Sunday, December 30, 2007

End of Year Farmer and Food Inspirations

After almost two weeks of nearly constant togetherness with at least one or two folks outside of our usual foursome, you would think the kids and I might take a break last Friday and just chill out at home. Perhaps address the mountains of laundry or vacuum the living room floor. But no, I decided I would go to the gym first and then we would visit Melanie and her kids in West Seattle. The kids loved it at the gym, and I had a blissful workout during which I finally finished the chapter on Love in Eknath Easwaran's book called Original Goodness. It was full of amazing quotes and ideas: two favorites were "When the lotus blooms, it doesn't have to go looking for bees" and "Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or hard; remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power." Do you think I was the only one at the gym reading Original Goodness?? Rhetorical sidenote: what kind of super-nova nerd am I, anyway??

Then we were on to Melanie's. While Lucy and Sophia immediately became completely absorbed in playing and Jasper became completely absorbed in Owen's toys, I was inspired by Melanie and her meal-planning. She had planned delicious meals for the week ahead. So, I decided we would do that, and Rob and I did on Saturday. Then we went to the farmer's market on Sunday and found many ingredients there for our week's menu. Here is what we're having, and what we found at the market. Nothing makes me happier than taking food from the dirty, calloused hand that grew it, and then offering our money to that same hand. It isn't not quite as sacred, I suppose, as getting my own hands dirty, but it is the next best thing.

Our New Year's Week Menu:
Creamy Cauliflower Soup (from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook - wlnc - this is made creamy by cashews and it is quite delicioso)
Sauteed Kale (super yummy with olive oil, coconut oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar and tamari)
from local farms: leeks, garlic, cauliflower, kale

Winter Vegetable and White Bean Soup (wlnc)
from local farms: onion, garlic, carrots, shallots, jeruselum artichokes, delicata squash, savoy cabbage

Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas (from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - with my addition of a thick slice of ham chopped up)
Collard Greens
from local farms: onion, garlic, ham and collard greens

Chicken Verde Enchiladas (wlnc)
from local farms: onion, garlic, chicken, spinach

Composed Salad of Quinoa and Chickpeas with Kale and Lemon Tahini Dressing (wlnc)
from local farms: kale and garlic

Lemon Millet Patties (wlnc), Kidney Bean Casserole (joy of cooking), and Cabbage Slaw with Cilantro Vinaigrette (wlnc)
from local farms: cabbage and carrots

More pictures soon as well as notes on New Year's resolutions, Lucy, and Jasper.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Photo Album

We had a truly lovely holiday with lots of extended family togetherness, including visits from usually faraway Auntie Em, Uncle Kris and Cousin Max and even farther away Daddy (Granddaddy) and Philia (Grandmama). Of course the local usuals were involved as well: Uncle Robby, Kaitee, Mom (Grandma), Merrill (Pop Pop), Granny and Grandpa. My goodness - it is quite a roster, isn't it? A favorite part for me was solstice dinner when my mom did a little solstice candle ceremony - the children love lighting candles. This is the picture to the left. Our trip on the ferry and through the snow to Grandma and Pop Pop's house in Port Townsend, with delicious snacks and dinner awaiting us, was also magical.

But I love the in-between moments best of all - the chats in the kitchen over dishes, stolen moments in a coffee shop with Em and Daddy, early morning moon sightings with the little boys, knitting and gabbing with Grandmama while the boys nap and lots, lots more. Thanks everyone for coming or just being here all along, and for your lovely presences in our lives. Here are some pictures of the major moments and the little in-between ones too.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Lucy took this picture of my new hairdo. That kiddo has a knack... I have to admit to a certain amount of denial that Christmas is in one week. It just can't be. Has anyone else noticed that it is impossible to shop thoughtfully with a toddler in tow? Reverend Billy (of "Put the Odd Back in God" and "What would Jesus buy?" fame) is speaking to me...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Feeling Brand New

Lucy got a beautiful haircut and this is how it worked. We had scheduled what I thought would be a routine trim for her and for Jasper, really to please grandparents, well more specifically a certain Grandma and Grandmama. We walked into the hair cutting joint (Lil' Klippers in Wallingford Center), and Lucy sees a picture of a girl on the wall with a short inverted bob, inverted meaning the back of the hair is slightly shorter than the sides. Pictures would truly be worth a thousand words here, but I want the exercise of describing with words... (you can see some vague shots here)

Lucy seemed quite clear and confident in this choice so we went with it. And her hair is beautiful and it works perfectly with her face. It is like she somehow uncovered a sparkly little part of herself by letting go of a few inches of hair. And the best part to me was how quickly and firmly she decided. No handwringing, no second guessing, no asking the opinion of others - just a clear "that's what I want." And then she was so pleased with the results; she kept looking at herself and finally told us the next day that she felt brand new, like she'd just been born yesterday.

