daddy’s girl

“This tug-of-war often obscures what’s also happening between us. I am your mother, the first mile of your road. Me and all my obvious and hidden limitations. That means that in addition to possibly wrecking you, I have the chance to give to you what was given to me: a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of tribe, a run at happiness. You can’t imagine how seriously I take that – even as I fail you. Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done.
― Kelly Corrigan, Lift

a few sunny days here on the farm and combines are roaring everywhere…  these last few days have felt like harvest…  I come back from a morning run feeling itchy from the dust still clinging in the dewy morning air…

combine lights dance like fire flies out my window at night…

porcupines, skunks, deer, moose and geese are all on the move… cutting the grass I found three dead muskrats that my dogs proudly left for me…

and after two weeks of my boys being gone to boarding school I have whittled down my crying to generally once a day…  3:40 pm …  the moment all three of my children should be getting home and it’s just one small little girl with mounds of strawberry, blonde hair piled high on her head that I see wondering in off the bus…

in my last text to my dad, I asked him how he ever was happy again after I left home… I was curious to know how he was able to get up in the morning and make sense of the day without his little ‘ray of sunshine’ there to make him smile…  he still hasn’t responded (you know how busy retired life can be) but I’m sure his answer will be that he still struggles to this day to find joy when I’m not around…  (by the way, ‘ray of sunshine’ was a name I made up for myself…  he called me Catherine… my given name)

life goes on… and I am still trying to figure out how to mother my boys from a distance…  tending to teenage boys involved a lot of cleaning, folding laundry, picking up towels off the bathroom floor, flushing toilets, odour control of sporting equipment, odour control of them, grocery shopping, feeding them, dishes, feeding them… feeding them…  and now that has been ripped away from me

fortunately there are farmers to feed… it honestly would have been too painful to cut it down to just Sienna and I…  we need to ease into that…

it was with great enthusiasm that I cut kohlrabi and radishes to add to the pasta salad I was taking out…  until I had a Hutterite stop by to try to sell me a turkey and asked what I was making for supper – only to be told that no one likes pasta salad… and when he spotted a zucchini he informed me that those can ruin a cake pretty quickly…

kohlrabi pasta salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium pasta shells
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 small kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
  • 8 radishes, diced
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • few dashes of sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, (or 1/2 tsp dried dill)

Directions:

  • bring a large pot of salted water to boil
  • add pasta and cook according to package
  • drain and rinse under cold water
  • pat dry
  • in a large bowl, combine pasta with bell peppers, kohlrabi and radishes
  • in a medium bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients
  • pour over the salad and mix thoroughly
  • chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving

when I was in grade 3, my life goal was to be a ‘Weather-Woman’…  for a news crew…  I was thinking perhaps CHCA-TV out of Red Deer, Alberta…  so I wrote out pages upon pages of news updates (it was during the Calgary Olympics of ’88, so it was mainly weather and Olympic coverage) 

fortunately enough, my dad was ahead of the game with technology and we had a news crew style RCA video camera…  he got it out of the giant briefcase it was housed in and set it up on the tripod, focused in on me sitting behind the piano bench, ready to give the news highlights for the evening…

this is the thing about being a parent…  you actually love everything about your child… even the weird things… especially the weird things…

I never felt any pressure from my dad to do anything neat to catch his eye…  in fact, I was under the impression that he was just as proud of me for doing the news that evening as he was when he was videoing me running at track and field… or butchering a song at a piano recital…

this is what I have realized over the last two weeks of the boys absence from home… it is what I remember about my dad and still to this day feel around him… it never has been about what I’ve been able to do or accomplish or work for… he has always wanted to sit with me, listen to me, laugh at my jokes, play a game and talk to me…

not only did my dad want to be around me… he wanted to record it all on a giant video camera…

chili with ground beef and italian sausage

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
8 oz smoked sausage
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 oz) can mild green chile peppers
2-3 tbsp diced jalapeno peppers, seeds removed
2 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp montreal steak seasoning or seasoned salt
2-3 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
freshly cracked black pepper
extra salt to taste if necessary

Directions:
brown the meat and drain
in an Instant Pot, saute the onion in some olive oil and then add the pepper and garlic
add the remaining ingredients, including the browned meat, and set on slow cook mode for at least 2 hours but preferably longer!

well, dad finally responded to my text with “yes, it took awhile for us to get over the trauma of seeing you leave home, Catherine and this trauma was only exacerbated by the fact that Princess Diana and Mother Theresa both died at the same time you left.

 the use of the word ‘trauma’ in his text was presumably a bit tongue-and-cheek, although these things can be hard to pick up on in the modern age of texting…  I do believe that he was deeply saddened with the passing of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa however…

cheddar cornbread muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • line muffin tin with paper cups and spray them with cooking spray lightly
  • in a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk
  • add the egg, milk and butter and combine till well mixed
  • scoop into the muffin tin
  • bake for 17-20 minutes until golden brown
  • if desired, brush the tops with butter and serve

back to my news broadcast…  my dad made a highlight reel of the countless hours of footage he was able to compile of me and my brothers throughout our childhood… this made the cut and the weather forecast I delivered was “it is getting warmer out, but it is still very cold… it might snow or rain”  pretty much nailed the weather…

the highlight reel had me believing I was a far better basketball player than I actually was… the compliation also reveals that my dad really did video us doing just about anything…  he truly enjoyed us kids for who we were because the footage is far from extraordinary…

as I was sitting with the farmer as he was combining a partially hailed wheat crop, I noticed that the variety of wheat was Brandon (this being my oldest boy’s name sent me into a bit of a cry) … some say distance makes the heart grow fonder but I was truly fond of them when they were close to me… when they were home… distance just breaks the heart…

and as I try to figure out how to be a Mom to my boys who are away, I realize that I once again am turning to the advice of my parents…  as long as they aren’t too busy to respond to a text…

and this gives me hope…  so now on we go with harvest…  well it is now raining this morning…  as a ‘Weather-Woman’ once said, “it might snow or rain”

