on resolutions and photos

My big resolution of 2014? Bring a baby boy safely into this world and pray the Lord helps us transition to a family of six with as much grace and patience as possible. Done.

I think I’d feel like an overachiever if I tried to do anything more. Except for a certain trip we’re all taking to Colorado in June. All six of us. I’ll give myself a six month resolution: Don’t freak out about the impending trip for the next six months.

Overachieving aside, I did spend much of the day thinking about photos and cameras. For much of the past year my camera sat on the left stereo speaker. It didn’t see much action, and if you would pick it up there would often be a little Nikon-shaped dust outline. I love having the iPhone camera, but to be honest I haven’t even been taking many photos with it. My 2013 photo repertoire consists mostly of sporadic Instagram shots and many (many) photos of random things my kids make or just bring to me and beg, “Take a picture of this, Mama!!” (case in point – the above photo of Lenna’s lunchbox). I used to say no, but they’ve worn me down and it’s just faster and less painful for all involved to point and shoot. And when I do pull out the camera to capture some cute faces? They won’t. sit. still. So many blurry pictures (case in point – the photo below).

But there is an Asa coming. And a trip to the Rockies. And I miss the photos. I’m finally getting around to printing my blog books from 2012 and 2013. And last year’s Instagram book…and 2011′s 365 photo book. Oh my. It’s a bit of a backlog, yes, but it’s worth it. And prepping and formatting all those pictures into book form just makes me want to take more.

So there will probably be some kind of photo project this year. Perhaps a photo a day? A family photo per week? We’ll see where the next few days and weeks take us.

advent days to christmas

Omar and I gifted each other a trip to Charleston to see friends for the second weekend in advent. Savannah has become a required stop for any trip north of Florida, and this trip just confirmed its status as number 1 pit stop. I came across Fabrika and Omar found Back in the Day Bakery. And Charleston? It’s a blur of good friends, lots of conversation, and lots of restaurants all packed into a mere 36 hours. It should become an advent tradition.

Back home Lenna got to attend her first ladies’ Christmas party. She was thrilled that she got to dress up and stay out late and then stay up even later with her papi telling him all about it.

Christmas pjs might become an advent sewing tradition. Or maybe just the pillowcase.

I think Elisha’s favorite advent activity was a campout by the tree. The boys lasted the whole night. Lenna? Not quite.

And as for Christmas Day? Elisha’s easel dreams came true. Asher is now the proud owner of Ed the betta, and Lenna’s baby swing is beloved.

Advent is now over and today marks the second day of Christmas. Omar went back to work, and for the first time in forever, I was itching to take all the Christmas stuff down. I’m usually a big proponent of celebrating Christmas through Epiphany, but this year? Not feeling it. Getting day-to-day things done is starting to take more effort, and it feels like big trees and decorations are getting in my way. I’ve caught glimpses of my profile (heck, even my shadow) recently and been taken aback a bit. I’m just ready for this little guy to be here, and perhaps cleaning this season’s things away and checking off to-do lists makes me feel like it will happen just a little sooner. What? You didn’t spend the week before Christmas cleaning out closets, getting rid of all unneeded baby clothes, and organizing all your tax documents? I drew the line at removing doors and sanding and painting. Lord willing there will be a squishy 9 month old around next Christmas, and that will definitely distract me from the to-do lists and push me back into a celebratory mood.

to Greenville and back

Well. Greenville, S.C. is just lovely. So lovely that I felt I had to inform Omar about 30 times a day that I, indeed, thought it was lovely. At one overly-excited moment I even shouted out, “It even smells lovely here!”

This makes it the third year that I’ve traveled with Omar for work to our denomination’s meeting and declared that we need to pack it up and move to the host city (Nashville the first year and Louisville last year).

Not really. There is too much holding us here. And we know this is where we need to be, without a doubt. And I don’t know if I could handle a world without ocean and traffic and humid heat.

But rolling green hills and waterfalls through the center of town would be nice.

new york, new york

i know it’s been over a month and a half, but i can’t imagine printing out this year’s blog book and only having a few pictures of some shoes, a doughnut, and a church ceiling from the quick posts i did while i was up there to document our whole trip. so here are some photos, some commentary, and a quick video.

walking off the eggs and grits and doughnuts with my brother on our way to The High Line.

eating pickles and chicken sandwiches and drinking clove and anise infused cocktails (and sneaking sips of my brother’s bloody mary) for lunch at Joseph Leonard in the west village…it is vacation.

doughnuts from Dough in bed-stuy.

