Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a blue Moon

Did you see the moon tonight? If you can you should go look at it. I had intended on having an amazing-my-photography-teacher-would-have-been-so-proud-of-me picture of it here so as to amaze you with it. BUT, it's cloudy. Dang it. POUT.
I almost busted out the camera last night as it was crystal clear out and beautiful, but I decided that would be cheating and that somebody who knows something would totally call me on the fact that it was not quite a FULL moon yet.

Anyway. Kind of fitting and fun that a blue moon falls on New Year's Eve. Epic even. Maybe.
Or not. Seeing as how I can't see it, maybe that's a sign.

2009 was kind of a sucky year for me. I had high hopes for it to be amazing and it seemed to just spark, fizzle, and smoke; never really getting off the ground.

So - lifting my Blue Moon Shock Top to you 2010 - Here's to a better year!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sights of Christmas

technically I took this this picture weeks ago....I meant it to be a third Sunday/pink candle anticipation deal. But - I got busy. Apparently. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

A few days after this Will said something about how the icicle was a beautiful specimen of an icicle but that he wouldn't eat it since our roof was sooooo dirty. I gave him my 'I can't believe you just said that, that is sooo disgusting' look.

And then I got to thinking about it.

I DID eat icicles as a kid. Did I have a criteria for possible watery pops? I honestly can't remember. I know I had hard and fast rules about edible snow, but icicles?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

The Man in the Glass
Author Unknown

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.

for it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you're a straight-shootin' chum
And call you a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
For he's with you clear to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Maybe He Will Grow Up to Be Pope Someday

If I could figure out how to subtitle I would do it for you.

Or maybe he's just working on his Latin translation...I have heard that we are going back to some of that in the near future.

Words you might be able to pick out:
Bless the Lord
about the 50 sec mark, with arms out stretch, "Lord hear our prayers"

Weird - yes.
Cute - yes.
Should I be worried yet?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's sooooo cold outside that the eggs are freezing solid in the nests and cracking.

What to do with them?

Compost pile or eat?

I was too chicken to let one thaw and crack it open to see what it looked like and to cook it up and see if it tasted different.

And for the record.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Monday was a Snow Day - Yippee!!!!

But UNR didn't get their act together until after my children were on their way to daycare. So...I got to stay home by myself, but I was kind of sad about it.

There's nothing more enjoyable than watching your children play in the year's first big snowfall. And with mine being so young, they still are quite intrigued with snow.
I did get a ton of things done though, that I would not have been able to do with them home.
I shoveled the driveway, twice
I did six loads of laundry (yes I am that far behind)
I did two loads of dishes
I made turkey soup
I cleaned the snow out of the chickens shelter and made sure they were surviving
I caught up on some DVR programs
I wrapped presents
I sorted toys for good-will
So it was productive. But I did find myself standing at the front window watching all the children sled down our street and wish my family was all out there participating in the fun.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The cogs they are a whirling...(Or Rebekah is In-Demand)

Remember how I told you it was Jalapeno Jelly making time? Well we are waaaaay past that now. The pectin has been shelved. The canner has been boxed up. The jelly jars were lined up in a row.

Yep. You read that right. WERE. They are all gone!!!!

First, I gave a couple away to family members. Then I got an email from the sister-in-law saying the girls at work were loving the jalapeno jelly and could she get another jar to share. Pretty soon the emails started rolling in more frantically. PLEASE SEND MORE JELLY - ASAP.

Then, came the most unexpected and wonderful email yet. One of SIL's co-workers wanted to BUY some jars of jelly. Seriously. I never would have imagined as much. I had dreams of having to invent wild and crazy recipes just to use up all of the jars of jalapeno jelly in my cupboard. Because it would be in my hips best interest if I did not eat all of the above mentioned jelly slathered on Ritz crackers with copious amounts of cream cheese.

So anyway, humbled by the request, yet nervous about selling something that someone else possibly, maybe wouldn't like, I declined the money. I gave the jars away under the guise of "building up a strong and faithful fan base".

But next year....

Oh next year....

sweet with a little bit of heat next year....

When I have jalapenos heaped up and overflowing the basket on my kitchen counter, maybe-just-maybe, I won't readily send them out the door with Will to give away at work because I'm sick of looking at all that green.

And maybe I'll be making a little bitty bit of green to keep myself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are people just getting lazy or what????

You know what I was pondering as we trekked back up our driveway after a few hours of trick-or-treating?
I think people are getting lazy.
no really
or else its the economy
but that gets blamed for everything these days
Or else people just don't care as much about Halloween as they used to.

We walked the mile-ish block that makes up our sub-division. There were jack-o-lanterns, there were a few cute purple and orange colored giant spiders, and that's about it. Sad. Where were the scare-the-living-daylights-out-of-you-we-better-not-take-the-kids-to-that-house decorations? Seriously people.
I have expectations you know!

