Monday, April 30, 2012

Onds and Edds

We are busily preparing for another drive to Minnesota, this time for a family reunion with Nathan's parents and siblings.  I have about a hundred million things to do before then, but I'm sort of blase about it because, eh... we'll just get in the van and drive, right?  Clean clothes?  Food?  Whatevs.  It'll be what it'll be.  Good thing I kept my packing lists from earlier trips.

I'm browsing over my to-do list occasionally as I go from task to task.  It's drizzling here, and very last-day-of-April-ish.  I think I need to plant my tomatoes out before we leave because they're very tall and very thirsty now.  The ground isn't really ready, and it's a bit cold, but I'll cover them with old jugs with the bottoms cut off.  It'll have to do.  Every so often, I look out the window and watch my Amish neighbor who is working this hard ground, plowing a field with four horses.  I just love this neighborhood.

I put the kids in the van and ran some errands today.  I went to one Amish neighbor and got some popping corn because we emptied our jar yesterday, and I want to take popcorn on our trip for snacking on the drive.  They didn't charge for the bag of popcorn-- trade it for phone usage, they said.  After dropping overdue (but curiously never-fined)  books off at the library, we went on to another Amish family to buy a gazoot-load of maple syrup to take to Minnesota for the west-coast family.  "Limited time only: free shipping!"  I told them.  Then to another farm for six dozen eggs and we headed back home for lunch and naptime.

Did you know that if you steam fresh eggs with a vegetable steamer instead of boiling them, they peel easily every time?  I love this trick.  I'm steaming three dozen for our trip.

All this minutia running around in my head all the time...  It's gloriously maddening.  "Boring" isn't the right word.  "Busy", for sure.  The fact is, I don't seem to have time to blog, but I want to.

I'm also preparing for my firstborn's seventh birthday.  Seven.  Wow.  I remember being seven.  Before that, it's all pretty foggy, but I definitely remember seven.  I love that he's entering what I think of as "the age of reason".  Common sense, not so much, but reason, yes.  I can reason with him.  He's suddenly becoming so thoughtful and dependable and logical.  

I was reflecting on how much better Evan is now (praising God, many times).  His digestion has suddenly improved considerably-- in fact it seems pretty much normal.  I don't know if it's a result of the things I gave him, or just his system maturing.  Either way, God is gracious, certainly.  That's what his name means, you know.  Evan-- God is gracious.  His sleeping problems have evaporated and he's pretty happy all the time.  Now we just deal with the usual toddler stuff, the storms blow in and out quickly, and he's happily trucking along and learning more all the time.  I've stopped giving him the 5HTP for his serotonin deficiency because he simply doesn't need it anymore.  I really only gave it to him for 2-3 months, and apparently that was enough time for that to heal.  God is, indeed, gracious.

I'm always making food, it seems.  Three meals a day, snacks, and then the literal creation of milk going on all the time (Yeah.  That's my super power.), making me constantly ravenous.  These kids just look at me and see their next meal, I'm pretty sure.  I feel like we eat such a mono-diet sometimes.  Lately it's various permutations of sourdough bread, yogurt, eggs, pork, rice, butter, lard, sauerkraut, green beans.  A little peanut butter and jelly here, some garlic and onions there.  I made the most delicious pot of lentils (aaaaand several of the things on the aforementioned list) and it was yummy, but no one was really impressed.  Guh.  I want a little food creativity in my life, but Jonah keeps insisting that they'd be perfectly happy with eggs and toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and spaghetti for meals, with an endless supply of fruit and yogurt for snacks.  Why am I stressing about this?  They're easy to please!  Just feed them those favored foods.  All the time.  Siiiiiiigh.  I almost can't wait for summer when there will be lots of good stuff in the garden to inspire me and I won't have to spend so much money to eat creatively.  Perhaps I should read some cookbooks.  Cookbooks are always inspiring.

Speaking of food, I currently have bread rising, beans soaking, rice-bean-veggie stuff cooking, eggs steaming, and a child waking from his nap, hungry.  Back to it...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Which I Use My Words

I'm having trouble with pictures these days because my hard drive is filled up and I can't get them off my camera.  So again, lots of inspiration, no posts...

In lieu of photos, I'll attempt to follow in the footsteps of my bloggy predecessors in previous times who have gone before me (see, I'm off to a great start!), and um, actually write words.

