Archive for August, 2008

special delivery

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Have you ever wondered what you look like in your child’s eyes?

Hand over the camera. It’s one way to find out.

But don’t forget to take it back otherwise there might be proof that the hot pink, sparkle studded watch that left the house on your daughter’s wrist went home around your arm.

Plus, you might feel a tinge guilty when you realize that this

is what you daughter stares at as you run all your important errands.

Perhaps this explains why she packs likes she’s moving to the moon each time you suggest a trip to the store.

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Have you ever crunched your teeth on a unwanted pit while enjoying a piece of a cherry pie? Or worse, have you ever tried to remove a pit from a cherry with only a knife and your fingers.

Your fingers look bloodied without so much as a scratch and the cherry looks like it’s been massacred. It’s neither aesthetically pleasing nor appetizing.

Enter the cherry pitter.

Slide a cherry in. Squeeze the handles together and presto: one edible cherry, two clean hands and one disposable pit.

It’s so simple, my four-year-old can do it.

Again and again and again.

What doesn’t work for me is having my camera switched from automatic focus to manual focus.

Again, so simple a four-year-old can do it.

(Edited to add: I bought my cherry pitter at Crate & Barrel. It’s very simple and works great. The OXO one pictured has great reviews and is available through Amazon).

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If you thought I was kidding about making a cherry pie, then you must be new here.

Our Depression Era status coincided perfectly with my mother-in-law’s birthday. Wait, no, that came out wrong. It wasn’t supposed to be a jab at my mother-in-law’s age. I was trying to say that Penny loves cherry pie, so it was actually a perfect day to make cherry pie. Phew. That was close.

And plus, my mother-in-law is hip. Literally she rocks, check it out:

She brings out the rock in all of us. Generally, I’m pretty quiet and reserved. But Penny, she gets your groove on.

Unless your Hungryman, then your groove is always on.

Hey Rock Star, the screen is the other direction!

So, what was I talking about before Rock Band hijacked my story much like it is hijacked my living room?

You try blogging to “Buddy Holly,” it’s rather distracting. And it has nothing to do with cherry pies or baking or birthdays or anything important really, but it does have one giddy man hitting sticks to its beat. Which is again, distracting.

You know what also is distracting? Forgetting to switch your camera from manual focus to automatic focus.

It kind of casts a whole blurry mist over my Auntie Em impersonation. I suppose it is in keeping with the whole old-timey theme of no cell phone, no land line, bright aprons and fresh cherry pie. Seriously if I don’t have a cell phone I clearly shouldn’t have a camera that automatically focuses.

What I did have was bowl full of cherries. Cherries with pits and stems.

Luckily I store a cherry pitter in my drawer for occasions such as this.

A Cherry pitter that can be fully operated by a four-year-old or who-ever-else you have on hand. Ava preferred to pull the stems off by her teeth. That mouth is always looking for chewing employment.

These sweet cherries are about to get sweeter. Hello Cherries, meet Sugar.

Okay, that would have been a very sweet shot had it been focussed. Blasted AF/MF button.

I know the preview screen on digital cameras is designed to prevent these sort of results, but I was too busy keeping small fingers from snatching up all the cherries to be monitoring pictures. And my Canon Rebel has always been so loyal and true, how was I supposed to know it would desert me the same day as the phones?

As you can see from Ava’s cheeks, I wasn’t able to keep those little fingers out of the dough. Their quick and nimble. In fact, I’m fairly certain their responsible for these less than crisp pictures.

Eventually HungryMan appeared on the scene bringing things a bit more into focus.

I do believe that his arrival coincided perfectly with the unrolling of the dough. It seems to me that some of the ends of those strips were prematurely snipped.

After an unexpected costume change and impromptu switch from sugar to glitter sprinkles, the pie was ready for the fire.

Because nothing says, “Happy Birthday” better than a bashful birthday princess holding a rainbow sprinkled cherry pie.

Except maybe a mouthful of the hot sweet cherries bursting in warm buttery crust.

Happy Birthday Grandma Penny, you’re every bit as sweet as a slice of cherry pie!

