Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bacon & Chicken-Stuffed Shells

Tonight for dinner we had a recipe I made up in my head.
That's code for "EAT AT YOUR OWN RISK".

I just threw stuff in that I thought might be yummy together and honestly, I was worried. Even though it smelled pretty good, I'm not one to do things without a recipe often and don't have very much experience with 'successful experiments'! To our delightful surprise, it turned out to be pretty darn good!

First, cook the chicken:
2 small boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
Then, cook your pasta for 10 minutes then rinse/drain under cold water:
1 box Jumbo Shells
While the pasta's cooking, mix together in a large bowl the filling. To the chicken you'll add:
15 oz. Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese
2 c. shredded Mozarella
2 c. shredded Parmesan
1 well-beaten egg
2 bacon strips that have been cooked (not to the point of crunchy) and chopped into small pieces
1/2 t. Oregano
1 T. Garlic Salt
1 T. Parsley
2 T. chopped Fresh Mint
Mix it well then fill each shell. Place the shells in a well-greased casserole dish (large). This should yield about 36 shells or so.
Over the shells (starting with the edges) pour:
15 oz. jar of Bertolli Four-Cheese Rosa Sauce
Top with 2 c. shredded Mozarella
Bake @ 350 for 40-45 minutes.
Serves 6.

I plan on making this again, only I'm tempted to add one of the following to try something different:
chopped artichokes
roasted red peppers
sauteed mushrooms
I'm also curious if this would freeze well. Any thoughts on that?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

the legacy she's left behind...

Yesterday Great-Grandma B. left mortality and reunited with her sweetheart on the other side. The children were naturally upset when I broke the news to them. It seemed to help when they admitted they could be happy for her now that she wasn't limited in an old, frail body, and that she could be with Great-Grandpa B. again. We decided to write down all the things we would remember most about Grandma. It brought tears to my eyes to read what they wrote - some of them surprised me very much. They noticed and will remember things about LaRee that I did not know they were aware of.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Here's Carson's:

1. The Red Chair [Grandma's reddish/brown recliner she always sat in]
2. The Cows [her plush toy cows from Chick-Fi-La that all the grandkids played with when they visited her apartment]
3. He drew a picture of a table with a heart on it. He said it was her living room table's glass heart box that we were always warning him not to play with.
4. Her curly, red hair. [I said, "Like yours?" He said, "No, my hair is orange. Grandma's hair was red. Red is prettier than orange."]
5. That she died. [When he wrote this I said, "Yes, she died. It's sad, isn't it?" And he said cheerfully, "No, not really. She was lonely all the time and now she's not!" It's so black-and-white for little children. A good reminder to us that death truly is a natural part of the great plan of happiness and that our eternal experiences extend far beyond it.]
6. I Love You. [He wrote this because I said, "Let's write something that we remember grandma saying to us a lot."]
7. We Eat Donuts. [Usually visiting Grandma meant we were taking a treat over to share with her and often it was donuts or cookies]
8. He drew a picture of a small Christmas tree because in December he and I went over and set out/decorated her little table-top Christmas tree together. Grandma gave him instructions on where to put the decorations - she liked things "just so".
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Here's Wyatt's:
1. She had a flower bed [her bedspread was a floral pattern]
2. She smelled like flowers
3. She had toy cows
4. She was a generous person
5. She had a blue dress
6. She had a pretty smile
7. She gave out candy
8. She had red hair
9. She had a red chair
10. She had a Christmas Jar that we put the toy cows in
11. She had light blue cups
12. She had pictures on the wall
13. She was so pretty
14. She felt smooth (I loved this one because Wyatt always liked to sit by her and hold her hand)
15. At Heritage Place there is a fish tank
16. At her door it says "LaRee Bauerle"
17. She had a red rocking chair
18. She has curly hair
19. She has glasses
20. She sounded old
21. On Valentines Day she was at the hostbital [Wyatt's spelling]. I felt sad.
22. She has a sliding glass door and in front there is a white curtain.
23. In her living room grandpa had a white chair.
24. She has a black T.V.
25. We go there for a parade [July 24] and we have a hot dog dinner.
26. At Christmas we have a Christmas party!
27. But This year we had it at the church!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Here's Halle's:
1. She smelled like vanilla perfume.
2. The boys would always play with her cows.
3. She would sit in her soft red brown chair.
4. She was generous.
5. She always had treats ready and out.
6. She had soft hands and red auburn hair.
7. She had a quiet, soft, kind voice.
8. She looked great in every color.
9. She had turquoise cups.
10. She had a glass table with things that we couldn't touch!
11. We would always go and see the fish at Heritage Place.
12. She had a Shirley Temple doll and flowery bed in her room.
13. She died in a hospital of an infection.
14. Last I saw her was on Valentines Day of 2012 in the ER room of Lakeview Hospital.
15. In the hospital her skin was so white. It made me feel like, "This is really goodbye. I'll see you in heaven." I was sad.
16. In her apartment, she had a picture of herself in her beautiful wedding gown.
17. She had a great view of the backyard in Heritage Place.
18. I loved going to the parade with Grandpa B. He was always so enthusiastic!
19. At the parade we would go and eat a yummy hot dog together.
20. I loved having Grandma's choice of chicken nuggets at the Bauerle Christmas Party.
21. In the light blue cups we would have root beer.
22. I miss you Grandma B.! You were so kind and sweet, and so full of love.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I regret not taking her sooner, not letting Charlotte and LaRee have more time together, but I will be forever grateful that we had at least taken Charlotte to visit LaRee for the first time exactly one week before her death. I am saddened that Charli will likely not remember Grandma, but we will be sure to tell her stories, and share Grandma's love FOR her with her. Normally I would not post the picture below because it's just a couple days before LaRee's passing and naturally isn't the most flattering of her. She took pride in her appearance and I know she wouldn't have appreciated a public posting of it. But because these are the only two photographs we have of Charlotte with her great-grandmother, I treasure them both and I know she will, too. Charlotte's middle name is Maree, named after two exemplary women in her life: Her grandma Dixie Marie, and spelled with two E's after great-grandma LaRee. LaRee was a survivor, having been on her own at an extremely young age. To me she lived her life in a way that exemplified what it means to press forward with faith, continuing with dignity and love, reaching out to everyone in complete acceptance. I married into LaRee's family, but not once did I ever feel less than if I had been a grandchild born in blood. She was a woman of resourcefulness, of gratitude, of perseverance, and of hard work. The last years of LaRee's life were painful, both physically and emotionally. Her spirit was confined in a body that had been worn down by years of service, work, and age; her heart felt a void created by the passing of her eternal companion almost exactly three years prior. And yet LaRee set an example of endurance and faith - two more qualities from which we hope all our children will draw strength. It is my and Brett's desire that these qualities of LaRee's will be remembered by Charlotte Maree every time she considers her middle name and what those two E's represent in her life. I hope Charli will strive to honor LaRee by being hardworking, grateful, extending love to others, and accepting and working through life's trials with faith.
As for myself, my grandparents were all gone before I was married, and for much of my younger life they lived far away. That's not to say I did not feel their influence or love. Quite the opposite, in fact; but it was a different experience for me to have a "grandparent" relationship as an adult. I always felt loved by LaRee. I don't know how to put it into words, really, but I guess the best way to describe it is how would it make you feel to visit someone and have them react as though your presence was what they had been waiting for all day, that the small things you do (and believe me, anything I ever may have done truly was small and insignificant, and shamefully not as often as it should have been) -- but what if someone made you feel they were "big" things to them? I believe LaRee made a deliberate point of overexpressing love and gratitude simply because she had a desire to make those around her feel good about themselves. She treated me in a way that made me want to be a better person - made me want to serve people around me. That, to me, is a true teacher and disciple of Christ...someone who inspires those around them to be more Christlike. A part of my heart feels empty. During the two years that I experienced the inner turmoil of trying to decide whether or not to have another baby, LaRee's calming influence was invaluable to me. On more than one occasion I dropped in on her unannounced because I felt conflicted and upset and needed somewhere to go where I could just cry and feel loved - and she had come to mind. Her tender rebuking when I shared feelings of frustration about life's challenges or her generous vote of confidence when I expressed uncertainty in trying to decipher the whisperings of the spirit: all of those things I regret not specifically thanking her for because otherwise how could she possibly have known what strength or clarity she had given me? When we knew her life was coming to an end, there were quiet moments I caught myself giving into the self-pity and the tears came because I knew I wouldn't have her in this mortal experience anymore. But then seeing her at the hospital Friday afternoon and realizing how much her body had been through, that a life had been fully lived and that the necessary covenants had been made; that it truly was part of Heavenly Father's merciful plan for the next step to be that moment all I felt was immense gratitude that I'd even had LaRee in my life at all and I wanted nothing more for her release from it all. I know Brett felt the same way as his emotions have been close to the surface. He has very tender feelings for his grandparents and I know he will miss her very much. It will feel strange not having her here, but I rejoice in the time we had with her and the mercy of her passing. I pray we can live in a way that will honor her legacy.
Hope Sig1

Thursday, February 16, 2012

it's only cute when you're a baby, so enjoy it, Charli!

