Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sweet medicine

The flavor of each day is different. It is mixing the flavors of each day that gives a life its complexity and depth. Today's flavor was Motrin, peppermint, Omnicef, amoxicillin, peppered with the scent of vomit covered sheets and urine stained boxes. My sweetheart worked till 2:00 a.m. last night, and despite my best efforts, I do not sleep till he is safe in bed. At 2:30 my second sweetie started vomiting... and vomiting. Morning brought a laundry room covered in a layer of dog urine. a doctor visit for Ginger resulted in antibiotics and a $400 surgery scheduledfor tomorrow to remove an entire bladder filled with stones. Sunshine's visit today put her on a new antibiotic for her sinus infection, as the amoxicillin has not worked. My sweetheart came home exhausted in body and spirit and just needed love. He picked up my littlest one, who needed love at that moment too and the two of them swayed to unheard music in the family room and comforted each other. Loves. That is all anyone needed today. I didn't do the planned laundry, or put up the valentine decorations, or even do the bills, but the day was a success. Sometimes, days like these are for embracing our mortality, the needs of our body, the needs of our soul. All have gone to bed happy. I made my sweetheart his favorite cookies and didn't mention how far over his weight watcher points he was going and we watched a movie, snuggled together after the children went to bed. No, I don't mind today. There are some medications that taste sweet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alive In Winter

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." -Aristotle
Armed with tuna fish sandwiches, raisins and peppermint sticks we ventured out to see the world filled up with snow, to find if anything still lived in the crystal world around us. Our boots crunched through the hardened snow as we tried to find the animals before they were frightened by us. After several sightings and a pit stop where my little one turned the snow yellow, we returned to look up and document our sightings and turn our attention to snow.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near.
He gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promised to keep
And mile to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
-Robert Frost

The Art of the Snowflake, a Photographic Album by Kenneth Libbrecht is the most beautiful book filled with photographs of snowflakes. I cannot recommend it enough for the curious mind. We devoured it repeatedly then decided to cover our evening table covering with unique works of snowflake art. Thank someone for the marvelous invention of butcher paper. This should last us at least 2 meals. Listen to this quote from the book,

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design, and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind." pp. 8
Feeling the sunshine on my face, witnessing the majesty of a perfect unique snowflake, listening to the bird calls, silently tracking the goose tracks to the edge of the ice filled my core, my center. Often, in winter, I feel trapped in a world of my own making, unable to go outside, afraid of an asthma attack, wet feet, or cold hands. As my children reverently partook of what their Heavenly Father has waiting for them, even in the seemingly dead winter, just outside their front door, I realized that we had only to look outside ourselves. To step outside our comfort zones to discover that even when all looks dead, there is a great deal of life, but even better, preparation for new life.

This last year, I have felt devoid of life, pushed to and fro by others demands. Perhaps a little crusted over. Today I found that under the wintry crust, new creativity is growing waiting for the appropriate season. Even better, lots of life is going on inside when I look for it. And, like the discoveries of winter, they are more appreciated in their space and sparsity.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hash and Hearts

Ladybug will eat anything! Please not Alpo though! We smelled her breath, Sunshine cried at the stench. Little Mother ran as Ladybug chased her with a spoon of smelly goop. Dad bravely tried a spoonful and said it tasted quite good. Ladybug then revealed that she had switched the labels with a can of corned hash. "We shouldn't be so hasty to form our judgements on labels on the outside but focus on what is inside." Briz choked up as he read us a story about children helping a child with learning disabilities. We then had refreshments compliments of the Achievement Girls including Ladybug, who were here earlier today, learning how to give their families this same lesson tonight. Refreshments were perfect for new young cooks to make and tasted good enough that one is not enough. O.K. So I know you'll call for the recipe so here it is.

cookie cream cheese bars:
  • 2 packages refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (24 cookie size)
  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice and press 1 pkg of dough together on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Beat cream cheese, eggs and sugar together. Spread over cookie layer. Slice, squash and lay final cookie dough over the top. Bake for 50 minutes. Yumm. All the girls loved them, even the picky ones.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

