Friday, March 28, 2008

Again because of Sara

My darling Sara made up these little boxes with clothespin doll kits inside for the girls for Christmas. I had tucked them up in my craft closet thinking we would have a fun project for some day, and nearly forgot about them. Today, however, after making bread and brownies (from this recipe--Thank You, Lindsay!), we needed another project to distract us from how the snow had piled up outside all over again.
Here is how we started out! Can you see the cute boxes in the middle of the table? One says "Olivia's Tiny Princesses" and one says "Mimi's Tiny Princesses". So dang cute!! At this point, we were relatively organized and happy. (And modest, since it was before I had removed the shirts for the painting.) I wish I had taken a picture of how we ended up. Still deliriously happy, but with piles and paint and everything everywhere--exactly how a project with two preschoolers should end up. These are our finished dolls, including two that Sara made as samples for the kits.
These are Olivia's. She combed through not only the fabric Sara sent, but also all of my fabric scraps, looking for skirts. You can see she loves the leftovers from dress-ups. From the left, we have Rapunzel, Lolly, and Cloud Queen.
Cloud Queen again with Dancer and Tinkerbell (which Sara made as a sample to show us how to do it. Mimi's. She has Alina, Catalina, Sleeping Beauty (the sample made for Mimi--Sara knows Mimi well, doesn't she?), and two whose names I have forgotten.
What a fun, cold-day, stuck inside project for finishing out Spring Break. We are so happy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Viva Honduras!

This blog is John's travel log from Honduras, unfortunately blogged in my name.

This little fella across from the Gran Hotel La Esperanza must have been on Eastern European Standard Time. He'd start giving it his all at about 10pm and let up well after we left for the daily clinic site in the morning. He's been there all three years we've stayed at that hotel. There was talk of attempting to purchase him and having chicken for dinner one evening. One of the fellas has had his cell phone alarm set as a rooster for the past few years. As fate would have it his room had a nice big window overlooking the little roosters yard. In a desperate attempt to get a good nights sleep he put in earplugs, toilet paper on top, and taped it all down. So this pimped out short bus was our ride to the daily clinic sites. The driver was phenomenal and had a blast flying around honking on the semi truck style horn. I'd like to point out the flame decals on the side of the hood, the cool tint, and the Jesus decal on the side. It's also note worthy that the whole inside was pained a similar hue with bright psychedelic colors alternating on each of the different panels and curtains hanging on all the windows. I don't have a picture yet but at one point the road was so narrow that when another bus was coming the other way we scrapped tops when passing very slowly at an angle and people were pulling on a fence on the edge of the road to give a couple more inches. This is one of the clinic sites. We went to a different little town each day and set up shop in a local school. Each table is a clinic station with two or three people. One day there wasn't room in the school so half the clinic stations were outside. We had a general surgeon, internist, gastroenterologist, pediatric rheumatologist, nurse midwife, two pharmacists, a couple nurses, an attorney, a pharm student, 8 med students, 5 nurse practicioner students, and a handful of other non medical volunteers. All together we saw 1924 patients in the five days which is a record for the 10 years this trip has been going. Here I am draining an abscess with the surgeon Dr. Evans on an old womans foot where she had stepped on a nail. Unfortunately though we had some we forgot to get the tetanus shots out of the fridge before we left Toledo at 3am.This guy taught me about farming in Honduras while we checked him out . He complained of sore shoulders which many of the men do especially the older ones. The reason: starting at about 11 years old working the fields swinging a machete most of the day twelve hours a day every day until they're 65 and then coming to see me. Of course in the U.S. many would probably get referred to an orthopedic surgeon and get an MRI just to make sure there wasn't any kind of rotator cuff damage but in Honduras we do the best physical exam we can, and treat with some NSAIDs like Mobic or Ibuprofen.
Heres my dad and a couple of other volunteers. He had the coveted job of weighing, measuring, and taking temps on screaming kids. He shaved his beard because it scared the little kids last year. He put up with lots of urine, snot, and spit during the week we were there. To top it all off the last bus we traveled on didn't have anywhere for the luggage and 30 gringos have plenty of luggage. Our drivers tied it on the roof but it started to slide off after a few minutes. Pops hopped up on the roof and tied it all down WQ style and it stayed without problems for the rest of the 7 hour drive.

