Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Tree down

I have a crazy story to share about my 20 month old, Claire:

One day last week I was in my room, minding my own business- never a good idea when you're dealing with a toddler- when I thought to myself, "maybe I should go see what Claire is up to." I walk into the family room where Claire is [supposed to be] watching Elmo and I find her there, sitting on the couch with SIX candy canes in her lap. I look to the left and this is what I find:

My 7-foot Christmas tree was lying on the ground. (The space heater was face down as well.) She saw the candy canes, decided they ought to be hers, and pulled the whole thing down. She didn't scream, she didn't cry- she didn't even come and get me. She had this smug little look I had to hide my face so she wouldn't see me laughing. I thought about snapping a quick shot of her with the candy canes, but I didn't want to reinforce the behavior so I put her cute little bum in time-out.

I sure love this girl. I have to admire her moxie. Here's a picture from another night when Bobby was reading scriptures to the girls. When I pulled the camera out, she was sitting next to Franny listening to Bobby read. But as soon as she saw the camera she was flashing me cheesy grins like this one.

Gingerbread Houses 2011

I knew I needed to cut out some of the things we like to do around the holidays with the new baby and my recovery and everything- but Bobby loves gingerbread houses and I love seeing him get so excited about them. And it really wasn't that much work once I got the gingerbread baked and put together. We had most of the candy because we save what we don't use each year. We had so much stuff and two big houses so we invited the Johnson's to come over and join us. Our kids had a blast with their kids and I was totally impressed with the way both houses turned out. It was a fun night.

Homemade Gnocchi

Bobby bought me some of the Giada pasta sauce they sell at Target and I thought it would taste great on some homemade gnocchi. So I looked for a recipe and tried this one out and thought they were fantastic!

Potato Gnocchi

adapted from serious eats


serves 4-6, active time 50 minutes, total time 1 hour 50 minutes

  • 2 pounds potatoes (about 4 medium baking potatoes, such as Russet and one medium waxy potato, like Yukon Gold)
  • 1 whole egg, plus one egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for adding to boiling water and for final seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. With a fork, poke a few holes in each potato and spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet. Bake until potatoes are cooked through and tender, about 1 hour.

  3. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still very warm, scoop out the flesh and pass it through a potato ricer or a food mill fitted with a small hole insert. Spread the potatoes onto a clean, cool, lightly floured surface.

  4. Whisk together the eggs and salt together and drizzle over the riced potatoes. Sprinkle ¾ to 1 cup of the flour over the eggs. With a bench scraper, work the ingredients together, cutting into them and gathering them into a mass. Add flour to reduce stickiness.

  5. When the mixture holds together, knead briefly, continuing to flour the work surface to prevent sticking and adding flour if the dough is sticky. As soon as the dough is smooth and soft and holds together, stop kneading and shape it into a thick log.

  6. Working with ¼ of the dough at a time, roll the dough into long ½- to ¾-inch ropes. With the bench scraper, cut them into 1-inch-long pieces. Optionally, form ridges on the gnocchi by rolling them over the back of a dinner fork. Transfer the gnocchi to a lightly floured baking sheet while rolling out remaining dough.

  7. At this point, you may refrigerate the uncooked gnocchi for up to 2 hours or freeze them on the baking sheet and then transfer them into a covered container and store in the freezer for several weeks.

  8. Boil a large pot of water, add a generous pinch of salt, and blanch the gnocchi in two batches until they float. With a slotted spoon or spider, remove the gnocchi and spread on a baking sheet while brown-butter sauce finishes cooking. (Alternatively, you can shock the cooked gnocchi in ice water, remove and spread them onto a baking sheet, toss with a little olive oil, and refrigerate until needed.)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce

This was just as good as I was hoping it would be. I saw this on the Food Network while I was in the hospital after Mabel was born- made me realize how much I miss the Food Network. I had to cut a few things out like star anise, bourbon, and apple schnapps. I searched and searched my cupboards, but I could not find any bourbon. Maybe it's in the same place as the apple schnapps. ;)

The original recipe also calls for vanilla creme anglaise. I don't know about you, but a caramel sauce, creme anglaise, AND whipped cream seems a little indulgent, even to me. But I am sure it would have been DELICIOUS. Scandalous, but delicious.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce
adapted from Food Network


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup pure canned pumpkin puree
  • Pumpkin Bread, toasted and cubed, recipe follows
  • Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce, recipe follows
  • Freshly whipped cream


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined, remove the vanilla pod, and whisk in the bourbon. Strain the custard into a clean bowl.

Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking glass baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard.

Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and pour hot tap water into the roasting pan until it comes half way up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Drizzle the bread pudding with the Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream. Bread pudding is best served warm.

Pumpkin Bread:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces (scant 1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar, and oil at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times.

Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and water and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Once the bread is cool, slice in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven until lightly toasted, turning once, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce:

Combine the cream, apple juice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a clean, small saucepan and place back over low heat while you make the caramel.

Combine the sugar, water and, vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring, until it's a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture a little at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. The sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat before serving.

Friday, December 16, 2011



Mabel Marianne Fields
7 lbs. 9 oz., 21 inches

She's here! She's been here for a little over four weeks and we are in love. What a sweet little baby. She's still in that "bear cub" stage where she makes little animal noises and her little body is always curled up. (Bear cub because of all the dark hair.) She also makes this little Cosby face where her eyes are wide open and she looks up and to the side and purses her lips. It's my favorite thing! I have to describe it here since I probably won't be able to get a picture. I kind of miss the days when I could just sit home and stare at my newborn baby all day... waiting to catch moments like that on film. But then of course during those days I only had six weeks at home with Franny before I had to go back to working full time, and that was no fun.

(here's sort of an example of the cosby face I'm referring to. The forehead wrinkles are relevant to the comparison as well. :)

Anyway, back to Mabel! I guess I should write a little about the day she was born. The doctor noticed a few weeks prior to her birth that she was breech and that a repeat c-section might be necessary. I hoped and prayed that she would flip, but it didn't happen. My one consolation was that the c-section would be scheduled on 11/11/11 and my kid would have the best birth ever. I called my wonderful mother-in-law Louise and asked if she could come a week earlier. She did. She spent nearly two weeks taking care of us here and it was so hard to see her go! It was also really nice to leave my girls in such capable and loving hands the morning Mabel was born. Bobby drove me to the hospital that morning and did my pre-op evaluation. A few of his co-workers stopped in to say hi and give us well wishes or help prepare me for surgery. I spent a few weeks feeling really nervous about being cut open again, but then about a week beforehand, when I knew for sure that I would have a c-section, I started to feel much calmer about it. So it was kind of surprised to see Bobby a little nervous. Bobby is usually the one tempering MY anxiety. But like I said, he was just a little nervous. I think his friends at work were a little surprised to see him so serious. I thought it was cute that he was worried about me.

I love the people Bobby works with. They are all so nice and funny and great at what they do. I'm just so sad so many of them have had to see me naked.

From here on it was pretty much the same as last time, only this time it was scheduled of course and I knew what I was getting into. Bobby was right there next to me holding my hand right up until the baby was out. It actually was really nice to spend some time with him because he had a really busy week at work and we'd barely seen him! The weird thing about c-sections is you don't have to anything. You just lay there, totally numb, and wait while the OB and the nurses do all the work. So I laid there, waiting to hear something, from the doctor, from the nurses, the anesthesiologists, or Mabel herself. And then it came: someone's intake of breath and then the "oh there she is!" and Bobby standing up with the camera with a big smile on his face, and then the best sound in the whole world- my baby's first cry! And then I watched them walk quickly by with her to start cleaning her up. I was twisting my neck as far as I possibly could trying to get a good look. Her face was all mashed up and her head was totally lopsided because apparently she stretched part of the uterus with her head and carved herself a tight little spot. I got to kind of hold her long enough to take a picture and then she was off for her first bath. One of the worst things about a c-section is how long you have to wait before they bring you your baby. Actually that first day was not my favorite- I felt much better the day after. I wasn't very good about remembering to use the morphine pump and I had a really hard time getting on top of the pain after that. And also, I could hardly keep any food down that first day. Which is very typical for me after I've had anesthesia. I had the best nurses- I have always had the best OB nurses, actually. Mabel fussed a lot that first day. It worried me a little, but she's been sweet and calm ever since. Bobby stayed with me that evening and held the baby a lot while I slept. I was so out of it. I wanted to stay up so we could hang out and talk and look at the baby together. But I knew I needed the sleep.

The girls came for a visit with Nona and Bobby in the late afternoon. I hardly remember anything but the sweet looks on their faces and trying to get Claire from jumping on my incision. It was great to see Claire so happy and excited. It was very hard to leave her for so long. She was only nineteen months when Mabel was born and I didn't know how she'd respond when I was gone for a few days. It's not like I could really prepare her for what was coming. But she did fine while I was gone and has been fine ever since.

