Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving ProDUCKtion

Thanksgiving week...Whew!  So much went down that I would love, love to blog about.  It would be both therapeutic and good comedy but these things were to personal for me to share with the masses.  You are probably thinking: Umm...you just blogged about your boobs.  My boobs are mine to share or not.  These other personal stories belong to my house guests and I will keep them theirs no matter how badly I would like to divulge.  So I will tell my Thanksgiving tale but there will be some holes.  Hopefully, I can weave it in such a way that it will still end up making sense. 

Scene I Act I

The festivities began on Tuesday last week.  Aaron's family was scheduled to arrive that evening.  I was thrilled their arrival would not intrude on Baking Day because this Baking Day was to be crucial to our Thanksgiving meal.  We planned to make as many of the sides and desserts as we could so that everything could just be re-heated on the big day. 

Baking Day started off pretty stellar when Caren greeted me by asking if I had any whiskey.

"I ran out last night,"  she explained.  Riiight.

I thought it was some hard core Mountain People thing.  She clarified that she needed whiskey to make home made Bailey's.  So we were off to a great start!  I learned to make home made cranberry sauce (which is both easy and delicious) bread stuffing, and cornbread stuffing.  Kathy is our Crust Queen so she made pie crusts for all of our pies.  The innards of the pies were a joint effort. 

My bread stuffing went smoothly enough and was pretty easy to make.  I needed the cornbread stuffing for Aaron's Turducken that he had decided to try and tackle this year. 

I screwed it up.  I'm not going into the details but it was bad.  Kathy tried to act like it could be saved.  Laurel winced a tad and said it had "bite."  Caren took a bite and suggested we feed it to the birds.  I was so ticked.  It is hard for me when I mess up on baking day because I am rarely making something just for me and my family.  Half of the Thanksgiving sized portions were going to Caren's family.  Not only that but I just wasted a bunch of organic ingredients. 

I carried my tray of cornbread-poop out side and fought tears as I crumbled it out onto the ground.   Part of my tears and anxiety was caused by the caffeine in the Bailey's spiked coffee we'd been drinking the rest is because I still had sweet potatoes and green bean casserole to make and the day was mostly over.  Family was on their way and I still had a few more things left to do at the house.

When I returned to the kitchen the other ladies were packing up their things to go.  Caren had a glass of red waiting for me. 

"Sit.  Relax.  It's only Tuesday.  You can make the rest later.  After you've had your wine we will remake the cornbread casserole."  Dear wise Caren!

Note to self: no coffee on Baking Day.

The second batch turned out super yummy!  Plus, Caren added bacon from Laurel's hog to it.  (Mountain People.)

I finally gathered my goodies and went home.  As I walked home, I couldn't help but notice that the cornbread I left for the birds had yet to be touched...

I was so happy that I had started a crock pot stew before heading to Baking Day.  I walked in and dinner was ready!  I had about an hour before the kids got home for some finishing touches in the house.  When Aaron's family arrived the house was filled with a savory aroma, candles were lit and a fire was roaring.  I love to set a scene!  It was a lovely evening.

Scene II

Wednesday I woke up at the crack of dawn and pressed my face to the window looking for any sign that my next guest was near to arriving.  I had been much anticipating this visit with my friend Shalah.  There were no cars out yet but there was snow.  Yee haw!  I had been praying that it would snow for our guests.  Nothing stuck but it was still fun to watch it fall while snuggled down in a blanket, next to a warm fire. 

Every hour I fogged up the windows again, looking for signs of Shalah. 


After about my 3rd time to the window she text that she was on her way.  On her freakin' way!  It was 9 in the morning!!  Unacceptable.  I told her to leave at the crack of dawn.  She had began her trip the day before and stopped in Raton, New Mexico.  That was hard enough for me, knowing that she was only about 3 hours away!  Oh the angst!  Plus she was missing the snow.  She finally arrived at 12:30.  The snow hung on just a touch for her.  I scolded her for her late start and for following GPS directions instead of mine.  Then there was hugging and squealing and I ushered into my home. 

Sitting on the couch with my Shalah was such a joy.  Moments were surreal.  She was really here!  Wine and laughter was in abundance.  In fact UPS showed up to deliver our wine club wine.  I seriously could not have arranged it any better.

That evening my BIL, Matt, wanted to treat the family to dinner for his dad's birthday.  The restaurant of choice was Casa Bonita.  Casa Bonita is no ordinary restaurant.  They have shows every 15 minutes.  I imagine this place is an ADD's dream.  There is a pirates duel, gorillas, sky divers and more.  There is also an arcade, in case you get bored.  Upon arrival they immediately herd you into lines and hand you a menu.  Once in line, you really can't leave.  Drew announced that he needed the restroom but we told him there was no escape.  While in line someone comes by to take your party's order.  You inch on a little more until you get to a cashier who rings up your ticket and sells arcade tokens that Uncle Matt had to of course purchase for his nephews.  Inch on a little more until you get to the trays and silverware.  Up a little more and there is an assembly line of sorts.  Our party of 8's plates were all there waiting for us.  Oops...wait..where's the All You Can Eat Beef Plate?  No worries!  A plate of Mexican Beef entrees slides out of the kitchen.  This started some concern about the quality of the food we were about to eat.  Maybe the concern should've started back in line where they trapped you like a rat.  Maybe it should've been piqued when I noticed the Help Always Wanted signs they had posted while we went through the line. 

