Saturday, April 26, 2008

Eden Tagged!

Eden has been tagged by "Pinga" and "Superman" so here are eleven things about Eden:

  • She is the most extroverted kid I've ever known. She loves to seek out the person in the room who hasn't noticed her yet and make sure that little problem is solved.
  • She instinctively knows what foods are sweet. She can see a packaged candy bar that she's never seen and knows that she wants it (and wants it NOW!). (here she is enjoying her first choc-chipcookie)
  • She is very opinionated. She knows what she likes and what she doesn't and has a way of communicating that.
  • She loves to swing in our backyard or the park or the community center but especially our backyard.
  • She is a crawling machine and is finally showing some interest in walking (oh help her mother).
  • She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES her daddy. Mom's "okay" but daddy is the bomb! Actually she prefers men in general. Especially tall men. Daddy says "we're locking her up!"
  • She has silent reflux and so has been on Zantac since about 6 weeks. She gets very excited when she sees the red Target bottle and knows she gets to take 1 ml of the nasty stuff. Seriously, she thinks it is rather tasty.
  • She is quite dependent on her binky and blanky but only at sleeping time and when she is stuck in her car seat. When she gets up from a nap she takes her binky out and hands it to me. That means, "this nap is over mom, get me out of this cage!"
  • Patience is NOT one of her virtues. She came exactly a month early and has been impatient ever since. (That would have been a year ago tomorrow - happy b'day Eden.)
  • She likes to boogie. Sometimes our lullaby singing prompts boogies instead of sleep.
  • She has been on four airplane trips (8 if you count the tos and froms).
And now Eden tags Isaac, Little John, Erin, Cecily, and Trey.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dating Diaries - Entry 3 - Knead the Love

In 1995 I moved from Logan, UT to Bozeman, MT to attend graduate school. I didn't know anyone there and was grateful that I had the church to provide me with something familiar. The first week of church a long-haired guy was sitting on the stand - he was the ward clerk. After sacrament meeting, he quickly made a B-line to introduce himself. "Hi, I'm Eric" he said in a squeaky voice. I learned that he had also attended USU as an undergraduate and that he was the only other graduate student in our student ward.

Clearly, we were made for each other...

The next week Eric was put into the bishopric and he cut his hair (although his voice did not deepen). Every week he sat on the stand and smiled down at all the pretty girls. Eventually (after several weeks) I changed my opinion of Eric. It went from "hmm, what a strange guy" to "he is very nice and rather amusing."

Eric absolutely lived his life on his own terms. He was exceedingly friendly, completely embracing of his quirkiness, and 100% genuine. Here are some of his favorite pass times:

  • he collected bird feathers and then decorated eggs with them and then sold the eggs
  • he made hemp jewelry (you know the macramé kind?)
  • he was a bird watcher and all around nature-lover
  • he loved to make homemade bread - he insisted that you have to knead it by hand because "how else can you knead the love into it?"
Throughout the fall semester I went back to Utah on most weekends (I was dating a really nice guy there but then that ended). In the spring, I began to actually stay in Montana and people began to really speculate that there was a budding romance between Eric and me. One night at Institute, Eric invited me back to his apartment to pick up some fruit salad that he had an enormous amount of. So, I went. While I was there, the phone rang and I answered it. Well, imagine the surprised voice of our Relief Society president. And that is when it happened...

At that very moment and without any planning, Eric and I decided to play a trick on our ward members. We decided to go ahead and let this girl (the RS prez) believe what she was thinking. We allowed her to think we were in a romance. Over the next several weeks we watched as our "secret" spread throughout the ward. We laughed (inside) as all eyes watched our every interaction. We helped our little prank along by "admitting" that "yes, we actually DID know each other back at USU and that our romance was the reason I applied to MSU for graduate school." (a TOTAL LIE)

During MSU's spring break we both headed to Utah (him to Orem to see his family and me to Logan to see my friends). We drove together and everyone assumed we spent the whole time together. During our drive we got to know funny, rare things about each other (because that is what you do on a road trip) and so when we got back we had ammunition to convince everyone that we really had known each other for years.

Eventually the whole thing was getting way out of hand. I needed a way out because it seemed Eric was enjoying this too much and maybe believing it a little. We staged a break up (remember that technically our "romance" was supposed to be a secret - the secret that EVERYONE was in on). Everyone was so upset. The day after our "break up" just happened to be April 1 and a Monday. We decided it was the perfect time to get "engaged" and then announce the whole thing as an April Fools joke.

We showed up to FHE together and everyone was thrilled. Then someone noticed the (fake) diamond on my finger and everyone was ecstatic! We answered their questions about how it all happened and what our plans were (we hadn't figured any of these answers out yet and so we were totally winging it). Finally after about an hour I announced: "APRIL FOOLS!"

