Friday, August 31, 2007

Most Embarrassing Moment #5 and #6 - Early morning Nintendo

This post is dedicated to Annie Curtis Reeve- one of my oldest and dearest friends, since both of these stories involve her.

When I look back on my childhood, it seems like most of my Friday nights were spent at the Curtis's house. We were pretty much obsessed with DJ on Full House, so we liked to watch it together. We would hang out with Annie's cool older sisters or play hide-and-g0-seek with Annie's brother Matthew and his friends. Sometimes we would play with our dolls or eat Phyllis's famous peanut butter candy. We also really liked to play Nintendo.

One time when I was sleeping over at Annie's, we decided to set the alarm and get up really early to play Nintendo- most likely Super Mario Bros. 1. I don't remember why we wanted to get up at 5:00 to play a video game, but it might have been because Annie or Matthew had a soccer game. So we crawl out of bed and tread down the stairs and I take a seat while Annie and Matthew get the Nintendo working (which any experienced NES player knows, can take a little bit of effort.) So I'm sitting on a lovely plush ottoman in Phyllis's living room and I actually started to doze off... sitting up. Apparently I should have made a stop in the bathroom on my way down, because I started to dream that I was sitting on a toilet and after I was done using that fantasy toilet I realized that I had wet my pants on Annie's mom's furniture! So me: "Uhh.... Annie?" Annie, who was extremely resourceful as a kid, knew just what to do... She ran and grabbed a can of Lysol, sprayed the whole thing down and put a towel over it so we could play some serious Mario and Luigi. I'm so sorry, Phyllis!

I thought I'd include one more about Annie and I. Many, many years later, Annie and I are both at Ricks College. It's Mother's week and we have both our moms there, so we all go to Idaho Falls for the day and eat at Garcia's Mexican restaurant. I had never eaten there before, but I remembered Bobby telling me that he loved their cinnamon peppermints. He told me that once when he was there with his sister Molly they each grabbed a handful right in front of the hostess. She didn't seem to care at all- almost like she was challenging them to take more. So Bobby took the whole basket and dumped it in Molly's backpack and the hostess didn't say a word. So while Annie and I are waiting while our mothers used the restroom, I think of this story and notice that no restaurant employees are guarding the cinnamon peppermint basket. I suggest to Annie that we dig our hands deep into the basket and run to the car! So my accomplice and I get to Annie's car and start climbing into the backseat when we hear someone call out, "Excuse me! Only one peppermint per customer, please!" Annie and I look at each other and then call out, "Okay, sorry!" Then we stayed in the car! Partly because we figured they wouldn't want them back and partly because we were too embarassed to go back in. It serves our mothers right for leaving two 20 year-olds unaccompanied in a public place. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Embarassing Moment #4 - The "Lost My Bathing Suit" Story

Age eleven to thirteen was basically just one long embarrassing moment. Look at my glasses! And my bangs! Oh well, I may have looked scary, but I at least I always had a good time. These years are sadly very well documented with many pictures just like this as well as many hours of home video. My siblings like to watch these videos for a good laugh every once in a while and I have promised them all if they ever put one on when Bobby is present I will make them pay. Why anyone let me get my hands on a video camera during these awkward, awkward years is beyond me! Anyway, I'm using this picture to segway into my cluster of embarrassing moments from my childhood.

My mom used to take us to the beach A LOT during the summer. I have always enjoyed swimming at the beach and used to spend all my time there in the water or playing on the shore in the sand. Often after a few hours of playing my suit would catch a lot of sand, so I would go deep into the water where noone could see me, pull my swimsuit down around my knees, and shake the suit to loosen the sand. On such an occasion when I was about the same age as I was in the above picture, I had my suit around my knees and a big wave came and whisked it away! Panic-stricken, I reached down under the water frantically grasping for my suit, but it was GONE. To make matters worse, we were nowhere near where my mother was sitting with all our stuff. The tide was bad that day and we had drifted at least 50 yards from where she was. I asked my sister Julia to go find mom and grab me a towel so I could get out the water. So here I am, drifting farther and farther away from my mom, totally naked, in the ocean. Every once in a while I'd pass someone else who was swimming, trying to hide the fact that I was totally nude. It felt like an hour before Julia came back with that towel, but I was so grateful to see her when she finally did. We walked back to where my mom was and after we laughed about what had happened, she actually asked me to walk down the beach and look for my swimsuit, in case it washed up on the shore! But not before I could put on the shirt and shorts I brought as beach cover-up. I guess I can understand- it was a sweet blue Bodyglove swimsuit- remember the kind that used to zip up the front?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hey Sophie, remember the time you ate your weight in Godfather's pizza?

