Monday, July 27, 2015

Team, Salmonella, Top Chef

Hey team, Whitney here. I know, it's been a while. It's been summer, baseball, swimming, more baseball, working, driving kids places they need to be, iced chai drinking, working some more, not enough traveling and endlessly feeding my kids. Gosh they eat a lot lately. But I love it. Because hello, I like to feed people. MOVING ON.

Currently my feet are up on the front room coffee table, the dishwasher is running, the washer and dryer are suddsing and tumbling, some spicy pork is simmering in the slow cooker, Ethan is at a meeting, Van is playing his Lego Avenger video game, Violet is playing with a friend outside and Jack just cruised up on his bike. It's all pretty relaxing and great.

Jack has jumped right back into baseball for fall league. He made it on to a super league team. This will be good for him. He rocked city league and was able to help his team a lot with pitching, fielding and hitting. He even got to be drafted by another team to play at the state tournament. Now, he is on an advanced team and it's very obvious he has a lot to learn. He is no longer at the top of the totem pole. For a kid who thought he was everything, this is a good humbling experience for him. He also has a coach that is just the right amount of tough and demands more of him. I love it.

Van has spent the last few weeks... on the toilet. Poor kid has had some kind of stomach bug and I actually took him to the doc this morning. After collecting a sample of his unfortunate bowel happenings, he got to have a blood test as well. Doc thinks we could be dealing with salmonella. I hope it is something simple and easy to get through. I just want Van back to his old self. Well, maybe not. Because Van threw a rock at a car during one of Jack's tournament games and the owner came and found me and we have to pay for the damage. So maybe we keep Van living next to the toilet and smelling like he is dying from the inside.

Violet told me she is most excited about art in kindergarten. Yes, my baby doll goes to kindergarten in a few weeks. I am not heartbroken. Kindergarten isn't hard for me. It's first grade that blows. All of the sudden they aren't home for lunch. I hate that. So I will be sad about Van, but Vi, I will wave her off with a smile on my face. Last night, Violet was on empty dishwasher and the boys and myself were upstairs watching Top Chef on my bed. Violet comes upstairs and says, "So um, I quit the dishwasher." I said, "Excuse me?" And she says, "Yeah, I am just not going to do the dishwasher. So I quit." Hilarious. I threatened an early bedtime and she did it.

What can I tell you about Ethan... hmmm... Well, he is working a lot, so that's fun. Good job Ethan.

As for me, I have been doing what I do best and that is holding down the fort. It's the carpooling, laundrying, meal preparing, band-aid applying, sunscreen slathering, swimsuit finding and general nagging that is required for fort holding down. I have also been working on a new project for work. I am writing about American Indian Heritage, so ask me anything about American Indians. I pretty much know it all. It's hard for to write about all of that because I start writing so passive aggressive about the U.S. government. Guys, we really did steal their land.

You may or may not have noticed that I deactivated my Facebook account. I find that it is easier for me to like people if I don't see what they write on Facebook. I would rather like people than hate them for their opinions. So Facebook had to go. Plus, it's a time waster and Instagram alone does that just fine. So Facebook, I quit. It's not you, it's me. And everyone on there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pocket Knife, Champ, Workshop

Violet is watching/acting out "Frozen". She will get her Elsa and Anna dolls and reenact the entire movie. Songs, script, dancing, actions. All of it. But if I even glance in her direction, she will stop and get embarrassed. So I act like everything is completely normal. Because really though, it is.

Speaking of Frozen, we saw "Cinderella" and it was fantastic. Go see it, enjoy the beautiful setting and dresses. And then wish your knockers looked that good while wearing a dress like Cinderella's. I am certain mine wouldn't.

Jack turned 10! TEN! Double digits! It was a great birthday. He is fun to buy for. He got a pocket knife, a paper airplane book, a baseball bat pack and a gift card to the Nike store. We took him to Blue Fish for his birthday dinner. It's a sushi place and he talked about going for weeks. His favorite roll is the Playboy roll. And he will go around saying, "the playboy is my FAVORITE!" "I have been so excited for the playboy!" I thought about correcting him, but I didn't because when he gets older, it going to make for a pretty funny story.

