31 agosto 2013

Linear vs. cyclical

Preface 1:  G has been saying frequently lately that he wants to sit in Mita's or Ty's carseat instead of in his booster.  I keep telling him that they are only three and so have to sit in those, but that since he is four, he gets to sit in a booster. 

Preface 2:  We have been working on the calendar every weekday for some weeks now.  The kids know the days, the months, etc.  I have been making a big deal each Sunday that "tomorrow" we jump back to Monday and begin again.  And since we are at 31 August, I have been telling them that once it is September, we will jump back to the first, beginning over with the dates.

So... yesterday, as I was reiterating that the month was almost over and that soon we'd begin again, Girum got very excited, "MamA.  Next year I will be five and then six and then after a long time, I will be thirty."  "Yes."  He continued, "And then I will start over and be one, then two, then three.  And I will get to sit in a carseat again!" 

Ay!  If only, huh?

Our children

Seriously lounging

Building vehicles with MattMatt

I love these photos when Mita is looking down, accentuating her impossibly long eyelashes.

G wrote M-I-T-a all on his own, sounding it out.  (Thank God for phonetic languages!)  I will accept backwards for now. 

Men's game night: "Gold fish!" yells Ty.

A:  "What's with Mita's outfit?"
R:  "I've never claimed to be a fashionista."
A:  "Let's call it an homage to Punky Brewster then."

29 agosto 2013

What the children are saying

Ty, to his much-older, beautiful friend:  "Excuse me, Emma, you are sweet."

Ty, to his siblings:  "Go to Ninevah!"
G, in response:  "Ty!  Don't you want to go to Qdoba instead?"
My thought:  "Watch out for the whale!"

G, on a bristle-block telephone call:  "Hola, GoliAt.  No luches.  Necesitamos la paz.  Debemos amar a JesUs, OK?  OK, GoliAt?

G:  "This is for MamA, because she likes beautiful things."

27 agosto 2013

The chicks have landed!

The replacements have arrived... delivered to our door by a very nervous postman.  Introducing: Vera, Rhoda, Orpa, Golda and Ilka. 

Unfortunately, Ilka or Vera (I can't tell them apart yet.) isnt' doing well, so we've brought her back inside for a little extra attention.  Here's hoping! 

Mita's Madrina Boo

24 agosto 2013

Family photos

Getting a family photo is not easy these days.  And for some reason, when we do manage to get one there are usually some extra people.  The more the merrier, right?  But finally, today, we were able to snap one.

a family photo... with an added judge and social worker

a family photo... with an added uncle, aunt, and Iraqi friends


This is as much cuteness as we can muster... all for Leilah and Kyle

Working on posing in their new outfits

Practicing our camera-smiles

Practicing our Dunham-style camera-smiles

the Korbines and their flower children

23 agosto 2013

Cuteness warning

Please prepare yourselves for the cutest cuteness ever!


Oh, you didn't know that this is what it can look like?
I love to hang wet clothes out to dry.  It is my favorite domestic task.  And every time I do it, I get quite philosophical...


You see, a friend of mine has a sister who lives in a neighborhood that has maybe THE most ridiculous rule of which I have heard: They are not allowed to hang clothes on a line outside.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Everyone may have quite unnecessary, consuming and polluting machines to dry their clothes but they may not use the free, once-clean air. 

So nearly every time I hang clothes out to dry I think of how far I'd go to be allowed to do so.  Would I pay fines?  No.  So then, would I be willing to go to jail for a few days for not paying the fines?  Maybe.  Would I just move to Simferopol so that I wouldn't have such ridiculous impositions?  (Ha!)  Probably. 

Honestly, that is the strongest reason that I want to have backyard hens.  The eggs are nice, yes; but if my neighbors are allowed to have dogs ("But if you only knew how much I wanted to say, and didn't," says Anne of Green Gables.), I had better be allowed to have a some hens.


Mita's first date!

Rob has been taking the children out for a Qdoba dinner on a rotating schedule and last night was Mita's turn.  She was so excited leading up to the outing, even wanting to wear a dress for the special occasion.
all smiles

"Show me the love," like Alice says.

Freaky silly face!

22 agosto 2013


... success!  Wahoo!

So, last Saturday I tried the kombucha and it was delicious.  I poured it out into smaller jars and began another batch.  At the time, I was feeling a lot of pressure: Rob bought the initial SCOBY, which successfully made a baby; I didn't want to lose it by not continually brewing, but I was doubting that we'd be able to keep up the timely consumption.  Ha!  By Monday morning, it was gone.  I am actually thinking that I'll get another giant jar and step up the production.  I even had a kombucha headache, from the detoxification.  Wahoo!

My little traveler!

