Tag Archives: wine

How I spent my random vacation.

We have 6 bedrooms.

Six.

We have 3 people (4 if you count Binky the Wonder Dog, and we probably should because he would be the first to tell you he is effing “people” and don’t forget it,) in our family.

It is too damn many bedrooms, but whatever.

So The Mr has one bedroom upstairs as his office, and I had previously taken one of the bedrooms in the finished basement as my office.

This left us with 2 fully-outfitted spare bedrooms. 2 bedrooms just sitting around waiting for someone to come along and sleep in them or whatnot.

The spare room in the basement is TRICKED OUT – you get your own LEVEL of the house, FFS. Walk-in closet, the best TV in the house, surround sound, my favorite sofa, and a private bathroom.

The one upstairs is smaller, you share a bathroom with our 5 year old (“Captain-NO-Aim”) and his army of bath toys, and you are right up in the day-to-day of our family’s crap. It was the 2nd tier spare room, for sure.

It was also time to transfer Jr to a true bed, since he was bustin’ out of his Toy Story toddler bed to an extreme degree.

So I developed “The Plan.”

The Plan entailed us moving the queen bed from guest room B into Jr’s room next door, then moving my office into said unneeded guest room, and then finally the changing of my old office into Jr’s exclusive playroom.

Genius.

We moved the bed into his room and got him rocking and rolling as a “big boy” (although he does still have to take a semi-hilarious running jump to get into the thing for the moment.)

Then came the last 2 steps.

And a confession. I have a LOT of stuff.   I had been cramming the clothes Jr had outgrown into that unused bedroom closet for going on 4 years, and when we moved in I had just shoved boxes marked “Keri Office” into my office closet and shut that dang door.  Then filled two bookshelves with a fraction of my favorite books in that room (hello, English degree nerd girl,) slapped some pictures on the wall and called it good.

A reckoning was coming, people.

I took a whole week off of work to make it happen, people. (And also because I had hella comical amounts of vacay accrued, yo.)

Things started off well:

Mimosa buneh ready 4 ALL THE PROJECTS.

But things, um… deteriorated kinda quickly from there…. (this is the kind of crap you miss when you don’t follow Keri on snapchat – @reluctntnburbs.)

I quickly discovered I hadn’t really purged ANYTHING from the time we had Jr…. I threw it in bags and moved it out of The Treehouse when we left the city.

There was this:

Uh oh.

And this:

Oh noes! It’s one of 80 hats I apparently liberated from the hospital!

Which escalated to this:

That escalated quickly.

And a LOT of this:

Chee-burger….

And this:

Ruh roh, queso. (With a SPOON, mind you.)

And of course this:

That salad is to keep my wine company, people.

Big ol’ shocker – Keri wasn’t handling change well. Because we have NEVER seen that before (ahem – hereand hereoh and lookie here…  I DIGRESS!)

Anyway – after I  succumbed to my weeping and eating honored my emotions regarding the treasures that avalanched out of my closets I discovered in my purge, so much more than just a clean office started to come into view. I was able to pack a few boxes for dear friends who have little guys that can get more use out of the tiny cutie clothes and I have taken two car loads of various gear to donate at A Precious Child.

Plus, in both Jr’s packed away gear, and the books and writings coming up from my former office, I have revisited so many special moments in the history of Keri.  I re-read papers I wrote in college (dang, college Keri could REALLY pick apart a Virginia Woolf novel.)  I sat in the Big Blue Marshmallow Chair, now newly rehomed in my office, and laughed and cried my way through the journal I kept for Jr during my pregnancy and our first few months together after his birth.  I brought up the table I use as a desk, remembering that it was a cast off from the University where my paternal grandparents worked, as a groundsman and a cook, and thought back to my memories of them as I sat, palms flattened against the top.  I repositioned, again and again, the mid-century modern typing table that my in-laws bought me after I fell head-over-heals for it during one of their first visits after we moved here, grateful that they love the history of things as much as I do.

Andplusalso, that cool old TV in the corner was my mom’s family’s when she was a teenager.

Did I get it all done in a week? No – I ended up taking the long way around, for sure. But it’s coming along nicely… both rooms are, actually.

And spending that week sorting and laundering and dusting and moving and living with those things that have gathered through the years allowed me stop and think and truly know what needed to stay, and what needed to be released back out to find another round of use and love.

Hokey? Of course. But it helps my heart, so I’ll take it.

Otherwise I am just the woman who spent her vacation drinking mimosas, eating chicken wings, and crying into a pile of 10-24 month sized punk band shirts.

(Let’s never speak of this again, shall we?)

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Not a “Kindergarten Mom” post.

