Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home,

glad as I can be!

Ben finally set foot on Utah soil Tuesday afternoon when his year long deployment to Afghanistan came to an end. Paige and I were there at the Air Base in Salt Lake to welcome him home. We are both happy to have her Daddy back at last.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lucky Girl

Look at those lashes!

Confessions of a Dietitian

As a general rule, I am not a fan of "healthified" recipes. Not because I think it's a bad idea to substitute applesauce for oil, or low-fat mayonnaise for regular, or ground flax seed and water for egg, or drained non-fat yogurt for sour cream, etc, but because (deep breath) IT DOESN'T TASTE GOOD.

Some healthified foods taste alright, I admit. But not all, or even most, are as good as the original. Whoever says they are is either lying, doesn't have taste buds, or has lived so long without tasting the full fat/full cholesterol/full sodium/full calorie version that they no longer know what they are talking about.

Case in point:

In high school, I was kind of renowned, I mean known for my chocolate chip cookies. I'm not saying they're spectacular, but they're really, really good: basic, tasty, comforting, and satisfying. I made them a lot, really a lot. A couple times a week? I really can't remember exactly how often, but when I think of high school, some of my clearest memories are of me scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl, spooning dough out onto cookie sheets, and yelling at people not to reuse their spoons between cookie dough tastings (we often went through all the spoons in the silverware drawer due to this rule). And I can still picture the exact location in the kitchen of every ingredient I used. Quite a feat since I haven't made anything in that kitchen for almost 7 years (my parents moved). But, I digress.

So, I was known for my chocolate chip cookies. This week, after hearing through a blog about this really great, healthier cookie recipe that was "just as good as the original", I threw my preconceived notions about substitutions aside and decided that maybe I could healthify my cookie recipe. I mean, I am a dietitian. What kind of message am I sending people when I show up on their doorstep with a bag full of fat-laden goodies? So, optimistically I looked at the suggested substitutions, read some recipe reviews and comments, bought some whole wheat flour, some unsweetened applesauce, and began.


They were okaaaaay, but NOT "as good as the original". Texture was decent. . . flavor? off. In my opinion, save yourself from having to learn through experience and just take my word for it; make the original version and just eat a few.

Substitutions have their place, definitely, but in general I am more a fan of moderation. I realize that doesn't work for everybody, and if you know you're going to eat the entire batch of cookies then maybe you SHOULD make the healthified version, but for me, I would much, much, MUCH rather eat one or two of the original version.

Hmmm, maybe that's the secret. . . make the healthified version and you won't want to eat ANY! That's healthier for sure, but not happier. . .

There, I said it. I should probably be stripped of my license now, but I just had to get that off my chest.

(fellow dietitians, please be gentle)


If you haven't yet voted on seriously so blessed's makeover finalists, go vote for Jessica!

Her husband, Andy, is deployed with Ben to Afghanistan. She totally deserves to win!

Monday, January 19, 2009


We got a new camera after Christmas (thanks to Grandma & Grandpa Miller's Christmas gift and Costco prices). I haven't had many opportunities to play with it due to potty-training, going to Seattle, and having the flu but I got it out on our way out the door one day last week and asked Paige to make these faces:





The camera's a Nikon D60. It's my first SLR and so far I really like it. I thought about springing for the D90 but a) Ben would've killed me (not literally!), b) I'm just beginning to learn about photography, and c) with my sister's camera history, I'm afraid I might drop it in the River, or smash it's $700 lens when the stroller tips over :)

Any thoughts on the Nikon D60? Good OR bad? Other cameras you like? I've still got like 70 days left on my return policy so feel free to be honest!

p.s. Thanks for your well-wishes! The flu has passed and we are feeling much better. Oh, and we're still looking for a place to live.

Is it just me, . . .

or is 22 months a little young for my daughter to start trying to manipulate me by telling me she doesn't love me?

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I've spent the last 3 hours laying in bed trying to keep down Sprite and Saltines.

The 8 hours before that were spent in close proximity to the toilet.

Paige is lying next to me watching her 5th straight half-hour of Thomas/Little Einsteins/Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

I've managed to make it to the kitchen to get Paige's milk and juice and to get her to the potty once, but every time I stand up I get light-headed, nauseous, and quickly climb back into bed.

She's eating Saltines for breakfast too. Sigh . . . I am such a good mother. . .

My parents are out of town for the weekend.

I can't call Ben because he is in a 'secured' area where no cell phones are allowed.

Soooooooo BORED.

I HATE the flu.

(and yes, whining about it is already making me feel a little teensy bit better)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Actually, we need a place to live.

We are quite flexible really. Maybe even too flexible. You see we'd like to find a small house or apartment or condo in St. George or Utah County or Wasatch County or Salt Lake County that Ben and Paige and I could live in for about 4 to 8 months while Ben re-does some of the application process for his favorite bureau.