I love the hospital experience and I'm sad that this was probably my last time! But Sunday afternoon I was ready to come home and be with the family. The house was spotless when I got home and as I said before, Louise took care of just about everything- lunches, cooking, housework, dinner, shopping, laundry- so that I could take naps and take care of Mabel. She is amazing.

Some other things we love about Mabel- the hair! I was kind of hoping we'd have another one with lots of dark hair. One of her features that we love is her forehead wrinkles! She got them from her Mommy. She has about 4 or 5 wrinkles every time she raises her eyebrows. It's adorable. I don't know how much she weighs, but she seems HUGE relative to how she started out. It's rewarding to watch her little cheeks and belly round out after all the many hours I've spent nursing her. She is a pretty decent sleeper, as long as I don't eat too much chocolate or ANY hummus at all. She's not consistently in any pattern at all yet- I wouldn't expect her to be at 5 weeks- but sometimes she'll sleep as long as 5 1/2 hours in a row at night in her own bed which I really appreciate, though I don't mind pulling her into bed and tucking her under my arm for a few hours every now and then. It's just so sweet to be so close to a sleeping infant. I can't resist sometimes. I'm on the verge of tears now just thinking that this is likely the last time I'll get to do this with one of my own children. Although it does feel nice to think of our family as complete for now. Everyone's here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wisconsin/Michigan Part I

I wish that it was summer year round in Wisconsin/Michigan. I fell in love with both, but I'm pretty sure I'm just a no-good fair weather friend. We wanted to go visit our dear friends Ashley and Justin, and we thought while we were at it, why not go to Milwaukee first and take a ferry across Lake Michigan with our car? It was so fun to see a slice of Wisconsin. I think maybe my favorite part was the cheese. So much delicious cheese to try! I am so grateful that not only does Bobby understand my need to try new and delicious food while traveling, but that he also enjoys it too!

First we ate at this restaurant. We looked it up on Diners, Drive-in's and Dives. I ordered one of the items featured on the show- the duck tacos (I was afraid to order the mole)- and Bobby got something I thought would be rather boring: enchiladas. Best freaking enchiladas I have ever tasted. They were so amazing. I think I would enjoy watching him make that sauce and all the work that goes into it more than watching Jurassic Park, and that is one of my all-time favorite movies. Naturally.

They also served a peanut salsa, which Franny did not appreciate at all, but I thought was fantastic. It was funny- as we walked in, I caught a few people staring at our family and my pregnant belly, and actually heard one woman turn to her friend and say "she has a lot of kids."

That was our first Triple D experience and I'd say we'd definitely be up for another one.

Here's Claire being Claire in our hotel room. She is very entertaining.

One of the main attractions for Bobby in Michigan was the Harley Davidson museum. Me, not so much. But Sophie tagged along because admission is free. I took Franny and Claire to a children's museum that turned out to be fabulous. So fabulous that I felt a little bad that Sophie wasn't there with us, but I think she had a good time with her Dad.

One of my very favorite things we did was visit the Public Market in Wisconsin. In fact, we all loved it. So much that we went there twice in the mere 24 hours we were there. It is after all where we discovered Sprecher's root beer. It's only 4:30 in the morning when I started this post and my mouth is watering. I am craving all the delicious food we ate at the Public Market. I'd even go for that delicious Hungarian sausage we ate. Then I'd wash it down with the afore-mentioned Sprecher's root beer. Then some cheese... The Bellavitano raspberry cheese maybe... Sorry what was I saying? ;)

Then the time came for us to leave Milwaukee and board the ferry to Michigan. I was sad to go, but excited to see our friends. The girls loved it! Until we made it to Abbey and Hayden this was their favorite part of the whole vacation. Claire looks like an albino in this picture. There was plenty of empty seats so we moved around a lot. We also had to chase Claire around a whole lot. But nobody seemed to mind. It took me almost the whole ferry ride to get that kid to fall asleep in my arms. I think I fell asleep before she did.

We got to Ashley and Justin's in the middle of the night. We were so tired, but I couldn't help looking around at her gorgeous house! I love the way she decorates. I should have taken more pictures.

I can't remember what we did the first day we were there. I think we just hung out and played and let the girls get reacquainted. Plus we wanted some time to snuggle the newest addition to their family: Bennett. So sweet and adorable! Here's a picture of Claire (who would NOT leave him alone!) Lucky for me- she loves babies. (Maybe not so lucky for Mabel.)

