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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

by the pound

We buy lots of things based on how much they weigh.  Fruit, vegetables.... well, I guess that's about it.  Many things come in 'pound' packages I guess.  That must be what I'm thinking about.


We were having brunch last weekend, and I was in charge of the asparagus.  I love asparagus.  I don't think I'd ever had it when I was younger, so I didn't know I liked it.  But I do.  Don't think you like asparagus?  Try it again!

So we headed to Price Chopper and I picked out 3 bunches of thin, fresh asparaugus.

This asparagus cost $2.99 a pound.  No problem!  Combined, it was a little over 3 pounds.  No problem at all!  It was fresh and crisp, I was happy. 

The first thing you do with asparagus is trim it.  This is the fun part!  You hold each spear on both ends, and bend.  The asparagus will naturally break where it needs to, and you'll be left with 2 pieces: the fresh part, with the 'tree' end, and the throwaway ends.

Here are the keepers!

And the toss pile:

Now I'm sure there are many things you can do with asparagus ends.  I don't feel like taking the time to google it.  But here's the deal: I don't want to do anything else with the ends.  I don't want the ends!  And I sure as heck don't want to pay for something I'm just going to break off and throw away when I get home!  Probably atleast a quarter of the weight, if not more, came from those worthless (to me) ends.

In my mind I picture myself standing in the produce section, breaking off asparagus ends and tossing them on the floor.  Probably wouldn't go over too well.  But it's tempting.

Okay.  Off my soapbox, back to the asparagus.

The rest is easy.  Oven at 400 degrees.  Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle on some EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 10 minutes or so. 

It'll be sizzly and starting to brown.  It's sooo delicious.  I ate a piece just to make sure it was done and tasted good.  Okay, that's a lie, I ate 2 pieces.  It was good.

And now I want some asparagus.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Today was a pretty full day, but full of fun stuff.  I have 2 blog posts in mind.  One on roasting asparagus.  Yum!  I did that today and it was easy and delicious.  One of my favorite vegetables.  The other post would be on Olivia's 1st birthday, with some cute pictures of Caleb thrown in.  We had a good time.  Good food, family, what more could you ask for?

Alas, I have forgotten my camera.  Left it at Christine's house.  Boo.  Soooo, instead I'll tell you about brunch.  Because I don't have any pictures of brunch.

Brunch was at John's parents today and we had tons of good food, as well as lots of fun hanging out with family!  I made asparagus (post with photos to follow, well, sometime) and there were also mini bagels, various breakfast casseroles, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, cookies, eclaires, brownies, ETC! 

It was fun spending time with John's cousin, Vinn, and his wife Chrystal, as well as Kristen, John's sister, and her boyfriend Brian.  Zoe came too, of course.  John's parents and grandmother sat at the 'adult table' and his Uncle and girlfriend, as well as her brother and wife, showed up later.

We had to jet out early for Livy Loo's birthday party.  Wish we could have hung out longer!  But it was fun, and we'll be making plans to go to dinner soon.

Now John's watching Pay-Per-View Wrestle Mania with some guys at the fire house and I'm psyching myself up for the work week to come.  Laundry needs to be folded, coffee (for the morning) needs to be made, and I'm good to go.  Tomorrow is a long day at work, 7:15-5:30, with a mandatory meeting to follow, 5:45-8:45.  Yippee.  :/  May as well just sleep there!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


A steaming mug of coffee, flavored with french vanilla creamer.

The kerosene heater burning.

Zoe stretched out on the floor beside said heater.

A quiet, mostly-clean house.

8+ hours of sleep last night.

A to-do list with only one item: buy asparagus.

The sun shining.

Anticipation of seeing my niece and nephews tomorrow.

Not dealing with defiant 2-year-olds!

Looking forward to an evening with just my hubby.

Brunch tomorrow.  I love brunch.

I heart Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Having a day off with no (well, minimal) housework to do is a wonderful thing.  I don't have to sit here thinking about all that I should be doing.  John worked late last night (until 3am) and then went on a fire investigation (at some point in the early morning...I was too out of it to look at the clock!) so he won't be getting up for atleast another hour and a half, I bet.  After that, his plan is to do some car shopping.  His lease is up soon and he wants to shop around and get a good deal on his next vehicle.  His dumb Escape has been in 2 major accidents (in the shop as we speak) so we're gonna wash our hands of it.

