Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Much-Needed Compliment

Kevin is currently in the thick of bar studies, and plans to sit for the Indiana bar exam in about five weeks.

Watching him try to congeal so many subjects at once brings back memories of when we both studied for the California bar exam together. I remember agonizing over making outlines to help me conquer all that massive amount of information. At the end of the bar study time, I felt like everything had really come together thanks to my meticulous outlines.

After I passed the bar, I couldn’t bear throwing those outlines away. They represented too much work and sheer agony.

So, I kept them. Five years later, I still knew exactly where they were when Kevin asked if he could skim them.

And, apparently, one outline was particularly helpful to him the other day in organizing the subject matter. I couldn’t believe it. These days, I feel like Mommy Brain has completely taken over. As much as I try to use my brain by reading good books, I feel like my mind is dull and tired most days, at least compared to where it used to be with all that scholastic exercise.

Kevin told me my Wills and Probate outline was a lifesaver. That was the absolute nicest and most wonderful compliment this Mommy, full of thick brain fog, could have possibly received this past week. I really needed that in my life. Yes, somewhere buried deep down, I do have a brain and it has been known to work from time to time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Girl

Well, I have a few book reviews I have been wanting to write for my blog. But, for lack of time, here's something easy to post ... and at least WE think it's fun. Maybe the grandmas will like it too.

Meredith Quotes

In the car on the way home from running a bunch of errands, Meredith said, “I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’m thirsty, and I want chocolate.” That’s how I feel a lot of days too.


I started to put Meredith’s favorite PJs in the laundry. She said, “Don’t put it in the laundry because I want to wear it again SOON.” I guess she’s figured that if it goes in the laundry bin she never knows when she’ll see it again.


Amy: “You are a special girl.”

Mer: “Yes, I am special. But actually I am a woman.”


Amy: “What are your favorite flowers, Meredith?”

Mer: “Tulips and dandy lions.”


At the drive-thru:

Mer: “Can I have pink lemonade?”

Amy: “No, I’m not buying drinks today.”

Mer: “But they HAVE pink lemonade!”

Amy: “Really.”

Mer: “I will ask that lady [in the window], ‘Do you have pink lemonade?’ And she will say YES.”


Meredith was excited to get a dollar bill recently.

Mer: “What is the opposite of rich?”

Amy: “Poor. Are you rich or poor?”

Mer: “I’m poor because I only have a little money.”


Mer: “Let’s pick up the tempo!”

Amy: “What does ‘tempo’ mean?”

Mer: “Fast and slow, fast and slow. I learned that from my video.”


Amy: “Do you know what buried means?”

Mer: “Covered up.”

Amy: “Good. I didn’t know you knew that.”

Mer: “Yes, I’m smart!”

(Now, we need to work on humility.)


During communion recently we noticed that Meredith didn’t reach for the crackers, like she normally does. Kevin asked her if she remembered what they were for. She said, “Jesus’ body was broken for your sins.”


Recently I picked up a dress-up dress Meredith had thrown on the ground and put it back in the bin where it belonged. She ran, flailing her arms, “No, don’t throw that there! My babies can’t breathe!” Then I removed the dress and saw that she had her baby dolls lined up all in a neat row.


Amy, while slicing a pear: “Mer eats a pear. That rhymes.”

Mer: “Mer eats a pear at the fair with a bear. That rhymes too!”


Mer: “Daddy, tell me a story about when you were a little boy.”

Kevin: “Why don’t you tell a story?”

Mer: “No, because I’m not a good Tellerstory.”


After I found a long-sleeved princess dress-up dress at a garage sale, Meredith said: “I am so happy. Now I can be a princess in the winter. I will be so warm and cozy.”


Kevin: “What do you want for your birthday, Meredith?”

Mer: “A tractor.”

Kevin: “What else do you want?”

Mer: “A boy to drive my tractor.”

(Every girl’s dream, right?)


A recent prayer at lunch time: “Dear Father, thank you for this food and for this wonderful day. And thank you for the beautiful flowers and thank you for everybody. Please help our bodies to be healthy. We love you! Amen!”

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Good or Bad?

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I am now the proud owner of an amazing Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.

As long as I don’t abuse the privileges and gain 10 pounds, I think it’s a great thing. It’s going to be a fun summer!

I grew up in a family where we always had homemade ice cream every warm holiday. I have a lot of fond memories of my grandfather adding ice and rock salt and making ice cream. But I guess my kids will have different memories because you don’t have to add ice and rock salt to my machine—you just freeze the canister the night before.

So far I’ve already made “double Tahitian vanilla,” and strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries. This week I’m planning to make chocolate and hazelnut gelato.

Now, if all I could do is figure out how to make Ben and Jerry's creme brulee and cheesecake brownie flavors, then I would be all set. And definitely 10 pounds heavier.

What To-Do

I’m still trying to decide if to-do lists help to relieve stress or if they cause more stress. Maybe it’s both. They help to relieve stress by enabling me to accomplish more and get things off my mind and onto paper. But they also add stress by constantly reminding me how much there is to do.

