i made a very short trip to michigan over the weekend. sometimes i pretend i am this jet setter, living a fabulous but far to chaotic life of arriving and departing different big cities. noshing on exotic but too expensive food and checking in to posh boutique hotels on a whim and without regard to price or time of stay.
obviously, i live the opposite of a jet setting life and even though i sometimes wonder what it would be like to live a different life than the one i do, but know i why i don't and why the trips i take are well thought out, planned, and saved for...
because this is my life, the part of my life that is precious and too far way...in michigan.
my 'other' home.
where grandma lives. where she LIVES!
gorgeous tawny and baby spencer getting freaked out by gram and her banana split lolli.
where sisters look after each other's babies as if they were their own,
the place where you my find my dad 'hiding' from all of the women in his life. after five daughters and a wife, he deals with us pretty well. not perfect, but he's getting there.
home is where all of my siblings live. we are a crazy bunch. i admit it. but there is so much love there. so much.
i wish i had just getting this one photo of all of us on video camera. it took about 10 frames, the camera changed hands a few times, everyone had an opinion as to where the photo should be taken, i needed to pee, heather was cold, and when her baby ran down the street with a bunch of balloons, elaina started laughing. when our brother finally returned from his disappearing act, the other look-a-likes took turns scolding him. poor guy. but we have a photo and the pains it took to get it will be worth it in 10 years!
i flew in for a special occasion...my sister taryn's bridal shower!
congratulations to bobby and my beautiful sister, taryn! even though you two sneaky ones ran off and eloped, we are still happy for you;) no, seriously, we love you both very much! and bobby, when i saw you fixing my dad's screen door that night at the shower...i knew taryn had made the right choice:)!
the next day, i hightailed it to see grandpa. he promptly demanded we go somewhere he could blow his diabetes/sugar numbers all to hell and i obliged.
happily obliged in my own glass pedestal of guilt with an extra bit of cinnamon on my rice pudding for good measure.
i must admit though, the best part of sharing a rice pudding with gramps, isn't the pudding. it's the stories he tells about the rice pudding as he eats it. they are the same stories he tells each time we eat it, but i listen like it's the first time everytime.
"you know, i used to take all the kids to get the best damned rice pudding i've ever had in my life every single week. yes, it was a place in dearborn. what's the name of it now? dammit, i can't remember the name of it now. well, i think it closed anyway. you know who used to make great rice pudding and fudge?"
"your grandma. yeah. she did. she used to make it for me all the time. i never shared it. hell no."
and so my jet setting life will have to begin in another lifetime, because no offense to fabulous food and ultra modern swanky european hotels everywhere... my small travels to only 5 states away always feels so right.
and although i was a little early to experience all that a michigan fall has to offer, i took advantage of the weather and used my nieces swing set to fly high and it was better than i remember. and since in my pregnancy state of mind, i forget everything...i left my camera in florida, so my broken iphone cam had to do.
and with a her first grade year going strong, we are finally striding or stumbling through something resembling a schedule. and since i don't do well with schedules, it has been a learning experience for both of us. bless her heart though, she is really trying to be more independent and i'm trying to learn to let go a little more and encourage her everyday.
that sweet girl is so much like me that i have to remind myself that she we are not the same people. i went in to her class to help the kids make carmel apples and afterward i stayed to have lunch with her. i wasn't planning on it as i had a gazillion things i needed to do, but i distinctly remember thinking her eyes were almost desperate when she asked me to stay. so i did and i was so glad that i did.
i was greeted with this smile when she found me waiting in the lunchroom. it's a grainy photo, but she is wide smiling me while running into my arms as if she hadn't seen me just ten minutes prior.
inside my head, i'm applying my proud mama cape. i'm not gonna lie about it. after all, i put that smile on her face with my mere presence. it was easy and i love that in this stage of her life, i have that kind of power because one day i may hardly get a kiss goodbye before she heads out to be with her way-cooler-than-mom friends.
she entertains me with her best version of a walrus using french fries!
i love this little girl so much that i wish i could bottle this day up for her and sprinkle some of it's magic on her when she's having a rough day, not so much now, but in the future during her teen years when she may forget how much she loves us.
and as are saying goodbye to many days like this...
we welcome and anxiously embrace days that beg for a hot bowl of homemade soup...
fall has arrived and it's lovely!
this is a leek. in case you didn't know, like i didn't a few years ago and let's just say i didn't come home with a leek.
Not my mom's Potato Soup
because her potato soup is the best evah...but i don't have that recipe
you are going to need:
half pack of bacon, about 6 slices cooked then chopped up
2 large leeks
3 cloves of garlic, chopped up
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut up
4 cups of lower sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup of heavy cream
half bag of frozen corn, about a cup
half bag frozen peas, about a cup
fresh or dried thyme
a bunch of fresh italian parsley
two tablespoons of flour
a lot of pepper in my soup and some kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika...this optional and start out with less rather than more. taste as you go!
