Monday, November 24, 2008

Curlers, Round Two

I know you're waiting on pins and needles, anxious about the next attempt at curlers. Will it work? Will she go vertical? What about the bangs? And frizz, oh horror, the frizz.

Well, you can relax. It went just fine, thankyouverymuch.

Does anyone want a play-by-play? Yes?

I put in twice as many, so they could be close together (thanks, Kim ). Curlers were inserted vertically on damp hair, sprayed with gel, wait 1 hour, blasted with the hair dryer, and removed vertically (thanks, Cat and Lynsey). No bangs. Sesame Street helped with this phase.

Don't they look like an old married couple?

The final product, my beauty queen:

Much better, no?

Thanks, mommy friends, for all your help!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

First attempt at curlers...

Did not go so well.

{I still need your comments on the post below!}

It started out fine. She looks cute with the curlers in.

But then it's wrong, all wrong.

Mothers of little girls, I need your help. Where did I go wrong?

I'm thinking maybe they should have been turned vertically?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's that time again!

Well, believe it or not, it's Christmas time again. I know!

Want to know how I figured that out?

I've gotten two, count 'em two, emails this week asking what the kids want or what size clothes they wear.

I can relate; it's hard to shop for other people's kids, so I try to help out with suggestions. But that feels kind of weird too. Do I just tell people what to get my kids? It feels like a wedding registry. Does anyone else have this problem?

So, to solve the awkwardness, I created a registry.


Does that make it worse?

Not really a registry, but an wish list for both kids. It's under my name, since my kids don't yet have their own email addresses (what with the lack of reading and all). Family members who are so inclined can find my helpful hints there. *******No pressure******* (hopefully that goes without saying? no one is obligated to buy anything!). But some did ask for suggestions, so there you go. I'll probably get most of our gifts for them from the same list.

{On a side note: This is one small issue, set against the backdrop of the bigger issue of remembering that Christmas is a celebration of the Incarnation. That's a much bigger discussion. Kids don't do well when they get overwhelmed with a gazillion presents. It's actually less enjoyable for them, not to mention distracting from the greater purpose of the holiday. But I want to get them toys, they will get toys, and that's great. I even enjoy a little bit of the Santa nonsense. More to come on that another day. Here's a teaser.}

Back to toys. So here's my question for you.

What do your kids love? What have been their favorite toys, books, gifts, games, whatever? What are you hoping to get for them? What needs to be on my amazon list?

I'll go first with our favorites.

I've already mentioned the trampoline. I still wholeheartedly endorse it.

Jonas loves his VTech camera.

A little shopping cart. Although ours doesn't have the baby seat; how cute is that??? This has gotten constant use since Jonas was first learning to walk. Both kids at every age have found a use for it.

Anything for dress-up. Hats, capes, props.

Books: Brown Bear. Monkey Boy. Bear Hunt. Nightmare in my Closet. Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? (Jonas learned to count from this). When they were babies the Roger Priddy books were great. Goodnight Moon. Goodnight Gorilla. Sam who Never Forgets. Runaway Bunny. The little Elmo puppet book.

I'm being lazy and doing this from memory. If you want authors' names just ask.

OK, now it's your turn.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sweet Kids

Just some pictures of the kids.

Take a deep breath, nothing controversial today. Well, except maybe a Longhorns cap...

My dad sent a Durant Lions cheerleader dress for Betty. She looks so sweet in it.

This is how Jonas loves to dress, everyday. He has fully embraced the country life. Our family in Oklahoma might object to the hat, but you'll have to talk to Aunt Amberly about that.


Thursday, November 6, 2008


Just in case you were wondering.

I'm a private person, and don't tend to write about personal things here. And maybe that's wise. But I want to be honest here, let you know who I really am. So I'll touch on some things that you may have wondered about. As they come to me.

1. Why I quit my job. I suppose that's a fair question, given the title of my blog. I always planned to be a stay at home mom, at least for awhile, probably not forever. My plan was to finish my residency in pediatrics, take a few years off to be home and have babies, and then return to work part time. It was not a bad plan, but it's not the way things worked out, and I'm so glad. My son was born during my first year of residency, and I decided against two more years of 80 hour workweeks. I craved more time with him. I thought I might work part time down the road, and I may someday. But I'm in no hurry. I really love being here. It was a hard adjustment, but hard in a good way, like exercise is hard. Like most things that are worth doing are hard.