Our Time Warner Navigator has now changed.  I've been anticipating it since I got the flyer in the mail about a month ago.  It doesn't seem to be too difficult, but we'll see.  I haven't messed around with it too much yet.

Chrystal dropped of a 'pupcake' for Zoe yesterday.  I considered not telling John and just leaving it on the counter.  But...that would be mean.  So I saved it and we're going to give it to Zoe today. 

I am seriously in love with my new washer.  I think I've said that before.  But I  just can't get over it.  The clothes get so clean and it's just amazing!  This morning I woke up to John's muddy pants (from the fire investigation last night) on the laundry room floor.  So I just threw them in the washer on the heavy soil setting and voila!  Cleaner than they ever would have gotten in our old washer!

The rest of this week is gonna be a blur, so I plan on enjoying today and taking advantage of some time with John!

Birthday shout-outs to Amy today...she's getting to enjoy her birthday with a cruise!  And to Olivia tomorrow!  Can't believe a year ago today we headed to the wait and wait and wait!!  Love you both and hope this coming year is a wonderful one!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Any one who knows our dog, knows she loves treats.

Except for carrots.  Those, she leaves on the floor.

She won't eat them.

For Valentine's Day, Chrystal made Zoe some homemade treats.

Zoe looooved them!

Chrystal was selling some of her dog treats today.

So I bought some for Zoe.

I walked in the door and Zoe was sniffing and licking the box.

She waited patiently (while I took pictures) for a treat.

Finally, her patience was rewarded.

She cleaned up all her crumbs, then sniffed around for some more.

Thanks, Chrystal!  Zoe thanks you too!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Would Have Been

Sometimes life is busy.  Hours go by and I don't have time to think about my life and how it's been turning out lately.  Sometimes there are too many other things to worry about.  Sometimes my mind and heart are on other people and their pain and struggles.  Sometimes I can not be totally self-absorbed.

But then there are times, when it's quiet and I'm alone, that I reflect on what might have been.  Or times when John and I are having a conversation and I can't help but point out how different things would be if only...

Like today.  John and I go back and forth over whether we'll have 3 (John's idea) or 4 (my preference) kids.  I was mentioning to him how I can't imagine wanting only 1.  Some people do, I know, and that's fine.  But I can't imagine it.  John said 1 would be fine for him.  I think he was just saying it to get me going.  I said, "One!  If things had gone according to how they should have gone, we'd have 2 kids by this June!" 

This is a fact I've thought about before, but not for awhile, I guess.  Maybe because it hurts to think about what I don't have.  Maybe because dwelling on what should have been doesn't change the present.  Maybe because reliving the pain in my past only makes me more terrified to look toward the future.

But the fact remains: If my pregnancies had gone to term, I would have a 9 month old right now, and I'd be over 6 months pregnant.  Some people may consider that crazy.  Not me.  I'd gladly take the craziness, the sleepless nights, the many feedings and 2 children under the age of 1. 

Another thing that came to my mind today was that if I don't get pregnant soon, I'll be turning 30 without having any kids.  Not a big deal to some, I know.  But babies are something I've wanted my whole life.  I spend my days taking care of other people's kids.  I want nothing more than to be able to spend my days taking care of my own kids. 

So I continue to pray and hold fast to the promise that God will grant me the desires of my heart.  I have to believe that these longings, which are so strong, God will fulfill.  I have to have hope.  :)

Me & the Zach Man

Olive Garden, December 2009

Business Venture

My father-in-law recently turned 60.  We had a big party to celebrate!  Kristen, Chrystal and I were in charge of the cupcakes!  I don't exactly remember how many there were...but there were a lot!  Many different varieties with many different colors of frosting!

Here they are, working on frosting them the day of the party.  I think Chrystal's icing bag had just done something weird, hence the expression on her face!

We had such a good time doing this, we were throwing around the idea of opening our own bakery.  We decided that between John's Mom's cookies, my Grandma's frosting and Chrystal's chocolate calzones, we'd be a hit. 

And now that I've mastered the art of just barely learned how to deep fry candy bars, we could do that too!  Throw in some ice cream and we'd have a pretty decent dessert place.

And we would have so much fun doing it!!  It would be so much fun to all work together and get to hang out everyday.