View from the ski lift

"We look like noodles don't we mom." said my skier as ski hats are removed and we steam in the car, trying to dry off from the drizzling rain that has soaked us to the skin on the ski slopes. We wait out the worst of the rain listening to and discussing the Wicked soundtrack, sipping Stephen's Dulche de Leche Hot Cocoa out of a shared thermos cup, and giggling over Mad Libs. "I know this isn't our best day skiing, but let's look on the bright side of things shall we?" I ask when it is time for us to reemerge into the sleety drizzle for her lesson. We march on our "turtle boots" (christened by Ladybug because we walk so slowly in them) back to the National Ability Center to meet her adaptive instructor, Lia. "I am dry. I am warm. We are SOOOOO Happy!" my little one chants as I think miserable thoughts. I laugh in spite of myself at the positive reinforcements she continues to chant till we arrive, shin stiff and soggy again. Rachael, our peer skier is waiting for us with a huge smile and conversation for Ladybug.

My little skier, confidence bolstered by her new found skill and uninterrupted time with her mother and hero, answers animatedly. I struggle to keep up as I follow the lesson down the hill. I can not hold my poles and take a picture at the same time so my little one holds my poles as I look down at our skis. Last week while trying a jump, I crashed, and she was there to pick me up and help me retrieve my poles. "Pizza Slice Mom!" she yells as I get out of control. "Which run do you want Mom? I want to make you happy." Later while watching a ski race of kids a year older than her, "I'll probably do that soon."
My sweet husband, always the optimist and opportunity finder insisted on this experience. I, knowing that ski clothing would probably bug, the cold would annoy, and the cost though a deal was not cheap, dragged my feet and was not a cooperative helpful partner in this venture. Now, he stays home to install molding while I reap the rewards.
A smile... a real one. Confidence. A dream for the future. Giggles and shared jokes. Shared thoughtfulness, a shared experience. I watch her zoom in front of me, help me, and buoy me with her positive attitude and I see a glimpse of our future, roles reversed. Somehow, the view is different, clearer, from the ski lift.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Book of Days

At the recomendation of Blue Yonder, we have started our family's Book of Days as a way to record the simple moments of our life, to record what we have done, make sketches, and help us slow down and savor the moments. Each girl contributed a side to decorate a 1 1/2" binder to record our discoveries and thoughts. We discussed what we wanted to accomplish in the month of January, recorded it and now set off to conquer. The girls plan on having this book last forever so the older 2 really took their time and did their best work.

Oh the joy of watching an egg! The girls have tenderly nursed their egg, checking each hour to watch it bubble, spin and peel its beautiful brown skin. The thrill of holding an egg, clothed only in its birthday suit, is great. "Its a rubber egg!" says the middle one! "I want to do this in my school!" says the elder. As a mother, I am satisfied. I got to explain chemical reactions and use the term calcium carbonate several times even to our four year old. I felt oh so clever. We cannot bear to use our vinegar smelling egg, what will we do with it now? It currently sits in a place of honor on the cabinet in a cup of water, so better to see the yolk within. Our first project for our Book of Days is completed!

Mourning for a friend

I met a friend a few months ago. She was beautiful, high strung, wild of spirit, impatient with incompetence and loved freedom. It was love at first sight. You know... one of those meetings where you know what the other is thinking. Our first meeting was stunted a bit by her manicure. She longed to run, to feel freedom, to explore and so did I. We were kept from our deep bonding by her nails. They were too long for this kind of freedom so we both felt the strain and walked sedately and both tried to pretend that this was all we wanted. Like all memorable love affairs, I plotted how and when I would see her again. I thought maybe she should move near me so we could spend time together daily. I checked into housing and food costs for her. I dreamed, planned and hoped. Then my mom called. "Oh, your dad says to tell you your horse died today. He has thought of it as yours since you came here last. Horses are sensitive to their feed and he thinks it had some moldy hay."

"Oh, that's too bad," I replied casually. I didn't yell or scream or even cry to show my disapointment in a relationship ended just as it had begun. But my heart did. I knew her, even in those small moments. She represented to me freedom, the longing to run, to fly, to break out. Well, she is gone now and I guess it is just as well as I would probably sacrifice other relationships for her company if I could. But, she took with her a bit of a dream I carried ... a little hope that a tamed domestic creature could at times break free and run with the wind.