26 February 2010

Zoe's Birthday Party

                            Sugary adult cake      Homemade organic banana cake

I made Zoe's birthday cake as healthy as I knew how while painting on a thin layer of chocolate frosting to make up for it.  It turned out pretty delicious.  No one around me wanted to try it.  It warmed my heart to know I wasn't going to send her into a diabetic coma on her first birthday.  She was very proper when we presented it to her.  Gingerly picking off the banana slices and nibbling on them.  After awhile of cajoling, we got her to leap in for the sake of convention!

She just started standing unassisted.  She does it really well!  She get's excited about it and starts bouncing/jumping then falls on her bum as a result.  No stepping yet, she has an emotional breakdown if you try to get her to walk...
(Yes, I found snarky humor in getting her a Hannah Montana bag.)

 My gracious parent's allowed the party in their roomy basement.  I made curry chicken salad sandwiches and mango avocado salsa for refreshments.  Many friends and family showed up with thoughtful gifts. 
Oh, this day exhausted me.  So much more work than I was up for.
She was hyper for awhile, and then became tired of the commotion of people and kids and fell asleep in her Nana's arms immediately after the chocolate icing rush wore off.
It was a very sweet way to end her birthday.
She slept from then (about 3:30) till nearly 9PM that night.  By far the longest nap since she was a newborn!
As I wrote on Facebook that evening:

Thank God it happened, Thank God it's over.

25 February 2010

the best part of waking up...

I love when Zoe sleeps in my arms. She doesn't do it often anymore, but I have tricked the system this morning -- snatching her while she is still unconscious/too tired to do anything about it.
I have put off some school work to the last minute. A "Final Exam" today and a big project that I was warned, per instructions two weeks ago, not to wait until the last minute to attempt. I despise this class with the zeal I despised my accounting class. Perhaps it was naive of me to have higher expectations for my education than the community college has lived up to. I fault the disappointment I feel for the negligence and apathetic attitude I've kept in my courses this semester, but I also fear (question hard) that it's not in me to be a student (is it?).  I want to like school.  It would make sense because I love learning, but I eventually caught on -- I get the same 'A' on a carelessly written paper as I do a paper written after hours engrossed in deep thought about the subject and considerate construction/editing.  I resent that and have tired of the motions of busy work.  Where does this place the prospect of nursing school? Of my future? I feel very directionless right now, but that is another post.  I feel too absorbed with my life, sometimes, to truly concentrate or feel rewarded by what I have or could learn at the price it cost in hours away from my family and other stuff.  I need discipline, a match, and a good teacher to strike it against. =\  Maybe I have changed my mind and want to go to school to get a higher paying salary, save the riches of knowledge for when I have time...later.

Zoe has an ear infection on top of the torrential cold that refuses to grant us a breather. Get better, daughter. I really want to take her to the aquarium this weekend to make up for her birthday of being a shut-in.  When we came home from work and Ivia's yesterday, this was standing alone in the middle of the garage:

BJ said he hurried home and assembled it to surprise us. :)  Last week we decided it would be Zoe's birthday present, but the store was sold out.  We pulled her around the tight corners and narrow passages of the house in it, she was glowing with delight and erupted with tears the moment we stopped.  I am anxious for it to be warm enough to take her through the neighborhood.  I still remember my dad pulling me through our old neighborhood in my Radio Flyer, dogs barking wildly on the other side of the wooden fences as we'd pass, it's one of the most vivid memories I have retained from my childhood.  The luxury of them now astonishes me.  Cup holders, roomy seats, safety belts, back rests, and holes to fix a canopy into (sold separately).

  I've been dreaming of spring since October.  I've been deep in dreaming about a lot of things lately...

23 February 2010

Happy Birthday Zoe Scarlett!

Zoe was cut from my body a year ago today. I still remember lying in the operating room, drugged up to the point that I was unable to swallow, staring at the glowing orbs of surgery light above me. “Sweet Child O' Mine” by Guns N Roses was playing from the speakers fixed in the ceiling (I swear.  BJ didn't hear it and thinks I'm lying). I’m not sure if it was a meaningful coincidence, or if that operating room had tailored their music to fit a baby having theme. I didn’t know what was going on, I thought I might die, I thought you might be dead. My luck with babies hadn’t been so great. But your Daddy came walking around the sheet with you bundled up, tears in his eyes, and everything was okay. So much more than okay.  This photo was the first of the one million I would take of you this year.  It was when your dad brought you to me.  They wouldn't let me hold you, but I got to nuzzle your face.

