Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Dad

He gave me my bright blue eyes.
And my dark hair.

Once we went to a Father/Daughter dance.
I was upset when everyone said "You would look just like your dad if you grew a mustache."

He taught me to love music.
And books.

When I was in third grade, he showed me how to do algebra.
He made me feel smart.

He talked more than anyone I know.
Even more than me.

He made the worst hamburgers, but the best Chinese food.
I still love Chinese.

He let me get that cat.
But he chose the name. The dumbest name ever - TC for The Cat.

He surprised me and came to my fifth grade talent show.
I felt special.

I made fun of him when he said "I'm fixin' to..." or "I'll give you a holler..."
He laughed.

He made a lot of mistakes.
But he owned up to them later on.

And after I had my own children, he told great stories of when I was a child.
And he gave great advice - "Don't forget these days. They're the best."

He visited a few weeks ago to meet Ethan and see Evie.
He read to Evie and carried her. He tickled her and sang silly songs.
She loved the attention from her Poppa.

When he left to go home, he promised to read her books on the webcam.
But we ran out of time.

Last night, my dad passed away.
And I'm in disbelief. I'm numb.

But trying to remember.
My dad.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Spirit of the Season

I'm finally feeling the Christmas spirit. This year, it took a little longer than normal, but I'm there now. This past weekend, we finally decorated the tree that's been up for two weeks. The presents are wrapped and ribboned. I'm blaring Christmas music in the kitchen, singing in the car. We're taking drives just to see the lights in the neighborhood.

And I'm thinking of my Savior.

With a new baby in the house, I am focused even more on Baby Jesus - "born a child, yet a King." Usually, it's grown-up Jesus that comes to my mind. Even during the Christmas season, I'm focused on what Jesus ultimately did for me, and not how He came.

But every time I hear the Christmas Story this year, I glance over at Ethan. I see his tiny body, his soft skin. He's vulnerable - not strong. And this is how God chose to come down and dwell among us. As a baby.

For me, that's a miracle in itself. God didn't come as a prince in a palace, or as someone famous. He didn't have servants and bodyguards. Jesus began life just as we do. He wasn't even born in a hospital. He felt cold and hunger and pain, just as we do. He depended on a mother to care for him when he was an infant, just as we do. Because He became a child, just like us, He knows what our life is truly like.

That gives me shivers, knowing that by becoming human, God understands me. Jesus reconciled me to God. He began this reconciliation as a baby, and ended by suffering in my place.

And so this Christmas season, I celebrate Baby Jesus. I celebrate this Baby's long-awaited arrival. God in flesh, living still with us. "Glory to the newborn King..."

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find out rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Talkin' with My Girl

Evie: Here are the directions I wrote to Heaven, where Jesus lives.
Me: Oh, good! But we won't be going to Heaven for a long time.
Evie: (Handing me my cell phone) But don't forget your phone when we go.
Me: Honey, we won't need phones in Heaven.
Evie: They already have a phone?
Me: (A little exasperated) Yes, they have a phone already.
Evie: When it rings, I will run run run to answer it!


Me: Evie, what do you want for breakfast?
Evie: Ramen Noodles.
Me: You can't have Ramen Noodles for breakfast, they're lunch food. What do you want for breakfast?
Evie: (Pausing a few seconds.) Is it okay if we just call this lunch?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Potato Soup

At my first job, way back when, a girl named Chris sat in the cubicle next to me. Chris is sweet and wacky and smart and funny and cute. She helped me though bad bosses and bad roommates and dating and wedding planning. You know how there are people in your life who you lose touch with, but still consider friends? Chris is one of those people for me...

Anyway, I don't even remember why, but there was a time when we were trying to make the perfect potato soup. This was before, when I only had dial-up internet at home. (Boy, I feel old now!) So we used to ask other people for their hints. Someone told Chris to use sour cream in the soup, which tasted good, but curdled. Someone told me to use ham in the soup, which was too chunky. And eventually we gave up and considered our recipe "good enough."

But it wasn't really good enough to make regularly. You know, because of the curdled sour cream and the chunky ham!

About six months ago, I found this recipe. It's for the crock pot, and I made it like that a few times. Then I figured out it's just as easy (and faster) to make on the stove, so I modified it a tiny bit. And it is simple, but the best thing to fill your belly on a cold night. I've thought of Chris every time I make it.

So, here is finally the perfect potato soup recipe...

Potato Soup
5 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced into 2-inch chunks
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 quarts chicken broth
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
crumbled bacon (optional)

Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasonings, and broth to large stockpot. (If you're like me, and think extra garlic makes anything taste better, resist! It's perfect with 4 cloves.) Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for about an hour, until potatoes are tender.

Remove lid. Using a stick blender or potato masher, blend the soup until smooth.

Break the cream cheese into chunks and add to soup. Turn heat to low and cook about 20 minutes, until cream cheese is mostly melted into the soup. Run the blender through the soup again, just to make sure any cream cheese chunks are incorporated.

I don't think this needs the bacon garnish. (I'm trying to lose this pregnancy weight.) If you want it, just crumble it on top before serving.


Lisa hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace. Visit her for more yummy recipes!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I've never been a good sleeper. I lay my head on the pillow, and instead of drifting to dreamland, my brain clicks "on." I worry, I write blog posts in my head, I make To Do lists, I redecorate the house. So when I finally fall asleep, I want to stay sleeping! Because I repeat the whole cycle again if I wake up.

But I don't mind getting up with Ethan at night.

Oh, he's just the sweetest thing ever. And he's all mine at night.

During the day, there is so much going on. The radio is on, or the television is on. Evie is running around, or dancing, or singing, or asking for my help. The doorbell rings, or the phone rings.

At night, it's quiet. The light is dim. It's just the two of us. I hold his warm body in my arms while I feed him. In the soft light, he looks like a little angel. I kiss his head and stroke his cheek.

When I was up with Evie in the night, I used to pray for other mothers who were up with their children. But I sometimes forget to pray when I'm up with Ethan. He steals all my attention, all my love, all my heart - there in the dark.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just Average

Yesterday was Ethan's one-month check up with his pediatrician.

He is 21 inches long.
He weighs 9 pounds, 5 ounces.

Guess what percentile 9 pounds, 5 ounces is? The 48th percentile.

Yep, that's me doing a little dance. I finally have a "normal" sized child!

I love Evie - her big personality in her tiny little body. But I'm happy Ethan is average. No weight checks are scheduled in our future. I won't cry at the doctor's office if he loses an ounce. I won't butter everything he eats or insist he eats his ice cream before his carrots.

Just average is just great...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pot Roast

I'm back! Did you miss me?

We're adjusting to life as new parents, again. Ethan is the sweetest little baby, and Evie is the best big sister. Seriously, she's doing even better than we thought she would.

And, despite being sleep-deprived, I'm even up to cooking a meal now and then. Nothing gourmet, to be sure, but at least I'm back in the kitchen! Tonight I made a very easy pot roast, to rave reviews. Even my almost-vegetarian daughter ate the meat! It also makes it's own yummy gravy while cooking, which is my favorite part...

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 c flour
salt, pepper, and garlic powder (for seasoning)
2-3 lb pot roast
2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 (1 oz) package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 c beef broth
1 lb baby carrots
3 onions, quartered
4 large potatoes, quartered

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle roast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and flour. Brown all sides of meat.

In slow cooker, mix mushroom soup, onion soup mix and beef broth. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture. Add carrots, onions and potatoes.

Cook on High for 3-4 hours, or Low for 8-9 hours.