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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

I have the best in-laws on the planet because when they returned from their latest trip, this is what they brought me:

Jewelry and Scotch

I asked my mother-in-law for a handsome Scottish man with a brogue and a kilt, but I do not think Gerard Butler would have fit in their luggage.  My parents are on a trip to the Greek isles at this moment and I have to say, the bar is pretty high. I suggested they bring us a bottle of Ouzo.

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A very dear lady at church gave me a book to read called Start Your Family by Steve and Candice Watters. It is an encouraging book for those of us already on the path to raising a Godly family and it is a charge for thoswe who have not yet begun to start and to do so boldly.

I just finished a chapter entitled, “Sacrifice.” In it there was a quote from Martin Luther in his essay The Estate of Marriage that I thought was timely, given our impending arrival.

0 God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? 0 how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.

It is a nice reminder that though time has passed, though we have added many trappings to parenthood, and though we have tried to redefine what it means to have children, bearing and raising children has always been and will always be about learning to be selfless and sacrificial.

It is for this reason that being a parent brings out both the best and the worst in us, because we are often asked to give more than we have only to find that God has filled in the gaps of our abilities.

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Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

Meet the newest addition to the Smith Zoo, Wicket, an 8 week old Great Dane. We got her from a local dane rescue group.

So far she is fitting in very nicely. She has some manners to learn and we are working on house training but she is a sweet girl. Gideon is very timid with her, as he is with most smaller dogs, and trying to figure out how to tell her no.

Pullo likes her, though he pretends to be aloof. He needed a big dog friend and she is already very feisty with him.

I am looking forward to being past the puppy stage, which is cute, but a lot of extra work.

Updated: I should add that the name Wicket comes from me listening to too much Slice of SciFi which discussed this character recently in a trivia bit.

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The Smiths recently returned from a week long camping trip in the mountains of Colorado. While we do tent camp, we do not backpack camp. I have a friend that refers to this as “fat camping” because if you are not carrying it around you are fat and lazy. We tent camped with a king size air mattress (yes our tent is that big) and it is a good thing: All four of us slept on it every night, Ries, myself, Gideon, and Pullo (who kept our feet warm in the cold mountain air).

Here we are on our hike on Inter-Laken Trail in Twin Lakes, CO. Notice Pullo’s shoes in the photo.

Trip stats:

    Hours to travel there: 23
    Days it rained: pretty much every one, a shower at least
    Days it rained continuously and we considered leaving altogether: 3
    Generations on the camping trip: 4
    Tents: 2
    Popups and RVs: 2
    Cushy accommodations (aka RVs and popups) slept in by the “Old Folks”: 2
    Miles hiked: 5
    Miles driven during the trip: 3,018
    Spoiled dogs who required their own hiking shoes: 1
    Showers taken: one on Wednesday
    Baths taken by Gideon: 3, one in the fancy RV!
    Peeps harmed and consumed in the Great Campfire Roasting of 2010: 12
    Nights I had to leave the tent to go to the bathroom (outhouse really) and wonder if a bear would eat me: all of them
    Towns visited: Telluride (gondolas!), Mountain Village, Ouray (hot springs!), Leadville
    Hours to travel home: 20

It was a nice trip though it rained constantly the first three days we were in Telluride. We actually left that area Tuesday, after realizing that the rain would not stop and the tents had taken all the moisture they were going to deal with before the rain came inside in buckets. Once in Leadville, where we hooked up with my grandparents, the weather was amazing, with the normal mountain showers and sunshine.

We hiked Inter-Laken trail, a short 5 mile hike to an abandoned resort on Twin Lakes. Pullo wore his saddle bags and new hiking shoes and I think 5 miles is about all he is able to go. He was very pooped at the end of the day. Gideon made it about a third of the way and then was passed around for the rest of the journey.

We ended up in Leadville for their annual Boom Days festival which is a fun weekend of small town festivities, including a pancake breakfast, parade, and mining events.

I loved being in the mountains again. It has been too long since I have been surrounded by my favorite views. Gideon had a wonderful time being dirty all week and being spoiled by Grammy and Oma (whose idea of a morning snack is Green Tea and an Oreo cookie). The day after we got back, he cried and asked to go back to the campsite to Oma.

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This is less a recipe and more a secret that ever after made my chicken and turkey salad great every time.

On a side note: Yes, it is not Monday. Yes, I know that the recipes have been late often, but I decided that once a week, sometime is good enough for you! Carry on.

Back when Ries and I were still dating, I went back to Ohio with him for Christmas one year. I am glad that we made the trip; it was the only time I met his Granny, who was a wonderful, sweet lady. Like many lessons well learned, this one was shared in the kitchen with family running around and the ladies chatting in the kitchen.

Ries’ mom, Cindy*, was turning the leftover turkey into the obligatory turkey salad when she divulged the secret of making great turkey salad.

Celery.

I know. I know. You probably already put celery in your turkey salad, but it is the proportion that is the secret. When making turkey or chicken salad, the mixture should be half meat and half celery. Sounds simple, but once I started adhering to that rule of thumb, my turkey salad, no matter what else I put in it, turns out perfect.

I make turkey and chicken salad in a dump, taste, and add manner so I am just going to list ingredients that I often put in with some approximations and let you experiment yourself with actual proportions. Ries is probably reading this and having an apoplexy.

Turkey or Chicken Salad

    chopped turkey or chicken
    chopped celery in equal proportions to the meat
    mayonnaise
    1 tbl mustard (if I am feeling really fancy I use Dijon)
    dash salt
    dash pepper
    2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients well. Eat on a sandwich, crackers, or all by itself. Yum!

*Cindy, whom my brother-in-law has deemed The MacGyver of the kitchen.

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Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

When we went for our check-up in December, we walked by Pod C, where Gideon was when he was the most sick. It made my heart flutter to look at him, so big, and remember him small and hooked up to the ECMO machine. Here are my boys, almost two years later.

Sometimes, I can not believe what a gift we have been given. I know that God has plans for our family and we never forget why we have each day.

Every day is a gift from God.

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Between traveling to and fro to various family holiday goings and a very bad bout of food poisoning that Ries saw fit to pick up, this family has been hopping since last week. Sorry for the lack of, anything. I would have posted a recipe yesterday, but I was caring for the recovering Ries and a Gideon who is overjoyed and energetic with his new toys.

Ries was well enough to travel north for a brew date with his brother-in-law Keith this afternoon, so I had the house to myself and I actually got some writing done. Miracles never cease.

The big news was that Gideon got his first haircut today! If I get a chance, I will get those pics up tonight. My boys are on their way home and I am unsure what they will need from Momma this evening.

So I hope your holidays were fun and sick free! Pictures and stories… forthcoming.

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