Thursday, January 31, 2008

Does he deserve it?


If not, you can always treat yourself.

This from my brilliant-with-the sweet-stuff sister, formerly of Thanksgiving Point's pastry operation and Bouchon Bakery (I almost said Barkery, ha! Apparently that had more to do with the continually-running "Phantom of the Opera" soundtrack she had to listen to all day) in Vegas.

Have you ever noticed that all Valentine gifts are made for women? I never know what to do for my husband for Valentine's Day. (Besides the obvious, of course.) Well this year I was thinking, what man doesn't love cookies? So, I made a cookie bouquet full of the biggest, chewiest, most delicious chocolate cookies you'll find and decorated them as non-girly as I possibly could, and VOILA! A Valentine gift any man would be ecstatic to receive. Or, if your husband is anything like mine, just go ahead and buy one for yourself! They are only $30 and I can even ship it for a little extra. Let me know if you want one for your husband or for you!

Editing to add: THIS IS NOT ME making the cookies. I love them but I am not cool enough to make them and no matter how many times you ask me I could not make, decorate or mail them to you within the next two weeks. Click on the link on "let me know" above to e-mail my sister who would love to make them for you. Or your husband. Honestly, who deserves chocolate cookies more? Be truthful.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


On the way to work this morning, I saw a kid, maybe 13 or 14, walking along the side of the road where there was no sidewalk. He had a giant mop of black hair in big, loose curls under his hooded sweatshirt, and beautiful olive skin. He was walking in the direction of the high school, but a long way away, and it was almost an hour after the start of classes. And he was just sauntering along and smiling.

Remember how fun it was to ditch school? How the day stretched before you? How free you felt, when no one on earth knew where you were, and how your feet could take you anywhere?

Monday, January 28, 2008


My co-worker just stopped by to express condolences on the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley. This would be thoughtful from any one of my non-Mormon colleagues, but it's particularly touching because this co-worker is (among many other fascinating facets of her life) lesbian. It would be easy for her to assume that I'm against her because of my faith. Wrong, but easy and understandable. She doesn't make that assumption. I'm grateful for that.

I hope this expression of her respect and caring for me is an indication that I have shown respect and caring for her. I do try. I feel now like I want to try even more. ("Be a little better," in the words of our late beloved prophet.)

It seems to me like an appropriate way to remember a leader who made many amazing changes to the Church - and express my hope that more changes are yet to come.

Give me some words

For a child who is extremely nervous about the possibility of serving a mission. He does not at all like the thought of leaving home for anything, especially not for two years with almost no contact. Well, OK, he is still interested in the military, but I don't know if he realizes he has to leave home for that, too. All I've said about that is that I expect him to go to college first.

I tell him over and over that it is his choice and no one is going to make him go on a mission. He still thinks I am going to make him go. I honestly don't know why he thinks that, or how he thinks I am going to force him to be a missionary when I can't even force him to eat his veggies.

Is he getting pressure from other quarters? I don't like that.

On the other hand, I hate for him to make up his mind against it when he really doesn't have to make a decision for 11 more years, at least.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In this corner

We have one mama bear with a power drill ...

One daddy with amazing faith ...

And one she-bulldog attorney who will call certain people on all their she-bull****. Where of course the asterisks stand for "crap" and certainly not any taboo words.

We are so keeping this baby.

Not that said attorney gave us any nonsense or unrealistic guarantees. But I just feel really, really optimistic.

And so grateful for legal insurance. Otherwise this would cost us $350/hour. Yowza!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


A story from my incredible edible 6-year-old A:

"My friend Isaac was sad because somebody changed the chart today and he was supposed to be the line leader and somebody put my name on line leader instead. I asked myself, 'what would Jesus want me to do?' Then I put his name on the line leader place. I felt the Holy Ghost and water came from my eyes. Then Isaac laughed at me and more water came from my eyes."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When all else fails, bullet

