Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pink Tent

In the summer I had a dream.  In this dream I taught a class at HSoBX with my friend.  It was a "birds and bees" class for girls with a focus on the natural side.  So we talked and taught about listening to our bodies, watching our rhythms, and different herbs we can use to help us when we're feeling moody, or crampy, and what nutrients our bodies may be asking for at those times.  I guess it wasn't so much a "birds and bees" class.  It was more a "coming of age" gathering.  It was warm.  It was soft.  It gave the girls options and choices.  It reassured them that they were not alone.

Tonight my dream comes true.

I shared my dream with my friend.  She came up with a name.  I came up with an outline.  We are somehow melding our ideas together and creating something new for our girls.

We'll gather once a month.  The girls will bring a snack they can eat.  (We have many young ladies with food allergies in our circle, so at least they know they can eat what they bring.)  Our time together will open with a story to help us relax and settle in and some music and dancing to ground us.  There will be a discussion topic.  Then the adults leave and the girls have their own time.  We come back and do some yoga to close.

That's it.  Our Pink Tent is about to be born.

Sarah baked pumpkin muffins, made fairy fudge, and gathered camellias from our yard.
I'm bringing sparkling pink lemonade.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Week 14 - Hope

My plan tonight is to write this, save it, then share it on January 31st.  That is when I will be 14 weeks pregnant.  That is when I'm hoping all our hopes for this baby will finally take root.

Waiting for hope is hard.  I know it is out there.  I know it will come.  The anticipation builds.  Now can we hope?

For those who know of our loss in September, you know how relieved we are to make it this far.  I thought in the past that I had had three or four early miscarriages.  Now that I've had two, well, I've had two, and my heartfelt apologies to those who I told otherwise.  I thought I knew my body pretty well, but now I know more than I ever really cared to.  Our first loss was when I was exactly 8 weeks pregnant.  (I do want to write about this, but not now.)  After four full term pregnancies resulting in four amazing children, this was a shock.  A gut-wrenching, sobbing and swearing and screaming all at the same time shock.

We knew we wanted another baby.  We knew we wanted to try to have a baby in the summer, to help my emotional health afterwards.  There was only one month to make that work before we'd have to wait another year and try again.  We went to work and were successful, but then we weren't.

For those who know of our loss in November, you know how grateful and blessed we are to still be  pregnant.  Our second loss was similar to our first in how I felt and my body's process.  However, because it was so much earlier, the duration was short.  The heartache less.  The hope postponed, rather than crushed.

I accepted that, begrudgingly some days, but shifted my expectations all the same.  We tried.  It was probably too soon.  We started to make summer plans.

Three weeks later we learned that I was still pregnant.  We had conceived twins.  While I lost one, there was another still hanging on in there.  I saw its heart beating in December.  I heard that confirmation again today.  I was afraid to lie down on the table and listen.  I yearned for more concrete evidence.  But what if only the swishings of my organs came through the doppler?  I was prepared to be miserable.  I was prepared to be relieved.  Being prepared for both is exhausting.  I was ready to feel one way or the other.

When we first heard a faint heartbeat, I cried a little, and I laughed.  That made the baby move.  A twinge of fear came back.  Maybe that really wasn't what we had just heard.  Then our lovely midwife found the heartbeat again.  Strong.  I froze.  The apprentice counted.  There is definitely still a baby there, with a heartbeat, holding on.  Pushing away the fears.

Making room for a longed for hope.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

We're celebrating our first Thanksgiving in our new home in style!  We cooked up a feast this morning.  Sarah helped.  My kitchen is big enough to hold three active cooks.  I still find it hard to believe that we actually live here, and will, probably forever, and that we are blessed with such a lovely space, inside and out.

After all the cooking and baking, we were invited next door to visit, share a drink, and play croquet.  Sarah came in second!  Our amazing neighbors are another unexpected blessing living here.

We had an early meal at home, just our family, but there was enough food for 30.  I'll try to remedy that next year and fill our home with friends and family.

