26 December 2013

the day after christmas...

the house is quiet.
and I am too.
with my sleeping Samuel-man.
enjoying the still. for the moment.
sipping spicy Christmas tea.

this season has been busy - too busy. but with the wrong things.
no wrapping or caroling or baking of cookies.
no traditions or songs of silent night.
just box after box being filled with our lives.
suitcases stuffed with STUFF.
the stuff of life.
but as I have been stuffing those suitcases and packing those boxes, I've realised that the true "stuff of life" are the moments and the memories.
and I've missed those this season.
it was Samuel's first Christmas.
different than I had wished for him.

16 December 2013

happy birthday to you.

someone is seven.
you are.

you are seven.

my deepest dimples, never-sitting-still, everything-must-be-just-so, BOY.
oh how I love you and your crazy kid style.
and though I can't wait to meet the man you are becoming...
please slow down these boyhood days.
my baby you will always be...

10 November 2013

one week ago...

photo by Bethany Carlson Photography

it was exactly one week ago.
seven days have passed since I held his slippery body to my chest and shh-shh-ed, "it's okay baby...mama's here".
he was screaming...of course.
most babies do upon entrance into this cold, artificially lit world.
I trembled as I held him...my body shaking with the effort of pushing his nine pound frame out into the world.
shaking with exhaustion and wonder.

he is perfect.
sweet and beautiful.
mellow and calm.
not much makes him cry or fuss.

S A M U E L --------> God provides
the final piece to our family.

savouring every moment...I watch him sleep.
run my finger gently down the bridge of his nose.
his lips pucker in a kiss.
I bend down and bury my face in his baby soft head, trying to memorize its intoxicating aroma.

oh baby mine...how I love you so.

03 November 2013

an announcement.

Samuel McKinley
born 3 November 2013
nine pounds, four ounces
practically perfect in every way.

09 October 2013


it was that enchanted hour...
between day and dark: twilight.
the shadows deepened...
but the still-bright sky was reflected in their eyes.
scampering and chasing, three heads of varying shades of brown
wove glistening threads of imagination into the fabric of dusk.
foxes scurried to their dens...
owls glided past on the breeze...
bunnies bounced in continuous circles
until their creators collapsed in heaps of giggles.

the darkness deepened.
and so did their play.
at the close of day,
I watched...and marveled.

02 June 2013

savor summer...

spring folds into summer
we are left with traces of the heat of the day
they linger as evening fades to night
rising into the twilight sky
the windows fly open at a hint of a cool breeze 
and leave me with midnight excuses to kiss my sleeping babes as i stealthily slide their windows closed
the summer sun comes earlier than i wish them awake
the sheet is occasionally not enough 
i welcome those nights
the nights when i cling to my husband's broad back and his warmth
and i awaken to pull the coverlet over us
i delight in the dust laden shades if they bring delta breezes through my room
the cool air touches my skin 
reminds me
summer is fleeting 
grasp it with both hands
eat the tomatoes until you can bear it no more
winter always follows
and though i favor it
savor summer, i must. 

31 May 2013

muffled thoughts.

i was reminded of past love recently.
an old flame, i believe they're called.
a picture fluttered out of a journal upended on a shelf in a frenzy of dusting.
just a glimpse of that moment captured on film
and it all came rushing back...
his face punctured my reality and i was sent into a tailspin of memories and regret.

the flurry of daily emails.
the week of cliched romance.
the whispered phone calls lasting into the wee hours of the morning.

i've only given my heart to a man three times.
once in high school to a boyish, troubled football player.
once (and forever!) to my husband. my prince.
but there was that third.
a man.
older than myself (by six years).
sweet. attentive. roguish in his sarcastic humour.
i loved him.
but completely.

i do think about him on occasion.
with nothing more than a few regrets and good wishes...
i wonder where he is.
wonder what life would have been like if i'd traveled that path with him.
i would be different...
i think.