I have some pretty good childhood memories of shrieking in fright and clinging to a sibling as some Bogey-man of sorts jumped from behind the bushes or grabbed your hand as you reached into the candy bowl.

Now admittedly, we woozies were quite the slackers. I would like to blame it on The Boy's plethora of business trips and general lack of being around the house this month.

I guess we are going to have to step it up a notch too next year. I'm up for the challenge.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Predictable Me

I really need to start being less predictable.

Twice this week I have jinxed myself.

First, I took it upon myself to fix one of my robots at work. Two screws and a little methanol that's all I needed to do a little routine maintenance. I can handle that. Whilst taking out the first screw I was thinking to myself "I can't believe I'm using an old fashioned screwdriver here, this is risky business. I really should request one of those fancy new, magnetized screwdrivers. What if I drop this screw down into the robot? That would be sucky. Its okay, I'll just be super careful"

And then.....

tink, tink, tink

"Oh crap!"

I have scoured all possible screw-landing-sites. It's not to be found. really. I even got out the flashlight and the mirror to look in the little nooks and crannies - hopefully it doesn't get stuck somewhere and cause some serious damage.

That was yesterday. This is today.

Remember these guys? Innocent little glass Hamilton syringes that get mercilessly accordioned into all kinds of shapes. After started yet another GC sample (remember - my 50 minute run time leash?) I was cleaning out the syringe and was thinking "Wouldn't it be horrible if I dropped one of these puppies on the ground? I bet it would smatter into eleventy-billion pieces. Let's not do that shall we" And just like that, I was turning it around in my hand to put it back in its box and I dropped it.


So anyway, I'm not going to predict any more bad things. I'm a little too accurate for my liking these days. While I'm at it, "Wouldn't it be amazing if I found a million dollars?"

A girl can dream right?

Monday, October 19, 2009

And then one day, It happened!

Did you know that I make amazing, delicious apple pies from scratch?
It's true. Ask the boy. Or you can ask the dad. But the dad will tell you anything that he didn't make himself is delicious, so you should ask the boy.
Last year, however, I did NOT make pies. Two reasons:

These guys - long on cute, not so much on helpfulness. I decided it couldn't be done to spend a whole afternoon in the kitchen with these two clamoring for my attention. So I took a year off.

We missed the pies!!

This year, I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to.

"Buck up Girl!"

There are tons of moms that have been slaving away in the kitchen all while raising little ones. And I only have TWO children. Which seemed like so little that weekend as I had parked myself right in front of an 18 kids and counting marathon.

I had bags full of apples thanks to my big Sister and I was looking for something to occupy myself since the boy was out of town on a business trip. (Who goes on business trips on the weekend anyway - the nerve). So I tucked the kids into their beds for nap time and tip-toed out to the kitchen.

I usually use the food processor to make the pie crust but I didn't want to risk waking the kids. So I rolled up my sleeves, knocked the dust off the pastry blender, and set to work.

I measured.
I blended.
I formed dough balls.
I peeled apples.
I cored them.
I cut them.
I marinated them in sweet, deliciousness.
I rolled out the crust.
I filled the pies.
I fluted edges.
I tucked them away in the freezer for later.

At first I started with one, then I thought "That wasn't too bad" and I did another. and another. and another. and another. That's right 5!

And at some point in the process. The kids woke up. And I found myself staring at two pretty-stinkin-good helpers.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Days gone by

At the risk of sounding like a cranky, old lady complaining about the cost of bread, and milk, and gasoline, I'm going to ask this. Doesn't anyone make their own cotton candy these days. Seriously? The last three fair/carnivals we have been to have all had the same non-descript pre-bagged sugar abomination they are trying to pass off for cotton candy.

Why? I really would like to know. Sure cotton candy spinning has got to be a sticky, taking-too-long-the-line-is-forming-around-the-block business, but isn't it worth it? I think it is.

And so I pout.

But then my big (Em) says she really would like to have some cotton candy.

And it is still kind of melt-in-your-mouth tasty delicious.

So I cave.

But in my opinion, hand-spun is still light-years better!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Only a Newman....

....can randomly run into more Newmans when traveling out of town.

We bumped into the Brown's at two different stops while we were visiting Apple hill - It was quite a nice surprise!

We had our first run in at Denver Dan's (quite possibly our favorite place) and got to enjoy lunch, apple juice, and pie together.
And for those who were wondering we ALL got apples on our thumbs with sticky, delicious sauce poured over the tops.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The way to heaven is down the toilet

If you could be a fly on the wall - you would think...."What is this craziness this girl is teaching her children?"

