Friday, November 30, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Like It Was Yesterday

I remember.
Our Maria Papaya.
The gift of her, completing our family.

She is a dream coming true.
Every day.

Happy Birthday, Maria. And thank you for being you... kind, sincere, curious, joyful, feminine, a dancer and a runner, a cook and a farmer, a robot designer and engineer, a spirited, loving, laughing, jumping, playing, exploring, inquiring, reading, singing, smiling girl. We love you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Maria, first grade, August 29, 2011

This photograph arrived in an email today, from a parent at Maria's school. Marianne... she's Noah's mom. Maria and Noah were first grade classmates. Pictures, like this, were used to make Christmas ornaments... er... probably "holiday" ornaments, but who are we kidding? In our home it's Christmas. Wasn't she sweet to send it to me?

I don't know which is making me more sentimental... seeing Maria, as she was a year ago, still only six years old, and new to her school, or the kindness of Marianne's email.

Maria fell at school. It was one of those ground vibrating, knee on concrete falls that you're sure will throb forever. Marianne was at a our side in a moment, asking if we could use some ice. She sent Noah and his friend, Trevor, to the office for an ice pack. She said it was a chance for them to practice chivalry. I think they've had a lot of practice, because they were back with ice, fast, and equally quick to ask if she was okay, whether she needed anything else? And Marianne offered a nice balance of sympathy and encouragement. Not too doting, but concerned. And then, this evening, the email arrived... how is sweet Maria's knee? And the photograph to cheer us up.

Marianne has been one of those people who appears, smiling, a familiar face at school, one I keep meaning to become better acquainted with. She's volunteering, or dashing in, she seems to know me, but I keep failing to fully engage, because... well, because life! I know it's about near impossible to be friends with every nice school parent, with every room-mom, but I would like to say, for the record: Marianne seems like someone well worth knowing.

In fact, I find I am surrounded by many friends, many people well worth knowing, and I feel neglectful and semi-absent. It makes me feel sorry, regretful. I have been tackling a string of health issues, some crazier than others, all of them a bit too consuming. And, it's not as though I have ever been particularly stellar in my correspondence, in staying active in the lives of all my friends, but oh-my-this-month I have felt keenly aware of how much I appreciate, and miss, and admire, and need my friends... near and far... some of whom have lately given me a great deal to feel thankful for, with their extra measures of support, kind words, caring, and Viking armor!

It cannot be too late to reflect on some Thanks Giving, right? My children are growing, and thriving. They have given me joy beyond measure, and some small scares, too, though nothing intentional. Things are good right now, and I am thankful. My husband is more dear, more a friend, more a partner than ever before, and that's saying a lot. I am so very thankful to feel this in love, this hopeful. Our schools, and circles of support, continue to reveal themselves to me, as good, inspiring, full of people who are friends I am just beginning to know. I am thankful for this feeling of community.

In the midst of challenges, setbacks, not mine alone, I find that the littlest kindnesses, the lights that glow, the hand that reaches out to hold my own, the strength of spirit in some that share, again, and again... I do not know how, but even the smallest signs of beauty are somehow sustaining everything. It may feel tenuous, it is sometimes painful, but here we are, moving forward.

I see you. Friends. I am praying with you, and feeling thankful for the community we share.

Twenty-Four Pies

Twenty-four little pies.
Boysenberry, and strawberry, and raspberry pies.
Bite sized delights, in a flaky, buttery crust.

I've made variations of these since I was a little girl... when my mommy would let me roll out the scraps of her pie crust. I never did take the time to learn to make a good pie crust, but now, with the help of Trader Joe's frozen pie crust, I can still make these tiny favorites.

Over the weekend I baked vegetarian pasty for the boys, and there was just enough leftover dough for Maria and me to roll, and cut out twenty-four cookie sized crusts, which we tucked gently into the mini-muffin pan. Then into each pie shell, we dropped a dollop of preserves. Apricot is my favorite. You can make them this simple, or even add tiny cut out dough toppings, or sprinkle a few chopped pecans, or walnuts on top. I baked them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until they were golden and bubbling. And there's always some helpful child who comes around, offering to eat the ugly ones! The ugly ones are so yummy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Night at The Nutcracker

We practically bought up a whole section of the beautiful Star Theater, so we could all enjoy Bambi's much anticipated performance in The Nutcracker. Besides us Bird House folks, Holly, Izzy, and Ruth came, too. It was a treat meeting and waiting for the curtain to open, watching for our favorite ballerina.

It seems like she has been rehearsing nonstop, and I know she's ready for a dance rest, but it was plain to see that she loves dancing. No photography during the performance, so you'll just have to take my word for it: Bambi was really lovely, dancing the Chinese. Her own experience and talent, shone through, and she had a line up of adorable ballet beginners in tow.

Bambi also danced in the snow scenes... would that make her like a snowflake, or a snow fairy? Whichever it was, she looked, top to toes, graceful and poised. Oh, and she danced the waltz, too. It was all so pretty! You can see how proud her mom is.

Alex brought his girlfriend flowers. Here she is with her mom and dad. They've been supporting her dancing for twelve years. And they have good reason to feel proud.


I love how dear they are together... a couple that brings out the best qualities in each other.

Well, with Thanksgiving behind us, and a magical night with family together enjoying music and dance, out on the town... looks like the holidays are shining brightly already!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thank Goodness For Family

Nick, Alex, Max, and William
Holly and Rich's home for Thanksgiving

We enjoyed a lovely, relaxed, evening,
thanks in large part to the hostess with the most, Holly.
She's happily whipping up her favorite dish of the holiday... mashed potatoes!
William saved the day for me by preparing our vegetarian contribution.
He set up a salad bar.

Ruth roasted the turkey, and Rich carved.

The children call her Tutu, their Grandmother from Hawaii.

I love Thanksgiving, and my family.

I love preparing a Thanksgiving meal, too. But this year, it was a real blessing to sit back and leave the preparations in more capable hands. It really brought the gratitude home.

I know William, Alex, Max, and Maria had a good time at their cousin's home... bouncing, shooting hoops, playing together, and enjoying all the delicious foods and comforts.

After a rousing game of Apples to Apples, Izzy insisted on just one more game.
She introduced Maria to Guess Who.

Can you Guess Who is adding this new-to-her game to her Christmas wish list?