Archive for August, 2012

It’s been a blue month. A string of blue months, actually. Yes, there have been bouts of unabated joy (it is summertime in Seattle, after all!), but there have also been seemingly long bouts of deep, shadowy funk. I have felt fragile, like my emotions are just a millimeter under the surface of my skin and ready to explode in a fit of wet, slobbery tears at any moment. I cried in my pasta last week when La Verne asked me over lunch how I’ve been doing. I cried when Shane and I couldn’t agree on what to have for dinner the other night. I cried when yet another month of trying to get pregnant ended with a big fat no-go. I suppose the tears are to be expected, but it’s the the other emotional gunk that’s clogging up my soul. I’m realizing how this journey through infertility has caused all my worst qualities to rear their ugly heads. Envy. Self-pity. Impatience. And worry. Great, heaping boatloads of worry. I worry that God’s vision for our family is different from the plan I’ve wished upon since I was a little girl playing with my Betsy Wetsy doll. I worry that there’s this part of my heart that’s specially reserved for a child of our own, and if that child doesn’t come into our lives soon, that part of my heart is going to harden and leave me with a limited capacity for joy. I worry that I worry too much, and that no egg is going to want to stick around in a womb filled with so much anxiety.

I’ve seen friends and family members and people in inspirational 60 Minutes interviews find peace and find God in the face of adversity. I always wanted to believe that I was one of those people – that if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness or forced to flee our home in a natural disaster, I would still be able to see God’s abounding goodness in my life and trust in His ultimate plan. Turns out I am not one of those people. At least not at the moment. In the midst of our struggle, despite the fact that we have our health and our home and a community that loves us, I can’t seem to climb out of my dank, gloomy hole. I’ve sat down there for awhile now, arms crossed and held sulkily bowed. Sometimes Shane drops in for awhile, or Nancy or La Verne will stop by to check on me, but usually I prefer to have the place to myself, so that I can spread out my grief without worrying that anyone will trip over it. I’m slowly, tentatively looking skyward and wanting to reach for God, but not at the expense of leaving my plans for our family behind. Maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong – I’ve taken for granted the fact that He’s willing to climb into my hole with me, to chip away at my stubbornness and help me loosen my grip on all that I’ve clung to so tightly. He’ll sit there with me show me that our every happiness shall not rest on state of my uterus. He’ll meet me where I am, rather than demanding that I make the trek toward Him.

I suppose it’s time to roll out that welcome mat.

My weekend really kicked off on Thursday, with the arrival of my parents and my Aunt Ruthie, up for a quick visit to Seattle.  After a little at-home happy hour action, we all headed for a walk around Seward Park and dinner at Geraldine’s.  I hadn’t seen Aunt Ruthie for a couple of years, so it was good to catch up with her on all the latest happenings with my East Coast family.  I went into the office on Friday, but slipped out at lunchtime for mimosas and chowder at the Market with my mom and aunt, and then left a little early so that we could crack open that bottle of white wine while the afternoon sun was still grazing our back patio.  We grilled burgers and watched baseball and sat around the table telling stories from way back when.  As I get older, I’ve come to appreciate that my story doesn’t start with my earliest childhood memories.  My story is wrapped up in my parents’ first years of marriage, in the opossum-shootin’ shenanigans my dad got into as a kid at his grandparents’ farm, in the letters Nannie and Grandaddy wrote to each other when they were just young kids in love.  I’m just one little leaf on a family tree full of love and laughter and devotion.

Oh, and speaking of “way back when”, how incredibly awesome is the picture my aunt brought for us of the Jarrell clan, circa 1979?  Holy retro, Batman!

