Friday, January 30, 2009

T! G! I! F!

I am so glad it's Friday and I am so ready for the weekend. It has been a long week with a cold and with a baby with a cold. Ugh!

I took a really long deep nap today and I had dreams about stuff that I have never seen with my own eyes and I am pretty sure don't even exist. It is so strange how our subconscious makes stuff up. I am sure that's how many an invention have come about though. Maybe my dreams were telling me something...

Yeah, probably not.

I don't really have many plans for the weekend. My gramps is driving up from north of Chicago and should arrive this evening so we will probably go out for dinner tonight. We may go to the community center water park on Saturday. Andy takes after Josh in the fin department so they will have a good time playing in the water together. On Sunday we are invited to my brother and sister-in-law's for a party to watch the Super Bowl. We'll go for a little while but since I have to be up before the sun we'll come home before the game is over.

Of course, these plans are subject to change. The weather could actually reach above freezing this weekend so I have to take advantage of that before we're back in the deep freeze for another three months at least. Remember, this is Minnesota. We don't really get warm before July. Although, when the temperature hits 40 to 50 degrees we are positively giddy and go around coatless. It actually elicits grins from those not usually inclined to grin. Ah, something to look forward to.

One more thing to add to this hodgepodge of a post...

This picture was taken on New Year's Eve. We were on the Minnehaha Light Rail to Downtown Minneapolis to see the Macy's Holiday display. We love riding the train!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Souper Saturday

Rachael Ray sent me an e-mail recently with a recipe for Pasta e Fagioli. Okay, so she sent the e-mail out to hundreds of thousands of people. Alright, she probably didn't even send out the e-mail herself but I like to think that if she would just get to know me we would be very good friends.
In fact, when she was here at the Mall of America a while ago, I was so excited to meet her. I carted both of my Rachael Ray cookbooks (I've since gotten more) to the book signing just to find out that I needed a wrist band. By the time I made it there after work they had been out of them for six hours and the people who had them had been waiting in line since that morning. Oh, such a sad day. I was severely dejected and seriously trying not to cry as I climbed the floors trying to catch a glimpse of Rachael. I've gotten over it but it's not a proud memory.
Someday I will meet her but until then I just have to pretend that she sends me her recipes in a gesture of friendship.

Pasta e Fagioli with Sausage


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling

1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot bulk Italian sausage, or links, casings discarded

1 large carrot, finely chopped

2 to 3 ribs celery from the heart, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs rosemary

3 to 4 sprigs thyme

Salt and pepper

One 32-ounce container
(4 cups) chicken broth

One 18-ounce can
cannellini beans

1 cup ditalini pasta

Grated pecorino-romano or parmigiano-reggiano cheese,
for serving

Crusty bread, for mopping


1. In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Crumble in the sausage and cook, stirring, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth, beans and 2 cups water, cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Stir in the ditalini, lower the heat and simmer until al dente. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary and thyme stems.
3. Serve the soup in bowls with a drizzle of EVOO and lots of cheese. Serve with bread for mopping.
Serves six.

This was really good for a cold winter night. We enjoyed it a lot and plan on making it again. Thanks Rach!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

On this day, the first day of your presidency, I am proud and excited to be an American citizen and a witness to history. Even though you did not receive my vote and I am sad to see former President Bush leave office, I will respect your position and I will pray for you.

As I have been watching the pomp and circumstance of today's ceremony, I pray that you do not allow celebrity to override your judgement and fame replace your good intentions but instead allow humility to guide your actions. I am aware that, in your sheer humanity, you will make mistakes and disappoint at times and so I pray that you have a humble heart before God and the world and that you diligently seek His will as you lead our nation.

Although there are those who resist change, I am cautiously optimistic that all can work together to fulfill your hopes for change. Please be aware that you cannot accomplish those goals on your own and make efforts to seek the advice of those who have gone before you. Just know that you have my support and my prayers as you take on the responsibility to protect and serve the people of America.

More thoughts...questions really...
As I was watching the inauguration processes today, the questions started when the ceremony was over and President Obama walked former President Bush to the helicopter. Former President Bush waved his last goodbye to the White House that had been his home and housed those closest to him for eight long years. I wondered what his thoughts were at that moment. Was he sad, happy? Was it a bittersweet feeling? Was he welcoming the time when his life would have some semblance of normalcy again?
What was President Obama thinking when he climbed halfway up the stairs to wave goodbye to the one who had taken him under his wing for the last two months? Was he excited for the adventure ahead of him? Nervous that he was on his own now? Thankful that he is no longer under the Bush Administration?
I guess I will never know what they were feeling and thinking. I can't even imagine how I would feel in either of their shoes or in the shoes of their wives. I have only recently become interested in politics so before this election I would learn just enough about the candidates to make a vote and not think twice about it. I have decided to become more educated about our democracy and in the process I have applied my own personal feelings to it. I have a lot more to learn but there are some things I will never know.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Karate Chop

Josh was promoted to Advanced Brown Belt at his Karate graduation today. I am so proud of him and hope that one day he will understand the dedication and motivation it took to get him to this point. And I'm just talking about me!

The next belt is the ultimate Black Belt and anybody who's seen Karate Kid once or eighty-five times knows that it is the highest ranking belt in Karate. And anybody who watched Karate Kid knows that it means his very body is a weapon. Now that I think about it, I don't think Josh has ever seen Karate Kid. I know it's on various cable channels once every couple of weeks so we should be able to watch it soon.

