Friday, August 29, 2008

It's a Girl

I have posted at other times about how people (especially older people) assume that Eden is a boy (even when she is dressed in pink and even when they hear her name - they often think her name is Aiden, could it be my accent?). Well, I have another such story.

This week I took her with me to visit a woman whom I visit teach*. This woman is around 90 years old and lives in an assisted care facility. She's met Eden before but obviously forgot. On this particular day, Eden was wearing this shirt and I had her hair in two ponytails with blue butterfly clips. When we walked in to see Peggy she said, "oh, what a cute fella, what's his name?" My VT companion tried to explain that this was a little girl named Eden, but Peggy continued to talk about how cute he was. I just ignored it, I mean who really cares? Seriously, it doesn't bother me in the least but it does humor me.

Finally after we'd been there for about twenty minutes, Peggy said, "well you got clips in his hair! Why would you do that? People will think he's a little girl!" With this Barbara and I both said, "she is a little girl." Peggy exclaimed, "what? it's a girl? well I thought it was a little boy, I've been calling it a little boy this whole time, it's a girl ... hmmmm."

Just then Mary, Peggy's roommate, came in and Peggy explained, "it's a girl, I thought it was a boy and I couldn't figure out why they'd put clips in it's hair if it was a boy, but it's a girl, isn't that funny? it's a girl!"

Go figure.

In related news, I just learned that I have been using the wrong Spanish suffix in my posts.
Bambino = male
Bambina = female

It's a girl and I've been calling it a boy this whole time, isn't that funny?

*In the LDS church we take the call to fellowship and serve one another very seriously (or at least we should). Two women (a companionship) is assigned to visit every woman in the congregation (each companionship has between 2-5 women to visit). We are to visit one another and share gospel messages with one another. It is a way to extend friendship and charity. It is one of the ways we can be about the Lord's work. To learn more see here.

Food Friday - Chicken Scampi*

3 Chicken Breasts (thawed or fresh)
2 C Chicken Broth
2-3 Sliced Bell Peppers (I used red, yellow and orange because they were on sale - they are also sweeter)
1/2 C Diced Yellow Onion
3 Crushed Cloves of Garlic (or 1 T of the jarred stuff)
3/4 C Sliced Mushrooms (fresh or canned)
1/3 C Milk (or cream)
1/3 C Flour
1 T Olive Oil
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
1 t Oregano Flakes
1 t Basil Flakes
Angel Hair Pasta

Place 1 T Olive Oil in a medium frying pan with the heat on medium high. Saute onions and garlic until they turn clear. Add 1/3 C flour to make a thick paste. Add 1/3 C milk (or cream) to make a thick cream sauce. Add the chicken broth and stir well (with a whisk) until it is smooth. Add red pepper flakes, oregano flakes, and basil flakes. Add mushrooms and pepper slices.

Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The sauce should cook down to be moderately thick (saucey, you know). Salt and pepper to taste.

As far as the meat goes you have some choices here:

1. You could grill the breasts and serve on top of the pasta.
2. You could bread and fry the breasts (this is what Olive Garden does) and serve on top of the pasta.
3. You could be totally lazy (like moi) and cut the breast into cubes and throw it in the sauce at the beginning of the 45 minutes and let the sauce cook the chicken.

Cook the pasta according to directions. Mix the pasta into the sauce and serve as one (or if you are a rebel you can serve the sauce on top). Top with parmesan cheese (the real stuff is best but if you are like me you'll just grab the tall green vat of Kraft out of your fridge, wince a bit, but serve it anyway).

*Phil and I both loved this but the Bambino said it was "yucky." (Actually she only says "cky.") This word (or fraction of a word) has been reserved for dirty diapers and things found on the floor that really want to find their way to her mouth but that she knows shouldn't. It has never been applied to my cooking ... until now. She tried it, ate the bread and melon, and then handed her plate to Phil while saying "cky." And so it begins...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yeah, I married well

Just in case you needed more proof that I married an absolutely fabulous man...

Today Eden and I had a play date. We'd invited five other mom's and eight other kids over to play and for lunch. I had planned to make soup and bread. The kids were going to play with the dress ups and outside in our large backyard (if the weather was good). Well, hurricane-turned-storm-system Fay had made a mess of our deck and backyard (tons of branches and twigs down and leaves everywhere).

Phil did the dishes last night (as he does every night) and made sure to fill up my flour and sugar bins. Before bed he informed me that "I've set the dishwasher to run tonight so everything will be clean for you tomorrow. Your pots and pans are all clean." As if that wasn't enough, he got up this morning and cleaned off the deck and made the backyard safe for kids.