My aunt left for Baltimore on Saturday morning and my parents headed down to Portland, so the rest of the day was devoted to…a whole lot of nothin’.  No house projects, no errands, no baseball, just an afternoon full of completely blissful quiet on the back patio with a good book and a bowl of cherries (followed by a perfect afternoon snooze).  Putting away my to-do list felt so, so good – I think I needed the break.  We ended the day with one (last?!) backyard summer bbq at Brian and Nicole’s.  Sausages hot off the grill, piled with all kinds of toppings?  I needed that, too…

Sunday was full of more relaxing, a killer lunch at our favorite Malaysian food cart, another nap (or two – ?!), and dinner/catch-up at Chez Rust.  Stick a fork in this weekend – it is done.  Wellllll done…

I still remember the day we closed on our house.  After 7 years of being renters, moving every year to a different apartment, we were settling down into a place of our very own.  Ohhhh, I was excited – I had picked up a gallon of paint on our way to get the keys and was rolling that blue-gray on the walls before we’d moved even a single box into the place.  Add a smattering of framed photos to the wall, some orange-red damask curtains fashioned out of remnants from the Joann Fabrics clearance bin, and I was really starting to feel like all those years of watching Trading Spaces had finally paid off.

Those rash, antsy-new-home-owner decorating decisions have served us well over the last six years – I was really content in our cozy little living room…until we visited Mitch and Kathryn a few weeks ago and I went a little gaga over their new deep gray bedroom walls.  That blue I had loved quickly lost its charm.  And then I started looking at our photos more closely – good Lord, when was the last time I had updated anything on that wall?  And black picture frames?  Ugh.  I was so over those black picture frames – they needed to be white.  And bigger.  With large mats.  Set against a warm gray wall.  Stat!  I was suddenly jonesin’ for change in a bad, bad way.  A couple of trips to Lowes for paint and supplies, one 9 pm mad dash to IKEA for picture frames, an online print order to Costco for the photos, and I busted this facelift out in just a few days – it’s done!  And we love it.  For now. (Gray is the new blue, but it’s only a matter of time before green is the new gray.)

The deets:

Wall Color:  Valspar ‘Cathedral Gray’

Frames:  IKEA ‘Ribba’

Photos:  mine, printed at Costco

We went gangbusters on our to-do list this weekend, hanging new photos on the walls, washing windows, planting a row of autumn flowers out front, cleaning the car, purging closets and making a major Goodwill run.  But all work and no play make Shane and Kelly a dull, old married couple, so we set aside plenty of time for the stuff of true weekending.  We laid on the grass at Jefferson Park and drank wine while the sun set on the silhouette of downtown.  We took part in an epic cornhole tournament at my office’s summer picnic on Alki Beach (Shane is apparently awesome at this game – no huge surprise there…).  We gorged ourselves on pork tacos, a fried chicken sandwich, and hot, fresh beignets at World Concern’s mobile food truck bonanza.  We took naps and watched baseball and reconnected after a few days of being unsettled and just off.  We sat on the back patio this evening and ate popsicles and raised our glasses to a weekend well spent.

The forecasters are saying that summer here is on its way out – cheers to savoring this sunshine to the very last drop.

It’s been a doozy of a weekend, jam-packed with activity, but also fun and productive and perfectly sun-shiny.

Shane headed off for a kayaking adventure with the boys on Friday night and I fell asleep on the couch at 7 pm.  Yup, that’s my version livin’ it up while the hubs is away…  I did, however, wake up an hour later and embark on a 4-hour dusting frenzy as I moved furniture around in preparation for our new living room paint job.  As disgusting as it is to find an army of dust bunnies living under a bookshelf, it is so, so rewarding obliterate those suckers with a fresh rag.  And this is the stuff of wild Friday nights when I’m home alone.

I met up with Emily at church on Saturday morning to do a little painting in the newly renovated children’s area – we added birdies and leaves (and one super-sweet raccoon) to a tree mural while catching up with one another.  I am by no means a mural-painter, but this was fun.  Hoping the kids love their brand new “woodland creatures” themed classroom!

I spent Saturday afternoon at home working on a painting project of my own – I’ve been scheming a little living room makeover and kicked it off yesterday off with a nice coat of medium gray on the walls. Stay tuned for the final result.

