More Spring Beauty

It is Memorial Day Weekend. Since I began participating in the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009, and through my involvement fundraising for TAPS, I feel that I focus more on the deeper meaning of the weekend. I have always appreciated the dedication and commitment of our Military personnel, and I am grateful for those who gave their lives to protect our freedom, but I find that I now spend more mental energy on those feelings of thanks.  I was very moved by an experience with my amazing MCM friends last October as one friend paid his respects to his Uncle at the Vietnam Memorial.

MCM respects

Tomorrow I am running in the local Memorial Day 3.8 miler. Today, I thought I would share more pictures of Spring beauty as a way of paying my respects this weekend.

fargo plum tree

columbine

bleeding heart dogwood

iris mailbox

rodi dogwood

iris fargo

So much beauty at our house!

Road Trip

This year, we celebrated the end of the academic year with a family road trip up the New England coast. It’s been a while since we did a real road trip with all four of us together. It was a LOT of togetherness (four of us stuffed in a Honda Fit and sharing hotel rooms), and it was wonderful. We had a few moments of tension as people in tight quarters are bound to have, but it provided lots of time to catch up, talk about future plans, see new places, and squeeze each other!

New England is beautiful! As a bonus, I was able to see three of my Running Girl friends (whom I check in with daily online), and we had lunch with one of the girls’ all time favorite teachers, who moved to New England a few years ago. We enjoyed every place we stopped and decided that we could definitely spend more time exploring each town some day in the future.

new england 3

new england 1

New England 2

new england 4

new england 7

 

new england 6

The last picture is my favorite!

 

Avocado Cookies?

I am not an avocado fan. I wish I was, given the healthy attributes avocados have. It’s mostly a texture thing, because I feel similarly about tofu. I keep trying to like it and in my attempts to find ways to incorporate it into my diet, I found a recipe for Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Avocado.

Chocolate can make almost anything palatable, right? Almost anything. I do think the name of the recipe is misleading because it’s not just “with Avocado,” it’s MOSTLY avocado.

Luckily, the girls were home and have had much experience with avocados. I would have tried to peel it, but my youngest just sliced it in half, twisted it apart and used the knife to tap the pit and turn it. Voila!

Be forewarned that mixing the avocado and the coconut sugar creates a substance that is the most unappetizing looking stuff I’ve dealt with since I began the new baking phase of my life. The color and texture…I did not even take a picture of it. But once the cocoa powder goes in, all is well because it looks like chocolate!

It’s a very wet and gooey batter:

avocado cookie batter

And honestly, the baked cookies do not look much different:

avocado cookies

They are quite soft and spongy. I think I would bake them for a little longer if I made them again, just to see if they would be a little less spongy.

Overall, they were a hit with the hubby, the girls and my parents. I was not convinced I liked them. I will probably give them another chance, as they are a healthy snack and, you know, chocolate.

Seedlings

One of my favorite parts of the garden process is watching the seeds grow into plants. You may recall the last update on the seed starts.

seed starts

A few weeks later and we’re just about ready to put these beauties in the ground.

veggie starts

peppers

tomatoes and broccoli

Our planting weekend hovers around Memorial Day. We’ve tried earlier and it’s not turned out well because inevitably there is a late frost. So, we need to continue providing indoor TLC until next week and then we can start the hardening off process. They are adorable now, but they will turn our garden into a jungle. Hopefully a productive jungle!

Dogwood

Apparently, weeks of abnormally dry weather, followed by weeks of ridiculously wet weather makes for an incredibly beautiful dogwood. It is truly one of the highlights of Spring each year, but this year it deserves its own post.

early dogwood

 

fargo dogwood

dogwood close

dogwood

I try to spend time looking at it to balance out the amount of weeds I look at during the MANY hours I’ve spent weeding during the last few weeks. The dogwood makes me happy!

 

Quiet

When the girls were little, and our lab was a puppy, there was rarely a quiet moment. They were either imagining out loud, bickering even louder, talking to me, whining at me, playing with the dog, listening to music/movies, etc.

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Much of the sounds were good sounds, especially when they were world building together. But during awake time, there were always sounds and voices and noise. There were times that I used to wish for a day, or even two days, to have the house to myself. I would imagine all of the items I could check off the “to do” list, the books I could read, the naps I could take, and so on. I did get a few hours of quiet every so often, and it was nice, but usually only long enough to work on the list and not read the books or take the naps.

Life is different now. I thought, in this second year of empty nest, that I would be getting used to the quiet. When the hubby is around, he is always singing, and that helps…until it doesn’t and I need to cry “uncle.” Fargo barks at me to play with him…which is loud, but not even close to being the same noise. It’s still just quiet.

In hindsight, I would have stopped to appreciate the voices and the activity a little more. I would have tried to remember it a little better, as much of it is blurred from being in a constant state of exhaustion. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” definitely applies. What I have now, I wished for then, and what I wish for now, is a little more of what I had back then.

We’ll all be together for a few days soon. I am so excited and so looking forward to our time. I wouldn’t complain if time could slow down, just a little, so I can repeatedly squeeze them to pieces.

Fargo The (not quite as) Terrible

Fargo turned 2 a few weeks ago, yet another reminder of how fast the time flies by. The eldest is now looking at her senior year of college and the youngest is marking the halfway point. Fargo was a sharp toothed, piranha-like, crazy puppy when we brought him home. He was destructive, and loveable, played rough, and was a snuggler, bit toes, and gently nibbled ears. For a while, we had a love/hate relationship, but mostly love.

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We still have things to work on. He is still convinced that every human and every doggie want to play with him, therefore, he is terrible on a leash. He waits patiently for them to get close and then he OVER enthusiastically lunges to get to them, that’s how much he wants to play. Not everyone/doggie wants to play with Fargo as he imagines they do. The leash issue is something we keep saying we are going to work on, as it limits our options for doggie care.

Knocking on wood as I type this, but we have not had him in the crate for about a month. Unfortunately I still feel the need to make a sweep around the house as soon I get home to look for a new corner of a carpet to be demolished, or more stuffing from a piece of furniture to be strewn across the floor. So far, so good, which is huge progress.

Fargo still zoomies around the house, a behavior which we read about and which was supposed to trail off after age one…. True, it doesn’t happen nearly as often, but he still zoomies around the house at top speed, making sudden 180 degree turns on carpets, taking cues from NASCAR as he dives on the couch at top speed and banks off across the back to change direction.

He still plays rough, not really sure of his personal space boundaries. He has never ever been intentionally mean or aggressive, just gets a little too close as he is running around and bumps into us, or returns a toy with a little too much enthusiasm, etc. I’ve come close to getting taken out a time or two, so hopefully the rough and tumble will start to ease up.

As each day goes by, it is hard to see the subtle changes in his behavior, but when we stop to so an overall look back at the last two years, Fargo has come a VERY long way. No doubt he loves us, he loves to snuggle and to be with us, he loves to entertain us and make us happy. We feel the same way about him and we definitely appreciate how he has matured.

fargo pillow

Sometimes the quiet in the house can be deafening. I wasn’t sure about getting another dog after our beloved lab, Gus, left us.  Now I can’t imagine not having Fargo The (not quite as) Terrible in our lives. He is truly the Empty Nest Puppy we needed and we certainly try to be the best humans for him.