A Child's Prayer

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for da food. Please bless it. Oh, that's the food one.
{deep sigh. starts over.}

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for our blessings. Thank you for our mommies and daddies. Thank you for my bed. Thank you for...I don't know. Thank you for the prophet song. Thank you for our mommies and daddies. Jesus Christ. AM!


Random Sampler

  • My due date is still "officially" the 28th of April. But, our last ultrasound says we're due about a week before that. Of course, they don't change anything because what's a week (besides pure hell) when you're 10 months pregnant? And, I'm measuring 2 cm larger than I should be for where I'm at in the pregnancy (according to official dates). That means almost nothing, really. My gut says closer to mid-April rather than the end. I hope my guts are right.
  • I've gained 9 lbs. and I'm 32 weeks along. I don't want to gain anymore. What a pipe dream, huh? Hopefully, I'll keep it at a minimum.
  • Lexi has memorized the first two Articles of Faith. Once a month, in primary, the kids can go up front and recite them to get a sticker. We prep Lexi for these days so she will feel comfortable going up if she wants. What a waste of time. She clearly has no issue with public speaking as this last Sunday, while the President was announcing that the kids could go up if they wanted, she proceeded to get up out of her chair, step up to the podium, pull down the microphone (who even taught her about that?!?), and recite the second one for everyone to hear. Mind you, I'm in there and whisper yelling, "SIT DOWN. LEXI, SIT DOWN!" as she makes her way to the front. Everyone else is giggling and thinks it "so cute". Precocious little thing. I didn't say precious, I said PRECOCIOUS. Don't know where she gets it.
  • Apparently, I'm married to a really good vacuum engineer. About 3 weeks ago, he was sought out by management to help with a project at another lab. Turns out, Lawrence Livermore Lab in CA needs some help putting together this NIF project and they decided to ask Sandia (there is an ongoing competition between these labs so calling in the big dogs from Sandia is kind of a big deal - sort of like Israel and Palestine singing Kum Ba Ya and having a real cease fire) to send the best guys they've got. Well, Allen made the list. Him and one other guy. So, Allen's been in CA for the last 2 business weeks. He will have to travel to CA pretty frequently to help out until this is all said and done. The goal is to have it wrapped up and functioning by Spring 2011. Need I remind everyone that we're having a baby in 8 weeks? And Allen's supposed to be gone to CA a bunch this spring, summer, fall and winter? Great for Allen's career; sucks for the home life. Way to go on being the best vacuum guy in the West, though.
  • Lexi has taken hair care into her own hands. And scissors. Literally. While I was getting my own locks taken care of, Lexi was visiting the Alexis Riddle School of Totally Amateur Beauty Styling. She chopped her bangs and made a cute little triangle mohawk in the front of her head. Thankfully, right now, with some creative use of gel and hairspray and clippies it's not too noticeable.
If you completely over look the shelf of hair she has in the back now, too.


Where We're At - Addie

Addie is almost 15 months old. I know! For those of you who haven't been raising her, the time has been flying by! Honestly, it's been flying by for us too.

Here's the stats: 23 lbs. 9 oz. and 30 inches tall.

Of course, Addie is still a pretty happy kid. She plays well by herself and usually plays pretty well with Lexi. She runs almost everywhere she goes. I forget how young she is because she can do a lot of things for herself and is so mobile. She can say, "Dadda, all done, ball, yah, bath, and thank you". When we tell her it's bath time, she runs full tilt down the hallway and tries to jump in. She washes her own hair and puts on her own lotion. When she's ready for a diaper change, she comes over, pulls on her pants, I ask her if she wants it changed, she says, YAH, and then proceeds to lay down on the floor and try to take off her pants. When we're done, she throws her own diaper away. After she has her bottle, she takes it to the sink for me and after all meals at the table, she pushes in the chairs while Lexi clears the table.

There are two things that almost make my head spin off like a top somedays. One is that she still cries a lot of the time at nap time and bed time. STILL. And I don't mean a whimper for 30 seconds. I mean all out wailing for up to 10 minutes. The good news is that at night once she's down, she very rarely gets up before morning. The other is that she is horrible in the car. She screams - SCREAMS - if the ride is any longer than about 10 minutes. It's pure torture to be stuck in the car with a screaming toddler. I'm sure it's on par with water boarding.

