Weekending 34

This weekend felt like 3 in the best way possible. There was all the usual stuff, complete with getting things back on track from my time away, plus extra fun Birthday celebrations, cuddling a newborn and dropping off chili and cornbread for my recently un-pregnant friend Maggie, a solo pedicure where I sat quietly for an hour (reading two magazines! HEAVEN!), and a lot of park time.

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Gabe was out sorts this weekend, refusing food, being extra grumpy and sleepy, just difficult overall. He even spiked a random fever on Saturday afternoon. Toddlers are mysteries. We only made it through half the dance class because Gabe was tired and squirrely and kept walking away from the group to go it alone. We did get some unprecedented participation, but he clearly wasn’t 100% feeling it so we went and had pizza instead.

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Saturday evening my friends surprised me with tickets to the restaurant (Hit It Here Cafe) in the Mariner’s stadium for a 30th birthday party! The weather was fantastic, the game was great, and the company was even better.

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(You can’t escape being pregnant even at your own party)

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(This photo took 3 strangers and about 7 re-dos before we could get it about right. And even then we’re missing Tricia and Jack who took off early because: KIDS… they ruin everything.)

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(The rocks were icky and he stood on only 1 leg for quite a while)

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(Maternity shorts. I never thought I’d see the day.)

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(Two feet into the park and: HOLD THE PHONE – GRAVEL!)

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(The best way to finish off a weekend – some Little Mermaid.)

Not pictured:

– Newborn snuggles

– Piles of laundry

– Gabe’s 500 meltdowns

Liz saving the day and babysitting on Saturday night.

– My freshly painted pink toes

Weekending 32 – Gabe’s Birthday

This weekend was pretty much Gabe’s Birthday Extravaganza 2.0. All SaturdayI was at my parent’s using my dad’s kitchen, his cake pans, an his extra set of hands to make my balloon inspired cake. Then Sunday it was holy-shit-people-are-coming cleaning palooza! But in the end, we had a house full of people who loved my son, a delicious cake, and balloon hats for everyone!

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Birthday mornings are for epic epic EPIC meltdowns (Who knew?!) and no pants.

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Hi Auntie Maris and Uncle Alex!

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Party ready!

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Balloon fishing!

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Balloon cake!

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Elsa Balloon!

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Weekending 30

Last weekend was BUSY. We were actually DOING STUFF. It was amazing. Friday night Kamel and i went and saw Brandi Carlile from the second row of the Moore Theatre and watched her do a completely acoustic set. It was magical. That was after we skipped out on a restaurant with too long of a wait and snagged the last non-reserved table at a SWANK restaurant in Seattle and had a fancy fancy date night dinner out. It was a great evening.

Saturday there were few photos taken. I ended up sleeping a lot of the afternoon because I have no game and stayed up too late the night before. Until like, 11:00 you guys!

Sunday was spent prepping for our Oscar party! I sweated in the kitchen making 4 kinds of pizzas, our lovely guests brought salad and beverages and flowers and chocolates. They also exhausted our little snot nosed baby by letting him leap on them over and over again. Overall it was an incredibly lovely weekend. What are your highlights?

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Potato/Garlic/Parm Pizza won best pizza this year and took home the golden statue.

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Sometimes capes fuck you over.

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Matching shoes!

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“You can look but not touch.” – Auntie Claire

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Serious boy talk.

Weekend-ing

This weekend was exhausting. I wanted to crash every day at 7pm.

It started with poor Kamel’s root canal kerfluffle, a dentist who couldn’t finish the job and an emergency meeting with a specialist that pulled me out of work early and sent me to a waiting room to entertain Gabe for a few hours. Yikes.

Saturday was swim lessons where Gabe was fully dunked in the water 3 times and did not freak out! And chores, an eye exam, grocery shopping, and target. And oh my god, maybe I am just getting old but holy moses eye dilation? It completely fucked me up. Like ruined me. I was ok while I was at the eye place, but the second I stepped outside my world was rocked. I ended up at home, on the couch, wearing sunglasses with the blinds pulled.

Sunday was the day-o-parks! We took a long walk in the beautiful warm fall day and spent an hour at Cal Anderson Park (for those hip to the area) and wandered the farmer’s market that was not yet quite open. Gabe passed out on the walk back and then slept through a crib transfer, and then slept for few more hours, totaling a 3 hour nap which I had to wake him from because we had plans to visit my parents. At my parent’s we took him to my elementary school to play there, but the play stuff was a little old for him. By the time we left my parent’s house Gabe was a sweaty mess and we were all stuffed to the gills on my dad’s cooking. Weekend complete.

