Photo: Sunrise over Cape Cod, which is a fun place to be in the off-season. Significantly less crowds and traffic, and locals are friendly and happy to see you because your business means a lot to them. Check it out sometime! Oh, and to the right, that’s a storm going out to sea. Cool, huh?

 

It was a weekend for bouncy houses and building more raised beds, early-morning dashes around the state and pizza parties with friends. There wasn’t a lot of time for writing or knitting, not a lot of prayer with squirmy boys in the pew at church… yet the weekend was filled with the highlights, complications and points-of-interest that make life a little spicy, a little sweet.

A member of my writing group needed a super-big favor on Saturday: a ride to the Hyline Ferry that would take her to a week-long writer’s conference on Martha’s Vineyard. Her bus from New York got into South Station at 5am and we were down on the Cape by 6am to watch the sun rise. An interesting breakfast at a kitschy restaurant  and many laughs later, I dropped her off at the dock, turned around and got back to MetroWest and grocery shopping by 10. What an test of my stamina! But totally worth the run! I haven’t seen a sunrise over water since my last beach vacation and there is absolutely nothing better in the whole wide world. It reminded me how much I miss the shore and how I need to make a more concerted effort to get there at least once a year.

I got back to this house after the drop-off and the grocery shopping, washed my hair, had a cup of coffee and took my boys to a birthday party.  This was another party at a gymnastics place, but this time at a different facility. Where Minor thrived at the other place, which was more of a pure “gym” with bouncy stuff everywhere, this one had play structures to climb up and down, ballpits and slides and a lot of noise… he was almost immediately overwhelmed, left behind by his brother and feeling lost and confused.

What I learned about Minor on Saturday: Even when he’s panicked, he actually takes direction really well. I couldn’t go into the play structure to get him out. He had to save himself. I had to tell him where to go and how to get there: “Ok, slide down here.” “Ok, climb up this!” “You can do it! Put your legs here!” “Grab onto that!” He’s quite physically strong! It’s amazing! If he can get a good grip on it, he can climb it. He’s got the fortitude! He probably would have been fine if he hadn’t been abandoned by his brother.

Major, though, made up for it soon enough. Hustled into the next room, more “gym”-like this time, a blown-up bouncy structure was the next test for Minor. It was shaped like a giant caterpillar and you had to climb through it’s mouth and go through a bit of an obstacle course. Major and his friends, all a full head taller than Minor, ran into this thing with jubilance, while Minor stood in front of it clutching his pearls. I stood on the sidelines watching his internal conflict: “that is a scary thing. I want to go into it, but it scares me. Other people are going into it and coming out of it’s butt without too much of a problem but…. that is a scary thing.” I thought about going out there, but I wanted him to make the decision for himself. Was he going to miss out or was he going to go for it?

And then Major came and took his hand saying, “Come on, [Minor]! It’s so much fun!” Suddenly two more of the “big boys” welcomed Minor too! That child went right in! He just needed to be invited to be part of the action! He ran in twice and had a lot of fun, then eventually ran out of steam and fell back again. Major did try to encourage him, but couldn’t convince him.

What I learned about Major on Saturday: He actually does love and care about his brother. He has the capacity to be inclusive and encouraging. He can look out for his brother without any prompting on my part. That’s amazing.

The final thing the kids got to do was get on a zipline and fall into a big giant pit of foam blocks. Older children and children who had taken gymnastics classes before did pretty well on the zipline and had no problem queuing up and holding onto the thing. For my boys, it was different. For Major, it was about holding on. He pretty much just dropped as soon as he left the high ledge. For Minor, it was about getting the grip and then taking the leap (this ledge was much higher up than the one the week before). But you know what? They both did it. Little hesitation, lots of smiles and giggles.

What I learned about the both of them on Saturday: I’m raising two good boys. They are most confident when they are facing the world as a team, but as individuals, they are strong and brave. I was also reminded that, more often than not, they make me proud.

I’m hosting Maryland family today and tomorrow, which means no time for rest or work, but I’m hoping to accomplish a thing or two this week. What about you? What are you chasing this week, Dear Reader?

Let’s get something done!

See you Wednesday!

Oh! I almost forgot!

20151018_182715

I put a hurtin’ on Sunday dinner and I had to share! Mostly because, seriously, I want you to get you a cast-iron skillet. I’m not being paid to write this–I just care about you and want you to get one. Because you produce beautiful and delicious things like this here roasted chicken. Butter, salt, chicken, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper, cast-iron, time and a 375 degree oven is all it takes to make this meal. The stuffing is the usual, though I’ve always put mushrooms in my stuffing but ya’ll do what you want. I took this chicken out of this pan, took out the excess fat, then deglazed with white wine and broth to make a gravy that was just stupid good. All-in-all, this full roasted chicken dinner took 2 pans and a pot (because I served it with rice) and clean up was a breeze. Do it. Get you a cast-iron skillet! You won’t regret it!

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