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Four years ago today I married the most wonderful man in the world. He brings balance, joy and poetry to my life.  We tend to be an odd mixture of traditional and contemporary.  One tradition we have held to so far is the giving of “traditional” anniversary gifts.  The gift for the fourth year is fruit.

Our first date, nearly five years ago, was to the Philbrook Museum of Art. One of the pieces of of art we discussed was a vibrant painting of persimmons. Later that evening we sat together and he read me this poem by Li-Young Lee.

Persimmons

by Li-Young Lee
In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart.

Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down.
I teach her Chinese.
Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I’ve forgotten.
Naked: I’ve forgotten.
Ni, wo: you and me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.

Other words
that got me into trouble were
fight and fright, wren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
Fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.

Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
a Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn’t ripe or sweet, I didn’t eat
but watched the other faces.

My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.

Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper,
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang, The sun, the sun.

Finally understanding
he was going blind,
my father sat up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons,
swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.

This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.
He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find a box.
Inside the box I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.

I started out the week with great plans. Recipes were selected, ingredients purchased, plans made.

With Monday came the reality that this week was not going to go as planned. Recipes failed, mommy got sick, our younger daughter got sick. It was not a good week at our house.

I also began a new battle with migraines. One of the perks of all the the pregnancy hormones that I’ve had coursing through my body for the last few years has been the disappearance of my migraines. Now that my younger daughter is 15 months old they have made quite a comeback. My husband even made me lavender headache balm for Christmas in a sweet attempt to help. (It should be noted that the headache balm is wonderful, it just can’t stand up to a migraine.)

Everyone at our house seems to be feeling better, so we’ll try this again.

My girls love to “read.” At this point this means that they like to sit in Mommy’s or Daddy’s lap with whatever book they brought for them to read. Occasionally I’ll catch them sitting in the floor “reading” together. This morning while I was getting ready for a relaxing day with the family I turned and saw Eleanor right outside the door. She had found her favourite book  (10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle). With a proud look on her face held it up: “DUCK!” She plopped down on the floor and began reading her book upside down.

The girls also really enjoy reading anything by Dr. Seuss. Audra loves it when her daddy reads Fox in Socks. I refuse to read it. I always get frustrated and tongue tied. At naptime she often demands that I read “ABC Book!” (Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s). It begins “Big A, little a, what begins with a?”

This year we will be going through the alphabet with the girls. Recipes will have key ingredients or methods that start with the appropriate letter of the alphabet. I hope that this will provide a fun media for exploring letters with the girls, though I may kick myself for this commitment as we reach the end of the alphabet and I have to find foods that begin with x, y, and z.

My husband and I are both making a conscious effort to write more often on our blogs. If you’re literate you should check out his blog.

I am in the process of moving my blog to WordPress and updating the look of things. Please be patient with me while I improve my blog.

Nearly two years ago our little family became vegetarian.  In the beginning it was rather challenging.  I could cook without meat, that wasn’t a problem.  It just seemed that we had the same four or five meals all the time.  Slowly I became more comfortable and confident cooking a wider variety of foods.  We added new grains to our diet, like quinoa and barley.  I learned to cook new vegetables.  It has been a great adventure.

Since my first pregnancy I have had some recurring health problems.  I’ve tried to control it with medication, but that has only helped a little.  After much research, I decided that I need to switch to a gluten-free, sugar-free diet.  I also have to avoid mushrooms and yeasts.

I don’t think the switch to gluten-free will be that difficult.  A part of me is actually looking forward to figuring out how to bake with 20 different flours at once.  Not having any sugar (including honey or agave) is going to be hard.  It looks like my only option as far as sweeteners go is stevia.  I haven’t tried any yet.  I think my real challenge is going to be giving up yummy, yeasty breads.

Right now, the rest of the family isn’t planning on joining me with all of this dietary change.  Hopefully this will all be worth it and I’ll consistently feel better.

In the beginning I was pretty good about updating with recipes, but I have not posted in some time.  I’m sorry to my one follow.

As the mother of two beautiful little girls, sometimes I find it fix new recipes as often as I would like.  Experimenting with new recipes is especially difficult with some of Audra’s recent eating habits.  Sometimes she eats extremely well, and then she goes through a stretch of a couple weeks where anything new ends up on the floor.  All she wants is macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, and pancakes.  Other times I get so busy with finding fun activities for the girls (or just keeping up with them) that I don’t have the time to play around in the kitchen.

Most of my time is spent finding and creating fun activities to do with the girls.  We are big proponents of attachment parenting and keeping our home as natural as possible for the girls.  This is something that I feel very strongly about, so I have decided to share some of this with you on my blog.

Welcome to the new  blog.  It will now be a combination of natural parenting and natural vegetarian cooking.  I hope all of you mommys and daddys out there enjoy.

Randall has mentioned several times that I should start a food blog.  So here I am, starting a food blog.

We just purchased a house and I finally have a big kitchen.  I’ve always enjoyed baking and cooking but felt restricted by space in our little apartment kitchens.  Having all the space we now have makes cooking so much more fun.  Our stove cooks things evenly.  We have two ovens.  There is a ton of counter space.  I also received several new items for the kitchen for Christmas including a mandolin, yogurt maker, and huge new rice cooker.

Audra also received a kitchen for Christmas from Aunt Katrina and Uncle Kevin.  Aunt Allie gave her an apron, chef hat, and oven mitts.  We’ve had one baking adventure together so far.  I hope to have many more.

Sometimes I feel like I use the same recipes over and over and over again.  My goal is to try at least one new recipe a week and (if it goes well) share it with you on this blog.  I’ll also work in some of the recipes that we enjoy frequently for you to try.

Lets have some fun.

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