Bobby, Sophie, and I had a really fun day today. (Franny was at school, but I'm sure her day was a lot of fun, too.) We drove down to Columbia for a shopping trip. We thought we'd go out somewhere a little nicer than the usual (Steak & Shake or Sbarro at the mall) since we only had one kid with us and chose Macaroni Grill. We discovered that this is Sophie's favorite restaurant. I've never seen or heard of a baby who could eat as much as we witnessed her eat today. She ate more than her share of the delicious bread, a jar of baby food, a large helping of my penne rustica (which was lovely by the way), and an entire piece of Bobby's Sicilian pizza (also lovely.) We couldn't believe it! Bobby starts rotations soon and we won't get to see him as much as we're used to. That will be hard. I've really enjoyed spending time with him the past six weeks. I'm grateful for how helpful and understanding he's been with everything that's happened. I realized the other day that I haven't been blogging much about my kids- I'm sure that has something to do with my mother not reading them anymore as I wrote all those mostly for her benefit. I'm sure I'll feel sad down the road if I look back and feel like I haven't blogged about my kids enough, so here's a little something to get me started on them again:

Sophie started signing "more" and as of today "all done." We can't believe it, because Franny was nearly two when she started signing. Today she learned how to drink from a straw and she took four steps! That's the most she's ever done. Bobby's been working with her on animal sounds for a while and we think she's over-generalizing "MMMmmmm" which we think is supposed to be "moo." She is such a great eater. I am so thrilled. I hope we will always share a love for all things food. As far as I can tell, she's got great taste.

Franny is also doing well. This poor kid has gone through a lot the past six weeks and I think it's been hard on her. The other day in church it got really quiet and Franny blurted out, "Look, a rat!" There's no question that was a line from a movie and not an observation. Bobby and I thought it was pretty funny. She's been quoting movies a lot. Sometimes she'll just act out a whole scene from a movie. Last night I cut about 4 1/2 inches off her hair! I think she looks very cute with her new hairstyle.

Most Embarrassing Moment #3 - In flagrante delicto!

I was talking to Bobby this afternoon and telling him that I have no idea how I was able to lure him in. I managed to humiliate myself in front of him a lot in a very short amount of time! I guess I'm lucky that he finds all of this very endearing.

After Bobby and I had been dating exclusively for a few months, he asked me to go with him to a formal dance when we were at Ricks. As evidenced by the pizza story, my friends and I were kind of cheap in college, and we thought it would be fun to sneak into the dance instead of paying for tickets like everyone else. No, I'm not proud. I was only eighteen! Okay, whatever, so maybe I was nineteen. Anyway, the dance was held in the Hart auditorium, and we snuck in by way of the ground level, made our way up the stairwell and snuck into the dance. We waited until we thought the way was clear and tried to blend into the crowd, but we weren't as sly as we thought, and someone was onto us. Now, to further illustrate just how embarrassing this moment was, I feel the need to include that I was a Relief Society president in my ward that year, and I can remember seeing fellow RS presidents from the stake there who had paid for their tickets. I also recall seeing members of my ward, classmates, and other acquaintances. Bobby and I were dancing in the middle of the floor when two students with a power trip came up and told us we would have to leave the dance, and then they proceeded to escort us out! Right in front of the eyes of so many of my college peers! I could have died, but looking back, I can appreciate just how hilarious it was.

I realized today that I've already written about one of my most embarrassing moments in one of my earlier posts about the night Bobby and I met. For the 2 x 4 story, click here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunday Dinner

In my opinion,
anything that
goes well with
these ingredients
is guaranteed

Every once in a while I get a craving for a Cafe Rio Salad that must be satisfied. I made Jill's recipes for Cafe Rio Pork and Tomatillo dressing, my homemade salsa and guac, a new recipe for Chipotle's lime-cilantro rice, and corn tortilla strips that I fried up to put on top. All of these were served over romaine lettuce with black beans, sour cream, cilantro, and fresh limes as well. It worked out nicely because I made the pork and dressing on Friday night and we had tacos, and then on Sunday I prepared the rest of the ingredients, so I didn't have to prepare all this food in one day. and I also served fresh squeezed lemonade. I made a syrup with sugar and water, let it cool and then mixed in fresh lemon juice and then mixed that with ice water. I'm not sure it was worth the effort. Country Time makes a decent product.