From left to right there is pumpkin pie, pickles, maple pineapple ham, venison, cranberry sauce, pineapple, baked beans, my Grandma's four bean salad, pickled beets, maple drizzled brussel sprouts, and baked sweet potatoes.

We'll close our day at a friend's home 'round the fire.  The bacon wrapped dates are long gone, but hopefully our bean salad, brussel sprouts, pie, spiced cider and wine will suffice.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Leah's Pumpkin Pie

Leah made the most delicious pumpkin pie last week, and I could eat it!  Let me repeat myself.  My almost 8 year old daughter was yet again baking, (a magic she inherited from her aunt, not me) and made a pumpkin pie that I can eat.

A little background:  I've never had pumpkin pie before.  I don't know what it is supposed to taste like, but this was finger licking, pan licking good!  I married a man who happens to really like pumpkin pie.  On our first Thanksgiving as a married couple I made a pumpkin pie.  I found a recipe that was gluten, dairy, and egg free.  It had tofu in it.  We literally gagged on it and could not scrape it into the garbage fast enough.  If I recall correctly,  even the dog would not touch it.  I vowed that no matter how much I loved my husband, I would not attempt to make another pumpkin pie for him.  I faithfully kept that vow for 13 years.  I plan to break it on Thursday, and see if can replicate Leah's delectable desert.

Here is her recipe.

In case you are not well versed in phonetic spelling:
3 c. pumpkin
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tb. maple syrup
1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
Bake for 45 min. at 425 degrees.

She used this for her crust:
8 oz. rice flour
1/2 c. oil
1/8 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
Add water last.  Roll between wax paper.

Happy baking and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

In a nutshell

I posted this on Facebook this evening.  It is a piece of our conversation at the dinner table.  I later realized that in those 30 hilarious seconds, when we somehow managed to get from hot pork loin to the Golden ratio, you could see exactly who we are and what is most prominent on our minds at almost any given moment.

A: It's hot!
me: Take little bites. Big bites are hot. Little bites are not.
L: I get it! That's why some big people are hot, and little people are not. O.o
S: That's a different meaning of hot, like when you like someone.
me: It can be used as a slang term when you think someone looks nice. I like how Daddy looks, so I will say that he's hot.
D: If your ratio was 1.62, the ancient Greeks would think you were hot Mom.

This means that Anna is trying to get as much meat as possible into her mouth, as quickly as she can.  This is what she cares most about - eating.  That and playing, but at 7 pm, it was all about the meat.
I'm mothering.
Leah is making grand connections and thinks and says the darnedest things, that are usually quite clever.
Sarah is of course making sure that everyone and everything is *right*.
Now I'm teaching and thinking about my hot husband, who doesn't get home until 11 pm on Thursdays.)
David is absorbed in math and history, with a side of humor.

Yep.  That's us in a nutshell.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6 week menu

So... I've menu planned for the last 13 years.  It's what I do.  When I've taken a break, I've watched our grocery bills sky-rocket, so I don't take breaks anymore.  However, I was getting tired of some of our meals.  With my allergies, the list of available foods is limited.  I figured if I tried a 6 week long plan, rather than the 4 weeks I've always planned in the past, maybe I wouldn't tire of eating what I can eat.  It took me five months to figure this out!  Granted, we also BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOUSE and MOVED in that time frame, but redoing the menu was not easy.  Here is the rough draft.  It is a draft since we are still testing some of the new meals.  I may need to toss some as the weeks go buy.  I hope to report back with how this works for us and the recipes, so you know how to make dairy, egg, and gluten free Lasagna, among other things.

To see 6 weeks of gluten, dairy, and nut free and almost soy and seafood free in its own large window, click here.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Our children fight in the most bizarre ways.  There is very little "She's looking at me!" or "He's breathing the same air as I am!  Make him stop!"  We all get along fairly well these days.  It's nice.  This morning there was a spat, over the weather and temperature in countries half way round the world.  seriously.

