Archive for the 'Luke' Category

Everyday Cake

Yesterday when Luke asked (using the power of his magical dimples) if we could make a cake together, how could I say no? It was a sweet afternoon; we walked to the store in the sunshine for eggs and buttermilk and then got to making a mess in the kitchen, just the two of us.

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We had such a good time. Sometimes I struggle to let go and let my kids REALLY help me with baking or cooking projects. The mess and energy and just overall chaos of little kids with spatulas and measuring cups (yelling ‘I can do it!!!!’ at the top of their lungs) can be overwhelming not to mention I might be a tad bit over-controlling when it comes to how I want things done.

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But yesterday we got it right. Lu was helpful and listened and followed instructions and I was calm and patient and took a deep breath and LET him do it on his own.

And the best part? We made a cake. And it was delicious. One layer of buttermilk vanilla cake with a lemon cream cheese frosting and strawberries. It tasted like spring.

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Buttermilk Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a ten inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter and lightly flour it. You could also use a 9×9 square cake pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in three parts alternating with the buttermilk. Mix together until well-combined. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn it upside down on a cooling rack and pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • splash of milk
  • the zest of one lemon
  • pinch of salt

In a mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese until they are well-combined. Add the vanilla, salt and lemon zest and continue to mix. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of milk to get to desired texture.

When the cake is cool, liberally frost the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

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Happy Birthday Luke

Writing can give you what having a baby can give you: it can get you to start paying attention, can help you soften, can wake you up.   ann lammott, Bird by Bird

 

We celebrated our Lukey today with friends and water balloons, a big pile of sprinkled donuts and a slip n’ slide in the backyard. We ended the night with pizza on the grill, grandparents and chocolate cupcakes.

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We just came off a week away as a family. Seven full days and nights as a family of five. We played hard; riding our bikes and walking all over the small town, swimming in the cold mountain lake, and taking boat rides whenever we could.

Our last night, Bopa (grandpa) bought a tube for the boat and everyone excitedly loaded up in the boat to go tubing. As each person took their turn, getting dumped in ‘whirpools’ and skipping across the lake, Lu’s face was priceless. He was worried, horrified, frightened and in complete awe watching his brother, dad and uncles get whipped around the behind the boat.

As his brother took a spill out of the tube, Luke shook with sobs. Worried Jack might be hurt or in danger so perfectly illuminated Luke’s personality and heart.

Tender-hearted, good-natured and easy-going for sure, but in the same breath he is tenacious, determined and flat out stubborn. He is charming and witty and gregarious. He knows how to talk himself out of trouble and is constantly sneaking out of timeout. He is a lover, often climbing into bed with us for a snuggle and tells all of us he loves us throughout the day.

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I want to remember.

I want to remember the callous on his left thumb from sucking his thumb and the little chip in his front tooth. I want to remember that he was klutzy, constantly tripping and banging into things, covered in bruises. I hope I remember the way he lays on the kitchen floor cuddling Sadie and absently pats Rem’s head while he sits at the bar eating.

I want to remember how he was always the last one to fall asleep, always needs one more kiss or a drink of water. He loves cereal, snacks, ham sandwiches, hummus and any kind of fruit.

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He taught himself to ride a bike this year, refusing our help and advice, slowly figuring it out for himself and building confidence along the way.

And Jason, the beloved imaginary friend, he still comes around nearly every day. I hope he stays a little longer.

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Happiest of birthdays Luke Michael. You are a treasure and a joy. You were the surprise of a lifetime and every day I wake up wondering how I won the lottery with you.

I love you.

Snapshot Life

Holy bananas…all three kids are napping at the same time. This is a rare and wonderful phenomenon that rarely takes place at our house. Cue the chorus, I’m ready for my hallelujah song. This mama needed 30 minutes of quiet solitude.

Anyway…

I’ve taken to using Siri on my phone, to make quick notes when one of the boys says something particularly funny, interesting, or (mostly) random. They always ask me why I’m talking TO my phone. Technology is weird and awesome.

