May 28, 2009

I Have Joined the Ranks

I MUST blog about Mother's Day before the month of May runs out.

Last year, I was one of the speakers in church on Mother's Day, and Tessa was a mere blastula at the time. So this year marked the first official Mother's Day, and I'll just say now, I was not disappointed.

The day before Mother's Day, I received several cards and well-wishes. It was so nice to be recognized by friends and family - my mom even bought me a dozen red roses to celebrate. My sister and I planned the dinner and she argued that I shouldn't have anything to do with making food, but I knew she'd go overboard, and besides - I wanted to contribute for my own mother, too! I decided to make Prosciutto-Wrapped Tilapia Filets (featured here) and Caramelized Butternut Squash, but those were eclipsed, eclipsed I say! by my sister's Marionberry Scones. I also busted out a Chocolate Pate recipe I've been wanting to try, and we topped that with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries. Yuuuuuummmmmm. But back to how the actual day began.

Perhaps due to my not-so-subtle comment to the choir, Ted planned to make breakfast for me. If he originally intended for it to be breakfast in bed, let next year's lesson be to get up before I do. In any case, I didn't go anywhere near the kitchen, and eventually smelled the heavenly odor of a certain cured pig product emanating from there. Could it be?!? YES!!

Nothin' like Crepes 'n' Bacon. Ted had two nonstick pans going on the stove with delectable crepe after crepe coming off them. He filled some with strawberries and bananas, some with homemade raspberry jam, and I oohed and aahed over it. We were almost late to church though, so I had strips of swine hanging out of my mouth between yanking on my skirt and stuffing my feet into some heels. Quite the image, I know. Welcome to Sunday mornings at our house.

The speakers, Karen M and Steve S, were fabulous. Both talks were exactly what any Mother's Day talk should be, only made better by watching the Primary kids sing (and wave and laugh) to their young moms. And THEN came the worst part of the day.

I haven't heard of any bishopric that doesn't give some sort of memento or treat in recognition of the women in the ward. Some are more elaborate or sentimental than others, but I thought our ward had made it clear that all we really want is chocolate. Unfortunately, when bishoprics change, they have to be retrained.

Our first counselor got up to ask all the women to stand and remain standing until we got what they were giving, and he totally stumbled over his decision-making process in settling on our gift: a plant. Not only that, but he tells us that it was voted on in some meeting where only two women voted (the only two, apparently, who hate sugar), therefore, his decision was the "right one." I looked around at various faces right when he said that and witnessed several mental scoffs. To top it off, he then said, "Oh, and you'll need to water these. They've been sitting in the office for a few days...they're pretty dry by now." Over the pulpit! Ha! I turned to Ted and said, "Happy Mother's Day, ladies - here's a dead plant! We really appreciate you, so here's another thing you have to take care of. " Come on!

Good thing dinner was so tasty.

We spent the afternoon cooing over what made me a mother in the first place. She was so darn cute in all her frills, and her smiles make me feel like a million bucks every time. Ted got me not only the Microplane grater and zester I desired, but the 1st season of 30 Rock as well. And my sister got me a replacement tablecloth for the one she burned. I'm still vying for that uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep, but overall, this mom is one happy lady.

May 27, 2009

Out-of-State Baby Therapy

What's the best thing to do when your baby is two months old? Take her on a trip to Oregon with your friend who has a 9 month-old baby to visit another friend who has a 3 week-old baby, of course!

Once Christy B had her baby in March, Niki and I got serious about visiting her. She'd had her 4th c-section and could use an extra hand or two for the other 3 kids. Mostly, we just wanted to see her again, so we bought our tickets and made our plans!

Ah, we were a sight to behold. Niki and I trekked through both the Long Beach and Portland airports in style. Each of us had a baby, a baby carrier (for the terminal and plane), a stroller, a car seat, a large diaper bag, and a big suitcase. We pushed the car seats in the strollers with the diaper bag hanging off it with one hand and hauled our suitcases behind us with the other. I wish I had a picture of one of us doing that, but, um, my hands were full. At least we got this shot. At one point, I stopped and looked at all our "stuff" and how overwhelmed we already were just to get on the damn plane. I joked to Niki, "Hi Christy! We're here to help!!" and we both cracked up.

Both babies were real troopers. I had never flown with a baby before, so it was awesome to take Tessa's first plane ride with an experienced mother. Just watching Niki at the security check made me admire moms the world over. We rented a car in Portland, but with all our gear/children, it was a tight fit. Niki's suitcase rode shotgun while 80-lb Niki squeezed between two car seats in the back. Well, she didn't even have to squeeze, really. In fact, she could have comfortably sat in a car seat herself, except that would have meant we'd have to put my baby on the floor of the passenger seat, just rolling around at every turn. Apparently that's how my family dealt with traveling before all this car seat/laws/safety crap came around. It's a point of pride amongst my siblings that my mom used to drive the older kids to early morning seminary in our Honda stickshift whilst breastfeeding the latest addition. She was probably eating breakfast at the same time.

Upon our arrival, it was necessary to have a proper greeting. This was my version of "proper".

And this was Christy's version. She had made up a room for Tessa and me, and another one for Luke and Niki. She's so fabulous.

And in case you didn't see the welcoming gift on the dresser, here it is up close.

We fussed and fawned over our little welcome baskets (especially since I'd forgotten soap!) and wore those slippers basically everywhere. The chocolate made a nice breakfast. Along with some bacon. John and Christy invited some other Oregonian friends over for dinner the night of our arrival. I'm so glad we keep in touch with all of our Pasadena ex-patriots. We had a ball - excellent food and tons of laughter. The babies, of course, were the hit of the party.

Trying my hand (and lips) at the pan flute. Not shabby!

