Tuesday, May 13, 2014

this fabulous season ahead

It's Tuesday, the day after my last baby turned one. I was all prepared to be teary eyed and emotional for that momentous occasion, but life would not slow down for half a second to allow it. And that's probably a good thing... I have been dreading the feeling of "this is the LAST ---" fill-in-the-blank for the past few weeks. I organized Hayden's tub of clothes the other day and gulped back sobs - "this is the LAST time I will put away newborn clothes" - but then someone yelled from downstairs that Lily was having a meltdown and needed me, and the tears were kept at bay. My typically spunky four year old has been under the weather for a week, along with several siblings and myself, and life has consisted of endless nose wiping, appropriate-aged tylenol dosing, and lots and lots of snuggling and soothing. No time for contemplating seasons of life like child-bearing, that are suddenly changing and probably won't return.

So while I quickly shift topics here, lest I dissolve into a puddle of snot and tears on the keyboard, I will talk about this fabulous season ...

The thing about seasons is - I love each one of them. And depending on which season we are currently enjoying, I will always have a different answer for "what's your favorite one ?" .

If it's summer time, you can bet your bottom dollar I will say summer is my favorite. Cool sticky popsicles on a hot summer day, playing in the pool, driving to the beach, late summer nights when the sun doesn't set til ten, picnics on blankets at the park, endless evenings grilling hamburgers and hot dogs and vegetable shish-kabobs, bike rides and long walks and watermelon and corn on the cob and blackberries and peaches and running in the sprinkler and fourth of July fireworks and CAMPING !!! and s'mores and a million other things to enjoy - I love summer.

And I could say the same about fall, because when September rolls around, fall is my absolute favorite season. The changing leaves, the crisp cool nights, apple pies and pumpkin pies and cozy sweaters and woolly scarves, trick-or-treating and trips to the pumpkin patch, delicious soups simmering all day, Thanksgiving and family and roasted turkey and caramel apples and candy corn and GOURDS (for the love of gourds !!) and anything and everything to do with autumn - I love it all.

But come December I am completely renouncing my love for anything autumnal ... because winter is my favorite. Snowflakes and snowmen and bright cheery fires in the fireplace (is anyone else humming Olaf's song right about now ??) and mittens and crocheted caps, warm casseroles at the end of a blustery day, gingerbread and candy canes and hot cocoa, Christmas bazaars and Bing Crosby and holly and wreaths, singing carols around the piano and singing them again at church, jingle bells and sleigh rides and presents underneath the tree, stringing popcorn and decorating cookies and celebrating the birth of our incredible Savior, Christmas crackers and New Years resolutions and dark cold mornings under heavy colorful quilts, doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles...  well anyhow, you get the point. I love winter.

And then we get to spring...

... bright blue skies and big fluffy clouds and orchards and wild honey and bright red tomatoes and flowers and birds singing and bulbs bursting and longer days and warm breezes and kites flying and picnics and bike rides and baby lambs and roses and daffodils and STRAWBERRIES and dining al fresco and evening walks and lemonade stands and sleeping with the windows open and star gazing and dandelions and lawn mowers humming once again and Jim's Fruit Stand.

Yes, you read that right. Jim's Fruit Stand.

Corvallis's best kept little secret - or at least someone was keeping it from me all these years. Because until just a few weeks ago I was (tragically) buying either cruddy produce that had a shelf life of 1.5 days at best, or spending a fortune on the natural grocers store, where a large family could go broke on asparagus alone.

And then Sam decided to try to earn Jim's business (my husband does credit card processing if you're interested) and the clouds parted and the heavens opened, and lo and behold there was fruit. And vegetables. All organic and grown locally and priced lower than any store in town. 

Hello, spring.

Apparently the woman who runs Jim's goes to town once a week and checks all the produce prices at our stores... and then goes back to their place and marks everything lower.

Sam explained all of this to me a few weeks ago, and for some reason it took me that long to go check things out. After stocking our fridge full of fresh avocados, apples, tomatoes, carrots, beets, lettuce, and red potatoes ($3.50 for a fifteen pound bag !!!) and then enjoying all of that yumminess for the past week - at a fraction of the cost of organic produce in town - I can confidently say we are hooked.