Jack is one heck of a kid. He is sharp and keen. He picks up on things that most kids don't get. This makes for a great sense of humor. Jack is a nice kid and I often hear about him helping kids with disabilities. He is sensitive to kids that get picked on too. Jack isn't a bum. He works hard and is responsible. He contributes to our household like a champ. Ethan and I realized that we only have 8 more years until we have been married for 20 years and Jack turns 18. Time already has flown and it isn't going to stop anytime soon.

I was released from Primary. Well actually, I wasn't. Brother Webb told me I was released, but they never did over the pulpit. So maybe I am still a primary teacher. That would be bad because I haven't been in two weeks. But I was called to work with the 9 year old girls in Activity Days. I am excited! Before I was asked to serve in that job, I was at Home Depot with Van at their monthly kids workshop and saw lots of boy scout groups there. I then thought that I should tell the Activity Days leaders to take the girls. Of course my feminist-persuaded mind thought that. Well, now I am in Activity Days. We are doing Home Depot soon.

Turns out I don't have skin cancer. So that's good. My results came back from slicing my skin and my awesome dermatologist called with the good news. But she did said, in these exact words, "So your skin doesn't tolerate the sun at all." If you see my at the pool this summer, put some sunscreen on me, will ya?

Friday, February 13, 2015

At the moment

At the moment:

My back is twitching up a storm. After way too many reverse flyes at the gym this morning, my back is pissed. And I didn't drink nearly enough water today and I think that is why it's pissed.

I am wearing the PERFECT long tee from Target. Today I bought it in blue and gray. I am going back for all the other colors tomorrow. It's soft, comfortable, long enough to cover my booty when I wear leggings and the neckline is just low enough for people to question whether I wear garments or not (Mormon undies) and judge me for it. My kind of tshirt.

I am also wearing my Grandma Sally's delicate gold and diamond engagement necklace. She gave it to me when I was probably 12 years old and told me not to tell my sisters so they wouldn't get jealous. And of course I told them.

The boys and Ethan are video gaming it up. And it's 11:00 pm. But it's also Friday night and we did our Saturday jobs this afternoon after school. So play video games because the house is clean and you guys get to sleep in.

The kitchen trash and recycling need to be taken out before I go to bed. This last week, I finally got us all settled to be environmentally responsible and recycle. And it is SHOCKING to see how much we used to just throw away. Like 3/4ths of our usual trash is now in the recycling bin in the pantry. We used to easily fill up our 13 gallon trash can in the kitchen everyday. Now we barely fill it at all. But I still take it out every night because HOUSE TIP: to get your house to not smell gross, take the trash out every night whether the bag is full or not. Be wasteful! Empty that nearly empty trashcan!

Hiding in my closet, there are little bags of chocolate tied with red and white ribbon for my three little Valentines. There are also three cute cards that are signed "Love, Dad and Mom", but let's be honest, Ethan had nothing to do with it. I carry on my mom's Valentines tradition of chocolates and a love note for my kids. It's nothing extravagant, just a little traditional V-Day lovin'. I also got Ethan a card that says "I love you more than bacon". Which is true love.

I am still laughing about Ethan's work story from today. He "chefs" for a local assisted living center when we don't have catering events. Tonight, while cleaning up the kitchen before leaving, he goes out in the hallway and what does he see? Some nice old confused lady wearing nothing but her Depends. Topless and diapered. Please let me die in a car accident or something else quick and dirty so I don't have to endure of Alzheimers.

I am always finding something to be bothered about or complain about. Currently, I am bothered about people posting about the service they do on social media. Like a selfie at the food bank with the caption, "Service on a Saturday morning! #goandserve #soblessed". I was always taught by my mom that if you tell people about the service you do, it makes it invalid. And whenever I see a post like that on Facebook or Instagram, I always think, "This service you speak of probably needs you to work harder and take less pictures."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

Holy bananas, what a day. It's 8:09 and the house is quiet and clean and my kids are falling asleep. I texted my husband at work and said something to the effect of "the kids are jerks, they are going to bed at 8. Don't plan on playing video games with them when you get home." Except my real version included profanities. Big surprise there.

