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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 8: Late Start Leap Day

Today I'm thankful for late start days.  About once a month we have a Wednesday when school starts an hour late so the teachers can participate in staff development.  I love these days.  We don't do anything amazing with our extra hour.  Once we went out for breakfast and boy was that a disaster.  Rushing, whining, too much stress.  Now, we just act like it's a regular old morning but we slooow down,  maybe doing one little special thing.  This morning we baked blueberry muffins!
I cut a muffin up for Lucy but she insisted on having a whole muffin like her sisters.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Days: 5,6,7

Behind?  Already?  Oh well.

I'm so thankful to have girls.  All girls.  Yes, I know, I just don't know what I'm missing not having boys.  And you're right,  I don't.  I'm certain I'd be delighted to have boys too but  God gave us all girls and for that I'm thankful.  Even when it's crazy town around here, it's still calm, and relatively quiet, even when our house is destroyed, it's not really destroyed, it's just messy.  Farting and burping and toilet humor are giggled about, causing red cheeks and hidden eyes.  Our kitchen is a regular dance studio/music production/card making/bakery/story writing area 7 days a week.  It's delightful.   People love to tell me that my time will come, these girls will be teenagers someday, and they will be.  But God willing I will still be thankful to have ALL girls.
Kevin and the girls before the Daddy Daughter Valentines Day Dance.

I'm thankful that Eleanor and I had time to watch cement dry last year.  We had a lot of lazy afternoons last year, while the baby dozed.  We just talked, or baked, and played and read.  They were good days.  Days I think I'll enjoy remembering forever.  Last night when I put El to bed she said "can't we just fast forward to summer vacation.  I just want to stay home with you".  The girl loves school but she loves home too.  Sounds awfully familiar.
Really, we watched cement dry.  We made this stepping stone for Gus---which actually reads "SUG" since I didn't think about it being reversed, and sat in the sun watching it dry, testing it every so often.  
I'm thankful for my washing machine.  That thing gets a daily work out and then some.  I'm so glad I don't have to lug our wash to the laundromat or down to a water source to beat it against rocks.   Occasionally usually I loathe this task, the washing, the folding, the putting away.  Gotta get myself straight though, we have the means to have clothes to wash, a washer to put them in, and my good health and ability to be able to take care of the task.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 4: Giving up meat

We gave up meat for Lent.    I had been saying we are eating a vegetarian diet but Kevin corrected me tonight and said we're eating "pescatarian"...sounds a little goofy to me.   I don't think of as big meat eaters (although my kids would happily spend their days devouring bacon and sausage) so the thought of giving up meat didn't seem like a big stretch.  It just requires more purposeful meal planning...which is one of my New Year's resolutions.  I'm thankful we're at least giving it a try.   I sat down last week and made a menu for the entire Lenten season.   We repeat every meal at least once.  So far we are loving it.
 Can't wait for this recipe to roll around again!

Spaghetti with the Fish

We got this recipe straight from Joey Fatone!   Must admit, it was a surprisingly cute show and helped pass the 30 minutes before Downton Abbey began.  The kids also watched the show with me, which helped sell them on trying it.  They ate it, we just separated some sauce out for them before adding the giardiniera.  Eleanor said she's never eaten fish so many days in a row in her life.  True.
Friday night Fish Fry.  Last night we went to St. Gabe's.  Guess what the girls had to drink?  Made me very sentimental about our days in South City, with our little city house and our two baby girls.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 3: Prayer

I'm thankful for prayer to help us through hard times.  Yesterday, a dear friend had a major surgery.  She's doing well and I'm so thankful for that.  If you have a moment today please say a prayer for my friend, think of a Daisy and know God heals.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 2: The "I'm my own person" months

Our spunky Lucy is 18 months old and following perfectly in her sister's developmental footsteps she has entered into the zone. Some call it the terrible twos, which I really think is a rotten way to talk about a person so I avoid that term.  However, earlier in the week she had a moment.  A moment in which she did not want to get dressed and she let me know.  It was a full out flailing on the floor, turning red, fit.  The girls have seen small bits of this behavior but this was the first tantrum they'd witnessed.  They were wide eyed and offering all sorts of appeasements to their baby sister.  I explained to them what was going on and how this was a normal part of her development and that it was ok, we had to expect this  (all the while I was thinking, yes, Melissa, normal behavior, must stay calm, must expect this).   Eleanor quizzically asked "So, you're happy about her screaming and rolling around?".  Ahem, so maybe I went a bit far in the "we must embrace this behavior" talk.   I  told them some people call it the terrible twos but I think we should call it something else. We couldn't come up with anything catchy and Lucy went back to being adorable so we went downstairs for breakfast.  At which point Emma turned and said "Mom, it's the I'm my own person months, she's just trying to tell us that but can't get it into words".  Today I'm thankful that I'm raising three girls who are their own people and I pray I'll always remember to give them the space to be just that.
If her sister's are doing it, she's pretty sure that means she should be too.  Why yes, that is a huge glob of my good face lotion on her head.  I had no idea that it was sticky in large quantities.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thankful posts for Lent

Today is the beginning of Lent.  Last year I made a commitment to writing a daily post throughout Lent about something I was thankful for.  It was a wonderful experience.  I'd found an article about cultivating an attitude of gratitude through focusing on things around you for which you are thankful.  It worked, I loved looking at my life through that lens and I'm excited to refocus again this Lenten season.

Taken last summer on our 11th wedding anniversary, at St. Michael and St. George, the church at which we were married.
I can't help but start with Kevin, my best friend, my true love and the person who helps me see the loveliness in all that we've been given.   Without him by my side nothing would be so sweet, or funny or safe.

 "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. "- Mignon McLaughlin

Monday, February 13, 2012

Judy Garland and veggie soup

I just returned from the cutest museum of famous people.  Boy, did I learn a lot.  I learned about Martin Luther King, Jr., Tony Hawk, Helen Keller, Bob Dylan, and so many more. 

Here's another favorite soup recipe.  It's easy, delicious, and full of healthy veggies.  The girls clean their bowls and usually have seconds.    

Mark Bittman's Best Vegetable Soup Ever
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, more or less
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped, thick stems discarded (I never put this in)
  • 2 or 3 cabbage leaves, chopped (savoy is our favorite)
  • 1 bunch chard, preferably white, washed and chopped (I've used different kinds of chard and we like them all)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked white beans, like cannelloni, with their liquid if possible
Put about a third of the olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot and turn the heat to medium.
Add half the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which takes about 10 minutes.
Add about half of the remaining oil and repeat the process, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
Add the remaining oil with the parsley, cabbage and chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is softened but not browned.
Add the tomato paste and stir.
Mash the beans so that they’re about half mashed and half more-or-less whole. Add this mixture to the pot, along with any bean cooking liquid and enough water to make the whole mixture stewy but not watery.
Continue cooking, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary, until all the vegetables are very tender and the soup is hot. Serve hot or warm.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

18 months

Life with Lucy is a new discovery around every turn.  She's a bright, active, sweet soul that I just can't get enough of.  None of us can.  She sings to herself in her crib,  loves all animals, is a fantastic eater, she runs and rolls and climbs, and will play outside as long as you'll let her.  

She's also the sweetest little mama you've ever seen.  

She loves to read to her babies.  Do you know how hard it is for chubby little 18 month old hands to hold a book and a baby at the same time?  I watched her as she read multiple books to this lucky baby doll.  She'd put the baby down, pick the book up, cuddle up the baby and read the page, put the baby down, turn the page, cuddle up the baby,  and read the page, over and over again.  She's a wonder.