her first week home :: Elsa

This first week, or so, little Elsa has been doing all the typical newborn things. Sleeping, nursing, cuddling, filling up her diapers, sleeping some more, nursing some more, and repeat. She has been so relaxed and easy to soothe.

Papa has been home to share in these moments and has been a great help with taking on all the school drop offs and pick ups, grocery shopping and general keeping the house in order. Sadly, he will return to work on Tuesday. It won’t be easy for either of us.

The boys have been amazing in the welcoming their baby sister to our family. They always ask to hold her and keep tabs on whose ‘turn’ it is. They each carry a photo of themselves with Elsa in their school bag and have enjoyed showing it off to friends and teachers. They are anxious for her to have more waking moments and when she does have her eyes open, they exclaim loudly “her eyes are open!” Andy was particularly interested in when her cord would fall off. At one week, it fell off and he said he was happy because it looked like it was ouchy for her.

Earlier this week, Elsa had her first bath in her own tub right beside her brothers. She was relaxed and seemed to enjoy it.

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I had a bit of fun taking these photos. Dressing her up with a bow and in my new favorite shade of green. It is a nice alternative to all the pink! I love how she looked on the blanket that Ema made for her…our sweet little baby girl.
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The precious moments of these first days and weeks, they go too fast. I want to linger in them. She has me reaching for my camera multiple times a day. Capturing snippets so I will always remember. Papa has caught the shutter bug too and has been snapping some sweet photos to share with family on email.
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Our fourth of July weekend will be a hot one. Temperatures are expected to reach above 100*. We plan to keep cool at home, grill some hamburgers and set off the fireworks we have left over from New Years. We wish you all a great weekend!

xoxo,

Mel

and now we are six :: bringing Elsa home

We brought baby girl home early in the afternoon yesterday. Elsa had a peaceful day sleeping and being passed around by her brothers as they took turns holding her. She woke once in the night and then again around 5:00 this morning.

During those wakings, in the quiet while nursing her, it really hit me… we are six now.
Another hand to hold, another head to kiss.
Another love to fill my heart.

I snapped a few photos of Elsa in her ‘coming home’ outfit.
It is the same outfit that her Papa and all three of her brothers wore home from the hospital.
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Thank you for all for the sweet well wishes and loving thoughts on Elsa’s arrival. We miss you all dearly.

xoxo,

Mel

one from the archives :: papa and alex {october 2005}

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Throwing it back to a sweet moment captured between father and first born son.  Alex was a little over two months old.

Jay is an amazing Papa to our boys and partner in parenthood.  I am so looking forward to him meeting his little girl…soon!

Wishing all the great Dads we know a very Happy Father’s day!

xoxo,

Mel

this moment :: 29 may

Soccer, or fußball, is the national sport of Germany.  Germans take the sport seriously… very seriously.  Children begin training at an early age, around three years old, and train all year long. At school, it is played during recess and after school the neighborhood kids frequently gather at the local sportzplatz (soccer field).

When Andy said he was interested in playing on a local team, it took us a bit by surprise as we know virtually nothing about the game and Jay, in particular, stinks at the sport.  We were also nervous for Andy, wondering if he would fit in, seeing as the majority of his peers have been playing for several years.  Andy was insistent though so we started taking him to training. He has stuck with it and after several training sessions that allowed him to try it out, he was asked to join the team. Andy is now a passport (yes, he has an actual passport for the team) carrying member of SG Neunkirchen/Föckelberg F-Jungend!

We are so proud of him and his courage to stretch outside of his comfort zone and proud of ourselves for not poisoning him with our anti-soccer propaganda.

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Wishing you a great last weekend of May. Is it just me, or did the month fly by!?

I have a feeling June will be an exciting month around here!

xoxo,

Mel

{joining :: soulemama}

in our kitchen :: rhubarb & apple crisp

Springtime for me means dirt under my finger nails, the smell of freshly turned compost, and discovering what has awakened in the garden as the ground warms.

In our garden, one of the early delights is harvesting rhubarb.

Rhubarb, pronounced roo-barb, is not actually a fruit, but a stalk vegetable. It is available for harvest from late March until June. The stalks are rosy in hue and topped with big, deep green leaves. When picking, gently snap the stalk at the ground and cut off the leaf. The leaves should never be eaten as they contain a poison, oxalic acid. I usually cut the leaf off and place it under newly sprouting stalks. After washing and trimming the top and bottom of the stalk, use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to thinly strip off the stringy ribs. Much like you do with celery. Rhubarb wilts quickly. Store it in the fridge and eat within a couple of days. Some people recommend keeping the leaves on the stalk until you’re ready to eat it, as they’ll help keep it fresh.
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Rhubarb is tart and while it can be used in many delicious recipes, I have only ever used it as a dessert or made it into a simple syrup that I later add to drinks.

This year with the first picked stalks, I made a crisp. I added apple to give it a little more texture and sweetness that would balance out the tartness of the rhubarb.  I usually think of crisps and crumbles as autumn desserts, but this one is a perfect springtime delight.

Rhubarb & Apple Crisp

Prep :: 15 min. Bake: 45 min.
Yield :: 8 servings

Ingredients ::
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (3-4 large stalks) or frozen rhubarb, thawed (see note)
2 cups chopped peeled apples (I used a large honey crunch apple)
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Vanilla ice cream, optional (ok, not really…you need to enjoy this with ice cream!!)

Directions ::
In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add rhubarb and apples; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8-in. square or oval baking dish.

For the topping ::
In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon, and maple syrup until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly and fruit is tender.

Serve warm. With ice cream!!

Note :: If using frozen rhubarb, measure while still frozen, then thaw completely in a colander, but do not press liquid out. The addition of 1/3 cup of your favorite chopped nuts to the topping would be delicious.

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Have tried rhubarb? Do you have a favorite rhubarb recipe?

xoxo,

Mel

{Recipe adapted from :: Taste of Home}