We had an ideal labor together up until that point. I instinctively knew it would be a long labor, so I didn’t expect much. Part of me was also always prepared to have a c-section, too -- something told me you wouldn’t permit such fantastic indulgence. To be honest, I assumed it would all go against plan (as most everything in life does) so I didn’t really make one. It was all minor details as long as the gift of healthy, breathing you was the outcome. The only natural element of your birth was that I waited (however pained and desperate) for you to pick your birthday, and I realize now that is becoming a rare special thing for babies with the popularity of medical inducement. 

Anyway, you are here now, for one year you have been here. It’s cliché, but I never expected just how much your existence would transform everything. I can’t believe a year has passed while, concurrently, I can’t believe it’s only just been a year. The life I had before is a vague memory. You have brought my family closer together, left a residue of graham cracker on everything you touch, decorated our new couch with your brand of cowspot milk stains. You have coached me in patience to a degree I never knew I was capable of absorbing, impelled heavenly laughs and tears of torment, as well as a novel expression of the two combined – the one I do when you would rather play at 2AM instead of sleep, or catch a cold two days after recovering from your last cold. (You rub your runny nose all over your face and cry then repeat. You are so violated if I try to help you rub it. Who cares about potty training, I can’t wait for you to learn to blow your nose.) Anyway, that tormented laugh is something I have never experienced before you, and it's emmitted with love I promise. Nothing in this world is too insurmountable or too hopeless with you in it now. You have made me into a mother, and BJ a father. You have infused this world with new meaning that I never knew existed.

I want to remember the three lessons I learned this year, when it comes to baby/child rearing:

1. Be patient and breathe.
2. Keep a sense of humor. If you can’t twist a moment/day of pure lunacy into gaiety, you will die a slow, agonizing death and foolishly resent innocence.
3. A glass of wine is a handy parenting tool (for mom, not the baby). Being an uptight stressed out bitch will never help a situation. Do what you gotta do to keep yourself from throwing things against the wall, even if the pious would snub you if they knew how you managed.

These three lessons, of course, are only to guide me through the hard times – which don’t occur often with you, but keep in mind I write this on day 10 of the most aggravating cold of your life. You have been a model baby. I haven't known many, but I have never known a happier baby. Strangers have always commented on your well-behaved, joyful demeanor. When you sit on my lap and I hug you in tight, I feel the physical  surge of love love in my heart and the desire to have you close and shelter you forever. You make me want to have more babies, which is an odd, dangerous sensation.  I am afraid to tempt fate again, how could any other person live up to you? 

Thank you for being my baby. Thank you for the best year of my life (and I can’t speak for your dad since he doesn’t blog, but I feel safe to assume we share that common sentiment). Nearly every night we lay in bed and reminisce about the day and the baby girl that has depleted us, whispering sweet nothings about you so as not to wake you up. I still check on you several times a night, you are too far away in that room of yours, but you sleep better there so I allow it.  I get excited to retrieve the warm lump of sleep you are in your crib every morning, and on the weekends, get anxious when you decide to sleep in late.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY BABY!  You are loved beyond any complicating words in this language.

(Taken this morning after being eaten up with birthday kisses and much runny-nose wiping.)
ETA:  My sister mentioned it looks like she's holding a bottle of liquor, it's an antique aftershave bottle (containing aftershave), people.

15 February 2010

I'm home for President's birthday celebrations today.  With the babes.  She is napping, and I'm taking this recess to dissolve my mind online rather than do the dishes and maintain personal hygeine.  I'm severely disappointed that TLC saw it fit to run Cake Boss marathon instead of Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby. Rachael Ray just had the Jersey Shore girls on and gave them a make-under.  They look better as hoes.  Some of us just do.

Anyway, how about a recipe?  I doubt anyone will try it unless you are a fan of clams.  I never would have given them a chance had I not been confronted into trying them and then, after a few, discovering their appeal.  This recipe is the first clam recipe I ever tried [aside from chowder].  A friend of BJ's passing through town made it for us a few summers ago and BJ and I have worked it's magic on many house guests since. It has been met with similar sentiments.  We also incorporated it into our Valentine's Day dinner last night and it was spectacular.