I believe it was the second day we were there we went to Wyandotte to visit some of our friends from med school. First we went to see my friend Courtney and Sophie's friend Ryanne (and of course the beautiful Aleigha.) I'm so glad we did. Sophie had really missed Ryanne since she moved a few months before. After we left, she even told me she wants to move to Michigan because Ryanne is there. And I enjoyed visiting with Courtney.

Then we went to visit Jed and Erin, some of our very favorites from our first two years of med school. They had just returned from a trip out west at 2 AM that morning. So I was so glad we got to see them and their cute kids! I didn't get a great picture of the kids. Probably on account of the tantrum Claire threw while I was trying to take it.

Then we went to visit Paul and Melody. We were just excited to see them. Another couple of favorites from the med school days. We had no idea what kind of wonderful surprises they had in store for us: a sweet slide that Paul built in the basement, Frank's red hot chicken salad, Kasey Later, Paul's killer fish tank, one of Bobby's favorite mission companions!! Actually nobody had any idea about that coincidence. We walked into Melody and Paul's beautiful home, and all of the sudden we hear someone yell, "FIELDS!" It was Elder Christiansen! Such an amazing surprise. It's funny to me that Bobby looks like he is wearing scrubs in this picture. Hey Claire, would it kill you to sit still for a picture once in a while?

It was a perfect night.

And that seems like a good place to stop for now. Much more to say about the amazing time we had with some of the best people ever (Ashley and Justin), but I'm feeling like since I'm having a baby in a little over 48 hours, I better try and get another hour or two of sleep. So for now I'll leave you with this silly picture of Claire wearing a Star Wars helmet. Good night (or I guess I should say "good morning.")

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Months and months ago I posted about a random craving for taco bell and a baby boy on the way. Around that time I also threw an "it's a boy" party and we decorated the house in blue and started sharing the news at church and I also posted it on facebook. All I can say is, oops- I may have spoke too soon. :)

In my defense, it was my obstetrician that told me about the early detection gender test. She told me that if it said I was having a boy, I was definitely having a boy because the test only indicates boy if there are male cells present in the urine. So I dropped thirty five big ones at Walgreens and took the test at 3 AM. When the test turned green (indicating a boy), I just about died! I could not believe it. I even woke Bobby up so that I could have a witness that the test was in fact green! He walked into the bathroom and said, "Looks green to me," and crawled back into bed.

I baked a cake and piped "It's a boy!" in blue on it and put blue crepe paper and balloons everywhere while the girls were at school. That was how we announced it to the girls. Franny was thrilled. Ten weeks later when we had the hospital ultrasound, I confidently told the tech, "We actually already know we're having a boy... we took the early detection gender test." She looked uncomfortable and broke the news to us that many of her patients had come in sure they were having a boy only to find out that very same test was wrong. That's when I started to get nervous. My friend Morgan was watching Claire and Sophie, but we brought Franny along so she could see the baby brother she was so excited about. It wasn't more than a minute or two before we saw the familiar views indicating the fetus was in fact female. I was holding it together until the tech- I DO NOT know what she was thinking- asked me, "what were you going to name him?" Choking back sobs, but not very well, I said, "We were going to name him Cole... after my father!!" And then the tears came. And not just from me, but from Franny too. I felt so silly! For crying that this beautiful, healthy baby was not a boy! I had Bobby bring the tech a plate of chocolate chip cookies the next day because I felt so bad.

It's taken a while for me to get here, but I am so excited for this little girl to join us in just under three weeks! We have a name for her. We're going to call her Mabel. No, it's not a family name. (We get that a lot.) We're naming her after one of Bobby's patient's dolls of all things. Bobby was doing the anesthesia for a young girl who was very scared to have surgery. He was trying to make her feel more comfortable and said to her, "you have really pretty hair! If we had more time, I'd show you how pretty the hair on my back is." That got a little smile. She was clutching a little doll in her hospital bed. The he said, "I like your doll. What's her name?" She looked up at him and said in a tiny, scared little voice (and I love how Bobby imitates it), "Mabel." He came home and told me that story- pretty sure sharing the patient's doll's name doesn't break any HIPAA laws- and I just fell in love with the name. I'm pretty sure he did, too. Not sure if we're call her "Mae" or "Maby" (I can't help it- I'm a huge fan of Arrested Development), I guess we'll just have to wait and see. For a couple of weeks the baby was breech and the doctor was saying we would schedule a C-section for 11/11/11. How awesome would that be? But I'm pretty sure she flipped a couple of days ago, so I might be able to have this baby the old-fashioned way after all. We'll just have to wait and see I guess! My mother-in-law is coming to help and I am so grateful for her. It was hard with Claire and it's been hard with this one to approach the birth of a child without my Mom being here, but Louise makes it so much easier for me. I love her so much.

