A Ray of Sunshine

b.story 12.03.12 daffodils miniature

My daughter got in the car the other day and announced, “It smells like summer.”  The day had been one of those extraordinary early spring days where everything is warm and feels of promise.  The car had that earthy warm smell that comes from sitting in the sun after transporting two active children.  Perhaps it was because we had summer on the brain.  

One of the aspects I like the least about ‘modern-day’ life is the apparent need to plan out our summer vacation in February!!  Between the expense of plane tickets, the quick booking of camping sites and the scheduling of kid summer camps, our summer vacation needs to be carefully mapped out while there is still snow on the ground.  A recent facebook conversation centered on the need for children to enjoy their summer vacation, unencumbered by schedules and agendas.  Unfortunately for those of us who have to work during the summer this luxury comes, ironically, only after careful planning and plotting.  

The amount of time spent organizing a schedule so that my children have a couple weeks of the gloriously unscheduled, unstructured summer days we enjoyed as children leaves me, quite frankly, exhausted and overwhelmed.  I worry about satisfying deadlines and commitments while giving my children a summer vacation filled with childhood play.  So I have succumbed to the pressure and registered for an array of amazing summer camps designed to entertain my children, while setting aside a couple weeks of family time.  My only hope is that it doesn’t RAIN during those few weeks I have scheduled as my children’s classic summer vacation!

So our summer has a plan.  We have mapped out an agenda that balances work and play.  We are looking forward to the adventures ahead of us filled with sun on our skin and salt in our hair.

And then that warm ‘smells like summer’ feeling dissipates and we wake up to a dusting of snow on the ground.  The air around us is heavy and gray.  It is now hard to imagine that summer could be right around the corner.  Until I walk out my door and I notice my daffodil bulbs.  My crocus is always the first sign of spring.  But the daffodils are my favorite flower and represent that the sun will once again shine.  In the cold and the drizzle and the gray of an Oregon spring, the daffodil is a sign that the summer vacation we have dreamed of might just be around the corner.

My daffodil sprouts are tenacious, declaring that spring is on its way, even through the snow.





I love these miniature nodding heads of sunshine.






Last fall, I dug up all my old bulbs to divide and relocate.  I stored them in an old garbage can lid and was greeted the other day by a plateful of buds!










b.story 12.02.08 Magnolia Tree
My son started developing his Christmas list in July.  Now, I realize to some, this might sound like a greedy enterprise.  However, for my six year old boy, the Christmas list becomes a fine-tuned art.  It might seem a stretch, but drafting the list is viewed as an opportunity to practice hand-writing and spelling, two…

Winter Blooms

b.story 12.01.30 Witch Hazel Tree
Those of us from the Pacific NW seem to be obsessed with our weather.  Furthermore, we are a fickle bunch.  Perhaps it is similar where you live?  Last year, after an unusually wet summer, we spent much of our winter complaining about the incessant grey drizzle.  This year it was different.  A playground chat actually…

Week 52 – Caesar Salad

b.salad 01.02.12 cesar
Here it is, the fifty-second and final salad of my ‘Year of Salads.’ There were a couple times when I wasn’t sure if I could prepare yet another, different, seasonal salad.  There were a couple weekly narratives that didn’t simply roll off the tongue.  But I did it and I am so glad I did.  There…

Week 51 – Roasted Broccoli Salad

b.salad 11.12.26 roasted broccoli
Caramelly sweetness.  Slight crunchiness.  Addictively delicious.  Are you thinking of a holiday treat?  Well, now I am.  But when I started this narrative I was thinking about roasted vegetables.  I love most vegetables (except beets!) in their raw or pure state.  Depending on the variety, I also enjoy them grilled or mashed or sautéed.  But…

Week 50 – Pomegranate Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

b.salad 11.12.19 Pomegranate goat cheese
One of the objectives of a long-term goal is to try things you’ve never tried before… to stretch your limits and master something new.  As I near the end of my ‘Year of Salad’ I am proud that I have met my own personal challenge.  Rather than continually serving the same basic green salad with store-bought…