My friend, the bulleted list, would like to give you an update on my life.
  • Me and my DeWalt fixed the box springs, which suffered from a splintered support system. Once I took the fabric off the underside, I could see that it was very cheaply made with thin pine boards and nails, not screws - surprising considering what was spent on this mattress set. Anyway now I love my bed again. Ahhhhhhh.
  • I did nine loads of laundry this weekend, including clean sheets for the whole famdamily.
  • Regarding us, digging in:
    • We have an appointment to see an attorney on Thursday regarding Z and the second cousin and the upcoming TPR hearing.
    • The more I think about it the more I think the county is basically out to screw us over so that they can place two children (Z with the second cousin and some other child with us) instead of one. If they would be nice they could place another child with us, assuming we still live here when Z turns two later this year. As it stands, G is resolved never to work with them again and I am leaning the same way. I am trying to figure out how to tell them this without sounding like quite such a raging bwitch. I am hoping the attorney will have some ideas.
    • I am also planning to have her review our applications for de facto parent status for Z and K and make sure they get on the schedule and that the judge doesn't just throw them out, which is what happened before. And I need to have her review some letters we have drafted to the social workers to make sure we are not saying anything that will jeopardize future action if it is needed, and tell us what if anything we can do if the social workers decide to place Z with the cousin and give K's mom a chance.
    • Our great prayer is still that the second cousin will realize that her plan to adopt Z is not actually in Z's best interests now that Z is 14 months old and attached to a family. I think this could, maybe happen. Or maybe she will not pass her homestudy. She is not all the way through, yet.
    • We have had amazing spiritual experiences and promises about this situation. Truly amazing, dreams and temple experiences and you name it. There is a huge chasm between those experiences and the current reality. One step enough for me ... right now I think maybe this is how we learn what faith really is. Not wishful thinking coming from our own desires, but trusting God's promises. Even when it seems impossible. Am I brave enough to do that? It really takes a lot of courage because it will hurt so much if I am mistaken.
    • If the steps don't look like they are going the way we want them to, we are fighting this. We just are. How could I face myself - and my kids - if I did not do everything in my power to keep this child?
  • A is going to be tested for the gifted program. I will also elect to have S retested. He almost made it last year but his writing skills were not quite up to par. This year he has improved so much, it could happen. The program is at the same school where S bussed for kindergarten three years ago. Way the heck across town. I have mixed feelings about this but I would go for it if both my big boys make it in. If nothing else it would mean I could drop them off half an hour earlier in the morning to take the bus from their current neighborhood school to the program school, and start my workday at a normal time. Then again, it may be moot depending on the outcome of various career and location questions. We shall see.
  • Weight Watchers. I'm telling this big secret. I joined last week. It is easy for me during the week, hard on weekends. OK, so I know now what I need to work on!
  • We put the Wii away last night. I think we will not take it out again until Friday. I am looking forward to this. However I think we are also going to get a couple more remotes so we can play more as a family.
  • I just remembered I have $45 in Target gift cards that I was going to give as Christmas presents that I never got around to. SCORE - perhaps I can replace our DVD player(s). One pooped out and the other one got sat on and dropped and started randomly flashing on and off. Then S misinterpreted my injunction not to smash them with a hammer to mean that it would be ok if he simply took them completely apart with a screwdriver. I didn't even get mad. Because he really did think I meant that would be OK.
  • Basically, we cannot keep anything nice to save our lives. My home is one eternal repair job. I am trying to just accept it.
  • Z can walk! She looks like a chubby little cream-and-chocolate straight-legged Frankenstein with rosy cheeks and long bangs in her eyes. Superdecute! She is so pleased with herself.
  • Remember when K couldn't talk? Now he can't shut up. Saturday I tickled him under one arm. He said to me, "I do have another one," and raised his other arm to be tickled. Just delightful. Witnessing the progress of my children is honestly my very greatest joy. He adores hot cocoa, so I bought Ovaltine. Vitamins and chocolate, made for each other.
  • I re-made the chicken and pumpkin enchiladas this week with caramelized onion and cumin and cloves. Also my blender jar was broken by a curious now-toddler, so the sauce was chunky instead of smooth. Still, much better.
  • I have so much excitement and dreaming that I can't even share right now. Remember how I can't blog about my husband's career? I will tell you, I think he is really going to be done with his Ph.D. before fall. I think my job situation will change one way or another. And I think I may have an actual home of my own, somewhere, somehow.
That's all from the bff of the lazy writer.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Quote of the week

From the Jan. 15 BYU Devotional by Elder Henry B. Eyring:

“In education and in life you will face stumbling blocks and opposition. You can go forward with confidence. If you start determined to qualify for God’s power of deliverance, not just in education but in all the trials of mortality, you will succeed,” President Eyring told students.

