Abode {W}

Monday, January 31, 2011

a series of unconnected thoughts

  1. I went out grocery shopping this afternoon, and Evangeline and Estelle stayed home with the farmer to work in the garden with him. When I got home, they were filthy and Evangeline's outfit amused me so greatly that I had to take a picture. 
  2. There was a lady at the store who was in line behind me who was wearing perfume that smelled just like watermelon Jolly ranchers. I immediately started craving a watermelon Jolly rancher, and considered leaving my place in line to go buy a bag. I resisted the temptation, but am still thinking about how good that candy would be right now.
  3. The diapers I bought Stuart claim to be "heavy DOOTY" Heavy dooty? What is that? Seriously, what is up with deliberately misspelling words? What is wrong with just plain heavy duty? Do heavy DOOTY diapers hold some particular charm of which I am unaware? I cringe every time I see the box. But, I also cringe when I see purposely misspelled words- you know, things like "Kathy's Klassy Kuts".
  4. I finally sat down and drew up some sort of cleaning schedule that I think will actually work well with the craziness my life has become. So far, so good, and I got every item crossed off my list today, and even had time to sit down and knit for a while. I will need to revise this once strawberry season begins, but for now, I am just glad to be getting on top of things again! It is such a feeling of satisfaction, and hopefully that will be enough to keep me motivated.
  5. I bought some freshly roasted (like roasted the morning I bought them!) coffee beans at the farmer's market we sold at on Saturday. I made my first latte using the beans this afternoon, and  it was absolutely wonderful! The price was a bit cheaper than Starbucks, and honestly, it was better! This will need to become a weekly purchase. And that is the last in the series of unconnected thoughts!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

wheat grinder

This was my father's wheat grinder. It is attached to his desk, the same desk to which it was attached for the last 36 years. There are marks on the desk from the grinder cutting in to the wood. Big gouges, in fact, and holes under the table where the screw that held it in place bored in to the wood. The grinder needs a new part, and I plan to go out tomorrow and try to find the part. I am missing my father terribly right now. I miss his voice, I miss his terrible puns, I miss trying to keep up with his long stride whenever we went for walks. I miss his sage advice, and I would give just about anything to play a round of pinochle with him.In the same way that his wheat grinder made marks on the desk, so he made a mark in my life. He was an excellent father, and I am so grateful for that. In the same way, I will leave my mark on the lives of my children. Some days, the path to holiness seems so long and strewn with roadblocks and distractions. Some days I am too tired to even care. However, if I want the mark I leave on my children's lives to be a good one, I will persevere.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A day in the kitchen

Some days, it seems as if I spend all day in the kitchen. It is a good thing I love to cook! The above pictures show a typical day's worth of food from my kitchen. From my first latte of the day to homemade cheese and bread for lunch, on to roasted squash and squash fries for dinner. The picture of Stuart? Snapped while he was actually yelling the word "MORE!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have read a lot of blog posts, articles, and devotionals about joy lately. Instead of feeling encouraged, or resolved to chose joy in my own life, I have been left full of questions. This is through no fault of any ones, it is my own response to things I have read. This morning, as I took my walk across fog shrouded fields, I gave the questions full vent. How can I have joy, I questioned, when all around me is stress and sorrow? My beloved father is dead, my dear mother in a perpetual fog, I had to sell jewelry to buy groceries. I am barely holding it all together, so busy I am not doing anything well. I have no time to cultivate a new habit, no desire to add one more thing to my endless list. I can't even lose that last 20 pounds of baby weight.  As I paused at our little lake to take full measure of it's beauty, I was struck by a thought. I was looking at all of the reasons I could not be joyful, and not all of the reasons I have to be filled with joy. Wasn't my father an excellent father, of whom I have no unpleasant memories? Isn't my mother still dear and sweet and an amusing companion? Should I not be joyful that I had jewelry to sell, and happy that I am needed by so many people right now? I realized that a lack of joy is also a lack of gratitude, and if I am not full of thanksgiving for what I do have, I am in a very sorry state indeed. I also came to the conclusion that joy is not just one more thing to do, not another item on a check list. It is a response. It takes no more time to respond to the circumstances in my life with joy than it does to respond with a sigh, rolled eyes, and a muttered "Now what?" I can still feel the sorrow that my father (and Steven, Arlie, and Grandma Lucille) is/are dead. But, now is the time to look forward with joy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

At play

I am still trying to figure out how to get pictures where I want them to belong! The bottom picture was supposed to be on top,and the top on the bottom. The bottom picture shows Stuart lining his little people up in a neat line before putting them on the bus. I found it fascinating that he lined the people up before putting them on the bus.  It reinforces my belief that children like orderliness. It is good for them to have regular meals, regular periods of rest, and time outside. They also need the order of discipline. I watched a lady at the library on Sunday who had no control over her children. She was trying to control her children with her lips. It was not working. Her children were everywhere, running, screaming, grabbing toys. They all looked miserable.  Children need love, they need order, they need to know that you are good for your word. Not sure how a post titled "At play" swerved into my thoughts on child rearing, musing on these things is a good reminder for me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My mother

