Friday, September 04, 2009

What I've Been Up To...

Loving my morning glories this year...
They're all around the yard because I grew them from seed and stuck them in every which where... This one is called "Grandpa Ott" and is the most striking purple.
This one's called Crimson Rambler. Isn't it lovely?! I also have hoards of "Heavenly Blue" but didn't seem to have a very good shot of them...
This is not a rose! It's my favourite geranium given to me by a wonderful friend's mil, who got it from her grandmother, I believe. I've never seen one like it for sale in a store. Love it.
Look at the size of these cukes! My lovely friend shared her bounty with me so I made fridge bread&butter pickles. These are half gallon jars, to give you perspective on how big the cucumbers are!
Lovely sunshine preserved in glass for the depths of winter... I'm a peach girl. Every year when it's peach season I sing at the top of my lungs the "really love your peaches want to shake your tree" song. Great for the libido...highly recommended ;o)
But out of my OWN garden, tomatoes continue to be the love of my life. This isn't the greatest photo, but this tomato was nearly the size of my baby's HEAD! And yes, this is what miss H needs to be doing in order for me to be putting food by... well, not quite true, I do have the most amazing live-in babysitter!
There is just SO much gratification in saving my own seeds, starting these lovelies in the depths of snow and coldness in my windowsills, transplanting (always a little too early, I'm IMPatient) them out at the first sign of a warm night, and then harvesting the heritage, tastey, beautiful goodness. I LOVE the multitude of colours, tastes and textures I get! And cooking is SO easy, truly, with this as a base. Yum.
Another lovely one. I really did think I had lost my garden in a particularly bad storm we had this summer. SO many of my tomatoes were completely stripped of leaves, the tomatoes that had formed were all pocked by the hail, and the ground was littered with blossoms and tomatoes from the terrible winds. So, perhaps because of that sadness, I am enjoying each and every one of my tomatoes EVEN more than usual this year -- relishing every single one and AMAZED that there are SO many. I've slow-roasted 2 gallons, canned 20 quarts, and we've eaten tomatoes 3 times a day most of the summer... what a blessing tomatoes are!!!
hee! love this photo. canned tomatoes underneath a beefsteak monster. We love making a tomato sandwich with these ones and having ONE slice hang outside the edges of our slice of bread (and we make big loaves!)
And this year, totally inspired by my "let's just do it" friend, I'm saving my tomato skins just like my Grannie always did. My first batch I put on the deck to dry in the hot sun with my Grannie's net thing over it that she always used... and Kenai thought it was the most delicious tray of appies she'd had in a long time! urgh! So these ones stayed indoors in the dehydrator. They dry in minutes!

Yes, tis the season for "putting by"!! It's something I love to do, and although it's so much less relaxing with a one-year-old grabbing onto my leg wailing to be "up", it's still well-worth the effort. She's gotten used to having baths in the kitchen sink while I get everything ready, and then big sister is called to the rescue while I do all the hot-dangerous-stuff... Pantry is filling up rapidly and I tell ya, you just don't dread winter when you have sunshine in jars put by!!
oh! and p.s.
i'm doing really well (if I do say so myself) with accepting what is and filling my life with joy. thanks for all the love on that front!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Love this


Her name is Lizzi Miller. Check out the story on this beautiful photo here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thank you... and then (of course) More...

Yes, so, first THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR OUTPOURING OF LOVE AND SUPPORT! I am continually amazed at the absolutely incredible tribe of women I have somehow lucked into! Seriously, your love and authenticity with me is the wind beneath my wings...