Feast your eyes on this delicious homemade peanut butter cheesecake that Dan and Jolyn brought. It was SO GOOD. I have been having a couple bites of it with every meal since last night! Beautiful presentation, too.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Most Embarrassing Moment #2- The Rope Swing

Ready for the next installment of Katherine's most embarrassing moments? I thought maybe I would try to cluster my embarrassing moments for different periods of my life and since I started with the pizza story, right now I'm focusing on embarrassing moments from my college years.
Bobby and I met in May 1997 and our apartments did everything together that summer. We had so much fun! I think I only had one Humanities class and a job in the afternoon for a few hours and then we could all just play. One day we all decided to go to Packsaddle Lake- it takes about an hour to get there and you can only access it on horseback, by hiking, or with 4-wheel drive. It's up in the mountains and the water is largely from snow run-off. It was late May and the weather was nice but the water was very cold. None of us had any intention of going swimming, but there was a rope swing. The guys each took a few turns swinging out over the lake as you see Bobby doing here holding onto this very long rope. After we watched them swing out, Bobby said, "I want to see one of the girls do it." Now, I have always been sort of a daredevil when it comes to bridge-jumping, cliff-jumping, etc.- I'm usually not afraid to try things like this, so of course I spoke out and said, "I'll do it." (Also, there might be a slight chance I was trying to impress Bobby.) While it may be true that I have guts, what I don't have is upper arm strength. I grabbed onto the wooden stick attached to the end of the rope, jumped off the rock on the bank of the lake, and swung out over the water. As I swung out, I realized that I didn't have the strength to hold on and I lost my grip and fell right into the water! Even in that ice-cold water, I did not want to re-surface and face my friends and future husband! When I did finally come up for air, my good friend was there to capture this humiliating moment on film for all all of you. Thanks Janelle.

*Bobby wants me to include another humiliating part of the story that I had every intention of withholding. After I got out of the water, in my soaking wet white T-shirt and jeans, somebody pointed out to all of us an unsightly film of grease on the surface of the water undoubtedly left by yours truly. A proud moment.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My sister Annie

Before I continue with the most embarrassing moments, I want to blog some more about my sister Annie's visit. It went by way too fast! We had a great time with Annie and we hope she'll come back! She is so much fun to have around. Today Franny wouldn't stop saying, "Annie. Annie. I wanna go Annie."

I didn't know it before she came, but Annie had big plans to inundate me with all things High School Musical. What a cute show! Or as Annie would say, "That show is tight." (That means it's cool.) We watched Hannah Montana together and she taught me some tricks about text messaging. We spent a fair amount of time in Forever 21, Abercrombie, and Hollister (but not Gap or Old Navy of course, my younger sisters wouldn't be caught dead in clothes from there!) We also played A TON of Super Mario Bros. 3. I still remember all the tricks, warps, and secrets, and all I got from Bobby and Annie all week was, "You're such a Nintendo nerd, Katherine." Total lack of respect. I totally beat the game, and then Annie wanted to start all over again! :)

I already blogged about our visit to Columbia and Franny's unfortunate accident. This picture on the left is from our "Tour of ___ville." We started the tour off by heading over to the university here in town to walk around the pretty campus and check out the reptiles. It was very hot that day. After that we headed over to the other campus so Annie could get a look at where Bobby goes to school. We headed to the bookstore for some sodas and then it was on to the gameroom where Bobby spends most of his time. (Just joking.) We played a game of cutthroat pool and I totally won. After we played pool and a quick drive through downtown we headed to Mugshotz for a delicious peanut butter peanut butter cup concrete- our favorite.

We drove to St. Louis and hung out with Justin and Ashley for a few days and had a blast in spite of the heat. The first night we had a delicious dinner that Ashley prepared and then we went to the Magic House Children's Museum. Here are some pictures:

The next day we saw some more sites in St. Louis, including the zoo and Nora's fun birthday party, and then a late night of cards with Justin and Ashley after the kids were in bed. Monday we drove to Kansas City and went to the Great Wolf Lodge. It's a hotel with an indoor waterpark and it is awesome. (More on that excursion later. I need to import some video before I can blog about that.)

My kids love their aunt Annie and we were sad when she had to leave on Tuesday, but I know how excited everyone in California was to have her back, so we're grateful we could have her for as long as we did. She was so helpful while she was here, helping with the kids and the housework, but mostly it was just nice to have her around so we could talk and be together. I am so proud of the beautiful young woman that she is and so happy to have her as my sister. We love you Annie! Thanks for coming!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Most Embarrassing Moment #1- The PIzza Story

I mentioned in an earlier post that during our Rick's College Days, Bobby and I used to love to go roller-skating with a group of friends every Monday night and then head over to our favorite hangout Craig-O's. It was a really dumpy restaurant that featured delicious calzones that they called pizza bombs and breadsticks slathered with herb butter and baked with lots of mozzarella cheese on top. It was such a great place. I have so many great memories there. It took me about 2 minutes to walk there from my apartment, so my friends and roommates were there all the time.

