Monday, September 19, 2011

What happened to Summer??

So as you may (or may not!) have noticed I haven't posted one single blog since Tuckers birthday back in June.  But Mammo you say, what have you been doing?  Why haven't you found any time to blog?  Well, in the interest of saving my fingers I thought I would show everyone what I've been up to!

Our vacation this year!  We went to the Oregon coast aquarium, camped out in a yurt, and went for a ride on the Rogue Jet boats!  We had a glorious time!
For me the best part of the vacation was the trip back.  I yelled for Demian to stop and took the kids through a dino park that my grandparents had taken me to as a kid.  I loved sharing a piece of my past with my kids.

Aiden boy as baseball player.  He had the best year playing that he has had so far.  I was so proud of him, and his coach thought he was so good he asked him to request his team next year!
Aiden's team took 3rd place in his world series!
At the end of the year BBQ the dad's took on the boys.  Demian did a bit of cheating when he stepped on Aiden's flip-flop  so he couldn't steal home.

The biggest news of the summer?  Demian got his masters degree and found an awesome job right up the street!  I am so proud of him.
Our baby chicks arrive! 

We spent a lot of time in the park this summer with Jenny and kids.  On this day a bird decided to show Jenny what it thought of her /snicker

Shanna and Logan come to stay over and we cooked marshmallows on the grill outside.

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to play games.  This is LEGO Mousetrap.  We had to build it and then got to play it.  It was fun!

We spent the 4th at Fern Ridge Lake.

Dan and Peggy invited us to watch the fireworks with them.

This is what happened after Seri walked off the side of the boat marina and I went in after her.  All in a day's work parenting the Sauce!

Samantha passing her outdoor riding test with her horse Donya. She has come so far with her riding this summer that Linda has started her riding her stud horse.

Nefertiti guarding Seri at nap time.

Seri and Daddo playing with Seri's chicken named...Chicken!  Seri insists that's her name.

All the girls growing up.

I had two goals this summer...potty train Seri and stop her sucking her fingers.  We worked very hard at it all summer, and got neither done! /sigh This child continues to bemuse me.

As usual we did two weeks of swim lessons this summer

The kids teacher asked me to get them all goggles because they were good enough that she wanted them all doing laps.

Their teacher feels next summer they should join the swim team because they did so well.
Seri and I spent swim lesson time goofing off in the baby pool.

The girls first day outside.  They stayed clustered around our feet.

Seri trying to persuade Shelly to eat a stick.  Shelly wasn't having any! lol

Misty at her baby shower.  Her little boy, Carter, is due by c-section on Aiden's birthday!

All the cousins at the shower.
Tucker being silly waiting to tie-dye shirts.

Dad passed the time waiting to make his shirt snapping pics of his Saso.

The finished project!  The kids all loved their shirts.

Aiden and Tucker love Phineas and Ferb.  This is a LEGO version of the first episode, the roller coaster ride.

Aiden practicing with his catapult at LEGO camp.  We sent Tucker and Aiden to a one week LEGO camp.  They learned all kinds of science stuff and built some amazing things.  Tucker took his camera every day and took some great photos.
One of the projects the boys made.  Each day they made two items.
A small sampling of all the canning I did this summer. I haven't canned in 5 years and this year I did sweet and dill pickles, peaches, pears, applesauce and butter, green beans and beets.

Sick Tucker cuddling sick Seri.  Everyone but Samantha got horrible colds at the end of summer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tucker is 10!

Today my son Tucker turns 10!  Now yes I know I posted yesterday that Seri was turning 3…that’s because I had my two children one day apart.  I know, I should have planned that better! /laugh

Tucker was my first baby.  I say baby because I was already having Samantha on weekends so in a way I felt like I was already a part time parent, but to a toddler.  I remember when I found out I was pregnant.  I had gone to get my nails done, and Ben called me to say that the doctor’s office had called him and said the test was positive.  I was so happy I bolted into the bathroom and got hysterical.  My nail woman, who knew the situation, started jumping up and down and pounding on the door asking if it was a positive.  I love telling people that I found out I was pregnant after my ex did!

I had been through several of my friends and my brother having children and seen parenting things I liked and didn’t like from all sides.  Ben and I had a great deal of trouble conceiving Tucker, so most of the people we knew and hung out with already had one or two children by the time I got pregnant.

