29 August 2015

Garden Woes

The deer have been very busy destroying our garden this year (and sending Steve into spasms), but we've still managed to harvest some produce.

This is what we've done with it so far.

bottled zucchini pineapple
Cook's Illustrated pasta with zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts
Amy's aunt's oven sandwich with meat, cheese, and sauteed vegetable filling
garden harvest cake

froze florets
broccoli canneloni
steamed broccoli
pasta with broccoli and pesto

froze strips
kale pie (several times)
kale salad
kale pesto

bottled mustard pickles (had to supplement with additional cucumbers from the store)

I'm about to harvest cauliflower, which will probably be made into cauliflower cheese (lots of pepper is the key) and cauliflower pasta (we use penne instead of linguine).

26 August 2015

It's Good to Keep a Sweetie Boy Around for Your Self-Esteem

Bairn: (Snuggling in bed with me)  What do you like best?

Me:  I like being with my family the best.  What do you like best?

Bairn:  I love you, Mom, best.

17 August 2015

Weaning + Small Town Life

We're weaning Ellen. When we tried it in the spring, it didn't take.  This time we took a different approach and sent both kids to their grandparents' house for the weekend.  As Steve was talking to his mom on the phone to arrange pick up, The Bairn insisted on packing his bag. He was sitting out on the porch waiting for his ride before Steve even got off the phone. 

Steve and I hadn't been alone overnight since The Bairn was born, so we hardly knew what to do with ourselves on a Friday night without children.  I had big plans for finishing projects and mopping floors, but instead we made cookies and drove to the next village over to a convenience store that sells a surprisingly wide range of hair brushes and still rents DVDs.  They have an assortment of movies from the mid-2000s and when I sent Steve up to the counter with a comedy, the man at the till didn't ask for any ID or even a phone number.  "When's it due back?"  Steve asked.  The man shrugged his shoulders.  "A week?"  I feel like we could keep it forever and no one would mind.

05 August 2015

Water Babies

We have a free 2-week trial pass for the local rec center, so the kids and I have been swimming five times in the last week.  The children adore the swimming pool.  Every day Ellen asks me, "Rec center?  Rec center?  Swimming suit?" and she screams with delighted recognition when she sees the actual building. 

The Bairn's favorite activity at the pool is walking through the water with aquafit dumbbells out in front of him in the manner of a geriatric power walker.  Ellen loves every single thing about being in the water.  She loves to play motorboat and kick her feet and on first seeing a pool noodle and having no name for it, yelled out, "Need a . . . uh, PIPE!"  She's also very impressed with her cherry bathing suit.

Getting ready for the pool this morning.

Because I know that our pool visits will run out with the pass (the regular price is prohibitively expensive for us), I sent Steve to the store in search of a little backyard pool.  Lots of them are on sale since it's late in the summer and I told him not to spend more than $10.  He came back triumphant with an inflatable $3 pool.  One day I pulled it out of it's packaging, explaining to the children that we didn't even need to go to the rec center that day.  We had our very own pool!  I'd blow it up and they could sit in it and it would be great!

It was not exactly as I had envisioned.

It's quite a bit smaller than anticipated.

More like a birdbath.

Enjoying a bargain pool.

03 August 2015

Eight Year Old Girls Are Perfection

On Friday we went camping with the same family we camped with last year and two other families.  There were twelve children in our group, including two 8-year-old girls.  I really love girls that age.  They're sweet and sincere and extra nice to my babies.  They walk to the lake with me barefoot and roast potato chips over the camp fire for Ellen (I don't know why) and explore the forest (again and again and again) with The Bairn.  They're the best.

The Bairn munching on a snack in the forest.
Stopping for a rest on the way to the beach in the evening.

They broke out the nail polish at one point and invited Ellen to their painting party. She had never seen nail polish before in her life, but she really took to it.  She loves her neon-colored nails.

30 July 2015

Nova Scotia Summer

Sometime in March or April I say to Steve (and myself), "Why do we live here?  I can't live here.  I'm not living here anymore."  The spring is really miserable in Nova Scotia.

Then the summer arrives and I take the kids up the road to hear the live local music on Thursday nights.  I sit in a wooden chair shaped like a giant fish and the kids play and dance in the sand pit.  Sometimes the weather is perfect for a summer night and sometimes it drizzles rain and I tell The Bairn, "You're not made of sugar.  You won't melt," and I wonder how many mothers over the years have said the exact same words to their children and I think that life can't get any nicer at all.

Tonight the band sang this song (with accompaniment from a lady in the crowd on the spoons).  I'd never heard it before, but I like it.

20 July 2015

My Little Ones

My children are just impossibly sweet and funny at the moment. We're at some sort of sweet spot in which they're both at good ages that just delight me every day, and I feel the need to gather up all the pieces of them, the moments that grandparents assure me are the best of our life, and hold them still somehow.

I read with Ellen and think to myself, "I must remember how impossibly sweet it is to have a curly-haired girl snuggled under my chin."  I watch her run across the playground and know that it would be a crime to forget how her cloth diaper makes her skirt puff out like a cupcake and that she waves her hands over her head when she runs and that her motion is more up and down than it is forward.  She bounces.  She enters the kitchen with a blanket around her neck and announces that she's a 'sup'aherio' and then the next day in the stroller she argues with her brother that she's not a baby, she's a 'wobot.'

The Bairn snuggles in my lap and promises that he will never leave me.  He sits in the backseat of the car after church, munching on snacks and informing me that he learned about 'Heavenly Father and robots and cars and trucks and monster trucks' in his class.  He explains to Steve that babies live inside their mothers until they're born and come out to drink milk from the mommies' 'milksides.'  He loves the outdoors (but not wearing pants there).  I took him hiking last week and he named all the sections of the trail - Mom's Jungle, Franklin's Forest, and The Bairn's Jungle.  He ran over the bridges and literally oohed and ahhed at everything I pointed out to him.

Not a fan of pants outside

These kids drink monkey milk (banana smoothies) every day and beg to help Steve make pizza.  They want to eat all the bread dough before I bake it and delight in picnics (even if it's just grapes on the deck).  They love playing in the sandpit at the market, visiting the beach, and going to the splash pad.  Ellen holds us by the finger and leads us around and The Bairn calls excitedly to show me the things he's built.  They both worry about bugs.

Watching the July 1st Parade

I just can't get over them.  They go to bed at night and I recount our day to Steve and I think, "Remember this.  Remember."

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