Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Old House

A storm came two nights ago...and with it took most all of our appliances and electronics . I thought it fitting since we are moving...we will need all new stuff. It seems that everything in our home dug their heels in and refused to move...I'm not sure I blame them. I will miss our place too.

We have bought a house together. Even as I type this, I am tearing up about the situation. Although I am very excited about our new home, I will miss our cottage here terribly....the home we were never going to leave... It represents so many things accomplished over the years. My independence(my only "a femme sole" purchase), my largest and most expensive gift for my son(so he would have a yard to run in), my marriage to God's greatest gift to me, and our little baby girl we have watched every day grow into something so magnificent, we really couldn't have imagined her any better. All of these things we are leaving in these walls...our memories, good, bad, and sad...go with us..but the remnants that happened here stay here....and that tugs at my heart like nothing else.
Everything in it's place and a place for everything...Our new house will be better for us. Our little home now, sadly, is ill equipped to house 3 growing children, two adults, two dogs, and two households of furniture. It has no place for anything...except our hearts but It was time...we knew it was coming...we explored every option we could to stay and we delayed this until the very last minute. However, I do admit, having space to move about and a place to put everything will be a nice change. Our one bathroom situation has been for the past two years, difficult, to say the least. My near teen son and potty training daughter had to come to an understanding quickly about personal space...forget the two adults who need to brush their teeth and shave every so often.

There are some perks to a bigger place...but I am moving slowly through my house now...packing it not to shock my system.

Before I started today, I decided to photograph some things that we shouldn't forget

Our oak tree:
the one they said would never weather the storms,
always hung, looming over the top of our house,
protecting it really...
it was never a threat at all we discovered.

Mother Mary watching over our kitchen:
protecting all who bravely ate my food...

Our confederate cream jasmine covering the ugly black iron:My husband's late father suggested it to me, saying that it covers excellently and is nice to smell in the Spring when you walk out your door. He was right.

Our door knob: touched everyday by each person that is cherished in this house.

Our angel

hanging by the door:
protecting us as we come and go

Our street: Where Kate learned to ride her scooter
and Austin his bike.

Our house numbers:
painted after two storms blew away our address markers. These weren't going anywhere.

My babies' "height chart" in the door jam:this goes with us no matter what Tom says.

Kate's "birdfeeder":

right under her window so
she can watch them eat...

Our wooden floors
I refinished myself:
Tom, with little faith in my abilities at the time,
insisted I stop and put the carpets back...
I, of course, did not....

This old house has seen us through many things, protected us from the storms, held strong like the bunker that it is...never disappointing us when we came home to it, walked into it, ate in it, fell asleep in it, played outside of it, made and brought our babies home to it, cried in it, laughed in it, stayed up late in it, celebrated in it, mourned in will be hard to let it go....if I can. I don't intend on kicking and crying as they drag me away from it...but I'm not making any promises.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's a ...What? now wait...a what? Oh boy!

Yesterday, Thursday, May 19, 2011, we found out that we are giving Austin and Kate a brother. I have to say that I was somewhat surprised, as I thought we would always have girls. A boy never factored into my equation. My son was born in 2000. I always say he was the perfect child. He really was. You can ask most anyone who knows him. He is so happy and mature. He is so thoughtful and interesting. We marvel. When you have a child like tend to believe...embarrassing to say now...that you have some sort of super parenting skills. You view outrageous temper tantrums in the store and sassy children smarting off to their parents as subpar parenting, disorganized discipline and no structure. YOUR child is the direct result of your superior rearing....We all had come together in a tough situation and did everything right and this is the result! Right?

Uhmmmm...well...that is until God throws you a curve ball. Our curve came in 2007 with Kate. She was born the day of Hurricane Humberto...her first birthday was Hurricane is a good representation of how life has been since her birth...wind beneath her wings and and us enjoying the's a blissful chaos. We love her to her little wild core. Her mind is her own. We have to relate to her far differently than we did Austin. Kate wants to know why things happen, the purpose of it, the outcome of it and exact specifications of our expectations. It has been, to say the least, an adjustment. I wouldn't have it any other way, though.