Once we had our food things moved fast.  We were quickly ushered through the restaurant (nay...the CARNIVAL) to our table.  At the end of the table is a flag.  Like a Panchos flag!  You raise it when you want more.  Looking at my plate of gruel I was pretty certain that I, for one, would not be raising the flag.  The kids were up and down from the table to watch the various shows.

"This man dove off of a 20 foot waterfall,"  Drew announced, "and he LIVED!"  So the entertainment was good. 

Matt also pulled out all of the stops and had a mariachi band come to play a Happy Birthday song to his dad.  After the song they moved about one table over to play it again, then down about two more tables to play it yet again. 

Matt had been to this place once when he was 6 years old.  I see now why he remembered it so well.  It is scalded into my brain.  Forever. 

(This is where there was another adventure that I can't share happened.  Just imagine the fun one can have upon ingesting Mexican food.)

Scene III

Turducken.  Aaron had declared that he would be making Turducken earlier in the week.  He did his research and his time had come to execute his plan.  He began by deboning the chicken and duck.  This was done Wednesday night.  I think after the adventures of Casa Bonita he was ready to knife something.  It proved to be very cathartic for him.  He first worked on the chicken.  By the time he got to the duck he was nothing less then jovial!  Matt and Shalah were armed with cameras, prepared to document the making of a Turducken.  Aaron lifted the duck by it's wings and danced it about for the cameras.  With very little coaxing, he next posed with his head in the place where the ducks once was.  It was hilarious!  It was even more amusing that this was my oh-so-serious Aaron.

Thursday morning Drew woke me up with, "Happy Thanksgiving mom.  It's Giant Meat Day!  It's my lucky day!" 

Shalah and I took a walk around the "hood" and reviewed what was left to be done for the meal.   This made me realize that I forgot pecans for the sweet potatoes but knew where Caren kept hers.  I went to her house to grab them and noticed my cornbread from two days before were still on the ground.  Undisturbed.

Back at the homestead, I set out some snacky foods and made the prosciutto asparagus puffs again.  Aaron was not only baking a  Turducken but also frying a turkey.  The timing of it all was crucial and so he kept asking us when we thought dinner would be served.

"2-ish,"  I said.

"3:30,"  Shalah countered.

After the snacks were out and being snacked, I moved on to the green bean casserole.  I washed and snapped the green beans and added cream of mushroom soup and those crunchy onion thingys.  Just as I finished prepping the casserole Aaron entered the kitchen and asked, "Are those green beans raw?" 

Usually I use canned green beans but the goal this year was to do nothing from a can or a box.  Canned green beans are pre-cooked.  Once the casserole is made it has 30 minutes in the oven before ready.  Who knew how long it would take if we put raw green beans in.  Matt, with his uncanny way of always catching me in a low point, was there with his camera and snapped the very moment.  I am looking down into the dish with this new realization, feeling a little burn in the eyes again.  Behind my back, Shalah is giving Aaron the "shut it" sign with her hand.  Aaron is grinning ear to ear, amused by my kitchen skills. 

Shalah shewed them both out of the kitchen, pried the casserole out of my hand and redirected me to some potato mashing.  That I can do.  I don't know how she fixed it.  I think she rinsed all of the ingredients off of my beans.  Whatever she did it worked and I found solace in the soothing rhythm of mashing taters.

The meal was finally ready...at 3:30. 

Both of Aaron's turkey's were great!  He accomplished a Thanksgiving culinary fete! 

After we were all stuffed to our gizzards, we agreed that a hike was in order.  Leaving the kids with my MIL, the rest of us bundled up and set up the hill.  It was a crisp cold!  Getting ourselves moving was just the thing to warm us up and move the turkey down a bit, creating just enough room for pie.

Scene IV

Friday morning we took the crew to a favorite breakfast place for the Mountain People, Kountry Road Cafe in Kitteredge.  Portions here are not normal.  Food is delish!  Gabriel ordered pancakes.  They were about 2 inches thick and as big as his plate!  Matt ordered something called Holy Cow.  Evidently it was named such because that's what one said when the dish is set before you.  It was sausage laced mashed potatoes, with a layer of scrambled eggs, layered by more sausage mashed potatoes, topped with gravy, crowned with chicken fried steak and bejeweled with four slices of french toast. 

Towards the end of our meal the waiter comes by and asked if he could take our plates.  When he saw how much Matt had put away of the Holy Cow he said that he had never seen anyone eat that much of it before and added that no one had ever finished it.

"Really?" Matt asked, "No one has finished it?  Oh...now I have to do it."

We tried to convince him that there was no need.  We were all impressed with how much he had eaten.

"This isn't about you, it's about me."  Matt said and forkful after painful forkful he chiseled away at the meager remainings of his breakfast.  The waiter came by again and Matt asked if he finished, would his picture be put up on the wall. 

"No.  But we should start doing that."

"Forget it."  Matt said and pushed the plate away.  No gut, no glory.  Or something like that. 

A hike was once again the remedy for our over indulgence.  I took Matt and Shay to Mt. Falcon.  The views were great!  I had to scold Shalah a little bit because she kept texting.

"Shay, if you don't look up from texting you could trip on a rock or something."  I tell her and then...trip!  She did.

"How do you do that?"

"Common sense."

