Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ellie's To Do List

1. Scream and throw books off the shelf at the library (bonus points if you can do this in the adult section, double bonus if the librarian is looking on!)
2.  Refuse to nap
3. Hide under brother's bed eating pilfered jelly beans
4. Grind cracker crumbs into the couch
5.  Shimmy along the window sill in the bed room
6.  Fancy a snack, disrobe down to the skin in order to climb onto the counter and eat a peach

Good thing I'm so cute, right Mom?

In related news, my to do list this afternoon was
1. Pull out hair
2. Repeat

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I am joining the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real} for the very first time this week!


Look at the red on those radishes!

We have been eating a lot of salads lately, and the proportion of radishes to everything else has been slowly rising.  In addition to being deliciously bitter (my current flavor obsession after my two year fling with everything lemony and tart), they are the most gorgeous color red!  Many of my culinary choices these days are purely aesthetic, I must admit!


A rambunctious trio
For my kids, happy means a cacophonous trio on the piano with a good friend! The best part about having the electric Clavinova as opposed to a real piano is that I can turn the volume waaaay down so the kids can have their fun without inducing any migraines in Mom!


I went out with a friend one evening, leaving Amos to put the kids to bed.  When I went to check on D upon arriving home, this is what I found:

Oh, dear

Like any good parent, the first thing I did was snap a picture before tucking him in properly and turning out the light.  When I told my husband about it later, I discovered that the poor child had been like that for some time, since it had not occurred to Amos to remove the book from our sleeping child's face! The difference between mothers and fathers, I guess!


No picture for this one, but my real this week is saying goodbye to my best friend and her family as they head over seas for two years.  We have been best friends since the very first day of freshman year of college, and I will miss her desperately.  She is the friend I trust to watch my kids while I am in labor (and have watched hers), and can call if I am feeling crummy and need someone to keep an eye on things so I can rest.  Our families always spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter together.  I am feeling a little adrift thinking of the next two years without her.

At the same time, I am so excited for her and her family as they start this long-awaited and worked for adventure.  This afternoon we said our farewells, and there were definitely tears shed.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Answer Me This!

One of the perks of coming back to blogging is being able to participate in Kendra's Answer Me This, which is my very favorite link-up!

1. What's currently on your To Do list?

Cleaning the table, going to choir, spending time with friends (my best friend before she moves to Rome and others we have not seen in far too long).

In the bigger picture, getting things organized, clearing the weeds from the back beds before they completely choke out my roses, getting laminate flooring installed in the bedrooms and hallway, finishing my incomplete grad school papers.

2. Better type of superhero: magic/radioactive powers? Or trauma/gadgets/hard work?
I think this is definitely a false dichotomy -- how can one choose?  I must admit that I am personally more inclined to the magic/radioactive powers camp, simply because I find Batman (who is the primary exemplar of the other category) too depressing for my taste.  I like my comic book movies light and entertaining, thank you very much!  But that isn't to say that the trauma/gadgets/hard work set might not be intrinsically more admirable.  I don't know.

3. Finding out if baby is a boy or a girl before birth: Good idea? Bad idea?

Before I had any children, I was completely sure I would wait to find out, since that is what my parents had done.  But then I was pregnant with my first and very sick, and thinking of my baby in more concrete terms as a little boy really helped me get though it.

Since we found out with the first, we figured we might as well find out with the other two, and have thus not been in the position of my parents when my youngest sibling was born.  

My Dad made predictions for the sex of each child, and when my Mom was pregnant with the youngest, he was 3 for 3.  He was completely sure that the baby would be a boy, so they picked out a boy name and packed boy clothes, and went to the hospital.  They were caught completely unprepared with the doctor announced that the baby was a girl!  They hadn't even thought about a girl's name, and Luke clearly wouldn't do  We called her Jessie for her first couple of days, and she finally ended up as Anna, a name that suits her very well indeed!

4. Have you ever appeared on a stadium jumbotron?

No, never, nor would I ever wish to!  I have actually only been to one professional sports game in my life -- a Red Sox game at Fenway with my grandparents and an assortment of cousins.  It was fun, but not something I feel the need to repeat.  Neither Amos not I watched sports growing up, and it seems to be a taste that one must acquire early or not at all.

5. Are you more book smart or more street smart?

With my on-again-off-again affair with doctoral work, I think the answer is pretty obviously book smart!  I was a really spacey kid who grew up to be a rather less spacey (but still a little spacey) adult, but I have always been good at school.  Among my siblings, that was sort of my role.  Jill was creative, Anna was athletic, and I was good at school.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Each Peach Pear Plum

Today was a good day. Usually by 3 pm, I am so tired that I just coast for the rest of the day, but today? Today I baked. First cornbread for the dinner of cornbread salad, and then, because there were some peaches about to turn on the counter, I set about making a pie.

