Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Week Of School, part one: Meal Plan

Hooray for the arrival of the first week of school! Like everyone else, we've been bustling around the last few weeks trying to get everything in order...

Today we're cleaning the house and trying to prep as many foods as possible. This is the first year I will have all 3 boys at the table, and I'd love to have every day free to be with them instead of feeling stressed about getting dinner made and on the table.

Since it's the end of the month, the grocery envelope is close to empty and we're using up the last of the foods in our freezer--ground beef for the pastie and meatloaf, one lone flank steak, and some trout that our neighbor caught and gifted us with. Seasonal veggies, rice and legumes round out the remaining meals!

Here's our plan for the week:
Sunday: Indian spiced rice (with chicken)
Monday: Fresh pasta and pesto
Tuesday: Pastie
Wednesday: Split pea soup
Thursday: Marinated flank steak and grilled vegetables
Friday: Fish pie
Saturday: Basil/sundried tomato meatloaf and roasted fingerlings

...and how about one of my favorite recipes?

Indian Spiced Rice
This recipe is from a lovely book that my mother bought for me when I was in college: Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons. It has become my favorite meal to make the day after roast chicken. Because of the lentils, it's a complete protein on its own, but Justin's one of those bodies that requires animal protein on a daily basis, so I just chop up whatever chicken remains from the previous night and stir it into the finished rice, and the two pair beautifully. Yum! (and so economical, too! These ingredients cost pennies!)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced, fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 cups uncooked jasmine rice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried lentils
3 cups water
1 large potato (russet or sweet) or 2 small (reds or yukons)
1 small bell pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup peas
3 tablespoons raisins
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg and cumin. Cook for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently.
Add the rice and saute 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the salt and lentils, then stir in 3 cups water. Add the potato and cover the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat to the lowest setting. After 10 minutes, lift the lid and add the bell pepper, peas and raisins. Stir well, then cover the rice again. Cook 10 minutes more, or until the rice, potatoes and lentils are tender.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


This week, I finally read Audrey Caroline's story--a story I've been hearing about for some time, but haven't been ready to read. It's been hanging out on my back burner until the time was right. Until Wednesday.

Wednesday was a difficult day for an unknown reason. You know how some days, you finally get to 5:00 and feel like you've been beat up for the past ten hours? That's how Wednesday was for me. My Big Sis was here for a visit, which I loved...but we talked about difficult things....friends going through hard days and babies sick with strange, undiagnosed illnesses. She left and I called a friend....and that conversation followed the same vein. Lack of money for basic needs, sick mommies unable to care for their newborns, nagging doubts. Justin walked in the door from work and proclaimed that his day had left him utterly defeated. He took one look at me and knew I was on the same page.

After debriefing somewhat, I left dinner prep in his hands (no appetite) and packed Sean up to meet my Wednesday Friends up at the coffee shop. Apparently small talk and weak smiles couldn't hide my mood from even them, since about 2 minutes into our visit they asked which Mack truck I had just been struck by. Out of concern for my stability (!) they kept the conversation light-hearted until we parted ways a short hour later. Back home, then, where Reuben was weeping inconsolably, for it was two hours past bedtime and he had gone three days without an afternoon nap, and the exhaustion was palpable. We moved him onto our bed so that he could cry all of his emotion away. I vaguely remember saying something to Justin about remembering that feeling; of needing to cry out all of the energy so that rest could come and fill the empty spaces.

The rest of the evening went on like that. And on, and on. Reuben finally fell asleep, and immediately Sean woke, teething and screaming. Justin and I were at our wit's end. And somehow, eventually, everyone was in bed, and the house was quiet, and even Justin went and buried himself in the covers....and it was then I began to wonder if the coffee girl remembered to make my drink decaf. It was 11:00. The house was asleep, and I was wide awake. Maybe it was the caffeine...or maybe it was just that I needed to find a place for all of my emotion to go, too.

So I opened up Audrey Caroline's story and began back when it all started, in January.