Drunken Clams in a White Wine Cream Sauce

  Start with a handful of chopped green onions, roughly chopped fresh basil & fresh dill, and a clove of minced garlic.

In a large saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter over low heat.  Throw garlic in and cook for a couple minutes.  Pour in about a cup of white wine.  [We usually do a $10 bottle -- don't go too cheap, but also don't be stupid and waste an expensive bottle.] 

Scrub clam shells off under water.  Gingerly place in saucepan.  Fill pan up with wine until half of the clam is submerged.  Keep the heat between simmer and medium.  The clams will soon begin popping open to reveal the meat.  Throw in the herbs and onion at this point.  Allow to cook until all clams have opened, moving opened ones to the outer rim of pan and placing locked ones to the middle to facilitate cooking. 

 Pour a little wine over the clams to cool  Remove pan from heat for a couple minutes.  Pour in half & half.  This is the trickiest part, and I have screwed it up a couple times.  If the pan is too hot, the milk will curd.  Add a tiny bit to test and gradually add more until the sauce turns white [about a cup and a half].  Return to a simmer to warm pan back up for eating. 

We usually put a bamboo cutting board under the pan at the table so we can eat them straight out of the pan.  You can use a small fork to scoop the meat out, or, our favorite way is to scoop up the sauce with the shell and suck it out with the meat.  Discard the shell.  Have some bread nearby to soak up the sauce...it's the best part.  Last night was a rosemary olive oil loaf.  Yum!

Grocery List
  • 2 lbs. short neck or steamer clams
  • handful fresh basil
  • handful fresh dill
  • handful green onion
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2/3rd bottle white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup half & half cream 

14 February 2010

Today is Valentine's Day.  It feels odd for it to fall on a Sunday.  We celebrated this morning by making breakfast burritos and sipping coffee.  BJ has spoiled me beyond sense this year.  I've never been spoiled on this forsaken day before.  My father also gave me a heart shaped box of chocolates and a card he wrote himself.  That has never happened, and touched me beyond words. 

I got Zoe a Valentine's Day present and a card. Blame Target's suggestive merchandising.  I had to steal some pictures (duh).

Happy love day.

11 February 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

Honestly, Football and I don’t connect. We just never have. I generally don’t understand people that obsess about the game, either. But when BJ and I started dating, the world of Super Bowl parties invited me in. I once viewed them as a party that only white trash people had. So we had a white trash super bowl party. Then I moved to West Jordan and became white trash anyway (kidding?) and discovered I welcome any pretext that warrants 1. Seeing my friends all in one place, and usually in good spirits. 2. Unrepentantly consuming delicious wine or beer before five pm. 3. Making crock pots full of processed cheese. Presenting Super Bowl '10.

Penny in her chic getup & Liz

Ian, BJ, Mimi, and Zoe attempting to come back to the world after her long nap.
Penelope and her crazy giraffe

Zoe & her Dada.

Holly & her boyfriend bringing their sunshine.

Trish, Me, and Zoe's annoying nazi toy that assumes every child has two legs, two hands, etc.  So sad for the children that don't.
Ian sans Stef.
Liz, Mimi, Penny, Kelton, John. 

The following five photo credits go out to Kelton...

Aaron & Beej
Thanks Kelton, for documenting the Super Bowl from your angle. :)

Zoe and Penelope's first super bowl party.  This video is pretty funny because it documents Zoe's new skills of stealing & sharing.  Poor Penny almost gets a shocking binkie in the eye as a result.  I love seeing these two interact together, it swells my heart a little.

09 February 2010

"You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life." - Kahlil Gibran

I don't know how to instigate this entry, or how to justly communicate the way yesterday made me feel.

