Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Foreheads:: another reason for gratitude

I have a hunch you've never counted foreheads as a body part on your growing gratitude list. Without a one, mexicanjumpingbain would most certainly have been blinded in one eye when the tie down he was casually playing with whipped back and whacked him in the forehead.

There are times when you've got to be grateful something did NOT happen.

And for the divine placement of foreheads.

holy experience
linked to Ann

Friday, August 26, 2011

If you had 4 sons

...you might also possess in your vocabulary no less than 14 words for "penis".

...you might also tell one of them to "walk it off" and get a doctor prescribed walking boot the next day.

...you might also have spent $1,326,200 on every Star Wars figure, ship and light saber ever produced.

...you might also know your local GameStop employees by name.

...you might also be so acclimated to the noise level in your home that you tend to yell even at lunch with your girlfriends.

...you might also believe that pizza, chicken nuggets and burgers are the 3, and only 3, food groups.

...you might also never notice when anyone burps, farts or punches someone anymore.

...you might also enjoy a cocktail or two every {night} now and then.

Another day, another story,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This fall is for Family

The colorful, inviting signs are up on every corner. The push is on. To join. And participate. To get on some/any ball team. After discussing possible options, Mainbain and I decided that this fall is just for family.

While we had a wonderfully fun and full baseball season, I felt my tail feathers dragging at the thought of gearing up for another round of scheduled must-show-up activities. When 4 kids play anything other than a backyard scrimmage, it becomes your other job. You know the one you weren't sure you wanted but figured must be good for you, somehow. So, we are reallocating the sign up fee (x4), estimating all the gas money it would take for practices (x4) and games (x4) and gear (x4) and using it for different kinds of family fun.

Here are 10 things we will be doing as a family instead of driving countless miles for practices, hunting for cleats and standing on the side lines cheering.

::Top (almost) Unorganized Family Activities::

After supper walks and bike rides : We have so much relaxing fun simply being together. It is something to make memories tootling down our little dirt road aimlessly chatting about our day.

Going to visit friends and Family: There's a wedding here, grandparents and friends there, cousins and Aunts and Uncles all over and this fall our family will have and resources to go visit. There are important memories that need to be made, but we've got the show up to make them.

Kickball: Just because we aren't playing sports, doesn't mean we aren't playing. I love that the baintrain loves this easily adaptable game. We bought a playground ball (remember that boing-y sound?) and use various scraps of wood as the bases. If you can walk, you can play. We will include some of our younger cousins/neighbors as well as grandparents in our standing Sunday afternoon family game.

Nothing: which could include, but doesn't have to: lego, wii, drawing, reading, and impromptu acting, fiddle, piano and guitar performances. Might even throw in a little laundry to keep things interesting. Again with the being together.

A Family Character study: I've had this little gem on a dusty shelf for a few years - great time to break it out. The surprisingly fun and brief lessons engage 13 year old stringbain right down to 5 year old butterbain.

DIY projects: Bottom line: they are old enough to help. There are some things we aren't going to do ourselves, (putting down groovy new cork floor in the kitchen), but we can use-or learn to-paintbrushes and enjoy working together. Just like learning to cook, I think they need to learn and practice basic fixerupper skills. And the kitchen really does need painting.

Day trips: Living at least an hour and a half from civilization makes it hard to take advantage of local entertainment. Entertainment can be defined lots of ways, but with a free schedule we'll be able to plow through interesting museums, wander around zoos and barrel down rollercoasters at amusment parks.

Making stuff: I am not crafty, but for the last few years I've wanted to make most of what we give away. I've even prepared a list and made most of the items for us to try, but there's never been time to assemble the gifts. Now we've got time to brainstorm about gift baskets and figure out what we can do together.

Saying YES!: When we're all geared up for organized sports our schedule remains rigidly tight. There's not time for a late night movie, or lost shoes, or jumping on the trampoline before bed - we lose almost all spontaneity. One memory I hope to make more than any other is an emphatic YES! to those last minute possibilities.

Date Night: Surely the necessity of this needs no explanation. If you've ever been at a field 3-4 night a week, the last thing on the adgenda is getting ready to go somewhere else - even if it is with your main squeeze. This fall, when Friday or Saturday night rolls around, I'm looking forward to putting on something other than my pajamas.

