Thursday, December 31, 2009

Together again

Well, it's been almost 5 months since I've seen my husband face to face.  This is the first separation of any notable length since we were married, 7.5 years ago.  It was a much different experience than I expected.

I can't speak for Matt, but I anticipate that being together again, working as a true team will be a bit of an adjustment.  Matt's been "single" all this time, able to go and do things with any of his friends at any time convenient to him (and let me tell you, that won't work with me).  And I have been the boss of my family, and made many significant changes in our daily life that didn't always make it in to our usually brief conversations.  I think the only people who might not have a problem getting used to it are the kids!

I am confident, however, that we will be able to adjust, tweak, compromise and change ourselves to be one again. It gives me comfort that our vows were not taken on a whim, for fun or without commitment.  When you'll be with someone for eternity, you tend to work a little harder at working things out!

So I'll see him Saturday (I hope) or Sunday morning (for sure). We'll go to church, come back to my parents' house to eat dinner, pile everyone in the van and head out for an all nighter, and be in Rexburg by tea time.  Rexburgers, if you'd like to help, let me know, I'll give you a call when we get into town.  I'd also take help with child care, in addition to moving things.

Wish us luck!

P.S.  I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank my parents and brother for putting up with us these 5 months.  I know it hasn't been easy; we've been a strain, and a drain, and a pain.  But I hope, I believe there are enough good memories to overshadow the not-so-great ones.  We've really enjoyed being with you. We love you all so much.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The girls have a birthday

6 years ago, I gave birth to a tiny little girl, and we named her Elizabeth. She was born on my birthday, and I maintain that she is the best birthday present I've ever received! 

Elizabeth is a sweet, caring, intelligent girl.  She started kindergarten (homeschool) and is learning how to read. She practically begs for reading lessons on most days of the week.  She's even started reading from the Book of Mormon during family scripture study, and can read a lot of verses without much help at all!  She loves her brothers, (though she will tell you she does not always like them...) and tries to help them. She's been working especially hard on being a good big sister, and not a second mom, and is coming along famously.  She recently took up a liking for dressing like me, and therefore a lot of the gifts for Christmas, from Santa and for her birthday (and my gifts too) were put toward that effort.  It really tickles my heart that she likes to do that.  She's really blossomed and improved under my new parenting rules, taken from Love and Logic.  I can't imagine life without her, and I'm so grateful to be her Mommy.

Elizabeth requested (on her own, without prompting), chocolate cake with lemon frosting, and since that sounded absolutely lovely to me, and she didn't object, we made that cake and shared it.  Elizabeth insisted we dress alike for our birthday, of course, so we both wore yellow. She wore her new jeans, but my jeans got another hole in them (never buy Faded Glory), we didn't match completely. (My mother-in-love is sending me money to get jeans for myself once we get back to Rexburg. Thanks, Kathie!) But it was close enough for her. We also ended up matching our cake. :D

So we blew out the candles and opened our gifts together.

Elizabeth got flashing shoes from Kael (which she's wanted since October, when Kael got his pair of flashing shoes), Disney princess card games from me, dress-up scarves from Tristan, and a crib for Marie from Granmama and Grampa.  Mom made it herself from an old Mary Kay box and fabric she had on hand.  She had to make up the pattern herself, so it's quite amazing, and it looks wonderful.

I got a cute green shirt (Elizabeth), a pink turtleneck (Tristan), Work and the Glory Volume 4 (Kael), and a purple shawl, made by Mom, complete with shawl pin, and my own starter set of essential oils from DoTerra.  Rhydon's gift to me was babysitting my kids so I could go out to dinner with Mom and Dad.  We went to this FABULOUS vegetarian/vegan restaurant called Lovin' Spoonfuls.  It is truly amazing food! I couldn't tell we weren't eating the "real" thing.  We had Tempura Shrimp, hummus with cucumber slices, Dad and I had side salads with Sesame tahini dressing, we shared a Pumpkin Bisque soup and a black bean soup. Mom had a giant salad with Thousand Island dressing. Dad had pasta primavera. I had ravioli with alfredo, and shoestring fries.  Then we each got shakes: Chocolate Candy Cane, Eggnog, and Strawberry Sunshine.  We talked, and laughed, and generally had a great time.  I think it was my best birthday so far, except for the fact that I couldn't share it with my husband.  We brought home "beef" stroganoff for Rhydon.  It was all lovely.