There are tons of little kids and a kid Liv's size would usually be responsible for one of the little ones as this photo shows. The following one or the same girls feet that I zoomed in on since they are what just about everyone's feet look like. Many of the kids don't have shoes or wear these junky plastic shoes or rubber boots (even though it's crazy hot).

This little guy was running around my dad and I's room our last night in Honduras up in Copan. The next day he joined me in the shower and eventually departed for the underworld via the drain.
It looks a lot like Utah there just a little different vegetation. We'll end with a scenery shot from one of the clinic sites.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

House Full O' Estrogen

I wish I could figure out how to scan in our ultrasound pictures, not that that would really help, since they are about as clear as midnight in a snowstorm, but both John and the ultrasound tech agreed that we were getting another girl. Poor John. My Uncle Jeff is a rancher with four daughters, and he's been calling himself a "bad bull" for years. (He did finally get his much-wanted son a month ago.) It's been fun to rib John about also being a "bad bull", but I fear that the teasing might just be too much for him this time.
This is a strange feeling for me. I always thought, growing up with six brothers, that I would have only boys. To have three girls is a crazy twist.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Go, Cougars!

I have to admit that I'm not precisely sure what a "nightspare" is, or why we would be cheering for one, but we have loads of enthusiasm in our house ever since we were given these pompoms--thank you, Matt and Lindsay. (The basic cheer itself, the "Cheer-uh, Cheer-uh, Goooooooo Nightspare" is Olivia's creation. I've been trying to gear it either toward the BYU Cougars or the Monticello Buckaroos.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Olivia's Artwork

This is the most recent portrait of Em drawn by Olivia. If you will notice, Cletus the Fetus is swimming happily next to her bellybutton. (Complete with long hair and a pillow for sleeping comfortably.) We will have an ultrasound next Tuesday to determine the gender of Cletus the Fetus. (Olivia is determined it will be a girl, and she will be named "Anna Snow White.")

Friday, March 21, 2008

And to illustrate my last post. . .

Wasn't John sweet to let me open the envelope?

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I am now an official Notre Dame fan! Yay for South Bend, Indiana. I have had this irrational, completely unexplainable love for South Bend ever since I found out there was such a place. (And sadly enough, I didn't know that Notre Dame was in Indiana until we moved to Toledo. It seemed like it would be an east coast kind of school for some reason.) So, I'm way excited. The other choices we had were all good, and it would have been lovely to be anywhere on the list, but I'm excited we matched with our #1 choice. Woo-hoo! I'm all smiles today!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I sent Olivia down to get a load of laundry out of the dryer this afternoon, and she immediately asked Mimi to help her. After seeing them out the apartment door with an enormous laundry basket, I decided that this was probably photo appropriate, and sent John after them to document their first solo excursion to the laundry room.
It looks like they got everything out safely. Then this is how Livi tells the story. "I was a tiny bit worried that all the clothes were going to fall out of the basket when I pulled it up the stairs, and so I told Mimi to hold the other side."
"Then I had a great idea. [Tune in, folks, her tone of voice indicates this is revolutionary.] I said, 'Mimi, if a cloe [singular of the plural "clothes"] falls out, you pick it up and put it back in.'"

Absolute genius. She was so incredibly proud of this "great idea" I didn't have the heart to tell her that someone else has probably thought it up before her, and it's almost certainly not patentable.

Monday, March 17, 2008


My dear, dear friend Sara is so kind as to be my vacation home whenever I need a break from Toledo. We go when John is on AHEC, we go when John is at conferences, and we go (with John) at Thanksgiving, and we've gone whenever John is in Honduras. This year was no exception. And, as a special bonus, this year the weather was delightful.
Joe, her hospitable husband, was raking up all the dead grass to fill in the gaps with new grass seed. It looked a thankless task, and I was grateful to not be the one to do it, but Mimi thought it looked like fun and wanted to help.Livi and Sara's Libby are only 6 weeks apart in age, and they are absolutely delightful friends. They can play all day long, entertaining each other and only occasionally tormenting the younger girls. Libby was showing Liv how to play T-ball. I don't think that athletic prowess is our real strong point. We'll work on our bat aim later.

