A family of six and their fearless journey through life, love and the pursuit of all things yummy

Fear #4 – Being a Rotten Parent May 10, 2012

Filed under: Fear Factor — Brandi @ 1:33 pm
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I read a great parental nugget in a book once….once, sometime, a long time ago, when I had time to read…anyway, the gist was this; you think you’re a great person until you have children

It’s one of those mornings that emotionally brings you to your parental knees. You say and do things that you had once told yourself, “I’ll NEVER be like that. I’ll NEVER say that.” And then it’s flying out of your mouth and you just want to put a hook in it and reel it in. You know you’re giving your kids something to tell their therapist. Ugh…

Someone please tell me the way to happy-healthy-simpatico-joie-de-vive-balanced-well-adjusted kids land. The thing that’s comforting at times like this is that I know I’m not alone. Parents from the dawn of parenthood have felt like this and we all manage to survive. I don’t want to survive, I want to thrive.

So how do you transition from survival mom to “thrival” mom?


Quick Italian Bread…via the big kids!

Filed under: Food, Wine, and Nummies — Brandi @ 12:45 am
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Love this recipe from Emeril Lagasse. I cut down on the salt a tidge. It’s quick, tasty and hearty. Caius and Vi did an amazing job and they were so proud of themselves. Yummm…

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Italian Quick Bread

Dissolve your yeast in the warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Put your flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Put a well in the middle and add your yeast mix and the olive oil. Start pull the flour into the liquid in the middle with a sturdy plastic spoon. Once the liquid is absorbed, flour your counter and put the dough onto the flour and let it sit for about 3 minutes to allow the flour to absorb any remaining liquid.

Begin kneading your dough on a surface dusted with flour. Add flour if your dough begins to stick to your hands. Knead for about 10-15 minutes. Put your dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size.

Deflate your dough. Throw down some flour and shape your dough into a long loaf with rounded ends. Place it on a greased cookie sheet or baking stone dusted with cornmeal. Cover with towel and let rise for about 45 minutes. Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Once your dough has risen, take a serrated knife and put cuts about a 1/2 inch deep going down the length of the bread. Make the cuts at an angle and use QUICK strokes and let the knife do the work. Beat an egg white in a bowl and brush the white onto your bread. Place bread in the oven and bake until it’s a deep golden brown. Yummmmm! Now look at you go!


Fear #3 – Dyslexia May 2, 2012

Filed under: Caius,Fear Factor — Brandi @ 1:47 am
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I had my preconceived notions of what dyslexia entailed. Like most people, I thought that dyslexia caused people to flip-flop their numbers and letters. Until I married my husband, Lonnie, I never really understood how much dyslexia affected almost every aspect of a person’s life.

Now, I DON’T have dyslexia, but my husband and my step-son, Caius, have it. It tends to be hereditary and tends to run from father to son. When my husband and I introduced each other to our children (I had Violet in a previous marriage), I noticed almost immediately that Caius was different from most children. He was 8 months older than Violet, yet his understanding of spatial relations, social queues and especially being able to multi-task and follow more than three instructions at any given time was virtually impossible. I would watch Caius attempt to communicate with Violet and their friends and see him struggle with accessing common words. Let me explain. He would try and tell a funny story or something he saw in a movie and it would end up like this; “So this guy in the movie, he…….uh……would……uh……take his car to…….uh…..” and this would go on for as long as the child had the patience to stick around and try to decipher his story.

Pain, pain, pain. It was pain for me to watch and it hurt me so much to see such a fantastic, sensitive and fun kid go through torture just to explain how his day was at school. This was not normal. Not at all. My anxiety began to rise, but my husband took the initiative to take Caius to various doctor’s and surprise, surprise, Caius was diagnosed with dyslexia.

What did that mean? What did that mean for his education and what kind of work was involved to help him? I was terrified. I wasn’t sure how to handle it and like all good folks, I Googled it. I discovered that dyslexia affects the part of the brain that controls language. So sequencing, spelling, differentiating sounds and letters, and following more than one instruction at a time, is very, VERY difficult for a dyslexic. I became aware just how many of these symptoms affected Lonnie and how I had become so frustrated with his lack of organization and being able to follow more than two instructions at a time. Things started to make more sense in our house. I had two fellas that were struggling. Really struggling. I also had to come to terms with my own feelings about their disability. I didn’t want to become bitter, but I kept thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this. Did I?”