I think most would agree that the finality of death and what happens next is hard thing to explain to a small child. And, it would seem, that this has been a popular discussion in our house of late.

It started with the anniversary of Pop's birthday. On his birthday day, We said a special prayer to remember Pop and asked him to still look after our family and Emma and Bobby. Since they never got to meet him I wanted to make sure they still hear his name and hear stories about him.

Em: "But where is Grandpa Bob?"

Me: "He passed away and now his ashes are in a box at Grandma's house"

Em: "Can we go see him?"

Me: "Of course"

can you see where this is going.....

( Grandma's house)

Em: "Where's Grandpa Bob in the box?"

Will: "Here"

Em: "Let's let him out"

Since then we have had many nights where Em has requested special prayers for just about everything that's going to die. Let's say a prayer for Beatrix cause she's going to die, Let's say a prayer for Shasta cause she's going to die....

In the simplest way possible I tried to explain to her that yes, everything does die eventually, but for most, we will long and happy lives first. I also had to explain that we don't come back after we die (something Em was sure of) but that we go to Heaven.

So last night, the 2nd and last of Em's goldfish died. Em watched as Will scooped him out of the fish tank, verified that yes it was true the fish was not alive anymore, and flushed the fish down the toilet.

Em: "Poor Blackie, he died. Did he go to heaven?"

Me: "Yes he did."

Em: "Heaven is down the toilet. When you get there, you will all be sheep - because Jesus is the shepherd"

Me: " Em.....Let me tell you what a metaphor is"

Is this how it's going to be?

I'm sure any one of us Newman children can tell you want dinner time was like when we were growing up. We ate dinner at the table with the nightly news running on the TV in the background.

Dad would ask each of us "How was your day?" and "Did you learn anything in school today?"

Usually the stock answers were given...."Fine" and "nothing". To which always earned the response "Well you must have learned something." And Eventually each of us would offer up a small insight into what our day had been like.

All this time I chalked it up to classic teenager attitude and indifference. Something all children went through at some point, trying to assert their independence and what not.

So, here we are...only the 2nd week of preschool:
Me: "Em, how was school today? What did you do?"
Em: "Fine" and "I don't know"
Me: "I'll tell you what I did at work today if you tell me what you did at school"
Em: "I can't mom. That would ruin the surprise"

hmmmppptt...I thought I had a few more years at least before they quit freely sharing their life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Somebody really ought to tell the boy....

....that this is NOT the face of a sleeping child. It's the face of a faker!!!! And he's not fooling anyone.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What?! No Birthday Blog

I think I possibly have been in a small amount of getting older denial....but I really haven't come up with anything witty or clever about turning (cough!) twenty-eight.

But for those who missed did happen. There was poor man's filet mignon (thanks Sheri!), ribs (thanks Husband!), Orange birthday cake (yummy!) and good company!

There. Now let us not speak of this again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

AutoSamplers Gone Wild - The rated version

There have been some crazy speculations that Rebekah doesn't really work at work - shame on you all (you know who you are)!!!

I have been spending a bit of time on FaceBook lately and I'd like to plead my case. It's true that I haven't been doing very much MALDI lately. In part because its been summer and all the students are off playing and because we are in the midst of some new major instrument acquisitions. Which translates to: A whole lot of paperwork, waiting around, and talking to salesmen. the meantime I've been running the GC in the lab. The GC came with a wonderful, amazing autosampler.

Basically a tray where IN THEORY you could load all your samples up press go, walk away from the machine and come back in the morning to all of your work being done.

But, for some reason, the autosampler gets wild-n-crazy and if you don't babysit it you will come back to this:

A whole lot of bent needles, samples that haven't been run and will need to be re-made. Soooo....I sit at my desk, work on my farm, and every 1 hr I go check on my patients.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A soon-to-be great helper

Burrito. Loves. Lawnmowers.

He loves Emma's pink bubble one (which incidentally has never successfully blown bubbles).

He loves the loud pop one (That Mitch so cheerfully passed down to us - guess's very nearly on its way back to him. As soon as Chloe is walking).

He loves the even louder, music capable one that the Melvins gave him.

He loves riding on Grandpa's lawnmower in Fallon (even when its not in motion).

He loves HELPING dad mow the lawn at home.

I don't think The Boy loves Burrito's helping slows him down right now....but he will.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Start of Something Great

It's that time of summer. I'm taking a deep breath, re-reading the how to guide on my pressure cooker (because pressure cooker warnings still terrify the heck out of me), and pacing back and forth in front of the tomato plants.

Ready or Not - canning season is upon us.

