Monday, August 30, 2010

One Year!

As of yesterday, one year old.

It's hard to believe this little baby...

has become this little cake eating machine.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer. On a Plate.

Without tomatoes picked moments before, all this plate would have to recommend itself would be its vibrant colors. But with freshly picked tomatoes? Magic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On My Lap

Picture taken, appropraitely, with Caroline aboard my lap.

There are days where, despite our best intentions, what we want-- maybe even need-- to get done, does not. My excuse, today, is a clingy, congested, coughing baby who, despite needing to do so, will not nap and refuses to exist anywhere but my arms.

As you might imagine, this hinders me from getting much of anything productive done.

I provide my family with a tidy home (usually), nutritious food (generally speaking) and clean clothes, among other things; but this, the ability to drop everything and cuddle wipe boogers and nurture, this is one of the most important things I can do for my children. What good are clean, matching socks if they've been sorted while tears streaked the angelic face of my youngest? How can I possibly ignore a chubby pair of outstretched arms in the name of cooking dinner?

These days frustrate me much more than they delight me: I relish the opportunity to cuddle and nurture my kids, but I selfishly despise being thrown off of my schedule. I feel angst-ridden as I look, impossibly, at my long list of yet unchecked items written out neatly and so hopefully in my familiar blue Moleskin notebook.

What wonderful teachers our children are. I tell my kids to be flexible; in their illness they teach me to be flexible. I hope my kids grow up knowing that, no matter what else life throws at them, their role as a parent to young children will be primary; in their illness my children remind me that their care is primary. I try and instill in my kids a sense of compassion, and the need to care for others who need our help; in their illness my children present someone, very close at hand, who needs my help.

Lesson learned, message received. Now, can Caroline be better tomorrow? Please?

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm sorry, how is it I am just finding out about RuffleButts now? I feel angry, like I've been cheated that I haven't had one of these on Caroline's cute little tush all summer long.

I mean, really. Come on.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Something Lovely

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

I spend my days searching for beauty in the everyday: drinking coffee from a favorite mug, an orderly shelf or drawer, pausing by a favorite painting, attempting to capture a beautiful sight or thought, arranging food artfully and beautifully, choosing a pretty shirt, taking a few moments in a bad day to think of something beautiful, something right in front of me, that I had refused to notice in my angst, savoring an exquisite sentence or thought in a book or on a blog, the colors in a beautiful rug; it doesn't matter what the object is, it only matters that I notice it, and appreciate it.

There is so much that is ugly in our world, I can't help but wonder why we all don't want to surround ourselves with something beautiful and lovely, each and every day to, as Goethe says, keep from obliterating the sense of what is beautiful that is in each of us.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Football Season

Tonight. Packers. Lambeau. Cleveland Browns. 7 p.m. CDT. CBS.

Each new season brings about excitement and anticipation, and this year we have a real shot at being alive in the Superbowl. Also, to add to our personal excitement this season, Joe and I fell into tickets for two regular season, conference games at Lambeau.

Football season is upon us once again. I am giddy with anticipation!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Madeleine Birthday Recap

The birthday girl, on her birthday. She requested tacos, Spanish rice and fresh sweet corn.

The birthday girl's party, a few days after the actual day, celebrating with family and friends.

The first birthday in Birthday Season is in the tank. Next up, in a few weeks, is Caroline. Then Joe, Elisabeth and Hank following shortly thereafter. I'll be back to blogging in November, I think. ;)

Monday, August 09, 2010


Yesterday I volunteered to bake a dessert for a funeral reception this afternoon at church and, so, this morning I got it in my head that I had to make these fabulously delicious oatmeal cookies that I have made in the past from a recipe I copied from Erin's blog. I should have given up the ghost and made something else since I couldn't remember when Erin posted the recipe. I spent the better part of my morning scouring her archives looking for the darn thing and, then, finally there is was: March 18, 2009.

These are delicious enough that I need to have the recipe here, on my blog, so I can find the receipe more quickly and make them more frequently because, really, how can anything with that much butter not be fabulous?

Buttery Brown Sugar and Oatmeal Shortbread

1 c flour
3 T corn starch
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c plus 2 T packed brown sugar
3/4 c oats (not quick oats)

Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add flour, corn starch, salt and cinnamon, mix until combined. Add oatmeal, mix to distribute evenly. Press into 9 x 9 buttered pan. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until the top is browned. Cut into pieces immediately after removing from oven.

My sous chef thinks even the batter is completely delicious (it is).

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Double Digits

This girl, my Madeleine, is now ten years old. I don't think that's really acceptable, but that's how old the calendar says she is.

I won't retell what's been told; new readers of my blog can find her birth story here.

All readers, though, can delight with me for a moment as I shine the spotlight Madeleine's way.

She is, on the whole, the child who is the most similar to me. This can cause consternation: butting heads, easy irritation with each other's faults and lots of arguing. It also means I know which of my kids will want to sit and read with me, silently, for hours at a time. Or shop with me. Or understands why I need quiet time in the kitchen or in front of computer. She knows, because she has those outlets too. I blog; she writes story upon story in spiral notebooks scattered about the house. Good, interesting and detailed stories they are, too. I cook; she sets up elaborate villages and houses for her dolls. I read; she reads.

Madeleine is now ten, and while the calendar tells me she's one year older than she was two days ago, the date means very little beyond cake, presents and a chance to celebrate Madeleine. I've seen her changing and growing up for months now. She is more mature than she was last year-- taking it upon herself to notice a small child at the park unable to reach the swing and running over the help her climb in, and then, to stand there and gently push the girl. She is becoming more private than she was last year-- she used to regal everyone with every detail about everything that she experienced and thought, now she keeps some things to herself. She is no longer content to be treated like a child; she constantly struggles to be given more freedom but struggles with the how-tos of the freedom when she receives it. She's groping along, figuring out what being somewhere between a little girl and a preteen means, and where she fits.

I know, I'm biased, but I think she's pretty great.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Elisabeth Sings

This video cracks me up. No, she did not know she was being taped.