And I just had to include this one. Tess is sporting a fantastic double chin these days. Ted and I squeeze, stroke and kiss it all the time. I loved that I caught Sharla doing it too.

One of my favorite things is watching babies around babies. Some kids get jealous of other children and will smack or sit on them (I've seen it), but this group was fascinated with watching Tessa sleep. SO cute.

We made it out of the house twice. Once was to lunch at a Thai restaurant, and this was the most noteworthy picture:

The other outing was just to get some fresh air around the neighborhood. Here are a few shots:

(The abandoned stroller is mine - evident of my future abilities as a mother)

Jane was quite the little helper. When her mom had her hands full, who was there to change Annie's sagging-to-the-knees diaper? Jane! When Annie wouldn't eat dinner, who coaxed bites down her throat by sweet-talking? Jane! When Lizzie cried in her chair and mom couldn't come over right away, who went to soothe her with a little song? Sweet Jane! I, of course, loved that she couldn't wait to hold Tess.

These next pictures I love. Tessa is a mere 5 weeks older than Lizzie, but I couldn't get over how TINY that newborn was. Tess was never that small - born at 9 lbs 1 oz, I never got the feel of a really itty bitty baby. And, being my child, she's porked up even more since her birth. Here are a couple side-by-sides.

Lizzie is already learning how to fend for herself.

This lactation station was where the boobs were whipped out more often than not. At any given time, you'd see one of us with a baby attached to a nipple somewhere in here. And when they weren't attached, you'd almost always here one crying somewhere in the house. So the theme of the week became "is that mine?"

John just loved having additional women in the house. All joking aside, we wondered about the days of polygamy and if you liked your fellow wives, how much fun you could have just hanging out and crafting and cooking with a couple other chickies all the time. Plus you could split up the carpools! The caption to this shot? "Polygamy: not such a bad thing!"

It was a grand five days. The picture below represents the Oreo "milkshakes" I attempted to make but didn't think to get a picture of, and also three women who barely kept it together but who found laughter and solace in each other (the darkest swizzle belonged to my Diet Coke-laced glass. The other two kept theirs filled with "just water" all week - brats).

Loved it, girls. Please say we'll do it again sometime!

May 21, 2009


Our poor little girl has had congestion since the day she was born, most likely inherited from Ted. As a result, she snores as loud as any adult, which is actually somewhat humorous (especially during prayer time). It also makes it easy to hear that she's still alive in the middle of the night, allowing me to stay in bed instead of jumping out to watch her chest rise and fall.

Needless to say, saline drops and the bulb syringe have been at my fingertips since day one. Tessa is certainly one of the better-behaved children when it comes to that thing; instead of screaming and arching her back, she purses her lips, kicks her legs, and her eyes get even bigger than they normally are. However, one day last week, we weren't so lucky, and when I went to tidy up the bathroom, Ted brought her in. She was holding the syringe while Ted, in a tiny but shrill voice, shrieked, "Now it's YOUR turn, Mama! Gimme that nose!"

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Yum Day 4

Today's entry comes from Ina Garten, my favorite Barefoot person, but not my favorite Tessa. :)

I make this when I have time for it to cook, but NO time to prepare. It's about the easiest main dish, but it looks fancy and tastes fantastic.

Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese and Basil

You need bone-in, skin-on chicken boobs for this one. Separate the skin from the flesh and put slices of goat cheese and one or two basil leaves in there (I've also used crumbled feta, either plain or flavored, with even better results). Rub olive oil over the whole boob, sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper, and roast at 400 for about 35-40 min (keep checking it).

Serve with some sort of starch (I've done garlic mashed potatoes, rosemary potato wedges, wild rice, and brown rice) and lots of veggies. Beautiful and easy!

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May 8, 2009

Studentisms 5.0

Time for another installment of those darndest things kids say!

I re-entered the working world last week, and I'd like to say I'm none the worse for wear, but I'd be lying. State testing is coming up next week, so I've been spending this week reviewing everything they should have learned since September. Oh, the horror. President Bush was off his rocker if he thought his NCLB program would ensure that all students would receive an equal education and reach the same levels of standards. Just for one week, I'd like for him to correct the work and listen to the answers I've been getting lately.

me: What is the density of a 15 gram block of aluminum that has a volume of 5.5 cubic centimeters?
Tito: 2 point something cubed squared?
me: What kind of unit is "cubed squared"?
Tito: Heh heh. Is it wrong?
me: Um, yes.

On second thought, our former President Bush just might have given an answer like that, so maybe he's under the impression that our inner city students are absolute geniuses.

I love this next one. It gives a glimpse into what kind of cultural background some of these students come from.

me: What type of organic molecule is DNA, and why is it important to life?
Anderson: Maybe you had a relationship and a baby is born. You're not sure if it's yours and you just do the DNA.
me: I really hope you're not speaking from personal experience.
Anderson: I'm just being hypothesis.
me: You mean "hypothetical"?
Anderson: Huh?

"Do the DNA" has become one of my favorite phrases now. I think I know what he meant (testing DNA for particular markers to determine paternity), but he has no idea what the process is, how it works, or even where someone's DNA can be found. He just knows you can "do it." I wonder if it's going to be a new nerdy version of doing the Hustle and if we need to come up with a dance for it. If so, I totally volunteer. As if my students don't think I'm the biggest dork already.

A Mother's Day Wish

Sunday will be my first Mother's Day as an official mother (Tessa was only barely conceived this time last year), and I have reflected on what I really want to celebrate the best way possible:

1. a babysitter
2. Ambien
3. 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep

Oh, and one of these:

Is it too much to ask?

The Cooling Rack

Baked goods are only half the story...