Thursday, December 20, 2012

A small round up of bite size "paleo" food gifts... and a confession.

Confession time. Growing up, my mom (and dad) were awesome with their advent calendar. My grandmother made it, and every night my parents would either put a piece of candy in there for my brother and I, or a "hint" for us to find the candy ourselves. My brother opened the even days and I opened the odd days. And my mom would get really great candy for it.

For the first time, this year, my mom gave me an advent calendar to use with my blossoming family. We don't really let E have candy, and we've been doing this paleo thing... but I thought we might do it anyway. So I bought some nice candy. And then I brought it home. And then I ate. it. all.

You guys, it was totally ridiculous. I guess I had been feeling a bit deprived, and I just went crazy on the stuff. I'm breaking out, my nursling Josiah is breaking out, and moreover, I'm not feeling great, physically or emotionally, because of it. So. Ridiculous.

I just ate the last of those stupidly good Ghirardelli squares, and I say good riddance. We are sooo going to do things differently next year, so I'm not going to sweat it. I learned my lesson.

I've made a few grain-free, processed sugar free desserts lately (for us and for gifting), and I'll put links to the bite size friendly ones below. I'll be pulling these recipes out next year for advent!

Raw Coconut Macaroons

Almond Date Truffles  (just a note on these-- if you don't have almond butter, coconut oil subbed great for me.)

Cocoa Dusted Maple Glazed Walnuts

Rustic homemade Marshmallows with Honey

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


And here we are-- in the last week before Christmas. Each year it sneaks up on me, although I've tried harder to savor the season this year. In my head, I see us ending the day reading through an advent book, candles lit, quiet Christmas music on, dwelling in the peace of knowing our Saviour is born. In reality though, the ceiling lights are blazing, the television has Elmo's Christmas special on, and we're trying to just get the boys down to bed before they become totally unmanageable. And then we clean up after the day and prepare for the next. Not really the Advent season I had pictured!

I know that these times aren't forever-- there will be time in the future when our kids, then they're more mature, can handle learning more about the season. So I'm attempting it now, at least, this very moment, by myself. It is quiet here in the living room, and the Christmas tree is lit. I will ask God to prepare my heart to fully celebrate the miracle of this season, and of His life in us, in me. As crazy and chaotic as my life seems, my heart is totally at peace, folks. I am saved; I am rescued; I have found the One my heart loves. I am grateful that the Father sent us Jesus.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A week left.

I can't really believe how long it's been since I've written here. Would you believe me if I told you I hadn't had the time lately? It's mostly true. Of course, I have spare moments here and there, but I usually use those to figure out what I'm going to do next, or bemoan my hectic day. Not time well spent, of course, but time spent regardless.

It's been a hard few days. Elias is getting a molar in, and Josiah has a cold. Both of these lead to less sleep at night AND during the day. I haven't had an hour to myself in awhile, and I'm one of those people that needs to be by myself at least a little bit each day. Or mama gets a little cray-cray.

It's the first sunny day here in awhile, and when the boys wake up from their nap (which I expect to be soon, sadly), we're going to bundle up a little bit and take a walk to the post office to send some Christmas gifts to my family out west. Nothing fancy-- just some food gifts, wrapped in a way to make them feel a little more special, I hope.

Merry The-Week-Before Christmas, all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This little guy.

He is so sweet, you guys. All smiles and chub and grunts and grins all the time.

My only complaint... he does not sleep well at night. But even this is not that bad. I get plenty of chances to hold him in the quiet of night, his long, leftover newborn hair tickling my cheek, his soft breathing in my ear. We hold hands in bed at three a.m. while he nurses, and he's barely awake when I get him up to burp him. Limp with milk, he nuzzles hard into my should while I cuddle him back to sleep.

He's almost six months old. I know now how quickly this baby thing goes. I'm enjoying it as much as I possibly can.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stopping to smell the...

Pumpkins. So much pumpkin roasting going on over here. Eating "paleo" and fresh pumpkin go hand in hand. So far we've had pancakes, doughnuts, pie, etc., that have had a healthy dose of pumpkin or squash.

I think I've gotten a little more "okay" with the idea of Autumn. I certainly took my time, but I'm enjoying the warm Fall menu...

Sidenote: Oh glory, I just heard Elias. He has apparently woken up an hour early from his nap. This does not bode well for our afternoon...

Where was I? Oh, yes. Fall foods, cardigans, and... Well, that's it. But that's better than I was a month ago when I was so cross about Summer's end!

