Friday, July 31, 2009

Niece, Toads, Jumping Pillow, Gymnastics Show, CSA Week 6

I have not posted pictures in awhile, so let's just get right on it:

Photographic proof that my niece really is all that and a bag of chips:

The four girls enjoying a bedtime snack:

Niece June is only 30 days older than Marin. She looks like she could be a year older, no?
Having her here this week is sort of like having 2 sets of twins, only without the horrid "two newborns" stage to survive through.
The Bigs played together, and the Littles played together, and I scurried around behind everyone picking up barbies and dress up clothes and polly pocket shoes and cracker crumbs.
It was fun for Marin to have a 24 hour playmate, all to herself.

Meanwhile, Joan and Kate caught about a million baby toads at my friend's house yesterday morning. They put them in a Nalgene bottle and brought them home to "train". They are the tiniest little guys you ever saw:

So far we've only had to bury 3 (out of, according to the Toad Census 2009, 26). Not bad, not bad. They've been making their home in our previously empty sand and water table. We are going to have to release them, but so far the girls have convinced me that their training is not complete and they just need a bit more time with them.
(They are being trained not to jump on each other, not to jump out of the water table, and how to "stay", among other things.)
Next, here's a snap of the (in)famous jumping pillow. It does not allow you to *really* see what we are talking about, as this thing is about the size of a tennis court, but you get the idea:

The Bigs like to put on "shows" for our family, sometimes even making up "programs" ahead of time (and sometimes even charging us for them!). They are usually a combo of trampoline tricks, Camp Rock/High School Musical songs, and some healthy bickering. Last night's was supposed to also include "Toad Tricks", but the show had to be cancelled at the last minute due to a scheduling conflict with the performers (i.e. rehearsal overshot bedtime).
Here's the practice:

Finally, here's what we got in our farm share for Week 6:

Arugula, lettuce, beets, more effing radishes that are now too hot to eat, kohlrabi, white radishes, white onions
beans, cucumber, & potatoes in the center
We're still going strong with eating all of this up every week, though a few stray items usually end up as food for our compost pile.
Wow, that's it. Hope your weekend is great. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Power of Four

We returned to the ever-lovely and unseasonably cool MN late Monday night (still sleeping with the windows open every night! And all day too! Windows all day, that is; not sleeping all day!), with all of our daughters in tow, plus our almost 3 year old niece.

Yep, that's right, we traveled 550 miles with four little girls. Two 6 year olds and two 2 year olds.

We left around noon, and all the kids promptly fell asleep. Ahhhhh. Quiet bliss! Around 3:30 pm stopped in Oacoma, SD at the ever-popular Al's Oasis for a snack and potty break. Next stop was for dinner in Sioux Falls, SD. We also made a quick stop at Exit 402 to let the kids blow of some steam on our favorite spot- Teh Bouncing Pillow*.

(I'm quite sure passersby are not supposed to stop and use Teh Pillow. But we do anyway.)

After jumping our sillies out, we pj'd everyone and loaded up one more time- last stop: our house.

We rolled in about 11pm (our time, 10pm Black Hills time). The kids were all asleep and easily transferred into the house.

Easy-peasy. (ISH.) (As long as we forget the part between Worthington and, oh, 5 miles from HOME, where we not only hit construction, but I felt the need to hiss- in 7 second intervals- Be quiet! Go to sleep! It's getting late! Shush!!!!!!!!!!)

The most unusual part of our trip was all the comments we received along the way. "Oh, you are so blessed!" "What a beautiful family!" "Four little girls!" ETC.

The manager at McDonald's (shut up) even came to our table and gushed over the kids and gave them each a free Happy Meal toy.

The weird thing is, while we sometimes receive a compliment from a kindly stranger, we never receive nearly the attention we did by having a 4th child with us.

Today, I took the girls to the park and the comments continued. "Daycare?" "How precious- are they all yours?" ETC.