Starting to lose
the "little bird"
newborn look.

Getting some sweet CHUB
on her thighs!


Celebrating Book of Mormon Day

Weekend mornings we have a strict rule at our house: No one is allowed out of their bedrooms until at least 7:00 a.m. You see, if we didn't have this rule, all of our children would be running around like hulligans at the crack of dawn, maybe even earlier. Now that our three oldest can be mostly trusted to be without close supervision for short periods of time, Brett and I usually sleep in (or at least we did before we had a baby back in the house) until 8:00 or 8:30. During that hour of "no parents" our kids usually play the Wii, watch cartoons, pick fights with each other, or make us "delicious" breakfasts (a-hem...).

Last Sunday, they spent that hour
doing something wonderful!
This is what we woke up to:
Drawing a series of pictures from the Book of Mormon.
The kids called it "Book of Mormon Day".
I loved it!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Naturally, Carson had to find a way to
weave his favorite Star Wars character in the mix.

You say you're not familiar with the
scripture story of "The Praying Yoda"?
Obviously you need to spend a little
more time reading the Good Book!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I love how Moroni's kneeling legs rise
so far up behind his back!
(Same with Enos below...)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a slight obsession from a galaxy far, far away...

Carson is just slightly obsessed with this little green alien.
Give him a piece of paper and a writing apparatus
and guaranteed what he'll draw will be in some relation to Yoda.
Yesterday he was bored, so I suggested
he make a mask out of a grocery bag.

Good heavens, do I ever love
my little green man!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"to love is to make of one's heart a swinging door..."

Happy Valentine's Day!

4 weeks old today

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, February 10, 2012

what's going on here?

Poor Ruby.
This little person is quite the mystery to her.
She's struggling to understand what exactly is
happening and what her role with this new creature is going to be.
She struggling to understand why suddenly
she's not allowed on the couch as often or why we don't
play with her quite as often as we used to.
Thankfully, Brett is fabulous at spending time
with the dog every night.
Thankfully, Ruby hasn't been aggressive or
acted jealous towards the baby.
She's just desperate for attention from anyone that
walks through the front door.
I can tell she's curious about Charlotte.
Anytime Charlotte cries Ruby
paces back and forth as if to say,
"Do you hear that? What's that sound?"
And Ruby smells Charlotte and her things
(blankets, baby swing, etc) constantly.
Hopefully we can make her see that
Charlotte's just another person here to love Ruby-Roo...
although I have a feeling it will be easier to convince
Ruby of that once Charlotte's out of the
tail-pulling stage in a few years!

Hope Sig1

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yoda-layheehoo! He's not "the baby" anymore!

Carson's been my "baby" for 5 years now. That's a long time to get comfortable in your family position and I worried he might have a hard time "giving up the throne" to a new baby sister. To help him make the transition from BABY to BIG BROTHER, while I was in the hospital I asked my wonderful mother-in-law if she wouldn't mind taking Carson to the store to pick out a special gift that he -- only he -- could give to Charlotte to welcome her to the family. He then got to make a visit, all by himself, no other brothers or sister allowed, to his new baby sister.

We had to chuckle when we saw what he'd picked out. I figured he'd get a little book or maybe a baby rattle. Nope...he got a stuffed animal. Or should I say "stuffed alien"? It's a pint-sized Yoda doll. Truly a gift from Carson's heart!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It looks right at home with Charli's
other little toys, don't you think?
Yes, the force is strong with this one...

Hope Sig1

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Charlotte Maree - how she came to be...

Charlotte's only been here a very short time but already has captured our hearts completely. Through the sweet mercies of the Lord, there's an entire telling of how she came to be, but the feelings involved in that story are so tender and close to my heart, I feel they are sacred and shouldn't really be shared in a public setting. I've already typed them up and set them aside with Charli's "special things" for her to someday read and hopefully treasure as deeply as I do. However, I did want to document her birth story.

So here's the "joyful ending" to the story
of how she arrived into our family...

