August 30, 2012


Posting pictures from our Cape Cod trip will have to wait; much more pressing is the fact that Bear started preschool.  Relaxing pictures of sailboats and sunset whales belie what I am
feeling just below the surface.  These waters are turbulent.  I digress though, because I know this sweep of emotion comes with the territory and I am fully aware I will get through it (throw a paddle my way, PLEASE!  Someone!)Let's move on before I cry again... 

There is a wonderful German tradition of gifting children with a Schultüte (a paper cone filled with a few small treats) on the first day of each school year.  Let's set aside the fact that I can't believe the day to create and present Bear with his cone has come and gone- it blows my mind to recognize such passage of time.

                                             (a few of the goodies in Bear's Schultüte)

We started the day off by reading the "Kissing Hand" and decorating each other with all our love.

 His school is a local Montessori preschool- can you guess how excited I am about that?!  They change into slippers before starting their school day and once I heard that, I was sold.

I scooped him gratefully back up after his super fun first day and we were off to an afternoon of celebration.  There was a preschooler amongst us now.

On into the evening we celebrated with our proud, confident preschooler.


We feasted on all the favorites of our amazing firstborn and as requested, we topped it off with cake.

I'm certain the grandparents will read this post, beyond that, what's so special about it for anyone outside our family?  Another 4 year old boy in the world starting preschool, beginning to make his way.  The moment isn't special or extraordinary in the broad scope of things.  Shrink it back down to the microscopic lens of this individual Mama's life though, and know that I will revisit this post again and again over the years.  Remembering...

August 27, 2012

Pillars of a vacation

Fun?  Of course we had fun on vacation, Cape Cod would offer no less!  We are settling back in to the QUICK pace of life here at home as Champ begins teaching again, I begin my job, and Bear begins preschool in 2 days.  JUST 2 MORE DAYS, OH DEAR!!!  A post is coming with scattered beach pictures and a child in goggles, but for this very moment I have a tidbit or two to tell you and then I will scram.  This is the last uninterrupted day to spend with my almost preschooler and we have some good times planned.

Ace is 10.5 months old; the youngest we've ever taken our children on an extended vacation.  All that really means is that he is still in cloth diapers, and cloth diapers on vacation?  Well, I had no idea what to expect, but I really wanted to try and see it through so diapers were rinsed and cleaned the old fashion way and hung in creative spots.

That rail right there was the view from our cottage doorway and it housed it's fair share of diaper liners throughout our stay.  Champ figured out another ingenious way to dry them: our room had a propane heater and if we draped the diapers over it, the heat from the pilot light dried them out in no time (hmm, as I write this, it sounds like a fire hazard, but I promise it wasn't).  All in all, a good system was in place and Ace had plenty of diapers- yay!  In full disclosure, I should tell you that Ace uses his toilet occasionally, but even if he didn't, we still would have been fine, so if you're considering taking your own cloth diapered baby on a trip, think out your game plan and then go for it!  Yes, yes I will blog about this whole toilet thing later, once I figure out a um, graceful way to tell you about it.

My parents were with us for most of the vacation and they added an extra element of love and playfulness to the mix.  It was awesome.  They also added some extra sets of eyes and hands which freed me up with some time to read.  a book. at the beach.  Imagine that!  It felt so very luxurious to slap the beast of a book, "The Pillars of the Earth" (973 pages- oh my!) onto my towel and drift away.  I had cracked it open before vacation and by the grace of God I am now somehow finished with it.  This was my first Ken Follett novel as I'm not a huge fan of epic historical novels nor thrillers, but my buddies down at Northshire were right- this was a book for the ages.  Set in 12th century England and pivoting around the desire to build the greatest cathedral ever known, the book introduces memorable characters left and right along each page.  Villains and heroines, knights and monksFictional characters and characters and events of history: Thomas Beckett even makes a showing.  

The book wasn't my style of writing either: short, choppy sentences and a constant up and down roller coaster of action and emotion, but I held on.  I held on to learn more about medieval times, and because as awful as some of the revelations were, I simply could not stop digging deeper.  Somewhere along the way, it turned from a challenging read to an intriguing one. 

We returned home to some purple potatoes being ready, and squash. 
 Lots of squash.
Laundry is just about caught up on and the garden continues to provide quick and yummy dinners, so a day of play it is.  I will go gather up my boys and you should consider going to the library...

August 24, 2012

Baby Led Weaning- Bear

                                                         ~ yogurt

Bear wasn't born into the digital age like Ace was- I certainly didn't own my awesome Canon Rebel back then.  He also didn't have a Mama who blogged regularly about his adventures until he was 3 months old. So, since I was recently digging through old photos, I set aside a few of the digital ones we actually have that document one of my favorite stages with him- learning how to eat!

                                 ~pineapples, black beans, banana and avocado

Bear was almost 6 months old and I had just discovered the concept of Baby Led Weaning.  I was startled  and excited by it.  I still am as I go through the same amazing stage with Ace.