They were stunned. Finally someone said, "but you are back together, right?" We said, "no, it was all a joke." Someone said, "so you didn't really break up?" We finally convinced them that we were never dating or romantically involved. The RS president was so sad and whispered, "but I've been praying for you."

Eric and I have had fun re-telling this story and when we told it to Phil (years ago), Eric said, "don't forget to tell him how I started to believe it, that's the funniest part."

Funniest indeed.

Eric and I did end up going on a couple of dates. Perhaps those can be saved for future posts.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I love making freezer jam! It is pretty easy and quick and tastes so good! You start with these ingredients:

Make this kind of mess:

And end up with this:

I made two batches of strawberry and one batch of blackberry. I got my berries at pretty good prices too! On Monday (Strawberry day) Mechelle (one of the Laurels) came over and helped. It was great fun!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Food Friday - Chicken Cacciatore

Prep Time: 1/2 Hour
Cooking Time: 2 Hours
Total Time: 2 1/2 Hours

In a large pot combine:
2 Cans - Stewed Tomatoes-Diced
1 Can - Sliced Mushrooms (or fresh)
1/2 Chopped Green Bell Pepper
1/2 C Chopped Yellow Onion
1/2 T - Corn Starch
1 T - Minced Garlic (fresh or bottled but not dried)
1 t - Dried Basil (or fresh)
1 t - Dried Oregano (or fresh)
Ground Black Pepper to taste
(there is enough salt in the tomatoes and broth that you shouldn't need to add any)
1/2 t - Red Pepper Powder
1/2 t - Creole Seasoning (Emeril has a recipe for it or you can buy it - I have Tony Chachere's)
cook until it begins to get thick then add:
1/2 C - Chicken Broth
1/4 C Brown Sugar
simmer with a lid for 1 hour then add:
2 Cooked Chicken Breasts - Shredded
simmer without a lid for an additional hour then serve over:
Cooked Angel Hair Pasta (or other pasta or rice)

I made this one up and it was really, really good! Feel free to change it, improve it, and pass it along. This is great served with French bread.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who Said It? -Motherhood Edition

Match the quotation with the author (give your answers in a response). Answers will be posted in a few days.

1. "Woman, Mother, --your responsibility is one that might make angels tremble and fear to take hold! To trifle with it, to ignore or misuse it, is to treat lightly the most sacred and solemn trust ever confided by God to human kind. The training of children is a task on which an infinity of weal or woe depends. Who does not covet it? Yet who does not stand awe-struck before its momentous issues!"

2. "I am impressed by countless mothers who have learned how important it is to focus on the things that can only be done in a particular season of life. If a child lives with parents for 18 or 19 years, that span is only one-fourth of a parent’s life. And the most formative time of all, the early years in a child’s life, represents less than one-tenth of a parent’s normal life. It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes. This eternally important work falls to mothers and fathers as equal partners. I am grateful that today many fathers are more involved in the lives of their children. But I believe that the instincts and the intense nurturing involvement of mothers with their children will always be a major key to their well-being."

3. "Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one."

A. Gloria Steinem
B. M. Russell Ballard
C. Anna Julia Cooper
D. Colin Powell

Do you have a favorite motherhood quotation? Do share...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And now I know...

I've learned a few lessons lately. Here are two:

1 - If you are going to get your hair cut where it is arid, don't be surprised if it looks different when you get back home to the humidity.

2 - Read the fine print on labels.

Here is some explanation:

1 - I got my haircut while I was in Utah. This hasn't been a big deal in the past because I would just get trims but this time I went short. When my medium/long hair is subjected to the humidity it goes a little wavy and it is okay. When my short hair is subjected to the humidity, the nice smooth look I had in Utah goes all tweaky. It flips where it should be smooth and goes limp where it is supposed to have volume. Oh well...

2 - I bought some apple juice for my family (especially Eden) to enjoy. I looked over my options and then noticed that there was a brand that was 100% juice - not from concentrate. It was also a good price. I bought it, took it home, and then gave Eden a sippy cup full of it at lunch. At dinner Phil said, "oooh, apple juice!" (we don't have juice much) and so I put it on the table for dinner. Phil filled his glass. About half way through the meal I noticed some smaller print on the label. This is what then transpired...

Heidi: "How can apple juice have fiber?"
Phil: "Fiber? I don't think it can."
Heidi: "It says it right there, 'A Good Source of Fiber.'"
Phil: "No way."
Heidi: (looking at some even smaller print) "Oh, they've added fiber - like Metamucil or something."
Phil: "No way."
Heidi: "This could be bad, Eden had about 6 ounces today."
Eden: as if on cue - makes all kinds of stomach-churning-digestion-working sounds.

Let's just say the diaper was full, the guts clean.