The other day, G called me into his room to look at photos.  OK, I thought, as he does like to look at the album that I made for him from our last trip to Ethiopia.  But, what I saw was this:

A computer made of blocks, on which were his photos.  For the viewing, he offered me a "cafecito," that clump of blocks he's handing out.
You see, we have been working on landmarks and a map of the world lately and G decided that he had taken a trip to Paris and Amsterdam.  He told me that he went on a very fast train, of which Ty was the driver.  Yikes!  He said that he had a lot of ice cream and falafel in Paris.  He enjoyed his trip very much and would like to go again.

Later, he came back, wanting to show me how much the photo he had taken of the windmills in Holland during his trip looked like the toy windmill that we have. 


What the children say

"Here, my dear," say Ty and Mita regularly, as they hand me things.

"I'm Calla," say Ty and Mita regularly, as they do anything and everything.

"No more questions, Mita.  Just enjoy your tower!" said G with annoyance the other day, mimicking PapA who often says during car rides, "No more questions.  Just enjoy the ride."

15 agosto 2013

Look at what I found...

... for lunch! 

Lunch is stressful for me.  I love to cook, mind you, but I just can't bear making two serious meals in a day.  I just can't.  Thankfully, our hens have saved me on many a day, but I surely don't want to feed my children eggs all of the time.  Now, it's the garden's turn to help me out.

It was getting to be lunch time and I was walking around the yard, thinking, "What?  What can we eat?"  Thank you, God, for allowing this food to grow in our yard!  We had these tasty veggies with some hummus. 

Aren't these carrots beautiful?

The tangram saga continues

A few days ago, Girumy excitedly called to me.  He wanted to show me something.  Upon entering the kids' room, I saw that he had...
... successfully put together that tricky puzzle from la Chinita.  Yeah!  We have another super-mind in the house!

Now, I can't remember if it was later that day or a day later, but our dear friends, Chinita-the-puzzler and Elenita, came to visit us one last time before flying back to catracho-land.  And they came bearing very bad news.  The way we put the pieces back in the little square holder was wrong.  "What?!  But they all fit!" exclaimed the straight-A student inside me.  "Yes, but there was a space," corrected la Chinita.  Do you see it?  That little triangular space to the right of the blue triangle?  That is not allowed.  Ugh.

She kindly showed us how it should go.  And so it is back to the high shelf with the puzzle, until I have memorized the uber-correct placement.  Just in case there is an earthquake and it falls off of the shelf before I have learned it though...

*For the record, I am going to accept either placement from my kids.  I did go to UW-Madison to study education after all and I believe that they would disown me if I were not at least that inclusive!

12 agosto 2013


Remember how we all tried kombucha several weeks ago and the majority ruled that it was nasty?  Well, Rob came out of the store with another bottle the other day.  I was astounded.  Why would he waste money on something that no one likes?  "Try it."  Ugh.  I agreed only because I know that the stuff is good for me.   -gulp-  What?!  It was delicious!  So, it turns out that if you put a bit of lemon juice, just straight lemon juice, in the kombucha, it is so tasty!

So, I'm trying to brew our own.  Rob bought a mother SCOBY from a lady who had posted it on craigslist and I will do my first taste of it tomorrow, to see how sweet it is and to decide if it needs to brew for more days.  Here's hoping that it turns out better than The Great Injera Disaster of 2013!

That SCOBY should grow a baby, which I can use to make the next batch, assuming all goes well, and which is what I think it is trying to do with those tentacles it is sending out.  Yikes!

Our babies

More of God's garden glory!

the Queen Hibiscus


Ty, the waterer... of self and sometimes of plants

G, the waterer... of self and sometimes of plants

lily whites, for Matty and his Tottenham Hotspurs

Our buzzing friends

a lovely bouquet for Mrs. Rushton

08 agosto 2013

What G said

"Ugh.  I want it to be Saturday tomorrow," said G this morning, as if he had been working over-time all week.  "What?!  Why?" I asked incredulously.  "I don't know, but that's what Tito Jared says."

07 agosto 2013


Who are you and why are you reading my blog?

Soil makes me happy

I was blessed to be able to spend an entire day out at our CSA farm, LotFotL, yesterday.  We started at 8AM out in the weedy sweet onion patch, pulling and bundling ENORMOUS onions.  Once we had harvested them all, we moved on to the carrots, thousands of carrots.

There is another useful tool that I saw in action yesterday.  It, like the transplanter, is also pulled by the tractor.  It has a long metal bar that cuts about a foot down into the earth and then gets dragged there, a foot down, parallel to the earth's surface, loosening all of the soil above it.  So then, all one has to do is find the carrot top and gently pull the root out of the earth.  Sweet!... especially considering that I had imagined having to use a fork to lift them all.

