Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009

This first picture is actually from Christmas 2008, when I was 40 pounds heavier. :) In my defense, I had just given birth to Lizzy two weeks earlier. The picture is of significance because (and I think I've shared this before) these are the three grandchildren born on my parent's side of the family in the year 2008. Coincidentally, all three girls have names that start with "E". Left to right, Elizabeth, Emmeline, Eva. Those are 6 fine looking women no? The other mom's are my sister's-in-law, Erika and Jeana.

This is what the "three E's" looked like this Christmas. They've all got longer hair! These are two of my brother's, Ron and Stephen. Don't mind the crown on Stephen's head; we were about to reenact the Christmas story and he was a wise man.
This was our Christmas morning mess. Lizzy sat in her chair basically the whole morning and was the happiest in it. She played with her new baby doll the whole time. Logan is playing with his new tools. They were by far his favorite present. I guess it helped that he didn't get a whole lot of anything else.
James is showing off his loot here. Not that you care, but the two zip lock bags are full of homemade hot chocolate mix. His mother made it for the family, so it is James' favorite kind of hot chocolate. I admit, it's pretty good! I made one batch botterscotch flavored.
Please excuse my slightly drugged look. James caught me mid blink. Regardless of how I look in the picture, all of my presents look pretty good, don't you think? I've already really enjoyed using my rice/vegetable steamer and my jewelery stand. Unfortunately, James didn't buy any new jewelery to go in it. ;)
Lastly, here is the kids' loot, combined. It includes the presents they got from our family gift exchange (thank's Andrea!) and from their grandparents.
I'm sorry to be blogging about our Christmas. I know most of you probably don't care, but I needed something to blog about! It has been too long for me!
So....our Christmas was good. How was yours?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Day at the Doctor's

On Tuesday, Lizzy had her one year well check. I left Logan at my mom's house so my hands weren't as full. Lizzy is growing well enough. Here are her stats.
Weight: 20 lbs 15 oz - 50%
Height 31 inches - 96%
Head Circumference 17 inches - 55%

She started bawling when the doctor took her out of my arms, so we know she doesn't like strangers. She was also horrified that the nurse had the audacity to pierce her legs 3 times!

When the appointment was over I picked Logan up from my Mom's and we headed home. The whole way home Logan kept begging me to take him to the doctor. I explained to him that he didn't need to see the doctor. Once we got home it only took Logan 2 hours to figure out how to make sure he could see the doctor that day as well. He was running up and down our hallway then tripped and fell headfirst into our nightstand. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the initial gash. (James has yet to forgive me for not taking that picture.) But, we do have pictures of Logan's 3 stitches.


Call me strange, but I like the idea of his having a visible scar later in his life. Whenever I see scars on other people I'm always so curious as to what the story is. I can imagine up the most interesting battle stories. Logan's story won't be that cool, but he'll have people wondering, right?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family Pictures

I apologize that I've already shared some of these, so they are nothing new to you, but I felt like sharing them all together!

We had a girl in our ward take our family pictures about a month ago. I really wanted outdoor pictures, but our scheduled day for pictures was FRIGID cold outside! Maybe next year. Anyway, these are the 5 that we chose.

There were NO pictures of Logan smiling. Literally, none. James and I both really liked this picture though. Can't you feel him staring right through you?

Of course there is the kissing picture, which I've described in a previous post.

I'm not sure how I feel about this picture. I think it makes me look like I'm a lot bigger than James. It did teach me a valuable lesson though. From now on I'll make sure he is in front of me for the picture.

I'm hoping that by next year the kids will learn to smile on demand. :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Birthday "Party"

It really wasn't much of a party, just opening presents and eating cake. But, my sister Sarah, husband Bret, brother Ron, wife Erika and their kids, came and helped us make it more of a party. Oh yeah, and my mom was there because it was at her house. :)

Everybody was eager to help Lizzy open her presents. She got a baby cd player and foam blocks.
I may be capable of making a fancier cake, but this is all a baby should get in my opinion. I've come to find out that I'm very one sided in my thinking. Luckily, James agrees with ME.
Lizzy tore right into it! Maybe I should have given her a full sized cake after all!