I can't believe Christmas is right around the corner. Anyone want to come take a picture of two tired parents and their very active young boys for their Christmas card? ;-)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A saturday morning

(Goodness, I can't believe it's been a month since I've posted...)

Good Saturday morning :) We are watching the Curious George movie, eating scrambled eggs and this pumpkin bar --with raisins-- (so good!), and enjoying a lazy morning after quite a few hectic ones. Today is one of the last Farmers Markets of the season, where I plan on stocking up on some winter squash, since it goes so well with paleo eating, and then on to the Co-op, where I'm picking up our free-ish range 12 lb turkey. I plan on roasting it and freezing a lot of it for eating over this winter. We also have some birthday stuff going on (Tuesday is Jeremy's and my birthday). I'm going to try to pick up some decorations for the house for the holiday season. I love decorations but am usually such a failure at getting them up in my own home.

So, yes, a full weekend, but it's all ours. Pretty different than a year ago, when it was still all about the house renovations. Still so thankful for our family time.

I'm hoping that you all are getting a lovely weekend to look forward to, as well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Whole30. The beginning.

I'm sure that some of you have heard of the Paleo diet. It is, in its most simplistic terms, a diet focused on what humans would have eaten in paleolithic times: a diet focused on meat, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. This is not a post about Paleo.

This is a post about Whole30. Which, apparently, is thirty days given over to an strict form of the Paleo diet. I heard about it from some friends (hi, Mary!), and it seemed really similar to the GAPS diet, which I had researched a bit but had ultimately decided against, because of its strict guidelines. And now that I think about it, they're pretty much the same thing, if not in theory, in practice. But! The Whole30 is thirty days, and the GAPS diet is a more permanent endevour. Although, if we do this the right way, I'm hoping for a more permanent version of the Whole30. Which is Paleo. And pretty much GAPS.


This is day three, and oh my goodness, we are feeling it. Feeling it so much that when I think about how much I could write about it, I almost gave up this blog post for now. No! I will push through! Maybe.

The gist: meat, veggies, eggs, seeds, nuts for thirty days. No soda, bread, sugar (in any form), cheese, oats, peanut butter, milk, black beans, quinoa, etc., for those thirty days. It's a detox if I've ever seen one. Coming off of sugar and bread is hard for Jeremy and I. But Elias? It's been crazy to watch him crave sugary things, and we eat pretty healthy most of the time! I told Jeremy that we would never crave a steak the way we've been craving brownies or ice cream or soda. It's an addiction I didn't even know we had, and it's been pretty sad evaluating our diet next to a truly healthy, life-giving diet. Elias is not following the tenets of the Whole30, he ate oatmeal this morning and is still drinking milk and eating cheese. But I want to see how he does gluten-free for awhile, because his behavior is sometimes so out of control. I'm wondering if his diet is a part of that. In addition, he hasn't had sugar in any other form that fruit in the last three days, and it has been a hard three days, people. It's all my fault though. I'm the one that makes his food. I need to hold myself to a higher standard to the food he expects on his plate. He wouldn't be craving it if I hadn't put it on there in the first place.

Anyway, we're in day three. And I wish it was totally over and that I could make a loaf of bread and eat it all with butter slathered on top. With some tea with honey on the side. I'm trying to have the perspective that working through these cravings is discipline, and discipline is good, even if it hurts.

And goodness-- this hurts.

Monday, October 1, 2012

treading water

Just came across this little poem again today:

     Promise me
you will not spend
  so much time
     treading water
and trying to keep your
  head above the waves
   that you forget,
truly forget,
  how much you have always
   to swim.

--Tyler Knott Gregson

This morning was a water polo match's worth of treading water with Elias and Josiah. With a weekend away, dietary changes, and sickness, we're reeling from behavioral and physical difficulties, with both kiddos.

Dreaming of an afternoon of sweet playtime, help in the kitchen, reading books, and perhaps even a movie, all with the little boys of mine I love so much. I may get it; I probably will not. I know there will be easier, more fun-filled days, though, soon enough.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

they get it all.

I am just going to go ahead and start writing to you like it's okay that I haven't posted anything here in almost three weeks. I am also going to refrain from apologizing, because, well, it's my blog, and I can do what I want to do.

Our life continues on. The days are a mixture of screaming and cuddling, puking and crying, eating and napping. I get to the end of my day, and it's like, oh-my-goodness-what-did-I-do-today. Parented. Cleaned. Cooked. Obsessed over E's approaching birthday party or that Josiah didn't poop, again. What I didn't realize about his parenting thing is that it's not just my body that I can't call my own anymore. It's not just my life. It's my mind, too.