We were there so much that I didn't always order food. When you're 18 and the year is 1997, you don't want to spend money on pizza or groceries, you want to spend it on clothes, shoes, shows, and CD's. I only mention this to set the stage for embarrassing moment #1.

It was one of these post-skating gatherings at Craig-O's and I was sitting at a table with a lot of people- mostly Bobby's friends. Bobby and I were not dating yet, just friends (although I was very smitten with him and of course trying to win him over), and I was stuck at the end of the table and I was bored, because I wanted to be sitting next to Bobby, but he was sitting close to the middle of the table. The pizzas at Craig-O's were very large and we would often keep a lookout for unfinished and abandoned pizzas left on tables, so we could make sure the food didn't go to waste... Well, that night I happened to see an empty table with a half-eaten pizza on it. Thanking my lucky stars, I turned to the guys sitting next to me and I told them I was gonna go for it. So I stood up nonchalantly, walked over and in one smooth move had the pizza in my hands and I was on my way back to our table when I hear someone call out from behind me, "Hey!! That's my pizza!!" Until now, noone else besides the two guys sitting next to me knew what was going on, but now Bobby and all his friends were looking at me and laughing along with probably the rest of the restaurant! So I apologize profusely, give the guy his pizza and get the heck out of there. Later that night I stopped in at my friend's house (Royal Crest #305- I love you girls!). I let myself in and find the man who's pizza I stole, sitting on their couch recounting the whole story. He was my friend's ex-boyfriend!! He said, "That's her! That's the girl who stole my pizza!"

I passed!

I'm very proud and very relieved to report that I passed both portions of the driver's test. Phew! I just barely passed the written portion. I could have only missed one more. They asked me to go out to the car and wait for someone to come out and give me the behind-the-wheel portion. The highway patrol officer did ask me to parallel park, which was really embarrassing. First I hit the cone, then I hit the curb twice after trying to straighten out. She finally told me to forget it and luckily I had done well on the rest of the test so it didn't matter!

So I'm glad this isn't embarrassing moment won't be ranking up there with the worst of them. Speaking of my embarrassing moment catalog, I decided that since there are so many, I'll be giving them to you in daily doses. I hope you enjoy them. The first is one of my favorites!

I've got something up my sleeve...

I've been planning a fun little surprise for my blog and I can't keep it a secret anymore! I am going to write an entry cataloging my most embarrassing moments. I have A LOT of them. More than any one person should. The great thing about me is I don't mind making fun of myself so that everyone else can have a laugh.

Last September my driver's liscense expired and I never renewed it. I recently was told by a friend that if it has been over six months, you are required to retake both the written AND behind-the-wheel components of the driver's exam. So here I am, nearly TWENTY-NINE, once again taking the driver's test. I barely passed the first time. I thought it would be fun to post a picture and include it in my growing list of embarrassing moments. The thought occured to me, though, what if I don't pass? I'm taking it today. I'm not confident in my driving skills or my knowledge of traffic laws. Will they ask me to parallel park? Yikes, I hope not. The test is not open-book. So the outcome of today's test will determine how this embarrassing moment will rank- whether it will be near the top next to when I lost my bathing suit at the beach, or near the bottom next to one of my many "foot-in-mouth" stories. I'll get back to you on that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Post-party phone calls

Tonight I hosted a party to welcome all the new girls in the ward who are med student wives. It's a yearly tradition that started before I moved here and something I really look forward to. I had a lot of anxiety about this party, not because of the party itself- that was a cinch. A room full of fun women and no children- just good food and conversation? Yes, please.

What I was anxious about was after the party, when I sit down on the couch and call my mom so we can evaluate the night and talk about what worked and what didn't. She has been throwing parties for as long as I can remember. I loved helping her get ready for big parties at our house. My favorite job was and still is polishing the silver serving pieces and wiping off all the tarnish. (My least favorite job was wiping the dust off the silk plants she had.) I would also help her with the food: frosting grapes to go on the Thanksgiving turkey platter, or making chocolate haystacks to serve on little candy trays, or divinity (she and I recently had an argument about who makes better divinity.) I have called her after every party I have ever hosted. When I threw this party last year, I called her to tell her that our toilet broke right before my guests arrived, so I had to leave a note on the toilet asking people to find me so I could take them to the bathroom in our bedroom! We laughed and laughed about that. We would always talk about that post-party bliss, the great feeling you have after you've thrown a really great party and every one has gone home. You just replay your favorite parts of the night over and over in your head and think about them as you fall asleep... She and I both love that.

