Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 years today!

I suppose it is in part our fighting spirit that makes it seem like 10 years has been a breeze:) I think our road to family, the fight behind having those around us accept adoption and our faith based approach to living has made us feel like we have something to prove, in a good way.

As we hit 10 years today I looked at the inscription on my wedding ring, Sheff's has the same " Forever intertwined we grow together" We were fully cognizant that we married young (I was 22, Sheff 24). On our first date (after meeting as children and being thrown back together by our parents) we talked about faith, money, divorce and education. We actually went bowling. He thought I was a bit too New York (Had just moved back from Brooklyn after a stint there) and I wondered if he was actually handsome under the fisherman beard. I relaxed back into colors falling in love and he shaved the beard. And, um, he was handsome.

Sheff joined the Catholic faith and I went running in the rain and learned how to cook. Other than that we have basically grown up together, not a whole lot of compromising, more co creating our life and dreams. Our commitment to each other feels very easy, it is what is is, our roots grew together and the trunk is strong. Our children will hopefully reach fully to the sky and trust the base beneath them as they do.

When we hit 20 year married I hope we still have a full house, a little Irish temper, some good gospel country to get the work done tempered with MPR so our brains stay sharp, time to brainstorm our next adventures, clean food, a few pews at church and long walks together. And maybe a party. For 10 years Sheff is having  gold anniversary band made, and we are having a marriage blessing.

If anyone has a moment today I ask for prayers for strong loving marriages and families, I am greatful and humbled by our own.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bartered Pears

We had a garage sale. It went well. For one item we were paid in pears. Lots and lots of pears.

This left me in a quandary. On one hand, who doesn't enjoy pears? On the other, I have a weekends worth of housework, kids who need focused jobs to put things back in order and bins to re sort and store. What I did not feel I had oodles of was time to deal with a mess of fruit. Saturday night the four grocery bags of pears sat ominously on the counter. Before church they greeted us. Taunting my holistic mommy self to be creative, to be resourceful, to honor the tradition of barter.

So we made some pears. I have a bed full of laundry to fold but bins are stacked, bags neatly label for the spring St Rose kids sale, front room vacuumed and oodles and oodles of sliced pears.

To make freezer pears:
Wash and slice. Compost your skins and cores. For every 2 cups of pears add aprox 2 tablespoons RealFruit Pectin and sugar and lemon juice to taste. Let sit for about 30 min stir well and store in freezer containers or jars with a half inch for expanding fruit.

We had a big dish for dinner with homemade pizza and I have stacked freezer pears for the fall. Bring on the barter. But please don't bring me any more pears.
We washed the pears with a bit of vinegar in a pot of water.
                                 Nate helping, Lucy eating.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I will do better tomorrow, I will serve a dinner that requires a plate

Do you remember the book " Alexanders terrible, no good, very bad day"? A little boy wants to move to Australia after everything goes wrong. I felt for Alexander today. It's like my whole day was a hiccup off step. The highlights of absurdity included forgetting a kid at school, I made it a full three blocks before asking sweetly " So Nate how was your day? I haven't heard a peep out of you" well mom that's because he is in the office waiting for you. Yes perfection. Earlier in the day I managed to spill things, drop things and serve Daisy chocolate milk for breakfast. That was it no usual slow cooked oatmeal or creative quiche, nope just chocolate milk. Whilst rinsing the cloth diaper in the toilet I managed to spray myself with very questionable water. A highlight was how utterly unperturbed Lucy was during my mutterings. Another prime moment was after school hearing John say" why would you put your baby sister in the doll house?" sure enough Lucy was happily sitting in the downstairs of the doll house gumming a Barbie bike delightedly. Then in a quiet moment before dinner I thought I would sneak upstairs and read while I nursed Lucy, it was very quiet. To the big kids credit they were studiously working on homework and Nate was working on kitchen duty but then I heard Mick's voice "Mom Mark is really pink!" I finished nursing and came down with my sidekick, Lucy shrieked in glee seeing Marks very sparkly pink hair and face. No I did not take a photo, the camera battery is dead. Really why wouldn't it be today? Daisy won lip gloss at the fall festival that clearly is not intended for blond boys heads. Needing to get Daisy to dance and James to football Mark had to stay pink for awhile. Dinner was pure gourmet, bagel bites frozen pizza. I had made my almost daily broccoli slaw for myself but ate at 4 after Lucy was in the dollhouse and before Mark turned pink. James and John managed to forget to bring home daily planners with homework so I had to greet Sheff with the need for a parental lecture on responsibility. To my husbands credit he did not remark on Mark's coloring, the fact I had a left a child at school or that dinner was served on paper napkin I do realize I have made my point but as icing on the cake I tried to push the mountain of clothes off our bed in order to try a new library book only to discover I had chosen a terrible romance novel not even fit for escapism. I vow tomorrow to clean my bedside table, to make a breakfast other than chocolate milk for my children, to not forget anyone at pickup, to do my best to keep the baby out of the doll house, to keep all my children regular colors and great my husband with a smile of accomplishment. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 2011

Back to school! It was hard to say good by to summer this year. This was my favorite summer of all time, really! The next up was likely biking in Europe with Lauren but that was a whole different feel and more than a decade ago:) This summer was wonderful because...yes edge of your seats, it was...organized. We had a rhythm, a daily routine and it worked so well for us. Sending them off yesterday was hard because we had worked together as a unit for 3 months. The only camp they went to was Bible camp where I worked to off set the cost.

The night before school started we sat around a campfire and went over our summer highlights. Most everyone listed Maine, climbing on the rocks and finding crabs. A close second was the Bible Camp hosted by Nativity, Gloria Dei and Holy Spirit in St Paul. I worked in the Nursery with one of my closest friends so it was actually a fun week for me as well. Spending time with the Corniea family is also a summer highlight. For me its invaluable to compare notes with another mom to 8 (almost 9!). We talk about how to make meals healthy and low cost, about sleeping arrangements and the way kids learn. We try to support each other in faith and really care about each other's kids.

Daisy 4years Starting Pre K
Another highlight was playing with Auntie Lauren, Oliver and Juliet. The fact that Lauren and I have been friends since we were 2 is amazing. Her mother Milne, was in the same book club that Sheff's mother Caroline and my mother Nor were in back in the early 80s. Sheff was a big 5 when Lauren and I were toddlers. I had not pegged him as my future husband:)

So summer highlights noted and fall hopes outlined. The kids had sticky fingers from marshmallows and memories jumbled up, spilling out into combined stories. One child would start, another would interject and a third would finish. Its amazing to watch them tumble through adventures together.

James is off to 5th grade, Annie and John-Luke 4th, Mickey 3rd, Nate 2nd, Mark started Kindergarden today and Daisy Eleanor is starting preschool. Thankfully I have Lucy home to keep me company while I cook, wash, write and prepare to hug them at 2:10.

Mark 5 first day K

Happy back to school everyone! May God bless your (and your children's!) year with learning, love and friendship.

Friday, September 2, 2011

State Fair time!

It was hot, hot, hot. But very fun. We tried fried green tomatoes (OK mostly mom enjoyed that one) then the kids had slushies to share, cheese curds, cotton candy and Sheff had a steak dinner on a stick. We also brought annoyingly healthy snacks and tons of water. Having gotten tickets from the Roseville reading program we made it in and out on the best budget yet. The only ride we did was the Giant Yellow Slide, but it was perfect. Another year down and many to go:) This photo is actually from last year but my favorite fair photo ever. Happy MN fair to everyone!