Thursday, May 29, 2008

Deliriously Sleepy Thursday

An update on my Mom: Today she has her PET Scan, and earlier this week she had a bone scan, and she'll have a bone marrow biopsy soon, too (ouch). She meets with her oncologist again on Monday, June 2, and they will supposedly map out her treatments over the next several months. On a lighter note, she decided to "ease us into the baldness" by chopping off her hair. Frankly, I think she looks awesome, chemo or no chemo! So we're still waiting to know exactly what we'll be doing this summer, but she has constant care from loved ones scheduled thru August and beyond, so we're all ready to go!
Look at my cutie mom!
***
(PS: Hi, Mollie! I have missed you so! You asked where I was in the south---I was in North Carolina and I loved it!)

***

Some pix from yesterday, and then perhaps a rest (will I ever stop being exhausted???):







Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Full-Circle

A conversation I just had with James after he busted down the bathroom door and wanted to chat while I (how dare I?!) pottied.

James: (holding up Addie's monkey key chain) Monkey.
Me: Yep, that's Addie's monkey.
J: Addie.
Me: Addie is downstairs playing with your cousins. Go downstairs and play.
J: Nee-nee (what he calls his friend Lydia).
Me: Danny and Rosalie are downstairs. They want to play. Go play.
J: Shoe.
Me: There are lots of shoes downstairs. Go play with the kids!
J: Outside.
Me: No, it's raining outside, Bubby. You can play downstairs. In your room. With toys. With shoes. With kids!
J: Potty. Mommy.
Me: Yes, Mommy's going potty.
J: Addie.
Me: Yes, Addie, too. You can go play with Addie downstairs.
J: Monkey.

I was done by then, and he is still sitting by me.

It's really a wonder I can still write a complete sentence with these awesome conversational skills.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now Let Us Rejoice


"On May 13,2008, ABC announced that Scrubs will be a midseason replacement, airing Tuesday nights at 9PM ET. Steve McPherson, ABC's President of Entertainment, also stated that additional seasons of Scrubs beyond the eighth could be produced if it performs well."

How did I miss this news on May 13th? I guess I was still recovering from our roadtrip. Anway, I am really excited about Scrubs coming back (NBC is so lame for letting it go). That gives me two great things to look forward to this fall: (1) for the first time I will be the mother of a two-year-old while not being pregnant, and (2) more quality time with my friends at Sacred Heart! Hallelujah! Let's all watch so it will "perform well" and we will get lots more!

Wanna rejoice some more? Then let's celebrate the 27th anniversary of the birth of my darling brother, Matt, on this date in 1981. Matt, Happy Golden Birthday! Surely this Scrubs news will make your day! ;)

On another note...poor China! I wonder how the Olympics is gonna go down...Hm.

I am working at the hotel AGAIN (I'm just bridging the gap between full-time employees right now, and picking up some cash for Rich's birthday and Father's Day; soon I will be back to working 3 or 4 3-hour shifts per week over the summer), so I may log in with more thoughts later.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Finishing Rooms

The Grays (Rich's sister, Angie and her family) are moving away to Wyoming today.

We've been playing with baby Hannah lots while they're loading up...Happy James
James loves Hannah!
Hannah is 6-1/2 months old and her feet are the size of Addie's at birth! She's TINY!
James' room is mostly done--here are the beds
A view of the closet
A view of the corner near the window


Heidi loves her elephant room! Here it is on Wednesday...
...and today we added more!
Heidi and Addie made an "elephant circus" to entertain Hannah today. I'm pretty sure they had more fun than Hannah did (Hannah looked a little scared).

***

We've worked hard on the bedrooms and other house projects today. There has been a lull in the rain, so Rich is trying to get the lawn mowed as I type. In a few minutes we are going to go out to dinner with the Grays and say good bye...we'll really miss them, especially having cousins right across the street to play with! But they'll be less than an hour from Mt. Rushmore, so we'll be doing some Rapid City time with them! :)



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Thoughts


I am at the hotel, so I can't post the picture I took of Heidi's floating paper elephants in her room. They turned out really cute, so now Addie wants dolphins.