And more than anything else, what always strikes me about this mommy thing, is that I live in it. I'm chin-deep in being a parent. When I worked or went to school, it was a big part of my life, sure, but then I could leave for a bit. Say, "excuse me," and go to a movie or something. But with kids, it's absolutely everything, especially because I stay home. This current season is almost mind-numbing in its all-encompassing reality. Two boys. TWO. Who was crazy enough to put me in charge of two human beings?

Friday, September 7, 2012

First game of Catch

Elias has been able to throw for awhile now, but not necessarily to anyone. He and Dada finally had their first, honest-to-goodness, game of Catch.

If you couldn't tell, he got a bit distracted by the camera... He's turning into such a ham. "CHEEEESE!"

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Summertime play

There is nothing Elias likes to do more than to go outside. Walks, water play, throwing rocks... He loves it all. Sometimes I'll walk into a room to see him just standing at the window, looking out. If we are going out at all, we have to wait until we are totally ready to go before putting our shoes on, because once he sees them, it's all, "Bye-bye? Bye-bye? Bye-bye!!"

Anyway, I've been trying to get outside with him in the mornings while Josiah takes his good nap. We stick to the backyard, with his water table and the hose. He loves it.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A glimpse of our cloth diapers

We love BumGenius diapers. We use the Elemental ones for Elias and sometimes Josiah. Before Elias was born though, and before we had very many BG AIO's, I bought a load of prefold diapers to use with a cover. They work great, are super absorbent, and are crazy cheap (about $2.50 a diaper).

But they look like this (without the cover on):

I mean, really. They look like something an Appalachian baby might wear.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Birth announcement outtakes

This Josiah of ours-- he is so funny. We had such a hard time getting a good picture for his birth announcement... In fact, Jeremy doesn't think we got even one good one, but I have a few I think may work. 

He really is a beautiful baby. He just can't get it together for the camera ;-) 

my hands

I just read a post from a friend who also has a blog about her family, and she wrote about her hands. She wrote about how, at her age, she's starting to see her mother's, and her aunts', hands in her own hands. And she loves that legacy.

It's funny that she wrote about it, because I've been seeing my hands recently too. Maybe there's something about the age of thirty, that the girlishness finally wears off of our hands.

My hands were always very soft and pretty. I loved the look of my hands. I got compliments on them too. In particular, one guy friend of mine said once that they were perfect. And I agreed with him, without pride. I just knew they were pretty, and I enjoyed that.

My hands don't look like that anymore. It started in my mid-twenties, working at coffeehouses. There's so much work with one's hands in that environment. They lost a little of their plumpness. And now, as my 31st birthday approaches, they bear little resemblance to those pretty girlish hands of my adolescence. The skin has thinned and they show their veins. They have had too much sun, especially my left hand, from constantly having my hand out of the car window in that California sun in my youth. My knuckles seem bigger, and sometimes the joints ache.

Funnily enough, I don't really mind. Yes, I enjoyed having pretty hands. But now I appreciate what those hands can do. Those hands can soothe two screaming babies at the same time. Those hands make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my boys. Those hands planted seeds in a garden for the first time this year, and those same hands pulled out the full grown plants for dinner. These hands took me through graduate school and the hundreds of thousands of words that were typed in it. These hands are workhorses.

I was a lazy child, folks. Goodness, I was so lazy. These hands remind me that I gladly gave up the laziness and selfishness of youth for family and hard work.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Not yet "grown"

I have recently been surprised by how much I'm like a toddler, by watching Elias. No, I'm not saying that I see my own actions/ideas/personality in Elias, I'm seeing my own behavior in a toddler.

I started researching the Montessori method about a month ago, to implement here in our home instead of a preschool. And one of the books said that toddlers cannot yet reason. It is around three years of age when children can begin to reason-- and therefore make constructive decisions about their behavior. Up to that point it's basically our job as parents (so far as discipline goes) to reason for them. I know he that should not go outside when it's around a hundred degrees, so I reason for him, and then I set the parameters of his behavior, i.e., we stay inside. He doesn't have to understand, and truly, he cannot, why he must stay inside, but it's not his job to know why. He just has to obey, tantrums or not. And we say, "Trust us, Elias;" that this is the way it has to be. It's for his own good.

I've realized that I have acted, and even continue to act, like a toddler with God. My circumstances look a certain way, because He has ordered events and circumstances to be that way for my good. He does not reason with me, because I cannot understand His reasoning, and so I throw a fit. I sulk. I cry. I beg Him to change His mind. I don't understand that because it's so hot outside, that I could get sick. That it wouldn't be good for me. That I wouldn't have fun anyway, even though I think I would!

