Thursday, September 30, 2010

The brighter side...

A couple days ago Evan broke his scissors into two pieces. Instead of breaking the news to me and take the risk of getting in trouble, he decided to focus on the brighter side...

"Mom, I made you TWO knives!"

I thanked him, (which is what he was going for).

Last night I found the "two knives" in the knife block with the other knives.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brothers...

Blasting off into space...

...finding hiding places that make your head look like it's floating...

...or busy doing school...

...it's great to have brothers.
(Except when it isn't.)

Canning Peaches

Getting peaches to grow where we live is phenomenal. Our piano teachers trees bloomed this year and she had so many peaches that she begged us to take some. She didn't have to beg hard. Fresh locally grown peaches?! For free!?! So we picked and picked and picked ...
This box weighed at least 80lbs and we had some more too. I thought to myself, since I had gotten the fruit for free, it was probably a good time to learn to can and make jam, so we did. Pat and I canned and canned and canned.... We finally finished it all after a week.
Our first batches didn't turn out great. Like the picture below shows, there is an abundance of syrup and floating peach chunks on top. I guess you're supposed to follow a recipe instead of throwing a bit of this and that in. Who knew? (Okay, well, I did. But I just hate following recipes sometimes.) I could feel my Grandma either laughing or rolling her eyes at me from above.

But tonight we discovered a fantastic remedy for my "jam". We used it in place of syrup on our whole wheat waffles for dinner. It was wonderful!!!

Sunflowers!


I cut these two sunflower plants in half (and planted the other halfs in the backyard) and STILL they are bigger than last year. I love these plants for their sheer burst of sunshine and happiness every mid-September!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Johnny Appleseed


It's the month of apples, and last year I read a childrens book about Johnny Appleseed. I could not forget it, it intrigued me so much. A man who got along with everyone, loved animals as well, and traveled his whole life planting and tending apple seeds for the settlers he knew would come along someday.
I've read several childrens books about him since, but my favorite was written so simply and as if someone was talking to you that I just love it best. It is A ROOKIE BIOGRAPHY, written by Carol Greene, titled John Chapman The Man Who Was Johnny Appleseed.

Some of my favorite excerpts from the book are as follows:

"Sometimes he slept in a nest made of leaves
in a log or a hollow tree.
He loved to lie on his back and look at the stars.
'It seems almost as though I can see the angels praising God', he said, 'for He has made all things for good."

"Once he had to kill a rattlesnake that bit him.
'I am sorry for it', said John with tears in his eyes."

"After a while, he got to know the settlers. Sometimes he stayed with them in their cabins. But he almost always slept on the floor by the fire. John like to tell folks about his religion. He'd come in, lie down, open his Bible and say, "Fresh news right from Heaven." And then he'd read to them.

And on the gravestone that people later put up it read, "He lived for others". (1774-1845)
He reminds me so much of John the Baptist. I admire them both so much. Maybe I'm weird, but some peoples stories just stay with you like they are impressed upon you permanently.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lovely Leia/Lyla

Update: And here is Leia's cousin Lyla!

First pair of jeans.

Sitting at the table like a big girl with all of us at dinner time.
Laughing at her brothers.
I am so happy to have you Lei-lei! We all are! We are also always praying for Pat's brother Rick and Sunny to get their little girl. They are naming her Lyla. Isn't that the cutest thing you ever heard? So Pat and Brenda's grand-daughters will be Leia and Lyla (and our first daughter Laura fits right in). I love it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dallas is growing...

...and I'm having a hard time adjusting. Now instead of eating one sandwich he often wants two.
I just made breakfast burritos (for lunch) and he was waiting around for his brothers leftovers, but when there were none, I had compassion on him and got everything out and made him another. I just can't get used to this. He's turning 8 in December and will be baptized then. You're welcome to come, but you'll have to stay in our B&B since our house is full!

