Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our Weekly Rhythm

The weather is starting to turn. Change is in the air. Everything seems like it is getting ready for something .

With all the feeling of change, we were ready for change too. Summer months, days and nights pulled us here and there. This way and that way. We all started yearning for rhythm, more normal, more expected.

And so, our Monday started with some rhythm. And it. felt. good.

We started the morning with a story about an anxious leaf. A little leaf that was scared at first to let go of its branch, but in its own time became ready and eager to burst into color and let go!

Then we headed out in the cool morning for a nature walk. How exciting to collect found things from the ground, sweet little natural treasures.

In the eyes of a three year old and one year old, everything is special, everything is important and beautiful.

Even though we live in the heart of the city, there are many natural places to escape. Large looming oak trees abound our neighborhood and there are plenty of city parks nearby. Some are filled with play equipment, some are just big open spaces.

Later, we played in our own little world in our backyard. Brothers?! Would you look at those expressions? Intense play!

Morning blessing over oatmeal. P & R both love the candle and P especially likes the "song".

Little brother must do as big brother does.

That's how you eat an apple....when you are 13 months old! The apple didn't have a chance.

Later in the week we baked whole wheat bread.

Soon I'll have two little bakers!

Pounding and kneading the dough is a lot of fun for a little boy!

After the dough was made, we went on another walk. Many more acorns had fallen since we were there last and P wanted to collect them for the squirrels.

He made a nice little pile for the squirrels to find. R caught on quickly and wanted to help too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Up North

We spent the past weekend Up North. It was a blur of a weekend, but the sunshine was welcomed!

Clint and I are in weddings this July, two different weddings. Clint is standing in one of his best childhood friend's wedding and I am standing in a wedding for my best friend from college. Luckily, these weddings are taking place on different weekends, yet only a week apart. One is Up North and the other is here in good ol' Grand Rapids.

Nana and Rowan

Both parties had celebratory events in Leelanau County this past weekend. The timing was perfect. Clint was able to go golfing during the day and I was able to go out to dinner at night. I think it was the first time I had been out with Katrina, the bride-to-be, since college! She lives in Austin, Texas currently and whenever she has visited in the past, it has always been at our house to see the babies.

While Clint was out for the day and my friend was recovering from her previous night out, we hung out with my mom on Lime Lake for the afternoon. The water was warm, although no one really went swimming. But we ate lunch on the dock, played basketball, walked around in the water and watched the dogs swim.

Later I met Katrina at Red Ginger for sushi. It was a delicious night! Yummy food and lots and lots of laughter. It reminded me of a life I once lived, yet was just long enough that I was ready to get back to my boys. After returning for the night, Clint ventured back out and kept celebrating.

As the sun went down, Rowan and I were both very ready for sleep. My mom and Porter stayed outside tending to the chiminea fire and searching for shooting stars on the brick patio.

The next morning my mom said Porter is the smartest child she's ever met. Ahem. Well. Yes, we think he's very bright too, but he's also our child! Who doesn't think their own child is so bright?

She told us how as they were stretched out on the blankets, looking at the constellations, she said something about the sun going goodnight and it would wake back up in the morning.

Porter corrected her by informing her that the sun didn't go to sleep- it is on the other side of the world now and it is daylight there when it is dark here.

It is true that young children are sponges. And, they don't just absorb information, but they take information in to every part of their being. They internalize everything. Stories, facts, emotions and experiences. They are forming their self and everything becomes a part of them in some form.

Sharing the truth with them when they ask or when they are curious helps them to build their self and contemplate their world.

There's a reason why children at a certain age ask "why" so often.

Because they need to know.

They are craving information about their world.

And when things are explained, when patience is given and moments are paused, they make connections.

I know Porter is bright. But, I don't think he's overly bright or gifted. I think he's just given what he needs. Not perfectly by any means; aren't we all wishing we could give more?

But, he does seem to be getting by just fine.

In the morning, we took the boys to Good Harbor- a special beach on Lake Michigan where we both spent many days of our own childhood.

We worked on carving out a large trench and making a different channel for the cold water that was coming from the woods and slipping out into the big lake.

I remember up the stream there were always big old trees down along the water. I climbed and jumped off of them as a child too.

We all watched in awe as the little channel, as wide as only Clint's hand, grew and grew and grew. Porter stuck in some sticks, we watched as the water level rose up the sticks and noticed ripples and dips forming on the channel bed. Rapids and great rushes of water in this little itty-bitty landform.

Eventually, Porter helped break down the dam, block off the channel and watched the water surge freely where it has once flowed.

Back to the beginning again, but with a lot more force. A lot more power.

In some ways it reminded me of life and the different journeys and paths we take along the way. We try something new, it builds and builds and takes a great hold on our life, but we will always be what we were in the beginning. We'll always come back. Hopefully, with greater knowledge and power. To be who we once were, but stronger.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Papa's Day!

Father's Day!

We were going to go to a Whitecap's game in the afternoon, but decided to hit the beach instead. Clint hadn't been out to Lake Michigan yet, it was hot and sounded like a nice place to be.

