Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Paloma Show

Paloma takes the longest to eat any meal in our family, namely because she does not stop talking.
Here's a sampler of her conversations. Or rather, here's a sampler of the way she controls the dinner table conversation.

Because really,
she's Paloma,

and we just happen to live in her world.

* "Mom, would you rather buy a motorcycle for $1, a really expensive car, or an airplane for $25?"

* "Mom, wanna see the world's biggest scoop of mashed potatoes?" (She holds up a half teaspoon on her spoon.) "I'm gonna only eat half of it, because I don't want to be bad news for the person who ate the world's biggest scoop of mashed potatoes before tonight."

* "Mom calls hip hop "hippity hop," because she's old, and, you know, her brain doesn't remember good."

* "Mommy, you should see the trick Trixie did! She was standing up, without even holding onto something."

"Mom, if you had no food and were hungry, would you rather kill a chicken or kill a reindeer."

Ummmmmmm.... when in doubt, deflect the question back to them.

"I don't know, Po, what would you do?"

"I would kill the chicken because reindeers are fast. AND, I don't want to upset Santa. Then I'd eat the chicken, have the eggs for dessert, and make a pillow from the feathers."

I know that I should feel rather disturbed that she actually had thought this through, on her own, in her own 6-year old mind.

But, I gotta admit it, I'm kinda impressed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday's Musings: So what about the blog. . .

I've spent a lot of time thinking about my blog this summer. Namely, what the heck I am going to do with it.

The summer has been good and solidly busy, with family activities, children activities and gardening time. I have no complaints, except that it went by all too quickly.

Over the course of that time, I found little time to blog. Often I felt wishy washy about what to write. Or I would write, find it entirely too personal, leave it in draft and write the whole thing off (oooo, how punny!) as a cathartic experience.

Recently, my dear girl Essie seemed to start a blog-ending trend. Good Lord, girl, you said it best when you wrote: I don't have anything left to say. Sweet, short and succinct, because she has nothing left to say. And we miss you! But, I get it.

Seriously, though, holy moly, suddenly, everyone else has decided that, like Essie, they too have nothing left to say. Blogs are dropping like flies, girlfriend! I was shocked by the number of blogs I had to erase from my bookmarks because they just are not there.

Oh, well.

(And I say, Oh well, only because I get to hang out with Essie every week. And sometimes on weekends. My vocabulary is still growing in brilliant ways, and I feel smug about it. Shameless, shameless of me, I know ;)

So, two weeks back, I found myself preparing a post in honor of Paloma's 6th birthday. A post in which I linked to all of her other birthdays, all of which have been documented on my blog.

Among those birthdays were many, many stories and fun times and crazy moments that I completely forgot about.

I sat reading through the blog, laughing so hard I was crying, and the kids came over to see what the commotion was about.

I started reading it to them. Atticus and Paloma, who were really, really little when I started 5FC, kept saying: "I didn't know I did that!" or "Wow! I forgot we went there!"

Hatfield kept saying, "Oh, I remember that! I loved that time!"

Miles and Keenan saw how they suddenly took root in their lives in our families.

And it hit me really, really hard: I am by no means done with my blog. (I still love you though, Essie, and I'm still one of your groupies, even if I'm not following your trend.)

I think just about one of the saddest things I have ever heard was when my mom said to me: "One of the hardest things about losing Carl (my late father, her late husband) was that when he died, I lost that ability to remember with him about our family's times. We lost so many family memories and stories when he died."

I don't want my family to lose our stories... (I was going to write, "I don't want my family to lose our stories when the Mister dies," but man, that sounds kinda morbid. Or hopeful. Neither of which I am! Although, if the Mister dies, and he's working while he dies, we get something like 4x the amount of life insurance his company gives us if he just regular ol' dies while sleeping. So we always joke that if he does die in some ol' boring way, we have to haul his body in his work vehicle and ditch him in the parking lot of a doctor's clinic in the U.P. of Michigan. Cha-ching. Just kidding. Just trying to pep up after a sad thought.)

I may not have much to say at the moment, but the likelihood that something will happen that I want to get down for family preservation purposes is huge. I want my kids to have these times documented.

