet her at the Children’s Museum in New Hope, which was a huge success:

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It’s difficult to put into words how ingenious this place is. There is everything and anything a child could want- a kitchen set, a mail room, a “grocery store,” a jungle gym, an “archaeological dig site,” a racetrack, a car parts station where you build your own race cars, lighted floor games, I could go on and on. The best part? The entire place is designed for kids, so I felt pretty comfortable letting Jack and Carolyn roam around and explore without chasing them down to make sure they weren’t breaking or destroying anything. It was brilliant, and I can’t wait to go back.

My Mum and I also took them to the Fallsington Library for story hour, crafts, and some playground time on Friday:

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Neither one of them sat through the story, and we spent most of the hour following them around the library and keeping them off of the bookshelves. I did manage to find this guy for a quarter on the used book shelf, though!

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Finally, we’ve been spending a good deal of time at the Garden of Reflection:

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I’ve actually been coming here a lot on evenings I don’t have yoga, and practicing next to the fountain as the sun sets. It is unimaginably peaceful.

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I was a little wary of setting up right next to the fountain, since the park stays pretty busy even at night, and practicing yoga alone in front of a bunch of unsuspecting strangers makes me a little nervous, but I ended up getting tons of comments about what a GREAT idea it was, and last time I went I had two other people show up and join me. Awesome :)

I practice twice a day, every day, but most of the time it’s with the kids crawling over and around me, and toy cars rolling under my hands and feet. I’ve been making a point of leaving each evening when Luis gets home and practicing outside, either in the backyard or at a local park.

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Getting down with some Krishna Das :)

It’s made a huge difference in my ability to manage my stress. Of course, Thursdays and Sundays, I’m all about the studio :)

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Every time I go, I feel so fortunate to be able to practice in such a lovely space :) We have a great regular group, and it’s such wonderful energy from start to finish and beyond.

I’m trying to stay on top of the stress-management stuff. I know it’s normal to be under stress, that it helps keep us moving and motivated, but too much can be paralyzing and overwhelming. As I bring to the front of my mind all of the challenges and tasks that I am currently juggling, it doesn’t seem so bad- it’s all just a part of my life, a part of me. However, actually staying on top of everything can be really tough. Oftentimes, I feel like there just isn’t enough of me to cover all the bases. Enter: yoga. Running. Meditation. Time spent with my friends. Tea!

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Tea has been huge for me. I ditched coffee- it just wasn’t doing anything for me, other than giving me headaches and a mid-day crash. I switched to green tea, with an occasional cup of Yerba Mate, and I feel so much better. The RoT Double Green is my absolute favorite :)

I’ve also been keeping my mala close at hand. It helps to have something to focus my mind on when I feel it’s getting away from me.

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I suppose I should mention that I registered for my GRE tests- both the regular and the English Subject Test. My applications for MFA/PhD programs are due by December 15th, and I’ll know in the spring where I’m headed for the last leg of my education. It’s been very surreal- I can’t believe that it’s finally happening. I passed Bucks the other day, and the realization crashed over my head that not only am I not a student there anymore, but I’m finished at Bucks, with all of my credits transferred out and my record sent off to Temple. It seems strange, after all this time, that I would have even gotten here. I think my mind needs some time to catch up to what’s really going on in my life, because lately I’ve just been sitting in disbelief while this whole other part of me soldiers forward, ordering study guides and writing my Statement of Purpose. It’s unreal.

In other news, I read at the New Hope Poetry Festival over the weekend!

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It took lots of encouragement from Greg and Eileen and several glasses of wine, but I did it, with two poems! Terrifying.

I managedto snap a few photos of the latest CSA share, from last week:

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L to R: celery, cucumbers, sweet peppers, long hots, scallions, 2 heads of lettuce, green beans, husk cherries (!!!!!!), summer squash, new potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, new garlic, new onions.

I am loving all of these uncured veggies- potatoes, garlic, and onions. They’re so delicate and fresh tasting!

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I’m back to eating, so I’ve been enjoying this week’s share to the fullest, trying to get a nice variety of foods in to make up for the past two weeks. We got a huge load of different tomato varieties this week, and with some supplementing from my plants I was able to produce a huge batch of gazpacho and a jar of fresh sauce:

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Both of these were made entirely from my CSA share and garden- no extra trips to the grocery store, just pure, local food :) I’ve also been rocking out the buffalo tempeh:

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I’m so into it, and it needs to stop. I served it over salad with the PPK’s ranch dressing, but I’m not even going to try like it was healthy. The sauce/dressings are such a killer. I suppose it could be worse, though!

That….is a very sparse and glossed-over summary of our time, but any more pictures and I’m afraid this post will explode. Photo. Overload. This week is looking pretty busy, with a possible beach trip and LOTS of studying (8 hours on Wednesday- ACK). At least it gives me an excuse to catch some sunsets at the park :)

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