Sara and I talked and laughed and cut up fruit for a Young Women's activity and walked in her mall (nicer, much nicer than Southwyck) and went fabric shopping (such a fun store we found) and cut out pieces to make darling outfits for the girls and sewed and talked some more and watched Psych. I'm so lucky to have such a delightful friend. (John had my camera out of the country, so these pictures are from Sara, too.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

John in Honduras

This is a video, narrated by Dr. Richard Paat, the leader of the expedition to Honduras that John has been on this last week. You can see John, in the background near the end of the video, teaching the people there how to use the water filters that are being provided.

Monday, March 10, 2008

123 Book Tag

Funny, easy little tag. I love books, and I was glad this one was the closest. (It's not as good as Kell's quote, but it's the best I've got.)

Here are the rules:
Find the book closest to you with at least 123 pages.
Turn to page 123
Find the fifth sentence
Post the next three sentences
Tag 5 people

"The door was opened by Bunter, who seemed to expect her and showed her at once into a sitting-room lined with bookshelves. There were some fine prints on the walls, an Aubusson carpet, a grand piano, a vast Chesterfield and a number of deep and cosy chairs, upholstered in brown leather. The curtains were drawn, a wood-fire blazed on the hearth, and before it stood a table, with a silver tea-service whose lovely lines were delightful to the eye."
From "Strong Poison" by Dorothy L. Sayers--my favorite of all mystery authors. Oh--my favorite. (Plus, I just love those British spellings--"cosy" anyone?) I recommend anything by her, except "The Floating Admiral" which was a combination affair with all sorts of mystery authors each contributing a chapter. Not a good idea, in my book (no pun intended).

Anyway, to tag 5 people. . . I've seen this all over, and I don't know who hasn't done it. Mags or Tris, April? Have you done this? Didn't I just tag you and wouldn't you like to just strangle me?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Would you rather. . .?

Two weeks ago, we were visiting the Borns and they pulled out a game I had never heard of. It's called Would you Rather, and it is tons of fun. I think there is a board of some kind, and certainly rules, but we ignored those and just went to the questions. Questions like: Would you rather have a hairline that began at your eyebrows and went up, or armpit hair that you couldn't trim or shave and grew down to your toes? Crazy questions.
My favorite, and the one that I've thought of ever day since was this one:

Would you rather have the theme music of your choice play whenever you were walking, or perfect mood lighting on you all the time?

I'd definitely go for the theme music. Of course the image that came to mind was me, strutting my way down the street with Stayin' Alive blasting. (The lyrics, "You can tell by the way I use my walk I'm a woman's man, no time to talk" are inappropriate on several levels, but the beat and the melody are absolutely the perfect walking music.) Or think about running after your children in a store with "Bumble Boogie" buzzing. Or stalking angrily down the hall to yell at someone and Darth Vader's theme drumming. Dum-dum-dum-dumpty-dum-dumpty-dum. Wouldn't it be awesome? But, I can also see the advantages of mood lighting. So, what would YOU rather have? And if it's the theme music, share which music you envision.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wheat Bread

I've been asked for my wheat bread recipe by a couple friends, and I can never remember to e-mail it out, so I'm posting it here.I love this recipe because of two things:
1) No dairy in the dough, so it stays fresh-tasting for several days, even if just kept in the cupboard. If frozen, it lasts for much longer. (But we eat it quickly, so I don't know just how long it would last.
2) My sister-in-law told me about just kneading it in the mixer for 10 minutes instead of having it rise the first time in the bowl like most bread recipes. That was always the most irritating part of making bread for me because it dirtied another bowl, and it meant I had to keep track of it for just that one more step. If you don't have a bread machine, Bosch, or KitchenAid, you can use this recipe, and just let it rise once in a bowl before shaping it into loaves.

I have given the quantity that I make because it's as much as fits in my small KitchenAid. If you have a Bosch or larger KitchenAid, you can make a double batch and shape it into three loaves.

