1) My son fell out the window this week. Nothing like a CLUNK! from the study followed by a piercing wail coming from outside the house to make a parent break the world record for the round-the-house sprint. Newspapers worldwide speculated over Flash Gordon’s return after a human blur barreled out our front door and dove behind the hedge, emerging seconds later with a shrieking leaf-covered baby. On the upside, the window was only about two feet off the ground. On the downside, it was over gravel. This week we’ve been blessed with a dead animal somewhere in one of our walls. We can’t get to it, and nothing motivates a massive window-opening campaign like a nice rotting corpse (wheeeee!). We normally don’t have windows open at the kids’ level, but in the nauseating miasma I completely missed the real threat from babies + windows. It was only a moment (it always is, isn’t it?) from turning to put something away to hearing the screen pop loose. Of course, the strange disappearance of Jack’s legs out the window drew Annie to the same spot and I barely stopped her from launching herself after him. He’s fine after his swan dive, just a small scrape on his forehead, but it’s “windows open from the top only” now. Obviously Jack hasn’t learned his lesson. He cried for less than a minute, squirmed out of my arms, and made a bee-line for the (now closed) window squealing with glee. Please assuage my parental guilt – had any kids fall off beds, bookshelves, or cliffs lately?
2) Thanks to a friend, this summer I discovered the best basic roast chicken recipe from Jamie Oliver. It produces a perfect chicken every time, done but moist on the inside and crispy and brown on the outside. It’s easy to double if you’re feeding a crowd, and it’s simple without cutting corners or sacrificing flavor – unpeeled carrots, a whole lemon, olive oil instead of butter for the bird. The only changes we make are starting the bird breast-down then flipping it halfway through for even browning, and peeling the onions and garlic (we like to eat the veggies vs. using them for a gravy base and the skins are unpleasant). I often increase the vegetables as well. And, of course, check for doneness at the end. We’ve typically used a 4-5 Lb bird, but anything bigger would require more time.
3) The twins turned one, and the Man turned a little more than one on the same day. We celebrated the triple birthday with their original adoption prayer group from church. It was such a nice evening – very mellow without decorations or gift opening – but warm and fun with good conversation. As the babies are too small to vote, Carl got to pick the birthday dinner and opted for a pasta bar. I made a regular chunky meat sauce (the sauce from the Pioneer Woman’s lasagna with extra garlic is my go-to), meatballs from the fantastic Williams Sonoma Slow Cooking book, spicy tomato-cream sauce, and pesto. With chicken sliced up and fried for toppings and a salad we had a good-sized buffet with minimal last-minute prep. For dessert I made my mother’s classic chocolate-raspberry-whipped cream torte with a cupcake each for the babies. Jack devoured his in a gleeful frenzy (his first sugar). Annie poked hers suspiciously with one finger then refused to have anything to do with it. Jack graciously decided to help and lunged for her cupcake when he’d finished his own. I’d post photos but, ummm, we…didn’t take any. First Birthday fail.
4) We went to the mountains for a week in early October. My parents, one brother, and his wife met us there. We’ve traveled for daytrips, business, and family obligations like a wedding and a memorial service, but this was our first actual vacation since the twins’ arrival a year ago. Vacationing with small kids is definitely different. While we’ve always enjoyed getting away together on our own timetable, we learned that vacationing with family is pretty awesome if you have small kids. Babies’ needs don’t disappear on vacation, and many hands to help with dinner, packing gear, trail planning, and baby care made it much easier to get out the door for hikes. We stayed in a cabin, hiked every day, and spent lazy evenings around the fire playing games or reading. Typically we want to pack in all we can on vacation, but the babies’ sleep needs forced a much calmer pace with less exploring and more relaxing.
5) Have you seen Gravity? A teenager from church stayed with us last week so she could attend school while her family traveled. One evening she watched the babies while we got out to a movie together. We loved Gravity. The filmmakers made amazing use of 3D, using it to place you in a very real-feeling environment rather than just making you duck incoming projectiles. The first part, especially, is almost horror-movie tense (Mom, you’d hate it, don’t go), yet any violence comes from physics, not human aggression. The palpable feeling of fear and isolation in the emptiness of space completely sucked us in, and we liked that the filmmakers never used flashbacks or similar devices to give you relief from the astronauts’ situation or to stretch out the movie time. In the timing sense, it’s more of a return to classic movies – we were out of the theater an hour and twenty minutes after the previews ended.
6) What are you reading? I’m working on The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and The Mortification of Sin by the 17th century Puritan writer John Owen. Both are great. My Catholic husband handed over The Mortification of Sin with rave reviews, but Catholics be warned there are some good 1600s anti-popery insults slung around between the meaty bits.
7) The babies are awake, so here’s a picture from vacation to round out the list. We may have hiked less than our norm thanks to baby naps, but whenever we did hike, hauling 25 pounds of babies and backpacks each definitely made it a good workout.
This week’s quick takes are being hosted at Clan Donaldson. Pop over there for more.