All was well until about 5:00pm. It's when Violet kept yelling Van's name like she was throwing up. "VAH-ANNNNN!" She has perfected the art of making Van a two-syllable name. Jack began huffing and puffing about not being able to sketch the flower vase very well and acted like he was freaking Picasso with a deadline. Like a real diva. And then Van was happily in the middle of all of this, just being a jerk.

Luckily, they ate dinner well. I used up the arugula in the fridge and made some pesto. Pasta with pesto and roast chicken and then some steamed green beans. All three cleaned their plates I felt peace and serenity for about 5 minutes. Then they were back to their old selves.

Today, I went grocery shopping and did the traditional January 1st shopping trip. You know the one. The one where you buy all sorts of vegetables and fruit and swear off treats forever. Well, that lasted real long because here I sit with the rest of my Haagen-Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Well diary, I am now going to watch some mindless television, do some internet window shopping and then gear up for another day of probably the same thing as today.

Love, Whitney

p.s. No one really watches "Deadliest Catch", right?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

CHRISTMAS and DECEMBER (you care, I am sure you do)

What a month, eh? For us, it was wild. Our catering company is always bustling during December, which is of course very awesome. We did many a company holiday get together, like Boostability and Ikea Draper. We also did our largest event to date. 1200 people! Go Rockwell Catering! With our company having a busy month, that means Ethan is MIA for most of family life during December. People get all sad at me and say things like, "Oh how sad! He can't be there for all the fun holiday traditions!" and I says, "Oh it's fine. He's fine. We really like money."

Along the lines of money, we said goodbye to our little car of 11 1/2 years. Little Red. The car that we bought two months after we got married. The car that we brought babies home in from the hospital. The car that moved us from California to Utah. The car that hauled Jack to baseball practice, Van to preschool, Violet to singing group. Are you sensing a theme? I am overly sentimental about things that don't deserve it. Like a cherry red 2003 Hyundai Elantra that I have the VIN memorized to. FYI, KMHDN45D53U571109.

 Of course we took a selfie with our car before we sold her. Of course.

Anyways, we parted ways and bought a new car. And I will say this, I take back everything unkind, judgmental thing I ever said about minivans. Mine is black, has an automatic tailgate and a DVD player. It sounds more like a celebrity car than a kid hauler.

And then:
"Christmas came! It came just the same!"

Here is Christmas in small increments:
Waygu filets shipped to me on ice from my new brother in-law
5 sheet pans of peppermint bark for the neighbors
Scraping mountains of cream filling from Oreos for said bark
Anna and Elsa
Flemings for our Christmas Date
A decent citrus juicer from Sur La Table afterwards
A great Christmas program at church the Sunday before
Electric Razor scooter
Blueberry lemon muffins the morning of
Flippin' sweet Adidas D Rose shoes for Jack that nearly fit me
Amazing Sole Sundae. Get some. Seriously. 
Snow on Christmas morning! Joy! Rapture!
A spy kit for a boy who WILL spy on you
Call of Duty Legos that Dad enjoyed more than the boys
Peppermint shakes from Chick Fil A. You must!
Very old silver dollars from my dad
Creamy butternut squash soup straight from heaven
Palace Pets
Getting WAY BEHIND on work

And of course, a really teary viewing of "Mr. Kreuger's Christmas". Every time Jimmy Stewart visits Baby Jesus and says that he has always been there for him... Heaven help me. I don't last for a single second.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meekly Weal Plan

It's been a while since I wrote out my meal plan, but I have had a few friends talk about being in a rut with cooking. So maybe my ideas can help give them some of their own. I type this as I sit in bed and watch "Love Actually". It's Christmas man, I am doing what I should be doing. The house is quiet and clean. Ethan is finishing up a catering event for Ikea's Christmas party and I have a pint of peppermint bark ice cream waiting for him in the freezer for when he gets home and unwinds in front of the TV.