I am glad to get this first party over with though. I knew the first one would be hard, because the thought crossed my mind shortly after it happened. No more post-party phone calls with my Mom? I'd say, "Hi Mom, I just had a party. You know how I always have to call you after I have a party." And she would giggle and listen to me describe in detail my favorite parts of the night. I knew she loved these conversations as much as I did, because we both enjoy entertaining so much, and she taught me everything there is to know about throwing a party. She could take pride in my successes as a hostess because I learned so much from watching her. Like I said, I'm glad this first one is over. Tonight when I go to sleep, maybe I'll just replay the last post-party phone call I had with her in my head.

I served her favorite kind of homemade ice cream: raspberry. I'm feeling tired, so I'll post the picture tomorrow maybe. I used the same recipe as I did for the peach on the 4th of July. (Incidentally, my mom made homemade raspberry ice cream on the 4th of July.) I sort of screwed it up by adding too many raspberries, but I think I fixed my mistake by sweetening it with some powdered sugar. I think I'll post the recipe tomorrow, too.

Just a note about my blog- I want to thank all the people who read this blog and post comments or lend support in other ways, with phone calls, emails, or just when we run into each other. I'm probably the most surprised by how personal my blog entries are sometimes and how much I'm sharing here. I'm often rather private when I'm going through hardships or trials and so it's out of character for me to use this blog as a mouthpiece to work out some of my grief. One of the reasons I could afford to be so private in the past is I had two people I completely trust and to whom I could confide all my troubles and fears. While I am incredibly blessed to have my dear husband Bobby, the void my Mom has left is so great that I know there is not one person out there who could ever fill what I am missing so desperately. For whatever reason, this blog and all of you are really helping ease that pain.

I wanted to mention that I told my dad I was kind of nervous about after the party and not being able to call Mom and he jokingly said, "That's easy. Just call me. I was the one who did all the work for the parties anyway." I waited for a second for the lightning to strike from the heavens, but nothing happened.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Mom's chicken enchiladas

It worked out nicely that while I'm featuring my Mom's recipes on my blog my sister happened to be in town. I asked her which of mom's recipes she wanted me to make and this was one of the first she suggested: Mom's green chile enchiladas. I think most households prepare some variety of this delicious dish, but there are a few ingredients that I wouldn't think of leaving out, so I thought it would be fun to post my mom's recipe (with just a few of my own personal tweaks. :)

Start with 3 or 4 thawed seasoned chicken breasts (I like to season them with Tony Cacherie's cajun seasoning) and simmer in a large pot of water until just cooked through. Shred with two forks and allow to cool a bit. Shred 1/2 pound of pepper-jack cheese. This is important, not just Monterey Jack and definitely not cheddar, but
pepper-jack cheese. I wouldn't think of making these without the right kind of cheese. Scoop some sour cream (about 3/4 cup?) into the chicken with a small handful of shredded cheese and about a 1/2 cup of green chile enchilada sauce. Add 1/2 can of diced green chiles, some cumin (1/2 tsp?), some chopped fresh cilantro, and salt and pepper. Roll the chicken mixture into flour tortillas and place in a greased casserole dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled enchiladas and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Add the rest of the shredded cheese on top for the last 5 minutes.

My sister enjoyed the enchiladas. My doesn't add cumin or cilantro when she makes hers and I thought it was funny when Annie asked, "what's this green stuff?"

Me: "Cilantro, do you like it?"
Annie, with a little hesitation: "...yeah..."

She also asked for strawberry waffles. She's so cute- Annie likes them best with the fruit on top of the whipped cream. She's not really smelling her knee, she just didn't want me to take this picture. I had some leftover blackberries from some jam I made the night before so I threw those in with the strawberries and I was really happy with the results.

Can somebody please explain life to me?

Monday morning: First day of fun while my sister Annie is here and we have plans to go swimming! We wake up, look out the window and remember that the night before was stormy and the sky is still very grey and cloudy. (Bobby had to drive around looking for our inflatable backyard pool and finally found it in a neighbor's yard a few blocks away.)

