Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On a Rainy Day


::A trip to the museum in the morning (Hugo was not so happy about being out in the rain, but quite happy to be looking at the bones inside)
::Paper dolls and reading in the afternoon
::Asparagus, chicken, and noodles for dinner.  When asparagus is on the menu, it's really spring!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Horseplay and Consolation


Two of our most beloved people in the world, our niece and nephew, are keeping us company this week.  We have been busy blowing many bubbles, watching planes land, and filling the hot tub with tons of little kids.  We are all so happy to be together and I am excited to share a few of our adventures over the next few days.  Of course, depending on the pace of things, I might be a little quieter than usual.

  In the meantime, here are two of our little puppies horsing around.  And because I must write it down to etch it into family history, a story:  earlier this week, Zosia grew upset when she realized that Ben and I had read a story that she had written down and left out on the dining table.  We, of course, had no idea it was meant to be kept private.  Anyway, she was crying big crocodile tears while we apologized for the misunderstanding.  Hugo came right over to her and gave her a big hug.  When this didn't seem to do the trick, he went into the kitchen, pulled down a hand towel, came back, and started dabbing her eyes dry.  After a few minutes of this hugging and eye drying, he pulled her with his hands, and patted her on her back.  "That's enough.  Off you go," he seemed to be saying.  We all had a good laugh and that was, in fact, the end of the tears.  It's impossible to stay sad with such a sweet comforter.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Garden Tour


It is the time of year for me to rediscover the flowers in the garden.  Planted by some resident years ago, they appear and we delight in their game of hide and seek.  Spring, these little children.  They are so beautiful just as they are.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In the Dirt, Talking, and Bon Appetite




On a typical morning, it is quite likely you will find Hugo digging in the dirt.  Usually by my side while I am gardening, or at a makeshift "mud pie kitchen" in the backyard.  Most of the time he is "baking" or making little truck and train noises while he lifts and pushes heaps of dirt.  In my book, there is nothing as beautiful as a happy child covered in dirt (or a bathtub filled with the dirt that has been washed off of this child), which is a convenient thing since Hugo loves playing in the dirt and needed two such baths today.

Hugo has become quite the talker these past few weeks.  His favorite words are an enthusiastic "Hi!" and "Yeah!" (these two words alone seem to get you far in life).  He's at that cute stage where he will eagerly attempt to repeat just about any word and is constantly narrating life in a series of sentence-like intonations that very clearly mimic speech, aside from the fact that they contain very few real words.  It brings us such joy to hear our baby finding his voice.

And while I'm giving the Hugo related updates, I should add that he has also become an adventurous  and eager eater, enjoying things like sardines, brussel sprouts, mangos and whole milk yogurt.  One day this week he sat down for a second breakfast and ate three cups of yogurt like it was no big deal.  He seems to be trying new things every day and eating with unbridled enthusiasm.  To think that my picky eater has developed such an complex palate reminds me that just about every challenge of parenthood is simply a short lived stage, which, when met with gentleness, support and love (and patience!  Isn't that a big one?), pass with time.

So, happy digging and bon appetite!  Radishes from our garden were on the menu this evening and they were delicious.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chatting With a Farmer


The other week while we were visiting Connecticut, we went down to the local dairy farm to pick up some milk.  While my brother in law went into the shop, Ben and I took a look around the farm with the kids.  We peeked into a little barn and noticed it was filled with little calves: the youngest was just two days old!  The farmer spotted us right away and offered that we could go in and look around.

The kids walked from stall to stall and named every single little calf in the barn.  I chatted with the farmer.  Born and raised on this little farm, he is a third generation dairy farmer.  We walked around the barn and he told me the story of each calf.  Some were born at dawn, others in the evening.  There were difficult deliveries and easy ones, and he remembered the exact details of each and every one.  He told me the breed and intended purpose of each animal.  

He also told me about the difficulty of making the economics of a farm work.  His daughters opened up the shop as an effort to bring in some more income.  This past year he left the farm for exactly one night.  When I asked him about vacation, he just smiled. "What's that?"

I have spent many years of my life dreaming of living on a farm.  Once, I almost convinced Ben to make the big move.  Who knows, maybe one of these days we'll keep some chickens.  But these days, my idealization of farm life has mellowed into a deep respect for the people who make our food.  It's hard work, and for that they have my gratitude.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Ballerina Teatime


Happy Birthday to my sweetest little Lily.  Four years ago she was born to our family on the couch in the basement.  When we met her on that day, we learned that she is full of joy.  Wonderfully, energetically, mischievously full of joy, and our days are so much brighter because of it.  Laid back, creative, and fancy as they come, she is right at the center of this little family of ours.

We celebrated with a most intimate ballerina teatime (when you turn four in our family, you can invite four friends) that turned into quite an entertaining afternoon (who knew that watching children take down a ballet slipper pinata could be so utterly absorbing?  Better than football, I think, and I like football).  The flowers are all in bloom this week, which is just as it happened the year she was born.  Perfectly lovely.