So, I ask you, was it simply the addition of a fourth child, or the ages of these particular children, or the fact that they are all girls, or WHAT? It's been fun and amusing for me to try to figure out.

Beautiful Neighbor (she occasionally comments here, but does not blog YET) pointed out that they are exceptionally good looking kids, which OBV. I mean DUH. But it still doesn't explain why the extra attention *now* and not when it's just our three kids. I mean, my niece is cute, but she's not that cute.

Well, ok, she IS that cute. But still.

Also, I'm trying to work an angle here to my advantage Re: Possible Future Fourth Child For Green Family. Any suggestions?

(Also-also, the two Littles have been playing sooo great together. HOWEVER. Trying to get them to move in the same direction- any direction! even just twelve friggin feet to the car!- is about as easy as herding cats. How- HOW- did I do this with twins??? Really, I have no idea, nor any memory, of how it all worked.)

*pictures coming tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I'm writing this from SD, sitting on my mom's deck.

I know I sound like a broken record, ok, but the AIR here. THE AIR. I guess *maybe* it smells better to me that to the average person due to emotional connection, and the area of your brain that associates scents with pleasurable experiences ETC (<-- ok, I think I just made that up), but wow. Wow-zee-wowwow. For all the millions of reasons why I probably will not ever live here again in my life (the most important one being I LIKE my LIFE in Tiny Town), whenever I get here, I feel at home.

We've been reunited with our children, natch, and you know what they say- absence makes the heart grow fonder and blah, blah, blah. It is true, so much so that I think I should be away from my kids more often, because I appreciate them so when we are back together.

I did learn a couple of things while they were away. While I did get some projects completed, I did not come close to completing my list. I was making an effort to balance "productive time" with "pleasurable, lazy time" and I think by the last 2 days I had it figured out.

However, I do think that sometimes having the kids around makes me *more* productive, because their needs, interruptions, and time schedules cause me to be much more efficient.

Having the kids gone WAS better for projects such as painting a table (pictures coming) and giving their rooms a good shake down. I can only image the "help" I would have to vehemently deny with the painting, and the PROTESTS to all the crap I got rid of during the cleaning.

So! In conclusion! I'll keep the kids. But I'll try to farm them out a little more often.

And now, without any attempt whatsoever at a creative segue, I have to say that that wedding video? That I posted the other day? Yeah, I'm addicted. I've watched it probably 10-15 times, and I love it more each time. Oh, how I wish I could get married again- to David, of course- so we could do something fun like that.

I've got my sister convinced that we can do that for her wedding, though she's not engaged or anything. Though, I'm sure churches everywhere are drawing up their "policies" regarding "dancing in church" AS WE SPEAK, because couples are going to be inspired by that video. I can almost hear the furious typing of conservative clergy, as they update their "wedding handbook". Hurry kids, get married soon, before the new rules hit the press!

But seriously, I get a surge of happy! along with choked up every time I watch it.

It's my favorite YouTube video, hands down.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Must See

Here's the best thing I've seen on YouTube in awhile:

Also, posted twitter name is on side bar -->

Must. Be. Productive.

Walking. Away. From. Computer. NOW.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Um, I just signed up for Twitter? I think? So.... (*twirling thumbs*).... now what?

(How do we find each other?)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Farm Shares, Weeks 4 & 5

Sorry to leave you sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting to see how many radishes we received in our farm share lately. Here's last week's and this week's portions:

Week 4:
From left to right:
parsley, purple basil, basil, heaping-ass mound of kale, turnips, radishes, zucchini, and onions
beans and sugar snap peas (center)

Week 5:
left to right: basil, turnips, chard, zucchini, lettuce, kohlrabi, sage, parsley
beans and peas (center)
(thank you god no more radishes)

So far I've been pleased with our CSA. Our half-share is the perfect quantity- we've been able to use up nearly everything each week, with very little going to compost (I'm looking at YOU spicy little red veggies). I think a full share would have been too much; then again, perhaps we would have found ways to freeze or preserve it for winter...

