Friday, December 13, 2013

Confessions of a HG Husband: When Will This End?

I call every week to get Carrie's order from our favorite take-out place.  No, not chinese, pizza or anything else so tasty.  I get drinks delivered.  They come in 1 liter bags, 10 mL syringes and small vials filled with phenergram and vitamins.  The pharmacist knows me by voice.  She knows my bizarre sleeping schedule.  I don't even know my sleeping schedule.

 I go anywhere and do anything to help the love of my life feel better.  Target.  Walmart.  Cafe Rio.  Jamba Juice.  Kneaders.  Pizza.  Indian Food.  Make a shepherds pie.  Go to that other grocery store.  Pickles.  A specific kind of ice cream.  That store doesn't sell the yogurt she likes, go to the other store.  I'm not complaining, not at all, because as least she is eating, at least she is drinking, at least the retching is mostly over.

She's doing okay.  By okay I mean, she's not throwing up, she's not asking to be put out of her misery.  She talks, sometimes we even chat.  She had a rough week though.  There were a few days when she refused to eat, "I just want to feel better".

Sunday mornings have to be the worst part of the week.  I try to get my Carrie medicine, get the kids fed and dressed and myself at least decently dressed all before church starts.  There was this one Sunday the kids didn't fight, they didn't destroy their rooms in the few minutes it took to give Carrie her medicine and they didn't dump breakfast out all over the kitchen.  Tyler got himself dressed.  Lydia didn't argue about the cloths I put on her and I somehow had a clean, unwrinkled white shirt.  We were only 2 minutes late.  I was saying prayers of gratitude the rest of the day.

She wanted to be well by Thanksgiving.  She wasn't.  She wanted to go to Thanksgiving dinner with us.  She wasn't well enough.  Instead, I gave her medicine, I got the kids ready, and left my beautiful, pregnant wife home alone on Thanksgiving.  I bought a turkey.  I offered to make it for her.  She said no.  It is still sitting in the deep freezer.  I ditched her and brought her left-overs.  I'm a real prince aren't I?

Like I said, Carrie was hoping to be well by Thanksgiving, I was thinking more along the lines of Christmas or New Years.  The reality is, we have NO IDEA.  The only sure thing is that it will at least end sometime around May because that is when baby is due.

Seriously, when will this end?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bottoms Up: Confessions of an HG Husband

8:25 AM

Home from work.  I've been up since 5PM the day before.  I give my children hugs and kisses.  Tyler leaves for school minutes later.  Lydia goes with her Grandma.  I start Carrie's morning IV.  I mix phenergan with saline in a syringe.  Push 10 ml of saline solution through her PICC.  Now the phenergan for the next 5 minutes.  I go slow.  Careful.  It's over.  Time for 10 ml more of saline.  Then the IV.  I make her food.  I eat.  I wait.  

10:00 AM

I check her IV.  Half has drained into her body.  She's cold.  I cover her with more blankets and kiss her softly.  She closes her eyes.  I wait.  

10:30 AM

I check her IV.  Is it finished?  Almost.  I wait and watch.  She is sleeping now.  She's not in pain.  She's not nauseous.  She's peaceful.  It will come back when she wakes up.  The IV is finished.  I clamp her PICC and unscrew the IV tubing.  I wipe down the end of the PICC with alcohol.  I push more saline and heparin now.  I try not to wake her, to let her sleep, to let her be peaceful.  I fail.  She sits up.  She throws up.  She doesn't want me near.  She doesn't want me to hold her hair.  She doesn't want me to be grossed out.  I leave the room.  I try not to think about all the things I can't do.  I distract myself.  Food?  Cleaning up the IV and medicine?  Reading through material "try this if you have morning sickness".  She's finished.  I return to help her sleep.  I try to get her food.  I know she needs her energy.  I make plates, syran wrap them so they keep and save.  I ask if she needs anything.  She lays down.  I tuck her in.  I leave her alone so I can sleep.

10:45 AM

I lay down.  A couch, Tyler's bed, the floor.  It doesn't matter.  I sleep.