Classic pie on the window sill shot here, mostly to get the last of the fading daylight!
I used to think that homemade pie crust was onerous, finicky, and not really worth the effort, but I have actually gotten good at it, and now I strongly believe that you might as well not make a pie at all if you are not going to make your own crust! I have had very good luck with the Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe

My pies have come out a lot prettier since I got a pie crust mat, which takes the guess work out of how big to roll the dough and makes it a lot easier to transfer the dough from counter to pan. This pie is pretty simple -- I want to learn to make a proper lattice crust some day, but with the kids "helping" me bake, today was not the day!

I tried an egg wash today, which is what make the crust so shiny.  Next time I might sprinkle it with turbinado sugar for even more sparkle!

This little boy is eating the last of the peaches, and being very patient while the pie cools!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hello, Little Blog...

...I have sadly neglected you for the past, oh, year maybe? Can it have been that long? It wasn't you, it was me -- can you forgive me?
In all seriousness, I haven't had much to write the past year, between being very busy with work, carpool, and housekeeping, and my health/ anxiety issues.  But this summer has been a good break, and this school year I am not working as much (possibly not at all, which has me feeling a bit conflicted), so maybe there is a little space for writing.
Not yet sure what that writing will look like. I am reading again, after a long stretch of not having energy for much beyond blog posts and YA fantasy novels, so maybe I will write about that. My current projects are The Buried Giant for a book club and The Wings of the Dove so I can discuss it with a friend who is planning a dissertation on Henry James. My progress is slow (particularly on the latter), but both are very good so far.

(Here are the kids at Easter -- I don't take enough pictures!)

In the meantime, here is the update: the kids are now 6,4, and 2. The older ones go to Montessori school. D will start the Elementary program in the fall, and A will move up to full day in the primary program, leaving E and me home together for the whole day. Our routine will change pretty dramatically, but I think it will be really good.
My husband is still working for a software company, but is also writing poetry again and hatching some exciting creative plans.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I think God was talking to me this morning in the mass readings.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Worry, worry

The Ebola case in Dallas has been all over the news lately.  Especially here in Irving, just 20 minutes from the hospital where the poor soul is suffering.  I had a lot of trouble finding a charitable word for the man who introduced that disease into my area, the area where my children are.

 I used to be pretty nonchalant about the possibility of terrible things happening. I flew to Europ just months after the 9/11 attack. I thought Well, if I am going to die, I am going to die.  But that was before I gave three hostages to Fortune in the form of my three precious children.

 Ever since word of the Ebola case broke, I have been on edge.  Unable to focus, unable to sleep.  I spent the afternoon yesterday compulsively taking my children's temperatures.  And now I am sitting in Daniel and Anastasia's room watching them sleep and typing a panicked blog post at 1:30 in the morning because I feel like if I go to sleep, everything will fall apart.

I thought we won a victory today by going out and not being afraid. Amos had an errand to run in Dallas, picking up some books for his poetry give away, and instead of staying home while he went, we all got into the van and came along. (Did I mention our new van? It is very big and very red, and not at all inclined to overheat!)

We went to Wild Detectives to pick up the books, and then wandered through a neat little outdoor fair that was going on with hand made goods from local companies, and ended up going to dinner at Eno's, which was a great treat.

We came home, gave baths to grubby, happy children, put the baby to bed and then had a movie night with the older two.  Monsters, Inc. was a hit with Anastasia, but Daniel deemed it too intense and spent most of the movie calling from his room, "Anastasia, is this a scary part?"  He definitely liked the end credits, however, so I guess over all it was a win.  But now I am sitting here being crazy alone in the middle of the night.

It is moments like this that I feel responsible for Daniel's intense reactions to things, because I am the same way. I still get up for a drink at suspenseful moments in Doctor Who episodes, and over all, I see so much of myself in Daniel. It is both amazing and terrifying, seeing yourself made over in your child, knowing exactly how he is feeling-- the squirm of anxiety in his stomach when he has to speak to an adult he doesn't know, even just to say thank you or ask for a drink of water -- the overwhelming imagination that brings so vividly into presence the dangers depicted in books or movies, or in the news, that it is almost unbearable.

"Mama, why are you afraid so much?" he asked me today. I didn't have an answer for him.