I asked the boys what kind of cake we should make for Daddy's birthday that is coming up and they immediately said, "Baseball!". Do they know him or what? In fact baseball could soon lead to his untimely demise, as in I feel like there has been a Giants baseball game on every single night for the last 6 months!!!! (I for one, HATE baseball.) I'm sure I do plenty of stuff that Pat hates too, and I guess that's the give and take in marriage, but every year I hope he grows out of it. So here are the cakes I found that I liked. Shhhhhhhhh.......

This first one is simple and I like it best. I'm picturing it with the Giant's logo in the middle.



I just loved this last one, how the sprinkles look like people!

Permanent Halloween decoration...


...I always drive by.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How's that diet going?

Just an update on my dieting experiments... (we've all got experience with diets...except Pat...yea...he sucks...just kidding honey... I love you)

So I've cooked about 20 recipes in that healthy foods book and I've only found one that is a winner. It's a turkey burger with such interesting toppings that it totally rocks. I'll post it sometime. Everything else I've made (which is mostly healthy breads, pancakes, etc, stuff for breakfast) tastes so bland from the scant amounts of sugar that even I don't like it that much. I...who can eat plain yogurt! I...who never orders sodas or juice at restaurants because I can't stand how sweet they make everything! I...who eats my oatmeal or cracked wheat plain or with the tiniest amount of honey! Weird, I know.

So I have a friend in the ward, (and Steph has one in her ward) and they lost a lot of weight on the South Beach Diet. So I tried it. After 3 days I went berserk and quit the diet, because I am such a bread and fruit person, I couldn't stand the thought of eating even one more piece of meat, or cheese or vegetable! I love carbohydrates!!!!!!!!!! The final straw was when I made a delicious roast, with potatoes and carrots and gravy and what could I eat?? Just a slab of the roast meat and NOTHING else (well I ate it with lettuce). It sat in my stomach like a rock all night and I said no more, and quit.

Doesn't it annoy you how everyone says different things about losing weight? I have people telling me to stop eating meat, others carbs, etc... don't cut you calorie intake dramatically or you'll just slow down your metabolism and then if you ever ramp up your eating you'll gain all your weight back double time... Who has time to count calories and pay that much attention? No one ever says stop eating vegetables. I'm looking for that diet.

Now I've decided to try the SBD again. Maybe I gave up too quickly. My sister is helping me. I had to call her last night because I was starving, grouchy, and it was the 3rd day again and all I could think of that I was allowed to eat again was MEAT, and again I was making delicious food that the rest of my crew could eat, and Pat was having a presidency meeting with chocolate cookies! She reminded me that I could eat some beans, so she got me through. Three days down... eleven more to go for Phase 1.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So easy to play, and sound so nice...

I want a ukelele.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Funny moments...

Soccer just started for our boys (Evan and Dallas). Sam said he never wanted to play again, but he keeps dressing up in Evan's costume (uniform) and now he says he wants to play next year. Pat is coaching both teams. The first games were yesterday and Dallas' team did great- Dallas scored the first goal, and was a good goalie for the second half. When his game ended Lei-lei and I walked over to the other field where Pat had three out of his five little 4 year old boys in tears. I guess it wasn't really his fault. There was one boy that was really good for a 4 year old on the other team, and he kept scoring goals and it really broke the team up. As soon as they scored a goal, Evan burst into tears and was inconsolable and refused to play for the rest of the game. Another boy cried because he had wanted to play until the end of the game and Pat had sat him out so someone else could play since there can only be three on the field at a time.
Even though it was a sad day, the little kids are so cute, especially when they score on the wrong side, or follow the ball 30 yards off their field and think they are still playing.

I was hiking with the boys with LN strapped to me in front, and we were going down a steep part, and everyone was falling while I inwardly congratulated myself for not falling and then I promptly fell and twisted so I wouldn't hurt Lei-lei, and rolled so I wouldn't put my hand in cactus, and finally came to a stop with a little scream as my knee hit a rock. We were both fine, and as I sat there reflecting on it, Sam said, "Mom, is that the first time you ever fell?"