Annette's Wheat Bread (Makes 1 large and 1 small loaf)
2 cups hot water
4-1/2 -- 5-1/2 cups wheat flour*
2 tbsp. oil (canola)
1/4 - 1/2 cup honey or brown sugar**
1/4 cup wheat gluten***
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp yeast, I use instant****

Put all ingredients (but only 3 cups of the flour) into the mixer. (Tip: Put the oil into the measuring cup where you will measure your honey, and swirl it around before measuring the honey. Then the honey just slides into the bowl. Much less scraping.) Mix well. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough cleans off the sides of the bowl. Then mix, on a relatively low speed, for 10 more minutes. Shape immediately into loaves and let rise. (I let them rise on top of the oven while it preheats since the warmth helps them to rise faster.) Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes.

*If homeground, use all wheat flour. If storebought, use half-wheat, half-white.
**Use brown sugar if a baby under 12 months old will be eating this bread. I don't think the spores that are possibly found in honey are killed by 350 degree oven heat, so err on the side of caution.
***Gluten makes the dough stretchy so it rises better, and it adds protein. You can usually find it in the baking aisle of the grocery store.
****If you don't use instant yeast, you will have to bloom it in part of the water before adding it to the bread.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

More Emilee Trivia--for my fan club

I had nearly forgotten about being tagged by Shelly a couple (few?) weeks ago, but I'm going to fill this questionnaire out right now.

About Me

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:00. Thank you, Mimi, you slept through the night. What a lovely, lovely treat!
2. What do you usually have for breakfast? Whole wheat pancakes, apple-cinnamon muffins, or my favorite, cinnamon barley with vanilla yogurt and frozen berries. Delicious!!
3. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Embarrassing. I almost always listen to talk radio in the car. And at home, I like music for working or relaxing. Working--Abba Gold. Relaxing--John's Beethoven (Pastoral Symphony) with background wave noises.
4. What kind of car do you drive? Toyota Sienna, which I love, for the lovely sliding doors and far, faraway children. If it was just me, however, (and it's not, and this isn't part of the question), I would drive a Mini Cooper. I love those cute little cars. I would feel like I was in The Italian Job.5. Favorite sandwich? Grilled vegetable panini with fresh mozzarella and pesto. And tomatoes. Fresh garden tomatoes. This is making me hungry.
6. Favorite item of clothing? Maybe my interview shoes. I love those shoes. Or maybe this crazy, charcoal, boxy, too-short wool sweater with a stretched out neck and a wonky zipper that I seem to wear all the time. It is cozy. But should cozy be the defining characteristic of the clothes you wear in public? I submit that it should not.
7. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? London. I wanted to go to London with BYU Study Abroad, but was rejected because I was a math major (why should that be a problem?). Or Scotland. I had a well-traveled history teacher who said that Scotland was her very favorite, and it's held a fascination with me ever since. Or the Bahamas. There's certainly something to be said for warm weather.
8. What color is your bathroom? White. Ugly, ugly, apartment-standard, drippy-ceiling, crazy-textured white. I hate it.
9. Where would you retire? Monticello? New Zealand? Why retire? This question is beyond my perspective right now. I'm just looking forward to graduation.
10. Most memorable birthday? Maybe my golden birthday (17 on the 17th!) with pizza and friends down at Wagon Wheel. Or the time John put his own preferences aside and bought me crazy-colored clothes and theater tickets for my birthday. I love that boy!
11. Favorite sport to watch? Track meets. Just the running part. Not the waiting-in-between-races part. The quick sprint races are the most exciting. (Especially when my brother takes STATE!!)
12. Are you a morning person or a night person? Probably morning. I'm much more productive in the morning. And less grumpy. And more motivated. (Pretty much the definition of a morning person, eh? Why the hesitation? I don't know.)
13. What is your shoe size? 8-1/2-9
14. Pets? No.
15. What did you want to be when you were little? I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher. In college (does that count as little?), I had a brief flirtation with the idea of being an actuary.
16. What are you today? Domestic engineer--not a very good one.
17. What is your favorite candy? Oooh. . . Twix. Or Skittles.
18. Your favorite flower? Daffodils. Don't they just scream "Spring"?
19. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Match Day! It probably won't be much of a surprise, but March 20 is when we officially know where we will be going.
20. What are you listening to right now? John talking on the phone with his brother.
21. What is the last thing you ate? Leftover spring rolls from last night's dinner. Thank you, Brittani, for the recipe. Delicious.
22. Do you wish on stars? No.
23. What faith are you? I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. ("I know who I am. I know God's plan. Da-da-da-da-da-da" Sing along with me.)
24. Who was the last person you spoke with on the phone? My dad, asking advice about buying a home. Maybe the longest conversation we've had in a while. (Short and sweet, that's my dad.)
25. Hair Color? Brown
26. Name of your favorite school teacher? Ms. Barton, Mrs. Anderson (2nd grade--why did I like her so much?), Mr. Reeve, I'm sure I'm missing someone great. (Remind me, Monticello-ites.)
27. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla with chocolate accents. (Especially if we're talking cake. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my favorite.)
28. When was the last time you cried? I prefer not to talk about that.
29. What is under your bed? Scrapbook boxes, John's Eagle Scout flag, a rolled-up floor rug, humidifier, crafty box, folding chairs, food storage, port-a-crib, and suitcases. I don't know how we fit it all in, either.
30. What did you do last night? Made bread for the Primary Teacher Training today. John and I also watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the edited ClearPlay version--I love ClearPlay.).
31. Favorite smell? Lilacs. Definitely lilacs.
32. What are you afraid of? All my nightmares are about being chased through buildings and trying to hide my children. What kind of fear is that?
33. How many towns have you lived in? Chicago, Monticello, Provo, Alexandria, Toledo. Five.
34. Do you make friends easily? I don't know. I try to be friendly, and I try to mitigate whatever horrible first impression I make by apologizing profusely. I don't know if that helps or hinders.