Yesterday I lost my “master” to-do list. It was a massive list, spilling over onto two pages. At first I was disappointed to lose it. Then I was happy about it because it was nice to not have anything to do but fool around and play with the kids.

Then a storm rolled in and the power went out (again!) and I really had nothing to do.

But this only lasted a short time before I started remembering items on my to-do list and crafting another one. I’m trying to be less achievement-oriented these days (which is my nature), but I still find that I cling to my to-do list.

And then sometimes I have this little war with my list. Who will win today? If the list wins, I will have added more than I will have taken off. If I win, then my list gets shorter. On most days, it seems that the list wins.

Today I crossed off three semi-major things—cleaning out my basement, organizing the girls’ clothes, and planting some pumpkin and squash for the fall. Kevin’s mom gave us some seeds she had left over. Meredith helped me and we had great fun. I’ve never planted a garden before. In fact, this is only the third year I’ve dared to plant flowers. So, hopefully the vegetables will start sprouting. I’m not even sure when that’s supposed to happen. One week? Two weeks? I’ll just keep my fingers crossed!

Anyway, I’d better get back to the list. Who knows, maybe I will win the war today.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Storms, Snow Cones, and Fires

Aside from the fact that we lost a debit card, had a small fire in our kitchen, and nearly got killed (or so it seemed) driving in the worst rain storm either Kevin or I have ever witnessed, we had a really nice weekend. The main reason it was such a great weekend is because bar review was cancelled on Friday and so we had lots of leisurely family time. In fact, this was the first weekend in recent memory that we’ve had to just be lazy.

On Friday night, driving home from a high school graduation, I seriously thought we were going to die. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so hard in all my life. Kevin swore he could see the road but all I could see was blackness and silver-colored rain sloshing across the windshield. The streets were curvy and dark from loss of power. The rain was coming down in heavy sheets and the wind was blowing the water in various horizontal directions. The roads were quickly flooding and I feared that we would meet our end by hydroplaning into a ditch. When we finally reached the safety of our driveway, it seemed like nothing short of a miracle.

Because of the crazy storm, we lost power for 12 hours. The next morning we decided to walk to town, eat breakfast, and feed the ducks at the canal. Then we walked to the farmer’s market and I bought a basil plant. I’m looking forward to moving to the suburbs sometime soon, but I must confess that I will dearly miss the cute and funky town of Broad Ripple. It has provided our family with lively distraction when needed.

After the farmer’s market Kevin decided to buy the girls (me included) a snow cone. The Broad Ripple snow cone stand is the best one known to mankind. If you request it, they put a scoop of ice cream at the bottom of your cone so it tastes like a float at the end. It was Clara’s first snow cone experience and she went hysterics over it. It’s funny because with my first child I was so much more concerned about sugar during the first year of life. With Clara, all caution has gone to the wind. The way I’m tracking, should God give us a third child, I will probably allow her to chew on suckers in lieu of teething rings.

And on Sunday we took a very leisurely bike ride to Butler University and then back up the canal path along the river. I'm so glad it's biking season again.

And then, there was the fire.

Due to lack of counter space in my small kitchen I often keep cookbooks on top of the burners I’m not using. I guess it was bound to happen at some point but yesterday I lit the wrong burner, left the kitchen to check the chicken on the grill, and returned to find large flames engulfing the cook book. And, yes, it was a library cook book.

Fortunately for me, only the cover of the cook book was melted and the pages are still fine, even if a bit charred around some edges. So, after paying for the book, I will still be able to use it. And I suppose the burner-sized hole on the front cover will always bring back memories.

Grilling and Citrus

Here’s a fun meal we tried on Sunday. I love summer because it means grilling out! We grill a lot and eat outside as much as possible when the weather is nice. This menu was especially enjoyable because of the light citrusy flavors.

I made the lime butter to go with the corn and it was incredibly good. The flavors of the chicken were excellent and it was very moist after pounding it. I also made couscous with toasted pine nuts to round out the meal.

And, in case you were wondering, this is a recipe from the book which I burned and am now the proud owner of.

Orange-Chipotle Chicken with Grilled Corn

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 large orange, zest and juice

2 T. balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 t. dried oregano

¼ t. chipotle chile powder (or other chile powder)


4 ears corn, unhusked

Heat grill to medium heat. Pound chicken to even thickness. Combine the zest, juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, chile powder, and ¾ teaspoon of salt in a shallow bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat evenly. Cover and let stand while the grill heats. The chicken can be refrigerated up to four hours; turn occasionally in the marinade.

Lightly oil the grill rack. Place the corn on the grill and cover. Grill for 10 minutes. Add the chicken breasts with any clinging marinade to the grill. Cover and grill, turning the corn and chicken occasionally, until the corn husks are charred and the chicken is nicely browned on the outside and feels firm when pressed, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken and corn to a platter and serve.

Lime Butter is a fun way to embellish corn on the cob. Grate the zest from one lime into a bowl and add ½ cup of room temperature unsalted butter. Mix well, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving to blend the flavors.