My friend Cathy and I have been neighbors and co-workers for over three years. Her daughter Becca, a first year at UVA, is adored by my children and has been given Awesome Babysitter status two years in a row. Cathy and her family are all the things neighbors should be: kind, considerate, and helpful, but recently I've learned their "neighborhood" extends far beyond my own. Cathy's work with the refugee organization International Neighbors is admirable and endearing, but also entirely rewarding . . .
For anybody out there who opens their refrigerator on a daily basis and thinks, "Oh crap. What are we going to have for dinner?" I am speaking to you today. I so admire the women (and men!) who meal plan. I am not one of those people. I have gotten better about being able to take a handful of available ingredients and concoct a dinner for my family. Don't get me wrong, I actually love to cook, it's just I don't always have time to plan. After Winnie was born, some wonderful friends realized . . .
I remember Maddox's reaction when we told the kids we had some very excited news to share with them (we were pregnant with their sister). "You're taking us to Disney World!" she blurted out and before we could correct her to say it wasn't that kind of news, there were whoops and hollers from the others. "WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!" This baby announcement wasn't happening the way we planned. Interesting how life rarely goes according to design. I did not intend to put a decade in between . . .
Winnie's first birthday is in a little over two weeks and I am feeling nostalgic. She is the star of our family show and has each and every one of us wrapped around her chubby finger. Yesterday we were in a local boutique buying a sweet birthday crown when Winn discovered a stuffed animal on the display. Actually, she discovered ALL the stuffed animals. She reached for each one like an old friend, and when it came time to depart from a particularly fuzzy fawn, it was a VERY sad moment. Needless . . .
It's been a cold, wet week which means that we stay indoors with cozy socks, lit candles, and something in the oven. This idea of comfort food is, well, comforting when Mother Nature sets her face towards winter and my family huddles inward. It can be hard to continue to seek out others in our community during this family-oriented season, but I encourage you to remember those who feel like family: the neighbor who takes care of your pet when you're out of town, the friend who steps in at the . . .