We saw deer in the meadow and interesting, grizzly looking people and then a mouse scurried across the trail.  It has taken nothing less then a mouse to cause me to turn around on a hike before but not our Shalah.  Noooo.  She thought the little mountain mouse is adorable!  Ignoring my warnings of diseased bites she bent down and scooped up the little critter in her hand.  Cupped in her hand, he was so warm he darn near fell asleep.  Or he fainted.  Who knows.  Matt and Shalah proceeded to have a photo shoot of the mouse and named him Howard.  I stayed on my side of the trail waiting for her to get bit.  After the photo shoot, Shalah tucks the little rat into her coat pocket.

"That is not going in my car.  You are going to forget about it and accidentally crush it."  Shay poo-pooed all of my objections.

"You can't even take wild flowers from these places.  I'm pretty sure it is a no-no to take actual wild life."  This did not deter her either but she did have a thought that she could be taking him away from a family.  And so we all headed back to the very place where Howard was found and returned him there.

Act II Scene I

So, I know this is a terribly long blog but we are reviewing darn near a week instead of a day like most times.  Hopefully, you have found it entertaining enough to hang in there.  If only I could have added those other funny moments of....*sigh*  I may have to start having people sign consent forms for me to tell their tales.

Saturday was the Gingerbread House Snack Down!  Caren had once been apart of these and wanted to revive them this year.  She and I had spent two weeks shopping for decorations and scheming for our entries.  The theme was Christmas Storybooks.  I knew right away that my team would do The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  Who-ville is so colorful, whimsical and kooky!  Anything goes and so we would use that to our advantage.  If our homes are lopsided we can claim that it is just Who-ish.  It was fool proof!  I found a very Who-like apron and a spirally Santa hat.  Just looking the part could be all that is needed to intimidate the competition.

Poor Shalah.  I'm pretty sure she started to break out in hives as soon as I told her about the whole thing.  Not that Shay is not a fun girl but she is just not....festive.  Or creative.  She is not really anything that -ive follows.  I knew this would be hard for her but I was not backing down from the challenge and I needed her help.  Oh!  There is an -ive word that does describe Shalah and that is COMPETITIVE.  I knew it would kick in eventually and boy, how!

After I showed Shalah my Who-ville print outs and all of the supplies that I had bought she got to brainstorming.  I wanted a village surrounding the tree where they sing their song.  In the back ground I wanted Mt. Crumpit.  Everything had to be edible and everything had to be assembled on sight.  I did some preliminary runs on the Grinch and pre-made a gingerbread arch way, some roofs, and the Grinches sleigh.

I did ask Shalah that she not have wine until after the competition.

"Really?  I think you will find I work better that way."

"I can't have you getting sloppy and risking a house caving in or something."

I was making creamed brandy cordials for the party though and since neither of us had ever had brandy we did decide to try a bit.  We gave our sifters a swirl, clinked them together and took a sip.

*Hoo-ah! Ack!  Doi-oi-oing!* 

We both winced and wheezed in unison.

"Whew,"  Shay said.  "Ready for the next sip?"  The next was the same as the first.

Luckily we were spared any more of it by a call from Caren.  Time was running short and she needed help with decorating and making bowls and bowls of icing.  Shalah and I packed four bags of supplies and headed over the hill.  We both let out a little whimper when we still saw evidence of my cornbread from what had now been 4 days.  Not a rat, bird, fox or otherwise had come to eat it. *sigh*

We entered the house to a vision of red and white clothed tables that were full of candies and food.  As I took it all in The Nutcrackers "Dance of the Sugar Plumb Fairies" began and then in swirled Caren looking gorgeous in a red sweater, black embroidered skirt and tall black boots.  There were quick but warm introductions as she handed me a bag of decorations (my forte) and recruited Shalah to making icing in the kitchen (her forte.)

Caren and I had a vision of candy decorations all over the house and so I had painted designs on Styrofoam circles that her daughters then wrapped in colorful cellophane.  I "pinned" them to corners of the tables and hung candy canes from windows and chandeliers.

Then I set to work on the creamed brandy.  They were to be topped with candied almond slivers.  These, of course, I burned.  Caren came behind me to smooth things out (as always) and I opted to just throw them in the trash this time, since the word of my fine cooking had apparently spread to the mountain critters.  I decided instead of giving it another go that we could just sprinkle them with cinnamon.  The recipe called for 2 T of brandy so I did 4.  My plan was to throw the rest of my competitors off balance.

The competition began with the pop of a champagne bottle.  My friend Robbie was also on my team.  She was also instructed to stay clear of the booze but somehow she and Shay both managed to bootleg some.  We had our game faces on though and executed the whole thing beautifully.  Shalah was in charge of Mt. Crumpit.  I showed her many picture with Crumpit's distinguishing curved tip.  The curved tip was the tricky part but Shay pulled it off perfectly!  Robbie layed down the frosting snow and piped green frosting over inverted ice cream cones to make the village tree.  I  made a few houses, the Grinch himself and then, at the last minute, a tootsie roll Max topped with a broken pretzel for his antler.  It was a good call because he turned out to be the biggest hit!

Everyone finished and the judging began.  The judges were nearly as serious as the competitors (i.e. me.)  There was long discussions and notes made over each creation.  I walked about to see how everyone else did.  There were several that had me nervous.  The Mountain People are creative.

The winners were finally announced.  There were several honorable mentions and even one "Dig Deeper Next Year" award. 

"It was tough to choose the winner and we even argued a bit about a few..."  I nervously gripped Drew's hand and then got embarrassed because Caren caught me, "...but we finally decided that if you are going to go big, then you should go Texas big!" 

With that a bottle of wine and a gingerbread man trophy was passed to us.  Just under our cheering I heard Drew ask, "Did we win a trip back to Texas?"