Am I a fortunate, blessed woman or what?

oh, and the play date was a blast! Thanks, ladies.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You don't say?

The Bambino has been speaking so much lately. It seems there are few words she won't attempt. Here are a few examples:

We bought a set of jungle animal figures. She was excited as we unpacked them. When she saw the giraffe she exclaimed, "kitty!" and then followed it up with "moo moo." (Um, not quite, but nice try!)

Sometimes when she is throwing a fit (which doesn't happen too often) I will say "1-2-3, now stop" and she will (about half the time). I didn't realize how often I'd used this technique until the other day when I said "one..." and she said "two." I thought it was just a coincidence but she's done it multiple times. Today our friend Erin was visiting and she was counting (because three year olds like to count things). She started off with "one" but Eden beat her to the "two." Funny kid.

Yesterday the phone rang while I was changing her "cky" diaper. I said, "I wonder who that was." She replied, "Pa" which is her word for Grandpa or Punka. She was wrong but pretty cute.

While we were in NY she fell in love with her cousin Wesley's Elmo dolls. We don't have any Elmo things ... or so I thought. The other day (a month since she was stealing Wesley's toys) while she was brushing her teeth, she pointed to her toothbrush and said, "Mo." I looked and sure enough there on her toothbrush about the size of a pencil tip was an Elmo (along with other muppets). Somehow she is able to make the distinction between "Mo" the muppet and "Mo" the fish who has been stolen by a Sydney dentist (Nemo).

Ok, that is probably enough. If you haven't gleaned from this blog, I pretty much adore my kid and think that she is just about the smartest, brightest non-walker* there is.

*Yeah, she still totally refuses to walk unless she is holding on to me or something. The other day she walked all over Winn Dixie while holding on to the buggy (that is a cart for you non-southerners). She doesn't like to be carried any more, she wants to walk - just not by herself.

What we are reading ... and reading ... and reading again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tag from last February!

Last February my friend Sally tagged me on her blog. The problem is, I didn't know she had a blog (she probably told me and I forgot or something). Anyway, now I know and so here is the tag:

  • How long have you been married? 2 years
  • Who eats more sweets? Probably me but it is close.
  • Who said I love you first? Phil, although I coerced him to "express his feelings"
  • How old is he? 40 - and a dang good looking 40 year old at that!
  • Who is taller? Phil (by 8 inches)
  • Who is smarter? He says I am but I think he is - we are smart in different ways so I'm amazed by his smarts and he's impressed by mine. That works out pretty well!
  • Who can sing better? ummm, that would be Mr. VM although Eden prefers my singing.
  • Who does the laundry? Me.
  • Who pays the bills? He.
  • Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? He does and that puts him closer to the Bambino's room and therefore closer to a baby crying in the night (on those nights when that happens).
  • Who mows the lawn? Totally him (I'm allergic).
  • Who cooks dinner? Me but he does the dishes.
  • Who drives? He does unless he is on some drug that makes him impaired, even then he drives if I forget to make him sit in the passenger seat.
  • Who kissed who first? It was pretty mutual, he brought it up though.
  • Who asked who out? Well first he asked Charlotte out! Then he asked me out.
  • Who has more siblings? Me, I have 9; he has 5.
  • Who wears the pants? We both wear the pants (both literally and figuratively).

Now I tag Alisha, Corrie, and Delvonna

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Bambino Goes to Work

While we were in Utah, we went to USU to see old friends. It was so fun to visit with people and to see the place where Bamdaddy and I each worked for years.

Here is a picture of the Bambino in my old office - sitting at my desk and in my old chair. She looks pretty natural, eh?

(Watch out Roland, you could be replaced!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Too far?

What do YOU think of this? Did they get what they deserved or did they get off too easy (or is that "easily")?

Food Friday - Lettuce Wraps

I have made these three or four times and each time I love them and so does Phil. As we were enjoying them tonight I thought, I should share them with the Sugar and Spice ladies. So here is my version of the recipe. If you want the PF Chang version go here. My version is just a bit less complicated - you could look at them both and come up with your own variation.

2-3 servings - 25 minute prep/cooking time

2 T Olive Oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - thawed (tonight I used the pre-cooked grilled chicken strips and they worked great and were fast!)
1/2 C chopped Almonds
2/3 C Mushrooms
3 T chopped Onion (I used yellow)
2 t minced Garlic (I used the bottled kind)
5-6 leaves of Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Carrot
1/2 Cucumber
Stir Fry Sauce*
Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing

Mince mushrooms and onions about the size of peas.
Saute chicken breasts in Olive Oil for 4-5 minutes per side (or until done).
Remove chicken from pan and when cool chop it the same size as mushrooms.
Add mushrooms, garlic, onions, and almonds to the pan and saute.
Add the chicken back in.
Add the stir fry sauce and saute for a couple of minutes.

