An irreverent look at motherhood and family life in a new state of normal.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Let Him Have It

When my husband and I first got married, I didn't realize how much we did not have in common in terms of food.... and other things. But for the purposes of this blog, we are going to talk about food... and football.

I have been a Best Foods mayo girl FOREVER. I think this is a Kanen thing as Kanen's put mayo on EVERYTHING! (My dad can't eat broccoli without a little mayo on each tree.) Andy likes Miracle Whip which is practically sacrilege in my house. When we got married and I started doing the shopping, I was informed that mayo was fine but he really like Miracle Whip. So, in compromise, I bought a little jar of mayo and a little jar of Miracle Whip and that's how it is to this day. There is also a small jar of Adams crunchy peanut butter for Andy and a jar of reduced fat Jiff smooth peanut butter for me... and I could go on with the things we buy in double but you get the picture.

This year, we were gifted the leftovers of a succulent turkey that was carefully roasted by a friend for Thanksgiving. I love leftover turkey sandwiches. I am at Andy's brother's house for the holidays and apparently all the Adams are Miracle Whip people because that's all they have in the fridge. I DIE!

I used Miracle Whip (let me preface by saying that I have used it before... but I do not prefer it) and WOW! I will never eat another Bests Mayo leftover turkey sandwich again... unless there isn't Miracle Whip.

In other news, until I married Andy, I didn't know all the rules of football and although I'm not applying to be a ref for the Super Bowl, I can explain football (and sometimes I enjoy watching it) with the best of them.

What I'm saying is, I've learned alot from my man. That's what I'm thankful for this year. What has your significant other brought to your life? I want to hear about it! And so do they! Let them know. Every day they need affirmation that they are more than just a good roommate. Let them have it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow, Thanksgiving, and a Little Relaxation

Andy's classes are over for the week. We are officially on vacation for a few days. We are heading to some friends house for the actual holiday.

Boy howdy, do we look good out there?
Montana Big Sky dumped almost a foot of snow on us so Abby and I went out to build snow men in the middle of the day. I don't have any snow gear anymore so I wore Andy's. Bulky but warm. I realized when we were out there how much Abby is like me. She wanted to be pretty, then she wanted to be warm, then she screamed bloody murder that she just wanted to go inside and watch. I hate the cold. However, it was really fun to get out and have a little fresh air and some fun in the snow. Abby... I'm not sure when she will take to the snow but I hope it's soon. Maybe tomorrow because we are going to head out to sled. FUN!

Thanksgiving should be good. I have this overwhelming urge to cook like a crazy person and compete with everyone else who is bringing food but this year, I have decided to give it a rest and just take a tossed salad (thus accomodating those who are on Weight Watchers and those who should be...)

With the snow comes more opportunity to spy on my neighbors. Across the street from me (in the house right behind me in the picture) lives a teenager with his guardian (could be a mom or grandmother... not sure). He was out shoveling snow today. I must be getting old because I totally don't get the styles today. He had on skinny jeans that were sagging down to his knee caps, untied high top shoes, a tightish black graphic t, and over it but not zipped up, an over-sized winter coat. REALLY? How can you even move in that? Why would you leave your shoes untied in a foot of snow and how much are we sacrificing for style here? Yes, I remember when I was that age and I would go out into the Colorado cold in my layered slouch socks, stirrup pants, and canvas shoes. I wanted to look like Paula Abdul. Who didn't?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cupcake Queen

Apparently, when I was young, my mom wasn't much of a cook. I don't remember this. I remember loving everything she made. I have been reminded several times that a 10 year old palate isn't very sophitocated so maybe she wasn't a good cook. Pasta dishes and Mexican food seem to be crowd pleasers and that was her usual cooking MO. I don't know. But I do know about 10 years ago, she started cooking and hasn't stopped. When I say she started cooking, I mean she went nuts over the Food Network and has been on a mission to beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown. She recently took up Baking as well and that's where her artistic skills really came in handy. Here are some of her cakes and cupcakes. The thing about baking and decorating is you usually sacrifice taste for beauty. It takes a long time to decorate a great cake and sometimes the sponge gets dry. You also tend get get some chemical taste in heavily colored icing. Not so with my mom's cakes. She has found just that trick to make her cake moist and her icing yummy and PRETTY! So, if you want a cake or a batch of cupcakes, just give her a ring. She's testing on everyone she knows right now before we open our dream bakery. Bring it on, Bobby!