This brought me down a little.  Poor bug!

Final Scene

The next morning I took Shalah to my beloved Red Rocks.  I knew if anyone would appreciate it she would.  I've raved enough about them in previous blogs so I won't beat that horse.  We went into Morrison for lunch and shopping.

There is a small antique store that I had always wanted to check out and so Shalah and I started there.  The place was so packed full  of "treasures" that we could hardly maneuver through.  The floor boards creaked beneath our feet.  It smelled just like my Grandma's house, may she rest in peace.  A very old woman asked to assist us with anything we needed.  We turned a corner into a kitchen-like area.  There was a silverware tray with old pieces of stainless steel and even some plastic flatware.  It was like an episode of hoarders!  The elderly woman encouraged us to shop down stairs as well.  It was just as crowded and creepy.  Behind a curtain of sheets we saw a small living area with a bowl of cat food set out.  We climbed back up the groaning, creaking stairs and made as polite of a rushed exit as possible.  There were some really cool ski's in there though....poop.

After a few more over priced stores we walked over to a B&B place that I had always wanted to peek in on.  As we walked though I noticed the air was colder and the clouds looked different.  Snow clouds.

Shalah teased me that if I was able to predict snow by looking at the clouds it was time to return to Texas.  I laughed too because I was pretty sure I could not predict snow.  I did hope (really hard) that it would though.  What a perfect way to end our visit together!  So we headed home and sat on the couch under blankets and our hands wrapped around hot mugs of tea.

*Cue snow...black out and....curtain*

Monday, November 22, 2010

T & A

Disclaimer for Men: Hey dudes.  There will be boob talk in this blog.  Particularly about mine.  If you are one of those guys who I grew up with and I am like a sister to you, you may just want to stop right here.  For those of you who are still reading; there will be nothing sexy going on in this blog.  It's stone hard truth.  The big, the bad, and the DD's.

My friend, Caren, has a fabulous butt!  She's got this whole Beyonce thing going on with her booty and thighs.  It's absolutely beautiful and I very much envy her.  No amount of squats is going to put the junk in my trunk.  I know.  I gave it 4 good years of trying.  I will forever have legs sprouting from my back.  I mean, it's as flat as the Texas plains back there, but Caren!  Blessed woman!  I ain't gonna lie to you either; I spank that thang every chance I get.  On Baking Day, if her glorious booty is blocking the cabinet or drawer that I need to rifle through, I give it a pop.  It is very satisfying.  Very.

Caren, of course, has little to no appreciation for her booty.  She will concede that at least it is "trendy" right now but she feels the booty worship will pass.  She is a slim woman with get up in her go.  Just like I can not work out enough to create a butt, she will never work her butt away.  (It's true Caren.  Sorry.  I only apologize because I know you don't like it but I am happy for it!)  I have told Caren that I will make her love her booty.

One day Caren says to me, "I've been thinking about what you said about making me love my booty and I've decided that I will love my booty the day you love your boobies."


I hate 'em.  They make me look fatter then I am.  I have a size medium body but the boobs make me have to get a size (or two) larger which then can look frumpy.  Or the top will then be too long because apparently designers think large also means tall.  Idiots.  I can wear an 8-10 in pants but a 12 in a dress.

Everyone looks at them.  Not just men.  Women look at them and usually with disdain on their face.  They think I'm out to get their men or something.  That's right ladies, I grew these suckers myself to go out and woo your man away.  Sometimes they look with admiration and envy.  They don't realize that you can't wear shirts that button, that your back hurts, your bra strap cuts into your shoulder which then you can't help but think, damn, I have fat shoulders!  I have woken myself up in the middle of the night because I have rolled onto my boob.  And it hurts!

Men!  They are the worst.  Eyes up here fellas.  Men seem to agree with their wives and think that I sprout these suckers for their viewing pleasure.  Several have the gall to even talk about 'em with me.  I recently met a guy who mid sentence said, "I'm sorry but I keep looking at your boobs."  At least he apologized...  "And I am sure there is more to you then that."

"Nope.  Not really." I answered dryly.

This weekend Aaron and I went to a 50th birthday party for a guy he works with.  I carefully chose an outfit that would hide my cleavage.  It was a form fitting tunic that accentuated my waist.  Unfortunately, it also accentuated the Ladies and so I wore a pretty cardigan over it.  Paired with skinny jeans, tucked into heeled boots and I found the outfit to be appropriately modest and party friendly.  So, here I am meeting lot's of new people.  One guy there (who does not work with Aaron directly but is in the industry) tells me and the other gal I am with that he "feels surrounded by boobs tonight!" 

"Well, hers are bigger then mine!"  quipped the other lady. 

Thanks a lot, Sister.  And Aaron walks up with my glass of wine....thank you, thank you, thank you!

Some people seem to be under the impression that I purposely display my cleavage.  Here's how it works my flat chested friends:  if I wear a top that goes all the way to my neck, I then look large because there is this expanse of fabric stretched taught across my chest.  It is more slimming (for all people) to wear a v-neck, scoop neck or boat neck.  Boat necks are my favorite because they cover things very nicely but still expose the clavicle.  That bit of bone actually gives the allusion of being skinny.  I have a hard time finding many boat necklines though.  So I will wear a v or scoop neckline and sometimes layer it with a lacy cami or something.  For some reason though, fabric moves.  It shifts and stretches as the day goes on and inevitably some cleavage is going to be out there.  (We took some family photos once and I worked hard to put together a breast minimizing outfit but low and behold!  It was like the freakin' grand canyon.)