David loves to play Axis and Allies.  He just turned 9.  He's played the game for two years.  He knows geography like no body's business.  Sarah loves roll playing games and to create her own scenarios for them.  She's almost 11 1/2.  She knows well, more then I do about so many different things.  They invented a game yesterday on the eight hour car drive back from Pennsylvania.  It uses the Axis and Allies board, but there are different developing nations that roll to see if it's a good year for herbs, meat, grain, their ports, etc.  I think it is FreeCiv with a role playing twist?  I'm not sure.  They played it for hours in the van.  They played it for hours this morning.  But here is how it ended:

Geography dude claimed that since the cities he was developing in Spain and Ukraine ("For the last time Sarah! It's not Israel!  It's Ukraine!!") were on the same latitude lines he could build similar cities there and use similar material.
Detail oriented, authentic, perfectionist chick could not allow this.  They were in different parts of the world.  There must be different temperatures and climates.

They both were right, but they were not happy to hear that from me, and it did not give them a solution.  I decided the weather might be able to solve this for us.  (We do not argue with the weather in this family.  That rule was set 9 years ago.)  In Spain right now it's in the 60s and there's sun for the next three days.  In the Ukraine in the area where David's settling, it's in the mid-50s with downpours for the next three days.  David is right.  There are similar temperatures.  Sarah is right.  The weather is drastically different, and he may want to consider different materials to accommodate that.  Solution?  Pack extra umbrellas.

Friday, February 10, 2012

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.  ~ Amanda Soule  SouleMama

Thursday, February 9, 2012

French Firm Frame?

A friend shared this article earlier today.  I tried to respond on Facebook, but ended up here instead.  I had a lot to say.  I do not agree with the article for several reasons.  This is the first time in almost 5 years that I have said something in a "discussion/debate" on line, so I want to start with an apology.  If I hurt feelings, I really, really, do not mean to.  Tell me I have.  We'll work it out, and I'll probably shut-up again. :)

#1. Generalizations!!!  I haven't lived in Paris, but when I was there, and in talking with our good friends who DO live there, this isn't quite how it works.  In some cases, I saw the exact opposite.  There is a great trust of the child actually, which I like, and is mentioned once in the article.  I just never saw nor have heard of the firm/authoritarian frame this trust is supposed to be within.

#2.  Where are the ages???  I have four children who all play independently.  They did that when they were DEVELOPMENTALLY ready.  It was different for each of them.  Seriously.  No "education" or stern voices required.  Wait!  There's an age in the first sentence, traveling with an 18 month old.  I went backpacking with an 18 month old.  We didn't bring a crib.  (We've never owned one.)  She toddled around the campsites.  She nursed when she was hungry or thirsty.  I did bring too many little toys/books.  She played with rocks and leaves.  It wasn't that hard, really.  I'd do it again.  I have, seven times in fact, always with more children along for the adventure.  Oh, I was a few weeks pregnant then.  (Sorry, it was 10 years ago.  My memory is fuzzy.)  Now that.  That I'd rather not do again.  The baby was great!  Me?  Not so much.  There are some more ages listed, but my complaint is more about when is a child naturally ready for something, without being trained.  That's important, and the answer is different for each child.  I don't see this mentioned.  And just so you know, my children are 11, almost 9, 7, and a few weeks shy of 3.  I'm 32.  There's our ages.

#3. Speaking of ages and stages, I trust that quite a few children will show these behaviors, and many of them are simply asking a child to act like an adult, when they are ready.  Wait, I just said that.  Some little ones act like children longer than others.  Big deal!  As long as the mother can find support for her adjusted expectations, go for it!!

#4. Further, when my children are ready to eat solids, use utensils, use the potty, sleep through the night, whatever, it's easy and they just do it.  Anna is the only one I did not take charge of her meals.  She's the neatest eater of them all.  She's also the most polite.  Maybe it has something to do with me very rarely, if ever telling her what to say?