I’m not crying… you’re crying

Cecil Day-Lewis wrote in the poem ‘Walking Away’ ~ “selfhood begins with a walking away and love is proved in the letting go”…  turns out – there are many resources online to help you navigate the murky waters of your children moving out of your home…  and I have been pouring over these resources this last week hoping that it would patch and heal something that feels completely broken in my heart…  my heart hurts…

our sons, Brandon (17) and Ethan (15) both moved into their dorm rooms last week in Caronport, SK to attend high school there, play for Prairie Hockey Academy and also play football there… easily this has been the hardest parenting decision for the farmer and I to make… also a terribly hard decision that each boy had to make… it is a decision that many kids have to make in high school and now I begin to understand the weight of it…  you are losing your child and no one can prepare you for it…

I headed with the boys to Moose Jaw and left Sienna at home for her first day back to school (which broke my heart that I wasn’t there for it)… it had rained so the farmer was able to coach his football practice and then drive down to help with the orientation and moving in process… as I sat through the grade 12 meeting (the farmer went to the grade 10 meeting) I started to feel like I was going to throw up…  I used to battle anxiety attacks (mainly due to storms), but really have not had one in over 10 years at least… I still know what one feels like and I was worried that I was about to black out and really embarrass my son on the first day…

we were able to get out of the meeting with nothing horrible happening and had to go through class selections, finances, ID pictures, sports sign ups, campus tour, hockey meeting, first football practice and dorm setup…  it felt like four days all piled into one after a decently relaxing summer…

the saving grace for me was that the boys were busy and I was able to set their rooms up all on my own with no arguing with them over where things were going to go…  the entire time I still felt like I couldn’t swallow due to a lump in my throat and again the feeling of dizziness and possibly throwing up was always there… (if you see pale faced moms on the first day of school, watch out for vomit)

I was telling myself that I had no time to truly prepare for this…  well, I suppose I have had 17 years but you never really are preparing for them to leave… and of course Facebook hits me every day now with updates of how fantastic harvest used to be with the boys at home…

losing two in one day is almost more than I could take…  the farmer was so wise, as we were leaving town and the sobbing had begun, he came out of the convenient store with an ice cream bar for me…  this is proven – one cannot sob and eat ice cream at the same time...  genius…

that day was more draining than any marathon or ultra marathon I have ever been in… but I didn’t realize that some of the hard days are yet to come…  the daily reality of living with your child no longer at home and worrying about their welfare is depleting and draining… I texted a friend today that has been through more stress than anyone I know “have you ever lost your hair and eyelashes?” …  she replied that she has had just about every side effect of stress except for that one…  so I am still searching for how to keep my hair and lashes on my head…

I have been a stay-at-home mom with these boys for all their years…  it was a decision the farmer and I made when Brandon was born and we decided that I could do all the work of bookkeeping, raising the kids and all the other things that come along with farming…  it hasn’t always been easy being a stay-at-home mom…  it has come with many struggles but now that they are gone and it is just the farmer and Sienna left with me, I feel fortunate to have been here with the boys for every step of their journey – literally 🙂

having a job outside of the house can provide structure and distraction, but by no means immunization from the loneliness and sadness a parent will feel when their child moves away…  I have seen this with the farmer…  he has enough distraction and work that you would think he wouldn’t notice that the boys are not home…  yet it has been just as hard on him as it has been on me… coaching a football team without them on it, farming without them, watching the NFL opening Sunday football games without them…  it is all such a change and everyday I feel like something is missing…

a good friend said it so well to me “our kids are so much a part of us and we spend so much time ‘parenting’ when they’re younger.  and then when they are older we get to relax a bit and really appreciate who they are as people and that place they hold in our hearts expands.  they each have their own piece of your heart because they are a part of you.  so when they leave, they take a part of your heart with them.  but I think they can feel that piece they took with them – where they are.”

now at this point of my sob story, I’m sure it is crossing your mind… ‘but did you not pay for this schooling?’  and  ‘are they not excited for this change and opportunity to do new things and meet new people?’ … yes, of course we all decided this was something we wanted and are very excited about…  and that does trump the sadness and loneliness of missing them…  but it doesn’t mean that it’s not there…

corn slaw with peanut butter lime dressing

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Lime Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tbsp cold water (or more)

Corn Slaw:

  • 3 cups corn
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (or I use a spiralizer)
  • 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and finely sliced
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup roasted and salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

  • I made the dressing in a Vitamix blender (because I tripled it) but you can either make it in a blender or just shake it together… it should be runny
  • combine all of the corn slaw ingredients except the peanuts
  • pour dressing over and add salt and pepper as needed
  • you can keep this is the fridge, when ready to serve add the peanuts on top

I’m not sure exactly how this parent-child separation thing is supposed to work… but ideally I get to be as sad and miserable as I want to be and they need to be loving life and happy and joyous and constant pillow fights… ok, now it’s sounding like a summer camp I went to…  I actually think they are still in school and it’s decently hard work they are doing…  along with two sports…  so maybe no energy for pillow fights…

the main point is me = sad, boys = happy…  is that too much to ask?  and then I realize I have my little side-kick here at home with me…

not only did Sienna lose her brothers but she inherited all of their jobs…  and add to that a mom who possibly has alopecia…

so she is slightly ruining my pity party… one of the big changes for her is she used to get away with everything because I was focused somewhat on the boys… and now all I have to focus on is her so I notice everything she does… or doesn’t do…  and I want to hover over her and do her hair and nails and have a girls evening where we can watch Netflix and eat ice cream… (to prevent crying)

korean beef sloppy joe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup hoisin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbps soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 4 buns

