Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Irish Stew

The First Grade production of Irish Stew was postponed due to illness of some of the cast. The production was held on the 26th and our Little H played the Queen. (She was selected for queen due to her ability to be dramatic...boy, is that an understatement)

I do believe the Queen stole the show with her big fainting scene!

Do I Get a Discount?

My son loves all things John Deere...so when Jose' and his men showed up to work...so did M! M grabbed his John Deere wheelbarrow and giraffe shovel and went to work.

(Don't tell Greg but my little vegetable garden project just got a tad bigger)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Mountain

Wednesday, we decided to visit Lookout Mountain and ride the Incline on our mini-vacation to Chattanooga over Spring Break. The idea of going up on the mountain or Incline had H in a panic. There were tears, panic, and much need consoling on H's part. I tried explaining how safe she would be...how I wouldn't let anything happen to her, she could sit in my lap on the Incline...all to no avail. M chimed in that he would keep his arm around her on the Incline. (What a great brother!)

H declared she would stay at the Hotel by herself...We tried driving up the mountain first...I believe we made it to the top before she finally settled down. She enjoyed looking out from the top and had no fear going near the edge at the Civil War Battlefield site. (You could hear her panicked mother saying "Get back on the path! Stay away from the edge!") Then we decided to have lunch and ride the Incline...Her panic started all over again. Ugh. We did ride it, she did like it, and you will see coming back down...she fell asleep. H surmounted her mountain of fear.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Like Father Like Daughter

Spring Break, yay! People are scattering to places like Charleston, Disney World,camping, rafting..My ideal vacation is laying on a lounge chair on a 75 degree day reading a book with a tall glass of iced tea...After that would be exploring art and history museums and historical American Battlefields and other historical sites...a trip to Europe would be nice...I loved the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Blenheim Palace, a trip to Italy would be nice and so it goes...I listen to my friends get excited about camping, not me. My idea of camping is staying at the Hampton Inn...I have to wash my hair everyday or I cannot function...hot shower, outlets for blow drying, a mirror, a toilet that flushes (I don't do portable potties, they're gross and they smell) and a nice cozy bed with no vermin or wild animals...I am just not adventurous.

I looked at my bookcase today (purchased for the sole purpose of holding the books my dad left to me) and thought about how my reading habits have changed. I used to put my nose in the classics and bestsellers...now I just read history. I realized this is genetic...I can't help it, this offbeat taste for a girly girl comes from my father. He enjoyed reading many things, mostly history...

I was very jealous when my dad left all of his Civil War and WWII books to my brother and left me the art books because girls don't like history...Au contraire...Obviously, my dad was not paying attention to the fact I had a history minor...Like art, love history...

I inherited my dad's love for growing flowers. He helped me plant my first garden when I was 22. I had fallen skiing, hurt my knee and had to hobble on crutches. He took me to a nursery and bought me petunias, his favorite flower. He stood over me while I planted them and gave me directions, clean the dirt off the leaves, push down the soil and get the air bubbles out, now give it a good watering etc. etc. Every year, I have to plant some petunias, just to remind me of my dad.

I never really gave it a lot of thought until today. My dad didn't raise me, he got weekends, part of the holidays, and dragged me to a lot of baseball games...but I enjoy many of the same things so that leads me to the conclusion it has to be genetic...like father,like daughter.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Penguin Stuff

Some souvenirs...and a picture of Tilda. (I have this weird habit of striking up conversations with servers in restaurants...perhaps this is why I got invited to a baby shower once in Rosamond...I also talk to strangers on elevators...)

Tilda was very cute and had an adorable accent, my daughter overwhelmed by his hotness...so converse, I did. Tilda was born in New Orleans, lived in 6 countries in Europe before living in Boston and was now in Chattanooga...Cute,yes?