Secondly, I need to clarify one very key word in that last rant. Okay, here's what I said: "But what I truly need is for somebody to come and relieve me." The key word being "somebody". I didn't actually mean you, or anyother somebody... Here's where I was actually going with that...
The way I see families and our culture and our world as a whole really working in this new age (acknowledging that things worked a lot different back when we were tribes, living communally, never being separated by walls or lot-lines or doorbells...) is for each family unit to find a way to thrive together. So the somebody I was referring to was actually my husband, and truly only my husband. I've been told before that we can't rely on our husbands for everything. I agree. Stay with me here, I apologize for the discombobulation of this post, but really want to get clear on this and there are a lot of thoughts racing around in my head.
Here's the thing: I could absolutely do this on my own. On the days when I know from the beginning that Brent will not be coming home before bedtime, I am more than fine (the key is not to be angry about it -- if I'm upset with Brent, then absolutely nothing goes right in the entire day, so assuming I'm totally accepting that he is working til all hours of the night, I am fine). The kids and I get into a rhythm together, we conserve our energy and our patience, we get to the end of the day far earlier than if daddy was expected, we have our nighttime cuddles and the day seems quite easy. If this was the norm every day, and there were no daddy in the picture (how sad would that be?! I can hardly type the words, truly) it would be a completely different story. I would have completely different expectations of myself -- hell, the world would have different expectations of me! There would be no promise of relief coming at 6, no 6:30, no maybe 7, no for sure by 7:30, oh, hopefully by 8, oh crap, it's just not going to happen tonight, thing, you know? I am NOT saying that it would be easier or better in any way, no, just that it would be DIFFERENT. There would be no subconscious ideals in my head about evenings spent playing catch with daddy or riding bikes as a family or playing a game on the living room floor or popcorn and a movie, only to face the actuality of having time only to brush teeth and go to bed unfulfilled.
The story I am working on is thankfully not a single-parenting story. No, what I'm dealing with is the potential for all my ideals, but the disappointment that one key person somehow is absent from the picture tooooo much of the time. My disappointments come from knowing that he somehow chooses this. Our frequent talks about it reveal that he wishes things were different. He would like to be home every day by 5, with an evening with his family bright and shiney ahead of him. But he hasn't got things nailed in quite yet at work to make that happen... market downturn, staff issues, owner expectations, etc. etc. Relevant? absolutely. Helpful in the heat of things? not at all. Listen, Pedar, I know you are really angry right now and I know a cuddle would help tremendously, but everyone's hungry, the sauce has just exploded all over the kitchen (i seriously need one of those handheld in-pan blenderizer things because hot sauce + blender = explosion and i seem to have one about every week... urgh!), Heidi just woke up from her 20 minute nap and is yelling for me and there's a dog outside chasing the alpacas. Daddy would be home, but Mr. K (owner) wants some reports by day end, two of the accountants have just declared they're pregnant and a homeowner wants to know why blah blah blah. Do you feel better now, honey? No? Me either. Please let me wipe the sauce off your feet and go read a book and don't need anything else from me until I call you to dinner or I might need to go outside and scream on the deck again and you know how much the neighbours love that!!!
And I think the fact that he wishes things were different makes it harder for me! Because I don't believe in wanting things one way yet living things another (which is what I'm doing right now and why this is all causing so much angst...) I believe in living an empowered and powerful life, of making real what our desires are, of manifesting the best life we can imagine,,,, and all that.
So what's in the way? Well, that's one thing I'm trying to sort out. Not just on a surface level, but in a heal-the-planet kind of way. Our culture simply does not put family first. I keep telling my husband that he could be the trend-setter, the refreshing change at work, the one who has as much integrity with his family as he does with Mr. K. He could be as unwilling to be "late" to us as he would be for a managers meeting. Somehow he doesn't buy it. You know me, I am not a weak woman (I've actually never met a weak woman. I don't think it's evolutionarily possible, honestly). But truly, life is almost as good as life can get. I am continually amazed at how blessed my life is. But I am also not one to sit back and let things be almost anything.
My best life is chock-full of goodness, I admit that. My best life is not the easy-way-round. My best life is homegrown food, fabulous dishes made from scratch, clothes hung on the line washed in soap you could eat, house tidy, lovely and smelling of lavender and windows clean and sparkly, of disasters cleaned up quickly, gifts made with love by hand, gardens full of inspiration, air filled with birdsongs we can identify or fantastic music with a good groove, close nurtured-with-love relationships with family and neighbours, etc. etc. People keep telling me that if I'm tired, I need to give up something. Like what??? I keep saying NO WAY! Why should I have to start cutting out slices of my best life so that Mr. K can have not just the best bits of my husband but far more than his share of my husband? Why can't he have him 9 or 10 hours a day and let us have our share of him too!!! I keep imagining calling him up and having this very frank talk with him -- he's a reasonable man, I'm sure I could get him to see the light. But that's when I realize that he is a very reasonable man and he probably already does see the light and I realize that this is not about Mr. K or the homeowners or the staff or anyone but my husband, in the microcosm and about the pressures of our culture in the macro. He chooses to pour himself like this into every job he does. He somehow needs the approval and admiration of knowing he is working very hard, certainly not taking it easy and never ever slacking off. Cultural taboos, yes?
I remember my uncle having a very frank talk with Brent one day years ago, telling him that he was at the prime of his life and needed to "hit it hard" and sacrifice "everything" (meaning needs of family, spouse, self) in order to "get ahead" now so that he wouldn't find himself an old man still needing to work. He painted a picture of Brent building this empire in his youth, to be enjoyed in his latter years in the form of riding his motorcycle around the country, travelling anywhere his heart desired, buying anything his family/wife wanted, etc. I remember being repulsed and intensely angry by this conversation. I don't think of it often, but I do wonder if all this now is the fruit of those seeds planted years ago. THAT is what our culture preaches. You've really made it if you are "somebody" in the corporate world. You've succeeded if you have a large bank account and investments flung across the globe. Children? Family? Marriage? pshaw.
So. That's how I see it. That's what I'm up against. It is what it is. My husband is busy building his empire. The other men we know who are completely wrapped up in building their empires have wives who are either obsessed with their own careers or have made it their career to be very very fabulous in their physical space. Their children are heavily involved in extra-curricular-everything, are breathless when they tell us how many plays they're currently starring in, how many races they've recently won, etc. etc.
and then there's me.
weird.as.hell.
Known to toss phrases around like "boredom is the key to imagination which is the key to brilliance." Me, with the children who run to pee on their favourite tree when they feel the urge, knowing that urine is high in nitrogen and is our version of fertilizer. Kids whose trophies come from their own gardens in the form of cherry tomatoes and perfect crowns of broccoli. Me, the only one who wonders aloud how crazy our world is when husbands are more concerned about their investment portfolio than the wellbeing of their own offspring. And the thing is, I KNOW that I'm different. I'm fully aware that I am far more difficult to accept than they are for me. I am filled with wonder when talking to people from the other side of the culture -- at how they find fulfillment, how they connect with their teens and all that.
The clash of two cultures is what it is, isn't it?
And so, I guess it all boils down to this: I'm searching for a way to completely embrace what is instead of what could be...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Down Side (Rant)

