Thursday, October 30, 2008

And another

The dialog is particularly amusing!

Watch this!

Can you see the toes, touching the forehead? Flexible little baby. I have a longer video, and will try to upload it after a few unsuccessful tries, but this gives you a little taste of our little baby.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Per Request

A request was made for the recipe for "Butternut Bisque", so here it is. I have been making this for years in the fall, and it is definitely one of the traditions of autumn in this family.

2 - 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed (some stores sell it this way)
2 Tbsp butter (I add a few Tbsp of olive oil, as well)
2 carrots, sliced (I add 1-2 more)
1 onion, chopped (I add 1 more)
1 stalk celery, chopped (I add 2 more; one stalk of celery looks so lonely)
(not in the original recipe, but I add a clove or two of crushed garlic)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (I add 1-2 more)
5-6 cups chicken stock (I often use veggie stock to make this fast friendly)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
pinch each: nutmeg & ginger (I add more, a few extra pinches for good measure)
sour cream for garnish (I use Greek yogurt)

Melt butter in a large, heavy soup pot; add carrots, onion & celery; saute until soft. Stir the squash & potatoes into the vegetables. Add the stock; bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer, partially covered for 40 minutes. Add curry, nutmeg and ginger. Puree the soup in batches in a blender (I use a hand held blender wand. Worth every penny. Get one if you don't have one).
If you used a blender, return soup to the pot. If you used a hand held blender, no need to make all that mess. Seriously, go get one if you don't have one. Add stock or water if necessary to thin soup. I usually add a little soy sauce now to add a little salty flavor and to deepen the color beautifully.

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) if you like.

As you can see I add more of everything, and probably use more than the prescribed amount of squash. I just buy one good sized squash, or two smaller ones. I don't measure too much, and I have made this so many times I know what I like. I wrote the original recipe so you, too, can decide how the soup shall be in your own home. This is a versatile recipe, so fiddle around with it a little, and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Welcome to my very neglected little piece of cyberspace.

Life just keeps chugging along, most of it important but not blog worthy (read: boring). Some of the most important things I do fit that description. Reading to my little ones. You don't need to hear about that. Laundry. Really don't need to hear about that. Helping the middle kids with school. Didn't you all have enough grammar when you learned it? Doing co-op with the older kids ~ now I find diagramming sentences interesting, and I am thinking the pendulum lab we are doing is quite worthwhile. But do you all need to hear about it in detail? I think not.

Cooking. Now that has been boring lately, too, because I have been so busy I haven't don't the fun kind of cooking yet, excepting the Butternut Bisque I made Friday. Now that wasn't boring! Yum.

Watching way too much political commentary on T.V. Getting very boring, if not unsettling. I really don't like the chasm that has erupted in our country.

Church meetings, Grandmas' 90th birthday party, Fall Bonfire, these are all things that consumed my weekend. Not boring, but not really blog worthy, either.

I finally got that tooth (remember all the trouble that tooth caused me a while back) finished with it's permanent crown, no root canal needed after all. Where you guys praying for me, or what?

And last, but not least, I finally made it to the midwife, and heart my little one's heart beat for the first time. NOT boring. I don't care how many babies I have, that is one of the most beautiful sounds ever! And, this week I'll be getting an ultrasound.

Question? Did you all find out the gender prenatally with your babies? I didn't with six of them, did with one. I am leaning toward finding out, but am enjoying coming up with names for both genders right now, and am not certain I want to end the fun quite yet.

What did you all do?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A quickie

My four year old daughter came into my room this morning in a summer nightgown.

"Aren't you cold?," I asked.

"I don't know," she said, "Are my lips purple?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

His little sisters were VERY happy to see their brother!

Our Family at the the Vietnam Memorial in NYC

Some Pennsylvania color

View from the front of my son's school

The kids on the Staten Island Ferry

Statue of Liberty and a tug boat. I was surprised how excited we all were to see Lady Liberty.

I have more photos, but I'll be busy most the weekend, and didn't want to leave you all hanging. More of NYC and the trip to come next week.

Clothing ritual

Well, today, after spending way too long in my bathrobe due to "nothing to wear", I went up to the attic and pulled down the maternity bin.


Fortunately, I found a few "middle of pregnancy" outfits. A few of the clothes in the bin look impossible large, and I did get a bit of a shiver contemplating the day that they fit. Eeps. So, now I pack all my jeans, skirts with waists, and non-nursing able dresses away in the empty maternity bin, put them up in the attic, and await the day I get to open it and see what, if anything, fits. I like to think that day could be like Christmas, opening the box of beloved clothes that I can button or tie. Or, it could be a depressing day, when I see the futility of even trying the zipper. Oh well, that is for a different, far away day, and until then I'll enjoy the elastic bounty I just un-earthed, and get dressed.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We're Baaaack!

We are all home, safe and sound. What a fabulous trip! I can't wait to post some of the gorgeous photos. The fall color on the East Coast is beyond description, unlike anything I have ever seen.

I was thrilled to see my boy, who really isn't a boy at all, but nearly a man. I have never gone six weeks without seeing one of my children, and it was a shock to see him so different than when he left. The high point of the trip was walking into the refrectory for lunch, and surprising him. The delight on his face was so pure and unfiltered, I don't think I have seen that on his face since he was much younger. The most difficult part of the trip was saying good bye to him again, especially looking back at the school as we drove down the long, winding driveway, and seeing his silhouette waving from the doorway. He was all by himself out there, as the rest of the students were in study hall, and it just felt wrong driving away and leaving him there.

