Saturday, November 21, 2020

Cooking with volcanoes & other Postcrossing adventures

Here are the 105 postcards we've received since joining Postcrossing when the pandemic started. They have been a welcome window into the world during a time when we haven't even left our own county for nearly a year. It's been very touching to me to read the messages of total strangers. Most tell stories of their lives and the places the live. Some send extra cards for the kids, paper goods from their hometown (playbills, menus, small calendars). Some have asked for prayers for sick family. Many, from around the world, have encouraged us to vote in the election. We have been congratulated on our new baby. Almost all have wished us good health during the pandemic. 

In this picture we have a hand drawn card from the Netherlands (Miffy the bunny), an Ikea ad card from Taiwan (red with kitchen tools) the home of Beatrix Potter, cards from the Olympic Peninsula and Our Lady of Aparecida (the Patron Saint of Brazil). The card of the lady rowing a boat in rough waters was from a woman who just recently became a U.S. citizen after 42 years in America. The Winnie the Pooh card came from a woman who lives near forest that was "home" to Christopher Robin. The armadillo card came from lady in Texas who told a story about a man who accidentally shot himself while shooting at an armadillo (they both were fine). 

Here we have some pandemic cards, a couple of fabulous "maxi cards" (cards with matching stamps on the fronts) and a card written by a dog. There is a card in the top row from the Aland Islands celebrating World Postcard Day.  The card with the rainbow is from Altotting, Germany, a religious pilgrimage site.  The card above it is from the Netherlands and yes, sorry, the sausages picture makes me giggle. 

Here is a lamppost from Hershey, PA. The bicycle card comes from a doctor in Russia who has 6 cats "all were homeless".  The homemade fabric card came from a quilter in Germany.

Here are 2 more maxi cards and a tiger from the Frankfurt zoo. The shark teeth card came today and was very exciting as Mr. H and I were looking at our sharks teeth last week, now we can identify them. 

Directly to left of it is this card:

Which on the surface looks like a typical US clambake or camp fire meal.

But read the back!

 They are cooking with volcanic heat! Volcanoes, people. You can read about the meal they are making HERE It's a delicious sounding stew. But let's be serious, who cares what it tastes like when it has that kind of "wow!" factor.  I can't even figure out the convection setting on our oven.

Postcrossing is an anonymous correspondence and I won't ever know more about the writer's lives then they share on the cards but it has made the world seem larger and smaller at the same time.

Also it is nice to find something else in the mailbox besides bills and junk mail. And can't we all use a bit of that.


Monday, November 16, 2020

100th card, seeds, baby bill

Here is my 100th card sent through Postcrossing! This one is going to a woman in Albany, New York who likes book recommendations and homemade cards. These titles are all my favorites, snuck 2 cookbooks in there. It was a lot of fun to make and relaxing. Took photos so I can have it printed into actual postcards to send to more people, many people ask to hear about a favorite book on the card they receive.  I also received my 100th card today! It came from a librarian in Ohio. I want to take a big photo collage of the cards we have gotten to share here.

I've ordered some alpine strawberry seeds through Baker Creek. It is just November and they are out of stock for probably 1/3 of their inventory.  It's unsettling.  I think there are many people who feel very nervous about our food supply. I will get my major seed order in soon and will try a smaller company. We don't need much.

Speaking of food, it took every ounce of self control not to stop and put this in the car today. The state is releasing phesants, farm raised phesants,  and they are notoriously dumb having no experience in the wild. This guy is hunkered by the side of a very busy road frozen in fear. I badly want to cook one, you can't buy them. I'm sure I could have just picked him up.  Probably someone else did.

The bill for baby P came in the mail today. For those not in the U.S., yes that is what it costs to give birth here. This isn't even the whole pregnancy  just the 48 hours in the hospital.  The $45 fee is because that is all we had remaining to pay on our sky high deductible plan. However, we are lucky to have insurance obviously. 

And lucky to have a friend that has made a gorgeous silk quilt for every baby in this house. Handsewn, even.

Going to attempt a quick nap and then into the kitchen.  Made some fun things lately so hopefully the next post will be about food.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Goodbye Alex

 Saturday was a wonderful day for our country and now this happens. Couldn't America have just one good weekend?