Here's a picture of Claire at the party- not looking super thrilled about a new baby joining the picture. Just kidding, of course. She was only about 12 or 13 months old when this was taken so of course she had no clue what was coming. Even now when I point to my belly and say, "What's this?" She says "Elmo." (Actually what she says is: "Elwo") She's in for a disappointing surprise! Although she LOVES babies, so once she gets over the initial shock of no thick red Elmo hair covering the baby, I think she's pretty stoked.

As for me, I'm feeling great. Which is really nice, since I have this crazy 1 1/2 year old to keep up with. Turns out when everyone tells you that exercise really helps with swelling, pregnancy, and I have yet to see, but delivery and recovery as well- well, they're not just saying that. All I do is walk, but it's helped me keep the weight gain down to a minimum, which has made me feel so much better. Claire did a number on me. (I love how I say that like it's somehow her fault that I gained so much weight.) I was just looking at some pictures I took of my feet right before Claire was born and they looked like big sausages. Disgusting.

Here's a couple of pictures of our "it's a boy! (no it's not)" party. Like Bobby said, it was kind of fun to think we were having a boy for a little while. :) Not sure what we're going to do with all the boy clothes, hot wheels, star wars toys, and geo trax we've been stock-piling since I'm not sure we're going to have any more after Mabel. But we'll see... :)

I was hoping to get a picture of Bobby with a big, excited grin at this party, but I'm pretty sure he was just humoring me. He was never as sure as I was that it was a boy.

We can't wait for you Mabel! We are ready for you to join our family (except not really- I still have to wash your car seat cover and adjust the straps- but we will be!! :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Open-Faced Chicken Sandwich with Basil Mayonnaise


Open Faced Chicken Sandwich with Basil Mayonnaise
adapted from Bon Appetit

I found this recipe on Bon Appetit and thought it sounded fantastic. I wanted to try the recipe the way it was written with ground chicken, but I couldn't find ground chicken? I didn't look really hard, though, so it may be out there somewhere. It tasted fabulous with my go-to chicken marinade on some chicken breasts. I was afraid my family would hate it because they are hard core fans of mayo like I am. I cannot open a jar of mayonnaise without bringing it to my nose to take a whiff. I was right about the girls, but Bobby actually liked it. This is a great way to use up some home-grown basil and tomatoes! Enjoy it! I think we'll be having this again soon.


  • Olive oil (for brushing)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped fresh basil plus 8 large leaves, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped drained cornichons or dill pickle plus 1 1/2 tablespoons brine from jar (I left these out because everyone else in my family hates pickles- I'd like to try it some time though)
  • 4 chicken breasts marinated in lemon-thyme marinade (scroll down a bit for the grilled lemon chicken recipe)
  • 4 1/2-inch-thick slices country white bread (I used this recipe)
  • 4 1/3-inch-thick slices from large red or orange heirloom tomato


  • Brush grill with oil; prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix mayonnaise, 1 cup chopped basil, cornichons, and brine in small bowl. Season basil mayonnaise with salt and pepper.
  • Grill marinated chicken.
  • Grill bread until crisp and golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer bread to plates. Grill burgers until firm to touch and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Spread bread slices thickly with basil mayonnaise. Top each bread slice with tomato, 2 basil leaves, chicken breast, and dollop of basil mayonnaise. Garnish with remaining chopped basil.

Back to School and Baby Sue

The girls started their school year and so far things are going great. From what I can tell, they seem to have excellent teachers and are enjoying their classrooms. The first day of school Franny came home from a letter from her teacher asking me to tell her about Franny in "a million words or less." I liked her immediately. Today Sophie's teacher said, "I'm sure you know how bright and what a delight Sophie is in the classroom." I hoped as much, but it's always nice to hear. It's been two weeks now and Sophie just wore a pair of shorts yesterday for the first time. She only wants to wear skirts or dresses.