2. What I believe about submission. Wow, this is a biggie. Just typing that word makes me feel all nervous, like, she's not really going to talk about that, is she? Well, apparently I am.

Here's the deal. I have found a way, after years of struggle, to embrace submission without feeling degraded. I have not always understood it that way, and have bucked against the concept. Mostly as a single person; if anything marriage made this easier, not harder. I tried to write off the Biblical passages as applying to the particular time and place where they were written, but I just can't do it. It doesn't work that way. There was a structure to marriage in the Garden of Eden. There is structure to the Trinity. These things are not accidental. They are not a result of the Fall. They are intentional design, and they are good.

This is not a thesis on womanhood. Maybe I'll write more another day, maybe not. But I had to at least get it out there, on the table. The most helpful thing for me has been to look to the Trinity. Jesus and the Spirit are both described as "submitting" to the Father. Same word in Greek, if I'm not mistaken. So clearly we are not talking about a difference in dignity or worth. This is not about ability or merit. The Spirit is described as a "helper" to the believer. This is not a secretary, right? An assistant, to iron shirts and bring the coffee? Justin likes to explain it as though "help" is a euphemism, as in "air helps me to breathe." As in, without this thing, I cannot go on.

AND, my submission to my husband "as unto the Lord" does NOT mean, like I once thought, "as if he WERE the Lord." I am not pretending that. They have a name for that, and it starts with an I. This is more along the lines of whatever you eat or drink, do it as unto the Lord. As in, serve God by doing this. Glorify God in this way, by trusting His leadership, His word. Practice submission, not because he deserves it, (he being the husband), but because God deserves it.

God has lots to say to the husband in all this, let's not forget. And my husband is diligent to do his part. That's a whole 'nuther post.

3. I'm a preacher's wife. Hubby's behind the pulpit. What girl wouldn't love that? Maybe some wouldn't, I don't know. I certainly didn't expect to, back in the day. Never, EVER dreamed I'd be a preacher's wife. I don't even play piano! ha. But I am his wife. And I love that job more than anything. I'm an ordinary wife. Not on staff at the church or anything like that. I love my husband, and it's his job to care for the sheep. And he's great at it. I'm so very proud.

4. Vaccines. Man, I'm just getting it all out there tonight! Here's the short version. I think vaccines are important, and have done way more good than harm. These diseases that they protect against are real, and they're deadly. We forget that, precisely because the vaccines have done their job. There may be more risk than we know, though. There are lots of questions out there. My hunch is that some children have a genetic hypersensitivity, a disposition to react badly to vaccines. That may be one of many, many contributing factors for some very complicated neurological disorders.

Here is one confusing fact: the natural history of autism, for most children, with or without vaccines, involves a fairly normal first two years and then some regression after the second birthday. That is hard to understand, and naturally causes many people to look for "what happened" to a seemingly normal child. But some genes just work that way. I am thinking of a family who had one child with autism. They felt the MMR vaccine was responsible. They had another child, chose not to vaccinate, and that child did the exact same thing. Seemed normal until two and then bam, autism. Or Parkinson's disease. Completely genetic. Normal development, normal life, until later adulthood, and then you get sick. Nothing "happened." The gene has been there since day one, sitting, waiting.

There are things that seem to suggest involvement of heavy metals, and the immune system gone haywire. Vaccines obviously would have some connection with both of those. There are things to suggest genetics. Also environmental pollution, potentially pesticides, and who knows what other thousands of exposures a young child could experience. I'm far from an expert. I'm an ordinary "entry level" physician, and an ordinary mom. Sort of thinking out loud here, if you don't mind. This isn't "professional advice" or anything.

So who knows? I think we really don't, right now. But I still believe vaccines are important. I vaccinate my own children, and would recommend that for any patient of mine. But I understand where parents are coming from when they express concern. Everyone wants to do what is best for their own child. Just do your reading, check your sources, think for yourself. Don't do something just because "Doctor knows best," but don't avoid something just because some person on Oprah said not to, either.

