More to learn than cooking

As usual I am several months (most of the time years) behind on something that has been "in" or popular - at least among some people. Mike and I finally watched Julie and Julia the other night. And I loved it. And there was a lot that I loved about it. The cooking, of course, but it was more than the cooking - it was the love of food and creating and experimenting - not being afraid of new things, of risk, of failure. I loved the characters in the movie, but especially Julia and her husband, Paul. Isn't it too bad that the modern day couple lacked so much of the depth and maturity (my opinion)? Granted, Julia had about 7 years on Julie, but my guess is even at 30 Julia Child would have had a lot on Julie. For Julie the cooking was all about her. Heck, life was all about her. Read her blog, that is unfortunately still the case. But Julia's passion was for all of life, she cooked for herself, for the love and appreciation of food, for her husband, for her friends. She had less to prove (because her life was less about her and more about others) and so she enjoyed life more. Or seemed too. Granted, her passion was indeed life itself - nothing bigger, no Creator of life, no life after this life. But I found it inspiring still.

But what I have been more intrigued by is the relationship between Julia and Paul. I have been unofficially polling people lately (mother's at the play ground, deli owner, friends, neighbors) regarding what they think makes a "successful" marriage. And what are the primary difficulties of marriage. I am finding that the answers are not necessarily supporting the historically reported statistics (i.e. that in-laws, money, and sex are the top struggles couples face) I had always heard that Julia and Paul had a good marriage - don't know where I heard it...or when I earned the right to call them by their first names - but I had heard it. And it is true. Even as I am reading My Life in France right now, I am intrigued by the maturity and us-ness in their marriage. And honestly - the happiness and fun. They married shortly after World War II and spent 5 or so of their earliest years of marriage in France - war torn, bombed out France - and yet, as Julia describes it, you would think it was Eden.

Clearly they made choices to enjoy life, but she never talks about that in the book. You just read of them doing it - enjoying life. There isn't the angst and striving of my generation who thinks and rethinks and analyzes everything. But they also enjoy each other. Genuinely. When they married, Paul knew far more about food than Julia. But as her love and interest (and talent) grew, so did his support and cheer leading. He was never threatened by her surpassing him. He did not fear her excellence because it meant he was all the better for her being better. (I have a husband like this, by the way. Although I've never really tried hard at golf...I wonder what would happen if I surpassed him in that?...and pigs started flying?)

There is so much more I have observed, but I've already written more than most of you have time (and probably interest) to read anyway. But I would like to post more as I finish the book. Marriage is hard. Let me say it again Marriage Is Hard. But sometimes I wonder if we don't make it harder than it needs to be. Just a thought.

What it takes to make... argument.

What it takes to make...

...a plie.

If you dare, imagine yours truly in that little ensemble at about the same age - minus the snowman socks...I had much better fashion sense.

New favorite place

It seems to be becoming a tradition that Niki visits every May (Two years makes a tradition, right? And makes it reasonable for me to expect you to return next May, right?) This year her sister Tasha came too and even though we gave them our cold, I think they had a good time.One day we went to the Cabrillo National Monument park. It is at the end of a peninsula and...well, I'll have to tell you more about it later because I didn't even look at the monument while we were there. We spent most of our time down at the water in this great little cove that I am hoping to visit as often as we can. Above: O-diddy snacking on sandwich.
It's too bad that you can't tell from this picture all the different colors in those rocks. That was my favorite part I think. That and the fact that the kids could have probably played for hours - throwing rocks, finding shells...


When the tide comes in, this whole area is covered - so at low tide you can find tons of little creatures.
Realized recently that our friend and neighbor, Sarah was actually a camper at Camp Westminster while Niki and I were counselors. She had pictures to prove it - those were really unnecessary. Every time I look back at old pictures I see how truly long my awkward stage really lasted...I think maybe an entire decade. I may actually still be in it...
Who loves Aunt Niki?

Each a year older

Ran across this picture from this time last year. These boys are all within months/weeks of each. Now they all have baby brothers or a baby sister on the way. Wish we were still close by to grow up with them.

The cheesy side

A side not everyone gets to see of Mr. McBride.Seaport Village carousel - for a full jar of beans!!

Just give up!

That's not exactly what I mean, but sort of. Not long after Olivia was born and I was constantly obsessing about when she ought to be doing this or that...or trying to get her to do that when she is doing this, I had the "no duh" moment to to just quit. Not quit being a parent or quit caring or quit trying to figure things out. But, just quit and start over. There is no shame is starting over - especially if what you are doing ISN'T WORKING!

