Saturday, October 30, 2010

confessions of an autumn lover

 I really love autumn. Everything about it. The changing colors of the trees, the crunch and crackle of leaves as you walk through them. The nip in the air as you step out the door. Wearing cozy sweaters and scarves, drinking tea and making savory soups. 
I'm sad to see it fade into winter. The skies have been grey here more often than blue. There are still lots of leaves on the trees but more and more are sent swirling to the ground when a wind comes up. I've been savoring every moment, not knowing when it's going to end. Playing in the leaves with Kilmeny, going for a spur of the moment walk, drinking in the air with great delight. And then there are all the delightful food related autumn gifts. Oh my. Scones and breads, soups and stews.

Apple-picking, pumpkin selecting, stocking up on squashes and parsnips. Love every moment of it. But I had an epiphany this week. 

I don't really like pumpkin. I actually said it, out loud. I like the idea of pumpkin. I see recipes for pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones, white pumpkin hot chocolate and I think 'ooh, that sounds good'. They all sound so autumn-ish, the perfect addition to a cool day. Don't get me wrong. I made some pumpkin soup and it was actually really good. I made lots so we can enjoy it in November as well. I enjoy a slice of pumpkin bread slathered with butter and a mug of hot cocoa. But the pumpkin cinnamon rolls I made? Not so good. Not like I had hoped. I much prefer cinnamon rolls, warm and sweet. Same with pumpkin spice latte, the idea sounds lovely but I don't really care for the taste.
I still get excited when I see the bins of pumpkins everywhere this time of year- orange and white, big and small. I have lots of decorating ideas with the pumpkins but then you have to do something with them and therein lies my dilemma. 

Apples on the other hand are the epitomy of autumn to me. Whether they're handpicked or not, they are delicious any way I've had them - sweet or savory, raw or cooked. We have them in our morning oatmeal with a little bit of cinnamon, they make a great afternoon snack and apple pie is simply lovely.

And then you have sweet potatoes. I bought several to make into food for Kilmeny and thought I would bake some up for our supper one night. But then I thought about sweet potato fries and changed my mind. Oh boy. We loved those things. It was a completely new experience and it was a delish one. We will definitely be eating them this way again. Cut into wedges, tossed with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, I baked them for 25 minutes and we ate the whole pan. In a hurry.They were that good. Kilmeny won't be the only one eating sweet potatoes around here anymore. 

October is nearly over but I have apples in my pantry and freezer and a delicious new scone recipe to try. I don't think November will be all gray. =) 

Tell me, what are your favorite autumn treats?  

   all photos credit of my wonderful husband who lets me use his amazing shots on my blog, these were taken at the Jean-Talon market here in Montreal 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

my Kilmo girl

 I followed Kilmeny around yesterday with a camera to capture some of her everyday, at home moments. 

 The toy basket. First to be looked over and then emptied in whatever way works the best, pulling towards oneself usually works the best.

 Once it has been emptied out, one can actually see what the options are. She chose to work on her numbers. What a smart girl.

And then we could always switch it up and look at library books on the cool little table Mommy made out of bins. It doesn't matter if the words are upside down, we all know it's about the pictures anyways.

She's an ambitious little thing. Climbing the stairs and then showing off by waving. Eeesh. I no longer sit passively at the bottom of the stairs with my journal while she climbs the stairs. Before three stairs was a big thrill, now it's climbing all the way and into her bedroom.

And this is classic Kilmeny. In fact, as I write she is on the floor with one shoe on and one shoe off. She loves to pull her shoes and then her socks off and does so on a frequent basis. She is attached to her shoes, just not to wearing them. 

Just another day with my little Kilmo girl.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laughter and Kisses

Right up there with washing the dishes and making the bed on my daily to-do list is making Kilmeny laugh. It's the line below kissing my husband. 
 Taking the time to make Kilmeny laugh means I have to get down on her level and play peek a boo or read a rhyming story book, tapping the rhythm on her leg as we turn the pages. 

It means I can't just keep her occupied with toys, I have to play with her and the toys. It means rolling a jar of beans across the floor and watching her eyes light up. It means putting away my own idea of how each day should go and being flexible to her needs. It means talking in silly voices and gibberish. Between Jared and I we have invented a whole new language and it sends us into peals of laughter which then makes Kilmeny laugh and we are all happy. 

