Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring Break in the Great State of...

We decided to stay in the great state of Indiana for break. At first we were bummed but then...  

Day One: FREE Tour of Caprini Creamery. A few weeks ago a local goat farmer invited us to take a tour of their farm and learn how goat cheese is made. Look at those little faces below. Thanks to the great family of Caprini Creamery. Buy their cheese. After our trip we stopped at Books & Brews to play some games.

Day Two: FREE entry to Yellowwood with a stop at Story Inn. The rolling hills of southern Indiana make this an adventure worth taking. Yellowwood is at risk of no longer being protected. I understand both sides of this issue, but when we arrived at this beautiful piece of land it was a quick decision. We should protect it so our children can one day enjoy it with their children. It's beautiful. 

Day Three-Four: Staycation trip to Fourwinds. $99 per night. Indoor pool. Lake view. On-site restaurant. It was a great getaway. Another mom told me they do $49 specials Jan-March specials on Cyber Monday.

Day Five: Children's Museum new outdoor park. We have a family membership here. This new addition is incredible. It represents all sports teams in Indianapolis. I'm not sure which one of us had more fun. Of all the memberships, this place is most worth it for us.

Day Six: Zoo. Lunch at Bru Burger. Many of the animals were hibernating, it was a little chilly, but the dolphin show made the trip worth it. They integrate conservation into this. They do a sliding scale on tickets.

Day Seven: Indianapolis Museum of Art. Kids 5 and under free. Adults $18. Kids 6+ $10. I was worried Jack may get bored here so I brought an Easter egg to hide on the grounds. IT WORKED! Imagine that. :) We had lunch at 20 Tap and dessert at the Gallery Pastry shop. You can sit at the bar and watch them make pastries. PS. It's next door to the new location of Mass Ave Toy Shop.

Friday, February 9, 2018

6 Great Lunch Restaurants

I like food.

Who doesn't?

Setting foot in a new restaurant inspires all senses. The atmosphere, smells, excitement for trying new cuisine, sights, sounds, all of it. I especially love to try a new restaurant on my lunch break. It's like taking a mini vacation in the middle of the day. I'm a fan of Mike Cunningham's restaurants. I could spend hours alone on the courtyard of Cobblestone Grill in Zionsville or rooftop patio of Livery with friends.

Here are my top 6 lunch spots.

Tlaolli: for tacos. You've never know about it if you weren't looking. It's a small house in Englewood between downtown and Irvington. Try it in the summer and eat out back. Go next door and grab a cup of coffee. You'll remember this experience, I promise.

20 Tap: for burgers and beer. This midtown spot feels like home. It's a neighborhood bar meets incredible food.

Petite Chou: for french onion soup with a side of frites. Has anything she has touched not been gold? This is a hefty meal, but sometimes when I'm on the patio at a table next to ivy, I feel like if only for a moment, I'm in Paris.

Bluebeard: for atmosphere. If you're a reader, this place was designed for you. They bring the receipts in books and handmade the long patio table out front

Sandra's Rice & Noodles: for everything. Take a hike at Fort Harrison State Park and head to Sandra's. Everything here is good. Ha & Sang are the most humble kind people who create the most beautiful dishes. GO!

Iozzo's: for the patio especially at night. I'm a fan of courtyards. This family is lovely and they've been at it for a LONG time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Right Here, Right Now

Right now there is someone tugging on your shirt. You have the flu, a temperature of 102 or is it 103? You haven’t had time to check. Feels like 105. There is a pile of mac & cheese crusted dishes spilling out from the sink. Did you feed the dog? Feels like maybe, but he’s looking at you like you’re a complete jerk. Has he eaten at all this week except for that one time you caught him eating your salad from your work bag. Poor dog. You’ve driven him to eating salads. And you had to skip lunch that day because that half eaten by a dog salad already put you over budget for the week. Did he put the low-fat balsamic dressing on before he ripped open the Panera box and devoured your lettuce?

One kid needs to poop, one is hungry, one is throwing 54 crayons in the front room and you’re not even phased by it. Why does pooping take 45 minutes for everyone else but you? You begin to get cold chills. Sleep. You can’t remember the last time you crawled into bed and slept for six straight hours. You’ve convinced yourself you don’t need it, but science says otherwise. An email pops up on your phone. 2-hour delay at school tomorrow. Your boss needs a report by 10 am, your friends haven’t heard from you in weeks and they’re worried, and suddenly it strikes you. You’re out of coffee. This is the straw that broke…

Have you been here.^? Completely worn down, exhausted, pulled in every direction but uncertain what path to step down first? You’ve been here. We all have. It’s almost unfair to say “this too shall pass” because maybe it won’t pass right away. Maybe it will linger. This flu has been holding on to your co-workers for weeks. What if it holds you too? When was the last time you were held?

