May 23, 2011

Get Jealous?

Life's not fair. I know it, I'm generally okay with it.

Right now, in this moment. I'm not. There was a piece on the local news about photographers who take pictures for families where the baby doesn't survive. Babies who have minutes or hours, maybe days. That's hearbreaking in itself.

I have two healthy kids. I love them and wouldn't trade them for anything. But I'm jealous of the parents who get to hold their baby. I envy the parent who gets to hold their baby, even for just a few minutes. I envy that they know where their baby is. I envy that they don't remember flushing and thinking "that might be my baby".

I also have two angel babies that I know of. Babies I never got to hold or look at. Babies that I loved for the very brief time that I knew them and who I carry in my heart always. Babies that Sparky occasionally refers to. We haven't told her about them as much as she just knows. We don't tell her that she's being silly when she talks about her brother. We don't know if our angel babies are boys are girls or one of each. But she tells us that she has an older brother and she talks about him as though she knows him.

I wouldn't have my beautiful kids if the other two had survived, but that doesn't mean I don't want them all. I do. I want to be able to hold my 4 kids together and have them play together. I want them to be able to run and laugh together. I want to be able to give a straightforward answer when asked if Sparky and Spunky are my only or if Sparky is my oldest. I don't mince words about it for the most part, but it makes people very uncomfortable.

So it's not fair. It's not fair that babies die at all. It's not fair the people struggle with infertility. It's not fair that babies are born to parents who don't want them. It's not fair that people who desperately want to love a child have to jump through so many hoops. It's just not fair.

And don't misunderstand. I am grateful for Sparky and Spunky. I know that I'm fortunate to have them and be able to spend my time with them. That doesn't diminish the longing for my angel babies though.

May 18, 2011

Park it?

I had an awesome morning with 11friends and their kids this morning. We met quite a character who raises wallabies, wallaroos and kangaroos. Pretty cool, but when it was time to leave the ranch, the kidlets and I weren't quite ready to leave our friends yet. I suggested that we go to a nearby park and two friends took me up on in. What I realized later is that I never told them that the kidlets were going to have a picnic in the park. Oops, sorry ladies!!

What I also realized once we were there is that they didn't realize what kind of park we were going to. It's a beautiful park with pathways, lots of greenery and some pretty awesome lookouts. But no play structure. It hadn't even occurred to me that park=playstructure. I'm really not sure what I think about that. On the one hand, I feel bad that the park I suggested wasn't anything like they expected. On the other hand, I'm kinda pleased with myself that a park, in my family, doesn't have to be a place designed for kids with a manufactured toy.

There's definitely a place for park toys, no doubt. My kids enjoy them and have fun when we go. That being said, my kids didn't miss it at the park today. They played in the beauty bark, ran all over the paths, climbed on rocks, swung from the handrail of steps and explored an anchor chain. They were still active and playing but it was with nature (mostly) and other people.

Sometimes with playstructures, I see each kid doing their own thing with the structure. One is climbing, one is sliding, one is playing with the little puzzle-maze on the side, that kind of thing. Today, there were 4 little kids running together and playing and laughing and making their own fun. And I got to spend some time with two lovely women watching our kids running together. The kids got what they needed, and I got something I need to. Add to it a warm and sunny day.... just awesome.

May 17, 2011

Want to redecorate?

I was tipped to this awesome artist, Roz, by a friend.

I love the Leap People.

Her images are copyrighted so I don't want to carry them over here, but here's a few of my favorites:

Beach #57 (Hubs loves that one too)
Dancer #2 (I know that little girl)
Beach #11 (Reminds me of a photo of Hubs and I on our mantel)
Swing #45 (Just a little look into the future)

Really though, her paintings are just beautiful and I'm enamored.

May 16, 2011

Make delicious dinner?

Hubs has been working overtime lately so I've had more dinners than usual when he's not home. I planned ahead over the weekend a little bit knowing that this week might leave my time a bit thin. Over the weekend, I made potato leek soup. It's quite easy to make and really doesn't take long. Then today the kidlets took short naps so I was able to make muffins to go with the soup. Add some raspberry kefir and it's a decent enough dinner.

