Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why Can?

So, a new colleague asked me the other day, "Why do you can?" My initial reaction was going to be, "Why don't you can?" Then my brain caught me and I realized that it was a very valid question. Why do I can?
I've realized the answer isn't as simple but I think it starts with my dad. Most know that my dad passed at age 51 from melanoma. It was 2007. I was barely an adult (25). It was traumatizing. I am a firm believer that all this cancer crap in the world in environmental. Our life of convenience is killing us. Literally. I want to be around to grow old and watch my grandkids flourish. I want Jason to be there too. I'd give anything for my father to have met my children. I'll do what ever I can to keep us all healthy enough to live our dreams. So, I can food.
My dad isn't the only reason...
I'm a bored mom and wife. Yep, I said it. I'm bored. I work. I cook. I wipe asses... lots of asses. If there were 8 days in the week or 30 hours in a day, maybe I could do something for myself. So, what I do has to be multipurpose. Canning has stretched my knowledge, skills and helped me reach goals for my family. If you can eat it, I can can it! I've canned:
tomato sauce
italian tomato sauce
tomato soup
tomato paste
diced tomatoes
pickles- dill and bread and butter
apple sauce- berry, strawberry, peach, vanilla bean
green beans*
spicy pepper relish
(I am sure I missed something.)
Items marked with an * need to be pressure canned. See more info here.

So in short, I guess you could call homesteading/canning a hobby. My ONLY hobby! Everyone needs something they are interested in to feel like life is more than work. Canning and homesteading keeps me sane. Makes me feel human. Makes me feel successful. Makes me feel accomplished.

So, what does everyone need to show off their hobby? A pretty space!

Pictures above and below were our current storage options. In cases, shoved on shelves in the basement.

After a couple of hours on a weekend and some lumber and BOOM!

All of my pretty jars, lined up to show themselves off! Better than trophies!

Jason used this dead space in the basement along the hall to the quarter basement for them. It is a great use of space. It's pretty and also functional. When the jars are all crammed into cases, I can never tell what I have or don't have. I've tried lists over the years. They never work and then all of a sudden I'm out of something.

Now I have a new problem. They are so pretty. I don't want to use any of them! I am pretty sure that defeats the purpose! I see empty space and few and far between tomato products. I better get canning!

So, why do I can? Well they are pretty, duh!

First Dance Class!

Of course Coletyn will be dancing. Did you think otherwise?? We are all ready going there for Cecelia's class. Some work on coordination can't hurt the kid. Remember that whole broken leg thing? He's got a lot of muscle strengthening to do still. Lastly, it makes my heart tickle!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Summer Lovin' 2015

Another summer, another swimming summer at Hoyt Pool. This year, of course, we had three to play with! A third fish was born!!

Babywearing for naptime!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

My Boy and a Love Letter

The events leading up to this picture, a simple picture of what 3T boys clothes I had for a girlfriend, got me all balled up into a stream of emotions. My baby boy. I don't even know if I can adequately put it into words, but I'll try.

A boy. From the moment we heard those words at the ultrasound for his anatomy scan, I didn't know if I could understand a boy. I was a girl. I had a sister. My first baby was a girl. I am not one to like to get dirty. Boy (pun intended) was I clueless for how much a boy would spew unconditional love. This little boy stops on a dime out of the blue to hug or kiss me. He says "thank you" without being told to. He is beyond precious with his little sister. He is caring. He's thoughtful. He's fair. He's strong. He's, a boy!

The last year of his life has been so hard for him. I think these clothes hit a little too close to home. I have a memory of him in every piece of clothing in the last year. I know which clothes he wore when he had his long cast on from a broken leg. He lived in the same few outfits due to how they fit especially to get them on and off and on and off to take the newly 4 week old potty trained boy to and from the potty who not once during the whole leg thing had an accident, even through the night.  I remember him during those times. My little boy who slept in my bed right after the break who would cry out in pain at night. All I could do was hold his hand and cry with him. The basketball shirt he word on Christmas morning when he opened all of his presents sitting on my 35 week pregnant lap. Then finally started scooting on Christmas day and tried riding his airplane he asked Santa for which I was so worried he wouldn't be able to enjoy. The dinosaur shirt from his birthday. The shirt he met his baby sister in. The pants he wore when he could walk in his full leg cast- crazy three year old! The pants he crawled around in during the almost month after getting his cast off when he was afraid to walk on the leg he thought was still broken. The sweatshirt he wore at the ortho's office when he got his "all clear" from the walking boot. The pjs he hung out in with Charlotte and me on maternity leave. The cute graphic tees he bopped around in all summer on our summer adventures. Every piece of clothing has a memory of my little boy. My little boy who is growing too quickly before my eyes.

Day he got his cast.

Airplane from Santa.

Third birthday.

Charlotte's birthday.

He's still recovering from his broken leg from December 20th even now. Back in May my gut said that something was wrong. He was VERY clumsy. He couldn't switch directions or switch his weight without falling. I thought I was overreacting. We had been locked up on a maternity leave with a newborn. I decided to leave it alone. Then in early August, I was watching him run on a playground and he just looked crooked. Long story short, by the middle of August, I got him in to see someone and he was all jacked up. He's started working on things and is now (early October) doing much better and is able to start strengthening his right quad who's limitations were severely impacting his stability. I already notice a huge difference. I am kicking myself that I didn't jump on it in May. I'm also quite ticked that the ortho didn't refer us to be checked by a PT or someone who could evaluate his mobility. Regardless, he's definitely had an upward climb but I can see the end in sight, finally! The funny thing, he has no idea. Only a few times in the last 10 months has he struggled with his leg. The first few days were atrocious. After that, just occasionally did he struggle. Between cast off and finding the courage to walk again may have been the hardest. It was all psychological and I can't imagine what that little brain was thinking. Other than those few times, he's been the chipper, loving, crazy little boy regardless of breaking a limb or losing his slot as baby in the family. Speaking of being a big brother. I couldn't have imagined how sweet he was going to be towards his little sister. Every time he has spoken to her in the last 8 months, he has used the high pitched baby voice most of us use. It's the most precious thing ever! He's going to be the best big brother (and the best little brother), ever.

So, back to those clothes. Damn you clothes for making me sad. Thank you old clothes for making me stop to think about my little boy. I'd like to bottle up this time and keep him this small forever.

My Dear Sweet Baby Boy,
Your momma will never be able to tell you how much you have changed my life. Your smile makes me smile. Your giggle makes me giggle. Your thoughtfulness makes my heart sing. Your hugs, kisses and squeezes every night make me remember why I always knew I'd rock motherhood. Sometimes you give me a run for my money but you have taught me to be a better mother. I love you and your inquisitive, charming, resilient personality more than you could ever know. Your momma will always be here, no matter how old you are, waiting for my next squeeze.
I love you baby boy!
Love, Your Momma

Charlotte's Love Letter- here.
Cecelia's Love Letter- here.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First Grade- Cecelia

She's our big girl!

I want to be a teacher and an ice cream maker.

Sunflowers from the garden for her teacher!