Showing posts from October, 2018

Too old

I'm not entirely sure how, but H. turned 16 yesterday. She cannot possibly be that old already, can she? We celebrated with sweet and sour chicken, rice, and dumplings, and root beer floats for dessert. All her choice. It's going to take me a little bit to get used to her new age.

A post with an unpopular view

As you know, my mom visited this past week, and then we drove her to Iowa so she could visit my brother and his family. For most of my people, this was alright. They were sad to see Grammy go, but understood that we will see her again. Most of my people. In fact, all but one of my people were okay. And then there was R.

We have had a very long few days here with R. Having Grammy visit, and then having Grammy go has triggered my poor girl beyond measure. Since R. is still exhibiting some extreme indiscriminate affection, she feels most comfortable finding emotional fixes from people whom she doesn't know or who she doesn't see very often. Because I loosened up me vigilance a bit about who R. gets to cling to for my mother... grandmothers get special passes... in R.'s world, that made Grammy even more appealing.

And then she left.

She left just like every other person has in R.'s world, except her adoptive parents. I hold no illusions that she probably figures that we wi…



I don't like to be busy, and the past couple of days have been busy. I've driven to Iowa, had lunch with my brother and his family, then my mother continued on with them, and we drove home. We were home for about ten minutes, and then it was time to leave for our Wednesday night activities. (That would be mid-week programs for G., L., K., and Y., and women's Bible study for me.) This morning I had already planned on taking care of the apples, so with the help of some children, we processed the bushel we bought last weekend... we now have sauce in jars, apples for pies in the freezer, and a dehydrator full of apples currently drying.

It seemed to be the day to catch-up on food related things. As well as the bushel of apples, I started a new batch of kombucha. I let the last one get to cold, and it developed mold. This process seems to be a vaguely steep learning curve.

And then there was the freeze warning we have for tonight. I still had a lot of things growing in the…

Overly warm days in October must not be spent inside

Today we took a trip to the Brookfield Zoo. It seemed like a fun outing to do while my mom was here, and when it's 80 degrees and sunny in October, you really need to take advantage of it. It could very well be our last warm day for quite a while. We had a lovely time without even a single melt down. I think it may be some sort of record.

This is everyone of the children who went. L. is even there behind R., though she didn't want to show her face. Kind of the opposite problem in yesterday's post. Where, if you have sharp eyes, you will notice that A. got cut out of the family photograph.

G. and K.

K. and L.
And of course I needed to take a picture of the White's Tree Frog. A White's was M.'s first amphibian, and I feel a vague sentimental attachment to them.

It's been a great visit with my mom. We're making stuffed spinach pizza tonight for a last night celebration, and then tomorrow we drive to the IL/IA border, where we'll meet my brothe…

Dinner in India

This dinner tonight was a bit of a departure from what we usually do, which involves me trying to recreate a meal from another country myself. This time, I decided that we needed to go out to eat. We could try a larger variety of food, and my mom is in town, so it would be a fun activity. Even better, everyone had tonight free on their calendar, and could make it. (This rarely happens anymore.) B. even drove out from the city to see his grandmother another time, and join us for food.

It was very good food, and there was literally nothing left when we were done. There was a street fair earlier that day, so parking was tricky, but it also meant that it was a slow night. We were the only customers in the restaurant. I'm actually kind of glad we made the reservation, because they might have decided to close early. The servers were very nice, but there were moments, with being the sole patrons, that the level of attention made many of us feel a little as though we were doing an odd rec…

Apple economics

Going apple picking in the fall has been a tradition of our for a very long time, but it has been two years since we have gone. Year before last, we were still deep in the hard work of transitioning two new older children into our hearts and our family. I had no energy to go apple picking, nor did I have the energy to do anything with those apples if we had gone. Just surviving was enough for that season. Last year, we had recently moved, my canning supplies weren't even unpacked, and once again, going apple picking didn't seem like something we could tackle.

This year is different. We are more settled. Life feels more manageable. And I wanted to be able to make apple sauce. (Once you have tasted real, homemade apple sauce, I'm afraid there is no going back to the store bought variety. It spoils you.) Our usual place, which we love, is all the way in Michigan. It's kind of a long way, so we thought, "There are plenty of apple orchards around us. Surely we can find…

Friday bullets, Oct. 5, 2018

I don't know about you, but I'm never quite sure what season I'm in these days. One day it's 85 degrees, the next struggles to make it to 60. How on earth is one supposed to get dressed in the morning? But, we've still made it to Friday.

My mother arrived today for a brief visit. We will be having a fall break from school in honor of the occasion.J. managed to get both the dishwasher and dryer installed last night. And they both work!! The dishwasher is significantly quieter than our previous one, and by all report, the dryer works equally well. I wouldn't know, since as soon as people were able to do laundry again, all my older children budged in line to get theirs done, and I still haven't tackled my pile.TM and D. have been playing duets on their instruments together (combinations of piano, violin, and cello). I enjoy listening to them as they figure out how to play together. They have moments of sounding really quite good.We made math monsters earlier th…

Roosters and ReStores

There are just some facts of life that you can't get around regarding farm life and large family life. The first is, if you have free-roaming livestock, you will lose some of them over time. The second is, when you have a large family, appliances don't last as long as they might otherwise. I think you can see where both of these things is going.

I'm sorry to say that Rooster, the rooster, is no longer with us. Tuesday night he didn't come back to the coop with the rest of the chickens, and we had our first suspicions. Then yesterday morning, TM and P. found some feathers that are most likely Rooster's on the edge of our yard. I like to think he valiantly sacrificed himself saving his hens, though just as likely, he decided to attack whatever was coming after him instead of hiding. Either way, it was his final moment of glory. We all have very mixed feelings about this. Since we raised Rooster from a day old chick, and since he was a particularly beautiful bird, we …

You know you're a grown-up when...

getting a new appliance feels kind of like Christmas. Let me introduce my new freezer.

It's the one on the left. Our second refrigerator, which is standard sized, is on the right, looking more shabby than usual.
I'm thrilled because it doesn't stick out as far as I had feared it would. (There is a PVC pipe behind it that goes to the well, so it couldn't be put flush against the wall.)
It's very fancy, and even has an LED read out on the door, and alarms if the door is left open or if the temperature inside gets too high.
Look how nice and shiny! 
It's much bigger than our last one, and much bigger than I was anticipating. It very nearly didn't make it through the utility room door. I'm glad that such an occurrence never popped into my head as something I should worry about. Not bad for ordering a freezer over the phone without having actually seen it in person, huh?
(And to the list of appliances on the fritz, we can add the dryer. It doesn't seem t…

Acting as translator

Yesterday our church hosted a block party for the neighborhood. Food trucks, carnival games, line dancing... it was quite a blow out party. We had brought Aster since she couldn't stay in her crate quite as long as we were going to be gone, and the whole thing was outside. Having a cute puppy in tow is kind of an instant ice breaker. At one point, I had Aster on the leash and several of my children were standing with me, including R. Our senior pastor comes up to say hello, and to pat the puppy.

Now, first you need to know that R. has never met this man in person. Being the gregarious child that she is, she immediately says hi to him, and he says hi back. R. then blurts out, "You in movie!" There is a pause, because it was a fairly random comment, and our brains were working to process the statement. As he chuckles because it seems that she is telling him he is a movie star, it dawns on me what her real meaning is. (I've had a fair bit of practice at this.) She is tr…