Using the fat from the cooked bacon, about two tablespoons and one tablespoon butter, add the leeks and garlic to the dutch oven and cook until they are soft, maybe 5-7 minutes. add two tablespoons of flour and stir in with garlic and leeks. quickly add broth, water, potatoes, salt and pepper. cover and bring to boil. then reduce the heat and let simmer until pots are soft. i covered the pot or partially covered it.
add the heavy cream, bacon, more salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes.
if you want to thicken the soup, you can mash some of the potatoes and throw them back in the pot or blend some of it and return to pot. i was too lazy to do that but i've done it in the past!
eat it up! super easy and satisfying too!
sometimes when i am thinking i'm doing something right with these kids...
evident of course by their sweet dispositions, perhaps a stellar evening in manners being demonstrated without multiple reminders, or just laughter and getting along for longer than one justin bieber tune. sometimes the stars align and i'm all high on myself. it doesn't happen often if i'm telling the truth, but when it does, my happy mama flag flies really high.
however, there is a flip side.
behold, the day peyton and becks moved out.
it was a sad day indeed and when peyton looked at me with anger pulsing throughout her face, i felt like someone had climbed up my flag pole and ripped my proud-mama-moment-flag down...in front of me...with an evil smile...and a shrill cold little laugh,
"i'm moving out and i'm going to find a different mama. that's it. i'm leaving!"
i was shocked.
"what? you are moving out? where? why?"
"I'm going to live in michigan. i like the weather better. ANNNNNDDDDD beckham is going with me!"
becks lowered his head when i looked at him, "beckham are moving to michigan with peyton today?"
i was SHOCKED when he softly answered, "yes i am going with peyton."
"how will you get to the airport. it's really far away and it will be dark in a couple of hours. i'm not sure it's safe to walk on the highway, in the dark alone."
without skipping a beat, peyton said, "i am taking my own car. my mustang and if it rains i'm going to take my umbrella."
my heart was broken even though i knew they weren't going anywhere. what the hell had i done to piss her off to make her opt to go to the airport alone and in the dark and in a lightening and thunder storm no less? i told my pathetic self to shut up after that thought.
i remember the first time i moved out of my house. i was 7 years old. i'm not sure why i was so upset and punishing my mother, but i packed a bag with coloring books in it. no jacket, no food or water.
i remember stalling, wanting my mom to beg me to stay, but she didn't. now i know what it was i saw on her face. instead of being shocked, she was amused.
she let us leave (i formed an alliance with my sister, heather as well. if i was leaving, i was no moron. i was taking someone with me.)
we walked three houses down to the corner and decide to move into the bush on the corner. we climbed inside, apparently my fear of spiders hadn't kicked in yet, and set up shop. i don't remember seeing mom for a while , but i'm sure she knew where we were. after all of i'm sure, 15 minutes...we moved back in with our parents. a word was never spoken about why we were back home. my 7 year old brain surely translated it to mean, "i'm so glad you are home!!!"
so with my 4 and 6 year olds packing everything they owned into brown bags, plastic bags, backpacks and placing them at the bottom of the stairs, i gave in to the mess i would have to monitor for clean up later and let them keep going.
peyton is much smarter than i was though, girlfriend packed two ziploc bags of food and she LABELED them. i was proud of my baby for that one!
finally, peyton packed her mustang up and helped beckham load up his motorcycle. it was time to go and after peyon macgyvered her brothers umbrella, they were to set off.
but first, they needed me to guide them out of the garage and i have to say, they were not wavering.
i told them they had to go now because it was getting late and it was starting to rain and i wanted to make dinner. i gave them each long kisses and hugs. i asked them both if they packed extra undies and a rain jacket and i walked into the house.
and as the rain started pouring down and the lightening started cracking...their plan started to unravel.
but let me ask you a question. does these kids look like they want to leave mama?
uh, i don't think so.
i could eat those faces up they are so cute.
needless to say, they ran back to the house. i told them to start unpacking and that i was so happy that they decided to live with us again. i was given hugs and kisses for the rest of the night.
and a few 'i love you' gifts later that night!
so for now, we are falling it up
cooking up a storm...and since we have all been sick at different times during the last two weeks, making chicken soup has become a full time job.
and with that, a new sandwich that was sooo good.
i was making chicken stock and i had some cooked chicken just sitting out, so i made me a snack it was delicious...
chicken and pesto sandwich
take a small roll/ciabatta/french whatevah ya got!
put shredded chicken from a rotisseri chicken on one side of your bread, swipe the other side with lots of pesto, add some greens, arugula is a fave but anything you like. fresh parsley, sliced toms, red onion if your into it, salt and pepper. you could add mayo too, but i didn't.
yum. easy sandwich to go with your chicken soup!
however, you enjoy your days
it's the normal stuff i am finding i like best. finding the happy there is easy and the most special. so if your having a rough day, and i think 'rough day' has been my middle name for the last 18 weeks, maybe try...
fort making. a mess of pillows and quilts. imagination and faces to love.
or dress up...
signing off but not before i congratulate the giveaway winner: karly jaco!
karly, please send me your contact into to firstname.lastname@example.org