This is the hard part with adults and toddlers. We think we understand what would be best. We don't.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD."
(Isaiah 55.8)

Friday, August 17, 2012

So much puke.

The title of this post could really be the title of my day. Any day. But especially today.

Babies are so soft and cuddly and sweet. And so new, in the fullest sense of the word. But they are also hard. I wonder if the difficulty of a baby helps bring our attention to the present in a helpful way... If everything was fine with Josiah (who has been sick) and fine with Elias (who has been a toddler), perhaps I wouldn't pay so much attention to the time I spend with them. I'd be off doing and thinking about other things-- probably pleasant things, sure, but I wouldn't be doing this mommy thing twenty-four hours a day. And I would miss the things that make this time so special and sweet and heartbreaking.

All this meandering to say: I'm thankful that my attention is on our Present lately. As rough as it is, as daunting and challenging and absolutely exhausting as it all is, I want to be there for every bit of this Mommy thing while I have the chance.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Early morning.

It was a rough night last night. At midnight all four of us were sleeping. 5 a.m. had both Jeremy and I with babies in hand. And by 8 a.m., both kids were up for good and not too happy about it.

While Jeremy got up and showered for work, I shuffled into the kitchen and turned the kettle on. And then I pulled out the clafoutis I made last night, and ate it cold right from the dish.

A peach clafoutis from Martha. Is there anything more refreshing after a sweaty, sleepless night with two little boys? Nope.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And then.

And then today was a good day. It seems that when I get on here and explode with frustration about the way things are going with Elias, we suddenly have good days. And today--well, this morning--was good.

Playing outside in the cooler weather, time in the garden, time in the kitchen. A welcome break from what seems like our everyday chaos.

And at the heart of the issue-----

My baby boy Elias is not my baby anymore. He is turning into a Kid, with scuffed up knees and an opinion about everything. Skinny legs curled up on his booster, reaching an equally skinny arm out to my plate for more roasted zucchini or watermelon, noodles plastered on his bare chest from an unsteady fork. A daydreamer who puts a bucket full of rocks over his shoulder, waves, and says "bye-bye", like Daddy with his lunch box every morning. Boisterous at home, oppositional, and then polite-- sweet, even shy in front of others sometimes. A quivering lower lip when he's dropped off at the church childcare. I see my baby the most then, in that lip. In the teary blue eyes that are so like mine. In his wanting to be held, either to see more clearly, but mostly to be close, to feel safe. He's so long now that I can't quite hold him as carelessly.

Our babies are not our babies for long. This is a truth I know with my head but not my heart.

Monday, August 13, 2012

a monday morning haiku

gray skies, falling rain
the early morning sunrise

Sooner or later.

I guess it was bound to happen, sooner or later. If you were outside my house right now, you'd hear two boys screaming in their beds. If you were here ten minutes ago, you would have heard me screeching "Don't you ever bite me again!"


I really don't know what to do with Elias lately. Most of the time, any activities or play that we try to do together ends in tears and meltdowns. It feels like he's totally out of control, an inward mass of chaos that manifests in freak-outs and sadness and naughtiness. To say he's "oppositional," as one book advises, is an understatement.

It really does bring me to tears, because I feel so helpless, so much a failure. As much as I know that I have little ability to change his behavior (or the emotions that cause it), it makes my home feel like a war ground, a place of unrest. And if you know me, you'll know that this is the one thing that I can't really handle or even understand in my home. I've prayed for peace for our home more than anything, before Elias was even born. Before we even moved here. I've always wanted my house to be a place of peace and rest, for us and others than come into it. And right now, it isn't. At all. And it makes me sick to my stomach.

More than anything, though, I want to penetrate deep inside Elias, and target whatever it is that is making him so upset. I want to help coax that unrest out of him, so that he can be my happy boy again.

I know part of it is that we have Josiah now. Mommy isn't all his anymore. I know that this is a good thing, for both of us. But how does one interact with a child whose world is upside down? This is a common saying, but think about it. He doesn't understand what is going on around him.

Growing up is chaotic. I know this, and so do you. We've all gone through it. But most of us don't remember this early part of maturing. It reminds me of my high school years. What a chaotic, messy time. Life seemed so dark, so unknowable. So painful. And although E doesn't have the words to express that, is that how he feels? Nothing is how it should be. He cannot do the things he wants to do, and he can't express his ideas in a constructive way, that would help him change his world. What verse is it in the Bible....perhaps in Galations...something like, when we were young we were as slaves, we were carried where we did not want to go. All day long Elias's wants are not matched up with his "allowed-to-do's". And his emotional capacity is lacking in the means to handle that fact.