The first project is finished. Em helped a little - although I was a bit nervous about having her around the jalapenos when I was seeding them. And I certainly did not let her stir the giant pot of boiling pepper puree. We had no incidents I am happy to report. And I now have the first of several batches of jalapeno jelly perched happily on the pantry shelf.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Should have knocked on wood

There's nothing like an up coming high school reunion, complete with a "what have you been up to", survey to make me feel like a slacker.

In an effort to try to make myself feel better about my lack of bucket list accomplishments checked off I injected a little bit of humor into my survey.

Not seconds after the rsvp and survey are stamped and in the mail. Emma proves me right.

Yep. This little girl broke her arm. Nothing serious, the cast will be off in 3 weeks. Maybe I should have warned her that stunt doubles often do all the work but get none of the glory.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Check out these beauties!!

I stumbled across these big boys while on the hunt for tomato horned worms. They were well hidden in on of our already overgrown tomato plants.

Good thing that little bugger was sooo hard to find or we would have completely missed these and let them go to waste.

Now.....what should we do with them. Yummy!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

This Boy

This Boy eats, sleeps, and dreams baseball. I wonder how long it will last.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happiness is...

Having someone in house who love-love-loves ribs as much as I do:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


We moved the crib out of the kids room a few weeks ago. It was quite a bit of work to take it apart with two helpers under foot. They were fascinated by the fact that Burrito's mattress was 'out' of his bed and thus it needed to be made into a slide. Picture one end balanced against Emma's bed and the other on the floor with mad laughter and jumping in between.

After the last panel was taken out to the garage, I looked back into the room, saw the crib's empty footprint and had the tiniest Mom moment. I actually could have been heard saying "We didn't take a picture - lets put the crib back and take one last picture"

To which the boy responded "Seriously?! You are sad about this"

I don't have a baby anymore.

So here's some entertainment for you on just how well the crib-to-toddler-bed transition is going. Don't laugh too loud.

One of the first day's nap time:

One of Burrito's you can't make me go to bed nights:

Sign this Boy up!!

I haven't posted a video before but here goes.

Burrito boy has a huge fascination with baseball. He stops everything he's doing if there is a game on TV, plants himself in front of it and cheers both teams on. He loves throwing the ball around (even in the house - unfortunately). I tried teaching him to heckle the batters at a few of Matthew's baseball games this year but he didn't think it was nice - there's still time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Frosting on the Cake

Brought to you by Burrito:

It has become increasingly difficult to bathe by myself lately. It takes approximately 2.5 seconds from the time I turn the bath water on until I hear the pitter patter of 1 to 2 sets of little feet on the linoleum floor behind me. And seeing as how it's a heck of lot more pleasant to allow said 1 to 2 sets of feet into the tub with me than have them stand at the tub's edge and cry, whine, or otherwise harass me whilst I try to take my bath I usually just let them in.

Today, it was just Burrito boy. Most days I try to take care of just the shampoo, soap, conditioner basics if I have helpers in the tub. But today HAD to include a shaving of the legs, there was no way around it. So, as nonchalantly as possible (so as not to attract attention), I apply my shaving cream and set to work. Burrito watches for a few seconds, studying the layer of white foam smoothed over my leg. In the quickest of instants he slides his pointer finger across my knee cap collecting a finger-full of white and plops it into his mouth. The finger emerges from his mouth licked clean and a distinct "Mmmmm" follows.

Now I don't know what his basis of comparison is, and I did not confirm his findings, but I highly doubt that the sensitive skin variety of skintimates shaving cream is anywhere near as tasty delicious as say frosting on a cake.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day here's my top 10 list of things that remind me of my Dad:

10. pads of butter

9. pecan sandies

8. pecan pie

7. date cake

6. Cherry ice cream

5. cashews

4. quarters with eagles on them

3. Gold Stocks

2. The price of Gasoline

1. "Real Life" Bedtime stories

What's on your list?

Monday, June 8, 2009

This little girl....

Holy smokes. Where has to time gone? It truly doesn't seem like that long ago that The Boy and I were staring at a little pink bundle thinking "what have we got ourselves into?" And while we still might look at each other from across a toy strewn, looks like a bomb exploded kind of room, and think the same thing - I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Em has brought an incredible amount of joy and laughter to our little family and we can't believe she's gotten so big already.
She's already more than 1/2 way to kindergarten and then the next thing I know - she'll be all grown up.
So I made her a dirt cake with worms, let her have a lazy weekend, and fall asleep nestled in my arms on the couch.
Happy Birthday to my little baby girl!

Monday Blues

Bob (and I) are both singing the Monday blues - except somehow, Bob's seems more cheerful. Maybe I should be stealing his bud light lime beads and his harmonica. Which by the way is really Emma's.....lets hope she doesn't find out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three wonderful years

Weather changing from warm to hot.

Bedtime being pushed back as sunsets come later.

