Hello.

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hello, Internet.
Hello, friends.
Hello, strangers.
Hello, Switzerland.

I’m normally what you would call a curmudgeonly hermit antisocial type, but I’m coming out of a particularly wonderful Thanksgiving and anniversary celebration, and it’s the first Sunday of Advent, so I’m feeling uncharacteristically friendly.

Normally, this is where I’d apologize for not posting much lately, moan about being so behind, worry about “schooling” my kids, and, if you could read the blog that lives in my brain, meticulously recount every single macro and micro nutrient that has passed these lips over the last week. But not today. Today my friendliness extends even to myself.

And so, instead of beating myself up about being a writer who doesn’t write, I’ll be nice to both of us and tell you what I have been doing instead.

This time of year, my girls and I need every minute of the sun on our skin we can get. Picnics, playgrounds, nature walks, and the sandbox.

One of Bea’s favorite things lately is the “Driveway date”. Sometimes Leona just can’t stay awake the 5 minutes it takes to get from the gym to the house, so Bea and I go through the Starbucks drive-thru for black coffee and warm milk. We pull into the driveway at our house, get unbuckled, and sing along to the radio, tell imagination stories, or just talk until baby sister wakes up.

I spend a lot of time in the weight room at the Town Lake YMCA. It’s my Cheers. Sometimes you really wanna go where everybody knows your name, but everyone leaves you alone because you’ve got the Rocky IV soundtrack blaring in your headphones and you can squat a Volkswagen.

 

We spent a LOT of time getting ready for Thanksgiving. My thumbs have yet to recover from the chestnut peeling/shelling/torture. They were delicious, though. Beatrice perfectly, patiently, meticulously seeded a pumpkin. I swear, this took several days. It was absolutely worth it though, because then we made this.

Bea was an excellent sous chef this year.  She single handedly prepared my second favorite dish of the entire day, stuffed dates.  I swear to you, friends, these things taste EXACTLY like pecan pie.  They are like magic!

She also skillfully wrapped our pears with prosciutto and carefully arranged an assortment of olives. On any other day, I would be really irritated that she didn’t actually eat any of this food.

As with pretty much every meal, holiday or otherwise, our feast revolved around one key ingredient. See if you can spot it.

Here’s what that looked like a little earlier in the day.

And here’s the picture that I got when I asked Bryan to go take a picture of the finished bird while it was cooling.

Yeah, I don’t always get his art, either.

I’m still thinking about this cake, y’all. It was five days ago…but I can still taste it. Pretty impressive for something made of a mash of squash, nuts, and egg! Screw all the Christmas chocolate treats! I am counting the days till I get another pumpkin cake! More exclamation points! For emphasis!!

We also made these cookies. If you like macaroons (as in coconut, not macarons, as in almonds), these are for you. They satisfied everyone’s need for the “alternative to pumpkin”, and were spectacular toasted with a cup of coffee the next morning.

 

Leading up to Thanksgiving, the girls and I spent our school time memorizing “thankful” scripture and searching for “th” in all our books.My favorite part of this exercise is the fact that Bea can’t actually say “th”, it’s still all “f” when it comes out of her mouth. I love it. It reminds me that she is still such a new little person.

Bea working on Ephesians 5:19. Yes, that's God.

 

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was our sixth wedding anniversary. We all went out as a family to celebrate our family’s birthday.

We’re almost as pretty as that turkey!

Full of thanks…and this…

November 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s come to my attention that the last picture I posted was less than appetizing. I apologize. Allow me to make amends…

Digest.

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

What’s in my brain gut today?

 

1.  Paleo Thanksgiving menu ideas:

Turkey

Turkey and dressing
I almost won’t link to this because it offends me when people call dressing, “stuffing”.

Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes

mashed cauliflower 
I’ll make real potatoes for Bryan because I love him and he’ll survive.

Whole9 menu with recipes

Pumpkin pie I’ll use ghee or coconut oil instead of butter, and coconut cream.

2.  Advent!

Ceili and Chili cook-off, Christmas Eve service

Jesse Tree

A billion activities

3. POWERLIFTING.

I’ll be honest and tell you that this is the big one right now. I was gonna link a video here, but y’all, this sport is terrifying. Google at your own risk. I just started this training program today and I am already more awesome. Maybe I’ll get a singlet for Christmas?

Resistance is futile.

November 16, 2011 § 4 Comments

I am an intense woman, an intense, wife, an intense mother. I am an intense cloth diaperer. I am an intense dieter. I am an intense worshipper. I am an intense everything. There is not one thing I care about that I do not COMPLETELY, ABSOLUTELY, CARE ABOUT. And if I care about it, I have to know everything there is to know about it. And if I know about it, I can’t get away with not DOING it.