And now you know too...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Food Friday - I don't want to cook edition

No matter how much you like to cook, there are times when you just don't want to do it. Last night was one of those nights. In honor of that, there will be no recipe today. Instead, here is a list of 5 great eating experiences I've had over the years:

1 - Sylvias - Harlem, NY - with Charlotte
Charlotte and I went to NYC where I had a conference. Our flight got canceled and our luggage was lost for three days. Since I didn't have any conference-appropriate clothing, we went to buy some and while we were out we went to Sylvias which Tayneshia had recommended. It was fabulous!

2 - Ruth's Chris Steak House - Philadelphia, PA - with my brother Mark
I had meetings in Philadelphia and it just so happened (or perhaps he made it happen) my brother had meetings there at the same time. We were able to spend a couple of days together and he took me to Ruth Chris for the first time. Good food! (and I'm not a huge steak fan).

3 - Some restaurant - Hannover, Germany - with brother Paul, his wife Meg, and Phil
Paul and Meg were spending the summer in Hannover and Phil was spending it in Switzerland teaching. I flew over and we all had a little vacation together. We went to a cute restaurant and Paul was translating for us. We pointed to one thing and asked, "what is that" he'd answer "beef" or "chicken" or whatever. Then we asked again and he stumbled and looked confused. He couldn't think of the right word in English. Finally he blurted out, "Pig!" ("pork" is the word he couldn't think of). We all cracked up. It was just a fun, fun time and I think the food was pretty good too!

4 - Some cafe - Paris, France - with Phil
We had these sandwiches that were made with French baguettes and chicken and carrot sticks and a yummy curry sauce. Then we topped that off with gelato (of course). We ate all of this outside in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral. Lovely.

5 - Indian Oven (also known as the Indian Dive) - Logan, UT - with the Sugar Gliders
Ok, this may seem totally out-classed by the other entries but I LOVE the Indian Oven (it was originally in the back corner of a gas station convenience store - hence the "Indian Dive" but now it has a respectable store front on main street). We had heard that the food was good and so we tried to go for lunch only to find out that they were (then) only open for dinner. Upon seeing our disappointed faces, the owner/chef said, "stay, I will make you something very good." He won my love and devotion! The food is great (I really like Indian food) and how can you beat that service! Top that off with the fabulous company of wonderful women and you have a winning combination!

Now, have your husband take you out tonight and then let me know where you went or what your favorite food experiences have been.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

She crawls! and other Eden news

On Sunday, Eden got up on all fours (she's been doing this for quite a while now), looked over her left shoulder to make sure Phil was watching then over her right shoulder to make sure I was watching and then took off crawling (she hasn't been doing this). She is enjoying her new-found mobility. We now find her sitting up in bed (usually when she is supposed to be sleeping). Her vocabulary includes: baby, mama, dada, pretty (priiiteee), ball, and bye-bye. She cracks us up!

Monday we had a busy, busy day. Eden and I drove to Sam's Club (about an hour away) to stock up on groceries. Then we had to go to WalMart (sorry Layne and Morgann) to buy what wasn't at Sam's. It was a full day of shopping and Eden was a trooper. As I got her out of the buggy (Alabaman for shopping cart) I asked her if she wanted to dance. Sometimes she wants to dance and sometimes she doesn't. She is very clear in her own mind what she does and doesn't want. When the answer is "yes" she wraps her cute, pudgy fist around my thumb and we twirl around like we are the next contestant to get voted off "Dancing with the Stars." The answer was "YES!" and we twirled around the car for a moment. She was thrilled and enthusiastically wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me a big hug and kiss. Then (and this is the really impressive part) she willingly got into her car seat. It was as though she was saying, "mom, this has been a busy day, thanks for taking out a little time to just be silly with me."

I love my girl!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

we are ... Fabulous, Grateful, Wonderful, Ecstatic!

Phil is now 7 weeks post-op and he received his CEA* results yesterday:

("normal" is anything below 3 for a non-smoker)

We are so grateful for this fabulous news. So many of our friends and family have been so prayerful for Phil. Our nieces and nephews have been especially diligent and fervent in their prayers. One nephew has prayed in each prayer that (1) Phil would not have cancer anymore, (2) Phil will get better, and (3) any future surgeries Phil may have to have will go well (he is 4).

We will meet with Phil's oncologist a week from tomorrow and will make some decisions about possible follow-up chemotherapy.

The Keslers are HAPPY, happy people!

*The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test measures the amount of a protein that may appear in the blood of some people who have certain kinds of cancers, especially large intestine (colon and rectal) cancer. It is one of the indicators used to follow up with cancer patients. This and the fact that Phil's PET and CT scans look good, combine for very good news.