Friday, November 6, 2020

Here we are

Part 1: 
It's about 60 degrees out today, beautiful.  The baby and I are sitting on the school playground while the oldest burns off some energy before going home. I'm forcing myself to take a break from compulsively checking election results every 5 minutes. It took a good half hour before any children on the playground noticed a baby but once they did they all crowded around asking questions and gently touching his face with Mr. H proudly telling everyone " this is my new baby brother!" I am wearing a tee shirt and it is warm in the sun which is a big contrast from this day we had recently:


I think a Leghorn hen went out for a stroll.

It didn't last long and had melted by the next morning. I'm getting diddly squat done besides laundry, cooking and keeping kids alive and happy. It's enough. It would be nice to have the energy to do anything besides sleep after 9 p.m. though.

Part 2:
Hours later after gathering up Mr. A. and visiting with my dad, getting dinner into everyone,  doing dishes, doing puzzles with Mr. A., nursing Mr. P. and watching The Grinch. 

I took this picture of a sleeping Mr.
 A's beautiful baby locks yesterday before he got his first ever professional hair cut. I was expecting to have to restrain a screaming 2 year old but turns out he LOVED IT. He loved the ladies, the big mirror, the spray bottle of water and was all sorts of proud getting his hair cut. He looks adorable. 

We did take the kids trick or treating. Here is Baby P's costume. I was going for "leaf pile" but it turned out more like "archery season in Pennsylvania ". 

Here is Mr. A Trick or Treating. He was really dramatically put out about the whole thing. 

And here are the two oldest and a good friend checking out their loot.

Here is Mr. A doing his morning chores of feeding the cats.

And here he is using Bee as a racetrack for a monster truck.

Here is Baby P's tiny hand in mine.

Part 3, two hours later:
 When I look back at the pictures from the last two weeks it is mostly pictures of babies and children.  Life is a cycle of wash, feed, dress, love & nurture little souls, sleep, repeat. It's exausting and rewarding and too short.

Monday, October 26, 2020

What's new?

 Here we are nearly two weeks into life with a third little one. It's been a whirlwind.  The days are so full that there is hardly anything left of me once bedtime comes. The oldest, Mr. H, is absolutely in love with the baby, although he has not quite forgiven us for not naming the baby Ben. As in the cartoon character Ben 10 who has alien powers and travels around in his Grandpa's RV. "You ruined his name on purpose!" we have been accused.  Which is really pretty funny. The middle one, who was until recently the baby of the family, Mr. A is 2 & 1/2 years old and incredibly suspicious of the whole thing.  Lots of stinky looks and needing extra hugs, don't we all at the moment.  Even good change is still change.

The baby is doing wonderfully and getting cuter by the day. My husband and I can't get over how easy newborn #3 is after already going through it twice.

Bee is thrilled with her new people kitten. 

We have cautiously had visitors over and are really humbled by the meals and gifts that have been dropped off. We miss our friends badly, miss being able to share this event without worrying about illness.

I am doing ok. Tired. Really tired. I am down 20 lbs already but am absolutely unable to get my feet into my old shoes and am still wearing sandals. Have been avoiding buying bigger shoes because that would be admitting that my feet have gotten huge and are *probably staying that way.* (weeps a little). But it's nearly November so something should be done sooner than later. 

Halloween is this weekend.  Here are some of the decorations on the porch:

That antler was in the shed when we moved here and the skull is a raccoon. 

Making a Hotwheels playset with a carved pumpkin.

Bee seems really pissed at Elyse in this picture.  They really do like each other. You know, in a cat kind of way. 

Buck skull was a woods find and only needed cleaned and whitened.

This pig skull was the first one I ever cleaned. I did everything wrong with it (boiled! bleached! the shame!) and it shows, the bone is absolutely in terrible shape. 

For Halloween the kids are all going to be leaf piles. All three have camouflage outfits which will be covered in artificial leaves head to toe. This project would probably cost a fortune if not for two garbage bags of artificial greenery my mom had stashed away. So, thanks mom. 

Here they are on a trampoline full of leaves. I think this is how they got the "leaf monster " idea.

The oldest also needs to have a Saint costume for school on Monday. I gave him the choices of St. Ambrose (parton saint of beekeepers) St. Francis (animals) or St. Hubert (saint of hunters) because they are my favorite and the costumes would be easy-peasy as he would say. He picked St. Ambrose.   So I have 4 costumes to construct this week. They should go quickly and be fun to do.

