Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Sun is Shining

It's finally summer!

(I think! I hope! I better not have just jinxed us...)

And summertime at our house means a gigantic bowl of buttery, yeasty popcorn served just in time to spoil little appetites while mamas celebrate cocktail hour. After all, it's always five o'clock somewhere. My personal goal for the summer: fewer to-do lists and more relaxation. Having a drink with a friend in the late afternoon sunshine helps a lot with that.

Summertime also means a lot of time spent outside. A lot. Which makes it virtually impossible to keep Sawyer from eating green strawberries. I have also recently given up on the blueberries and the raspberries that are attempting to ripen in our garden. You have to pick your battles with this kid. He has learned to stealthily exit the house and ravage the berries in the early morning hours when people are busy sipping coffee and eating breakfast. If the house feels too quiet I know exactly where Sawyer can be found. The funny thing about his strawberry patch raids is that he becomes sort of catatonic, like the strawberries have some sort of magnetic pull or mesmerizing force that overtakes him. Most of his potty accidents occur when he's out there with those berries. He just can't be bothered to tend to his bodily functions when there are green berries to munch.

We have plenty of red ones thanks to Brent's job at the farm, but I've been freezing them by the flat and then there was this strawberry rhubarb pie I made...

Let's clear up a misconception here, shall we? I do not know what I am doing in the kitchen, so if you come to my house you should not expect a gourmet meal because probably I just winged it. Instead you should be pleasantly surprised (like I was this weekend) when the food is decent and the pie crust turns out all right. I have had a longstanding feud with all butter pie crusts. I am ashamed to tell you that I have actually cried actual tears over an unruly crust before. There's just something about pie crusts. I guess they intimidate me.

But this one was pretty darn good. If I do say so myself. All butter. No tears. This is a proud moment for me.

You don't get to see the finished product because I made a small error in my pre pie making shopping trip and in order to further illustrate my point about winging it in the kitchen, it will suffice to say that tapioca pearls are not the same as tapioca starch. Even if you try to crush them in a plastic bag with a heavy jar of peanut butter. Even if you then attempt to pulverize them in the food processor, realize the futility of your effort and ultimately make a final try with the coffee grinder. Your pie will still have a bubble tea like quality, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but does not make for appetizing photographs.

Speaking of coming to my house (cocktail hour is at 5, in case you missed the first paragraph), get ready for some quality time with the deranged monkey children. We have had some serious naughty behavior issues around here in the last few months. As in moments where Brent and I look at each other and wonder where we went so horribly wrong. Having children is a truly humbling experience and I have learned that sometimes I need to step back and remind myself that this too shall pass.

We are testing the waters with a sticker chart. I never wanted to be a sticker chart kind of mom, but these desperate times just might call for some smiley face stickers and the promise of an ice cream cone. Besides, I like ice cream.

In our house clothing is often optional. Especially when you've peed through your last pair of clean shorts during a green strawberry eating frenzy. I am so tired of doing laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY. This too shall pass.

I am trying to get Jack to at least keep his clothes on when he is out in the front yard. We have some, uh, conservative? type neighbors who often walk by our house in the afternoon with their young and very, uh, sheltered? son. One day when they walked by Jack climbed to the top of the slide and beat himself over the head while shouting "Punch the fuck out of my head! Punch the fuck out of my head!" Now let my just tell you right now that he did not learn this from us. I know you've heard me drop the F bomb more than a few times, but I assure you that we are very censored around the kids. So I guess we get to blame the delinquents at Acorn Park for this one. At any rate, the horrified neighbor quickly ushered her son from our sight while mumbling something about dinner on the stove or some other random excuse to get the FUCK away from us. Can't say that I blame her.

Another time as they partook in their leisurely stroll, Jack scaled the fence and climbed down right in their path on the sidewalk, dropped trou, pulled out his junk, and started laughing hysterically. Needless to say, they were not amused. And so, for their sake, I try to keep the kids in clothes when we are out front. No guarantees on that one, though. A person can only do so much with a pair of monkey children.

I'm not sure why Jack has chosen these neighbors in particular as the victims of his bizarre antics. He acts relatively normal around all of the other families on our street. I guess he smells fear or something.

I got to play hostess for a mini family get together on Father's Day. Jack loved being surrounded by a crew of professional grandparents. I loved having the little ones so amused and distracted while I threw together a quick pizza dinner. Meanwhile Brent spent the day in Portland at a Timbers game with his dad, which, if you know Brent at all, was the perfect way for him to celebrate Father's Day.

Mary brought an epic salad, as usual. How does she do it? I am telling you, NO ONE makes a salad like Mary. Is it the homemade dressing? The artichoke hearts? The perfected greens to cheeses ratio? Seriously. That was some delicious salad.

Pizza. Boring. Whatever. It's an easy crowd pleaser. Besides, I had a mountain of fresh zucchini that was begging to be eaten.

Snoozefest. Don't you have any other photogenic dinners in your repertoire? Nope.

Jack adores my uncle Jeff. He was literally hanging on Jeff's every word.

Sawyer adores everyone.

And if you do come to my house for dinner, expect to be put to work. You just might be asked to wash little hands before dinner, or coerce defiant two year olds from the garden, or read some bedtime stories, or perhaps amuse us by playing a song with a comb and wax paper.

But you will be handsomely rewarded with a slice of pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or some giggles and snuggles and a hug and a kiss goodnight.

So here's to a summer of strawberries and cocktail hour and dinner parties and popcorn and keeping your pants on in public. I am certain it will be a memorable one.


  1. Yay for shining sun. And cocktail hour, and naked monkey boys and pizza and bubble pie.

    Apparently I wasn't the only one MIA for a ladies soiree a couple of weeks ago. I hope we can reschedule, as I can't wait to both meet you and give you my grandmother's Iowa State Fair ribbon winning pie crust recipe.

  2. The secret to successful pie crust is: Vodka! But maybe you already knew that. Your pizza looks utterly divine. Hope to see you soon!