I had spent a great deal of time just watching new parents, and I had come to the conclusion that most parents suffer from something I term New Parent Dementia.  In all my childless wisdom I assumed that having seen so many parents go through this I could avoid it.  HA!  Let me describe some common forms of this illness.

Germ mania: everything and everyone is dirty, and no one is allowed to approach the little darling without a level 5 hazmat suit and a full surgical scrub!  Health certificates are required certifying no illnesses in the last 6 weeks and all vaccinations are up to date.
Food mania: the little darling can only eat organic, pure, free range, vegan foods picked by free trade nubile naked native women.
Schedule mania: the tiny baby can only eat, sleep, poop, and play at designated times

Chart number one with each tiny poo loveingly recorded.  And make no mistake, there is a lot of love (and insanity) in these charts.

Sleep mania: the infant can only sleep on the mama, or only off the mama…I’ve seen it both ways.
Recording mania: every coo the little darling makes and every poo it puts out must be recorded for posterity.

Chart number two with each nursing recorded with notes.  I love one of the lower entries (all written by Ben) written when sleep deprivation was really taking says Oops he crapped his pants!  A reference to one of my favorite S&L sketches.

Facebook mania: I’ve seen babies with pages and pictures and posts before they are even born!
Naked mania: being absolutely convinced that the baby doesn’t have enough clothing, even though he has so many outfits he can’t possibly wear them all even once before they are outgrown
Vision mania: Tucker was born after 46 hours of hard labor.  He had a cone head, black eyes, and his face was kind of squished.  I thought he was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. Looking back now I think he looked like he'd gone 10 rounds with Rocky Balboa! /laugh I don't think most parents get over this one, I still think all my children are the most beautiful in the world.

Tucker looking a little worse for wear.

My little angel a few days later.  Isn't he the most precious thing you've ever seen?

I personally suffered from schedule, naked, vision and recording mania.  Ben and I had Tucker on a strict schedule.  He had wake time, food time, play time (before he could move we would set him up with bright objects to “stimulate him”, and cuddle time.  At the time I thought this was perfectly normal behavior, for real! /laugh 

One of our wake time activities, meant to stimulate the baby.  Tucker didn't appear too stimulated!  My parents (we lived with them at this time) must have thought we were nuts.

Seriously I think this is something every first time parent and some second time parents go through.  Samantha (my oldest) commented to me a few weeks ago that her being the oldest was really unfair.  As she sees things the oldest is the one who gets “experimented on” and then the younger kids get the benefit of our learning from our mistakes with her.  I suspect she has a good point!

One of my favorite pictures of my infant son.  Ben and I did an entire series of Tucker with various musical instruments.

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I had my tiny son. So far he (and the other three) have survived all the things we have tried and all the experiments we have performed.  And someday maybe he will have children of his own, and then he will understand how much I love him.  I believe children are gifts loaned to us by Deity for the short time we are on this earth.  I don’t know what I did to deserve such a wonderful little son, but I’m so glad he is with me!

Tucker playing with his baby sister.  He is an awesome big brother!

My beautiful blue-eyed (and haired!) boy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Today my little Saso turns three, so in honor of her birthday I thought I would talk about her birth. Men, the exit is to the left, watch your step and no trampling as you leave the blog! /laugh

I should start by saying everything about Seraphyn has been a surprise to me.  In the first place I shouldn’t have been able to conceive another child after Tucker.  (For those of you who don’t know my older two kids are actually my step-kids, I’ve just known them since they were born and so never think of them that way.  They are just mine.  But for birthing purposes I’ve only had two kids.)  Anyhow, conceiving Tucker was one of the most humiliating times of my life.  I was poked, prodded, asked horrible questions (how would you like to tell a doctor and two nurses how often and in what position you favor having sex?) and just generally made to hate the entire process.  After I was pregnant I swore I would never go through that again.  On the upside though carrying and birthing Tucker was an amazing miracle.  I never got sick, felt all full of energy, and although I had a 46 hour labor I had him naturally.  Well, OK they gave me pitocin because he was taking so freaking long, but otherwise I was medication free!  