There are bras that claim to minimize the breasts. 

A. they are ugly.  They are big with wide straps and are in the colors white or flesh and in the same fabric they cover mattresses with.  Feeling pretty starts with under garments.  Truth. 

B. They mash the boob flat but the excess has to go somewhere.  Guess where it goes?  Your armpit.  So then you have the lovely Pitty Titty.  Pitty Titties are even less attractive then actual titties.  You can try to stuff the excess back in there but the resluts are also unattractive.
There have been some benefits.  I was most appreciative of them when I was breast feeding.  Well, not with Gabe.  Poor thing.  I had the wells but they were always dry.  He was this half starved little baby...  Drew however, reaped much benefit!  I swear that boy came out with a bib on.  When a baby is newborn they have to work up to how long they breastfeed.  For one, because they are so little and two because mom has to work up the supply.  So usually, you have a goal to nurse for 5 min. on one side and then 5 min. on the other and then you increase it to 10 and 10 and so on.  Drew was nursing a full 15 min. on each side from day one.

I remember one road trip down from Kansas City to Dallas for Thanksgiving.  We were just north of Denton, TX and in stand still traffic.  Drew was wailing because he was hungry.  Aaron said he could pull off the road so I could feed him but I really did not want to get any further back in that line then we were, especially as close to our destination as we were.  So I climbed into the back seat, whipped out my breast and nursed the little guy with out having to take him out of his seat.  I felt like a female Inspector Gadget!  It was the one time I was really happy to have the big boobies.  Way to come through for me ladies!

(A girlfriend and I often used to try to figure out a way to feed babies while driving.  The idea was to have something like a breast pump attached to our boob that then had a long reaching straw to attach to a pacifier that could get to the baby in the back seat.  There are a lot of kinks in the design that, as mothers of young children, we were too tired to figure out but we loved to dream about it....)

So I consider a breast reduction all of the time.  My husband says no.  Of course.  He's a man.  I am certain Aaron and I were made for each other.  We are yin and yang.  He is quiet, private, and subdued.  I am a loud, open book, when's the next party?  I think physically we were made for each other too.  He has it going on (booty) and I have his beloved boobs.  As my friend Lauren once said of me, I put the "fun" in "fun bags." But I often wonder...which came first?  Did God make him a boob man because I would have giant boobs or do I have giant boobs because he is a boob man?  And why did God not make me taller?  These DD's would look much more proportionate on a gal who is 5'5 or taller then on this 5 foot nothing frame.    And then God talks to me through produce.

The other day at Whole Foods I saw this crazy fruit:

It's called Buddha's Hand.   I thought it was just beautiful!  It looks like a star burst!  This fruit that grows in Japan is related to the lemon.  The skins color and texture are the same.  If you gently twist one of the "fingers" a mist of juice comes out in a light spray and it smells just like lemon!  It's used for it's zest.  When cooking you can thinly slice a "finger" and add it to your dishes.  I did not care for it's culinary use.  I could not get over God's hand in this Buddha's Hand.  The masterful artistry...again!  How beautifully designed.  There were other Buddha's Hands that were more closed.  That is really where the name came from because the closed ones look like praying hands.  I did not find those ones as attractive.  I loved this one and I had to have it.

As I carried it through the store there were lot's of questions.  Mainly: what is that and what will you do with it?  I just wanted to display it.  It's a lovely centerpiece.  A work of art on it's own accord.  I think it would be really cool if I could make a Christmas tree out of fruit and set this on top!   Any how, I loved the Hand and had to give God a hand once again for his creativity. 

And God said "Yes, I make beautiful things.  Like you." 

My eyes got teary and my nose tingled because I was about to cry and then I said to my Lord,  "Shut up."

"Do you think I did it wrong?"


"I don't make mistakes.  My designs are perfect and you were fearfully and WONDERFULLY made."

"I am stacked.  Like a snowman." 

"How can you hate what I love?"

And so I have to concede in this argument because I know He is right.  As usual.  This is the body the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  (I'll try to anyway.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poop: It's what's for Dinner

It is a pet peeve of mine (and pretty much every mother I talk to) that the kids ask every night, "what's for dinner?"  Typically, an honest answer is given which is then followed by a whiny "not again!" or "I don't like that!  I want _______ for dinner."  There is nothing more annoying then working hard to put together a healthy, delicious, and (if at all possible) quick meal and to have everyone complaining about it before you ever even get it on the table. 

One of my friends gives the same answer every night: a sarcastic "Yummy Goodness!"  Another friend offers her children two choices for dinner: "Take it or leave it."  When my kids ask me "what's for dinner?"  my answer is always the same.  "Poop." 

Today is a Tuesday so you all know what that means....BAKING DAY!!  The last few weeks I've been coming home with loads of tasty sweet carbs so I thought this week I would make something to bring home for dinner instead of dessert.  I found two recipes in a magazine that sounded delish! 

One was asparagus-prosciutto pastry puffs.  This yummy appetizer is made with frozen pastry puffs, filled with herbed cream cheese, a slice of prosciutto and an asparagus spear.  Everyone at baking day found their taste buds to be delighted with the treat!  We ate most of them while we worked.

The other dish I wanted to try was a creamy herbed spinach soup.  It looked so pretty in the magazine,, garnished with croutons and  parmesan cheese.  Besides the obvious ingredient of spinach, it also had garlic, onion, basil, olive oil, sour cream, heavy whipping cream and parsley.  I'm not a parsley fan so I left it out.  The ingredients are cooked and then pureed together.

