In June, we roadtripped it back to Arkansas to visit family and friends. Ryan had to work while we were there, but it's nice that he can just work in Little Rock without having to use vacation days. We were gone for 15 days. We spent time with my parents, sisters, niece and nephew, and some of our friends. The kids and I also drove to Missouri to stay with my brother and his family for a few days. It was good to be "home."
spinach, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, and artichoke
with olive oil instead of red sauce at ZaZa's...
one of my favorite pizza topping combos
On the subject of vegan: we met my youngest sister one day at Mellow Mushroom in Little Rock, which opened RIGHT AFTER we moved, good grief. We were also happy (and also bummed that it happened AFTER we left) to discover that ZaZa's Pizza in Conway now carries Daiya. (We always brought our package of Daiya with us for them to use.)
We have missed our old Whole Foods! It's a lovely location for a Whole Foods. We just loved everyone there and were always treated so nicely (despite the fact we are a lot of people and we do things like lick the sample tongs). We actually found out they are planning to move locations soon, which will be weird. (I also worked here for a short time many years ago.) I will say...as happy as I was to return to our home away from home, I quickly realized how much better the selection is in Tampa. So there's that. (And it wasn't me that licked them, by the way, and I gave them to an employee.)
He fell right over to sleep against my chest while we were shopping.
In Missouri, the kids and I had lunch one day with my parents' best friends from my childhood. We ate at The Grotto in Springfield, which is vegan-friendly. I enjoyed my salad (which was a fulfilling greek-style salad), and the kids enjoyed their hummus, etc. Our friends chose this place to eat after googling vegan restaurants in Springfield. And I love that they did that because even though we rarely see each other, they know me. And that was pretty much the theme of this trip...it was really nice to be around familiar people again. To watch my nephews play baseball. To reminisce and catch up with four of my best friends from high school.To see my kids giggle with their cousins. To eat cucumbers out of my aunt's garden and tomatoes out of my dad's. To cry along with relatives who were happy to see us and sad to see us go.
I write all of that to say: I'm in a bit of a weird phase right now. We love Tampa. I like Florida better than I like Arkansas and Missouri for enough reasons that Florida probably wins. However, if we choose to stay here, we are choosing a life without the people we love in it. So if I live there, I'm not 100% content, and if I live here, I'm not 100% content. I know that's the way life is, and you just have to find a way to be content, regardless. Maybe most people aren't 100% content? I'm a restless person, in general, so I have that against me. These are just some of my thoughts right now.
Another big event of the summer (ok, not so big - but it happened) was my birthday this week. Ryan wasn't even here - he was on a business trip, and some other dumb stuff happened the night before that ended up taking up most of my day. But I did make myself a chocolate pie because it's always a good time to have chocolate pie. I let the kids decorate it themselves with strawberries, ground up chocolate chips, and candles. 5 candles seemed like a better number than 39, apparently.
It had been a dilemma: chocolate pie or pumpkin pie? I was going to pick pumpkin since I don't have it as often but didn't have enough time for it to set. So since we had to buy pie crust and Soyatoo anyway, we made a pumpkin pie the next day.
And then I'm going to eat salad today.