1:00 PM

I'm awake.  Carrie's still sleeping.  I get ready.  The kids are coming.  Tyler from school, Lydia from grandma's house.  

2:00 PM

The kids are home.  I give Carrie medicine.  I push more saline.  I push more phenergan.  Again I go slow, careful.  Push, 1.. 2... 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 7.. 8.. 9.. 10... push.  Just a little at a time.  More saline and more heparin, more questions of "can I get you anything?"  The medicine makes her loopy.  The medicine makes her drowsy.  She sleeps.  

3:00 PM

I take the kids to the park.  They are happy to run around.  They are happy to get out.  I take my camera.  Carrie will want to see this.  Lydia runs.  She falls down.  She calls for me and I scoop her up.  I kiss it better.  She smiles.  She wants a drink.  Tyler runs straight for the merry-go-round.  He hops on.  It goes fast.  He lifts his legs up and starts to fly.  Lydia wants to swing.  "Higher Dada."  Tyler runs around.  His arms are out.  I know he is an airplane.  He runs so fast.  He goes back to the merry-go-round.  "Faster," he calls.  Lydia is done with the swing.  "Help me Dada". I lift her up so she can go down the slide.  Again.  Again.  Two more times.  She explores.  Tyler spins in circles.  I capture what I can with my camera.  Carrie will want to see this.  

4:30 PM

It's time to go.  I chase the kids.  I warn the kids.  I hug the kids.  They come.  Lydia holds my hand.  Tyler asks questions about everything.  I answer.  He asks more things.  We see a quinceanera party.  Lydia asks, "Dada, is she a princess?"  Yes.  I ask he if she knows who my princess is.  "Lydia is and mama is."  I smile and she squeezes me tight.  "You are a prince Dada!"  She says it with such excitement.  Tyler has a stick.  He swings it.  "It sounds like a whip Dada."  He's right.  "Do you know I like sticks Dada?"  I do but we have to leave the stick at the park so other kids can play with it.  I take them to Pace's and order them small slushes.  They both order Tiger's Blood.  Tyler because he likes it and Lydia because Tyler ordered it.  

5:00 PM

We're home.  Carrie is still asleep.  I make the kids PBJ's.  It's what they wanted.  I make them eat their sandwiches before they can drink their slushes.  We chat.  I learn about school.  I learn about recess.  "And Dada did you know I can run SO FAST?"  Wow Lydia.  They finish.  

6:00 PM

They're tired.  I bathe them.  I dry them off.  I brush Lydia's hair.  I help them brush their teeth.  I trim their fingernails.  I pray with them.  I read them stories.  They snuggle on my lap.  They love me.  I scoop up Lydia.  I rock her.  I sing to her.  I lay her down.  "Dada, did you know I love you SO much!"  I love you so much Lydia.  I turn on Dada's songs for her, close the door and leave.  "Wait Dada, blow me a kiss."  I do.  She catches it and rubs it in.  She blows me a kiss.  "Catch it."  "Rub it in."  I smile and obey.  I close the door.  I talk with Tyler.  He has a lot more to say.  I give him a hug.  I kiss his forehead.  I tuck him in.  I turn on "Tyler The Wizard Boy Stories".  I open the door just right.  I turn on the correct lights.  I tell him I love him.  He loves me too.  

6:30 PM

I check on Carrie.  She needs something to eat.  "What would you like?"  She makes a face.  I bring her food.  A creamie, yogurt, my mom's homemade mac'n'cheese.  She eats.  

7:00 PM

Both kids are asleep.  They were tired.  I leave to go shopping.  Milk.  Eggs.  Juice.  Where is the Unisom?  Carrie texts.  She wants a jamba juice.  Mango a go go.  I'm relieved.  She wants food.  I rent a redbox.  An action movie.  

8:30 PM

I'm home with her jamba juice.  I get her evening IV read.  Open the needled syringe, draw out the first mutli-vitamin.  Draw out the second multi-vitamin.  Push it into the IV bag.  Draw out the phenergan.  Shake.  Push saline.  Push phenergan.  Again I go slow.  Again I count.  Five minutes.  More saline.  I connect the IV bag.  I fold laundry.  I wait.

