Hello, Wine Wednesday! Let’s talk about a French Chardonnay, shall we?
This week’s wine is called Point de Fuite, which is French for the “vanishing point.” It comes from a region of France called Pays d’Oc, nestled between steep slopes and the winds of the Mediterranean.
The Point de Fuite immediately gave us lemon and green apples at the nose. We continued sniffing, finding it hard to smell past the overwhelming citrus, and eventually conceded that there was nothing more to find.
The taste was exactly as expected–fruity and bold. Lots of lemons and apples curled around our tongues, hinting at pears and maybe the odd banana. The taste was clean and crisp, despite tasting so juicy. A bit of sweetness lingered at the back, making us think of fruit cocktails.
This Chardonnay was smooth, well-balanced, and fruity throughout every moment.
To us, it’s great for sipping–especially after you’ve put the kids to bed, but we really think it’d make a great appetizer wine. Pair this fruity friend with cheese and crackers and prosciutto to counter the sweet, and you’ve got a delicious combination. This is why we’ll call this baby:
How does a fruity, yet surprisingly crisp, Chardonnay sound to you? Are you looking for a wine-and-cheese night? (Most importantly: will you be inviting me?)
I thought, with the second, I’d be more stringent–that I would start training her for crib sleeping earlier; that I wouldn’t be able to sit and hold her every time she napped.
But, here I am, eight months in and still letting my baby sleep on me.
Because, contrary to my own beliefs before I had her, I actually don’t have the time (or the energy or the willpower–take your pick) to focus on getting her into the crib.
I’ve sat down in that rocking chair, nursing and rocking, shushing my toddler, gingerly placing the baby down, shushing my toddler, gently patting the baby’s back while simultaneously shushing both baby and toddler, grabbing the toddler and dashing out the door, carefully closing that door.
To get a whopping thirty minutes of baby-free time.
So, to me, it just isn’t worth fighting instinct. She’ll eventually sleep in her crib–even Lily, known for her troubled sleeping habits, finally figured out that the crib isn’t evil.
So, for now, I let the Babiest sleep in my arms.
I sweat. I let my arm fall asleep. I let my legs fall asleep. I stay, slightly hunched, my back and shoulders aching, daring not to move too much, daring not to speak too loudly.
Feeling the weight of my little one; hearing her steady breath; feeling her little fingers tapping, her nails scratching; watching her little chin quiver in her sleep (is there anything sweeter than that phantom sucking?).
I give up hours of my life to sit on the couch so my small one can sleep.
Every day, three times a day, I become a human mattress.
And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
(Well, maybe just a little.)
[Thanks to my friend Alex for the hilarious and accurate turn-of-phrase “human mattress” and happy Halloween!]
It’s not that I don’t love you; that I don’t like to cuddle with you; that you gross me out; or that I don’t like you touching me.
But, yes, sometimes, having your head in my lap makes my skin crawl.
It’s just that, at the end of the day, I’ve been touched too many times.
I’ve carried, and lifted, and buckled, and worn, and dressed, and undressed, and changed, and wiped, and washed, and held, and hugged, and kissed, and pushed, and pulled, and patted, and nursed, and rocked, and cuddled, and generally felt little people touching me all day.
So, when the end of the day comes, and we finally put our two, precious girls down to bed, I just want my body to myself.
I want to feel like a person—not a mom.
I think all day about how good it feels to have your arms wrapped around me, and how nice it is to cuddle on the couch and talk (uninterrupted!), and how much I miss all the casual touching of our pre-baby life—just a brush on the shoulder as you walked by.
And then reality hits, and the last thing I want is one more person asking me to simply stroke his hair.
No, don’t retreat to the other end of the couch now. Don’t leave me alone.
Because I do still need your touch, and I do still want to curl up close and hear about your day.
Just, don’t exactly expect me to look pleased when you lay on me.
I will be, eventually, but let me work up to the gratitude.
Because I love you, and I miss you when you’re gone, but I sometimes miss me, too.
Before having babies, you have a completely different view on life. You think you’re broke. You think you don’t have time. You think you’re tired. You think you don’t have freedom.
And then you have babies, and you realize how incredibly wrong you were.
If you’re anything like Russ and me, you realize how much time and how many opportunities you sort of wasted, thinking you couldn’t manage it.
Why couldn’t we take weekend trips to nearby cities? Why couldn’t we go on more out-of-country trips? (Granted, this is also an army problem.) Why couldn’t we garden? Why couldn’t we cook more? Why couldn’t we go for more walks, or learn how to dance together, or pick up new hobbies? Or. Or. Or.
It was only after having a baby—and especially two—that we realized we had so much freedom pre-babies.
The funny thing is, too, that we’ve become so much more adventurous—so much more carefree—in the years post-babies.
We take tons of walks. We go on fairly long drives. We learn new things together.
We rarely spend a full day at home.
And it’s all come from realizing we can’t let fear or exhaustion or money stand in our way of having a good time, and enjoying each other more fully.
Do we have some “could’ve-would’ve-should’ve” choices we wish we’d made? Sure. But do we resent where we are now because of those missed opportunities? No.
We now know we can still experience those things we neglected as young, free people. Maybe later in life, and maybe a bit more encumbered (by children, by worries, etc), but they’re not off the table yet.
It’s taken us five years and two babies to finally see the potential in everywhere we go, and everything we do.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I love Spain. So it’s no surprise that when I’m faced with one of Spain’s most famous grape varietals, Tempranillo, I’m usually a fan.
Tempranillo is a grape grown mostly in Spain itself, and is typically a full-bodied wine, despite its translucent quality in the glass.
Our Tempranillo this week comes from Spain, from the vineyard Aguilar (2015).