Roo and I laughed so hard at the shirts, we had to get them! She looks better in black so she got the "Bowling for Penguins" and I like more serene colors so I got "Dances well with others" (I usually dance when no one is watching nowadays...unless, I feel like embarrassing my oldest daughter..."MOM!STOP!" And this is my life...


Little did the crazy people who set up my blog account know what foreshadowing lay ahead in the penguin area....

Last week, M came in while I was blogging and was very excited to see my profile picture, the Macaroni Penguin. Tuesday, we were going to the Aquarium and my daughter wanted to spike his hair (he has fought hair spiking ever since his conservative father told him he looked silly...not even telling him he could be like his "best buddy" Samuel L would convince him to have his hair spiked!) I tried a new approach, "You can look like a Macaroni Penguin! And, it worked! Hair on M is now spiked, he looks dashing.

We went to the Aquarium and hit the River Journey first...M begins asking when we could go see the Macaroni Penguins...Let's look at the otters, okay...works for a little while since I named them H and M. M would ask "Where's M?" He would be amused by their antics...we moved on...here comes the "When are we going to see the penguins?" I would explain we needed to see the river and then the ocean journey...M would look at me blankly and say "Where are the penguins?" Half way through the river journey, we gave up. We ate some lunch and went directly to the Ocean Journey. The first stop was the petting area for sting rays and sharks...Not interested..."When are we going to the penguins?" Next stop, butterflies...okay...for awhile..."When can we see the penguins?" Movin' on. Penguins. One happy boy. Even had to get a macaroni penguin souvenir.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

1 of 133

Chocolate Layer Cake

For the Cake Layers
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup quinoa flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 low-fat (1 percent) buttermilk
1 ounce (2 tbl) unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the seven-minute frosting
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbl plus 1 tsp corn syrup
5 large egg whites
3/4 pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1. Make the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment; spray parchment.
2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide batter between pans.
3. Bake cakes until they pull away from sides of pans, about 1 hour. Let cool in pans on wire racks. Cakes will keep, covered, for up to 1 day.
4. Make the frosting: Place sugar, water, corn syrup, and whites in a heatproof mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves and mixture resgisters 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
5. Attach bowl to mixer. Whisk hot sugar mixture on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and salt.
6. Assemble the cake: Place a cake layer on a plate. Spread 2 cups frosting on top. Place remaining cake layer on top of frosting. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Cake is best eaten within 1 hour of frosting.

Recipe from Martha Stewart April 2009

Celiac Sprue

Four years ago, my oldest daughter was not feeling well. We lived in Virginia at the time and my husband was military so I took my daughter to the best medical care our country has to offer the dependents of active duty military. (Picture my tongue in my cheek at this point) The doctor who barely spoke English suggested I should have her at OB/Gyn or Behavioral Medicine rather than a check up. (Picture irritated mother at this point) He did run a CBC and imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from him on a Saturday morning with as close to an apology as I was ever going to get as he let me know my daughter was anemic and hypothyroid...she would need a follow up at Walter Reed with a pediatric endocrinologist. We went to the endocrinologist, he did some more lab work and prescribed some iron. It was late June or early July before we saw the endocrinologist again, the hypothyroid was better and for giggles and grins, he ran some lab work to see what was causing the anemia. A few weeks later, I received a phone call from a nurse, whose first language was not English and said it looked like my daughter had "Syriac." What? Could you spell that? C-E-L-I-A-C. What? I googled. I found out what it is...In September, my daughter had an upper and lower endoscopy which confirmed she had celiac sprue. Celiac Sprue occurs in 1 out of 130 Americans. It often takes ten years to diagnose in the United States...two weeks in Italy...and in Italy, every child is tested before they begin kindergarten.