So what I'm saying here is, go for your dreams no matter what and... eat cake.

Missoula 3:16

After leaving the academy, I have empty nest syndrome. It feels like every day there was dedicated to helping others. We were ministering to the kids and it was all consuming. Then, all of a sudden, we weren't we were just living our own lives and although being a stay at home mom isn't easy, I don't feel that same sense of fulfillment I did when I was at the academy. There is no one outside of my immediate family to minister too. I just don't know the area well enough to be able to go out and do anything yet.

The other day, I went into a thrift store and met one of the founding members of the Missoula 3:16 ministries. They are a community service ministry that services the homeless and the less fortunate. I got a letter just after that inviting me to a volunteer orientation. Today I went over to the mission house to be introduced. There is an extensive screening process for volunteers but I may get the chance to work there one day a week or so. It's exciting. The orientation itself was heartbreaking. I had no idea how many homeless there are here in Missoula. Its crazy considering the weather. I stopped near a site where some of the volunteers said there were people living in boxes and saw their "homes." It was aweful.

Right now, there is snow pounding on our roof and we are sitting here in front of a fire with blankets and hot beef stew. How can I ever complain again? I feel guilty having what I have. When is Jesus going to come and relieve us of the evil that causes children to live in such conditions?

Friday, November 19, 2010

5 Things I Love TODAY!

I realize that I have been a bit of a downer lately. Being cooped up in the house and not really wanting to leave but wanting everyone else to leave so I can just do what I want without interruption has made me into a bad person. I have been complaining and wishing my life was different but last night, my wonderful husband allowed me to take 2 Tylenol PM and head to bed at 9:30 where I got 11 hours of sleep and I woke up a different person. Drugs and sleep always make me all lovey dovey so here's what I love today:

1. Boogie Wipes. These things are fabulous. They dissolve snot into a very soft wipe. After several days of normal low-budget tissue, our noses were about to fall off. Cate's was the worst. Very red and cracking. So we sucked it up and spent the money on Boogie Wipes. No more dry cracked noses. More expensive, yes. Worth it, DEFINITELY!

2. Starbucks. Yes, I need coffee to live - even after many hours of sleep. But today, I'm going to get decaf this afternoon just to make me happy because of this promotion.

3. Heat. No, there is no link for this. It's just getting cold here and it's going to get even colder and I like being able to turn up the thermostat or toss a log on the fire and be all cozy warm. Let's not forget the nice hot baths I can take with these bath salts that Andy knows I love and that make me all calm and ready to face the world.

4. The fact that it's almost the weekend and we are staying home and hunkering down and getting well and getting our house back to normal. HELLO SABBATH! You are right around the corner and exactly what we need.

5. Chicken soup.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's A Date

I always hate buying airline tickets. It's so set. You can't change your mind. (Which annoys me because they can change their minds anytime they dang well please.) Today I bought tickets for my husband, me and my girls to fly to Colorado for the Christmas holidays. There is a big hullabaloo about when we all are going because we are leaving early to give time for Andy to study for tests, take tests and then come get us. It's going to be crazy. Several things I don't like about this whole senario:

1. There are apparently naked body scanners at DIA which causes me to rethink ever stepping foot in any airport again. You can refuse the body scan and have a pat down. So basically either you get your picture taken naked or you let someone feel you up. TSA seems to be getting a little... racy?

2. If even one person has an issue, those who are getting us to the airport, those who are flying... ANYTHING! We are out our money and our trip. If you have kids, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You have to be a super parent to get two toddlers on the plane with clean clothes and diapers. Thank goodness I have the bob!

3. Lay overs. Either you have to much time and you are trying to entertain your kids in an airport (even if you are alone you end up spending more money than you ever dreamed in ridiculously priced restaurants and book stores), or you have no time at all and you are racing to the terminal with one kid hanging off the stroller and the other screaming that they have to go potty! And isn't it interesting that no one (even me) has to go to the bathroom until they are calling for boarding to begin. Then try maneuvering a double stroller, two kids and your carry-ons into the airport bathrooms.

