Endless Gifts- March

169.)How he teaches them how to catch moths in the bug catcher and gathers them all at the front door to watch them fly free. They stand in the open sun, light streaming. He has always- just been- so deft with insects and now- he teaches them.

170.)How I joy in their sweet girlie uniqueness… double their delightful ways, bright shining eyes, baby hair, kissable cheeks…

171.)How I know that slowing down and… trying to really see, be there, is where the pulse of life throbs… and I fight the urgent. Often fail.

172.)How I pick up more and more and more threads of direct instruction school and find a joyful rhythm. I love joyful rhythm.

173.)12 roses, red as only roses can be. Furled and opening. And I, utterly, utterly surprised. Cry, just a bit. Sometimes gifting flowers is ministry. And over the shoulder of my beloved’s kiss and embrace- I catch his shining eyes. He is pleased. Pleased his Dad gave his mom flowers and I remember being that pleased happy one, watching my own Dad, gift my Mom in so many different beautiful ways. So- my joy doubles. Doubles in his rich, red choice and in son’s happy eyes.

174.)Baby Free Floor Time every evening after their dinner. They sit and scoot and roll. She always grins big at her sister (A) and I catch her watching her sister with interest(M).

175.)We roll clay out on the deck and form snakes and ladybugs. I find this gift. Spontaneous gift.

176.)Sweet time out talking with a friend.

177.)Golden wholesome spirit and a Word we both enjoyed and the rich symbols in every part. Thoughtful worship. Mountain view and Christ- Exalted. Beauty.

178.)Finding my way on these mountain, winding roads and it has been slow. Slow like the pace of this small, sprawled county and maybe, maybe I realize, that is okay after all.

179.)How we still haven’t planted those pansies- and one golden one rises. Reseeded from the past. Maybe Sunday we will pick some up. The bed still waits.

180.)Listening to him play.

181.)Spring is misting over the mountains- and I am surprised by the sweet, multitude of colors- it is like Autumn- but somehow more fresh and new… a delicate unfurling. There are pinks and pale greens, daffodil yellows, and bridal whites daily unfolding.

182.)Quiet dark, sweet baby’s head on my shoulder, gentle rocking. Soothing rain falls.

183.)A rainy, rainy mountain day, and we, tucked warm inside our house.

184.)March 23rd and Tall Son spots the first golden swallowtail fluttering by…

185.)Baby girlies to cuddle and hold and plant kiss after kiss after kiss on deep, warm, sweet little necks and softest, plump cheeks. And listen to their sweet little chuckles, delight in their grins, rub their soft heads. O, the joy babies bring…

186.)Baby Free Floor Time … and how they all seem to gather… and I am surrounded by young children of all ages. Love. Babies play and stretch and move. And this time is proving so refreshing and special for us all. We congregate.

187.)How we delight in her “fluff-puff” hair. He tries to rub it down. It always perks inexorably up. Sweet, downy fluff.

Endless Gifts February/March

138.) How I walk outside in the bright sunshine, sweet air and think maybe I am inside too much- this air smells so, so good…
139.)And suddenly see- all the crocus- just popped. Everywhere. Life is blooming.
I look round and plan a bit for more beauty.

140.)My empty pansy bed- waiting.

141.)2/23 I step outside of Walmart- one mild, warmish, end of February night. Breathe deep and smile. Look up at the stars and think- how good it all feels. The night feels so good. I was so disoriented when we moved here- by the light, the stars, the moon, the sun, everything. The sunlight and the moonlight and the place of the moon in the sky- all was strange to me and uncomfortable. The sun hurt my eyes in the late afternoon- somehow it always seemed to be shining right in my face while driving and I could never see. This is West. West and South. I was North and East. Yes, it is different. And so, out I step, and smile inside and out. Those beautiful, endless stars and then- suddenly- stop. Because, yes, right in front of me, yes- the moon is smiling. A thin, very thin, bright crescent grin. Dead ahead of my face. I grin bigger. My heart is light. I lilt to the car and ponder. I wish for a picture- but there is no way to capture it in this dark. I ponder the clouds that are covering that moon revealing only that crescent grin- I take it – an endless gift-just for me. I unpack the cart into the car and turn. It is gone. The moon is gone- completely hidden by the cloud that left that grin for me. The moon has a crescent all along the bottom just like a grin. And it was shrouded in dark night cloud. Grinning,- at me.

