Friday, January 30, 2009


So, I always give myself time to think of my resolutions. Often this results in never making them, or waiting until some benchmark (last year it was "when we get to maryland" and then "when we get to Kentucky" and then "when matt leaves" and then "when school starts"). In an effort to avoid putting these off any further, I am putting them out to the public so you can ask me/bug me/remind me about these goals. I am publishing them here, today.

I liked how Melissa categorized hers- that appeals to my brain, so tralala, here I go!

-BE HEALTHY! (this means make good food choices, and work out 3+ times per week)
-Run SOME kind of race this year... most likely a 5K since this gal ain't no runner.
-Minimize butt-time: when it is nice out, go outside and DO something!

-Think positively about myself and my body... no more of this guilt-tripping, self criticism business. LAME! That doesn't help me be healthier, nor does it make ANYTHING better! I am strong, healthy, and I can live with that! I remember a little poem my mom had in my room as a kid-- I think it rotated around between me and my brothers, and it says:
"I like me,
Yes! I like me!
Being what no one else can be,
I like me!"
Clearly cheesey, but conceptually I think I (and probably any given female reader) needs to remember this. Not in a prideful "i'm so schmancy" kind of way, but in a "hey, I'm unique and dearly loved by the Creator of the universe. THAT IS NEAT" kind of way! Moving on....
-Attempt to be less selfish, and more flexible. I say attempt because I believe I am inherently selfish and INflexible, and I need to work on that. Give me time people, and know I'm working on it!

-Consistently spend time in the Word. This means getting up earlier than I would to do that since I know once the day gets going, there's no turning back.
-Find a spiritual mentor.
-Become involved at church and contribute to the community where I belong!
-Work on prayer-- doing it more, doing it better, doing it with more joy.

-Figure out and utilize the best way to track and manage our finances. I love this stuff, but my former approach is getting stale. Also, this will be the first time we have an unchanging income and the same number of people in the house for the whole year (!) so I'd like us to get a solid budget and stick to it within the first 6 months of this year. I'm giving us that time because realistically we are going to have some trial and error!

-Find a professional mentor (well, she is found, but she doesn't know it! So I suppose that is TELL her!).
-Do my very best at school, even when it IS poetry!
-Write at least one very well-revised story that will go into my thesis over the summer.
-Prepare for and take the Comprehensive Exam for my Master's in December (if they offer it then).
-Do SOME kind of work this summer... this could be for a school, for a professor, freelancing, starting up pampered chef, or just a minimum wage job somewhere.
-Continue to cook new things every week, and try crazy recipes!

-Work on my marriage. No, nothing is wrong, and we've had a great year, but I think this should ALWAYS be on my list! I can't imagine our 70 years together (Lord willing!) will be very fun if we don't make any effort!
-Make an effort to connect with my siblings every few weeks.
-Encourage my friends and family, and be persistent with staying connected with them.

And so, there they are. I know, it is a lot, but I think they all take time. I know these won't happen immediately, but I think there are some good concrete things, and some good conceptual things. It's worth a shot!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Beginning.

Well it has been a busy first few weeks of the year. To catch you up:

Michael and Joanna Miller visited! It was so great to see you guys!

I've been baking and cooking like whoa. That all ends today....well not ENDS, but diminishes, since I'm back to work and school as of today.

To prove my from scratchiness, see below:

Parker House Rolls! (What? That doesn't LOOK like a PH roll? WELL.... I am TERRIBLE at shaping rolls, as it turns out....)

I made Steak Frites, and here are les frites!Here is the steak with shallot butter sauce, boursin stuffed spinach (not as good as we'd hoped, but still pretty tastey), and the fries... SO good!

And again.

And HERE is the best baguette I've made to date! I'm SO happy with how this one turned out... it was crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and gloriously big! I have finally, after about a dozen times making it, perfected this little loafy.

We've been doing lots of cooking and eating and making fun cocktails around here. I made a raspberry tarte fromt scratch last week, but was not impressed with the flavor (and am so glad I didn't make it for guests!). We also saw a few movies this last weekend-- the last long weekend for a while for either of us :) We had a great time.

If you are concerned about Dutch, be not worried. See below, he's still fine, living in the lap of kitten luxury, eating, sleeping, fetching (which he has trained us to do excellently).
And so there are the only pictures from the last few weeks.... I know, I'll get better, I swear!