4. Our names. Yes, we thought we were so clever to have a John and an Abigail Adams. Not so when it comes to TSA. They think we are faking it and require us to submit to searches and extra security measures EVERY TIME! We could get through security faster with a bomb strapped to our "inner thigh."

5. Cinnabon. 'Nuff said.

Just pray that no one is sick this time. If there is even one sniffle, I will call the whole thing off. SERIOUSLY! I will not travel with sick kids and I will not kill myself over a holiday that should be taking place in March anyway...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How do you KNOW?

When there are things that happen, and you have no control, how do you KNOW that God is in control and it's all going to be ok?

Seriously, I'm putting it out there. I want answers. I have no clever antidote. I don't have a witty comment or saying. I just want answers.

And to put off a little of the seriousness of this post, here are some pictures of my baby. She is going to be just like me! Starbucks addict...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Survival Mode

I am in survival mode. You know you are in survival mode if:

1. You drink more than half your jumbo sized pot of coffee.
2. You need drugs to be able to sleep (because you can't turn your brain off). Did you notice the mild upper/downer thing I have going on here?
3. Your running list of things to do is prioritized by what will keep you alive.
4. You eat out of pots and pans and drink out of the carton just so you won't make more dishes or because you have no more dishes to eat off.
5. You actually contemplate having your husband pick you up new underwear just so you don't have to do laundry. "Oh, and a pair of footy pj's for each kid and a t-shirt for me. Also, if you want something to wear to school, you better get something for you. Actually 7 somethings because I'm not going to get to the laundry this week."
6. Your kids watch more TV than you ever dreamed. (Your child is actually talking with a Junior Asperagus accent.)
7. You buy "nice" PJs so you will have something to wear when people come to the door.
8. You would rather fish stuff out of your child's mouth than vacuum. The three second rule becomes the three day rule... becomes the "recognizable" rule. "What is that? A goldfish cracker? Didn't we run out of those last week? Ok..."
9. You sleep in your car just to get away from the messy house.
10. You want your mommy, and not just to make you some soup. You need her to clean, cook and HOLD YOU!

Survival mode started when I had my second child. I'll admit that after having Abby, I was in it for a few months but after the 6th month or so of being pregnant with Cate, I was back in it and I have never come out. I really thought I would get it together sooner than this but it's just one thing after another (pregnancy and a toddler, potty training, child birth, dealing with being a mother of two - God only knows how people with more than two even function at all, lay offs, moving, finances, economy, sickness). I thought my life was exceptional in this area but I have come to see that we all deal with this stuff. I do mean ALL of us. Even if you don't have kids, you go into survival mode for short periods of time and if you have kids, it just prolongs it. I thought that the move, the craziness of changing lifestyle and all was the reason but it's not. It's just a factor in my survival. Everyone has their own factors. If you are in survival mode now, tell me that it's going to get better - that I will get a full nights sleep someday and that I can look forward to having a clean house sometime.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well, my cold is not gone. Now Abby has pink eye and I'm just waiting for it get get worse... for Cate to get sick too. Or Andy for that matter. What would we do then? 'Tis the season for illness I guess. I will be coughing all winter.

Here's the thing about sick kids - I am not stable enough to handle sickness from them or me. I freak out and cry. Seriously. When I'm sick, I cry. I cry because I can't get things done. I cry because I feel guilty that someone else has to take care of me. When my kids are sick I cry because I know how yucky I feel when I'm sick and I hate that for them. Seeing Abby's face (and it's not pretty with pink eye, let me tell ya!) I just want to hold her until she gets better.

Well, gotta run. Cate's very cute and not sick face is peeking around the screen and she's beckoning me to a non-cry fest giggle session rolling around on the floor. Happy weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A History of Illness

I have not been able to shake this coldish thingy that is hanging around in my throat and making me laugh like a smoker. In honor of the fluish, coldish, whatever season, I'm going to recount the last several times I have endured this punishment.

