Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mayflower and Pilgrim Meal

In preparation for Thanksgiving we enjoy reading books about the pilgrims and in past years have had a Mayflower meal as a fun way to get a glimpse of what the pilgrims might have experienced when traveling to a New World. The idea of this came from Doorposts and at some point my goal is to do this on a larger scale, dressing up and inviting friends to join in the fun. This weekend we invited my parents and my Grandpa.

This year for our Mayflower we crowded into Missy and Seppy's bedroom which is our smallest room and pulled the shade to make it dark. While ocean sounds played in the background I read portions from the book ...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. I really enjoy the "....If You" series of books. We had a meal consisting of hard tack, salted beef (beef jerky) and a bit of beer to drink as that is what they would have drank. The kids turn up their noses at this but it is fun to think of how different things were when the thought was that milk and water were not good for drinking. We even had the baby "Oceanus" on our ship and he would not stop crying which made me realize how crazy I would go in close quarters with all of the noises and smells around. My Dad is great at playing along and pretended to get seasick. :) As we "approached land" I opened the shade and we left our "ship".

Now onto the Plymouth Meal around the dinning room table. Tank opened with reading Psalm 100 and John read a Thanksgiving Prayer from The Valley of Vision, a collection of puritan prayers. I really enjoy reading through them as they are not to be taken lightly and are so adoring of our Lord. I know more times than I'd like to admit I get in a rut or am in a hurry to pray that I am not truly expressing my heart to the Lord. This is not flippant or dumbed down in any way.

O My God, Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created, for adorning it, for sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body thou hast given me, for preserving its strength and vigour, for providing senses to enjoy delights, for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for thy royal bounty providing my daily support, for a full table and overflowing cup, for appetite, taste, sweetness, for social joys of relatives and friends, for ability to serve others, for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities, for a mind to care for my fellow-men, for opportunities of spreading happiness around, for loved ones in the joys of heaven, for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures. Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

Our meal consisted of squash, skillet corn, crab cakes and broiled cod and perch. Next year my Mom and I said we'll plan farther in advance so we can include foods like crab legs and I think I'll include some type of a stew which the Indians might have made seeing as John and I aren't big fish eaters (unless it is breaded). George loves fish so he was in his element.

Dessert was not authentic this year but in the past I have made Indian Pudding which tastes very much like pumpkin pie but without a crust. In reading up on dishes that the pilgrims might have fixed I found that any type of squash was called a pompion. On the Plimouth Plantation website they have a note about cooking pumpkin from a book written by a traveler to New England in the 1600's and the last line I found so amusing and I guess pumpkins produce gas??...

But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew'd enough, it will look like bak'd Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urine extreamly and is very windy.

We all enjoyed ourselves although some of us may have still been hungry. My Grandpa thanked me for the meal saying it was unusual but nice.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Motor Home Sweet Motor Home

Last month we said "goodbye" to our motor home. John and I had been talking about selling it for awhile, or rather John was talking about it and I kept saying, "Are you sure?". I know we have outgrown it and this past summer of camping we all crammed in, although we probably could have put up a tent outside for the boys. But being that we need a full-size van to accommodate our growing family something had to go to be able to afford one. John would like to keep our mini-van for me to drive when we are not all together due to better mileage and this was the only other option. And too, we only used it twice this summer, much different than when John was racing and we camped twice a month at various racetracks.

We honestly did not think it would sell anymore being the end of the camping season although John was really hoping it would as the value will decrease even more next year (it is 10 years old already). But God always provides what we need and so we sold our motor home to a family with two small children.

This was a hard thing for me. I kept asking the children during that day if they would be sad to see it go but they weren't. The little ones just want a big van so they are not "squished in the van". For me all I could see as I walked through for one last time were all of memories of so many trips we took around Wisconsin, down to Missouri, over to friends in Michigan. I saw where each child slept and remembered the makeshift cribs we made for our babies. I remembered traveling and how excited the children would be when we started on each new adventure. It was so good to all be together in close quarters. It was a wonderful mode of transportation as the children could get up and walk around, go to the bathroom, get a snack from the fridge, and take naps on the beds. And it felt like our home away from home.