So, we spent a good six hours in the invigorating and hot sun pulling, bundling, cleaning and packing carrots... orange, yellow, nearly white, purple.  I now have a bonafide farmers' tan... and I don't mind it one bit.

I think that all pants should look like this at the end of a day's work!


Ty the Tangrammer

So... a thoughtful friend, whom I will call Chinita, who happens to be very clever when it comes to puzzles, gave our children a tangram set.  It consists of several wooden shapes of different colors which fit into a little square holder. 

She explained to me that you can take out the shapes and then make other things out of them... forming a pine tree, for example, out of the triangles.  So, soon after receiving the gift, Ty and I took the pieces out of the little square holder and made some formations.  We had fun.  "OK, it's time to clean up."  Ty spent a couple of minutes trying to get the pieces back in, but he was unsuccessful.  "Of course," I thought, "That's tricky for a little three year old."  So, I went to put the pieces back in... ... ... ... ... um... Are you kidding me?  What my friend had neglected (?) to tell me was that the pieces only go back in one way, and not easily at that.  I spent nearly thirty minutes trying to get the pieces back in and couldn't do it.  I kept saying, "You should be able to do this.  You are an adult.  You went to university.  Come on!"  

After finally giving up, I told Ty that we'd give it to Tito Jared.  He seems like he could figure something like this out.  He came home from work that evening and I sent it down to him with my sister.  A while later, my sister informed me that that puzzle had ruined poor Jared's life.  He couldn't do it either.

Exasperated, I gave it one more try and finally got the thing together; whereupon I put it on a high shelf so that no one could touch it, giving me time to memorize how to put it back together.

--- a couple of weeks later, today ---

Since I have memorized the configuration, I now allow the kids to play with this tangram-mind bender.  This morning, Ty was playing with it while the hashbrowns were cooking.  When I told them that it was time to clean up and come to the table, I went in to their room to observe.  What???!!!  My three year old son, Ty, was carefully putting the pieces right where they belong.  Upon setting the last piece, the square, in its cozy home, he looked up at me with the brightest smile.  HOLY COW!  The child is a genius!  (Or, maybe he just has a good memory.  Either way, I am impressed.)


As G walks around the house or yard lately he has been singing, "G-i-r-u-m."  He is very excited to know how to spell his name and his excitement has been the conduit for the knowledge to enter into the twins' head as well.  "G-i-r-u-m."  It's catchy.  We all find ourselves chanting his name aloud.  He even has a little syncopated rhythm for his jingle.  "G-i-r-u-m."

Knowing how to spell his name has helped him write it as well.  He happily writes his name all over the place: on the sidewalk with chalk, on paper with crayons (or a pen if I am feeling adventurous!) and on screens with magnetic dust.
Clearly, we need to work on spacing.  Good thing that the "G" has such a cavernous center in which to fit that "m" that never seems to fit until we work on that task.

03 agosto 2013

You smell like fish!

"Yes!  Yes, I do!"  And this vegetarian has never been so happy.  I spent four hours today with my hands in fish emulsion-y water, planting a field of broccoli!  I must have planted close to three hundred! 

There is an amazing machine, a transplanter, which a tractor pulls.  It has three giant metal wheels, with dull spikes every twelve inches around it.  Then there are water tanks which empty into the hollow metal wheels.  So, as the tractor pulls it, it makes holes in the ground and fills them with fishy water.  Two other workers and I sat on little seats, just above the ground, also being pulled by the tractor.  All one has to do is lean over, drop in the plant, push some soil around it and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat... nearly three hundred times. 

I don't know if I have enjoyed myself so immensely in decades.  Seriously.  To be out in the clean country, surrounded by God's beauty, cultivating a necessity... it just doesn't get much better. 

Thank you, God! 

Summer garden fun! Thank You, God.

A summer dinner: zucchini pancakes and broccoli in pesto

A family dinner at the Blue Table


Then Rob decided to let a hen out to range freely.  Oh the excitement! 

"Eat this salvia, chicken," said Girumy over and over.  She wasn't interested.


Checking out the now-abandoned robins' nest.  It, however, was crawling with little bugs, so Rob quickly returned it to its place in case some other bird wants to use it... but not before showering the boys in said bugs.  "Yuck," as Mita says.

The kids' Caja de Tesoros.  The most interesting item, in my opinion, is an empty bug skin.

Oh, Easy Ned, how I love you!

Who knew that corn was so beautiful?  Usually when I see corn, I let out a disgusted groan, thinking either of Monsanto (which I have renamed Mondevilo) or how the government is really subsidizing junk food (like Milwaukee's youths' ubiquitous Cheetos), or of how boring and destructive monoculture is.  Here, though, I thought, "Nice, God!  That's really pretty.  It looks like fringe."  (Not that I like fringe in any other application... for the record.)