Monday, December 16, 2013

And to continue...

Everett and I went to the hematologist today for a follow up. Verdict: 3 more months of iron therapy. Boo on this. Good news: his numbers are improved. He is no longer anemic as far as his hemoglobin but is deficient in ferritin (iron stores). Simply put, he lacks stored iron. So, if he should need extra for any reason, it's not there. His dosing is the same. He's 24 pounds now (growing!!) and doing well otherwise - feisty as ever. The hematologist still believes this stems from his traumatic birth...I giggled as he and David marched to bed the other night: Everett in 2T footies and David in 3T. I predict they'll share shorts in the spring...

He has been talking more and more; demanding more and more; and doing everything he can to keep up with his big brother and sister. It's a little (very) overwhelming to watch the three of them play together. Mary Louise and David adore Everett and submit, albeit begrudgingly, to his every whim.

In the past few weeks, we have replaced our (commercial) downstairs heating and cooling unit, had issues with our kitchen faucet and the kids have braved a strep (ML) and cold (E and D) combo. One dog is on antibiotics for a skin issue and the other is on Prozac for, well, a noggin' issue.

Mary Louise and David started rehearsals yesterday for Rudolph - this year's civic ballet production. They are so cute. It's a bit of a mass chaos on stage but eventually kids part and leave sweet David searching for his sister...who typically tries to brush him off once before conceding to take his hand or at least let him follow her. They're both doing well with it all and (I think) loving the attention.

But busy is an understatement here. With all of the pressure, over booking, under sleeping, I still find little moments (when the kids are on stage or at the end of the night when Everett is nursing while falling asleep) to be grateful. The irony that this (happy) sort of busy even gets to me a little after all of the appointments, therapies and just plain organizational mess I've had over the past few years isn't lost on me. I finally have the luxury to think of things as optional - even though it's sometimes on a subconscious level.

Some long over due pics:
There are few things that light up Everett's face as much as a simple ball and game of catch:

We did have a jackolantern this year...but the only little that would touch the "guts" was Everett:

Mary Louise on Halloween:

She spent the evening concerned that someone might need help and mistake her for a "real" doctor. She was so anxious about it that I had a hard time getting her to trick or treat at all. She made sure to tell anyone who would listen that she had not, in fact, finished "docca school" just yet and was therefore not qualified to be of assistance. Sweet baby. What a gift.
David, on the other hand:

promised he could absolutely save anyone and everyone from a blaze - no problem - you know, because that "dus what fire fighters do Mom". (I pretty much believe him. My hero.)

Just because:

Betcha can't find David (group pic for Rudolph):

Back stage:

David's congratulatory reward:

Mary Louise's:

Truth be known, Mary Louise wanted flowers after each rehearsal as well.

They were so excited all of their grandparents and Uncle Kyle and Sean came to see "da big stage" performance. Mary Louise begged to see the final showing "from the chairs" and Uncle Kyle happily obliged. (David requested a "Supa Keer-oh show" that evening. Apparently, he'd had enough ballet for the day.)

This picture makes me laugh:

Doting uncles:

Good. Times.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Impossible

Since Friday:

6 batches homemade cookies
plumber fixed kitchen sink
family pictures organized and done
3 bulk batches of granola
some light garden tending
attended a baby shower for a wonderful friend
2 hours of shopping ALONE at a store without carts!!
a few other home recipes made and done
laundry...there's always laundry...
market on Saturday morning
special order of bulk cookies delivered
dinner with family (out!! at a restaurant!!)
movies with family
meals cooked / cleaned
Brent cleaned the house (ah! be still my heart. Love.)
nursing, nursing, nursing the E man
running with David while he rides his bike a few miles (amazing right?)

I get 2 comments most often:
I don't know how you do "it".
You have your hands full.

The latter happened 13 times in 2 hours during a trip to a scarecrow festival at a nearby garden recently. 13 times. really. So, I obviously don't make "it" look easy.

The physical is that I get "it" done by making lists. By prioritizing, plugging away - one thing at a time. Crossing things off of a physical list gives me peace. I nerd.

