Snowy morning

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This serene scene looks majestic – Delaney quietly enjoying a breakfast overlooking the fresh snow that sparkles under the rising sun.

However, the still photo fails to communicate the total meltdown that preceded this serene scene. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Delaney is a complete angel. Wise beyond her years, introspective, and more in control of and responsible for her emotions than many adults I know. I often treat her as an equal because most of the time it feels as if I’m hanging out with a peer (although maybe that says more about my maturity level than hers??).

But every now and then, she reminds us that she is just a toddler. She is just 3 1/2 years old, after all.

And this morning was one of those times. She got about an hour less of sleep than usual, so it’s understandable that she was tired and grumpy as we were trying to rush her off to school. She gave us a glimpse this morning of what is likely to come during her pre-teen years as she was hysterically crying and shouting, “I’m just going to be sad forever… I’m never going to eat breakfast again… I’m just going to cry forever… I can’t do anything… I just want to be alone forever…”

And, as her mother, I think I went through about 100 emotions during this 15-minute meltdown. From confusion about what was going on (it was a far cry from our regular “morning parties”), to anger over having communicate with such nonsense, to laughter at the high drama that was happening before 7:30am, to panic of what the next 12 hours might bring (as she usually doesn’t nap well at school, so there’s a good chance she’ll come home even more tired and grumpy).

Or maybe this was all her way of reminding us just how good we normally have it with such a polite, caring, mature toddler!

Saturday

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Today pretty much rocks. I got up early to go running with a friend, got home just as the kids were waking up, played with them all morning, spent time painting (and was quickly joined by two of my loves, who also wanted to get a little artsy), went to the Greek Festival, and then stayed up late watching stupid TV and laughing with Matt.

All of that after a fun evening at Highland Brewery with our family and some friends Friday night, and then a birthday party for Delaney’s classmate on Sunday.

Live is good.

Today

Our child is eating carrots and hummus for lunch… I just borrowed parsley from our neighbor’s garden so I can make a beet salad… I’m still in yoga pants from this morning’s workout… Delaney is outside dancing barefoot and in her sun dress in the grass… D and I made organic, gluten free muffins for her teachers at her new hippie community school… I’ve been debating whether or not it’s appropriate for our child to bring a nalgene advertising a brewery to school tomorrow… Grateful Dead is playing on the stereo in the background… our son is still asleep outside in our VW camper van… and I’m staring at a mandala that I painted yesterday.

I feel like I’m an Asheville cliche right now.

 

The Eurovans of Asheville

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Only in Asheville do I have trouble finding my big van in a parking lot. Guess I’m not the only one who appreciates a van that doubles as a house.

Girls night out

Not that we ever regret moving to Asheville or even doubt for a second that we made the right decision – not even when both cars kept breaking down, Delaney’s daycare closed, Matt and I were both sick, and we had no family nearby to lend a hand.

However, if we ever did spend even a split second second guessing ourselves, tonight provided one of those reassuring moments that let you know you’re on the right path in life.

After what was an insane week for all three of us – Matt’s sick and exhausted after ramping up a new job, I’m fried from preparing for the first day of school next week, and Delaney still isn’t adjusting to her new daycare – we were all so glad to see Friday afternoon come. However, Matt was ready to hit the bed, and I was ready to get out and celebrate.

So we did something we’ve rarely ever done during our marriage: go our own ways for the evening. He went straight to bed to get some much-needed rest. And I took Delaney out on the town. There was a bluegrass festival on the river tonight, and one of my favorite bluegrass bands, Town Mountain, was performing. I didn’t want to miss seeing them, I wanted to take advantage of an evening without rain (finally!), and I really needed to have some fun after a very stressful week at work.

I thought I might be crazy venturing out solo with a toddler to a music festival, but I figured it was at least worth a try. And I’m so glad I did!

We immediately ran into a good friend from work, and we hung out with her and her family for quite some time. After an hour or so, they headed to the stage to watch the opening band while Delaney and I stayed back for a bit. The sun was setting over the river, and the sky became a fiery pink hue that reflected on the water. It was just too beautiful to leave the scene. So Delaney and I had our own little dance party – just the two of us.

When Town Mountain took the stage, Delaney and I headed up to the stage to check them out. We immediately ran into one of our favorite families from the neighborhood. Delaney started squealing when she saw her beloved Ava. So they ran up to the stage and started dancing together. As usual, Delaney immediately became Ava’s shadow. When Ava spun around, Delaney spun around. When Ava started jumping up and down, Delaney started jumping up and down. When Ava pulled up her dress and flashed the band, Delaney pulled up her dress and flashed the band (and Ava’s mom and I were oh so thrilled with that move).