So, these are some things I have decided about Five Frozen Chamorros. Here goes:

Things my blog will not be:

1) I will not try to brand myself, attempt to become a community touchstone, or otherwise promote myself as a go-to person on anything. (Unless you want to make fun of Dance Moms, or have a support group for people who decimate washing machines at unusual rates, or help me start a Homeschool Group for Moms who Drop the F-Bomb. I would be okay being a community touchstone on those topics)

2) I will not post up oodles of photos of me, most of which were taken by me while holding a camera or cell phone up at arm's length. In fact, I don't post many photos of myself, because really, I just don't get people who do that ALL the time.

3) I will not have a fancy blog with moving parts or headings or doohickeys. While I would like to be cool enough to have theme music with each post, I'm not, and in those cases I will just tell you: This blog should be read along with this song, and since I'm not cool enough to get my blog to play this song while you are reading this post, you'll just have to sing it in your own head while reading this post. If you want to.

Things my blog will be:

1) Stories about my family and children, some of which may cause you to roll your eyes or throw up in your mouth a little (and not necessarily from sugary sweetness, because my kids can be kinda groody.)

2) When we encounter something new with our adoption journey, I may post it for the purposes of emotional catharsis or hand-holding.

3) Random postings about knitting, gardening, recipes and pets. None of which will likely have any continuity with the postings before and after it. And none of which will turn me into a super-with-it-crafty blog.

4) Lots of brief mentionings of topics with the catch phrase: more on that later, none of which I will follow up on. Because honestly, between 5 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 homeschool, and 1 husband, I'm lucky I even remember to have a blog.

So that's the State of the Union Address for Five Frozen Chamorros. If my blog isn't what you hoped it would be, I'm cool with that. If it is, please stick around and witness our life in the making.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Demise of 2,418 Tortured Stitches

Upon retiring to bed last night, the Mister asked me if I was done with my most recent library book. No. I've had it for 3 days and I homeschool/cook/manage our 5 children, plus I like to sleep, and I do shower but maybe he can't tell. But, although I'm not quite sure he thinks I'm superwoman or if he feels that I let things like the children and hygiene go to the wayside, but obviously he thought I have enough time to finish a 350 page book in the past 2 days. Whatever.

"Okay, well, let me know when you are done with it, because I found a great book at the library that I can't wait to bring home for you," he tells me.

"What is it?" I ask.

"I don't want to tell you."

Now, the Mister hates leaving things a secret surprise. He can't help but tell. I knew that if I were silent for all of, oh, say, 6 seconds, he would spill something.

"Okay, okay, okay," he said (as if I were begging him or something.) "It's going to be made into a movie, and it's about a bunch of women sharing their lives, and it's about knitting."

"Oh, Friday Night Knitting Group? or something like that?" I asked.

Disappointment set in. "Oh, you know about it?" he asked.

"Yeah," I replied indifferently. "But I live my own knitting group story."

Can you tell that I've been watching Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Rango, plus a couple of other western-esque movies, as of late? Far too often. I sometimes feel like everything I say comes out in some wise-loner-who-is-against-the-world-melodramatic-pause-in-a-Clint-Eastwood-voice sort of way.

It's driving me crazy. I'm driving myself crazy. So hopefully, in an attempt to reach a faux-Western catharsis, I'm going all out.

Here's a (true) knitting story of my own, where my Knitting Friends and I battle inclement weather, bad parts of town, and our scariest nemesis: knitting gone bad.

* * * * * * * *
Last night, right around the time for knitting club departure, the darn tornado sirens went off. I used to mostly ignore the things, just keeping an eye on the local news instead. Now, after watching the constant devastation to entire regions, one after the next, you bet I heed them. I herded the kids into the basement.

Within a half hour the the warning had expired with nary a drop of rain here in our little village.
Within moments of the warning's expiration, my other die-hard knitters texted each other: Leaving home! Be there soon!

The sky looked ominous out there on the horizon, but I was game, and soon out my own door.

Knitting requires a 12-minute venture into the bright lights and big times of the city (eye roll.)

Down the hill toward the river, over the bridge, and through a "questionable" block (eye roll) here in the city (eye roll.)

But we're not scared. The city (eye roll) can bring it. We're armed with multiple sets of sharp metal needles, Essie's renowned stink eye, Angie's castration skills (seriously) and a creatively wicked array of bad ass vocabulary (praise be to Essie) that leaves others wisely avoiding us.