Monday, January 16th:
  • Mid-morning had a doctor's appointment at 37 1/2 weeks. Dilated to 4 centimeters. Because of the boys' [scary] fast arrivals, Dr. Farley feels it would be prudent to have me check in on my own sometime in the next 4 days before I dilate much more. I'm not sure how I feel about it...I'd like to wait until I absolutely know it is time, but must admit I'm getting nervous "the time" might occur when Brett isn't around to be of immediate help. I stew about it all day, wondering what is the best decision for the baby.
  • 10:00 p.m. I start to feel different, but still am not sure if we should go in. I can't describe the "different" feeling - I guess just more pressure, like the baby has lowered, but since I wasn't having strong, regular contractions still didn't know if this was true labor or not.
  • 11:00 p.m. Finally decide we should go in. Grandma Dixie is called to come be with the kids and we head up to Layton shortly thereafter.
  • Just shy of MIDNGIHT we check in at Davis Hospital. It's a good thing we did because my dilation has changed from a 4 to 6 and I'm 90% effaced. They ask if I want an epidural and I really don't, especially if things are going to go as fast as the boys' deliveries. It's now Tuesday, January 17th.
  • Right away they broke my water. THAT was an experience none of us will forget anytime soon, medical staff included! I think I set a record for amniotic fluid. It just kept gushing and gushing and gushing. Nurses kept running back to the cabinet for more towels. Honestly, it sounded like a faucet was running. Just when you thought "OK, that's got to be all there is" you'd be surprised that it still wasn't done. We all had a good laugh about it afterwards because seriously, it was a TON of liquid! It was all over the floor, the nurse's shoes, you name it. Noah and the flood, that's what it felt like. I barely looked pregnant can ask Brett if you don't believe me. My abdomen had shrunk from a big round belly to this small little bump! It was quite the conversation piece for the rest of the delivery, especially when a new nurse would come in and inquire about the giant pile of wet towels overflowing from the laundry bin!
  • 1:30 - I was hoping to avoid an epidural, mostly because I hate the process of getting one and because the two deliveries I didn't have one I felt I healed faster. However, after 90 minutes of intense contractions with only about 30 seconds or so between them, the doctor checks me and I'm still at only a 6. Obviously this isn't going to happen as fast as we'd all thought (most likely because she is posterior). I opt for the blessed Epidural.
  • 2:30 - Epidural time! Man, I HATE getting those! But when it's over I enjoy some much-needed relief after only 10 minutes!

  • 3:15 - @ an 8 and for the most part not feeling too much, except tired. (Even my doctor looks tired. Poor guy!)
  • 3:40 - Dr. Farley leaves the room to do some paperwork. The nurses are out in the hall also. Suddenly, I feel a "pop" and panic - was that the head crowning??? Brett frantically calls doctors and nurses back into the room where they discover the popping sound was the head passing the catheter bulb as she moved down the birth canal. It won't be long now and it's time to prepare for the end. Everyone gets ready for her arrival!
  • 3:45 - Pushing begins. I can't feel a thing so it's hard to know if I'm pushing correctly and if my effort is effective at all. Three pushes and I'm told to stop - Charlotte is posterior and the cord is wrapped lightly around her neck.
  • 3:55 - One more big push and she's here!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    I'm so relieved and so emotional I don't even realize the placenta has been delivered and I'm being stitched up. My only thoughts are that "It's her!" It's the child I knew needed to be here and fought so hard to get here! The special little spirit the Lord was trying to tell me about over two years ago.
It seems surreal that everything has come full-circle and she's finally here with our family

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
7 pounds 8 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long
(depending on who you talk to!)

We're so in love!

Best doctor I've ever met in my life.
When I think about how much he cares, how capable he is, and how lucky I am to have him as my doctor, it honestly brings tears to my eyes. That probably sounds silly and over-dramatic to some, but it means a lot to have a physician you can trust without hesitation, who you know has your absolute best interest in mind, and who shares the same values you do. He has never made me feel foolish or a burden - I'm very, very grateful to have someone like Dr. Farley on my side for moments like this.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After being up all night, and from the great emotions we felt, everyone involved was exhausted. It was great to finally rest, knowing we had Charlotte to wake up to!
The next day, her billirubin levels were lower than we felt comfortable with, so she spent the next week on lights, some at the hospital and some at home with a billibed and billiblanket. Some babies really fight the lights, but Charli was a champ! In fact, I think the white noise from the machine actually made her sleep better! We were very relieved when her numbers dropped back down to a more comfortable level and we could snuggle with our princess anytime we liked!

Hope Sig1
"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson