Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And away we go!

Well, not quite yet. But soon! Just today at work and then we head out tomorrow for the family reunion. I got a start at packing on Monday night and got about half of it done, so I still have to finish that up tonight. Packing for Reunion gets a little complicated since you basically have to plan for three seasons. Driving to and from Utah and any time that we spend down in Vernal is very hot summer. Up on the mountain, you never know what season it's going to be. If it's sunny during the day, it's actually really warm and shorts weather. But if (when) a storm rolls in or at night as the sun goes down, the temperature drops. Sometimes just enough to put on a sweatshirt. Sometimes enough that you need to break out the winter coats. Trying to plan wardrobes and pack everything to cover all the bases gets complicated... not to mention, we run out of room to pack it all into the van!

But once that's done, we can take off first thing tomorrow morning. We're actually headed to Leadville first. Tomorrow is Aaron's birthday, so I wanted to do something to celebrate. With his birthday right there at the same time as Reunion, it sometimes gets a little lost is the travelling and Reunion activities. So since Aaron likes trains, this year we're going to go to Leadville and ride the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad. The kids love trains, too, so everyone should really enjoy that start to the day.

Then it's on to Vernal and the Reunion. We won't actually get to town early enough to go up the mountain on Thursday. (Not after stopping for 4 hours in Leadville along the way!) But we'll go up first thing on Friday because Grandpa (my dad) has promised to take the kids fishing. They are SOOO excited. Preston asks me multiple times each day how much longer it is until it's time to go fishing. Haley keeps talking about how much fun it will be. Neither of them has actually ever BEEN fishing, so I'm not sure they even know what to expect. Whatever they're hoping for, I sure hope it lives up to their expectations.

More outdoor fun to follow the rest of the weekend. And the fun of seeing the family. And relaxation of getting away from routine for a while. All great things that I'm looking forward to!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feeling Blue

I just got the news that my Grandpa has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. They're still running more tests to see how far it's spread and how bad it is. Even without complete knowledge of what he's facing, just hearing that dreaded word - CANCER - sends a chill through me. I don't want to think about the possibility of losing my Grandpa.

This doesn't come as a complete surprise. When Grandpa was so sick a short while ago and had to be rushed to Salt Lake City for treatment, they suspected prostate cancer. But suspecting and knowing for sure are different things. When it's just a suspicion, you can put it away and not think about it. Once it's confirmed, it's a different story. You have to think about it. "What stage is it?" "How will they treat it?" "What's next for him?" "What's next for all of us?"

I adore my Grandpa. A collection of random memories of Grandpa:

I grew up living next door to Grandma and Grandpa. I spent the night at their house many, many times. I would stay up late and watch M*A*S*H with Grandpa.

Growing up, we almost always had Sunday dinner at Grandma & Granpa's house - I remember Grandpa always sat at the head of the table. He loves horseradish. He would put it on all kinds of things. Even things that no one else would think to put it on. Thinking back, I think sometimes he did it just to get a reaction from us kids.

Grandpa always has baling twine on hand. He can use it to fix about anything. If we ever come across anything jury-rigged with that bright orange twine, we know Grandpa has been there.

Grandpa gave me my first kitten. A little black ball of fur that I named George in honor of my Grandpa. When that kitten ran away (or something - I was really young and I don't remember exactly what happened), Grandpa got me another black kitten. Which I named George. From that time on, I've always had a black cat named George.

Grandpa's birthday is always celebrated at the Reunion over July 4 weekend. It's always nice to have a chance to see him for his birthday and celebrate. He doesn't really like it when we make a big deal over him, but we do it anyway. I guess this year's celebration will be extra special.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Wafabo Song

Brekken has a new obsession. A week or so ago, we came across a Veggie Tales DVD that the kids hadn't watched in a while. It's the Silly Songs countdown - just a collection of silly songs by singing vegetables. It's cute.

Brekken had never seen it before. But now he is hooked. He loves it. He especially loves The Water Buffalo Song. Or, as he calls it, the Wafabo Song. It's the first thing he asks for in the morning. He wants to watch it before he goes to bed. And at all times in between. And if he's told he can't watch it, he's devastated.

I know we aren't supposed to let him watch so much TV, but I just love to see him get so excited when Wafabo comes on. His favorite part is the very end when Larry gets tackled. Brekken shrieks with laughter to the point that he falls over. Hilarious!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back to the Wardle Reunion

We're all looking forward to the big family reunion next weekend (4th of July). Okay, I say all, but Aaron's not really looking forward to it. He likes my family, he just hates the outdoors. So a long weekend up in the mountains is not his idea of a good time. Especially since Iron Springs, where Reunion is always held, is not a KOA-style campground. It's really just a big meadow in the woods. No running water, no electricity. No flush toilets. Aaron really doesn't like that. I grew up camping there for weeks at a time every summer, so it doesn't seem that bad to me, I guess.

But I want Aaron to like Reunion enough to keep coming with me. I don't want to end up like a cousin I remember growing up - she would camp with the kids while her husband stayed at a hotel down in Vernal. If he came to Reunion at all, he would sit in his car and make people come over there to visit him. When he was ready to go, he would just start honking the horn. Any of his family who wanted to go back to Vernal for the night had better run to get in the car, or they would be left behind. So in comparison to him, Aaron is positively enthusiastic! ;)

To keep it that way, I compromise. We don't camp. Even though we spend the days on the mountain, at night we go down to town and sleep at my parents' house (about 30 minutes away). If Aaron can at least sleep indoors and take a shower each morning, he can deal with the outdoors the rest of the day... once a year. LOL.

Preston is especially excited because Grandpa has promised to take him fishing. He asks every day how much longer it is before he can go fishing. Haley is excited to try fishing, too. Neither of them has actually been fishing before - we just couldn't manage it last year or the year before. So I'm interested to see if it will live up to their expectations.

We're just hoping we get good weather this time around. You may remember my post from last year about the wild weather - including pouring rain, hail that destroyed pieces of the campsite and piled up into big drifts, and mud everywhere. I remember it as not being fun, but also as kind of a funny story in the list of Reunion events. Obviously I remember it a little differently than Aaron, since I heard him talking to his parents the other night and talking a little about last year's Reunion. Words like "horrible" and "awful" and "terrible" were thrown around. Another year like that and I might be a step closer to Aaron only hanging out in the van. ;) So cross your fingers for us that this year goes a little better!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Apparently I have not been cooking much lately... or at least not cooking Aaron's favorite things. Because a week ago when Haley decided that Daddy should get to choose what to eat for Father's Day and asked what he wanted, he quickly had a whole list. Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Salmon tacos for dinner. And Black Forest cake for dessert. He would also have been happy with a Dairy Queen cake. Haley very carefully wrote all that down and put the list on the fridge for me so I wouldn't forget to buy everything.

On Sunday, she was very excited to help me cook for Daddy. The kids even ate the corned beef. Though they all turned up their noses at salmon tacos. They had spaghettios instead. But Aaron and I enjoyed them!

The kids were also very excited to finally give Daddy his Father's Day presents. A CD, some new pants, and some of his favorite soda (very hard to find in stores). They were very proud of themselves that they had known what he was getting and managed to keep it a secret!

The kids also sang in Sacrament meeting for Father's Day. "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home," of course. Do they ever sing anything else for Father's Day? They practiced all day on Saturday so that they would be ready on Sunday. When the time came, Haley and Preston ran right up there and sang enthusiastically. Brekken had practiced with them and thought he wanted to go up, but when it was time to actually leave Mom & Dad and go to the front, he changed his mind. Probably best actually. I have visions of him deciding not to come back down to us and us having to chase him all over the chapel when the song ended! :)

I'm glad we got to celebrate Father's Day with my wonderful husband. He's a great dad. And Happy Father's Day to my Dad, too!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I love my job... but not right now

I love my job. I've enjoyed it so much since I started working here. I love putting together education sessions for the nurses. I really love making patient education materials.

What I don't love is creating software training. If I loved software training, there are a lot of companies I could be working for. And believe me, they would pay better than my current position.

But now my company is getting a new software system and they need training for all our nurses in how to use it. When they first brought me on to this project back in March, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea. But what could I do, it needed to be done. So I worked up a training plan for creating the training they asked for and planned to start putting it together in August. Since then, the project and the training have grown and grown and grown. I now spend hours every day in meetings about the project. They want more and more from the training. It's an enormous monster of a project. So they've taken away all my other projects so I can concentrate on the software training project.

I can understand the reasoning. And I can appreciate that my workload will be helped a little (though I expect the software project will continue to balloon to fill every available moment and then some). But I've been working on a huge project to create patient education handouts for the last two years. And suddenly, literally weeks from finally finishing the project, I don't get to finish it. Someone else will take it over and finish it up instead.

I was in the middle of a couple of projects to create education sessions for our nurses and supervisors. I had some fun plans and ideas. But I don't get to be involved in that anymore. By the time the software project is over, these projects will be done without me.

I'm just bummed out that I have to spend every working moment now on this project that I don't enjoy. It's going to make the next several months feel very long. November (and maternity leave) can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kitchen Sink Chicken Curry Soup

Our favorite Indian restaurant has a wonderful chicken soup. I always have to get a bowl when we go there. On the menu and the buffet it's just listed as Chicken Soup. I've tried to get a more specific name... so I could try and find a recipe and make it myself.

A couple of visits ago I asked the server what the Indian name of the chicken soup was. She replied, "It's chicken soup." "But isn't there a more specific name for it? Like Tikka Masala or Chicken Biryani?" "No, it's just chicken soup."

Okay, then. I tried again on the next visit. I asked a different server and was again told, "It's chicken soup."

So then I tried browsing through a bunch of Indian recipe sites and looking at all their soup recipes. I thought I could surely find one that looked like the chicken soup I like so much. As it turned out, I couldn't find a recipe that looked anything like it. So I finally decided to give it a try on my own and see if I could come close. I actually managed to get pretty close to the real deal! It's a really nice soup - it's spiced and flavorful, but not spicy. My kids all really like it, too, which is always a bonus.

Step 1: Make the broth
  • Saute 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 small onion, and 1/4 tsp ground ginger in a little oil.
  • Add 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • Add 32 oz. chicken broth
  • Stir in 2 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Step 2: Add chicken and veggies

This is the kitchen sink portion of the recipe. Add cooked shredded chicken, then just add whatever veggies you have on hand. I'm pretty sure this is what they do at the restaurant, too, because when I've eaten it there, the veggies are a little different each time. You could add corn, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes... seriously, whatever you want. I also added a can of white beans last night, because I had them and they seemed like they would work. Lentils would also work fine.

There should be enough chicken and veggies so that there is just a thin (maybe an inch?) layer of broth over the top of all the rest of the ingredients. If you have more veggies than broth, you could add a bit of water until the broth just covers the rest of the ingredients.

Step 3: Finish it off

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all of your veggies are cooked. Adjust the seasonings a little if needed, then serve and enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

This is new territory for me...

I'm now well into the 2nd trimester of pregnancy and I must say that it has been great! Ever since the doc gave me new medicine for the horrible heartburn - which happily completed eliminated the heartburn and also had the nifty side effect of getting rid of most of my morning sickness. Since then, I have been feeling really good. That 1st trimester exhaustion has eased off a bit and I'm not sick and throwing up all the time.

Always before, by the time I stopped feeling so sick (if I ever did) I was into the 3rd trimester. By which point the exhaustion was back, the big belly was in the way, the sciatica that I always get had kicked in. I've heard people talk about the 2nd as being the "golden trimester" but never experienced it. Now I know why it's supposed to be so good!

I still feel nauseous a few times a day, but I haven't thrown up in more than a week. That's pretty darned good as far as I'm concerned. The belly is starting to get in the way a bit - after all, this is my 4th time around, so it's expanded pretty quickly. But it's not too bad. And the sciatica is only twinges at this point. All great news!