It’s very dangerous, my brain.  It’s like a boa constrictor. It unhinges it’s jaw and swallows subjects whole, then sits for days, sometimes years, just digesting, slowly picking information apart piece by piece, breaking it down, crushing it until every useful part is assimilated. Snakes, owls, the Borg. You know.

Writing, like bodybuilding, like composting, like mothering, like all the things that sit in my gut and build who I am, takes a lot of time. A lot of hidden time, full of all sorts of processes I cannot see. Makes me angry. Makes me want to change course. But inevitably, yet somehow always surprisingly, the time is up — I lift heavier, my kale thrives, my three year old no longer throws herself on the ground in shrieking protest when it’s time to move on to the next thing, there’s a period at the end of a sentence.   And then I’m just hungry again.

My kids don’t sleep.

November 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

My mother likes to remind me that I never slept either. As a child, I would stay up all night rearranging my furniture or reading through a set of encyclopedias. I’d put on elaborate theater productions in my room or attempt to master 18th century hairstyles.

Growing up an eccentric/nightwatchman/introvert gave me an extra eight hours every day to do with as I pleased. As a child, I used those hours to play, read, explore. As an adolescent, I filled them with writing, painting, and sculpting. Later, they became my hours of prayer, study, and exercise. When Bryan and I got married, we’d go to bed together, but as soon as he was snoring, I would sneak out to the fire escape with my laptop to Google things like, “How to do laundry”.

Time sleeping has always seemed less valuable to me than time spent in solitude.

If I didn’t have children now, I’d likely still be a nightwatchman. But I do have kids, so I spend a good chunk of my waking hours dreaming about what it would be like to sleep long enough to be able count it as more than a nap. I haven’t had more than a nap since the second trimester of my first pregnancy. My first child is 3 and half.

At night, my children curl up next to me, fingers, toes, mouths, wedging me in on all sides. Some nights I am sure they are trying to get back into the womb. Beatrice pulls my hair up to her chin like a blanket, Leona grabs for a handle to bring my breast to her mouth. I am a living nest.

Beatrice is old enough now to tell me that she just doesn’t want to be alone. Our afternoon quiet time battles are epic, thick with whisper screaming and empty threats. Any other time of the day that child can fill hours playing with her “imagination friends”, hiding in a high spot with a book so Leona can’t tear out the pages, building castles behind the fortress of a baby gate, or sitting at the kitchen table with a stack of paper and a pen. But when quiet time rolls around and she is confronted by the discipline of solitude, she refuses to embrace it. She will sneak into my room and start folding laundry just so she doesn’t have to be alone.

So far, this has been the hardest part of parenting– my desire to be home to my children, and the inescapable reality that I am. I want my children to feel safe, nurtured, profoundly loved, deeply appreciated, and wanted in my presence. But I also want to sleep, and when I do, to have the luxury of rolling over.

Tripod grip.

November 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Focused little ones.
This is how we spend a little bit of every morning. Breakfast is cleared, devotional is done, coffee and warm milk are poured, and notebooks come out. It lasts for about six minutes. Best six minutes of the day.

Breastfeeding, horses.

November 9, 2011 § 4 Comments

This post is not at all planned.  I’m actually typing it directly into the “add new post” window, and I don’t plan on editing it.  WHY? Because honestly, I’m getting a little bit annoyed with this blog.  It’s so intense and weird.  And while I acknowledge that that is “me”, it’s also not very sustainable (also “me”).  Truth is, I don’t really want to look at the next part of my story.  And the more pressure I put on myself to do it, the worse it gets.  So I’m not going to do it.  Not right now, anyway. Instead, let’s just skip ahead to now.  Now is fun! Now is when these people are alive.

Oh, these people.  These people and I have had two really good days in a row, a rare feat.  I credit the weather, coconut oil, and the 6th Street Cowboy.  That last one was hanging out with three of his horses in our neighbor’s yard yesterday, no where near 6th street.  The coconut oil is part of an experiment I’m doing to see if eating more calories will keep me from screaming at my kids.  Leona turns 15 months old tomorrow, and has been nursing like a newborn for the last three weeks.  I’m pretty sure that’s the equivalent of a five course turkey dinner coming straight from my boobs everyday.  I have been a wee bit HANGRY.

But, seriously, how long can you be mad at this:

She clearly needs that turkey dinner.  And a hair clip.

 

 

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