I had moon calendar image in my “notes” all ready to copy into this post- and alas- it will not copy. But, O, it showed that little grin so perfectly. Here is a link to a calendar… not as cool as being inserted into the post. Ah well…

142.)The chart shows the crescent on the right side. Here in the mountains, that is literally the “bottom”- at least, to my very, very untrained eye, just looking up at the sky. You can see the ever so thin grin. J And Sunday night, Todd finds the grin again. Steps out on the porch. Comes in. I ask him to capture it with the camera. Try. It is a thicker smile. A bright, chunky grin. It is 2/26 and that cheeky grin really is just like a mouth- at the bottom- not the side- in our sky.

143.)The quiet that settles, settles deep over the house during “Reading Rewards” time each day. I soak this quiet.

144.)Her little “Foleyish” grin and bright, shining eyes (M)

145.)Saturday Night Family Fun Night- Homemade Goodness. Pizza (and some with Daiya!), and Kettle-Cooked Popcorn, and a Veggie Platter with Dip, and Fresh, fresh guacamole with Tostitos. And how he(Jonah) stacks the cucumbers high, declaring his love for them and how all the carrots- just disappear. And we, two, in the kitchen cooking, and I enjoy. I stop for a minute- because it is just fun. Family Fun.

146.)Them, two, in pink, play-penning together

147.)How she looks at her, all quizzical, lil eyebrows a- lift (A)

148.)Baby Baldie spot growing sweet, fine hair and her brothers noticed first.

149.)Her wisping, feathery hair standing up all over her wee head

150.)March 1st, 8:13 a.m., 60.1 degrees. Sunshine. He rolls up his sleeves and proclaims, “60.1! It’s going to be hot!”

151.)March 1st, and the windows open and the chimes singing and wisping hair wafting… breeze blows through entire house. Chimes ring music. I soak for a minute amidst lots and lots of strife. Now its 70.2.

152.)How they play Uno and Scrabble Slam all by themselves and laugh themselves silly.

153.)How we play a “story round” together- and each one adds their own unique, ridiculous part. I can barely understand him, he is erupting in giggles. We all laugh so hard for all different reasons. She suddenly springs off her chair and bops along the ground telling part of hers…

154.)The second half of the first year

155.)Golden Carolina Light spilling across the deck, through the doorway. The open doorway.

156.)The view outdoors from our kitchen table

157.)March Bird Songs in the morning…I think it might be time to figure how and when to start packing up and making the Greenway a part of our regular routine again.

158.)Time with my five ‘littles’- just us. And I serve up heaping plates of pancakes and eggs and we chat. 7,6,3,twins.

159,)How he brings her out, held secure in his arms, and says, “O, look at you! Little bright eyes and fluff hair.” And her hair, is indeed, all a-fluff.

160.)How I tell a couple of *very* rare jokes and one son looks at me, “What has gotten into you, Mommy. This is not like you. This is not your disposition.” And he is right. And we laugh. It is fun to watch their perceptions expanding and growing and it is comforting to be known and loved.

161.)A spontaneous dinner invitation. And how the warm, inviting beauty of the home and sweet spirit of the wife and mom just ministered to me… There was beauty and a sense of art and style. Everywhere.

162.)I retreat to her room to nurse, bringing a small crew of my children with me. I lay babies down on backs on her bed, delighting in all their adorable uniqueness. I sit on the edge of her bed and make a list. A list of all I can do to be better prepared next time. Children curl toes in plush carpet and crow delight over wooden puzzles and someone else’s stack of picture books.