If you are like me, you have no idea what this is...let me explain: it is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to perceive gluten as a toxin. Any gluten that reaches the small intestine damages the lining, causing inflammation (my daughter's lining was the worst they had ever seen) Ultimately, the body isn't able to absorb nutrients properly, which can lead to a host of physical ailments, including anemia and osteoporosis. My youngest two children had to have blood tests since biologically they are closest genetically to her, along with my husband and myself. H and M have to be tested every 2-3 years unless there are symptoms, my husband and me are to be tested every 10 years unless there are symptoms.

I educated myself, tried to educate my daughter and was appalled by how little the nutritionist at Fort Belvoir knew on the subject. I knew more than this professional and I only had one week with google before this appointment. The professional was very caught up with the pyramid diet and had no suggestions on what a teenage girl who can't wheat, food that contains wheat and just about every condiment readily available could actually eat.

Four years later, my daughter is still in denial of how serious this disorder is and continues to eat gluten. I will be honest, it is hard to watch...it is kind of like watching a child with a drug or alcohol problem, she is destroying her body for a temporary feel good...she won't blackout in an alley but there will be damage. Let's just pray there won't be any lifelong damage to her system...

Uhhhh, No

I haven't written for a while and today I realized why...My house is chaotic. We just got home from Church and the two smallest are fighting, the oldest is trying to get out of the chores she is supposed to do once a week, the husband's bass voice is echoing through the house and I can't think...and if the bass voice isn't here, the air hogs, the constant jumping, battling, etc. is here.

Today, I thought I would write but my mind couldn't form a coherent thought to save my life, Mrs. Jones, my 7th grade teacher would be so ashamed. Mrs. Jones always gave us a topic every day and we had to write...okay, a nerf gun was just fired and the "bullet" just whizzed by my ear...there went the vacuum. Husband enters office and uses the paper shredder, those things are noisy. Where was I? Oh, yes, Mrs. Jones...I thought I would try this approach and I googled "journal prompts" and what do you know...there are a slew of sites. I chose the first one and selected March, it is March after all. Topics: How I learned about sex. WHAT??? Yeah, I am going to write about this in a blog that my aunt reads and my daughter reads and a few people from church...How does this tie into March, anyway? Is it because it is almost spring and farm animals are giving birth?

So, for the crazy person that thought I should write about how I learned about sex, there are three answers...When I asked my mom she told me married people mate, my dad gave me a set of books called the "Life Cycle" and the way I really learned about sex...friends...just like everyone else.

Pictured above the author...thrilling, ain't it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just Wondering

Fluttering hearts...Or should I say, fluttering tummies...did anyone else feel this way when they had their first crush? I was thinking today about being in school and having a big crush on the cute guy in school...It was the end of 7th grade and I should have been in my science class but for some reason I was out in the hall...my girlfriend, Cindy, pointed out her new boyfriend and next to him was the cutest guy I had ever seen (they weren't in class either, hmmm). That summer, the crush continued...I remember sitting on the cold tile of my bedroom floor on one hot afternoon, listening to music and drawing a heart around his yearbook picture. The next year in eighth grade we had assigned seats and I was put at the table across from him, everyday I would come to class I would get butterflies...the great big Monarch kind that just took over the whole mid-section of the body. One day, he asked me how to spell something, I am surprised anything actually came out of my mouth, come to think of it...I think I wrote it on a piece of paper for him, I was that tongue-tied. I attended the school Christmas Dance that year with some friends and was so excited he was there...I almost dropped on the spot when he asked me to dance. I think that was my favorite dance ever...just one wonderful slow dance but it was enough to keep my heart flying over Christmas Break. I have always wondered how he figured out I liked him...I am sure he knew from someone/somehow...was it my Piute Mafia girlfriends? (Those girls kind of ran the school) Did he see the doodling on my Pee Chee folder with our initials and a heart drawn around them...Was I stupid enough to take the doodled folder to class where he could read his initials from across the table? I know he had to know I liked him because not long after Christmas Break, he called out of the blue and asked me to go steady...Talk about butterflies...hearing his voice on the other end of the phone was what young girls dream about...

