Thursday, August 13, 2009

In which I acquire five additional children...

My adorable little sister got home from the hospital yesterday. She is eight months pregnant...and was suddenly having gallstone attacks, along with pancreatitis and an overtaxed liver. It's a pretty dicey scenario. A little miracle on Monday allowed her to avoid surgery and return home. Now the doctors are trying just to keep the symptoms at bay and put off surgery until after the baby September.

She told me she was craving my Gazpacho* (which truly is’s from Michael's Restaurant in Beverly Hills) so I whipped up a batch and drove it to her house, an hour away. While we were there it occurred to me that I could take her kids back home with me, and give her an extra day of rest. She didn’t argue. (She never does. She’s totally fun-loving and easy-going.)

So, after a 30-minute lesson on how the kids’ carseats work, we were headed for home. With seven kids. I had a total Sound of Music moment: “Seven children?” “You do like children, Maria?” “Well, (gasp) yes, but, uh--SEVEN?!” Then I heard all their giggles tumbling over from the back seat like wind chimes and realized I finally (for a day, anyway) had the big family I had always envisioned. I reveled in it.

I woke up this morning with a start, remembering that I had seven children to entertain for the day. Summoning my inner Julie Andrews, I dismissed my usual morning demeanor (somewhere between grumpy and zombie) and staggered downstairs to fix everyone breakfast with a smile. Luisa's pancakes were the perfect answer. They were fast and delicious.

I braced myself for lots of whining and fighting and little people needing constant entertainment. But there wasn’t any of that. Magically, the older girls doted on the younger ones, the boys played together perfectly, and everybody had a great game of hide-and-seek in our acre of yard. It was painless. And fun. Even at mealtimes.

Actually, I think I was blessed. So that my sister could be blessed with some rest. I was so grateful I could lift her burdens for a day. When I delivered her kids this evening she had a radiant glow about her. That alone made everything worth it.

*California Gazpacho
6 cups tomato juice
1 red tomato, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
1 yellow tomato, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1 medium Maui onion, finely diced
1/2 each red and yellow bell peppers, finely diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed and finely chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra cilantro for garnish

In a large mixing bowl combine the tomato juice with all the vegetables, the lime juice, olive oil, and vinegar. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into chilled serving bowls. Spoon a dollop of sour cream onto each bowlful and top with a sprig of cilantro.


Kimberly said...

Remembering my own visit to your beautiful home I'm suddenly craving one of those pineapple spinach smoothies. Mmmm...

It truly is amazing how we are blessed for being a blessing in the lives of others. We recently visited a lonely sister from our branch on our way to Vancouver for my ultrasound appointment. She was in greater need of company that we realized so we stayed a long time...Neil was worried as we left that we would be late for our appointment but this sudden feeling of peace overwhelmed me and I told him quite calmly that we had spent our morning doing what our Heavenly Father wanted us to do and we were blessed for it.

The summer construction projects that usually slow down the stretch of highway we had to travel were all arranged in our favour and we made it to the appointment with a half hour to spare.

I love these little witnesses of our Father's great love for us.

Eowyn said...

You are awesome. I love it when goodness is rewarded, especially when our goodness is rewarded by our task being easier.

Suddenly I want a pineapple spinach smoothie too. . .

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hi lovely. Sorry I've not been around. It's been a bit of a year. But your visit made me smile. Thanks. And I hope your sister delivers her baby safe and sound. x

L.T. Elliot said...

What a blessing you are in the lives of so many. And still, you serve with gladness. Could you whip up a batch of yourself and I could take on some of your goodness?

Sandy M. said...

I'm sorry to hear about your sister - that does sound dicey! I'm glad that there was a little miracle :) I hope that your sister continues well now.

I almost had a little envy/nostalgic moment when I read about your day - We have seven children spread over ten years and I loved those times of full and fun when they were young! (Our babies are almost 18 now and the others are all grown up. I'm really rather tired :) We found they almost always did play well together though. Those were happy years.
(Love your 'giggles tumbling.. like wind chimes'!)

A pinapple and spinach smootie?! :)

Heather said...

I do think once you have 4 kids it sort of gets easier to have more just for the fact that the kids have more options of who to play with.

Thanks for stopping by my guest post at Gunfighter's place today!

Mrs4444 said...

I'm sure that was God's way of saying, "Thanks for taking care of one of my angels."

I can't imagine eating a cold soup. Very interesting....

Kazzy said...

You are a good sister! And poor H! I hope these next couple of months go ok for her and the fam.

Brillig said...

Dear Ms. Von Trapp

You are so so so so so (and did I mention SO) thoughtful. And wonderful. And amazing.

I remember a particularly overwhelming time in my life... when my husband was living in another state, I was living in a house that wasn't my own, with four needy children, including one who was perpetually sick, as I prepared single-handedly to move a family of six to a new house I'd never seen 500 miles away.

And I remember how you opened your house (and beautiful yard!) to us, brought me beyond-delicious food, and plastered my inbox with middle-of-the-night shoulders to cry on.

And we hardly knew each other.

I don't think you realize how amazing you are -- how often you are the answer to prayer.

But your sister AND her kids all know. They've probably known it all their lives.

Tammy Lorna said...

Hi Jana,

Have been out of blog land for a while, but it's fun to visit your blog again and have a read. Your 'seven kids for the day' sounds like my whole childhood - although I assume we weren't perfect 'every' day :) I hope you're sister is feeling better soon.

xo Tammy


You are an Angel. What a lucky sister(and nieces and nephews)! I am honored to follow Your blog. You are such a thoughtful, wonderful writer. I tended My own Nephews recently and was thrilled to do so. LOVE tending My Nephews that I can spoil and Hug and chase and play with. They are Four Years and One year-old. What sweeties. Anyway.....My self-control is waning. MUST MAKE GAZPACHO!!!!! *drool

ME said...

I made the gazpacho last night and it was spectacular! Thanks for the recipe and the lovely accompanying post. Your words never fail to move me.

oxox Mary Ellen

Jessica said...

I have so missed reading your posts! I'm sorry that i just can't comment on every single one (the computer screen still makes me queasy), but just want you to know how much I have enjoyed "catching up" with you, and your beautiful posts felt like a warm bowl of gazpacho today. Thank-you!!

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