Perspective. Keeping things in perspective. Staying in the moment - focusing on the most mundane keeps life extraordinary. Though areas usually suffer (hello, blog - long time no see!), I am doing the best I can and enjoying those painfully sweet moments without worrying about obsessively recording. Looking back, I see happy. That is more than good enough.

Time is flying. It is racing by so fast that focusing on those tiny seconds is all I can do.

Business is going well for which I am so grateful. If anything, I am constantly trying to rein myself in - trimming grandiose ideas into neat and tidy "attainable today" goals.

Mary Louise and David are working on numbers and letters and doing well. We got some old school desks refinished with chalk board paint at a festival my elementary school has each year. We draw letters and numbers together on the desk tops, seats - all over. Something about drawing on furniture...never gets old! Everett keeps up with our lessons too - sounding out and imitating everything. He speaks in 2 to 3 word sentences often - extremely verbal and so sweet and polite saying "tank-oo" appropriately.

They are rarely in "street" clothes anymore - very deep into a massive dress up phase. We took them to raid the clearance costumes the day after Halloween. They literally spend hours (ummm...days. definitely days and if they had their way, nights too) as "Supa Keer-ohs" and "Docca- Bal-uh-weena-Pwinceses". Today I caught David, dressed as a police officer, doing a monologue in the mirror:

"Calm down boys and girls! Bo-weese opisuh Dabid is here!"
"You can buh-wax now. I won't gib you a ticket...(holds the brim of his hat and looks down his nose with a sly grin) un-wess you are doing sumping wong! he he heee"

The kids have all had growth spurts and are looking very long and lanky. Everett is breezing through clothing David wore last winter. We seem to suddenly have "young children" rather than babies. I'm sure, just like that, I'll be trying to catch my breath as I stare at adolescents and teens in a few years.

All amazing. All. Deciding to believe in "possible"...


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blessings and Business

*This post was started an embarrassingly long time ago - but alas, life happens and blogging, well, sometimes doesn't...*

So, since Downtown Naturals made its debut at a local farmers' market about a month ago, business has been growing, busy and wonderful. I'm am so humbled to be able to provide a local treat, healthy indulgences, and immune boosting elderberry syrup to our just leaves me speechless and awestruck.

Brent and I have daydreamed often about running a cafe, opening a restaurant - just cooking and tasting the days away, together - working hard but feeling like we are hardly working. All we have is our passion for quality ingredients, local, healthy, organics - the opinion that things don't need to be cooked all stinkin' day for flavors to properly marry. People! Nutritious does not equal (taste of) sticks and stones!

This is our first taste of our dream...and I must say, it tastes UH-mazing.

We do our math lessons over a batch of granola. I ask the kids to tell me exactly what they taste as they test a new recipe. It is our family's effort and love that is in every bite of the products on our market table. The kids tag along on (most of the) Tuesdays for market. They watch as grown ups taste, critique and purchase their hard work. They watch money exchange hands. They are learning the value of a dollar so early, and so comfortably...

Tonight, for dinner, Mary Louise, David and Everett enjoyed pan seared tilapia and cod cooked in avocado oil, local herbs, Bragg's liquid aminos, organic lemon and fresh cracked black pepper. These are the tastes of their childhood. This is what they will want for comfort into adulthood. We are raising little "foodies". Unafraid of foods, flavors and new tastes...this is important.

I dropped a package by a neighbor's house today. She ordered some molasses cookies for her friend for a birthday. I made... MADE a birthday present!! I made a birthday present with spelt flour, blackstrap molasses, turbinado, local eggs and (partly) organic spices...I made a birthday present that keeps giving in enjoyment, taste, community support, sustainability and nutrition. The fact that someone thought of us when they were looking for a gift is humbling. What an honor to be a small part of their happy celebration!


This morning was one of those that I woke up and decided to make the day wonderful. It was a conscious decision because, in truth, I was tired, run down and a little grumpy...but, nonetheless, I got us dressed and went to our local Children's Museum. Mary Louise and David are very familiar with the set up - but get so excited to play with everything every time we go. Everett has just recently started to really get into the pretend playing and props there - his sweet mouth was open and in awe for almost all of the 2 hours we spent there.