Directions:

  • in a large skillet, brown the beef and strain
  • add sesame oil to the skillet and garlic
  • add back the beef and the rest of the ingredients
  • serve over a bun (with a slice of havarti cheese, optional)

one of the parenting resources said “never pass the weight of your own grief on to your child”... now, I’m not sure how ‘expert’ this advice is… I personally think my children should suffer in grief with me… every time I fight with the farmer I like the children to be a part of our argument… when I’m mad at someone in town, I like my children to join me in my anger…  how are they going to be able to deal with ‘adult problems’ if they don’t start now dealing with my ‘adult problems’???

but, alas, I have decided to take this parenting advice and hide it from them how melancholy I am… until they see my eyelashes… then the cat’s out of the bag…

they cannot bear the responsibility for my sadness…  it’s not their fault that they spent 9 months in my belly, I spent night after night feeding them in the darkness of the house, when they were sick I laid there awake listening to see if they were breathing, I cried at their first hockey practice and most definitely cried on their first goal, I loved every moment of school lunches and hearing the stories when they got home, car rides (even when they slept), watching them play basketball and football in the yard…

ok – I digress… moral of the story is they can’t feel guilty for how sad their mom is

it has always been very important to the farmer and I to raise kids that were independent and didn’t need us around them to find joy…  we cultured this over the years by traveling and leaving them a lot 🙂 … so I know they are ready for it… and I know it will get better…

but I also know I love being their mom… equal to loving the farmer it has been my greatest joy to be their mother, to fold their laundry, to tell them when a joke is not funny, to cut their hair and tell them they stink and need a shower, to run with them and watch movies with them… to say no to them and tell them why… to watch them succeed and fail and get to be there afterwards…

I know I’m still their mom…  it just feels like they are far away and the way I mother them has to change…  but I am so proud of them and excited for them and hopeful that this will be a good thing… because as parents – that is all we hope for – for our children to find their purpose and joy and hope in life…

strawberry rhubarb crumb bars

Ingredients:

For the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam:

  • 1 lb (@ 4 cups) rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 lb (@ 4 cups) strawberries, hulled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the Bars:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (or more) strawberry rhubarb jam
  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

  • prehead oven to 350 degrees
  • line an 8” pan with a sheet of greased foil
  • for the jam: combine the ingredients in a medium pot over low heat… stir regularly for 10-15 minutes…  cool in a bowl
  • combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl
  • stir in the butter until the mixture is consistent
  • pack 2/3 of the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan and press down
  • bake for 10 minutes
  • when finished, spread the jam on top and add the berries
  • mix the pecans with the remaining oat mixture and crumble on the top
  • bake for 25 minutes
  • allow to cool completely before cutting
  • keeps in fridge but does not freeze well

save it for Facebook

when you are sitting by yourself, watching your daughter’s hockey practice (#girlscanplaytoo) (I forever will find this hashtag humorous) … and a strange man plops himself down beside you and begins the conversation with “I don’t believe we’ve met”…  you know you need to buckle yourself up for a wild ride…

just when you think we have evolved as a species… conversations like this occur…  where someone has not figured out that the only place that people brag about their offspring anymore is on Facebook…

it used to be we had a few options – annual Christmas letters, prayer chains, family reunions – but now I hope most self-aware parents realize the only avenue for pumping little Timmy’s tires is Facebook…

this being said – it did occur to me that Little Timmy most likely is not on Facebook – this is a crucial flaw in what would seem to be the perfect outlet for comparing the accomplishments of our young ones…

“so, which one is yours out there?” I politely ask… this way I am avoiding him telling me his name which I was never going to remember

he points to a girl and then, for context, describes her “the tall, athletic one with the hard shot”  …  before I could point out and describe my daughter, he quickly adds “gets her height and ability from both sides of the family”  

this I was comforted by, as you hate to see the competition ensue when one side is so obviously better than the other side of the family… (no offense to the farmer’s side)

a few things I learned during the 28 minutes I was held hostage in the stands… he was a bit of an ‘athlete’ in his day, still runs but not as fast as his superstar daughter…  he coached his daughter her whole life until now because no one else can get the full potential out of her…  refs hate him… the daughter hasn’t seen a sport that she didn’t dominate at…

I was doing fine handling my end of the dialogue… adding my ‘oh really, oh wow, oh geez’ when it seemed timely…  but when he said these words “we are so active we got rid of cable a few years ago and don’t watch any TV”… I thought I was going to lose my mind…

really?  pardon?  you just bike and rollerblade all evening long? haven’t seen a professional sporting event in three years? you missed Harry and Meagan’s wedding? do I dare bring up Game of Thrones or the 23 seasons of The Bachelor I have consumed?

blueberry pancakes

Ingredients:
– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup milk
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1/4 cup butter, melted
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)
– zest of one lemon

Directions:
– sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda together in a bowl
– add the salt
– in another larger bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sour cream, butter and vanilla
– add the flour mixture and fold in
– add the blueberries and lemon zest
– in a saucepan, heat some butter
– pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot skillet (generally 3 pancakes per pan)
– cook until bubbles begin to form and pop, around 1 1/2 minutes and then flip and cook for another minute (serve with bacon that has pepper and maple syrup on it)

I could not contain myself anymore and had to say “if my life every got to the point where I had no time for the odd TV show – I would know something had gone terribly wrong”

parenting is a tough gig…  and I for one would not have wanted to do it without the help of ‘the Simpsons”…  #ittakesavillage … when the kids get home from school, ever since the age of Kindergarten, they have tuned into the Simpsons

the farmer and I have always felt that whatever we missed in teaching the children about life would be covered in the hundreds of Simpsons episodes they have viewed…

I was totally with him, the boasting, the ‘one-upping’… I was fine with it all… maybe this is how he chats when he gets nervous or maybe he doesn’t have access to Facebook... 

but when he said his family had no use for a TELEVISION…  he lost all credibility to me… 

instinctually I just can’t trust someone that hates TV…  what has TV ever done to you?  other than entertain you?

worst part is – we live in Saskatchewan!!!  and unless you are at your cabin – it is not overly interesting to be outside…  its not like you are in the mountains of BC…

two questions to ask someone when I meet them

1 – do you love TV?