College Softball tournaments on TV.

Planting the Garden.

Vowing to keep up on the weeds this year.

Making sun tea.
Eating Dinner on the back patio.

All these are little reminders to me of welcoming Emma into this world. It was a quiet Memorial Day Weekend for us, that is until this little thing arrived:

And while she's too big to swaddle and nestle in the crook of my elbow now, she'll always be my favorite baby girl!

Friday, May 8, 2009

We're going on a trip....

The bags are packed, the car nearly loaded, and soon we'll be off. We are going for a short visit to see William and Erin in Elko and then make the long drive to Uncle Jacko and Aunt Daniel's house.
Things that I have learned this week:
1. We are now in the stage of Emma's life when, unless you want to be driven crazy, you shouldn't mention, tell, or otherwise discuss any trip plans with or in front of Emma. If I have to hear "Are we going to uncle Jacko's house yet?" one more time....
2. No matter how much planning you do the week leading up to departure day, you will still be up until midnight the night before packing and fretting that something is going to be forgotten.
But, I'm super excited to finally be going to visit Jacko in CO and I know the car drive will be long and hard on my patience but I have some car-only kid activities stashed under my seat, Fablehaven Dragon Santuary stashed in my bag for me, and a good book for the boy loaded onto the mp3 player.
Its time for an adventure.

Happy Mother's Day - early

Dear Lord, it's such a hectic day

With little time to stop and pray

For life's been anything but calm

Since You called on me to be a mom

Running errands, matching socks

Building dreams with building blocks

Cooking, cleaning, and finding shoes

And other stuff that children lose

Fitting lids on bottled bugs

Wiping tears and giving hugs

A stack of last weeks mail to read

So where's the quiet time I need?

Yet when I steal a minute, Lord

Just at the sink or ironing board

To ask the blessings of Your grace

I see then, in my small one's face

That you have blessed me

All the while

And I stop to kiss

That precious smile

I got my Mother's Day present early since we are going to be gone....Emma told the boy that she wanted to get me flowers. They smell great and are putting my desk orchids to shame. I love them.

Happy Mother's day to all of us!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Murder in Margaritaland

Last weekend we were invited to a murder mystery party. This was a first for the boy and I both and while we both were a little curious about how this was all going to play out (me especially with my non-existing acting skills) we knew it'd be fun - since 95% of the attendees were also family.

Before the party we all got cards that introduced us to our character and what we needed to know to play our part well. I got to be a grown up child actress who's spent part of her life interacting with the wrong crowd - I have since done a few weeks in rehab but broke myself out. The boy, of course, got to be Jack Daniels a bartender who is quite friendly with most of the girls on the island.

We all had objectives that we had to do before the end of the night. All in all - it was a night full of good food, a lot of laughs, and some light hearted drama.

Me as Starr Bright

Jack Daniels and Tatem Tatt

The best agent a girl could ask for

Jack's being fired for sleeping with the Millionaire's girlfriend

I soooo knew that He'd be the victim

The sign of a good one ever suspects you. No one in the party guess who the murderer was......what's that say about us.

We should have known - just look at this face

Monday, April 13, 2009

weekend window

Some fun pictures of how we spent our weekend (Someday I'll figure out how to put them side by side on here).

Monday, March 30, 2009

What's Wrong with this picture? (Or why you should respect the laws of Karma)

After you stop laughing, I'll tell you the story..........

The other night I was trying my best to be SUPER MOM. Will was at baseball so the feeding, bathing, bedding of two wild animals fell to myself. I thought I was doing pretty well. I usually let Bobby and Emma play together for a little bit, then I take Bobby out and let Emma play for a few minutes by herself while I get Bob's pjs on.

So.. I may or may not have already been grumbling about how I can't believe that Will never makes Emma put the bath toys back in the bin before she gets out of the bath.

And.. I may or may not have stopped long enough on my way back to the tub, after drying Bobby off and getting him dressed for bed, to get Emma out of the tub to look at the tv and declare "Holy - bad haircut, cheezy suit combo - Batman" to one of the Jeopardy contestants that night.
And in the instant that it took me to utter those words I was aware of a blue blur streaking back into the bathroom. And in the time it took me to walk the few steps from the hallway to said bathroom....the damage had been done.

So I laughed, ran and got the camera, took a few pictures.

And Emma in her infinite wisdom (still in the tub playing at this point) looks at Bobby, then looks at me, and says "Mom, I think Bobby's going to need some new pajamas."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Little Joys

After thoroughly enjoying the list of life's little joys here, I thought I'd start my own list and add to it as they come to me.