So, last week, I got all of Kates old clothes down. I was seperating them...those to wear, and those to donate. Yesterday, I put them all back up knowing most will go to someone elses little girl. It is a little painful that that part of Kate is over. Those precious tiny times have come and gone and we won't have someone to relive them through...sniff...a little sad. But I get to see Austin be an awesome role model to his brother and the princess will keep her throne!

SO!! We get to have a little boy. A bouncing baby boy that I get to watch play soccer and tball all over again and I am really excited about that! I get to pull out all of Austin's old choo choo trains and watch him enjoy them all over again in a different way(his cherished "peepoos" that I just couldn't part with ever)with his little teeth marks scratched in the paint...some still with chocolate smears...ready for the next little man who will play with them.

We were very surprised...but I am getting pretty excited about what's next...A boy a boy a boy...Oh boy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shrimp Happiness and Grit Heaven

Shrimp and Grits tonight....unbelievable that these creamy grits are sans gluten...
not that it makes up for the Thin Mint fiasco but's the recipe!

* 5 cups water
* Salt and pepper
* 1 1/4 cup stone-ground grits
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
* 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 6 slices bacon, chopped( keep the grease)
* 4 teaspoons lemon juice(I used 2 lemons)
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
* 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
* 1 large clove garlic, minced
(Bobby Flay doesn't use an onion...but I used a very small yellow onion sliced thin)

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl. (Bobby doesn't say to drain the shrimp mixture but I did...just to get rid of a little grease)
Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.
(Not kidding...this took me about 45 minutes start to finish and we all ate! I started a little after six and we ate at 7! And everyone knows that the Cobbs eat late anyway...but not as late as usual!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Out With The Old!?'s officially summer! At this time in the year, we teachers are often able to tend to overlooked business of the house and home. We can paint a little more, clean a little more, read a little more and play a little more. My first order of business every summer is the cleaning and excavating of our closets. Lots can be uncovered in the heaps and piles collected on the floors and there is much to be sorted through and emptied. It is the time of year that I give our storage areas a breath of fresh air. You could say that I let the closets take in a collective deep breath before the overflow in the new school year. It is cathartic..the yearly unloading and cleaning of our small cottage...everything around us on the outside can fill up to the brim...but in here we are happy and free with our nicely cleaned closets and shelves.
Something very different happened this year....
My objective today was cleaning my sons closet. It is, by far, in the worst condition. Sorting, tossing, cleaning, wiping and passing down to the two year old had commenced...with a fury. First, his backpack needed to be emptied and cleaned.
Background on this ritual:
Austin has had the same backpack since prekindergarten. With not two nickles to rub together for heat at the time when I bought it, the $12.99 plus monogramming and shipping that I paid for it was a pretty big expense. However, it was Pottery Barn for Kids, on huge markdown and I knew their stuff lasted!(we had no idea how long though)
This has been his backpack since then! Yes! Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade....this has been it. Needless to say, I have become somewhat the years have gone by in a poof and my baby has grown from naps to solving division problems in school, the one constant has been that durn backpack....
Today, I began to put it up on its shelf(yes it has its own)so it will be ready to be picked up again in August. He stopped me. "Mom, you can toss my backpack...I've had it long enough."
all that I could do was squeak out a simple, "What? Why?"
and his response to me?
"Fourth graders don't carry backpacks with their names on them. That could get you killed in the Fourth grade!"
Doesn't he know that this bag has been the one constant in his education aside from him....that every note, every piece of homework and project has booked passage to his schools through it? How could he do this! How could he grow up so fast! I am not ready! He may be! I am definitely not! Every year, his school supplies have made their way safely to his desk. Every year, I have packed this bag away lovingly so that he will have it and carry it...Each year, the boy has changed but the backpack is still the has made his growing up seem more bearable...Doesn't he know it? How can we just "toss it"?
I took some pictures to remember. I will miss it sitting in its rightful place by our front door. I will miss walking in from the store and seeing it open and by that, knowing that he is sitting in his room doing his homework. I will miss the smell. It may be hard to put something else to put on "its" shelf. The things I will hold onto though are the memories. The memory of my precious boy walking away from my car and up to school with that durn old bag waving goodbye and telling me that everything is going to be ok this year...your boy's got this...and I've got the books...
I still need some convincing of the purchase of a new backpack..for now,I am looking into some patches.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Springing Seniors and A Summer of Love

There is nothing I love more than an exciting beginning on the horizon! Whether a senior or a couple about to be wed...these futures are certainly bright!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Symphony En La Cocina!

