Mufrooms, and how to hear birds

Dear Family,

Tuesday, we walked all the way down to Coy Glen and (this was a first) Jem walked the entire way. We turned over so many friggin' rocks that I simply cannot tell you how many there were. A highlight: we found a salamander.

Jem noticed all the "mufroom"s, and called the bird that sounded like a slinky, the "finky bird." Every so often he would get a "camp" in his stomach, which he wanted me to rub.

The Sun Came Out!

Dear Family,

It really did. After about 8 days of solid, cold, and cloudy dreariness
and rain, the fog burned off yesterday morning. I was working at the
farm, walking down the main path toward the orchard, and suddenly a
heavenly view of the mountains opened up, with blue sky and WARMTH.

Due to such an auspicious weekend, I wore my Sparkle Pants.


Big News: we are the proud owners of a Kenmore Chest Freezer, which
couldn't fit through the door of the bedroom (although it would have fit
into the closet if it had), and now sits proudly next to the kitchen

Super Long Week

Dear Family,

Jem and Ben and I tried (some of us harder than others) to let Jeff "sleep in" for his birthday this morning. I hope you enjoyed this awesome chance to sleep till 9:00am, Honey. I could have gotten you golf-themed ties, but there's always next year...


Small and Beautiful Things

Dear Family,

He was on my mind a lot, the little boy I will never meet. He would have
been a week old now. The death of a baby - how does one comprehend the
crazy grief, honor him and his family, be alive in the face of it?

In a very rational way, the baby's spirit was with me this week,
bringing a joyful presence. It was almost like a little voice, reminding
me: Look for beauty even through the dark clouds.

I did look, and out my windows I saw small and beautiful things: On
neighbor's porches, words of understanding and compassion. On the paths,

The Vaguest Sense of Melancholy

Dear Family,

Jem is making great strides with communication this week. He describes
things by saying the most important word first, and then defining things

(While giving Ben a head-massage before bed): "Rub--Ben rub."
(While trying to kiss him): "Bup--Ben bup."
(Noting a piece of food that somehow missed his mouth): "Foot--on foot."
(No further information necessary): "Fart--Jem fart!"


Further Jemmerisms:

--Mushroom-Barley Soup: "Muppie Doop."

--Apple Cores for the Chickens: "Abbi Gucks, Peck-Pecks."

--Kangeroo: "Bengaroo."

History Lessons and Fabulous Views

Dear Family,

We just landed back at home after a two-day visit in Prattsburgh. It was gorgeous there, and while we were sad to miss Dad (I hear he had to go back to NJ to Work or something like that...) we got to wish Loren well as he heads off to COLLEGE tomorrow.

That is simply unbelievable! My baby brother is going to be living in
his own apartment on campus at Finger Lakes Community College, and will
soon join the ranks of schooled people. We can't wait to hear all about it!


A high point of this weekend was sponsored by Grandma Ruth, who watched

One More Thing...

...I forgot to mention: each of the past two Wednesdays, my lovely and charming sister has visited us here in Ithaca! Ben mostly just thought Athena came specifically to visit _him_, but she and I managed to get some quality time together, too. Also, she got to sample my newly-developed cashew ice cream recipe, which follows.

We hope she visits as many upcoming Wednesdays as possible, despite her new job starting on Tuesday.


Cashew Ice Cream (Vanilla or Chocolate) - no ice-cream machine required!

Soak 2c. cashews in water for 1-3 hours; drain.

mommy is Missing a Capital “M”

Of course I knew there would be a baby. The baby was in the middle of
everything, tiny and oblivious. And then afterward, I knew that she was
perfectly healthy and had dark hair, that she was barely older than my
baby, and that her name was Lila Jen.


But the first time I heard, my own morning sickness started to feel like
stomach flu. "Aren't you crazy?” I asked. “You're nuts!”

“Yeah, it's crazy. I didn't think we could even _get_ pregnant. The
high-risk OB says I'm the highest-risk case he's seen.”

Question Everything...and then do it all over again

Dear Family,

Unbelievably, it's Not Back to School Camp season again. Session 1 out in Oregon is finishing up already. I'm VERY tempted to go to one of the Vermont sessions...but somehow an exhausting week with little sleep in the chilly Vermont woods with small children is just not shaping up to hold much appeal. :( Someday soon enough, I guess Ben and Jem will be old enough to go...

But in the meantime, I so want a camp-LIKE sort of experience in my year. Question: how do you have a reinvention-filled, inspirational

My Mother, Amazing

I totally forgot to tell you about my
mom's Birthday Pronouncement, like I promised I would. She didn't
exactly call it that, and some of you already read this, but I'll send
it again in case you didn't:


"...The local campaign is consuming my mind and my time. I spend every
day with voter registration lists computed four different ways. I juggle
letter writing and envelope stuffing with campaign advertisements and
meeting arrangements while discussing strategy with four candidates who
have very different personalities, and I have to force myself to let the

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