At the nose, this wine hit us immediately with smoke, possibly leather and tobacco. Dark fruits–black cherries and plums–followed, and there was a certain earthy quality to the smell. It reminded us of a dark forest, full of moss and leaves.
Upon taking a sip, we were surprised to find a light, berry-centric front. Again, lots of plums and cherries. The middle was all spice–black pepper, cinnamon, clove. And this wine finished again with leather and smoke, lingering on the tongue long after the sip had been swallowed. This Tempranillo reminded Russ of a spiced pie, dark as the fruit was.
This wine was very full and strong, coating the tongue and mouth. It was not Russell’s favorite, but a clear winner to my tastes. (Have I told y’all I love a dark, smoky, bold red before? This baby was perfect.)
More like Temper-nillo, am I right? You’d better include that. It’s a good joke. –my husband
The harmony, complexity, and completeness of this wine lends itself beautifully to pairing with nearly anything, but especially with a meaty dish or something quintessentially Spanish (obviously).
However, Russ and I agree this wine is also perfect for a night alone–sitting in a dark bathroom, candlelight flickering against the walls, classical music playing, lost deep in thought. Which is why we dubbed the Aguilar Tempranillo:
Tell me: does this wine sound like your style? Or is it too dark for your tastes? Will you join me in my love of this gorgeous Spanish grape?
It’s a word every military spouse dreads hearing. It’s a word that lingers like a dark cloud at the back of our minds.
And it’s something we probably all have to face, sometimes more than once, if we stay in the military for more than a few years.
Deployment is something we discuss for years after the fact.
I think everyone can agree to that.
But it’s also a learning experience like no other, and I actually don’t think our marriage would be what it is today without it.
Russ and I have talked about this topic—how deployment made our marriage grow stronger—over and over.
We were lucky with Russ’s deployment: we had almost a year of marriage before it came for us; we didn’t have kids yet; he wasn’t going to be doing patrols; we lived in a world of internet connectivity (even if it was expensive in Afghanistan).
Some have more intense deployments. Some have had multiple deployments. Some have newborns or family issues, or, or, or…
But the fact remains: deployments suck.
There’s limited communication; you’re separated for a long length of time; it’s inherently dangerous.
These are all reasons to let a deployment cause setbacks in a marriage. But Russ and I learned how to work it so the deployment actually made us stronger.
I don’t have “The 12 Tips and Tricks to Grow Your Marriage During Deployment”—no gimmicks. Just reality.
I think (I hope) even the most seasoned spouses would agree that the biggest factor in strengthening a marriage through the hardship would be learning how strong you are.
Deployments are inherently good at keeping you separated from your spouse (obviously), so you learn to be more independent than you probably thought you could be. You learn just how much you can do on your own. You learn how much you can handle—physically and emotionally.
And, here’s the key, I think: once you know how strong you are—once you realize you don’t need your spouse around—you learn to appreciate why you want them around.
Once you’ve found your inner strength, once you’ve faced your weaknesses and your shortcomings, it’s easy to accept your spouse’s, and learn to use each other to fill in those gaps.
Your spouse becomes a bonus—and, hopefully, your complement—rather than being your crutch.
The only tricky part lies in not letting your independence rule—in continuing to let your spouse in, to rely on them, even if you don’t have to.
Because, ultimately, the scariest thing to do, once you’ve learned to be strong, is to be strong enough to put your trust wholly in someone else’s hands.
So, yes, any type of hardship can teach you these lessons, and Russ and I would probably eventually be the couple we are today without a deployment, but it’s through the trials of life that we learn to build ourselves and our partnerships.
Did I hate nearly every minute of deployment? Yes. Do I resent it? No.
And, in fact, I’m grateful to have had the chance to prove to myself that I can be stronger than I ever thought possible.
So tonight, I’ll be celebrating the strength of our marriage, and thinking fondly of all the times I shoveled snow alone.
But really, I will never appreciate all that snow-shoveling. So, let’s fondly remember the homecoming, instead!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about something I heard a lot about in earning my elementary education degree: teachable moments.
They’re moments that you didn’t originally include in your curriculum—moments that you can either take at face value and let slide by, or that you can use to your advantage and teach something from them.
They’re not as hard to identify (or to work) as you might be thinking!
For example: as I was unloading the girls from our van at home, a tiny movement caught my eye.
Bending closer, I found a snail! My very first, real, live, in-the-wild snail!
I could’ve said, “Cool. Now let’s get the kids and groceries unloaded and move on.” But I didn’t.
I pulled Lily out, and pointed that snail out to her. She bent close to the ground, both of us staring at the tiny snail as it made its way across the driveway.
We talked about the color and size. We talked about the shell. We talked about how to handle wild creatures.
I used the moment to teach her about nature and the world around us. About how to be curious, and how to treat the things we see.
Using teachable moments is easy when you learn how to spot them.
Sometimes it’s letting them find out it hurts to fall off the couch and then talking about why it hurts or why they fell off, or what part they hurt, or what emotion they’re feeling because of it.
Sometimes it’s finding a fallen leaf, and talking about how it crunches and why, the colors it’s turned, or where leaves come from.
Sometimes it’s letting them jump in the mud puddles, and then talking about why it’s squishy (bonus for new vocab!), how their pants are now all wet, how far the mud flies when they stomp, or the cause and effect.
Sometimes it’s the simplest moments that can hold the most value.
My “curriculum” as a stay-at-home mom to two little ones is hardly structured—I, instead, love to use teachable moments to build my girls’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Because nothing teaches better than experience.
What are some teachable moments you’ve encountered?
I am so excited to start a new weekly post for y’all: pairing the wines I try with meals I love!
This way, you’re getting not only a list of general pairing ideas I have, but an actual, tried-and-true recipe that I know will go great with that wine.
And, being honest, they’re probably mostly going to come from the amazing meal planning company I use: eMeals.