Phil's CEA has been as high as around 200 and was at 77 the last time it was taken (Feb.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Joy in Nurturing

In this month's Ensign there is a great article entitled "The Joy of Nurturing Children." In it, three different women share their experiences in nurturing children - their own and others. I really enjoyed this article. I was especially touched by the last woman's account of longing and hoping to give birth to a child even as she adopted eight others. She had a crisis of faith because her patriarchal blessing stated that she would have children. Finally she confessed to the Lord and to herself (sometimes I think that is the harder of the two) that her testimony did not hinge on this one point. She CHOSE to believe the gospel even though she didn't understand how her patriarchal blessing could be fulfilled. (I really believe that faith is a choice - and active, at times difficult, choice.)

I think so many of us have experienced similar trials of faith. It is so hard for me at times to remember that my perspective is so finite while the Lord's blessings are infinite. I think that if I can't see the whole picture right now, then it certainly can't work out. I am humbled and inspired when the Spirit teaches me to trust in the Lord's plan for me. It is motivating to remember that He has always come through for me - every time without fail. Sometimes I must have the faith to believe (as Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego did) that the Lord will provide a way but to also say (as they did) "but if not..." (Daniel 3:17-18). I am inspired by that. They had faith that they would be saved but they also recognized with humility that the Lord's work and truth are absolute and not dependent on any one situation turning out the way WE think it should.

I'm so grateful that the Lord affords me the opportunity to keep learning and progressing even in my weakness and pride.

If you haven't read the article yet, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

70 Years of being a Character

On March 29th, my dad turned 70. Months ago, my mother decided it would be great fun to surprise him with a big old birthday party. She contacted each of her ten kids and everyone made arrangements to get their party favors to Smithfield, Utah for the big event. Now, for most of us this doesn't mean a couple hours of driving. Becks gathered from near (my youngest brother still lives at home so that was pretty near) and far (there are five of us in the Eastern U.S.). My older brother even came although he had pneumonia and was supposed to be in bed. It was a glorious time!

Although all ten kids attended only 4/9 spouses and 18/31 grandkids made it. Dad was completely surprised and has decided to live until his 75th birthday so that we can do it again!

Here are some pics...

We had a family picture taken, here is Josh (#10) and some of the grandkids:
the girl-cousins had lots of fun together (in the background the adults are being positioned for the family portrait:
Mom and Dad with the 18 (out of 31 - with 3 on the way) grandkids (you gotta love Eden's hair):
A Beck get together isn't complete without ice cream at Caspers:

Here is Michael (#4) yeah, he's a high school Vice Principal - can't you tell?
Jon (#8) put together a great DVD of family pictures and memories, I don't know how he gets so much done!
Yup, that's me (#3) sporting a new hairstyle, what do you think?

For those who care, here is an update on my siblings:
Merilee - 7 kids ages 5 to 22 - Pullman, WA
Mark - 5 kids ages 4 to 16 - Corning, NY
Me - 1 kid age 11 months - Anniston, AL
Michael - 4 kids ages 3 to 11 - Dallas, OR
Heather - 4 kids ages 3 to 10 (& adopted son arriving from Vietnam soon!) - Smithfield, UT
Andrew - 4 kids ages newborn to 6 - Corning, NY
Paul - 2 kids ages newborn to 3 - Durham, NC
Jon - 3 kids ages 1 to 4 (& one due in July) - Ann Arbor, MI (moving to VA in July)
Emily - 1 kid age 2 (& one due in Oct) - Burley, ID
Josh - still a kid himself - Smithfield, UT

Food Friday - Saturday Edition

Ok, so I've been in Utah to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday (I'll post on that soon) and so I think I have two recipes to make up for. So here is the Saturday Edition of Food Friday.

Fried Bread

4 C Flour
4 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
2 C Milk

Mix dry ingredients. Add milk and stir 10 minutes (I use my trusty Kitchen Aid). Put some oil in a shallow pan and place on medium-high heat. Knead dough until it is rubbery. Divide into small flat pieces. Pinch a small piece off and place it in the oil. When it quickly bounces to the top and begins to fry, you know it is ready. Fry in oil - turning it over once.

Serving suggestions: eat with butter and jam; sprinkle cinnamon sugar on it; squeeze honey all over it; use it as the base for Navajo Tacos. YUM!!!!


3 Eggs
1 1/3 C Milk
3 T Butter (softened but not melted)
1 C Flour
1/2 t Salt

Mix all ingredients with either a hand mixer or (and this is my little secret trick) a blender (because then you can pour the batter right out onto your pan). Heat a small round frying pan with sides on medium-high. When the pan is hot pour a small amount of batter (maybe 1 1/2 T) into the pan and swirl the batter all around (the thinner the better). When the batter doesn't look wet anymore, carefully flip it and brown the other side (maybe 30 seconds).

Serving Ideas: eat them for breakfast with sugar, cinnamon, jam, fresh fruit and whipped cream, or make a yummy center and have stuffed crepes for dinner (suggestions for stuffing available if there is interest).