Blessed be the name of the Lord

A year ago this week the Lord reminded us how fragile we are and how perfect his ordering of our days is. We had already spent an evening in the ER when Mike went into anaphylactic shock after being bit by some fire ants. And we were days from losing our third baby due to a miscarriage. This is also the year anniversary of the end of earthly life for one of Mike's dear friends and pastor.

Control of this life and it's happenings are an illusion. I am reminded of that as so many friends talk about scheduling inductions or c-section so that they can KNOW when "it's" going to happen and be prepared. And then we all find out that even when the date is determined there is nothing we could have done, no amount of nesting, to really prepare for what the addition of a new baby to your family brings. "The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his paths."

Thursday night we took cookies to the fire station that responded our 911 call last year. It was very therapeutic for me. I think sometimes I minimize the whole event because it turned out the way it did. But when I stop to think about the fact that Mike was completely unconscious and if it weren't for that timely does of epinephrine I could be a single mother...well, let's just say it is 5:30 a.m. and I have been up since 4:00 and there is snot pouring out of my nose right now.

While we were at the fire station the alarm sounded and we had to rush out of the garage. It was less than 3 minutes from the time of the bell that we were standing on the side walk, holding hands as the engine pealed into the street with its lights and sirens blaring. Lights and sirens. I remember those. I was so thankful.

A year ago that day, there was a baby failing to thrive in my belly. This morning I sit here very round and uncomfortable. And there is a chance this baby could arrive on the very day that her big sister or brother slipped out of my body in death. "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Thank you Lord for anniversaries that remind.

Best place to end a day

Back to Cabrillo

We were finally able to go back to the tide pools with Mike this weekend. Our timing was a little off as the tide was coming in, but it was still fun. You can't actually see the bigger area because I only took close up pictures. Joseph was quite distressed that I was the only one with out goo goo goggles. I managed.

CSA - yah!

This is a girl appropriately name after her great great granny Olive. We picked up our CSA box last week and she shouted, "Yah, tomaaaatoes! Now we can make tomato samriches (sandwiches)." I used to love walking in my granny's garden when I was Olivia's age. Smelling the garlic, looking for bugs, picking tomatoes and beans. She taught me how to string beans and I think my mom still has the tin pot we used to string them in. I have the pale pink colander that we rinsed them in. Maybe one day we will have a garden that our kids and trapse out to in the morning and get dewy grass all stuck to their feet like I did. But until then we will support our local CSA farm. Tomato, basil, cucumber and mayo samrich - with a little salt and pepper. Actually, I think I used Kefir cheese instead of mayo. It is the consistency of cream cheese, but tastes a little more like yogurt - kind of tart. Good substitute...not for mayonnaise. There is no substitute for mayonnaise. We may be eating healthier these days, but I would still eat a spoonful of mayo if I had the opportunity. We just use the kefir cheese for variety.
So., this was part of our first box. I had thought about taking a picture of every box - we get one bi-weekly...but then I added that idea to the list of things I have decided not to do (nor feel guilty about not doing) while pregnant with a third child or parenting three children. I can share more of that list later.
More from the same box. We have definitely been exposed to some things we don't recognize. Just this week I put what I think was a kind of squash in a potato squash soup. The herbs a lot of fun to mess around with and the sprouts have been a great addition to salads.
This was actually my first attempt at a vegetable broth. With all these veggies around I have tons of ends and skins...and we don't compost (though the skunk that lives in our backyard might wish that we did), so I have been saving them in the frig and then making broth. Seemed to taste fine to me.
Beet bonanza. I have to admit that some of those are still in my fridge. I have used all the small red ones in smoothies...that's right beet smoothies...and I put spinach in them too! My kids are so suckered. With enough OJ and banana and cherries they don't know the difference. Although one morning Olivia did say, "This one tastes a little beety." She was right. I'm not sure what to do with the black beets. I think I will roast them and use them in salad.
Shelling beans with Olivia.
I'm not a big casserole maker. But Mike isn't a big squash fan. I could eat a whole bucket of sauteed squash and onions with evoo, garlic, and salt and pepper. But I have to get a little creative for him because he thinks they just taste like dirty water. This is a squash, mushroom, parm. bake. Not too bad.
When I told Mike I could stick my face in this dish he said I was weird. The picture isn't great and the recipe is just one I adapted from the back of the red quinoa box from Trader Joe's. It has avocado, tomato, black beans, corn, bean sprouts, red onion, evoo, s/p, cilantro, maybe I put balsamic vinegar in it. It is so good. You could add chicken and make it your main dish. We have put salmon on it.
This is equal to cleaning out the refrigerator. If things are about to go bad - put them on a pizza and lots of cheese. So far it has all been edible.
Our purple carrot - still orange on the inside.
So the CSA journey begins...

