Places I’ve Planned to Live

Places I’ve Planned to Live

When we were planning family trips as a kid, my mom used to tell me that anticipation is half the fun. It seems I took it to heart. Perhaps a little too much to heart. Tony and I have moved a lot of places since we got married fifteen years ago. But we have planned even more moves than we have executed, in varying levels of depth, up to and including consulting Google Maps street view to check out various prospective neighbourhoods.

Planning to move somewhere is a sort of reflexive impulse for us. We do it when we are feeling frustrated about the weather, the culture, the food, our jobs, or anything else about where we live now.… Read more

Avondvierdaagse: the Redemption

Avondvierdaagse: the Redemption

On Wednesday it was Tony’s turn to walk the Avondvierdaagse with the kids while I went to a writers’ meet up in the city. And of course the weather was perfect for him: sunny until after nine o’clock, as it is here when it isn’t pouring rain. 

Last night I had a second chance myself. I thought about holing up in a café while the kids walked, but in the end I decided to give  it another try. And I’m glad I did. This time the weather was much better; it was even a little too warm at first, which I didn’t mind at all.… Read more

The March of Death (aka Avondvierdaagse)

The March of Death (aka Avondvierdaagse)

There are quite a few Dutch customs that would seem, frankly, crazy in the U.S. Some of them involve the impressively wide range of stuff Dutch kids are permitted, nay, encouraged to do (cycle several kilometres to school by themselves, take public transport all over the city, etc.) Others involve acts of defiance against the weather (the impossibly long ice skating race, Elfstedentocht, which happens only when the ice is thick enough on waterways between eleven northern cities, or the wildly popular leap into the frigid North Sea on New Year’s Day). 

And then there are activities which can involve both kids and extreme weather.… Read more

Our New Baby

Our New Baby

It’s no secret that I love having a cuddly little baby to snuggle. This has resulted in me making two of my own little babies, and going attachment parenting all the way. But all good things must come to an end. Axa and Raj are by now far past the breastfeeding and cloth diapering stage. In fact, they are well into the insightful conversations around the dinner table stage, which is a delight in and of itself. However, I still need a little snuggly something to keep in my lap and shower in kisses and carry around with me.

And here she is:

Lyra portrait

I’ll pause here for a moment so you can swoon over her adorable face.… Read more

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, The Host, Prague Winter, Shakespeare in Italy, and Seven Daughters of Eve

Let’s talk books! The good, the pedantic, and Stephenie Meyer’s already-made-into-a-movie foray into science fiction.

Animal, Vegetable, MiracleAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three stars, because this book can only be described as uneven. On the one hand, I was absolutely fascinated by the Kingsolver family’s adventures in producing most of their own food for an entire year. Probably because I already had my own fantasies about moving to a farm and subsisting on my own heirloom vegetables and heritage farm animals. I loved the recipes and seasonal menus, as well as the practical information on homesteading, including hilarious accounts of things like mushroom hunting, using a year’s bounty of zucchini, and breeding turkeys.… Read more

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

These are our newest little friends. We recently met them through a passion we share: raw goat milk. We first got hooked on raw milk back when Tony was going to school at B.Y.U. Every week, I would drive with baby Axa out to a farm in Payson to see the gentle jersey cows and pick up a couple of gallons of what could most accurately be described as “liquid flowers.” When we spent a year in Washington State, raw cow milk was unavailable, so we were introduced to the glorious earthy decadence that is raw goat milk. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when we moved to our little 1-acre “farm” in Fallbrook, and became the delighted owners of two lovely (albeit devious) la mancha goats.… Read more

Fall at the Pumpkin Patch

Last Friday we drove an hour up into the hills to pick fall apples. We filled three buckets with Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Empire, and Rome apples, enough to grandly fulfill Grammy’s dehydrator ambitions, eat all the sweet, crunchy apples we could want, and have apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for family home evening treat tonight.

On the way home, we decided to stop by the pumpkin patch.

We only intended to stay an hour or two, but Murray Family Farms is no ordinary pumpkin patch. It’s a 360-acre autumn extravaganza. After eating our picnic lunch on a shady table outside, we let the children play in a sandbox thing full of field corn.… Read more

The Dog That Walks By Himself

Perhaps we are in need of a dog after all. Before last week we had no one to steal our socks, lick up spills from the floor, or cover our hands with warm kisses.

I guess we can consider him an “oops baby” of sorts. After further grilling of all our neighbors, we were able to uncover the story of how a little black puppy came to be all alone yelping in the street outside our house. Apparently, the nice old man who lives across the street and spends hours every day sitting outside on his front porch was sitting there as usual two Fridays ago at 7:00 in the morning.… Read more

How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

We are not a family in need of a dog. Yes, it’s true that we’ve always kind of wanted one, but we are certainly not at the point of going out and buying a puppy. In fact, we exercised remarkable restraint a few months ago when the half wild dogs on the beach had six cute little roly-poly puppies, and Rambo kept asking us if we wanted one.

Yesterday, though, as we were heading off for our morning time at the beach, we walked out our front gate to so much yelping I thought there must be a dog fight. It turned out to be just one dog, and not a very big one, at that.… Read more

Let the Chickens Stay

Have I told you how much I love our landlord? We have lived in a lot of different places since we were married, and had some pretty interesting experiences with landlords. So I know how to appreciate a good one. Ours is a doctor, who (for us at least) does house calls. He fixed Tony up with the proper medications after an unfortunate run-in with a hammam foot fungus. He doesn’t tell us to turn off the lights or take short showers, despite the fact that our utilities are included in the rent. He doesn’t try to give me lessons in cleaning.… Read more