I read a list of the things you really should do, things that are actually worth doing. Things like if you're going to stop and smell the flowers, make it a gardenia because they have the most scent. And that making your bed is one of the best seven minutes you can spend all day. Smoothing the blankets, fluffing the pillows, giving it an extra tug helps to smooth your thoughts so you can flip your hair over your shoulder and face the rest of the day with a smile. Another item that stood out to me was floor time with your spouse. Studies have shown that when parents take the time to get on the floor with their toddler and interact on their level without distractions, the toddler sleeps better, is able to interact well with others and is a lot happy. I could have told you that without the studies. 
And when I take the time to be quiet and listen to my husband talk and dream and process with me, when we just sit and cuddle, when I interact with him and see things from his perspective (as best as I can!), we are knit tighter together and everything flows so much better. 
There is peace in the home.  

Some days, it feels like I don't get anything done. But then I sit and watch my little girl climb the stairs, looking back and smiling impishly at me, I rub my husband's shoulders - tight from all that practicing - and I think this is what I do. I'm a wife and a mom. It doesn't sound as glamourous  as other positions but tell me, is there a sound sweeter than a little child's laugh?

What do you do to keep perspective on life? And tell me, am I the only one who can rattle on in full sentence utter gibberish?

And counting my gifts....51-60 

- sweet baby smell 
- orange leaves brilliant against the grey sky
- His perfect provision which is always enough  
- having my own washer and dryer 
- afghans for chilly nights 
- finishing a book I've wanted to read for awhile 
- seeing God work in our lives 
- hearing my husband perfect a passage of music 
- creating beauty in my kitchen 
- the anticipation of going home for Christmas 

holy experience

Sunday, October 24, 2010

all about Kilmeny

I thought it would be fun to put together a post all about Kilmeny with more pictures from the shoot Jared did of her a couple weeks ago. There is no way I can put all those pictures in her scrapbook so I'll show them off here and then select a few favorites to go with her ten month page. As an FYI, I wrote this post with our families in mind- it's been a long time since they've seen Kilmeny and I thought it would be fun to tell them all about our little princess as she is now.

Kilmeny has six teeth. 4 on the top, 2 on the bottom. When she smiles, it almost looks like she has a full mouth of teeth. She weighs 16 pounds, more than double what she weighed at birth. Her eyes are looking more and more green. And her hair tends to be auburn or brown, depending on the light. I get told a lot that she looks like me. By people who know us and by perfect strangers. 

She likes to crawl everywhere. Her favorite forbidden places to escape to right now are the cd shelf in the living room, under the computer desk with all the cords and the cupboard under the sink filled with cleaning supplies. Her other favorites include the pot cupboard, the bottom of the pantry shelf and the bin of clothespins. We do color sorting and focus on one color a day. Seriously. 
She does pull herself up on things and on a frequent basis. Her record for standing up by herself is 7 seconds. She will walk, if she feels like, while we hold her and walk with her. But only when she feels like it and definitely not when we are showing this new skill to someone else. 

Kilmeny loves babies and little children. She gets a huge smile when she sees them at the park or the store or in pictures. She charms people wherever she goes and loves the attention she gets. Talk and smile to her, you are her friend. 

Her sleepy-time music is Jared playing the violin. Seriously. She goes to sleep the best when he's practicing scales. She loves music of any kind and already has the dancing thing down pat. As soon as our work-out dvd starts up, she starts moving. It's hilarious actually. She spends our work-out time in her bumbo with her basket of toys close at hand. And she pretty much has learned to stay in her bumbo for the whole time. It's great training. 

Kilmeny loves to eat. She gets excited when she sees the little orange bowl with some mashed up food in it. She also likes to nosh on various foods. Her favorites are carrots and apples. She gnaws on them like a little beaver. She likes to watch me as I prepare meals. I talk her through whatever I am doing and give a spoon or measuring cup to play with. It's fun and entertaining for both of us. 

