Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Bar

As I write this, Sean is within minutes of finishing the Utah State Bar Exam. Pretty exciting.

This is how he has spent the majority of his summer:
Yikes. When he signed up for his prep course and received these in the mail, I nearly fainted. He tackled it head on and has been studying like crazy since graduation. He even took the entire month of July off of work to prepare.

The Bar Exam is two days. Yesterday was the essay portion, and today is multiple choice. He came home last night feeling really good about how things went yesterday. I talked to him during his lunch break today and he was still feeling confident. Results take 8-10 weeks so we won't know right away if he passed, but I have a lot of confidence in him :)

After all of that studying I think he is more than deserving of a little fun. We've got a trip to the cabin in the works. I think we're all excited for more time with daddy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A new discovery

Are you catching the trend?

Yes, Bode found his thumb and seems to be quite smitten by it. I half-heartedly tried to discourage it at first because I was worried he'd end up like me (in braces for sucking my thumb waaaaaayyyy too long). I've learned there's no point in trying to stop it though, and besides, I secretly kind of like it. I guess only time will tell if this is just a phase or if he's hooked.

Posting these last two because they make me happy:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Fourth

As has become tradition, the day started with my dad taking the grandkids (minus one) for a ride in the Model T down the parade route. They go before the parade starts and throw candy and have a great time.


I love this picture of the kids watching the parade!

Miss Brinley and I. The fact that she is letting me hug on her is a big deal and I took advantage!

How Bode spent most of his time:


These two are quite the buddies and it is so much fun watching them talk and play together!

My mom put on quite the bbq for everyone-- yummy ribs, barefoot contessa pasta salad, watermelon, garlic bread, etc. I have decided my sister is the baker of the family and she did not disappoint with the cute cake she made:

We watched the infamous Idaho Falls fireworks from Freeman Park this year. It was a good choice. The kids got to run around, it wasn't crazy crowded and we had a good view.


Julie and Emily brought glow-sticks for the kids and they were a hit!

Though Bode didn't think it was funny when his dad did this:

Nothing food can't fix!

In my quest to learn more about my camera, my sister-in-law and I spent our time waiting trying to figure out what settings to use to take pictures of the fireworks. My initial guess was totally wrong. Someday it is all going to click!

Oooohhhh Ahhhhhh

Unfortunately Jackson wasn't so into fireworks this year. We had a small incident a few weeks ago where we lit off a tank in front of our house. He was taken completely off-guard with the loud "pops" at the end and ever since then it has been game over. He tried to put on a brave face at the first of the show, but was screaming before we were even a minute in. The only way I got him to calm down was by laying down with him on the grass snuggled under a blanket. Poor kid. Better luck next year!

I decided to stay in Idaho Falls with Jackson and Bode for the rest of the week. Sean is in full swing studying for the bar, so I thought we'd give him some peace and quiet for a few days. My dad was headed to Alaska with my brother, and my sister and her husband went to California and left their kids with my mom for a few days. I thought it would be fun to spend the week with my mom and I knew Jackson would love spending time with his cousins (from both sides!)

Besides the aforementioned kidney stone debacle, we had a great week. Jackson had the time of his life.
There were lots of popscicles...

Playing at the park and a ride on the airplanes at Funland...

A trip to the zoo (where we saw a baby zebra that was only a few hours old!)...

And tons of cousins to play (and dance) with:
video

What more could a kid want?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The saying is true...

Passing a kidney stone is worse than labor. Unfortunately I can now verify this statement!

This past Wednesday I started getting a dull ache in my lower-right abdomen. I didn't think much of it at first, but the pain started rapidly getting worse. Within less than 30 minutes I was doubled over, throwing up and pretty much feeling like I was going to die.

My poor mom. It just so happened I was in Idaho Falls for the week hanging out with her with intentions to help her babysit my sister's three kids while they were in California. When the pain became unbearable, I knew I had to go get checked out. I dumped my two kids on my mom while my aunt drove me to the emergency room. So now my mom was responsible for five kids under the age of seven... one being a nursing two-month old!

My aunt was a saint and I am beyond grateful she was able to help. The emergency room was fairly busy and I was pretty much in agony while waiting. The pain truly was crippling. The best word I can think of to describe it is maddening because it is unrelenting. I couldn't sit down, nor could I stand up straight. I had to bend over and brace myself on the chairs. I had the privilege of throwing up in a bucket several times for all to see. I heard the people around me starting to place bets as to what they thought was wrong with me. So glad I was the waiting room entertainment! Seriously, I left that place with zero pride.

