Saturday, December 31

After this post, I will officially be a Mommy Blogger. I've never blogged about my kids more than a word here and there and a few images. But I have to say that I am really in Love with the stages that they're in right now. Nahuel is so tender and sensitive and I love the way that he needs me. But his affection has expanded lately. Being a nursing Mamma's boy it's only natural that his attachment to me is stronger, but lately he shows more the need for his Papa's gentleness. He also gets more mischievous by the hour. Anything that can be strewn across the floor will be.  We've been busy securing all furniture and seeking out hiding places because everything is either a ladder or a hide out for more trouble.

Ada lives more in her own imaginative world every time I look at her, but more so when I've just tied a bow in the back of her dress. Ada is very particular about dresses. A dress is not a dress unless is is ankle length, soft, flowy and has some ruffles with a long sash that ties in the back. This is convenient since her Grandmother is a dressmaker and has volumes worth of sewing wisdom for her mother. I intend to take advantage fully of this feminine tendency of Ada's, being a lover of dresses myself, but by no means a prompter of this creative glitch, uniquely hers. I outgrew my Mothers good taste when I was about 12 and ever since have been trying to master the art of figuring out how to make whatever it is I want with dollar-a-yard fabric and no zippers, buttons, or any special stitches or feet. Sometimes I feel bad for her because she doesn't have a Mother who will teach her the wiles of womanhood. I paint my nails about once a year. I love to wear dresses with tennis shoes, I brush my hair about once a month. That's not to say I don't look in the mirror, but using a brush for more than my teeth is definitely not in my daily routine. (Actually Ariel gave Ada and I an assortment of brushes for Christmas because we didn't have any, anymore...)

My favorite part about when Ada wears a dress is the look on her face just after she finishes putting it on. As soon as it registers in her mind that she is wearing a dress A hazed almost drugged look floods her eyes as she focuses on some image in her mind of I wish I knew what and where...Sometimes she spreads her fingers out and runs them down the length of the skirt until her fingers no longer reach and then flips them out and twirls. Often she wanders around in a daze or just sits there for a few minutes and it's useless to talk to her because she is in a very far away place. Only when you clap in front of her face or catch her eye with something flashy and pretty does she look at you and giggle, not because she has been woken into this reality, but because you have suddenly become part of what she is imagining.

Last night we came home from a party where Ada's coat mysteriously disappeared, much to my annoyance. It wasn't very cold and wrapping my scarf around her neck was plenty to send her out into the air. When we arrived Ada and Nahuel ran off like they usually do to play their game of making Mama or Papa carry them into the house, stopping at the grapevine angel choir that lights up our house for the holidays. Ada said that the angels were cold and started to take off the scarf and wrap it around the neck of the angel at the front. At which time I ran inside to grab the camera and arrived just as she was putting the finishing touch on the scarf wrap.

I might add my children are obsessed with yard art. It if were up to them we'd have pinwheels and wishing wells and little statues of people all over. But alas I have not yet come to that place in my life, though I don't doubt that I will.  After the scarf was in place Ada stood and surveyed the scene and then walked up to the scarved figure and kissed the lighted being, walked to each one in turn, kissing them as well.

Some people are Huggers, some people prefer a good handshake at arms length and others a slight nod.  My Son is going through an identity crisis and is still figuring out what he is, but the rest of us here, we're Kissers.  It's one of the parts of Ariel's culture that I love most. Warm and inviting. When you walk into a gathering no matter how large or small, it's customary to walk around to each individual and kiss them a hello. It's a custom that breaks the ice, helps you to meat new people. After all, if you're in the same gathering, you must have something in common and there's an unconscious part of it that is validating. Obviously if I'm clean, good, pretty, human, enough to be kissed then I'm doing something right. I've mostly learned where to kiss and where not to kiss, but sometimes I go into kissing mode and kiss people that most definitely don't understand why I would do such a thing. Of course it's not necessarily a real kiss and my lips don't necessarily actually touch your cheek or any other part of your skin. It's a greeting that is cherished in hundreds of cultures around the globe and I feel that it helps people feel more connected. Once you've kissed someone there's no going back. It doesn't matter whether you are the same or agree or even like each other, you can deal with each other on civil terms.