Birreria on the tip-top of Eataly. if someone were to ask me how to describe Eataly, i’d have to say that it’s like the Walt Disney World of italian food. 20 dollar per pound sausage! 40 dollar panettone! long lines! and alas, no rides.

the first day we got there was cold and windy and wet and perfect weather for Momofuku ramen and steamed buns.

i was reading edward rutherford’s novel New York while we were there. it’s a historical novel tracing the history of the island of manhattan from the 1600s to present day. one of the oldest structures you can still visit is Trinity Church on wall street. we stepped inside and realized there was choral rehearsal. it seemed very informal and fast-paced. we sat for a bit and listened. we then learned it was a last-minute rehearsal for a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims. bach’s mass in b minor would be performed the next night…for free. so saturday night we headed to the concert. it was absolutely beautiful. here is a clip of the rehearsal:


after the concert we headed to The Flea theater where we were able to see omar’s brother on stage for the first time. a good night.

Liberty fabrics and a rainbow of wool felt at Purl Soho.

and lastly, as we were walking through central park, there was a jazz band playing. as i pulled out my camera to snap a few pictures, guess who walked in front of me – bill cunningham.  if you haven’t seen the documentary on him, it’s a must.

one day. someday. i’d love to live in this beautiful city.

november thirteenth

one day i’m watching ice skaters in the park and listening to choirs sing in old churches and hunting down restaurants in soho. the next day i’m curled up next to a boy of mine who asked for some cuddle time and wanted to know what we did each day, and then the next day i’m standing in the kitchen mixing cookie dough with the littlest one.

it’s good to be back.

loo-uh-vul

omar and i will always think of louisville, ky as the place where i instagramed everything, where we got an awesome (and free) hotel upgrade, and where the food is amazing.

louisville will also always be synonymous with neon green ford fiesta. at the hertz counter the lady asked me if i cared if the car was green. um, no. she told me that some people are rather particular about color. i shrugged my shoulders. and then i walked out to this:

now, instagram didn’t exactly capture the true color here, so feel free to brighten and saturate the above picture by about 45% and you’re good. holy cow, it was green. so green that at one point omar and i were hanging out outside a bookstore and i heard a group of people start talking about it/laughing at it. i walked up to them and (trying not to laugh) asked them if they were making fun of my car. their faces were priceless, i informed them it was a rental, and everyone laughed. and then one of the guys asked to take a picture of it. hilarious. even the hertz guy at the return said, “wow, that sure is green.” no kidding. but it was fun driving something in the non-van category for a few days.

it was also a good car to drive around the old parts of the city and dart in and out of spots so i could jump out and snap photos of some of the most interesting old churches. they were everywhere. the original downtown building facades were also fascinating and many were still in good shape.

we also spent time at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the museum at 21c, Cave Hill Cemetery, Cherokee Park, and various other book stores and local shops.

but the food. that was kind of the highlight for us (of course). i think every restaurant we went to informed us that they had their own farm and pastureland. most restaurants had farm-to-table events and knowledgeable staff that were quick to share what they loved about louisville. the top meals were the cornmeal pancakes with chai butter at Hillbilly Tea, the pork belly and kimchi sliders at Holy Grale (a unitarian church-turned bar), and the prickly pear cava with ceviche at The Mayan Cafe.

lastly, louisville will also always be known as the place we were when we got the call that after all the inspections, appraisals, phone calls, etc, the house we wanted was a no-go. all that amazing food made up for the disappointment.

april twenty ninth

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we all now know that mullet will not eat honey baked ham or hot dogs, but the boys got to fish for a bit and were happy. seagulls, though, will devour both ham and hot dogs.

today was also the 10th anniversary of our first date. the week or so before omar had asked me out on a date. in his grandma’s van. with a license plate that said “buckle up with jesus” (that was the clincher). i’m glad i said yes.

april twenty seventh

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the boys took off on the train today. if you were to ask about their favorite part of the trip it would be a toss up between the ice cream in the dining car and the pack of tic-tacs grandma slipped into their backpacks.

atlanta

a well-timed arrival means lunch at One Flew South
a hotel room with cable
making my way through Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
starting The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food
confused blossoming trees made more confused by the cold front that pushed in
scarves
yet another cardamom cappuccino at The Bakery at Cakes & Ale
new shoes
dinners with friends
a departure gate that happens to be directly across from a gate that is boarding for paris
wishing my gate said something a bit more exotic than west palm