If you are wanting to play a 1930’s housewife, you will find the Fresh Cherry Pie recipe at Cooking Light. Ava and I followed the recipe to a “T,” except for the addition of colored sugar sprinkles. Or, better yet, come over and try some. There’s still a few slices left in the icebox.

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So the little white spots have relocated to my throat and tonsils. And the terrible tummy ache has taken up residence in my legs–seriously.

I wondered last week if the pain in Ava’s stomach was muscular and not related to her digestive system. She never lost her appetite or exhibited any other signs of a typical upset stomach. She did have muscle spasms and wanted someone to be constantly massaging her tummy. Now I understand why.

The virus attacked my leg muscles with amazing force. I couldn’t believe how painful it was. What I thought was fatigue on Saturday became the full-blown virus on Sunday.

Ava was my most attentive nurse. She came in routinely to see if I needed more hot tea or water. She brought me snacks. She gave me little massages and colored me pictures. Under her expert care, I even gagged down my fair share of the aloe vera globs. And of course, she prayed for me. She held one of my hands in her hand and placed the other hand on my arm and earnestly prayed: “Dear God, Help Mama to feel better. Please protect her to not be sick any more. And help all the bad germs to go away and make her all healthy again. Amen.”

With all that love and attention, one can’t help but feel better. And I do.

No more aloe for me!

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So remember when I threw down my cell phone in shock and horror?

Well, I haven’t exactly replaced it. For the past few weeks, I’ve been pretending it’s 1996, except I live with Nate and not with Shanel.

And honestly, I don’t miss the phone much. Except the fact that my favorite Shanel is about to disown me. And you can’t really blame her. I was hard to get a hold of when I had a cell phone, and now it’s nearly impossible.

At some point yesterday, Qwest decided to push my backwards plunge seven decades further. Our land line now sound like a fog horn. It’s not just static, it’s seriously loud static. I can’t call you. You can’t call me. You can’t even leave me a voice mail.  Not that I would remember to check it.

HungryMan, who still lives in 2008 tried to call Qwest on his fancy cell phone, but they were “experiencing an unusually high phone volume” and unable to answer our call. Apparently we aren’t the only ones who have lost touch. He sent in a help desk ticket and we are hoping a technician comes soon.

So now I am completely phoneless. It’s circa 1930 over here if you don’t count the internet, which I don’t.

In case of an emergency I will be instant messaging 9-1-1 or running to my neighbor’s house like Little House on the Prairie, except that I don’t live on a prairie and the nearest house is about ten paces away.

I might as well put on my apron and bake a cherry pie. I’d invite you over for a slice, but I don’t know how to reach out.

P.S. If anyone sees Shanel, tell her that I think she’s the best and will call her as soon as I am able!

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Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words. Oh, and your good suggestions: Popscicles, what a great idea. I had frozen fruit bars in the freezer, so that great. Ava also appreciated the warm pack idea.

She woke up this morning cheery and bright-eyed, confirming that she is truly on the mend. I credit it to your prayers and some helpful hints from Healthy Healing, a homeopathic book that I happened to be borrowing from a friend.

On Tuesday, after our not-so-helpful doctor visit that resulted in a prescription of “plenty of fluids,” I brought my wimpering child to the store to find the best possible beverages. If the only thing I could do for her was give her fluids, I was going to make each ounce count. I loaded my cart with an arsenal of antioxidant-rich liquids, yogurt, green tea, and all the ingrediants to make chicken and rice soup.

When we got home, I poured her a small glass of aloe vera juice. I mixed it with fresh squeezed blueberries hoping that a spoonful of blueberries would help the medicine go down. It didn’t. She took one look at it and turned her head. She then refused to drink or eat anything.

So I did what I generally do when I want to persuade her about something, I told her a story. I explained that it was bad germs that were making her so sick. The only way to get rid of these germs was to wash them away. I explained that taking a shower washes the dirt off the outside of her body and drinking water washes it out of the inside of her body. So she needed to drink lots of water to wash away all the germs.

Then I went on to tell her that not only were there germs in her body, but that there were little, tiny soldiers fighting all the bad germs. God knew that germs would come and try to hurt people’s bodies, so he gave them little soldiers to fight the germs. Everybody has soldiers in their bodies, and since hers were working so hard she needed to drink special soldier food to help them fight harder.

