Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Resolution??

Borrowing Jackson's blog for a plug for the Utah kids. Since this is the time of year when about 1/2 of the nation is resolving to lose weight/get in shape, I thought some of you would be in the market for a fitness video. Try one of these.
They are from my friend, Amy Dixon. She's the fitness editor for Women's Health Magazine. I haven't tried them, but so far the reviews have been very positive, and looking at Amy's pictures, its pretty obvious that the program works. The girl is in phenomenal shape! (For anyone, and when you consider that she has 2 children under the age of 4...)
I will say now that I was pretty skeptical when I heard that Amy was quitting her Master's Program because she wanted to be a celebrity trainer, and wanted to focus on that. Coupled with her husband Jeff, who had just started film school, well, I thought the 2 of them were nuts! They were definitely dreamers. After a decade of hard work, their dreams are coming true. For his part, Jeff is working on 2 screen plays (currently on hiatus for the writers strike) and a graphic novel. He also made the cover of Variety Magazine a few months back.
Congratulations to both of them!!
Also, Amy was on The Today Show this morning. You can see her bit here Want a new you for the new year?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful, quiet Christmas this year. Just the three of us in Connecticut. We continued our few tradiitons and made some new ones. To come downstairs, we all wore our silly Christmas pajamas. Jackson had to open his first pair since he didn't have last year's to bring to the party.

I continued my protest against all of that wrapping paper by wrapping my gifts in pretty fabric pieces. I felt a little guilty since Jackson wouldn't be able to tear and crinkle the paper. I got over that really quick though since he had no interest in the paper. He opened the first gift with help, and then moved on to the excitement of pulling ornaments off of the tree. He wasn't interested in the toys either. Maybe the proceedings were just too overwhelming. We brought the toys out one at a time later, and that was more fun, but honestly, he liked the lint roller the best.

My family always put an apple and orange in the toe of the Christmas stocking. This year, Jackson got a couple of jars of fruit-and I got a butternut squash.

Jason made us dinner of roast chicken with potatoes and stuffing. It was a nice day with both of us home and no where to rush off to. Jackson was vey tired and retired early and often. Jason and I ended with a cranberry bread pudding and a glass of port.

Thank you all for sending gifts to us. (We'll get yours out someday.) We love you and wish you peace during the season.

Here's another little gift from us (courtesy of Ben & Nicole)

Visiting the Mother Land

Waiting to Go!

November 13th, we set off for a quick trip to visit our families in Utah and show off--I mean introduce our baby to his family. We left on a 5pm flight, had a short stop in Chicago, and reached SLC at midnight. As luck would have it, evening is a great time to travel with a baby. Maybe because of all of the excitement, Jackson didn't eat much or sleep in the afternoon. At the airport, he was delightful. There was a grandmother sitting across from us that Jackson was flirting with shamelessly. After a while, Jason handed Jackson off, and she kept him for a 45 minutes. He attracted the attention of a few other grandmothers, who seemed a bit envious. On the plane, Jackson wanted to eat right away. I tried to get him to wait for takeoff, but we had to wait in line, so we couldn't wait. Jackson went right from eating to sleeping and slept or ate for the rest of the journey. This was great, but it was challenging for me since I was paralyzed with a child on my chest and couldn't reach anything or turn pages to read.

Breakfast with Lily
Wednesday morning, Jackson slept to a respectable 6am MST. I took him upstairs to look for someplace to go without waking anyone else up. The only room without people had the fishtanks, so Jackson amused himself staring at the Koi who were in for the winter. We also managed to wake up the bird, and Sherman took the blame for waking the rest of the Dodge household. We went for breakfast with the Dodges, including Jason's brother Tim, his wife Katie, and their 2 young girls, Lily (3) and Riley (1). Turns out Lily REALLY loves babies. She was so excited to play with him and wanted to be face to face all the time. Katie chastised her several times for being "up in his grill". That afternoon, we went for family pictures. It was a beautiful afternoon, a little chilly, though. We took pictures with various family groupings. The photographer took shot after shot trying to get the little girls to look at the camera and smile. Jackson was easy. He is all about pictures. He's grinning and has his excited arms outstretched in every shot. I think the click of the camera excited him to cheese for the next shot. Later that evening, we went out for Mexican food (Connecticut doesn't have Mexican food--like the cinnamon bears). Dinner was good, but poor Jackson broke down as soon as we arrived. 5:30 MST a week after Daylight Savings Time ends and across 2 time zones is 8:30 in his little baby world. That's past his bedtime. His internal clock expired at 5pm every evening for the whole trip.
Silly Duck Hat
Chillin' with Nana
Thursday, we went with my Mom and Grant to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. The drive down to Lehi was an eye opener for how things are developing along the Wasatch Front. Desolate Lehi, where 150 years of trying had yielded few attempts to settle and grow something besides sagebrush, was crowded with large houses and lawns. The freeway was again under construction, this time to build overpasses to the future wetlands depleting Legacy Highway. The one positive development is the commuter rail which parallells I-15. It's actually started test runs between Davis and SLC. The museum was surprisingly well done, with a big collection of fossils and fossil castings. It chronicled time through the display of large and imposing beasts. Capturing the impressive and ignoring the potentially controversial (such as the big bang). Jackson had a great time at the museum. He enjoyed backpacked around, looking at the towering skeletons, and taking a lengthy nap while I walked hunched like an early hominid (who I oddly didn't see a history of on display). On the way home, we had mole for dinner at The Blue Iguana. So delicious.
Sitting on Grandpa Fox's Lap