#5. Maybe it has something to do with her siblings and myself speaking respectfully to each other?  Children learn best by EXAMPLE.  At the same time, we're talking about nature here.  No matter what methods of nurturing/"education" one uses, some behaviors just are, and are quite age and developmentally appropriate.  If I have a problem with them, I'll redirect and give an example of the behavior acceptable in our family (sometimes society.)  But everyone has a different "level" of what is acceptable.

#6. Just take a walk with your kid around the playground already!!!  See?  That's perfectly acceptable for me!  MY good friends would stroll with me and continue our conversation.  I've had some of the most nurturing discussions in just this way.  If it's not convenient for her at the moment, her child will understand this with a gentle explanation, and maybe she can soon make it convenient.

#7. In order for anyone to learn patience, they need to be put in a situation that is uncomfortable.  A synonym for patience is long-suffering!  Why purposefully have my child suffer?  We wait.  We take turns.  We do delay our gratifications, in developmentally appropriate ways.  We look for ways to enjoy ourselves while we wait.  I believe we're supposed to be happy in life, not suffering.  As my children get older, they learn patience.  Again, without my even thinking about it.  There are times I wish they were a bit more patient, but I wish I was more patient too sometimes.  We're all working on this.  Here's something that is hard for me to accept: How children bake!!  They are messy and SLOW and often get it wrong.  I need more patience than they do!  I do bake with my children and others'.  I know how important it is to them and the memories they hold onto.  Why on earth would I want to turn that into a lesson in "long-suffering" or remove the best part, eating the batter?  Sheesh!  Enjoy your muffins!  Oh, and when people say in order to do everything I do with children I must be so patient, I cringe.  I do what I do because I love children, both my own and others'.  If it's a "chore" or an uncomfortable situation, I do what I can to adjust that and myself, usually my expectations, until I'm happy again and don't have to be "patient" anymore. :)  (I think I'll be in Purgatory a bit longer after that paragraph, avoiding patience and all.) 

#8. My body cannot handle eating as infrequently as the Parisians supposedly do.  Why should I expect my children to?  (Parisian adults pop into local bakeries to grab a hot, fresh baguette or a few crepes or a bonbon a whole lot more frequently then they let their kids eat.  I know.  I've seen them.  It keeps their blood sugar even.  That in turn keeps a human being pretty happy. :)  )  I really do not like the correlations she draws here.  Kids sit quietly because they are hungry or have learned to delay their hunger signals??  What about: Kids sit quietly because they are developmentally ready to do so AND their parents value a meal shared together as a family, and therefore set the example of what behaviors are expected.  Please note: I have a child that likes to stand quietly at the table.  I didn't even notice until another adult pointed it out recently.  It's just who she is I guess.  I don't really care.

#9.  INDEPENDENCE  This is my new least favorite word.  I did use it earlier though.  I like when my children play independently because it is quiet.  Simple as that.  I LOVE when my children play together or with other children or with myself or another adult.  Why?  Because that is what life is about.  We do not live on a desert island.  I do not want them to.  I remember the monkey from my Psych book.

My children need to know how to interact with others to survive (and they need a food source available to them, when their body tells them they're hungry.)  Let me rephrase that.  The most important thing is that my children learn to be INTERDEPENDENT.

#10. If one kind of parent is "superior", another must be "inferior".  That's not true, (the inferior part.) I is judgmental and not even nice.  Everyone is doing their very best with the information and support they have available at that moment.  This maybe should be #1, but this is the order I thought of these.

