And together we learn

Monday, January 29, 2007

5 going on 17

We were just having Family Home Evening about going to the temple. I asked the girls what they needed to do to prepare to go there. (For those who don't know, the temple is where Mormons get married, and only practicing Mormons are able to enter, as it is a sacred place). I was fishing for answers like read your scriptures, pray, be kind, etc.

So Hazel's first answer about what to do to prepare?

"Get big, put on lipstick, be pretty, go on a date, kiss, then go to the temple."

Well, that's one way of preparing!!

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Recipes...kind of

I'm more than happy to post recipes...problem is, I don't really have them. You know, pinch of something here, adjust to taste? But hey, I'll give it a shot!

1 bag yellow split peas. I think it's about 2 cups. Lentils would work also.

I cleaned them off, then covered them with water and simmered for about 45 minutes or so. Lentils would be quicker. Then I added about an inch piece of ginger all mashed up with about 4 cloves of garlic in a paste. Then for the spices. Hmmmm.

1/2 t turmeric
3/4 ish t ground cumin
1/2 t garam masala
1/2-3/4 t curry powder
cayenne would be nice, but I kept this one mild
3 or 4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 can (or maybe less) coconut milk

I simmered all of this for a while until it was all nice and soupy and soft. The spices I listed are my best guess as to amounts. But they sure turned out delicious!


Indian arms race

I come from a family of overachievers. Especially when it comes to food. If somebody wants Italian food, well, here comes an Italian feast that would make the Godfather swoon. Chinese? The woks are out in full force. My brother says that my mom and sisters and I are the food equivalent of the nuclear arms race. Mother is Reagan, my sister is Kruschev, and the proliferation begins.

"I'll see your homemade egg rolls and raise you hand rolled chocolates!"

So, there is always PLENTY of food, to say the least.

Yesterday, we celebrated the birthdays of two of my sisters, and the dinner theme was an Indian feast. We love Indian food. It's one of our favorites, and we're pretty dang good at it. So, we went all out. Chicken Tikka Masala, Coconut Korma, Pork Vindaloo, the best lentils I've made yet, naan bread, raita, tamarind chutney, mint chutney, mango chutney, mango lassis--oh. my. heavens.

As far as I'm concerned, let the arms race continue!!

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Friday, January 26, 2007

What else is she storing in there?

At a restaurant with my kids and sisters the other night, Chloe announced that her leg was very thirsty, so could she please have some water? We relayed this to the server, but somehow she forgot. Well, pretty soon BOTH Chloe's legs were thirsty.

The server brought her two cups of water, one for each thirsty leg.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Life and death

The funeral was lovely. It's wonderful to celebrate a life well lived, and a release from pain and suffering. Explaining the whole process of death and the resurrection have been interesting with my girls. There's a lot about death that they just don't quite get.

For example, Hazel was quite disappointed by the cemetary. She was hoping to go to the forest to dig a hole for his body.

They are also very excited for the day when the resurrection comes. And in case you're wondering, it's very far thirty years.

But here's one that took my breath away with the beauty of their wonderful perspectives. I told Hazel what to expect at the viewing, how his body would be in the coffin. This morning as we were dressing for the funeral, she asked if today we would see his body. "We saw it last night, at the viewing," I explained.

"Oh no, that was not his body. That was just a delicate head."

And it was. Peaceful, serene and delicate. I love you, Bompa.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A happy goodbye

My grandpa just passed away on Saturday. It's a good thing--he had Alzheimer's. Really, all of our mourning for him was done over the past three years as we watched him slip away. Right now, all I can think of is the joy he must feel over his freedom.

He was a musician. There was always classical music playing in his care center, right down to the end. He wrote several hymns in German while he was in Germany on a mission. All of the older grandkids are singing it for the funeral. We just practiced it tonight, and it was so incredible. The little grandkids are going to sing I am a Child of God. It should be beautiful.

He is the first one of my grandparents to pass away. I'm the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family, so I've been lucky enough to grow up with them here. Steve, though, lost all of his grandparents when he was much much younger. He's the youngest child by far. Essentially, we're from different generations.

Steve has been volunteering at the Sundance Film Festival, and having a great time. One of the films he saw was a documentary about a couple married 40 years who have to come to terms with the wife's Alzheimers. There was a line he recounted to me that is so poignant: "Learning how to shift from being lovers to being strangers." Wow.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yet another reason to adore him

You know those coupons that always come in the mail? Well, I was watching for the big stack of them so I could snag a carpet cleaning coupon. Very light light carpets + 3 kids + muddy snowy outside = YIKES!!! A deep clean was in order.

So, with coupon in my posession, I mentioned to Steve what I was going to do, and it was at the next moment that I loved him oh so much. Look what he got for me!!

Oh yes, it's a steam cleaner. A Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge, to be exact. And it is so wonderful! I used it last night after all the kids were in bed. Even after vacuuming really well first, the water was black after I finished. Gross that we've been living like this!

But since carpet cleaning is so expensive, this baby will pay for itself in no time!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

From cocoons to lipstick

We were talking about what Hazel and Chloe want to learn about in the next couple of months. This list is exactly how it came out of their mouths.

Hazel and Chloe want to learn about:

How seeds grow
When flowers grow
Butterflies hatch from a cocoon
Memorize a poem
How the workers build a house
How to sew and stitch
how to make pictures
About Jesus and Mary
making different colors by mixing
how many colors of lipstick there are

This ought to be an interesting couple of months!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

He got into what????

