Friday, June 29, 2012

Coffee With Lauren

Today is our last day at the beach, then it is back to The Farm for a night, followed by the long trip home on Sunday. I can't believe our month on the East Coast is coming to a close already. And since, in a few short days I'll be returning to 62 and partly cloudy, I have to get down to the beach and enjoy my last day in the 90s. My last guest poster today is the beautiful Lauren from Happenstance + Wanderlust, here to explain the importance for being blogger soul mates and drinking a strong cup of coffee.
Hello Daffodil loves! I would love to start out with some delightful bit about you all being a lovely bunch... Or bouquet... Or something... But I haven't had enough coffee yet to fuel that kind of clever quipping. Plus I'd prefer you continue reading past this opening line and I think there are better ways to make friends than horrible plays on blog titles.

Anyway! I'm Lauren from Happenstance + Wanderlust and I'm way too excited to be filling in for Kate while she and her boys are basking in the sun (which will make them the envy of all pale coast-dwellers back in Monterey!)
So Kate and I have basically bonded over all the important things in life: wine, cheese, Little Women, photography and writing (also, I'm pretty sure between the two of us we could probably accessorize the entire west coast). But it wasn't until I read her post about A Day In The Life and saw that we were coffee soul mates that I knew this lady was the real deal.

You see, I don't have many concerns about how other people live their lives. As long as you're not hurting anyone, you're finding true joy and being thankful for the blessings you have, you're doing it right.

But there is one thing I consider a bit of a yardstick.

Now I'm all about knowing what you like and not apologizing for it, but I admit - I am always curious about how people take their coffee.

And this is how I knew Kate and I were destined to be friends. Black coffee.
There is something so deliciously nostalgic about a hot cup of coffee, unobstructed by cream or sugar. It's how both of my parents drank it as I was growing up and that taste of dark, bitter, toasty warmth still recalls those days of "Can I try a sip?" at the breakfast table. As a child I actually used to help my dad pick out the giant bag of coffee beans at Costco (a skill he made sure I had honed at a young age), and I can remember watching him make his one cup (just one cup!) of strong, black French Roast every morning. It was (and still is) an event. Out came the coffee grinder, in went the beans, the whizzing sounds of the tiny blades punctuating those first sleepy conversations of the day. I watched as he stood there waiting for the hot water to work its way through the density of grounds - proper ratios meant nothing in that house. This was thick coffee. My mother always referred to my dad's coffee as being somewhat akin to "the taste of wet tobacco" (she was always a light roast kind of lady).

So was it any surprise really that I, the product of two black coffee drinkers, would be anything else? OK, I admit, there was a small blip in college where I decided I needed to use cream & sugar. But it was just a phase! Everyone experiments in college! I didn't mean it! (Or I was just too cheap to spend my money on the vanilla latte I really wanted and was trying to make myself believe that powdered creamer and Splenda were practically the same thing - not at all true, in case you were wondering).

When I moved to Portland I realized that I was happily surrounded by like-minded folk. This is a coffee town and I was right at home. When my friends and I go out and a round of coffee is brought to the table I almost feel bad for the poor server.
"Cream or sugar?" is usually met by blank stares (followed quickly by a "No, thank you" because I don't have the guts to be that person).
I had breakfast with a friend once and watched helplessly as he emptied a packet of sugar into his cup and swirled in a rich thread of cream. I just studied him quizzically.
"You're doctoring your coffee." (not a question, an accusation)

Now I was only teasing him, but seriously - this country boy from Montana who grew up with the cowboys, hunting, fishing, playing football, a total man's man and.... Cream and sugar in his coffee? Silly boy.
I just giggled and went on sipping.

This same friend took me camping once,and in the morning, as he went rummaging through the gear in a slight panic over not having any creamer left, I couldn't help myself.
"Looks like you're gonna have to man up!" I said as I downed the last of my cup, right down to the grounds at the bottom.
Whatever. He may be over six feet tall and built like the linebacker he is, but I am so tougher than that guy. Or so I gently reminded him when I mailed him a single packet of powdered creamer for his birthday.
I'll never let him live it down.

It's a small mark of pride enjoying my coffee black. And when Kate and I finally have our blate some fateful day, I can already see the scene:
"Can I get you ladies some coffee?"
"Yes, please."
"Cream and sugar?"
"No, thank you. And could you just bring half a cup to start? Piping hot? Oh, and leave the pot."

I can't wait for that day, Lauren!

Thanks to all the wonderful woman who helped me out this week. Be sure to check them all out if you haven't already. And think of me on Sunday afternoon and say a prayer our return flight is better than the one here....