When I was a Junior in high school, I had this same phlegmy thing that hung around for a month before we went on a vacation to California where my parents insisted I was fine and went off to spend time with... I don't even remember who now, leaving me with my Aunt and Uncle who discovered me in bed with a fever of 104. Parents returned, took me home to Alamosa where is was discovered that my phlegm had turned into pneumonia and I was put into the hospital for several days. (May I mention that if my parents had not changed our tickets and taken us home early, we would not have gone home for several weeks as the next day, the airports were flooded and no flights could leave for more than a week. God works miracles so his children can be in hospitals near their own homes.)

Just after I married Andy, I had the phlegmy thing again. We headed out to Ecuador as sponsors for a mission trip where it was discovered that I had a fever of 102 and my phlegm had once again turned into pneumonia. I spent the majority of the trip sequestered in the hotel. (May I point out that this is one of the only mission trips where the students were put up in a nice hotel. God works miracles every day. Can you imagine having pneumonia in some third world school gym?)

So now the phlegm is back and I'm not sure what to do about it. Should I race off to Mandi (my new doctor) and get a prescription or should I follow the family tradition of claiming its all going to be ok until we are strapped to a hospital bed (and in our heads still ringing up the total)?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Abby Wants for Christmas

This is an awesome gift idea from


I was asked to think about my testimony recently. There was a potential I would have to share it in front of the group. I didn't. But it got me thinking about what a testimony is. It's our story (usually in respect to Jesus and his work in our life). That could take a while. It could take up many sermons and many children's stories and all of our small group time.

Many people seem to have it down to that one moment. "... and that's how I found Jesus." (We used to say that when we were caught in a sultry embrace at the academy to convince the staff that we were giving a spiritual hug and not caught up in the throws of romance. Never worked...)

I don't have a moment. I have been a part of a church that I believe in for my entire life. It is a church that has a subculture so ingrained into your being that you can't tell when Jesus became real. Maybe he was always real to me. I remember pretending to hold my guardian angels' hand as I walked down the stairs of our apartment when I was little. I remember telling Jesus to "remind me I asked that question" when I got to Heaven. I have always had Jesus therefore I never needed to find him.

I would regard my testimony more in a string of spiritual epiphanies. Each one bringing me down off my high horse and reminding me how small and short of the glory of God I am. Each new moment bringing me closer to God. Every separate experience coming together to create in me a picture of Jesus in my life that I can only see darkly. My life testimony would not have a difficult and emotional beginning but would be the very slow work of pulling someone from the granite of tradition and religious arrogance to the rubble of a broken human. A leap here when a man told me I couldn't earn points with Jesus. There are no points. A step there when a woman lent me a video about someone elses' testimony that touched me and changed me. A jump there when a friend recommended a book that made me take a hard look at my marriage and what I was expecting from my husband and myself and how we could never live up to those expectations on our own. There are moments that I can't remember or define that have made me who I am. But Jesus was always there. 

I never did drugs. I never had a sexually promiscuous lifestyle (although people who don't know me might beg to differ). I never gambled. I never stole or killed or lied (excessively). I am the rich man who asked Jesus, "What must I do to be saved?" And when answered with, "Leave it all and follow me," I thought that's what I did. But maybe it's not. Maybe I have been pulled from my security of religious academia for a reason. Maybe my safe lifestyle inside the "bubble" was what I needed to leave in order to really follow Jesus.

So my testimony grows every day. I hope I grow every day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Double-team Diaper Change

When Mom's super power kicks in and she can smell poop, usually, she can also tell if it's going to be a blow out. I'm telling you, Cate is the queen of blow outs. I saw a volcano erping its way toward the edge of her diaper but I was doing dishes and I asked Andy to handle it. Fortunately, my super power enables me to tell him not to put her on the carpet for this particular change or he will end up cleaning more than her backside. Cate HATES to have her diaper changed. She squirms and wiggles and screams and it's just miserable. Today, she twisted and turned and all just after Andy getting the diaper part way off. He's trying not to get anything on the floor because he's late and doesn't want to have to clean it and he's holding her legs off the ground. Suddenly I look over and he's got her in a handstand position and she's freaking out. I see he needs an assist no matter what I'm doing so I dump the dishes and rush over to hold her legs. She's hand walking toward the dirty diaper wanting to get her grubby little hands on it and he's wiping her butt... all with her upside down. He looks at me, "This has to be a first in parent history..." It took us double-teaming our 8 month old daughter but I'm proud to say that she's finally in a clean diaper and has proved a certain amount of athleticism as well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grandma Adams' Boston Baked Beans

This is my mother-in-laws famous Boston Baked Bean recipe. She serves it over freshly baked bread. Enjoy it people!