When they were asking
do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?
and all that...
why oh WHY didn't I have them add:
and do you solemnly swear that you will not give so much of yourself to your work that you have nothing left to give when you come home?
I DO
and do you solemnly swear that you will work no more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
HUH?
okay, 9 hours?
UM.
last offer, 10 hours?
I DO
EXCELLENT! MARRIED!
oooh! what a deal that would've been! 10 hours a day would get him home by 3:30 every day, including commute time! But way back then, 10 hours would've seemed ridiculous. 8 hours seemed 'normal'. Why does 10 seem like such a deal now?
Or at the very least, why didn't I get a signed contract? I got him to sign one saying he wouldn't watch TV sports during dinner! (his dad does) It took some doing, but he did sign it! And I still have it.
But why would I have ever thought it necessary? His dad worked 7am until 3pm longest, and took every Friday off! And Brent always said he didn't want to be one of "those" men who lived for work and lived uninteresting lives because they were obsessed with work and money. We moved to Vernon because he was being fast-tracked into upper management by the developer he worked for in Calgary. Slower pace out here... wasn't expected that you'd work crazy hours... ski when the snow was good, and all that...
Somewhere along the line he's changed his mind and it's affected all of us. He is "one of those men" he once pitied. And I am a cranky-pants.
I think the biggest thing for me is that the kids will in the future remember that he was an amazing dad. Couldn't have been better. and all that...
Because he IS amazing. For 1.5 hours of their waking weekdays, on good days, and only for the weekends on the weeks when things are crazy. And at least he IS here on weekends. every weekend. And that's what I keep telling myself. It could be so much worse. He could work Saturdays too! Lots of men do. and all that...
And I keep telling myself it is what it is and every single night when I go to bed after having grouched the kids into bed I think starting right now, I CHOOSE this. tomorrow will be different. it has to be. tomorrow I will embrace motherhood with my wholebeing and NOTHING will pull me off track.
Oh, I'm not always grumpy. Most of the day I'm engaging and fun and full of patience and energy and loving and everything I want to be. But somewhere along the day,
I.simply.run.out.
of everything.
I hear myself lose my patience, being sharper than necessary...
I hear it, but I can't seem to stop it.
I am just empty.
The kids will likely remember me as that. Empty. Life as a grind rather than a groove. Cranky. Impatient. Yelling.
It's not what I ever wanted. It makes me cry to think of it. I've tried everything to stop living this regretful way... exercise...diet...deep breathing...reading...writing...calling a friend...locking myself in my bedroom... But what I truly need is for somebody to come and relieve me. And so as much as I can temper my frustration, the resentment shows and it's making for a regretful life... the one thing I always said I would NEVER do.
Not many people "get" this. Most have husbands who are home more, or have less demanding jobs at the very least. Some somehow worked through it way back when and either don't remember or somehow found a lot more strength doing it all on their own than I've managed to.
I want to know how. I want to know how to do this motherhood thing, for 12 hours a day after sleepless fever-filled nights, without regret. I want to fulfill my vision of myself as the soft-spot-to-fall, the never-ending-patient, calm, loving, never-snappy, never-grabbing-an-arm-too-hard, never gritting-my-teeth, never-wanting-to-truly-run-away MOTHER.
I've wondered if I need to let go of my 24/7, 365 day ideal?
Would school help? I can't imagine it -- getting empty kids back in exchange for 6 hours to myself?