Sunday night I tossed and turned until 3AM. My legs were swollen and sore. After sleep finally took me, a night sweat roused me soon after. It happens; I didn’t give it much consideration. I went about my routine. All day at work I felt as though a heavy text book was laying across my chest, every so often an odd compressing, pulling, or squeezing sensation in the right side of my chest would pester me. I was dizzy, light headed. The aforementioned chest sensations provoked gradually throughout the day, so I gradually worked myself up to the point of alarm. Consulting with my tried and true method of health care, Google, I Googled my symptoms and results offered recurring links to “Heart Attack” information, imploring anyone with the symptoms to stop ignoring them fool and get help post haste. Incredulous, I shut the web pages down and went back to my work. The sensation, again. The Googling, over again. Suddenly, this understanding, I need to get to the doctors, I could be having a heart attack at the age of 26. I snuck out under the work radar and drove to urgent care clinic. In the waiting room, I couldn’t remain in my seat. I paced around; it made me feel in control. The dizziness worsened and swept my vision up with it, I felt like I was stuck in a vacuum or on some sort of psychadelic drugs.  My fingers tingled then went numb, I couldn’t catch a breath, and my jaw froze up. I was going to pass out any moment. Something serious was really happening. I was dying and I was all alone. The nurse took me back to a room immediately. She left the room to get the doctor. I sat with my head bowed and erupted into a sobbing fit.  What is happening to me? He calmed me down and told me he thought I experienced an anxiety attack, but wanted to run an EKG on me just to be sure, since I have a family history of heart disease.  I'm 26, I eat healthy (besides aforementioned breakfast), I'm not overweight, I don't smoke or do drugs, I'm in decent shape. The EKG was run twice, both times it turned up “unspecific -- may be due to myocardial ischemia” (loss of oxygen to the heart caused by blockage). Unbelievable. The doctor sent me to the ER to get it looked at closer. What. The Hell.

Bj met me in the hospital triage, my sister took the baby. I sat feeling astonished and doomed with my head on his shoulder. When we got placed in a room, they ran another EKG and took my blood and wired me all over with an assortment of sticky monitoring devices. The new doctor confirmed that the EKG really was looking unusual, but he didn’t know why. He was concerned about a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), too. I got a chest x-ray and was told to wait for 1.5 hours to receive the reading of my fate. BJ sat at my bedside in the hard chairs. He kissed me and we tried to banter as if nothing was wrong, we watched Pawn Stars on the broken hospital television and I saw everything differently, jealously, these living, healthy people taking their lives for granted…all of us. I would miss all of this, even dish washer detergent commercials.  He held my cold hand and the IV stabbed me every time I stirred. I thought about Zoe’s upcoming first birthday party, what would happen to her if I died. Would she have a flattering picture of me on her dresser that she’d look at & hug like in the movies? Would BJ be able to raise our little girl alone? Would my mother or sister take her in?  Would she become a shopper like them? Would she remember the way I loved her, the bond we had, our smiles and laughs? And my future…can you get pregnant after you have a heart attack? I can’t die yet, I am supposed to start nursing school. February 8th, huh? This is the date I die? Why do they have to call it a heart attack?  It sounds too serious...I want it changed for this situation.  I vacillated between acceptance and denial, fear and valor. I burst into another fit of tears, overcome with desperate emotion, muttering to BJ, "I can't die...I can't abandon Zoe in this world". BJ and I prayed together. I prayed silently to myself over and over. I watched the screen next to my bed blink and display disturbingly high numbers on my vitals. We waited, and waited…for what seems like forever. I researched pulmonary embolisms on my iPhone and realized I had every single symptom of that, too, wouldn’t you know. My friend Jenn, a nurse, texted me continuously asking for updates and giving me happy thoughts.

Three hours later, the doctor came through the curtain. He sat next to me and gave me a steady look, I froze, bracing for the news. He told me that all my blood tests came back great as did my chest x-ray. I didn’t have a heart attack, nor is my blood clotting. The buoyancy I felt in that moment was palpable. He explained that it’s a mystery why I have the chest pains, but not a life-threatening one.  And the other symptoms were probably an anxiety attack. I jumped up and hugged him.  I had sincerely thought my life was over or ending and now I hear that it isn't.  BJ and I checked out and went home to eat comfort food and sleep (semi ironic, yeah). What a crazy day. What a crazy thing. My head is still trying to process it.  And now I sit at work as if none of that ever happened.  I really like life, I wasn't ready to lose it.

I went to the store on my lunch hour, the sun was shining and Bob Seger was on the radio. The storefront was displaying colorful tulips for sale that were just starting to peek open.  I'm still really scared knowing my heart is unsteady, the odd pains haven't stopped and my vision remains slightly shaky, but it's okay. I think it will all be okay.

07 February 2010

Saturday morning.  My favorite time of the week.  Usually BJ makes me breakfast of things that will one day give me a heart attack, but lately he has been working, which leaves the morning to Zoe and I to take slowly, lazily, delaying and basking in the quiet moments before the day demands me to spend my energy on it.

