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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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

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Every time I go, I feel so fortunate to be able to practice in such a lovely space πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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Jack’s Birthday Weekend!

WOW, it’s been a wild week! I can’t believe I haven’t been on here to write about Jack’s Third Birthday! We had a party for him last Saturday, two days before his actual birthday. What a blast we had- between spending time with all of our friends, enjoying the day, and stuffing ourselves with delicious food, it was just perfect.

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It rained in the days leading up to the party, as well as the days following, but somehow Saturday was gorgeous and rain-free. Patty came the night before to assist with the cooking, and thank god she did- I really needed the help! We made A LOT of food:

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I was told that the food was outstanding, which was exciting to hear, since it was not only entirely vegan, but also organic and gluten free- even the cake! I wanted to showcase delicious, healthy food- the food that the kids and I eat every day- without sacrificing flavor or scaring people with strange and unfamiliar ingredients. I believe it was a success!

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We employed my brother to hold the pinata while the kids (and some adults) busted it open!

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Jack loved having all of his favorite people together in one place πŸ™‚

After the kids went to bed, some of the adults hung around and boozed it up in the backyard. We got a bonfire going, along with a few games of cornhole, followed by guitars, singing, and hat poetry. A great end to the night!

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Jack was out of his head, between all of the people and the presents, the food and fun, it was almost too much for him. I kept imagining how much fun it will be to one day host the kids’ birthday parties in our own home- which isn’t too terribly far in the future!

Abby and Eli came to stay for the party, and ended up hanging out for most of the rest of the week. I can’t fit all four kids in my car, so in order to get Eli and Abby back to New York, Luis had to stay with Jack and Cal. The only day that ended up working out for everyone was Thursday, so they ended up spending the week with us.

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Unfortunately, it rained the ENTIRE time they were here, which meant we were stuck inside. I somehow managed to survive a five-day four-child madness marathon by building them forts and letting them sit inside and finger paint.

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My cousin Lisa had come to visit from Connecticut for Jack’s party, and we managed to get all of the kids over to visit our grandmother:

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It was a big group- eight children! So fun πŸ™‚

Jack and Abby were my assistants, accompanying me on most of my errands while Cal and Eli got some Papi time. We managed to catch a few dry hours- long enough to get over to Milk House.

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We also went blueberry picking at Solebury Orchards! I was determined to get Abby out there during her visit- she LOVED the blueberries I bought at the Saturday market, and she hadn’t ever been to a farm/orchard before. I initially thought we’d just go up and pick up a few pre-picked containers, but it was so beautiful outside, it felt like a crime not to take advantage of the weather. Also, pick-your-own was so much cheaper than the pre-picked- we got three overflowing quart containers for $10 (which would have been $18 otherwise), plus extra snackage while we were picking. Exercise AND a savings? Win!

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They loved it- we picked three quarts, and I sent one of them home to New York with Abby. We ate another quart, and froze the last one. Jack, Cal and I will be returning on Thursday to replenish πŸ™‚

Monday was Jack’s actual birthday, and although we had a party for him two days before, I still wanted to do a little something to acknowledge his day. He’ll only ever turn three once! My Mum, Emily and I took him to Starbucks for a hot chocolate πŸ™‚

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I also managed to bake a dozen cupcakes, and Emily iced them. We did a little cake-and-candle celebration after dinner πŸ™‚

 

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Happy Birthday to my favorite little boy! πŸ™‚

I won’t go on too much about what we’ve been up to this past week- there’s just too much to say, so I’ll save it for tomorrow, but I do want to note that Jack ran his first race on Saturday morning!

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I had registered for the Run Over Cancer 5k to support research for pancreatic cancer, and they were offering a kids’ 1/4 mile fun run prior to the 5k, so I signed Jack up! It was AWESOME, I can not even tell you. Jack wasn’t 100% sure what he was doing there at first, but he seemed to get the general idea as we stood near the starting line. He was also really excited that we both had racing bibs on πŸ™‚ As we waited for his race to begin, I told him he was going to run all the way around the track, and he got excited and tried to take off immediately. Whoops.

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Carolyn wanted to run too πŸ™‚ Next year!

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Waiting for the start….

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…GO!

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I snapped a few photos as they took off, and then jogged across the field to meet him on the second turn. He was one of the littlest runners, so he was way in the back of the pack and I knew he might not be able to run the entire loop.

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He blew me away, and ran the entire thing while I jogged next to him on the grass. Toward the end he reached out his hand and shouted, “hold my hand, Mama!,” and we ran the rest of the way and crossed the finish line together.

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My heart πŸ™‚

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I can’t describe how it felt to watch Jack enjoying a sport I have come to love so deeply. I want to encourage him and Carolyn to pursue whatever truly fulfills them, and if the things I cherish and value most don’t fulfill them the way they do for me, then I will respect and understand that. However, it just stopped my heart to see my little guy with a racing bib on, smiling and rounding the final curve of the track. I am so, so proud of him πŸ™‚

The 5k was just a few minutes after the kids’ race, but the temperature was already climbing into the high eighties. It was absolutely brutal- I struggled through the entire race, between the heat and a blister that formed on my heel during the first half-mile, I was absolutely dragging. Fortunately, I had a wonderful cheering squad to keep my spirits up!

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Seriously though, this blister. It is way too gross to post here, but I’ll tell you it covers the entire back of my left heel and is the color of a red delicious apple. It also hurts like hell. I want to tell you that I am sidelined for the week, but I got impatient and cranked out a quick mile today. Pain beyond pain, but it needed to happen- I am so excited for the half marathon in the Fall, the last thing I want is to have to walk part of it because of poor training.

We have, of course, had a busy end-of-week and weekend, and I am looking forward to sharing pictures and stories with you guys tomorrow. Also, some pictures from last week’s CSA share, and a rundown on my brand new yoga mat. Namaste!