Now if I could just hurry time along a little to that 20 week ultrasound so we could find out boy or girl... I'm so impatient!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quick Funny

I was showing the kids an e-mail that talked about how the baby is developing right now. It shows pictures of development each week and says how big the baby is and everything. I read it to the kids and it said - This week your baby is the size of an apple.

Preston was immediately concerned. "It's an apple baby? But I want a real baby!"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I've never had any really strange pregnancy cravings. A few here and there... I want a pizza, I want hash browns... but nothing too overwhelming. Usually it's much more about the pregnancy aversions for me. From the moment I get pregnant, I cannot STAND eating chicken or eggs. There are other things that I tend to avoid, but chicken and eggs are the big things.

This time around, I have the same aversions I've had every time, but I am dealing with a lot more cravings. Something will pop into my head and I just fixate on it. I can't think of anything else that I want and I'm just obsessed. The other night it was French Onion soup. I don't know why. I've maybe eaten French Onion soup 3 or 4 times in my life. But I wanted it SO badly. It was 10:00 at night and I'm trying to figure out how to get some. Or failing that, to make some. Of course, I had no ingredients. So disappointing.

But by far the strangest pregnancy craving I've ever had would be my urge to drink whiteboard cleaner. I don't know what it it, but every time I see those bottles of whiteboard cleaner (which are all over the office) I just want it. I don't know what I think it's going to taste like. I can smell the rubbing alcohol in it, so it's not like it smells delicious and appetizing to me. And it's just clear like water, so nothing exciting there. But if I can see it, it just obsesses me. All I can think about is drinking it. I have to get up and move the bottle to the other side of the room where I can't see it. Bizarre.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

We had no big plans for Memorial Day. The only things I had in mind were a couple haircuts for kids and Aaron, a load or three of laundry, some dishes, and watering the plants. At the end of the day, everyone did have haircuts. And I washed one load of laundry, though I didn't put it away. No dishes. The plants are still thirsty. But we sure had a nice day!

It started off with the kids sleeping in until 9:30 a.m.! That is incredible right there. Sure, on a morning that they're supposed to get up and go somewhere, they're usually glad to keep sleeping. But on any day when Aaron and I could potentially sleep in, they like to be up at the crack of dawn. So when I woke a little after 9:00 and realized everyone was still sleeping, it was a happy moment. I climbed back into bed and just enjoyed the peace and quiet for a while.

Around lunchtime, we impulsively decided to go have lunch at Red Robin. Then we took everyone for haircuts. Haley and Brekken both got new, short haircuts. Very cute, of course. But Brekken looks so different without his (too) long hair! It takes a little getting used to. I tried to convince Preston to get the same haircut as Brekken, but he decided he'd rather leave it longer so he can have curly hair.

We went to the splash park at the Orchards so the kids could cool off. After a slow start with all the kids hanging out at the fringes and just sticking their hands out to feel the squirting water, they got into it and had a great time playing in the fountains. I was actually a little jealous. It was a really warm afternoon, and that water looked nice a cool. I would have been a bit out of place with all the little kids, though, so I stayed on the bench with Aaron and watched.

Aaron spotted a couple of people walking by with waffle cones and had the great idea that we should track down the ice cream shop. So we all went for a yummy treat after getting the kids dried off. (Mmmmm.... dulce du leche banana split!) Lots of messy faces (and I don't know why Haley and Preston decided to make strange faces at the camera), but we sure enjoyed the ice cream. Especially Brekken. He was covered in it!

We got home just in time for dinner. For the kids. Aaron and I were way too full from lunch and ice cream to think about dinner for several hours yet. But the bottomless tummies of my kids wanted dinner as soon as we got home. Then time for pajamas and bed... even with their late sleep of the morning, they were all asleep by about 9:30 p.m. Guess the splash park wore them out!

Finish it off with some addictive reality TV (Obsessed and Hoarders on A&E) for me and Aaron, and it was a really nice day! I'll deal with dishes and laundry another time. :)