Monday, October 29, 2007

Post-vacation grouchiness

We got back from our fun trip to Utah last night and I have spent the whole day feeling sorry for myself and being grouchy and tired. So to cheer myself up, I've decided to play the good news and bad news game--a game introduced by my good friend Leslie.

The good news is: We had a great time visiting family and friends while in Utah.

The bad news is: I've now got 10 piles of laundry to do and no motivation to do it--I'll blame it on my post-vacation depression.

The good news is: I missed the Primary program. (Sorry Leslie!)

The bad news is: I missed the Primary program. (Sorry again.)

The good news is: I lost the 5 pounds that I promised I would before I left on vacation.

The bad news is: I gained 3.5 pounds back by eating all the yummy vacation food. To Cafe Rio, my tummy thanks you. My thighs, however, blame you for making my jeans fit tighter.

The good news is: We got to see all of our immediate family who live in Utah plus all of our grandparents.

The bad news is: I spent half the trip feeling guilty for not spending more time with both sides of our family.

The good news is: I got to see the new IKEA.

The bad news is: See the previous bad news.

The good news is: We had the wildest, craziest princess party with my cousins' little girls.

The bad news is: Who knew that little girls could be so loud? I still have a headache.

The good news is: We got to meet my sister's new boyfriend and my brother's first girlfriend.

The bad news is: I think we embarrassed the heck out of both my brother and sister. Um . . . or maybe I should put that as one of the good things.

The good news is: Allison and Lindsay were SO good on the trip home.

The bad news is: It took over 16 hours to get home. We left at 9 am and didn't get home until 1 am this morning.

The good news is: I think Lindsay finally forgave me for chopping off part of her finger this morning.

The bad news is: I chopped off part of Lindsay's finger this morning while trying to cut her fingernails. I seriously thought she would need stitches. I spent all day feeling horrible.

The good news is: I get to go to bed now.

The bad news is: I don't know if I can find my bed under all the laundry.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm hungry.

I'm hungry right now, but it is too early to make lunch yet. So I thought I would post some recipes that we have tried and liked in the last two weeks.

Before I post these, I must explain that I am perhaps what you would call a "lazy foodie." I love to try new recipes and I love exotic sounding dishes, but I don't try them very often. Why? First of all, as we've seen before, making dinner with two young kids is an adventure. It is usually better to make something fast and easy rather than making something that takes 3 hours to create.

Second of all, gourmet dishes cost too much. We are on a limited budget right now, so the cheaper the better.

Last of all, Allison has to be the pickiest eater on the planet. I don't know where she gets it from. I'm not picky and Steve will eat anything that he can chew. (He once took a can of cream of mushroom soup concentrate to work and ate the soup cold straight from the can.)Anyway, as much as I'd like Allison to try Chicken Tikka Masala, I know she won't. If she could live on macaroni and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, she would.

So back to these recipes. These are easy and fast, and they taste kind of gourmet. So enjoy!

Phyllo bean burritos

2 cans black or pinto beans or refried beans
1/2 c. salsa
1 onion, chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 package frozen phyllo (filo) dough, thawed
cooking spray or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Smash beans with a fork until they reach the consistency of refried beans (or puree them in food processor). Mix in salsa, onions, and taco seasoning. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough on work surface, but keep unused dough covered with a damp cloth. Take one sheet of phyllo dough and either spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. (I tried both and I couldn't taste the difference.) Layer another sheet of dough on top of the first sheet and spray it with cooking spray. Then spoon bean mixture along one edge of the dough. Carefully roll up. Place burrito on a cookie sheet. Repeat until dough or beans are gone. Spray tops of burritos with cooking spray or brush a little olive oil on the tops of the finished burritos. Bake until the dough turns a golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Or just eat them plain like we do.

The second recipe is one I ripped off from Potbelly's Sandwich Works. It is DELICIOUS! Don't skip the homemade croutons--they are the best part. I don't have measurements, but it doesn't seem to matter. Just throw it together and enjoy!