It was after 9:00 when the band started wrapping up, so we headed out. I knew I was on borrowed time keeping a sleepy toddler out so late!

But as we were walking back to the car, I grinned to myself thinking about what a great night we had (although I wish Matt could’ve come!) and how happy we are to be living in Asheville. Just a little over one year ago, we moved here without knowing anyone or having any friends. And here we are now – I was able to take our sweet little girl out to a music festival, and we were constantly surrounded by friends, good music, and love. It’s good to be home.

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Friday night at Highlands Brewery

On Friday afternoon, we had no plans for the evening. A few hours later, we were hanging at Highlands Brewery – the sun was setting behind the mountains, a friend’s band was playing, tons of kids were playing, food trucks were serving up delicious food, we were dancing with our friends, Matt was enjoying great local beer, it was getting cooler by the hours… we’re so, so happy in Asheville!

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuKmmvB7U8c&w=420&h=315]

Dinner sans Delaney

 

Saturday night, Matt and I went to a late, late sushi dinner. He spent the day at the pool, and I took a four-hour nap (I didn’t realize just how exhausted I was!!), so we got a late start to dinner. I cannot even remember the last time we had a 9 pm dinner out!

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Then on Monday, we went out again to celebrate Matt’s real first day of his new job. We stopped at a new spot downtown with a great patio. It started raining during our dinner, but we barely even noticed. We had an umbrella to keep us covered and good company (each other) to keep it entertaining. I was so stuffed – we had salad, steaks, five martinis between us, and creme brulee for desert.

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And now I’m realizing why we weighed so much more and had so much less money before we became parents!

 

 

Little neighbors

We were walking around the neighborhood tonight, and one of our littlest friends, Jeremiah, who is three, ran up to me and said:

Will you do that thing where you chase me and tickle me? That’s my favorite!

Jeremiah, buddy, that’s one of my favorites, as well!

Sunshine Daydream

 

Thursday night, Matt and I went to see Sunshine Daydream, the documentary of the Grateful Dead’s August 1972 concert at the Old Renaissance Faire Grounds in Veneta, Oregon. If more movies started like this, we’d probably see more than one movie every few years!

I love that we live in a town that can pack a Thursday-night showing of a Dead concert! The place was sold out – we saw one of my coworkers, one of our neighbors, the local TV anchor, and just about every other type of person you can imagine. We love Asheville!

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Bele Chere weekend

 

 

Saturday, one of my high school best friends came to stay with us. He lives in Knoxville and is going through a divorce and needed a getaway. We were inseparable in high school (my dad called us “Beavis and Butthead”) but haven’t done a good job keeping in touch over the last decade. So we were happy to show him a good time and let him forget about the current stresses in his life!

We had a relaxing afternoon and then went to Bele Chere that night. Even with thousands of tourists in town for the festivities and all of the locals out to see the free shows, we still ended up running into people we know. We headed straight to see Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and ran into the guy who sold us our new car and his family, our old neighbor (whom we had just seen Phish with), and Matt’s coworker and his girlfriend. We stayed late in the night to see Karl Densen, who put on an awesome show! Delaney and I had a great time dancing, and it was so good to catch up with Jonathan.

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He was gone by the time we all woke up on Sunday. We relaxed some that morning and then headed back down to Bele Chere to check out the art vendors. (I love, love, love art festivals!!)

We walked past a vendor who was selling a piece of metal art shaped into a sunshine. Delaney squealed, “Look, Mommy, sunshine!” and then immediately began singing as loud as possible, “You are my sunshine… my sunshine… happy when skies are greeeyyyyyy…” Just when I thought she couldn’t get any sweeter!

Then as we walked on, we cracked up once again. Matt was pushing the stroller, and I was holding Delaney’s hand. Delaney started to veer off, so I followed her to look at a vendor’s paintings. Matt didn’t realize we had stopped while he kept walking. He leaned over and started talking to the curly headed 30-something lady next to him, who had on a similar dress and was holding a little girl’s hand. He was chatting away when finally she said, “Sir, I’m not your wife.” We laughed so hard about that…

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Delaney passed out on the walk back to the car. We were able to sneak her into the car without waking her, but we knew that she needed to get a full nap. So we cruised around to check out some new mountain views and brainstormed ways that we could tap into our creative sides, start creating our own art, become a gypsy art family, and travel around to art festivals to sell our fares… oh, to dream…