Friday, we got up for breakfast of French Toast, fruit, and corned beef hash with the Dodges, then had lunch with some more of my family: My Grandfather and Mickey, my baby brother, Ellis, my second to baby brother, Wes, and his fiance Lessie, my mother and Grant, and my aunt Sue. We then went to my Grandpa's for while. Wow, he keeps a warm house! The warmth and big meals put Jason to sleep, but the rest of us had a nice visit.
First Pony Ride
Meeting Granpa Dale and Grandma Honey

On Saturday, the Dodge's planned Thansgiving as a family. Jackson was able to meet his Great Grandma Honey and Great Grandpa Dale. Jackson also got to go for his 1st pony ride. He wasn't very excited about it.

Our 4 Generations Picture (With Wes and Lessie in the background)

Sunday was a day full of my family. We went out to meet Jackson Great Grandpa Swenson. Ellis, Wes, and Lessie came along. Jackson was a delight and we had a nice visit there. Then we went back to my mom's for another family party. My Grandma, Sue and Racheal (Wendy was working), Lori, Scott, Kelsey, Kailey, and Jake (in 3-D this time), even Morgan joined us. We were, sadly, missing The Fox-Pattersons due to illness--and hope Cait is getting better.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Thanksgiving is a time to gather and eat foods you would not normally think to prepare on dishes that are too fancy to eat standard fare upon. But its also a time to reflect and enumerate your good fortune. This year, I am grateful to have a wonderful husband and an incredibly child. I'm grateful to have been able to travel with them 2300 miles to visit our families and introduce Jackson to his kin. He was able to meet most of his family including all of his grandparents, most of his uncles, many of his cousins, 2 of his great aunts, and 5 great grandparents. Next visit, we'll be seeking out the rest of you--I want my son to know the people who were influential in my own life. I am also fortunate to have wonderful friends, a good job, and a peaceful country existence in the woods and with our animals. The day before Thanksgiving I even felt some gratitude for my beagle. Her love of food came to my aid when I needed help with a kitchen mess.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving at home in Connecticut. I spent the evening before and all day Thanksgiving cooking. There's a lot to cook when you're doing it yourself and you have unreasonable requirements that everything be made from scratch. This year, we ordered a free range turkey, and so we had to do our own brining. I heard about a maple brine recipe from "Fine Cooking Magazine" , so I found a copy of it and tried it out. You're supposed to start with a thawed turkey, but since we were in Utah the week before, my brine had to multi-task. Once brined, the turkey went outside to the smoker (Jason took care of most of this task). We had the turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, stuffing with nuts and cranberries (This is a placeholder for the link to the recipe), carrots and parsnips (from our neglected garden!), cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pie. I think it was the most delicious Thanksgiving ever. [This is really blowing my own horn since my family makes a wonderfully delicious Thanksgiving. Mine was also simplified, so I missed out on Grandma's rolls, sweet potatoes, squash soup, salads, jello, and more pie].
I wanted Jackson to be a part of it, so I made some things with Olive oil instead of butter and made him his own individual mashed potatoes. The only thing he liked were the cranberries. Yes--really. I was shocked. I had to mash the berries out of the skins for him. Then I tried to mix in the turkey in disguise. He ate it, but I think he knew I was trying to pull a fast one over on him.

Friday, we had a great visit from our friends Nicole and Ben and Jamie and Andy with their three little boys, Harrison, Zane, and Ewan. Nik and Ben really need no introduction. Jamie is probably my oldest friend. We grew up on the same street and with the exception of the 6th grade, we've been friends since we were 4. It was wonderful to have a full house. It's normally VERY quiet here. Jamie's boys are rambunctious, and I think Jason enjoyed running around as much as they did.

Having company is also an excuse for Jason (and Ben) to bring out the explosives. For a while we were getting a call from next door everytime Nicole and Ben came up to make sure everyone was safe. Now, we make the call proactively. This time, Jason brought out the guns. The big and little boys all had a good time with them. Fortunately, there were no accidents. I understand that Zane (4) is now asking for a gun for Christmas. Sorry Zane. You'll shoot your eye out. I was pleased to see how helpful and patient Jason was showing the boys how to shoot.
Jamie cooked some Thai curry for us--skills she picked up during her 1.5 year stay there. The recipe was surprisingly easy, so we'll be trying it ourselves someday.