Monday, December 28, 2009

Sometimes, Food Really Is the Same as Love

My great-great Grandmother Schneider emigrated from Germany to America
over one hundred years ago.

Like all immigrants, she didn't carry much with her
but the clothes on her back
and the information in her head.


In the Schneider family, winter meant sugar cookies.
The recipe traveled from Germany with my great-great Grandmother.
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Family legend holds that my great-Grandmother discovered
that the children ate more of these sugar cookies when she frosted and decorated them.
(And being German, we very much want the children to EAT.)
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My Nana learned that children will help bake and decorate the cookies
if doing so was a condition for getting to eat them
(Or, famously, "If you don't help, you don't eat.")
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My father learned that if one disregards the called-for amount of vanilla
and instead just pours in a whole darn bottle,
the cookies are much richer and tastier.
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I learned that if one replaces the called-for margarine with
(probably the originally called-for) real butter, the result is richer and tastier still.
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In 2009, are these cookies different from the day they made the trip over from Germany?
Sure.
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Are they that much more delicious?
Absolutely.
For all their changes and embellishments,
these are, more than ever,
the Schneider family cookies.
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Very much different from the original
for the frosting, vanilla, and real butter, yes,
but they are ten times that rich
for the generations of love and care that was poured into making them.
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Personally, I can't imagine any way to make these cookies any more delectable.

But I'll guarantee you that my boys will -
and this is only the beginning.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sometimes You Just Need a Little Recharge

Rami is our snuggler.

He plays along with the best of them -
rough-and-tumbling his way all through the house
right along with his big brother -
but every few minutes,
he'll head over to Abba or Ima
and lay his head on a shoulder
for a little recharge of love.
Tired boy


There's no particular reason that,
at that moment,
he's in need of a snuggle.
But it fixes him right up
and off he goes again
to make some more mischief.
(That is, until the next recharge.)
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Even though it doesn't happen as often as every few minutes for grownups,
I think we are all in need of a recharge sometimes.
Winter break has been a chance for me to spend more quality time with the boys.
I've also been suffering through an acute bout of writer's block.
(And photographer's...something-or-other.)

But we've still been taking photos
and making magic.

So stay tuned for stories from all our December adventures...
as soon as we're all finished recharging.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby Shoes

On Friday,

after a beautiful morning
of rough-and-tumble playing with Rami,
I noticed that
his shoes have holes in the toes.
We need some new shoes.

These shoes do not belong to him alone,
they first belonged to his brother.

We first put them on each of the boys
in order to ensure that their socks stayed on.
As my grandmother, Gram, cradled a two-month-old Asher,
she taught me,
"If you keep their feet warm, honey,
that'll go a long way."
(That is the wisest piece of parenting advice I've ever received.)

So on the shoes went, keeping two sets of toes (my absolute favorite baby part, hands down) toasty warm.
Later, their tops were mercilessly dragged along the ground
by not one, but two, expert crawlers.
The soles were the next to be worn out by two sets of first steps,
not much farther than a year apart.

And now, as Rami becomes an expert walker,
gaining speed daily,
learning to stop, pivot, restart,
relying less and less on couches, tables, and our legs to anchor him,
these soft-soled baby shoes have walked their last steps.

I can't really explain
why I've devoted an entire blog post to these well-worn scraps of leather.

It's just that...
They kept those precious toes warm and safe
for the better part of two years.
A daily part of the boys' babyhood has now left us.
And I didn't even see it coming.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Does Asher Have a Future in Coaching?

A recent walking training session with Rami:

video

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