One-eyed eye roll, cause da truth's da truth, no?

5 minutes north of my home, I hit some of the most torrential rain I'd ever experienced. Literal sheets of rain and wind were smacking my window, and about 2 dozen cars had pulled over to wait it out in the SuperValu parking lot.

Not me.

I pressed on.

I got rockstar parking, counted about 5 lightening flashes between leaving my car and entering the door, 10 feet away, and sighed an immense sigh of relief. Not because I avoided the bad weather. But because I was home to my knitting family.

(Note: I was GREATLY TEMPTED to write: Because I was safely ensconced in the warmth and safe bosom of our cozy knitting retreat. But I don't want you to choke on your own vomit, so I didn't. So if at an point you think that I getting a bit over-the-top, remember! I held back on being safely ensconced in a bosom, for your benefit.)

Here is a curtain/window treatment I'm making for my bathroom. I want a spa-like curtain that lets the light in, while offering privacy.
I started this waaaaaayyyyyy back in March in Orlando.

Upon beginning the project, and for the first half of the curtain, I had to follow a pattern, which required my counting out each row (a varied pattern of 15 stitches repeated 6 times per row, and changing every row). So I couldn't bring it to knitting, since I can't Count and Drink and Knit at the same time (but I can talk and chew gum, and I can rub my belly and pat my head at the same time. And if I were in an actual Western, I might be able to ride a horse and shoot a gun at the same time, although I'm scared of horses. Either way, don't think less of me.)

But as the bubbles in the curtain lessen, I didn't have to count so much, and I started brining it out.

For the past 2 months I knitted nonstop on this damn thing.

I'd knit, and then hold it up to measure against my bathroom window.

And no matter how much I knit the night before, do you know that the damn curtain was always--ALWAYS--- 7 inches too short for my window.

7 inches. For 2 freaking months, it was 7 inches too short. What the heck.

Anyone, way back in, oh, I don't know, June, I realized that I made a mistake in reading the pattern way back in March. I was creating the curtain without a border edging. And since the curtain is in stockinette stitch--the edges were seriously curling in.

In my own Happy Land of Denial, I pressed onwards.

By August, though, I realized that I was about to have a problem on my needles.

So one night, after a Corona Light with Lime and an order of fried cheese curds, I had to put aside my Denial, and my Ego, and confess my Stupidity, out loud, to my posse.

Essie put down her knitting and peered over. "That's not a big deal. Just pick up the side stitches and knit a garter stitch border. It will actually be stronger and stop the curling less than had you knit a border in at the beginning and ending of each row."

So my mistake was actually awesomeness that I had not known about. THIS IS WHY I LOVE MY KNITTING FRIENDS.

Now, fast forward a couple of weeks, to this past weekend.

All last weekend at Kelly Lake, I worked my little tail off, picking up the side stitches, every last one, (italicized to foreshadow my impending doom) to create a fabulous, strong, worthy border.

During my bind off, I realized that the damn sides were now ruffling.

There can be no ruffles in my spa curtain! Ruffles have no part in my attempt to create a smooth, soothing bathroom experience.

F*ck a Duck.

Man, is this not the longest story ever? Still, I must press on.

I brought in my freakishly ruffling curtain, through the torrential downpour and neverending lightening.

I laid out the curtain over the couch.

"Yep, it's ruffling," Essie confirmed. I momentarily wanted to writhe in agony on the carpet. But the carpet--ew.

"But I pick up stitches like this all the time in my log cabin blanket!!" I whined. "I didn't miss a single one!"

"But that's a garter stitch blanket . Don't you know that there is a different formula for stockinette stitch?" she asked me.

My dumb-founded silence was the answer.

But here's the awesome thing. She knew the formula! Off the top of her brilliant head! And she shared it with me!

My friends held my hand as I had to rip back all 2,418 stitches (not literally, because I was using my hands to rip those !&Y#$*& stitches out.) Which. Was. Painful.

And that was when our waitress brought out the complimentary chocolate wine.

* * * * * * * * *
No, I don't want to read that book. I announced indignantly to my well-meaning Mister. I have my Tuesday Night Knitters, and a bartender who buys us chocolate wine.

What more could anyone ever need.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tonight's Suppertime Conversation

Atticus: Mom, families want a son so that their family name can be carried on.

