30 junio 2014


I am so thankful for our back yarden fruit, in particular, the cherries right now.  We have used them to make a sort of compote, with honey, to put on toast and just plain and raw in yogurt.  I am thinking that I may make some sort of baked crumble with a bunch of them, but I'm a bit scared to wreck them somehow.
Soon to come are the raspberries, lots of them, about 2 black currants and three blueberries (It's the first year for those two kinds of plants, so that there will be anything to try is a miracle.), a handful of aronia berries and then grapes (although not as many as usual because I mis-pruned them last year).

Thank you, God, for your gifts.

25 junio 2014

Happy Birthday, Getayawkal and Biruktawit!!!!

PapA, making chocolate birthday pancakes at 6 something in the morning
Rob had to wake the children up!  Mita immediately said, "It's my birthday!"  Ty was suffering from squishy morning face.
Breakfast and praising God: Ty requested "Awesome" by Charles Jenkins and "Ope loye o" by Flo.  (Ty sat in a church service with me a few weeks ago and now he always raises a hand, like he saw our friend Michel do.  He would have been rocking an invisible microphone, had he not been gripping his fork.) 
Photophobic Girumy decided to get dressed up.  I dig it.
Happy twinny birthday!
Here is the salad that Mita requested, all from the back yarden.  Ty also got his quinoa and tempeh.
And Tita made strawberry cheesecake for me, um, for Mita and Tito Jare made strawberry shortcake for Ty, our resident shorty.
So, they are four.  Ty and Mita are healthy, growing and learning, thank God.  I think back to how they came home to us, and... miracle after miracle.  It's almost unbelievable.

Ty is a rambunctious rocket, blasting off hither and thither, constantly.  He understands, as much as a four year old can, which is maybe more than we give a kid credit for, the Gospel.  I mean, the kid can explain it.  If I were able to give him another name (Five is enough, I guess.), it would be David, for sure.  The child wants to go to S-- and tell the people there that Jesus loves them.  He, on his own, prays that God will let us go.  He even asks me to sing a song in that language everyday so that he can learn it and he pumps his fist with me at the part that says, "The devil and the demons; He is more powerful than they are.  Let us praise Him!"

Mita is a calm bookworm.  When she gets more expressive, I will be so happy to know what is going on inside that brain of hers.  I am thinking it will come out as impressionistic artwork.  We'll see.  Lately, Mita likes to hear the story of when she came home... how she was so scared and had to sleep with me for months, how she screamed when I left the room.  Afterwards, she always kisses me and says that she isn't scared anymore.  Thank God.  She frequently picks me clover and dandelion flowers from the yard and gives them to me as a gift.

God, thank you and help us all!

dans le jardin

"...since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:19-20).

Scapes!  Scapes!  Garlic scapes everywhere!  At market last weekend, people were going nuts for scapes.  We are getting scapes in our CSA box this week.  And I had a backyard full of them!  Ah!  We still have the jar of pickled scapes that I made a year ago in the fridge, only half eaten.  So, I have made garden art out of them.  
Look at those perfect petals.  Nice, God.
And the center of this poppy!  Such intricate beauty!
I thought that I had lost this delphinium due to transplanting it during last year's dry spell, but, again, the tenacity of life!
Nature notebook work
Perfect geometry!
In high school, I had to write a children's book in Spanish.  Mine is entitled El lugar de las siete margaritas, which is a retelling of some boy problems that I was having at the time, but with bunnies and skunks.  I have recently begun reading it to the kids and now they get so excited whenever they see a daisy.

G's notes

Girumy (or, Girumi, as he writes it) has just taken to writing notes.  He even made a short grocery list yesterday!  But, one of the first that he wrote was:
"MamA se pone triste aveces."
'Tis our current reality.  

22 junio 2014

First sleep-away!

As soon as G woke up on Friday morning, he came in to my room and said with SO much excitement, "Today is the day that I'm going to sleep at Tita's house!"  In order for him not to explode with enthusiasm, we had to space out the preparations, like letting the air out of a balloon slowly:
Post-breakfast laying-out of everything that he wanted to take
The mid-morning pack-up of his stuff
Post-nap trial-run of carrying all of his stuff
Early evening pick-up
I believe it was a success!

19 junio 2014

God's Garden Glory!

The seed poppies are about to bloom blue!  I am so excited about this crop.
I love Centaurea at this point.
I will never get over how cool garlic is!
Thank you, God, for this delicate beauty.
So... what a mess, no?  This is my Exercise in Letting Go.  You see, this was to be my bush bean bed; however, these potatoes, sunflowers and squash sprouted up on their own and I am trying very hard to leave them alone.  I mean, it's free food, right?  I do have some very nicely lined up veggies to counter the mess you see here; so when this freaks me out too much, I just go stare at the neat rows of parsnips and... breathe.  
Echinacea pallida, my beautiful friend!

The children

Going on a 'doba date with PapA
So cute!
When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner next week, he said, "Quinoa, rice, tempeh and beans."  Alrighty then!

