a good for the soul kind of saturday10:53 AM
In Russia the winters are cold, long and ugly and so the moment the last patch of snow disappears from the ground we're packing our picnic baskets and running to the woods. Spring to me has always meant the smell of wood burning outdoors, roast potatoes and shashlik. My mum and aunts would marinate bucketfuls of meat all weekend, wash and cut veggies on Sunday morning and then we would all drive around the country looking for a sunny patch of woods. Us kids would tumble out of the car and our dads would get to work on building the perfect fire. Our photo albums are chock full of these outings and I love revisiting those memories in my mind. It was a huge part of my childhood and this weekend I decided to make it our families tradition!
Mum and I marinated some meat on Friday night and papa bear and my dad chopped some wood for us in preparation. Once the picnic basket was packed on Saturday morning we headed for the mountains. There's a wonderful little picnic area at Shenandoah National Park that has some beautiful stone fireplaces that are perfect for grilling some shashlik. Initially it was pretty windy and we were running for cover from the smoke every time it would come our way but by the time the food was ready the sun shone brighter than ever, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the wind was nowhere to be found. Sometimes there's nothing more relaxing than great company, good food and gorgeous weather. Turns out we don't really need that much to be happy. Go figure.
And guess what?!! Birdie started walking this weekend!! She's not running around by any means but she will take a good ten, fifteen steps all on her own and we are thrilled! By Saturday she was even more confident and we watched her wobble around the picnic area, surprising herself with each new step. It is incredible to watch but at the same time it reminds me of just how quickly she is growing and that's never easy to swallow. At one point we were all gathered around the table sipping tea and talking and she was just having a blast climbing all over the place and shimming her way along the fencing and when I looked over at her I couldn't help but sigh at just how big she looked... I'm not sure we can keep calling her a baby for much longer...
I'm so glad we were all able to come together to spend some time outdoors doing something I grew up enjoying. It always warms my heart to pass on the traditions I grew up with to our daughter. And we are already planning our next outing. Once it gets really warm there's no way I'm ever staying inside again. Call me greedy but now I want sandal weather. My feet are tired of wearing socks!