Thursday, September 24, 2009

The hole in my heart

I have long known about a hole that exists in my heart.

Lately it seems that it has been growing larger and larger.

Not long ago I wrote about the suffocating feeling I have been getting in my own house, from all the stuff I haven't accomplished.

And that is all it is. Stuff.

I am constantly looking around me, seeing everything that is missing. And trying to fill that hole in my heart with stuff. Organization, internet, task completion, being something that I'm probably not.

When deep down, in that heart of mine, I know there is only one thing that can fill the hole.


I have a God-shaped hole in my heart.

This is something I know to be true, yet I still find myself falling away, crawling back, and falling away yet again.

I'd like to think that I am crawling my way back right now. I know that I can never truly be fulfilled, even if I organize my house in every possible way, even if I own every nice thing I can possibly get my hands on, even if everything happened perfectly the way I planned it to.

The only way I will ever truly be fulfilled is by walking the path of my life with God in my heart, by my side, and possibly carrying me along the way.

Friends, I have a long way to go. Thanks for being there with me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

oh, I'm in trouble!

my job has officially gotten 2x's harder...

look who else is crawling!

She also surprised herself today when she pulled herself up to her knees!!


My husband has been talking about wanting to make cuban sandwiches for the LOoOooOOoongest time. Ever since I discovered my love for cooking with a crock pot and started making this really yummy pulled pork recipe I found in the book that came with one of the crock pots we have. (I'm pretty sure that qualifies as a run-on-sentence)

Anyway, I have no idea what exactly makes a "cuban sandwich" a "cuban sandwich", so I referenced the almighty google to find a recipe for preparing the pulled pork that goes in it. And I still don't know what makes a "cuban" a "cuban."

But what I did do was go WAAAaaaAaaAAy out of my comfort zone. I found about 3 recipes online for cuban pork, but I didn't have the right ingredients for any one recipe. Well, if you remember back when I first discovered my love for cooking with a crock pot, I mentioned that I have a VERY hard time deviating from a recipe. You tell me 1 cup, by gosh, I'm gonna put in 1 cup. You tell me butter - there is no way I'm using margarine, unless of course it says one or the other.

But gosh darn I was planning to do the cuban sandwiches on Monday, and there was no way I'd be able to make it to the store. So my only option was to make it up as I went. Wow, was it hard to step out of my shell on that one. But I just pulled the flavors out of each recipe based on what I had in my kitchen and attempted to make cuban-flavored pulled pork. I had convinced myself it was going to taste disgusting, but in the odd chance it actually tasted good, I wrote it all down...

So I thought I'd share.

4-ish lbs pork shoulder, fat trimmed off
1/2 onion chopped in large chunks
2 cloves of garlic (peeled, but thrown in whole - and from what I have learned about garlic, you want to make sure you take the whole cloves out before you eat, but I couldn't find them - I guess they disintegrated into the meat??)
1 tsp jamaican jerk seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple juice
sprinkles of sea salt
1 cup-ish of bbq sauce

I put this in my 6 qt crock pot, but it probably would have fit in my 4 qt. I put the onions on the bottom, the meat on top of that, rubbed all the dry ingredients all over the meat, then poured the juices in. I had no idea how long it should cook for so I put it on high for about an hour, then I remembered Dan saying something about using sea salt, so that's about the time I remembered to sprinkle a little on top of everything. Then I turned it to low and it was there for about 4 more hours. One of the recipes mentioned putting some bbq sauce in towards the end, so I went ahead and put 1 cup of Montgomery Inn bbq sauce in, shredded the meat, and kept cooking for another 30 minutes or so. I never know how long to cook things for, and it always seems like my crock pots cook faster than any of the recipes call for, but I guess this was in for a total of 5-1/2 hours.

I was very happy with how this turned out. Very surprised, I must say. It's not like it was drop-dead, holy cow, yummy - but it was good!

And I'm certainly not posting the "recipe" so you can run out and make it as soon as possible. My goal is to hopefully inspire any of you who read this to try and think outside the recipe. I never thought in a million years I'd actually do it, but I did! And don't get me wrong, I still probably won't venture outside of tried and true recipes too much, but hey, I did it!

So I guess what I am saying is, if I can do it, so can you!!!!!!!

Oh, and before I forget, the way we ate the meat:

We threw it on a bun with a couple slices of ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. As far as Dan knows, THAT is how you make a cuban sandwich!