31 January 2013

one of THOSE nights...

it was a rough night, last night.
one of THOSE nights.
the kind you verbally put in quotations when it comes time in conversation to compare complaints.
to be sure, i have had worse.
but still, any night with multiple interruptions makes the morning that much more difficult.

lucy started it.
crying and carrying on. inexplicably.
it was only 9:30pm. we were still awake. in bed. reading.
she had already been in bed for two hours, though.
long enough to be done with the bedtime whimpers and whines.
we brought her into our bed so she wouldn't disturb her sister any more than she already had. 
after a few cuddles and consoling words though, she was shipped back off to bed.
with my chapter complete, i quickly followed suit.

then again at 11pm...the unexpected cries.
then again at 11:30pm. still unexplained.
no reason given. no warning.
just sobs in the night.

something woke me at 2am.
i had begun to think whatever had disturbed my slumber had, in fact, been part of a dream when elijah came scuttling around through the doorway.
"elijah. what do you need?"
"i heard someone crying!"
so maybe i didn't dream it.
up again. following the familiar trail.
and...silence. silence in the girls' room.
peaceful breaths.
a twitch of an arm.
a sigh full of sleep and dreams.
as i stood there, in the soft darkness, i prayed.
and i heard the eldest clamber out of his bed once again and pad his way down the hall.
a trip to the toilet, i assumed.
prayers resumed then completed, i quickly returned to the waiting warmth...
only to be disturbed once more by a six year old toting his favourite duck.
he had no real reason this time.
muttering half truths that included "scary dream" and "heard something funny".
john finally sat up and looked at the clock.
he scooped up the nighttime marauder and spoke in low tones about not worrying about waking up too late for school (a recent concern)...or placing too much emphasis on potentially scary dreams.
he took him back to his bed.
and that was the last of the night wanderers and interruptions.
until my alarm chirped at me, that is.
i had lain awake for quite a few minutes after john returned from his midnight sojourn...listening to his even breaths in the sleepy dark.
wondering and praying.
praying and wondering.
lifting up words, pleas, to the Most High.
for peace.
my eyes closed.
almost asleep, i was granted a vision.
a vision of nothing but light.
light that had form and motion.
it swirled, mist-like, around my sleeping children.
a blanket of light.
sparkling gold. pale peach. shimmers of silver. warm yellows. glowing gray.
wrapping. swirling. surging.
like the sea on a calm summer day.
washing over them.
i opened my eyes.
it was gone.
for a moment, it had seemed that the light truly was there, in the room with me.
filling the space. easing its way under my eyelids.
and perhaps it was.
His presence.
comforting us all.
His light consuming the darkness.   
i can't claim to know, i suppose.
but i do know the house slept in peace.

i was chastised this morning when i woke.
chastised and convicted.
why don't i pray like that nightly? daily? unceasingly?
it's a habit i must begin.
cling to...

16 January 2013

project 365

it seems everyone, i mean EVERYone is doing or has done one of these. i've halfheartedly done a picture-a-day project for a couple months in the past but quickly burnt out on the whole routine. however, since the advent of the iphone and subsequently, instagram, i find myself taking a picture a day without even really trying. so...i join the throngs. there are a few of my own idiosyncrasies though. i am coupling this with a project life binder that i will complete throughout the year. and if that weren't enough, i'm keeping all my photos within one theme: gratitude. we're almost twenty days into january and i have almost twenty days to show for it. i won't be posting all of my project 365 photos on here but some will make an appearance. this is a sampling of the first twenty-ish days (slightly out of order)...

this project was inspired by a few lines from one of my favourite songs (and pictured in the first shot up in the top left corner):
       i am frightened by how easy it can be to live so long going from one things to the next thing to the next until months have gone. and you realise you have really not done anything at all. and you fall asleep believing you've just climbed so you could fall. and i don't believe that who i am is something i can find. it's whoever i create with what i do with all my time. it's WHO i choose to love with all my heart and strength and mind. and whether i believe that what i have is really mine. i want to live with wider eyes, there's far too much to see. i've been longing for the freedom that is waiting silently in the life that's just beyond the small perimeter of me.

here's my list of things i'm thankful for...so far:

this good day. sleep. freedom. books. amazon gift cards. color. knitting (and knitted hats). family of five. daisies and sunshine in january. daily bread. reading kiddies. sunrises. love notes from my son. smash books. cookies. a boy and his duck. play dates. frosty mornings. this city.

