Friday, December 19, 2008
Later in the day, I was invited back to Eva's bedroom to play the role of Joseph. Eva was laying on her bed holding her tummy, and informed me that she was going to have a baby soon. I asked what we should name him, and she responded, "I don't know. We'll see when it comes out." Then I asked, "What would you like me to do for you, Mary? Hold your hand while you push him out?" (what was I thinking??? I was not in the mood for a conversation about the facts of life... pushing babies out of our lower regions... and I certainly didn't want to start explaining any other details about babies or how we get them) Anyway, Eva responded, "No, he'll come out on his own while we're sleeping." And very matter of factly, "So, snuggle up!"
He did come out on his own. In fact after a few moments, we got up and did a thorough search of the girls' room, looking for baby Jesus. Turns out baby Jesus had somehow made his way under the bed and was actually not human flesh anyway, but was plush and sporting moose antlers.
I've decided I'm going to adopt Eva's chill attitude towards childbirth on the next go-around. However, hopefully I won't sleep so long afterward that I have to go looking for my child. And for that matter, hopefully my baby will have two legs, not four. But you get the idea...
And one more thing. I got to thinking about the real arrival of the real Baby Jesus. If pain in labor is a result of the fall (sin), then was Mary's delivery painless? I mean, Jesus was without sin, and the conception was immaculate. Hmmm, I'll ask Mary some day I think.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Now, for the meat of the letter. Eric and I had a short brainstorming session in hopes of coming up with something really creative and fun for this year. But alas, we're quite unoriginal, so you'll have to put up with the same old layout as before.
With Eric on the road very little these days, it seems that our life has a steady rhythm to it. Regularity has had a noticeable effect on our marriage and time with the girls, and we are so thankful to God for health and time to enjoy it. We road tripped to Montana with friends last spring, and enjoyed camping together with my family and several fun weekend trips this fall. Even as I write this, I am overwhelmed by God's goodness to our us.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Eric: Well, pop isn't very good for you. See how Daddy is a lot chubbier than Mommy? That's probably because I drink so much pop and mommy eats only bean sprouts and hummus.
Eva: Well, I want to be chubbier than my husband. I'm going to drink pop every day so that I am much chubbier than my husband. -big smile-
Friday, December 12, 2008
I would have laughed at you earlier this week if you had suggested I would take my daughter to such a frivolous event as this. In fact, I wasn't even sure if Eva would like it. I was worrying, would we be too far away from the ice to tell what was going on? Would she get bored? Would I want to gag because it was so cheesy? Would she be confused about the stories? We don't really watch kid's movies around here, so the only Disney show Eva has watched was "Cinderella" at Grandma Patenaude's house. Sadly, Cinderella was not a part of this show.
I learned something new about Eva during this excursion: she does not like surprises. I told her before she went to bed on Thursday that we were going to have a very special date the next day, and that it was a surprise. She came to breakfast crying (really, there were tears!), "Mommy, will you please tell me what we're going to do!" I explained the idea as well as I could, but she still was a little fuzzy on the plan. As we hurriedly walked down the huge concourse to the auditorium, she just sat down. "My tummy hurts. I just want to go home." Wow! I thought her curiosity was stronger than her desire to know what is going on, but apparently she really likes predictable situations... or at least having Daddy present when things are out of the ordinary! I carried her most of the way to our seats, but the show was starting just as we walked down the stairs into the venue and I could feel her anxiety lift as she saw Mickey and Minnie skate onto the ice. Relief.
Can you tell she's not too sure about this? Really, she's just irritated because I refuse to buy Disney JUNK to decorate the floor of her room!
There's a mermaid princess! And wouldn't you know it? The man of her dreams is Prince Eric.
I couldn't walk in those costumes, much less propel myself across ice!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
The saddest part isn't that he turned 30. We all like change. The lamentable part was the way we practically didn't celebrate at all. I had planned a fun bowling party with a nice crowd of friends to surround my husband, but then we started discussing the coming week and realized it wouldn't fit. As is typical of us, we had a busy calendar, but hadn't communicated much about it. Eric actually had a singing gig on the night of his party, so the party was nixed. And there isn't another open weekend until January, so there will be no large scale celebration of the big 3-0.
On the actual day, we went to church and then Eric invited some friends and family over for the Vikings game and pizza. That was fun, and the Vikings won. In the late afternoon he went to his Uncle Tim's house to help with a remodeling project. They worked hard, played some cribbage, ate some venison jerky, and then Eric came home and went to bed. No cake, no presents, no singing. What kind of a wife am I???