We had a great time and I got us out of there just before the SUPER hungries hit and while we were all still having fun (one of my greatest Mom lessons was learning to stop things BEFORE they got boring and BEFORE anyone felt too hungry. I still slip from time to time, but make every effort to stop while we're still having fun - so they always want to go back for more later.) As we walked out of the door and I heard the, "Thank you Mom!!" and "But I wanted to play a little more!", I decided that today, we all needed to play a little longer. We went to lunch together. This never happens - especially not without Brent in tow. But there we were. We sat at a table, Everett in my lap and David across, Mary Louise next to me. We talked and ate, laughed and smiled. Then we played some more. It. was. fabulous. Everyone was happy, and we even made it through Sam's on the way home.

I had some errands to run - other than Sam's - but opted for some sofa snuggles this afternoon instead. Because days like this...well, they should be stolen, often. My happy spot is right under my nose (and usually under my feet) but it's just too easy to get wrapped up in business and forget to really savor that time your little girl couldn't understand how Mommom could be a mommy because she doesn't have her hair in a bun and play with babies all day.

Today, today has been savored.
As promised, a few pics of our stay with Mere and Pops on our way home from St. Augustine:


Friday, September 20, 2013

St. Augustine 2013

We spent the first week of September in St. Augustine, Fl. Time at the beach, visiting Granny, time as a family: some of life's greatest gifts. I'd looked forward to that week for months. Even though it was stressful, it was wonderful to breathe that sweet sea air and see the littles squeal in the waves and enjoy the sand between their toes. If you were otherwise unaware, we have quite the family of beach bums:

Just watching them delight in the simple pleasures of sand and water...beautiful. (and yes, you probably did see a few spatulas and a turkey baster...dollar store kitchen section: the only place to find "sand" toys that might be able to hold up to a week of abuse courtesy LeBlanc kiddos.)

And watch this:
One happy to be at the sea wall; one sassy pants not wanting to take pictures:
happy one snuggles up to sassy one:
"You smile May-weeze!"
yep - better together:

That's my "big kids".


And of course, we got in some great hugs and chats with this gal:

I owe all of my "color red" obsession to you dear Granny.

The trips there and back came complete with nice stops at Mere and Pops' house...which means another picture post coming up!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

True Story Thursday

David and I went to the American Apparel outlet while on vacation. At the check out counter, there were about 15 bins of sweat bands (think 1980's Rocky sort of things - because, clearly, the 80's styles need to come back 1. more. time. *sigh*).

David picks up a red, white and blue band. He put it on his head.

D: Yook Mom!! I have a head band! Dis means I work out. You work out Mom??
Me: Uhh. yes. I do David.
D: Yeah. I work out Mom! See? (he gets on the floor. I am a little stunned and grinning at the same time) I'm pushin' me up! Yook Mom!! I can push me up!! (he tries to do a push up but ends up looking like he's sort of break dancing)
Me: That's great David!! Look how strong you are! ... please get off the floor now Bub? (he does) (I scold my self internally for chancing ruining a moment because I saw a dust bunny roll across the floor as he...uh...pushed himself up. Dear self: please relax...a a little more...your heart thanks you.)
D: I pushed me up because I have a head band. Could we take dis head band with us to our home Mom?
Me: David, I think it's 100% necessary to take that head band with us. Are you sure that's the color you want? (there were about 4 different green ones. Anyone who spends 5 minutes around David knows green is, hands down, that kid's "fa-bor-wit" color.)
D: I want DIS one Mom. DIS is da one I want!! (proudly wearing the red, white and blue)

We went to 2 other stores while at the outlets. David asked anyone who made eye contact with him if they worked out, and then demonstrated that he could "push me up" because of his head band. He walked with the swagger of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

When I tell you David rocks that sweat band I mean it with every fiber of my being. He is awesome. I wish I'd had even a third of that grounded confidence in myself and my decisions at his age - or anytime during my childhood. My sweet individual boy.