Po: Actually, families want a son so they can pick up dog poops.

Trixie had nothing to add to the conversation.
all photos courtesy of Hatfield

Monday, August 15, 2011

Unicorns, Rainbows and Marshmallows, Oh My

My baby girl Paloma is SIX years old today.
Miss Po is an itty bit, but the girl is Larger than Life. She keeps laughing, she keeps us on our toes and she keeps us in never-ending awe over her sharp wit (and potty humor.)
Life has never been, and will never be, the same because of our girl Paloma. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Paloma is enamored with

So what more worthy way of celebrating her birthday than with a Unicorn-Laden, Rainbow-Draped, Pink-Buttercream-and-Marshmallow Birthday cake?

Seriously, this is the BEST WHITE CAKE ever. Simple, whole ingredients. Dyed with (highly toxic) food coloring to produce a magical rainbow of cake. (we tend to live on the edge here)

Delicious, moist, not overly sweet.
With Buttercream Frosting to die for '
(store frosting should be banned. Just sayin'.)

I started this blog shortly before Paloma's first birthday. And I'm so happy I did, because what a treat it was this morning to dig back through my archives. How my girl has grown is so bittersweet and my heart aches.

Sassy Second
Terrific Third
Fabulous Fourth
Favorite Fifth

And our girl today.
Who was SO excited for her Birthday-Cake-for-Breakfast
(a family tradition
that she didn't even take off her sleeping mask.
Happy, Happy Birthday Po.
You are one of our greatest joys.
We love you forever and ever.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

My own little Eden in the land of frozen tundra

Any season in which I can dig in dirt, plant, grow, and dig some more is my favorite. Which gives me half of Spring, all of Summer, and most of Autumn to muck around outside to my heart's delight.
(Evidence of the mucking. No, I normally don't place my filth on my bedding like this. The bedding was due for a washing and I needed a light enough background to show the contrast between clean and dirty.)

The Mister built me these four raised garden boxers for Mother's Day.


I planted all the beds using the square foot method of planting. I didn't create fancy wooden grids like many (over-achievering) gardeners use. I roped off my grids using--what else--yarn! Give me yarn, dirt and a staple gun and you've made me happy for an afternoon, + 2.5 seasons.
I have several large, traditional-style garden beds in my yard, but I've been yearning for these garden boxes for several years nonetheless.

Due to my insane love of raspberries, I've allowed 2 out of my original 3 plots to boast a huge raspberry forest, as I have never practiced raspberry vine birth control and have let them reproduce with abandon.
Our Pope-Approved Catholic Raspberry Patch

I can't believe how delightful the square foot method of garden is with raised garden beds. Planting, weeding and picking are soooo much easier and more enjoyable. We're able to meander through our Eden, oohing and aahing at what is growing, simply reaching in and plucking off the bounty, with nary a thought as to what we're crushing underfoot (which happens quite regularly in our large garden beds. And you know, nothing kills an earthy, summery moment in the garden more than Mom screeching "Watch where you're stepping! You're squashing the squash!")

I assigned each kid a garden bed to care for.
The Haitian Sensations share the "hot pepper sauce" bed since they equally share an intense love of hot pepper sauce.
Atticus wanted vining beanstalks. We use large sticks we collected in the forested areas around Kelly Lake to vine the stalks.
Amazingly, they have remained stoically upright despite some crazy windstorms as of late.

Paloma's bed has produced 14 zucchini so far off of two plants.
She credits this to the fact that she both sings to and kisses her plants. "Grown with love," she'll tell you as she flutters her eyelashes dramatically.

Where she gets her dramatic flair, I couldn't tell you.

So far we've had no wildlife trouble with the gardens, even though we have a number of adorable bunnies residing under our backyard deck. I credit this phenomena to the fact that I allow a huge plethora of clover to grow throughout the backyard because I refuse to put pesticides on our grass. The bunnies happily munch the clover and grasses, and my gardens remain happily untouched. Maybe I'm smoking crack, but it's worked for the past 4 years, so I'm sticking with that system.

This entire system is working so well, in fact, that guess what I'm asking for Mother's Day next year? I mean, I have a lot more open yard. I bet the Mister is really rethinking the wisdom of getting that table saw after all. . .