Friday, July 30, 2010

Cook from Frozen

I love this recipe because it makes a lot and calls to cook from frozen.  No thawing.  Just take out what you want and throw them in the oven.  You'll want to make the sauce each time, just make enough for your current "batch."

Nothing WW about this recipe-- just thought it was too fun not to share.

Mom's Meatballs
(Can use ground turkey or beef.  Disclaimer: I have not tasted them with turkey.)

3lb ground beef (or turkey)
12 oz can evaporated milk
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup cracker crumbs (Mom uses saltines that she crumbles in a food processor)
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp chili powder

* Combine all ingredients (mixture will be soft).  Shape into balls (make them as small -- appetizer-- or medium-- meal-- as you'd like).  Place in a single layer on cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Freeze solid.  Store in freezer Ziploc.

This is the recipe for enough sauce if you ate all the meatballs you made at one time.  So, if you only pull out a few, scale the recipe back by 1/2 or even just make 1/4.
2 cup Ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)
* Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cook From Frozen:
Place frozen meatballs in 13X9X2 baking pan; pour sauce over top.  Bake at 350 for one hour uncovered.  Enjoy!

On the journey,


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mystery "solved"

Just a quick post to first say thank you to everyone for your sweet concern, texts, comments, fb messages, etc.  I appreciate that so much.  My friend Suzanne did come over and very much educated me on a low white blood cell count.  We had to talk about things like platelets and leukemia and "night sweats" and in the end she could not 100% assure me it wasn't something more serious, but she could tell me my symptoms weren't "traditional red flags" for the worst case scenario.  Then we had a great walk and talked about everything under the sun NOT blood count related!

I also wanted to let you all know that last night at about 5:00 the doctors office called to say the mono test was positive.  This mono test was different than the mono spot that the ENT did, and apparently more "advanced."  I will learn more about that later.

Well I am not thrilled at all to have mono.  Especially in the summer!  But I am so thankful to know that there is at least some explanation as to why I have been feeling so bad, and to know that it's not "all in my head."  I had really been trying to limit my rest-- thinking maybe the extra rest and naps was making the problem worse.  Now I know that said rest is exactly what my body needs to conquer this.  That, and good nutrition and just good "take care of yourself" hygiene in general.  That's true for all of us.  Kara, thank you for your message about thyroid levels.  Even though that came back "normal" I will really keep an eye on that level, especially considering my family history.  Good point.

As I type this my carpets are getting cleaned and I could not be more happy.  We moved all the furniture into the hearth room-- our living room is totally bare!  It smells so clean up there!

On the journey,


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting a Grip

Welp, I am a counselor by profession, and a client by trade.  Part of why I believe in counseling is because the two times in my life that I have sought professional counseling I was helped tremendously.  (Not to mention the billion times I have sought counseling from professionals-- or not-- who are also friends and colleagues.) Like others in counseling, I helped myself, really.  I just needed someone neutral to help me see past my blinders, lay out the options, point out the inconsistencies, and help me get on track.  Life is not about the destination.  I'm certain that the fun, love, joy and growth comes on the journey.

I need a session.  I am an anxious wreck.  Though I have gotten a handle on most things anxious, my biggest fear is that something would happen to me or Dave or Dekker and that we wouldn't be able to grow old together.  It's a very real fear, isn't it?  In my job and in my life, I know many people who face this reality everyday.  I admire their strength.  They didn't ask for this journey!  I marvel at their strength to go on.  But I think it's fair to say that I'm speaking of a club no one asks to join.

So I had some bloodwork done yesterday.  When I took Dekker in for his 15 month appt I had a great talk with his doctor, who is a family practice doctor and a pediatrician.  I was telling her that I hate her office staff and that they make me want to "break up" with her... and about my re-occuring ear and throat infections this summer.  And I told her about my awful fatigue.  I told her, which is true, that the thought of getting up in the morning, getting myself and Dekker together, going to daycare, then work, working all day and doing paperwork and picking him up feels like too much to do most days.  I was so honest with her.  I told her that I feel totally lazy, and that I nap all the time and still sleep like 9 hours at night.  She told me that this is not normal.  And that if I didn't feel 100% better in two weeks to call her and that she would do some blood work.  Well, this weekend in Aurora I started a new symptom-- hot flashes-- and decided to call.  I was pretty sure that I had a low thyroid (great big family history) or was lazy.  The answer... neither.