Language is a key topic in our household, not just because my kids are learning what it is, but because we have a bilingual home and both languages are constantly growing and taking shape in one or the other of Ariel and I. Because of this Ada, though three, doesn't talk very much. Actually I don't know very many other three year old children very well. Maybe they don't talk very much either, but Ada is smart enough in every other way that I'm not worried about how she'll grasp it or when. She understands completely every word in both languages, she just doesn't say all of them yet. However with every other way of communicating Ada is a master.

All of these things combined make this figurative moment very important in how I view Ada and Nahuel and Mothering them in this place in our lives. Imaginative, sensitive to others needs, affectionate, playful. I can't claim to have researched every part of every stage of development that my kids will ever go through. All I know is that they are unique and beautiful. I believe that the nature of being human contains a self-propelled need to grow and change; experiment until you get something right and then move on to the next stage. I feel, in very simplified terms, that if I feed the need they'll make their own choices about what makes them happy and what they need to learn and will be at a great advantage having figured out how to learn early in life, something that I'm still figuring out.

I guess in a way this is my New Years resolution. In the last year I've been too distracted from what changes my kids are making. They are at a critical stage in their figuring out how to be people. Along with dog training and personal training and expanding my gardening skills and area are my kids. One important goal as I go into a new phase of Motherhood is to come up with a solid yet flexible plan to help my children to learn who they are, including reading and writing and enjoying simple things that will form them into anything but simple.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30

Holy Crud. I've had so many things to blog about in the last months. But most of them were Christmas related and the clock just never stopped tick tick ticking. Now it's all over Oh, alright, we still have two actual Holiday's left. But it seems very anticlimactic to share anything that might no help until oh, next Christmas. But I just have to share this one. I only wish that I'd taken more pictures...

As usual I went looking on the web for something I wanted to do to see if anybody had done it. And they hadn't. Something similar yes, but not the same and you just never know if what you're going to do will turn out, especially if no one paves the way with a tutorial beforehand. I was intending this to be the only thing I gave to most of my family, which is a LOT of people when you add it all up. In other words I needed to make sure they were good and that I didn't waste the whole lot without it turning out well. Here's what I made...

I call them , Cocosinalmonish Delight. I imagine that in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Evil Winter Queen gave Edmond something like this...Yes I know what she really gave him.

I guess it's time to explain one of my kitchen quirks...I (almost) only use one kind of sugar. I use other natural sweeteners, but as for sugar, I tend to stick with demerara. I have been persuaded in the past by some unmentionables, that sugar was an evil evil thing and I tend to agree. But I like to think that by using something in it's raw and unrefined form, I'm doing myself and my family a favor. It drives Ariel crazy (every once in a while he shows up with a bag of white sugar), but he has adjusted to drinking mate with it (I have yet to persuade him to use agave syrup, which is my next evil conniving plan), which is the most important thing in our house.  But the problem I find is that without enough moisture to disolve the large crystals of demerara, whatever I make comes out a little too sugary. Delicious. But the one thing I might change about this recipe is the Demerara. I think next time I'll try blending it in a dry blender to break the crystals down more, or YOU could just use white sugar as was in the closest original recipe found here. You COULD use their recipe. But then you wouldn't know how wonderful my magic ingredient is.

So the journey to this recipe included at least three different tries, one was made with maple syrup and wasn't nearly flavorful or sweet enough (scratched completely), one I forgot to add the magic ingredient, and the last was ALmost perfect.  