Here's how my day started out:
8:10 doorbell rings. I pull myself out of sleep to find tree-cutter-men (2) at door to give me quote. My throat is so sore that I can't talk (laryngitis) plus the fact that I haven't spoken yet and had to wake up Heidi to answer door with me... I get outside and realize my shirt is on inside out and the zipper to my skirt is undone and I didn't take the time to pull on underwear. Lovely.
9:00 boy arrives to cut weeds. I still haven't changed or brushed my teeth and he looks a little scared to be dropped off HERE by his mother. I don't blame him.
10:00 racing off to doctor, praying all the way that Brent really does show up for this appointment. We're 5 minutes late. He's not there.
Neither is the usual receptionist who loves my children and knows us well. eeek!
I begin prepping Annika for watching Heidi (who's going through severe separation anxiety at the moment) for me in the waiting room.
This is only the second time I'm seeing this doctor (who took over for my long-term-doctor), who's just emigrated from England, and who is FAR too handsome to be performing the impending breast exam and pap smear!
I'm called into the exam room, and Heidi immediately throws herself on the floor and begins sobbing and calling "mama! mama!"
F#$@!
I decide she has to come with me so I pick her up and take her into the exam room. One look at the table full of shiny instruments and I change my mind. She'll have that tray tipped onto the floor tuit suit. No go.
double F@#$!
I call Annika and tell her, just take her, breathe deeply, relax your body and sing to her.
Right. Absolutely!
It's just exactly what I need to do, but isn't going to work on this one year old who has completely relaxed her body, become a dead screaming weight in her big sisters arms and is now screaming louder than any of us predicted possible.
I break the world record for undressing and putting on the lovely blue paper 'gown' (who the hell ever decided to call it a GOWN?) and call Annika back in, thinking maybe I can hold her during the exam. No. She screams louder. I think maybe Annika can hold her on the chair and I'll sing to her during the exam. Nobody can hear me over her screaming.
Doctor pokes his shocked-looking-not-nearly-so-handsome-face-now through the door asking if this is going to work.
???
NO! it's not going to WORK.
2.5 seconds later all is absolutely quiet.
Doctor says he asked receptionist to help with baby.
I think he's bloody brilliant.
Until his next statement.
So! This could be rather interesting as I haven't done one of these as yet in this office, and have never done one on my own! (no less terrifying said in his lovely English accent!)
Excellent.
Somehow I'd forgotten that they have their helper standing there handing them instruments, adjusting the light, wiping the sweat off their brow and holding their frigging hand through the laborous procedure! CRAP!
There I am, legs splayed, most vulnerable bits of me open to the world, English doctor flayling around trying to reach the swab, trying to reach the tray, reaching above his head for the light that's way too high for him to reach, muttering that he can't find my bloody cervix, switching speculums, flayling again above his head for the light (I finally pulled it down with my toes! okay, that bit does make me giggle even this early into the horrific memory of the entire experience), etc. etc. etc.
My face is brilliant red.
I'm actually amazed at how terribly embarrassed I am by all of this.
I pull my clothes on fast as I can whilst making sure skirt zipper is firmly UP, shirt is most definitely inside RIGHT and race out to see where this new receptionist I've never seen in my life has gone off to with my children. They're on the street! Pointing at cars as they drive by, pointing at helicopters in the air (fighting the local fires), everyone having a gay time.
We pack into the car. I take the 15 seconds to text my husband (not pretty), drive over to Midian to get frozen carmel lattes to deliver back to doctor and receptionist, take a deep breath and we're off to the next appointment.
THAT is a mother's life. Plain and simple.

