Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Snow Day!

It has been snowing all day.  A day for Penelope to double as a baby and spend the morning in the stroller.  Maggie and Bella building a snowman all afternoon.  Hunkering down and enjoying Chocolate Crinkles.  I love days like this.


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They are dropping like flies everywhere we look.  It makes me want to barricade the doors, crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head until spring.   Every post I read, every friend I phone has the stomach bug.

I am fine with colds and what not but when things start flying that’s when I really have a hard time.  My poor husband makes the worst noises when he is sick so I lock him into quarantine and only go anywhere near the door to leave food, water and medicine and to make sure he hasn’t fallen and hit his head.  The past few years I have convinced him of the value of hand gel and antibacterial wipes and the man has been faithful about using them.  Subsequently he has avoided quarantine and gets to mingle with the rest of us. 

The boys are supposed to be going skiing tomorrow.  The thought of them on a tiny bus with other possibly infected teenagers makes me cringe.  I am sure they won’t mind me hosing them down in the front yard when they come home and then covering them in Lysol before they breach the threshold. 

So while I wait for spring I will just enjoy Penelope.  She is all snuggled in her red sweater and not afraid of stomach bugs or for that matter teenagers.  She just needs food, water and some snuggles and her life is complete.  Penelope, could live without the red sweater, but Bella and I force it on her for our own pleasure to keep her warm.  There is just nothing cuter than a small dog in clothing to entertain us.  Watching Bella wrangle her into that thing is hysterical and quite the workout. 


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It’s Snowing!

In Vermont that is usually not  a cause for excitement but this year we have had so little.  I think there was some confusion and our snow order arrived south instead of here.

A winter in Vermont without snow is long, boring and cold for no reason.  A hike in the woods is less fun without snow shoes, there are snowmen to make and subsequently destroy, no snowball fights, snow forts ( for snowball fight protection) and certainly no opportunities to tackle a teenager into a snow bank -probably the only time I can ever manage to one up the giant boys!  And no sledding.  My industrious children did try to sled down a hill that a very thin layer of snow like material and although hilarious the sleds did not fare well at all. 

In the past I would pray for snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We don’t travel so I didn’t mind.  Snow with little ones is challenging and less fun.  The occasional romp with the sled around the neighborhood with a cherub looking baby swaddled in winter clothing with nothing but nose, cheeks and eyes showing was about all I could muster.  Now the kids like being outside and we have had some wonderful times wandering around the Homestead with out snowshoes.  Husband even got us cross-country skis but they sit in the shed waiting to be used. 

So today I will enjoy the occasional flutter of snow and hope for more than a dusting.  A few inches is really all I need to make me happy.  I am an easy person to please like that.

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Paczki Photos

Yesterday I posted about Paczki.  I hope these photos show just how delicious they turned out.  They were so simple to make.  I mixed the dough in the bread machine.

After the bread machine I cut the dough into 8 pieces and rolled them into balls.  They set out for 2-2 1/2 hours to rest and rise a bit more.

The recipe called for frying the dough for 3 minutes on each side.  I found after 1 1/2 minutes that they were turning this deep, golden brown.  I decided to flip them at this point and I am glad I did.  I think they would have burned for sure.

Some of them are darker than others because I was testing the cooking time.  The first batch were the darkest but thankfully not burned.  (more…)

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Make a Joyful Noise

They run in circles, screaming.  They get your best pots and pans and a wooden spoon and bang it until your head feels like it will literally pop off of your head.  They turn everything into a drum.  Then you buy them real instruments and they strum and squeak and twang…

Then one day the noise becomes a song.

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Happy Paczki Day

So we’re not all Polish and we’re not Catholic, but, we do love to eat delicious fried foods.  I found a recipe for Paczki in my King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion Cookbook a few months ago and quickly decided to give it a try. 