I mean, just ♡♡♡♡

As Jr’s start date for Kindergarten looms ever-closer, friends and family and fellow moms have sent me links to many “open letter” type articles and blog posts…

Posts with titles like “On your first day of Kindergarten,”  and  “To my baby as she goes to school” and “The day my youngest started Kindergarten” (none of these are exact, but you get my drift, yes?)

In the past I have read these offerings fondly, I have even sent them on occasion as parents who have blazed the trail before me sent their respective littles off to Kindy and beyond.

I am here to tell you that I love each and every one of you who have sent those pieces… and I love and respect those who have so eloquently written them.

But people, I can’t read that shit right now.

Straight up, yo –  I am like, barely hanging on by the grace of God and Chardonnay and  a substantially unhealthy decent amount of denial.

It brings “I can’t even” to a new level.

Monday Jr started his last week of Pre-k at the day care center he has attended since he was 1.  I cried my “waterproof” mascara off  TWICE before 9 a.m. that morning. (I haven’t bothered trying to put it back on since.)

I woke up at 3 a.m. today, and I went into his room and turned on his soother and just sat in the glow watching him sleep.  (How much would that mess him up if I was THISCLOSE to his little face and he happened to wake up!? Screw saving for college, we should save for therapy.)
And this is just me, left to MY OWN thoughts on the subject, which are always scattered and fragmented and not all organized and beautiful and all of the things that the authors who wrote those posts and articles offer up so amazingly well.

If I read just one of those heartfelt examples, I have zero doubt that I would be reduced to a simpering, sobbing puddle of mom who runs to find Jr and tackle him in a heap of smother-hug on the floor, and NEVER gets my mess of a self up again, forevermore.

Because I think part of what is (barely) keeping me from losing it just now is that I kind of CAN’T put all of this into words….

I look at him this week and I see the eyes that have glanced curiously back at me, color matching my own perfectly, since minutes after he was born.  I hear echoes of his in-utero heartbeat on my stork radio monitor,  feel the cozy calm of his nursery enveloping us with the city bustling  below our beloved highrise “treehouse,” his first home. I smell his tiny baby lavender bath wash, taste every tear I have cried in fear and frustration and joy for him- all in an instant.

I see also in those eyes his entire future. The first inklings of his hopes and his dreams.  The challenges he will face, the obstacles he will overcome…. The love and the loss and the joy and the pain and the terrifying, beautiful BOUNDLESS promise that lives in that 40 lbs of human whirlwind.

I see it all.  And  I lose my words.

And I think it is saving me to know that for now.

I swear I will start a Pintrest board for all of those (no doubt awesome) posts, and I will read them around Halloween, when all of this is normal and routine and I can be only a semi hot mess mildly teary and slightly nostalgic about the next few weeks.

Right now it is way,  WAY too much.   Right now words aren’t tools, they are weapons coming at my tender mom-heart.

There is room in my little corner if you want to join me for denial, prayer, and Chardonnay, my fellow Kindy moms…..

No Kindergarten mom articles allowed though….  We don’t have enough tissues or box wine for that shit.

 

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The Age of the Questionable Decision

So Junior turned 4 last weekend.

In a blaze of Grandparent-spoiling, cupcake hogging, Superhero party glory.

Now I don’t want to jump the gun on my assumptions – we are only a week in to this whole “being 4” situation. But can I just say that week number one has been a freaking whopper.

It appears to me, in my snap judgement brain, that 4 should be known as “The Age of the Questionable Decision.”

We have had more diving off of things than I can remember him desiring to do in his whole life combined, (back yard play set, couches, stairs, footstools, beds, TOILETS…) you name it, he wants to climb it and dive off. As of this week, quite suddenly.

WHY GOD – WHY THE DIVING?

WHY!?

I had congratulated myself on a job well done with his superhero party – attendees of all ages seemed to have a great time, and Jr was surrounded with all kinds of awesome gifts to explore while we cleaned up the aftermath. All was well, right?

Except then I got a call from my life-long friend letting me know that her husband had Jr in his sights as he was riding AWAY FROM THE HOUSE and off around the corner at full pre-schooler-strength speed on his trike, with no knowledge of the parents and at least one set of grandparents all inside the house assuming he was with someone else.

(I still can’t talk about it without shaking my head… how could that happen? HOW!? I keep having flashbacks and randomly grabbing him into hugs that I am sure are stunting his growth or something.)

Guess who learned to unhook the back gate? Yep.

Guess whose daddy put a lock on said gate an hour later? Yep.

BTW – Jr stated for the record that he was “going to Texas to see his cousin.”  On a trike.  I mean adorable, yes… but scary as shit and only one of at least 4 times I have been hysterical thus far into his very short time as a 4-year-old.   Again, Keri nails the mom thing. I should write a manual, I am sure.

