Lucky you

I’m not cooking right now, but my typing fingers work just fine. Aren’t you lucky? Here’s some drivel that has very little to do with food or cooking.

First, here’s a photo of my beauuuutiful burned-up face:


So much for that modeling contract.

I was lucky that I didn’t get more severe burns on my face. It will be a while before I can erase the memory of shredded chicken and thyme all over my face, in my hair, down my shirt. (Hot. Literally.) Every day, I heal a little bit more, but sometimes the healing process has been a little ugly. My parents will be here in less than a day, so we’re hanging in there. Tonight’s bedtime routine (a solo effort by yours truly) included pee on one bed, a nasty diaper change on another (from the same kid), a closet door that got knocked off its tracks (also by yours truly) and goofiness all around. I know I must be tired, because I found myself thinking, “Well, at least they’re getting along with each other.”

After they’re in bed, we high-five each other and tuck into something on TV while folding laundry and getting ready for the next day. It would be logical for us to go to bed once they’re asleep, but parent sleep schedules do not respond well to logic. Our happy hour of sleeping-child bliss includes herbal tea, conversations about whatever we heard on MPR, and checking the school calendar for whatever we’re doing next.

The school calendar in Kindergarten involves one of my very favorite things: sharing. Each week, our 6-year-old, Rowan, brings in an item from home, and there is always an assigned theme. Last week, something you love (for Valentine’s Day). This week, something patriotic (I assume for President’s Day). Next week, something about your name.


After agonizing for (more than) 9 months over what to name our firstborn, poring over lists and counting syllables, vetting initial combinations and saying names out loud, we settled on Rowan. It broke my first “rule” of not having the same number of syllables as our last name, but it was a rule worth breaking. Rowan Williams was the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time of our Rowan’s birth, and we liked what he had to say about the Church and the world. Also, we liked the name. Rowan’s full name is Rowan Quinn Willard. The Quinn is just something we liked, and Neil especially liked the Q in his monogram.

Our second-born was easier somehow –  maybe the pressure was off? I had “Ben(jamin)” in my back pocket all along, but now I’m glad we saved it for our younger son. My great-grandfather was named Benjamin, and every Ben we’ve known has been a nice guy. Sometimes he’s Benny – especially when we sing “My Benny lies over the ocean/ My Benny lies over the sea…” but mostly he’s just our Ben. His full name is Benjamin Neil Willard – his middle name is for his daddy.

Here’s the original “Big Ben” – my great-grandparents’ wedding photo. My great-grandmother (“Little Gram”) has been mentioned here before – she’s the now-famous little Austrian who cooked and baked and loved and made herself generally useful. Her husband, the Ben seated in the photo, was a giant of a man. You might be able to see that she had to stand on a little step as he was seated next to her. If you look really closely, you can see Ben’s hands and massive fingers. I see the same hands on my dad, Ben’s grandson, and I can see them developing on “our” Ben.

Big Ben

I’m so happy our boys ended up with the names that they did. Naming can be really intimidating – it seems like a lot of fun until you have to narrow it down to your final choice. Kind of like wedding dress shopping, but with naming, someone else is stuck with your choice for life!

I was named after my Aunt Caroline, who died a year before I was born. My given name is Carrie, which is diminutive for Caroline. We weren’t related by blood – she was my maternal uncle’s wife – but she was beloved in my family. Apparently, she loved to cook and bake. So maybe there’s something to this whole naming thing…


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One response to “Lucky you

  1. Pingback: The Other List | The Contessa-Curessa Project

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