Nope, maybe not. It looks like one cupcake was enough to make her woozy.

She ate the whole cupcake and stayed pretty clean in the process! Man, I still don't know where she got those big beautiful blue eyes!
Happy Birthday Lizzy Girl! We LOVE you!!!!




Saturday, December 19, 2009

One Year Ago

Warning: It's a LONG one, but oh so good!

One year ago I was very anxious to give birth to the prettiest little girl in my life. Elizabeth Dixie Mickelsen. Lizzy’s due date was December 29th, but I was nervous about having her on Christmas Eve or day, so I opted to have her induced on the 20th. Here is the story of that day.


December 20th 2008 was on a Saturday. James normally works on Saturday’s, but he took this day off in hopes that we would be able to have Lizzy induced that day. It wasn’t a sure thing because a lot of women wanted to be induced that day. I had to wait my turn. We got up that day, I got all gussied up because I knew it was going to be a good day. We went to the ward Christmas party, which was actually a breakfast. I got a lot of strange looks and questions from people because they all knew that was the day for my induction. Fittingly, (I thought) I won the prize from a drawing at the party. It made the day feel that much more special. James and I went home from the party and I think I called the hospital 3 different times that day asking if I could come in yet. I was turned down every time because they were SO busy! We all took a nap that afternoon. At 5:00 pm the hospital finally called and asked how soon we could be there. I said, “Give me 20 minutes”! They said, “give us more like 30”. Ha! James dropped me off while he went on to my mom’s house to drop off Logan. I got checked in, had my water broken, got my epidural around 7:00 and just waited.

I must dedicate a paragraph to crazy nurse Leah. That is how she will always be remembered because she was truly crazy. I didn’t understand her humor, probably because she didn’t have much. She was rude and crass and at one point threw the blanket off of me completely in some sort of retaliation to me asking her if she was going to check me. There is more to share, but I’ll save it for myself unless you ask me directly. Then I will share more horrifying details about her.
On my mom's side of the family, there were three girls born in the calendar year.
They are the three "E's". Eva, Emmaline, Elizabeth.

Even though my mom had Logan, she really wanted to be there for the birth, so she had a neighbor come and sit at her house after Logan went to bed at 7:30, and then my sister Sarah took over sometime around 10:00, I think. I’m so glad my mom was there, and I think James was too. I had an epidural that did great to eliminate any pain I might have been feeling, but it had a nasty side effect of making me feel completely claustrophobic in my own body. I had an overwhelming need to move my legs constantly, but I just couldn’t! James and my mom were very good to keep moving my legs around. That didn’t happen to me when I had Logan, so I’m not sure what was going on. As a result, I’m very interested into having my next baby using only hypnosis as my analgesic. Stay tuned for that story.

Elizabeth Dixie, with her name's sake,
Grandma Dixie.

Around 11:30 I was finally able to convince my crazy nurse Leah to check me again because she hadn’t for a couple of hours. She was convinced I hadn’t progressed a lot, but I was convinced otherwise, due to the pressure I could feel. Sure enough, Lizzy was crowning. This got my mom really excited. Out of all of her grand children, one has a birthday on December 19th, another has a birthday on December 21st, so the prospect of having Lizzy come on the 20th was exciting. The nurse paged the doctor and we waited and waited. During the waiting, my mom kept telling just to push Lizzy out; the nurses were capable of delivering her. I opted to keep my legs together and wait. After literally searching the hospital for him, the nurses finally found him and rushed him up to our room. (He had been in the ER helping out with an emergency.) He walked in at 11:54 pm; not much time to get Lizzy in this world before midnight to reach my mom’s hope of having a grand kid born on the 20th. I started pushing at 11:55 and Lizzy was born at 11:59. No time to spare! As soon as the nurse declared the time of birth, everybody in the room burst out in cheers.


