Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sweet and stinky

In her dimly lit room, I held my daughter for a moment. I swayed back and forth singing a song I made up for her when I could hold her in one arm.
I placed her on her bed, and pulled the covers around her chin. "Goodnight, sweet Willa."
"Mama," she said with a sleepy 1/2 smile, eyes barely open, "I farted on your hand."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This man

is a really good dad.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taste a little love of summer, my grandmother put it all in a jar

I just made my second jar of dilly beans. I'm doing these one jar at a time, as that's what our garden is providing. This takes only a few minutes to put together, and is so, so worth every minute.
Grandma P's Dilly Beans
Start with 4 pounds green beans
Pack beans lengthwise into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space (unless you're making this one batch at a time and will be sealing them - in that case, don't worry about head space)
To each jar, add:
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic
1 head dill
Bring to boil:
5 cups water
5 cups vinegar
1/2 cup salt
Pour over beans.
If you're going to make up the whole shebang with 4 pounds, you'll want to officiall "can" these. To do so, put lids on jars and put in boiling water w/ 2 inches above the top of the jars for 5 minutes.
While you're waiting for your water to boil, watch this and - if you were lucky enough to have a canning Grandma - smile while thinking of her.

Barney (not the dinosaur) and free thought dies...

"What do you have," I asked the librarian, "for a three year old who is asking a lot of questions about death?"
She handed me this book. It is wonderfully kind and gentle in dealing with the death of Barney the cat, and how the family (but particularly the little boy) deals with Barney's death.
Thanks, Judith Viorst!
Jim read it to Willa first, while I nursed Henry.
I hope Judith doesn't get mad because I'm posting the innards of her book on my little blog.
Cat angels made me giggle a little.
Jim raised an eyebrow and peeked under the second set of can angels, to reveal...

... a far deeper question.
Hey, Judith: cat death AND "does heaven exist?" all in one book?! Nice job.
Hey, religious zealot: go censor your own books with photocopied cat angels and scotch tape, and leave my public library books alone.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mushrooms from a lot of rain or...

"Mama! Guess what was on the playground today?!"
Adequate pause for dramatic effect...
"Monster poop!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

In the kitchen

Last week, I plucked green beans from the garden. Jim and I took a lunch hour at the Farmer's Market and bought fresh dill, and then I created Grandma P's dilly beans. One whole jar's worth. The jar is nearly gone, but the garden is ready for another round of harvest. Note to self: next year, plant even more beans!

On Sunday we had a few friends over for brunch. I made potatoes (spicy and plain) and crepes (w/cream cheese and cherry filling as well as cottage cheese and raisin filling) and blueberry mint lemonade. It was crazy hot in our outdoor dining area, but it was nice to gather with friends.

Tonight's kitchen adventure will be pepper jelly. Any other suggestions for using/preserving both Hungarian Wax peppers and jalapenos? We've got a whole bunch.

I'm going to start documenting some of the recipes I'm trying out in the kitchen. Tomorrow, I'll actually post recipes to above.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

milkin' time

Sometimes I take a gander back in time here. What was life like when Willa was the same age that Henry is now?

And it was about this time that I started to loathe the breastpump. We have a complicated relationship; I respect it, as it allows me to gather milk to feed Henry while we're miles apart. But at the same time that woosh/hoosh over and over haunts me. I'm tired of remembering where I put the wall cord or the car adaptor.* I'm at the point of frustration when what comes out will not provide enough for the next day. I've got a call in to the doctor to see when she might consider okaying cow milk for a quite large and healthy fella.

Like my experience with Willa, I'll be nursing until we're both ready to be done. Assuming he'll be ready to wean before he's able to ask for it in sentences... But the pumping sessions are numbered, and I can't wait to be done. In the meantime, I have fantasies that look similar to this. That's right, I'm ready to go gangsta on the breastpump. I'm one badass mother...

*Should you see me on the road, don't look too closely, as I may be woosh/hooshing my way down the highway. Drive time = prime pump time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brother Bill, the teacher

Brother Bill called this morning to say he's going to teach Spanish to kids K-5. His job will be to teach numbers, letters, pronunciation, and maybe that the above graphic is a pretty mildly closed minded version of "Spanish."

From kenisology last year, to linguistics this fall, he's covering all the topics.

Good luck, Bill.

... and then she snapped her gum, rolled her eyes, and walked away

"Why aren't you dressed yet?"
"Why aren't you dressed yet, mama?"

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Inspiration in the every day

I work for an organization that serves people with a chronic, progressive disease. Some people are impacted physically, some cognitively.
I visited a self help group today and a member was talking about this guy. Group members were appropriately impressed. One woman talked about how in awe she is of blind people with their dogs or canes out in public.
And one of the leaders paused thoughtfully and said, "but that's just them living their life. We all do something like that - with our disease or in normal life outside of the disease."
And I gave him a mental high five.
This week, I'm going to be mindful of overcoming challenges and just "doing my thing."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Someday, Willa...

Someday, Willa, you might find someone you like so much that you'll promise that person to try your best to be your best to that person every day for the rest of your life. Quiet moments alone are nice, but quiet moments with someone else is sometimes even better. I hope you find someone who will come to your aid on "that one word" in the crossword puzzle that's holding you up. I hope you find someone who surprises you with a thoughtful phone call in the middle of a hectic day. I hope you find someone who will cook for you and go to the store and buy 12 different kinds of vegetarian soups* when you're sick because that person wasn't sure which kind you liked the best. I hope that, if you choose to get married, you have exactly the kind of wedding ceremony and celebration you envision. Mom and dad did at ours.

I also hope that Seth, Danny, and Simon do not show up at your wedding, objecting to your vows on the basis that you've married them while in Preschool, just about every day now for the past two months.

It's true, you're wedding-crazy at three years old. You "get married" every day. Sometimes it's to one of the boys, sometimes it's to your self. Last week your were getting married at hotels. This week, you're getting married at the beach. You report hurt feeling when, one of the exasperated boys tells you they don't want to marry you. Your teachers report that a Willa-wedding consists of a piece of fabric - kept in the housekeeping area of your room - placed on your head and it MUST be over your eyes. Also? Flowers are a nice touch.

*If, you know, you end of following the vegetarian habits of your mother.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Book and Beach

A few thoughts...

I just finished reading Water for Elephants. It was a great read. If you're looking for the next book to spend a few hours with, pick this one up.

The only disappointment I had was to learn, in the notes from the author at the conclusion that Thomas Edison was... well, a bastard. I knew he was a sneak and a cheat, but....

How did I carve out time to read a novel in 4 days? I stayed up late while Jim snored, Henry snuffled, and Willa rolled around in her sleep. This is also why I started drinking coffee again after a 6 day break.

Tonight when I asked for a goodnight hug, Willa got a mischiveous look on her face. "I left them all at school, sorry," she said before cracking up. I gave her a hug and then she said she had a lot to give out again.

Henry still has 5 teeth. 2 up top, 3 down low. He was showing signs of #6 coming in to even out the smile, but it must be shy. He's discovered books, and will sit on the ground with a pile of board books, alternating between chewing on them and turning pages while squealing with delight.

We spent a good part of Sunday taking advantage of the fact that we could spend a good part of a day on the shores of Lake Michigan. It will a blissfull afternoon. So many photos and movies to pick from. For now, I want to document this. It might be the first and only time they share so well, and joyfully. She offered it to him before I thought to ask her to. And he quaked with happiness.

And here's Henry, boldly charging to the lake. Excuse the odd camera work. Jim was clearly drunk on farm stand produce.