But we are not alone in the Age Of the Questionable Decision.

OH NO NO NO, my friends.

There’s Jr’s little friend down the street, whose father recently shared the story of his offspring running FULL THROTTLE across the park, through the cul-de-sac, and over to a neighbor’s trash can before LICKING IT, for no reason at all. Running through the street to lick a trash can like it was a giant ice cream cone = Questionable Decision.

Or one of Jr’s preschool chums who tapped me on the shoulder when I was picking him up from school this week and pointed to what was left of a bent curtain rod, held up over a window with some tape, and said proudly “ I CLIMBED THE CURTAINS TODAY!! TWICE!” Evidently after his time out from round one, he decided to give it another go. (God bless Jr’s teacher. I bet she buys her wine by the case.) Curtains as climbing wall = Questionable Decision.

I have found myself, in the small time that we have spent beginning to wade out into the deeper waters of 4 years old, leaving the wading pool of toddlerhood behind us, looking deep into Jr’s eyes, trying with no success to do some sort of Mommy Vulcan Mind Meld in an attempt to crack the nut that is 4-year-old decision-making logic.

No dice…. The kid is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a “Captain Ca’Merica” costume, laughing his head off as he careens off the porch toward the concrete.

Sigh.

Does Crazy 8s make suits out of bubble wrap?

Can you lo-jack your kid?

Do band-aids come in mega bulk?

 

Give me strength. (And eyes in the back of my head.)

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Local Love – Valentine’s Day

Ahhhhh Valentine’s Day.

Cards and Conversation Hearts; chocolates and flowers; strawberries and champagne….

(Or a big middle finger to the greeting card companies and a desire to turn Cupid’s bow and arrow right back at his diaper-clad little self.  To each their own, eh?)

Having been in the floral design industry for a good part of my 20’s, I confess I am somewhere in between. I lean toward cussing the whole thing and assaulting the cherub, but I do love any excuse to eat an amazing meal.  (Unless you bring me flowers – in which case I will shove them up your nose and stomp on your foot as I turn to walk away.  I have floral industry Valentine’s Day induced flower trauma.)

So, where do you go if you want to show your honey some Local Love this Valentine’s Day?

A few suggestions:

I would rather get the tar-and-feather treatment with a vat of molten chocolate fondue and the stuffing from a red-and-pink teddy bear than go out to a restaurant on or around February 14th.  The only day that is a bigger nightmare for dinner out is New Year’s Eve, FFS.  Skip the crowds and pre-set menus and drop in to your local butcher for the perfect steak (or chop, or a selection of charcuterie, or something else special and delicious,) to make a meal that is sure to show your other just how significant he or she is to you.  If the idea seems a bit intimidating to you, stop by Wally’s Quality Meats . The staff is approachable and quick to offer suggestions both for selection and preparation,  they will lead you to the perfect pick (and preparation,) to wow your Valentine.

Sweets for your sweetie!  You have to have a little something sweet on Valentine’s Day, right?  Of course.  Two of my favorites from around the area:

Sweet Cow – The original store in Louisville sees a lot of action from this family. So good. So. Dang. Good.

Indulge Bakery –  Red velvet cupcakes, people.  Come on now.  (Or Salted Carmel.  Or Butterscotch pie.  Oooo, or Cookies!!)

Wine. CLEARLY you are going to need wine to compliment the fabulous meal you are about to whip up, (or to cover up for not listening to Keri about Wallys’s and serving Chipotle by candle light instead. ) Even if you have your everyday favorites, a special bottle of something grape can be THE thing that marks an occasion and sets it apart.  For this reason a visit to  The Wine Cellar (attached to Wine and Cheese,) at the Orchard Town Center is in order. Tell them what you are preparing, tell them what you like (or don’t,) and they will assist you in selecting a bottle (or two.. ahem.. why not?) This is a boutique approach to wine, so every bottle is a stand out, and (fair warning,) stopping in for something new here can be a bit addictive.  You’ll be back.

Maybe you need a little gifty to bestow upon your beloved? Now if you are me, nothing says loving (to be given OR received by Keri,) like a growler or two from Big Choice Brewing. But if beer doesn’t = romance to you then I have just three words for you:  Curating The Cool. A fun and funky and, in keeping with its name, very well curated selection of vintage, along with handmade items.  Hint, the perfect change-his-life gift for your guy is a selection of Mod Cabin shaving and grooming products, which CtC carries.  You are welcome.

But Keri, ONLY flowers will do.  She/he/whatever EXPECTS the flowers.  I can’t skip the flowers.

