Thursday, April 30, 2009

Current Events: Surrogates

I have wanted to write about current events on my blog for a while, but have never really started for a couple of reasons: one, because I wanted to keep my blog very light reading and mostly full of happy news, and secondly, because I think that for me it can be kind of dangerous to write about my views on different subjects, since I have no idea where my career will eventually take me (can you imagine a 40-year-old politician having to dismiss things that he/she wrote on a blog twenty years before?).

So anyway, I decided to search for some neutral topics: things that I do not necessarily think are driven by religion or your political party, but things that are still interesting and current.

One such event happened yesterday, when Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick announced that they are having twin girls via a surrogate. Surrogacy is actually a large part of my life right now, as we studied it in adoption law and I am studying for that exam this week. Besides the legal issues (for instance, did you know that the real mother has to essentially adopt the child since the birth mother is the presumed mother of the baby?), there are many factors that a couple considers before hiring a surrogate.

Women become surrogates for many reasons, but one of the main reasons that we studied is that religious women do it so that they can help other women become mothers. Conversely, women require surrogates for many reasons. As the above-linked article stated, there is even a mother in Texas whose son was killed, and who received a court order allowing her to extract his sperm in order to have a grandchild.

What do you think of surrogates? Do you think that it is a good idea? Would you ever hire a surrogate or be a surrogate?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This weekend

This weekend we attended David's cousin's wedding (reception). It was a lot of fun! Weddings are fun now that we are of the age that EVERYBODY seems to be getting married. We were one of the first out of our circles of friends and now we have five weddings this spring/summer so far, two of which we have to miss! Wow!

Anyway, here are some pictures of our niece who was the flower girl in the wedding. She was our flower girl as well! Isn't she darling?I hope our kids have these same big blue eyes that those children seem to have inherited from David. I always tell David that his eyes get him out of a lot of trouble because he can make them look so cute and pathetic that I can't seem to stay mad at him for a long time!

Here is a picture of the happy couple--no, not the bride and groom, but me and my groom!
That dress was purchased in Paris! I love it so much! The irony is that I bought it at H&M, which is a store that can be found about two hours from where I live. But oh well...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That wife food challenge: My favorite recipe


That wife
has a food challenge every month and this is the first month I participated in it! The theme for April was "favorite recipes" and I decided that one of my favorite recipes is chili. My chili is by far my favorite recipe for chili I have ever tried, but some people may not like it because it is chock full of veggies and other "extras". It is super easy to make! Anyway, here is the recipe:

Abbie's Chili
- one pound hamburger, cooked
- one can black beans
- one can kidney beans
- half of a large onion
- one green pepper
- 1 cup frozen corn
- one large can of tomato juice (near the V8 juice, mine comes in a can that you have to use a can opener to open)
- 1 chili seasoning packet
- one can diced tomatoes
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- about 15 chocolate chips
- about 2 teaspoons of sugar

Put the olive oil in a large pot and set it to medium. Saute the onions and green peppers for about 3-5 minutes, and then add the corn. Once the corn is thawed, drain the beans in the sink, rinse them, and add them to the mixture. Next add the hamburger, the diced tomatoes, and the tomato juice. Finally, add the seasoning packet, sugar, and chocolate chips. Bring everything to a boil and then let simmer for an hour.
Jenna, I'm sorry that my picture is so horrible. I know it is blurry but I couldn't help it!

Also---notice that this is half-eaten. I made it yesterday and forgot to take a picture of the process!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bargggg and menu Monday!

Today I woke up to a lot of rain. I really dislike waking up to rain as it messes up my running schedule big time. Today I had blocked off an hour to run in the morning but instead I am cooped up inside of my house. It looks like it will rain all day so I probably won't get to go outside to run at all!

It is probably for the best, however, because I also have a sore throat. I've had it for almost a week now and I feel that it will be good to give my body a rest for a day or so.

Anyway, I am going to still do Menu Monday! Here are my plans:

Monday: leftover chili from last night
Tuesday: Possibly salad and some salmon
Wednesday: I may be going out to eat, but in the event that I am not, possibly some sort of chicken dish
Thursday: Leftovers and/or roasted vegetables and salad
Friday: Pasta with red sauce and salad

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Extremely simple chicken soup

This week I've been making flash cards for adoption law. So, I need some recipes that are extremely quick and easy to make.

Here is my recipe for chicken dumpling soup. It is pretty healthy, delicious, and tasty, and probably just like everybody's chicken soup recipe, but oh well.