But I'm realistic.  It takes a lot of money to start up a business like that.  There's lots of stuff involved.  Tons of work that you can never 'leave at the office' when you own your own business.  Severe chance for failure and losing everything.  Especially in this economy. 

But hey, it's fun to dream!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tub Time

I hate cleaning the tub.  Therefore, it rarely gets done.  I have, however, seen commercials lately for this special cleaner with 'scrubbing bubbles' that goes on blue and turns white when it's dry and ready to be wiped off.  Since I was doing a small grocery store run today, and since John said I had to spend atleast $51, I decided to pick some up.

(We had a 20 cent gas savings with our Advantage card, plus $49 toward the next level.  So by spending $51, it would bump us up to a 40 cent savings.  I spent $72.)

First of all, I opened the window in the bathroom, as well as the windows in the living room.  I read the back of the can, and it said there were no fumes, and there were no rules for ventilation or anything.  So I figured there would be no problem.

Since it's been awhile, I took my time and did section by section, really trying to do a good job.  When I was about halfway through, I realized the smell was really strong.  It was kind of getting to me.  I put my face right by the window for a few seconds for some fresh air.

Near the end, my nose was burning and I was feeling a little light headed.  I pictured myself passing out with no one here (except Zoe) to save me.  John called shortly after that, and I told him if he finds me dead, it's because of the tub cleaner.  :)  It did do a good job though! 

Unfortunately, after I was all done, I realized that I forgot to do the inside of the shower doors.  Oh well.  I'll probably do them when I'm in the shower at some point.  That'll be easier.  Or maybe I'll just make John do it.  Even better!

55 Minutes

John does not like American Idol.  That is no secret, and I work with it.  If he's home, we DVR it.  I watch it later, when he isn't home.  (I almost prefer this, as it allows me to fast forward through commercials and especially difficult-to-listen-to performances.)

This week, John was home on both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.  No problem!  DVR to the rescue.  Wednesday morning I checked to make sure it had recorded the night before.  It had, but instead of a 2 hour chunk, the DVR split it into a half hour and an hour and a half.  Okay, fine, I've still got the whole thing!

Last night, we were watching other things while DVRing American Idol.  John was flipping back and forth between a couple things.  I was maybe, possibly snoozing just a tiny bit.  (I'm cutting back on caffeine once again and I'm exhausted by 8pm.)  Well, with all his channel surfing, the cable box froze up.  He wanted to see the end of whatever he was watching, so he went in the bedroom to see the last 5 minutes.  I got up to get ready for bed.  When the box finally got reset or whatever...John pulled up the DVR list.  dun dun dun....

Just as a side note, the results show of American Idol can all be reduced to the last 5 minutes of the show.  The rest is drama and fluff.  Just show me who it is that's getting voted off, okay?!

Back to the DVR list.  When John told me American Idol only recorded for 55 minutes, I was so bummed.  The first 55 minutes is useless!  It's the last 5 minutes that matters!  Oh well.  Maybe I can find it online somewhere.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easy Peasy

Sometime in early 2006, a few months after we got engaged, John posed a question to me, "So, you know how to cook, right?"

I laughed and said yes, of course I know how to cook!  But then I was forced to prove it.  By making his favorite meal, Baked Ziti.  I found a recipe online and it has become our favorite go-to meal.  And it's easy too!

You start by boiling a big pot of water.  While that's going, mix together 24 oz. Ricotta cheese, 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, 1 egg and 1 and a half cups of pasta sauce (buy a 32 oz. jar of sauce).  It'll look something like this:

Once the water is boiling, salt it.  Liberally.

Add the pasta (ziti with lines), give it a stir and let it do it's thing.

In the meantime, lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

Once the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the cheese mixture.  Stir it up well.  The cheese will get all melty.  Your mouth may start to water.

Pour it all into the pan and smooth it out.  Pour the rest of the (32 oz jar of) sauce on top and spread it out.  Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on the top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  It'll come out looking even better than when it went in!

Dish yourself up a big bowl, top it with some Parmesan cheese and find out why my husband married me!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What a Weekend!

This weekend was busy and full!  But it was lots of fun!  Friday and Saturday I did lots of cleaning.  Lots of cleaning!  John hooked up our new washing machine on Friday, and I did my first load of laundry in it...and my second and third!  I absolutely love it!  It's a Frigidaire front loader...and it's so awesome.  I'll post a picture soon.

