Monday, May 29, 2006
Today I am thankful that my husband is alive and well - - that he survived a year in Iraq, and that he came home mentally and emotionally intact. Now that he is home, I find myself "forgetting" sometimes that he was gone for 17 months - - we kind of picked up where we left off when he came back, and got on with our lives. Then again, I often find myself wondering what it was like for him over there, day after day - - what did he think about, what did he worry about? When he went out on a mission, did he worry each time that he might die, or did he just go about his business? Knowing Steve, I'm guessing the latter. I actually think about these questions (and many others) quite a bit, but I don't ask him, mostly because I'm guessing he won't want to rehash all of that, and partly because I just don't want to know. It scares me to think about what he must have seen, felt, thought, and experienced. Maybe a bit selfish on my part, but I'm just happy that he is home and that I don't have to spend every day wondering what may or may not be happening to him, every waking minute.
No matter what your political views are, keep in mind that the majority of the soldiers who serve are extremely proud to do so. When I read about or see protests, with people demanding that our soldiers be "sent home" immediately, I find it almost irritating. Don't get me wrong - - I wouldn't wish a deployment to a war zone on anyone - - it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I guess what I am trying to say is that when someone joins the military, nobody is forcing them to do so. They do it because they are proud, strong, brave, and there is something within them that sets them apart from the rest of the population, whether they consciously know this themselves, as they are signing on the dotted line. I know my husband is one of those people - - he loves the Army and he is proud of what he accomplished while he was in Iraq. When someone joins the military, they don't do it with the stipulation that if they don't agree with the particular war, or their president, that they can opt out. They give of themselves unconditionally.
So, while you are enjoying friends and family today, and hopefully cooking out, please take a moment, whether publicly, or just in your head, to remember and thank the thousands and thousands of men and women who have given so much, to protect our freedom. Thank you, Steve and Rex, you are my heroes.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
We decided to keep dinner low-key so we went to Tablerock Ale House. Steve had paella, and I had fish and chips...delish. After that, we decided to walk a few blocks over to Le Cafe de Paris for coffee and dessert. They make a great cup of coffee there, and have the most elegant French pastries. We rounded out the evening with a stop at WalMart (yes, we are pretty exciting), and now here I sit blogging, while Steve assembles his "commuter bike". This makes bike number three - - I do believe the man has a slight problem.
It was so nice to have adult conversation tonight, without constant interruption. Camden is at the age right now where it seems his mission in life is to prevent anyone (mostly Steve and I) from carrying on any type of conversation. We are working on breaking him of this, but it has been rather challenging. Steve and I are both quite bad at making time for each other, but neither of us seem to realize it, until we actually spend some time together alone. We'll need to work harder at that.
Have you heard the new Dixie Chicks CD? If not, go out and buy yourself a copy. Very, very good. I was telling Steve tonight that I find it quite annoying that because of a comment that Natalie Maines made about three years ago (about the President), their popularity has plummeted. She said she was ashamed to be from the same state as President Bush. That's all she said. Yet, earlier this week, Madonna kicked off her latest concert tour, where, at one point in the concert, she stages a mock crucifixion of herself, and at another point, superimposes Hitler's face over Bush's. However, Madonna is seen as simply risque, while the Dixie Chicks were made public enemy number one. Makes no sense to me. Then again, society in general kind of boggles my mind these days.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Laugh if you must, but I love American Idol. I'm so happy Taylor won last night. It was also rather exciting to see Prince perform on the show. I told Steve this morning that I am glad the season is over, because now I've just gained back two hours of my life each week. Sad, but true!
Thought I'd mention a few more noteworthy items I've come across recently:
*Starbucks Banana Mocha Frappuccino - whoever invented this drink is an evil, evil person. I'm quite sure I could drink at least three per day.
*Maybelline Superstay Lipcolor - my coworker, April, told me about this stuff...stay-put lipcolor with a stick of solid gloss to wear over the top - - it looks great and lasts all day. I love it!
*Rachel Ray's new magazine, called "Everyday With Rachel Ray". Great recipes and all kinds of great tips.
That's all, folks!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; mix into the egg mixture. Stir in the hazelnuts. Shape dough into 2 equal-sized logs, about 12 inches long. Flatten the logs into approximately 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness. Bake for 30 minutes, until edges are golden and center is firm. Remove from the oven and cool on pans. When cool enough to handle, place log on cutting board and slice with a serrated knife into 1 inch slices. Place sliced side down, back on cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then flip to other side; bake 5 more minutes. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (if you own a vacuum sealer, these freeze beautifully when vacuum sealed). Enjoy!!
