Friday, January 13, 2012

Sifting Is A Slow Business

My darling Nibblet has recently past another big milestone, inspired by the increasing number of "wild woman hair" days.

We've loved our girl's wispy, fine, long hair, but it was taking longer and longer to tame it, making both Mommy and daughter a little tense during the process. Then within an hour or two it would slip out of the clips and rubber bands and get a nice film of jam on it. And I discovered it was the terror of both the grandmothers when they offered to keep the kids. Not the possible tantrums or hideous poopie accidents or sibling squabbles ... nope, just dealing with Elsbeth's hair.

So we had girls' only outing to our local Great Clips.

I vividly remember holding Andrew down with all my might while he screamed and flailed hysterically during his first hair cut. I can't believe the poor guy cutting it didn't run away, or at least slice off Andrew's ear of something. It was awful. And he's by far the milder personality, so I wasn't sure how this event was going to go down with The Fiery One. But she was perfect! She waited patiently and was stoic during the cut, except for a few really hilarious smirks in my direction. I think having seen Andrew go through this on multiple occasions (and thankfully he's fine with it at this point) and having full confidence that a lolly pop awaited her at the end made all the difference.

Phil especially misses it long, but the cut is really sweet. And MUCH more manageable.

Nothing quite so baby-book worthy happening with my boy. Just growing up fast and getting cuter by the day. Here he is in the sweater vest his Nannie gave him for Christmas. He just loves it and declares he will wear it every single weekend.

Don't get me wrong ... he still has plenty of moments. Complete meltdown because we're out of peanut butter. Knocking his sister flat because he thought maybe she was thinking about messing up his project (and let's be honest ... she probably was). Sending him up to get dressed for school and finding him 25 minutes later sitting naked on his bed with a magazine. But his new favorite game is Chess. How adorable is that?! It's this awesome version that he got for Christmas that is perfect for beginners. (Thanks again, Nannie!) Seriously, I'm learning the game along with him and it's super fun. Everyone should run out and get it.

He also started asking me tons of questions about death recently. Not exactly what you imagine talking to your 5-year-old about for an hour, but he had some really insightful questions. When his chin started quivering as he asked what would happen to him if I died and left him without a Mommy (ahhh!), I decided to turn the conversation in a more hopeful direction and mentioned the second coming of Christ as a pretty awesome death alternative. Well he got so beautifully and sincerely excited about that, he could barely go to sleep that night. Now every night he requests we pray that Jesus will come back, and his "good night" to me ends with "see you in the morning ... or in the clouds!" Gave me a much richer understanding of Christ's desire for us to have the faith of a child. I sure could use a dose of that.

Here's The Precious enjoying the last drops of his mint chocolate chip ice cream from, I kid you not, an African-American Jewish vegan soul food restaurant we discovered not far from downtown. Come and visit and we'll take you! My favorite is the country-fried chicken platter with rice and gravy.

New subject: I want a pig. Now, before you say that I'm crazy, just look at this face!

Doesn't that make you want a pig?

Yes it does.

Yes it does.

Oh come on, you hard-hearted souls! Pigs are awesome! And I really want one. My dear friend Julianne knows this and sent me information about a 1-year-old pink female pot bellied pig that needed a home and I was seriously this close to getting it. Right before e-mailing the owner back to arrange a pick-up time, I was doing a little research on the type of ramps I would need so Zhu Zhu could get around appropriately and happened upon a site that had a "Things You Should Know Before Getting A Pig" section that I foolishly decided to read. It went something like this: "Pot bellied pigs are pretty much the most amazing and adorable animals you could ever have in the world and they'll make your whole life better in every possible way except for this one little itsy bitsy issue of them getting kind of wildly AGGRESSIVE if there's only one of them so you'll have to make sure you have at least two." Snif. My dear husband was actually considering letting me have one pig ... but two pigs that could get up to about 120 pounds each tromping in and out of the house on a series of ramps was, well, a little much. And as much as it pained me (and pained me it certainly did), I had to agree. For now.

Plus he pointed out that he had recently allowed the acquisition an adorable but very nearly feral kitten. Here's Mr. Tumnus smack in the middle of our Christmas tree. If you look closely, you can see his wild eyes peeking out at the right.

To further assuage my sorrow, Phil has promised me that in the spring we can have ... wait for it ... chickens!!! I am wild with delight!!! Stay tuned for more chicken updates and start making fridge space of all the awesome fresh eggs I'll have to share.

Oh! And I keep forgetting, but several of you have asked me to share some of my favorite new vegetarian recipes. I'm going to try to remember to post a new one at the end of my blogs from now on. This one is from this really great vegetarian cookbook my sister-in-law Sallie gave me for my birthday. I love it. I'm really getting into lentils, and thus far this is my favorite way to cook them. Beware, though, if you're new to lentils. You do have to sift through them and pick out small rocks that get mixed in. Chomping down on a pebble kind of ruins the moment.

Lentil Soup with Barley

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chipped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/4 cups dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/3 cup barley (or brown rice)
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 tsp. salt-free all-purpose seasoning (I found this jar of Italian seasoning in my cabinet which has worked fine)
3 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste (Don't hold back on the salt!)

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until translucent. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Add 7 cups of water and the remaining ingredients, except the salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. (Do make sure the lentils are tender! Sometimes they take a little longer.)

Season with salt and pepper. If time allows, this soup benefits from standing for 1 hour or so before serving to develop flavor. Heat through as needed and remove bay leaves before serving.