11:00 PM

The IV is finished.  I push more saline and more heparin into her PICC.  She sleeps.  I cook a frozen meal a neighbor brought over.  I eat.  I sit to watch my movie.  I blink.  I missed much of the movie.  I'll finish it some other time.  I blink again and fall asleep.  

12:30 AM

I wake up.  I crawl into bed.  Tyler's bed.  He is sleeping on the "little matress".  We're having a "sleep over".  He's still asleep.  I turn my phone up so I can hear if Carrie calls.  She calls if she needs me.  She doesn't call.

Sometime in the night

Tyler wakes me up.  He needs to go to the bathroom.  He goes to the bathroom.  I tuck him in.  I kiss his forehead.  We go back to sleep.

I Try.

I often fail.  I'm not perfect.  

"If you are the one afflicted or a caregiver to such, try not to be overwhelmed with the size of your task. Don’t assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient. Dozens of times in the scriptures, the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait.6 Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education."

"For caregivers, in your devoted effort to assist with another’s health, do not destroy your own. In all these things be wise. Do not run faster than you have strength.7 Whatever else you may or may not be able to provide, you can offer your prayers and you can give “love unfeigned.”8 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; … [it] beareth all things, … hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.”9  

I Pray.  I Plead.  I Drink It Up.

"Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How am I doing? Confessions of a HG Husband

Simple Request

Read to the end, it's long, I know but just do.  In case you haven't heard Carrie is pregnant and she has hyperemesis gravidarum.  I explained what that is in a previous post.

How are you doing?

Short answer: I'm fine.

You Wanted the Long Answer?

It doesn't make sense to me.  All I have to do is work graves, give Carrie her medicine and take care of her as well as take care of the kids in the evening and put them into bed.  It shouldn't be that difficult.  So why is it? 

This Week

This week I would get home at about 8:20, see Tyler for a few minutes before he catches the bus, spend a few minutes with Lydia and then watch her leave with one of her two blessed grandmas.  I'd then get the AM IV going and try to sleep a bit before waking up a few hours later to finish the IV.  I'd then try to get some more sleep before 5PM.  The kids then come home and I feed them, spend a little time with them, bathe them and put them to bed.  Then I do the evening IV and try to get some sleep.  As soon as the evening IV is done, I leave for work.  The longest stretch I slept was for four sweet hours.  When I do sleep I'm not sleeping very well.  It is like I never fully get to sleep anymore.  Usually I can fall asleep in 5 seconds flat now it feels like 5 hours flat which isn't good considering how frequently I have to wake up.

Grateful and Guilty

It's hard dropping my kids off with my parents or my in-laws.  Not because they won't be loved and well taken care of, but because I should be able to take care of them.  I'm a grown man.  They're my kids.  I should be the one breaking up the fights, playing with them, doing homework with them, greeting them as they get home from school, taking them to dance and putting them down for naps.  But I'm not.  For that I feel so grateful and yet still so guilty.

Why am I so Overwhelmed?

I only have two kids.  I only have one job.  I only have one wife.  There's the cat and she can be a little much, always wanting me to pet her, smashing her face into my leg, wanting to be fed twice a day. 

I even withdrew from school for a little while so I don't have that to worry about.  The grandmas take the kids during the day and sometimes longer.  I've even gotten help from friends.  Even more friends are helping to feed our family.  Seriously we've had some wonderful meals delivered by even more wonderful people.  So why am I so overwhelmed?

My Flip Flops Don't Match

I was spending some time with Lydia when she kindly pointed out my flip flops didn't match.  It was painfully obvious even to a 3 year old and I only noticed when she pointed it out.  Sure enough I had on one bright blue one and one brown one. 

I did laundry.  Sort of.  I put it in the washer.  I put it in the dryer.  It is now sitting in the cloths bin.  I've been meaning to fold it since Tuesday (it is now technically Sunday).  I don't want anyone else to do it because I can do it.

People may see my house and think it is a disaster but I am doing the best I can and you know what, if cycling the laundry through and leaving it unfolded in a basket for the next month is how I do laundry, people are just going to have to get over it.

