When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Matt and I made the decision this spring to have an inground pool put in our yard. For the past two summers, we've set up a temporary above-ground pool for the boys to enjoy, and after seeing how much use it got (because we spend a lot of our summer at home), we knew that a permanent pool would be a worthwhile investment. When we made arrangements with a local pool company for installation, it appeared that the start date might coincide with the time we were away, so throughout our trip, every now and then one of the four of us would say, "I wonder if they're working on our pool...". I braced the boys on the way home for the possibility that our yard would still look as it did when we left (you never know what kind of obstacles or delays might be encountered in these kinds of projects and I didn't want them to be disappointed) but the sight of our grass-less side yard and gaping fence as we drove up to the house did not disappoint at all.
We are so excited for the pool to be completed and for all of the summer fun it will allow us to enjoy right here at home in the years to come. It's hard for Noah and Will to wait now that the pool is officially in the ground; both of them have sat on the swings in our yard wistfully staring at the empty pool several times in the past few days, and I can almost see the future crystal blue water shimmering in their eyes. (Soon, boys, soon!) New sod is going in early next week, and the liner is supposed to be installed on Wednesday (sadly, too late for the cousins who are arriving later this afternoon to visit for a few days to enjoy). The second half of our summer will be spent splashing and playing together in the cool water and soaking up the sun poolside in our own backyard. I'll admit, it's hard for me to wait, too.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
After spending a few beautifully sunny days enjoying the beaches and family-friendly attractions of Traverse City, Michigan last week, Matt and the boys and I headed to good old Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to visit my family. It is always a pleasure to come "home" again, to see the smiling faces and familiar spots that have all changed in some way since the last visit, but still somehow seem exactly the same. I loved watching Noah and Will share big laughs with their granny over a pair of wind-up chattering teeth that my fun-loving mom had put in their room, and seeing my dad's smiling eyes that so clearly showed how glad he was to have his children and grandchildren gathered close to him once again. I loved eating red raspberries, still warm from the sun, off the long-standing bushes in my parents' backyard, and taking the boys to the big, beautiful park on the river where I played as a child. I loved the big family dinners in the company of my parents, my grandma, my brothers and their families, complete with Pino's sausages on the grill and Grandma D's mouthwatering baking. I loved joining in with my old community to celebrate Rotaryfest downtown, and hearing the moving sounds of my brother Frank performing with his band on the festival stage. I loved playing family rounds of Bananagrams (and I think my earlier practising worked because I actually won a respectable number of games against my mom and dad!), and laughing my head off with Matt and my parents around the patio table one evening while we listened to old songs we looked up on YouTube and found wildly funny. It was wonderful to spend time with everyone, to fill my heart up with happy family moments to draw from when I miss all of these people in the months to come.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Saturday, July 14, 2012
The past few months, Will has flat-out refused to ride his bike at all. When I tried to find out why in a kind and quiet conversation with him one day, he looked at me with worry in his deep brown eyes and told me he was afraid of breaking his arm and needing a cast if he fell. I'm not sure exactly where this idea came from, but I have experience now in helping Will work through these kinds of anxieties, which are not new to him. I've been using the strategies we've been taught to help him, and have had him find facts that would let him realize that most of the time when people ride bikes they don't break their arms. I thought that if Will had a more balanced view of the situation, it would allow him to let go of that worry a little so he would be able to give his bike another spin. But still, often when the subject of bike riding has come up in recent weeks, Will has yet again mentioned with great concern the possibility that he could break his arm.
A few evenings ago, Matt got an email message from one of his brothers, telling us that his wife was in the hospital after having an accident on her bike earlier that day. Her front wheel had got caught in a streetcar track; she flew off her bicycle and landed hard on her wrists and arms. Her right wrist now has two broken bones, and her left arm has a broken forearm bone and a badly dislocated elbow as a result. She has had to have surgery to have various plates and screws added to her arms to stabilize them, and she is in casts that go up past her elbows on both arms to keep movement to a minimum for the next while. (I know, doesn't that sound awful? Poor girl.)
It freaks me out more than a little bit that out of all of the injuries Will could have imagined to keep him from bike riding, he has consistently worried about breaking his arm, and now a family member has broken both of hers doing that very activity. It's as though my always keenly observant and perceptive boy could see exactly what was going to happen before it did. One thing is clear: when the details of this sad accident reach Will's ever-listening ears, that little blue bike in the garage is going to be waiting a long, long time for a rider.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
This past Saturday we were excited to find fresh wild salmon at the fish counter. In season now, wild salmon is a tasty and healthy choice for dinner. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and compared to farmed salmon, it is lower in toxins, naturally pink in colour, and does not carry with it the environmental impact that salmon farming practices do. Wild salmon is easy to prepare on the grill, too -- Matt dressed ours simply with fresh parsley and lemon slices, and paired it with some grilled shrimp to make dinner a real treat!
Grilled Wild Salmon and Shrimp
two wild salmon fillets
a dozen large, fresh raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
several tablespoons of olive oil
two tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (we used parsley, basil, and oregano)
one clove of garlic, minced
one lemon (thinly slice half of it and leave the other half intact)
sea salt and pepper, to taste
About an hour before you plan to eat, place a shallow layer of olive oil in a dish. Add about a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley, basil, and oregano and a minced clove of garlic to the oil and stir to combine. Add shrimp to the dish; toss to coat shrimp with olive oil mixture. Set dish in the refrigerator for about an hour, so the shrimp can absorb the other flavours.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of each salmon fillet with olive oil. Place fillets on the grill with the skin side down. Sprinkle each fillet with chopped fresh parsley, sea salt and pepper to taste, and then place lemon slices on top. Grill for 7 minutes on the first side, then remove lemon slices and set them aside. Carefully slide a spatula in between the flesh and the skin of each fillet. Leave the skin on the grill, and flip the flesh of each fillet over so that it is once again sitting on top of the skin to cook the second side. Place lemon slices back on top of fillets and grill for another 6 or 7 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.
While the salmon is cooking, thread the shrimp onto skewers. (We use stainless steel ones; if you use wooden ones, be sure to soak them in water first.) In the last few minutes of cooking time for the salmon, place the shrimp skewers on the grill and cook for 2 minutes on the first side. Flip skewers and cook shrimp for another 2 minutes. Remove shrimp from the grill and squeeze fresh lemon juice over them. Serve alongside salmon fillets.
This wild salmon and shrimp duo was scrumptious along with a brown and wild rice medley and a salad with lettuce, spinach, pea shoot greens, loads of veggies, and a simple homemade lemon vinaigrette. What's not to love about that?