Friday night my nephews were sleeping over at my parents, so I spent the evening over there with Zoe.  Caleb absolutely loves Zoe.  Zachary...not so much.  But we had fun.  Zach and I read some books together, and after he went to bed I had so much fun chatting with Caleb.  He says the funniest things, and I just love hearing what his little mind comes up with!  He's so smart.

Saturday night my sisters came over for a "fry night."  We were going to fry all kinds of food.  Unfortunately, Christine got sick even before we started and had to go home.  So Sarah and I had fried ravioli, mozzarella sticks and deep fried candy bars.  Yum.  We also watched Little Women which I hadn't seen in years.  It was good!  Sarah and I kept thinking we knew what was going to happen (since we'd seen it before!) but couldn't exactly remember how it was funny.

Today was another emotional day at church (what Sunday isn't?!).  After that, John and I took a little road trip to Kingston.  Why would we decide to take a road trip to Kingston, you might ask?  Well, because that's the closest Sonic location!  Yes, we drove an hour for fast food.  And it was good.  Delicious food, and a fun time.  We took Zoe with us, and after we ate at Sonic I took her out of the back of the car, gave her water and let her pee.  I think she enjoyed herself.

Tonight John and I finished our DVR'd shows from last week, then played a few games of Yahtzee.  I killed him the first 2 games, and he beat me the last 2.  There will be a tie-breaker to come.  Possibly tomorrow night.  I'll let you know the outcome!!  My parents stopped by after that and I made some fried dough.  Yum!

Now John is gone to work all night, and I'm just watching TV.  I think the time change has made it so I'm not quite so tired.  Oh well.  I feel like I'm ready for the work week...or as ready as I'll ever be.  I'm not looking forward to naptime tomorrow when I'll be trying to put 10 toddlers down for a nap and their internal clocks will be telling them it's not time to sleep yet!!! 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hope Hurts

This is a realization I've come to.  Hope hurts.  It's easier to put up a wall of distrust around yourself.  Hope hurts.  It's more manageable to give in to the supposed "reality" and just give up trying.  Hope hurts.  It's so much less painful to give up any hope, so as not to be slammed in the gut when all you've hoped for comes crashing down around you.  Hope hurts.

I've seen and experienced this is many ways.  Personally, for myself, I've experienced it in 2 major ways.  First, my 2 pregnancies.  There is such hope present when you find out you're going to have a baby.  To have that dashed not once, but twice, leaves me hurting.  The hope I have for another pregnancy, one that will result in bringing a baby home with me, is tough.  That's not to say it's not is!  But it's painful to hope so hard for something that feels so out of reach.  The second way I experience painful hope is in just trying to get pregnant.  Month after month, hoping, praying, only to not get what I want.  It's hard to continue hoping.  It seems like it would be so much easier to just say forget it.  Then I wouldn't have that painful hope around every bend.

Maybe this doesn't make sense to anyone but me. 

I also experience painful hope in regards to my nephew, Caleb.  It's hard for me to explain, and I don't want this to come out wrong.  I guess I'll just say that I cry so many tears, wishing things were different.  I maintain such strong hope for Caleb: hope for healing, hope for a cure, hope for walking, hope for strength.  But I believe it is this hope that keeps my heart so open and raw where Caleb is concerned.  It's the hope that causes the deep hurt.  Rarely do I have a car ride where I'm not moved to tears by a song on the radio.  But for some reason it's easier (even though it's so painful) to embrace the hurt when it concerns Caleb.  I think the hurt is worse, but for some reason it's easier for me to hope for Caleb rather than myself.

This is all not to say that I'm giving up hope.  I'm not.  But it hit me like an epiphany the other day: The reason certain things are so painful is because I have hope.  If I didn't care, it wouldn't hurt.  If my hopes weren't raised, I couldn't be let down.  And while some times I feel like I'd rather live that way, it's not true.  So I'll keep the hope.  I'll smile through the tears.  And I'll never stop praying.

Still here...

This has been a crazy, insane week!  Work for 10+ hours Monday through Thursday, and busy nights as well!  Some mornings I've left the house at 6:45am, not to return until 10 at night!  I hit the sack and start it all again the next day!!

