Roast beef au jus

My favorite sandwich is a roast beef on baguette au jus. I order it wherever it is served, but I am forever let down with a Platonistic disappointment. I just know there is a better au jus sandwich out there. 
I was craving one the other day, and decided to make it myself. Researched recipes, bought the correct and excellent ingredients, and tried it for dinner last night. 
The baguette was not a "true" baguette, but it was flavorful and delicious. The roast beef turned out beautifully, and the au jus filled our house with delicious aromas. Instead of the traditional Swiss cheese, I used muenster. Who could resist, I mean it's muenster!
My children gobbled it up. I was finally fulfilled - I had created the Platonic perfection of a roast beef au jus sandwich in my very own kitchen!



How we homework...pink milk with a fancy straw, Japanese erasers the girls can use ONLY for homework, cookies, and quiet. 


So I don't feel like writing

I have been absent on this blog. I could say I have been busy (of course I have), but that really isn't why. I can pin it down to these reasons:

  • Last August I was suffering one of my restless-energy spells, and told Trevor I was taking off. I put on my running shoes, and went for the first 'run' since I suffered through jogging class in high school. To my astonishment, I loved it. It helped a lot with my restlessness. I have run nearly every day since, and now I'm running at least a mile a day. I also started going to yoga at the library, and loved it so much I wanted to take it further. So I joined Sweaty Chix Fitness. Now I do yoga three times a week, and run. How do I have the time, with so many children, you may ask? Running is something I can actually accomplish with my children. I put Eloise and Hazel in the jogging stroller and run to preschool. Yoga is conveniently at 8:30 pm, after the children are all in bed, and only down the street. Unlike reading, I can actually do these things with kids, and it feels good. 
  • After Napoleon died, Josephine Bonaparte wrote a letter to her daughter about her mourning and healing, and said: "A profound solitude would please me most." Ever since Eloise's birth I have been forced to interact and work with so many different people. I've had to learn to be assertive, and how to talk to hundreds of different people. None of it comes naturally. I hate talking on the phone, but I've had to make phone calls every day concerning Eloise. I hate the airlessness and colorlessness of hospitals, but have spent a lifetime's worth of time in them. Eloise still is not eating orally, and she won't for a long time to come. We have some problematic and serious issues to overcome in the coming years - which involve more surgeries, more hospital time, more phone calls, more nurses and doctors and socializing. But right now life is 'normalizing.' We have a good rhythm in our home again. I have a little bit of mental space. Now all I want to focus on is healing, and the best balm for me is 'profound solitude.' So I don't feel like writing.
  • I was at the park today with all four girls. I brought my new book. I was strolling Eloise around, and a woman came up to me. "Is that Eloise?" I had no idea who this woman was. Turns out she works in the Utah Valley NICU, but had never been Eloise's nurse. She just knew all about her. I was friendly, and answered questions for a while about Eloise and her condition. But what I really wanted to do was read my book. I am so sick of talking about the complications in my daily existence - of Eloise's esophagus and surgeries and difficulties. I crave anonymity. After events like these, my upbringing as a military brat shines through and I feel like a move is long overdue. A new city. A new place. Where no one knows (or think they know) me and my life. So I don't feel like writing. 
I thought I ought to explain my silence, so none of my readers wonder if, you know, I fell off a cliff or one of my children was in trouble. Because neither of those would be out of pace with our current existence! 


the greater adventure

Want to know what a bad esophagus looks like? I'm sure you do.
That stricture is about 3 vertebral bodies, which is just shy of the size of the gap she was born with. Scar tissue doesn't move, it doesn't have muscle, it doesn't have anything to help fluid or food move toward the stomach. Its just a corridor of flesh. That x-ray means a world of trouble for this little girl.

So I've always lived with the idea to 'live like a poet.' Missing no experiences, no adventure missed, seeking knowledge and truth and love. Be not like dumb, driven cattle; Be a hero in the strife! Carpe diem, and all that. I have envied poets' and artists' lives, even if they were short (almost always to tuberculosis, right?) because they lived fully. Like Edna St. Vincent Millay.
But I don't come from poet stock. My people are the dutiful, faithful, family and God-oriented folks. I have been taught that the most important endeavor I could possibly do is to raise a family in goodness, and sacrifice all to do it. And I have.
Edna St. Vincent Millay never worried over a sick child for hundreds of days without end. Or spent eight months straight going to the hospital to visit her vulnerable little baby. She never helped a five-year-old navigate social constructs of kindergarten.
Those poets whose lives and passion I admire have, for the most part, missed an entire world of experiences that come with responsibility and dutiful family life, and it seems to me they have missed the greater adventure.



There are no dog breeds that need a sweater. Except perhaps chihuahuas. And Samwise the Brave. 

Okay, he doesn't need one for sure, but I can't help myself. I think he looks so dapper in a sweater and bow tie. 

Silly Eloise

Eloise has never laughed, not in the full sense of the term. She occasionally lets out some giggles, but no hearty laughs. But she certainly knows how to elicit laughs from her family!



We are doing a series of tests and specialist doctors' appointments in the next few weeks, deciding how to handle Eloise's situation. Today was the esophogram and upper GI study. I have been dreading it, with good reason. She has to lay flat on the X-ray table, then the nurses bind her legs together with ace wrap so she can't wiggle, and another nurse stands at the head of the table and pins her arms above her head. Then a giant, noisy machine slowly comes across her body as the doctor slowly injects fluid into her G-tube, intentionally causing her to reflux the nasty fluid.

Its tantamount to torture. Not that anyone has a choice about it. I know she won't remember it, but I will, and I hate it.