Christmas with the Kiddos, part 2

So we spent most of the 23rd and 24th cooking, dicing, gathering, and slicing, in preparation for our Christmas feast. It was somewhat of a challenge this year, being new vegetarians.  The main issue was whether to have our traditional Buffalo Wings or not.  We've had Dad's recipe of Buffalo Wings for as long as I can remember, and while we're okay with chicken every once in a while, we wanted to see if we could come up with a substitute.  So we cooked up some Buffalo Fries instead!  We mixed up the sauce for the wings, then cooked some oven fries (potato wedges), basting with the sauce halfway through, and using the extra sauce for dipping. It was so delicious! We made some wings too, but it was the general opinion of those gathered that the fries were better, and there was no real desire for the wings. In fact, for the first time in HISTORY, we had to make Rhydon eat the leftover wings (except the few I saved for Matt, who could not be with us).  Usually there is a fight for them! That's how it was with the fries this year. I even had to make a new batch for Christmas Day.

Also, we watch a lot of the Travel Channel's show, Man V. Food, with Adam Richman. He's always taking on a new challenge of eating someone's spiciest wings, so Dad decided we'd have our own hot wing challenge and made a new spicy hot sauce for 3 of the wings.  Now, my taste buds must really have changed while I've been here, because the original recipe wings were not spicy, and the challenge wings were not as spicy as I could handle. So in the battle of Man V. Food, Men (and Woman) won! (The sauce was quite delicious though.)

The rest of our feast was a lovely selection of culinary temptations from around the world. Baba ganouj, hummus, dolmas, indian yogurt, Thai curry (my own recipe, and very tasty!), Mediterranean eggplant dip, salsa, Greek yogurt (delicious with fries and wings, and dolmas too!), Moroccan lentils. And there were the requisite crackers, chips and dips (onion and taco).  Of course we had the perennial Christmas shortbread, a tradition from Dad's childhood, that my children now love. We also had our Orange Blossom punch, though we experimented with tweaking the recipe to make it healthier. Our main concern was corn syrup (high fructose or otherwise).  We used fresh orange juice (because we could, thanks to Bountiful Baskets food co-op), sparkling water instead of ginger ale, less sugar, and on the second batch we substituted maraschino juice with pomegranate juice.  It was different, but pleasant, and certainly worth repeating.  But both Rhydon and I agreed afterward, that it still was not as wonderful as plain cold water! My, how we've changed!!!

(I would like to note at this point that Matt was able to join us via webcam for much of the day, enjoying his own food, lusting after ours, and watching and even opening presents we'd sent him previously. Then he left us to go out for sushi. Why didn't we think of sushi?)

After we'd gorged ourselves on our first plates of deliciousness, we could no longer hold off the kids from opening presents, and so it began.  I will attempt to list gifts received (and who from) in order from youngest to oldest:

Tristan: Snow boots (Elizabeth), Blocks (Grandpa), superhero cape (Uncle Rhydon), little-manly books (Kael),

Nope. Changed my mind. Too many gifts. I will just make mention of the most notable.

All three kids got winter boots. This is the first time ANY of my kids have gotten winter boots.
All three kids got Lego Duplo blocks from Grandpa.  All exactly the same, except for different symbols on each individual block to help determine ownership without limiting said ownership to one child (they can be passed on to the next child someday).
All three kids got superhero capes from Uncle Rhydon.  Yay! (Thanks, Mom, for making them.)
Mom and I made 1 pair of jammies for Elizabeth, and 2 pair for Kael (pictured).  I've had to make several repairs to Kael's, because I'm the one who sewed them, and I'm still learning. Sorry! At least I'm learning, right?
The theme of Mom and Dad's gifts was camping/preparedness, and the gifts were received with great joy and enthusiasm. (Pictured)
I got a book, Work and the Glory #3 (already have 1 and 2), and two skirts from the kids.  Much to my delight, I was also given a preparedness gift or two: I got a 72 hour kit and water purifiers to put therein. This is a recently developed interest, and I was so happy to receive these things. Rhydon received some of the same things, and some more.
Mom and I got 2 pairs of matching pajamas from Dad, by Victoria's Secret. Long-sleeved, pants, one silk, one flannel.  It's been years since we last had matching jammies, and I badly needed new ones, so it was a great gift!
Oh, and Mom worked hard and made a new outfit for Elizabeth's baby doll, Marie. Apparently, Marie is an oddly shaped baby, and it was difficult finding clothes patterns that fit her, but Mom pulled it off, and Elizabeth was so happy!
We sent Matt a new shirt and pair of pants that he'd better be wearing when we see him this weekend *squeal!* or there could be dire consequences. ;)

Then we watched The Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott (our favorite version), and put the kids to bed only a little past their bedtime.  They slept in until almost 9a the next day, so Santa gift-receiving was much delayed, but happily enjoyed.