We've successfully weaned her off of her Prevacid. We did it bit by bit over 2 months time and all went well. We're so glad to finally be off of all meds. She's still eating her special formula. But, we're slowly adding milk to it to see if she's finally outgrown her allergy. We add 1 oz. of milk to every bottle. We'll work up to her whole 5 oz. bottle being all milk. Eventually, she'll just have milk in a cup, but we have to do this slowly so it's going to be quite the process. She has a horrible feeding aversion, however, to almost all solids. She was eating baby food just fine until about 11 months old. She started refusing; we just kept offering. We talked to her doctor and figured she'd grow out of it in a few weeks. Well, 4 months later, she won't eat anything but crackers and fruit snacks. I even gave her a bowl of food and her own spoon so she could just play with it. No pressure. Her hand touched the food and she gagged. This is very typical of a sensory feeding aversion. Lots of reflux kids develop it at about 11 months - just when you try to make the switch to more textured food items. And since I'd like to get her off of the bottle sooner rather than later (hello! do you think I want two kids on bottles - hizell no) we're facing a little bit of a predicament since she won't eat any real food. Thus, our gastro doc referred us to the speech therapist/occupational therapists to help us conquer this challenge.

We have a lot of people ask us if she'll have curly hair like Lexi. It's looking that way. She has those little ducky curls in the back where her hair is the longest.
Addie is a super fun kid to have around. She's nearing the age where her development is going to take off. We can already see that happening; she learns something new every day. She loves being outdoors and I think she has the horse gene as every time we do go outside she runs to the gate and wants to pet Honey. We love having Addie in our family; she really does add so much joy to all that we do.

For Our Entertainment

Oh, about a year ago the TV in our bedroom died. Since it's not a real high priority item for us, we just went without. This summer, Allen mentioned getting a flat screen for the bedroom when the good sales of the Holiday season rolled around. Well, I said, if we're going to get a flat screen why not get one for the family room and move the old style TV to the bedroom? (um, 'cause it costs way more for the bigger set, duh). But, Allen said ok.

Buying a new TV for the family room would require a new entertainment center. We picked one out that fit our budget. Black Thursday, Allen set out with the crazies at 5 a.m. to pick up our TV of choice. And what did he find? An even bigger TV at an even lower price! Well, we can't pass that deal up, now can we. It was the last one, even. And if every other lunatic at Walmart was buying this TV, it must be the one to get. So, he got it.

Do you think the bigger and better and awesome HD LCD flat screen fit the new entertainment center we had picked out? Nooooooo. Now, the next biggest center is awesome, but for a price. And, why would we get a new entertainment center and put it into the boring old family room? We wouldn't! If we're going to have the space all cleaned up, we're going to paint. And prep. And it's going to be a big, dumb project right in the middle of the holidays. What was a simple and thoughtful suggestion turned into a snowball of gigantic technological proportions.

So, come New Years we have: a brand new HD LCD 46" TV (which, by the way, was shoved into our closet of a master bedroom while we waited for our furniture and it was like a movie theater in there because the TV was way too big for the space) , a brand new entertainment center on order, brand new DirectTV on order so we can actually get some HD channels, and we're choosing paint colors, then painting at 10 p.m. after the kids go to bed.

Long story short, this is what we started with:

We enlisted the help of the only people we knew willing to take on the job:

And, we ended up with this:
For the fiasco it was, it really turned out all right.

Sing, Sing a Song

For Me?!?


 Lexi loves to draw. Since she's started preschool, she's blossomed as an artist. Today, she surprised me with my very own present. It's a tree complete with vegetables and even some seeds at the bottom. Let's not overlook the blue grass.

After proudly displaying her talents, she flipped the picture over to reveal this:
 Just so we all know exactly who she drew it for.


Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
- James Arthur Baldwin


She Works Hard For the Money

Lexi asked us for money a few weeks ago. We figured if she is old enough to want to spend money, then she's old enough to earn it. So, for FHE, we implemented her chore chart system. For every task she completes, she gets a sticker. Since we're in the month of Valentine's, we are using heart stickers (unless Mommy totally forgets to put the hearts on and then we use a Sharpie marker and make "x" marks). We also taught her about tithing since she's going to be paying her own way from now on (wink, wink).

Since we introduced formal chores for her to do and told her she can earn money for toys, candy, shoes, or whatever, she has been more than willing to do almost anything we ask. She has these regular chores, but can earn extra by helping Daddy in the yard or doing some extra work.

We think this is a pretty big milestone for our Lexi and are so happy she's excited to help out. We also know this will likely be a temporary phase where chores are considered a privilege and not punishment. But, hey, we'll take it where we can get it.


San Francisco Pork Chops

I'm really not a fan of pork. Sure, I like bacon and a good glazed ham (however, let's just forget the "Dinner" incident, shall we?). I like pulled pork on occasion. But, this last fall we had the chance to get a whole pig for just the price of processing. Homegrown, grain fed, super nice meat. And, I said yes. And, our freezer is chock full of pig. So, I've been searching high and low for exceptional pork recipes.

I visit Mormon Mommy Blogs daily and always check under the cooking category for new ideas. I came across this recipe and thought I would give it a try.

San Francisco Chops


4 1" thick bone in chops or 6 thinner chops
1-2 Tbsp. oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Brown chops in oil. (Ok, I modified a little. I used 1 Tbsp. butter and 1-2 Tbsp. oil. The butter adds flavor but the oil lets you keep the temperature high for a better browning experience.) Once browned, remove chops to greased slow cooker. Add garlic to drippings in pan and cook until just golden, stirring continuously. (I used pre-minced garlic. This time I used the garlic paste in a tube that you find in the produce section. I squeezed out a couple of dollops. Just right and no messy chopping.)

Have ready to stir in (so the garlic won't burn while you prep):

1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth (or 3/4 teaspoon chicken bullion mixed with 3/4 cup hot water)
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Cook sauce, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chops in slow cooker. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high for 4-5. Remove chops from slow cooker. Combine 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. water, mix until smooth. Stir into sauce to thicken - use a whisk to get all the goodies off the bottom of the slow cooker. Remove bones from chops (they will practically fall out) and place meat back into the sauce. Cook on low for 30 more minutes. Serve over rice.

Verdict: Awesome! In fact, Allen exclaimed, "YOU made this!?!" because it was so good. To which I said, "No, I had it catered. Duh, I made this. Dork!" (like I'm some sort of slouch in the kitchen, anyways Mr. All-I-know-how-to-make-is-chicken-nuggets-and-roadkill-Taco-Soup. Alas, I digress. Anyhow...) The meat was so tender and the sauce was fantastic. At first I wondered how this would be easier and less work than regular cooking since the recipe calls for browning the meat. I'd say, from start to finish, I browned the meat, had it in the cooker and had done the prep dishes in 15 minutes and all before we left for preschool and doctor's appointments. I almost left out the red peppers because of Lexi, but I decided to leave them in and I'm glad I did. I think it tempered the sweetness of the sauce. And, she asked for seconds so I'm pretty sure she didn't even notice. When we had our piglet processed, I had the processor package my chops in 3's so I only used 3 good sized chops. The sauce to chop ratio was perfect. So, if you're going to use more meat, double the sauce. Next time, I'll double everything so we have more left overs. Definitely a keeper.


The Parable of the Chinese Bamboo Tree

I came across this post and thought it was just too good not to share.  

"In everything you do in your family, keep in mind the miracle of the Chinese bamboo tree. After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But then in the the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet!

"Many things in family life are like the Chinese bamboo tree. You work and you invest time and effort, and you do everything you can possibly do to
nurture growth, and sometimes you don't see anything for weeks, months, or even years. But if you're patient and keep working and nurturing, that "fifth year" will come, and you will be astonished at the growth and change you see taking place.

"Patience is faith in action. Patience is emotional diligence. It's the willingness to suffer inside so that others can grow. It reveals love. It gives birth to understanding."

From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey (pp. 22-23)

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.