Dallas came to me with his bread rolled up like a cigarette and said, "Mom, I have a cidareck." (Those are safe to smoke.)

I had gone running with a jacket, but after warming up I had tied my jacket around my waist. I came home and Sam was in the entryway and he said, "WHAT were you doing?!" I thought he was wishing I had taken him.
"Running", I said.
Sam looked puzzled and asked, "Why are you wearing a cape?"

Last night Dallas helped Pat make a lemon surprise cake (wow, yummy!) but since they started so late the boys had to go to bed right after it was done. Dallas was really upset because Pat had told Dallas that he could help with the dishes before bed. Pat told him he'd wait and they could do them together later.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gardening 2010 and NM treats!

Gardening is going better this year than last. I wasn't going to do a garden this year with our new sweet little Leia Nora, but my neighbor gave me some extra plants she had and so Pat set up the new garden in the spot I wanted to try it in this year. It worked better than last year's garden. Tonight we ate an artichoke! I would have never thought to plant an artichoke.
Below are our enormous tomato plants! Last years hardly grew at all! Only one problem... you can see in this picture some large green tomatoes... it is Sept. 10th and still only green tomatoes! It's been since May that we planted and it's turning colder now!
Culantro. Who's ever heard of culantro? It doesn't look like cilantro at all but it tastes just like it, only stronger so you need less. I'd never heard of this until my neighbor gave it to me.
Basil, chives, and rosemary. We've used these lots.
If you look closely below, you'll see a delicious baby yellow squash. I wish I felt like eating it, but...
...we've had enough. Squash anyone?
And of course, living in New Mexico, you have to have Green Chilies! (Or leave them on the vine until they turn orange and then red.)
Green chili stew is one thing I have grown to like here, and I'll make for you if you visit!
The other thing I've grown to love is carne adovada. Beef or pork cooked until soft in chili sauce. It's kind of like enchiladas without the tortillas and cheese.
This is how I like it. The carne adovada hand held burrito. Yummmmmmmm...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

News on vaccinations

A few months ago when LN and E had a doctor appointment together and both had to get shots, S and D were really affected by it and cried for their siblings who had to get shots. They are sensitive, like their mother. It was a really sad day.

Then a couple days ago it was LN's turn again and Sam this time, and once again, Dallas was trying to be brave and covered his head and cried for his siblings. I found myself comforting him more than Sam who got over his shot pretty quick. He was really broken up about it.

I feel the same way about shots, however. When I started having children and found out the enormous amount of shots they each had to receive by the time they started school I got angry. I would cry each time they got shots. Most parents line their children up because the government and doctors say to do it, and they know best right? In my opinion, no. Mothers are given a gift of intuition, and should learn to listen to it. I had one doctor walk out on my because I asked her a question about a vaccine saying, "You people...!" I changed doctors.

So I began reading and studying each vaccination, and came to my own conclusions about them. My children have all their vaccinations, but some were against my will. There were a couple I was against last year for Dallas, but the school kept hounding me on getting all the government recommended vaccines, so we did. Like the second Varivax (chickenpox) vaccine made me really angry, because when it first came out you only needed one shot and that was it! Then in the past couple years they changed it so that each child now needs two. So in my opinion they are still figuring things out, and if that's the case they should not make it mandatory.

Well my doctor just backed me up a couple days ago. He said they recommend two now, because 15% of children were not completely resistant to chickenpox. However, there was just a big outbreak of chicken pox in Texas and the kids with one vaccination vs. those with two fared equally well, and my doctor said it is just a way for Merck to make more money. Also, he said, it is important to still come in contact with the chicken pox vaccine (not to completely eradicate it because otherwise all these vaccinations will wear off in their twenties, and then if they are exposed to chicken pox as an adult, it is much more dangerous. This had been my thought originally.