Anyway, it's taken us five years to advance to this level and it will probably take at least a year to achieve his Black Belt. So another year of kicking and screaming. Another year of whining and carrying on about having to go to class. But some year he will thank me for not letting him give up and for pushing him to finish what he started...I pray.

Josh is getting his new belt tied on by his school instructor.

We jokingly referred to this belt as the advanced "tan" belt since it seems to be a much lighter shade than the usual brown. We'll take it though!

We celebrated Josh's success with lunch at the best place on earth. I was going to post a picture of my plate of goodness but I forgot to take one. It's safe to say I pretty much had a one-track mind at that point.

Congratulations Josh! I love you and I am so very proud of you!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Cold Day

So how did we spend another bone-chilling cold day?
We spent it at Treasure Island Resort and Casino!
First we had lunch at the buffet (and when I say buffet I mean the largest buffet known to man). After stuffing ourselves silly, we went to play a friendly game of bowling to burn off the several thousand calories we just consumed.

Andy doesn't weigh much more than the bowling ball.

Josh's form is so bowler-pro!

I'm sure this is a shot of Chris getting one of many strikes. He's too good!

Truth be told, I posed for this picture. It didn't turn out as cute as I was hoping. I kinda look like I am about to roll down the lane along with my ball. How unfortunate.

If you will notice, the highest score happens to be after my name and since this is my blog I get to post the one game of three that I won. Just to be fair, we rolled some granny balls. Josh rolled the most and Chris tried a few but I still won and that's what matters.

This morning was even colder than yesterday morning but it warmed up quite nice today. The mercury even rose above zero just a little bit. Believe it or not, it truly felt warmer. As we say here in the frozen tundra, "Only in Minnesota". OK, maybe I'm the only one that says that but I'm almost positive others have muttered the same sentiment.

The deep freeze is over and a heat wave is headed our way. Next week should be in the 30s so maybe I will join a friend of mine who is thinking about planting her bikini-clad body on our local beach to soak up some sun.

Or maybe not.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


And not in a good way. 

In the way that school has been canceled for fear that our children's noses will freeze and fall off their faces in a matter of minutes as they wait for the bus to pick them up. 

In the way that the our car doors are frozen shut and you have to use a blow dryer and extension cord to thaw them out. 

In the way that as soon as you put away the blow dryer and the extension cord that you used to thaw them out they are frozen again. 

In the way that your nostrils freeze together and your lungs become glaciers in your chest with your first frigid breath.

In the way that your fingers and toes instantly harden into ice cubes.

Yes, the sheer fact that it is -20 degrees with a wind chill of -40 to -50 degrees is enough to take your breath away. 

Since school is a canceled today, Josh and I have played the States and Capitols Sequence game that he got for Christmas, made a nice hot lunch(reheated at least), and have taken turns entertaining Andy. We are enjoying our warm home together and will not attempt to venture out since it is so cold and it's difficult to take a baby out in this cold weather. 

So it's all about thermal wear and hot cocoa today but, as a I've been reminded recently, "Spring is on the way!" 

In my opinion, far, far away.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A New Year

I am not one to make resolutions for a new year and, if I did, I am certainly not one who actually accomplishes that resolution. But this year is different. I know, everyone says that a time or two or every year but this year really is different.

It is a matter of choosing to live or merely waiting for death.

I need to choose to learn to trust the Lord and make a relationship with Him a priority. Not just a priority but the number one priority. That means spending time in the Word and talking to Him. That means stilling my heart and listening and believing He is GOD and He is good ALL the time. That means praising Him even through the trails of life.

I need to choose to love Chris everyday and make it a priority to show him that love even when it becomes a completely unnatural reaction. He should come second in my life not only for the sake of our marriage but for the sake of our family. That means learning to submit to him the way God intended for a wife to submit to her husband. That means not expecting him to make me happy in our marriage but expecting God to make me holy in our marriage as I obey Him. It also means making time to read the Bible and pray together and to schedule good old-fashioned dates with him.

I need to choose to show Josh and Andy love every day. I need to choose to be Jesus to them. That means teaching them about God's love and praying with them and for them. That means demonstrating patience, kindness, gentleness and especially self-control so that as they forge their own path on the earth, they will choose to love God and always be seeking His will in their lives. That means letting them make their own mistakes and loving them through the sorrows of this world.

I need to choose to surround myself with those who intend to lift me up instead of tear me down. I need to choose to be someone who fills others lives with love and acceptance instead of passing judgements. That means letting go of one-way relationships that only drain me. That means evaluating those relationships that I may take for granted and taking the time and effort to continually show them how much I really do care without expecting anything in return.

I need to choose to put myself on my priority list and start really taking care of myself on the outside as well as the inside. That means regularly exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough rest. That means enjoying bubble baths and pedicures and a really nice haircut. That means accepting myself as I was made in the image of God.

It comes down to this: I must choose to love. Love God, others, and myself.

This is my resolution for this new year and all the years to come.

This post has taken me days to put into words but these words seem to inadequately describe what is in my heart. This is truly just a beginning of surrendering my will to God as He fills me like no earthly being can.

Lord, please grant me strength and diligence as I surrender my will for Yours and choose to love. Let those who I see everyday witness the glow of Your love in me. Please put in my heart the desire to demonstrate grace as You would. Give me a JOY that knows no bounds and a peace that passes all understanding. Thank You for all You've done in me and for me. Thank You for all You plan to do in my life as I follow You. This I pray in the name of Jesus!