Monday, May 25, 2009

The key to the future is the past...

Growing up I took for granted (and complained tirelessly about) the bi-annual reunions and family get-togethers characteristic of my mom's side of the family. They are the Czech side of the family, the older generation being the grandchildren of the first of our family to come across the ocean to America: land of the free, home of the brave.
My ancestors made gun powder for the emporor at a place called Brandys nad Labem. They came from a small town where unfortunately the people living there now are as poor of farmers as they were in the early 19th century when my great, great, great? grandfather came to America. All the young people have moved out and the town is dieing. And my only key to knowing my past is through the generation that is sadly (and not exactly slowly) getting older. I feel now so compelled to talk to them, to learn about them, their lives, and everything else that the child/teenager me never cared to learn.
Yesterday was a graduation party for my cousin Grace and I reconnected with family I have barely (if at all) talked to since my wedding. I talked to some people that I never talked to before. Heck, I didn't even know most of their names. My Great Aunt Evelyn explained to me how to make kolache, a traditional Czech pastry that has always intimidated me a bit. And the time I spent talking, wasn't long enough to learn all I wanted to know. I am comforted to know its in my blood. Our generation is the legacy of the farmers who came to America to make a new life. A gift I daily take for granted. I so often forget the sacrifice of my forefathers to risk all and the multitudes of veterans who gave all so that we might not have to worry about food on the table, safety leaving (and being in) our homes, and futures for our children... the next generation. On memorial day and always, it important to remember where we came from that we might not take for granted the countless gifts of others... that provided our freedom.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Peonies and a Prayer

Aromatic Creator God,
I smell Your glory in the just-plowed earth awaiting spring planting.
I smell your glory in the air after the rain.
I smell Your glory in bruised mint leaves being prepared for tea.
I smell Your glory on my fingertips after cleaning strawberries for my family to eat.
Your glory prevades the air in fragrant blooms of hyacinth, lilac, and rose,
in freshly baked bread and Sunday-dinner roast,
in the fishy smell of the pier and the musky smell of the barnyard,
in the sweet bury-your-nose-in-it scent of a newborn babe.
For the [fragrance] of Your glory and the sense of smell,
I give you thanks.
-Donna Mast, An aromatic prayer of thanks (from the Simply in Season Cookbook)
I find God's glory in the scent of peonies picked from the bush of a vacant house, the coffee brewing first thing in the morning, the smell of freshly cut grass, the faint smell of dew on a morning run (the first in a very, very long time), the smell of my babies after a bath, dirt, honeysuckle, tea, the forest. Fresh, fragrant, tantalizing Spring. I hope you have a chance to stop and smell God's glory this week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Little Red.

In case you had any doubts about her hair color: I have met more people with red hair, orpeople with red-haired kids since I have had Isabel than I knew existed. Nick thinks Queen Isabel of Spain har red hair (correct me if I am wrong). I always wish I had red hair as a kid. Not Maureen O'Hara red but Pippi Longstockings red. I so wanted to be Pippi. Anastasia has been telling every person we meet about her red slide. She has been sliding a lot lately.
In garden news, I have almost 2 foot tall pea plants, atleast 15-20 lettuce and arugula plants, some rainbow chard, and we bought some tomato and broccoli plants that I planted too. I also planted some herbs outside, and re-planted tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers in pots. I know its a little late, but I think when I move them out, they will catch up. I have something eating holes in my pea-leaves. It is definately bugs. I saw a few slugs and a nasty foamy egg sack so I made some Epsom-salt spray for them. I also made a soap spray for other bugs and a fish and spice spray to keep away mammals. The Spicy fish stuff must be working because the neighbors have 8 rabbits in their garden, and nothing (not even my lettuce) has been touched... YET. (knocking on wood) Anyhow, that is my little gardeny update.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The very little I get accomplished is thanks to this:

My Beco. In fact, I spent hours gardening with Isabel in tow. I was very sad 2 weeks ago when the waist buckle snapped, but I am happy to say I emailed customer service and they sent me a new buckle in less than a week. So all is better around here. Seriously, I didn't know how to go grocery shopping without it. I accomplish a lot when this happens too:

You must think she is sweet and innocent. This is the real side of Isabel:

LOL. Just kidding. She is sweet and innocent, but definately a drama queen. She makes up all kinds of awful noises to get me to do things. She is so close to being mobile, and it frustrates her that she isn't. And someone got a hand-me-down slide today:

She is very happy with it. Anyhow, did you notice I cut Anastasia's hair? And my own? 8 inches of mine is gone. It freaked me out at first... after I made the first snip. But now I LOVE IT!!! No more tangles. That is why I cut A's hair too. Hair brushing became a scream fest so I had to improve morale. Less hair and sesame street make it a doable task. I love toddlers.
Oh and by the way, I DID NOT donate my hair so don't ask. I have been asked SO MANY times and I am the evil long -hair-cutter who didn't donate it. I thought I had to give 12 inches. Aparently its only 9 inches and I was obviously too selfish to give up the last inch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I desperately needed to win THIS bag by Maya made. After seeing it, I knew I wanted it and no other bag could do for me what that bag could. I didn't win so I had to make my own version. And I made it from stuff I already had, including some burlap from the bargain bin at Joann's. mmm. I love the smell of burlap. Weird I know.