It's 5 degrees outside. High today of about 14 degrees. At least we're not dealing with the ice storms that some people are. Here, it's just plain cold.

It's funny how quickly we fall back into the routine of Mom-ness. Even after that blissful vacation, a couple of hours home and it's business as usual. Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love business as usual.

Last night we had some friends over for dinner who we haven't seen in about 4 years. They have a little girl with some ...quirky... tastebuds. When she was playing at our house years ago, she mentioned how she loved to drink pickle juice. Steve, being the ever obliging man that he is, whipped her up a quick drink and she had 2 cups of the stuff. So last night, in the spirit of reminiscing, we were talking about it. Sure enough, she begged for a glass. No one but Steve would ever actually give a child pickle juice to drink, but as he puts it, "Why limit their experiences based on our prejudices?" So, to all our great disgust, she drank a great big glass of fluorescent green juice. Eeewww!!!

We had Sunday dinner at my mom's the other night. It was my brother's birthday dinner. Their darling little girl is just three weeks younger than Calvin, and the two of them are so adorable as they chase and toddle around together.

As we were all sitting around chatting after dinner, I idly wondered where Calvin was. Surely he's in the other room with all the kids, right? Note to self: idly wondering where Calvin is = bad idea. When he was not in the other room, we went on a Calvin hunt. And oh, we found him!

Cat food, cat water, and yes, cat litter. Holy. Cow.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Living La Buena Vida (the good life)

Aaaaahhhh. Can you feel the relaxation seeping from my fingers?? The earliest that I've woken up this week is 9:30. The EARLIEST!!! I haven't slept this much in a long long time. But hands down the best part has been the uninterrupted time with my darling.

The second day we were here, it rained for about an hour. It came down pretty hard, but we were just shopping so it didn't bother us. When we came out of the market--holy cow!!! The streets were rushing torrents of dirty water. It was probably 5 inches deep, sloshing over the curbs, and fast! We had to cross a couple of streets and got wet to our knees, but then driving the car through the water--oy vey! We could feel the water lapping against the bottom of the car. It was crazy! I guess when you're at sea level, there just aren't many places for torrential rain to go.

We sat on the beach and at the pool yesterday for hours. Since I didn't want to burn, I slathered my face and shoulders with sunscreen. But since I'm not very smart, I stopped at the shoulders. Because, a tan on the arms is a good thing, no? Here is evidence of just how not smart I am.

Can you see the white finger smears amid the red??? Doh! Oh well, thanks to lots and lots of aloe vera, it doesn't hurt at all.

One more Cancun story, then we'll return to the normal programming of kids and homeschool and life. We're coming home tonight, and I'm glad--I miss those babies!

So we packed a large box of...'protection' for the trip. We, um, needed one of them...and they weren't there!!! The entire box of condoms disappeared! Can you just picture the disapproving maid confiscating them? Too funny!!

We're leaving this 85 degree bliss and will be coming home to 7 degrees and snow. Ouch! I'd love to come back here with the kids next year. The kid would absolutely love the beach and the ocean creatures. I think we'll try one of those all inclusives when we come back with them. This has been such a fabulous trip!!!

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Wow. It's been a right long time. Sorry, dear internet. I've discovered a few things about myself. If I can't do something perfectly, or at least well, I'm paralyzed by inactivity. Since I haven't had enough time to do a blog post that does justice to Christmas, New Years, and everything in between, I've just not done anything. Then the longer the break becomes, the harder it is, because there is so much more to tell.

My kids' rooms are the same as the day we moved in, because I don't know where to start decorating them. The kitchen pantry intimidates me with the disorder. So I do nothing. At least now I can recognize what this hyper-perfectionism is, so I can start to do something about it. As Flylady would say, Housework (or blogging) done incorrectly still blesses your family.

So anyway. My life! My family! So much has happened. Christmas was wonderful and joyful and everything Christmas with three sweet babies can be.

But far and away the very best part of the season was getting my sweet sister home. She's been a missionary for the last 18 months, and she came home on the 28th. After 18 months of just writing letters, it was so so wonderful to hug her and have her HOME!!! She hadn't met Calvin or my little niece Jane--they were both born just a few weeks after she left. Now they're walking, talking (kind of) little people. Here she is, hugging my little girls. Darling Steph, she is so sweet and I've missed her like crazy.

I'm the one is brown, my sister Andrea, is in green, and Steph is on the right. She's wearing jeans for the first time in 18 months!!

And since Steph came home, a person with no job, who loves our kids desperately and is responsible was available to watch them while Steve and I came to .......Cancun!!!!!!!!

So right now, yes, I'm blogging from our gorgeous hotel just 40 feet away from the most pristine white sand beach, with water as warm and gentle as a pool. It's 85 degrees and so absolutely gorgeous I can't believe it.

And what's most amazing, Steve and I are here ALONE!!! After six years of marriage, this is the first time we've gone anywhere without the kids. And can I just say, that sleeping all night long is pretty wonderful??? This chance to reconnect after so many months of him traveling has been rejuvenating for our marriage. We're enjoying every moment.

I'll take more pictures tomorrow.

There. That wasn't so hard. I'm so glad I'm back to dabbling in the blogging world. I've missed this outlet. So I apologize for the absence, and I'll do my best to get over this horrible perfectionism.