Inspired, I made an appointment for myself today at the Gene Juarez Beauty Academy, and $16 later (including tip), I too feel so brand new. I am thrilled to say goodbye to ponytails and hair clips for a while and say hello to a little sparkle. And I will have to remember to thank Lucy in the morning for inspiring me to be so brave. Crimson, the stylist, took off at least six inches of hair! Rob says I look ten years younger, easily, and it feels incredible. Pictures will come, but not tonight.

And an update on the thyroid stuff (I had mentioned that I thought I might have some sort of thyroid thing going on). I had some bloodwork done and my thyroid is fine. I was a little low on B vitamins and iron stores - which I chalk up to four years and counting of nursing little ones - and Vitamin D (that would be me and everyone else in wintertime Seattle), so that explains my symptoms. And I feel much better since I've been supplementing.

Rob, Jasper and I are down with colds - Rob so much so that he stayed home today - which is a very rare occassion. It is so great to have him home, even sick... During his "sick day," he did laundry, heated up lunch and dinner, and cleaned the kitchen several times over, as well as caring for Jasper while Lucy and I went out to get my haircut. He is amazing...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

As promised, Lucy literally climbing walls.

The children both got haircuts last weekend.

Kids and tree

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Riding the Waves With St. Nicholas

Another snow pic from last weekend...
First a note for Farmer Keith (who commented on the Jasper hat situation) - you inspired me to actually play Liza Minelli for Jasper and he did indeed like it - both kids did. And, you're right, why wouldn't they?
The past two days have been better days. Perhaps it helped that the sun came out and the kids and I were outside a lot in the afternoon. Mom also blissfully babysat Jasper while I went to the gym. Jasper is reluctant to go to the gym daycare these days, to the point that I haven't been taking him. (His refrain is clear: "I don't want to go to gym.") And the environment there doesn't seem quite loving or attentive enough to me, less so than when I started. I'm afraid the little guy is used to lots of love and attention. Maybe I'll try walking on the days it isn't too rainy... We'll see how much tolerance J. has for that...

I do realize I don't write as much about Lucy. She is generally too complicated for me to write about easily. Stay tuned for the photo download, but the child can actually walk up walls - well, in the doorway that is. She walks all the way up 'til her head is at ceiling. Then I come and get her to bring her back to Earth - which is what it seems like I'm figuratively doing frequently - bringing out of her play or her dreamworld to tend to the details of eating, dressing etc. She is five and a half plus and quite capable in many ways, but she still is also so very childlike and dreamy and innocent.

I cherish her littleness that is still there but that I can see is transforming into something else. The moments she'll allow me to hold her or when she rests her head on my shoulder while we're reading, or when we snuggle before sleep feel extra super precious. We were reading a book today and they talked about galoshes. She asked, "What is a galosh?" And then I realize how much she knows. She rarely has to ask me what a word means.

Oh, and the children had their first visit from St. Nicholas yesterday. He had come and put Newman's Own Peanut Butter cups in their shoes. Lucy was utterly convinced and when asked how he'd gotten inside she said assuredly, he has magic keys of course. And the joy they got from a simple candy unwrapped in a shoe seemed every bit as big as what they'd feel with a big pile of gifts. Perhaps best of all, we didn't have multiple bags full of wrapping paper garbage to take out later...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Unhappiness

Well, at the end of my last blog entry I implied that if my kids are happy, I'm happy. And I AM ever so slightly happy to report that, even though my kids were quite happy today, I am not happy. Nothing is terrible, but I'm not happy. Yeah! Life is just not that simple...

More on my unhappiness:
For starters, I am wondering if I have a thyroid problem. I won't go into the details of why.

For seconds, I slept poorly last night and have been more muddle-headed then usual today resulting in lots of extra driving around in the mini-van which depresses me. The more time I spend in the mini-van, turns out, the less happy I am.

The clincher was when Jasper fell asleep in the above-mentioned mini-f******-van and didn't transfer to his crib and has not had an afternoon nap during the one afternoon per week that Lucy is not at home with me (she's having Tuesday at Grandma's). I almost cried.