This is my mother. My mother is the sweetest, most peaceful person I know. She has a wicked sense of humor, and if you hear her life story, her sense of peace and joy becomes remarkable. There was a point in her life when she had to chose to forgive, and to not become resentful or bitter. She is truly lovely. She also seems to be descending in to the fog of Alzhiemers. She is easily confused, repeats herself constantly, and forgets things like taking her pills, who visited her yesterday, and the names of her daughters. We told ourselves that the stress of my father's death, and subsequent sorrow, was to blame, and that once she adjusted, things would improve. This has not been the case. I have heard that Alzhiemers can strip people of their personality, and remove their social inhibitions so that they say outrageous things. I am grateful that we are not at that point with my mother. She is still a joy to be around, although it is very bittersweet. I am trying to see her has often as I can, and making sure my children get plenty of time to talk with her, hear her stories, and store up good memories of her. Her memory of the distant past is still pretty good (a little jumbled at times) and so they have heard first hand her memories of the concentration camp in WWII, her reunion with her parents, and her birth in a remote mountain village in China. I am reminded that life is fleeting, and that we must be able to say "God is enough" in order to be truly happy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A typical school day

This is a typical day of school at my house. Estelle is crying because Stuart has taken a break from playing with my his Fisher Price toys to scribble in her reading book. .
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The stylish Guardian Angel

During school this morning, the girls were learning the guardian angel prayer. They were then instructed to color a picture of a guardian angel. This is the picture Estelle colored. Love, love, love the star spangled angel robe!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This is Stuart

This is Stuart. He is two, and absolutely delightful. He was born when I was forty, and has been a source of great joy in our lives when all else seemed to be sorrow and stress. His favorite thing, other than helping his daddy outside, is playing with my vintage Fisher Price toys! This little boy also sleeps peacefully in his daddy's arms during Mass, instead of hurling books over the edge of the choir loft like one of his siblings would!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday mornings

I love Saturday mornings in winter. In summer and fall, our Saturdays are busy,busy, busy as it is the day of the week that  most people come u-picking and to the pumpkin patch. In winter, it is a different story altogether. We usually have nowhere to go, and I am not in a rush trying to get through my housework before starting school. This is my morning to linger. To sip my latte slowly, let the children sleep as late as they want, and not worry about what needs to be done next. My awesome sister (all of my sisters are awesome, in this case I refer to my sister Sally) gave me a Bialetti stove top espresso maker for Christmas, along with a milk frother. I am now making lattes every morning (and afternoon) that are, quite honestly, better than the ones I buy at Starbucks! If you know me well, you know that I love Starbucks, so to be able to make a latte that is an improvement upon Starbucks is pretty cool! I have also been making all of our bread this winter, using the book "Artisan Bread in Just Five Minutes a Day." I love this bread, and it really is easy. A big latte coupled with a hunk of warm bread slathered with butter makes a wonderful breakfast! If only I had some Nutella, breakfast would be heavenly! Happy Saturday! The picture is of my sister Sally (giver of good coffee making gifts) and my daughter, Estelle. Someday, I will figure out how to put the picture where I want it to belong!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The story behind the blog name

When our eldest was little, he had a book entitled "Some Things Go Together". We read it to him constantly. Like many times a day, had the book memorized constantly. So, for the farmer's birthday, I made him our own copy of the book. One of the lines was "digestives with tea, and you with me", in honor of our daily ritual of tea and digestive cookies in the afternoon. Fast forward 15 years, and that little boy now has his drivers license and we have five more children. Afternoon tea has become snatched cups of whatever is hot and caffeinated whenever we can get it, but the you with me is still going strong!
Here is a picture of the children. This is not the best picture, Estelle (purple coat in front) is blurry, Stuart (baby) is making a funky face. However, I really just wanted to see if I could successfully post a picture on my blog. I am technologically challenged. But, I did it! All on my own! Maybe later I will post a better picture. Now I have a spelling test to give, and bread to take out of the oven!

first post

I have wanted a blog for years. However, it was only in May of 2010 that I finally had high(er) speed internet and could do so easily. And, once I had the good technology, I hesitated. What could I possibly have to say that would be interesting or worth reading? Could I blow off nasty comments left on my blog? How much time do I really want to devote to a blog? Aren't the six children, homeschooling, and helping my farmer man run the business enough? I finally decided to take the plunge. I have read a lot of blogs over the last few years. Some are dull, some seem to be merely a place to boast, and some are so full of arguments and controversial topics that it makes my poor little head spin. I hope that my blog will be none of those things, but instead a place for me to record my thoughts and create a written record of these, the happiest years of my life.