I know we can still travel together and camp together albeit probably renting a cabin or a trailer to pull behind. But I guess this really closes a chapter of our lives and that brings a sadness. I have heard it before and I need to remember again that the object isn't what holds the memories, they are all in my heart and that is all I need.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2 Months Old

Two months old already (Almost 3 weeks ago. I need to post this before the next milestone!) and more alert every day and smiling at everyone and everything.

This month finds you putting on some chub. I weighed you with me and that comes to 15# give or take some ounces. You are finishing up the pack of size 1 diapers but you are ready to move up to the next size. I am squeezing you in a few 0-3 month outfits yet just to say you wore them but they are getting a bit tight.

You sleep great at night typically falling asleep at 11 p.m. and waking 7 hours later. You do not fall asleep on your own as your siblings did at this age but we rock you to sleep to calm you down. Needless to say I do not accomplish much during the day. While you like to fall asleep in the swing you do not get a good nap that way and wake easily.

You are beginning to have a more consistent routine and are mainly eating every 3 - 4 hours. Your morning waketime is up to two hours and you are happy for almost the whole time. You are getting a bit more regulated with naps but they still vary based on what time you eat.

Unfortunately, you have a lot or trouble with being gassy which makes for a very fussy baby throughout the day, mainly the afternoon into evening. I feel so bad for you as your legs stiffen, your belly is hard and you scream and scream. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat. Thankfully I found a homeopathic remedy to help you out and we are starting to see some relief.

One of your crying jags. Daddy concentrating on patting your back.
Taken before I found anything to give you relief.
You seem to like to have blowout diapers at church as you have done it three times now. Twice you made quite the noise causing snickers all around us.

I am still waiting to see if you start sucking your thumb and while you occasionally take a pacifier it isn't often that you keep one in your mouth and I only try it out of desperation.

Your siblings love to hold you and are enjoying making you smile. They all like to try to get you to sleep too, as long as you aren't screaming.

Tank has the magic touch!
Here is our happy baby!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Camera troubles

I have had problems with my camera in the past but this time it was with my digital SLR and at the worst possible time -- when I had a 3 week old baby and when the leaves were all changing colors! I had a new lens on my camera that I saved up for with money from taking pictures and I was super excited to get more acquainted with. I was setting things up for a session of baby pictures and set my camera down on the couch next to me while I propped up baby. I must have pulled on the strap or something but next thing I know the camera is on the floor.

I didn't think much of it being that it was such a short fall but when I went to take the picture I had an error message. Oh no, this cannot be happening! I tried to get the lens off and low and behold it was stuck! John was able to get it off and when he did a piece fell off of it. I put on another lens which initially worked but then I was getting error messages about the lens and camera not communicating. It turns out that two tiny pins were pushed down causing the lens not to connect. I was not happy to say the least! I did a bit of research and found that the only thing to do was have it repaired. I wish we would have sent it in at that moment but for some reason I held out hoping John could fix it.

I was going a bit crazy not having a camera. After all, these weren't just ordinary days. I had a newborn that was changing before my very eyes! The leaves were coming to their peak and what could I do but watch.

In time I would like to upgrade to a better model so I began researching hoping I could find a good deal used but I guess I'll have to wait on that. Thankfully I was able to borrow my sister's camera which held me over and I would give it back to her when she needed it. It is an older version of mine and this caused me to appreciate mine all the more. John was able to get my broken lens replaced -- a 50 mm 1.8 (One of the cheaper lenses as it is made with plastic but I found good reviews as one to start with for a portrait lens).

In the end it took one whole month for my camera to be fixed. I kept waiting for status updates and didn't like to much when they called to say they were waiting on a part. I reasoned that if they were fixing cameras they really should have every part there at all times! :) John walked in the door with my camera the other day and I was thrilled and it almost brought a tear to my eye to have my memory-keeper back. I had a fun walk with Missy today trying out my new lens on my own camera.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stars & Stripes Flight

My Grandpa took a trip to Washington D.C. last month on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and Veterans Day is the perfect time to tell you about this wonderful opportunity. This flight is sponsored by various companies and donations but the object is to have WWII veterans visit their memorial in Washington D.C. before they no longer have the chance as we are loosing more and more of that generation each day. My Uncle Brian was able to accompany my Grandpa for this trip and act as his guardian. Some beautiful pictures from the day can be found HERE and my Grandpa is on the 7th one down.