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Luke has an imaginary friend. His name is Jason. He has a brother. You have to drive past Costco on the highway, past the ‘fence yards’ to get to his house.

Man I love this kid.

If you ask Luke anything about Jason, he’ll have an answer for you. He knows his friend well! Jason like to ride bikes, but not play at the park. He does NOT have a little sister. He also likes peanut butter sandwiches.

Jack: Where does Jason live?

Luke: By the fence yards, past Costco.

Me: What’s the fence yard?

Luke (waving vaguely out the window): Mom! You know! The fence yards! (Duh!)

Jack: Where is Jason right now?

Luke: In Sun Valley. He’s on vacation.

****

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Jack is a boy of (typically) few words. He’s always been much more of a doer than a talker. So it’s not uncommon for us to have a few minutes of silence in the car here and there. From the quiet backseat Jack offers the following deep thought:

Jack: “The only place I don’t make naughty choices is the cabin. If I’m there, I only make good choices. But if I’m in Yakima, I’m going to be naughty.”

Me: Ummm. Ok. How come you don’t make naughty choices at the cabin?

Jack: It’s just way more funner up there. There’s no time to be naughty.

Me: Good point buddy.

***

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A quick clarification. Scarlet doesn’t actually turn one until the 24th. She was a solid week overdue. There’s just something about the ‘due date’ that I hold onto (stupidly, obviously).

This girl hates bibs. If it doesn’t snap on, she immediately rips it off. Velcro bibs belong on the floor according to this little lady. She also does not like to be fed with a spoon. On a rare, very hungry day, she will relent on her spoon policy, but most days it’s a no go. This means, her tray looks like this most of the time. Also, I would give my left foot for someone to do my laundry for me. Seriously.

The walking continues. She’s gaining confidence and momentum by the hour. So fun and scary to watch.

Little Things

Just a couple of notes for my memory:

Jack
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Recited Psalm 23 from memory as part of his end-of-the-school year preschool program. Loving that he learned scripture and a good reminder and encouragement to do more of that at home.

His hair grows so fast. It is floppy and falls in his eyes and as much as he needs a haircut, his wild hair gives him a tiny essence of being ‘little.’ It’s hard to give up.

Has developed hoarding tendencies. The kid fills envelopes, shoe boxes, forgotten cookie tins and anything else he can get his hands on with whatever the days treasures are. Scraps of paper, quarters, pens, little toys, a wayward sock, even my car keys. It is ALL important. It is all HIS.

Sports. All of them, all the time. Forever amen.

Luke

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Dimples. Enough said.

Still wants to do all the things his brother does. Misses Jack when he’s at school and hates to be separated. Yet, fight like wild hoodlums almost constantly.

Loves green blankie and his thumb with all his heart.

His imagination has kicked into high gear. We listen to wandering random tales all day long. They could be about anything from the bulldozer we passed in the car to his brother getting in trouble the day before to what his cars/dinosaurs/Legos are doing that very second.

He stutters (a little).

Really loves riding his bike. Took a spin on Jack’s two-wheel (with Daddy’s help). It won’t be long now.

Scarlet

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So cute it’s ridiculous.

Lots of babbling. Started waving. LOVES attention.

Crawling. Getting into things. Wants to be where her brothers are.

Has entered the human vacuum stage. Any stray piece of ANYTHING (dropped cheerio, small Lego, random piece of fuzz, MY HAIR) goes directly in the mouth. This is a particularly disgusting stage of babyhood.

Has many opinions. Is known to screech like a dying hyena and growl like a constipated bear. Is still cute.

Needs to sleep through the night, but mama is a lazy weakling.

Just a Regular Tuesday Night

You know the kind…where the baby has a blow out during dinner requiring an emergency bath after finding poop up to her ears. The big boys decide they want a bath, except one of them wants to wear their swimsuit.