What I love about having a CSA is that it defines how we eat for the week. I enjoy cooking and baking, even bread making. But the part about being the family chef that I _hate_ is the deciding what to make.
I think the planning of and purchasing of the meals and their required ingredients by far the hardest and suckiest part of cooking.

Once I know what I'm going to make, I enjoy the process. You walk into the grocery store and the possibilities are endless and (for me) often overwhelming.
Having a farm share each week really guides what I make. There are less decisions to make because I have a set of fresh (and already paid for) veggies to sculpt our weeks' meals. Instead of feeling constricted by this, I feel directed and inspired. I like the challenge of finding ways to use everything too. I'm enjoying cooking more than I probably ever have. (Not that my cooking skillz have improved or anything, because NO. Nothing special to see over here.)

So I feel a bit more settled today than yesterday. I don't miss the kids yet, and I've made a list of things I want to get done today (starting with removing all the kiddie finger prints on the computer screen because Oh-eM-Gee !! annoying!) and this week. David on the other hand know exactly what to do with our time. WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE MY GOD HE'S SO FUNNY AND CLEVER AND SUBTLE.

(I think tonight I'm going to shag him the second he walks in the door. You know, so as not to have it hanging over our heads all evening.)

(Our secret.)

PS: I love kale. And turnips.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gone Babies, Gone

Weirdest thing happened today. About 2 hours ago, I watched my dad back his vehicle out of my driveway, with my 3 kids tucked safely in the backseat. They were off on an adventure! And I am child-free for a week (eeps!)- the big girls are going all the way to the Black Hill with my dad, and little Marin is meeting up with my Grandma along the way and spending the week with her.

So... my house is empty.

Since birthing the twins some 6.5 years ago, we have never been this long without our children. We've had a few nights with the kids away, but usually this coincided with some project (i.e.: will you take our kids overnight so we can paint X room?). But this time, the kids are gone, and we have no major projects or plans.

To say I was sad to see them go would not quite be true... Perhaps I'm just on the cusp of being sad; just on the verge; just teetering on the edge of it, but not quite there.

I also can't say I'm excited. Because I'm just a few centimeters away from that too.

I think perhaps I'm just a bit unmoored. Distracted by the silence. Distracted by the possibilities.

Should I: Paint some furniture? Clean/reorganize the office? Move those bookshelves? Go thrifting? Take a nap? Go to Bigger Town early to shop before work tonight? Clean up the kids' packing-to-leave debris? Buy some paint for the dining room? Remove more wallpaper? Go out to lunch with David? Go out to lunch with a friend? Shop for some raspberry bushes? Give Coco a bath? Rent a movie from Redbox? Finish my book for book club? Make cheese? Go for a long walk/jog? Take a shower? Get my haircut? Fix the screens on the porch? Make some lunch? Make an iced coffee? Make a to-do list? Catch up on email? Catch up on facebook? Catch up on blogs? Get a pedicure? Reorganize/throw out/donate the toys? Clean the garage? Go for a bike ride? Go on a date? (and if so where?)...

Should I do one or three or five of those things today? How about this week? Which should I do, and in what order?

I a bit anxious and edgy and jittery. Totally not the reaction I thought I'd have to this long awaited week of personal freedom.

Also: what the hell did I do with my time all those years of my life before I had children? I've pondered this many times, and I still cannot recall the answer.

In any case, I may not be quite clear in my head about how I'm going to spend this time, but I do feel happy/blessed/excited for my children, that they have the opportunity to spend time with family members, to build those relationships, to have a week of adventures and memories, to be doted on and spoiled a bit. And I'm excited for David and me too- however we end up spending our time.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Farm Share, Week 3*

This week we received (from left):

lamb's quarters (yes, the common "weed", but also edible and nutritious, and somewhat like spinach), chard, kale, turnips, potatoes, 3 kinds of lettuce , and (center) radishes, beans, and parsley.