A few of my favorite things

* old fashioned pipe smoke * newborn chihuahua puppies * crunchy peeps * coffee * Farm District in the Fall * a sleeping baby * cloud gazing * just cut alfalfa * July thunderstorm * eating watermelon on the back porch * swinging * popsicles * hot apple pie * roasting marshmallows over the campfire * cool, crisp mornings * milkweed sailboats * canteloupe ice cream * playing cribbage * waking up early * staying up late * Dr. Mario * Disneyland * star gazing * Levis * riding bareback * flame kissed ribs * a good book * sand between my toes * A cup of Christmas Tea * hot baths * August meteor showers * black licorice *

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Report: The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn

By Janis Hallowell

A story about a 14-year-old girl, Francesca, proclaimed to be the Blessed Virgin with child by Chester, a local homeless man. The story is told in turn by four characters: Francesca, Chester, Sid - Francesca's troubled school-age friend, and Anne - Francesca's paleobotanist Mother.
The novel brought up some good questions while I was reading it:
What would it be like to have a saint or holy person declared in your hometown?
Who would they surround themselves with?
Would there be signs or miracles?
Would organized religion take notice?
Would there be a grand exit complete with flowers and fruit (such as in Saint Dorothy's case)?

All in all the book was a quick and enjoyable read. It really didn't address the divine nature or spirituality of any of the characters but rather a lark based on one man's assumptions.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Sprung and then...

Sunday morning I woke to one of the first signs of spring at our house.

My crocus bloomed. Yeah! That means the daffodils will also begin to bloom very soon. Wanting to share my 'spring fever' with someone, I quickly found Emma and dragged her over so she could see too. I pointed out the blooms and we had a 10 second conversation about something and we parted ways.

The next thing I know, Emma is trotting up to me with a cheesy grin on her face, exclaiming "Look at the pretty bouquet of flowers I picked for Daddy!".

My eyes widened in horror, I took a deep breath, shook my head, and replied "That Daddy, He doesn't know just how lucky he is."

We took the bouquet into the kitchen and put in a glass of water so that we could at least enjoy the flowers for a day or two. So now, I'm back to waiting for colorful signs of spring in the yard again. And I don't think I'll point it out to Emma next time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book Report: Marley & Me

I saw the movie previews. They didn't rate too high on my to watch radar. And the book certainly wasn't on my to read list. But Jacko recommended it more than once and Will checked it out from the library so I read it. The warning I got from Jacko was that it was a little bit sad. Oh great I thought to myself. I'm going to need my kleenex box for this one. The book chronicles the life of a couple as they welcome an energetic, yellow lab puppy into their lives. It is filled with the almost always comical mischief that a puppy is capable of and the changes their owners must accept in their own lives. And yes, I got to the end and it was a little bit sad. But it also made me think. Isn't every great "good dog" book a little bit sad? Think Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows. When you compare Marley & Me to that, I think this book is quite tame.
All in all, I enjoyed the book. The movie still isn't very high on my to see list. And if I ever start thinking I want a yellow lab puppy, I'll read this book again.


You can use most any measure
When you're speaking of success.
You can measure it in fancy home,
Expensive car or dress.

But the measure of your real success
Is the one you cannot spend.
It's the way your kids describe you
When they're talking to a friend.

- Martin Buxbaum

I ran across this poem in the Dear Abby section of the newspaper yahoo and I had a Mommy pause. What would my kids say about me to their friends? Bobby is still 100% a mama's boy so I think I'm okay there. Emma, on the other hand, hmmm.... what would she say? I think I'll ask her tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Report: A Short History of Nearly Everything

By Bill Bryson

As Timbra kindly reminded me the other day "Weren't you making fun of Will for getting that book?"
Why yes I was. I mercilessly poked fun at Will for getting what I deemed to be a boring book. But I found myself needing something to listen to while I ran so I decided I'd try to enlighten myself. In my defense, I vaguely remember Will saying something about how this book was a history of civilization. Which is why I discounted it as much as I did. I wasn't really interested in re-hashing the Middle Ages and the Fall of the Roman Empire.
I was pleasantly surprised then when I started the book that it is a history of the tangible world's existence i.e. planets, electrons, elements, dinosaurs, this is right up my alley.

