I have neglected writing a proper post here for some time. A lot has happened and changed in our lives since I last had a weekly or even monthly blogging rhythm. First, almost a year and a half ago we lost Bee, my husband’s mother (though she was Mom to me, too). I haven’t written about it because it is hard for me to find the words to express how much we miss her, and what she meant to our family. Inevitably I end up going on about the wonderful way she would cook oatmeal for us, with plump little raisins inside, or the special rich chocolate cake she would bake for us every holiday. She was so nurturing. I remember one time when she came to visit us at the market, she pulled some baked sweet potatoes out of one of her many bags, and they were still hot from the oven. She had wrapped them in tea towels as well as foil, and despite the hour or so trip over they were perfect. We ate them outside with pesto that we bought from a vendor. I will always remember: festive, cold nights spent at the annual Greek Festival, and seeing Mom all decked out in blue and white, and while we’re at it, her contagious love for the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She had such a great sense of humor. I think of her often when I’m watching Seinfeld reruns. I don’t remember if she actually liked Seinfeld, but that was her type of humor–she was so quick witted, and could laugh at awkward situations or pick up on the comedy in everyday life. She had a beautiful smile, genuine laugh and twinkling eyes that reflected her charm and delight for people and life. Her love for music. This is going to sound really cheesy, but her voice always reminded me of the Snow White cartoon, where Snow White sings and little birds and forest creatures come out of hiding to hear and surround her. She would probably be shaking her head if she saw me write that, but it’s so true. She had a classic and pure quality to her voice. And she could even reach those who were hard of hearing with her love for sign language. She would teach me all the funny signs, particularly the one used for bathroom, which is a type of joke in the hard of hearing community because it has a double meaning (though I can’t remember exactly what, right now). I could go on. She passed as she lived, with strength and grace and I will always remember that, too. Bee was a truly amazing woman and we miss her and keep her memory in our hearts.
A few months down the line Will and I drove up with little one to Asheville to see the leaves change. We stayed in a bed and breakfast and enjoyed soaking in mountain life. That trip strengthened us. We hiked two trails together, one in the community of Montreat and later one on Black Balsam Knob. Views were stunning, and in some instances a bit terriyfing. We arrived at Black Balsam Knob in the late afternoon and parked alongside the road on the Blue Ridge Parkway before we wandered into the forest that didn’t seem to have any trail markers. We were following other hikers and trusting the information passed down to us from locals. The bare woods were beautiful that time of year–all felt and smelled cool and dusky. Piper loved the adventure and showed a lot of initiative on our walks. I loved the people we encountered, people with so much athleticism–young women venturing out on their own, whole families walking together with children on their backs and loyal dogs without leashes by their sides. When we reached the top we saw campers setting up their tents and I was amazed at their bravery, sleeping out in the cold on a mountaintop with staggering views of other mountains and big drops. And darkness approaching. We were so excited for them, but it was time for us to head down before nightfall. We did make it back down to the car, where we quickly met a couple who was going to spend the night in their car and had all the delicious accouterments for their stay: a whole trunk of corn chips. We still had a trip home, though. That was another adventure of its own. That part of the parkway did not have lights–I don’t remember if any part of the parkway has lights come to think of it, but this part certainly did not. We made it back into town by the grace of God and Will’s excellent driving. I was certainly frightened by the thought of the steep cliffs on either side of us, but eventually we rode into a little mountain town with lights and from thereon the ride was smooth back to the hotel (where we stayed for the last night of our trip). So many other memories: wonderful folk music in the heart of Asheville, by Abbey the Spoon Lady who I thought Bee would enjoy because Abbey plays the spoons like no one else I’ve ever witnessed and because Bee always liked unique instruments, like the spoons. All the vegan food, and Piper meeting another little girl on our first night on the top floor of the Buchi Bar (a Kombucha bar that also serves delicious vegan fare including strawberry cake, which Piper found immediately). Getting lost walking downtown–all the colorful streets and people. Our afternoon in Waynesville, and the creaky floors in the general store. The shops decorated for fall, the little movie theater where the boy working up front first told us about Black Balsam Knob, etc.
Then, shortly after we returned to Florida we found out I was pregnant with our second child! I am grateful to say I enjoyed a healthy pregnancy, save for a few weeks in the first trimester and a few weeks at the very end where I experienced some challenges/trials, not all of them physical (at the end it is very difficult to be patient, for example). With that said, in the beginning of August we welcomed into the world our sweet baby boy Rowan, who weighed 9lb 7oz at birth! He is a sweet, calm, gentle, and happy little guy. Big sister is also very happy and proud to help any way she can around the house and with baby brother.
Slowly, we are getting used to new rhythms in our house. There was a transitional time right before baby was born and when Mimi and Pop-Pop were watching Piper for us that things felt eerily quiet at home. I’m hoping now that the noise of little ones has chased out the silence. I’m also hoping that this year will be filled with the making of new memories and will be more festive all around. I intend to become active on the blog again, sharing our little (and big) adventures with you all.