I vacuumed too.  You can't tell now because while I was doing a morning IV the kids decided they wanted to crumble frosted mini wheat all over the rug.

I washed down the table but only because Lydia spilled the flower vase and Tyler spilled a VERY full glass of milk. 

A Dark Place

I debated sharing this and only do it because maybe it will help someone.  There was a night when I was trying to get a major project done for a macro economics class.  I had to go to work in a few hours.  Carrie looked like she was dying and needed to go to the emergency room.  And did I mention my grandma had just died?  I needed to do it all.  I couldn't give up on my dream.  I couldn't leave my wife.  I had to go to work.  This project needed to get done and I wasn't understanding it and would need to spend several more hours before I did understand it.  I was so tired.  I had slept for about six hours total the previous two days.  I had to hyper focus, I had to compartmentalize.  I had to check the boxes but there were too many boxes.  I needed five minutes to just breathe but I didn't have five minutes.  I didn't have five seconds. 

I panicked.
I could not think.
I could not act.
I was shutting down in body and in mind.
I prayed.
I acted.
I made a decision.
I put my dream on hold.

I will not graduate as early as I had hoped but I will still earn an MBA.  For now all I can handle are Faith, Family and Work and I barely handle that.  It felt like I was giving up, like I was a quitter, like everyone would look at me and think "there's the guy that couldn't handle it just because his wife got sick".  Still I have made my decision.  I will finish school but for now the plan has changed.

Whispers of Thought

I was upstairs trying to sleep on my couch when I got the thought: check on Carrie.  So I did.  She needed me.  She needed my help.  I don't remember with what but that is because this is not a singular experience.  "Check on Carrie" has come into my mind on numerous occasions over the past several days.  Each time there is a reason.  Each time she had needed something.  I tell you that there is a God and he knows what we need.  There is no other explanation for it.

Help Me, Help Me

As I mentioned before, Carrie frequently says "help me, help me".  She's not necessarily talking to me.

Friday night at 7:00 I checked Carrie's phone (btw don't call her, call me).  There was a message from the pharmacist to call by 6pm if we needed more IV supplies.  We did.  It was too late.  The on call nurse called Saturday, I asked for more supplies which got a process rolling.  The pharmacist called me and said they tried to call Friday, now she has to pull in 3 people on a Saturday.  They left a message even.  I explained Carrie doesn't talk on the phone right now, I asked her to call my phone from now on.  The pharmacist asked me about what supplies I needed and as I talked with this woman she softened.  Have you tried this?  This?  This?  She spent half an hour on the phone with me.  That wonderful woman then called our doctor and arranged some changes.  She called and texted several more times.  "I just thought of this, you should try this..."  She was on call and went in to work, spending 4 hours getting Carrie's medicine ready.  She later texted me and wrote, "If she would have called yesterday none of this would have happened in the madness of Friday, so I am glad it worked out, and hope she feels better soon."  It hasn't been very long but already it seems to be helping a little. 

The Divinity Within Us

People have brought meals.  They've watched Lydia, made her feel like a princess, an artist and a super hero.  They've picked Tyler up from school, done homework with him.  There are so many people who have offered to help.  Who have asked for ways they can help, that it is impossible not to see the hand of God in this.  I pray He blesses you wonderful, beautiful people.  You are our angels.

Little Angels

Tyler and Lydia over the last few days have provided me a gift.  Tyler put Mr. Potato heads on a stuffed animal and brought it to me.  He made funny voices and so I scooped him up and snuggled him.  "There, now you can smile again Dada."  He has done this a few more times.  So had Lydia.  Same glasses, different stuffed animal and an incredible amount of love.  This is why we are doing this.

Lift up, With Wings of Eagles

In my moments of desperation I have turned to the Lord again and again.  He truly does hear me.  Not always does he solve the problems before me, sometimes he takes the burden away and sometimes he makes me stronger so I can more easily shoulder the weight.  To have my heart feel light, to feel the surge that it can be done, to have clarity of thought is a great gift that God gives to His children.  I have experienced that lifting up.  Critics of religion call faith a crutch that allows people to hobble through their adversity in life.  They have it wrong.  My faith is a set of wings that allows me to rise up and be better than I can be on my own.