2 – how do you feel about hugging?

only two things I need to know about someone

matcha raspberry sponge roll cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

– 1 cup sifted cake flour

– 2 tbsp matcha

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

– 1 cup sugar, divided

– 1 tsp vanilla

– icing sugar for dusting

Raspberry Cream Filling:

– 1 cup raspberry jam

– 8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature

– 4 tbsp icing sugar

– 1 pkg raspberries, plus more for garnishing

Directions:

– preheat oven to 375 degrees

– lightly grease a half sheet pan (18”x13”) with baking spray, line with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper with baking spray

– sift the cake flour, matcha and salt together

– in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites

– whisk on high speed until light and foamy

– sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk till medium peaks

– transfer to a clean mixing bowl

– wipe the stand mixer bowl down and add the egg yolks

– whisk until light yellow

– add 1/2 cup sugar

– fold together with egg whites – try not to lose the volume

– sprinkle over the flour mixture and fold together

– pour into the prepared baking sheet

– bake for 10-12 minutes

– dust a clean linen towel with icing sugar

– while warm, turn the cake out onto the linen towel

– remove parchment and roll up

– cool on a wire rack

– for the filling – whip the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth

– add the raspberries

– unroll the cake and spread with raspberry jam

– spread the cream cheese over

– roll up again without the linen towel

– wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the fridge

– dust the cake with icing sugar

– slice into pieces and serve with raspberries

meatloaf & potatoes

“modern love is the enterprise that everyone wants to be a part of, yet there’s a fifty percent divorce rate in round one and a sixty-five percent divorce rate in round two.” (Esther Perel)

I was sick of listening to my normal podcasts that deal with running and vulnerability…  so I ventured out of my comfort zone to listen to some discussing relationships… and I was not disappointed…  if you have not heard of Esther Perel – give her a quick YouTube  – and you will be intrigued to say the least…

“it’s our imagination that’s responsible for love, not the other person” (Esther Perel) … this is what I was listening to while peeling potatoes… full disclosure – I was imagining I was in prison and assigned to peel potatoes…  not even a normal prison – I was imagining I was in the prison that the Apple Dumpling Gang were in… I’m assuming she wants me to imagine something better than prison to keep love alive…

the farmer and I are approaching our 20th wedding anniversary this December… I can distinctly remember 21 years ago thinking to myself – ‘there is nooooooo way I can actually be in love with him and desire him for longer than a year – tops” 

I thought this even though I had great examples of long lasting love in my life, mainly in the form of my parents… I still had a nagging feeling they might be faking it because they knew they had to stay married…  I was under the impression everyone had their fun days while dating and then thought that wasn’t sustainable so they got married and signed the contract and became business partners and had children…

for instance – the farmer knew full well that he needed himself a wife and that is why he went to College – sure, he played hockey and took classes he has no memory of… but the main focus was ‘wife-hunting’…  business transaction… he needed help on the farm…  it was either College or an ad in the Western Producer…

“For erotically intelligent couples (her words not mine – but I plan on using this term in front of my children), love is a vessel that contains both security and adventure, and commitment offers one of the great luxuries in life: time. Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning. They know that they have years in which to deepen their connection, to experiment, to regress, and even to fail. They see their relationship as something alive and ongoing, not a fate.  It’s a story that they are writing together, one with many chapters, and neither partner knows how it will end.  There’s always a place they haven’t gone yet, always something about the other still to be discovered.”  (Esther Perel)

quinoa cabbage salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
– 1 cup quinoa, cooked
– 2 cups grated carrots
– 2 cups spiralized purple cabbage
– 3 green onions, sliced
– 1 cup packed mint leaves, chopped
– 1 cup packed basil leaves, chopped (optional)
– 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
– 1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Dressing:
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
– lime zest from one lime
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp fish sauce

Directions:
– cook quinoa (1 1/2 cups water with 1 cup quinoa, bring to boil, turn heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes)
– in a glass jar, mix and shake dressing ingredients
– in a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients except for the peanuts
– add the dressing and toss
– sprinkle the peanuts on top to serve
– this salad stays fresh in the fridge for a few days

her ideas on the luxury of time and how imagination in a long relationship/marriage is the key really had me thinking… as I was peeling potatoes and slicing onions…

in the course of the 20 years so far with the farmer it has felt like we have had perhaps two or more marriages…  with the same person… we are so different now than when we started…

Instant Pot Whipped Potatoes

Ingredients:

– 5 lbs red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into even sizes

– 1-2 cups water

– 1/4 cup butter

– 4 oz cream cheese

– 1/2 cup half-and-half (or whole milk)

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1 tsp garlic powder

– freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

– put trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot

– lay cut, peeled potatoes in it

– add water

– set to Manual for 8 minutes

– when done, pour into a strainer in the sink

– in a standing mixer bowl, add the butter, cream cheese and milk

– add the strained, cooked potatoes

– sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

– mix until smooth

– pour into a greased baking dish

– bake in oven, covered, for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

and I can only imagine that we will be different people again in ten years, twenty years…  so perhaps that is where the magic is…  the comfort of the past 20 years but the knowledge and excitement that we don’t know who we will be in the future and getting to know each other as we grow (hopefully metaphorically) and change…

“Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery” (Esther Perel)

there is so much to learn about ourselves and the relationships we are in…  which brings me to how excited I get when learning something new and how I need to quickly phone the farmer and let him know what I’m learning…

meatloaf

Ingredients:
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 cups chopped white or spanish onion
– 2 cups small-diced celery
– 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
– 1 1/2 lbs ground pork
– 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
– 1 tsp ground thyme
– 1 tbsp kosher salt
– ground black pepper
– 3 large eggs
– 2/3 cup whole milk
– 2 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
– bbq sauce for topping (good quality)

Directions:
– preheat oven to 350 degrees
– in a large saute pan, heat olive oil and cook onion and celery for 5 minutes until soft
– place the remainder of the ingredients in a large bowl and combine
– add the onion and celery and combine everything
– press into 2 loaf pans
– top with bbq sauce
– cook for 45 minutes or until the middle of the loaf is done

I’m not sure why he doesn’t realize that a phone call from me is optional to pick up on…  you would think he should know this by now…  I will phone him to let him know that my toenail hurts, or that I cut the lawn, or that I think the dragon that just died in Game of Thrones might not really be dead… totally optional conversations… yet he still picks the phone up even while completely busy filling a seeder…

so this afternoon when I excitedly phone him and begin the conversation with “hey – so I’m peeling potatoes and listening to a podcast on sex that says I need to use my imagination more”...  and he interrupts my thoughts with “you are on speakerphone”… 

I wonder why, after 20 years, he doesn’t understand that I don’t want to be on speakerphone…  phone conversations were made to be between two people… not two people and three guys in your truck…

I lie… it was just one person in his truck…  unfortunately this was not the first time I have done something inappropriate in front of this poor man…  around 12 years ago I sent the same man explicit sticky-note messages in his supper meal (the meal was of course intended for the farmer)… 

mistakes will be made in the attempts to keep a marriage alive and not turn into a business arrangement…  and failures and loss and hardships and grief and loss of trust and figuring yourself out as well…

but it was so good today to hear a reminder that love and mystery and desire all can happen in a marriage and that we don’t have to be perfect…  there is an ebb and flow to relationships… the relationship we have now looks far different than before…  (with the exception of making farm workers really uncomfortable)

now, to imagine something better than prison… (unless that is your ultimate fantasy)

orange cookie cake

Ingredients:

Cookie Crust:

– 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cut into small cubes

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Filling:

– 3/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

– 4 large eggs

– zest and juice of 4 oranges (around 1 cup of juice)

– icing sugar for dusting

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– grease 9×13 pan

– stir together flour, sugar and salt

– add the butter and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter in

– when it resembles small crumbs, pour into prepared baking dish and press firmly down

– bake for 20 minutes

– for the filling, stir the ingredients in a bowl

– pour over the crust and bake again until filling is set, about 20 more minutes

– allow to cool for a minimum of 2 hours, then sift the icing sugar over the top

– cut into 16 pieces

feeling the love

I prefer to do things for other people than have them done for me…  with the exception of the farmer…  he can keep doing things for me and I have no guilt associated with that…

so when my friends threw a party for my 40th birthday it was pretty overwhelming…  you always hope your friends like you – that they aren’t just tolerating you and then chatting about how awful you are when you leave the room…  and at my party yesterday I truly felt loved… really loved… and it was amazing

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the party as my three children and husband all decided to shower before they left to go to church and left me to 2 inches of lukewarm water to bathe in…  just to give you a full mental image, as I was trying to wash my hair in the few inches of water in the tub, I threw my neck out…  I then started to cry – whimper really – and then cursed my family on their way to church and thought that 40 is not so great… I eventually pulled myself together in time to head out…

first off, you know you are 40 when you go to yoga on a Sunday at 2 pm to celebrate!!!  this is at the Hotroom in Kindersley, SK and in my humble opinion the best hot yoga studio in the world…  Michelle did an amazing job with us – starting with couple yoga that had me mounting my friend Mandy (any chance I get to mount her I take it), then into some flow style of yoga and then wall Yin and stretching – my favourite…

moments like this remind me of how lucky I am to have known these friends of mine for over 20 years now and raised children with them, cried with them, cheered with them and gone through life with them… (and also the friends in my life not pictured here as well)

I realized that the friendships I have been fortunate enough to be have been able to form in this small community have really sustained me and brought me through many ups and downs on the farm here…

when I moved out to rural Saskatchewan to start a life with the farmer, I didn’t really know what it would be like in a tiny little community…  and I feel like I struck GOLD with the community I moved into… everyone here truly cares for each other and each other’s kids…

it is a safe place to raise a family, with lots of support and encouragement…  there is an attitude of hard work and respect that permeates life in this farming community…

so when my friends took the time, during a busy seeding season, to take me to yoga and have a potluck meal with presents – it just floored me…

broccoli cashew salad

Ingredients:
– Dressing:
– 1 cup mayonnaise
– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
– 2 cloves garlic, minced finely (optional)
– 1 tsp granulated sugar
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– cracked black pepper
– Salad:
– 2 large heads of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
– 1 pkg cooked bacon, chopped
– 1/2 cup chopped, roasted cashews
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries
– 1/4 cup diced red onion
– 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:
– place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together
– mix salad ingredients with the dressing
– refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving
– keeps really well in the fridge

one of the things I have been noticing as I age is that the friendships I have in this small town continue to bring wisdom, strength and encouragement into my life…  women here challenge each other to keep improving themselves and growing…

I wasn’t sure I’d like a small farming community – I liked cities and the anonymity that goes with city life…  I really didn’t want everyone to know my business all the time (although I’m not sure exactly what I was hiding… the fact that I like to watch Netflix and eat chips and dip???)