This post is meandering now. Both boys are asleep now, but there is not much hope in me for a different boy waking up than he who just now went to sleep. So I will just get the bread started. Finish the laundry. And pray for my boy, for peace in our home.

Friday, August 3, 2012

past summers

I miss California more in the summertime, I think because the feeling of the sun on my skin brings back memories of all those days I lived under the hot California sun. As hot as it is here, the feeling of sun on the skin is something I don't get tired of. It brings back the most vivid memories: the sound of the ocean in the background, the lumpy sand under my towel, the muffled voices of nearby bathers. It's almost like muscle memory... images, sounds, smells so vivid it feels like I'm there.

The discrepancy between the memories and my current reality is almost laughable. Then: a long-haired beach bum, driving to Newport with a best friend, windows down, radio up. A whole day spent in the sunshine, in the waves. A drive home during rush hour (we never managed to leave at the right time...), wet hair dried quickly in the heat, skin tightened by the saltwater and sun.

And now: mommy. Stuck inside because it's too hot for me and my babes. A house to clean, mouths to feed, diapers to change. Elmo. Bath-time. Little to no time by myself.

Please don't misunderstand-- I would not trade this one for the other. My time now is more full of loved ones, more dedicated to others. I would not give this time up for anything. It is a precious, full time. I think it's okay to miss the other time too, though. I miss quiet, by-myself time. The freedom of driving alone, buffeted by the wind and the sound from my radio. The wide expanse of nothing-to-do.

I've been dealing with these things a lot more since Josiah was born. I have been surprised by the pull of responsibility that I have now. It's a lot to take in. A re-dying to self.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Josiah's birth

Jeremy was with me the whole time. It was a long day.

Mom and Lauren took good care of us.

Jeremy, waiting. Praying.

This was the worst of it. I can almost hear Lauren now, "Get it, girl!"

It helps the pain if you tell jokes to your husband.

In between pushes.

Baby Josiah.

Checking out our prize.

Getting weighed. 9 lb 4 oz.

How epic is this?

Baby feet.

Calm, now.


Holding daddy's hand.

Getting to know each other.

Our amazing friend, and doula.

Our sweet, sweet friend Joyce, who took these amazing photos.

Around 4 am, and getting ready to rest.

Our sweet, sleepy boy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I write this from my desk chair, watching a fuzzy headed baby boy fight sleep in his cradle swing. He's swaddled, rocked, and has a fan by his head for white noise. And yet, I can't keep him asleep for more than a few minutes unless he's in my arms. And even then... So much gas. So many burps. An infant's digestion has more emphasis on his sleep and waking habits than anything else. And by anything else, I mean a harried mama, hushing a toddler or creating a perfect sleep environment.

In other news:

6 weeks.

He's sweet, and kissable, and so chunky. We're falling in love with him more and more, probably because he's screaming less and less.

(Uh, oh. He got his left hand out of the swaddle.)

He looks so much like his brother, but with all that brown hair, he's his own little person too. He's starting to smile at us, and coo, and it's the sweetest little sound.

(That left hand is trying its best to wake the little guy up.)

He has a chronic stuffy nose and grunts and snorts all night long. Mama doesn't get much sleep.

(Asleep, awake, asleep, awake. It's stressing me out. And now, a little cry.)

Just more settling in. Getting used to this and this and this. A new schedule-- or a lack of one. A baby next to us at night. A slightly jealous (and who would blame him!?) toddler. A dada with a sprained ankle. And on and on. It's not everyone's version of chaos around here, but it sure is mine. Just trying to settle into it; embrace it until I can change it.

(He's awake for good, I think. Insert sad face here. That dang left hand. Gonna go wrap him back up and try again.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

life, presently.

Oh, goodness. Where do I even start?

Maybe I won't begin at the beginning, which was last Monday, when Jeremy went back to work. 

Maybe I won't even begin with this morning, which was a late one for us, although we were all up before seven.

Maybe I won't begin even now, where one boy is asleep in the motorized cradle about 15 feet to my left, head turned awkwardly, which happened when I placed him in the swing. He was-- is-- in too deep a sleep to notice. The other one is upstairs and (I presume) still refusing to take a nap.

I don't even think I'll start at tonight, when Jeremy comes home and takes up the slack where Elias is concerned, providing some daddy horseplay while I hold the baby and warm up the meal someone-- a very wonderful someone-- just dropped off for us.

Maybe I'll start a few months from now, when the brutal heat has abated, and the frantic newborn stage is finished. When the toddler and the baby have become more friendly, and my body is more my own again. When we will be getting ready for a second birthday party and reminiscing about the last year...