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(Post dunking)

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(Gabe’s butt really does not want to jump in.)

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(Floating on his back is still a bit of a … challenge…)

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(Kathleen came to watch swim lessons!)

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(“Lauren, I don’t know how to get down, I don’t git through the entrance!”)

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(Not interested in waking up.)

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Weekend-ing

Our downstairs neighbors are constantly grilling on their giant patio that is bigger than our living room. My weekends are filled with patio lust as I look down on them from up above, smell their grilling deliciousness, creepily watch them read out on their patio furniture while I am dying of heatstroke and standing naked in front of fans.

This weekend I got to play dress up and go be a grown up with a bunch of ladies on Saturday night for Kathleen’s two-parter birthday extravaganza! I felt like the lamest dressed person there, everyone looked so put together and fabulous, but the conversation was amazing and it was just so lovely to sit at a table without having my brain be halfway listening while the other half is making sure Gabe doesn’t stab his eye out with reachable silverware. Ahh the small things.

Then I also got to mom it up at the aquarium with my parents on Sunday, so it was the best of both worlds. We finally got an umbrella stroller from babiesRus (so cheap! so amazing!) and we were rocking it. Gabe looked exceptionally cute sitting in his little stroller, knees together, in his elmo overalls. Be still my baby making heart.

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(Lady’s dinner included the littlest of ladies)

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(This one’s for Maris! She loved her weekend at Willows! My best sisters -1)

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(Happy Birthday to you…)

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(Aquarium time!)

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(Agua! Agua!)

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(Grandpa was a baby hog, it’s true.)

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(You can’t NOT get donuts down at Pike Place)

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(The best way to end a Sunday out and about)

Where did your weekend take you?

Happy 30th Birthday Kathleen!

It’s a rare thing to know someone for their 18th, their 21st, and their 30th. We have always been there for each other’s life events. You are my best friend, my son’s godmother, and my family. I love you, Kathleen! Happy 30th! Here is to another 30 and another 30 after that.

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(Prom! 2003)

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(2005)

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(April 2006 – My 21st Birthday)

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(At Maris’s 21st – May 2006)

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(Girl’s Chistmas 2007)

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(Thanksgiving 2008)

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(My Grad School Graduation, 2009)

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(My Bachelorette Party 2011)

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(Kathleen’s Wedding December 2012)

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(July 2014!)

Truth & Beauty: A Review

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This is the perfect photo for this book. I always read Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett on lunch breaks, but what I really wanted to do was sit on a porch somewhere, with a glass of wine, on a lazy summer afternoon and think and cry and laugh and ponder. This book is crazy amounts of beautiful and as a writer (Are you a writer? You need to pick up this book.) it especially touched me deep down in my feels. As someone with best friends, it totally spoke to me and made me think about our friendship and, honestly, made me think about how I would write the memoir of our friendship, how I would paint each of them.

This book is incredibly intimate. I’m so excited to find out what other people thought.

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This is Carrie (also known as cransell in comments!), I have known her via the internets since 2010ish and have very much enjoyed getting to know her. She is one of the kindest and wisest people I’ve ever experienced. Whenever she comments here I am thrilled to see what she has to say. One day I will meet her and hug her until it gets awkward. She writes at Somewhat Bookish where you can go and see more photos of her adorable kiddo and read about her making her own ice cream (you live a charmeed life Carrie!!). [Edit: It is ALSO Carrie’s birthday today too!! Birthday TWINS, doing the same book review ON THEIR BIRTHDAY!]

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This is Kathleen! Who is also one of my best friends AND who is turning 30 today! Happy Birthday Kathleen!! We had many, many classes together senior year of high school and she always read all of the books in AP American Lit faster than I did. We would sometimes read during lunch and she was always a hundred pages ahead of me no matter how much I tried to speed read. She reads more than anyone I know (well… Maris is probably neck and neck) and always inspires me to keep reading, even when I am tired, even when I am busy. When it comes to books Kathleen has probably read more than anyone who reads this blog. It’s impressive.

Carrie: I was excited when I found out what book I was assigned – I’ve read one book by Ann Patchett (State of Wonder) and really loved it, and I’m generally a fan of memoirs.

Kathleen: Initially I was bummed that this was a nonfiction book.  I don’t usually read nonfiction and therefore I was somewhat hesitant.  However, after looking up the book and realizing that it was by an author whose fiction I enjoyed I was interested and excited to give some nonfiction a try.  After beginning the book I was immediately pulled into the story as well as the characters and forgot about the book being nonfiction or fiction. 

Carrie: Patchett writes beautifully of her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy. We should all be so lucky to have such a loving and supportive friendship in our life.