Wash the lettuce.
Shred the carrot and cucumber.

To serve, place a tablespoon of the chicken mixture on a piece of lettuce then top with the shredded carrot and cucumber. Dribble some Kraft Asian dressing on it. Wrap and eat (make sure you have napkins handy).

*Stir Fry Sauce:
In a small bowl mix 2 T Soy Sauce with 2 T brown Sugar and 1/2 t rice vinegar.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mixed Results

We met with the Oncologist (in record time too) and the results are a little mixed but mostly good - we are very grateful.

This is his last treatment - that is good.

His CEA is slightly up, to 4.7 (from 3.4), but seeing as how it was in the 180s at one point we're being told not to worry. We missed a treatment when our flight got delayed coming home from NY. I can't help but wonder if that is why it is up a bit and if so, what does that mean?

The game plan is to come back in six weeks for tests (CT scan and blood). As long as things remain stable (slightly elevated CEA is ok as long as it doesn't make a drastic turn upward), he will have these tests every three months for a year and then every four months for the next year and then every six months. At five years they will declare him "cured." We're looking forward to that! The Bambino will be in first grade!

I asked the oncologist how to define what stage he is in now. The answer is "no evidence of disease" Phil calls it "NED." We'll take NED. According to the web this is the same thing as "complete remission." We like the sound of that.

So, although I would love to see that CEA headed downward and hanging out at around 1, we'll count our blessings and increase our faith, and come back in six weeks.

New Poll

I realize that during the summer I have been a slacker at posting polls. Wait no longer, there is a new poll! If you have strong feelings about your answer or if you select "other" and don't mind sharing, post a comment here to elaborate.

Happy skin caring.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tomorrow's a Big Day

We head to B'ham tomorrow for more blood tests, oncologist appointment, and chemo. If everything looks good with his CEA it will be his last. We recognize that we have been so blessed in both large and small ways. Sometimes I feel so ungrateful but then I wonder if there is ever a way to feel grateful enough. It is like the people of King Benjamin in Mosiah 5 who realize that they are forever indebted, even for the air to breathe, to their Father in Heaven.

One of the small (but is any blessing really small?) blessings is that Eden was so young when this happened. She has been such a good baby to allow others to care for her. She still is but she is also becoming increasingly attached to her parents. I realized as I put her to bed tonight that I wouldn't see her again until we are home tomorrow evening. That makes us both sad. I am so grateful for the good women who will be caring for her tomorrow.

Stay tuned, I'll probably blog some from the clinic. If the CEA is good there will be much exultation and if it is bad, I will try to have faith and blog positive things anyway. Y'all can help me find ways to do that.

Thanks, friends.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bonk, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

The Bambino is really interested in her body right now. She likes to show me her eyes (and my eyes), nose, hair, teeth, etc. For most of these things she not only knows what I'm talking about when I say "show me your ear" (for example) but she knows how to say the word (at least well enough for me to realize what she is saying). Therefore, I was a little confused when she started placing her hands on her head and saying, "bah, bah, bah." I finally realized that she was saying "bonk."

Whenever I change her diaper in her room I do it on top of her dresser and when she lays down and thuds her head I say, "bonk."

Bonk, shoulders, knees, and toes. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Food Friday - Alfredo Sauce

1 T Minced Garlic (I use the kind in a jar)
2 T Olive Oil
2 T Flour
4 C Cream (or half/half for less fat and calories)
1 t Onion Powder
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese (grated or powdered)

  • Saute the garlic in the olive oil (in a medium sauce pan over medium heat).
  • Add flour and stir well (it will be somewhat pastey).
  • Add cream and mix well.
  • Cook until smooth and nearly as thick as you want it (the cheese will cause it to thicken more).
  • Add onion powder and cheese and stir until smooth.