Then call  Lafayette Florist. Or better yet, stop by and talk to the designers.  Skip the internet flowers-wedged-in-shipping-box situation and have a conversation with these folks to get something special that shows you didn’t just “get flowers.”  You got an arrangement that will appeal to the recipient.   The great designers at Lafayette did my wedding flowers and they were beautiful, elegant, perfection.  (It is not easy to please a floral designer on her wedding day, believe me. They did.)

Hint – if flowers are your goal, shop now. Like, maybe don’t finish reading this, just get on the blower or in the car and shop NOW.  Except do finish reading this first, because hello – Keri worked hard on it and that’s just rude.  Seriously though, if you want Valentine’s Day delivery, or even a nice arrangement to pick up and hand deliver yourself, get that squared away today, because calling on the day (or the day before,) is going to make for an extreme uphill battle.

There you have it – your NoBurbs Valentine’s Day  survival  – nay – THRIVAL guide. (Yep.  That’s not a word. That’s what I do, people.)

Use it well, and remember:  when it comes to steak, cupcakes, and wine, sometimes NOT having a significant other is a good thing.  :::Side-eyeing The Mr.::::  Protecting your portion can be so much work.

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Local Love – Bean & Berry

*ETA: Bean and Berry has sadly closed.

While alternately adjusting to/fighting against life back in the old hometown, my reluctantly suburban sanity has been saved by a small (but growing) group of places. Places that are breaking the suburban mold and offering great services and blessedly individual character in a sea of chain restaurants and big box stores.

In the shadow of the approaching Small Business Saturday (after the dreaded, and avoided all together by me, Black Friday,) I thought there was no better time than the kickoff of prime shopping season to start highlighting some of the places in the area between Denver and Boulder that have captured my Local Love.
One of my favorite examples of unique and creative small business in the area, (and the location alluded to in a previous post,) is Bean & Berry, a hidden gem of a genius concept tucked into a shoppette at 305 McCaslin Blvd in Louisville. The signage from the street isn’t flashy by any means, so be on the lookout for it, because it is so, SO very worth finding.

That it is great local coffee shop serving up all of the usual suspects, (brewed from organic, fair-trade beans,) to keep you caffeinated is fabulous enough, but that is really just the teeny tiniest tip of this iceberg, people.
Because that is just the “Bean” portion of things – the “& Berry” is where Keri’s heart is truly captured.
If coffee just isn’t going to cut it, then let your eyes move right on down to Bean and Berry’s wine list.
That’s right people. Wine. Actually wine, spirits, and bottled beers – predominately Odell’s selections with a few others for good measure.
BUT WAIT!! That isn’t even everything!! This cozy little corner shop also has a great menu of satisfying sandwiches, sweet or savory crepes, fun tapas, and delicious breakfast burritos (breakfast items served all day!)
The food isn’t just there as an afterthought – it is tasty and fun and not too serious about itself, (a section called “fun with grits”? Indeed.)  I am particularly partial to the Flyin’ BLT with its peppered bacon and magical aioli that is a touch of saucy perfection.
Owners Michaela and Lisa (and their friendly staff,) have created a little haven for the neighborhood here, with local artists’ work for sale on the walls, music nights featuring local bands, and even a private room available for the community to use for meetings (call for availability of the “B Lounge” for your group.)
The vibe is decidedly “coffee shop-esque” in the best way possible – seating is a mix of tables, bar, and comfy upholstered couch and chairs so you can channel your inner Monica and Chandler (except that Central Perk lacked hooch, so you automatically win in this fantasy scenario.) Connect to the free WiFi over a cup of joe OR a glass of grape and decompress.

Current seasonal additions to the menu include biscuits and sausage gravy with scrambled eggs, all manner of pumpkin flavored beverages from the espresso bar, as well as Isolation Ale (what up, Colorado tradition,) and Dark and Stormys for “adult beverage” offerings. Yes ma’am.
Each day also offers a different Happy Hour offering (4-6pm), from Monday’s $7.00 Marg and Nachos combo, to $3.00 house wine Wednesdays, and (garnering Keri’s brunch-worshiping allegiance for all time,) $8.00 bottomless mimosas during their Sunday business hours. (BRING ON THE MIMSIES, Y’ALL!!)
A current Groupon offering makes it a perfect time to check Bean and Berry out, but really, no excuse is needed. Great, responsibly sourced coffee + a careful selection of wine, spirits, and beer + yummy food for any time of day = a place worthy of lots of Local Love.

Bean & Berry on Facebook

Bean & Berry on Groupon

Look for more Local Love offerings to come soon on Reluctantly Suburban!

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