Thursday, June 28, 2012

That Time I Was Forced to Wear a Bikini*

*No, not me, I still live in a fantasy world were my post-two kid body can wear a bikini. But the following post is about my one of my blogger besties, Jenn, and the time she was forced to wear a bikini. Trust me, it is worth the read.
Hello there Daffodils’ readers, you stylish people, you. I’m Jenn from Life With The Lieutenant. While I don’t seem to blog on the regular too much these days, when I do write, it tends to be about my attempts to escape my yoga pants (success is hard to come by in that arena) and taking care of two kids under two while supporting my sweet husband Steve in his Army career. Since Kate and her gorgeous family are on vacation at the beach, I thought it might be appropriate to write a beach-y post here for you, but unfortunately, it will not be filled with pictures of me looking put together in a simple sundress or stylish swimsuit. (I typically call them “bathing suits” because after you go swimming, you don’t need a bath, amiright? It now also seems appropriate to mention that I’m from Alabama. Ahem.)

Enough terminology talk though; let’s get to the story. Today I will tell you about that one time I went on my honeymoon. It was my very first cruise and I stupidly did no research whatsoever (my MIL booked it as a gift to us). I was VERY proud of myself for fitting everything I needed into my one checked bag. Only inefficient chumps bring multiple bags and carry-ons! Psh!

We flew out of Atlanta to Puerto Rico. My one, single, solitary, lonely, stupid checked bag took a vacation of its own to Philadelphia (which, ironically, is where my husband is from). And since I was so “efficient” with packing, I did not have a carry-on. I had my purse, which contained my passport, my ID, an old Tic Tac, and a pen that ran out of ink sometime around the 8th grade. (Cue many curse words and some dramatic tears.)

We were told by the baggage people (they are in a circle of hell all their own) that there was no way my bag would make it down before the ship set sail. They would have to fly it to one of the ports a few days later. We alerted the cruise people that I had a missing bag and it would be showing up at some unknown time. In the meantime, I was fortunate enough to wear all of Steve’s clothes and have the worst case of Frizzy Hair that you ever did see. I basically looked like a sloppy teenage boy. Photographic evidence for you:

For the record, Steve does not own pink short shorts. Bought those on the ship to avoid wearing his basketball shorts any longer.

I was makeup-less, hair product-less (you curly-haired people out there can feel my pain, I know it), and swimsuit-less for the first few days of the cruise. Now I don’t wear much makeup anyways, but not having a swimsuit on a CARIBBEAN CRUISE was just a little more than I could handle. As we were walking around the ship, I noticed a shop that was selling some bikinis. I thought, Hey, if they’ve got bikinis, they’ve got to have a tankini lying around somewhere, or possibly a one-piece! (I do not have the body for a bikini, btw.) After checking with multiple store employees, the verdict was: That was the only store on the ship that sold swimsuits, and those two bikinis were the only options. SERIOUSLY??? Not to mention it was something like $80 for these two tiny pieces of fabric. I could feel my Target tankini laughing maniacally at my situation all the way from Pennsylvania.

But we bought the bikini and Steve was overjoyed. I was all, “Wah wah waaaah I have the whitest, not-tightest stomach in the history of the earth and I wouldn’t be surprised if nearby cruise-people started jumping ship just to avoid looking at this hot mess.” But I wore it anyway because there isn’t much to do on a cruise if you’re not swimming or lying out. Naturally, I had a drink to take the edge off. (Side note: Present-day Jenn With Two Kids And The Body To Show For It would like to go back in time and slap Past Jenn. Hard. It’s unfortunate that she didn’t have a glimpse of her 2012 abdominal situation for comparison.)
Luckily no one jumped ship because of my swimsuit. They said that man was crazy before he ever saw me in that.
My bag finally arrived, approximately one month later, at an island whose name I can’t pronounce. The cruise-people alerted me that my bag had made it on board, but that there was a suspicious object inside. I would need to come down there and let them search it. I opened the bag for the lady so she could poke around. She proceeds to pull out all of my “honeymoon attire” in front of God and the world (and quite a few overly-excited male crew members), but since I had already been sporting the bikini for a few days, this did not phase me at all. I hardly even flinched. But the suspicious item? Was my blowdryer. (Y’all were hoping it was going to be something slightly more… exciting? Weren’t you? Don’t lie, I’m sure the male crew members were just as disappointed, judging by their rapid dispersing after.) She asked me if it was some sort of gun. (Really?) I explained that even if it were, I would need to plug it into a full-sized, American outlet in order for me to shoot anyone. She did not find that funny. After thoroughly explaining what a diffuser was, I was allowed to zip my bag up and take it to our room.