10 January 2013

crispy crunchy!

it's hard to find a snack that everyone in my family eats with equal enjoyment. 4 out of 5 love popcorn; the last (that would be daddy) doesn't have an ounce of appreciation for it. again, 4 out of 5 enjoy chips and salsa; the odd ball out this time, is me. while i enjoy the snack, there are other munchies i prefer. however, there is one crunchy edible that everyone in the anaya family loves: crispy beans. you won't find these in on aisle seven though. if you want to taste the crunchy goodness, you've got to make them yourself. and here's how:

grab a can of garbanzo beans (or two. or three. or four.). open and drain. once drained, lay them out on a cookie sheet, baker stone or clean towel. the recipes i've seen have you pop them in the oven at this point. and while you could do that, i've never had good results with that method. instead, i let them sit, undisturbed, overnight. after they have sat on the counter for a while, preheat the oven to 300. place the beans on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat or straight on the pan (you're going to have to scoop them off while they're hot so though it's not necessary for the mat or baking paper, it certainly saves time). pop them in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour (mine usually stay in the oven at 300 for 40-45 minutes when they've sat out for more than 12 hours). once that time is up, remove the beans from the oven. they won't be crispy yet but should be starting to dry out. if they haven't begun to look a little drier, put them back in the oven for a while longer. pour them into a mixing bowl (proportional to the amount of beans you have) and toss in a bit of oil (olive is my oil of choice but any vegetable oil will do). then...prepare to get creative! you can use any variety of seasonings on your beans, from sweet to savory to spicy. my family enjoys ranch flavoured beans for the most part, though my husband will eat the spicy ones by the handful. get creative and use what you've got just sitting in the spice rack. no need to buy any fancy seasonings. for the ranch flavoured ones, i usually throw in a bit of onion powder, some dried dill, garlic and salt. the spicy ones are similar with the dill taken out and chili powder added into the mixture. sweet ones can be made using cinnamon, a bit of sugar and a dash of ginger or nutmeg (be careful with the sweet ones during the rest of the baking time as they can scorch more easily due to the sugar). you could probably even use pumpkin pie spice! seriously, the flavour of your beans is only limited to your imagination. moving on, once the beans have been thoroughly tossed in the oil and seasonings, they go back on the pan and into the oven, this time at 375-400 degrees. i usually toast mine at 375. this takes longer but i find i scorch fewer beans this way. if you have the time (and patience) to stand in front of the oven, bump it up to 400. they will need watching regardless of the oven temperature but the lower the temp, the less babysitting they need overall. i let them sit in the oven for about ten minutes right after sticking them in, then for five minute intervals after that. after each interval is over, i pull the pan out, move the beans around a bit (the ones on the edge tend to brown the most quickly. tossing the beans keeps this from happening) and switch the pans around (if i have more than one pan in there at a time, which i usually do. so the top pan goes to the bottom rack and the bottom to the top). i continue this process until the beans are almost as crispy as we like them. i take them out a bit before they're completely crunchy as they crisp up a bit as they cool. the total time is usually 15-25 minutes (though that time depends on how dry they were coming out of the oven in the first place and how many beans i have). and that's it! try not to burn your tongue as you eat them straight off the pan!
that was a fairly wordy description of my "recipe"...which isn't really a recipe at all, but a tried and true method i've developed as i've made these time and again. try them out and tell me what you think! feel free to post any questions too...

08 January 2013

as the day ends...

i often wonder...
as i'm tidying up from the day,
with my little ones tucked up in their beds,
curled around their various stuffed "friends",
but not necessarily sleeping...
how much of my thumping and bumping do they actually hear?
the dishes clank.
the water runs.
the coffee grinder whirs.
the dryer hums.
the toys are picked up (sometimes).

i think back to when i was maybe five...or six.
elijah's age.
i remember the nighttime noises...
listening to my parents "close up shop" and the rhythm of my breath.
often my dad would work.
we had a computer...even then.
then, when it wasn't compulsory.
a monstrous thing with a black screen and a teeny C:// blinking in yellow at the top.
i remember hearing the clack of the keys...
and the syncopated hum of the printer.
i must have, at least once, stolen out of the protective warmth of the covers to watch through the slats at the top of the stairs.
i can see, in my mind's eye, the paper feeding through the machine in long, white strips.

i often think about that...
as the day ends.