We made a sausage/potato/turnip/kale soup last night that was soooo good, we'll be using most of the greens for salads, I'm using the parsley in hummus, and the beans we'll steam for dinner tonight. I'm honestly not sure what in Sam Hill to do with chard, but I'll probably end up steaming it or something. Also? The lambs quarters? I'll try it, but it might end up liquefying before it's gone.

*we purchased a half-share, which is roughly half a bushel per week for 18 weeks. Coming this fall: me sobbing over piles upon piles of squash, while a semi waits outside to drop off more squash.

Finally, Teh Earings:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I never thought I'd have a 6 year old daughter with pierced ears. Here's how it went down:

Kate (and Joan too) were horrified- HORRIFIED- at the thought of getting their ears pierced. They've had very few fears in their life, but shots and needles is one of them. They come by this honestly enough, for their own father- that guy that is an insulin-dependant diabetic and therefore injects himself numerous times daily- fainted the last time he received a flu shot. TRUE.

Also, I always thought that "when they could take care of it themselves" would be an appropriate age. This translated to somewhere between 8 and 10 years old. I got my ears pierced at the end of 4th grade, but I had already been begging for YEARS. (Am I the only one who has a dad that said "If God wanted holes in your ears he would have put them there!"?) So I didn't want to make them yearn for years and years (see also: walking uphill BOTH WAYS to school), but due to their fears I didn't put much more thought into it.

Then, one day, Kate came home from school and told me she wanted her ears pierced. "Hmmmm" was all I said. Then she mentioned it again. Next she brought me the phone book, cordless phone (old school land line, I KNOW!), and attempted to look up the number for our salon herself.

So I called our salon and asked if they pierced ears there. Yes. Could they do both at the same time? No. When could they get us in? Friday. Kate is hopping around me this whole time. So we made the appointment.

Joan was adamant that she did NOT want hers done. To be honest, I was more for it for this reason: if one has pierced ears and the other does not, it will be easier for people to tell them apart.

Friday came along (coincidentally the last day of school), and we head to our appointment. Kate picks out some earrings and is all smiles. Joan even picks some out too, thinking that if it goes well for Kate, she might change her mind.

They call us back. Kate bursts into tears and hides behind me. I pull her back to the salon chair, sit down, and pull her onto my lap. Her hands are covering her ears and she is quietly crying. The lady wants to clean her ear lobes, and Kate refuses to move her hands and cries harder.

We are going home, sans holes, I'm am certain.

I remind Kate that she does NOT have to do this, that we can leave and do it another time when she is more ready. NOOOooooooooo she sobs. She wants to do it today.

But we can't do it if you don't move your hands.

*more sobbing*

I look up and Joan is standing next to us, tears streaming down her face, and she whispers desperately to me "Mommy! Don't let them do it!"

We are FOR SURE going home without piercing, I'm POSITIVE now.

I tell Kate again that we'll just do this another day. That no one is making her do this, and I understand that it's a bit scary, and we'll come back another time and try again.

NOOOOOOOOOOO. I want it today!

An idea popped into my head and I ask the lady if we can have a sucker. While she goes to get one, I tell Kate that even babies who are getting shots think it hurts less if they have something sweet to suck on. The lady returns with the sucker and Kate grabs it, hands shaking, and rips the wrapper off. Faster than you can imagine, the lady pierces one ear and then the other. Kate didn't even cry or flinch or anything.

We pay and leave with Kate absolutely FLOATING on cloud nine, so proud of herself. So exhilarated for overcoming her fear.

(Joan still says NO WAY.)

BTW, she's done most of the care of them herself. She turns them a couple of times a day, and I apply the Bactine 2x a day (because our local drugstore only had the spray kind, and I don't want her spraying herself in the face on accident. Otherwise, she could and would do that herself too.)

So that is the story of how my 6 year old got her ears pierced.