The nurse called today and said everything came back normal... normal thyroid, liver function, kidney function, iron level, folate level... except that my white blood cell count is "quite low."  The nurse said this indicates a possible virus, and that if the more advanced mono test they did that hasn't come back yet is negative, they will want to do more blood work and "really watch this blood count."

Well on one hand I think I'll take a justified nap today and pat myself on the back that I am in fact not just a super lazy woman.  On the other hand I am terrified.  I hung up the phone and started sobbing.  "What if it's cancer?"  Dave was in the kitchen making lunch.  "What if I die and don't get to watch Dekker grow up?"  Dave was kinda shocked, but not too much because he's lived with me for 5+ years now.  He gave me a hug and said that a low white blood count does not mean cancer. ( "How do you know, Doctor Dave???")  He encouraged me to talk to our "private PA", Suzanne and get educated on what a low white blood count means FOR REALS before jumping off this cliff.

Nearly a total wreck, I finally just said what (else) I was upset about. "Someone once read my palm at the hospital and said I would go through a hard time in my late 20's or early 30's with my health but that I would get through it."  Dave asked, "A patient?"  My response, "Yes."  "So a patient at a psychiatric hospital read your palm and you are concerned that it is going to come true?"  "Yes."  Dave lost credibility not at the psychiatric hospital-- most of my patients were totally normal, wonderful, courageous people who were getting over a hurdle in life-- but at the palm reading.  He pointed out how outrageous this sounds.  And that I am an educated, faith-filled woman who is totally losing it over a palm reading.  And a low white blood count.

I decided to get a grip.  I prayed that God would take care of me no matter what.  And that He knows the future and what is going to happen, and that He has gone there before me.  And that no amount of my worry or tears can change the future.  And that I need to TRUST that God is who He says He is.  And that if the unthinkable happens God will be there, too.  And I thanked him for a reminder that life is fragile and to enjoy EVERY minute. I thought of my clients, both current and future, who would be struggling with their own anxiety and told myself to remember how uncomfortable this feels.

Please excuse me that this prayer and self awareness happened while cuddling my pre-nap baby, crying into his fresh haircut while intermittently singing "If You Say Go."

I guess I still have a ways to go with the whole "Get a Grip" thing.

Suz is coming over today.  She has no idea what she's getting herself into (A Hot Mess!).  Maybe some "education" and prayer will help me feel better!

On the Journey,


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Writers Block

My friend Tori once wrote that the only way to get past writers block is to... write.  So get ready for a few random thoughts as I try to get back into the habit of... blogging.

* As I type Dave is researching P90X.  I am eating frosted animal crackers watching my friend Anderson Cooper.  It's safe to say that my head wants serious workouts and a super sculpted body but I can't get the rest of my body to agree.  Especially my hands and mouth.

* I am getting Dekker's hair cut tomorrow, hair cut #2.  I texted his awesome hair lady and asked if I could get my eyebrows done.  I can't get Yon (the lady who normally threads my eyebrows) to message me back.  She said yes and my unibrow has never been so thankful.

* I had one client today, who canceled.  I took the opportunity to get groceries and bought some Greek yogurt that is STACKED with protein.  I'm hoping that with some frozen blueberries might help curb my daily hunger and still taste reasonable.  I also bought said frosted animal crackers and then some cinnamon rolls jumped into my cart.  (Dangerous Place)

* I spent Saturday-Monday with my folks in Aurora.  Dave stayed behind to work on the basement office.  Can I just say that my folks could not be more cute?  At one point they very literally were pretend arguing about who got to be the "special one" and give Dekker an (unfrosted) animal cracker.  I could not stop smiling.