Following: little bits from my day.  You're welcome.


Evan was holding a ball up by his ear, ready to throw.  He counted, slowly, dramatically-- "Eiees... ebbies... dubbus... oh!"  And the ball went careening out a few feet in front of him, barely missing his baby brother's head.  Evan ran off gleefully to retrieve the ball and the barely-intelligible count begins again...


Confession:  Evan still nurses.  Well, he did get sort of cheated, see, when Andrew showed up, so now Andrew shares.  I usually limit it, because look, I do actually have other things to do.  But Evan is becoming more insistent and is asking more frequently instead of less, as I had hoped. (Ahhh, my crafty plan... backfires.)  He's having a hard time taking turns.  So while Andrew had his lunch today, Evan sat next to him and whined at me.  When I ignored the whining, he became very polite in his own little language.  He looked me right in the eye, pointed to "the other side" and babblebabblebabbled very calmly all about why he knows that he should be able to have some milk at the same time as Andrew.  (Perhaps I have a math genius on my hands!)  I couldn't understand a word he said, but he made his thoughts on the matter very clear.


Jonah lost a tooth today, less than two weeks from his 7th birthday.  This is his third, after days and weeks of snaggle-toothed angst.   Actually, he lost it twice.  Once from his mouth, and again on the living room floor.  I told him the tooth-fairy doesn't do search and rescue missions.


Andrew wants to go from sitting, directly to climbing, it seems.  If there is anything nearby where he is sitting and playing that he can possibly use as a prop, he will attempt to climb up on it.  The bathroom step-stool, the rebounder, a box-- all of those are fair game.  He pulls the top half of his body up onto it and balances on his feet and arms and then starts to yell when he realizes that he has gotten himself into a precarious pickle.  Today I have rescued him from the rebounder, the brick pad around the woodstove, and the lower rungs of Evan's high chair.

This child is 6 months old this week.  What will he be like when he's 9, 12, 17 months?  He's already a total acrobat.


Andrew is also not really crawling yet, but he's a master of Army Crawl.  He drags himself all over the floor (finding appropriate surfaces to attempt to scale) by his arms.  He might push with his toes a bit, but he mainly just body-surfs everywhere he wants to go.


Evan randomly pluralizes what few words he says, even things that don't really have a plural, like greetings.  "Hi-ees"  he says with a grin instead of "Hi".  He calls Nathan "Daddees".  Actually his 's' is a strange conglomeration of 's' and 'th', but I can't type that sound.   The stove isn't "hot", it's "ahtssss".


I was awakened at half-past-the-crack of... dawn... this morning by little feet kicking insistently at my mid-back and then my kidneys.  Then I thanked the Lord for the binky wedged under my neck, because it prevented me from having to get up or do anything other than fumble around to put the thing back in the baby's mouth.


I've been bribing Jonah for some number of months now.  Okay, not bribing.... let's call it, "monetary incentive".  Whatever you call it, it works.  He's been responsible for folding and putting away his own laundry for at least the last year and a half.  But it's always been such a mess-- he doesn't put things away where they go and there were always clothes all over the floor, dirty and clean.  Every so often, I'd have to go up there with him and clean and sort everything and I'd nagnagnagnag and gripegripegripe.  Then I gave in to the ease of incentive and improved my general quality of life.  His drawers and floor are always neat.

Best 25 cents per week I've ever spent.

As a bonus, if I pay him in pennies or nickles, we have a math lesson, too.  AND it uses up that small change AND he thinks he has more money.  Triple bonus!  Although... it would seem that if he thinks he has more money, perhaps the math part isn't working so well...


I guess that's all for today.

Let's do this again real soon, m'kay?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Ramble

It was a drizzly, but gorgeous spring day today.  So we went for a walk and we didn't mind the drizzle.

I actually remembered my camera, but my photo skills are so poor (rushed, scatterbrained, and generally dim) that I can hardly do the lovely spring scenes justice.

It's just so fun to wander around in the fields and woods with the kids and their Daddy leading the way.

Theoretically, we were looking for mushrooms.  We keep hearing about people finding morels, but I think they're making it up. 

"Mushrooms of unusual size?  I don't believe they exist."

Alright, I know they exist because I've eaten them.  But we never find them.  Never. 