This is Mita's usual garden activity: chilling; here, literally and figuratively.  (It was so cold this morning!)  I keep reminding myself that she is observing, like the Little Hedgehog, and so her idleness shouldn't totally freak me out yet.
It has come to my attention that Mita memorizes very well.  She is the only one who really had Psalm 23 down and yesterday I realized that she had memorized a bunch of geography facts from this little flap book that we go over every few days.  I am going to have to take advantage of this for her education.

And when I asked Mita what she wanted for her birthday dinner, she said, "Salad and broccoli!"  Again, wow.

Israel (That's what he wants to be called as of late.):

-No photo of G, as he is too busy talking to pose!-

He has taken to retelling conversations, verbatim.  Yikes!  "And he said... and I said... and he said... and..." Do you get the idea?  Ah!!!!!

He is so chatty, in fact, that a guy from church, passing by and hearing G, said, "What a loquacious child!" For better and for worse, add I.

He has also been VERY concerned with details lately, like in which car he will go somewhere, if the car's lights will be on, if he will go through any yellow lights en route, where his booster seat will go, etc.  Again, ah!!!!!!!!!!!

Attention to detail... I will have to take advantage of that for his education.

14 junio 2014

Market day!

Chard, broccoli, mizuna and asparagus!  
Lettuce, dandy greens, kale and bok choi!  
One pound, two pounds please.  Make it four!

It felt so great to be a part of something so important,
like SO many people around the globe:
Market day!

10 junio 2014


Happy early, twinny birthday!  These nets have been great!  The boys chased a moth around the back yarden for probably 30 minutes the other day!  
Ty was this excited, and he hadn't even begun to unwrap!

In the backpack: nail polish, a Jesus Loves Me song book, a devotional, stickers, starry wands... you know, Girl Fun!
Mita and her precious Madrina Boo

Ty's Charm

"Watch out, Indiana!" is all I have to say.

This face, this face... got me this afternoon.  The way he is holding that jar!  And you can't see it here, but he was raising just one eyebrow at a time.  Oo!



So, in addition to not being able to sing, I also cannot draw.  (Thankfully, I CAN dance!)  My best work happened in 1988: We had to turn drawings of shoes into something else, so I made my ballet shoes into water and feed troughs and my pointe shoes into pigs.  I had a lovely barnyard scene.  Yeh, so...

I am determined not to hold my children back in either of these fine arts, so we copy nature and others for now.

Oh, you've never seen a rectangle fish before?
G, reading a book (in English now!) to the family.
Mita, cozily wrapped in a gobi, studying nature via magazine.

I remember a student, who shall remain nameless, that had THE WORST handwriting you can imagine.  I remember his mother, apologizing to me at conferences.  My pained memories lead me to have G practice everyday.  I know that the "e" and the hook on the "j" need a bit more work, but... already this is more legible than what that 15 year old decided to offer.  Yowzers!  (That student, though, had a heart of gold: On a class trip to Costa Rica, he decided to leave the Dr. Seuss library books, in Spanish, that he had brought down to use at the orphanage that we visited, no matter the fine he would have to pay upon return.  Sweet and sour.)


There is a book, Bringing up bebE, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading, for better and for worse.  For better: I totally agree with the pre-school chefs of France that believe that you simply need to keep reintroducing tastes for a child to eventually like a food.  

It has become painfully clear that G does not like hummus (What?!), Mita does not like asparagus (Spring's crisp offering!) and Ty does not like spicy food (MY son?).  I shall be diligent, oh France!  Thankfully, your plan has already paid off regarding tempeh. 
Ty is a fan!
(For worse: the book introduced me to "parental narration."  Before, I went around oblivious, but now it makes me crazy!)

The garbage truck driver, paying very close attention to the road.  Those stars?  Lights.  It was cloudy.
The children called me in from doing the dishes to show me what was happening:  "The Speaker" was up on the podium, whilst the Others were paying attention, in a perfect line.  (I seriously don't know whence this came.)

05 junio 2014

Merci, mon Dieu!

So, this morning was... on par with that morning when I found the conejera in our back yarden.  That morning started out rough, but ended on a much better note thanks to God's gifts of fresh air and Creation.

Already by 7:30 I knew that we were going to have to ditch my original plans to encourage a positive change.  So, the children and I headed out to the dacha.  STOP!  Rocket Baby Bakery.  Yes, fancy pastries were in order.

We unloaded at our plot, setting up our mid-morning snack potato-side.  Ty and I assumed the Uker-crouch, but G and Mita just sat on the dewy Earth.  Pain au chocolat, brioche, oh my!  Helicopters and hawks circling above us elicited so many prayers and gave so much entertainment respectively.

While I then weeded, the kids played with dirt and rocks and collected a weed-feast for our hens.

I am so thankful for God's gift of Creation and how it consistently seems to heal us.

As Charles Dickens says so nicely in Oliver Twist, "Who can tell how scenes of peace and quietude sink into the minds of pain-worn dwellers in close and noisy places, and carry their own freshness deep into their jaded hearts!"

04 junio 2014

На дачу

The potatoes are thriving, such that I had to hill them up yesterday instead of planting more squash seeds.  Meanwhile, G SO eagerly picked rocks, piled weeds and had a go with the hoe.  Как я люблю  дачу!

Doing hair

MamA e hija, bonding

Al fresco

Each time I hesitate to move a meal outdoors, a ghost named Winter pushes me out, for which I am thankful.