Sunday, November 30, 2008

what she sees

Giving Thanks for Friends!

We were really fortunate this holiday to have friends from Richmond visiting us! There is nothing like having people you love visit your home to make it feel even more like home.  Even with the wild card of four kids in one house, we all had a wonderful time, and said good-bye with full hearts and some big sighs on Eliza's part. Both girls talk a lot about "our Virginia house" and Ani quite adamantly told me last night that she has a plan to run away to Nancy's house...I was not surprised.

So here we have Henry and Eliza,

Papa on turkey duty

Fancy Nancy with her amazing pumpkin cheesecake

Adventures with face paints gone amok
and some peaceful moments with Jim...

Saturday, November 29, 2008


wow, three weeks? i'm sorry - maybe i'm not cut out for this blogging thing. well, i'll do my best.  let's say the first 2 weeks were spent holding my breath while dan finished his first quarter of school.  this last was spent breathing in deeply the luxury of having him around again.

welcome home, papa!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Sick House

Yes, so we've been sick this week - not the stomach flu this time, but a cold that has us girls sneezing and snotty, and they have been coughing something awful (how Dan is avoiding this, I am not sure, though he does start to exhibit some pretty super-human tendencies during the crunch weeks at school. what this probably means is that Nov 21 he will wake up with every germ he has so far managed to avoid...).  It has also put me in a fairly foul mood.  But we have learned of a couple of new home remedies for cold ailments that I thought I would share with you all...

Garlic.  I know you know it, but really. Garlic.  Now, I don't have a whole lot of luck with feeding the girls raw garlic.  I make hummous and ambrosia, but they can tell if there is more garlic than usual and the gig is up and I am left with a lot of food to eat.  So my friend Melanie suggested trying what their family does for night coughs and colds: tie some to your feet. NO KIDDING. So we did! I'm always game for a little folk-remedy, as they are usually the ones that yield the best results, and besides, who doesn't like to play with food? Eliza was a champ and let me wrap some gauze around her foot, holding several pieces of minced garlic to her sole, and enclosing it all in socks.  Ani would have nothing of it, so I made a little "lotion" by soaking freshly minced garlic in olive oil for an hour or so and then rubbing it on the bottoms of her feet. And yes, wear socks!! I also read online that an adult can put whole cloves between their toes overnight and it really works on bronchitis and chest colds. Can I tell you how fabulous our bedroom smells right now?!??

Eucalyptus.  My mother-in-law turned me on to this one 2 years ago when she gave me eucalyptus essential oil for christmas, and told me it had helped her ward off several colds that winter.  It's great!! I have cut up a few receiving blankets for nose-wipes, and I put a few drops on one of those, tuck it into a pajama sleeve, or lay next to the head of a sleeping child and within seconds the breathing is eased.  Again, a great aroma for the night-time bedroom! (The jury is out on the garlic-eucalyptus combo)

Heavenly Cold Elixir.  This is a mild version of what all Green Cat Cafe (RIP) customers in Seattle knew as the "ginger blast".  Cut about an inch of fresh ginger (mine is sort of fresh - I keep a big hunk in the freezer) and grate or chop finely.  Throw in a thermos.  Add the juice of one squeezed lemon and loads of honey (lemon is high in vitamin C, and both are known to boost the immune system), fill with boiling water, and let sit for a while.  Then pour through a strainer (or through your thermos top, if that's how it works) and enjoy feeling better!! You can also add garlic, cayenne, or any other miracle herb or plant you know of.

There you have it!! We also do our best to avoid processed sugar and other processed foods, and drink lots of water and tea, and to wear enough clothing (HA!!).  What do you do to keep healthy during this time of year?

The Stick Hous

I went to volunteer at the gardens last week, leaving Dan and the girls for a precious hour and a half.  I off-handedly mentioned how neat I thought this idea for a house made of sticks from the Earthways book was, and when I got home, look what was waiting for me!
It is definitely a work in progress, and our neighbors cut down a tree yesterday (we watched the process for a couple of hours from the safety of our kitchen!), so we have a load of branches and stumps in the back to add to it.  The weaving is so much fun, and it feels really sturdy.  I wasn't sure the girls would take to it, as it seemed Dan and I were doing all the work, but as you can see they have...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Week of Halloween

I will try to not get backlogged with posts like I have been - the stories become a little out of focus and I run out of steam quickly...but here are a few bits of our last couple of weeks:
Ani and I getting ready to head across the street to the Haunted Hallway (what really happened: Eliza and Dan went to see "City Lights" at the theater uptown and had to leave midway through because E started to vomit. So, E and I hunkered down and went to bed while Dan took A on 3 hayrides in the dark.); what the next day looked like (listening to books on tape, drawing, crochet and sorting paint chips. oh, and I locked us in the bedroom, meaning I had to crawl out the window and hail a neighbor to come inside and unlock another window so we could get out.  I felt dumb dumb dumb, but he was great, AND he fixed the door so it won't happen again!);

bake sale #2 (now, wouldn't you want to buy from these girls??);
Our friends Jamie, Chris and Herron came over to trick-or-treat on thursday night, which is when Athens does this. I guess it makes way for the debauchery of the campus-wide party that happens all weekend? (I'll let Dan post on that - he walked through it all to get home late Saturday night and it sounded pretty interesting...) Anyway, just before heading out, Dan threw on a tutu and we lent Chris wings, and I tell you, I think this is what they should do to blow off steam at the end of the week - stroll around Athens dressed just like this, keeping the streets safe (all you Seattlites - think "Q Patrol" gone casual).  I glanced down the street at one point, while sitting on our stoop handing out candy, and there they were, very manly, and deep in manly discussion, the girls nowhere to be seen (having run far ahead for more more more candy!), with their tutu and wings. 

And then there was Halloween. And my husband. I am so glad I got a picture of this. I am a little bummed that my costume was somehow not documented - I meant to have E take a picture of me.  She and I spent the whole afternoon sewing little rolls of "smarties" candies to the fronts of the legs of some overalls, and I wore a very large crown, and went as "Princess Smartie-pants". ha ha ha.  She has a knack and patience for sewing that amazes me, and Anika showed great restraint in not eating all the Smarties before they made it onto my pants...

Plot 55 update

If these photos look fuzzy, it's because they are! One night after dinner Dan suggested we head out to the garden and take the bale of straw we'd bought weeks before and put the plot to sleep for the winter. So, these are taken at dusk, hence the fuzziness. The girls worked really hard helping us - I was so impressed! Eliza planted the last of my birthday daffodil bulbs, I planted some garlic, and Dan and Anika carted over about 7 barrow loads of mulch to put on over the cardboard. I hope we're doing this right! We're enjoying it nonetheless! I was over at the garden today, helping build a new compost site, and doing other odd jobs with the folks who showed up. It was a beautiful, warm autumn day...

Last days of summer

Some more shots of our early October visit - a day at Stroud's Run beach, with DQ doesn't really get much summery-er than that, does it?

Lovin the Love

This picture pretty much says it all about the visit with my sister, mom, and niece.  Eliza and Lucy were glued together except for the moments they came unglued, which still meant they were entirely focused on each other for every moment of every one of the 4 days they were here.  Of course this would leave one little girl very much out of the loop of love, except that Lucy kindly brought along her mom and her mormor. And ohhhhh the love Ani has for these ladies is great.  It was so wonderful to have them here, and though the push is definitely for moving minutes, not hours, away, it was not insignificant that we are now only one day away from is a long long long day, but it is only a day.
Anika asks me daily when Aunt Lissie and Mormsie will be coming over again...