“You will be strengthened. You will be guided around barriers. Help and comfort will come. Your faith in Heavenly Father and the Savior will be increased. And you will be strengthened to resist evil. You will feel the Gospel of Jesus Christ working in your life,” he said.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

At a loss

I haven't known what to post lately on this blog. Maybe it is because this blog is where I am usually tough and smart and strong (or where I emphasize those parts of myself), and I'm not feeling too much like any of those things. I am battling fear right now regarding our foster kids. It is a constant struggle to stay positive and productive. Mostly I am winning, but it takes everything I've got. So I haven't had much left for you, dear readers. Sorry about that.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hey Mikey!

They ate them!

Pumpkin Pancakes

1.5 c. skim milk
1 egg
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree (solid pack pumpkin from a can is perfect)

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Mix all liquid ingredients plus sugar in one bowl. Whisk or sift all dry ingredients in another. Mix them together until everything is just moist. It is thick for pancake batter. You want it that way; if you thin it you will lose some pumpkin flavor.

Ladle in 1/4 c. portions onto a lightly oiled or sprayed 350 degree skillet. Spread the batter into pancake shape with the bottom of the ladle. Cook until they begin to puff. You will not see the bubbles on these like you do with normal pancakes. That's ok. Then flip and cook until the edges are dry.

Serving ideas:
  • butter and maple syrup
  • peanut butter and marmalade
  • plain yogurt and molasses (my fave, but I am weird, ok?)
  • honey and cinnamon
  • just plain pancakes for hungry babies
I seriously cannot believe the kids ate these, with an actual vegetable in them, but they totally did. Like hotcakes.

Of course, I told them they were gingerbread pancakes. I'm not dumb, you know. Motherhood is all about marketing.

Hey, you, get outta my stall

I have a few questions, none of which, I'm sure, will reveal any of my personal biases or neuroses.
  • Do you have a preferred stall in the public restroom you most frequently use?
  • Do you delude yourself that it is less gross to use a public restroom if you use the same stall every time?
  • Did you know that the FIRST stall in the bathroom is actually the least frequently used and therefore presumably the least germy? (Do you think I'm giving away my stall secrets?)
  • Do you feel annoyed if you go to use the bathroom and someone else is in your stall?
  • Do you feel disgusted and horrified if you go into your stall and someone has failed to flush?
  • Do you think the world may be ending if the toilet in your stall is out of commission?
  • Do you use the paper seat liners?
  • Do you think they really protect you from anything?
  • What do you do if they are gone? Make a little toilet-paper liner? Squat? Cry?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Knocking it out and meditating

It might seem hard to knock out your to-do list and meditate at the same time, but when you are driving around in a van with a broken stereo, you actually have quite a bit of time to think.

My list is decreasing significantly because I took a day off work today to beat it down. I am feeling pretty good!

I have also been thinking about what I read last night in Matthew 12:

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Fitting, seeing as how I got myself into a little internet tiff over something stupid. I need to learn to be more careful and more sensitive, even when I think I'm joking.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The crappy list

I e-mailed it to G asking him to take some of it. What ones do you think he'll volunteer for?