It’s a shame a gracefully aged woman doesn’t drop from the ceiling right now, grab your elbow and say:

“Enjoy this, dear. I’d give anything to go back.”

You could use that pep talk right now, not the hundred other times.

“Enjoy this dear. I’d give anything to go back.”

 Would you? You ask the ceiling. Would you go back to this moment? Just then your 6-year-old walks up, gives you that head tilt and vomits into his dirty fingernailed hands. First one down. You scoop him up without thinking, run him to the sink where he finishes his vomit. He looks up at you mortified with large scared eyes. You kneel down.

“It’s ok, sweet boy. It’s going to be ok,” you say.

And suddenly he’s ok and you remember no one’s words will affect him like yours. You clean up the puke, wet the wash cloth, snuggle him into the couch and turn on his favorite movie. Just before you tackle the next to do, you crawl in beside him. His sick face lights up. Your daughter shows up…

“I’ll take care of you,” she says. And you know she will.

And so you let the mac & cheese crusted dishes linger one more day, you pray the dog doesn't die, you glance around you at the toys spilling out from every failed attempt at organization and you day you may actually miss being needed like this; being relied on like you are the only person on earth who matters.

Because you are.

“Enjoy this dear. I’d give anything to go back.”

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Winter Hike and A New Race

Anyone who has competed in an endurance race knows the moments where the mind can defeat the body...deflated, victorious, defeated, full of endorphins and deflated again.

This happens for me during every mini marathon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's like some deflates me like a helium filled balloon on a birthday Saturday morning.

It's a mental game.

I decided to train for another half and I finally got back out on the trail to experience winter at my favorite little hiking spot.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Perfect Day

Today was perfect. I took an intentional day off to be with you on your day off from school. The sun rising over the backyard while slowly sipping on coffee was beautiful. 
The Uno picnic in the living room was fun despite losing and the blurry picture. You're becoming increasingly difficult to photograph especially when throwing red balloons at my face.
And then a surprise trip to the Children's Museum. On one of those Mother's Day questionnaires, you said your favorite thing to do with me is the Children's Museum. I love the look on your face when you run down the ramp toward the entrance. Purest joy. Ps. You have my cheeks. They are pictured perfectly here and they make me want to smile fuller more often.
 And Paddington 2 at a theater we've never been. You whispered so many times: “this is so good, mommy.” It reminded me of how much you like me fully in tune with what you’re in tune to. I’m still working here. And then this place:
The minute we walked in I felt like two bulls had literally just entered a china shop. I got nervous and asked for a table which was the most delicate round circle made with marble and plated with china and perhaps crystal water glasses. Two young ladies were attempting to enjoy a girls afternoon. We gave each other the eye, stuffed our faces with two overpriced pieces of cake and got OUTTA there giggling the whole way home about how the two of us do not belong in places like that.

We belong in our kitchen stuffing overpriced cake in each other's faces.

Monday, January 15, 2018

5 Records Worth Collecting

Today I caught Jack digging thru records trying to find the matching album of a song he had just heard on Pandora.
Records don't have a skip button. They require work, selection, effort, respect for the artist and for the circular disc. One simple scratch can ruin 4 songs.

I've been building a collection for a few years with the intention of one day handing it to Jack. I've been very selective...quality over quantity.

The Beatles-Abbey Road. Yes, this is so predictable. You know the cover, you know Paul McCartney is barefoot. You know every song on this album. And they are some of the best songs ever written meant for any guest any time.
Vance Joy-We can listen to this on repeat for days. It's kid friendly, it's brilliant. I love it. He has a new album coming out end of February. So far so good.
Joe Pug-Nation of Heat. If ya like Bob Dylan, you're gong to love Joe pug. This album has two of my favorite Joe Pug songs. He's a brilliant storyteller in all forms of the word.
Damien Rice-My Favourite Faded Fantasy. If you don't like slow sad songs, this album is not for you, but when I get an hour alone, this is always it.
Ray Lamontagne-Trouble. 3 of my favorite Ray songs are on this album. He also has a new album due out this spring. His voice...