What if I have children that would fit right into Paris?  They sit quietly in restaurants.   They sleep through the night, most of the time.  They wait their turn, most of the time.  They listen and respond, very well, most of the time.  They say "excuse me" when they have something to say, most of the time.  They don't eat batter, but they sure love to lick the bowl and spoon afterwards, most of the time.  (Sometimes they don't even do that.  Crazy children!)  But they can get a snack whenever they want.  I listen to them and respond.  I try not to control them, only because I really do not like it when someone tries to control me.  I save "no" for dangerous situations.  (A sure sign that I need more sleep: I start to say "no" more.)  Yet they know and understand that I am their mother, and my job is to guide them and keep them safe, in the sandbox and outside the fence.  My cadre holds both.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

update, where I scan through pictures to remember what I've done in the last two years

brief:  I've been living and mostly enjoying life, writing blog posts in my head for the last two years.  The fourth baby coming along mixed with my work and volunteering made for good blog material.  Just no time to do it.  Maybe there still isn't enough of that elusive time stuff, but I'm going to try.  I'm hoping it helps with the whole solo parent deal we've got going.  There isn't very much adult conversation right now.  So I'm going to talk to myself here.  HA!  We'll see how well that works.

Feel free to stop now.  This is where I start rambling talking to myself.

more details which I may or may not write about in the future: I still teach Play and Learn.  Culture Cinderella was awesome and amazing, and I think I'm going to offer it again.  Since then I've taught Chemistry, Physics, and Playground Party for the 6-8 year olds at our co-op.  We went to the beach every summer, sometimes on a weekly basis.  We went hiking with our families each summer.  We made maple syrup each spring.  We have a cat.  Leah stopped dancing and started riding horses.  Sarah's still dancing.  David tapped for a time.  Now he wants to program computers and take drawing lessons.  We raised toadpoles.  Jesse and the children grew garden, after garden, after garden.  (There are a lot of pictures of beach days and vegetables.)  We went to Ft. Mackinac and saw one of my grandmothers.  Another grandmother died.  One of my sisters made her first profession with the Sisters of Mary.  Then she got to come home for a week.  We took her camping and square dancing.  I got back to Falling Water.  Jesse caught a bat.  David caught a fish.  They went to a Pirate's game.  We met our Norfolk friends up in Pennsylvania.  We spent many an afternoon at the Botanical Gardens, Zoo, and Aquarium.  There are new (to us) cabinets in our kitchen.  I finished one knitting project - the cutest robot you ever did see.  Family came to visit.  The rainbow blocks got played with, a lot.  We picked pumpkins, went trick-or treating, and played in a few musical salons.  Spent Christmas in Pennsylvania with our families.  Had our first and only doctor visit for a sick child.  Poor Anna!  Had our first and only ear infection.  Poor Sarah!  Another sister got engaged.  Then she got married.  I was the matron of honor.  Sarah was the junior bridesmaid.  Leah was a flower girl.  Jesse was children juggler extraordinaire.  ooo!  I knit a doll's hat too!  (I think I knit a few other hats for little girls, but they still have unfinished ends.)  We almost bought a house.  We almost bought another house.  We almost bought another house.  I wanted to buy another house, but then our future here became less certain.  I re-purposed some furniture and re-organized the toy room and library room.  One of my brothers got engaged.  We found Easter eggs in our yard, and lots of red, ripe strawberries.  Jesse took all four children canoeing in the Lafayette River.  (It's just at the end of our street.)  David made his First Communion.  Back to the sister getting married part.  I planned a Bridal Shower.  (You should read that last one again with great emphasis.  I planned a Bridal Shower.)  Leah and David now read short chapter books independently, silently, just because they like to.  Sarah reads Shakespeare and complains that there are not enough looong books for her to read.  Jesse was awarded the Congressional Fellowship.  We visited with friends. frequently.  I sprained my ankle, but it still hurt six months later, so maybe I did something else to it.  We broke the bed.  Jesse fixed it.  We have a new baby.  She's a beautiful, 1931, pear shaped Kanbe.  I could, and do, listen to her for hours.  Anna started to play her own imaginary, independent games.  Now she talks too.  We evacuated due to a hurricane and went north to pick apples and make applesauce, only days after the house shook and cracked a bit in an earthquake.  The hurricane took down a tree and blew a few window panes out.  After almost four months, the windows were finally replaced.  The big girls and I went on a dolphin watch tour.  I spotted the first ones, with my new glasses.  (They look even better on me!)  There were calfs!!!!  We now have two Girl Scouts in our family.  I started teaching Leah's First Communion class.  Moe died.  Jesse finished off half the attic for a room for David, accessed by a rope.  We met our new niece, Nitsah!  Jess and I had an over-due, overnight date.  (It'd been three long years, baby.)  Jesse moved to DC.  I drove to Michigan to see my sister, with all our children, after Jesse moved to DC.  Melanoma was found in a lymph node of Jesse's 94 year old grandfather.  After searching and scanning for cancer elsewhere, finding none, followed by surgery to remove the lymph node, Ray is cancer free and feeling fine.  Except he says he has to take more naps now.  :)  Everyone had birthdays and grew a little, or a lot. *sigh*  All this while I led League meetings, took helping calls, taught piano lessons, taught grades K-6 in our home - just not all at the same time, nursed a babe turned toddler turned preschooler, did the cooking and cleaning, or relied on my husband to cook and clean while I took care of the last bits of my PPD only to discover that there is a little (or a lot, depending on the day) SAD there too.