We ditched church today--I just couldn't face getting the kids ready and wrestling them thru church on the very limited sleep I have had the past few nights (james has been sick and he and Heidi are still getting used to their new rooms). I hope I'll be forgiven for my wimpiness and that soon church will return to being uplifting rather than one of life's greatest challenges! Rich was released as Elders' Quorum President, so he can help us get ready for church on Sundays again(at least for a little while)--no early morning meetings! Again, forgive my murmurings--I think I automatically disqualify him from bishopric service.


I tried to get a good nap today, but only got about a half hour. I've noticed that the more tired I get, the worse my body aches get. At this point I can barely straighten out my legs...it's really sad! I need to sleep!!! Luckily it's been pretty busy at the hotel and I haven't dozed off!


I just re-read Elder Nelson's talk from April Conference. It's really a gem, you know? I wish I'd had it to share as a missionary. It was so hard to teach the difference between salvation and exaltation down in the Bible belt. It's widely believed that salvation--or being "saved"--is the same thing as eternal life. Certainly you can't have exaltation without salvation, but salvation is the gateway, not the destination. I love how he clarified this, and I love this plain and precious quote:

"This life is the time to prepare for salvation and exaltation. In God's eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter; exaltation is a family matter."


Also, this: "[Salvation is] and unconditional gift. Eternal life, or celestial glory or exaltation, is a conditional gift, Conditions of this gift have been established by the Lord, who said, 'If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.'"


It's so cool how he teaches that we are for sure SAVED individually (meaning it's just us, one by one, accepting the Lord's gift), but that we are exalted as familes. It takes the Holy work of a father, mother, and their children, strengthening and lifting each other, helping each other to be obedient and faithful, to meet the conditions of God's greatest gift.


The family--and especially our marriages--are something greater and more Holy, I believe, than any of us can realize. I wish I could remember that, all the time, in the hardest times, and treat my work as wife and mother as the exalting role it can be.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More House Stuff

We hung up some stuff in the girls' rooms on Thursday...
Addie's bulletin board is already full, and we hung three pix that are special to her:
The Jesus picture from Mommy, the cross-stitch from Aunt Kelli, and the Rose Fairy from Nana.

Addie's Mirror

Heidi's Bulletin Board

Heidi's Mirror

(need some touch ups and embellishments like Addie's...I need to take a trip to JoAnn's!)

Heidi and James coming in from the rain

How my front yard looks
(sorry it's blurry--my batteries were dying)
Pink & Yellow tulips, grape hyacinths, and snow-on-the-mountain.
Bright Zinnias will follow the tulips if the rain didn't wash the seeds away!

Along the front steps



Sunny Saturday (05.17)

Last Saturday was our first "hot" day (in the 80's--stop laughing, AZ people--it's hot!), so the kids ran in the sprinklers while Rich did yard work and Jill and I painted James' bedroom. Here's James trying to ride Heidi's bike in the backyard
(with Addie & Jill in the background)

Addie caught a "CALLAPITTER" with her bug catching kit
Everyone enjoyed the hammock! It rocks on a warm day!

***

Later, Jack and I took a rest while Aunt Jill and Daddy made a delish dinner of steak, salad, hotdogs and fritos (for the kids).

Addie at dinner (see the yellow bug cage behind her?)
James loves chips!
Heidi loves to dip stuff
Cute Little Benny J
Aunt Jill servin' up some love!

Jack woke up and had to get a haircut. Not his favorite.
***

Thanks again, Petersens, for a fun weekend!
Next time it's girly cousin camp!