                                             ~ cucumber, hamburger, cheese

I LOVE foods and I love that my boys are developing an appreciation for all sorts of culinary tastes.  Walk down memory lane with me as I fondly remember Bear's beginning days of Baby Led Weaning...

                                         ~tortilla with cottage cheese, avocado

    ~ rice cake, pear, and cooked carrots make a delightful mess

 enjoying lunch in the office with J

~ a peach

Fast forward to today, and at 4 years old this boy can eat!  For dinner tonight he had tofu, a slice of tomato, smoked trout, 2 raw beans, and some pasta.  He has announced that while on vacation he would like to try eating "shark" and "swordfish".  I might have created a monster.  One can never be too sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Baby Led Weaning helped to create this healthy, adventurous eater.

August 22, 2012

Unglamourous artichokes

The grocery store had the cutest little artichokes and so I had to get them.  I SAVOR artichokes and when they are so small and sweet how can I say no?  If I had time, I would have stuffed them, but there was prepping for vacation to be done, so I went with my old speedy standby instead.  They were still so very delicious with a lunch of hard salami and cheese.

Unglamourous artichokes
1 crock pot
a few artichokes to fit in your crock
1 lemon
approx. 1 pat of melted butter for each artichoke
salt/ pepper

~ Cut off the bottom of your artichokes so that they sit properly.  Slice off  the tippy tops of them as well if they are tough.  Place artichokes, upright, in the crockpot.  Fill crockpot with enough water to cover 3/4 of the artichokes.  Squeeze lemon juice over artichokes then drizzle with butter.  Heartily sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Turn crockpot to high for 2-4 hours or until artichokes are soft and warmed throughout.

Eat unglamourous artichokes in a very glamorous way by peeling off the leaves and scraping the soft flesh with your teeth.  Try not to drool while doing it.

August 20, 2012

The Bear Family Picnic

It all started with a book- as most things do.  Bear has been quite enthralled with the Berenstain Bear books this summer (I go back and forth over whether I like them or not, but as a child I adored them)- in particular, "The Bear's Picnic".  So one evening, he dressed like a bear 

and easily convinced us to have a picnic supper.  Dinners are laid back (usually late!) affairs in the summer, consisting of some hybrid meal of garden vegetables, or our other current staple- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches AND popcorn.  So that's just what I made.  Champ added some pizza to the mix and we had ourselves a picnic.

Unlike in the book, we had no trouble finding our perfect spot.  There were no bees to sting us and no family reunion folk crashing our digs.

The magical moment did come when we heard a plane overhead, but thankfully it did not land near our picnic site like what happened to that unlucky Berenstain Bear family. 

We even had shelter in case it rained, but sunshine and cricket songs prevailed.

 So we ate (perhaps some Nutella was on his sandwich...) and played.  Then played some more and called it a mighty fine picnic.

And that right there is what summer memories are made of.

August 19, 2012

check your slippers at the door..

The car has been packed, snacks made, sunscreen secured.  Bear has tossed off his slippers at the bathroom door and began his final night of bathing in a familiar tub...

We are going on vacation! 

I will have some posts throughout the week and perhaps even check in here, but for the most part, only the tide and my family will be getting my attention over these next few days.  

August 16, 2012

Test run

White waters

Alright my compatriots.  You know me: at times I sneak away from blogging to focus on my family or to just recharge; this time around I am here because it can be so very comforting to share the details of life with others.  Even when the chronicles aren't mind blowing, there is still such solace in the giving and receiving.  So thanks in advance for reading the words of this typical Mama today...

During our last wave of guests, I ran a race with my friend, T.  It was to support our local animal shelter.  The same shelter Bear and I have been frequenting to visit cats (more on that interesting tidbit later) and to keep an eye on a pit bull in need.   

  Need I remind you of our own pit bull, Trot, in need of a sibling?

I can feel another dog coming into our life sooner than later and yet I have no idea exactly how it's going to happen.  A lot of moments have been happening like that lately; the unexpected blowing in and me learning how to have grace and an appreciation upon it's arrival.  

                           apparently, a dog isn't just on MY mind

Why is it that even in joy-filled moments we must be learning how to navigate the waters of our heart?  "Go with the flow" takes on a whole new meaning when one must really, wholeheartedly try it out.  The best I can figure, going with the flow is like white water rafting: a fun time, a gift really, but something that still makes your heart race in anticipation with each white cap.

So I am anticipating.  A dog.  Bear beginning pre-school.  My job.  Ace getting older... and so on and so on.  Fall brings with it it's own wild ride.

                on a side note, he's 10 months old now.  10 months!

In all reality, our life right now is in an upswing.  Happy and vibrantly buzzing which makes it all the more confounding on how to handle it.  Isn't that strange?  Ask and you shall receive, and yet I don't quite know what to do with all this goodness except pray in gratitude.  A good place to begin I suppose, as God buckles me in for this latest rafting trip He has planned.

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