Like Em said, this is what we decided will work for our family this fall. Doesn't mean I never want to see them boot a soccer ball into a goal or slam a stand-up double again. It's just time to do something different. We've sacrificed sanity to coach, and lost our cool getting everybody to a field to play a game on time.

It's time for a change. This year what we'll be joining and participating in is our own team.

linked to amanda
and kristen

The Argument for Slacking

"Hello, my name is Emily and my kids don't play soccer."

This time of year (although a lot of people's summer "vacation" is indistinguishable) the back-to-school buzz of sports teams and dance classes and enrichment activities is deafening. At every season change, I feel a teensy bit of pull to encourage my boys to try something new or sign up Number 4 for something, anything. 

I never get used to the look on people's faces when I tell them our boys only participate in one (maybe 2 depending on driving-practice-fee commitment) extracurricular activity at a time. Number 1 plays regular, non-super-ultra competitive basketball. Number 2 focuses on the Fall school musical and after-school, at-the-school chess club in the Spring. Numbers 3 and 4 haven't ever been involved in anything more organized that a water gun fight or big brother vs. little brother trampoline wrestling match.

I'm not anti-ballet, anti-soccer or anti-karate, just anti-activities to the exclusion of all else. I am grateful now that I took ballet lessons (only ballet lessons) my whole childhood. And I enjoyed it, 3 or 4 hours a week.

This is what works for our family. There is enough chaos around here without taking the show on the road any more than necessary. We prefer to have extra time to do something or nothing together. We'd rather spend time together going to the zoo or a ballgame. We can visit with grandparents and out of town family and friends without working around 4 different practice/game schedules. St. Joel and I have time to spend with each other and with our own friends. 

Under-scheduled may not be ideal plan for everyone, but it is for us. Our kids are happy and healthy. We are happy and unfrazzled. I just wonder how many parents realize they have a choice?

Related links:
How do you do it? 

Saturday mornings are for...  

John Rosemond's thoughts

Another day, another story,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Number 2 Rocks It

If I can't post a video of Number 2 rocking his latest original song on his drums on this website, what good is it really?  


Another day, another story,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Coconut {breakfast} pie

Growing up, one of my Mama's ubiquitiously pleasing recipes was a concoction called Coconut Custard Impossible Pie. Always doubled, I'm sure she memorized it after whipping it together in the blender the first few times. I know for fact she's forgotten the butter, not had enough milk, and substituted just about everything but the coconut in this recipe.

In my quest for the holy grail of perfect (gluten free, protein rich, simple and quick) breakfast food, Mama's coconut pie popped into my head. I knew I could easily adapt it from being sugar-laden dessert into a delightful and delicious protien-y breakfast the baintrain would give their blessing to.

Coconut {breakfast} pie
makes 9x13 pan
Tip: make night before if you'd like to serve cold

2 (6 oz)packages frozen (unsweetened) coconut -
7 eggs
2/3 c coconut sugar
6 T coconut flour
3 c milk
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Preheat oven to 350.
Obviously this is super easy::
Put everything but flour into your blender, and blend for about a minute - add coconut flour after everything else is well blended.

Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake about 45 minutes, til the top is golden brown, your mouth is watering and the custard middle is set.
Resist burning the roof of your mouth by tasting it right out of the oven.

Chill overnight. In the morning serve big squares with chopped fresh fruit on top. Some words around the breakfast table this morning were, pieforbreakfast??, terrific and amazing. Some words were unintelligible because their mouths were stuffed so full.

You might want to memorize this one too...

linked to
Designs by Gollum,
Rachel, Jen,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Number 4 turns 4

My words from this day last year are just as fitting today and probably will be for years to come - with one change. Today Number 4 is FOUR.
Four years ago today, Number 4 came into the world ahead of schedule (and in spite of a worthless epidural) to complete our family.  A light in the darkness of illness and uncertainty.  A joy in the midst of sadness.  

Four years later, he is a constant reminder that life does, indeed go on.  And I continue to choose to go with it.

Happy 4th Birthday, my light and joy.

Another day, another story,  


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