When swimming (or shrimpin', as Franny calls it) was no longer an option, I was stumped. I was at a complete loss for an alternate plan. Bobby suggested we drive to Columbia and take Franny and Annie to Bonkers, a very fun activity center that Bobby likes to call McDonald's Play Place times 100. It is a blast! We took Franny about six months ago and Bobby and I had just as much fun as she did with the slides, swings, and tunnels. Socks are required for everyone who climbs on the equipment and when we went to slide them on Franny's feet, she became infuriated. She is not used to wearing socks- she has been spared of socks and stockings all together because of the hot summer weather. I had forgotten that last year when it was time to start wearing socks with shoes she some sensory issues with the way the snug socks felt on her feet. For an hour Bobby and I battled with her and the evil white socks. We were getting ready to give up and head home when she finally was ready to play and grabbed my hand to head towards a climber's paradise for 3 year-olds tired of being told to "get down!" Five minutes later, she fell climbing through some of the netting on to her hand. Bobby was with her at that point and thought the fall looked like it may have been a bad one and told me he thought we should have it checked out.

Bobby took her to the emergency room the next day and sure enough the doctor said it was a "buckle fracture." I was not particularly happy about the timing of Franny's accident and so I spent most of the day sulking at home. Not something I'm proud of, but I wasn't really feeling like dealing with my first broken bone experience as a mother. I snapped out of it though and now looking back I realize, it wasn't really that big of a deal. Franny was a champ when we took her to get her cast. It's so cute! As you can probably guess by the picture I posted of her in her swimsuit, she can actually get it wet! She calls it "Franny boo-boo." She's also discovered that she can use it as a weapon- this comes in handy when Sophie is trying to steal her lipsmackers or I am trying to do her hair.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sunday Dinner

I thought these flowers were too beautiful not to share.

Even though she can't pronounce it right, my sister Annie loves schnitzel. She's never been a big eater, but she can really put away the Wienerschnitzel, so I decided that's what we would have for Sunday dinner. Click here for all our favorite schnitzel dinner recipes.

I served Macaroni Grill bread with it. Bobby calls this "the best bread ever" and any recipe that makes my husband say that is definitely a keeper. I'm so grateful for the lady that posted this recipe on her blog. We have this all the time. It tastes great with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Annie and Bobby both requested my grandma Carole's sour cream cookies with buttercream frosting. These are my favorite sugar cookies ever! She has been making them for as long as I can remember and when I think of traditional recipes in our family, these always come to mind.

Sour Cream Cookies

1 c sugar
1/2 c shortening

Cream together and add:

2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Beat until smooth, then add:

3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Let stand in refrigerator for an hour. Add more flour when rolling out for the first time (soft and sticky dough.) Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. These cookies should not get brown.

I frost these with a buttercream frosting.

1 softened cube of butter
3 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Beat first three ingredients with handmixer. Add milk and beat until smooth. Add milk if needed. Add food coloring.

How cute is he? Here he is modeling my sour cream cookies. I asked him what color he wanted the frosting to be and he said, "seafoam." See on top of the cabinets we finally have a place to show off a sample of Bobby's metal lunchbox collection. Yeah!! I've always loved that he collects these.

Monday, August 13, 2007

20 questions

We took a day trip today and while we were in the car Bobby and I decided to play "20 questions." Here's how the first round went:

Bobby: "Okay, I've got one."
Me: "Is it a person?"
Bobby: "No."
Me: "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"
Bobby: "Yes."
Me: "Do we own one?"
Bobby: "No."
Me: "Is it a water tower?"
Bobby: "Yes."

It was awesome.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Annie is coming today!

We are so excited around here because my little sister Annie is coming to visit for 10 days!! (Here's a picture of her with my cousin Alex at Richard's wedding in March. Cute girls!) Last night I had Franny so excited. She kept saying, "Annie!! Tomorrow!!!"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Missing her

Tonight while the girls were in the bath, I sat with them and watched the video from my mom’s funeral on my ipod. It was the first time since we first got back from California. (Last time I tried to watch it I got really emotional so it’s been a while). I made it through the first few minutes before I started to tear up so I put it down. I love watching it. It’s beautiful- especially for how little time we had to compile the pictures and choose the music. Most of the pictures flood me with memories and while I love the way that feels, it makes me stop and wonder how I’m supposed to keep going without her, without that constant voice that almost feels like my life’s narrator with all the advice, encouragement, and reassurance she’s provided for me… always. I find that I’m constantly asking myself things like: “why didn’t I have a file where I kept all her notes and birthday cards from all these years?” and “why didn’t I save those cute messages she left on my voicemail?” Well, the answers to both questions are obvious and one and the same- of course I thought there would be plenty more of those. I was looking through my emails today desperate to read something she had written to me and found hardly anything recent, and I started to wonder why, until I realized that we were on the phone nearly every day. That’s no help to me at all right now. I can’t read our phone conversations.