Serve over pasta or use as a pizza sauce (with spinach is good).
You can add grilled chicken on the side or cubed and placed right into the sauce.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

We are home from our two-weeks in Utah. It was a busy and fun time. Even with much to do, I found it relaxing (Phil probably didn't - he had MUCH more to do than I). Eden had a great time. I think she loved every minute of it. Here are a few of her favorite things:

  • Grandpas and Grandmas who spoil and love her.
  • Cousins, cousins, cousins (that would be Kesler cousins, Beck cousins, and Voice Male cousins).
  • Outside or "sigh" as she calls it now. She loved playing outside on soft grass (ours is coarse); without the threat of yucky, mean bugs (I have a fear of chiggers and the like); and without the muggy, hot, humidity. A big thanks to Lydia and Natalie for endless hours of taking Eden "sigh."
  • The Voice Male concert in the Centerville park (which was outside, of course). She had so much fun playing with Pinga, and Landon (and her other VM cousins) and then her Beck cousins when they arrived. She loved clapping after each song. She especially loved the food that was available in plenty. Seriously, she ate an entire banana, several animal crackers, about 16 oz. of milk, several grapes, and anything else she could get her hands on. She had a tummy ache that night - go figure!
  • Sleeping in (ok this is probably more mine than hers). My mom's sewing room has no windows and is therefore totally dark night and day. It becomes the baby's room whenever there are visitors (and if more than one of us shows up at the same time there is a battle over it). This was Eden's first time sleeping in that room and she totally slept in, later and later each day. She usually gets up with the sun so we are loving this and have draped heavy blankets over her windows in the hopes of duplicating this miracle. (It worked this morning - she slept in until 10, of course she didn't get to bed until midnight.)
  • The moving walk ways at the Denver airport. We had a two-hour layover yesterday (why is it that when we have 40 minutes we have to cross massive airports to get to the departing gate but when we had two hours we ended up departing from the very gate at which we landed?). There was a moving walk way right by our gate. I bet Eden and I walked back and forth on those twenty times! She loved it. She is just getting a little more confident at walking (still won't do it without holding my hand though) and this was great practice.
  • Climbing stairs. Our house doesn't have stairs so she hasn't had much opportunity to develop this talent. She is now proficient and thinks she is pretty cool (we need to teach her how to go down now - anyone want to loan us their stairs?).
  • Bath and Bodyworks in the Denver airport. Eden loves lotion and anything that has a nice scent. I took her into the store in the airport and she had a blast trying all the "TRY ME" lotions. She rubbed it on her hands and face and arms and then sniffed and oohed and ahhed. She is such a girl!
  • New shoes. Speaking of being such a girl, Eden loves shoes (or "shehz" as she says). Her cousin, Brinley, gave her three pairs of shoes and she thinks they are pretty awesome. Her feet are finally growing (she was a size two forever - I sometimes think this might be why she is a late walker) and she is into size four now. She loves her shehz.
We had such a nice time with friends and family. Thanks everyone! Now we are home and it feels nice. It is good to have friends both near and far. We are pretty blessed.

Monday, August 4, 2008

No simple answers

I was recently reading Mormon 8 in The Book of Mormon. Verses 38-39 really stuck out to me. They read:

"Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?
"Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?"

These are words for our day (Moroni, who is writing here, says so). It seems that often in The Book of Mormon one of the key signs that a society is ripe in iniquity is when they no longer care for the needy.

I have great appreciation for all the work the LDS church does in humanitarian efforts. I'm happy to contribute because I know that there is very little overhead and the majority of donations actually help the needy. However, it is too easy for me to have an "I gave at the office" kind of mentality (but in this case, "I gave at church"). I know there are things in my own community and neighborhood which could benefit from my efforts and contributions.

So many things to ponder: How to get started? How to keep a balance? How to not feel overwhelmed before I even begin? At what point does "helping" the needy turn into paternalism or enabling people to not be self sufficient. Who can/should judge that fine line? What, if any, role should the government play? Can you legislate charity (in the real sense, not the post-New Deal sense) and compassion? If those in a position to help don't choose to share their wealth should "we the people" vote to force them to share? What does it say about a society if people don't care for those in need? I have some opinions but too often my answers to these questions conflict with one another. There are no simple answers...

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Scene: Bamamoma and the Bambino are in their kitchen eating lunch. They are having very tasty (leftover) stroganoff and steamed carrots. Bamamoma looks over and notices that the Bambino is holding her plate in a vertical fashion and all the food is sliding down and splatting on the kitchen floor.

Bamamoma: "No, no please. We do not drop food on the floor. Now we will have to clean up that mess."

Bamamoma continues to eat her food and then when she is done she makes a PB & honey sandwich for the Bambino. She hands her the sandwich and the Bambino acts with great excitement. She then pulls the two pieces apart (as is her way) so that she now has two open-faced sandwich pieces. She then holds each of them past her tray and over the floor. She holds them there and makes eye contact with Bamamoma.

Bamamoma: "Don't you drop that sandwich, you eat it."

Bambino: (maintaining eye contact) "NO!"

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