30 August 2010

August, otherwise known as "the month that flew by"

matt did this to himself. we swear.


see?
video

most perfect boat day ever, except for the very out-of-practice docking (lori)




matt's new car, thanks, kristi!



abby just started to fit into water wings and thinks she is invincible. might as well be wonder woman boots.



day at the water park. it looks nice and cool, but you can't see us sweating through our shorts.


studious I



studious II



this is our play kitchen. not really, it's just a drawer with all our play kitchen stuff. a typical conversation:

matt: mommy play trucks with me
lori: let's make cupcakes (the play kind)



you'll remember these jams as having fit another crawford superhero


it's rainy season here, and abby got to play outside in one of them. see her here:



and check out matt about the same age:

Matt - May 2009, 19 mos.


14 August 2010

Morning Blend: Smoothie Recipe

Lori:

With both of us parents working, mornings are a bit go-go-go for us. After our morning wake-up call over the baby monitor, we all get ourselves dressed, and while Dave heads for the door, the rest of us sit right down for breakfast. One of our favorite breakfasts is a smoothie or shake (it goes by both names in our house) to get us charged up for the day. You may have a version you like, too, but here is ours:

In a countertop blender (ours is a magic bullet), in no special order, put:
Yogurt - about 2 Tbsp is just about right

Fruit - almost fill the cup
1/4-1/2 frozen banana
Any other fresh or frozen fruit, seeds or skin removed if necessary. We keep the skins on pears, peaches, and nectarines, but take it off of apples. Bagged frozen berries are particularly convenient, and I like to freeze any fruit that is browning and would not otherwise be eaten to throw in the blender.
I tried adding kale once (yes, that is kale like the leafy green vegetable) and while I could not taste it AT ALL in there, it did make the texture of the drink a little rough. If you can get past that, it's a great add-in.

Ground Flaxseed - about 1-2 Tbsp (this causes a texture that is an acquired taste, but worth it for all the benefits of flax)

Apple juice and/or water - to almost the top of the fruit

Blend till smooth. For breakfast, often Matt and Abby have a cup with this smoothie each and almost always ask for seconds. This plus a little dry cereal (wheat O's) is the perfect breakfast. Leftovers can be refrigerated and be diluted with more juice as needed.

Drink up!

De-vine Thoughts

Lori:

There is a spot in my yard that I have not had much time to "deal" with. It's also one of those spots that is a bit difficult - weird shape, a mishmash of vegetation, and a couple of poorly chosen plants. Our area's extension offices suggest, "right plant, right place", meaning if you put right plant into right place you have less watering, pests, disease, etc.

A few years back I remember seeing this vine start growing there that in the end nearly took over that weird spot. It was lush and green, and within weeks literally covered nearly everything in there - the necklacepod shrub, coontie mini-palm, and the slash pine tree were this new shade of green to a height nearly higher than our roof. It was kind of a nice change - something (anything) different, and had these bright yellow flowers all over, and I left it there, partly because I was exhausted (I was probably either pregnant or nursing), but partly because it was nice-looking and it seemed harmless, especially because it died back to the ground after rainy season.

Now here I am, however many years later with "right plant, right place" in mind for this weird spot, yet with us in the midst of rainy season, seeing tiny little versions of this vine ALL OVER the spot. I pull one up and see two more. Whenever I weed these little vines out of the spot, it reminds me of my habits. Oh, goodness, habits can be so tough to break, can't they?

What can we learn from the offspring of one unassuming vine?
1. They are easier to deal with when small.
Last year, when it came to vine-removal time, I nearly pulled up my very-large shrub because of the mass of tendrils enveloping its branches. It is so much easier to pull up the tender shoots of this plant than the adult versions. Deal with the small habits in your life before they get so big that they are really tough to get rid of.
2. You must totally eliminate all remnants of it or you may end up with another BIG ONE.
After five minutes out there I think I have got it all, but then I see another one. I know that if I let even one stay, it could well be the one to take over. Whatever your weakness might be, actively avoid the opportunity to be tempted. It sometimes only takes once to "fall off the horse".
3. What sometimes looks so nice on the outside can do great damage.
What pretty vine, what pretty flowers. What damage to my shrub that cannot see the sunlight or my tall slash pine that wears scars of your sharp fingers! Don't fall for things just for their pretty packaging or quick promises, as the inside is not always what is holy, right, true, or good.
4. What seems harmless this time is often sowing seeds that will continue to sprout for a long time.
My black thumb and I would never have guessed that one mess of vines could make this much trouble a whole year later. Problems like this in our own lives sometimes come up generations in a row. How might your choices today affect your children? Their friends? Your children's children?
5. Share what you have learned with others.
If you have one of these vines growing in your life and you have overcome it, then you need to help others who might find themselves in your shoes. Share your experience with those who may not know any better, or may not know a way out. I've taken to pulling this vine from neighbors' yards so it does not spread to ours, and telling them why it should be pulled, too.

And so, for the time-being, I will continue my mission to de-vine my weird front yard spot. I have a feeling I have not seen the last of it...

First and last...and still

Lori:

When I first got pregnant with our oldest, I signed up for an email newsletter that would tell me what was going on with him in the womb: when he first sprouted fingernails; when he was about the size of a cauliflower, when he could blink his eyes. After Matt was born, the emails kept coming, a very convenient resource to help me watch out for what to expect next. As any new mother might, I always watched attentively for all of the firsts: first lift of the head, first roll from the tummy, first crawling and steps, first bites. With all that joyful noise after each milestone, you'd think no baby had ever successfully eaten peas before our son did.

Matt is now nearly three ("two and a half," says he), and we're seeing a new lists of firsts to watch for: when he'll draw his first circle and square, make his first friends, and have his first dry nights without a diaper. All this achievement in just a couple of very short years kind of got a reality check this weekend as I spent a frenetic afternoon decluttering today. Tucked under a scrapbook nearly four years in-process, I came across his first year baby calendar, waiting for me to paste pictures in it. Remarkably, and thanks to the fact that we hung it by the door in his room, it's pretty well filled in with those year-zero firsts.

Today's quick page of those 12 months made me smile a bit wistfully. I wondered, When did he stop being a baby? When was the last time he crawled? When was the last time he nursed? Did I know those would be his "lasts"?

What an epiphany for me. How many more "lasts" will dance off into the wind, carried away by Father Time before his sweet little childhood is suddenly over? I kid you not, my house is never clean enough. Everytime I turn around there is something to clean/straighten/put away. But I also turn around and there are my children. They are there, asking for a dance or a cuddle or a hug or for me to create Lightening McQueen out of play dough or legos. Their tiny little requests often get in the way of my having an empty kitchen sink or all my veggies chopped and ready for dinner at six. But any of these could be "lasts". And I'd rather remember the lasts of their childhood than the last great dinner I made.


I thank God for the great fortune and blessing of all the baby firsts to squeal with delight over. For the sweet sorrow of my baby boy shredding his infancy and someday his childhood through his lasts. And most, Lord, I thank you for each day I get to enjoy with him. That he still climbs up on my lap to read books. That he still comes to me when he hurts. That he still wants me to cuddle him to sleep at night. Thank you, Lord, for the stills.

11 August 2010