The next day, Monday, I realized that Eric's brother-in-law, Brian, was coming over for dinner. More accurately, he was buying us dinner with his unused travel stipend. Sweet! With one thing less to do in the day, I decided I could bake a cake. So I made 1/3 of a triple layer cake, which turned out delicious. I also remembered the present that Eva and I had painstakingly wrapped a few months ago and hidden in the back of our closet. I knew Eric would be needing a nice computer bag soon, so I jumped on the deal when it was fresh, back in October. Not romantic or interesting, but useful. Suddenly, a pleasant birthday celebration was taking shape.
However, to be honest, the party was still a little lackluster. I ended up asking Eric to make a grocery store run for frosting ingredients for his own cake. And he had only one guest. And he had 5 candles, not 30, on only 1/3 of a triple layer cake. And he lit his own candles. And the harmonies were less than ideal between Eva and I as we serenaded the birthday boy (but Brian's voice was beautiful...). And Eva accidentally blew out all the candles right before Eric tried to do so. And after opening the gift (which Eva had told him about immediately after wrapping it), he determined that it wasn't really what he was looking for. And in our after dinner game of Settlers of Catan, Brian came from behind and stole Eric's birthday victory. And Hope missed the whole thing, due to her early bedtime. We employed our good senses of humor though, and we were happy to be together and happy for another good year. And speaking for myself, this is a birthday party (fiasco) I will always remember!
Eric Hansen Patenaude, I love you! Happy 30th Birthday! I'm looking forward to your 31st year, by your side.
Thanks for blowing out my candles, Eva!
Eva and Uncle Brian enjoyed their cake (and Brian was kind enough to score some ice cream!)
The rollicking game of Catan. Eric is big blue, but ominous orange was the victor.
Monday, December 08, 2008
who is happily avoiding this:
PS) Since we were so hard at work building, Eva gave us pretend names. Construction worker names, she said. Mine? Freddie Mac. Hers? Fannie Mae.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Now, per one person's request after my rambling Thanksgiving post, I will share a recipe.
This is actually a crock pot recipe, but I've made it in the oven as well. I'll list my substitutions as well (you didn't think I could stick to the real recipe, did you?!?).
"Here's a moist meat loaf with loads of flavor. The toppings, while not essential, lend a festive air to this comfort food classic. I like to serve this with mounds of steaming hot mashed potatoes or a seasoned rice."
1/4 cup long grain white rice brown rice
1 c. boiling water
2 lbs. lean ground beef 1/2 ground venison
2 onions, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. tomato salsa of any variety
1 c. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese or whatever you have on hand
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
sour cream, optional
finely chopped red or green onion, optional
1. Soak rice in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and discard liquid. Set aside. When I use brown rice, I cook it completely on the stove before tossing it in.
2. Fold a 2-foot piece of foil in half lengthwise. Place on bottom and up sides of slow cooker stoneware. Or grab a loaf pan if you're using the regular oven.
3. In a large bowl, combine rice with remaining ingredients and mix well. Shape into a loaf and place in middle of foil strip on bottom of slow cooker stoneware. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-5 hours, until juices run clear when meat loaf is pierced with a fork. Lift out loaf using foil strip and transfer to a warm platter. If you're using the oven, cook at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours. Serve with salsa, etc. if desired.
****when I make this to freeze, I usually find that a tripled recipe ends up making four nice sized loaves. Also, if you are trying to use up ground venison, this is a perfect recipe. The intense tex-mex flavors mask any gamey taste!****
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
I saw this video posted at least 5 times today as I took my daily dose of blog reading. Finally I clicked on the play button and watched. I was impressed, inspired, convicted. Every single Christmas since we've been married, Eric and I have embarked on a journey to create Christmas, the right way. To date, we haven't arrived at the perfect blend of tradition, creativity, generosity, single-mindedness, worship or spontaneity that is our goal. But, we're on the road, and to quote one of my favorite Indigo Girls songs, "We get to have some answers when we reach the other side. The prize is always worth the rocky ride."
So, we start the conversation again... I showed Eric the video. He said, "That's cool. Really cool. But we already spent our money." Which is true- I say with relief, "I've finished our Christmas shopping for the year." As I said before, we've been on this road for awhile, hence I did make a point to go pretty simple this year, and we did not spend gobs of money. So, to some extent, I am satisfied.
Satisfied, but not at peace. Could we give some of our presence? Perhaps we could give some of our time. Some of our relational nature. I loved Carrien's post on this topic. We talk about this sort of thing every year, and still haven't made significant changes. We are sluggish, meanwhile our souls are growing brittle and there is work to be done.
This video isn't the same ol' "Reason for the Season" stuff. I like it a lot. A plan is formulating in my head... maybe it'll spill out onto the keyboard one of these days. Until then, I'm curious- how do you make the Christmas season worshipful? How do you fight consumerism? How do you rethink Christmas?
And I remind myself, life is the journey, the rocky ride. So lets go forward on the road, reworking and fine tuning as we go.