No. Let's not do that either. Lets go back to today: the present. When my little boys are as little as can be. Fighting sleep. Both wanting "up". Diapers that need to be changed, and little mouths that need to be filled. Elmo on the television, and a nursing pillow on my lap. All of us waiting impatiently for Jeremy to come home in one hour and 54 minutes. A noisy fan in the background and a brown yard just outside the window, which I can see from my chair from where I type this. Laundry that needs to be folded, and a house that desperately needs a top-to-bottom cleaning. A toddler, still upstairs in his crib, still refusing to sleep, squealing loudly for mommy.

It's good and it's hard and it breaks my heart. It is a very full time.

Monday, June 18, 2012


After a crazy day of hard, irregular labor, a fast, late-night ride to the hospital, a quick time of "transition", and an even faster time of pushing (including a frantic call from the nurse to the doctor to "get in here!",

Josiah Able Oster

was born at 1:04 am two Thursday mornings ago. A big boy-- a full pound heavier than his big brother was-- he was bright red and roly-poly right out of mama and was ready to nurse right away.

He has been both very sleepy and a voracious eater, which is just right for a new baby. Big brother Elias has been doing... okay. Very good with Josiah, not as well in other ways. Some stuff we are chalking up to teething, other stuff with simply being a toddler, and the rest is, I'm sure, from having his entire world flipped upside down. Everyone's world is flipped upside down, and our new normal is slooowly appearing before us. And that's okay. We expected that. We are being patient.

Meanwhile, it's lots of napping and eating and television-watching. Friends are bringing meals, and family is keeping Elias busy. I am healing up well, physically, and attempting to deal effectively with those nagging changes in hormones. Jeremy is bringing up the rear and continues to be the support I need so badly, in this time just like he is every other time.

We are doing well.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Belly too big, lap too small.

And no more room for Elias.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A quiet Monday morning

A mixture of images from this morning:

Elias "playing the guitar" and singing song after song to himself.

Jeremy playing with E for a good long while before coming down to breakfast so I could peacefully drink my morning tea.

Cleaning out the water table for E and accidentally spraying both of us.

A little shirtless toddler running through the hose's spray as I water my raised beds.

Green and pink scribbles with sidewalk chalk.

Bathtime. Bubbles popped by being "kissed".

Snuggly soft boy in his sleepsack, ready for his first nap.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Foppees" and the end of May

Elias has discovered blueberries. He calls them foppees. I don't know why. He also has started calling most things foppees. It's been a little confusing, especially when he's crying for "foppees," and I have no idea what he's asking for. Phew.

Anyway, he and his mother have been eating their weight in foppees and enjoying every minute of it.

Highlight of the weekend: sitting on the rug in Elias' room with he and Jeremy, eating foppees. E feeding them to his daddy, and his daddy reciprocating. I wish I had had my camera, but I'm hoping the sweet image burned into my mind stays with me for a very long time. It was a perfect, perfect ten minutes, in an otherwise pretty great day hanging out together at the Farmer's market and preparing for little brother.

Little brother, indeed. I'm 39 weeks today, and we are expecting this little guy to come very soon. He'll be named Josiah, and I have a feeling (and have had for awhile), that he's just going to slip right on into the family. And why wouldn't he? We have a spot waiting just for him.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

There comes a time... every pregnant women's gestation, when she walks into the bathroom to look for her leggings and comfy shirt (that she wore to bed last night and are less than clean but has to put on again right this minute because her "skinny" maternity jeans are driving. her. crazy), and doesn't see them, but does see the toilet and thinks, "Why not? If not now, then in 5 minutes."

That's where I am, now. Searching for something, anything, soft that fits under or over this crazy, swollen belly of mine, making thrice hourly trips to the bathroom.

36 weeks. And a day. But who's counting?

Have you ever?

Have you ever baked granola in the afternoon?

I've made it in the morning, when I wished it would hurry up and finish cooking because I was hungry and ready to scarf it down.

And I've made it in the evening, yawning away the ten minute intervals between stirs, wishing that I had finished this particular chore earlier that day.

The afternoon is the best, I think. It has the same sort of yummy guilt about it that a nap after lunch does. Everyone else is slaving away at a desk, and here I am, stirring a pan full of crispy, golden, cinnamon-scented oats.

I use this recipe from David Leibovitz, who in turn got it from Nigella Lawson. I've also used this one from Orangette, a crispy granola dotted with dark chocolate chunks (it sounds too decadent, but trust me, it's just decadent enough). Both are lovely, but the first makes two (two!) pounds worth, which is even lovelier.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Getting it in.