Men don't get it.
How could they, really?
Not just the being alone with 3 children for a pap, or the strange embarassment even at 40 at having a pap done by a strange male doctor... But just the whole thing about being a mother. My husband does not understand why I'm empty or cranky. Ever. He knows I get precious little sleep at the best of times, he knows how full on it is having the dynamics of 3 kids around allllll the time. He knows that, but he doesn't get it. He's tried. He thinks he gets it. He doesn't get it.
And lest you (or I, in my darkest hour) think my husband is simply just not that into me or us, I assure you that he is. People who really know him, know that he is absolutely dedicated to us and completely in love with us.
So why does he pour himself into work like this?
Why does he choose to do what it takes to get the job done right at work? but not so much at home?
Is it because I am so bloodyhell capable? Does he know that somehow I CAN and WILL get through a pap on my own? Or dinner prep? Or a throwing up kid? Or all 3 throwing up kids? Wilst throwing up myself?
Does he have more confidence in me than he does in the idiots he employs at work?
Would it behoove me to be less capable?
But we can only be who we are.
And who I am is capable, absolutely, but not thriving being on my own with my 3 amazing kids this many hours a day, this many days in a row... Who I am is feeling a lot less capable after the annual exam saga today... Who I am is searching for answers just now...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh my, I love this!


Recently, in a large French city, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said:


¨THIS SUMMER DO YOU WANT TO BE A MERMAID OR A WHALE?¨


A middle aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern:

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans). They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia. Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them not to mention how could they have sex? Therefore they do not have kids either. Not to mention who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store? The choice is perfectly clear to me; I want to be a whale.

P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver and a coffee with my friends. With time we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, Good gosh, look how smart I am.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

10 Minute Delicious Soup!


For those of us with half a freezer full of pureed pumpkin from last Autumn, here's the perfect 10 minute soup!
Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup from "The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook" by Cathe Olson
2 cups (15 oz) pureed, cooked pumpkin
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
2 cups stock (veg or I use my own chicken stock)
1 tsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1/4 tsp sea salt
Boil together, remove from heat and add:
1 Tbsp miso
and sprinkle with Miner's Lettuce (looks like lilypads, tastes better than beansprouts and lettuce put together, and once you have them in your garden you'll never be without them! yum!)
(or cilantro if you're one of those people, wink! wink!)
We're eating it with crusty bread tonight out on the deck--it's the perfect summer soup,who'da thought?! SO good!


I'd say that's a rave review! Same from all 3 little ones!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Dream Come True


Mr. P LOVES helicopters and has long talked of being a helicopter pilot when he grows up. WELL! Today he got a ride... SUCH FUN!

20 minutes of sheer excitement!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!


I'm glad there's a special day to slow down and make especially sure that you know how much you're honoured and appreciated and admired just inyour role of 'Dad'. Lately I've been keenly aware of what a great dad you are -- not just from my perspective but especially from your kids'. You're loving and tender and really "there" for them when you need to be. Yet you're fun and silly and sporty and adventurous with them too. You teach them cool stuff and you're patient and calm most of the time when they need you to be. You're solid and predictable enough for them to really depend on you yet you break any mold anybody's ever set out - racing in the Over The Hill Downhill and riding your bike down the road from Silver Star. You're exciting and funny and handsome and generous -- everything a kid wants their dad to be. Truly, our kids are, hands down, the luckiest kids I know because you are their dad. And if nothing else ever went right in their lives, that one thing would be enough to carry them along. You are such a great dad, Brent.
And theother side of that, of course, is that you love their mother and that's huge. You teach them, through your love for me to be honest, dependable, worthy and accepting of love. Our example of how to work things out, how to stick things out, how to love in spite of... will carry them the rest of the way. They'll know they're worthy of being deeply loved no matter what -- and they'll be willing to take the risk of loving deeply and putting themselves out there. I'm SO grateful for your love for them, and even more for your love for me. I love you! Happy Father's Day!

What We're Grooving To...

(we fastforward the first 37 seconds -- have a listen! it's worth it!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

This great big happy beautiful life...

Well, hello there!
and welcome back to me, i suppose! Looks like it's been about 6 months -- now how did THAT happen?? Half of a year. Half of my baby's life! I honestly just can't figure out how time passes so quickly -- it's too cliche to even talk about, really, but there you have it.

When I try to think of a way to break back into blogging, I don't know where to even start. I look back over the photos from the past 6 months and I get completely overwhelmed with how blessed my life is. I waffle between wanting to catch up on absolutely every incredibly wonderful thing that's happened complete with hundreds of photos, to wondering what to even post about -- stuck in this feeling of amazement that I get to live this great big beautiful life of mine...