So here I was with my tiny, precious, wonderful son, and two amazing, beautiful, wonderful bonus children.  I was perfectly happy, content, our family was fitting together nicely, I was contemplating going back to work, I lost a bunch of weight and I sold or gave away all my baby things.  I was a little lonely when the kids all left to go to their other parents homes though, so I bought a little dog to take with me and keep me company... and spoil completely rotten.  Every once in a while I would have the vague thought that I would love to have a baby with my new spouse, but that would pass and life was perfect!!  Have I ever told you I’m 100% sure that Deity has a sense of humor?  Or irony anyway! /laugh

This photo was taken right before we found out I was pregnant.  Its one of my favorites.

So there I was in this perfect place…and I get the flu.  It was a horrible flu!!  It lasted for almost two weeks, so I went to Demian and told him I thought I might need to go to the doctor and get a checkup because I couldn’t get rid of this bug.  He gave me an odd look and said hun are you pregnant?  Of course I burst out laughing.  What a silly question! No no I protested, you know that can’t be possible.  Uh huh he says and looks at me a long time, how about I go get a test just in case?  And, as usual, he was right.

Many things were different about this pregnancy.  I was sick for about 7 months 24/7.  I lived exclusively on saltines and mint tea.  And to this day I can’t even stand the smell of mint tea!  Seri was also a kicker.  Where Tucker had lain quietly and softly and gently nudged me from time to time, Seri was a nonstop party girl!  On the upside though I didn’t gain any weight!

Demian and I decided to take a birth class because it had been a while since our last birth experiences.  We entered the room with 10 other couples and immediately felt old...OMG!  All these tiny 20 year old chickies with 3 page birth plans and 2 bags of crap to take to the hospital made us laugh and feel every year of our 35.  I knew nothing ever goes the way you plan it in a birth, and the longest Demian had spent in a birth room was15 minutes...he barely had time to get the camera out let alone books and CDs and snacks!  Our birth plan was simple…stay  at home as long as possible, have Samantha and my bestie Jenny there, avoid induction and avoid as much medication as possible.  I figured I wouldn’t insist on no pain medication this time if I felt I was getting too out of it as Samantha would be there.

And as Deity has proven so many times, she had her own plan.  First off I got preeclampsia , so I was forced in to an induction.  As I feared (and happens to many induced women) my body told the drugs to screw off and my labor went nowhere fast.  Also as happens many times with induction the baby started to suffer a lot of strain, and so in to a c-section I went (and boy howdy you get good drugs after c-section!).  Oh and lastly, Samantha made it to the hospital just in time to see me wheeled in to surgery.  She and Jenny missed the entire birth.

I was devastated.  I hadn’t wanted that much!  I didn’t plan a water birth, I didn’t demand a mid-wife, I didn’t have 5 CDs of ocean sounds or dolphin poo incense or special teas…I just wanted to have my baby in her own time with my family (Jenny is family) around me.   This experience made me get more involved with birth rights here in my home state. Birth-Freedom-for-Oregon

 These gorgeous pictures of my little girl were taken by her Grandpa Dan.  He is a semi-professional photographer and brought all his things to our home to get the perfect shots of his newest grandchild.
 Of course the minute I saw my baby clearly (that would be the next day as the first day I was too busy enjoying my morphine!) I forgot all about the birth experience and marveled at the fact that my body had produced this perfect little being, given to me to cherish for a short time by Deity herself.  We named her Seraphyn Celestia which means heavenly angel.  And while as Tucker says most days she’s less angel and more devil, we love her dearly.  

Today my heavenly angel is three years old, and I cannot imagine life without her.  She came in to our family and filled a little Seri shaped hole we didn’t even know was there.  I don’t know why she and Deity chose us to be her parents, I’m just eternally grateful that they did.

Our family.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How to make potato soup for a sick and dying baby sister who isn't dying, isn't your sister, and doesn't turn out as soup!

So I should start this off with several facts about me.
1. I don't eat soup much because I don't like most soups.
2. Any soups I do like are terribly bad for you and involve a lot of things you shouldn't eat, cream for example.
3. My family loves soups, so I make them and eat something else often.
4. I don't give out recipes for things because I dont USE recipes for things.

But enough about me, lets discuss my day. /laugh   I woke up this morning with one make my sick and dying baby sister a lovely dinner tonight so she wouldn't have to cook anything.  OK, so she isn't really dying, she just had a baby with a c-section, but I remember how that felt and how pathetically grateful I was to have Terri (my Mom-in-love) bring over large pots and dishes full of things I could feed my family right after my c-section so I wanted to do the same for her.  She also isn't really my baby sister but that's a long story and this is supposed to be about soup!