Lauren: It was so remarkably selfless, wasn’t it Carrie? Like shockingly selfless.

Kathleen: The book follows the lives, and writing careers of the author and one of her best friends.  The book begins when they meet in college and continues throughout their lives.  The life events of the author are the basis for the plot, but the dynamics the women’s friendship, their relationships with others, as well as their own, separate personalities, life events and histories are shared in the writing.  

Carrie: [In response to my question about themes] Friendship, pretty obviously, but also the nature of writing, of fame, of loneliness and need. Patchett’s writing is what sucked me in. I just love to read it. Even if you aren’t familiar with Grealy, it’s clear from the dedication of the book, that she has died, so I was expecting to cry, and read it pretty slowly, but the structure worked well for that. It was easy to read a chapter and then put it down for a few days, without losing my interest in the book. I also really found Patchett’s discussion of her writing process interesting. I’m not a writer, but it was interesting to think about writing as art and writing as your life’s work (and the overlap of that or not).

Kathleen: The author’s best friend is charismatic, and unique.  She is one of the main reasons that the book was so interesting to read.  She is a complex person that greatly impacts and shapes the life of the author during the book.  Wanting to find out what was happening with her, and how her life would progress drew me into the story a lot.  I finished the book within days of beginning it; partly because of the quality of the writing and partly because of the speed of the story and my attachment early on to the people in the story itself.

The theme of friendship is strong in the book as is loyalty.  The author and her friend are tied together through the length of their friendship by the deep loyalty they have for one another as well as a sort of dependency that they have on each other.  There were times in the book that I wished the author would walk away from her friendship but she never choose to do so.

Lauren: The behind the scenes into the world of authors, of writers, of celebrated writers was intoxicating for me. And heart breaking. And was part of the reason why I wrote this blog post. And on top of all of that it also felt like it was telling a certain part of my own story. The experience they had with their MFA was similar to mine in the way it felt. I didn’t go to Iowa and my set up was different (I worked full time, I was in San Francisco, etc) but I have never heard or seen or read anything that even came close to explaining how I feel about what I do, how those years felt to me, etc. And this book came incredibly close.

The friendship, too, was just so real and honest. I have 3 best friends, Kathleen being one of them, and I often find that most people just do not understand how close we are, how they truly are my family, and how without them part of my identity would be lost. I would be wandering. At this point they are tied up into who I am. That doesn’t fit the archetype of what friendship is in the modern world. It doesn’t hold up to what we see on TV. Friendship now seems to be out of convenience, and once the person becomes a burden you kick ’em to the curb to a certain extent. It was really lovely to see an intimate relationship play out that was based in friendship, not rom-com roots.

Carrie: There weren’t any holes for me, it think Patchett really succeeded in telling the story of a friendship (rather than of either of them as individuals).

Kathleen: I found the author very successful in telling the story.  I was immediately drawn into the story and finished it quickly.  I appreciated the length of time that was covered in the story and felt that the author’s decision to start and end the story where she did were good choices.  I was moved by the story and both cried and laughed at different moments.  When books bring me to emote emotions aloud I know that that author is doing their job well!

Carrie: For some reason, I expected that Lucy had died of a recurrence of a cancer, so how she died surprised me. I made an effort not to learn anything more about Lucy Grealy after I started the book, and to instead just let the story unfold.

Kathleen: The book itself did not surprise me, but I was intrigued by the books ability to bring out questions about my own longtime friendships.  I wondered about the strong dependency of the friends on each other, even when one or both of them were otherwise engaged in deep, strong relationships.  I don’t know how much I can say without giving away the intricacies of the friendship described in the book, but I didn’t always feel that the friendship was beneficial for the author, and I then related this to my own life experiences. 

Carrie: I really liked the book and I would totally recommend it. Definitely one of my favorites of the year so far. People who like memoirs or beautiful writing should read this. It’s a very accessible read – not long or dense, so I think a wide range of folks might like it.

Kathleen: I really enjoyed reading this book, and I would recommend this book to others.  As a reader of primarily fiction I felt that this book read much like other books by Ann Patchett. The book didn’t stand out to me as nonfiction, and I liked that about it.  I think that if you like Ann Patchett’s other fiction writing you will like this book and vice versa.  The story line of the book was fast moving, easy to follow and interesting to read.  The characters were vivid and real to the reader and when I had finished reading I was satisfied with all that I read and where the author choose to leave the story.  As a whole this was a worthwhile and enjoyable read!

Lauren: This has easily become my favorite book of the book list so far. Right up there with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Up to this point screw all of the other books, this one blows them out of the water. 