Our price range is $0 to about $700.00 a month.

Partially to fully furnished would be nice.

And we'd like to rent month to month.

Anyone know anyone looking for new (flexible) tenants?


Ben and I had a GREAT 3 1/2 days together in Seattle. Though we didn't really plan it this way (you can't really plan anything when you're dealing with the military), everything worked out as if we had. Ben's plane from Afghanistan arrived in Seattle (after unexpected long lay-overs in Kuwait, Germany, and Chicago (it took over an entire WEEK of travel)) just a couple of hours before my flight arrived from Las Vegas. Ben was able to meet me at my gate wearing his uniform. Well, more like sneak up on me, grab my butt, and scare me half to death at my gate :) I was expecting to meet him at baggage claim. But the way he choose to do things was much better, and much more surprising.

I didn't bring the Z with me. She stayed in St. George with Honey and Papa and did way better than I expected. She never whined or cried for me. My mom and Ruben said she was really good. In fact you wouldn't have thought she missed me at all though occasionally she would run off announcing, "I go find mama!". And twice on our daily phone talks she said, "Mama, you in Wash-ing-ton?! . . . I miss you." It about broke my heart.

Ben and I stayed just south of Seattle to be a little closer to Ft. Lewis in case he received short notice that he was needed on base. He was only really needed once while I was there, so we had the rest of our time free to ourselves. We ate a lot (Ben REALLY missed America and American food), shopped, saw a movie, shopped some more, slept . . . . On my last morning there we went to Pike's Place Market and had another out of the blue chance encounter with an old friend. This time the friend was Ben's; Bob Caswell - one of Ben's companions from his mission. If we ever make it back there again, who knows who else we might run in to!

Anyway, Ben just has to spend a couple of weeks at Ft. Lewis training the new group of soldiers headed to Afghanistan before he comes home for good! We are so excited.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Right now . . .

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Seattle looking on the internet for places to go eat dinner, while my fresh from Afghanistan hubby is taking a shower. There is only one wall between us. Life is good!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Meeting Santa

This a little late, but I just barely uploaded the photos from my mother's camera.

We took Paige to visit Santa at the mall in St. George the week before Christmas. She likes the idea of Santa, but wasn't too thrilled about meeting him in person. She was brave and there were no tears, but she sure was miserable.

Please, Mom. I do not want to do this.

No, No, No, No!

Okay, FINE. But I'm not going to look at you.

This is the best you're going to get, lady. You better just take the picture now, cause there is no way I'm smiling. This is the worst day of my life. Oh, and by the way, I'm still not going to look at you.


If you were wondering what Little P looks like with a mustache, well, thanks to her Papa you don't have to wonder any longer:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Potty Training Update

Disclaimer: this post is WAY longer than I originally intended it to be. If you have no interest in the topic of potty training, then don't bother reading any further. If you do have some interest in potty training, you might find the following useful:

Even though day 1 of potty training went well, I decided I didn't want to have to use pull-ups during outings or at night, so on day 2 I started a new method: The 3 Day Potty Training method by Lora Jensen. So day 2 of potty training was really day 1 of the 3 day method.

Here's how it went: After breakfast we took off Paige's nighttime diaper and she put on big girl underwear. I told her she was a big girl now and got to wear big girl underwear because she knows how to go in the potty. I also told her that she needed to keep her big girl underwear dry and let me know when she needed to use the potty. Paige had 2 accidents that morning that I caught happening and she finished in the toilet. Both times she announced that she was going ("I'm POOPING!", but again it was just pee). The method is all about getting the child to recognize when they have to go before they actually go and these "accidents" are all part of the learning process. She got extra drinks so that she'd have lots of chances to use the potty. I gave her constant reminders throughout the day about keeping her underwear dry and letting me know when she needed to pee. The rest of the morning she told me every time she needed to go in time for me to get her to the potty. The method strictly forbids pull-ups, even during naps and nighttime (with the goal of daytime and nighttime training at the same time), and so I nervously put P down for her nap in her big girl underwear. I didn't let her have any fluid for an hour before her nap and I made sure she went potty twice during that hour. She also usually has a sippy with milk right before her nap, so I was afraid she'd notice the change in routine and not be able to fall asleep. We read a few books and skipped the milk and she didn't even seem to notice. Nervously, I waited for her to wake up. I was sure I'd find her soaked, but when she woke up from her nap 2 hours later she was dry! When she woke up I asked if she needed to use the potty and she did. She had one more accident that afternoon, but she realized again as she was going and we made it to the potty in time to finish. The rest of the afternoon and evening went smoothly with Paige even telling me she needed to go potty right in the middle of her bath. I wisked her out of the tub, quickly dried her off, she did her business on the potty and got back in the bath. As bedtime drew nearer I decided to commit to the method's no pull-up rule even though I was convinced I'd have to change the crib sheets and Paige's clothes at least once during the night. So I didn't let her have any fluids after dinner (I gave her her usual nighttime milk with her dinner), made sure she used the potty twice in the hour before bedtime, and put her to bed. Let me tell you, I hardly slept a wink all night, worrying about Paige, wondering if she was laying in a pool of urine, listening to the monitor for any sign that she was waking up and needing to go potty. . . when 8:30 am came and I finally heard her stirring I rushed in her room to find Paige . . . completely dry!!!

