Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One year.

Today is the 19th of September. Tomorrow will mark one year since we found out our Rowan was sick.

I'm feeling pretty quiet and have found myself thinking more than normal about things. Reflecting more, I guess. I miss my boy kind of. I've got him here and he is wonderful, but I kind of miss the idea of him being a running, playing, talking little boy. I don't think about that much, because I love him like we have the same heart and I don't want to feel anything but joy for him and his life. But I went there a bit tonight.

I was wondering what that tuesday was like. How did it even go? It's hard to remember. The doctor told us- but then what? I cried. And then I think I shook my head a lot and said 'no- this isn't right' or something similar.

Then I remember it being night time and I was alone in Rowan's room. I sat in one chair. Then another. And nurses would come in through the night to see if I was ok. One told me I should sleep. But I was scared to sleep. I didn't want to give in to my devastation. I just wanted to figure it out. I was scared to fall asleep.

Today I'm not scared to sleep. That is a gift. He is a gift.

For one little soul to change so many others is really something. He must be here to change us... To help us.

Thank you, dear Rowan.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Erin's (attempt at) Hobbies- Canning

Earlier this Summer we decided to join Bluebird Farms and have been thrilled each Tuesday when we get our fresh vegetables. The day I signed us up for Bluebird Farms, I developed a healthy obsession with canning.
Canning is great for me for a couple of reasons; 1. If you know me at all, you know I've got a thing about running out of food. I live in a constant state of fear of running low which has resulted in weekly Sam's club visits, an extra freezer in our kitchen and a closet full of overage. I did not grow up without food, so I'm not too sure where this 'thing' came from, but I've got it. My name is Erin and I'm a borderline food hoarder. 2. I love working with the ingredients and making food for my family that is healthy and that hasn't been doused in pesticides. 3. I really enjoy giving away things I've canned.

Here are a couple of things I made a few weeks back:

This is an amazing Blackberry Port Jam I've made twice now. Recipe (as my memory allows) is below.

 I began by boiling my jars to sterilize them.
Steve loves Apple Butter- so Apple Butter he got. I had to push it through a sieve. My arms were super sore.

This is a picture of the Apple Butter cooking. Has a much richer color after all of the Fall ingredients were added.

I made a Fall Blend of Apple Butter and used Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Cloves, All Spice, and Maple Flavoring along with even more sugar.

I didn't need to add any pectin to this since I cooked the apples with peels and pressed everything through a sieve.

Finished Blackberry Port Jam

Finished Apple Butter.

Blackberry Port Jam:

5-6 Cups Whole Blackberries
1 Cup of a good, fruity Port
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 Cups sugar

Cook Blackberries in pot until they turn bright red and get nice and soft. (about a half hour to 45 minutes). Mash them with a potato masher to get the juices out and to break them up a bit. Add in your sugar, port, cloves (to taste... I like a bit more than Steve does) and cinnamon and cook for about another hour to combine all of the flavors and to make sure things have reduced down nicely. Add in your pectin packet and stir until dissolved.

Pour into pint jars leaving about 1/2 inch below the top. Seal and place in a hot water bath canner for about 10 minutes. Remove and cool on a dry towel listening for the pops. All of my jars popped pretty quickly.

Steve and I have really enjoyed this jam on toast as well as with pork chops. Steve reduces some of it down with some rosemary and other things and it's just great with a pork chop and some roasted veggies.

Apple Butter:

1 5lb. Bag of green apples
1 container of sugar-free applesauce
Good quality maple syrup (I used about a cup or two)
Sugar- about one cup for each cup of Apples
Brown Sugar

I wish I had a good description of how I made this.  Really, I just used an apple butter recipe from online- then added in whatever I thought would be tasty. I pretty much just dumped in ingredients and kept tasting it until it was sweet and tasted like Fall.
It was a hit.

I hot-water-bathed the apple butter for around 10 minutes, as well.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Rowan

Sweet Rowan,

I've been lucky to spend some good, quality time with you the past couple of weeks. Last weekend your Daddy took Lily to see River and Canyon and you stayed home with me. You helped me pick up a mattress for your sister's new bed, helped me put the bed together, and snuggled with me a lot.

I've also gotten to sleep with you a few times. At night when your dad is out in the living room, I bring you into my bed so we can snuggle. You're the best snuggler there is, my dear.

I've been thinking a lot about losing you lately. I've tried to remind myself to cherish the times when we are next to each other in bed- or when you fall asleep and I rock you instead of putting you down so I can do other things.  The past couple of times we were lying in bed together, I held you so close to me. I wanted you to feel all the joy you were bringing to me. 
I've found myself wanting to stay at home. I guess I want to soak up all my moments with you... just in case.  I know I need to be in the moment- and I try and succeed most days. Other days I feel your skin and your life. I listen to your voice and watch you suck on your hands. I smell you and I try to make you smile. You're so deeply loved...

You've gotten so strong the past couple of weeks, Rowan! We are so proud of you. You've gotten more vocal- and you're holding your head up like a champ. Your smile and your goofyness melts our hearts.

Today I just wanted you to know that you are a gift. You are a wonderful blessing to our family and we love you so very deeply.

Love, Mommy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Girls Trip!

A few weeks ago Lily and I went on a girls trip to Grandma Gretchen's and Grandpa Doug's house and lake cabin. Lily and I had a lovely time hanging out and seeing people we love at the lake.

Grandpa took Lily fishing...

I just love the look on my Dad's face!
Grandma Gretchen was there and Grandma and Grandpa GG came out, but for some reason I failed to snap adequate pictures of them.  Boo me.