We also learned how to play (FINALLY) Settlers of Catan! You have no idea how many freaking nights in college I wondered what the great goodness that was, and now I know! So fun!

And today, talk about beginnings, President Barack Obama is... president. Pretty exciting. Not gonna lie, I cried. I'm rooting for him, praying for him, and planning to "do my part." My only complaint with all the news coverage is that everyone is saying that he is changing history. Is it me, or does that NOT MAKE SENSE? He is NOT changing history... he may be MAKING history, but he is not going back in time and changing a dang thing. Not a thing. And that phrase bothers me. I don't think that has anything to do with him, I think it's a dumb media phrase people are using. You can't change what already happened (and hi, maybe a little scary if that was the plan... hello Stalin!). So, hooray for you, President Obama.... you are MAKING history!

And there you have it. All caught up.
I'll post later this week about my classes once I've been to them all!

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Year in Review.

2008 in Review:

Woke up on January 1, 2008 somewhere in Ohio-- on our way to Maryland.

Lived in a Hotel for the month of January.

Lived on Aberdeen Proving Grounds in North East Maryland in a mold-infested apartment.

Baked my first baguette.

Hosted a SuperBowl party, enjoyed the game. Ate Chili.

Met really great people.

Visited relatives on both sides of our family in Virginia. Saw Battlefields. Saw kids we like.

Saw DC.

Saw Baltimore.

Saw Boston. Got to visit with Josh and Laura and get a glimpse into their pre-married life.

Moved from the mold infested apartment to a less-mold infested (but still condemned) building.

Made the best Guinness stew yet for St. Patty's day.

Celebrated Staci's 23rd with her and her friends in Baltimore.

Hosted Easter for three very sweet boys, and enjoyed a great egg hunt on the playground, too.

Watched my husband graduate from training as an Ordnance officer.

Drove back across the country and realized it was a lot easier in April than January.

Visited with good friends in Utah. Left Utah.

Drove back across the country, made it to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Moved into our first house!

Bought our little kitteny cat Dutch.

Celebrated from afar for Josh and Laura who got married in June!

Visited by the Teter family and LOVED having them here!

Said goodbye to my husband who deployed to Iraq.

Experienced peace like I've never known it, which didn't mean it was all easy or happy, but there was definite God-given peace.

Painted my house (the insides).

Was visited by Josh and Laura, and My mommy! Got to see Mimi too, on a trip down south.

Celebrated Matthew's 26th from afar, and our second wedding anniversary.

Started the Master's of English program at Austin Peay State University.

Read. and Read. and Read. Wrote and wrote and wrote.

Turned 24.

Found out the tumor did not shrink, and must be removed.

Visited my brother and family in Colorado where we met for a mini-union at the end of October.

Was approved to write a thesis in my master's program.

REUNITED WITH HUSBAND 2 MONTHS EARLY! Happy to celebrate the holidays with him.

Cooked our first full Thanksgiving meal.

Completed finals.

Cooked, and cooked, and cooked.

Decorated our house for Christmas- the first time we have had a place to decorate!

Returned to Utah for the holidays.

Saw both of my godsons, lots of friends, and had good time with family. Enjoyed the snow!

Returned to Kentucky, glad to find we both missed it while away.

It has been an incredible year. There have been adventures, challenges, sadness, happiness, and lots of learning. WOW, I'm still reeling from all I've learned! Thank you to everyone we were able to see and visit, who visited us, and who kept in touch as we traveled about! I can definitely say we are happy to settled in one place for a while-- there was a continual sense of relief while in Utah knowing we were coming back here, the same place we were before, and not on to somewhere new.

And so now that I've reflected a bit on the last year, though not in much detail here, I can think about the year ahead. If it is anything like this last year, I better buckle up!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year.


Happy New Year everyone!

This is us on New Year's eve. We had a great dinner with friends and then came home and managed to stay awake until midnight. We are both looking forward to 2009 and are so thrilled for what we know it holds for us, and the surprises that are inevitably in store. We are so excited to see what happens this year!

We'd like to welcome Michael Blue Fosmark to the world as of last night, and wish Dashiell a happy third birthday, Nolan a happy first, and Julie a happy early 22nd!

We love you all and happy 2009!

Friday, January 02, 2009


Well! Here is a big dump of Christmas pictures.... I am doing this in a fast and less than thorough way so that it happens NOW rather than... in May after my semester ends :)

First, here is our house with the lights that Matthew put up!