MONDAY: Sweet soy chicken and rice and roasted broccoli. The chicken is in my cookbook. I am not sure what page and I am too lazy to go downstairs and check.

TUESDAY: Turkey chili and cheddar cornbread. The chili will be a new recipe I have been wanting to work on. If it's a winner, I will post it here.

WEDNESDAY: Turkey burgers and roasted sweet potato fries. Who cares if it's winter, I am still making some burgers.

THURSDAY: Skillet-roasted chicken thighs, steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes.

FRIDAY: Church Christmas party. I signed up to make a soup. I haven't decided what to make. Chicken noodle? Red curry carrot? Ham, kale and white bean?

SATURDAY: Butternut squash soup and garlic crostinis for dipping. Do yourself a favor and spend the extra bucks to buy the squash already peeled and chopped. If you have to peel, gut and chop it, you are more likely to not make dinner at all.

SUNDAY: Braised shortribs with polenta and creamed horseradish and butterleaf salad with shaved fennel, oranges and pomegranates and some kind of dressing I haven't decided on. And a lemon cake with vanilla bean whipped cream. I have a dandy of time trying to find good shortribs, so I am sending Ethan to get me some from his fancy catering warehouse store in SLC.

Monday, November 10, 2014

If I could rewrite the song, "The Family is of God".

I am about to go out on a limb here. Make some enemies. Make people mad. But I have to write my feelings out. I just have so many of them!

The yearly Primary Program for church goes on at this time of year. The kids at church sing their little hearts out and all the primary leaders are stressed out of their minds. I have taught primary for 2 1/2 awesome years. I have loved it. I have gotten to know my kids so well. I know all the little things that make them tick. What they were for Halloween, when they lost their first tooth and who got a new bunk bed. I have gotten to know their siblings and parents and seen first hand that these kids are all loved.

This year in Primary, the theme has been families. The Family is of God. Which is something I have a testimony of. At the beginning of the year, the kids were taught a song called, "The Family is of God". And from the moment I heard it, it gave me a horrible pit in my stomach. Here are two verses from it. 

2. A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.
 

3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.

Guys, I have such a hard time with these lines. And it's because I am very aware of some of the kids I have had over the years in my classes. A lot of these kids don't have the dad that does the proper Mormon "preside, provide". Some don't have dads that are members of the church. Some don't have dads at all. The ones that have dad's that aren't members, I know these men are really good men. They don't teach the gospel to their kids, but they are hardworkers, kind and loving. So when I see the kids in Primary told to belt out this song that I know don't have the dad that "leads in family prayer", I get so bummed. They are forced to think about their dads and get to figure out they are not what the church wants for them. That sucks.
The 3rd verse is hard for me too because in this house, the dad does the exact same thing as the mom. Ethan has just as much responsibility as I do to nurture, teach and serve. Where's the verse that talks about the girl in my class where her mom does both roles? Who burns the parent candle at both ends? Why can't this song talk about roles instead of purpose and place? Inside the church, the family has changed. Both parents provide, lots of parents are divorced, some are inactive. This is a reality for a lot of families. Many people have told me that it's good the kids are singing this song. It teaches them what they should strive for in their families someday. Guys, these kids are tiny. Let them strive for this when they are teenagers. 

In my perfect world, the song says, "A parent's place is to preside, provide" and "A parent's purpose is to care, prepare." I would say in most homes, it's a pretty equal share of presiding, teaching and preparing. I have heard so many people rave about how much they love this song. And every one of those people has the exact family situation they are referring to in this song. None of them have an inactive spouse or are divorced. Trust me, I have been paying attention.

Please don't crucify me over this. Don't rip into me. This is just how I have felt for about 7 months. Every Sunday. As a primary teacher to 12 strong, smart and eager-to-learn kids.