Moving on.  I woke up and planned to start some potato soup and then go do errands and then finish the soup and take it to her house and kiss the baby...probably her too but the baby is newer.  Anyway the first thing I saw was that it was noon!  HORRORS!  I didn't have enough time for the soup to cook before I had to leave to see her! /panic mode

I leapt out of bed calling frantically for Demian to help me and planning how I could speed up this process.  Oh, and I should backtrack and say that I've been experimenting with new foods recently so I also didn't have the normal stuff I would usually use to make this soup.  Normally I would take something I knew was good to someone else for them to eat....let us all hope this comes out OK.

So I dashed out and cut up the leeks (remember trying new foods?  I had no onions!!) and garlic (not normal garlic I had decided to try already cut up) and then cut the potatoes really tiny so they would soften quickly, opened the corn (wait..creamed corn?  where is the regular corn??) and cut up some ham and threw everything in some chicken stock I was planning to use for something else.  Now usually I boil the potatoes and drain them and kinda smoosh them and put them in...but no time no time!! I turned the heat on medium and ran out the door to my errands.


 I find golden and red potatoes get soft a lot faster in cooking than white, plus we like the flavor of the skins which are a lot thinner.

 Upon entering the car I realized that our power had gone on and off in the night and our clocks were all wrong.  It was actually 9:30.  /sigh  This is what I get for not turning my computer on first thing! So I did my errands and came back.

At least the soup looked like it was cooking nicely.  You can see the chunks of potato and ham and the corn.  Its watery at this point because it cooks down a lot.

Whilst I was gone my quick thinking hubby turned the heat down. Everything had started to burn because Seri had wandered by and thought the burner should be on high instead of medium.  I have an old stove and the burner controls are push buttons that sit low on the front.  Hurray for 1940s child safety standards!

So after fixing all the clocks I set about smashing up the soup.  Now normal people would probably use a potato masher, but for some reason I never think to buy one, and in any case I like lumps in my soup so I just kinda smooshed the potatoes against the side of the pan with my wooden spoon.  Then I added some 1/2 and 1/2...well I meant to add half and half, but see I had sent Demian to the store with Samantha and Tucker. Which is why I had cream corn instead of corn, and apparently heavy whipping cream instead of half and half!

I love that my husband and my kids go shopping for me when I'm tired, but occasionally they being home things that are not exactly what I ordered! -=P

At this point I was just getting frustrated with the entire process, so I said to myself screw it!, and dumped in the heavy cream.  Heated it all up, added a bit of salt and pulled some out for a taste test...and its delicious!!  Whew what a relief.  It didn't really come out as soup though, I'd guess its more like a chowder, but the texture is nice and the flavor is wonderful.  So now I'm off to take my soup that isn't soup, to my sick and dying baby sister who isn't sick OR my sister!  Its been a very Nancy day -=)  Oh and I included the recipe (kinda) if you want to try this soup yourself.

All finished and packed for travel!  I love how the yellow corn and red potato skins peek out of the thick white sauce.  Food should be pretty, don't you think?
Actually Demian just commented that this looks like vomit, but we'll ignore him because he's gobbling a bowlful as we speak!

Nancy's Potato Soup
Get out a large pan
Drop a bit of olive oil in (or butter or PAM or whatever) - heat
Add some leeks or onions or scallions I used about 1 1/2 leeks - saute until you get tired of waiting
Add garlic (how much ever you like) - saute some more
Add chicken broth or water I used about 3 cups
        corn or creamed corn or no corn if you forgot to buy some
        ham, hot dogs, bacon, left over roast beef, or none if you don't eat meat
        potatoes, white or red or yellow, and peel or not its your choice!  I used about 8 cause they were small
Heat all that to a boil and keep boiling until everything is soft and a lot of the water is gone
Smoosh (yes that is an actual cooking technique) the potatoes until they are the consistency you want, I prefer semi-chunky - yes that is also a proper cooking term -=P
Add in milk or half and half or heavy whipping cream...I've used them all and they are all good. ~ heat gently until its all warm...don't boil or the milk part gets all oogly (OK I made up that one)
Salt to taste (I use garlic and onion salt)

Serve with rolls or croissants, or french bread, or a personal favorite (before I stopped eating bread) those puffy breads that you hollow out and dump the soup into.