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 goal...to 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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On being a Dreamer

So right off the bat I should tell you that this isn't gonna be one of those blogs about visualization or the kinds of dreams that involve glitter and rainbows and dragons with pink wings.  I'm not talking here about pleasant planning for the future.  Even with years of work on having a more positive view of life I'm still very much on the pessimistic side of things. I don't have those kinds of dreams...ever.  The person in our family who dreams like that is my husband. He would like me to add that there has never been any glitter in any of his dreams, but I don't believe it.

My glitter dreamer and our gorgeous daughter.

The kind of dreams I wanted to write about today are the kind you have when you are sleeping.

As far as I can discover dreaming is something that infests my entire family in various forms.  As a matter of fact I don't think a single person in my house when I was growing up ever had a peaceful night.  My mother is the only one of us that never talked about dreaming herself, but as she was up with one of us nearly every night she never got a full night of sleep either.

My brother and I both sleepwalked when we were younger.  Thankfully we also had a habit of dragging our blankets behind us like Linus from Peanuts so my mother always woke to find us. Her favorite story was finding me pawing through the curtains in the living room searching desperately for my brother who I swore I had left there earlier that day.  My son also sleep walks.  He regularly shows up next to my bed or wandering in the kitchen.  Like my mother before me I gently steer him back to bed, tuck him in, and assure him of my love and support no matter where he thinks he is.

We also all talk in our sleep.  I remember waking up deep in the night hearing my father shouting and my mother waking and soothing him back to sleep.  My brother murmured and spoke the night through, and my first husband took great delight in engaging me in conversation trying to figure out where I was and what I was doing then telling me the next day.  Both Tucker and Seraphyn talk in their sleep just like me...in Tucker's case sometimes loud and long discussions that wake up the entire house.

But there are odder forms of dreaming that run through the family as well.  My father and I used to share dreams, either having the same dream the same night from the same point of view, or seeing and talking to each other in dream time. We also both shared prophetic dreams, both catching glimpses of things that were coming and we could possibly change.  I remember a long conversation my father and I had about this kind of dreaming.  He was, at this time, a log truck driver and he made a point of taking either my brother or I with him as often as he could.  He explained to me that yes he had these dreams too, but he had become a Christian and believed they were sent by Satan.  He had refused to listen to his dreams and they had faded.  He encouraged me to trust those dreams and change things for the better if I could and I've always followed that advice.  Neither of my biological children have experienced these kinds of dreams yet, but they hit me about puberty so maybe they will appear in a few years.

The last kind of dreaming is the worst in my experience.  These are the dreams that appear right on the edge of waking and send you screaming into consciousness.  I don't mean nightmares...those you wake up and realize aren't real.  I'm talking about being awake and having your dream follow you.  I've had dragons breathing fire fly out of the walls, my husbands arm turn into a snake and slither off the bed, and last night I woke up screaming twice seeing a huge black dog standing next to my  bed breathing in my face.  And just to be perfectly clear I don't do drugs, take mind altering medications, drink to excess, or do anything else to cause these.

I'm not really sure why I'm sharing this kind of thing on an open blog.  I've never even told my closest friends most of these things, but I woke up today with this blog burning in my mind and itching in my fingertips asking to be let out. What I was supposed to write and how I was supposed to phrase it has been knocking against the walls of my brain distracting me all day, and to me that is a direct order from Deity that I am not about to disobey.  So now it's out.  Maybe there is someone out there who needed to read this and know they aren't alone.  Either way I'm off to take a nap...I had a rather busy night!

Friday, May 13, 2011

On listening for Deity

Right so about that letter thing.  Apparently its over, and I wasn't following the rules anyway (shocker I know!) so lets just drop it and get back to our irregularly scheduled ramblings shall we?

One of the major admonitions of many religions is the need to slow down and listen for the voice of Deity.  In the Christian Bible Psalms 46:10 says "Be still, and know that I am God".  The Koran urges "Therefore wait patiently for the command of your Lord".  And the ancient Egyptian sage Ptah-Hotep wrote "God loves he who listens".

 Now, if you're a Mom like me you are saying to yourself, "well, that's all good and everything, but who the heck is going to take the kids to..."  And then starts the list of the 1,000,000,000 and 1/2 things that every good Mom has to take care of on a daily basis.  There is the shopping, and the errands, and the cleaning, and delivering kids to school and picking them up.  Then after school there are sports, orthodontist, cooking, bathing, and let us not forget that lovely thing kids sometimes do to all of us "Mom, I have this project due tomorrow!  Could you please provide me with a shoe box, eight pounds of plaster, three pipe cleaners, and a camel?" And then of course the toilet gets backed up, and the printer won't work, and the DVD player dies because the baby threw Deity only knows what in them and...well you get the idea.

To add extra fun into the mix lets think about all the pressures that go along with being a a Mom today.  We know we have to cook....are we using whole grain, organic, free range, gluten free, vegetarian, guaranteed pesticide free meats?  Are our kids doing the after school activities that will grab them a spot in the ivy league college of their choice? Are we using the perfect parenting style for each child so no one grows up to be an axe murderer or worse an accountant?  It's enough to give any thinking, reasoning woman a nervous breakdown.  Then again I'm fairly convinced that I lost some brain after each labor...but that's another blog altogether!

OK back to the point of this whole thing, and I think I had one at some point. Ah yes, listening for Deity.  I grew up being told I should have a prayer time.  I never found time.  As I grew older I realized just how much time I really had then, but hindsight etc. Then when I took up religion again I grew irritable at all the "rules" for quiet listening time.  Some people say you need a holy book, others think you should contort your body (I couldn't get into the lotus position before I had kids, let alone after!), some people need certain smells, insist you much have a list asking for things, the dark or sunlight, chanting or silence....the list goes on.  So, being myself I decided to make up:

Mommo's List of Rules for Hearing Deity! 
1. Listen
2. umm...that's pretty much it

Of course just saying OK I will listen randomly probably isn't going to work too well.  At least it didn't for me, because you see all the other things in my life kept getting in the way.  So after a great deal of thought I came up with

Mommo's Guidelines for Hearing Deity
 1. Set aside time to listen.  It doesn't need to be a solid time, a Mom pretty much HAS no solid time of peace unless all the kids are in school, so when there is a lull in your day take a few minutes and be still. If you get to the end of the day take a few minutes before you drop off to commune with your Deity.
2. Leave things around your house and car and purse (I can carry 6 fireman and a dog in my purse, but that's a whole other kind of inspiration /wink) that inspire you, or put you in a listening mood.  Get a thought a day calendar, daily emails from a source you like, put a devotional on your kindle, or in desperation put a joke book on the back of the toilet...whatever floats your boat.  That way when you get a minute alone you can easily reach for something to put you in the right frame of mind.
3. Figure out where you feel closest to your Deity and try and go there as often as you can.  Maybe for you it is a church, or a specific park, or a gathering place of like minded friends.
4. Keep your mind and heart open even when you are out and about.  My family and I went to the Japanese Gardens last year.  One of the areas was a rock meditation garden.  We all just kind of stopped and settled onto the benches and had a bit of quiet time.  It was beautiful, and I could almost feel Deity moving through that space bringing peace and comfort to everyone there.  Remember after an experience like that to talk to your kids.  What did they see and feel?  What do they think about Deity?  Did they remember to give thanks?

My boys meditating for a little in the Japanese Garden

My life has changed a lot since I made the determination to keep my mind open to my Deity as much as I can.  There are many lessons and ideas and sheer beauty out there waiting for us if we just take a little time and hear and see what Deity brings us.  Be blessed friends -=)