Now, the last two times I was tagged, I made the horrible gaffe of not tagging anyone else. This must be remedied. I think the Toledo-ites have mostly done this (forgive me if I'm wrong), so I tag Mags, Kell, and Liz. Fill 'er out, girls. Fill 'er out.

Our Toledo Saturday

Our family recently came into a little money ($20--thanks, Mom), and so yesterday, we decided to live the high life. We traveled to. . . . . . . Venice! That's right. We found cheap roundtrip flights to Italy, there and back in one day. It was delightful.
Actually, we were trying to find things that were new and Toledoan, since we'll be leaving soon. We've already had Tony Packo's hot dogs, so we couldn't be quite that Toledo-centric (since part of the criteria for the day was new), but we'd heard great things about the pizza and gelato at Diaggio's (near Kohl's--on Airport Highway), and that's where we went. (Despite Mimi's fever. When you have a Saturday free, and the motivation to make use of it, you go. No matter what.)
The girls loved the fountain in the middle of the dining area and the murals on the walls.
We ordered calzones, the special of the day (delicious!), but consumed them so quickly we didn't have time to take a picture. (And it's a shame because they were lovely. Delicious and lovely.) Then we sampled almost every flavor of gelato before deciding on mascarpone with chocolate chips and key lime pie as our two choices. It's expensive (so worth it, but expensive), so we shared a medium among the four of us.
As we left the restaurant, Olivia said, "Man, that was a fun place. I loved that place." She repeated this mantra all the way to our next stop.

Then, on the advice of Alicia, we headed to the Toledo Firefighters' Museum. The bottom floor is so interesting with old fire trucks (even a man-powered truck that took 20 men to push) and an explanation of how fire alarms used to work. Fascinating. However, the hit of the afternoon was definitely the top floor. They have a room set up to be like a child's bedroom, and they simulate a fire, with smoke and everything. Some children pretend to be neighbors, one gets to dispatch the emergency call, and several are firefighters. Here is Olivia (or the top of her head) sliding down the firepole to the rescue.
Then she helped with the hose, to put out the fire in the wastebasket.
She's obviously very intense.
The glare on the glass wall of the bedroom makes it difficult to see inside, but the firefighters get to rescue the child's pets. (He has already been safely rescued through his window.)
Our battery ran out, so we didn't take pictures when we went back downstairs (plus, Mimi was drooping--really drooping), so you'll just have to believe me. When in Toledo, visit the firefighters' museum. (And buy some gelato.)