163.)And how we survived a dinner in which there was shredded cheese sitting out on a plate next to the main crock of food and croutons with butter and chips that had trace milk and there were 13 children (including our two babies)… and all we needed was two teaspoons of Benadryl and of course our strict protocol. It involved precautions and wiping down and not sitting on the carpet and not touching this and that… and me, gulping down my misery, and asking- please can everyone wash up when we are done. And the mom says, “My kids too?” And I have to say, “especially your kids, I’m sorry.” As they eat cheese and chips and croutons and ranch dressing with glee. I watch him eat with an eagle eye, hoping we washed hands enough and I was careful enough. We were. We survived and didn’t need the inhaler at all or (thank you, Lord) the epi- pen. And I just tried not to think about how far away from home we were (50 minutes) and how far away from any medical facility that I was familiar with…swallowing hard. Watching carefully. Holding crying babies. Not for the faint of heart. And I am not sure if he had a good time at all. There were so many needs to care for and so many distractions. And he had to be so careful. And I couldn’t be all there to help. I am not sure about that part at all. And as I write this out- maybe this is some of why I bit back tears all the next day and do now, writing.

164.)Truly, we achieved a milestone that was shown to me years ago. We made it.

165.)Daffodils, unfolding, and by the time, this post is all. written. many will have bloomed and faded. How I love the Spring Bloom and my thoughts just move toward how can I just plant beauty all over our “land.”

166.)How I lay her little head on my shoulder and rock and sing, and she gently, softly, sings too.

167.)Time to plant Spring Pansies…

168.)Doors and windows flung wide and sweet breeze wafts through through house

The Things They Say X 3

“Son, help your brothers.”
Son says, “Which one? There’s a ton of them.”-N

Tall Son stands at the door to the porch and watches with eagle eye. What are those kiddos up to…
Suddenly, “Are you guys okay?” He’s watching.
Shaking a finger, with a fierce stern voice, he commands,
“Get down off that bank, off that dirt slide, off that retaining wall and play over there(pointing descriptively) unless you want to look like a couple of mud pies!” – M

She comes to me, eyes all wide, serious. It “peeped!” she exclaims nervously. I stare at her. “What peeped?” Slowly I manage to untangle the story that she stuck her stick down a hole and something peeped. O. My. A few words about NOT sticking sticks down unknown holes and I head to the door. Find my in –house naturalist in his usual prowl, call him to the rescue. I know he will know what kind of hole we are dealing with and what potential creature will inhabit it. Off he goes, three little ones in tow. He returns. It was a bitty toad. A bitty toad whose little eyes were peering up at him from within that hole. She had pressed her stick down on his wee head and he peeped. We snap pictures and grin. Laugh and admire little brown nubby toad. -A

Taco Bake

This is another family favorite that I recently created. It is hearty and filling and fun. 🙂

I use up various different leftovers on hand to create this tasty dish.

Today’s creation included leftover chicken taco meat but I have also used a bit of ground beef. You can use as much or as little meat as you desire. This makes it very frugal at times. 😉

Borger Family Favorite Taco Bake
Ingredients
1 can refried beans
1-2 cups cooked rice (or not)
Shredded chicken or ground beef
1 cup cooked pinto beans (or kidney or black or not at all!)
24 ounces of salsa (mild)
1 container tofutti sour cream (or your own choice)
Chopped lettuce

The most crucial ingredients to this dish are the refried beans, salsa, lettuce and sour cream. Everything else just adds heartiness and uses up leftovers!! This is a very forgiving recipe! Use as much or as little as you have on hand. Only have a half cup of rice? no problem! It is also super quick and easy and feeds a crowd. I love this!

Layer bean dip in bottom of a 9 by 13 baking dish. Top evenly with rice, then meat, and then beans. Pour salsa and spread evenly over the top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Remove from oven. Spread evenly with sour cream and top with chopped lettuce. Serve with taco chips!

Delicious! (Also good cold.)

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

I love recipes that are adapted for the large family. We just adapted this one. It fills two muffin pans- which is a perfect amount for my family.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

1 Cup Sugar
3/4 cup oil (we used Canola- you can also use melted butter, margarine, or some other oil)
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 tsp. baking powder
4-5 ripe bananas
1 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (or chocolate chunks of your choice)
3 Cups Flour ( We like to use whole wheat and all-purpose)
1/2 cup water

Line 24 muffin cups.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mash bananas in bottom of large mixing bowl. Add sugar, oil, and eggs. Beat until well mixed. Add Vanilla. Mix in Chocolate Chunks. Add Flour and Baking Powder. Mix well. Add water and blend.

Fill Muffin Cups and Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.

Enjoy!