Its perfect for a day in the yard complete with nalgene, nature/garden books, some easy sketchbooks I made this morning, snacks, colored pencils, bug box and adorable frog magnifying glass from the $bin at Target. Yes I love it. The only thing is that my blanket won't quite fit. But I want to make one like THIS someday. Someday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A little paint...

...never hurt anyone. Anastasia asks to paint nearly everyday. I usually give her water colors for the clean-up factor. Now and then I let her go to town, especially with the toddler-friendly paint set Nick's mom sent for Easter. And I found these adorable paint-your-own-gnomes in the dollar bin at Target. Anastasia painted 3 of them and I did the one on the right. I then painted the faces on so they were distinguishable from a blob, and now for a coat of modge podge to make them a little more durable. Happy Mothers day the artist toddler way. Perfect for my gardener mom.
We have been battling ear-infections with the 4th round of antibiotics and I have decided that the antibiotics must be the problem because they are obviously not working at all. The doctor recommended a specialist who will probably want to put holes and tubes in her little ear drums. So I have been doing a TON of research to find a more holistic approach to this dilemma. I picked up this book for a little more information and have learned quite a bit. So now I am going to TRY and find a doctor who might be willing to find the root of the problem (allergies, immune difficiencies, etc) and find a better way because a band-aid is not really all that helpful. That being said, up to this point, I have not been anti-antibiotics and I totally believe that they have helped save lives and have a place in medicine, but I also believe that they have a flip side that could be worse than the problem itself (which seems to be the case in our scenario). Anyhow, if anyone has any suggestions please comment.

All my plants I planted indoors blew off the deck a couple weeks ago. It was very sad. All my tomatoes were lost. :( But I am going to try again and all my peas and lettuce are doing remarkably well. That being said, the rabbits are venturing further from the forest it seems so I am a little worried. I am so glad it didn't rain today. We have been stuck indoors and it has been so depressing!! AH!

We did go to my mom's house yesterday and ended up going shopping. I FINALLY got the "More with Less" cookbook I have been wanting FOREVER for my birthday from my parents! Yay! Seems to go with my theme this year. And I bought Anastasia her first set of legos at the Legoland in Potomac Mills. She LOVES them. I wanted to get her duplos, but they were actually harder for her to use than the much smaller legos. At the lego store they have really neat things, people, and cities built from legos. They also had little buckets you could fill of any kind of legos for $7. Anastasia has spent hours building with the Legos today, and I have to rate them as the BEST TOY EVER. :) Now I just have to brave my parents attic for my tub full of them. Only flip side is, I have to supervise the lego-playing for now, and they have to be done at the table in case Isabel should happen upon some misplaced lego later. She is doing a rolly thing to inch along the floor... not quite mobile but she wishes she were.

Oh, also at the mall, we FINALLY found Anastasia some sandals. I wanted something a little cooler for her to wear in this hot weather. We found a great selection of her size sandals at Marshalls and I found the cutest ice cream sandals ever!! But when I tried them on Anastasia's foot, she hated them and declared them "comfertble" meaning uncomfortable and moaned until I took them off. THEY WERE SO CUTE. Anyway, we tried atleast 5-10 shoes on her feet. And finally she chose a cute brown pair that is totally her style. They have a cute tan flower, and are not too girly, but ruggedly feminine. Of course now she won't wear them without socks which totally defeats the purpose of sandals in the first place. lol. oh well. No one ever said toddlers were practical.

Anyway, I have to clean the house tomorrow to have my family over for a Mother's Day BBQ. Hopefully it won't rain. Again. For a week. Atleast. Ugh.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Yes it is my day. My birthday that is! So young yet so old... I mean, 1/4 century is a pretty big deal! If you had asked me 10 years ago where I saw myself at 25... I would never imagine myself here. Married, 2 kids, house, Jeep, dog, the whole American dream. And somehow this is everything I have ever really wanted (okay, Nick will tell you I have a list that gets bigger everyday)... but seriously, I really have all that matters most to me. That being said, I did score some pretty sweet loot:

Nick gave me a really amazing cutting board from a local artisan, Mike Schmiedicke whom I have never met personally but I can definately say he does beautiful work. His etsy shop here. I have been drooling over these multi-wood cutting boards for a while, and I have to say with good reason. It is more beautiful that my rainy-day-flash-filled picture can do justice but thats what happens when it rains on your birthday. :( Oh, and my mom got me the A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food and I LOVE it. I have had it out from the library for months now (and paid a couple dollars in fines on it) so it is nice to have my own copy. It is THE resource for Organic gardening. SO my dream is to use the book to help me grow organicly yummy food to cut up on my cutting board. Yum. Oh, and did you notice how "green" my gifts are? Local artisan, recycled barnwood, organic book. So atleast my birthday was environmental friendly. That being said, I do drive my Jeep around without a tinge of regret.

Heck, even my kids must have known its my birthday because they let me sleep in until 8am! And then Isabel hung out in bed until 9am! So peaceful. But that quickly came to an end as the rainy day grumps set in. Ah well, a trip to the grocery store and some good rainy-day cleaning will lift the spirits, right? If not, the chocolate cream pie sitting in the fridge might do the trick. Happy birthday to me!