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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8 months

Our little Charlotte is 8 months old.  I finally had time to get some pictures of her Sunday afternoon, by myself on our bed.  Thankfully she has the sparkling blue eyes of her father, and her great-grandfather's endless eyelashes.  Oh how I wonder who she will be someday.

For now, I am content with my joyful, giggly, squirmy baby who just finally popped her two bottom teeth and learned to clap this week.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Boys Go "Camping"

So all summer Scott has been wanting to "sleep in the backyard" with Sam.  It finally happened last Friday night, when the temperature dropped to a low of 39 degrees that night.

The evening commenced with a trip to Walgreens for s'mores ingredients.  All of this was conceived and executed by Scott, by the way.  The boys made a fire and roasted marshmallows.  Sam decided he just wanted to leave his on his stick, unroasted, and just look at it.  Not sure where he gets that.  After much dancing around the fire, stick in hand, Sam asked to go inside and watch a movie.  Not much to do in the backyard after it gets dark, evidently.  So, sandwiched between us, he happily watched the 92nd showing of The Incredibles.

And then, after a cozy bath, be-jammied and wool-socked, Sam and Scott headed out into the night.  The tent we received as a wedding gift almost 8 years ago finally had its virgin voyage.  And much to both our surprise, our son slept the best he has in months, OUTSIDE in near freezing weather.  He didn't move until 6:45 am, and popped up, happy as a clam.

I guess that's the key, keep the house at 45 degrees at night and he'll begin to sleep past 5 am.

I, on the other hand, woke every hour that night, looked at the clock, wondered if they were cold and would come in any minute.

And Charlotte slept like a baby.  Wait a second, she is a baby.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taking a Sick Day

Sam woke up at 2:30 am this morning, projectile vomiting all over his bed and pillows.  Scott took the first shift of changing and rinsing and soaking and wiping down.

I took the next three.  And so on.  Evidently the stomach flu is making its way around our community and it was our turn to take it for a spin.  To put a kicker in it all, our gas line has been turned off since yesterday so there's no hot water for laundry or showers and the temperature in the house is edging down towards 65 degrees.  Nicor picked a wonderful week to dig a massive hole in our front yard to replace some pipes.

Will this bug plow through the entire family?  Oh I am feverishly hoping not, selfishly I have a wedding to play for on Saturday, and a church service to do on Sunday.  A big red bucket next to the piano bench will look a little out of place.

It's so hard to think rationally in the middle of the night, isn't it?  I can't even think of what to do first--clean him up?  Find clean sheets?  Skip the sheets and get towels?  How do you get throw up out of a down comforter?  You just feel so bad for the Little Buddy, he hasn't been sick in ages and has no idea what is happening to him.

And then after emailing my Bible Study group (we were supposed to meet here this morning over granola bars and tarte tatin), I got so many messages back filled with empathy and encouragement and wonderful perspective that it made me feel "full" for the day.  A phone conversation with my mom, who offered to go to the store.  Another one with my sister-in-law, who shared some practical empathetic wisdom.  It made me feel like I can do this, despite my greasy hair and the piles of stinking laundry stacking up, that we are loved and are not alone.  One other friend shared that her personal view of her own hard sick days was that it was God's way of divinely appointing her a "home day."  A day for me too, to physically minister to my children in a very tangible, very real way.

To me, this is the meaning of community, of being in a small group that supports and loves and serves, no matter what.

Friday, October 08, 2010

It's a Pumpkin Head

We had a cold family outing last Sunday at Medinah's Fall Fest.  The kids did pretty well, considering the high for the day was a chilly 47 degrees and the sun was well on it's way down by the time we got there.  The reptile man made a showing, and there was a hayride and pumpkin patch that we somehow missed in the craziness.  Oh well, something for next year.

Typical Family Photo session: one child looking at the other child squirming and screaming and trying to run away.

Charlotte's first experience with face painting.

The Hay Pit!

The look on Sam's face here is completely hereditary, I'm afraid I make the same face as I dive facefirst into a plate of my favorite dessert.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Apple Bread

I've had two requests for this recipe this week, and only felt like typing it up once, so I'll post it here.  This apple bread is DELICIOUS, and freezes really well.  I made a loaf the morning of our bible study and froze the second one... defrosted it, then reheated it the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through, no one knew the difference at our small group the following Tuesday.

Apple Bread
4 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped into large chunks, about 1/2 inch-1 inch sized
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. good cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour

For the topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cool but not hard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray two 9 inch loaf pans with Pam.  In your mixing bowl, beat the 4 eggs until fluffy.  Add the oil, vanilla and sugar, beat until combined.  In a smaller bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, soda, salt and cinnamon, set aside.  Peel and chop all the apples.  Then, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, mixing on low just until combined.  Fold in the apples by hand to keep the chunks intact.  Divide the mixture evenly into two pans.

To prepare the topping, combine all the ingredients in one bowl (to save on dishes, just use the same one that the dry ingredients were in), squeezing the butter through the flour etc. until it is combined, using your clean fingers (fastest) or a fork (neatest :).  Sprinkle the topping over the batter evenly in both pans.

Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack, rotating once.  Bread should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle.  Let cool and then remove from the pans.  It is easiest to slice when cool, but so hard to wait...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Chewing on This Today

I came across this little poem by Thomas Browne and just loved it--

"If thou could'st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say, 'This is not dead,'
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes He says, 'This is enow
Unto itself--'twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me.'"

I'm not sure what it was about this poem that stopped me in my tracks today, maybe the idea of not leaving any room for God in the midst of the busyness and trappings of my life.

It was an early start to the day, Mr. Sam decided to wake up at 4:20 am and never fell back asleep.  To borrow a term from my dear friend Rebekah, "Mommy Monster" raises her ugly head and growls at anyone and everyone at that hour.  I hate starting off that way, crabby and mean, and it felt good to stop and mull this over.

To push away the self, to leave room to be filled with the gifts God has promised us:

That is what I need to be working toward, leaving room for Him to sweep through, to come and fill up all my holes and cracks, giving me joy for the day.

Friday, October 01, 2010

FINALLY! A Market of Our Own!

Oh the irony.

The French company Bensidoun has FINALLY opened up a year long, indoor french market, open Monday-Saturday, located right under the tracks of the Metra lines coming into the city.

The market is literally right across the street from our old condo in the city.  I am so bitter.  And cannot wait to check it out the next time I get a day downtown.

If anyone gets there first, let me know if it's as great as it looks on the website?