I lay on the couch with a textbook attempting to enlighten me about the history, theories, and methods of ethnographic research while she stands at the bookshelf unsure what she is in the mood for.  Some Loorie Moore?  Che?  Such decisions...
I'm happy that this bookshelf is still useful for something.  It's been too long since I have read.  If I had it my way, and if TLC and the Food Network could stop tempting me, I'd throw out the television and this would be our main method of entertainment.  Maybe someday. 

04 February 2010

I forgot to mention, Zoe opened the bathroom drawer and got out a comb yesterday and started running it over her head as if she were combing her hair!  My heart just broke and gushed all over the place.

She has also been feeding me/offering me her stuff.  The other day she was playing with a lime I had out and she held it up to my lips so I'd kiss it then she'd laugh and take it back and put it to her lips.  She's a smart kid with a giving heart. 

Slow Roasted Tomatoes, oh my!

This is one of my favorite things to make.  I discovered it on Sarah's Cucina Bella awhile ago, and have probably modified the recipe to my liking over the course of time.  I usually need to make these at least one Saturday afternoon a month.


extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar 

salt (I like Kosher)

ground black pepper

dried basil

dried oregano

 tomatoes. roma or plum since they have less seedy mush internals.  do about 8-10. it feels overabundant, but remember that they shrink significantly when you cook them.

  • Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. 
  • Line baking/cookie sheet with foil.
  • Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and lay out on in columns.You can overlap them slightly to fit as many as possible, I find this also helps prevent burning.
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, not too much...just enough for a touch of oil to hit each slice.
  • Season with basil and oregano.  About 2 tsp. each.  I just do a few pinches over the entire batch, enough to give it a slight coating.
  • Place in middle rack of 225 degree oven.  Cook for about 2.5 - 3 hours.  This varies widely on ovens and the thickness of your baking sheet.  I usually start monitoring the oven after 2 hours.  You'll want the near entirety of the tomato to be crinkled. This picture isn't the finished product, it's somewhere in the middle.  I forgot to take a picture of them at the end.
  • Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes. 
  • Place tomatoes in a ziplock or snapware container and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Close container and shake to coat.  I usually like more balsamic than most recipes call for, start out conservative and add to taste.
  • Place in fridge to let the juices mingle & absorb until you are ready to eat! 
I am in love with these. They are delicious and pretty, they are also multifaceted.  They are good alone as a snack, they can also be found in my pasta, on pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, but my favorite of all -- top some sliced ciabatta bread with pesto and fresh mozzarella and heap the tomatoes on top (extra yummy when they are cold).  Serve with red wine, if that's your thing (it's mine, I suggest House wine -- it pulls the flavor out sublimely.)  Sigh with pleasure and contentment over and over again.

02 February 2010

The Zobot is a sick little muffin. It began with the runny nose that she contracted from Jeremiah. She has taken a vehement stand against the nasal aspirator since the day she was born (literally, she contracted a cold in the hospital), so her face has become this vortex of drool, tears, and snot. As a result of rubbing, the virus eventually infected her eyes, resulting in pink eye(s). When she woke up this morning, she was blind for the 15 minutes it took me to flush and rub the seam of eye glue that stitched her thick lashes shut, she sobbed, I was at the threshold. It’s a terrible feeling to wake a sleeping angel up to assault her in the ways of changing her/dressing her/and mugging her raw pink eyes before immediately ditching her at daycare.  Great sentiment to start the day with.  Thankfully her daycare isn't a daycare at all, but a loving household of people that dote on her almost as much as I do. And dogs. 

Yesterday we stayed home together. It turned out to be ab lovely day.  I cooked and cleaned, she was in great spirits despite her physical appearance telling otherwise. I yearned to live back in the period of time where both parents didn’t have to work to generate a livable income. We visited the doctor against my reasonable judgment.
These situations give me a catch-22 sentiment of shame. If I elect to not take her in -- there is the guilt I feel about not taking an illness seriously and giving her every chance at potential alleviation, then the guilt I feel about taking her in -- exposing her to further malevolent microorganisms perked at the thought of shacking up in her welcoming immature system on top of wasting a $20 co-pay and an hour plus of time to be informed through a furrowed browed physician what I already knew through my Google research. At this point, I think the score is like this Google: 5 Doctor: 0.   

poorest little monster!

About Me

My photo
I guess you're just what I needed.

About Me

My photo
I guess you're just what I needed.