It covers basic biology, chemistry, astronomy, biochemistry, evolution and I found myself reminiscing about all the things "I used to know". It was a great "been out of high school 10 years" kind of refresher. I'll admit that just as it was then, there were parts (read - physics) that I just don't get and I still am not that interested in, but all in all it was a good listen.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Book Report: The Abstinence Teacher

I recently read The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta. After picking it up and putting it back on the shelf at the library three different times I finally decided I should just check it out already. My hesitations included many of my usual issues: I'm not really into the adult book thing (swearing even in print just isn't for me) and judging by the title its probably gonna have a lot to do with sex. But I started it, and I actually liked it. There is something to being able to wrap yourself up in other people's messy lives and then being able to shut the book and come back to reality. In short, it's about a divorced sex ed teacher who finds herself forced into teaching an abstinence only curriculum even though she doesn't agree with it. I was a little shocked to find so much new-age religion in it, but I guess I should have seen that coming. My one complaint is that I found the ending kind of lacking. With so much sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll throughout the book, I had expected a re-arranging of the cosmos kind of ending and that it was not.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Lenting I shall go

Every February, I rack my brain, search my soul, and try to come up with something I can give up for Lent that might possibly last longer than my New Year's Resolution. How about giving up 10 pounds this year? If only it were as easy as swearing off chocolate or ice cream. While this doesn't really fall into the doing better for the greater good category, I think it will be better for my disposition which translates into good for everybody.
So...the rules, very limited sweets, no carbs after 3pm and more exercise. I decided since Ash Wednesday is a fast day anyway, I'd kick start this plan using Mireille's Magic Leek Soup recipe. After 2 days I decided I know why it's called magical. It's disgusting. And works by making you not want to eat it or anything else for that matter. But it was just what I needed, and hopefully I won't ever have to eat it again.
The exercising is going well. I did my first in a long time, outside, 3 mile run Saturday and it was pretty enjoyable. Emma has been doing crunches with me at night. Although, I think she might actually just be taunting me. She lifts her feet to her face and in all seriousness says "When you grab your feet like this, that is exercising".
Oh, if only it were that easy.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A worthwhile cause

I don't usually broadcast this information but I thought there might be others out there who are interested. At one of the La Leche meetings I was at, one of the mothers was asking if anyone knew anything about the International Breast milk Project because she was thinking about joining. We had a lively debate on the theory and background of the organization and I decided I wanted to know more...

As any new mom knows it can be emotionally traumatic to go back to work. The standard questions: who's going to watch my baby, what am I going to feed my baby...etc. After fully committing to try to do no formula with Emma and struggling to make sure I had enough milk to send each day, I decided I'd be more prepared with Bobby. I started pumping earlier, I wasn't gone on any business trips, and I didn't have to do the radioactive iodine test where I had to pump and dump with Emma. And all of a sudden, I had massive amounts of milk in the freezer and we had no space for meat or vegetables.
"What are you going to do with all that milk?" Will kept asking me. "It's taking up too much space."
Knowing how much effort I put into collecting the milk I didn't have the heart to just throw it away. And so I became a milk donor. If you have any free time, just go check the site out. I'm not the crazy, feed other people's kids kind of person but it sure beat dumping the liquid gold down the drain.

The following is an email I received recently:

I am an International Breast Milk Project donor and the founder of this very special organization. Tonight I have important news that I wanted you to hear firsthand from me. It’s late, my one and three-year old girls are finally asleep, and I stayed up this evening to share this news with you. I founded IBMP for infants like “Baby S.” He was abandoned on the doorsteps of a hospital in South Africa. He was less than 2 months of age and weighed less than 6 lbs. He was HIV-positive, malnourished, infected with scabies, and in respiratory distress. He was immediately given donor breast milk and began to thrive.
Today, I am pleased to share that he is a rambunctious, happy, and healthy little toddler. He has recently been adopted by a loving family and is all geared up to start pre-school soon.Thank you for being among a very special group of moms making a difference for Baby S. and hundreds of other babies just like him, in a way that only a mother can – by providing your life-giving breast milk.The Big Challenge: Save the Breast Milk, Save the World
In 2009, we are on par to send over 25,000 bottles of donor breast milk to infants like Baby S. in South Africa, even more than we did last year. That is enough milk to feed 166 babies exclusive breast milk for 1 month. But that is just a start. There are so many more babies that need our help.
Just three years ago, when I first learned of Baby S., we had 1 milk donor – me. Today, we have grown to nearly 600 applicants per month. And due to such an outpouring of support, we have grown faster than we can keep up with. We will not be able to accommodate the generosity of all of the moms who want to join us in donating this precious gift. Unless we act now. Starting this week, moms may have to wait to donate or won’t be able to donate at all. I am working hard to find additional milk processing partners so that moms with overflowing freezers are not turned away while there are infants like Baby S. who need it to survive.
And it starts right here, right now, with you and me. I have never before reached out to you, our donors, for support, but today I’m taking the bold step of inviting you to join me in continuing our fight to nourish infants like Baby S., who are being left behind by as their mothers are dying of AIDS. Click here to make a financial donation now.Today, I invite you to support International Breast Milk Project and all of the infants like Baby S., who are in urgent need of donor breast milk. I invite you to make a financial contribution on our website or on Facebook, to help us cover the costs to collect and process milk from up to 400 moms per year who may be turned away. As soon as I learned of this urgent situation, I knew the first people I had tell were each of you. And as an IBMP donor, and I know you agree, we can’t let infants like Baby S. be without when we have exactly what they need.Our Board of Directors and I have set a goal to raise $160,000 in 90 days. $160,000 will help us cover the costs for an additional 400 moms to donate milk, the estimated number of moms who will be turned away this year if we don’t act fast. But, if we join together, as we have done in the past to provide milk, I think it will take us less than a week. That is how confident I am in us. I know how determined a mom with extra breast milk can be.Your contribution of just $16 will help us cover the average cost in the US for processing a 4-ounce bottle of breast milk. Or a $400 contribution will help us cover the cost of donation process for a new mom, from coolers on her doorstep to milk arrival in Africa. Our goal is to welcome as many donors as quickly as possible to make contributions of $16, $32, $64, $128, $400 or more so that moms are not turned away and infants in Africa don't have to wait a day longer for life-giving milk. Click here to Contribute Now.
And help us spread the word:Forward this email and invite your friends and family to join you in supporting International Breast Milk Project.
Post this message on your blog. Join our IBMP Facebook Cause and invite your friends to do the same. Follow us on Twitter. Sign up to volunteer. Thank you again for joining me today in making a financial contribution. I will keep you updated on our goals in the coming days. We are tracking our success on our homepage at You can also read our press release there and find out additional details.
In closing, I have a gift for you. World-renowned author Melissa Faye Green, who wrote the book that inspired this organization, recently sent me these warm thoughts to pass on to each of you. She wrote:
“What more intimate, sweet, and quiet moments are there in life than the hours spent nestled with your baby? And yet you all have found a way to entwine those secret precious times with a phenomenal global reach. From the other side of the world, you help nurture the babies of sick women. You ally yourselves with the world's mothers. You say, in effect, ‘I have been blessed with health, nutritious food, clean water, and education; while, through no fault of your own, you have been cursed with poverty and sickness. But we are both mothers. In love for my children, and in acknowledgement of the love you feel for your children, let me share this life-giving milk.’”
With gratitude for your generosity,
Jill Youse
Founder and Executive Director
International Breast Milk Projecthttp://www.breastmilkproject.orgGive Milk. Give Life. Give Hope.507-261-3221Find us on Facebook:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

He's just not that into you

Author: Greg Behrendt and liz Tuccillo
I know, I know. Kind of late in the game to be reading self help dating books, but I wanted to read it before I saw the movie.
I actually enjoyed the book. Its full of witty sarcasm on all the ways boys can drive you crazy and makes it sound so easy to tell if a guy actually likes you or not. But its easy to sift through the drama when you're not at the core of it. I'm going to go ahead and say its not really applicable to me, because A) I'm already married, so done deal there and 2)Will falls into several of the "he's just not into you" categories and I'd rather my judgement wasn't called into question here :-)
And I would have probably read the book anyway because its part of sex and the city and it was in an episode with Berger and I think he's handsome.
So read it, then go see the movie. Then watch all the sex and the city episodes again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Are we going to the mountains? Yes or No

This is the question I woke up to Monday morning from a very excited 2.5 year old. I forget she has a mind like a steel trap. She doesn't forget anything.

We spent our President's Day vacation at Truckee. We found a pretty gentle hill for sledding and really enjoyed ourselves (even Bobby although it's hard to tell by his facial expressions). He actually cried when I loaded him back into the truck.

Emma tried it all by herself. She laughed the whole way down.

We finally had to quit once Bobby realized the snow could go in the mouth. He wouldn't leave his gloves on after that.

Emma's been motorized

Ask Emma how learning to ride her bicycle is going and she'll respond frustratedly, "I keep falling off." And why does she keep falling off? Because she can't stay off the grass. She gets one wheel off the sidewalk and over she goes.

So imagine my surprise when I hear a motor and squeals of delight coming from the backyard.

Peeking out the back window I can see Emma riding the quad all by herself.

She learned the basics, how to steer, give it gas and stop.

And of course we all know Emma's need for speed

After watching for a second I realized she was in good hands. She had three Dads hovering two steps behind in case she got silly.
And considering all things I'm still the one with the worst track record:
Mailboxes - 2
Mailboxes - 0

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lost in Translation

I think it might be safe to say that somewhere in the basic potty training guidelines Emma and I had a miss communication.

In all actuality she is doing really well with potty training. The funny part of this is who really could fit a potty seat around their middle. I promise I feed the girl :-)

And I think Bobby is going to skip the whole learning one word at a time and just start speaking in sentences. That kid babbles like nobody's business. His first none mommy/emma word was "Here you go". I guess I really do say that to him a lot.
So there you go!


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