Now if you've made it this far, you can see why the blog posts are only in my head, if they're thought of at all.

And I'm too tired to form coherent sentences.  I look forward to writing here again.  It was good for me to look back and catch up.  Now it's time to look forward.

me, looking forward and back

Friday, February 11, 2011

Leah, fairies, death, and dreams

This is exactly the discussion I had with my six year old (WHEN did she become six??  I know when she turned six, but that doesn't mean a child becomes this age.  Anyhow,) at six am.  We were working on helping her back to sleep, and I wasn't sleeping, so I figured it was best to blog about it.

Leah asked for her bed to be made.  She's been sleeping in a small play hut that we got them for Christmas since, they got it in the beginning of January.  Don't ask me why.  She's been sleeping there and has mostly put herself to sleep at a reasonable hour.  I am not asking any questions.  I thought this was pretty special to want to be back in her own bed, so I asked what sheets she wanted, "polka dots, fairies, or flowers?"  The response: "Well, polka dots are in nature.  On leopards you know?"  "Does this mean polka dots?"  "Yes."

As Jesse made the bed I lay back down in our bed with her.  I mentioned cheerily that the fairy sheets also had polka dots on them, (only because I had almost mixed them up, looking for a set.)  "Mom.  When you look and look for something for a long time and you do not see it.  It is not real."

A short side track:  Fairies to our girls are like Santa to most.  I love for it to gradually fade or always remain.  Some time between November and December, Leah decided that fairies did not exist because she had never seen one.  I was crushed.  Crushed mostly because she had an entire world built around fairies.  She spent entire hikes telling her grandfathers stories about the fairies, for hours, for years.  (I am so grateful they recorded some of those in their hike journals.)  Leah and fairies were never to be separated, and she was an expert on them.  She'd tell you that too!  Having all this suddenly change came as a shock, and I missed that "little girl" belief and wonderment that disappeared in an instant.  She is enamored with gnomes now.  I'm not sure how long it will last, since she is trying to catch one, but she tells me stories about why they do not want her to see them, so there is still hope.

"I don't know..."  I hadn't ever really talked with her about her decided disbelief.  "What about God?  I believe in..."  I was cut off.  She said with the *knowing* tone, "There is a time you see God."  "When do you see God?"  "When you die."

This, took me by surprise.  I think every parent is when they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their child suddenly knows about death and understands some small part of it and is thinking about it enough that it comes up in casual conversation.  Casual conversation!  But that's just how Leah is.  She just knows and brings things up casually.

After six seconds of silence, I continued talking about something else.  I can't even remember.  But then I came back, "Who told you that?"  "Mom, I learned it at church."  I'm thinking: good, you're learning something at church (no CCD or Sunday school, just church.)  not so good: I want you to see God in more times and places than just death.  Mental note to remember to work on that.

Then we talked more about fairies.  She talked about how some of our stuffed animals and toys could be real (cats and dogs) and some could not (Care-Bears and Legos) and how it was still fun to play with them all.  (This was another piece I sorely missed, the complete shift in play.  All the fairy dolls, the fairy house we built for her when she was three, the fairy wings, all neglected.)  So maybe if fairies were not real, she could still play with them?

