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Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

What a difference a year makes!  A few days ago, I turned 34.  The past year flew by even though some days I felt like I watched the clock tick away each excruciating second until bedtime.  I suppose that is life with young children, especially two of them.  The year was a whirlwind of firsts: first foods, first steps, first birthdays, first words.  It has been exhausting and exhilarating, sometimes switching between the two in a span of minutes.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

As a birthday gift, my mother offered to babysit and my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate.  We hadn’t been out in a long time because I have an extreme case of  new-mom babysitter phobia.  (I attribute this in part to a wild imagination and in part to my prior life as a prosecutor in the child abuse/sex crimes division. NOT a good combination, I assure you.)  On a friend’s recommendation, I made reservations at a new restaurant in Austin, Lenoir.  It turned out to be a fantastic evening.

Date Night

Lenior is a small restaurant opened by husband and wife team Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher.  It touts itself as a neighborhood restaurant, encouraging  a base of loyal local patrons and sourcing fresh ingredients locally.  The menu is a prix fixe three or four course dinner which changes weekly and is extremely reasonably priced ($38 for a three-course meal, $10 more for the four-course meal).  The wine list is on the expensive side (this coming from someone who balks at paying more than $10 for a bottle of wine at the store) but the bottle of Malbec we ordered was well worth it.

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A few of the highlights were my first course—a roasted tomato filled with Indian spiced beans and thinly sliced pieces of okra, sitting in an herb-yogurt broth—and my husband’s second course—soft-shelled crawfish sitting on a bed of thai herb salad with a vinaigrette.  Yum, just yum.

 

My first course

My first course

 

 

Brian's second course

My husband’s second course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the most amazing course was my husband’s dessert.  He ordered the pistachio cake served with poached pears and a scoop of ginger ice cream.  Oh my God. It was delicious.  The cake had an almost crunchy outer crust but was perfectly moist inside and the ginger ice cream actually sent a spicy heat down your throat.  I regret to say I did not get a picture of it, most likely because by that point a) the bottle of wine was finished and b) who can wait to take a picture before digging into dessert?

 

If you live in or ever find yourself in Austin, Lenoir is a must.

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33!There was a cold front here in Austin this weekend.  The high was 91 on Saturday.  If you are not from Texas you are most likely rolling your eyes at this, but if you are you know that in August in Texas you are a prisoner to the heat. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was hormones, but I was feeling down in August.  Yesterday was my 33rd birthday, and last week, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to celebrate it.  I was fatigued from dealing with the boys by myself everyday, being hard on myself about my post-baby body, and tired of existing in yoga pants and t-shirts that usually had day-old spit-up stains on them because I had time to do everyone’s laundry but my own.  (Yes, feel free to insert the sound of a violin playing here…).

One evening, after collapsing into bed, I picked up my copy of Simple Abundance by Sara Ban Breathnach and flipped to the corresponding day.  In that day’s essay, she was discussing the idea that there is an inner artist in every woman and the art we create is living an authentic life day to day.  She wrote, “women are artists of the everyday.  The world does not acknowledge or applaud everyday art, as we must.  We are the keepers of a sacred truth.  We must cherish this wisdom and pass it on to those we love.”  Amazing.  And just what I needed after a day of exhausting minutia.

I am trying to appreciate the art in everything I do. From singing songs to my boys, to cooking a meal, and yes, even folding laundry.  I am also trying to appreciate the everyday art and beauty in the world around me.  Today, I had a thrill of excitement because on my trip to the grocery store, I discovered that the pumpkins were on display!  I love all things Fall, and I think it is surely no accident that my birthday falls on the cusp of autumn.

Pumpkins!

This weekend, I also came to appreciate how blessed I am to have wonderful friends in my life.  They celebrate with me, drag me out of my shell and into the world when I need it, and listen to me when life is sometimes too much to bear alone.  They are amazing women and everyday artists who are striving to live authentic lives each in their own very different way.  I am looking forward to an autumn (and a 34th year!) full of friendship and family, with beauty and possibility around every corner.

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