In the end, things began to look up. Caius received an I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) at school and Lonnie started seeing a psychologist with experience in dyslexia. It’s been a long, arduous journey, but my fear had subsided. I no longer feel frozen with fear over the fact that I cannot relate to their struggles. I no longer freeze up when their difficulty in getting things started and completed begin to take over their confidence. Mummy swings into action. I do my best to love, love, and love my boys some more.

Someone asked me if I would have changed my mind about marrying my husband if I would have known then what I know now. There were times over the last five years I may have said yes. But you can’t grow without the struggle. It sounds SOOOOO cheesy, but it’s true. I am, by nature, a very impatient person, but through this process and helping and supporting my men, it’s caused me to stretch and change like some loosey goosey balloon. Adaptability. Resiliency. Optimism. I wouldn’t miss their journey for the world.


Violet’s First Art Show April 30, 2012

Filed under: Violet — Brandi @ 12:12 am
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It’s hard to not bust some buttons as a parent, especially when you’re kid’s art is selected for the school district’s art show. Violet said that the project was to take an image of their choice and design a layout similar to Australian Aboriginal art. I thought it turned out amazing. Now Violet is telling me she wants to learn how to use a welder so she can work with metal for sculpture. Of course.

“To bring out my inner self, feelings. My art always represents stuff. That’s why I do art.” – Violet, age 9….too groovy.



Travelling Light

Filed under: The Twins — Brandi @ 12:05 am
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I always want to pack these two along with me…ImageImage


When Privacy and Dignity Go Out the Window April 28, 2012

Filed under: The Twins — Brandi @ 1:43 am
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We’ve all heard those comedians do stand-up under the guise of, “You know you’re a BEEP when…” and they would fill in the beep with a  myriad of nouns. I became acutely aware today that I was a mother. That’s my beep – I’m a mother.

I stay at home with my three and a half-year old twins and there is truly never a dull moment. I realized I was a mother of twins when while trying to use the bathroom, I became over run by the girls with a tube of lip gloss in hand, demanding that I “put on sassy lips”. I just let out a sigh as I applied the goopy Wet ‘N Wild to puckered up faces. Sometimes it’s just easier to feed the frenzy before it eats you alive.

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I knew I was a mother of twins when at the grocery store, both girls were having a meltdown in the cart because we weren’t sticking around to ogle at the lobsters in the tank. I tried to pull away from the tank when one of the girls grabbed the display rack next to the tank and began dragging it with her. I was stopped by a crusty octogenarian in a furry hat and house dress. She leaned in to the girls, put a finger to her lips and shushed them. For a split second, I almost forgot how angry I was at the girls for making me look like a bad mother and geared up to bust up some old lady!

But for all the meltdowns, fights, tears and temper tantrums, I get the same amount of experiences from the other end of the spectrum.

I knew I was a mother when after cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast, Alberta came to me and said, “You clean Mommy?” I told her I was and she followed it up with, “Good job Mommy.”

I knew I was a mother when tucking them in after a really brutal day, and Beatrice put her hand on my face, rubbed it gently and said, “You soft. I love you.” I love being soft and loved.

There are so many moments throughout the day that I look at them and think, “Who are you little devils?” and not 30 seconds later, I’m being cuddled, adored and consoled by the perpetrators. There will never be another experience in life that can bring you such suffering and such unbridled joy as being a parent. And just when I’m a hair’s breath away from losing it, I think of the movie “Ice Age” and the poignant words from Sid the Sloth; “You’re in our herd now. Dignity has nothing to do with it.” And I’m okay with that.


The Good Stuff of Life April 21, 2012

Filed under: Food, Wine, and Nummies — Brandi @ 3:06 am
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Can life get any better? Homemade bread, homemade wine and a sweet girl named Violet!