I pray you may feel God's love for you as I have.

Long Answer Short 

Life is a trial, it was meant to be, but we have our family, we have our faith and we are so, so very blessed.

How Is She Doing? Confessions of an Hyperemesis Gravidarum Husband

It's a Vein, Not a Goldmine.

How is Carrie doing?  The same.  As in not well.  She is now getting IV's.  Which on the one hand means she is at least getting fluid on the other hand it means she is getting poked.  A lot.  4 times for one IV.  And they dig.  Carrie cries.  I hate seeing her in that much pain. 

20 Minutes

She eats very little and when she does eat, she throws up.  Sometimes she throws up even when she doesn't eat.  Our goal is 20 minutes.  If we can just keep something in her tummy for 20 minutes then at least she will get SOME nutrients. 

What Can She Eat?

Popsicles, yogurt, apples, mashed potatoes, soup, and bread are among the things she has thrown up.  She can eat pretty much anything.  She just throws it up after eating it.  I am supposed to meat with a nutritionist next week.  Maybe that will help.  I'll try anything.

Is she taking medicine?

Within the last day we have effectively tripled her anti-nausea medication.  Maybe it will help.  At the very least the extra dosages of Phenergan will make her sleepy enough she might not notice how nauseous she is.

Every morning I give her a bag of IV's along with various medications I shoot into her arm.  It takes about 15 minutes.  I then wait two to four hours for the IV bag to finish draining into her body.  Then I unhook the IV and shoot some more medicine into her arm.  Then I repeat the process at night before going to work.  Now we will add a third medicine time without the IV bag. 

Is She Able to Get Up and Around?

Today the pharmacist and the nurse warned me not to let Carrie drive.  I laughed to myself.  Not the funny jovial laugh but more of a macabre laugh.  Carrie can barely walk 10 feet to the bathroom.  One day she was missing the kids.  She got herself out of bed.  Walked up the stairs.  Went up some more stairs to see if Tyler was home from school.  She pretty much collapsed in his bed.  I bring the kids to her now. 

Okay, but How Is She Doing?

This is hard on her.  She frequently asks, "Why did we do this again?"  She says repeatedly, "help me" which is both a weak whisper for help and a well practiced prayer.  There's not much I can do for her.  I can't take away the pain.  I can't make time go faster.  I can't bring her things to eat she can keep down.  She is hungry but doesn't keep food down and gags on anything more than a few teaspoons. 

May 15th feels like an eternity.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Confessions of a HG Husband: Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Carrie is pregnant. 

Baby #3 is coming this Spring.  I should have made more calls than I did but given the circumstances I hope you will forgive me. 

I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say I am super excited, worried, stressed, concerned, overwhelmed and lost.  We've been here before.  When Carrie was pregnant with Tyler she was so sick.  She threw up several times a day.  Her doctor prescribed some medicine that was supposed to help.  She was on a combination of Zofran and Phenergan(sp?).   

It was hard on her but we made it through.  We didn't get pregnant as quickly as we would have because of the "morning sickness".  Still as time passed we began to think, who knows, maybe it wouldn't be so bad the next time.  Maybe it just happened that one time, we thought.  We were wrong.  So wrong.

During Carrie's pregnancy with Lydia we learned her sickness has a name.  Hyperemesis gravidarum.  Doctors will tell you it is severe to extreme morning sickness, that it is brought on by the production of the hormone "human chorionic gonadotropin" which is released by the placenta.  In other words, "Congratulations because you're pregnant!  Sorry you don't feel so well".

Here's what Hyperemesis really means:

It means making trips to the emergency room or urgent care because your wife is not eating and when she eats, she throws up.  She is not drinking.  When she drinks anything, she throws up.  Since she is not drinking and what she does drink gets thrown up, she gets dehydrated.  The dehydration leads to more trips to the hospital.  It means watching the woman you love sleep as much as she can not because she's lazy but because when she's asleep she's not in pain.  Hyperemesis means her entire body aches and there is nothing you can do about it.  It means that you will at least once hear her say "I just want to die."  And when I say once, I mean once a day.  Most of the time she may just look at you, too in pain, too weakened by the ordeal that she wants it all over with and it hurts to see her like that because there is nothing you can do.  Then what do you do?  You leave her, alone, in her bed with the lights out because you have to go to work, you have to take care of your kids, you have to go to school or take a test.  Yeah, that's what hyperemesis gravidarum really means.