We spent a few hours at the beach. Digging holes, chasing away black flies, going for a long walk and drawing in the sand with sticks.

The water was a little cooler then it had been when we were here last, but it was still nice and refreshing. As we were walking back from our trip down the shore, a couple with their adult daughter was walking toward us. They also happened to be sitting near our beach tent where we were camped out for the day. The woman looked at us and said to Clint, "You have a very lovely family, just beautiful. It looks like you're having a great Father's Day." It was very sweet. And, I think it is very true too. We love each other so much- as husband and wife, but also our two boys of course. I'm not sure how people couldn't see or feel our love- it is sort of exploding.

After our time on the shore, we headed back home for grilled burgers and pasta salad. Porter helped me make fresh whipped cream from our raw milk- sweetened a little with maple syrup. Oh- SO good! We topped off our Summer Strawberry Cake with the cream. Perfect.

Porter kept wishing Clint a "Happy Birthday" because it was his day and there was cake involved. It was pretty funny- he'd sing Happy Birthday to him and ask if he was a year older.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We Made the Jam

I made one batch last night and another today. I actually made two different kinds, one with refined white sugar and one with honey and grape juice. I didn't have grape juice in the house and was eager to make a batch, and didn't feel like running to the store. I had everything else on hand, so I went for it. Really easy, really quick to make. The sugar jam recipe I used called for 4 cups of berries and 3 cups of sugar- at least it was better than the 2:4 ratio.

These pictures make jam making with the boys slightly easier then it really was. The pectin and juice was boiling, I was stirring, Rowan started whining and the doorbell was ringing. The only time the doorbell rings is during kitchen activities or when the boys are sleeping.

This is this afternoon's batch, the recipe that called for honey instead of white sugar. Seriously, this one tastes better! It is delicious!

We had the other jam on our toast this morning. It was good. But I'll make this freezer jam from now on. The one with honey. I'll feel better about it when the boys are eating it too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strawberry Picking

We picked strawberries at Krupp's Farm this morning! 17 pounds. The weather was perfect, mild 67 degrees and sunny!

This was "opening day" and there were many families there gathering strawberries. Porter helped find the reddest berries and was great at sampling them.

He learned how a strawberry grows. He spotted the pretty white flowers, the small green berries, pink and red berries too. Then he talked all about how a strawberry becomes a strawberry.

Rowan enjoyed watching from on my back, then decided he'd like to sample too. This baby loves strawberries! He was crawling after our trays, reaching in and smashing.

Sometimes he wanted back on. Then he'd want back down. Surprisingly, two young boys and lots of berries wasn't hard. It was a lot of fun! I love picking berries, and picking berries with the sweetest little boys is heaven.

After Porter helped fill one tray full, we decided we'd go all out and fill another tray. I think I was pulling berries off in record time! Porter helped weigh the trays and pay the super nice girl at the counter. She helped load our trays into our jeep for us too.

Porter is very excited to make strawberry freezer jam this week, I am too! Recipe here.

Freezer jam is typically 2 cups berries & 4 cups sugar. Yikes! We're trying this version made with honey. Yay baby! Seriously, berries and honey?! How can it not be good?!

Rowan was a strawberry mess! He had a blast searching in the bushes, pulling off berries and smashing them with his fingers. There was a smooshed strawberry trail down the path where he had been. And, I think he created a permanent strawberry picking outfit.

Krupp's Farm has ice cream at the Milk House. Such a nice treat after all the hard work.

Our friend Ginger, who is expecting a little one next month, came with us. I think she was also in heaven watching these sweet strawberrylicious boys and dreaming about her little one's arrival soon.

Monday, June 13, 2011


This was taken within the first few weeks after Rowan joined us. This photo captures what nap time looked like, and still does. I position myself in the middle of the bed, nurse R while P snuggles on the other side of me. He usually has a few wiggles to work out, stories to tell and then slowly drifts off to sleep. Then I sneak away. Porter is a much heavy sleeper now then he ever was as a baby. And, Rowan is so content- he usually isn't bothered feeling the blankets or bed move while I slide away.

Rowan 10.5 months

I'm in such thick denial. Really. He's almost one year. I can't believe it! Party? Celebrate his birthday? Sounds wonderful and fun! But it doesn't seem like it is possible.....he's not really one.

Oh, but he is.

He is.

Rowan is just so precious. Our family has so much fun with him. Everything about him just fits in so well. He's relaxed, happy, interested in things- loves birds "ba ba", is noticing helicopters and jets, and points to everything else that he's curious about.

He takes two naps a day- and sleeps in the car too! Rarely does he cry in the car. If he's not sleeping, he's "just looking around" as Porter says.

When he was a little tiny baby, Porter would say, "It's ok Rowan, Porter's right here, it's ok" if he started to cry while we were driving.

Currently, Rowan and Porter are napping together in our bed. Sometimes I wonder if part of the reason Rowan is so content while sleeping and playing around the house is because Porter really is always close by.