Not too shabby for our first go at it!
On the 20th we headed to SLC. We got a lot of great time with the Teter family the first few days because the Miller grandparents from Kansas, and the Laughban family were in town (Matthew's aunt, uncle, and cousin). We had a great time hearing about how grandma and grandpa met (she asked HIM to a dance!) and lots of other fun stories!

We were THRILLED that it snowed pretty much every day but 2 while we were in town! This the view from my old bedroom at my folks' house where we stayed.

My mom, if I may say, is a fabulous design/decorator. She gets to show that off at Christmas. You can't see it well, but in the living room black and gold were the theme colors and it looked SO gorgeous!

The Mantle. You can't really see the colors very well. But for reals. She did a great job. Not too bad for getting back two weeks before Christmas (from a Middle Eastern Cruise including seeing the pyramids in Egypt and skiing in Dubai. Yep, those two get around!).

The Herm!

Here we are on Christmas Eve.

And here is my mom opening her new laptop on Christmas morning. Fancy!After a fun morning at my house we headed over to the Teters' place. We enjoyed a GREAT breakfast casserole made by Whitney and some delicious cinnamon rolls.

Debra and Peto.

John and Nico (who is getting sweeter, slowly but surely).

Ashley and her guitar hero guitar. This girl is ridiculous. She can play it on expert.... that is impressive just to watch. Even cooler, she can play REAL guitar, and did so at church the first Sunday Matthew and I were in town! It was great!

Whitney and Peto!

Later that day after some cooking and relaxing, Kim, Jay, Jayson, Todd, Denise, Grace, and Douglas came over. Here are Jay and Jayson checking out Dutch's gift to them, a book called I Can Has Cheezburgers?" If you like cats AT ALL, get one. Absolutely Hilarious.

Prepping the meal!

One of our appetizers that Matthew assembled!

Dash, most likely asking me to fix the leaking ceiling that only he can see. This, for future reference, is done by bopping a balloon (the green or purple one) to the ceiling three times.
This guy is so fun and sweet! Unfortunately he got a bit sick but is hopefully now doing much batter, and as of the 30th is officially THREE!

No one really knows why he has underwear on his head. But he does.

Kim gave me a GREAT gift! A Chef's meal planning kit--- lots of fun listy things....wonderful!

And then, the meal.
Here is a salad that my mom and kim love, and after having it... wow. Pears, orange slices, pomagranite, pecans, onions, blue cheese, and a raspberry vinaigrette that was delicious. E-mail me for the recipe, it is FABULOUS! (I know, I know... you're thinking "you really need a recipe for salad? Well you know how it goes, you end up putting the same three things in it night after night and get SICK of it... this is a crowd pleaser, and would do well as an entree for les vegets!)

My mom, if I may brag, is a fabulous cook. This year we did standing rib roast (drooooool) For Christmas dinner. OH my goodness. Amazing. And here's a picture of my very happy plate.

Everyone at the table.

It was a great meal, so wonderful! We had artichoke dip and baked brie for apps as well, so we skipped dessert and simplified... it was perfect.

For Christmas Dash's Nana (my mom is Grammy, so his other Grandma... Hi Myrita!) gave him some awesome space stuff-- he's very into space these days. Here is Jay sporting the muy cool astronaut helmet!

Here is Douglas, 2.25 years old, running. I love that his head is just BARELY in focus....
that is pretty true to life.
Douglas peaking out!

This little one kept himself so entertained. He was thrilled with his water bottle, and for the most part didn't squirt it at anyone.

And so, Christmas day was great. We enjoyed our time with our families, we got some fun gifts, and we really enjoyed being together. It has felt so natural to be back together that I often forget that even now, Matthew wasn't supposed to be home yet. At church our first Sunday they gave him a standing ovation and I started bawling my guts out. I didn't expect it, but in the end I realized that I am SO proud, and SO thankful that he IS home. The fact that we got Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's TOGETHER was just wonderful.

We got to see lots of people, spend some really good family time, and over all enjoyed being in Utah. Here is one of the quieter moments.... they didn't happen very often since we were almost always cooking, eating, talking, or laughing, but.... here it is. Matthew asleep by the fire.

