words | family | art | work | food
art | museum date
Just the two of us today. We rode the train downtown. We ate pizza and ice cream. We took in the Rothko exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. Then we visited every. single. room. in the museum. All four floors. We walked for blocks and blocks just looking at the city. We held hands and talked and drank hot chocolate. We watched a group of wildly happy men and women dressed in wedding gowns parade and laugh and hug. As we rode the train home you leaned your little head against my shoulder (your head reaches my shoulder!) and we decided it was a good day. We are good. We are so, so good.
words | four
Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!
Your dad and mom woke up so early it was still dark outside. You arrived at 12:01pm, and by that time it was a bright, sunny day.
Your mom and dad were there in the room to greet you. Nana, Dadio and Aunt Sissy were waiting patiently outside.
When you arrived, your mom needed some attention from the doctor, so you and your dad spent almost an hour together, just the two of you. You were alert, with your eyes wide open and your mouth pursed in concentration. You spent that hour making sweet baby noises and looking up at your dad while he rocked you in his arms and sang the “Baby Boy” song.
After your first birthday you discovered that you love chocolate. And cupcakes. And especially chocolate cupcakes. You learned to walk, to use a spoon, to drink from a cup, and to say “please” and “thank you” and “I love you”. You liked to be around other babies and you spent a lot of time with Zack and Conor, and even though you were too young to play with each other, the three of you were so happy just being together. You loved to swim, so you spent a lot of time with your mom in the pool. You were never afraid to put your head underwater and you seemed to know how to swim from the first time she let go of you. You visited Nana and Papa in Maryland and you swam in their pool and played in their little orange boat. When you were one year old you slept in a sleep sack that made you look like a baby in a bag and you loved it. This was the year you came to know and love Red Cat – he was your best friend and your most favorite toy. During this year you started to grow tall and by the end of the year you weren’t a baby anymore.
After your second birthday you discovered that you still love chocolate, but that you might love jelly beans more. You learned to sit at the table with your mom and dad, to help put away your toys, to turn on the light in your room, to take off your shoes (and sometimes put them back on). You started talking so much in this year that it was thought you might run out of words, but you never did. You just kept learning new words faster and faster, and soon your mom and dad couldn’t keep track of the number of words you could say – they started counting the number of words in your sentences! You started going to Miss Joanna’s house, and soon Jacob joined you there, which made you so happy. You loved teaching Jacob the things you were learning at daycare. You continued to spend time with Zack and Conor, and you guys started to play with the same toys, and eat the same snacks, and run around and chase each other. You traveled some more in this year, visiting Maryland, Washington, and Georgia, but your favorite trip was to Mexico where you met a black cat named Tasha and your dad taught you to hunt for seashells. You started sleeping in real jammies with feet, and you got your first real bed. This was the year you got Green Cat – he became your best friend and your most important toy. During this year you grew even taller and by the end of the year you were a little big boy.
After your third birthday you discovered that you couldn’t possibly pick a favorite candy when all of it is so delicious. You learned to dress yourself, to use the toilet, to help your mom cook in the kitchen, to build elaborate train systems, to climb a ladder, and to ride your balance bike. You did so much artwork in this year! You did drawings, paintings, gluing work, folding work, hole punching, pottery, and playdough. You started making your own stickers! You also began building things – big, complex, machines and buildings, farms, train stations, and airports. You started going to preschool. You learned to love going on walks with your friends, eating at a big table together, doing work with Mandy and Jeff, and above all you learned the words to so many songs! Your favorite song for most of this year was “The Monkey and the Engineer” and you know every word. You continued to learn new words – big words! – and you have asked close to one million questions this year. You played lots with Zack and Conor, and you even had your first sleepover at Zack’s house. You did a lot of traveling again this year – you went to California, Maryland again, New Mexico and Texas where you and Cousin Mickey visited the State Fair in your mom and Aunt Sissy’s hometown. This was the year you got Rainbow Cat – he became your best friend and a very important member of our family. During this year you just kept growing, and now you are a big, strong, fast-moving little big boy.
Now you have discovered spaceships, outer space, stars, planets, and the moon. You are building bigger and more interesting things every day. Your sentences have become stories and you continue to ask questions. Sometimes those questions are so good you leave your mom and dad speechless. You are interested in letters and words and you love books. You continue to create artwork that is beautiful and unexpected. You are gentle and thoughtful. You love your pets, Cruise, Betsy and Luke, and now instead of chasing them around, you pet them and talk to them and help take care of them. You are full of love and curiosity. You make your mom and dad so proud. You are the best thing they’ve ever done.
food | 5 foods
The butternut squash comes from our garden. It’s our first winter squash harvest - four butternuts. We ate two of them earlier this month, cubed and roasted with cauliflower. I haven’t decided what to do with these last two. I’m open to suggestions.
I cooked the pumpkin on Tuesday. I was inspired by the Homesick Texan’s recipe for stuffed pumpkin. I had different ingredients on-hand, so mine was different — a little less cheesy and a little more Thanksgiving-dressing-y, with mushrooms and sausage and sage. I followed her instructions as far as cooking temp and time, and it was perfect. The flesh of the pumpkin was nice and tender, and the stuffing had time to absorb all the juices and get nice and brown on top. So I guess the message is, you gotta try stuffing a pumpkin — you can do it with pretty much anything you have around the kitchen plus some stale bread. It’s easy, and I thought it was delicious.
Apples are in no way my favorite fruit - often they are mealy, and I find the skin to be bitter. I eat them because I like variety, but I do not love apples. I love these apples. Have you ever had a Honeycrisp apple? Oh, my. They’re big and juicy and just as sweet as candy. The skin is tender, and the flesh is so crisp and crunchy - no mush in sight. Thank you, fall.
We ate the brussels sprouts earlier in the week — I roasted them with sweet potatoes and balsamic vinegar. I love brussels sprouts, and we had them twice on our trip back east. The first time was at Oyamel in D.C. They were the best I’ve ever tasted. I have no idea how they get them so deeply caramelized and practically black without tasting even the slightest bit burned. They were sweet, salty, nutty and absolutely perfectly cooked. Russ and I, the only real brussels sprout enthusiasts, talked about them for days afterward. The next time we had them was at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore. They were tiny and served whole. I suspect they were blanched then finished off under the broiler then slathered in butter and sea salt. It was an excellent preparation and I ate half the order that came for the whole table. Love ‘em.
I bought two bulbs of fennel. I do not like licorice or raw fennel. I like cooked fennel - especially roasted. I’m roasting everything these days. Sometimes I stand by the oven to get warm, and I curse the draft in my kitchen. But roasted vegetables make me happy. That is all.