The good news is that Jasper seems quite happy and has actually rediscovered some key pieces of the Christmas tree stand that we thought he'd thrown away.

The other good news is that we have a beautifully lit and decorated tree in our living room. Today happiness has crept in during the time I've allowed myself to sit upstairs with the tree. Thank you, tree.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Time To Build An Ark?

It is very persistently raining here. Lots of rain pouring down for hours and hours. I think it rained all night and then this morning it was still raining. All this rain is not usual, but the darkness and lowness of the sky feels quite familiar - more familiar than the sunny crisp days we've had this fall. I somewhat reluctantly, very wetly piled into the mini-van with Lucy and Jasper, making our way through the puddles to school. Lucy's teachers decided they would, in spite of the rain, take the kids on their usual walk to Woodland Park. Apparently the kids had fun splashing through enormous puddles and throwing debris into rushing streams of water; parents had huge bags of wet clothing to take home as souvenirs of their adventures. Lucy was particularly enthusiastic, according to teacher Mary, about getting almost fully submerged in a large deep puddle. This will surprise no one who knows her.

Meanwhile, I took Jasper to wait out the morning at Whole Foods. We were both drenched from being outside in the play yard at school. We meandered through the store, did our shopping and then sat in the cafe area with an enormous burrito, a bowl of green peas and kombucha. I flipped through a magazine, Jasper and I ate and looked outside the window at the street. I was feeling warmed up at last and really quite content, when Jasper looked over at me and said "I'm happy." And I was reminded of my Uncle Tom (Annie's dad) who once told me that if his kids are happy, he's happy. And I thought, yes, that is how it is from here on out, isn't it?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hello family and friends. Jasper loves to go to the zoo. I'm pretty sure he has, or at least would, describe it as "his" zoo. The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is a few blocks from Lucy's school, so it is very convenient to go in the morning while Lucy kindergartens. Jasper has a passion for the animals and the zookeepers that Lucy doesn't have and never did. He gazed at a crocodile for quite a while, and then told me "The crocodile is big like me." At the zoo, Lucy likes to climb things. This first picture is of Jasper walking at the zoo on a trip there with Rob last weekend. Note the purposeful, confident stride.

We had the most beautiful, big snowflakes this weekend. Is anything more magical than snow? The children were in heaven.

I dropped everything on Saturday to finish knitting a hat for Rob. In my haste, I think I made it slightly too small. But Lucy likes it too, as you can see, so it won't be a wasted effort. Jasper is angling for a bright pink hat. I love to knit and knit until I'm done. The laundry, dishes, and general chaos piled up all around me as I knit. How satisfying to have a task that has such a clear completion, imperfect as the final result might have been...

The Winter Faire at Seattle Waldorf School today. We all particularly enjoyed making beeswax candles. When we finally drug them away, Jasper was crying that he wanted to make more candles...

This is Jasper and his friend Sebastian. Sebastian uncannily resembles Jasper's cousin Max, and seems to share some of Max's general joie de vivre. I'm just happy that Jasper finally has a bonafide friend - it doesn't seem to matter at all that Sebastian only speaks Dutch.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend

Here are some pictures from our full moon weekend. (Jasper spent lots of time looking for "man of moon." To me, the moon is all about femininity, mother, mystery, an invisible hand - but to each his own...) There was really something for everyone during our four-day Thanksgiving holiday, from playdates for Lucy, lots of grandparent time and the zoo for Jasper, bike-riding for Rob, Nia (yoga/dance type exercise) class for me, a date night courtesy of Mom and just plain old cozy family time. The yum just kept on coming, even after Thanksgiving dinner was over.

The Thanksgiving Menu was a group effort and it worked:
Homemade bread, tapanade, hummus, cheese, veggies for starters

Salad of Winter Greens with Roasted Squash, Pear, Pecan, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Pulled Pork with Pomegranate Molasses
Wild Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, and Thyme (Ali's recipe)
Granny's Hubbard Beets
Mashed Potatoes with Buttermilk
Bread Stuffing with Cranberries, Apples, and Hazelnuts
Brussel Sprouts with Mustard Butter
Cranberry Relish with Orange and Walnut

Rob's Amazing Pecan Pie, Mom's Beautiful Apple Pie, A Lovely Swedish Apple Crisp, and Pumpkin Pudding with Cashew Cream

We spent the rest of the weekend gratefully eating leftovers, finishing the last of the pies last night just before bed.