So many good things have happened in the last couple weeks. I can't believe I didn't post last week's Picture Collage! First off, I took a trip with my parents to Seattle for my dad's post-op visit at the Veterans Hospital. It was a happy day. Extreme anxiousness has wrapped itself around my family since Christmas Eve, when dad made the announcement he had cancer. (For the 2nd time, I might add.) That guy walked out of that hospital two weeks ago with the happiest of hearts. The news that he was cancer free was a celebratory occasion! We immediately hit the social networks to declare the positively negative results. My dad was so cute, asking, "Who else can I call? Who else can I text?" He really wanted to shout it to the world. We all did.
The Mr. & I celebrated our 15th anniversary on March 6th. A few days later he surprised me by arranging to have the girls spend the night with my parents while he & I took a one hour drive east to Walla Walla for an overnight stay at The Marcus Whitman Hotel. Chocolate covered strawberries + champagne awaited me in the hotel room. (Oo la la!) The Mr's plan was to park the car in the lot & not drive anywhere. Which is easy to do, since the sweet, small downtown area is so close. We walked to eat lunch & dinner, & visited a few shops. I ate so many yummy things: I highly suggest the BLT + cream of asparagus soup at Olive, the potato & Gorgonzola pizza at Sweet Basil, any cupcake at Frosted, the house-roasted cashews with Ancho Chili spice at Public House 124, & the pink peppercorn chocolate bar at Bright's Candies shop. The customer service at The Marcus Whitman is first-rate as well. It was just so fantastic to spend alone-time with the Mr. Although, we did miss our kids a wee bit. Our little hearts were a tiny bit sad without them. So, we bought them lots of little goodies to make up for the aching. Marbles & wind up toys & candy & musical instruments. Oh, & the extra shampoo & shower cap from the hotel bathroom.
If you dare, check out MY first YouTube video, where I play the ukulele (& sing!) during what I call a "Late-Night Uke Session". I'm having so much fun with the ukulele. It took a lot for me to publicly publish a video. Which might seem silly since I've spent years & years in front of various church congregations leading worship. Music means a lot to me, it's a big part of who I am &, though my voice is nothing fancy, I love singing.
For Zoey's date day this month, she & I baked together. She has been dying to do some more creative kitchen stuff, so we found a recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies. OH. MY. We followed the recipe exact---& the handmade pie dough is amazing. My mom says it's the best pie crust she has had in a very long time. Dad & grandmother loved it too! (I baked another batch of hand pies the next day, using store-bought pie dough. Not even worth it. This was a victory for me, in case you forgot about the pie dough competition my mom & I had a couple months ago: she baked a pie using store-bought dough, & I baked a pie using grandmother's pie crust recipe....& my mother won!) The pies were so delicious & fun to make. I can't wait to try other fillings. Though the pie-baking was oodles of loveliness, the memory-making was the best.
I am beginning to see sunny days & am loving the slightly warmer weather. I never realized, until now, just how much the weather affects my mood, my days, my whole being. Wow, this sunshine makes me feel alive. And today (March 20th) is the official First Day of Spring. So....happy spring!! The windows have been open a lot more, the blinds flapping in the breeze.
Next week Zoey & I leave for Camp Wooten! Though I was not chosen as a cabin counselor, I did get in as a cook. I'll be reporting for duty every morning at 6am, & it sounds like long days. I anticipate the whole achy leg/my feet are beyond sore/I want my mommy scenario. But I accept the challenge & look forward to this whole new adventure. The 5th graders at Zoey's school take this trip every year for Outdoor Education. It sounds like she'll have a blast! I may even get to tag along on a couple classes---& hopefully snap some photos of her in action. I'll be absent from the internet/wifi/etc all week! I'm busy now, packing & purchasing all those last minute things.
Here are some other things I've been up to...
•I made "Emma's Shepherd's Pie With No Gross Vegetables", the girls' favorite version.
•I ate delicious chocolates from the Ukraine & Russia.
•I had a couple jam sessions with the houseband, Chuke. (Zoey + me on the cello + uke.)
•I enjoyed a quiet moment with the Mr., by the river on a bench swing, in the sunshine.
•I received some more eggs from a neighbor with chickens.
•The fam hit the park to partake in the lovely sunshine.
•I melted beads & made St. Patrick's Day crafts with my STAR Club 4th graders.
•I discovered a new favorite recipe, which the fam & I wrapped in lettuce leaves, with fried rice on the side: Asian Ground Beef.
•I baked oatmeal + chocolate chip bars. I'm so addicted to oatmeal these days.
•I smiled during this video by Pentatonix. I love them! (And I LOVE the movie "Frozen".)
And that. Is all.