Our little Lizzy bug is one year old. Crazy. I’ll update you on her stats later. I don’t have them yet because her doctor’s appointment is on Tuesday. She loves her mommy, way too much! She loves to be held so she can snuggle with you. She likes to give kisses and hugs. She really enjoys playing with Logan; they get hyper and start squealing in delight when they’re having a lot of fun together. She can stand alone for a few seconds at a time, and likes to walk with help. I don’t think she’ll be walking on her own for another month or so. She still doesn’t have any teeth yet, but I can see two just under the surface, so they are coming! She is such a good natured baby most of the time. No matter the situation, we can get her to laugh within seconds. We love her so much and are excited to have her in our lives.

Lizzy with her cute little friend, Rylee Egbert.


The photographer told Logan to give Lizzy a kiss. Instead, Lizzy threw herself
forward to grab Logan's shirt and planted this kiss right on him!

Our beautiful ONE year old girl.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friends and Tepanyaki

I'd been wanting to go to Tepanyaki for some time. We convinced our friends, Rob and Jocelyn, to go with us on Monday. Right before we left, Jocelyn reminded me to grab our camera.

This is a picture of Rob and Jocelyn driving in front of us. It was taken in the car, so now you can tell how dirty our windshield is. ;)
We went out to "celebrate" the end of the semester for Rob. He just finished an especially grueling semester of school. Good job Rob! And good job to Jocelyn for surviving as well. :)
Don't we look eager to eat?

The whole reason I wanted to go to this restaurant is because they cook the food in front of you and do all sorts of tricks while cooking it. Part of the "show" is flipping shrimp into your mouth. I was the only one at the table who caught my shrimp. Jocelyn was kind enough to film it. I know all of you have been thinking that the only thing missing in your lives is a video of me eating shrimp. Ha! Thanks for the fun night Egberts!

video

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Beautiful Family!

We had a girl in our ward take our family pictures last week. It was frustrating to work with Logan because he gets SO shy around people he doesn't know. We couldn't get him to crack a smile once through the whole photo shoot. To prove to ourselves that the kid could smile we went home and took some silly pictures of our own.

See, he's a cheese ball!
We were able to get Lizzy to smile in her individual pictures, but not our family pictures. Oh well. She does have a great smile, if I do say so myself. See?
For everybody who says Logan looks like his Dad I tell you to look at this picture. I think he looks like me! Kind of. We have the same eyes at least. Thank goodness he doesn't have that Ward nose! (If you are unsure of what a "ward" nose is, just look at mine!)

Aw man, I sure do have some handsome guys in my life!
Stay tuned for the professional pictures. I'm still waiting myself. :)




Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jumpin' Jack's Fun

All of my family was in town two weeks ago for my sister Sarah's wedding. Everybody went back to their regular lives shortly thereafter, but my sister Risa decided to stick around for another week. I tried to make the most of it by playing with her often. We took our kids to Jumpin' Jack's one day and had a blast. The best part is that they let the adults play too!

James loves this picture of Lanelle, Risa's daughter.
There's a lot of static electricity.
James and I went down a slide together. We tried to "surf" down, but were unsuccessful.
James had TONS of fun. I know he's trying to figure out when we can go again.
The slides are very steep, that's why I have the look of fear on my face. I have an issue with heights.

We seriously had so much fun. I hope that these links work. We took a few videos of us going down the barrier to the slide. James started it (no video of him, sorry) and he was more successful than Risa and I were. Risa's video is the funniest and the craziest, considering the fact that she is 20 weeks pregnant in it. Enjoy them! They give us a laugh every time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How Do You Know?

How do you know when you bake too much? When you find unexplained frosting in your fridge.

I made a cake today and when I went to put the left over frosting in the fridge, I discovered two other tupperware with frosting in them. One of them is left over frosting from brownies I made last weekend, but I have NO memory of making the other frosting. I can't even think of what I would have baked in the last two weeks that would warrant it being in my fridge. It's very frustrating.

With that being said, here is the latest creation from my kitchen. I was stressed about it because I normally take a few days to do a cake to lessen the stress. However, this one has a deadline of tomorrow so I had to go to the store to get the ingredients for the cream filling, then I came home and baked the cake (from scratch) let it cool, filled it, frosted it, covered it (with fondant) and decorated it. Then I cleaned up my mess. How long did it take me you ask? Minus the going to the store part, the rest took me 4 hours. I know, I shocked myself. I guess that's another sign that I bake too much.
Happy Birthday Vivien! I hope you like the cake.

Side note: I realize that a perfectly wrapped round gift is highly improbable. However, the only direction I got from Vivien (besides the flavor) is that she wanted a round cake. I was up to my own devices on the rest of it to make it look "birthdayish".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do You Smell Something?

We did, tonight. It's not uncommon for me to smell something burning in my oven when cooking something else. There's always some random overflowed food burning on the bottom of my oven. Consequently, it usually makes the smoke detectors go off too. Tonight I was cooking Impossible Cheeseburger Pie. I smelled the smell and thought nothing of it. Then the smoke alarm went off. James got right to turning it off while I got up to see what was burning in the oven. I opened the door to see this.
In case you're wondering, that WAS a sippy cup. It was the perfect ending to a day where I was already frustrated beyond my wits end with Logan. He's pushed every one of my buttons the last 2 weeks, and this was just the thing to hit the last button. I'm afraid for tomorrow. He might find another button I didn't know I had.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bret and Sarah's Wedding Cake

I got a new brother-in-law today. And it's about time too! Sarah is the third in our family of 8 but she is the last to get married. I guess I should be grateful, because if she had gotten married years ago, I wouldn't have had the chance to make her wedding cake! I really enjoyed the experience, mostly because nothing went wrong. Everything went way too smoothly in fact. I hope you enjoy the pictures. My sister Andrea commandeered my camera and took MANY pictures of me and the cake. I had to completely decorate the top tier once I got there, that's why so many of the pictures are of me working on it.

This one is of the finished product. Click on it so you can fully enjoy it's gold sparkliness.

Putting on the finishing flourishes.

Gluing on the flowers.

I should be a hand model, no?

Grabbing a flower from my flower stash to glue on the cake.
Seriously, click on the top picture to look at it better. I loved all of the sparklies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost Ready!

My sisters wedding is tomorrow, finally! Can you all tell how much I obsess over making cakes? It's a really big deal to me. I've never felt like any talent has come very naturally to me, and decorating cakes is no exception. I always experience some sort of problem and it FRUSTRATES me!!!!!! It frustrates James a bit as well because he takes the brunt of my frustration. Poor guy. I'm so glad he puts up with me. Actually he does more than that. He still loves me even through the whole process.

I know why wedding cakes cost so much. They are A LOT of work. I would estimate that I've spent about 10 hours on this cake so far and close to $50 in cost of supplies.

Anyway, this is my pile to load in the car tomorrow morning. Left to right, the bottom two tiers of the cake, fully decorated, next we have all the extra frosting I will and may need, in the white box is the cake topper, a glass temple, and lastly we have the top tier of the cake. It isn't decorated yet because I'll need to pick it up and put it on top of the rest of the cake.

I've forgotten my camera the last two times I did a wedding cake, but I've added my camera to that pile so it won't be forgotten. :) I'm actually not so sad that I forgot my camera the first time I did a wedding cake. It was basically a disaster in the aesthetic department. However, the taste got rave reviews. The second cake was significantly better, but still had some problems with it leaning. However, it was fully devoured as well. Yay! Hmm... I think I do have a picture of that second cake somewhere on the computer. I'll hunt it down and if I do indeed have it, I will include it on my next post. Ok, anyway, now I'm on my third wedding cake and I feel great about this one. As long as there are no major disasters. ;) I'll try to get pictures up as soon as possible in the next few days, since I know you are all waiting with baited breath to see it. Ha!