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hausfrau

Jill did not believe that I hadn't done dishes since she left, but here's the proof! There are plates your sons ate waffles off of, Jill! I told you my house goes to heck if I do projects! I took this picture right before I did the first load of dishes. The second is in the dishwasher now! ;)
***
The Girls' Rooms...the rooms are all swapped but not decorated yet.
We still need chair rail and new bedding in Bub's Cowboy Room (formerly Heidi's room).
Heidi's Fun "Hokus" Circus Room
Addie's pretty"Hanna" Room...
See all the stuff we still need to hang up? Addie has lots of decorating ideas herself.


Oh, Yeah...


...American Idol finally got really good on Tuesday night when the two Davids fought it out for the title. The show this season has been inexpressibly cheesy and a little boring, but Cook rode in as the rockin' dark horse (his versions of Hello and Billie Jean won me over). David Archuleta grew on me, too, and was clearly the top voclist from the beginning. However, I thought the fans would rise up this year and vote for the viable pop star after Chris Daughtry unfairly got the axe last year and ended up being the most successful male idol ever (have you noticed what lame careers all previous male winners have had?? LAME, I say!). So no surprises, really.


I'm sad that it got so boring, but that's because Brooke White and Jason Castro--both of whom I love-- and Syesha stayed on way past their time (they were good, but not Idols). Carly and Michael Johns clearly should have been in their spots and the past four or five weeks would have been more interesting. Also, I say it every season, but what senior citizen is doing the theme weeks?? If you are trying to groom the next pop star, you should find mentors who have been relevant in the past 5-10 years, ya know??? I mean, I love me some Neil Diamond and the Beatles, but COME ON!!!! Anyway, it's all over now and I think both Davids have great careers ahead of them. The best pop star definitely won (besides, Archuleta's gotta serve a mission soon anyway!).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Requested Recipes

Hola! I am working at the hotel tonight! It's a little busy, but I have a minute to blog so I thought I'd post some recipes that have become BIG HITS at our house...

I wish I were posting before and after shots of the kids' rooms, but we are still working on them. While Jill was here we got about 75% of the work done (bless her heart--it really would not have gotten done without her her help!!!) and I predict the kids will be sleeping in them tomorrow night--THANKS, Aunt Jill!


First, click here for directions and recipe to make SPAM Musubi. Lest you scoff, the Spam is "re-cooked" in yummy sauce and you can't even tell it's canned meat! It's the best way to eat Spam if you like sushi. Rich loves it and I've been skeptical, but last week in Vancouver we found a Hawaiian Cafe and I tried it for the first time. I am converted, and I bear you my solemn witness that Spam Musubi is yummy. Use the can for a mold and have yourself a luau!

Secondly, we made lettuce wraps this weekend (again) and I guess I should post my own recipe for making them because it now barely resembles the PF Chang's recipe I downloaded, but it still gets RAVE reviews when I serve it. Don't be daunted by all the sauces it calls for--they are well-worth investing in and you can find most all of them on the ethnic aisle of your grocery store for $1-3 per bottle (the ginger and garlic purees are in the produce dept. usually, in little Christopher Ranch jars). So here goes...

Lettuce Wraps

1 head of Bibb lettuce
1.5 lbs ground turkey
4 TB oil
2 tsp fresh ginger puree
2 tsp fresh garlic puree
FINELY CHOPPED:
2 green onions
mushrooms (1 box or 1 can)
2-3 stalks celery

1 can water chestnuts
1 can bean sprouts
½ cup peanuts or cashews

Marinade:
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp water
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil

Cooking Sauce:
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp plum sauce
2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

Dipping Sauce:
½ cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp plum sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp hot chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp cornstarch



Noodles (I never do these, but I have substitued chow mein noodles): 1 ½ cups oil and 1 pkg cellophane noodles
The noodles will be deep fried, and should not be soaked in water prior to frying. In a large pot or wok, heat the 1 ½ cups of oil on high. The oil should be about an inch or so thick so that the noodles can be submerged.
Add the noodles and cook for just 5 to 10 seconds or until they “puff” up. Then remove them quickly with a slotted spoon and place them on plate.