* Can I also just say that Dekker is such a fantastic gift in my life.  What a joy!  He now claps for himself when he does something he perceives as good.  Like putting a toy in the toybox or a lego back in the lego sack.  I love to see him clapping for himself.  He really gets "positive reinforcement" and I am so thrilled.  I thank our daycare friend, Leigh for this, too.  She is Fantastic.  Dekker is saying more words, and said "Grpa" this weekend for the first time.  Makes my heart melt.

* Our basement office is really coming along.  I am so proud of Dave.  What a guy!  I love how he reads and researches and just digs right in.  Awesome.

* More Irons on the Fire: Carpets cleaned Thursday by our friends at Legacy (move all furniture before then... ug), find someone to wash and stain the deck, order windows for basement, get an estimate for a deep cleaning of this house, get estimate to clean vents in house.

* I just saw an awesome commercial for "once in a lifetime deals" at Sandals. The economy is so bad I don't doubt it.  We want to go to Costa Rica in January.  We picked that location because it is still super super hot there then.

* Last night I was researching deck people on Craigslist and clicked on the therapeutic services link.  Big Mistake.  Let's just say they were not counselors...

* Can I just say that I love my brother.  We texted some today and I just laughed out loud.  He is hilarious.

Okay... I'm trying to get this writers block to get better!



Monday, July 19, 2010

Mile High City

We just had a fantastic trip to Denver last week and as I type this I can't believe that a week ago today we were driving out there.  As many of you know, we went to celebrate my friend Beth's 27th birthday.  So Beth and I went, along with our friend Lindsay.  We picked up another friend, Niki in Grand Island.  She rode out with us and spent Tuesday with a college friend.  Niki lives and teaches in Dallas and was spending a month with her folks this summer.  It was great to have another girl to spend the windshield time with.

I love traveling with my friend Beth because we were cut from the same fabric.  I don't have a sister and she doesn't either.  So for several years now we have called each other "sis".  (Although I think we might even get along better than most sisters I know.)  Now, through the gift of marriage, I have three sister-in-laws, who I adore.  But that hasn't changed the special connection I feel to my Sis, Beth.  When we travel, sometimes we are in a hurry and we travel accordingly.  And sometimes we're in no hurry.  That was certainly how Monday was.  Good thing, too, because our "birthday lunch" stop at her folks in Kearney ended up lasting 2.5 (lovely) hours.  It was a delicious meal and fabulous birthday cookie.  A great start to the weekend.

We made it into Denver in time for dinner.  We asked our hotel hostess for a good Italian restaurant and she clued us into a great Italian place right down the street.  It was fantastic.  We had all asked around for good restaurants in Denver and this was on none of our lists, but it couldn't have been a more perfect fit.  In fact, all weekend things just kept falling into place.  Beth and I split a plate of pasta with white sauce and Lobster.  It was so good!

Tuesday we somehow came to the knowledge that the Lilith Fair music festival did not start until 2PM and we knew we didn't have to be there when the gates opened up.  So after a great trip West and fantastic dinner out, we had a lovely morning in the hotel pool (which may or may not have included alcohol at 10AM).  Later, we got showered up and headed to the mall just across the street for a great lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  The mall was swanky and gorgeous, super high end.  We enjoyed the Gap and Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel.  So lovely!  We headed down to the "Fiddlers Green" around 4:30.

This is a picture of us just before lunch.  I think I look genuinely happy, which I was:

The concert was full of fantastic music and people watching.  I found a few things interesting.  To begin, the concert was a celebration of women artists.  As it would be, this attracted a lot of women attenders.  In fact, I would say about 99% of the audience was women, save a few very dedicated husbands and boyfriends.  The absence of a lot of men = the loss of a lot of competition and worry.  That was fascinating.  Suddenly, we weren't worried about shaving our legs ("Who do we have to impress?") or if our skirt made us look fat, or pregnant.  (Which I am not).  There was a large homosexual showing, which was also a bit of a people watching experience for the three of us largely conservative and sheltered women.  In the end, I'm not sure if it would have been so worry free had we been trying to impress other women or if we were more "local" and might have ran into people we knew.  Nevertheless, we were in "who cares?" heaven, not worrying about if we had sweat through our dress, or if our make-up wore off, or if the way I was laying made me look fat, and we devoured a huge pizza.