The part that we played in this day was in the homecoming that evening. When John and I decided to go to the airport to greet Grandpa on his arrival home we had no idea how big this event really was. I figured family members would be there but this was so much more as people from the community come to visibly say "thank you" and support the veterans. We arrived an hour before his flight was expected to arrive and it was already very crowded and difficult to find a place to stand. My Grandma and some other family members were there too. John played cards with the boys while we waited for quite awhile.

The flight was late but as we heard of the arrival the feeling in the room was of pure excitement. People lined the parade route with flags and signs of welcome and as the first veterans came through there was applause all around and shouts of thanks. It was such an emotional event and as we watched Uncle Brian pushing Grandpa's wheelchair the tears flowed freely. What an amazing thing to witness!

I am thankful for both of my Grandpa's and how they served our country and am so glad my children were able to be a part of this. Now we need to get my other Grandpa on this flight as well!
Missy with her Opa

Oops! Missed my Uncle Brian on this one
but wanted you to see the sign.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Toy Story cake and Flower cake

You may have seen pictures of the birthday cakes in the individual birthday posts but I thought I'd post two closeups and details.

I find I have a harder time making a girly cake but I assume that is because I haven't had as much practice. Afterall, I've been making cakes for boys since George was little and I remember his first few cakes and how they looked (not that great). So I have kind of perfected that type by now. But flowers I have not done, especially the kind I really would like to tackle one of these days. We found a picture of a flower cake online that Missy really liked and it was a simple design and so I basically copied that. My frosting ended up a little watery for part of this so it didn't pipe on for outlining as smoothly as I would have liked. I tried to convince Missy that she should share a cake with Seppy and then I could make a nice big Toy Story one but no go on that!
The top flowers I drew with a toothpick, spread thin layers of frosting for the petals and then outlined them in that same frosting  and then in white. Pete assisted in adding grass (probably my favorite frosting tip) to the bottom.

Seppy loves all things Toy Story ("Stoy Stoy") and so I knew I wanted to do a cake along those lines. I found ideas and my favorite was a three layer with the bottom representing Woody, the middle representing Buzz and the top had a bed on it or the words "Toy Story". I sketched a few ideas and then Sep picked what he liked. This is the one I really wanted to decorate but George volunteered and I wasn't about to pass up help on this. So, he followed my design and pipped all of the frosting on for me. It turned out nicely and I am finding that yet again letting others help helps me more and more to go with the flow and not be overly concerned with perfection (cake decorating may be one of the only areas I really have that tendency anymore).
I had wanted to pipe frosting dots along the top and bottom edge but didn't feel like mixing up so many colors of frosting so Tank suggested Skittles and that worked great. The stars and cow spots are made from rolled out Tootsie rolls. Ideally, I would have preferred black spots and they sell edible paper in various colors but I couldn't justify spending more than necessary.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fallen leaves means Sep turns 4!

The leaves are almost all off of the trees and do you know what that means? It is Seppy's sign that it is time for his birthday! Seppy turns 4 years old today and he has been waiting and counting down to this and watching the leaves for a long time it seems. Although, being that we celebrated early he is a bit confused about when his birthday actually is.

Seppy is my quiet little guy. He goes with the flow and follows what everyone else does. I often get asked if he talks and yes, he does, but we do find that he likes to listen to everyone else and take it all in. He loves to give hugs and I melt when his chubby arms squeeze my neck in an embrace.

Now that Baby is the youngest Sep seems so much bigger and older as if he changed overnight. He seems to relish being a big brother and no longer the baby. He wants to hold baby which doesn't work that well but he is content to just make him smile and squeeze his cheeks.
Seppy at 4 weeks old.
We love all of the various expressions on Seppy's face. He makes the best grumpy face especially since he rarely is grumpy but puts on a show. (I do have a picture of that somewhere but can't find it today). And when he wants something he will point at it and close one eye as if aiming which is so cute! If you ask him a yes/no question his yes is not in words but he does a whole body shake in response. We all enjoy watching him he is so cute.

Ah the smell of Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls is wafting from the oven for Sep's birthday breakfast. A few more surprises may come his way yet today. Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy!

Seppy's favorite is "Stoy Stoy Free"
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