Potato Leek Soup (makes 12-14 cups)
9 medium potatos of whatever variety you have and needs to get used. Slightly old potatos are fine
6 cups water
3 teaspoons veggie broth concentrate (I like better than boullion)
approximately 3 medium leeks (or whatever the farmers market bunch is)
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 head of garlic (more or less, depends on your taste)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
a little salt (a dash or two)
some good grinds of black pepper

Cut the potatos into chunks, about 1" each. It's not rocket science. Cut them smaller if you need them to cook quick, leave them bigger if you don't. Put the potatos, water and broth concentrate in a medium pot (this makes about 12-14 cups) and let it cook on medium until the potatos smash with a spatula or until you've done the rest of the recipe.

Wash the leeks and then chop them into 1" chunks, or there abouts. Sautee them with the butter in a medium pan (think a 4 egg omlet) until they're soft. As they're starting to cook, peel the garlic, stirring the leeks every so often. Once the garlic is all peeled the leeks should be somewhat soft. Use a garlic press to add the garlic to the leeks and cook it until it's not raw anymore. It starts to brown sometimes, sometimes not. Again, not rocket science. :)

Once the leeks and garlic are done, add them to the potato and broth. Add in a little salt (remember the broth has a fair bit probably) and a couple good grinds of pepper. Stir it all together. I then whip out my handy-dandy immersion blender and make the soup all sorts of creamy goodness. Once most of the chunks are blended, add the cream into the soup. Let it all get warm again and then enjoy.

So that was the soup I made over the weekend. Some is in my freezer for my family, some is in the fridge for a family with a new baby, and some is in the fridge for later this week. Yum!

Here's the recipe I used to make the muffins we had with our soup tonight.

Banana-Apple Oat Muffins (makes 12)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar (you can make it with less and I normally do 1/3 cup)
2 eggs
2 large overripe bananas
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 teaspoon salt (sometimes leave this out)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup thick rolled oats

Get your KitchenAid set up the way you like it and just trust me on the steps.
Turn the oven on to 350. Bake works better than convection in my oven for these, but I have a crappy oven.

Set the mixer on speed 2. Add the butter and brown sugar and let them cream. Add in the eggs. Add in the bananas (I break them into 1/3's first). Add the applesauce. Once that's all mixed well, add the salt and baking soda. Then slow down the mixer and add the whole wheat flour, unbleached white flour and oats. I know that's not the normal way things are made, but it works fine for these and makes fewer dishes.

Spray a muffin tin (holds 12) so they come out easy. Then just put the muffin batter into the muffin tin. They'll look really full. That's okay. It won't make a huge mess in your oven. They'll cook for about 35-40 minutes. When they're done cooking, put them on a cooling rack or slice the top off, put a little butter in the middle, put the top back on and enjoy.

May 15, 2011

Find a balance?

I identify myself as an attachment parenting practitioner. I came into it just by doing what was right for my kids, my family and myself. It's still not something I've deliberately read much about. It's just doing what we do.

One of the "tenants" of attachment parenting is balance though. That's the part I'm not so awesome at. I'm enthusiastic about things and tend to throw myself into things completely. Or at least, mostly. What that really means most of the time though is that we're always going and doing and out and about and and and....

As you may have noticed, I haven't been blogging much the past few weeks. It's not that I don't have anything to say. I always have something to say. :) I'm just trying for a bit better balance. A bit more real life and a bit less virtual presence. A bit more slowing down and enjoying life with my family.

We went away for the weekend last weekend and it was great. It rained all weekend, but we still went out for a walk in the woods and played inside. We enjoyed time together and were pretty much disconnected from technology. We watched the 11:00 news (because we're 60 ya know!) but didn't have internet acccess much of the weekend. It was just a nice way to get a bit better balance in our family.

It's a work in progress and probably always will be given my "I want to do it all!" nature. But, even when our balance is off, as long as we keep it in mind and keep trying, then I'm okay if the balance isn't exactly right. And maybe, just maybe, part of our balance allows me to be super busy much of the time. I've always preferred it that way and tend to be happier with it. :)
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