Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring harvest of crazysauce....

Claudia is a budding nudist.
I had all these great ideas of all the things I was going to write about this week. Of course, I totally thought there would be time and why not? It is only Holy Week and we are doing lots of extra things so I decided that it would be far too dull just to be extra busy. I decided to sew matching dresses for four of the five youngest girls and then knit matching ruffled shrugs. But no worries, I choose easy patterns and chunky yarn so I would have time to make some traditional foods the hard way. I am making all the dairy (yogurt, ricotta and sour cream) for pashka. There is a similar recipe HERE. But I'm tired and nursing a more tired baby so I am not getting my recipe right now. I am also making kulich but wanted to use sprouted flour, again because I am crazysauce. I have a recipe similar to this one HERE but right now I would rather admit blogging defeat than run and get it. Did I mention that I decided to brave shopping with ten children for Easter clothes and shoes and do it by myself before a blizzard blew in.Why not? There's time, right? Now there are pants to hem and new clothes to wash and press so that everything will be perfect.


Veronica models the "Bugs" look.
That's the real game here. Nothing in life is perfect because life is messy and hard and tiring but it is also beautiful and rewarding and worth every minute of chaos and disorder. My life is very real. I love blogging and I am glad that you come here all the time to read what I write but a part of what makes it worth reading (at least I think so) is the fact that my writing comes from a very place. That place happens to be a kitchen where children and yelling and screaming and making bunny ears and teeth while the baby eats naked and I press haloumi cheese and strain ricotta while checking my email on my phone. I don't have an office or an assistant or a babysitter and those bucktoothed loonies at the table are my full time gig.

There is a tendency to imagine other people's lives are tidy and neat and filled with quiet moments in a sun filled window seat sipping tea and watching birds outside. No doubt these things happen but they are moments to savor not only because in five minutes someone will clog the toilet with the toddler's missing shoe but because outside of the frame the preschooler is drawing on himself in marker. For the love of all that is clean and not full crumbs make sure you enjoy those moments! I think that there are a couple of reasons for this self defeating behavior. The biggest blame can be placed on our own shoulders because we belittle ourselves far too much. It doesn't do any good . The other thing that hurts us is Facebook. All those carefully sculpted moments in carefully chosen and perhaps even edited photos give us a single moment, a single slice in life. It is accurate and also not. Maybe those things happened as they appear but most of the time they are like those sunlit moments: fleeting and cropped.

Jack might be looking
forward to that salmon.
I do it, too. I have this idea that if somehow people see my girls in store bought dresses and shoes that don't match their sisters they are going to peek further past and see the other not so tidy parts of my life (nobody look in the mudroom!). I really need to dial it back and remember, I don't go to church so I can have Facebook photos of kids in matching ties and dresses. Life is bigger than that. Bigger and smaller. I think that worrying about the big things so much, means that the little things get passed over.

The small is very important. There are tiny, ordinary moments of our lives that are critical to our children. You won't even know until they are older. Now that I have one in college and three teens, I hear about it from then. My children could not care less about the ties although the girls really care about the shoes but it isn't what they talk about as they grow up. It is the small things, like what we eat for breakfast as we dye eggs. These things are seared into their memories and what I thought was a cop out (local bagels) turned out to be the most significant part of the experience. I was missing out on what the kids really thought was the most important part. It is bagels and lox, not my carefully selected natural egg dyes and pretty decorations for the eggs. For the children it is the bagels and lox and dyeing eggs with my mother and sister that make up their memories of the holiday. If I focus too much on what other people might think and how other people will judge us, then I will always miss what is actually happening. It is a matter of not seeing the forest for the trees.
Isabel finally got the wedges. She is poised for
the picture but squealed when I bought them.

I don't want to miss these things. I don't want to be so busy navel gazing that I miss what is actually happening. So, I am going to try to get my list done but if it is not all exactly perfect, I am going to let it go. I am going to remember that it is not my buffet or my meal or my photos or what people think of the dresses. In the end, it is something far greater. This holiday is about something that is all encompassing.

My Faith shapes every aspect of my life and the reason I go to church is because I believe in something so great that I cannot even begin to understand it. I can feel this in my bones. My Faith is not about sprouted bread or homemade cheese and even though these things are important to me, they cannot take the place of what matters more. Food is important, critical even, but it is not my religion. A place for everything and everything in its place is not just about proper order of material goods but especially for the immaterial.

So this Sunday, my kids will be dressed in clothes. We will arrive at the church. We will have a lovely feast. We might even have pictures. Will it be perfect? No. Not even if I give up sleeping for good. Will it be wonderful? Definitely. It is good that I am making peace with this now. The kids will be bundled up in coats and boots when we go this weekend so...nobody is really going to be looking at the clothes. Really. This is what I woke up to this morning.

By the way, that stupid local saying, "It takes new snow to melt old snow" is a freaking bald face lie. The snow had receded to halfway up the door to the outhouse and now we start over again. It is a lie, I tell you, a lie!


  1. this is BEAUTIFUL! and lent did not go so well....but all is well...

  2. Amen! May God bless you abundantly for living & embracing this life that is messy & hard & tiring & beautiful & rewarding & REAL! :)

  3. I can really relate! I was just thinking about this very topic. I live in a place where being picture perfect is almost ingrained in the culture. It makes it very hard not to compare! I just had to laugh this past Sunday when we got a beautiful family picture before church and then all 3 kids had meltdowns DURING church! That's life, isn't it??

  4. I'm glad that this was helpful! I know how hard it is to keep this carefully constructed perfection...ok. I know how hard it is to pretend. But pretending does not make it actually perfect. I figured I was not alone!


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