Hyperemesis means you will get suggestions from friends, acquaintances, family members and anyone else.  Did you try saltine crackers?  Yes, we tried saltine crackers.  In fact I smashed them up so small they were barely even crumbs and then I'd feed them to her one by one.  Any bigger and they'd come right back up.  Even then there were no guarantees.  Did you try this great drug, it's called Zofran or Reglan or Phenergan.  A drug?  You mean there is medicine she can take that will help?  Of course we know about that.  During the last pregnancy I had a precise schedule set out for Carrie, she was on all three.  Did it help?  Um, no.  Not really.  I mean maybe it did.  Maybe she would have been even worse but that's not something I can really wrap my head around because I saw how bad she was. 

Hyperemesis means calling doctor after doctor, tracking down nurse after nurse.  They would try to give her IVs to give her liquid.  I'd pray they'd be able to find a vein.  Once she was poked 4 times and they finally found a vein after DIGGING AROUND.  I still can picture the tears on her face. 

If hyperemesis is severe morning sickness, the plague is a severe cold.

She had a picc line because I was tired of the nurses trying to poke her.  We made half a dozen trips to urgent care or the emergency room in two weeks.  So hyperemesis means changing IV bags in a process that could take between six and nine hours just to keep her hydrated.  At least that worked.

Maybe you're like I was, you hear about someone having "severe or extreme" morning sickness and you think, oh, buck up, you'll be okay.  I was so, so, so very wrong.  You have to understand these are the same medicines they prescribe to patients undergoing chemo.  Chemicals are killing things in their body and they give them this stuff to make them feel better, and it didn't really help Carrie.  We're not talking about throwing up 14 times during a pregnancy, we're talking about throwing up 14 times A DAY!  People smile and think, "you'll live".  It's true, there is a VERY small chance of someone dying from HG.  Yet most people never understand. 

To the hyperemesis mothers.

You are brave.  You are amazing and you are warriors.  I am so glad we have our little Lydia now.  I hope you are blessed as we have been.  Carrie and I always say, "Everyone needs a Lydia."  My 6 year old son, while I was putting Lydia down, ran downstairs to help Carrie while she was throwing up.  Every mother needs a Tyler.

I honestly feel for you.  I weep for you.  You mothers have to be so brave already during pregnancy and to have such a disease compounded upon everything else is not fair in any way.  I pray for you.  I hope you have help, a wonderful husband a supportive extended family, friends you can rely on and who will drop everything to come to your aid and children who are adoring and understanding in every possible way.  That is the only thing that got us through it and honestly there were times when I wasn't sure Carrie was going to make it.  I'm no doctor so please go talk to your doctor but seriously consider a PICC line, frequent IV's, small easily digestible foods, following a strict and frequent snack schedule, telling your husband he is never allowed to cook anything beyond opening up a package of bread, demanding being treated like a queen (with jewels) every Mother's Day and taking whatever medication a doctor may recommend.  If your husband doesn't believe me about the cooking let him know that I am banned from ever having buffalo wings in my house.  I made the mistake of cooking them early on during Carrie's pregnancy, now they always make her nauseous. 

Medication Tip:

Your Rx drugs can get expensive, you may have to buy a lot of them.  Don't just call your favorite pharmacy.  Call around.  Ask for the cash price of your medications.  You will be surprised at how much they vary, in some cases by as much as 60%.  True story.  In our own experience one pharmacy sold the prescription for less than the co-pay at another pharmacy. 