And even though I wanted to say no, I said yes.

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So everyone is happy for a few minutes, except you know, they are splashing EVERYWHERE and carrying on like soaked Ferrel cats. But, whatever, they’re happy, even though we feel like this:

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But, (of course there’s a but), you catch sight of this happy little thing:

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And all is right with the world again. Splashing be damned; that little smile, those eyelashes, the cheeks I could eat all day every day. Sigh…

Such sweethearts, all three of them. Little turkeys.

Time Management (or lack of)

Unstructured days are kind of my nightmare. Leave me with hours and hours of free time and I can guarantee you I will spend it twirling my hair, eating snacks and thinking all about what I’m going to get done (without ever actually accomplishing anything). Give me 20 minutes and you would be SHOCKED at what I can get done.

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Am I the only pathetic person like this? (actually I know I’m not…I come by it genetically).

Combining my stellar ability to procrastinate and long days with small children and it can be tough for everyone. Winter and being cooped up left me feeling a little like a hamster on a wheel (some days I still do) and I know the boys were/are bored and agitated.

But here’s the even dirtier truth. I suck at playing. I do. I cannot get lost in an afternoon of super heroes and legos and matchbox cars. My brain just can’t get there.

Add to this a desire to do a few ‘learning projects’ on off-school days led me to create a routine for our days. It’s flexible, but on my chalkboard in my kitchen I have goals I want to accomplish with the boys every day.

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excuse the terrible handwriting…I also come by that genetically

Ok. So this routine really helps me give the boys my undivided attention. It also helps us to work on numbers and letters, play games together (Uno, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Memory, the occasional iPad game), do play dough or a craft and get the heck outside.

I am not perfect at this every day. But to have my chicken scratch writing in LARGE print staring at me all day holds me accountable.

I added baking because its something that happens around here a lot, but I’m not very good at letting the boys help me with. (The mess!) I also added chores because we are working on personal responsibility.

I wish I could write about how easy and happy and wonderful it all is. Truthfully, it’s a work in progress. Mostly for me…to be patient, kind, generous with my time, energy and encouragement.

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We really do have a lot of fun together, but it’s always so hard to paint an authentic picture of our days. I want to remember what these days of raising little people was REALLY like. It’s this complex jumbled up mixture of happiness and tension, bliss and frustration….getting lost in a moment and counting down the seconds until nap time. It’s so very good and downright hard all in the same breath.

But a routine…oh a routine, it’s exactly what this procrastinating sleep-deprived mama needs (and so do her kids).

 

Get it Together

Life feels a little blurry around the edges, a little like how the sky looks today, hazy with a few clouds and gray-blue sky peeking through. It might be the lack of sleep, it might be winter, its everything and nothing all at the same time.

Just when I think I’m finding my footing with three kids something tiny like a 5:30am start to the day knocks everything out of equilibrium and all a sudden I’m laying on the couch eating pilfered m&m’s from the potty-treat jar wondering how everything got so terrible.

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Oh motherhood. No humblebrags in this corner, just lots and lots of humble pie.

Jack is officially dropping his nap. Which at almost 4.5 is probably a good thing (for him). Always my early riser, I had hoped he would sleep a little later, but it doesn’t seem to affect him in the least. I force a little quiet time on him in the afternoon, but gone are the days of quiet afternoons.

Luke is almost potty-trained. Until today when he peed his pants out in the yard and then dropped a turd on the patio. I rushed him to the bathroom and then went to clean up the mess when I discovered Rem took care of that for me. So gross. On so many levels.

Scarlet…or sweet Scarlet. She lives up to her name. She does not believe in third-kid status. She would prefer to be thought of as a first-born. She has opinions. Many of them. She is also teething and rolling, neither of which she likes very much.

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I keep telling myself this is the week I’m going to ‘get it together’ and then I realize I’m probably not going to do anything but hang on for the ride for a long long time.

So it’s good to have m&m’s in the house.


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