The music was great.  There was a gorgeous sunset and it was almost chilly.  We had great company and truly felt blessed.

So I am writing this post during naptime and I kinda want to go lay down myself.  But I just can not end without telling you the end to this story.  The beginning was great, the middle was great, and the end was stinkin fantastic, too.

We left Denver in great time Wednesday.  We got to Kearney and switched cars with Beth's mom.  We had enjoyed her CRV for the trip while Beth's car got some repair work done.  We dropped off Niki in Grand Island... and her dad said we would run into weather, which we said "oh well" to.  Well, between Aurora and York on I-80 we started to realize that the storm brewing was major.  We called Lindsay's dad, who suggested we "ride the storm out" in York.  We called Dave and he agreed.  He sent us this picture of the radar at the time:

Since we had been eating way too much all week, we opted out of a leisurely dinner and decided to walk around Wal-Mart instead.  The storm on the tin building was so loud.  We ate Tums out of the container before even buying them.  We checked our blood pressure and learned about the arches on our feet.  We tried on new shoes.  We laughed until we almost, well, you know.

Sure enough, within an hour the storm passed and we headed out for a rainy final 120 miles.  We made it home.  And even though I wanted to be home so bad, and see my husband and squeeze my boy and sleep in my bed, I was still sad that the trip was over.

The trip that started blissfully with donuts and coffee and birthday lunch and cookie, ended with laughter and a beautiful sunset and a breath-taking double, full rainbow.  God. Is. Good.

And the same husband that encouraged me to "go have fun" was waiting for me when I got home.   Here is the picture text I sent him.  If a picture speaks a thousand words this one starts with, "I am having a ball.  But my thoughts are never far from you.  I love you."

On the journey,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Reading

While I organize my photos from a fantastic girls trip to Denver Monday-Wednesday, I thought to give you all some "reading material".

Here are a few of my favorite blogs:

This blog got me turned on to blogging about life with kids.  Her name is Amanda and her mom happens to be Beth Moore.  Check out her blog here.  Her post about the Bachelor was particularly interesting.

While following Amanda's blog and I found this blog, which is hysterical most days and super thought provoking, particularly regarding adoption.  Check it out here.

I have encouraged you all to read David's sister's blog here.  I love reading about her five kids and her incredible attitude to choose love.

My friend Kara is another example of having a great attitude in spite of very difficult life circumstances.  Check out her blog.

My friend Susan is writing a great blog about the experience of being a new mom and new doctor through the first year of residency.  Check it out here.

Laugh your head off with Jenny's blog here.

My friend (Dr.) Amy Hanson has a great professional website and blog about her passion, older adults and ministry.  I really appreciate all she has to say.  Check it out.  Amy has a new book which was recently released, too.  So cool!

Our friend Cari writes a cool foodie blog.

Her husband Jake has a great blog, too.

I really appreciate all that this woman, a Registered Dietitian, has to say in her nutrition and family blog.  Her post on forbidden foods really got my attention.

Aanna has a fun blog, too!  She is the Children's Pastor at Stonebridge.

Be inspired by my friend Katie's blog.  She is literally counting her blessings.  Her daughter also just got baptized and she has some beautiful pics.

I love to read Beth Moore's ministry blog.

Do you watch Deadliest Catch?  They just aired Captain Phil's "final episode."  The Discovery Channel has a blog, too.

Enjoy the pics that my sweet cousin Melanie takes for her blog.

My friend and former CSF Women's Minister, Jenny, has a fun, weekly blog here.

Welp, this should be more than enough reading material.  If you have a favorite blog that you like to read post it in the comments section for the rest of us!  Did I forget your blog?  It was not on purpose!  Post it in the comments section, too!