So I guess what I'm saying is that if I had my way, my children would get one varivax shot, and then play with children who have chickenpox (if you can find them anymore), so that they would get a mild case of the chicken pox (if at all) and then they are truly set for life. I should not have given in to the school, but the form they wanted in place of the shots was utterly ridiculous. It made it so that I had to declare a religious reason for not wanting the shots, and I had to get it notorized and take it personally to the Department of Health and file it, and a whole bunch of hoops to jump through! That's government for you. Outrageous.

I did meet some Catholic home schooling moms down in Albuquerque, and in their group, they did not believe in ANY vaccinations and they all got chicken pox together, etc, and were perfectly happy about it. (I would like to avoid a bit of the miserableness and scars though.) But hey, we all went through it as children!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Books to read!

I wanted to tell you about two really good books I just read. If you are familiar with 'The Great Brain' books for older children, this book is by the same author. Contrary to what the title might lead you to believe, it is not about religion, or at least, does not favor any one religion. It was a wonderful, fun book to read and IT IS A TRUE STORY. It is part love story, part settling of the west, and part FUNNY. I loved it and highly recommend it! (We got it from the library, recommended by my friend Julie.)

And you've probably heard of the HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Below is the third book pictured. I just finished this series and LOVED it. Once again it is a book you could recommend to anyone (not religious/political/sexual, etc). It is meant for teenagers, so it is a really easy and fun read and I love the love story that weaves through it. All three books are a great read!!!

Hello Mr. Congressman

In case anyone was wondering what happened when I met with my congressman (Heinrich), it was about as helpful as I thought it would be. I prayed the whole week before and wrote out everything I wanted to say, asked advice from a lot of people, and then Pat said I sounded harsh and to just be myself and, so I scrapped everything and I just asked WHY, (trying to get in his head). He rambled on and on and we disagreed and the buzzer signifying my 5 minutes were up went off, so I thanked him for his time and left.

I took D and S with me as a school field trip, and they were very good except that Sam spun in his chair the whole time we were talking.

The weird thing is that the congressman had two back up people there to support him, and he was visibly shaking. I don't think he has an illness, but he was seriously trembling. I was supposed to be the nervous one! I was very polite, I promise! Am I intimidating?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Restoring Honor rally in D.C.

I was standing along the left side of this picture toward the back.
Most people were in the 3 strips of trees for shade which includes the fat strip on the far left in the picture. It was packed under the trees. Those people got there earlier and didn't get sunburned like myself. I went alone and never knew I was going until a flight opened up Friday morning that Pat could use his free plane ticket for, and I left Friday afternoon. I couldn't help it. I wanted to be there. I got a brief taste of Washington D.C. and found out that when I do bring my whole family in a few years, we could spend a month trying to see everything. I flew in and out so quickly that I didn't see much... but below are some pictures... The crowd was wonderful and helpful toward each other and clean, and the whole thing was amazing. (Minus a couple weird parts like a weird song no one's ever heard and a yelling prayer.)

People never expected so many to show up, and some never even made it to the rally because lines for the Metro were 3 hours long. It was quite a crowd. I know I walked almost 20 miles that day all over the city and back and forth across that bridge to get to the Metro. This is the perfect example of why I am 'Mommy Patriot' and Pat is 'Mr. Incredible' (because he puts up with me). He supports me and he was my GPS on the phone the whole time helping me get where I needed to go and watched the children while I made the whirlwind trip. Thank you Pat.

View from where I was standing


Arlington
Quotes following are from my friends, friends blog:
I call my politics those of Joseph Smith’s, “I teach men correct principles and let them govern themselves.” I believe in punishments for those that hurt others or the public at large. I believe in the Constitution and the words of the Founding Fathers, and in very little else.