but I have grown to love it and when I get home after a long weekend away, I love driving on the lonely back roads to our farm and knowing who lives in each house as I go by… as the fields and sky stretch on and on… and I feel like “I am home”…

it isn’t a tourist destination spot – that is for sure – unless you are a hunter I suppose…  but for me it’s home…  it is where my friends and I have all built our lives together… it is where we have prayed for rain and celebrated rain… it is the people here in this tiny community that make it beautiful…

tuna casserole

Ingredients:

– 12 oz egg noodles

– 4 tbsp butter

– 1 med onion, diced

– 6 oz button mushrooms, chopped

– 1/4 cup flour

– 1/2 cup white wine

– 3 cups warm milk

– salt and pepper

– 3 cans tuna in water, drained

– 1 red bell pepper, chopped

– 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

– shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

– 4 tbsp butter, melted

– 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

– preheat oven to 400 degrees

– boil noodles, till al dente, then drain and place in large mixing bowl

– in a saucepan, melt butter and saute the onion and mushrooms

– sprinkle with flour and stir

– add the white wine and cook down

– add the milk and salt and pepper and cook down

– add this sauce to the noodles

– add the tuna, red bell pepper and parsley to the noodles and sauce

– pour into a 9×13 pan sprayed with baking spray

– sprinkle with shredded cheese (optional)

– combine butter and breadcrumbs

– sprinkle over the noodles

– bake for 25-30 minutes

so I am feeling all the love today and I hope to keep that love going and support others in their farming, small town life journeys…

thank you Facebook memories

“if it matters to you… my babe it matters to me… I’ll go where you’re going… I’ll keep on holding… I’m going to give you my all…  I’m going to give you my all”

the older I get the more sentimental I become…  and Facebook apparently knows how to play me…  like a fiddle…  or a piano… really any instrument that you tinkle or fiddle with…

these memories pop up on your feed in the morning…  it says something like ‘7 years ago’ and all of a sudden you are crying and living in the past and trying to hug your teenage kids while they are eating cereal…

I actually want to thank Facebook… if it weren’t for these memories popping up I can’t imagine what a terrible mom I would be… angry, bitter, tired… but Facebook reminds us why we are in this parenting battle…

it reminds us that we somehow survived raising tiny little children and this fills us with confidence that the teenage years will not defeat us…

my parents used to have to set up an elaborate slide show to see their memories…  they would get a white sheet out and pin it up on a wall, set up the projector and after 4 hours of getting ready we would slowly look through their memories…  even though they were so grainy you could not really see what was going on…

now I get a slide show every morning…  reliving the broken bones, sporting highlights, camping, hunting, vacationing…

and darn you Facebook, I was going to scream at my boys this morning for leaving their towels and underwear on the floor of the bathroom but I just saw a picture of them when they were just learning how to go ‘poo-poo on the potty’ and suddenly I feel like they have come such a long way how on earth can I get mad about a towel on the floor???  at least they went #2 in the toilet… no, they didn’t flush it… but the Facebook memory has me thinking that perhaps they still like to show me that they went on the potty…

I have a few friends this year that have their kids graduating…  in fact, a friend and I just had tears at the rink last night trying to discuss it…

life suddenly hit me that I hardly have any years left with my oldest boy…  and then he’ll be gone and never talk to me again in his whole life…

what I had to tell him the other day was that he has been my best buddy for 15 years now...  I’ve experienced every first with him…  every new thing we did as a family was with him…  every mistake, success, trip, sport… it all has been going through it with him…

the problem is I suddenly want to hang out with him more than ever as I feel time ticking by… but he is a teenager… and if you know anything about teenagers, they are rather difficult to hang out with…

everything is an argument… he disagrees with every single statement or comment I make, almost before I open my mouth…

so I feel like the farmer and I are caught in this weird role of wanting to cherish our time with him as he soon will leave our home, yet hating every moment of our time with him… like fingernails on a chalkboard…

I believe this is what Yogi’s call the ‘Yin and the Yang’

this is where the role of grandparents is so crucial during the teenage years…  it is a way to feel like a family member at least cares about the teenager’s life, but you as a parent don’t actually have to be right there you can be on vacation in Mexico and still feel like you are taking care of your kids because the grandparents are…

the one thing the farmer and I have realized over the years of raising our three kids is that we will never regret being involved in their lives, caring about what they care about and watching them succeed and fail at these endeavours…

I recently heard that to be a  healthy person you should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night…  this is obviously written by a retired person…

as Facebook keeps taking me back to all the memories of the past years, I think to myself ‘I am so glad I got to see that’…  it does seem exhausting when you get the kids schedules all put onto your calendar…

my advice is to make sure you post it all on Facebook (even when you lose or your kid does not do well at something), because 7 years down he road you will want that memory to pop up on your phone…  (some people need less encouragement to post on Facebook than others)

you will want to see the look on your child’s face when they won a tournament or lost a football game in the snow…

or better yet, what I have found is there is generally one mom on the team your child is on that has begun to dabble in photography… so you just encourage her to pursue her dreams of photographic journalism, meanwhile get her to post pictures on Facebook and tag yourself in them…

I watched this year as two moms hugged each other after the last football game… it was both of their second boys, so they had been watching football for quite a few years now and I saw the way they cried and held each other and could feel the sense of disbelief that it was all over…

what an important lesson for me to learn –  to appreciate watching my kids play sports and soak it up because it does end at some point…

of course there is always a new chapter, a new adventure, a new team… but that season of their life is over with…  and now it is a memory… hopefully a Facebook memory so you don’t forget it… 

the farmer told me last night that he realized a few years ago that each of our kids is different…  and they all are skilled in some areas and need work in some areas… and it really had nothing to do with him or I as parents… they are who they are… for a reason and a purpose…

and it is our job to discipline, instruct, guide, love and take care of them during this part of their journey…