You might think this was a strange moment to begin such a journey. But I think those moments when we're at our weakest are the moments we are most susceptible to eternity. I felt the need to pour it all out on Wednesday night so that I could be filled up again with the hope of Thursday.

If you're up for the emotional calisthenics, pull up a chair:
It took me two days and lots of hard crying to get through this story. It's not a quick read while the kids are eating peanut butter for lunch or Baby's having a nap. But oh, the reward--of experiencing a sister's encounter with Jesus that is real, raw, excruciatingly painful, and-- strangely, seemingly contradictorally-- full of life and hope.

Isn't that just how our God is?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Deterioration Of Maternal Sanity

Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama: "No, baby, that bag is there for Cole to take to Nana's tomorrow."

(Five minutes later)
Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama: "No, buddy. We're not going anywhere right now. That's for tomorrow."

(Two minutes later)
Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama: "No, honey, we'll see Nana tomorrow. Not today."

(One minute later)
Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama: "Buddy, we're not going anywhere today. See? Mama's not going anywhere. I'm staying right here."

(One minute later)
Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama: "Nope."

(Two minutes later)
Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama: "Nope, not yet. Not today. Tomorrow."

(One minute later)
Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama (deep breath): "Buddy, it's not time to go. We're not going anywhere today. No 'time go'."

(One minute later)
Two year old: "Mama, time go?"
Mama (slightly hysterical, more to herself than to child): "Oh my goodness. I can't possibly answer that question anymore. It's making me positively mad. I think I might actually be going crazy."

Two year old: "Crazy?"

Mama (still to herself) "Yup, crazy. I have completely lost my mind. This conversation has finally done it. I'm absolutely nutso."

Two year old: "Nut-so?"

Mama: "Yup. Mama's insane. Doubt I'll make it til dinner time. Absolutely off the ledge."

Two year old: "Oh."

(Two year old goes to play in recycle bin.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pants On Fire

Okay, call me names if you wish, but the family photos really are coming. Really. But you'll have to wait a teensy bit longer...

Our computer has been in the shop for a week now and we just got it back tonight, hooray! I am busy reading your emails and blogs and will be up and running again soon!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You Asked For It...

You got it.

New family photos coming soon! Stay tuned!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our Walking Trail Has Blackberries!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Looking For Love?

Meet Sean.

SWM, age 8 months.

Nicknames: Sean ("Seen"), Sean-Boy.

Likes: Morning walks to the honey farm or park, laughing at The Brothers, getting wedged under tables and chairs, slapping five with the friend in the mirror.

(Organic) Cheerios on the couch.

Playing dress-up.

Dislikes: Sleeping through the night.

Oh, and boring movies.


Author's note: Sorry, ladies, he's only got eyes for his momma!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Haircut Time!

Quote of the Day:

"But I don't wanna look handsome; I just wanna look like I do now!" --Reese, age 4

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

(Typical) Conversation With Reuben

Mama and Reuben are sitting on the couch. Enter loud, scary tooty sound.

Mama: "Reuben, what was THAT?!"

Reuben: "I do it BIG ONE POOPIES!"

Mama (laughing): "No, you didn't do 'big one poopies'. What was that noise?"

Reuben (deadpan): "Reese."

Mama: "No! It wasn't Reese. What was that noise, Reubsy?"

Reuben (rolling his eyes, pointing to the sky): "Umm......rocket ship?"

Have I mentioned yet how much I L*O*V*E two-year-olds?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

O Happy Day! free myself of the tangle of little boys that have found their way to my bed in the middle of the night, and stumble out into bright daylight at 7am to release the chickens from their coop, and turn around blurry-eyed to see my husband standing in the yard, smiling, with two steaming cups of Starbucks coffee! I'm not sure life could have been much more blissful in that moment.

How I love a good early-morning surprise.

We are all so thankful to have Justin back home, where he belongs. I'm still feeling perplexed that the things I manage just fine during the week are the same things that I am completely incompetent with on the weekends. Dishes, meal planning, picking up, washing clothes...the list goes on. But we made it and we're here--fatigued, yes, but happy and healthy, and finally all together again.