Here is the recipe

Cocosinalmonish Delight

2 Egg Whites, 
4 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups raw almonds
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c dry unsweetened shredded coconut

Very simple to make, combine dry ingredients in one bowl(minus almonds. In a larger mixing bowl beat egg whites until frothy but not stiff. This is very important. Definitely the touchiest part of the recipe. The egg white are used to bind the sugars and other ingredients together, if it is too stiff, the egg whites won't want to stick to the nuts and you'll have a crumbly but delicious mess. If you want a dryer powdery nut instead of a golden crisp nut use another egg white or two as in picture just above. When you've frothed the egg whites, add the vanilla, Do Not Forget To Add the Vanilla. I believe at some point I did a small batch with no vanilla, There was a severe flavor deficit. 
Now add the almonds, stir them into the egg white mixture until everything is evenly coated. 
Now pour in the dry coating. Stir again until everything is evenly coated. 
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. spread them out evenly not allowing them to touch too much on the paper. You may have to use multiple baking sheets or mulitple oven sessions to finish them all, It's important to keep them evenly spread out on the pan, so NO CRAMMING! 
Allow them to cool before breaking apart and bagging. A fun wrapping idea that will save you wrapping paper: use parchment paper instead and tie it with some twine. I loosely line small baskets with parchment paper and filled them. 

If you haven't figured out what my magical ingredient is, it's coconut.



Sunday, December 11

A breath of fresh air is when you FEEL spontaneous and in the same instance are able to BE spontaneous. 

Sundays I usually put my kids down for a sabbath movie a couple hours before we leave for Church. If it's calm enough it helps my son take a nap and my daughter relax a little while before we tackle church, which is no small task for a Mother, especially when she has no husband with her that day. Which brings me to this moment. 

My mind is alight with thoughts and inspirations that come to me on wings of songs. Songs that help me remember the simple parts of me that I want to see more frequently. It is no small coincidence that I feel this way today.  This week has been busier and more stressful than usual. My husband and I both finished semesters in our respective fields of study, putting an end to the last few weeks of constant movie watching for my kids. In some small way, I think maybe it has helped. I wish I was the kind of person whose children didn't like to watch whatever presents itself on that screen in front of them. But Motherhood has afforded me that one occupation for my children when I need to do something with out small hands in between wanting to share in the fun. After the last few weeks my kids will probably not ASK to watch a movie in quite some time. And I hope not to ask it of them. 

Wings of song bring me the voice of one calming female whose voice rings of things real, spontaneous and self reflective. Things of the heart that usually aren't open for everyone on facebook to see. Well, my heart anyway. And while this semester has brought me closer to a lot of things that I want for myself, knowledge of things close to my core, I am tired. My kids are tired and growing and need more of their Mother.  So next semester I won't be in school. Not that it's a terribly lot of time I spend there, just two nights a week. It's been great for them to have more time with their Papa and depend on HIM more. To hear bedtime stories from HIM, have HIM make them dinner which they will not eat and bathe them and clean their room with them, because he usually works in the evening and those aren't the kind of things he usually gets to do with them. I won't deny that it's been really good for me too. But now is a convenient break and a change of winds. 

Do you ever have that feeling that things are about to change. And you don't know how or when, or maybe you just don't recognize that they already have? and every breath is tainted with just a little more excitement for what's next, but also the moment you're in becomes clearer and more joyfilled. Do you get that? It's a flavor thing, but one from the sixth sense of happiness, the one just out of my peripheral thought spectrum.

So I set out in this post to write about some of the things I want for the future. Because I know that changes in our lives are not usually predictable, but I like to think that I have SOME sense of control and it would clear my head. I guess I'm getting a jump start on my new years resolution.  Maybe it's the fact that I'll have two nights and few more hours, normally spent studying per week, to be myself. Maybe it's that my husband might switch gears at work to a normal schedule with more hours and health benefits. Or maybe it's that I want to figure out if I'm really going to do this whole home school life. I could go on and on for days about maybe's. But the point is that even though there's nothing wrong with the way things have been for quite some time, there are a lot of things right that aren't as good as they could be. There's a sense of motivation that I feel at this moment that I want to remember when it goes. It tells me that if there were more sleep and exercise and reading, especially from very specific more sacred texts, then there would be more of me to read to my kids and garden and cook real food and basically everything else that I never feel like I have the energy to do because there's too much laundry to fold or the dishes just keep piling up...

And that's it, in a nutshell.