Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

379 Days

My Dear Liam,
I'm late writing this letter. But please know that it wasn't because I didn't want to write it or just forgot. I've been busy chasing you around the house and keeping your sister from ending your life. You'll thank me when you're older.

A couple weeks ago you turned one. I really dont know where the year has gone - can it really have been that long? We celebrated by taking you out for a picnic in the park, giving you a gift from Nana and Papa (thanks for the bath toys!) and swinging you on the swings. You loved it.

The next day we rolled out and took you camping with Grandma and Grandpa. This was your second camping trip. I'd say you loved, it, but I know that you were thoroughly annoyed at the fact that you couldnt get down and crawl around like you usually do at home. You DID seem to love getting someone up at 6am and enticing them to walk you around the campground so everyone else could sleep. Stinker!

I'm envisioning you enjoying camp trips much more next year and even the next although I'm sure we'll be uttering things like "Where's Liam?" and "Liam don't touch that!" and "Liam take that poisonous spider out of your sister's hair!".

The awesome pool at Jellystone Campground in PA.

We celebrated your birthday at the campground and had mini chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. You made short work of that cupcake and had no question what to do with it. I think you've got your Mama's sweet tooth!

You also appear to be our picky eater. We still haven't been able to get you to eat eggs and you're not too keen on whole veggies so we've had to stick to baby food veggies. I believe you could practically survive on fresh fruit though. You follow in the family tradition of getting very excited about food in general. Its a very primordial sort of response. There's usually shrieking involved (well, THAT happens all the time). This sort of excitement is really a good thing, because, around here, we love to eat! I'm just wondering what you'll be saying when you start to talk!

It's really hard for me to imagine you as a walking, talking little guy. I'm interested to see how your personality manifests itself. Especially in relation to your sister. I'm sorry for all of the hard times you've had to endure at her hand. Just the other day she was delighted to be the one to greet you after your nap so I agreed to let her climb into your crib with you and play for a few minutes while I finished a few things in the next room. I'm sorry she decided to put you in a choke hold with her thighs and your face had the misfortune of being wedged in her crotch. It didn't look pleasant and I imagined the future-you dying of embarrassement that such an event ever took place.

I also have to apologize for the general shoving, pushing and holding down that she puts you through on a daily basis. You really are a good-natured kid and I notice that you try not to out her too readily (although she thoroughly deserves it). You seem all to happy that she would play with you, even if you are on the receiving end of her evil schemes. Oh what a good playmate you'll be! I must confess, though, that I'm looking forward to when you can defend yourself a little bit more (for your sake, that is).

Buddy, you are such a smiley kid. I hope this always is the case. This world has lots of things that can bring you down, cause you heartache and generally steal your joy. I pray that this never happens to you and your infectious smile continues with you throughout your entire life. Besides, that, it has the effect of melting my heart.

Ms Jody giving Liam his birthday present

Bubbies, I can't imagine my life without you. And I'm so entirely grateful for the opportunity to be your Mama. Please promise me now that you won't grow up to be a thrill-seeker/dare devil/stunt rider or any such thing? Okay, well I'm also hoping not to raise a 30 year old mama's boy either (although, you will need to call me at least once a week). Somewhere in the middle would do. Perhaps an accountant or maybe an IT guy? (because all know how normal THEY are!) =)

No, really, I'm excited to see the man God wants you to be. Let's just hope that just doesn't happen too fast.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grilled Chicken and Artichoke Braid with Homemade Pesto

Hmmm... what to do with a bunch o' chicken breast I'd thawed out for dinner tonight? No time to marinate and not interested in just grilling and eating with vegetables.

This recipe really came together out of a need to use a bunch of ingredients I had on hand. Fun that it came together even in the midst of kids crying, etc. Ahh... dinner time is always such a LOVELY time at our household. *rolling my eyes*

I used this recipe as inspiration.

And then made my own pesto using this recipe. It seemed to need a lot more olive oil though. Maybe I used too much basil? I DID follow the recipe. Who knows?

I roasted artichokes (from the can) while I cooked the chicken (coated in Penzey's Pizza Seasoning) on the grill.

I built my braid first with the chopped up chicken, roasted artichokes, then dollops of pizza sauce, dollops of pesto, mozzerella and feta cheese, slivered red onion, and topped it with sliced roma tomatoes (from Kevin's garden) before folding it all up.

It probably could be a prettier braid, but, hey, I've never made one before, so it just had to do.

Brush with egg wash and throw it in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes.

Kevin groaned the whole meal. (The good kind of groaning when one eats food!)