I didn't end up having to wait too long and my aunt told me my why later. Apparently the nurse came out and called another man's name to be seen. He asked the nurse to please let me be seen first. I don't know who this man was, but I am so grateful for his selflessness. I hope he scored some major points upstairs-- he is my hero!

After some testing and an IV (and asking the nurse to please knock me out with a baseball bat) they gave me morphine. All I can say is hallelujah for modern medicine. Within about 15 minutes I was no longer in pain. In fact, I ended up taking a nap while we waited for test results to come back. All signs pointed to a kidney stone (which we knew I had because of the CT scan I had a few months ago). I declined the option of getting a CT to see where the stone was and how big it was, so they gave me another dose of morphine, wrote me a prescription and sent me on my way. My mom has some great neighbors and friends who were able to watch the kids long enough for her to come pick me up.

Apparently a stone usually passes anywhere from 2-48 hours. Lucky for me, mine passed within about a half hour of coming home. The entire ordeal lasted less than five hours. I know I am extremely lucky (blessed). By the next morning I was completely back to normal and it was like the whole thing never happened. I know I have more kidney stones, but I hope they decide to stay put rather than make the trek any time soon!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Homemade graham crackers

Before Sean started eating gluten free I had no idea you could make your own graham crackers. Out of desperation from not wanting to give up cheesecake and other desserts with graham cracker crusts, I found this recipe for gluten free graham crackers. I have had a few people ask me for it so I thought I would just post it. I made a big batch of these last week before heading up the canyon with some friends to make s'mores. Even though they are gluten free, you really can't tell. They are so good! They make regular graham crackers taste bland and stale. I like to grind up the leftovers into graham cracker crumbs to have on hand for pie crusts, etc. Anyway, here is the recipe with my notes:

Ingredients

2 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

1/4 Cup Brown Rice Flour

1/2 Cup packed Brown Sugar

2 tsp Cinnamon (I use half this amount)

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum

7 Tbsp Butter

3 Tbsp Cold Water

3 Tbsp Honey

1 tsp Vanilla

Sugar

Directions:

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray the paper lightly with Pam.

Combine flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, salt and xanthan gum in a large bowl with a wire whisk.

Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles cornmeal.

Add water, honey and vanilla to flour mixture and using a wooden spoon, stir ingredients until the mixture is well combined and forms a ball.

(You may need to add a bit more water, or more a bit more brown rice flour if your dough is too dry or too sticky.)

Divide dough into two parts, wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

With another lightly sprayed piece of parchment placed atop the dough, use a rolling pin to roll each half into a large rectangle on each cookie sheet. (I don't use parchment on top of the dough. I just rolled it out using a bit of extra rice flour to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. Make sure to roll it pretty thin.)

Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment, and using a knife, score the dough into squares.

Remove the rough edges of the dough (you can save the scraps to form more crackers).

Using a serving fork, prick a few rows of holes in each cracker. Then sprinkle lightly all over with sugar.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from oven and re-score along your previously cut lines by pressing straight down with a knife. (I think a pizza cutter works best. Make sure to do this while they are still hot.)

Remove crackers to a wire rack to cool.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Pictures

I told Sean a few weeks ago how I was sick of not knowing how to use our camera. I kept saying when we bought it I was going to learn how to take pictures manually instead of using the automatic settings all of the time. Well, it has been nearly two years and I think that is enough time for procrastinating, don't you? I have no aspirations of becoming a photographer or anything, but it would be nice to know what the buttons and dials on the camera actually mean.

Lucky for me, my friend Keisha loaned me a book on photography that dumbed it down sufficiently for me ;) I am finally starting to get an idea what those buttons and dials do (though knowing what they do and using them efficiently are VERY different. Ha!) We'll just say I have a lot to learn. Everything I have read says the best way to learn is just through a lot of practice.

Speaking of practice, I was playing around with different settings on the camera one morning last week and I took a couple of pictures of Bode I think turned out so cute:

It was probably more luck than skill, but it does give me hope that I might actually be learning something. If anyone with photography skills has any advice, send it my way!