I'm feeling a bit emotional today. It suddenly hit me that this is the last time it's just Elias and I during the day. Soon-- in about a month-- there will be a baby taking up most of my time. Jeremy is taking 3 weeks off of work to stay home with us, which is wonderful. So there is a lot of family time coming up. And that's good. After that, there will be brother-time. And that will be so good too.

But this is the last moments of our time together, just E and me. Making and eating lunch. Taking a walk. Watching Elmo and reading books. I'm trying to soak it up the best I can.

Why can't we fully appreciate the time when we do have it? Why is the threat of its departure the only thing that makes it dear? It feels like such a waste, but then again, I don't know if its possible or even good to fully live every moment, knowing that it's passing. Seems to me like it would be the most constant heartache.

Lots of cuddles today. Lots of taking time away from the I-need-to-do's and focusing on my still-my-one-and-only-baby boy.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The second saturday

Last week we went to the St. Louis zoo to celebrate our first Saturday being done with the house. It was a disaster. The kind of disaster that's funny later, but, oh my goodness, in the midst of it, it was not funny. It was ridiculous.

But this post is not about last weekend. I can write about that later. This post is about this weekend, which started last night, I guess, when Jeremy got home for work, we, as a family, all spent time together. Relaxed together. Ran errands together. It was awesome.

We went and looked at baby stuff, household stuff, toy stuff. This morning we went to the Farmer's Market, where everything is blooming and fresh and bustling. We had breakfast at the local Co-op together and people- and dog-watched. Jeremy and E went to the park to get tired and sweaty while I went to the grocery store by myself (a treat in itself). We even went to a yard sale and got a very used but dirt-cheap double stroller. (You know, because another little boy is coming very soon!)

And it isn't even noon yet. And yes, it's hot outside, and there is still time for arguments and melt-downs and plenty of things to do. But it's our weekend, not the house's. We all get to be home, together. And someday this will totally be taken for granted. But not today.


The house has been deemed "finished" by the bank. Our appraisal is back from the appraiser (good news there-- the value went up), and we're getting ready to sign yet another set of papers.

It's hard to believe that it's really over (and why would it not be? This has been our life for three years!), and Jeremy and I aren't really celebrating big. It's been too hard to celebrate, almost. Imagine you're a kid on the playground, and a big bully comes up to you and punches you in the face and you fall to the ground. A teacher sees it and hauls him or her to the principal's office. I mean, you're happy that the bully got caught. You've been redeemed, sort of. But, dang, your face is visibly bruised. Your butt is bruised where you fell. Everyone saw your embarrassment. So you aren't really happy. Just sort of relieved it's over. And hoping that you and everyone else can just move on.

I know that this lack of joy won't last forever. We're planning a big party for everyone who was involved in working on the house for later in the summer. It's an amazing amount of people. There will be lots of food, and showing off the finished product, and it will be lots of fun :-) But right now we're working on healing up from the bruises, and the embarrassment. The lack of rest. The consistent, constant presence of anxiety. Social lives that were permanently put on hold. The lack of purpose for our lives without having to put work on the house first.

But yes, it's really over. The recuperation begins. And for that, I am so grateful.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I titled this post "sleepless" and then realized that roughly a month from now I will remember what sleepless really is. Sleepless right now means tossing and turning from pregnancy discomfort, waking before it's time, and having to use the bathroom at least every two hours. Sleepless when the baby comes means, "Oh my gosh I'm going to die from lack of sleep." It means that I won't be able to worry about my own comfort in my lack of sleep, but that I'll have to take care of an infant--not to mention a very present toddler!-- a mewling, wriggling, uncomfortable, incredibly awake infant, in my lack of sleep. It will mean nursing, and eating, and drinking, and reading with no adherence to normal, functioning, blessedly human hours.

That is what sleepless really means. Lord, have mercy.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Dinner is prepped: kale chopped, chicken shredded, eggs separated, garlic and onions diced.

Laundry is mid-cycle.

Bills are paid.

House is... neat enough.

And now? To breathe. To veg?

No: Elias is awake, just now. He wakes up now saying "nooo" in a whiny voice. I understand. I say the same thing to myself every afternoon when he wakes up, and all I want to do is "noooo"thing.

My desk in front of me is full of things on the to-do list. A bag filled with a homemade paper mobile for Elias' room that needs to be strung up. An empty ceramic pot, to be filled with basil for my kitchen counter, someday. I've had it for a year. A book on gardening, with info that needs to be siphoned off by me for Jeremy to build some raised garden beds. Curtain rings, for the kitchen curtains. A knit hat that's come unraveled and needs some help from my own mom. And photo albums and E's first year book that need filling out. He's 18 months.