Paczci are simply sugar dusted doughnuts.  They were traditionally eaten on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday ( the Tuesday being dubbed Fat Tuesday seems appropriate here).  It was in an effort to use up all of the eggs, butter,sugar and other yummy things before Lent when people often avoided such things. 

Apparently in the mid-west it is a big business and the day has been dubbed Paczki Day.  Now here in Vermont where Poles seem few and far between no one seems to know what I am talking about.  That being said , however, I did notice that Price Chopper was selling Paczki.  They also sell Bobka at Easter time too.  It makes me wonder if the founder of Price Chopper was from a Polish heritage?

So to celebrate my 1/4 Polish heritage and that I used to be a Catholic I am making Paczki tonight for dessert.  Paczki are usually eaten for breakfast but once again I reiterate that I am only 1/4 Polish and not a Catholic so I think I am ok. 

I cannot find the recipe on King Arthur flour to share but I did find a few that would work here and here.   I will post pictures later ( only if they turn out well and everyone likes them, if not I will simply skip along to a new topic of interest).

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A Beautiful Life…

I read this post the other day and it brought tears to my eyes and many memories of my pregnancy with Bella.

My heart had nearly stopped when they called and  told me  the Triple Markers test came back positive for Down Syndrome.  I had already had so many scares  with Baby Girl already.  I tried to put it out of my mind, push it away and worry about it another day but I just couldn’t.  I worried about her, the three little boys I had already, my abilities as a parent… The only thing I never questioned or worried about was whether we were going to have her.  Not having her was just not an option. 

We were sent to genetic testing.   They had scheduled me for a Level II ultrasound and an amniocentesis.  I kindly told them the amnio would not be necessary.  They insisted.  I refused.  The kindly looking older dr entered the room and was quick to tell  us how the amnio was necessary to verify the Downs so we could schedule an abortion.  We kindly repeated that it was not necessary because not having her was not an option.  He ranted, he raved and bullied.  We never waivered in our conviction but my stomach twisted and turned.   Is this what life will always be like?  Will  there will always be people telling me her life had no value.  She would face all of this and more at the hands of the ignorant.  My heart ached for her already and she was not even born.  This man continued on and finally the ultrasound room was ready.  He refused to cancel the amnio, “In case you change your minds.”  His parting words to us were, “I would never want to have a child with Down Syndrome.”   In that moment all I could feel was pity for this man who saw the world in only one way.

The room was dark and quiet as we waited breathlessly for any answers the wand would show.  This was not a new scare for us, but, my age, the number of pregnancies, Mr. being adopted all seemed to factor into this one pregnancy.  There she was in all her glory on the screen, twisting and turning and kicking… Baby Girl… alive and well and she was beautiful.  The technician went about her business but my eyes were transfixed on this little miracle growing inside me.  I was head over heels in love and my worries, although not gone, faded for just a bit.  I was this child’s mother and I would shield her from all of the anger and pain  the world would try to push on her tiny shoulders.  Marker after marker came back showing positive for a baby with Down Syndrome and once again I was told that I should be going in for that amnio.  They were frustrated.  They had an agenda but so did we.   We left without verification that our baby had Downs but there were more than a few indicators.  She had three cysts on her brain, her femurs measured small for her gestational age, there were small  “abnormalities” showing in her abdomen and they could not get good pictures of her heart for the cardiologist.

We prepared the older boys.  We explained what Down Syndrome was and that Baby Girl might look different, that she might not keep up as well, that life might just be a bit slower in general.  Bean looked at me with 5 year old eyes, eyes that would prove to be  windows to a wiser and older soul then the dr we just saw, and he said, “If we are running in a running race and Baby Girl can’t keep up then I will walk it with her and help her get to the finish line.”   With that I knew no matter what, everything would be just as it should.

After months of angst and a 31 hour induction Baby Girl entered the world, healthy and perfect in every way.  We looked for the early indicators of Down Syndrome and found none.   I will not say that I was not relieved.  We all want the very best for our children but in the end it really would not have mattered.  This girl is such a treasure and really makes this a beautiful life.

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