over the mother’s day weekend

mother’s day is pretty much my favorite day of the year. i like it even better than my birthday, and i REALLY love my birthday. there’s just so many feels and emotions attached to this day. plus i get breakfast in bed complete with mimosas, am showered with gifts and kisses, and i don’t have to lift a finger to do anything whatsoever. basically, i am queen for the day. seriously, best day of the year.

the weather was absolutely abysmal the entire day. so we all three (well four if you count the few minutes the cat decided to join us) piled on the bed, listened to music and watched the rain fall outside. matt made me a frittata packed with fresh farmers market goodies and a toasted gluten free apple cinnamon muffin. i got chocolate and prints from local artists as well as the unrated 50 Shades of Grey movie from amazon prime. did i mention this is my favorite day ever?

the afternoon proved to be gloomy still, so we lazed about the house spinning records and playing monopoly and video games. i sipped on gin n tonics and got a foot massage. and for dinner, matt grilled out a new york strip and whipped up some tasty sweet potatoes with sautéed greens and peppers.

as soon as kiddo went to bed, we turned on 50 Shades and well yada yada yada.

so, yes indeed. best day of the year.

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over the weekend

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this past weekend was our second annual parish retreat at camp mitchell, a gorgeous place in the middle of petit jean state park. we always have so much fun on these church trips. i love the people and the fellowship and the surroundings and the peacefulness at the camp. plus, we have a whole lot of fun. we are episcopalians, you know.

while the camp is owned by the diocese of arkansas, it does support the surrounding community. they have a CSA farm that is going on about 2 years where they grow tons of organic fruits and veggies as well as raise free-range chickens.

on saturday, we all walked to the lookout where it is believed that petit jean, a french girl who disguised herself as a boy to follow her love on a ship to the new world, died and was buried. legend has it that her spirit gives the place a mystical quality. i just think it’s really pretty.

we ended the weekend with eucharist in the open air chapel and we sang hymns to the sounds of the wind and birds. i’m always so refreshed and thankful for these quiet weekends. i can’t wait for next year.

the main event

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last friday was the annual main event, a fundraising dinner for our main street organization. it’s like the most fun thing. we get all dressed up, eat yummy food, drink tasty cocktails and spend lots of money to benefit our downtown. matt and i always bid on the same item: one night stay, dinner and limo ride to the cherokee casino. yes. three years running. this time around, it was a live auction item, and boy howdy did matt have ever so much fun outbidding everyone else. of course that means we also spent about $100 more on it than previous years but what the hey, it’s for a good cause. and that limo ride is worth it, man. of course, the ride is only about 10 minutes long because the casino is really close by, but WHO CARES I’M IN A BLEEPING LIMOUSINE!! plus the steak house there is off the churt. so good.

but the whole event is awesome and it always raises a ton of money. i think it accounts for about a quarter to one half the total yearly budget for the organization. and our main street is kinda the cutest.

the photo booth was a nice new touch this year. you can tell this was at the end of the night and we were feeling loose and happy. and i rocked the shit outta this pantsuit. dancing like a crazy person out on the floor. yep, it was a fun night.

buffalo river trail

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last friday morning, matt and i embarked on the hiking adventure of a lifetime. well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a big deal to us. a couple months ago, we decided to hike the 37 mile buffalo river trail from boxley to pruitt. it was four days and three nights of grueling outdoorsiness. we were super excited for the challenge and change of scenery. what we didn’t know was how bleeping hard this trail is.

our backpacks were crazy heavy. mine weighed about 30 pounds and matt’s was probably closer to 50. we carried those things up and down some serious terrain. parts of the trail were so steep, it almost felt like we were going straight up. but climbing up was so much easier than going down. the trail would sometimes skirt the side of the bluffs and if you had one false step, you were going to plummet to your death. but the vistas at the top made the climb worth it, and the beautiful streams and rivers at the bottom made the trek down worth it.

the scenery was ever changing as was the weather. the nights were bitter cold. we’d make camp at the top of the bluffs and the wind would whip through and we’d sleep curled up in little balls inside our mummy bags. i also use the word ‘sleep’ lightly. i typically hovered between slumber and wakefulness all night as i tossed and turned trying to find a spot between the rocks and roots that poked out of the ground. it rained on us, it sleeted on us, and a couple afternoons were hot and sunny.

along the way we saw few hikers, and no one doing the entire trail. one guy was hiking in a ralph lauren plaid button down. i thought that was funny. and we found some abandoned articles of clothing, like a knit hat, pair of jeans, and a bath towel. but we saw deer, elk, and had animals sniffing our tent at night. we both got tick bites and were attacked by a family of red wasps.

my phone died at about 4:30 on friday so i only got a few shots of the trail. but matt brought the camera and we took loads of video and will be producing a wee documentary of our trip. i’m really excited about this part. i’ve been journaling our experience and that has been a great thing for me.

we’ve never done anything like this before. it was the hardest thing i’ve ever done and i’ve given birth and ran five marathons. but i learned so much about myself. i’m stronger than i thought i was, both mentally and physically. i learned that God is faithful and creative and loving and gracious in a much more real and tangible way than i ever knew before. learned that there is no one i’d rather do a hike like that with than matt, and there is no one i’d rather do life with than matt. it was a totally different bonding experience for us. we leaned on each other, looked to the other for help and encouragement. matt is such a fantastic leader and protector. i fell in love with him in a deeper way this weekend. a way that had very little to do with romance, but one that is far more intimate.

this wasn’t a ‘fun’ trip. but it was still a life-changing event. it was enjoyable and satisfying and beautiful and terrifying and soul searching. i really loved it.

we made dinner the other night

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ok, i think i say this every single time, but this really was my favorite cooking night meal to date. so full of flavor yet light enough for the first day of spring.

we started with fresh gulf shrimp that matt lovingly shelled and depooped. i took a carton of grape tomatoes and halved them. then i heated up some olive oil in a skillet and threw in chopped garlic. in went the tomatoes and salt and pepper and a bit of red pepper flakes, cover and sauté for 15 minutes. while that is smelling up the kitchen nicely, i spiralized 3 smallish zucchini and chopped some fresh basil. matt cooked up the shrimp in a separate pan, simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. then i threw in the zucchini noodles and basil, cooked for about 3 more minutes and served! it was so absolutely knock out tasty. i plan to make a version of this dish all through spring and summer. easy, delicious, nutritious. i gave this a solid 4.75 out of 5 stars.

over the snowy weekend

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it started snowing friday afternoon. by early evening, there was a light dusting on the ground. i roasted up a bunch of root veggies because that’s my comfort food and settled under my blanket. my kinda night.

matt and i went on a beautiful yet cold run the next morning. there is something magical about running while the snow is still falling. everything is hushed. even our footfalls are muffled. the park was just gorgeous with snow cover and cloudy skies. matt’s beard was epically coated in white.

unlike most people, i didn’t go to the store before the storm hit. we basically had no food in the house. so we went to 28 springs for lunch and shared a bottle of rose, because why the hell not. it was fun and cozy. and the snow was still coming down.

sunday we watched a ton of documentaries on netflix and dreamed and schemed about going on a weekend hike in the spring. and about moving somewhere it’s always warm. i took a bubble bath with my gin and tina fey. only 30 pages into ‘bossypants’ and i already absolutely love it. and i realized this weekend that even though i hate winter so hard, i secretly get giddy inside when it snows. makes me feel like a kid. today it’s ugly and gross and i’m back to hating winter, but in the midst of the snowfall, i am peaceful and happy. and i’m in awe of the beauty of it.