I would need to have the force of a tornado to get through everything on my list. Is this why women are so tired? Not only do they have the days and weeks behind them, to which their energy has already been directed, our will to survive shot like a garden hose at our days, but we have the should-have-dones. The wish-was-finisheds. The oh-gosh-I-forgot-about-thats. It gnaws at me... I imagine it gnaws at most of us.

I don't have an answer for it. I think it will be something I deal with until the day I die. I never understood the idea before now that there wasn't enough time in the day. There certainly is enough time in the day for a teenager, but for an adult? No: whether it's our own fault or someone else's, we just can't get finished.

Some days I have peace with this idea. But not today.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today this verse is reverberating in my head, a reminder brought to my attention over and over:

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Gently lead those that are with young.

Thank you, my God, for your kindness and compassion toward me. You know that I desperately need it, and I'm so grateful for it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bulging gums

That's what Elias has: bulging gums. His two side teeth (bottom eye teeth) are coming through.

I was visiting the other night with a new mom of a two week old. I told her that it gets better. It's true; it does. And then it gets bad again. I didn't tell her that. No one told us. Eighteen months has been an awakening to me.

I know it's not Elias' fault. This is part of being a toddler, of having so many emotions and fears and excitements that one just can't get it together.

A friend of mine says that she has been teaching her toddler to take deep breaths to calm down, and that many times it works. So I tried that today. Deep in the middle of an all out FIT, I asked Elias to take some deep breaths to calm down. He looked at me like I was insane, tried to mimic me taking a breath, and then went back to screaming.

It's strange being cooped up with this crazy person. Jeremy and I are pretty cool-headed. A service worker once told us that we had the quietest home he'd ever been to, and others, upon visiting our church's small group, said that they had never been to such a quiet group. We like quiet. We like peace. We do not understand temper tantrums, of the adult or child sort. Like, literally. I don't understand them, and so I (actually, both Jeremy and I) are at sort of a loss at how to deal with them. Sometimes we discipline him, sometimes we distract him, sometimes we try to calm him down, sometimes we ignore him.

I bet that if you were to come to my house at any point during the day, I'd consistently have this sort of surprised, shell-shocked look on my face.

Any ideas?

(I made it to three p.m. today before making my chai. Of course, three p.m. also found me with my hand deep inside a chip bag. You win some, you lose some.)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Homemade iced chai latte-- Starbucks-style

I've been a chai latte fanatic for a long time. In fact, when I first started working at Starbucks, that's all I would drink. That, my friends, is how you get fat. I quickly switched to coffee drinks, graduating to quadruple shots on ice with a bit of half and half. And that, my friends, is how you get through that opening shift beginning at 3:30 a.m.

I've never cared for the overly-sweet, underly-spicy chai concentrates that most coffeehouses serve. And the Starbucks chai concentrate that they sell in their stores isn't great either.

Everyone I've ever served this drink to has really liked it-- so I thought I'd pitch my own version of the chai latte into the web, although there are already so many. I'm pretty partial to this one though.

Step 1: Get an awesome glass from an awesome friend. Steve Holt!

Step 2: Insert favorite chai tea bag. I stay loyal.


Be patient.

Eat some Barbara's Baked Cheese Puffs while you wait. Or, shove them in your mouth by the handful. Whatevs.

Take out your tea bag. If you're lucky, your mom will have gotten you a sweet little tea bag rest.

Some honey. About a tablespoon.

Add 6-8 drops of stevia. If you don't have stevia around, go get some. Or, add one or two tablespoons of regular sugar, or a sugar substitute. Stevia, like other sugar substitutes, is much sweeter than regular sugar. The point is, honey doesn't have enough sweetness on its own to get it to the sweetness level that I like, although I love its flavor.

This is the brand we buy. Notice the filthy bottle? This was Elias' FAVORITE toy for most of his life. He still grabs it when he sees it in the cabinet and takes it all over the house with him.

So you've got tea 1/3 of the way up the glass, plus honey, plus stevia.

 Milk 2/3 of the way up. We use raw milk; that's why it's in a fancy jar.

 Getting there. Get some ice, and fill up the rest of the way.

Drink it. :-) It's good stuff. I try to wait until 3 p.m. to make it-- the caffeine and sweet kick help me run the last lap of our day before Jeremy comes home. Lately though, since Elias decided to become a toddler and whatever, I just try to make it to 1 p.m. Crazy kid.