And Belinda, if you're reading this, thank you for letting our small gaggle of children run happily through your aisles for half an hour. Miss Lily, especially- I'm pretty sure she ate 27 pretzels in the taste testing room....and probably double dipped each time.

Actually I think that's a lollipop she's holding in the photo above. So if the sweet onion pesto sample bowl tasted a little bit like sour raspberry after we left... blame it on my tenth child. The one with the sassy swing to her braids , who was cheerfully touching every bless-ed piece of produce in the store.

I gave each of my kids $1.50 in quarters- change I've been pilfering from Sam's pockets over the course of several months for such a time as this. I told them to pick whatever their little hearts desired - a juicy plum, a succulent box of strawberries, a tasty peach. The sky was the limit.

They scoured the aisles and searched each bin for that perfect piece of goodness... at one point Jackson came up to me with the sweetest look on his face, his dimple etched deeply in his freckle-splattered face. "Mama," he pleaded up at me, batting those mile-long eyelashes, "may we have a bit more change from the change jar in the van ? Please ??"

I should have suspected something when I noticed that dimple, but I was still drooling over a crate of avocados, imagining the wonderful guacamole that it would yield that afternoon. "Sure, sweetie," I smiled, and turned back to my bounty.

Five minutes later I saw six happy Ricelets devouring what looked to be ten pounds of GUMMI BEARS at the rate of thirteen per minute.

Jim aint no dummy. I think what he makes per gummy bear more than makes up for any loss on beets and asparagus, and if I heard correctly, my kids plopped down $18.50 in hard earned quarters for that bag of ... sugar.

One of my little angels tried to say something about them being "fruit colored" ... I guess I should have specified that their treats were to be healthy and organic before I doled out the cash.

Oh well, at least they saved a little leftover for this...


So anyway.... we had fun. And at least one little person made a smart choice when it came to picking out his prize....

Grammi and I were pleased us punch with our choices as well... we spent the afternoon baking beets and carrots and mashing avocados for guac, and for dinner I served a pile of homemade potato salad alongside our sandwiches. Yum.


.. .and now I am back home to finish this post ~ we just returned from our littlest one's first birthday party at the park and I am pooped. I'm not ashamed to admit that this old mom just doesn't have enough party in her to last past ten o'clock these days, and it's almost that time now.

I had a nice long paragraph in mind that was going to tie all the thoughts in this post together with a big lovely bow ... something along the lines of "life has its seasons too".... but I'll make it quick, as I'm fading fast.

There is a time for everything in life. A time to bear children and watch them grow, a time for first birthdays and first steps and first teeth... and a time for lasts as well. But just like the seasons of the year, each one of life's seasons hold treasures for us to enjoy... each season uniquely different and beautiful in its time.

I've lived through many seasons in my forty-six years and cherished them all - and I can't help but smile at the thought of the season that lies before me, the one that is yet to be explored : this fabulous season ahead.

God bless, and good night :)


crystalkupper said...

Good words, and fun photos. I miss Oregon so much.

Lori said...

Oh man…that fruit stand was amazing!!! And gummy bears made out of fruit…it doesn't get better than that!! Gotta get to Oregon!

Lori said...

…and caleb is jason"s twin!!

Amy P. said...

I try to name your children and I get so confused when I get to the boys. I get them all mixed up.

cara said...

What a fun day!!! Your kids remind me SO much of mine. They would have piled up a 10 pound bag of gummy bears as well, ha!

I hope you all are feeling better.

Getting emotional myself just reading about seasons. xoxo

Danielle said...

I LOVE the four pics of Hayden with his apple… and how much were the avocados??! I'm dying for a price break on those. Just paid $1.50 EACH!!!! at safeway because I'm almost out and I don't make it through whole30 with out avocados. But I"m going to go broke eating 1-2 per day at that price! So tell me! were they a good deal? I think they're 88 cents at Winco.

Grammi Faith said...

It sure was fun shopping at Jim's. Daddy and I used to pass it everyday when we camped at the KOA and were going to your home. We never stopped, often said we should. I wanted to buy tons of veggies and jars of goodies but that would have been impractical. Loved the treats we cooked up, the beets, potatoes, carrots and especially the guac. Love especially the picture of Hayden grinning where we can see his teeth poking thru. xxxxx