Well, I guess that's enough for tonight. Thanks for hearing me out. I don't mean to stir the pot; I'm not trying to start anything. If you have questions, that's fine, please, ask away. I just needed to say some things. Oh, man, I didn't even talk about homeschooling. Maybe next time.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Baked Ziti with Summer Squash

I made this for church last night and it went over well. Lots of people were asking for the recipe so I'll just post it here. Here's a quote from one of my favorite college students: "In all seriousness I think it was the best pasta I've ever had outside of a restaurant... actually I think it was better than half the pastas I have had at restaurants!" So there you go.

4 slices white bread, quartered
2T butter, melted

1 lb summer squash, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 lb zucchini, cut same way
3/4 lb penne pasta
kosher salt
4T olive oil
6 shallots, diced, about 1/2 -2/3 cup
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
1 1/2 c cream
2 1/2 c chicken broth
2 ounces grated Parmesan (1 cup)
3/4 c fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1. Make topping. Pulse bread with butter in food processor until crumbly, about 6 one second pulses. Cover and set aside.
2. Set squash in a colander, sprinkle with 2T kosher salt, let sit & drain for 30 minutes. (If you don't have room in the sink, set the colander in a large bowl.)
3. Preheat oven to 400.
4. Cook the pasta in salted water until a little underdone. Toss with 1T oil and set aside.
5. Spread salted squash out over a double-folded papaer towel, pat dry with additional paper towels, wiping off residual salt. Heat 1T oil in a skillet on high until it starts to smoke. Saute half of squash until golden brown and a bit charred, 5-7 minutes. Transfer squash to a baking sheet or platter and repeat with other half of squash in fresh oil. (Doing this in batches allows all of the squash to be in contact with hot oil. If you put too much squash in at once some of it is just steaming on top, and it gets mushy.)
6. Wipe skillet out and heat 1T oil over medium-high. Cook shallots until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth and cream. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan, basil, and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
7. Add sauce, tomatoes, and squash to pasta, stir to combine. Pour into a 9x13 dish and sprinkle with topping. Bake until bubbling and crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

  • To make ahead: Follow recipe through the sauce, but don't chop the herbs or add them to sauce. Refrigerate topping, pasta, squash and sauce in separate bowls, tightly covered in plastic wrap. When ready to bake, heat sauce, chop and add herbs, and assemble and bake casserole. It will bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • This is from "Cover & Bake," one of the cookbooks in the line of "The Best Recipe," published by the guys from America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated magazine. I love anything these guys do.
  • The point of the kosher salt is that it can be wiped off. No biggie if you need to use regular salt. You just won't want to add salt anywhere else.
  • Even if you don't want to make the casserole, please try the squash salting & sauteing trick. It's fantastic. I made it again today for lunch.
  • I know it's a little late in the year for summer squash. Sorry. Bring this recipe back out next July. My HEB actually has some pretty good squash right now, nice and small, not all overgrown like it usually is.
  • Nothing terrible will happen if you use onion instead of shallots. One regular onion will do just fine. Maybe not a very strong one.
  • Yes, that's a lot of basil. I used one package from the grocery store, but it wasn't quite the measurement listed, so I added some dried.
  • In my opinion the tomatoes are optional. I saw lots of people picking them out.
  • I didn't actually change oil between batches, or wipe out the skillet before the next step. Shhh.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Better late than never, right?

Is anyone out there still interested in a post about Halloween????

I finally got it together to show you pictures.

Some of the local mommies took the kids to visit the nursing home. Pretty uneventful, which I guess is a good thing.

Betty's costume was originally supposed to be a dress, but I changed it to a top and skirt. I thought she would get more mileage that way. But the dress bodice is a little short as a top. Since it's not a Britney Spears costume, I put a t-shirt under. Oh well. The skirt turned out cute. Also please notice the repaired horns on Jonas' costume. And no, the pom-poms are not a part of his costume. But isn't Braelyn cute as a cheerleader!

Oh, and apparently no one else enjoys the charm of homemade costumes as much as I do. Our group had 5 kids, and two classes of elementary students came by with about 30 kids, and my two were the only ones in homemade costumes. I didn't know whether to be proud or sad. What do you think? Charmingly old-fashioned, or just ordinary old-fashioned???

In other news:

The kids are muddy.

The hens are laying.

And June Carter Cash is definitely knocked up.