First make the marinade: add the sherry and the soy sauce to a bowl and stir. Next add the water, salt and pepper and mix it in. Then, using your hands, add the cornstarch making sure to mix it in thoroughly. Finally stir in the oil.
Place the ground turkey in a large Ziploc bag and add the marinade. Let stand 20 min.s at room temperature (you can do your chopping or sauces while you wait).

Prepare the cooking sauce be mixing all of the ingredients together making sure that the cornstarch dissolves. Set this sauce aside.

Prepare the dipping sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a pot except for the cornstarch. Mix the cornstarch in a separate cup with just a little water to dissolve and set it aside. Heat the pot on medium high stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then slowly add the cornstarch while stirring until thick. Set this sauce aside.

Carefully remove the leaves from the lettuce head and rinse them under cold water. Place them on paper towels to dry. These will be used as the “cups” for the turkey.

When the turkey has marinated, heat a large non stick pot or wok on high and add 3 tablespoons of the oil. Once the oil is hot (like almost smokin’), add the turkey and stir fry it for about 4 minutes or until cooked through, breaking it up into pieces as you stir. Then remove it from the wok and set it aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok and add the ginger, garlic, green onion. Stir fry for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Then add the other chopped veggies and stir fry for 3 more minutes. Return the turkey to the pan and add the cooking sauce. Stir until thick, and then keep it warm til you’re ready to serve.

I also like to make a batch of white rice (3 cups water, 1.5 cups rice, and salt in the rice cooker), and serve a big bowl of the ground turkey/ veggie mix, a big bowl of rice, a plate of lettuce leaves and a bowl of sauce for topping (I often just use Hoisin Sauce and a little soy sauce straight from the jar and skip making the recipe above—I promise it’s just about as good and a little bit simpler). Also, if you need to “bulk up” the recipe to feed more peeps, you can easily chop and add almost any veggie you have on hand—add more celery, even carrots, another can of mushrooms, and a little more sauce—you can stretch that 1.5 lbs of ground turkey to feed 10 people!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008




Dear California,

You really, really suck!


Love, Me
(Click the "REALLY"s)

Little Darlin'...

...I feel that ice is slowly meltin'....it has been the latest spring EVER! My tulips finally bloomed this week, but it's still cold in the morning. SIGH.

We got home safe and sound from Vancouver on Tuesday morning at 6am. Aunt Jill, Jack, and Ben are coming tonight to play this weekend and help with The Great Bedroom Swap of 2008.

James and I are anxiously awaiting summer, dancing to his favorite song (I love it, too)...CHECK OUT "MALTI" HERE...you'll be glad you did! Enjoy your day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

THE LATEST

Well, if this isn't just the biggest game of Hurry Up and Wait! Mom got a generic phone call from her Doctor's office this morning telling her that she has a 3:15pm appointment with her oncologist on Friday. So that means that she DOES have cancer but she doesn't know what kind or what stage...they will tell her all of this on Friday and then we will know when her radiation and chemo cycles begin and we can activate Operation MamaCare!

She is much better today and we have had fun visiting as I finished all the laundry and got packed. We are leaving much later than we had planned, but it's okay. I am grateful for every moment with her and glad to leave things in a good state. Hang in there til Friday, one day at a time...:) More from Montana manana ;)


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Oh, my dear friends and fellow moms...I hope you've had the beautiful day you deserve!


That's me with my three darlin's at Multnomah Falls this afternoon.


Awww, kisses for mom!


