Sunday, May 30, 2010

Once Upon Three Years Ago ...

In just 3 days my little boy will be 3 years old. It amazes me how quickly the time passes and how much he has changed.

His imagination has grown by leaps and bounds and often I find him chatting to himself using his two hands as different individuals to have a full on conversation. He's creative in so many ways. The old stands we once used for growing tomatoes on recently became Christmas trees to be decorated with leaves and shells from our trip to the beach.

Christmas in May!

His language ability was always advance for his age but I'm surprised at the concepts he now understands. Tonight he wanted Kent to go out back. We stood on the patio and Kent teased him and said, "We are in the outback!" and Isaac replied, "No, I want you to go out back-er". (My apologies to those who are grammatically ept - my son has a mother who speaks Ching-lish and will be doomed I'm afraid) He knows how to count, can say the ABCs and often recognizes them or builds them from his Legos. He can even sound out some of the letters he more familiar with. All too soon he'll be reading by himself and Mama hopes to make him into as much a book-addict as she is.

I'm also proud of his ability to verbalize his feelings rather than throw fits and tantrums. He made me laugh the other day when he was describing his feelings for Keila in his running dialog. "Sometimes I don't like Keila. Keila makes me mad. Most of the time I'm mad at Keila. But I still love her. It's so hard!" In this way he's wiser for his age than most adults!

Here we are enjoying our regular morning snuggle.

I'm so proud of him. He's a sweet sensitive boy, happy and bright at the core. I'm so grateful for his presence in our lives and particularly for the things he teaches me about living and love. My 'time and eternity' became fuller and more beautiful with a little soul born into our home only 3 years ago. Thank you Isaac!

Boy Time

The annual Father and Son's Camp out or the Priesthood Commemoration Camp out came and went again this year. As usual, Isaac and I shopped for all the food long in advance. I was hard pressed to keep him from devouring the marshmallows and trail mix before the big day. Only the reminder that if he ate them now he would be fated to watch as others ate their smores by the campfire held him in check. He always gave a sassy, resigned, "Ooooo-kay" in reply accompanied by a little eye rolling. (I can't wait till he's a teenager!)

They had a wonderful time. Isaac played happily with the boys his age and even with the 11 and 12 year old. Apparently he'd chase them and zap them with his laser twig. Papa was smart and kept things simple by just stopping at McDonald's for dinner - a treat in itself for Isaac since we rarely if ever go there. Apparently that evening, once they'd settle down to sleep Isaac had many thoughts of the day. Kent said as he was drifting off Isaac would thank him for something (for dinner, snacks, setting up the tent, etc) and a few minutes later, would thank him again for something different. This went on for a while till Isaac finally said, "Baba, I love you SO much!" It was the emphatic 'SO' that just melts you like butter and you get that rich warm feeling that all the prep was more than worth it. Unfortunately Kent forgot the camera so the memories will have to live in the heart.

Brother Jim Stone did manage to catch one picture of the 2 together.

Keila and I went over to the Bakers for a girls night filled with nail polish and ringlets. While Keila was too young for the activities, it made me realize how much I look forward to when she is old enough to 'doll up' with her Mama and enjoy a girl's night.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nine Months In and Out

Keila had her nine month appointment a few weeks ago. Its strange to think she's been with us the same amount of time that I was pregnant with her.

Keila's stats as of her nine month appointment are 28.25 inches putting her at the 76percentile and her weight is 16.3 oz which is the tenth percentile. The doctor was a little worried about her weight, especially given the fact that she isn't crawling yet which is when they tend to lose even more weight. To counter this, we've been feeding her more cheese and yogurt - not as if Keila really minds - and have been satisfied to see a deepening in her cute little folds.

She's begun to actively imitate us. Kent and I have had a cough of sorts for a few days and I caught her giggling and 'coughing' whenever I did it. It was charming and had the lady at the checkout counter oohing and ahhing about how smart she was. I tried to get her to then say 'Mama', she only grinned and proceeded to say 'Baba' insistently.

Much to our relief, whether it's due to the fact she's a second child or simply more content in a solitary state, she plays extremely well on her own. Pausing every once and a while to talk to you and wave her toy in the air. I love watching those chubby fingers at work!

She is truly a happy child and has little to complain of except when mealtimes roll around. She's taken to screaming in short bursts at you when food isn't given sufficiently quick or when she wants something different. This has me scrambling to point to one of the 3 veggies or fruits I give her, or her crackers, cereal and protein. For this reason I've already begun sign language with her. She does sign 'want' when she has the patience for it. Thankfully she has 7 teeth already which makes food prep so much easier. You just have to watch out for those choppers when you move food her way, she's a piranha!

She's peeking over the foot board to play with Isaac.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Postdated Randomness

Random thoughts:

Isaac is such an incredibly animated boy - something quite like a cartoon especially when his eyes pop open and he grins ear to ear. You can practically hear the 'DING' sound when he lights up. He loves wearing his pj's and walks around barefoot, impervious to the rock and heat. Impish would be the word to describe him because no matter how much his energy exhausts you and how hard he pushes at the limits, he can always make you smile and laugh away the frustration.

Keila giving a dubious look as she's made to sit down in the grass for the very first time.

Keila is shyer with her smiles, often ducking her head as she gives them to strangers. Regardless of this, she expects to be loved, especially when she graces you with a grin. There is something that softens when she lays her head on her chest while she babbles away, pausing every so often to look up and check to see you're still listening. She truly is a sweetie heart!

I love seeing Kent holding or playing with the kids. When he's not too tired I admire how he's totally present with them and beams with a little more life. Keila LOVES dancing with him, especially the tango (is all about the dips! she's swept off her tiny feet!) and Isaac is his best sidekick.

What would my life be without all these 3? Sometimes it does seem like exacting amount of 'living' but as tired as I am at times, I'm grateful that I live life well!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Don't Disregard the Mutterings

Isaac is at that age where he talks constantly - a play by play of every passing thought. His mutterings have become white noise for me and I find comfort in them because that means he's not into something he shouldn't be. Only recently have I really begun to listen to him.

We're trying to teach him reverence especially during sacrament which is nearly an impossible task. Thankfully he possess my love of reading which can hold him spell bound for almost and hour. One of his favorites are the Book of Mormon readers. So it was my turn today to have him sit on my lap and read about Lehi's vision of the tree of life.

I explained how the tree represented God's love and was white and sweet to the taste. We talked about the mist of darkness/ temptations that lead people away as well as the need to hold tightly to the rod to keep from being lost or falling into the rushing filthy waters that are nearby. He gazed at the pictures for a long time and I thought nothing more of it.

This afternoon, while enjoying an uncommonly cool day out in our backyard I heard him teach me the lesson he'd learn that day. He held with both hand a long yellow bat and was walking carefully in a straight line. He wanted me to play and told me to hold to the 'rod'. As we held and walked slowly I could hear him mutter, "hold tight, two hands, don't get lost when darkness comes." With great excitement he began yelling and jumping up and down, pointing to our orange tree, "Look Mama, the tree, look yummy sweet white fruit. Let's go Mama." Upon reaching our destination he pretended to pick some fruit and feed it to Keila and I with a hearty chomping noise. My heart was touched and I prayed a silent prayer that he would always remember the lesson from Lehi's dream and be just as diligent in leading those in his sphere of influence.

So in addition to the spiritual lesson I gained that day, I also learned that children are NEVER too young. The blessing of having these special souls has taught me more about the worth and potential in God's children than anything else.

The lesson retaught to Papa:

Enjoying the fruit together!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The One 'True' Meal

I grew up from a very particular family. Things are done a certain way for a certain reason and rarely did we vary from it. In fact, some things became so 'traditional' that it would take on almost a religious overtone. Sunday dinners being one of these things, it just wasn't Sunday if there wasn't a pot roast, accompanied by Yorkshire pudding and gravy. My brother, Joseph, LOVED roast beef. I wonder if in part it was due to the fact it was one of the few meals we had that wasn't Chinese and it was a serious breach of protocol if we varied from it. Inevitably there would be leftovers of pot roast that would be sufficient to make up the roast beef sandwiches for everyone for the week. These, in and of themselves became a joke among my friends as everyday they'd compare and swap lunches and they turn to me and say, "Soooo .... let me guess ... roast beef?!" I just got in touch with an old friend of mine through Facebook and the first thing she said to me was, "Do you remember how you ALWAYS ate roast beef sandwiches?" How could I not!

So it is no surprise that once I left home for college I shied as far as possible from this traditional meal. It's only been recently that I've begun to cook it for my personal pleasure. The crock pot has been great for pot roasts, but I always wondered about oven roasts. I'm too cheap to buy a good cut but was worried I'd see my family take a chainsaw to cutting it up. But after thorough research I found this recipe online and tried it today. ( It was amazing! So much better than pot roasts in flavor, cooks over 3-4 hour period (for all those crazy LDS and their 3 hour church meetings!) it's easy and uses cheaper cuts of beef. Can I ask for more?!

Roast Beef Recipe
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3 to 3 1/2 lbs of Boneless Rump Roast (pick a end cut with a lot of fat marbling)
Olive oil
8 slivers of garlic
Salt and pepper
You will need a meat thermometer

For the gravy:

Red wine, water, and or beef stock
corn starch
1 Start with the roast at room temperature (remove from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking - keep it wrapped). Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2 With a sharp knife make 8 small incisions around the roast. Place a sliver of garlic into each incision. Take a tablespoon or so of olive oil and spread all around the roast. Sprinkle around the roast with salt and pepper. Place the roast directly on an oven rack, fatty side up, with a drip pan on a rack beneath the roasting rack. This arrangement creates convection in the oven so that you do not need to turn the roast. The roast is placed fat side up so that as the fat melts it will bathe the entire roast in its juices.

3 Brown the roast at 375°F for half an hour. Lower the heat to 225°F. The roast should take somewhere from 2 to 3 hours additionally to cook. When the roast just starts to drip its juices and it is brown on the outside, check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Pull the roast from the oven when the inside temperature of the roast is 135° to 140°F. Let the roast rest for at least 15 minutes, tented in aluminum foil to keep warm, before carving to serve.

Serves 4-6.

To make the gravy:
Remove the dripping pan from the oven and place on the stove top at medium heat. Note that if you are pulling the roast out early, for rare or a medium rare level of doneness, you may not have a lot of drippings. Hopefully you will have some. If not, you may want to leave the roast in a little longer at even lower heat, 175°F, to ease some more drippings out of it. Add some water, red wine, or beef stock to the drippings to deglaze (loosen the drippings from the pan). Dissolve a tablespoon of cornstarch in a little water and add to the drip pan. Stir quickly while the gravy thickens to avoid lumping. You can add a little butter if there is not a lot of fat in the drippings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mom adds some fresh thyme too if she has some. (See also How to Make Gravy.)

So perhaps I'll have to change my tone about this very traditional Sunday meal. Just as long as I'm not left eating it day in and day out until the next week!