Why am I so blessed? Sometimes I look around the world and feel sick that so so many mothers and children live in fear. Constant fear of one thing or another. And I wonder. Why do I get this life and they get that one? Thank you, Great Mother, for this great big beautiful happy life of mine...
Yet it's so easy to focus in on the minutiae, to get caught up in the too-muchness of it all, to waste away precious moments stressing about what could be a trifle different... and poof! you open your eyes and half a year has passed...
The past six months I've been getting better at being really present, on creating new rituals and new healthier habits, and I think for me, part of that was spending precious little time on the computer. Now that I have a little better balance in my life I'll ease back into keeping up with my blog. I DO appreciate all the requests I've received (especially recently) to get back into blogging, and so, here I am! Hello hello!
And so... to catch me up and share with you where we've been the past six months (this part's for you, Kik!) here goes...
Annika is 7 and a half already. Full of joy, her laughter more contagious than ever, very athletic, artistic, curious, full of adventure and completely in love with Mother Earth. She's kinder than necessary, more thoughtful than expected, confident beyond her years, self-disciplined enough to make up for the rest of us (I swear I must've accidentally given her all mine!!) and full of magic. She's our bird-whisperer, our flower-arranger, our link to the fairy world. She's a tremendous help with Heidi, and absolutely passionate about learning. She's learning to play the piano, is a natural ballerina, discovered soccer (her first experience being on a team -- loved it!) and participated in her first track and field competition. She can't learn enough about First Nations peoples and all things naturalist. She is a true lover of life -- already wishing it would slow down so she could relish the deliciousness of it more...

Pedar is 5 and a quarter! Oh My! He's all boy, fighting the dragons in my spring flowers with his sword (oops, sorry mummy!), running his cars along the racetrack that circles the car (yes, ON the car), drawing his masterpieces on the inside of the cupboard doors, unable to resist spraying his sisters with the garden hose even when he solemnly promises he won't... And of course, finding a way to turn himself grub from head to toe when we're on our way out... But he surprises us all the time with his clever sense of humour, his intense desire to show his love and appreciation, his generosity of spirit -- complimenting us on our beauty and our talents. He has his first garden this year and shares his strawberries and garlic chives and peas with us, completely unaware of his green thumb! He's also growing an avocado tree inside, which he compliments every single morning on its growth and health and beauty! He adores riding his bike, LOVES music and can groove like no white man should even be able to. He is absolutely, my life's greatest teacher, and I admit, some days the lessons seem too hard, but we're growing up together. He's our bird identifier, our bookworm, our link to the unseen world of imaginary friends and grannies and grandads who have come back to life...
And then there's Heidi Sue. The baby of my heart. She is absolutely delicious. I wonder sometimes if she tires of me nibbling on her all day every day and most of the night too... I hate to admit, but she's nearly a year!! ????? !!!!! She started walking just before 10 months and she is a GOING CONCERN. I can't keep up, truthfully, and I'm so grateful my other two can! She loves the outdoors, even as a teeny wordless one in the sling, she'd let out a great yell whenever we'd get close to the door, indicating her intense desire to go outside ! She adores the chickens, imitating our lovely rooster, the cat, who learned quickly to steer clear of miss H and her clingy little grip! and most of all "dog dog"! She's intrigued by the alpacas and their frequent warnings to us of bears passing through our property, or, like today, a deer getting too near (for their comfort). As the youngest I never understood the whole taunting I got as the spoiled brat of the family, but now that I have a "youngest", I get it completely. She is just too adorable to need to play by any rules, and that "mind of her own" that people keep warning us about her, well, we find it adorable and wouldn't have her any other way. She loves to be tickled, throwing back her head with sheer joy as the peals of her laughter ring out... Pulling her toes back while she catches her breath and then sticking them out to me again, begging for more... She's my imp, my muse, my baby!
Brent is doing great. He loves me. He loves his kids. He loves his job. Remember how sure I was that first time I met him that he was my soulmate? the one I'd spend my life with? Yeah, well, nothing's changed. He's even more beautiful, more amazing now -- I see him unexpectedly around a corner and my heart does flips and I'm amazed all over again that he's really mine. He's an amazing father, a wonderful partner, and still not a romantic thought in his head... he he he That's not true, he did whisk us away to The Empress for my birthday this year! He kept it a secret right up until we were on the plane, even packing our bags for us (well, mostly). Such a fun weekend we had!!
Aren't these out-takes just SO funny? They make me laugh!

And this one! Priceless!!! Have I changed any? he he he