On the journey,


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Super Saturday

Random Saturday afternoon thoughts:

* I am afraid Dekker is going to get sick while I am in Denver with Beth and Lindsay.

* Back Up: I am going to Denver Mon-Wed with Beth and Lindsay.  It's a special birthday trip for Beth.  We're going to the Lilith Fair on Tuesday.

* And... I feel like Dekker is getting sick (again!).  He's coughing and has a clear runny nose and is a little fussy and isn't napping.  Dave assures me that if he gets sick he will get to the doctor and take the day(s) off work.  He's a good daddy.

* Today Dekker got up at 6:50.  I was a little annoyed but I figured that would mean a pretty good nap.  No sir.  He went down at 12:00 and was up at 1:00.  After three additional tries he is finally down again.

* I had donuts for breakfast today for the third Saturday in a row.  Somebody stop me.

* I recently bought a water play mat (never used) at a garage sale for $5.  I looked it up and it retails for $23 plus shipping-- I do love that company.  Today I hauled myself in a swim bottom and skirt, and Dekker in a swim diaper and swim suit outside to the swim mat where he proceed to scream, yell and beg me to pick him up.  I kept thinking, "I am not wasting a swim diaper on this."  Then, he bit me.  You read that right.  Just as I picked him up, soaking myself, Dave grabbed the mat and announced, "I don't really like this thing" (it is a huge water waste).  Welp, time to go inside (she said with a locked jaw).

* Dekker also refused to eat his peach today.  Just as I was about to eat it myself I put it in a container for later.  I don't need it peeled and chopped, after all.  All that work just to eat it myself.  No thanks.

* I set out to make some puppy chow.  Because this is what healthy people do.  It's healthy physically (hahaha) and mentally (hahaha).  I plan to take it to Denver.  And then I figured that while my kitchen is a mess and all the ingredients were out-- and while Dekker was sliding around the floor with the Gulf baking Wax that he had somehow gotten to and gotten out-- that I would make a second batch and put it in the freezer for small group.  Which I did, but I think I might have gone overboard with the powdered sugar.  PTL it wasn't flour.  I've made that mistake before.

* We started the process of finishing an office in the basement.  After two years of working at home we decided that Dave didn't need to freeze through another winter.  Though I adore watching him go to work in a hoodie, pulled up over his head/ears, and lined windpants and the occasional pair of gloves :)... it's time that the man make his living in a little more comfort.  Heaven help me that our marriage survives the hammering and late nights and agendas going separate directions and the finances.  It should be fairly painless actually, and I trust Dave will do just great, and it will be a great start to finishing the basement.  So I'm in.  For today anyway.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Flower Power

Before... and After

Just a few other flower pots around the house... PTL for all the rain we've gotten!

This was is on the deck.  I was really worried about it for awhile.  In fact, I thought most of it died, but I think the rain resurrected it!

Begonias out front.  I love the red flowers in the red pot.

This is a hanging planter under the deck.  It is doing "so-so."

On the journey,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Week In Pictures

Well, first things first.  We had a terrific weekend in McCook.  We got into town Friday night in time to put Dekker to bed.  My friend Amanda and her husband, Aaron came to my Aunt's house where we stayed and we sat and visited late into the night (or morning).  Dave had been up since 5:00 that morning and we were exhausted by the time we went to bed-- and so grateful to catch up with our friends.  Saturday morning Dekker did not get the memo that we were sleeping in and was up at 6:45.  We had a great morning around my aunts, a mediocre nap time, and a great play date at Amanda's with her four kiddos and Jennifer and her son.  Saturday night was the reunion-- it was hot and a lot of people weren't there-- but it was great to see those who were.

My Aunt has a beautiful staircase in her house.  We had gate at the stairway and a close eye on Dekker for just this reason...

Oh my heart!  My worst fear would be him falling through that!

Here are a few pics from Saturday night at the marina.  Happy 10 year reunion Bison class of 2000.  These are a few of the girls who were there...