I'm not sure what of this is personality for me or what is the message out there that you can figure everything out or be perfect or whatever. I don't like giving up, especially if I think what I am doing is right. But is the battle worth it? If she doesn't want to go to sleep, is it worth it to spend 2 hours forcing her to? "Trust me, you need to go to sleep." Maybe she does, but if she can't or won't... "But the book says you are supposed to sleep now." Did God write that book?

I had afternoons when I worked myself into an absolute tizzy trying to make something happen. And I had afternoons that I actually enjoyed because I just said, "What the heck. Why make us both miserable. Just try something else."

This dynamic still takes place in our home. Just this morning, it was too early for lunch but they were begging to eat. I kept sending them away to play together (because I had things to do), but they kept coming back fussing (despite the sign). I could feel myself getting angrier. At one point I sent them both to their room for something and as I am standing in the kitchen with my blood pressure raising because they are both back there crying I said to myself, "Self, who cares!? Feed the durn kids their lunch! Change the plan. It will not kill you to change the plan. And it doesn't matter, really, if you don't get your stuff done."

This does not mean my life revolves around the felt needs of my children. It means I am becoming smart enough to realize that my way is not alway necessary or even best. That it is no big deal, most of the time, to just give up and start over.

This applies, in my life, to so much more than parenting. Sunday morning Mike and I got in a fight because I unloaded on him about something. So we go into this back and forth thing that was getting no where because really I was just wanting to fight and he was just trying to figure out what the heck had just happened. Now, about three years ago that fight would have lasted all day - me trying to prove my point and him doing the same because I would have pushed him to it. But, in God's mercy, it ended quickly because I realized I just needed to give up. It wasn't worth the battle. If I had a point I thought was worth proving, start over. It will save us all a lot of headache.

Officially 3, no more free

This is a big birthday for Joseph - we can't get him in free to the zoo or the Padres games anymore. While it was a sad day (only partially) for us, it was a great day for him!You should see this kid hit a golf ball. He got indoor (thanks, Avery) and outdoor (thanks consignment sale) clubs this year and the only time the clubs are put away is when he hits his sister with them. Including the ones his Grandpa made for him, he now has a driver, putter, and chipper (though I have been corrected I think to call it a 7 iron, I don't remember).

The crown (in theory) has "Joseph" stitched on the other side.
Right before he hits her with the driver...

Full family effort

She will never know any different - our house full of people most of the time. Most of the time it is just one friend or a family, sometimes the house or yard is full. She thrives on it. She goes to sleep each night asking "What are we doing tomorrow?" - which I have learned really means, "Who are we going to see?" I am so thankful. Here she is putting together our invitations for our block bbq this Saturday...and with Baby in her sling no less! Nice to know she can multi-task - We'll need a lot of help once Margaret gets here. We're hoping she's good at set up and tear down of a sound system for the church plant.

Happiness is...

Thanks to Mimi and Scrapaw and Great Tootsie, we took Joseph to a Padres game for his birthday last weekend. This kid loves baseball. He asks anyone who is here to play with him. He carries balls around. He practices throwing even if he doesn't have a ball in his hand. It is so much fun to do things for you kids that you know makes them so happy.We went early for batting practice and one of the pitchers shagging balls in the outfield tossed a ball up to Joseph. There's the ball...and the pitcher, Crawford. Sorry to say I don't know much about him.
We've told you about all the perks the Padres stadium has. Here is one - a miniature baseball diamond. Unfortunately this picture was taken mid-whiff - typically he is pretty good.
If he knew any better, he might have felt bad to be shown up by his sister in a long gypsy skirt and winter sweater. As it was, and usually is, he was just happy to be there.

Head tucked, elbows up.

Keeping stats.
Looking old.
Justin and Minna.
It was a great way to start off the weekend.

Happy May Day

Let us take our baskets early
To the meadows green,
While the wild flowers still are pearly
With the dewdrops sheen.

Fill them full of blossoms rosy,
Violets and gay
Cowslips, every pretty posy
Welcoming the May.

Then our lovely loads we'll carry
Down the village street,
On each door, with laughter merry,
Hang a basket sweet.

Definitely a new tradition in our home. Our neighbors loved them and the kids loved the excitement of ringing the doorbells and running. A lovely way for Joseph to give on his own birthday too!