(ok – full disclosure the farmer only said the first part of that… I kinda added to it)

so every Halloween, Christmas, vacation, sporting event, hunting, camping, broken bones and first day of school… take a picture… post it… and then let your Facebook memories help you love your kids

the kitchen island

the kitchen island…  breakfast, after school snack, homework and supper all revolve around it and it has been privy to many a good discussion…

the latest involved some deep insights from a 15 year old teenage boy…  he was telling his mother how he saw her… and it was hard for the kitchen island to hear…

you have to understand – this island has seen it all…  the early mornings where this mother has provided bacon, smoothies, oatmeal, chia seed/hemp heart muesli, teff seed pancakes and almond butter bananas…

the island has seen the after school muffins, cookies and buns….

it has witnessed suppers full of laughs and math competitions and steak and noodles…

so it has a bit of a soft spot for the mother…  it has been there for the preparation and aftermath of every meal and has seen the mother listening to her podcasts… elbow deep in the sink scrubbing the burnt pieces of egg off of the pan…

the island watches as groceries are set down beside it and slowly designated to the areas that they belong…

it feels the food fall on to it and then as everyone leaves it feels the sudsy, warm cloth held by the mother scrubbing and gathering the crumbs….

the kitchen island will always believe that the mother is in the right…

but this day… this after school conversation… the boy has actually spoken some truth to the mother….

this day had involved an angry phone call from the boy to his mother… he screamed at her on the phone and she hung up and cried…

the tears fell onto the kitchen island…

when he got home from school…  the mother was sitting beside the island with her tea and asked her boy to sit and chat….

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the island knew she was at her breaking point with this child…  she was hurt and angry…

and then he said, “you make me feel bad about myself…  you make it seem like my school work is not as hard as what you did and yet you expect me to do well… you are condescending about my workouts and make your workouts seem way harder…”

the island cringed as the mother replied “well someone learnt a new word….”  (it was intended as a joke but didn’t go over very well)

the truth is… the mother needed to hear this…  even though the island knew she was being manipulated ever so slightly by the teenage son….

he kept going and told the mother that he had gone through some rough days at school lately and totally took it out on her…. but also pointed out that when she went through rough times she tended to take it out on either her children or husband…

this is what the island knows – we have to let go of our frustrations….  and that is what loved ones are for…. you should never feel more loved than when someone is letting go of every frustration on you… it means you are the closest love they have in their life… 

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the island could tell the mother was upset…  and humbled… it was the truth…  she had a way about her that was giving but with so many strings attached … do this, be this, accomplish this and succeed at this…

guess what… the old kitchen island got to witness something truly transformational that day… the mother told her son she was proud of him, loved him and was completely confident that his future was bright and full of possibilities… 

it’s a shame kitchen islands are not capable of writing…. oh the stories they would be able to tell…  there are tears, triumphs, laughter, studying, writing, planning, Amazon packages, potlucks, parties, decorations, water bottles… the list is endless…

they know a family perhaps better than the family knows itself…

lately this mother has been insisting on meals at the island, not in front of the TV….  mostly because she values what the island is more than she values the TV….

the island is therapy….  more time spent with it the healthier your family will be…



coconut curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basamti rice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced or spiralized
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced or spiralized
  • 4 cups broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced or spiralized
  • 6 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • juice of 3 limes
  • lime zest
  • 1 1/2 cups grated coconut
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can coconut cream
  • 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Directions:

  • cook rice according to directions
  • prep all the veggies
  • in a wok or large saute pan, heat oil and add onions
  • add garlic and jalapeño
  • one at a time, add carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini
  • add spices and lime zest and juice
  • add coconut, water and coconut cream
  • serve curry over the rice and top with cilantro and a lime wedge

breakfast is a party 

the farmer has been coaching high school football for officially 15 years now…  he was recalling last night the first play book he wrote up…  it was early August, I was pregnant and driving home from a visit to my brother in Lethbridge…

he took a pen out and started dreaming up offensive schemes…  he was wondering exactly how many ideas he’s had over the years…  not all good but every year improving… and every year thoroughly enjoying the boys he has coached…

at the school our kids attend, there is an awards night in June and you receive a letter in the mail telling you if your child is getting an award – so you will attend…

no letter in the Kelly mail… but this did not deter my boys from believing there was an outside chance they were receiving an award…  (unreliable postal system apparently)


my oldest came home just so upset he didn’t win the junior basketball award…  (even though, like I said, he knew going in that he was not receiving an award… still upset)

my other boy was upset too… in general… at everyone…

awards are a funny thing… the farmer has been giving them out for football and hockey for years so I have seen the process a coach (or teacher) goes through to hand awards out…

and the farmer would tell you he thinks they are pointless…

I disagree… I think they are necessary – not for the winners, but to motivate the losers.… this is coming from a viewpoint I had growing up of always getting snubbed at awards ceremonies…

always a bridesmaid, never a bride…  that was me at award’s night…  in fact, I know my parents had at least two fake medals made up for me…  eased the sting momentarily – but I did have this motivating anger as I grew up… all thanks to awards night…

I could always get the academic honour roll….  but anything that included someone judging my personality didn’t go over well…  and it caused me to develop a rather large chip on my shoulder…  me against the world attitude….

that actually has served me quite well in my 20’s and 30’s… it has made me resilient and helped me persevere

so my take on awards?  keep them going…  if for no other reason than to make kids mad and motivate them to work harder, improve their personalities and let them know that disappointments are ok…

June is not only filled with awards and field trips… it is the last few precious weeks I can wake up, make breakfast, pack lunches and send my dearly beloved, underachieving children off to school for the day…  AWAY FROM ME FOR 7 GLORIOUS HOURS…

it rained this week and the farmer was around for breakfast and was shocked at the atmosphere and food…

he thought is was quite the ‘celebratory party’ going on… and I told him it was..

