Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our Blueberry Haul

This morning we went to opening weekend at a blueberry farm just outside town. The kids were able to stay focused for a reasonable amount of time despite the warm weather conditions, and we came home with almost 7 pounds of blueberries (two big bags like the one pictured above)! Actually, let me rephrase that: we checked out with almost 7 pounds of blueberries. Quite a number of them were consumed in the car on the way home...

This is just one more perk of living in a rural area. When I was a kid I don't think I actually knew where blueberries came from (trees? plants?), much less had a chance to pick and eat them right off the bushes. And boy are they delicious this way; I can hardly blame the kids for wanting to eat them by the handful. In fact, I am planning a blueberry cobbler for dessert tonight and blueberry muffins for Father's Day breakfast tomorrow. I'm wondering if it is possible to actually turn into a blueberry, like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ("I have a blueberry for a daughter!"). Gosh, let's hope not.

Today was a good indulgence of my recent Michael Pollan "know where your food comes from" kick. We're thinking about buying some grass-fed beef this fall from some friends who have a small farm and herd. I wonder if the kids will be as excited to eat burgers when they've actually previously met Bessie the Cow (actually, this family names all their cows Lord of the Rings names, so it would probably be more like Gimli the Cow or something). I can't imagine that going over as well as the berries. Then again, it's hard to imagine anything going over as well as the berries. I guess we'll see...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Joy Joy Joy!

Today was a great day, and what I would like to consider the official start to the Sterup family summer. It started off early in the morning; as I was leaving to go jogging the dogs just looked so excited and hopeful to see me putting on my shoes that I couldn't resist letting them come along. And though my run in general was less than refreshing (it's HOT, even early in the morning, and I am SLOW, just now getting back to exercise after being sick), the sight of Barney and Bailey excitedly trotting down the street with their ears back and their tails wagging really made my morning.

We had homemade cherry almond scones leftover from the weekend (they'd been frozen, we weren't eating stale pastries), then Kyle emptied the dishwasher while I was in the shower (least favorite chore: completed for the day). After Kyle went in to work the kids and I went to the doctor to have Eva's leg looked at, and Dr. Bailey pronounced her healed enough to REMOVE HER CAST!!!

The saw was VERY loud, and Eva screamed bloody murder the whole time they cut the cast off. But Daniel was very sweet, standing with his hands over his ears in the furthest possible corner from us, yelling "It's okay, Eva! Don't cry! It's okay!" over and over. And the whole thing was very quick; we were out of the office in 20 minutes, and made it to the library program I had assumed we'd have to miss.

We had a great time at the library. The weather was good, so they held the show in a nice shady area outside instead of cramming us all into the building. At last week's event the librarian had billed this as a mime act, but there was a distinct absence of white grease paint and quite a bit of talking. It was very funny, though, with lots of juggling and magic tricks. Both the kids won super-cool stuff in the door prize drawing, and I wasn't fined for returning a book a day late, which is kind of like a prize for me.

After that we had a picnic in the park and played on the playground to celebrate Eva's two-legged freedom. When we got home the kids collapsed, sweaty and exhausted, for some glorious simultaneous naps. I saw an e-mail for a sale on children's clothing, but after a few minutes I realized there is really nothing we need. And THAT is a good feeling.

So energized was I by our fantastic morning that this afternoon I cleaned our bathrooms, sorted laundry, and swept, mopped, and vacuumed all our floors. We used gift certificates the kids earned through the summer reading program to go out for pizza for dinner, and then all went to Daniel's t-ball game. He actually fielded the ball twice, which he has never done before in a game, and he was so thrilled that he'd actually touched the ball.

I am surprised at what a relief it is to have Eva's cast off, for her to be able to run in the mud or go to the pool or take a bath. I'm glad to be over being sick, and to have some energy. The weather forecast had predicted rain for today, so the sunshine we got feels like something sneaky we got away with. We are getting used to Kyle's and my more relaxed summer schedules, and the local blueberry farm opens for picking tomorrow. Today just seems like the first day of the rest of our summer, and it was a really good one.

At some point during the day while we were in the car, Daniel just started saying "Joy, joy, joy!" over and over in a sing-song kind of way in the back seat. As I sit here tonight, belly full of pizza, in our clean, air-conditioned house with my healthy family all sleeping peacefully, all I have to say is:
My thoughts exactly.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

C is for Coyly Threatening Your Mother

Today the kids and I finally got around to making the cutout cookies I'd planned on baking before I got sick a couple of weeks ago. It was rainy here today, so it was the perfect thing to keep the kids occupied. Eva and I made the dough this morning while Daniel was playing at a friend's house, then after lunch Daniel and I rolled out and cut out all the cookies while Eva napped. By the time Kyle got home from school we'd just finished baking and we all frosted them together (This really is an all-day thing; this recipe makes about 12 dozen cutout cookies. If they weren't amazingly delicious we'd never make them). Everybody had fun with the sprinkles, and when we were done we each had one cookie. Happy day, right?

Before we'd even eaten our "one cookie each," Daniel started working on me about being allowed a second one after dinner. I put him off with the classic parental "We'll see...," but really I knew I'd end up giving him one. After all, he's a four-year-old who spent the entire afternoon focused on this project; I thought he kind of deserved a second. So eventually we settled on one extra cookie to anyone who ate a good dinner. I should have seen it coming, what with all the dough-eating, the licking of dripped frosting, the sampling of sprinkles. Nobody ate dinner. Well, nobody under the age of 30, anyway.

I made a meal the kids like, we gave lots of warnings, we encouraged and cajoled and gave them way past the end of the meal until I'd cleaned up the kitchen, but still no dice. So we calmly announced there were no cookies and started bath time. And you would think these kids had never seen a consequence before in their lives. Eva spent her first 30 minutes in bed tonight wailing "YES COOOOKIEEEE!," while Daniel came to the kitchen to "help" me put the cookies into containers to be given away or frozen. Our conversation went something like this:

"You know, I am feeling very angry to you right now."
"Oh yeah, Bud?"
"Yeah. You know just now when I asked you for a cookie for dessert and you said 'NO!!' (scrunching his face and yelling wickedly); that made me really mad. Do you REALLY want me to be angry to you?"
"Well, actually I was willing to give you a cookie if you ate your dinner. You're the one who decided not to eat. Maybe you should be angry with yourself."

Silence, thinking... Now very calmly, in a kind of menacing tone...

"You know, tomorrow, we will go somewhere and I will see someone and I will tell them that you did not give me ANY dessert, and they will say 'YOUR MOMMY DID NOT GIVE YOU ANY DESSERT?!?!,' and I will say, "Yes."

End of conversation.

Well, let's hope we don't run into any law enforcement officers or DFS workers tomorrow. Maybe they'll let me off the hook if I give them a cookie. :)