Do kids still feel that way today, do tongues get tied? Do butterflies swirl? Do hearts still skip a beat when the phone rings and the object of affection is on the other end of the phone? Teenagers looks so much more sophisticated with their cell phones and laptops but does the fear of rejection terrify them as much as it did me? How different is falling in love today from 30 years ago?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Miss You

This time of year is so bittersweet for me...It is the beginning of Spring and new beginnings, the beauty of God's Creation, the death and resurrection of our glorious Savior and the sad loss of a friend seven years ago. Rick has been on my mind this past week. He died on Good Friday seven years ago.

I met Rick and his wife, Diana, when my husband went to Test Pilot School at Edwards. Diana was pregnant with twins and Rick was a student in my husband's class. Rick was often seen tinkering on his Corvette or cruising his baby down Sharon Drive. (and by baby, I mean the car). Rick had a certain style all his own...Who else would wear a tie and combat boots with a toga (yep, I'm talking military officers here and not a fraternity). Who else would have the nerve to push me in the pool? Ha, got him back...along with his wallet...I do believe he is the only person I have ever pushed into a pool.

The Class had a "field trip" for two weeks and Rick stayed home since Diana was due with the twins. He had the luxury of spending two glorious weeks with a group of TDY widows. We kept him busy drinking Masucci "Beer-garitas" and hanging out at the pool with the women. (See picture to understand how much he hated this...his wife, Diana took the picture...they both had such a great sense of humor!)

A few years later, Diana passed away from breast cancer and Rick had four boys to raise. He ended up in Ohio with us and not long afterwards was diagnosed with leukemia. He had the best attitude. I went to see him in the hospital and he told me "the body is weak, the spirit is strong." There was no bitterness at God for being sick, for having lost his wife or for having four young boys to raise on his own.

Rick met Susie while working in FL. As soon as Susie heard Rick was sick, she took leave and came to Ohio. She was a blessing. They were married a few months later and spent a wonderful year together before he passed away. I will never hear The Dance or I Hope You Dance without thinking of the love these two shared together. They enjoyed every second together laughing or slow dancing. They didn't waste a minute of life.

Good Friday is coming and it is bittersweet, it is all about death and new life.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Caution: Imploding Brain

Little Gremlins somehow changed the layout of my blog...I have no idea what happened...my sidebars with blog links, Shelfari, and "about me" dropped all the way to the bottom of my blog without any help from me. I spent the morning trying to put them back. No luck. It looks easy, drag and move the items to the area you want them...okay, I can do that. I did it. I still have this long stream of entries with an odd looking void right margin...I looked up tutorials, help menus, and googled my little fingers down to the nubs. Nothing.

I apologize for the odd layout. I tried. I really tried. I need to find myself a computer geek. I have Julio to meet my reading/tea/leisure needs. I need to find his brother, Juan, to do my computer work.

All is not lost, I did manage to successfully set my DVR to record U2 on the Letterman show last night. I just watched it and the frustration headache is beginning to ease away. I am going to add it as a little present for my four readers...OH MY GOSH...I did it! I did it! I really really did it!!!! My Sidebars are back! Hallelujah!!!! SIDEBARS and U2, how sweet is this???

It's a Beautiful Day!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How Can a Girl Love this Song for 20+ Years?

So in Love

Today I ran errands with my little boy and I couldn't help being in awe of this Little Guy. He got in the car, buckled up and announced "Mom, I love you." Wow, what a feeling. Our first errand was Starbuck's (shocking, I know) and we got out of the car and the Little Guy reached up and took my hand. He continued to hold my hand for the rest of our errands. He said thank you for his new Crocs and for his lunch...I am head over heels crazy in love with this Little Guy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


A little glimpse of Spring today...the sun is shining, the pond is sparkling, buds are popping out on the trees and the bulbs are peeping out of the ground. Finally. It has been a long winter for this desert rat living in the Land of Moonlight and Magnolias.