Monday, February 22, 2010

kitty ballet


KK is super excited about being given a hand-me-down dance leotard from E. She periodically pulls it out from her drawer and asks me "This for my dance class?". She can't wait until she is old enough to go to dance class herself. Meanwhile, she has to be content with wearing the leotard around the house. I took these pictures of her as she bounced on my bed, a rare treat.


Bouncing

This past weekend we had the pleasure of going to a birthday party at one of those bouncy places. We were ushered into a huge room with about 4 big blow-up slides and bouncy castles. E and N rushed right in, eager to get bouncing as soon as possible.

Surprisingly, K was a little hesitant. It took her about 15 minutes before she would get into one of the castles, where she bounced a little before it was crowded with the big kids.

After a half hour in the first room, we were directed into room #2 that had even bigger slides. Ed rode down a couple of times with K, but she didn't love it (as you can see).

She was content to play on the "baby" slide.

After the party the kids were asking when we could go back, begging to have their birthday party there. Maybe next year, when K is older and will enjoy it, we'll do a combo "friend/family" big birthday bash.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Then and Now

Then


...and now



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Out with the old

My mom asked me to come over to her house to photograph her bathroom before she did some renovations. She has some beautiful fixtures and an old claw foot tub that will have to go in favor of new, unrusted, updated models. Although she loves the old, it would be too expensive to rehab them for her new bathroom. It is a project that has been long anticipated, but there was never enough money for it, until now. Another bittersweet reality of my Dad's death- my Mom finally has the money for projects that she has had on the back burner for years, but of course, at a dear price.


Here are some of my favorites.






And one final shot that I had to include. My mom has seriously had this brush for as long as I can remember. It must be at least 30 years old.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rescue Me


We have had a lot of snow in the past couple of weeks, which has been mostly great. The kids have been sledding, making snowmen, eating snow ice cream, and enjoying time off of school (6 straight days including two snow days and a 4 day weekend!). Although they have fun playing together, it is even better when a friend or two comes to visit, so we have had several playdates to break up the 6 days of being house- bound. All in all, I was enjoying the snow, since I didn't actually have to be driving in it. Until this morning.

We had a couple of inches on the ground, with more of the white stuff still falling, but it was forecasted to stop and so school was on. I have to say that I absolutely hate driving in the snow. My van can't handle very well, and will start churning its wheels on a slick hill in a rainstorm, so you can imagine how it does in snow. So it wasn't with the best attitude that I bundled the kids into the car and made my way across town. My heart was complaining, as I would rather have stayed home. Fortunately, the main roads were fine, some slushy spots, but mostly clear. It wasn't until I turned down a side street that I realized I was in trouble. I was faced with a hill that was completely covered with snow, I couldn't turn back or around, so I went forward, hoping that I would make it to the top.

I was doing pretty well until I came upon two cars, parked on opposite sides of the street in a way that I would have to snake my way between them to get by. As I passed the second car, my rear wheels slid into a snow bank, my tires churned, and I was stuck. Completely stuck. What was I to do? I had 3 little kids in the car, and although I was a block away from the school, I couldn't walk them there safely as the sidewalks were all covered with snow. I called Ed anxiously, tearfully explaining to him the situation, but he obviously couldn't help me from his office down in Chester. I remembered my AAA membership at this point, and so I called and stated my predicament. They promised to be there in a half hour to 45 minutes. This seemed like a long time to be stuck in the car with 3 little kids. I worried that they would need to use the bathroom, or start to fuss in their seats, or even that the car would get too cold since I was almost out of gas and had turned off the engine to conserve. So I tried to move the car again, and shoveled out around the tires, but it didn't work.

I re-entered the car, discouraged and just leaned my head against the steering wheel, crying out, "I can't get the car to move! I don't know what to do!" All of sudden, a little voice piped up, "Daisy, I know what we can do!" I turned to Addie, with thoughts running through my head as to what kind of advice a 2 year old could give me in this kind of situation. "What is that, Addie?" Her sweet answer? "We can pray." All of a sudden I was humbled by this little one, reminding me of how I should have been acting from the very beginning. Instead of crying, and complaining about the situation, I should have been calm and prayerful. I turned to Addie with a smile, and agreed that we should pray.

