Saturday, September 27, 2008


I got a haircut, a nap, and some good homemade food, and I'm ready to head back to the mountains. John and I went out for Cuban food tonight and drove around Richmond looking at the remnants of our former life, places we lived before we were a family of five. Back in the day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

run, sally, run

And then fall down and take a six hour nap in the middle of the day.

I've been out of sorts to say the least. John says that I'm always like this about three months after a baby. All my hair is falling out.

I'm exhausted. I'm at my mother's house, and it has been raining all day. Ruby and I went back to bed at ten this morning and woke up at four.

Ella is trying my very soul with her almost seven year old self, the noise and the strewing, the constant evaluation of what if fair and unfair.

Monday I'm going to go back with renewed vigor. And be a better mama. Promise.

Friday, September 19, 2008


daisy, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

We are headed to Bristol for the weekend for a music festival. I'll be slinging and strollering and changing diapers on the streets of Tenessee.

baker man

baker man, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

sick day

The first cold of the season has arrived, and Ella spent the day on the sofa, slightly dramatic in her silk kimono. John and I made lentil soup and baked french bread. By tonight she seemed her sassy self again with only a runny nose and an itchy throat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

brother rides

ride, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Monday, September 15, 2008

mama and ruby

mama and ruby, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

We all picked raspberries on sunday afternoon. We are still grasping at every little bit of summer, but the spiders and the goldenrod are hinting at cool weather ahead. We picked a gallon of berries. Late last night I made a cobbler to have for breakfast this morning and in lunchboxes.

I used that old simple ten dollar pudding recipe.

1 stick of melted butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
spoonful of vanilla
3 tsp baking powder
1 quart of fruit, heated

Mix up the batter, pour it into the pan, and then pour the fruit on top.
Bake at 350, 45 minutes to one hour. The recipe is just the right size for a pretty stoneware deep dish pie pan.

Ruby is starting to like riding face forward in her sling, sitting like a little Buddha. She didn't mind the raspberry picking as long at I kept her face out of the sun.

the gallon

the gallon, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

ruby june, three months old

ruby june, three months old, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

wooden flower

wooden flower, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


I put some bread in the oven at eleven fifteen tonight, and it takes about forty five minutes to bake. Oatmeal molasses bread made with the King Arthur white wheat flour.

I just spent some time looking at Three Sisters Toys. I got a pacifier clip and rattle for Miss Ruby, and I'm starting to thing about Christmas. Little John has been talking about "Hainta". I think I'm going to call Santa Hainta forever. That blue color for the ceilings of porches in the south is called Haint Blue.

Three Sisters is a beautiful little toystore. John and Ruby would like all their gifts from Hainta to come from there. Ella? Well, she started playing Sim City today, so she'll just be needing Abraham Lincoln biographies and maybe a laptop. Daddy's girl. She spent some time today studying three dimensional maps of the universe and watched some Nova Science now reruns. She tried to knit but got frustrated.

She did perfectly on her first test on friday. Ten correct spelling words. She was very proud that her teacher wrote awesome at the top. They finished Little House in the Big Woods and started on Little House on the Prairie. She wonders if I would ever punch a bear in the nose, and she is completely willing to use a corncob wrapped in the handkerchief as a doll.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I wish there was a special tea for absolute insanity. I think it is called liquor.

I'm going to have a cup of ginger tea and knit a few rows while my diapers are in the washer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I was so tired this afternoon that I fell asleep on the living room floor on the sheepskin with my arm wrapped around Ruby to protect her from a sea of green tractors. John was doing some serious farming.

I'd been up since six. I drove the schoolbus and bummed around smalltown until lunch at Ella's school. I was the middle school lunchlady today. I know nothing about children older than six, and I find them fascinating. They can't stop touching each other and can't stop talking. They are quite sweet with the babies. They have a lot of freedom, so being with them for an hour is really more entertaining than it is difficult.

After lunch we headed home after a quick stop at the grocery store. Then the collapse on the floor. Ella arrived home, and I made an early dinner, terriyaki chicken and some udon noodles. I had the littles bathed and in their pajamas by six and we went back to school for the board meeting. John teaches on Wednesday nights this semester, and the babysitter was not available. It turned out perfectly though. There were other children there and they got to watch a Magic Schoolbus video and eat popcorn in the kindergarten room. They thought it was fabulous to be a school at night in pajamas.

The school is growing. The middle schoolers will have their own addition, and we won't have to hold classes in the kitchen. At nine am every morning every room in the school that does not contain a toilet has a group of children doing math. No office. No secretary. No detritus. There are three teachers that share an "office" in a closet. Even in cramped quarters there is a sense of ease. And a comfortable sofa for nursing Miss Ruby.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

plum custard kuchen

It is plum season!

1 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2.5 cups pitted sliced plums
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl mix flour, 1 tbs sugar and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in 2 tbsps of heavy cream and 1 egg. Press in the bottom of ungreased 9 inch square pan and arrange the plums on the top.

2. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. While cake is baking, in a bowl combine 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, and 1 egg. beat well and pour over the cake and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until the custard sets. Serve warm or cool. Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


bee::flower, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella's class planted these last spring.

ruby rides

ruby rides, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

self by ella

self by ella, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Friday, September 05, 2008

white after labor day

Today, like many other days, I was ready. I had snacks, iced water, extra baby clothes, crayons, trucks, trains, paper, a camera, a book to return, and wipes.

I even had bandaids, Hello Kitty bandaids, for my playground duty.

Then Ruby proceeded to poop her way through two layers of clothes and onto my white eyelet outfit. I know, divine retribution for wearing white after labor day, but it is so insanely hot. At least I had my sling so I could cover up most of the mustard yellow poop stains.

I wore poop stains to show and tell. Luckily Ella had her dad there and his much more exciting, much more "explainable" job. She wanted him to wear his university shirt and hat, and she showed the class some maps of where he works and passed around his "book", his dissertation.

Are you feeling it? That my job is killing me and utterly unrecognized. That Ella isn't listening to me at all? That John's job comes with a "brand" and a paycheck, and mine is some sort of hamster wheel.

It is about being tired. When I feel good I'm happy to be monkey wrestling, watercoloring, grocery shopping, diaper changing, and picking up toys. When little people wake me up on saturday morning in the dark asking about juice and televison I start to really waver.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

science girl

Ella has planned a new family tradition. Every sunday night we are going to have a picnic in the living room floor at six pm while we watch NOVA Science Now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

i have been growing

I've been growing, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ruby will be twelve weeks old tomorrow, and I'm still figuring out how to do this and how to even talk about it. My hands are calloused from hauling a car seat. My body hurts, and I"m always tired, but somehow I think I have a plan. I think I'm going to catch up. They'll all have scrapbooks and folded clothes one day.