Monday, May 7, 2012

Hunting and gathering

No lily left unsearched... plastic pool left unturned... grass untouched... our cuties in the hunt for Easter eggs.

The sweet fruits (well, fruit-flavored candy beans, at least) of their labor.

Even sweeter is the fact that this little badger shares with Daddy without complaint. Once, at least.  I don't think that we asked for more than that.

Wee critters

I'm sure that Gabriel and I are not alone in likening our children to little critters.  Our kids actually have very specific animal names associated with each one: Jonah is "The Bird," a name brought on by his habit of flapping his "wings" in frustration.  In his very early nursing days, he even "pecked" around for his meal, bobbing his dark head, like a little chicken. 
Despite Manny's nickname being "Manny Moo," we actually call him "The Pig."  We realize, of course, that that name sounds like emotional abuse, and that we can't call him that outside of our four walls.  But our pink little baby, with curly hair, looked like the cutest of little piglets, and the name has stuck.  Jonah has even attached a variety of adjectives to the nickname, "Baseball Pig" and "Party Pig" being among them.  
Iohan, once called "General Critter," because we couldn't pinpoint "his" animal, is now "The Honey Badger."  The African honey badger, according to the boys' favorite PBS nature program, is one of the fiercest animals anywhere -- he can kill snakes! -- and is a compact ball of strength.  Lucky for us, our honey badger has a very cuddly side, but "tough" describes a significant portion of Iohan's personality.

Out and about this winter, though, the names didn't quite apply (though Jonah was still a species of bird).  Cousin Hana knits hats, and Gabriel's aunt and uncle sent them up for Christmas.  The boys were only too happy to don their separate hats, and to soak up the attention that came from belonging to this troupe of animals. Two owls and a fox, on the prowl.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Music lover

Oldie, but goodie.  (The video is from late January.)  Iohan is a much more spontaneous singer than Manny, who sang a lot more than Jonah did.  His late favorites are "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Baby Beluga," and "The Farmer in the Dell."  He can sing the Our Father with us at prayer time, which is not only adorable and soul-warming, but also slightly hilarious -- his Our Father singing voice is high-pitched and chirpy, the exact voice that Jonah used to make his plush pup Whiffy sing with.  I'll put money on that sweet little voice making a thousand angels smile, and sing, too.


Though the boys occasionally complain of boredom, they’re rarely actually bored around the house.  Between the backyard, the toys (that I keep stepping on) and each other, they generally keep busy running, smacking, and building, and our home rarely lacks for excitement.  You might not have known that, though, if you’d been around late Thursday afternoon, as I was preparing dinner for the oven.  “DAD!!” shouted Manny, when Gabriel walked thru the door: “We’re having MEAT ON THE BONE!!”
I was roasting a chicken for dinner.
I’m surprised that the energy and excitement in our house didn’t cause some sort of combustion, to be honest.  And I wish that I could put into words how enamored the boys were with the idea and reality of tearing flesh from the bone with their "sharp canine teeth!"  As soon as he found out that I would be roasting a chicken, the day before the meal, Jonah told me numerous times how he wanted to crack the bones with his teeth and suck out the marrow.  Yes, for real.  Manny exclaimed, “Look! Blood!” during dinner when he did actually gnaw a bone apart and discovered the spongy red layer inside.  I had to tell him that I couldn’t look, because it would probably make me ill.  In true boy form, his excitement remained undiminished.  Jonah told me (as he often does when he enjoys dinner, I must admit) that the roast chicken was “the best dinner” I’ve EVER made.
I love these boys’ enthusiasm.  I love that a roast chicken, and its accompanying bone-crunching, is a highlight of the week.  Would that I had their enthusiasm and energy for life's small pleasures, even if said small pleasure is "just" MEAT ON THE BONE!! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Doughy, not ideal.

I'm back, with a plate of donuts. I wish you could eat them. Yes, I realize that they don't look like donuts, quite, but they're tasty! A couple nights ago, during story time, Jonah asked what the word "ideal" means. My years of liberal arts schooling came to mind, but I didn't feel like getting into philosophy, exactly, with my 5 year old at 8 p.m. We answered him with, "The best that it can be." Well, these are not ideal donuts, as far as appearances go. And some were still doughy in the middle (which was actually kind of yummy), so I can't even claim that the inside was ideal. But I've now gotten "doughnut-making" out of my system, so that's ideal.

On this cloudy, dreary Monday, on which three of the four of us at home right now have the sniffles, and the other is a 5 year-old boy who would probably rather be at school, I needed a project. Between the prep, the frying, the consuming (which would be ongoing, except that I’m experimenting with freezing these) and the cleaning, donut-making has consumed a fair chunk of my day. Clean-up shouldn’t have been such a pain, but I guess that sometimes even when you follow directions, things can still turn out a little messy. (Is that a life-lesson in tasty, doughy disguise? I will let you judge for yourself.)

The recipe is from King Arthur’s “Whole Grain Baking,” so I’m allowed to say that these donuts are, if not quite healthy, less bad than they could be. The mixture of oat flour (i.e., finely ground oats), whole wheat flour and bread flour is not too sweet; the cinnamon sugar mixture added the perfect complement to the crunchy exterior. I’m not such a fan of the powdered sugar, which was a concession to my eldest son -- I think I didn’t wait long enough to roll the donuts in the sugar, so the powder is still moist and sticky. Though, now that I write that, I realize that I can try to pass that off as the frosting that the boys have been wanting, just like Dunkin’ Donuts fried dough. I wonder if they’ll be convinced...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicago wildlife

Betcha can't guess where we were? I mean, it's not like Iohan is wearing a sign on his head or anything! Oh, wait...
Yup, the Field Museum! In November, our family bought a membership to the Field Museum as an early Christmas gift. It has been worth every dollar. I'm pretty sure that it's impossible to run out of things to see there. As much as I sometimes wish that we lived in the suburbs with a largish yard, or in the country, with chickens and a stream in the backyard, many times I am just very, very thankful that for at least a portion of our lives we live where we are in easy reach of some of the nation's premiere museums. Urban living definitely has its benefits.

Little critters in the woodland.

My three little beasties, in the nest.

And out in the wild.

Roaming the city hills.

Claiming the hilltops, and nimbly trotting along.

Another setting to be climbed and conquered, though defended by many other little tikes.

I've been surmounted.

Little beasties need their water, too.

And off we go again!

Monday, March 21, 2011


This child is workin' the camera, showing off all his different looks. All cute, of course.