pure joy knowing that I can give them a healthy breakfast and lunch and then say goodbye for hours that I have to myself to workout, cook, clean, do bookwork and yard work…  all by MYSELF…

this morning it was a delicious egg and kale muffin inspired by the local kale at the store that the hutterites grew…

and it was a quick ‘see ya later – be kind’ wave as I skipped around to clean out the dishwasher and make some buns… in solitude

for a few more days…

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frittata muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 9 eggs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 cups loosely packed and chopped kale, stems removed
  • fine sea salt

Directions:

  • in a large bowl, whisk eggs, cheese, yogurt and pepper
  • in a saucepan heat oil and add onion and red pepper
  • when soft, transfer to egg mixture
  • in the same pan, cook the kale, around 3 minutes
  • add the kale to the egg mixture
  • place foil muffin cups in muffin pan and spoon the mixture into the cups
  • sprinkle with salt
  • bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes
  • serve with hot sauce!

honestly, I love you

I recently let the farmer down…  18 Valentines into our relationship and I am still wounding and disappointing him…

finding myself in a situation where all I want from the person I love most in this whole world is for them to forgive me…  and believe in me… and know I’ll do better next time...

I took a walk down memory lane last night and got out my shoe boxes that contained piles of pictures and film…  yes film…  and realized I was taking selfies long before it was a thing

I wish so much I could talk to my younger self and tell her a few things about love…  but not sure I would believe myself…

 looking back at these pictures of when we met in college I’m not sure I would have ever believed that we could fight…

all I knew then about love was that he drove a black Ford F150 and I enjoyed going for rides in it….  how hard could this love thing be?

when you only take 6 months of dating to get engaged and then another 6 months to get married, there is not much time to think about the fact that you might not always see eye to eye on everything…

I found falling in love very easy…

the thing about farmers is, they have a plan for their lives….  they have land, a house and can look at you and say ‘this is where we will live our whole lives’

they can see the curve of their life in front of them more clearly than most

I had just turned 20 and had no idea what was going on… other than I knew what love felt like…

love was a feeling… love never hurts…  it never lies and it always puts the other’s interests ahead of your own…  love was easy…  bring on the next challenge…

in the first year of our marriage we fought….  after our first fight I was devastated…  I thought to myself that perhaps we had jumped the gun on getting married and we should have dated longer…

I had never once seen my parents fight… not like this…

this was the cost of my parents ‘good parenting’…  I had no idea that two human beings who loved each other could also disagree…  loudly…

the farmer had punched a hole through a door and I had just told him I hated him…

I was sure our elderly neighbours had heard the whole ordeal and were saying to themselves ‘I knew they were too young to get married’

part of the problem was that when we met, I told myself that I finally found a guy that would never lie to me…  I literally wrote that in my journal…

‘he is so amazing…  he is truthful…  everything about him is honest…  he will never hurt me…  he will never lie to me’

(side note – I wrote nothing of what I intended on doing in the relationship)

every movie I had ever seen involved two people falling in love and getting married…  but the movie always quits as they left on their honeymoon…  I wasn’t really sure what happens next… (although apparently 50 Shades of Grey just keeps going with movie after movie)

I assumed true love was conflict free

I was never told that marriage was the meeting of two flawed individuals, attempting to meet each other’s needs…  without truly knowing who we are or who the other person is…

during this bumpy first few years we decided to add children to the mix…  and at age 22 I was pregnant…

the farmer was working all sorts of different jobs because farming was so poor then…  he worked at a pig barn, was the town garbage man, drove vac truck and basically picked up work anywhere he could…

I was good at talking and the farmer was good at working…  and what we didn’t know about our relationship was that our goal should have been to enhance and increase the admirable characteristics in the other… with kindness…

instead we tended to to turn it into a competition…  keeping track of who was contributing the most, working the hardest and definitely keeping track of the disappointments and failures...  forgiveness seemed like it was just letting the other person off the hook… saying ‘go ahead and hurt me again’…

instead of trying to learn about ourselves, we would shame and wound each other when we failed…

we gave each other no time to explain our imperfections and even if we had I’m not sure we could have accepted that the fairy tale character we married wasn’t really who that person is…

(it might have been a sign that I wasn’t open to hearing about the farmer’s imperfections when the wedding song I chose was ‘you say it best, when you say nothing at all’)

I didn’t want to tell him that I was not happy being a mom…  I was jealous of him being able to leave and go to work every day…

he didn’t want to tell me that he was depressed…  and even though to the outside world he probably seemed like he was doing fine, he had no joy…

good Lord we couldn’t even tell each other the truth about our clothing choices!!!

around five years ago it all came to a grinding halt…

my biggest marriage advice would be – I hope that one or both of you come to the end of yourself and are forced to be wildly honest with the other person about the deepest, darkest parts of you…  

before too much damage is done to your relationship and family…

and that then you will get to experience what I have been able to experience for the last five years…  getting to know the love of my life and my best friend on as honest of a level as we are capable of…  every year more honest than the last… 

this is my dream for my children…  to find someone they can share their life with… their whole life – the insecurities, the short-comings, the triumphs and the laughter…

my new definition of love…  true love will hurt you more than you ever would imagine it could…  it will tear your heart out and stomp on it…

you cannot put limits on your love… you have to dive into it and stay…

compatibility is an achievement of love, not a pre-cursorthe more you learn about the person you wanted to kiss, the more potential there is to have the deepest levels of love with them…  

 this is love…  love is forgiving the other when they sin…  every time… and being kind to them…  generous with our empathy…

there is no better feeling than when someone offers you complete forgiveness…

love is being strong in our commitment to helping the other become who they were created to be…

love is found in the small, mundane chores of the everyday…  that we do over and over to show our partner that no matter what, we will be here, loving them, forgiving them and laughing with them…