Here is the baby holding our election ballots. My husband and I took the youngest 2 to the courthouse with us on Friday and dropped them off. So we have cast our votes, whatever small difference they might make.

Something I've been doing for myself involves Postcrossing.  Sometimes I'll pull a profile that includes a wish for handmade cards and have decided to try to fill this any time I get a request.  The card on the right went to a lady in Finland whose interests included nursing, Johnny Depp, heavy metal music, aloe vera and red haired peoples. It did give me a chuckle. The one on the left went to a woman in England who enjoys sewing.

Talk about crafting, this little free library belongs to my in-laws neighbors. It is the cutest one I've ever seen and I'm equally jealous/ in love with it. For local people, the blue ruler is from Hurlbert's and the green one from the old J.C. Penny store. 

Here is the yardstick project I made about 2 years ago. Her library makes me really want to start collecting yardsticks again. They are not nearly as easy to find as I thought they would be. Very rarely at yard sales and never at the thrift store. 

Cold, wet weather is settling in. Tonight we had Jamie Oliver's Maryland chicken and homemade bread.

After dinner the oldest worked on a lego kit with my husband and Mr. A and I got out the watercolors.

Then we read The Color Kittens six times in a row. 

Life has been overwhelming and exausting and wonderful.  It's time for bed before my midnight nursing wake up call.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hello Baby

Baby P arrived in the early hours of Friday morning.  He is tiny and perfect and makes little talking noises constantly.  We are waiting now for my husband to arrive to take us home and start this new part of our lives together.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Still here

It's been a busy, unusual time. The college my husband teaches at now has 19 active Covid cases, he is working from home and we spent most of the past week waiting on his test results.  We heard today he is negative.  It was unsettling as everyone  but me had a runny nose and cough, and the youngest had a small fever for awhile as well.  So we were doing a lot of isolating from family and friends, missing things that we were looking forward to and worrying. But now we have results and can relax a bit. He will be teaching from home for at least the next two weeks, which is a blessing. 

The seasons are changing and the weather has been beautiful.

Here is part of our yard.

I haven't been up to doing much at all and am needing several lie downs a day now due to how the baby is positioned and just being tired. And also possibly due to feeling a little down about things.  I'm not used to feeling useless and it's depressing to not be able to do much physically.  

The kids made adorable pumpkins last night. 

And we have done some decorating inside.

I haven't felt like cooking at all or so we've been eating a lot of dinners that look like this:

What else.

We took this picture while getting a coffee from McDonald's.

My mother in law watched the little guy and sent me for a pedicure. It was my first since the last time I was pregnant and oh boy, was it needed. I got a pumpkin latte at Starbucks and spent a blissful hour sitting in a massage chair while the poor technician had his work cut out for him.  It's so embarrassing when the person looks at your feet, kinda does a narrowed eyes, head tilted thing and then goes into the back to retrieve something that looks like an industrial cheese grater. I tipped well. They probably had to burn towels afterwards but now I have lady feet and love the color.

Here is our favorite recent Postcrossing card, sent by a woman in Germany who is a librarian and feeds the squirrels outside of her library. 

Here are some I've sent out. The covered bridge went to a school teacher in Switzerland who uses these as a class project.

Here is something our little kindergartener brought home last week. Looking at it I asked "Honey is this a dog made out of balloons? And what's behind here? A city?" To which he said yes, it was a dog made out of metal balloons and that his art teacher's friend, Mr. Koons, makes them. Hmm...

 A short time later I showed him this picture:

Me, standing on the roof of the Metropolitan museum in New York, circa 2008 (good lord, the hair!). In front of Mr. Koons' balloon dog. It's so odd how life works sometimes, that balloon dog was only there for a few short months that year and it was the first time my husband and I were in the city together.

Something else he brings home from kindergarten every day:

Colored pictures of the Saint of the day, more often then not martyred.  So the dog balloon was a particularly delightful change.

Bee has been putting in extra time brushing up on her Aunting skills.  I'm scheduled to be induced later in the week. Truth be told, I think it's worse knowing when it's going to happen. I've been extremely nervous about being away from the kids and very worried about things going badly.  At least I know now that my husband can be there, which was up in the air pending his test results. I just wish it were all over with, honestly, and the baby and I were already back home.

So that's what's new here. Things will be very different a week from now.