When she was born, everyone wanted to know what we would call her for short. We've called her Kilmo from birth and have since added all kinds of names to the list. Names like Kilmo-Bilmo, Pooky, Bilbo, Baby Girl and other made up on the spot names that slightly resemble gibberish if they were to be typed out. She's pretty precious to us and we love her very much.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

and this is how we live our life

 I was thinking throughout the day of different things I wanted to write about- what I'm reading, what I'm doing with Kilmeny, recipes I'm trying out and we're enjoying, and what life looks like in Montreal this autumn. 

I loaded blogger, edited the pictures I took this afternoon, and then she cried. And I sighed. Walked up the stairs. Picked her up. Wrapped her tight and held her close. I walked and prayed and cried, a little. My little one has a cold and she's teething. There isn't much I can do for, poor lamb. But as I relaxed so did Kilmeny. And she fell back asleep. 

 And I was reminded once again of why we do what we do. Seriously my evening plans aren't that important when my little girl needs some extra cuddle time. Even when it seems like I don't get any of  'my' stuff done, it's totally worth it to have my baby fall asleep in my arms and settle contentedly on her quilt. She's safe and secure and happy. Really that's all that matters. 

Tomorrow's another day. 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

mont tremblant

We had been wanting to do a hot dog roast for sometime, kind of a farewell to summer. We had all the supplies and were looking up a park that would allow us to have a campfire. We came across Mont Tremblant Parc. It is the largest national park in the Quebec park system and is also the oldest. The park has 6 rivers, 400 lakes and streams throughout its boundaries. It has year-round activities including cross-country skiing, canoeing and backpacking. 

It is a two hour drive northwest of Montreal through the mountains and on the autumn day, it was a beautiful drive. There was just enough color left on the hills to create an inspiring panorama as we drove through various small towns and ski resorts. We also wanted to do a fall photo shoot with Kilmeny. We drove along a gravel road for about ten minutes once we had passed the park boundary looking for a suitable place to get out. The air was nippy and we knew this would be one of the last weekends of autumn. We had a fabulous time taking pictures of Kilmeny, making her laugh and smile for the camera and just generally drinking in the incredible beauty. 
There wasn't any obvious place to have a campfire, so we pulled into an area that looked like it might work. There was signs of a fire there so we thought it would be fine. We started setting up. Jared made a marvelous fire and Kilmeny was super cozy in her stroller all bundled with blankets. A couple pulled up to get water from a spring nearby and told us that we were on an ATV trail but it should be quiet since it was suppertime. And then, after some consultation with each other, invited us to share the rest of their turkey dinner with them or just warm up by their fire. We thanked them warmly but stuck with our original plan. We watched the sun set through the trees, ate our dark chocolate s'mores, invented a new way to melt the chocolate and debated the way we roast our marshmallows. Jared roasts his to a perfect golden glow. I roast mine until they're on fire, all crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Yum! 

 It really was a perfect autumn outing. The colors were vibrant, the air had a touch of a nip to it, the company was superb.

 What is your favorite way to roast a marshmallow? Golden or burnt? 

photos by Jared, I know, he's amazing. =)

Monday, October 18, 2010

The little Foodie

I've waited to start Kilmeny on solid foods until we were settled in Montreal and at a place where I could actually feed her. It has been a fun adventure preparing the food for her and then feeding her. I chose to go a slightly different route in the introduction of foods starting with fruits and vegetables rather then the usual baby cereal.

 I looked up various food charts to see what foods you should introduce when but since Kilmeny was older then most babies are when you start them and since I was wanting to start with fruits and vegetables, the charts were of little help.

 I talked to my Mom and other friends who have gone this route and jumped in with both feet. Kilmeny loves it.

 She's had banana, applesauce, avocado, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and green beans. Next up is pumpkin. I know you all wanted to know those details.

 I try to somewhat co-ordinate what she eats with what we're eating if it's a new food. For example, the other night we had a Mexican dish with guacamole on the side and Kilmo had avocado. I fill an ice cube tray with the mashed food and take out a cube per night after it's being introduced.

Oh and as much as we are trying to stay away from sugars for her until she's older, she's already had ice-cream. Several times. And coke. And iced coffee. It's all about balance, folks. It's one of the secrets to life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

turkey and pumpkin, oh my!