After that, I found some knitting in my bag and KK suggested that we sing "Jesus Loves Me". As we sang, I reflected on the truths expressed in the words, and it calmed my spirit. I wasn't helpless. I was weak, but He is strong. I knew I had no control over my circumstances right now, but I did have control over how I responded to it.

As promised, it wasn't long before the tow truck came. When I saw it, I cried out,"Look! There is the truck! Jesus answered our prayers!" The driver came around the side of the car to talk to me, and then started towing us out. Addie must have been thinking hard about the way we were rescued, because she she asked with a note of wonder in her voice, "Is that God?" Her sweet innocence made me smile as I responded, " No, that isn't God, but He sent that man to help us."

I was reminded of Psalm 34:7 today "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and he delivers them." Sometimes the way God delivers us from trouble is obvious- a towtruck, pulling you out of a snowdrift. Other times the trouble is in your own heart, and the Lord delivers you from your sin. To my complaining, fearful heart he sent help in the form of a couple of two year old girls, reminding me of where to turn when I didn't know what to do, and also of His love for me.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lost

It started off with my dad's voice, gravelly, and deep, and a second later my mom's higher voice joining in the background, both singing,

"Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday, dear K,

Happy Birthday to You!"


And then my dad again, "Happy Birthday, K! We love you, sweetie, we'll see you tomorrow", my mom chiming in the background, "Happy Birthday, K! We love you!", and then both of them saying "Good-bye!" and it was over.

A love note to my daughter from her grandparents. A voice mail message on my phone. Every month I would press "9" and save it, for myself, so that I wouldn't forget my father's voice, and the way my parents' voices sounded together, so different, so right.

For K, so that she would a tangible reminder of her Papi that loved her so. A Papi she would only remember through pictures and stories. A Papi she would never really know herself. I would be able to save this little piece of his love for her for when she was older, and could appreciate it.


Some months I would push "9" and listen with tears running down my face, as I felt the loss again. Wishing that it was still April 4, 2009, and that my dad was still here. Some months I would listen as I drove, and remember with a smile how he sounded, and then go on with my day, saying a quick prayer for my mom. Some months I would press "9" without listening, the pain too great, my heart too fragile.

And then it was Christmas, and somehow in all the busy-ness of the month, I didn't push "9" when I heard the reminder message, and I forgot to do it later, and I just realized about a month ago that the message was lost.

Irretrievably, irrevocably, heart breakingly, lost.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dutch Apple Pie

Our neighbors to the right are from the Netherlands, and have been here on business, for the past 2 1/2 years. They will be returning home this summer, so Annette offered to teach Anna, another neighbor, and me, how to make a Dutch Apple Pie. It was a little confusing trying to convert grams to cups and teaspoons, but I managed to edit the recipe she had printed out for us , so that I can attempt to make this on my own (I kept the original measurements below in case you are so inclined to take out your kitchen scale and use exact amounts). It is a bit involved, what with the rolling and lattice top, but it is worth the work as the smell of baking apples fills your home. And the end product is almost too pretty too eat. Almost.


2 1/4 c self rising flour (300g)
2/3 c brown sugar (150g)
1 Tbsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c butter, in pieces (175g)
1 egg, lightly beaten
pinch of salt
6 apples, peeled & sliced (1kg)
3/4 c raisins (100g)
1/4 c sugar (50g)
3 tsp cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp bread crumbs
Springform pan, greased and floured

1. Mix flour, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, butter, 2/3 of the egg (reserve the rest for brushing on crust), and a pinch of salt in a mixer or food processor.

2. Knead into a soft dough. Separate about 3/4 of dough, roll out thinly, use bottom of springform pan to trace shape, cut and carefully place circle in bottom of pan. Roll dough again, cut 2 inch strips to place up the sides of the pan. Press firmly, cover with bread crumbs.

3. Combine apples, raisins, sugar and cinnamon. Spoon mixture into springform (or for a more artistic look, like we did, lay pieces out in a spiral pattern in layers).

4. Roll remaining dough out, cut into strips about 1/2 in. wide. Lay on top of apples in a lattice pattern. Fold edges down from around the pan's side over the lattice work. Brush remaining egg over crust.

5. Bake pie in preheated 325 degree oven for an 1 hr- 1hr 15 min. Top should be golden brown.

6. Let the pie cool ten minutes before removing sides of pan, top with whipped cream.