"Maybe fairies could still live in your imagination?" 

"You know mom, people do dream their imagination."

And with that she crawled out of my bed, said, "I love you." and made her way to fairy dream land.

Friday, June 11, 2010

once there was a boy and a girl...

They met.
The boy was nearly 13.
The girl had just turned 11.
They were both taught at home. The boy for his entire life. The girl for two years, going on eight.
The girl's family came to the boy's family farm for a homeschool evaluation.
The boy's family traversed the state doing evaluations and testing for homeschool families.
The girl was struck by the boy's free spirit, knowledge and strength.
She thought for sure he had a girlfriend in every county.
He thought for sure she was too sophisticated for him.
The boy was struck by the girl's wanting to watch him cut a log. Although many people came to the farm, few stopped to watch wood cutting. "The log was maple. The saw wasn't very sharp. The girl was cute."
Although that tree house never did get finished, something else got started that day, 20 years ago. A friendship that grew to a spark that grew to a love that grew to life lived together.

Can't wait to continue growing with you dearest! Who knows what the next 20, 40, 60 years will bring? I love you!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

today - a decade

Today is March 30th, 2010. I've been waiting for this day for some time. Now it is here, and I better write it down before I forget. Today is the day I can say, "I rock!" (or at least my body does) and really mean it. Today is a day I want to celebrate me and my motherhood journey, so bare with me folks. On this day 10 years ago my journey began. Every day since then (except for the five I was in France) my body has grown, fed and comforted little people. That's 3,645 days of service. The most tiring, exhausting, rewarding, nourishing service I can imagine.

For the last decade my body's been:
pregnant (9 months)
nursing (19 months)
pregnant and nursing (9 months)
tandem nursing (10 months)
pregnant and tandem nursing (3 months)
pregnant and nursing (6 months)
tandem nursing (34.5 months)
nursing (7.5 months)
pregnant and nursing (9 months)
nursing (13 months)

Now I'm going to go take some vitamins! and I think a bubble bath is in order tonight.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The good and not so good adventure

Tonight we had a little adventure. All day was an adventure of sorts. But tonight we were in the back of a police car and the baby had to nurse, so I can chalk that one up on "where have you fed your baby?" Some parts were good. Other parts were not so good. This makes for good adventure. Right? Well, the kids will remember, and it may become one of those family stories that everyone laughs and sighs over decades down the road.