3 cups assorted beans (navy, lima, pinto, red, kidney) sorted and soaked over night
1 small yellow onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 tbsp salt
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp sugar

Rinse beans after soaking them over night. Put them in medium sauce pan and just cover with water. Bring to low boil and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes. Put all other ingredients into a Boston Baked Bean pot. Ladle cooked beans over ingredients and bake at 350 for an hour uncovered. Turn heat down to 250, cover and bake for 8 more hours checking every 1-2 hours and adding water just to cover the beans. Last hour, cook uncovered to bake the top brown and nice.


I haven't been around much because I'm totally caught up in cooking and watching 24.

Most people were like, "What? Is Jack's wife really dead?! We have to wait 4 months to figure that out?"

I'm like, "Season finale. Hmmm...." *4 seconds (not months) later* "Hmm... season premier!" Awesome. I love Netflix. And can I just say that Jack Bauer is the John McClane of television. I figured we've watched enough Die Hard during previous winters. 24 is the new Die Hard.

The cooking has been fun. I got down the bean pot to make Boston Baked Beans for my husband and his brother and then, BAM! I was making beans left and right. It's been awesome. For those who are vegan, it's the best! My Spicy Black Beans were really fun and I'm moving on to some lentil dishes hopefully with some curry. Everyone should get a bean pot and a dutch oven. I love the winter for hot stews and soups. Including this beef stew from Better Homes and Gardens magazine they sent me in the mail. AWESOME!

So, this is going to be my winter: watching 24, eating my beef stew, and playing with my babies.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spicy Black Beans

Spicy Black Bean Recipe:

This is something I came up with after trying different variations on my mother-in-law's Boston Baked Beans. It's a yummy recipe to serve over rice with sliced avocado on top. YUMMO! (and really not THAT spicy)

2 1/2 - 3 cups beans (black and pinto, but more black than pinto), sorted and soaked overnight
8 oz diced green chilis
1/4 large red onion (you can leave it not chopped as it just melts in the cooking process)
1/4 - 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 heaping tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice

Rinse beans (after soaking over night). Put them in a medium sauce pan and just cover with water. Bring them to a low boil and let them cook for 15 minutes. While they are cooking, put all the other ingredients, except lemon juice, into a slow cooker (Boston Baked Bean pot or dutch oven or some other deep baking dish or slow cooker). Ladle cooked beans and liquid over the other ingredients and bake (or slow cook) at 350 for an hour. Then turn heat down to 250 and bake (or slow cook) 6-8 more hours. Check every 1-2 hours and add water if needed to keep beans covered and not burning on the top. When you are ready to serve, stir in the lemon juice.

For Black Bean Soup, whiz up in the blender after cooking. You may need to add a little more liquid before blending. Serves 6 -8 people.

Great Giving Challenge Contest Entry: HiltonHeadIslandSDA

Great Giving Challenge Contest Entry: HiltonHeadIslandSDA

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crying It Out

Every night since Cate was born, we have allowed her to, at some point (usually the whole night) sleep in our bed. Mostly because I'm nursing and I am to lazy to get up and nurse her in her room and then put her back in her own bed. Besides, when I have done that, she just wakes up and screams. Last night, I finally let her cry herself to sleep, knowing that she was dry, fed and not hurting. She cried for 2 hours. It was torture. Finally, she dropped at 11 pm.... and didn't wake up all night. As I write this, she is still sleeping and it's 8 am. I have checked to make sure she is still breathing several times. She's doing fine. No fever, no nothing. Maybe she needed space just as much as we did. Of course, now that I have gone 9 hours without nursing, I'm about to explode. Off to pump. See you all in another post.