I've done enough talking. Sorry.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Caramel Brownies

Somebody made these brownies for our Super Saturday. A couple of women were wanting the recipe. I spoke up saying that I have it. I would have to say that Caramel Brownies are some of the best brownies in the world, so I'm sharing the joy.

Ingredients:
1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix (I've used other chocolate cake mixes and they work too!)
3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans (Optional. I've never put nuts in mine, yuck!)
13 ounces individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray one 9x13 inch pan with non-stick coating .
Combine the cake mix, butter and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Mix well and spread 2/3 of the batter into pan.
Press pecans into batter and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (Or don't! Cuz I wouldn't.)
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the caramel and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Stir until melted and smooth; pour over cooled cake mix.
Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of caramel and top with spoonfuls of remaining cake mix. Bake for additional l5 to l8 minutes; cool and cut.

I know that it sounds like a lot of work, but they are SOOOOOOO worth it. And, just to give props where props are due, I got this recipe from my sister Laurie who, I'm sure, got it from somebody else! That's always the case with amazing recipes like this one. :) Enjoy them, especially you, Melanie!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Ode to Water

Call me crazy, (many have, so you are in good company) but I think that water is the best medicine ever! If I ever feel a cold coming on, I start to guzzle water like a mad woman. I try to drink at least 2 quarts of water a day. (That's 64 oz of water, or half a gallon.) I would estimate that 4 out 5 five times, it makes my cold go away in 1-3 days. I introduced the idea to James, and he is a believer as well! Now, I can't take credit for this amazing discovery, because I learned it from the best roommate ever. (Thanks Carlee!) I had a full on cold start 3 days ago. I put my half gallon of water in the fridge and attacked it the next day. If you had talked to me that day you would have totally said that I had a cold. But, today, two days later, there is no trace of it! It's magic I tell you, magic! I think this is why I rarely drink soda or juice because why would I waste my liquid intake on something that isn't magic?

Here's my challenge to all of you, once you feel a cold coming on, start drinking your water like you never drank it before. Let me know what happens. I'm curious to see if this method should be studied by doctors or not. I've never heard of doctor's telling patients to drink a lot of water to get past a cold. But the should.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lesson of the Day

Don't Be Delusional.

That was the lesson I learned today. I was downstairs with Lizzy watching a food network show while Logan was happily playing upstairs. I could tell you what I assumed he was doing, but we both know that what I assumed he was doing was not what he was really doing. Hence the, don't be delusional lesson.

Here is the bookshelf in our new playroom. Yeah, it has more than just books on it. It also has every single hair product in our house on it. From left to right, hairspray, gel, more hairspray, mousse, even more hairspray, hair detangler, and on the top shelf, by the dinosaur, the real culprit, hair wax.



Cute, isn't he? I cleaned him all up and then went back downstairs to finish my show. Again, I was delusional. The second time I left him alone he got the humidifier out of Lizzy's room. He poured some of the water on the carpet, but then found about 20 finger puppets and put them in the humidify, along with some other random toys. I didn't take a picture of that because it wasn't quite as funny. :)
My other delusions revolve around wedding cakes. I always get excited about decorating a cake, but, somewhere along the line, something goes wrong. So far the only thing that has gone wrong with this cake is that the flowers I started making were a terrible shade of green. I scraped that and started over making ivory colored flowers.
Here is what 300+ flowers look like on one cookie sheet.

And, close up. The picture doesn't show the light dusting of gold glitter on them. I love shiny things!
Stay tuned until next week for the finished product! The wedding is the day before Thanksgiving.