I looked up from the ipod with tears in my eyes and my two little girls were looking up at me, and I could see my mom in their sweet little faces. So I got them ready for bed and Franny and I settled in on the couch and she took one earbud and I took the other and we watched the rest of the video. I want to be able to look at pictures and videos of Grandma with Franny. I want her memories of her grandma to carry on as long as possible because she and Sophie are the only ones who were privileged enough to be grandmothered by my mom on this earth. My mom loves my girls so much. Several times while we were on the phone in the past few months, when we’d talk about what Franny and Sophie were doing, she would start to cry because she missed them so much. I felt so bad. She would apologize because she wasn’t trying to make me feel bad. I didn’t know this until recently, but sometimes she’d have to get up from the computer while she was looking at my blog, because seeing their pictures reminded her how much she was missing them. Franny loved watching the video with me. I think she and I will watch it often. She especially loved the picture of her kissing Grandma on the cheek.

Before we left California, Bobby suggested I take something of my Mom’s. I didn’t want to take any important fixtures of the house or anything really important to my mom, because I didn’t want to upset things too much for the sake of my sisters and my Dad. I did however want something meaningful to my Mom and I, so I took her beach sandals. My mom has had these since before I was born! She went with my Dad's family to Hawaii when they were first married and bought them there. When I was in high school I wanted these flip-flops and asked her for them a number of times. It became a joke between us. I would ask her every once in a while, knowing full well that her answer would be no. I've been wearing them and once when I saw them on the floor next to the door, for a split-second I actually thought, “my mom’s here!” That was sad, but I got past it and it’s been fun to have something of hers. Also her voice is still on her cell phone recording. I call it every once in awhile just to hear her voice. One of these days I ought to leave a message for her and say, “Ha ha, I got your flip-flops!”

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Chicken and Artichoke Casserole and two hours well spent

I know it seems weird to make casseroles in the summertime, but I really wanted to feature my mom's recipes and this is one of my Mom's best. I love her casserole recipes because they actually taste good and require some effort- not just cream of mushroom and lipton soup mix. (Although I have a soft spot in my heart for those, too.) She has absolutely mastered this recipe because she made a lot of changes to the original that I think are definitely for the better. She found it in some Utah cookbook she loves called the Heritage coobook or something? I want to say the Junior League put it out but I'm pretty sure that's wrong. She found this recipe when she was pregnant with my youngest sister Annie. She was looking for recipes that would freeze well so she could have dinners prepared for us and in the freezer after the baby came. Anyway, the recipe I'm going to give you here is not the original but the recipe just as she prepares it.... with a few minor changes that I made myself that don't really change the flavor of the dish.

Chicken and Artichoke Casserole

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 T butter
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
5 chicken breasts
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained
3/4 stick butter
1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/8 cup half and half
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Saute mushrooms in 2 T butter and set aside. Pour 2 cans chicken broth in large pot and add water to cover chicken breasts. Bring to a boil. When chicken is cooked through, shred with two forks. Remove from broth and save 1 1/8 cups. Cool. Arrange chicken in casserole dish. Top with artichoke hearts (I like to chop them into smaller pieces.) Set aside. Melt 3/4 stick butter, stir in flour, salt and pepper and cook until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually stir in 1 1/8 cup reserved chicken broth and light cream. Cook and stir as mixture boils and thickens. Blend in Parmesan cheese and rosemary. Pour over artichokes. Sprinkle mushrooms over the top. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes and serve over rice. If you have more Parmesan, sprinkle it on top just before baking. This recipe freezes well- just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze before you bake it.

We took a walk to the Farmer's market on Saturday and I picked up these delicious peaches. I LOVE peaches. So we enjoyed some peach pie with our casserole. (I'll post the recipes later.)

The Pace's drove out from St. Louis to visit for a few days. It's been so nice to have their company! Here we are playing Dr. Mario. Bobby is our reigning champion.

And have you ever played Hand and Foot? I have included a link to this fabulous card game that we are OBSESSED with, but it's really just to give you an idea of what the game is about- there are many different versions out there and well, we think ours is best. The game takes AT LEAST 2 hours, but we feel that it is two hours well spent. My mom thought so, too. She loved this game and we spent hours playing every time we were home visiting. I believe she just played it a couple weeks before she died with Brent and Kristy. Bobby won the game last night and beat Ashley by a measly 35 points.