I told Nathan that it's all because he went so far as to stick a bag in his back pocket to carry these alleged mushrooms, so of course we didn't see any.  If we had come unprepared, we would have found piles of them and had a serious dilemma about how to get them home.

But even without finding mushrooms, the walk was fun and refreshing.  Andrew hung out on my back in the Ergobaby carrier.  He wanted to see, though, so he kept wiggling and leaning to the side so he could try to see around my shoulder.

I always think the May-apple looks so beautiful in early spring when it's the most lush thing growing compared to everything else.  It has a sort of tropical look with it's big, umbrella leaves.

A walk in the woods was just what we all needed today.

I'd say we tired those kids out but good.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life in My Frugal Universe

I used to have a hole in my bathroom.

Okay, I've had lots of holes in my bathroom, and probably still have some, in fact.  (And there is talk of new holes, very big ones, to come this summer and I shudder and weep at the thought.)  But there was a particular hole I'm thinking of, in the wall above the sink, off-center, with wires sticking out for a vanity light fixture.  We don't buy light fixtures around here --egads! the frivolity!-- (The pretty one in the kitchen is a very fortunate trash-pick.  The ugly one came with the house.) so we've left it a hole for many years.

I've kept my eye out for something suitable for that hole, but never found the right thing.  I knew it needed to be long so that it could be centered over the sink even though the hold was off to the side.  It also needed to meet my color and style specifications.  It's been bothering me, for sure, but there are many other things ahead of Something For The Ugly Hole.

Nathan did some handy-man work for someone and they gave him... a light fixture!

It left some things to be desired.   Like, um, several parts.  I said, "Oh well, at least it was free."  and Nathan said, "No.  No, it wasn't."  You know how the country doctor gets paid in chickens?  (Chickens would be fine.  I like chickens.)  Well, this country handy-man sometimes gets (partially) paid in... materials.

But, never fear!  If I ever need something, Nathan is sure to come to my rescue!  He certainly has just the thing! It's In The Barn. (I'm not making this up.  It's truly amazing.)  The Things In The Barn include pretty glass shades that match the little bathroom ceiling lights that my Mom got for us and the rings to hold them onto the fixture. 

And of course, I'm sure to have an appropriate can of spray paint around here somewhere... such as this lovely hammered bronze.  (Yes.  Spray paint is awesome.)

Et voila!  A lovely new-to-us light fixture to cover up the Ugly Old Hole.

My husband is awesome.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Evan's First Egg Dipping

For so many years, it's been just me and Jonah dying Easter eggs.

This time around, we had help.

Just look had his amazed little face.  A white egg goes in.... and a pretty egg comes out!  He was thriiiiiiiiilled.  He exclaimed in excited toddler syllables the entire time.

And I... have no words to describe these blessings.

May your Easter celebration be blessed with the joyous knowledge of the new life and endless blessings we have through Christ's death and resurrection.  Happy Easter!  He is risen!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


We are having a gorgeous spring and the "spring work", as the Amish call it, is already going full tilt.

I'm pretty sure I go all day and hardly sit down.  Outside work (the fun part) plus inside work, school time, toddler-chasing, baby care, etc., etc., etc.

Blog posts have taken a place on my to-do list, rather than the witty, sparkly, spontaneous works of art (ha) that they rightfully should be.  I write posts in my head all day, then sit down, upload some pictures and.... can't think of a thing.  "Soooo... blahblahblah, newsy, newsy, same ol', the usual, backtoit, bye!"


So, news! Andrew learned to sit!

I love this!  I am not one of those sentimental "oh, don't grow up, baby" kind of mommies.  I cheer 'em on!  Yay for Andrew! He's so much happier when he can sit on the floor and play with his brothers!

And in the realm of "spring work" Nathan and his boys are building a chicken coop.  We've been needing this for years, but couldn't decide where it would go.  We only have a scant acre of space here, and we have to be very efficient (did I mention that we planted a bunch of dwarf fruit trees?  Yay for efficiency!).  I finally agreed that the coop could go by the garden on the condition that it be cute. Not only must it not be an eyesore, but it must be cute.  So we're blending his practicality and my aesthetics, using materials that Nathan has on hand, and we  have a pretty good plan.

Jonah is the general go-fer, helper and question-asker while Evan is job foreman, inspector, supervisor, and Daddy's right-hand-man.

More on that forthcoming as the project progresses...