Friday, July 27, 2007

Farmer's Market day - "I do, I do!"

Thursdays are great days not only because the next day is Friday, but also because it is the Lake City Farmer's Market day. We've been waiting all week for another injection of fresh, fresh, fresh. The summertime abundance of Washington organic produce boggles the mind and titilates the taste buds. As you can see, we've got everything from apricots to okra, broccoli to onions. And don't forget the cherries, blueberries, green, purple, and yellow string beans, and the juiciest peaches on the planet for starters. I even got panir cheese made from milk from a local dairy (for dinner we had brown basmati rice and Mung Beans with Panir Cheese).

To prepare for the farmer's market, Lucy and I used up the last of the fruit we had in the fridge in a delightful desert. We started with a recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and ended up going in our own funky direction. Here is the recipe and some pics of happy eaters.

Almond Crisp with Cherries, Apricots, and Blueberries
featuring all organic ingredients and locally grown fruit

2/3 cup flour *
1/2 cup chopped almonds **
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsps. cultured, unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup packed rapadura (organic sugar cane) - or use sweetener of choice

~ 1lb halved, pitted cherries (Bing, Rainier or sour - use more sugar/sweetener for sour)
~ 2 lbs halved, pitted, then quartered apricots
1 cup blueberries
2 tbsps tapioca flour (or thickening agent of choice)
1/2 tsp stevia (or sweetener of choice)

Grease a gratin dish. Mix all topping ingredients in a small bowl, using fingers to get the butter into small bits and thoroughly mixed in. Mix the filling ingredients directly in the gratin dish. Sprinkle on topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes, until the top is brown and the thickened juices are bubbling around the edges.

*I stayed gluten-free by using a mix of brown rice flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum. I think whole spelt flour would also be nice.
** To improve digestibility, I soak the almonds for at least 10 hours, blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and finally peel the almonds. Yes, I really do this...

I love fruit-encrusted kid faces... Below is an amazing flower photo by Rob of course.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What I didn't know about sleep (and some recent photos by Rob)

My children are five yrs old (Lucy) and almost two yrs old (Jasper - pictured at left), so those of you with no kids or with good-sleeping kids may think that Rob and I sleep at least 8 hours per night by now, no problem. This is not the case by a long shot. For example, I was awake virtually all night for two nights in a row a week and a half ago while Jasper had a scary respiratory episode and hospitalization. Then I had a night of very choppy sleep while still in the hospital with Jasper. For the following eight nights, Jasper woke up at least one time to nurse and sometimes more. So my sleep was at the very least interrupted once, between 11 pm and 3 am or so. Last night, bless him, Jasper slept from 9 pm until 5 am without waking up. Then back to sleep after 5 am for a couple of hours. This is something I did not understand before having children: one can survive on severely interrupted sleep for years on end. And one does not even necessarily feel bad all the time, just occasionally the fatigue takes over. Amazing really.

Before I post this and move on, I must say that Lucy sleeps a beautiful, reliable 10 - 12 hrs per night with nary a peep. This was after a sleep beginning that was as unpromising as J's. I cling to this fact and believe that the future will be better than today, sleep-wise.
The pictures below were taken at Golden Gardens beach last weekend. Jasper is still talking about the rainbow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Perfect Wedding

Betsy and Frank are married. The ceremony they'd created was highly personal, beautiful and moving. The Gilbert and Swart families are a quite intelligent, interesting, caring and talented crowd. And the whole weekend was an utter pleasure to witness and participate in. This unexpected intertwining of two lives and two families certainly gives me reason to rejoice.

Backstory: Rob and I are long-time friends with Betsy and Frank. They had met several times over the years at various events. We had them both over for dinner last year, they started dating, and the rest is history. Rob became a minister and officiated the wedding, which took place in Port Townsend, Washington at Chetzemoka Park.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just another weekend in kidland

I ended up taking Jasper to ER at Children's at 1:30 am on Sunday morning. After a horrible night of croup on Friday, which although awful, was at least familiar, he started a fast, labored breathing episode on Sat evening. We talked to our Dr. on the phone a few times and she said, if you feel like you need to, take him in. It just got so bad and bad in a way we hadn't experienced before, that we were worried. As soon as I got to the ER, Jasper had a convulsive coughing fit and vomited at the end of it. Well, they were worried at the ER too. They were even concerned enough to admit him inpatient (of course not until after I'd been up all night with him in the ER) and we ended up being at Children's until 10 am this morning.

So quite an odyssey. Apparently this is a virus that is going around; they've had a seasonally unusual number of admits at the hospital for similar respiratory distress symptoms. In retrospect, we may not have needed to be admitted, because he progressively improved from the time we got to our hospital room on, but no one was sure it would last after the initial steroids wore off. But all I can say is, Yeah for Steroids! They really pulled him out of a downward spiral...

So it was just me in the ER with Jasper laying on me, since Rob had obviously stayed home with Lucy. Jasper was trying to sleep in spite of fever, rapid and laborious breathing, and convulsive coughing. He had his lungs listened to and his vitals taken over and over. Thank God no one had to poke him, but honestly I think I could have taken it. I felt very strong the whole time. I did cry in the ER at first; partly I was thinking of his birth and the time we had in the hospital then. Similar issues really. Then last night it was just me and Jasper again; me getting up over and over in the night to pat or nurse him back to sleep after he was woken up by nurses or drs. Or after I just heard him saying "mama" from across the room. Or after I heard the cry of another baby that I initially thought was Jasper. He was much improved but still feverish and coughing. And even then, after two nights of little or no sleep, I still felt capable of comforting him and felt like I had the reserves to keep going - even if a little sleepily.

So now that we are home and Jasper is napping in his bed again, I have that high feeling of having run a marathon, or climbed a mountain. I am grateful to have Jasper and to have had the opportunity to dig deep inside and find that there is really a bottomless source of love and energy that I can access any time. And for me, motherhood has been an important key to that source. Thank you, divine mother, for giving me the opportunity to learn about myself and you so deeply through the birthing and caring for two of your children. What an incredible gift. And I know I have so much more to learn...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy 77th birthday, Grandpa Ian

We went to Green Lake on a hot summer night to celebrate Rob's Dad's 77th birthday.

Like father, like son?

Yes, that is the sunset in the background, but that did not deter Lucy from wearing her new sun hat and some found sunglasses.

Jasper loves to hang out with Granny. She got right in the lake with him and got soaked. They both seemed perfectly fine with that.

The birthday boy himself having a contemplative moment...

Lucy with her creation, Sally.

Another of Lucy's creation (are you seeing a theme here?) - thick-rolled oats with butter and maple syrup, toasted hazelnuts and raspberries. YUM!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Lovely Summertime Weekend

A few highlight photos of the weekend: lots of playtime and family time, plus Rob got to go to his 30th high school reunion.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fourth of July Farm Trip

We celebrated the fourth of July at the South 47 Farm where we picked over five pounds of gorgeous, delicious, organic raspberries. As we were heading home, Lucy mentioned that she'd like to live in a farmhouse. Wouldn't we all??

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Good to be home...

Coming home is one of the loveliest parts of a vacation. We loved Alaska. But we are very happy back in our garden, in our own comfy beds, on the play set, and with our friends.