You're feisty- I'm gonna give you a Madonna cut!

Franny needed her bangs cut and I thought I could handle it.

Turns out I was wrong.

Sorry Franny!

Monday, August 6, 2007

The girls are sharing a room in our new home and we can't believe how well they've adapted to the change. We thought it would be fun to have a playroom in this house and thought that maybe they would like to share. It appears we were right because everything has been going great. It's been fun to do the whole bedtime routine together and put the girls to bed at the same time. When we say goodnight to them and turn out the lights, Franny will often say, "Bye-bye Mom, bye-bye Dad," then in a whisper, "Hey.... Sophie!" We always wonder what they talk about once we leave.

Franny took a 3 hour nap after church yesterday, which is unusual for her- she doesn't even take naps most days. We expected her to stay up late, but she surprised us and asked for bed at 9:00. So we put them both to bed and I made some chocolate chip cookies. Bobby went to check on the girls while they were baking, and after his glance first fell on Franny's empty bed, he looked over at Sophie's crib and saw a very mischievous smile coming from one very awake Franny. She had crawled into Sophie's crib, and Sophie was actually sleeping through all this! So Bobby put her in bed and came back out to tell me what happened, and then we see Franny walking out of her room, and she looks ready to party. I stifle my urge to laugh and calmly say, "Oh no honey, you need to go back to bed." She turns around and starts bouncing back to her room, saying, "I'll be right back!!" Bobby tucks her in bed again and Franny seems to accept the fact that she has to go to bed, but not before she asks Bobby for a glass of water. As Bobby is on his way out, Franny starts singing, or from the way Bobby describes it, sort of rapping, "Uno, dos, tres...."

Funny kid.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Can I get an awesome blossom, extra awesome?

Bobby and I saw the Bourne Ultimatum tonight and it was AWESOME. We saw the 9:30 showing and I didn't even fall asleep once!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Walk-in Closets

We moved last weekend. We had an amazing amount of help and support from friends and ward members. I was so grateful for the help because I was not up to doing my share of the work after we got home from California. We have been so blessed with phone calls, visits, flowers, cards, delicious meals, and hours spent by our friends helping us move, pack, babysit, and clean. Thanks to all of you for your love and support.

Here are some pictures from our move. (I wish so badly that I had taken a picture of the 12 guys helping us pack our truck and unload it.)

The chaos of moving has provided me with enough distraction to keep me from considering how crappy it is that my mom isn't around anymore. There has been so much to do with unpacking boxes and dejunking and such that I've been successful at keeping my mind off her. I was actually starting to feel bad today that I hadn't cried in a couple of days. I am really enjoying our new home. We'll probably only be able to live here for a year as we plan to move next year for Bobby's 4th year rotations, and I'm sure it will be really hard to leave! My favorite features of the new house are the ice-maker in the freezer and the walk-in closet. I've always been bad at remembering to fill the ice trays. We have been up to our necks in boxes the last few days, but the house is finally starting to look livable as of today and thanks in large part to Bobby. I spent some time in our closet today hanging up clothes and I realized that our new closet reminds me a lot of the one my Mom had in the house I grew up in. When I was little, I'd sometimes hang out in there when she didn't know and look at her high school photo album or her jewelry or whatever. One time I read my grandma's journal (remember the one I told you about? My mom's mom who died when she was 54). In it she wrote about how much she loved it when my mom would come and bring me to visit. When we played hide-and-go-seek, one of my favorite hiding spots was in her closet. I'd climb behind her dresses and stand as straight and as flat against the wall as I could and I would stick my feet in her shoes and noone would ever find me! I unpacked some of the last few boxes with these memories as my companion this afternoon and now that we can see the floor and most of the boxes are broken down and out of the way, and the kitchen table is cleared off of all the nicnacs that were waiting for their new home, I feel the absence of clutter not only in my house but in my mind and that I'm not as distracted as I have been the last few days. I feel very aware of how much it stinks that I can't call her and tell her that Franny peed on the potty for the first time yesterday, and that this house has an ice-maker in the freezer, and about how ridiculous it is that my mom died when I was 29 just like hers did! I'm sure it will be only get harder for the next little bit as the list of things I want to call her about continues to grow. I had a good cry in the closet and I sat in the back behind my clothes with my back pressed against the wall like I did when I was a kid. The truth is I'm glad that I can feel the weight of this loss again. I think moments like that are important and healthy and I want to get started with the grieving process so I can keep going and be the best daughter, mother, wife, and sister that I can be. So here's to many more good cries in the walk-in-closet.
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