Have you read this book? It was actually suggested in one of the old book list creating posts over a year ago so I thought I would stick it in the list this time, so some of you must have!

What do you think about the modern take on friendships? Do you have any bosom buddies? Tell me about this book, your friends, all of it.

 

Weekend-ing

The rain stopped! The clouds parted! Summer came back to the city! We celebrated my best friend Kathleen’s 30th birthday with part 1 of her festivities on Saturday. Her husband pulled off an incredibly strenuous (my god the running!!!) Amazing Race that had us running and huffing and puffing and frantically googling all over the city. It ended with a very chill and very lovely barbecue at Kathleen’s in-law’s. It was a great day.

At one point, as children were running around and the sought after newborn was being passed about, Kathleen’s sister (hi Lucy!) said, “Can you believe these are our parties now?” Kathleen said, “I love it.” And I feel the same way. The afternoon barbecue with kids running around, collecting kisses and snuggles, someone always preventing someone else from diving headfirst off whichever staircase they wish to throw themselves off of this time, sharing birth stories (ok, maybe that’s just my current favorite past time), mild arguments over the world cup, talking remodels and new kitchen appliances – it all sounds fake to me. It all sounds like something I just imagined would happen as a grown up with small children. And it just makes me even more excited for all of the stuff we have yet to come. (Like when the barbecues can be at my currently fictional, dream-world house.)

Sunday was the zooooo! All while poor Gabe was cutting several molars. Poor booger is a grumpy, slobbery, snotty, nap-skipping disaster. But my god there were animals to see and sunshine to wander in, so away we went to brave the crowds and constantly fight Gabe back into the stroller. Ahh yes, what was I saying about my charmed adult life? We managed some great photos from the zoo, but just to keep it on the up and up I threw in some REAL TALK photos of Kamel fighting the wild cat that is Gabriel who has not slept well the night before and has not napped and wants to kill himself on a large boulder. For every cute photos this weekend there were 5 instances of tears and snot and swatting at faces and time outs and oral gel and a bloody lip and throwing food on the floor. Don’t forget your birth control, ladies and gentlemen.

The weekend was too short. That is the sum of it. How was yours?

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(Boobie Mimosas anyone? Whut?)

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(Do you have cake on your mouth?)

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(Who doesn’t love penguins?)

Weekend-ing

Family Palooza!!! They are the most anticipated and most exhausting weekends ever. Kamel’s family flew in from MIA, my sister-in-law’s wife (Lara!!) cooked dinner at my parents house on friday, there was world cup watching and park going and eating and drinking and at the end a full blown baptism for one baby gabe. It was a weekend palooza of paloozas! The palooziest.

I am both relieved we made it through and sad that it is over.

I am exhausted.

I am filled with absolute JOY that so many people love my s0n, so many people love my little family, and so grateful that we live in a place where we can give my son a village, where we can give ourselves a village.

I am so grateful we have people willing to travel and spend so much money/time just to be involved in our lives.

We are incredibly blessed.

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(Sunscreen application)

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(Panza)

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Beautiful

So a few weeks ago I was sitting in the pedicure chair (as one does, on very lucky “oh please never stop rubbing my feet” days) reading the latest Lena Dunham interview. She is generally very clever and I enjoy how she views her fame and how he chooses to live her life and her art. Although she isn’t one of those famous people who I imagine I could be friends with – I really do like 99.9% of what she says. And this 1 little paragraph jumped out at me as something I have always thought 100x over and never could fully express myself.

When speaking about how she cast “Girls” Lena says,

I wanted us to be beautiful – but the way you have friends who are beautiful and you go, “My friend Meredith just has the most amazing face.” You’re not marveling at her like a movie star, but you’ve fallen in love with her face.

The people we have in our lives are normal, right? We are all the normal people. We’re short or we have a weird eyebrow or greasy hair, or whatever. But! The people who I love, I love them because they are different than me, they are all special snowflakes and I say that because it’s funny but also because it’s TRUE. I say that in the best possible way. Your arms will always look amazing in sleeveless dresses, and your sense of humor blows me away, and you always have the greatest sense of accessories, and I have never met anyone who can read faster than you.

And I love them because they challenge me and I love them because they find something in me that is redeeming and I love them because on and on and on.

And sometimes when we are all together and I can look around the room and see all of the special snowflake-ness I am stunned by how beautiful they are. My girlfriends and I have all talked about this for years – we all know who has the greatest legs or the best stomach or whatever. Not in the Mean Girls way, but in the truly appreciative, loving way. It makes me proud to stand next to them. Not because we are super models, but because I love them and I want to show everyone else all of the great things about them. It is such a happy thing.

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