Dumplings
2-3 cups Flour
water
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Put a lot of flour in a bowl and wet it with water. Stir. Continue adding water until you have a good dough that forms a ball. Add a LITTLE bit of water at a time, otherwise you will need to continue adding flour forever.

Boil water in a large pan and spoon the in the dough by scooping out teaspoons of the dough. I find that this is easiest to do with two spoons, one with the dough and the other removing the dough from the spoon, much like you would spoon out cookie dough.

Soup
6 cups chicken broth
one cooked chicken breast
3-4 carrots
3-4 stalks celery
1/2 onion
1/2 package of fresh mushrooms
pepper to taste

Boil everything. Drain the dumplings and add the dumplings to the mixture. Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Monday

I feel kind of doofy doing this now because we are both pretty busy and it is hard to plan meals ahead of time as it gets closer to finals. But I will attempt to do it!
Monday: black bean burgers
Tuesday: Probably quick chicken soup with easy peasy flour dumplings
Wednesday: possibly eggplant with rosemary and other roasted veggies
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: frozen pizza (I know this is horrible for me, but this is one of my downfalls. I LOVE frozen pizza!!! We found some on sale this weekend and had it on Saturday AND Sunday night!! This was after I consumed a pizza from a local restaurant on Friday night. Oy!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Procrastination

David and I solved this today for fun (this is from foxtrot.com and is by Bill Amend)---how fun!

Mrs. Miller, (my high school math teacher), you will be happy to know that I only needed help with one equation! David knew them all and solved it way faster than me. Can you solve it?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paris Day 3, part 3

We are starting to all get very busy with finals and test studying--so the blogging will probably be a little lighter from here until the middle of May!

Anyway, back to the blogging about Paris.

After taking the train back to Paris from Versailles, we decided to hit up Luxembourg Gardens and wandered through the Latin Quarter. On our way, we saw the Sorbonne.

It was under construction. We kept walking to the Gardens.

In every trip to Europe, it seems that there is a little freak-out. When we went to Italy together, it was when we were on the side of what seemed like a highway, walking in the rain on the shoulder with our bags because we got off one bus stop early (and if you are wondering why we just didn't take the next bus...let's just say that Rome's bus system is notoriously bad).

In Ireland, it came when we got to Dublin late at night and I was starving. I think that the freak out happened when David suggested that we get a bun from a convenience store.

This time, it happened on the way to the Luxembourg Gardens. Paris is known for its macarons. I tried to get one every day and I had yet to buy one on Day 3. So, I popped into a bakery to look for a macaron. Unfortunately, I failed to tell David what I was doing.

"What are you doing?" he asked, following me into the shop.

"Just getting a macaron! I need to get my macaron for the day!"

"Hmmm...Abbie, they are four euros here. I think that we should shop around for a macaron because we can find something cheaper."

"Shop around for a macaron? Are you serious? How will we even know where bakeries are? We're in Paris!!! Let's enjoy being in the city where we can get fresh macarons"

"Abbie, I think that we should shop around! Four euros is a lot!"

"DAVID IF YOU DON'T LEAVE I WILL JUST SPEND MY BIRTHDAY ON MY MACARON! I WANT MY MACARON SINCE I AM IN PARIS!!"

Sigh. Luckily, we were right outside this beautiful place:

Luckily we made up pretty quickly (Paris is the most romantic city in the world, after all) and enjoyed the scenery.

After that, we ate at a sidewalk cafe (except inside, since it was pretty cold!):


And then walked back to our hotel while watching the sun go down on Paris:So gorgeous. So that summed up our third day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Monday

My wonderful neighbor Mrs. Haid gave me some delicious soup last week, which made me crave more delicious vegetable soup this week. So last night I made a vegetable soup that literally included everything but the kitchen sink. Seriously, it even includes brussels sprouts. It is really tasty though! Thanks again, Bethany!

Monday: leftover soup and salad
Tuesday: salad and my bean tacos
Wednesday: I have an event to go to
Thursday: polish sausage with sauerkraut
Friday: David is not getting home until later, so leftovers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy, Happy Easter!

I hope you all have a happy, happy Easter full of fun with friends and family!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

(Yes, Monograms and Manicures, I did copy off your post, but I love this song!)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A reason why I am unsure that I will ever fit in David's family

EDIT: the poll should work now!

