Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And the Eating is Good!

There's nothing better when the garden starts giving you it's first offering. While other people I know have already started eating from their gardens, early radishes and lettuces, even corn, we have only just harvested a few early onions and snow peas, and recently, broccoli and shelled peas.

I made a stir-fry using broccoli, onions, and snow peas from the garden the other day and it was just fantastic. Someday it would be nice if the beef came from the homestead as well, but until then, I'll enjoy what I got now.

The shelled peas had a bunch of heavy pods hanging, so I decided it was time to pick some. This is the first time I've grown shelled peas and after this first picking, I can see I definitely won't have enough to freeze. I'll have to make note of that and plant more next year! What I picked today was enough for a meal and they were so, so sweet and tender.  I could have easily eaten nothing but those peas, but instead, I made fettucine, chicken, homemade alfredo sauce and the peas, lightly steamed.

Even better than picking the peas is a husband that sits with me and helps me shell the peas! It was a beautiful day, not too hot and sitting in the shade, watching the kids play in the pool while shelling peas was a nice way to pass the afternoon. I sure got lucky having a husband like mine to play house with!

Monday, June 25, 2012

And All is Well

The double birthday party went well. Family came, celebrated, ate, and left.
And the best part, my girl is home with us again!
I had visions of getting photos of her running out of the car and hugging her siblings, smiles on their faces. And you know what? That's exactly what happened, minus the camera! But that's ok, I'll always have that sight in my memories, of my children running to hug each other after a week apart.
Happy tears are running down my cheeks right now. I just love those kids so much! So, so much!

Grandma and Grandaddy came early, before everyone else, and we got to catch up a little bit with each other. Evelyn came home bearing small gifts for everyone. She was full of little stories of the stuff she did and I was able to get pictures off Grandma's camera.

Here's one of her when she was on the phone talking with us.  Some of those phone calls lasted an hour, and she had to get comfortable.  Oh my, she looks so much like a teenager here:

Can't you just imagine those future phone calls when she's older and talking with boys??
Anyone know how to stop time so I can keep her little?

She's different some how.  A little older, a little wiser. It was her first time staying at some one's home and seeing how they are around their house. Different eating and sleeping habits. Different lifestyle. She was surprised to see Grandma and Granddad's "office" which was the dining room table, normally cleared off and spotless when we're there, but turned into a desk with the laptop, mail, and piles of papers when it's just the two of them.  Helped her to see that we aren't the only ones who clean up before company comes!

She got to look through the family photo albums and hear stories of her dad from their point of view. Not just Daddy telling stories but *his* mom and dad telling stories about him. 

Grandma and Grandaddy got to know her better, too. To see that she is a smart young girl, reading any book she can get her hands on, able to hold conversations, and play games. They saw snippets of personalities in her that reminded them of Great-Grandma and Great-Grandad. They found an early picture of Great-Grandma Helen when she was in her 20s, maybe, and wow, Evelyn looks just like her. We'll be getting a copy of that picture soon and I look forward to trying to get her to pose similarly and keeping both pictures side by side. Evelyn's middle name comes from G.G. Helen's middle name, so it's really neat that she has this resemblance to her.

It's lovely having four children again to tuck into bed and kiss them all good night.
All is well... everything is just as it should be again.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Piece of My Heart

Sorry this space has been so quiet lately. Partly because I have nothing to say that feels new and fresh and not a repeat of something I've said before. Also because it's just so busy here. Isn't it summer? Aren't these days supposed to be lazy? Well, maybe for the kids, but for this mama here, it's as hectic as ever.

One never realizes how much one depends on someone until they're gone. In my case, my oldest girl, Evelyn, has gone to stay at her Grandparent's house for a week. Oh, those first few days were just so sad around here. The younger girls weeping and missing Evelyn so much. They are taking turns sleeping in her bed and counting the days for her return (tomorrow!). 

I know it was hard for Evelyn, too, to be apart from us. She called every night and every morning in tears, filled with homesickness. I wanted to drive those two hours like a crazy mother to rescue her crying baby and bring her home. We almost did, halfway through the week, thinking maybe 4 days was long enough. But we kept the car keys on the hook, took deep breaths, and repeat after me: "She will be fine. We will be fine." And she is. And we are. One tiny step closer to the day when she flies away from the nest, but I won't think about that now.

She still calls daily, sometimes twice, and now they are happy calls, full of chatter and what they did that day. The little ones jump up and down, hardly containing their excitement at being able to talk with Evelyn on the phone.

At home, with Evelyn gone, the first few days was lots of talk about boredom. "I'm bored!" Sylvia would cry. "There's nothing to do!" Gretchen exclaimed. They sat and moped and missed Evelyn's leadership and ideas of games to play. Eventually, they developed their own rhythm together and learned to figure out ideas of their own. I brought out the embroidery stuff and they both sewed pictures-- for Evelyn!  Gretchen has learned to play with Sylvia instead of teaming up with Evelyn and leaving her out. The girls are also paying more attention to Peter, helping him more, when before it was mostly Evelyn tending to Peter.

Peter has always marched to the beat of his own drum, so it almost seems like he doesn't miss his big sister. Almost. He gets upset seeing one of the girls sleeping in Evelyn's bed. He protests and demands they get out of "E'lyn's bed!" He'll see something and point out to anyone nearby that it belongs to "E'lyn"!

It's been good for all of us, this little separation. We've discovered how much we value Evelyn's presence and her help, her leadership and her guidance with her siblings. Her sisters have learned to do things on their own, rather than depending on someone else to tell them what to do. Her absence has, indeed, made our love grow stronger for each other.

She comes back tomorrow, to a birthday party for both her and her little brother, Peter. Not a surprise party-- she helped make small party favors, but she won't see us decorating the house and get a peek at the cake. It will be a wonderful party and the best gift will be having her home again!

 Welcome Home Evelyn!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Birthday Banner

I've seen birthday banners every where on the 'net.  Either homemade or commercially made. It's a really sweet idea and one I thought I would do myself, but just never got around to it.  
We had a birthday banner made from construction paper with letters cut out to spell 'Happy Birthday' and taped to yarn and we hung it up every birthday. Peter is now in his paper tearing stage, so it recently got destroyed. Evelyn's 10th birthday just came and went, and in true procrastinating fashion, I whipped up this birthday banner the night before her birthday.

It was a cinch to make. Took under 2 hours.
I had a bunch of lovely fabric sent to me from a blog-friend (Thanks!) and after making a cardboard template, I cut out 30 triangles, sewed them, flipped them inside out, sewed again to give the triangles a better shape, then sewed them to vintage bias tape.

Such pretty fabric, all flowered.

Each triangle is reversible with a different fabric on the other side, as demonstrated by Archie the cat.

"Aren't I, I mean, they beautiful?"

And here's the birthday girl, newly 10, all wrapped up!
Happy Birthday Evelyn!!

We love you!