Day 2 of 3 day potty training went even more smoothly. We stayed home all day, and Paige consistently told me in time for me to get her to the potty. She woke up from her nap dry, and she had only one accident the whole day. It was at the end of the day and I think she was just getting tired of the whole dropping everything routine and running to the potty, because she told me she needed to go, I said, "you do?" and came toward her, at which point she said,"NO, NO, I don't!". I backed off, said "okay" and then 30 seconds later she was peeing on the living room floor with me standing right beside her. However, the rest of the evening went great and she slept through the night dry again (I slept better too).

Today was day 3 of the 3 day potty training method. It was COMPLETELY accident free! We left the house for the first time in 2 1/2 days to go to church from 1 to 4pm. Before Sacrament meeting, I showed her where the little potty was in the building and she wanted to try it out right then. She asked to go again about an hour later (during Sacrament meeting) and we made it all the way out of the chapel to the little potty which is way down the hall. I was SO proud! Then the last 2 hours of church she was in nursery (which I am in with her because I am one of the nursery workers). I was a little nervous she would get preoccupied playing with the other kids in nursery and not tell me when she needed to go. However, she proved me wrong again and went on the potty twice. She stayed dry the rest of the evening and is now sleeping through what will hopefully be another dry night.

I'm sure there will be more accidents in the coming weeks, in fact I'm expecting them, but it seems to me that the worst is over. And, honestly, it wasn't too bad. I realize I probably had it easier than most parents, and I've felt a little bit guilty about that as I write this, but I wanted to post this because the majority of people who look at my blog have children who are or who will soon be potty training and I thought I should give a shout out to Lora Jensen and her 3 day method.


With all that being said, the last 3 days have been some of the most exhausting days of my life! I can't even imagine what I would feel like if it had gone poorly. My hat goes off to all mothers everywhere. The things we have to do are astounding!

The End

P.S. I'd love to hear your potty training experiences. Anyone else tried a method that worked well or didn't work? Have you tried the 3 day method? Ideas on the best age to potty train? Funny (or frightening) potty training stories? Please share.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas 2008

We spent Christmas this year in California with my grandparents'. It was just like the Christmases I had growing up!

Cousins in their Christmas Eve pajamas. When I was a kid we took a picture like this on these stairs every year. Four of the cousins hadn't arrived in time to be in this picture.

Mad dash up the stairs to the playroom to see what Santa brought. Papa carried Paige. The rest of the mob had already passed them by.

Paige's presents from Santa. I get such a kick out of seeing P sit in her chair with her feet up on the ottoman to read a book. And that baby is her new best friend.

From left to right: Maggie (25 months), Anna (20 1/2 months), and Paige (22 months) on Sunday in their matching dresses. These cousins are adorable together.

Me and P on the porch of my grandparents' home in California. Oh how I love that place. . .
We had a blast! The only thing that could have made it any better would have been having Ben there, of course. But we had the next best thing; Ben was on Skype opening up presents right along with us :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I may regret this later, but . . .

it's going fairly well so far. After a couple months of sporadic toilet use, I got serious about potty training Little P today. She went pants-less most of the day, sat on the "princess" potty 5 times, actually 'went' on the "princess" potty 3 times (once was #2; YAY!), picked out big girl underwear at the store, and had 1 accident on the kitchen floor, during which she yelled out, "I'M POOPING!". It wasn't poop though, just pee.

I don't know what got into me today, but soon after I woke up I decided today was the day. Maybe it's the New Year. Maybe it's because I won't be living with my parents much longer or living in their carpet-free home (travertine floors make for quick accident clean-up). Maybe it just seems like a good time because for about the next month our lives will be pretty predictable, but after that . . . not predictable, at all.

Which brings me to my next announcement . . . Ben is NO LONGER IN AFGHANISTAN! YAY! He is on his merry way home. Well, not really home, but back to Ft. Lewis, WA where he'll spend the next month training the soldiers who will be taking over his battalion's job in Afghanistan. Then he'll come home. Well, not really home but to St. George (where I am). And then the unpredictable will happen, because we have to find a place to live while Ben tries to find a job and we start our lives together all over again. We have a plan. We're trying to be flexible. We have faith that things will work out for the best. Wish us luck.

Here's to 2009 and new beginnings.