We sell almost 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies! ~ good
I am dead tired. ~ not so good
I take the kids out to dinner. ~ good
We have to wait and wait for our meal. ~ not so good
But we have our favorite waitress. ~ good
One of the senior gentlemen at the table next to ours hollers over to me. ~ not so good
He hollers: "What's your secret?" ~ good
My response: "Me??" in total shock. ~ not so good
His reply: "Yes! What's your secret? I see a mom walk in with four kids and I cringe. Yours are delightful! You must be doing something right! Whatever it is, keep doing it. You must be doing something right!" ~ good, no, great.
That gentleman will never know how much I needed to hear that tonight. My mind's been spinning in negative circles lately about how I'm not doing something right somewhere or some such stuff, but he's right. I have delightful children (most of the time) and need to work on those negative thought cycles.
Back to the story:
I forget to give the waitress our coupon and have to wait for her to re-figure our check. ~ not so good
She returns to tell me that the gentlemen have left money to buy each of the kids a scoop of ice cream. ~ good Excuse me?! I am floored and almost choke-up.
The kids are allergic to everything on the desert menu. ~ not so good
They can get something else she says, to take home with them. ~ good
They can't decide what they want. ~ not so good
They pick something, then change their minds, and the order can still be changed. ~ good
We have to wait another 30 minutes for their treat. ~ not so good
We finally leave at 9 pm. ~ good
The van suddenly stalls on our way home. ~ not so good
I manage to steer it into a turning space on the median. ~ good
We are out of gas. ~ not so good
We can see a gas station from where we are. ~ good
We walk the two blocks to the station to find that the service area is closed and locked and they do not have a gas container. ~ not so good
We walk to the pizza shop to use their phone. ~ good
oops! I forgot. I don't have my cell phone. ~ not so good
I cannot find my roadside assistance card to call for help. ~ not so good
The pizza delivery man offers to give us a ride. ~ good
I have too many car seats. ~ not so good
There is a fire station a block in the other direction. ~ good
We walk there and ask for help. They too do not have a gasoline canister. ~ not so good
They offer us a warm place to sit, turn on the Disney channel for the kids and call for roadside assistance. ~ good, no, a God-send
A police officer comes instead, also without gas. ~ not so good
He offers to take me to a different gas station, but agrees to take me home instead since that is closer. I have gas at home! ~ good
We all get in the back of the officers vehicle. ~ I did not feel so good about the five of us back there without a single car seat, although the officer assured me we would not need them.
He asks on the way if my gas gage is broken. ~ not so good
No. I pulled up to a station, but due to a fussy babe, decided to go get dinner first. "I bet you won't make that decision again." No. I won't. Thank you.
We arrive home safe. ~ good
Jesse arrives home just as I retrieve gas from our garage. ~ double good
It is Thursday. Jesse teaches late. He usually gets home at 10:30 pm but was a bit early tonight. Perfect timing.
Jesse goes back with the officer to retrieve our stranded vehicle. ~ very good
Jesse fills up the van's gas tank. ~ also good
And all the children quickly go to bed and fall asleep. ~ so good, so very, very, good

And that is our good and not so good adventure, and how we got stranded and brought home in the back of a police car, and why I was nursing in said car, but how it all turned out well in
the end.

What are your family adventure stories?

eta: I haven't asked him yet, but another layer to this story is "What was Jesse thinking when he rode up on his bike at 10:20pm to find a police car parked in front of the house with three of our children inside?" good? or not so good?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fair, Brown & Trembling

Only one story this week. This gave us more time to actually discuss it and ask questions. Questions are my favorite!

What is a henwife? If the henwife cut a piece from Trembling's dress, wouldn't her sisters notice? Why could she not go in the church? Is a mare a horse? Where is Zulu?

Characters: Fair, Brown, Trembling, father, henwife, many princes
Trouble Makers: two sisters
Helpers: henwife
Magical Events: changes dress and provides horse
Ending: married after fighting, 14 children, sisters out to sea
Special Item: blue slipper
Food: ham, potatoes and peas
Dress: elegant, colorful, with head coverings
Architecture: castle, church
Value: beauty, kindness, children, horses

This is a traditional Cinderella tale from Ireland, with a twist or two. There are no step-sisters or a step-mother. Her own two sisters are the mean ones. The henwife provides an exquisite dress and mare for Trembling to go to church on three different Sundays. There is no party or ball. After they find and identify her with a shoe that is "neither too large nor too small", multiple princes from all over the world (hence Zulu) fight for Trembling's hand in marriage. The winner marries her, they have 14 children and the sisters are "put out to sea in a barrel with provisions for seven years - and were never seen again!"

Everyone did so well filling in their graph! Even the little ones were writing their great big letters and adding values to our list. This is something I did not expect to see. What great thinkers!

Culture Food: ham and potatoes.
While Trembling is at church, the henwife prepares the family meal for her. This is what she serves. (Note: Tasting is always optional.)

Culture Music: Dancing Willow's demo CD.
Children were dancing to this one!

Culture Craft: What kind of horse would you like the henwife to bring you? Milky white? Glossy black? White with blue and gold diamonds? Everyone got a horse to decorate, and decorate they did! I saw unicorns and wings, saddles and bridles, stirrups and sparkles. The creative juices were flowing!
Here is a sampling:

organic gold potatoes and nitrate, hormone, chemical, everything but delicious flavor free ham