Monday, March 30, 2015

Six Month Sweetheart

Six months!
How did it happen?
She makes this silly face a lot:
And she has learned to balance sitting up pretty well!
She started eating solids this week, and still thinks that her girlish figure requires at least one night time feeding to keep up.
I love her so! (Even at 2am!)
All our babies have had a tiny celebration at their first half birthday. Lois' was by far the most lackluster, thrown together last minute, but she still got her six-month gift: 
A sippy cup. :)
She loved it!
Happy half-birthday, Lois!

 (And this is her "I'm so totally done with this photo shoot" face...)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A disease, not a definition...

A mom with Celiac Disease definitely changes the dynamic of the home. "Gluten Free" (or at one point "gwootin fwee") is a term the whole family is familiar with, and often dictates even little decisions like where to go out to eat tonight, or which butter dish you're allowed to use on your toast. 
Since I don't run an exclusively gluten free household, it makes for some funny food labeling and odd instructions to toddlers about not eating their bread while leaning over Mommy's plate. Sharing Mommy's water is allowed only under very specific circumstances and requires permission before partaking.

It has an impact, and that's unavoidable.

BUT, I work diligently to not let my Celiac Disease define our family atmosphere. Sure we talk about it, but we don't talk about it all the time. And judging by the spread on our table each night, you probably wouldn't even notice a difference most of the time. We eat all the normal foods, I just simply have to sub a few ingredients on occasion.

Once you enter into the world of food allergies it is easy to allow your special needs to become all consuming. Whether consumed by fear or by zeal, it's easy for people to allow their food requirements or preferences to define them. But as soon as I was diagnosed I purposed to avoid doing so. I did not want to allow the need to avoid gluten to dampen the joy around our table or the fellowship we share with our friends. You will never hear me refer to myself as "a Celiac." You won't hear me talk about the benefits of going gluten free (mostly because, as of yet, I haven't realized any huge ones), or continually post gluten free recipes and tips on my blog. I don't really want to be know as "Tamara...she's the one who eats gluten free, right?"
My Celiac Disease will not define me, and I will fight to make it have as little impact on both my family and my friends as possible. 
I have much more ridiculous shortcomings I could be known by! ;)

Now, none of this is to say that I don't appreciate people who dedicate blogs to creating gluten free masterpieces. I have benefitted from those! Nor is it to say that there is anything inherently wrong with opening up to conversation about food intolerances. I am always, always happy to help along fellow friends with Celiac as they get started on a g-free diet. (Or even friends who want to cook for me!) It's a tricky road, and I definitely have developed a few tried and true tips over the last several years! But it's not always on my lips, because I don't really think about it that much.

I guess this is simply my reply to the many comments I get from friends suggesting that I post gluten free recipes or list my favorite local and online sources on here. 
I may, occasionally. (I actually have a few delicious dishes that I've been thinking about sharing!) But if I did it regularly, it wouldn't really fit here. This blog is about our life. And "gluten free" has as much to do with our life as any other ingredient in my kitchen. 

Our home is rich with the smells and tastes of good food, strong coffee, and sweet chocolate.
And that's the gist of the our table.
Stop in, we'd be glad to share with you!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Flowers Everywhere! (And a little tip!)

Spring is in the air!
Warm breezes and tiny buds on the trees have me feeling alive and productive after a long, cold winter. (Actually, it was mostly just a long, cold last month of winter, but either way, I'm glad to be done with it!)
Of course, when those tiny buds open just a little more I'll be suffering death-by-allergies. 
I have a love-hate relationship with Spring.
This morning the boys picked this lovely little bundle of yellow for me from a nearby creek.
It got me feeling all giddy inside, so I had to post about flowers... again.
Nancy Wilson once suggested making flowers a part of your weekly grocery budget, because a lovely table does a lot to sweeten the fellowship around it. I've always loved the idea, and actually planted lots of garden flowers last year for the sole purpose of harvesting them to adorn my table and home. During the winter I'll sometimes snip evergreens, but I rarely splurge and buy flowers.
This week, however, (before the boys discovered the daffodils that had bloomed this morning,) Spring Fever hit me, and my own bulbs simply weren't maturing fast enough. A little bundle of white tulips called out to me in the Walmart produce section, and I couldn't resist!
You know how every once in awhile you'll suddenly realize something so delightfully simple that you can't believe you never thought of it before? A couple years ago it hit me for the first time that when you buy a bouquet of flowers at the market, you don't have to put them all in the same vase. 
Weird, huh?
Why hadn't I thought of that before? Why have one big arrangement in the middle of the table, preventing your view of the person across from you, if you can sort, separate, and distribute pretty little bundles everywhere!?!?
So that's what I do.
Over the last couple years I've collected a few lovely little bud vases from antique and thrift shops, and the happy little blooms they host fill our home with sweetness.

Wishing happy Spring blooms to all of you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 2015

Lucky charms started off our lovely celebration of Ireland's patron saint.
It may not have been very orthodox, but it was definitely fun!
The weather was unseasonably warm, and the open windows let a breeze blow the scents of our Irish feast through the whole house as I worked on it all afternoon.
Authentic shepherd's pie, roasted cabbage and Irish soda bread.
We enjoyed listening to Daddy tell the story of the life and work of Saint Patrick as we ate, and then we ended the night with mint parfaits. Not Irish, but green in a not-gross way... ;)
They were delicious, but the sweetest part of our day was definitely our darling little Lois:
Lovely in green!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Valentines Snapshot

A bit belated, but here's a review of our 2015 Valentines celebration in picture form:
 A happy wake up...
 The best way to show my love for my family was through the ordinary means of bacon and chocolate...
 Gray's bed head cracks us up every morning!
 My little valentine...
 Every year Grammie throws a Valentine's party for the grandchildren...
 Her mother, Thelma Gray (who Gray was named after) passed away eight years ago on Valentines Day. She likes to use the opportunity to remind the grandchildren of their great grandmother's huge heart, and teach them about their rich Christian heritage... 
 And there is a lot of silliness that goes on as well...
Grammie and her youngest grandbabe...
 And last, I forgot to snap a picture of me with my one true love, so we dug this one out of the Christmas archives... 
Love him!