This morning my mother-in-law sent out a family e-mail asking what kind of Easter candy we preferred because she was going shopping and needed to know for the Easter celebration at her house. I immediately perked up, not because the professor was saying something particularly interesting, but because I got excited for the thousandth time about Cadbury Easter Eggs.

I didn't really learn to love Cadbury eggs early enough. Sure, I always liked the chocolate ones, but I always said that I disliked the creme-filled goodies because, well, I had never tried them. Nobody in my family got them or ate them, but then when I went to college I went wild and crazy after meeting this girl:

My freshman roommate Julie. Julie totally turned me on to the gloriousness that is Cadbury. Mmmmm....Yum. Every year she gave up sweets for Lent, and every Easter she would come back from Easter break with around 50 Cadbury Creme Eggs. Finally she convinced me to try one and I was hooked.

Then, when I studied abroad, I craved and craved the Cadbury. Unlike the waxy chocolate that is available for consumption here in the states, Cadbury is one of the major chocolate companies in Europe. So we got to eat tasty chocolate all semester long, but it wasn't until I visited the U.K. for spring break that I got the Creme Eggs. I remember buying five at once, coveting my treat.

In fact, this year, I have already bought two bags of the robin eggs, two boxes of the creme eggs, and one box of the mini eggs. I can't wait until Easter when I can finally open these and enjoy them!So anyway, you could imagine my disappointment when my in-laws began responding to my mother-in-law's email. Let me preface this by noting that even though we have never spent Easter morning at my mother-in-law's house, I am betting that we all don't get our own huge baskets of candy full of candy and more candy like some of you may. This is because my mother-in-law is pretty similar to my own mom, who used to give toys or movies as my Easter treats because she didn't believe in giving kids candy. And in fact, I know that this is true because my mother-in-law mentioned in her email today that she used to give toothbrushes and sugar cereal to her kids for Easter. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this, because I can already tell you that after baby-sitting kids and seeing them eat candy and go absolutely crazy with the sugar pumping through their veins, giving my kids candy will probably be the last thing on my list of Things To Do For My Kids.

At first it wasn't horrible. My brother-in-law said something like this:

Anything with peanut butter and caramel is fine with me.
Hmmm...Cadbury might have stuff with peanut butter and caramel in it. In fact, I'm pretty sure they make a caramel egg. He must mean that. Heehee.

Then my sister-in-law responded with something like this:
Kit-kats and Reese's Peanut Butter cups are the only kinds of candy I like.
Okay. Cadbury definitely doesn't make Kit-Kats or Reese's Peanut Butter cups. This is getting to be a problem. But then, my own husband responds with this:
Mom, I think that I would like fruit snacks. And please get anything but Gushers.
FRUIT SNACKS?! Are you serious?!?!?! I look forward all year to getting Cadbury chocolate and this is what he suggests. We can buy fruit snacks for $1 all year long in the grocery store!!! And anyway, Gushers are by far the best kind of fruit snacks in existence!

Therefore, I must know, dear readers, am I crazy? Do most people not like Cadbury chocolate? That is why I am embedding a poll for you to take. Please tell me, what is your favorite Easter candy?



























Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Paco update

Last night I caught Paco in the act, charged at him while screaming, yelling, and stomping. Then I grabbed him by his two front legs, picked him up, and shoved him in the utility room, all the while yelling. I felt like a psycho. I walked back into the study where David and I were both making flash cards (wild night, people, let me tell ya), and he had his lip sticking out. And then poor Paco started barking because he felt neglected and lonely in the room. Puppy, stop that!

Eventually we got him out but we tried to leave him in there long enough to teach him a lesson. :(

In other news, I tried this salad idea from Sarah's blog and LOVED it last night. Mmmmm.....

Also, Mrs. Haid, I think we should totally do the meal switch! That would be a ton of fun!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Menu Monday

Sorry that I haven't done this for a while, but we've had a few busy weeks lately.

Monday: Meatloaf from my dad and possibly some sweet potato fries
Tuesday: leftovers or a salad
Wednesday: toasted ravioli, spaghetti, and salad
Thursday: leftovers or a salad with Brussels Sprouts
Friday: Salmon and rice

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Paris 2009: Day 3, part 2

After our delicious picnic lunch, we headed to the Versailles Chateau. The line was horrendously long, but luckily we had bought a Paris Museum Pass which allowed us to bypass the ticket line. Instead, we got to head directly into the building. But first we had to take advantage of the photo op! Ryan and David:
David and me:

My brother and me in the palace:A hallway:
Louis XIV was pretty funny. He had all of these paintings painted of him and people worshiping him...including the blessed mother and Jesus. I can just imagine his commissioning this painting. "Yes...make Jesus be pointing to me, oh and yes please have him looking at Mary, saying how wonderful I am...oh and don't forget to include a few angels hailing me. Have this finished by Friday. Thanks." I guess he was not lacking in confidence. There were a few others with Greek gods and goddesses hailing him as well. (I am really betting that these paintings were supposed to depict him as really religious, intelligent, and artsy.)