I've had blog posts floating around in my head.  I've even mentally written the first sentences of a few.  But when I get home at night, there's just no energy left to put the words down on the page, er, screen.

Today is FRIDAY!  My long-awaited day off!  I'm finishing up my DVR'd American Idol from the week right now (8:45am).  Then I will start on my to-do list!  I wrote lists yesterday while the kids were sleeping for Friday and Saturday...all the things I needed to get done.  And I actually started on my list late last night by cleaning out the fridge.

So once I finish some chores, I'll be back.  I've been thinking a lot about hope lately, and I have some ideas/feelings to share.  Until then, Fiddler on the Roof is what's playing on my iPod while I spruce this place up!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Back & Forth

I've been sitting here going back and forth over whether or not I want to post.  I feel like I want to write, but at the same time feel like I don't really have the words to say what I want to say.

Today was Tyler's funeral.  Tyler was 12 years old.  I didn't know Tyler personally.  The only memory I have of him was quite a few years ago, when I was at my best friend Jamie's house, we walked to his house and played pickle.  :)  Jamie is Tyler's cousin.  The Noyes' are my main connection with the DeMarco's, as well as my husband working with Donnie, Tyler's Dad.

Two months ago, we thought the end was imminent.  It was my birthday, actually.  Tyler went downhill, fast.  I was on the phone with Jamie constantly receiving updates.  Donnie was praying for just a little more time, while it seemed like Tyler was slipping away.

Well Donnie and the rest of his family received an amazing answer to prayer.  They got to spend another 2 months with their Amazing Tyler.  The days weren't easy, and neither were the nights.  Vision issues, balance problems, insomnia, new chemo drugs, devestating MRI's, seizures, among many other physical and emotional concerns.  Yet the DeMarco family held tight to their faith and their God, believing that God had the power to heal Tyler.

On Tuesday, February 23, 2010, Tyler received his healing.  His ultimate healing.  God called him home.  No more pain for Tyler.  No more drugs, tests, IV's, weakness, sickness, pain, sorrow, cancer.  It's so hard to understand why God chooses to heal some on earth, while others He doesn't.  But we know Tyler is with Jesus.  His earthly body, ravaged by this devestating disease is no more. 

Today was the celebration of Tyler's life.  Albeit, much too short a life.  But Tyler has touched so many people in the short time he was here on earth.  It was an amazing service, and a packed house.  All who were there know exactly where Tyler is, and that his faith in God is what led him home.  It was a tear-jerker, for sure, but we only cry for ourselves and the pain here on earth.  The pain we see Donnie, Pam and Ryan having to suffer through.  We all know Tyler is in a better place, but that doesn't take the pain away.

Driving to the cemetery was quite the experience.  Talk about an impressive police escort!  Even that had me in tears.  Seeing how the PD takes care of its own...the pall bearers were all detectives who work with Donnie.  The pain was evident on all of their faces.  Pulling into the cemetery I commented to John, once again, how this is just not the way it's supposed to be.  Driving by gravestones, I couldn't help but think a parent should not be picking out a burial plot for their son, it should be the other way around.  I know, obviously, God's plans are not our plans.  His ways are so much higher, we can't grasp His ultimate reason for why He does what He does.  And this is one of those times when I can't help but question. 

The service at the graveside was short and painful.  Watching a family say a final earthly goodbye to their beloved son and brother was heart wrenching.  I almost felt at one point like I was spying on a private moment that no one else was meant to be a part of.  I can't imagine the pain they were feeling as they placed flowers on the casket, held each other, cried painful tears and gave a gentle kiss on the smooth wood that would forever hold the body of their son.

All the way from the cemetery to Mallozzi's I had a hard time keeping it together.  Scenes of the day kept replaying through my mind.  The mood was noticably lighter at the dinner, thankfully.  It was a good time there, with good food.  We said goodbye, with promises of prayer, and headed home.

Now I feel emotionally spent.  I continue to pray for Donnie, Pam & Ryan.  How do they go back to their 'old life' when it's nothing like it was before?  It must feel like they're starting over, finding a new normal, and trying to carry on while forever holding Tyler in their hearts.  Would you please pray for the DeMarco's in the coming days?  It's not going to be easy...but they'll be fine.  With God's help, they'll be fine.