As for Claire, I'm really enjoying the one on one time I have with her and I think she is, too. We go on a walk together every morning, then we come home and she watches Elmo (she calls it "Elwo") while I get organized and cleaned up for the day. She has become very attached to Sophie and Franny's dolls. She has about four baby dolls she carries around and she calls them all "Baby Sue." She started pushing them around in this triplet toy stroller we found at a garage sale this summer. It is the cutest thing! Today she wanted them to come with her to watch "Elwo." Here she is giving them both a hug-

And this is the face she makes when she talks about them. She scrunches her face up like she might cry and says, "OH! BABY SUE!!!"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Miss King

Franny had two fabulous teachers her first grade year! I couldn't have asked for better. We had one of them, Miss King, over for dinner last night and since it was the day after her birthday we celebrated with her and served ice cream sundaes. It was great to see her and Franny was so excited. She chose the menu and helped us get the house cleaned up in preparation for her visit. She loves Miss King so much!

Monday, July 18, 2011

You suck, July 14

I really hate that I have a day of the year that I can't be happy on. At least for the time being. It's just a day. Something really sad happened to me and my family four years ago on that day, but it's still just another summer day. As the day approached, I actually felt like it wasn't going to bother me this year. Then I woke up at 4:00 AM to Bobby's R2D2 notification message on his phone, and then Franny was up using the bathroom at 4:30, and that was it, I couldn't fall back asleep. Neither could Franny, as it seems, because she thought it would be a good idea to wake Claire up at 6:15. I'm finally drifting off when I hear Franny saying over the monitor, "Good morning, Claire! Time to wake up!" And I knew it was game over. The worst day of the year for me had started four hours earlier than usual. (My kids have been sleeping in until 8:00 AM ever since we got back from California and it's awesome!)

I told Bobby that day felt a little bit like walking into a brick wall when you're not paying attention. And then you're flat on your back looking up and that brick wall thinking, "Man, I should have seen this coming." I also feel like summer betrayed me by taking my Mom in July. Summer is supposed to be happy and carefree! Something like this should have happened in January or February. I can't say this around Bobby or Franny because their birthdays both fall during this time, but those are my least favorite months. So cold, so quiet- a perfect time to wear sweats all day and no makeup and bake a lot of treats and do nothing.

This year July 14 started off kind of rough, but it got better. I took one of my pie crusts out of the freezer, rolled it out and filled it with raspberries and peaches and then put a crumb topping on it. Delicious! It felt to good to bake.
Then Claire went down for a nap and I put a movie on for the girls and gave them instructions not to wake Mommy up for anything less than an emergency. And not a bathroom emergency. Franny did come in once to tell me that Sophie pinched her but not before I got a good hour of sleep in, and I was satisfied with that. It made such a difference. Then we spent the afternoon outside eating popsicles and visiting with our neighbors Lydia and Amanda while the girls played in our inflatable pool.
The day just got better and better. After that we ate calzones for dinner- those really hit the spot- and off to Sophie's last T-ball game of the season. This was her first year and she did so well! I was so proud. This was our first time participating in a sports team of any kind. It was all very new to me because I never played sports of any kind growing up, aside from P.E. "I'm not very athletic." I felt a little nervous and awkward the first few games, but by the end, I felt pretty comfortable. I think for sure we'll do it again next year. Sophie payed close attention and chased after every ball and caught more than her share. We were very impressed. And by the end of the season we noticed she was hitting the ball much farther than at the beginning.
I am hoping that at as the years pass, it will get a little easier to face July 14. My cousin told me that they call the day his father passed away "Happy Deathday." He said because his Dad was such a fun happy guy, it made sense to get together for a party even if he couldn't be there physically. I hope I get there sooner rather than later. I know my mother would prefer that.
Raspberry Peach Pie with Crumb Topping
from Equal Opportunity Kitchen

For the Filling:

6-7 ripe, but firm white or yellow peaches, washed and chopped with skins on. (You can also remove the skins (if desired) by blanching the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds and then putting them in an ice bath. The skin should peel off.)

1 pint raspberries

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit and your taste)

3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

For the filling I chopped up 6 or 7 peaches. Toss them with a pint of raspberries and the lemon juice.

Combine the brown sugar with the cornstarch, salt and ground ginger in a small bowl. You want to mix all of these ingredients until they are well combined before sprinkling over the fruit.

Crumble Top

3/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Walnuts (optional – I didn’t add this)
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1/2 Cup Butter (cold)
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

I just mixed the ingredients together with a fork and spread it evenly on top of the filling. Actually, I had too much crumble, so I only used about 2-3 of the crumble mixture for the pie.

I then put the pie in the oven at 350 F for about one hour. Serve with ice cream.

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