We were happy to have friends over last week to my folks' house. Unfortunately we were NOT good about pictures, so we only have pics of people who stayed late. Here is Robby enjoying a Bud light after having what he deemed a "wonderful" cocktail my dad made for the lingering men, the Frech 75. Trust me, you'd like it. Gin, Champagne, Lime, Symple Syrup. Shaken pre-champagne. For recipe, e-mail me. Delicious!
Matthew and Brady.

Crystal and Kelli!

Colby and Brady.... Colby here is a full 9 months pregnant and could very well, at the moment you are reading this, be in labor. She, of course, looked ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!

Me and Colby.

Me, Kel, and Colby. (this was around 2am, when these guys left).
Thank you to everyone else who came and we didn't get pictures of! Pete and Amy, Lisa and Kyle, Micah, Whitney, Jesse, Jeff and Ryann... it was fun to see you all! For those we missed- particularly Bz, the Rileys, Kimber, Ash and Thadd, and Bonneville friends, we will hopefully catch you next time we're in town.

The tree live this year moved from near the fire place in the great room
to the entry way and it was so cool! It was 18 feet tall. I loved the new locale.

A view from the floor.

Mwaha. The Hermann. Fluffier than ever (no really, he's like, whoa fluffy).

Oh. My. Goodness. My Husband is goodlooking!
(He loved not shaving!!! Just imagine,
this was the first time in a LONG time he has grown facial hair!)
On the 28th my mom prepared another part of our Christmas gift, the labor of love that is Beef Wellington. She got the recipe from a cooking school she attended some time in 1980/81ish. I think that places her in KC, MO but I'm not positive. Anyway, this baby is usually a three day production. Since we didn't hand make the puff pastry this year (as an experiment, which we now know we will not do again... handmade is better in this case) so we cut out a day.

First, the marinade is made. This is a fabulous mix and also later is used for the gravy (which I could eat like soup... but seriously). The beef is hand-trimmed, then marinates in the fridge for at LEAST 24 hours.

After that, you puree and then sqeeze the juice from mushrooms that will form part of what is traditionally the liver pate, but in this recipe of perfection, there is a different and delicious unique version. Once made, you roll the puff pastry, and then form the pate on the pastry.

Enter: Beef.

Then roll the beef up, seal it.

My mom always does a little design on top, and this year it was tiny little stars all over.

Bake, let rest..... etc.

The rest of the menu was: Green beans, herb-butter tossed fingerling potatoes, rolls, another great salad, and then carrot cake to end. Don't worry, Matthew was too full for dessert anyway (he isn't a huge fan of carrot cake, but did get his very own
yellow cake with chocolate frosting a few days before).

Me icing the carrot cake. My dad's great great grandmother's recipe. YUM.

Here is the table again. A funky centerpiece this year, but I really liked it.

While we cooked, Dash admired and loved on Jayson,
Jerico layed around, and everyone just hung out.

Here is Lahki, (pronounced Lucky), Jayson's little puppety pup. SO cute!

Once the meat was finished, Dash and Elizabeth came over to watch Gavin cut the meat. I can't remember what exactly he said about it, but it was hilarious. Here are E, Ian, and Dash, who is showing off his smile (if you ASK him to smile, you get something like this).

Gavin, sharpening his blade.

Here are the fingerling potats... No matter what I did they wouldn't turn the right way,
so you have here a sideways picture.

Green beans, and to the left of them, the glorious gravy.

Beef consultation.

Dash identified the sparkly trees as hats, and as you can see they are perfect head decor!

I love it! If only we could have figured out a way to keep it up there, but I think they were a bit too heavy. Very creative little mind he has though!
The rest of us enjoyed a nice Zinfandel, and then a Pinot, and Dash had some 2%.

Another happy plate. Check that beef out: perfect beef, the pate around, then the pastry. YUM.

And so, of course, the blog is dominated by food. But that is, let's face it, how my mind categorizes, remembers, and processes just about everything.

Thanks to everyone for a GREAT Christmas. We had a great time in utah, and we are thrilled to be back in Kentucky. We are happy that we felt ready to go "Home" and get back HERE to life as we've made it thus far. I was a bit nervous I wouldn't want to come back after being home and surrounded by loved ones and snow and the glory that is the Wasatch Mountains. Honestly, it was sad, but a relief to get back here to ol' Bito Drive. I count that a blessing as well.

May the miracle of Christ's incarnation light your path as you begin the New Year.