**I started this post on Wednesday - but ended up spending all of Thursday cooking! So, it's a late "True Story Thursday"...apologies!**

Everett's absolute favorite thing in the world right now (because you know, this can change next week - or in a few minutes really as all things toddlers go) is playing ball. He sees balls everywhere we go, points, grins and says, "ball". In our room on vacation, there were photos of a sunset over the bed. Every morning, Everett would wake up, look at the photos and say, "ball" with a HUGE grin.

While in St. Augustine, my cousin Ashley was married. It was the first wedding Mary Louise and David had ever attended. They were fascinated. On the way home (after the reception) Mary Louise asked the following questions:
ML: why did Ash-wee have that big beautiful white dress on Mommy?
Me: it's a wedding dress baby. She was getting married and it's tradition that the bride wear white as it's a sign of purity.
ML: ok...
D: yeah - but dat dress dus dragged da ground! It's gonna get all dirty! she should pick dat dress off da ground!

ML: But why did Ash-wee throw dose beautiful flowers all over? They broke and fell on da floor. I would never throw beautiful flowers like dat!
Me: ummm...the person who catches the flowers is supposed to be next to marry...but I'm not sure how that started...
ML: (frowning) broken flowers dus make me sad...I would never throw my beautiful flowers...

ML: So Mommy, I wuv David...can I marry him one day?
Me: Well, David is your brother Meesey.
ML: yeah - but I wuv him so I can marry him right?
Me: well, not really. You choose a person to marry that is not in your family. They choose to be with you and you with them. David will always be there for you - he's your brother. That never changes. When you fall in love, you choose each day to be with that person and you choose to make that person your partner and part of your family...does that make sense?
ML: sort of...maybe a yittle bit?


Ballet started the week we were gone, so for us, the first class was this week. Mary Louise is taking again - this time with David too! David asked almost every week if he could take classes with Mary Louise last year. After a little (too much) thought, and viewing amazing performances put on by the company, we decided to let him try things out.

My reservations were washed away by: 1. Mary Louise exclaiming over and over that she would show David the ropes such as how to stay on his dot. She promised she would help him to settle into the class. But most of all - 2. Mary Louise and David's faces as they came out of the class. They were the epitome of pride; the ultimate in satisfaction. In short, they became "big kids" the very moment they let go of my hand, embraced one another's and walked through that class door. They loved it and talked about it all the way home.

Let them do what they love. Let them do what they love. As long as there are more good days than bad, ballet classes will be in our routine. May they be limber and graceful, confident and balanced -with poise that makes others take pause and peace that passes understanding. May they experience all of that and more...while pretending to be any animal they wish as they dance across the floors of their ballet studio (which, from what I gather, is one of their class time practices). Most of all, may they transform and enjoy those moments of absolute freedom as they grow older, more aware and responsibilities increase. Go as far as you wish sweet babes. It's our privilege.

Mary Louise was my "big helper" at market this morning. We went to a new farmers' market that is just a few blocks from our home. Brent and the boys walked over mid-day. Mary Louise and I got 2 solid hours between sales to chat.

ML: Mommy? Is that OUR ell-da-bur-we syrup right there?
Me: well, it's like ours, but it's to help others. We have some at home for you.
ML: I yike dat syrup.
Me: I'm glad take it every morning. I'm glad it tastes good.
ML: Me too Mommy. Why you making it for other people doe?
Me: Well, I like taking care of others. I found something that works for us and thought other people might like to know about it too. We all take care of one another. It's what people do.
ML: I stink you a good Mommy, Mommy.
Me: Thank you my Meese. That means an awful lot...

*grin* these moments, in all their glorious cheesey-ness and adorable fluffiness really do happen you know...and I smile every time...

For those in our area (or not...I can ship a few things as needed or interest dictates), I now have a Downtown Naturals Facebook page. Keep up with all of our goings on - and our newest products - AND provide much wanted (and needed) feedback there! Business is going quite well - even in these very early learning stages and I'm excited to be adding a few things very soon!!