Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights

2013 came and went pretty quickly for me this year.  Over the past few days I've been thinking about some things/memories/whatever and thought, just maybe, on this last day in 2013, I'd write some of it down.

* Callie turned 5 and will soon be 6.  This was a big year for her.  She started Kindergarten and is doing great.  She is picking up reading like a champ and loving getting older.  Callie definitely tests her boundaries...but we've had a lot of fun this year.

* Sammy went to Utah again and really made some good progress.  From time to time I wonder how long I will keep up some of this therapy stuff.  I mean, it can wear a mama out.  And I'm not sure if there's big enough progress to keep me motivated.  But then I see her do something and am amazed.  She keeps me motivated.  In the meantime, I'm looking for new options for her that may help a little more.  I'd like to find some kind of water therapy for her.  I've tried in the past, but now I'm pretty serious about it.  We're looking into buying her a $2,500 bike!  Yeah!  You read that right.  She uses it at school and loves it.  It would be a good recreational activity for us as a family that she could participate in, AND she gets the great reciprocal movement and patterning.  I don't know.  We'll see what 2014 says about that.

* Micah has grown up way too fast for my liking.  He's adorable.  I mean, ridiculously adorable.  Grandpa can't get enough of him...and the feeling is mutual.  Micah adores "Bampa."  Callie says, "Micah loves Grandpa because he does whatever Micah wants," and she's 100% right.  He's so spoiled, which can cause tantrums at home when I don't let him do whatever he wants, but come on...what are grandparents for if not to spoil the grandbabies?

* Callie thinks I have eyes on the back of my head.  One day she asked me how I knew what she was doing all the time, and I told her that I have eyes in the back of my head.  "Really?!"  "Of course Callie."  "Why don't I?"  "Because you're not a mommy.  When you're a mommy, you'll get your eyes."  Now she's constantly testing to see if I am seeing what she's doing behind my back.  Most of the time I catch her....and she'll say, "You're eyes are open huh?"  Because, sometimes, I tell her...I rest those eyes.  I'm not sure how long I can pull this off.  I never intended it to be something she really believed.  And I seriously thought she picked up on the joke when I laughed when I told her....but alas.  This whole lying to kids is a slippery slope.  First Santa.  Now eyes in the back of my head!  When will it stop?!

* Santa.  I had a terrible internal conflict with Santa last year.  I didn't want to lie to Callie.  I didn't want the stress of Christmas to be on Santa.  Right?  Right.  Marcus labeled me the Grinch.  And I took it.  But, I discussed it with a few people and came to the conclusion that I'm ok participating in our cultural tradition of Santa Claus.  And, this year it was quite exciting.  Santa is magic.  Jesus is real.  Callie is quite literal and analytical...one day in the car she declared to me that she didn't believe in Santa.  "Those people dressed up aren't Santa.  He's not real."  "Callie, that's silly.  Of course those Santas aren't real....but we dress up as Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus...but they are real.  People dress up to remind us of those people...to help us feel something.  People dressed up as Santa are trying to give us the magical feeling of Santa Claus and giving gifts.  When we dress up and do that nativity, that's to help us remember and feel the sacredness of when Jesus was born."  I liked the answer, and luckily it worked.  Christmas this year was completely magical.  Partly because....

* We moved into our own place this year.  It was a crazy weekend when we moved: Sweatin' for Sammy, Micah's sealing, moving.  It was busy.  But it's been so great.  Each child has their own room (a luxury here) and I feel like we have sooo much space.  It's been fun to decorate here and there and make things our own little home.  And this year for Christmas, we were able to spend the morning here together before heading over to Grammy and Grandpa's for round 2 of Christmas.  Marcus was a little unsure how it would go, I think.  But he later told me that he loved being at home.  It was pretty incredible.  Callie was so excited, she was laughing at everything.  She thought it was hysterical that Santa left oranges in our stockings...and toothbrushes.  She could barely pull it together.  Christmas was magical in our own little place.

* Micah is such a little mimic.  He's adding so many words each day.  Much to my dismay, "mommy" is not among those words regularly used.  But, he does give me unsolicited kisses, and that makes him not calling me mommy just fine.  I think I'm the only one he just kisses on his own terms.  He is currently obsessed with balls, especially football.  It's pretty cute. 

* I've been feeling like we have some kids missing.  I'm not saying how many, because I don't know.  Maybe just one.  We'll see.  But I'm pretty sure we are going to start the adoption process again, which makes me tired just thinking about it.  It's so time consuming and can be a frustrating process, but it's all worth it in the end.  I've re-realized something recently.  Adoption is not for everyone.  And my feelings have been reconfirmed that if you don't want to adopt, you shouldn't.  I was interviewed for an article at BYU about adoption (I haven't heard if it's been printed yet or not), and I've had many discussions in the past few months with friends who are considering adoption.  In each of those conversations and in the interview, the Spirit whispered to me that this is our plan and it's good.  I already knew that, but maybe that was to help prepare me for this next time...to give me a boost and motivate us to get started and find our baby He has for us.  We'll see, and we'll keep you posted.

* We've had 2 weddings in the past few months.  Those have been really fun and has helped me appreciate Marcus even more.  He's such a good man.  I love him so much and feel very blessed that he's my partner in everything.

Life is good.  We are blessed.  And I'm feeling quite happy.

Happy New Year 
Welcome 2014.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Corn and Cheese Chowder

I've made this a few times and am getting requests for the recipe...because yes, it is that good.  So, I'm going to just put it here on the blog.

If you know The Pioneer Woman, perhaps you are familiar with the recipe.  Her Corn & Cheese Chowder is divine.  I did change it up though.  If you want her recipe, go right to the link.  But below is how I made it...it's nearly the same as her recipe.  Basically, I add potatoes and creamed corn...and don't use 1/2 and 1/2 unless I have cream on hand then I'll do half milk and half cream...but when do I ever have cream?  One time.

Jenny's Pioneer Woman's Corn & Cheese Chowder

4 Tablespoons butter
1 whole onion, chopped
3 slices bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
3 whole bell peppers, finely diced (red, yellow, orange)
2-3 cans of corn
2-3 cans of creamed corn
4 good sized potatoes, cleaned and cut in cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
2-3 big handfuls of whatever cheese you have on hand (I use cheddar or Monterrey Jack)

In a pot, boil cut up potatoes.  You can peel them if you'd like...I normally don't for time purposes.

While the potatoes are boiling, in another large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Cook onions for a few minutes.  Add bacon and cook for another few minutes, then add diced bell peppers and cook for a couple of minutes.  Finally, add canned corn and cook for a minute.

Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine.  Pour in broth and stir well.  Add cooked potatoes and cans of creamed corn.  Allow this to thicken for 3-4 minutes, then reduce heat to low.  Stir milk, then cover and allow to simmer/thicken for 15 minutes or so.

Stir in cheese.  When cheese is melted and the soup is hot, check seasonings.  Add salt and pepper as needed.


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