By Saturday evening Shane and I were both pooped – I was plumb painted out and Shane was suffering from kayaker’s fatigue, so we scrapped the idea of cooking at home and headed over to Bar del Corso for prosecco, mussels, and wood-fired pizza that is giving Tutta Bella a run for their money.  We enjoyed our little sidewalk table until the sun went down and the street-sweeper came barreling past the restaurant – that was our cue to leave.  But man, that meal was good while it lasted.

After a fantastic morning at church, Shane and I headed east for a couple hours of blueberry picking at Bybee Farm in North Bend.  The branches were heavy with plump berries begging to be picked and we made our way down the aisles, quickly filling our buckets.  If not for the trickles of sweat running down our backs (it was hot out there!), I could have spent all afternoon among those bushes.  I suppose we’ll have to settle for our mere 8 pounds…

We spent tonight hanging with our favorite neighborhood kiddos while mom and dad enjoyed a fancy evening out.  Toys were brought out, books were read, tears were kept to a minimum, and everyone was tucked into bed by their scheduled time (er…give or take 30 minutes).  We make a good team, Shane and I.

And with that, I’m signing off – hittin’ the sack a little early tonight for a post-weekend recovery.  Bon nuit…

We are in the thick of Olympic fever here at Chez Schnell – we’ve spent nearly every evening for the past week and a half in front of the TV, staying up until midnight to hang with Bob Costas.  While this has made for some sleepy afternoons at the office, it’s been fun.  A few non-expert thoughts:

I adore Gabby Douglas.  Man, that smile.  And I love her humility and genuine spirit.  You go girl.

Can’t stand those Russian gymnasts – especially Miss Diva Mustafina.  When she grinned during Gabby’s falter on the bars, I wanted to reach through the TV and give her a piece of my mind.  And the way she shrugs off her coach after a poor routine – jeez.

I love watching Danell Leyva interact with his stepdad/coach – so much affection!  Makes me wish it was more common in our culture for adult sons and their fathers to hug/kiss/jump up and down together.

If I had a genie in a bottle, I would wish for the arms of an Olympic track runner.  Dang, those ladies are cut.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings are bad-ass.  And they’re so good together – there was a moment after their win tonight when Kerri reached over and adjusted Misty’s necklace so that the clasp was in the back, and it was such a small gesture, but it was just so…sisterly.

If I were to choose the Olympic sport in which I would be the most horrifically awful, it would be the velodrome.  Balance, agressiveness, and do-or-die speed?  Noooooo thank you.

Watching this video really made me want to be a part of the swim team.  How fun does this gang look?  Minus Michael Phelps.  He’s not my favorite.

I like the sappy little athlete bio pieces almost as much as I like the actual events.  Whenever one of them starts, Shane rolls his eyes then turns up the volume.  ‘Cause he loves me.

Holla, USA!

Summer wouldn’t be complete without our annual c-group camping trip, so we all loaded up our cars and headed east on Friday for a couple of days at Tolt Macdonald Park in Carnation.  After dinner at the local pub (we really know how to rough it), we set up camp and settled in for a weekend of eating, laughing, and soaking the great outdoors.

We awoke to a misty morning on Saturday and toasted bagels over the fire as our sleepy campers emerged from their tents one by one.

The fog quickly burned off into 90-degree temperatures, and the rest of the day was a blur of heating up and cooling down.  We invented our own version of the Olympic decathlon, complete with whiffle ball, kickball, frisbee, sun-tanning, swimming, whitewater body-surfing (a personal favorite!), mountain biking, balance beam freestyle (dang, Nance!), hammock-hanging, and s’mores-stacking.  Whew!

It was a pretty grand day, capped off with dinner hot off the grill (a la Jack, of course), cold beverages, and fireside laughter.

We broke down camp this morning and made the short trip back to Seattle as the sun reappeared and threatened to melt us Californians-gone-soft.  Shane and I indulged in a good afternoon snooze, walked to the park to watch the Blue Angels fly overhead for Seafair, and spent the rest of the day lounging on the couch for Olympics-fest Day 10 (interrupted only by an evening ice cream run to Full Tilt).  Have I mentioned how much I adore summertime weekends in the Pacific Northwest?