Wrapping up July 4th

We had a great 4th weekend. Spent a lot of time with friends, eating, swimming. Freedom is a hard concept to explain to children. For now they are excited about the flag (given to us by our neighbor, Frank), parades, red, white and blue popsicles (that were almost a clothing disaster), and fireworks. We'll keep explaining the rest.

And the 4th of July parrot - that got them excited too.

More than cooking III

"Helping" in the kitchen.
I have finally finished My Life in France by Julia Child. Probably the last complete book I will read for a while. There were times during the book that I thought, though I was enjoying it, that I would just got ahead and return it. I had to renew it twice just to finish. It wasn't riveting reading after all. Even to someone who loves cooking like me, it was a bit slow. But because I am a (haphazard) perfectionist I had to finish. And I am glad I did.

Julia Child is still an intrigue to me. Her stewardship of life, appreciation of beauty, devotion to friendship, service and honor of her husband. For someone who "wasn't spiritual," she sure fleshed out a lot of biblical principles. In the Epilogue she even recounts the last of her days in France, selling the little home they had built on the land of some dear friends. Most of her peers are dying, even Paul is in a nursing home. Her niece questions why she isn't sad to let everything go. And while Julie dismisses the question with the answer that she has "just never been very sentimental," I don't believe her. I think she understands something about what is important in life. What lasts and what doesn't. Just a few chapters earlier she writes:

"In the fall, we were scheduled to take a break from TV work, and had planned to visit Simca and Jean...but as November hove into view, we began to regret it. The quicksand of my cookery-work, Paul's painting and photography projects, and all the many bits of upkeep and improvement...were sucking at our feet.

"I just don't know if we have the time for a trip to France right now," I sighed. Paul nodded.

But then we looked at each other and repeated a favorite phrase from our diplomatic days: "Remember, 'No one's more important than people'!" In other words, friendship is the most important thing - not career or housework, or one's fatigue - and it needs to be tended and nurtured. So we packed up our bags and off we went. And thank heaven we did."

Cheers, Julia. Thanks for teaching me some new things about cooking and reminding me of some of the more important things about life..

"May I please shoot you?"

We were just reading the story of The Fierce Bad Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. One I have not read before. Essentially, it is of a bad rabbit with fierce whiskers who comes upon a nice rabbit with gentle eyes who has a carrot. The fierce bad rabbit scratches the good rabbit, pushes him off the bench and takes his carrot. The good rabbit runs away sad. A hunter comes along with his gun and spies the rabbit eating the carrot on the bench. Thinking, from a distance, he is a funny looking bird shoots the rabbit's tale and whiskers off. The good rabbit, sadly hiding in a hole, sees the fierce bad rabbit run by, crying with no tail or whiskers or carrot. The End.

Me: "What did you think of that?"
Olivia: "That wasn't very nice."
Me: "I know." (Thinking she was talking about the bad rabbit bullying the good rabbit.)
Olivia: "He should have said, "May I please shoot you?" first."

True enough.

A weekend of celebrating

Yesterday a parade. Tonight fireworks. Tomorrow BBQ.
This time last year God got one of these to us just in time.

For great grandpa Theophilus.

Celebrating each other

My birthday and Mike's are 11 days apart (plus 2 years...I am much younger). It is kind of fun sharing a birthday month. We just kind of celebrate for four weeks. It is never anything huge. A couple of times we have done surprises, but mostly it is just thoughtful things. Things you do because you know it makes the other person happy. I have to say Mike is always better at this than me. I am often way too practical for my own good...or other people's pleasure. But I am learning and he is always gracious. I tried clothes shopping for him this year...again my practical side. Two of the five items were a success. I cried. Because I am pregnant and because we had all be sick and I was tired. But I am over it and hopefully can find some good exchanges. A highlight was baking his cake with this little girl. I know it looks flat. It was flat. Extremely. But there was no baking powder or soda in it - height was completely dependent on the egg white whipping and mixing routine. With all the "help" I was getting and the interruptions...let's just say it wasn't a seamless process and at least it tasted good - with homemade peach ice cream...and friends.