And my tankini, cover-up and I lived happily ever after. The End.
 O Jenn, you make me laugh everytime. Be sure to check out Life with the Lieutenant for more funny stories!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Beach: Part I

Not enough time for words, but here is what we have been up to so far this week:

My Sister in law and her 3 boys sending Daddy a message in Afganistan

I hope your week is great and that I get some time to catch up on your blogs tomorrow, I miss you all!

Guest Post: Marie from Feeding Five

Hello again from the beach! Here is a sneak peak of what we have been up to:
Today, Marie from Feeding Five is here to give you a little insight into summer with school aged kids. If you aren't reading Marie's blog yet, you should immediately head over there. She is smart, creative, funny, faithful, a good photographer and an amazing cook. Plus her kids are gorgeous, insightful and well behaved AND her hubby is handsome. Yet, despite of all that, you can't help but love her. Take it away, Marie.
My name is Marie and I blog at 'Feeding Five'.  My blog is a journal of my crazy, lovely, fun and real life with 3 kids, my handsome husband and our chihuahua who I didn't want but am now obsessed with. 
I love blogs like Kate's where mom's relish in motherhood and the day to day challenges and struggles of raising a family.  It's the hardest job on earth so to make it easier we just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

I grew up in a family of 11.  Nine kids, 2 parents and a revolving door of animals.  No I didn't grow up on a farm.  I grew up in the big city, San Jose to be exact in a little 1400 square foot house.  We had lots of bunk beds.  And yes we're Mormon, why do you ask?

With so many kids there were always chores, a diaper to change, a meal to cook or a bike to ride down the street to get yet another gallon of milk.  There was no time for T.V. and I am lucky I got as many Brady Bunch episodes in as I did.

I had an innocent and carefree childhood.  There was lots of studying, reading, barbies, make-believe and being together. 

Times have changed so much since I was a kid and even though so much more is available to kids now, I tend to take the old fashioned approach with my kids. 

The day my oldest learned to turn the T.V. on by herself we got rid of it.  The T.V. that is.  That lasted a few years until my husband got me one for our bedroom so I would have something to watch while on my stairmaster.  Oh how I missed Oprah.

Eventually we created Friday night movie nights and 1 season of American Idol that the girls adored but I cringed through (the outfits!, the language!) and then our T.V. broke so now we're back to no T.V.
It's really not so bad.  The kids love books and keep busy with playing, chores, homework, bike rides and play practice.  I am a huge lover of books.  There is nothing that makes me happier than all of us cuddled up together reading separately or together.

Now, for the summer, I am so enjoying spending the mornings doing a sort of home school curriculum with the kids and spending the afternoons at the pool and beach.
I couldn't wait for summer as a kid, but now as an adult the thought of having my kids all to myself makes me giddy.  I miss them.

Plus part of our curriculum is chores.   Kids old enough to clean bathrooms, definitely something to look forward to.

Don't you just want to spend a day at their house? Thanks so much Marie for sharing your motherhood experiences with us. And I am definitely looking forward to having a couple bathroom cleaners in a few years!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Post: Styled By Laura

Hello, my darlings. We have spent an amazing weekend at the beach so far, with perfect weather, lots of little boy cousins and North Carolina hospitality, a few things that certainly make me happy. While I am soaking up the sun with my boys, my hubby and his family, I have a few amazing women here to keep you entertained.

First up is the talented Laura, from Styled by Laura to share some of her beach essentials.
Hi Daffodil's readers, it's Laura here from Styled by Laura.
I'm so excited that Kate has asked me to guest post today and share my beach essentials!

I'm loving all things tropical this summer and I think this floral print bikini would be perfect for the beach! For a cover-up, I always make sure to pack a cute playsuit - they are really versatile and can be dressed up for evening time too. I've added a pop of neon with the panama hat and flat sandals, and accessorized with a pair of oversized sunnies. Finally, a fabulous tote is a must for packing all the essentials into, and this Tiffany number is definitely one for the wish list!

Thanks again to Kate, I hope you are having a wonderful vacation!

Have a great day everyone!
Thanks, Laura for filling in for me today while I hang at the beach with my family. Be sure to check out Styled by Laura for more amazing inspiration for summer. And do try to convince her to share her hair secrets with me. Lord knows that I need some of her volume. Thanks again, Laura!

PS If you want updates from our trip, don't forget to add me in instgram, you can find me at katedaffodils

Friday, June 22, 2012

Good Morning

A few pictures from this week with the cousins:

 And back on the farm, checking on the veggies:

Last night, Kev and I were able to sneak away on our own for a night out at a hotel (much thanks to my saintly parents for watching the boys!) and tomorrow, we are off bright and early for a week at the beach with Kev's family. I have several awesome ladies filling in for me while I am on vacation, so be sure to give them lots of love next week. I will also be updating our trip via instagram (katedaffodils), so you can follow me there to keep posted.

 Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012