Congratulations on your pregnancy.  May God bless you and help you and your family through this trial.  I'm praying He helps us through ours.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Grilled Triptip


4 T of Worchester Sauce
2 T of Red wine vineger
2 T Ground mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Beef Bouillon granules
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Ground cumin

 Mix up the marinade.  It makes sort of a liquid mud type concoction.  Get messy.  Pour it and rub it on your meat.  You should cover that baby like the naked piece of meat it is.  Pour the rest over the triptip.  Put it in a bag or otherwise sealable container and pop it in the fridge.

Let it marinate for at least 6 hours (I prefer letting it sit overnight before grilling)

When you are ready to cook it up, let it sit out for an hour at room temperature. 
Preheat your grill to about 300 degrees farenheit.
Sprinkle both sides of the tritip with Montreal seasoning. Put it on the grill over indirect heat, you wouldn't want to burn it.

Grill over indirect heat for 30 minutes.  Flip and grill another 15 minutes.


Now for the best part: EAT IT UP!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tender Mercies

19 years ago today my baby brother Tanner was born.  It was an exciting time.  I remember his bith the most out of my siblings because I was so much older than him.  We shared a room.  When he'd cry during church I'd take him out in the hall and hold him until he fell asleep in my arms.  He didn't learn to say a lot before he died but he did start calling me Titan.  I didn't correct him.  I'd lay in bed reading, he'd come in, climb up on my bed, bound up and down on my stomach and then leave.  Five minutes later he'd do it again.

Earlier this month I visited a Phoenix area hospital.  My sister-in-law was pregnant at the time with my newest nephew.  There were complications so she was on bed-red and under the watchful care of specialized doctors.  My little miracle of a nephew, Caleb, was born not too long ago. 

As I stood in the hospital my mom mentioned that it was the same hospital, possibly the same floor where Tanner had died.  It brought back the memory of it.  I never doubted that God had the power to save Tanner from death.  I prayed for the faith to accept His will.  Perhaps for the first time, without saying the words, my prayer fell along the lines of "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief."

I remembered, and my mom mentioned this so perhaps the Spirit was working similar thoughts on both of us.  I remembered how for my Eagle Scout project I helped organize a gymn full of people and together we made hundreds of quilts.  Those quilts went to provide some measure of comfort to grieving families struggling as they watched their sick little ones fight for their lives.  I didn't make the delivery but in a beautiful tender mercy, there in that place of life and death, I felt the grattitude of those families and of the little children that God had called home.

During that trip I learned from my younger brother Dustin the "rest of the story" about a family I had home taught.  My companion was in the bishopric and we spent hours every month talking and teaching this family.  They were awesome.  I learned so much from them.  That sister is part of the reason why I love traveling.  The rest of the story: the son, who was a few years younger than me, served an honorable mission.  He was sealed in the temple and was still good friends with Dustin.  Somehow I had played a small role in that.

There was a family I hometaught.  I didn't really visit them for very long in the grand scheme of things but I sure love them.  I will always feel a strong connection with them.  It has now been years since we moved out of that congregation.  Yet my wife recently received a facebook message from our friend.  Their children still talk about some of the things I shared while I visited with them. 

There are eternal bonds of friendship that are formed through shared sacrifice, spiritual experience and Christlike love.  God teaches us that the same relationships we form in this life continue with us after death and our resurrection.  In many ways, I can't wait for that joyous reunion when time and distance no longer seperate me from my loved ones.

I remember two singular moments growing up.  One, when I was a Freshman in High School, the homecoming king, captain of the football team and all around awesome guy made me feel like I belonged.  He went out of his way, he remembered my name and he brought me in.  The other, another older teen I looked up to treated me like an equal, like I mattered, like I was important.  Those small moments were such tender mercies to me.  I have tried to pattern my life after their example.  I have tried to see the good in others, even when it took a while to spot it.  I am not perfect, far from it.  Yet I declare without hesitation that there is so much that is good and right and beautiful in this world.

I declare with Nephi, with Elder Bednar and with many others, that the tender mercies of the Lord truly are over all those whom He has chosen through their faith. 

I learned a beautiful lesson.  The day after my 17th birthday I prayed and asked to say goodbye to my brother.  I felt I had never gotten the chance.  The answer was no.  I learned a powerful lesson that day and the Spirit has seared it upon my soul.  Families are forever.  Have no fear, don't you cry.  No need to say goodbye.  Don't you know the ones you love will always be nearby.