***


My kids have been "on one" today, and my mommy was only semi-conscious, but it has been a beautiful day anyway! Look what I got to do:


After a delicious breakfast burrito, cute cards, church, and a grrrreat nap, we went on a drive down the Columbia River Gorge. Our first stop was at the Vista House--loved it!
Our next stop was Multnomah Falls (Abby took this photo--cute, huh?)
The girls LOVED it! We hiked up to that bridge you see above them...
Abby, Sydnie, and Addie ran up ahead of us on the gorgeous trail...
James and I had fun watching the water up close and scaring ourselves by looking over the bridge!
On our way back to the car, James caught one last sight of the falls and I thought his wonderment was adorable! This truly is a beautiful place to be!

***


My hubby topped off the wonderful gift of this trip by sending me to get my very first pedicure (and a manicure, too) yesterday. He took the girls and went with Mark to Abby's baseball game while I stayed here with James, per mom's request. When it became apparent that she was not going to be able to get up, I put James down for a nap and told her I was leaving for an hour or two, and I had the best time sitting in a nice massage chair with the foot bath, waiting for my "mani-pedi." (James woke up about 2 minutes after I got back--perfect!) Wow, that's good stuff. It could get addictive! So I am enjoying my rosy, cuticle-less nails today, trying not to spoil them with TOO much housework! ;)

***

Mom has been mostly sleeping off her surgery and pain meds the past two days. She was actually asleep and incoherent more today than she was Friday or Saturday. I keep wanting to extend my trip to spend coherent time with her, but I don't know now if she'll be any better Tuesday than she is now...hm. I do kinda want to be here for her diagnosis so I can go home knowing what to do next, and to assure her that she'll have all the care & help she needs, but we'll have to see how tomorrow goes. I am having terribly mixed emotions and I feel very much torn between these two generations that I am here to nurture and care for. In many ways I feel like my time with my mom might be limited, so I want to give her all my attention, but of course life goes on and I have children and a husband whom I want to cherish and love, too. On the surface I have been busy working hard, trying to do the things mom would do if she were up and around, and it has been fun to do it. But I found myself inexplicably irritable and frustrated a few times today (when it really has been quite a nice day). I finally realized in the quiet of late night that I am feeling pretty angry, or at least "mad." I am mad that the world wont' stop and let me lay by my mom so we can talk and laugh. I am mad that, chances are, this is as good as it gets with mom---meaning all the fun times I have been looking forward to aren't going to happen, that I will continue to feel torn, possibly for years, as long as she is here with us, trying to make the most of what's left. I feel like taking care of her and spending time with her are most urgent, yet we all know from sad experience that I don't necessarily have unlimited time to be with my kids and hubby either--I can't put off time and attention with them just because it seems like I'll have them longer than mom. That saying form Marvin J. Ashton, "Make every encounter a kindly one," rings so true because, really, any encounter can be your last, with ANYONE, and shouldn't it reflect the whole of your relationship and all of your love? I'm trying to juggle it all. It's almost MORE frustrating being here and feeling mostly helpless, working really hard all day to do something, anything, that might in some way ease mom's burden, to take away some of the weight of what's to come. Today she couldn't wake up, so I washed all the bathroom rugs and shower curtain liners because that's something she probably won't get to anytime soon. She complained about her craft room being a disaster, so I just spent three hours organizing it, hoping against hope that she'll even get to use it. It sucks.


But I do feel so grateful for all the blessings that have been poured out upon me and upon our little family over the past 7 years. I am so grateful to be a mother and have three brilliant and healthy children. I am so thankful that the restored gospel of Christ is part of my life and brings such joy and direction in such a dark world. I am grateful to know that every poopy, snotty, whiny, giggly, mundane, creative, unique, loving moment of my day as a mother MATTERS. In a big way. All of my thoughts are captured so well this week at NieNie's blog, so go have a look when you have a minute and know that you matter, too. I am almost excited to see how the Lord will bless us and teach us over the coming months...buckle your seatbelts because I think it's going to be quite the ride.
***
I Love My Mama!


FAMILY LETTER 01.14.18

Dear Loved Ones,                                                      This has been a very typical January week. We are well into the w...