I expected to be attending a highly divisive political rally, what I hadn't expected was a religious revival. I expected to hear words of anger and hate pointed at the opposing political parties. Instead, what I heard was a call to turn out hearts to God, to bring faith, hope, and charity back to America. I witnessed tributes to the military unparalleled in my lifetime.
“We must restore honor by restoring heroes for our children to look up to.” – Glenn Beck.
I have been shocked as I have returned home to read comments on Facebook, Twitter, and news reports. One news article described the event as having “political overtones,” further proving that it is now considered to be a political statement to choose to be religious.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
One friend proudly boasted that instead of watching the event with his children, he showed them the original Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech, delivered 47 years ago in the same location as today’s “Restoring Honor” assembly. By choosing to turn his back on the event, rather than approach it with an open mind, he and his children missed the opportunity to see Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, pay tribute to her uncle, quoting him frequently, and call for national unity. Also, they missed the beautiful performance of the “King Singers.”
In a time and place where the country is emotionally divided over the location of a place of worship in New York City, I find great comfort that a gathering of nearly half a million people was lead in prayer, addressed by leaders of many faiths, and closed in prayer. A call for a “return to God” was issued to those listening.
Medals were given in the names of Faith, Hope, and Charity. The Faith Medal was presented by Chief Nigel Big Pond (my apologies for possibly getting his name wrong) to Pastor CL Jackson of Houston, Texas. Pastor Jackson invited Americans to become “covenant warriors in Christ.”

The value of Hope was described as the parent of both faith and charity. The medal for Hope was presented by St Louis Cardinals Manager Tony Larusso to player Albert Pujos. Pujos is actively involved with providing aid and assistance to those in his community, family, and in his native country of Dominican Republic.
The Charity Medal was presented by retired Texas Supreme Court Justice Raoul Gonzales to John Huntsman, Sr, for his considerable donations. Huntsman was unable to attend the ceremony, choosing instead to attend the wedding of his granddaughter being held at that exact same moment (this announcement received great applause from the audience). The medal was accepted on his behalf by Emma Houston, a breast cancer survivor who was treated at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is of African-American descent. In her acceptance speech she quoted, “This is the day the Lord hath made and we shall rejoice.”I bring up Ms. Houston’s race, for one reason only. Of the three presenters and three recipients, there were only two Caucasians. Additionally, representatives of the Native American community assisted in the opening prayer, there was an African American choir, as well as peoples of other backgrounds participating. This event was largely diverse in race and religion. And yet, I saw a quip on Twitter that the rally was a “white supremacist” gathering.
As I have read through the mainstream media coverage of the event, I have not found one mention of the medals or of the recipients. I have also not found one mention of the 240 religious and community leaders that took the stage.
I did not hear one call for “political” action. Unless you consider pleas for God to be the leader, and to bring the values of Faith, Hope, and Charity back to America, “political activity.” I was not told who to vote for. I was not even told who might be running for office. I was encouraged to turn my heart to God. I saw the military given an overdue tribute.
I have saved my favorite part of the event for last. In his closing speech, Mr. Beck asked who would be the next George Washington? Who would be the next Abraham Lincoln? Where is the John Adams and Thomas Jefferson of today? Has God left us without leaders we can look to as Americans once looked to President Washington or President Lincoln? Were politics as divisive and insulting then as they can be now? Would political parties be as offensive to each other then as we allow them to behave now? I do not have an educated answer, but my gut tells me no, that the parties likely acted with far more decorum and respect in the past than they have ever considered to do so now.
But the question remains, would God leave us without a leader? I believe we have a prophet on the earth today. So why would God leave us without other leaders? We have not had such inspirational leadership in over 100 years. Maybe that is because we have spent the better part of the past 100 years making sure our values and religious beliefs were removed from politics?
I left the event uplifted and educated. I am more firm in my personal political beliefs than ever before. None of my opinions on politics changed today. However, I have opened my mind to new hope that it is possible to bring the values of Faith, Hope, and Charity back to the core of governance of this country. And if that is politically divisive, I’ll firmly stand on the “right” side.