And let me say, that WAS drop-dead, holy cow, yummy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom, I wish it didn't take me having my own children to appreciate you as much as I now do. I love you, and I hope today is special - I can't wait to celebrate in person!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

oh the ringing...

I realized that after I initially talked about that pesky ringing-in-my-ears, I never actually posted an update on what's been going on.

I did get tubes put in both ears. It was like the volume immediately was turned up... I could even hear background noises... it was very odd.

The good news is the tubes relieved the awful pressure in my head, and it stopped the constant feeling of needing to pop my ears.

The bad news is the tubes turned the volume up on everything, including the ringing.

So, the next course of action was to try a medication that is supposed to dry out my head. The doc had brought this medication up during my first visit, however, since at the time I was still getting up in the middle of the night with the girls, it was not ideal since this medication can cause grogginess - especially if I wasn't getting a full nights sleep.

The meds are actually a low-dose form of an anti-depressant, which I thought was strange. So did the pharmacist. When he was explaining the how's/what's/why's he asked something that prompted me to answer with "it's being used to treat ringing in my ears." He looked at me funny. I looked at him funny.

Can you guess what another side effect of this medication is?

Ringing in the ears.



Just what I need.

Anyway, I've been taking the meds for about a month and I have seen heard no change.

But I get to go back for another MRI to see if the swelling in the bones behind my ears has gone down at all. Oh yeah, had I mentioned they found inflammation in the bones during my first MRI?

I don't know if you can tell, but I'm a touch frustrated. I've said over and over that in the very few chances where I actually get peace and quiet - I actually want it to be QUIET! There is a real possibility the ringing may never go away, and that just doesn't seem right.

For now I just do my best to ignore it and focus on other things...

(like keeping my munchkins from getting swallowed by a big stick-like whale!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've been hemming and hawing about what to do for my 100th post... and here it is Thursday already... I'm sure my Mom is craving her grandkid fix, so here goes - what better material to have for my 100th post than this:

If you're happy and you know it...

If you're happy and you know it...

If you're happy and you know it shout...

If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it, if you're happy and you know it, do all three!!

Clap your hands; *clap* *clap*,
and stomp your feet *stomp* *stomp*,
and shout hooray,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My favorite things...

My favorite thing about Evan is his tender heart - for 3 years old, he is wonderful at sharing (he often will give me his last fruit snack, just out of the blue!) - and when his sisters are crying and upset, he will run and get his blanket to comfort them.

My favorite thing about Avery is her smile - her entire face smiles, her eyes, her cheeks, her nose, her everything!

My favorite thing about Brynn is her laugh - she giggles and laughs at everything, especially her brother!

I guess you could say I have a lot of favorites.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

She never saw it coming...

Avery & Brynn are a constant source of entertainment.

I love to watch how their interactions with each other have been evolving.

It keeps me in stitches.

Avery has been working on pulling herself up.

And she will practice on anything.

Even Brynn.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the Mommy Brain

I have been very frustrated with my Mommy Brain lately. This morning I threw a load of laundry in the washer only to realize after half of it was in and already wet, that it was the clean laundry I just pulled out of the dryer.

I have been so unfocused, and extremely distracted lately. I know it comes with the territory of having three little ones to run around after - but I'm recognizing that my lack of focus is the reason I have been so frustrated lately.

I am a task completer. Always have been. I think just about anyone who has worked with me in the past probably knows this. I have a really hard time even starting on anything if I don't think I will be able to complete it.

Kind of a silly example, but the only one I can come up with right now, emails; I will open an email, skim it, get interrupted, mark the email as unread thinking I will get back to it, then forget to. (sorry if you are one that I have done this to, by the way)

I am very process oriented. Everything I do, I have a specific way I do it. Folding towels for example, depending on what towel it is, I have a certain way I fold it. Emptying the dishwasher. I do it the SAME way EVERY time.

Unless I get interrupted.

Which I do.

A Lot.

When I am interrupted doing just about anything, by the time I return to whatever it is, I usually do it "wrong," or there is something that doesn't go "quite right."

Oh yeah, have I mentioned I'm a bit of a perfectionist too?

So it frustrates me when things "don't go as planned." ie: re-washing the same stuff I JUST GOT FINISHED WASHING!

Then I look around my house and see how disorganized it is, and it's suffocating.

I 100% realize that I need to LET IT GO! I think that is partly why I am writing this as a blog post. Mostly it's a bit of cheap therapy. Partly it's a way to get my friends and family who read my blog to support me in finding ways to LET IT GO or get more focused!

It's even more important because I have started losing sleep over this. For the past week when I go to bed, I just lay there with my eyes wide open unable to wind down and forget about everything that I haven't gotten done. One night I finally gave in and just got out of bed and spent a half an hour writing down everything that was on my mind, in list format.

I asked Dan if I could have the house to myself for a day. He looked at me like I was crazy. Can you imagine how much I could do if I had no interruptions? Oh, I'd be in heaven!

I just re-read what I wrote and I realize that maybe I am not prioritizing very well. But one thing to consider, is that I have never had an opportunity to organize my house after moving in last fall! One week after we moved into this house I was put on bedrest. Couldn't do it then! And obviously, since the girls were born in February, things have been a little hectic around here, and I've never had a solid chunk of time to work on finding a place for everything! We still have quite a few boxes that have remained unpacked, which maybe explains my 'suffocation' feeling a little better?

Ugh - like I said, cheap therapy. I feel better getting all that off my chest!

Now, I really should put the computer away and get to my list!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The thing about cooking

Every time I try a new recipe, I am reminded why it took me so long to try cooking foods that don't come in a box.

I just have to say, I am quite proud of myself for trying so many new recipes lately, but it has been an uphill road for me. Ya know, figuring out how to use garlic and all, not having any idea that rice bubbles...

Sure I could get instant rice, and garlic in a jar... but where is the fun in that? Plus, it's more expensive...

So what I have figured out is that cooking can be confusing. There is really no standardization between a recipe and the grocery store. An example of what I mean; the new recipe that is in my crockpot right now called for 3 cooking apples. What the heck is a cooking apple? When I went to the grocery store in search of cooking apples, lo and behold, I didn't find any signs that said "cooking apples." It's Fuji, granny smith, braeburn, etc... I guess if you cook, you should just know what a cooking apple is.

A long time ago I tried to make something with green onions... Well, if you know what a green onion is, then you know they are not stored with all the other onions, and they don't look anything like what I knew at the time an onion looked like. So, do you think I actually bought green onions? Oh, HECK NO! That is probably what discouraged me from trying anything else new for a while... hmm, it's all making sense now...

And a few months ago I had to find tomatillos for a recipe I wanted to try.

Any ideas of what those are?

Fortunately the recipe I found was from the Crockpot Lady, and she takes pictures of all her ingredients - and I LOVE her for that! So I head to my local grocery store looking for tomatillos, not having any idea of what they are, and really not expecting to actually find them (we don't have a real big selection in our town). Of course, not there.

The next time we were in Cedar Rapids I stopped at a grocery store in hopes of finding some there. I had at least seen a picture of what a tomatillo looks like, so I started looking all around the produce section not finding it. But I did find a book that has every type of produce known to man (Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but what do I know?) But really, on a side note - did you know your produce section has a book? Even in our po-dunk town they have one. I had just never seen it before until I actually needed it. And then it magically appeared, kind of like the room of requirement in Harry Potter. Whoa, big tangent... Anyway, I flipped through every single page looking for a tomatillo and I finally came across the information.

Can you guess what family they are in?


Duh. It makes sense now. Tomatillos are little Mexican green tomatoes, imagine that, it was a Mexican dish I was trying to make. So, despite the green onion debacle, I looked in the area where they had the tomatoes and I was about to give up when I couldn't see any, until I looked down and found a little tiny shelf below all the tomatoes that had what looked to me like the tomatillos looked like in the picture. I don't remember what the sign said they were, but it wasn't listed as a tomatillo. I took my chances anyway.

Moral of this longer than I expected it to be story?

Kuddos to any of you who have no idea how to cook, but take chances anyway. That, and I really hope despite not finding "cooking apples," that our dinner tonight tastes good anyway.

Oh, and if such thing as a cooking apple exists - please tell me what it is, I really want to know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Perfect" Night

If I believed that as humans we could attain perfection, I would probably nominate our last Saturday night. It's been a bit chilly here, so we figured it would be a great time to light a fire and roast some marshmallows. We let Evan stay up a little later so he could join us and have his first smores!

Just an awesome night !

FYI - I played around with these photos at Great photo editing website!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Go Cyclones!

Here We Go Cyclones, Here We Go!

We have successfully gotten our children excited to cheer for the right team!

First (football) game is in TWO days! The BIG game is next Saturday, already!!! For those of you from Iowa, that should make sense - if you are not, you probably have no idea what I am talking about.

Either way, I posted a poll on my blog - be sure to vote! Just for fun, of course!

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