We worked hard today!  Besides those two things I also made natillas which is a pudding that my Grandma makes.  (Tastes like a very yummy tapioca.)  Same as the soup, I made six recipes of it.  Whew!  One of the gals made banana bread.  Another made orange-gingerbread biscotti.  There was also breaded chicken tenders, buttermilk bread, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls and chocolate pudding.  (Is that all?  I think it is.) 

I decided for dinner tonight I would serve the breaded chicken tenders on top of a salad, with a side of spinach soup.

When Aaron got home he announced that he was hungry.  I had three of those asparagus puff things left and so I heated them up for him to taste.  He bit into one and had a thoughtful look as he chewed.

"Do you like it?"  I asked.


"Well, what is it?"

"I just can't place this taste..."


"That's it, " he said and he put the puff down. 

We then noticed that it was starting to snow out.  Just a touch was falling.  We have a lovely view of mountains/hills from our home.  The distant hills looked to be getting more snow then we were. 

Cool!  More snow coming....!

I walked into my bedroom and then back out into the living room just in time to see the hills disappear in a down pour of snow.  It was the coolest thing! 

Anywhoo...this prompted a rush to the log pile as our in-house supply had dwindled.  When Aaron came back in he had lost interest in the asparagus spears.  (Personally, I don't think he liked them all that much.  Not a fan of rosemary.)

The kids came home, did home work with cocoa by the fire, and asked "What's for dinner?"


"No it's not!  Stop saying that mom!"

I was actually pretty excited about tonight's dinner.  I was pretty sure it would please all.  I made a honey mustard dressing for our chicken tender salad. 

Everyone gathered 'round the table.  The first thing the kids noticed was the very green spinach soup. 

"Ew!  What is that?!"  Drew asked.

"It's a delicious spinach soup!  I know it looks funny but it has lot's of things you like in it like sour cream."

"Does it have whipped cream too?"
"Actually it does.  It has something called heavy whipping cream."

"Mmm!  I can't wait to try that..." Drew said into his bowl.

First taste though went to the chicken salad.

"This is great mom!" Drew exclaimed, "You are the best chef ever!"  It was so good to finally hear some kudos for dinner.  Especially after how hard we worked at Baking Day today.

Drew has always had plans to open his own restaurant one day.  He has promised me a job there as a waitress. (Oh joy.)  After tasting the chicken salad (which I did not actually make, BTW) Drew announced that Aaron will now be the one taking people's orders.

"Mom, you will cook with me.  I'll be the one wearing the tallest hat."

Gabriel had not said much about dinner.  When I asked what he thought he agreed that the chicken was very good.

"How about the soup?  Have you tasted that yet?  It has croutons and a little parmesan cheese on it."

"Um...I don't want to hurt your feelings but...I'm a little afraid to try it."

"I understand.  It's green.  Just have a taste though.  You may find that you really like it."  I encouraged.

So Gabe took a tentative spoonful....


"Well, the first word that came to my mind was 'frog.'"

Mmkay.  Awesome. 

I must've looked hurt or pissed because Gabe said that it was just what came to his mind but that he actually really liked it.

Yeah, right.

I asked Aaron what he thought.  He gave his typical dry, "it's good."  I really liked it so I finished it all up and started to clear the table.  Meanwhile, Drew had finished all of his chicken and was asking for more.

"Well, buddy you have not even tasted your soup yet."

"Umm...I change my mind.  I don't want more chicken.  I'm full."

"That's fine but I would like for you to at least taste the soup."

Drew looked down into the bowl and weakly stirred it with his spoon. 

"Ok, but if I don't like this we are NOT putting it in my restaurant."


"That's fine.  Just taste it please."

With a twisted up face Drew raised a spoonful toward his mouth.  He opened wide and then...

"Mom, will you stay by me while I try it?"

"Seriously Drew?  You are being silly.  It's soup.  Just try it."

Drew made another attempt.  This time his body squirmed with his twisted expression.  He raised the spoon to his lips and then...

"Mom, would you just feed it to me?"

"Fine."  I marched over to his side of the table getting a little annoyed with the dramatics.  "Here...let's get a crouton on that spoon with some of the cheese...mmmm.  This is going to be yummy!"

Drew opened wide for the bite.  The spoon just made it into his mouth and then....he started to gag.  He gagged twice.

"Come on Drew.  It's not that bad!"  I chided.  But apparently it was because Drew spit it all back into this bowl, left the table and then puked.

Aaron started to chuckle but could see my indignant expression of pursed lips and instead got up to help Drew into the bathroom.  I grabbed a towel, cleaned up the mess, and started to clear the table.  I was so annoyed that no one liked my soup.  I worked really hard today and no one liked it.  Hmph!

As I was putting the way the soup I confessed to myself that it really was gross looking. 

Basically, you made glorified baby food, I thought to myself.  And then I laughed!  You finally did it.  You made poop for dinner!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I have one of those new fancy phones where you touch the screen to make it go.  It's been a rough introduction but I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I've recently set my alarm on it.  I got to choose the sound I would wake up to.  There is this fun little diddy that starts soft and charm like.  A melodic "Good morning" is sang and then..."bup bup bup bow bow bup bup bup bow bow bow !"  A funky little rhythm erupts garnished with a chiming "beautiful day!"  I LOVE THIS!  It puts me in such a good mood!