Anyway, the weekend we had together as a family was refreshing and fun, and beautiful and exciting. We went to NYC, a place I had never previously been, and frankly once is enough! But it was fun to see so many famous places and sights, and yet, made me even more grateful for our three crazy acres in the woods.

The long hours in the van gave my husband and I lots of time together, which we haven't had in years, it seems. Amazing what a little time together can do to refresh a relationship. The mood in the van was far superior on the way home than it was on the way out, due mostly to the fact that we had reconnected; vital for a good, strong marriage.

I am very grateful for this vacation, and for the opportunity for us all to be together. I realize that this is the beginning of the phase of life where "being all together" is a treat rather than the status quo. I wonder if it ever feels less strange as a mom to not have all her babies together in the same house? Will I get used to it by the time some of the younger ones are leaving home?

Photos to follow in the next few day.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

I can't believe it's been that long ALREADY!!

While I am gone, my husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary (tomorrow). I can't think of one new thing to say, so will re-post my favorite called "Fourteen Years and Counting". Now it is SIXTEEN years, but the story and the struggle and the realities are all the same. Of course, there have been some changes. Company folded, new employment sought, new baby on the way, eldest child at a school far away. But the substance is the same, and I am grateful for it.

Fourteen years ago, I was nervously enduring photos. My mother and me, my father and me, my brothers and me, my 3 closest friends and me. In the other room, I knew there was someone whose stomach was just as jumbly, whose hands were just as clammy, whose mouth was just as dry.

Later, as I walked down the aisle, I felt an "out of body" disbelief that I was really going to do this. I was really going to make promises FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, not knowing what I was going to experience along the way.

My dad was teary-eyed, which I had never seen before. My mom was misty as well. My betrothed looked like he was going to throw up, pale, but bright eyed. And then I hugged my dad goodbye, and I turned to the man who was to be my partner for the rest of our days. I had the same feeling as the one time I went cliff diving. Ready or not, JUMP! Fear, but exhileration.

We have had some very productive years. Seven children, 3 moves, a company begun and continued.

We have had lots of fun together ~ one of the main reasons I even went out with him twice was because he made me laugh so often.

We have had lots of hurts. It is amazing how you can wound and be wounded by the love of your life. We have needed every day of these 14 years to realize that our personal happiness is not the point of being married. That love really is giving til it hurts, and then forgiving the hurt and being willing to give again. And we have not always been in sync with this notion of mutual self-donation. When both people are equal in their sacrificial love, it isn't so difficult, really. But when you are out of sync, and one gives while the other one takes, and then you switch off because now "it's my turn to get", well, love suffers.

We have had joy beyond words welcoming each of our seven children, despite the fact that many times they were not "planned" and therefore caused us worry and fear. The Saturday mornings when we have a passel of children in our bed, or when we are eating dinner and we look around the table and see the abundance of our lives, these are the times we have no words for our gratitude; we look into each other's eyes across all the children, or the long table, and share a deep gaze of amazement.

We are two first-born children, who always think we are right, and yet rarely have the same ideas. We have many opportunities to practice negotiations, and as we get older, being right isn't quite as important as it used to be. We have learned the hard way that being right can come at a heavy cost. It is rarely worth the price our love pays.

We married in our late twenties, and had for the most part assumed we would never meet someone who "fit". It all happened quickly; met in January, engaged in March, married in October, became homeowners in April and parents in July. And then another baby the year after that, then another, and another, and so on.

It is only just recently the whirlwind has slowed enough for me to really look at my life. How did I get from Professional, Single and content to Married, mom to many and truly filled up? So quickly. Where did all these people come from, and how did they get so deep in me, so deep that I am changed forever?

And our story is just begining in so many ways. The idea of "True Love" has changed dramatically for me, anyway. I am realizing just how much of a burden I put on him to create for me the perfect romance. How disappointment can poison a relationship. How fear of suffering and sorrow can limit the amount of love poured out.

Love is a mystery. The love that endures when the "feelings" are low, the love that grows when there is much sorrow, the love that holds us together when we are so upset. That is a mystery. That is grace, and without it, we would never make it.

Love is easy when there is joy and happiness, and completely taken for granted. The love that I am the most grateful for is the love that binds us together when all wordly forces are pulling us apart. It is in this love that I know Christ, I believe in Him, I trust Him, and I love Him. He is the only person that can make sense out of real LOVE. And I thank Him every day that my dear husband loves and trust Him as well. When my husband and I are exhausted and hurt, we can seek refuge in Christ, and Christ always leads us back to each other.

So, that is our story, in a way. We believe that God led us to each other and will hold us together. We believe He sent us our children as gifts and lessons. We believe we are each other's "path to heaven". We look forward to being old together and then praising God together for all eternity.

A trip

I am going to go visit my eldest this weekend, so will be off line for a while. I am looking very forward to this trip, as you all can imagine. Please pray for a safe trip, and I'll be back next week.


Thursday, October 02, 2008


I keep a supply of frozen lasagna and macaroni and cheese on hand for those especially busy days, so that the main part of dinner is a no brainer. Just last night we had the macaroni and cheese, with some other homemade side dishes. My 12 year old daughter commented that we are a lucky, lucky family becuase when we buy frozen dinners, we don't get the "family size", WE have to get the "Party Size". For the rest of the meal, we were elaborating on the point that our life together is a big, noisy festivity. Aren't we lucky? It is all in how you look at things, isn't it??

Have a blessed day!