The immense grounds near the chateau:
This was Louis' wife's bedroom, which included a teeny door where he would sneak out and visit his mistress:
The Hall of Mirrors:
After visiting the apartments we walked outside and rented a boat in the Grand Canal:
A beautiful statue:

Ryan and David rowing the boat:
I tried, but I ended up rowing backwards, so my rowing duties were quickly taken over again by the boys.
David and me outside an area in the gardens where young people used to court:
We decided to rent bikes as well so we could easily see the gardens:Versailles was absolutely amazing! It was Ryan's favorite part of the trip and we had a wonderful time rowing and biking around the gardens.

Thank you everybody!

Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions about Paco.

Here are some of my favorites:

from RoRo after she asked a friend who is a Vet Tech:

Abbie---talked to Donna---vet tech lady today. She said dominance is the main issue. The other cat must have showed some "meanness" to the dog that is why he is not humping that cat. There is really no cure for it unless that cat can be "mean" toward him. She said the licking of the ears is to get the phernomes (check spelling) from the cat---he likes her smell????

Arwen definitely won't be mean to Paco. She is the nicest cat!

From Mr. B.:

I have heard of this before. It has nothing to do with sex from what I understand. It is all about dominance. Paco wants the cat to know that he is the dominate one. You might want to ask your vet what you can do about this situation.
And finally, from my friend Rach who is a vet:

Hey Ab next time he does this I suggest making it a hugely negative experience for him...i.e. drench him with a bucket of cold water (while he's at it still) and make an extremely loud negative noise and then chase him from the room while still making extremely loud noises. Sounds severe I know but it might work. Whatever you do, don't laugh or encourage him in any way!

We have tried to not encourage him AT ALL. But now we will know to make it even a worse experience for him. He has not done it for a few weeks now, which is good!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Paris 2009: Day 3, part 1

Okay I know that this is getting to be a little crazy but our day trip to Versailles was so fun that I wanted to split the day into two posts. First off, getting to Versailles was an adventure in itself. Rick Steves told us to go to the subway and take a RER train that started with a V, like Vick. So with this information we went to the ticket counter and asked for a ticket to Versailles.

The ticket operator told us where to go and we got on a train, went to another station, unloaded from the first train and got on a second train. Unfortunately, of course, this was the wrong train. So we had to get off of that one and find the correct one. We ended up getting on the Vick train. We should have known that our first guess was incorrect because it was quiet. When we got on the correct train we saw about four Rick Steves books and heard loud Americans. So we knew we were really on the correct train.
Anyway, as soon as we arrived in the town of Versailles we stopped at Starbucks. Yes, I know that is horrible, but we NEVER get to have Starbucks here in the states so it was a big treat for me. After that we went to a farmer's market, which was amazing. If you ever go to Versailles, you should go to the open market there. It was amazing, with chocolates, fish, cheese, bread, fruits, and vegetables.

We got a picnic lunch:
If you were around for my last trip to Paris, you will remember the awesome strawberries that are probably the best food I've ever eaten. Well, we got them again! YUM! These strawberries were so delicious and sweet---red all the way through---and even my brother, who does not love strawberries, said that they were amazingly wonderful.
Next up: the Chateau!

Unfortunately, this is no joke.

I wish that this were an April Fool's Day joke. However, it is not.

A few months ago, Paco (a dog) started to lick Arwen's (a cat's) ears. It was kind of weird but cute, because he would follow her around everywhere and lick her ears.

This escalated to my seeing him hump her one day in our bedroom. Of course, I was accused of "seeing things" because Paco is neutered. But I know what I saw. He didn't do it again until...

last night when I had friends over to cook tacos. In front of everybody. Over and over and over.

What should I do? He has gotten to the point where he follows her around, finds her in hiding places, takes his paw to force her down, and does it in front of other people?!?!?! Is he in love? Does he think she is a really, really good friend? Help! It is gross!