Italian Salad

Romaine lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped
Cucumbers, sliced
Salami or ham, chopped
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Artichoke hearts (from a jar), chopped
Roasted red peppers(from a jar), chopped
Cheese, cubed or shredded
French or Italian bread (to make homemade croutons)
Olive oil
Italian salad dressing

Slice bread and brush slices with olive oil. Then chop bread into bite size pieces. Or you could chop the bread into bite size pieces and toss with the olive oil. Anyway, the point is get the olive oil onto the bread somehow. Place bread in a non-stick skillet and saute until bread pieces are golden brown. Sprinkle croutons with a little salt and pepper.

Toss lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, meats, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, cheese and croutons. Add Italian salad dressing to taste. Serve immediately.

Note: I used turkey pepperoni, ham, and fat-free Italian dressing to save on calories. I made up the calories I saved, however, by eating the homemade croutons by the handful. Seriously delicious.

Okay, now I can go eat lunch. Macaroni and cheese, anyone?


Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Many Faces of Lindsay

vo·cif·er·ate – to speak or cry out loudly or noisily; shout; bawl.

It occurred to me that perhaps I should designate a post solely to the posting of some pictures of Lindsay. Most of her aunts, uncles, and cousins have not met her yet, and I know Lindsay's grandparents always love pictures. So I present to you "The Many Faces of Lindsay."

The first picture is a reflection of Lindsay's true personality. She is a sweet baby, usually very happy and content.

She does have her moments though. It starts with just a hurt feeling.

Then a little whimper.

Then she starts to let you know that she is serious.

And then my sweet little angel begins her vociferation. Usually this means that my other little angel is involved somehow.

Finally, I thought I would show you how Lindsay spends time with her daddy. Now that's quality time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I love my lips . . .

Twenty points to anyone who can figure out where I got the name of this post. I thought I would lighten the mood around here a little by posting some interesting pictures that I've found on my camera recently.

We have been discussing our "Extreme Makeover" options around here. Allison thought that she'd like to see what she would look like with lip-plumping treatments.

She looked so good that I thought that I would try it too.

Steve wanted to see what he would look like with cheek implants.

Lindsay thinks we are all a little crazy. She is quite confidant in her own good looks.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Moving On

I don't know how to start this blog. I've had so many feelings and thoughts swirling around inside me today that I don't know how to begin. Today was our daughter's birthday. Elizabeth would have been four years old today.

When we lost Elizabeth, we felt surrounded by the love of our family and friends. So many of them seemed to know just the right thing to say and do to touch our hearts. We appreciated that love.

Steve's boss at the time, however, came to him one day and said, "I was sorry to hear that your baby died. Um. Well. You know, these things happen, and we move on." Then he turned around and walked away.

Steve was stunned. Surgeons are known for their lack of tact, but this seemed pretty insensitive. This conversation became a running joke between us--whenever something bad would happen, we would just say "these things happen, and we move on." As time has passed, I have come to see this conversation a little differently though.

Bad things DO happen to everyone. People lose their jobs, spouses get sick, children lose their way, and sometimes we lose the people that we love. These things happen, and the only way we can heal is to keep going, to move on. Some days it is excruciatingly painful to keep going, but we have to move forward with our lives.

Steve and I felt overwhelmed by the love of our Heavenly Father at the time of Elizabeth's birth and death. As I listened to the talk given by Elder Tenorio during the Sunday afternoon conference, I understood a little how he felt when his children died. The blessings of the temple are extremely comforting. Even though it was hard to lose our child and to be faced with the possibility that we might never have children, the concept of eternal families enabled us to move forward with our lives.

At the time that Elizabeth died, I didn't want the pain to go away. I thought that if I stopped hurting, that I would forget. I was wrong. As I have "moved on" the pain has lessened, but I have not forgotten our sweet baby. Today we talked to Allison for the first time about her sister Elizabeth. We showed her the baby blanket and Elizabeth's picture and we told her that she has a sister that lives with Heavenly Father. Steve even baked a cake for Elizabeth's birthday and we had a little party. I was amazed at how much Allison understood. She was excited to have another sister and kept talking about how she has two sisters--Lindsay and Elizabeth. It was one of the sweetest experiences I have ever had.

I have rambled for too long. The bottom line is that I AM happy. Our family is happy. I would not change the experiences that we have had and I am so grateful for our blessings.

Happy Birthday little one!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Blogging school

To whom it may concern:

I thought I would do a little tutorial for you on how to comment on the blog. I know it may seem a little intimidating to try something new, but you can do it. It is SO easy.

First, notice the bottom of this post there is something that says COMMENTS. Click on the comments section and it will bring up a new screen. Just type your comment in the "LEAVE A COMMENT" section. It doesn't have to be profound or funny. It doesn't even have to be nice--though I might cry a little if it is mean. What is most important is that you leave a comment! I love getting feedback.

Anyway, once you have typed your comment you have three ways of identifying yourself. First, if you have a Google email account or blog, you click on the circle next to GOOGLE/BLOGGER. Then you enter your email into the USER NAME space and your password in the PASSWORD space. Once that is done, just hit publish and your comment is on the way.

If you do not have a Google account, you can click on OTHER or ANONYMOUS. Use OTHER if you already have a web page that you are linked to. Enter your web page address and your name. If you do not have a web page, then include your name in the text of your comment and click on ANONYMOUS and the PUBLISH button when you are done.

See how easy it is. Okay Ellison family, there are NO MORE EXCUSES!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My new mission

I discovered my mission in life. Can you guess what it is?

"To be the best mother and wife," you say? "To be a useful, productive human being," you ask?

No. While those are worthwhile missions, my mission is much more important. My mission in life from here on out will be to convince people NOT to put carpet in their dining rooms.

I don't know who came up with the fantastic idea to put carpet in my dining area, but that person should be reprimanded. Severely.

So here are my 15 reasons why you should NEVER, EVER put carpet in a dining room.

1. Play dough
2. Spaghetti sauce
3. Chocolate ice cream
4. Chocolate pudding
5. The smell of Spot Shot
6. $80 cleaning bills
7. Macaroni and cheese
8. Macaroni and cheese after it has been digested and then puked up by a toddler
9. Finger paint
10. Kool Aid
11. Jello
12. Chili
13. Coffee (Okay, so I don't drink it, but if I did I'm sure I would have spilled some on that stupid carpet.)
14. Kids who think it's funny to throw food on the floor
15. Adults who can't seem to get through a meal without spilling something (i.e. Jamie)

I'm sorry if this is offensive to anyone who has put carpet under their dining table on purpose, but I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! We went to Home Depot this last week to look at replacing the floor in our kitchen and dining space. Unfortunately, it is going to have to wait for a while. (Especially now that we might have to replace the oven.)I guess I'll go call the carpet cleaners . . . that nasty, stinky Spot Shot just isn't cutting it!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Dinner adventures with the Gammons

Have you ever had a night like mine tonight?

I decided against going to the grocery store tonight and decided to get creative with what I had in the fridge. I turned the oven on and mixed everything together and popped it into the oven. I decided I had just enough time to feed Lindsay and pick up some of the mess Allison had made before my casserole was done.

I fed Lindsay and then put her down on the couch, intending to come back after grabbing something from the kitchen. I was distracted from my quest, however, by the smoke billowing from the oven. I opened the oven door, pulled the casserole out, and then tried to open all the doors and windows to prevent the smoke alarm from going off. I was not quick enough.

Meanwhile, Allison decided that it was time to go potty. She kept tugging on my leg saying, "Mommy, potty. Potty, mommy! MOMMY, POTTY!"

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, I heard a thump followed by a wail from the other room. Lindsay apparently decided that it would be an appropriate time to learn how to roll over. She doesn't have very good timing.

Eventually, I got everything and everyone calmed down. I scraped the blackened breadcrumbs off the top of my casserole. I fiddled with the oven long enough to realize that when I set it on bake, it turns on the broil setting instead. I guess I'm going to have to find someone who fixes ovens.

Sometimes making dinner is an adventure.