After this little health lesson, Ava stuck the pink straw in her mouth and sucked up every last glob of the aloe-blueberry concoction. “Look Mama, I’m feeding the soldiers!”

We spend the rest of the day feeding the soldiers, reading stacks of books, lacing cards, and massaging her little tummy. By bedtime her temperature was down to 100 degrees. I sang her to sleep hoping that she would have a good, restful night.

It was not to be so. At 1:30 she fell out of her bed and bumped her head. Then she was up every half hour from until 5:00. After sleeping for four hours she woke up at 9:00 and told me, “Mama, the soldiers came to me when I was sleeping and said that they had killed almost all the germs. There is only one germ left and they are trying to find it. I’m almost all better. Isn’t that good?”

It was very good. We continued our germ-fighting regiment of grapefruit seed tea, papaya juice, and the dreadful aloe vera juice. By the afternoon, her fever had broke. And when Nate came home from work, she was so healthy that we took her to Noodles to celebrate with her favorite bowl of mac and cheese.

Today the only thing that remains of this bizarre and painful infection is the ache between my shoulder blades from carrying and rocking my sweet, sick, thirty-six pound daughter (and possibly from scrubbing, washing and laundering all the germs out of my house).

Perhaps I should put that warm pack to use again.

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I’m taking a short break from massaging Ava’s tummy to let you know that sweet Ava is sick. She had a slight fever on Sunday and yesterday afternoon it rose to 102 where it remains.

The fever was the only symptom until two o’clock this morning when she began crying and writhing in pain from her abdomen. Ava has always had a very high tolerance to pain and rarely complains about physical discomforts. So we were very concerned that something could be wrong.

I brought her to the doctor’s office as soon as they opened. I explained intense pain and lack of other symptoms to the doctor and told him about her high pain tolerance. He kind of gave me the “sure-sure-whatever” look, and proceeded with the exam. When he looked Ava’s mouth, he actually gasped at the number of sores on her tonsils and throat. He asked her if her throat hurt and Ava shook her head and pointed to her stomach.

At this point, he also began to be more concerned. From the state of her throat, she should be complaining of pain there. He ran a few tests and so far everything points to a bad viral infection. Of course there is nothing for him to prescribe for a viral infection except rest and liquids.

We are home now, and I’m trying to help Ava relax by massaging her head and her tummy. I’m having a hard time getting her to drink any liquids. If anyone has good suggestions for fighting off a viral infection or to relieve stomach pain, please send them our way.

Please pray that it is indeed a bad virus and that Ava will feel better soon.

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Does the feeling inform the word or does the word inform the feeling?

AVA: I can’t go in my room ‘cause I’m nervous.

ME: What do you mean, you’re nervous?

AVA: I’m just nervous.

ME: Ava, what does nervous mean?

AVA: I don’t know.

ME: If you don’t know what it means, how do you know you’re nervous?

AVA: I just am.

ME: What do you think it means?

AVA: To be scared?

ME: Not quite.

AVA: To be missing somebody?

ME: No.

AVA: Well, what does it mean then?

ME: To be worried that something is going to happen.

AVA: Well then I’m worried that something is going to happen.

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she sings

“The birds of the air…sing among the branches.”

Throughout our days together, Ava delights me with her songs. She turns her observations, tasks, praises, and complaints into melodies. She blends bits of random lyrics together and also sings whole hymns from heart. At breakfast, she sings for her utensils; at bath time, she sings for the bubbles, and at nap time, she sings for her animals. She is my songbird.

This week she has been creating her own lullabies. I thought I would share two with you:

Sweet little lullaby baby,

For my love that comes down like winter.

Sweet lullaby,

For the spring comes after the snow.

Sweet little lullaby baby,

For my little girl that sleeps by mouses and trees.

Sweet lullaby.

Sweet little girl,

Sweet little girl

In my house that’s mine.

The days that will come after the nights.

When I am scared I will trust in God.

You can protect me.

You, God, will love me and protect me.

You are love.

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