Kid stuff

  1. fix dependent care account mess & request remaining funds
  2. contact foster kids’ attorneys to reiterate that we want to adopt them
  3. check on status of de facto parent status for Z. Re-file if necessary. File for de facto parent status for K.
  4. Call the county regarding the adoptions worker who was supposed to visit.
  5. get attorney recommendations from [attorney friend]
  6. engage an attorney (After recommendations) – work with ARAG to get special referral status
  7. Make a 1y checkup appt for Z at KidsCare
  8. Make an eye appt for Z with [family optometrist]
  9. Make a WIC appt


  1. Get stereo fixed in minivan
  2. exchange MP3 player
  3. Board to go under bed (our bed was busted - whether by energetic jumping kids or exhausted, flopping grownups, we may never know)

House stuff

  1. Take down Christmas lights
  2. Finish putting away Christmas stuff
  3. Fix cupboard door
  4. Finish new job board and system
  5. Plant roses in container
  6. Change furnace filter

Sing it, Satch

OK! Yesterday sucked! (We had a visit with Z's bio family and met the second cousin who now wants to adopt her!) This morning sucked! (I am so tired and having a hard time with my resolution to break my caffeine addiction!)

I need to turn it around! So we are going to accentuate the positive with a nice little list. Lists always make me happy, unless they are lists of all the brain-numbing tasks I have to do. Maybe after I make the happy list I will have the courage to make the crappy list.

1. I have legal insurance! Yay! Gonna be using that.
2. I have not had a diet soda since Saturday. Go me!
3. K says, "I love you, Mom!" He also speaks in complex sentences! 6 months ago he could only say "no" and "Mommy" and "unh!"
4. S says thank you when I get him food!
5. Cub Scouts is tonight, and I have all the patches sewn on the shirt!
6. Last night I got everyone to agree we are playing too much Wii!
7. Oranges+California+Wintertime=happy!
8. Sleeping for 10 hours Monday night means I don't feel as bad as I maybe might after my intermittent 5 hours or so last night (Z had some yucky uncomfy gas)!
9. I am not sick! Thanks to Airborne I have not really been sick all winter!
10. I dropped a wad at Costco and now do not really have to worry about what to fix for dinner for a while!
11. Trader Joe's Pound Plus Dark Chocolate! Hey, it's antioxidants!
12. I cleaned off the kitchen counter!
13. I shaved my legs and pits for the first time in three (count 'em, three) weeks!
14. My hair is getting long!
15. I am still driving my dream minivan!
16. I got an MP3 player for Christmas!
17. My husband is the best one!
18. I have amazing girlfriends!
19. My candidate is doing great so far!
20. I got to #20 and it only seems a little bit like I am trying too hard! Right?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Popeye baby

How to get spinach into a one year old following the example of her older brothers and becoming a horrible pickypoo who only likes applesauce and crackers:

Spinach polenta

This makes a small batch.

1/2 c. yellow corn meal
1 1/2 c. water, divided
2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
salt and pepper
1/2 c. chopped spinach
1/8 c. grated parmesan
handful of pine nuts

In a small bowl, mix the corn meal with 1/2 c. water. Meanwhile, bring 1 c. water to boil with salt and garlic in a small saucepan.

Stir corn meal mixture into boiling water with wire whisk. Bring back to boil and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and parmesan. Serve with pine nuts sprinkled on top.

We ate this with the red wine pot roast last night. Z approved heartily. I might have to make polenta again for her this weekend. It is so nice to have an appreciative audience.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hasta never

I am not at all sad to bid farewell to 2007.

OK, yes, I got to go to Alaska and I got an awesome new kid (K) and there were many other good things. But this whole year was so tainted by the awfulness of a month without my baby that I am just really excited to be in 2008 and glad that time moves only forward.

This year I want 2 adoptions and a Ph.D. for G. I want a grownup job for him (a postdoc will count if it must) and a house of my own to paint and pretty up. If possible, I would like for that house to be in a lovely and affordable place where I will live until I am a very old lady and decide to retire to the south of France. Also, I want to go to Hawaii this year. And Disneyland.

I think if I wish for enough things I might get one or two. Don't you agree? The only non-negotiable item on my list is the adoptions.

I have not really made any resolutions for 2008, but one of our old friends has a Facebook group called Health Month that I will probably join. I like it that it doesn't start until Jan. 6, because let's face it, there is still an awful lot of chocolate to eat between now and then. My office mate made a thing called Tiger Butter that will surely kill me between now and Sunday. Then I won't have to swear off anything at all.