Saturday, May 11, 2013

Asher The Angel

Ok, I know what I'm about to say is so cliche and totally subjective but I'm gonna say it anyway. I have the most adorable niece in the entire world. This is a fact. Although I'd heard said fact from my entire family already, I had yet to meet sweet Asher myself until last weekend.

I had a busy couple of weekends with heading back to NYC for my formal culinary graduation (post on that coming soon!) and then following that with going to LA. Since Asher was born, my life has been all over the place so I was psyched to finally carve out time for a visit, especially given the fact that Michael and Wynn have been equally as busy.

The weekend definitely started off in style when I landed at LAX and was escorted out to my limo, courtesy of Michael. People, limos will never, ever go out of style in my book. Yes, I felt like I was in an 80's movie and yes, there's an element of cheesiness involved, but it's just awesome. I only wish I could've hung out the sunroof like Tom Hanks in 'Big' but, alas, there was no sunroof. Shouldn't every limo have one? I think so. When I pulled up to Michael and Wynn's, I just died over how lovely their place is. Even at night, I felt an immediate coziness before I even went inside. It was pretty late so, sadly, Asher was already asleep but that gave Michael, Wynn and I some quality time to catch up. They'd made a terrific spread with cheese, snacks and wine and we talked for a couple of hours before heading to bed.

When we got up on Saturday morning, Asher decided she wanted to sleep in! Didn't she realize I was chomping at the bit to meet her?! When Michael went to get her, I nearly fell off the couch when he walked in with her. 1) Michael is a DAD. 2) Asher is like sunshine, truly. I nearly bawled my eyes out seeing Michael with her and then just seeing them as a family. I think you can tell I'm pretty happy to meet that little lamb finally:
There aren't words for how precious this child is. I'm in love, head over heels. I got to watch Michael do his morning routine of "opening the house" with her where they walk around and open all the shades and windows and say good morning to the trees, the birds, the sun...I mean, it took everything in me not to lose it watching how sweet and precious these moments are. Michael said she smiles just as big every single morning when they do this! I just died, truly:
After that, Asher showed me her books and toys and guess what her favorite toys are? Yep, spatulas:
She's gonna be a chef like me, I just know it. ;) I could've watched Michael and Wynn with her forever. They are the sweetest family:
After a while, we decided to get a move on and head into Larchmont Village, the cute little town just a walk away from the house. We decided on breakfast at Larchmont Bungalow where we drank great coffee, shared a lovely strawberry muffin and my breakfast panini was bigger than me:

Afterward, we walked around for a while enjoying the pretty morning before heading back to put Asher down for a nap:
I can't tell you how precious this time with the three of them was. Just roaming around, talking, laughing, celebrating the joy of was so special. It was only just morning still but I was already feeling sad about leaving! 

When Asher woke up from her nap, we spent the rest of the day outside in Michael and Wynn's darling little garden. Wynn takes Asher out there nearly everyday and was telling me how fun it is to watch her feel the grass, dig up dirt and explore their garden. I absolutely loved being out there with them:
My favorite part of the day (and weekend, honestly!) was feeding Asher lunch! Michael and Wynn have been cooking and pureeing only fresh veggies from the farmer's market with olive oil and herbs from their garden and it makes my heart swell knowing the goodness they're feeding her. Not only that, she loves it all! I so loved being able to experience this time with her. It was just so fun to watch her decide if she liked things:
It's like hmmm, what is this?:
Yuck, I'm totally not into it:
 Wellllll, maybe it's not so bad after all:
I mean, how do you not want to squeeze those cheeks?

As evening approached, we decided on dinner at Le Petit Greek. We sat outside where Asher joined us at the table like the polite little lady she is:
The food was great, the wine was perfect and the company goes without saying. ;)

Sunday, we got up super early and headed to the farmer's market for fresh scones and coffee:
If there's one thing anyone should know about me, it's that I LOVE farmer's markets. Being surrounded by such goodness from the earth connects with my soul and I totally love it so that was a perfect way to start the morning. We picked up a bunch of bright, vibrant veggies and, after sitting outside with our coffee for a bit, we went back home and got to work making food for Asher for the week. We did zucchini with fresh mint from the garden, rosemary potatoes, lemon brussels sprouts, oats with cinnamon and plain broccoli since she hadn't tried it before. We all shared a terrific lunch of quiche and salad while we fed Asher her amazing treats for lunch. Far too soon, it was time for me to leave for the airport and my heart sank. I just did not want to leave this precious family. 

The weekend spent with them was one of the best I've had in so long. The joy, happiness, positivity, love...I could go on and on...that you feel in their household and simply being around them is priceless. I felt uplifted in my spirit and I thought about how happy I was the whole flight home. 

Often in life, we lose perspective so quickly as to what really matters and what's really important. One of my biggest goals right now is to treasure and relish in the life I have and the blessings surrounding me. I've been fortunate enough to live a life full of richness that many others may never experience. It's so easy for any of us to sink into the mundane bogs of life sometimes without recognizing just how blessed we are. I'd already been working on changing that and, after spending the weekend surrounded by such wonder and love, I know for certain how truly incredible it is to choose to live like that. As Michael says, it's all about being intentional about your life and your path. Out of all the things in life that we can't control, we certainly can choose to view the world through eyes like Asher, full of wonder, amazement, excitement and joy. I want that in my daily life and you know what? It's right in front of me...of us...if we so choose to embrace it.

Thank you for a beautiful weekend, Michael and Wynn. I love and miss the three of you more than words!

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