Still having not adjusted to the time change, Drew woke up at 6 this morning and climbed into my bed.  He has always had a thing for my earlobes and so I awoke to his tugging on them.  (I swear when I'm an old my earlobes will be past my shoulders.) 

"Good morning my beautiful mother," he whispered, "I think it is going to snow today."

I had told the boys that the weather was predicting a chance of snow so during our bed time prayers last night Drew pleaded with God for snow.

"We'll see Bug.  It's early still so lets try to sleep a little longer, k?"  But no.  He did not want to sleep.  He kept talking.

"I love your beautiful face, mommy!  I'm so glad you grew up big and had a little boy to love you." 

Irresistible.  There was no sleeping after that, just lots of 'nuggling until...."Bing, bing, bing.  Good morning!  Bup bup bow bow bup bup bup bow bow bow!"  Drew smiled big at my alarm and I got up and did a little morning dance for him. 

"OK, mom...that's enough."


All that to say, I had a great start to a great day!  It did not look like the snow was going to come so I was a little bummed but it was baking day.  Woo hoo!

We had stellar results today.  We all come with something in mind to bake.  Everyone helps clean up (but mostly Patti) and we all take home a little bit of everything.  Today I came home with a loaf of Ezekiel bread, 8 bagels (4 plain, 4 cinnamon), sombrero cookies, apple pie, Quinoa (YUM) and cupcakes with the cream filling in the middle just like Hostess makes.  (Is that everything...?)  I made the pies and they did not take long so I got to help with a little bit of everything else.  As we baked, ice started to fall outside that eventually turned to snow.  I don't know if it was the long awaited snow or all of the amazing baked goods that surrounded me but I did my Happy Dance many times.  And I sang the Good morning song. (I couldn't help it.  It was stuck in my head.)

After getting my goodies home (I walked home from Caren's.  In the snow.  Up hill both ways.  I jest!) I had to head to the school to pick up the boys.  I went into the mud room to pile on some winter stuff.  I actually paused awhile over wearing my snow boots.  There was not even an inch of snow on the ground.  Would that really be necessary?  I had visions of me showing up at the school all bundled up while the other moms had nothing but a long sleeve shirt and maybe a vest on.  I finally decided that I wanted to be warm and if bundling up in the snow means I will stick out like the foreigner that I am then so be it.  I mean, it's snowing!  So I donned a hat my Grandma had knit me, my leather coat, gloves and snow boots. 

The roads were fine and my times of driving in the snow in Missouri came back to me.  It wasn't scary like driving in the snow in Texas.  The hardest part was keeping my eyes on the road instead of the beautiful snow scenes I was passing by! 

I got to the school a little early and so got out to enjoy the snow a bit.  There were so many people I was wishing would appear next to me.  I wish you guys were here to enjoy these little moments!  As I suspected I was a tad over dressed.  There were many with the long sleeve shirt and vests.  There were a few with nothing but a sweater and a knit cap on.  Then there was a lady who walked up with one of those "fur" caps on with the ear flaps, a big puffy winter coat, and boots up to the knees. 

She must not be from here.  I thought, and then I had a good chuckle at myself.

The bell rang and the kids burst out of the school with cheers and laughter regarding the snow!  It was straight out of a Peanuts cartoon. 

"It's snowing!"  they shouted and then they tried to catch the snow flakes on their tongues, scooped up snow and dared each other to stick their tongues on the flag pole.  One young man began packing a snowball but it his attempt was thwarted by a teacher.  Apparently snowballs are not allowed on campus. 

I found my sons making their own snowballs.  Drew over heard the teacher and dropped his snowball to the ground.

"It's OK buddy," I said,  "You can throw one at me or your brother if you want."

"But we're not allowed!"

"Well, I'm your mom and this is your brother so you can throw one if I say."

Gabriel still had his and Drew wanted Gabe to toss it at him.  I zipped up Drew's coat so the snow would not get in his shirt.  Gabriel wound up his pitch and then...

"Gabe,"  Mr. Chris, the bus driver squawked over his bus intercom, "Don't throw it...at his face."

I smiled at Chris!  I love that guy!  So Gabe wound up and SPLAT!  The first snowball of the season was pitched with a few little cheers from the kids on the bus.

I dropped Drew off at cub scouts and then home we went.  Gabriel announced that he would need a fire in the fireplace to keep warm by while doing homework.

I'd never built a fire before but decided it couldn't be too hard.  I mean, forest fires start by mere accidents and neanderthals were able to figure it out.

Aaron already had wood stacked in there and so I just shoved in newspaper here and there, lit a match and wa la!  Fire!  Well...fire for about 3 minutes.  As soon as the paper burned out it was over.  I tried using the bellow but only succeeded in making the paper temporarily glow.  Hm.  I shoved new paper in and lit it again with the same results.  One log in the back finally caught and I was pretty satisfied but Gabe complained that it was not sufficiently heating the room.  I tried again and tucked some matches in between some of the bark for good measure.  My little trick worked and I had a bona fide fire!  Woo hoo!  Now I know how the cave men felt.

Today I woke up to happy children, baked many yummy things with several fabulous ladies, I danced, I sang, I drove on the mountain in the snow, I was not the biggest thumb sticking out at the school and I built a fire.

"Bup bup bup bow bow bup bup bup bow bow bow bow bup bup bow bow bup bup bow bow!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Here we go again...