Here are the best pictures.  We had a great time!

Happy (early) birthday to me! *Nei-ei-ei-eigh!*

So a few weeks ago, I was sitting and wondering what I could ask for, for my birthday.  I wanted to be frugal, because money is tight, but I knew my family wouldn't let me get away with getting nothing. Then it occurred to me, that I could just have an experience! Two years ago, Matt took me across the U. S./Mexico border for my birthday, because I'd never been out of the country.  Well, guess what else I hadn't done? I had never ridden a horse! It's true!  So, I put out my wish on Facebook:

I would like to ride a horse for the first time in my life, for Christmas or my birthday. Anyone own a horse who would be willing to give me a lesson? It just might be plain wrong that I'm almost 27 and have never ridden a horse.

And what do you know?  A friend of mine from church sees that, and goes and finds someone for me!  Dianne set the whole thing up for me, and today was the day I got to ride a horse for the first time IN MY LIFE!! 

I forget the horses' names because I started this on that day but finished two weeks later... someone help me! I'll fix this post when I figure it out.

I had a fabulous time!  I think I may be a natural talent! Hahaha.  What a great birthday present! Thank you, Dianne, and thanks to the Gambles for sharing with me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas with the Kiddos, part 1

We decided not to go to Disneyland. :(  We were all very sad, but Matt and I are confident we made the right decision.

But that means we won't be able to bring Matt any Christmas stuff, so I decided we would make Matt a Christmas box.  (And we'll be sending it UPS, because if we sent it through the Post Office, he wouldn't get it until Valentine's Day.)  So to start, we made cookies. Snickerdoodles first, because they're Matt's favorite.

Then we did some crafts.

And yesterday, we took the kids to the library for storytime with Santa.  He read Twas the Night Before Christmas , then everyone sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the first verse of Silent Night.  Then everyone got to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.  Elizabeth was first in line, and promptly told Santa she wants a bike for Christmas.  I told her that Santa is smart and knows we're soon moving to a place where she won't be able to use her bike for a while anyway, and might send it to her later... I'll be including a note in her stocking from Santa explaining, and then when we finally can get her a  bike, I'll attach a note saying something like, "Sorry it's late. Hope you like it. Love, Santa"  Yes, that should work.

Kael was next, saying he wants a toy airplane that flies by remote control.  Can I just say this statement blindsided me! He'd never mentioned anything like that before! Well, drat.  Hope he likes what he gets anyway, and doesn't focus too much on what he didn't get.

Tristan wanted nothing to do with Santa, to start. I merely suggested he go sit with Santa and he had a meltdown! That's that first pic of him, then the second is when I wasn't fast enough to catch his screaming face, he saw the camera, smiled and said, "Happy?"  Then after everyone else was done, someone had pulled up a chair so a mom could sit with her child next to Santa, so I decided to try that, and had another mom there take the pictures for me.  He was about to protest as we sat down, and then he saw the camera... what a ham.

Now I'll wrap a couple of the presents we got for Matt, and put them in a box with the cookies and crafts.  Then when we get to Rexburg, we'll have another Christmas all together.

By the way, for those of you readers who don't know, we did finally find a place in Rexburg to live! We're 2 blocks away from where we were before, and in a completely different stake, much less ward. Oh well, it's still a good central location, and we'll be near friends all around. Thank you, everyone, for all the good thoughts in that direction.

More Thanksgiving Fun

Grandpa trying out the DDR with Elizabeth. So awesome!

Grandpa did pretty well, too!

Thanksgiving Fun

Our Thanksgiving Dinner, left to right, top to bottom:
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (Dad's new recipe)
Mushroom Gravy
Pumpkin Custard
Homemade Cranberry Sauce (none left! yum!)
Steamed Broccoflower
Rice Bread Dressing
Garlic Onion Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes and Yams with Craisins
Rhubarb Crisp

It was totally vegetarian (not vegan), and delicious, and I didn't miss the turkey at all.
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video flashbacks #1

Tristan, almost 2 years ago! He's so different now! *motherly sigh*

Arienne Baugh