I share with you my knowledge the God lives.  Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  If we will look to God, we will live.  I know this because the Spirit has whispered to my soul of its truthfulness. 

I pray that whoever reads this may find the faith to allow God to bless their lives forever.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

SOOC Photos: Snow and Train

The world seems so much more peaceful when it snows.  Stay away from the chaos on the roads and there is something so comforting about a soft snowfall. 

When I took these pictures it was 10:30 at night.  I was waiting to catch the commuter train to work.  I love how there is so much light even late at night, all thanks to the snow.

I love the contrast between this picture and the previous.  Here I focused on the 1st lamp.  In the previous I focused on the snow covered walkway. 

Chicken or Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe

Making This recipe was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Don't let all the spices fool you into thinking this is hard.  If you can melt butter and dump in ingredients, you can make the sauce.  With the paneer, just be patient.  If you try it out and recommend any adjustments let me know.  Sorry I didn't take any pics of the finished product.  I ate it before thinking about it.  I tweeked slighlty recipes from Food network and Mattawamum's blog  They looked good but I thought they needed slight adjustments.  I thought it turned out really well.  I bought Lamba Tikka Masala from my favorite Indian restaurant and I thought it was pretty comparable.  The restaurant's tasted like it had a little bit of beef stock in it.  That could be from the lamb though.  I'm definitely making this one A LOT.

Let me know what you think if you try it.  My only complaint is that the first time I made it I didn't double or triple the recipe.  It is seriously so good.

1 1/2 Lbs chicken tenders, chopped into bite size pieces

1 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp red pepper (I use less when cooking for my low-heat tolerante loved-ones)
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger

8 cups whole milk
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (add more for more “heat”)
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 c heavy whipping cream

Cilantro to taste

- Cut the chicken bite size.
- Mix all the marinade ingredients in a dish, add chicken.
- Coat the chicken.
- Let marinade in the fridge (at least 30 minutes, no longer than 24 hours)
- Stovetop: Add 1tblsp olive oil (uh oh, extra ingredient, can you handle it?) to a skillet with high sides. Heat the oil, add the chicken. Try not to add all the marinade. Cook on med-high for about 8 mins.
  - Grill: Use a grill plate with small slats so smaller pieces of chicken don’t fall through. (I haven’t tried this method yet. Though my guess: 3 mins each side on med-high)


- Measure all your spices into a bowl (so you can dump them in all at once)
- Open up your can of tomato sauce
- Melt the butter over medium heat

- Add garlic and jalapeño and cook for 1 minute.
- Dump in the spices. Stir. (it should look pasty)

- Enjoy the amazing smell (seriously, if you don’t, why are you cooking?)

- Add tomato sauce. Stir and cook on medium for 15 minutes. It should be thick when you’re done

- Add in the cream: 1 cup is the standard. You can add more to dilute the heat (you pansy).


- Line a large colandar with cheese cloth (I bought mine at Wal-Mart in the fabric section.  I ignored the weird looks I got going up and down the fabric/craft aisles) Then end goal is to dump cheese curds in this thing and twist and tie it off so make sure you leave enough cloth to make tying easy.

- Boil the whole milk in a non stick pot (because it will stick) over medium heat.  It takes a while for it to get all foamy.  That foam is what you want.

- Add the 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  It will almost immediately seperate into curds and whey.

- Turn down heat to simmer/low
- Stir, trying to clump the curd together

- Pour out the curds. 

- Rinse with water (It is bathed in lemon juice after all)
- Squeeze the water out

- Add salt and mix (seriously please salt to taste.  The first time I made it I didn't add salt.  It tasted like milk.  Only more bland)
- Wrap tightly in the cheesecloth and try to squeeze out even more water. 

- Tie it and hang it over your sink and leave for 15 mins.  Hopefully it will drain some more
- Give it another squeeze to try and get out any more moisture

- shape into a flat wheel with the knot/twist on the side, lay on a plate, put another weighted plate ontop and let it sit in your fridge for 20+ mins