Monday, May 22, 2006
Today, Dev and Steve worked on the house all day. Steve put the trim up in preparation for the new siding which is going on around the new kitchen window. Dev knocked the entire outside wall out of the 3rd bedroom. The doorway that leads into the house has been boarded up, and it is kind of weird to look at the room from the outside. Next weekend, they will fix the foundation and frame the wall and new window, then hang the sheetrock. We should have a room ready for tape and texture by Memorial Day (we hope).
Our other bit of excitement is that we are beginning the process of purchasing our nextdoor neighbor's home, and hope to begin moving in around the first of September. It is about twice the size of the house we are in now, and it is just beautiful. Our plan at the moment is to keep this house as a rental property. So, we have a lot going on here!
Camden is still missing his Nana quite badly. He's been a little off kilter all weekend, but I'm hoping he'll be back to his old self, once he goes back to Preschool tomorrow. Steve and I had our first experience with "night terrors" last night, when Camden woke up around midnight, shrieking bloody murder. Scared us both about to death! Camden never really woke up, but babbled a lot, was hysterical, and remained that way for about 10 minutes until all of a sudden he was sound asleep. Hope that doesn't happen again any time soon.
Griffin did lots of kicking all weekend, and now I can actually see my shirt moving when he is kicking. Earlier this evening, Camden came running up to me with a piece of biscotti and said, "Eat this, quick!! Griffin is starving!!" I just about died laughing.
Must get to bed. Speaking of biscotti, I'll post my recipe for that, tomorrow.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Mum's visit was really great - - it was so good to have her here, and I was so happy that Camden got to have some bonding time with his Nana. I worked two of the days while she was here, so they were able to spend lots of time together. Mum is the perfect Nana, and Camden loves her dearly. Here are some great pictures from her visit:
Nana and Camden decided to try the sidewalk paint set, but Camden thought it was more fun to paint Nana
Nana took Camden to the Rumor Mill one morning for milk and donuts
We met Steve one day for a picnic lunch out at Gowen Field. Camden loved all of the "retired" army vehicles that he could climb in
Before "Girls Day 2006"
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Mum, serving up the tea
After we were finished, we had a great time looking around in the beautiful gift shop. We both found a couple of things we had to have (of course).
A little post-tea shopping
From there, we continued to shop for the afternoon. It was so much fun buying some things for Griffin, treats for Camden, and of course some things for ourselves. We had so much fun!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
We have also scheduled Baby's birth - - I had a c-section with Camden and will be having another with this baby. My doctor likes to perform c-sections during the week before the actual due date, and so we were able to choose any day we wanted, the week before October 3rd (Baby's actual due date). He will be born on September 26th, which we chose because my brother Kevin was born on the same date, back in 1968.
Finally, our son will be named Griffin Peter - - Griffin, because we like the name and Peter, after Peter Cox, a wonderful man who is no longer with us - - a man that Steve and I both loved very much. Life is good.
Monday, May 15, 2006
6 tbsp. shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
5 level tbsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Drop by heaping tablespoons full onto a non-stick cookie sheet. It wouldn't hurt to grease the sheet lightly, but it isn't necessary. Bake at 425 for 7 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.
Filling: (I usually double the recipe for the filling, because I like A LOT of filling)
3/4 cup shortening
6 tbsp. marshmallow fluff
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Spread a heaping amount of filling on one cookie, top with another. Enjoy!!
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Speaking of suitcases...Mum's luggage arrived around 10:00 last night. We were all waiting to learn the fate of the lobsters, and the outcome wasn't pretty - - those suckers were dead in a major way. They stunk to high heaven, were warm, and there wasn't any sign of movement. Needless to say, they did not enjoy their trip from Maine.
Today was a great day. We enjoyed a relaxing morning (Mum and I made a Target run), and then this afternoon, we met Rex, Kasey, Dev, Bev, Rod, and Candy (Kasey's mother and stepfather) at Cobblestone Park in Emmett for a cookout. The weather was great (90 degrees and sunny), the food was delicious, and the company was fun. Kasey is due tomorrow, and we're all guessing she'll have the baby within the next couple of days. Can't wait to meet him!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Steve is currently on his way from St. Louis to Boise - - when we wake up tomorrow, he should be here. We've missed him terribly, and it will be great to have him home. Must get to bed now - - my goal for tomorrow is to work this kink out of my back, and take extra special care of my mom, who has had a rough couple of day.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Book: A Widow's Walk: A Memoir of 9/11, by Marian Fontana
Chocolate: Terra Nostra Organic yogurt and milk chocolate -- basically, an organic milk chocolate bar filled with a creamy valencia orange yogurt....fabulous (and organic, to boot!)