Drew was doing so well!  The last...two weeks, I'd say, Drew seemed to be "over the hump" with this whole moving thing.  He was excited for school and said things like "I love ECAW!" (Every Child A Writer) and "Oh boy!  Today is art!"  He was Mr. Personality at school and won at the Oral Interpretation Festival.  The walk to and from the bus stop was pleasant and I was starting to think that we had our groove back.

Around the end of last week Drew came home very upset and crying because his teacher says he has "bad handwriting."  Translation: The teacher is doing her job and correcting some of the misguided lines in his penmanship.  Trying to be encouraging, my husband told our boy not to worry.

"I have always had bad handwriting, son.  It's no big deal."  Drew continued writing and complaining.

"See!  Look at this!  It's terrible!"

"No, it's not!  I think that looks really good, Drew."

"Well, my teacher doesn't appreciate it." 

I tried to explain that his teacher is not saying that he is bad but that she is guiding him and trying to help him to get good at something that is fairly new to him.  It matters not.  The critique was taken very personally.

Monday morning no one wanted to go to school.  Understandable.  We just had a fun night of trick or treats.  Who wants to go to school/work after that?  But we must.  I sent everyone off to school.  Gabriel mentioned a sore throat on the way to the bus stop. 

Drew was lagging behind as we headed to the stop.  I could feel him dropping farther and farther back.  I turned around to encourage him to catch up and instead caught the little turd running back up the hill to the house.  Again.  This time I don't run up the hill.  Instead I chose to yell for him to get his little butt back down or I would spank it.  He turned around and stood with his hands on his hips and then reluctantly dragged himself down the hill.  Because of his slowed pace, the bus beat us there.  Drew stopped in his tracks and turned to run again but this time I'm right behind him.  I had to forcibly turn his little body around toward the bus, pick him up and push him up onto the stairs.  Whew!  All the while, our bus driver is cracking up.  Laugh it up, Mr. Chris.  Laugh it up.

I headed up the hill to Caren's to help clean up from the previous night's party.  I relayed the morning's events.  After talking it out I started to reconsider Gabriel's complaint of a sore throat.  The kids have been dropping like flies at the school due to Strep.  I decided to pull him out of school and take him to the Dr. 

Dr.'s quick strep test came back negative.  They are 95% accurate.  The doc sends a swab to be tested at a lab.  She says there is a 5% chance he could have it but since he has no fever it's likely that he doesn't.  I'm thinking I've been conned but I let him stay home anyway for a chance to recover from Halloween.

Aaron called "unfair."  He thinks Drew deserves a day off too and so Tuesday I let Drew stay home for a mental health day and to join me at Baking Day.  We had a great time together!  He was in his element.  We tried to make pasta with his new pasta maker he got for his birthday but we never got the dough right.  The persimmon cookies we made turned out to be a hit though and so we left on a high note and with a bag full of baked goods.

Wed. it's back to school again.  It takes me 30 minutes to get Drew out of bed, leaving him only 30 minutes to get ready.  It's plenty of time really but with all of the whining it feels like we will never make it.  I have to direct each step.

"Get dressed.  Eat.  Brush your teeth.  Put on socks and shoes.  (Isn't that part of getting dressed?)  Grab a coat.  Get your back pack. No you can't play a video game.  Walk to the bus stop.  Come on.  Come on buddy.  Hold my hand.  Look there's the bus!  Come on!  Hug and kiss."  And I walk back up the hill exhausted.

Half way through my day the Dr.'s office called.  The fancy lab test did find strep.  Awesome.  So I go back to school for Gabriel and then the pharmacy. 

"Drew is not going to be happy about this,"  Gabriel said.  Boy, did I know it!

I went down to the bus stop hoping for the best but Drew spilled out of the bus with a scowl.

"I hate this day!  This was a very bad day, mom!"

"Well hello, son!"

"Mom, I am never, never, never going back to that school.  Tomorrow you are going to go and take me out of that school and put me in a new one."

"I'm sorry you had a bad day.  Let's talk about it when we get home."

"My teacher is mean, mom!  She is meaner to me then YOU are!"  Hm.

"Well, that is mean.  Wow."

"She said that my ECAW was bad!"  I tried to get him to calm down.  I hoped the walk home would give him that chance but he would not stop.  I recognized that the boy needed to vent and so I let him continue his rant.  I offered no advice or sympathy but let him rail on.

"We had to describe an M&M and she said I did not use descriptive words.  Then I didn't even get to eat it!"  Ahh...there's the real crux of it all.  "I said it was small.  It was colorful.  It was green.  And she did not appreciate it!  My teacher never appreciates what I do and she shows me no respect!"

I had to turn around so he did not see me laughing.  After we got inside and I gained my composure, I suggested the little Rodney Dangerfield have a seat on the couch while I got him some water.  He did but he never let up.  He cried and ranted ALL NIGHT!  Even through dinner, even after my husband spanked his little brat butt.  We both were going back and forth between feeling sympathy for him and being fed up.  Have a bad day and throw a little fit about it, fine.  But to go on all freakin' night....too much. 

I do feel for the boy though.  While he went on and on; I had visions of myself crying over those blasted #2 pencils, cheese trays, flu shots, poorly manicured eyebrows, critters on hiking trails...hummingbirds.  My poor friends.  Are they as exasperated by me as I am over Drew?  I'm trying to muster up some grace for my son.  If his tantrum means we are not over the Moving Blues, if it means I'm in for it too, I hope ya'll can find the grace and sympathy for me too.  Lord help us all!