We've been eating a lot of turkey and pumpkin this week. I made my first ever turkey dinner on Monday for Thanksgiving. It was fun and a little crazy towards the end when everything needed attention at once. We finished preparing everything together, Jared made a great gravy and carved the bird. I have still never carved a bird. I know, shocking, isn't it? That was the bit my Mom did at home and I just never needed to do it then and I still haven't done since I've been married.
 We had roast turkey, stuffing (lots of it), cranberry sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, basil tossed carrots and gravy. Our glasses were filled with sparkling raspberry juice and we savored every bite. Kilmeny got to have sweet potatoes for the first time and quite enjoyed them. We had pumpkin chiffon pie with our tea after the dishes were the done and the baby was sleeping. It was wonderful to sit and savor the different flavors and textures, talk about different holiday traditions and memories and create some of our own.

I love the fact that we got our pumpkin from the local market and I cooked it up and mashed it for our pie. I also have a full ice cube tray of mashed pumpkin for Kilmeny and a couple bags of pumpkin puree in the freezer. We got the turkey from our local grocery store. It wasn't even pretending to be raised naturally but this is where we are this year. Next year, I'm hoping for a farm-raised turkey from one of my brothers.
I also love the fact that I've hardly had to cook this week since we had leftovers in the fridge and  I made a big pot of turkey soup from the turkey carcass. I know, doesn't that just sound so, bloodthirsty? But all the recipes refer to it as that so it must be the right name. 
And now we are slightly tired of turkey. So I'm throwing the rest of the meat and the bones in the freezer to be brought out on another day. 
What would you make with leftover turkey and all that pumpkin? Is there anything you can make with leftover stuffing?

And since I'm in a curious state of mind, do you top your sweet potatoes with marshmallows or nuts? =)  

all photos by Jared =)

Monday, October 11, 2010

being thankful and dreaming

 My husband just wrote an incredible article on his blog that is the realization of who we are and why we live the way we do. You need to read it

31 - 50
a husband who dreams big
 a baby who is so curious about everything 
a perfect autumn day with lots of crunchy leaves
dark chocolate s'mores 
fresh apples 
the smell of turkey roasting 
the vibrancy of cranberries 
the smell of wood smoke 
invitations to share a turkey dinner from total strangers 
conversations with my family 
hilarious comments on facebook 
blog updates from friends and seeing the joy on their faces 
God's perfect provision for this day 
a little girl who needs extra cuddle time 
pumpkin pie cooling 
a photographer-husband who captures so many magical moments 
apples and graham crackers 
the perfect hat gifted by a friend 

photos from yesterday's shoot 

holy experience

Saturday, October 9, 2010

so we went on a trip

We headed out early on Wednesday morning and had a wonderful couple of days away. We didn't get much sleep, we have a baby and we were with good friends...yeah, it makes for late nights, up and down nights and short nights. But it's worth it. Totally worth it. Jared had a concert to play with the orchestra that he was part of this summer so he was busy with rehearsals and then the concert. We were all together in the late evening, talking and laughing over fresh cookies and milk or pie and tea. 

Kilmeny wasn't hardly moving or sitting up last time we saw James, Liz and Katelyn. This time she was all over the place, keeping up with Katelyn or hiding from her. They took turns picking up each others' soothers and started the sharing process. It was fun watching them interact!

We went shopping and bought some hats. I needed to get a snowsuit and little boots for Kilmeny so we went looking. It is so much fun shopping for a little girl and accessorizing her wardrobe especially with a friend.
"What do you think, Liz? The striped hat or the ivory hat?"

We went with the ivory hat, in case you're wondering. It matches the snowsuit lining perfectly and is super cute. 

We ate lots of yummy food. James is a baker and we got to have pumpkin tarts for lunch and pumpkin pie at midnight. Bliss. Liz also served one of my favorite breakfasts- pastries with coffee and eggs to keep us going. 

Kilmeny tried out the high chair for the first time and loved it. So then they took turns and were quite entertained by each other.

 It was so refreshing to just sit and talk about everything. We've known each other all our lives and it is incredible to me that we are now both wives and moms to two little girls.

photos courtesy of Liz, Jared and I =)


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