Article: "What I Wish I Had Known About Marriage", by Kristin Armstrong http://www.glamour.com/features/sexandlove/articles/060501kristin
Movie: Match Point (I'm not usually a fan of Woody Allen films --he directed this one but is not in it-- however, this was a very good film).
Monday, May 08, 2006
The following recipe is just great for Christmas morning, or any brunch. I found it in the December 2005 issue of Cooking Light magazine. My local store sells whole wheat French bread, so I like to use that for added nutrition. The end result is a very rich, sweet, sticky baked French toast. The best part about the recipe is that you can prepare it the night before, and then just pop it in the oven in the morning. The last time I made it, I served it with a bowl of fruit salad and a plate of deviled eggs.
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
10 (1-inch) slices French bread
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (I prefer Madagascar vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture is bubbly, stirring constantly. Pour mixture evenly into a 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
2. Arrange bread slices in a single layer over the syrup in dish.
3. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread slices. Cover and refrigerate over night.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over bread.
6. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until golden. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 10 servings. Calories: 314 Fat: 7.2 grams Fiber: 1.1 gram
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Before Camden was born, we were quite concerned with how Riley (pictured on the left) would react. Sadie (on the right) has always been a loner, and her original owner had been a daycare provider, so we didn't think twice about her. Riley, however, has been my baby for many years, and a very needy one at that. I adopted him in 1997 from the Bangor Humane Society, and Sadie joined us in 1998, when her owner decided to move to California, but didn't save room for Sadie. Riley and Sadie lived in the lap of luxury, until I got married in 2001, and they were both abruptly knocked down a few pegs, when their adoptive father came on the scene. However, they were still my babies, so when I got pregnant I started to wonder if we would find ourselves in one of those situations where we would have to "find a good home" for one or both of the dogs, because they wouldn't be able to cope with a baby in the house. We bought a book about preparing dogs for a new baby, which suggested wrapping a stuffed animal in a blanket and carrying it around, seeing how the dogs reacted. Riley freaked. Sadie didn't bat an eyelash. We grew more concerned. Then, we brought Camden home. Sadie barely took notice. Riley, on the other hand, acted as though he'd given birth to Camden himself, and has been madly in love ever since. He loves that boy more than life itself. Camden loves to hold Riley hostage in his bedroom. Riley doesn't care. Camden likes to drive matchbox cars up and down Riley's back. Riley sits there patiently. Sometimes Camden forgets himself and pulls Riley's ears or tail, or bops him on the head with something. Riley never seems to notice. He protects his boy, and if he's not to sure about a person, he won't let that person be alone with Camden. Sadie takes occasional notice, if there is food involved, of course. Riley, on the other hand, is hopelessly devoted.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
So here it is, nearly a month later. I've meant to post - - I've thought about it - - but, alas, I have not. As you can see, I have been busy expanding at a frightening rate. While riding the elevator at work the other day, a stranger said, "You must be due any day now!" to which I replied, "Um, no, not until October." Egads.
Steve is out of town on Army-related business, as has been the case for the past two months or so. He will be home next Friday, and hopefully, will not be traveling again until July. So, Camden and I have been holding down the fort. When Steve is out of town, we slide back into our "deployment mode" routine pretty easily. The hard part is when Daddy comes back into town - - we usually experience a day or two of naughty behavior from Camden as he tries to readjust to having two parents to answer to.
The weather has been absolutely lovely the past few days, ranging from the high 60's to high 80's. Things are green at the moment, but it won't be long before the landscape turns to brown, and stays that way until next April. That's the desert for you.
My mom arrives next Thursday. She's coming for a long weekend to do the Race for the Cure with us. This will be her second Boise Race for the Cure - - we did it together in 2004 also. Steve will run the 5K, Mum will walk, and I, on the other hand, will probably waddle. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, I'm embarrassed to admit. Camden will ride in comfort in the jogger. Mum has been cancer-free for 5 years now, so that makes this year's race extra special for sure. The best part about her visit is, she will also be here for Mother's Day, and for the "big" ultrasound on May 16th.