Can you remember the first time that you ever saw an orchestra? I can. I have very clear memories of that. The year...1983. The place...Julie Rogers' theater. Occassion...Rave style show. I was modeling a flower girl dress and was very excited about the whole night. Feeling prepared and confident, I slowly made my way toward the front of the stage and then, something stopped me. Below the stage, in the orchestra pit, were dozens of men and women with instruments. They were all playing back and forth, alternating between time and music. Halted and hypnotized, I followed all of their gazes to a conductor holding a baton. Vigorous movements and strict concentration kept everyone on time. The musicians playing were amazing. I could have watched them all night...that is until...I heard my friend Kacy calling from behind me....through her teeth. "Go...Go...Farrah go!" A slight nudge sent me on my way..a little dazed and somewhat embarrassed.
The Symphony still has the same affect on me. It is truly amazing and mesmerizing.
It is rare I have a similar reaction to much else. It is a very specific feeling.
I had the pleasure of witnessing a different kind of symphony the other night and no instruments were needed.
My sister-in-law is a chef and she asked me to come photograph some of her culinary stylings. What an awesome thing to watch! I have had her cooking it! But I have never watched her process. I took this particular picture above and it very much reminded me of a conductor...keeping time to the spinach and poached pears and directing the scurrying of people around her. A very cool thing....
Also a very challenging situation, when you are there to capture a moment and all you really want to do is watch...
I left feeling full and very satisfied(mostly because she shared some leftover crabcakes with me)
except for one small thing....
How do I convince her to do this for us every night...
Maybe this way...

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Feathery Obsession

I have another small obsession....Can you guess what it is? Here's a hint...Cluck Cluck Cluck. Here's another hint..."Then I will do it myself..and she did." Any guesses? Right! The answer is chickens! But not just any hen will do. Free roaming, fresh air, grass fed biddies are the only ones of interest! There is something about these mystical beauties that is a delight for the eye. What they create can make a mouth very happy! This fascination, really, began one sunny afternoon a couple of years ago at the Springs. A friend had brought a basket of some beautifully colored eggs(unrefrigerated) and dated at the bottom. Curiosity set in and investigation began. Why didn't she have to refrigerate them? Where is the Styrofoam carton? The eggs were an array of various shades of greenie blues, off whites, and sweet speckles. None looked alike or did they even resemble the bleached white ones in the stores...And the yolks! The Yolks were like a setting sun...They couldn't be chicken eggs! Chicken eggs have yellow yolks right?
Answer: Not all yolks are made the same. Were you aware that there is a hierarchy of yolks in the egg world? Did you know that eggs' yolks are a direct reflection of their chicken's environment? Did you know that a TRUE free roaming chicken egg yolk is supposed to be orange? Yeah...Neither did I. All eggs that I have ever had were white(blindingly so) and cold with perfectly round yellow centers.
I had no clue about this but you can actually tell by the way the egg looks and tastes if it was from a closed in coop, antibiotic ridden, grain fed hen or a happy free roaming, grass fed chicken. According to Mother Earth News: They are healthier too!A free roaming grass fed hen's egg has:
1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
2 TIMES more Omega-3 fatty acids
3 TIMES more Vitamin E
7 TIMES more beta carotene

Pretty cool huh?
I had the opportunity, at a baby shower of all places, to witness what this grass fed, free roaming phenomenon was all about. You have never seen such fat and happy chickens! These biddies have had all the time and love that a chicken should have. It was obvious...I'll bet they help make a pretty tasty omelette in the mornings too! I took some pictures of these lovely ladies with hopes of remembering for my own future hen house, what a healthy chicken is supposed to look like!