Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come!

My good friend  Bia and her family recently moved to Overland Park, Kansas.  They lived previously in Boston, so we are now only four hours apart, which is great.   We had planned this trip since January for the March 22nd weekend and also we would be celebrating cousin Jen's 30th birthday party.

I took a half day on Friday and the whole family (including Grandma) headed to Kansas City right around noon.  We made a pit stop in Columbia, MO to drop off Lola at Grandma and Grandpa's and we made it to KC just about 5 PM.    Bia has a son named Nick who is 8 years old and a daughter, Olivia, who is 4 (almost 5).  The kids got along right away and played so much together.  Noah was not shy and was so happy to be there.  He doesn't go to strangers very easily but he really liked my friend Bia right away.   My mom made lasagna that night and we just hung out and went to bed pretty early (We were so tired).

Noah, Nick, Olivia and Sam


New toys = Happy boys
The next day Aaron kept an eye on the weather (KC was suppose to be hit with a big snow storm on Sunday).  It looked like St. Louis was going to get hit too.  The St.Louis group that came for Jen's birthday was heading back early, so we decided to go back home on Saturday night.

Bia, Aaron and I did a little tour in the city and we went to Dean & Deluca for my gourmet husband to check out the goodies.  They have a restaurant there and it looked really good.

Dean & Deluca store

After a little tour, we got the family and headed to the best BBQ of Kansas City, Jack Stack BBQ.  The food was so good.  We had the beef burnt ends, which is the traditional Kansas City style barbecue favorite.
Jack Stack BBQ- Sam was sleeping but woke up just in time

Lunch with everyone!  Noah and Oliva turned and Aaron was taking the picture

Noah and Vovo

Olivia and Sam

Beef burnt ends and slice pork with famous pit beans

After having the best BBQ ever, we decided to head back home to avoid the big snow storm that was rapidly approaching!  We picked up Lola on our way and got home very tired.
The following day we woke up to this: 13 inches (33 cm) of snow, the biggest snow storm ever to hit St.Louis since 1982.  Good call that we made it home early.  We will go back to KC in the summer!

Our house - 13 inches of snow

Our sunday morning view (March 24, 2013)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yogurt cake (gâteau au yaourt)

I recently started reading the book: "Bringing up Bébé" by Pamela Druckerman. In Portuguese it is called "Crianças Francesas Não Fazem Manha".   Aaron heard about it on an NPR radio show and my mom heard it discussed all over the Brazilian news (it is very popular in Brazil right now).   I decided to buy it and it is sooo good.    The author is trying to figure it out the secrets of French child rearing since the French kids are so well behaved, sleep through the night, and eat gourmet food :).  What a dream!    Aaron has been taking french classes in the community college and also he has been cooking a lot of French food lately, we are definitely embracing French culture a lot.

In the book, the author describes how French children have a tradition of baking cakes with their mommies on Saturdays.  The first cake they learn is called "Yogurt cake" or "gâteau au yaourt". It is a fun cake for children because they get to use the empty yogurt containers as measuring cups.  French parents appreciate it because it teaches children to be independently follow a set of instructions.  We decided to try it out this past Saturday and have our son Sam bake his first cake at 3 years old!  He was even excited to clean up after himself.

The igredients

"Mão na Massa"
Sam is so proud
The kids loved the cake
Recipe from the book:
  2 (6oz) containers of plain yogurt (keep containers for measuring the other ingredients)
  2 eggs
  2 containers sugar
  1 tsp vanilla
  Just under 1 container of vegetable oil
  4 containers flour
  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 375F

Use vegetable oil grease a 9-inch round cake cake pan or loaf pan

Gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and oil.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; mix gently until igredients are just combine (dont' overmix).  Bake for 35 minutes, then five minutes more if cake doesn't pass the knife test.


Monday, March 18, 2013

My Thyroid Surgery

February 20, 2013 - Surgery day

My surgery was schedule for 7:30 AM at St. Luke's.   My in-laws came the night before to watch the boys, which was very nice.  I had so many friends and family that offered help to watch the boys that I felt so grateful.   My mom, Aaron and I headed to the hospital at 6 AM.    Everyone was super nice and talkative.   My surgery lasted about 2 hours.   My mom and Aaron followed my progress on the monitor (like an airplane that you can see where they are).  So they knew where I was at all times.  I remembered waking up at my bedroom and everyone was there, but I was too tired to talk.  I had a roommate and their TV was so loud and I just wanted to sleep.   Everything went well.  I got a little bit sick, but everything was manageable.  I was in the hospital just for one night (thankfully my roommate left and I was alone).   I just slept all day and night.  My calcium went down a little bit and I had to take so many calcium pills throughout the night.  Aaron came back in the morning.  Our doctor said I was going to stay until noon but due to the huge snow storm that was hitting the city of St. Louis, she was going to get me discharged by 9 AM.   Thankfully we left the hospital just before the huge snow storm hit us.

My mom and the boys were home waiting for me.  My mom made my favorite meal - chicken strogonoff with real French fries. So yummy.   I just slept and tried to recover from the surgery.

The next few days, I just rested and tried to rest up as much as I could.  Here is a picture of my Scar - 3 days later:

Scar- 3 days pos ops
I received so many emails, messages, texts, phone calls, presents from my friends and family and I felt overwhelmed with so much care and love.  Very thankful for so many good people in my life.  A few of my treats:

Flowers from Sam and Noah

Orquid by my BFF (Beth, Jamie and Brooke)

Beautiful flowers from WWT (work people)

Fruit arrangement by sis Kate and family
Honeybakded ham dinner by Monsanto

Cupcakes by BFF Bia and family


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Thyroid

Early January I had an ultrasound performed on my thyroid.   Back in Brasil when I was a teenager, my doctor found some nodules on my thyroid and said to keep an eye on it.  Back in the USA I mentioned to the doctor and he just checked on my thyroid levels on my blood work and everything was always fine.   My doctor retired so I switched to a new doctor and mentioned to him about my thyroid.  He decided to do an ultrasound to have on my records.    I figured it was fine, so it took me a little while to do it. 

After the ultrasound was complete in January, it showed a pretty large nodule on the left side, about 3 com and some little ones on the right side.   He sent me to a endocrinologist to check on those.   The endocrinologist performed a biopsy called FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration).   She injected a needle into my nodules (with the help of the ultrasound) and the results usually come back within a few days.   The first result was inconclusive so they had to send out to further studies.  After about 10 days, the results ended up being suspicious with a 40% probability of being malignant and 60% possibility of being benign.   The doctor made a recommendation to remove the nodule and referred me to a surgeon. 

I was pretty surprised with the result and didn't know what to expect with all that information.  If it was cancer I would have to do some radiotherapy treatment and could not be in contact with the kids for a week.   On the following day, I had my yearly appointment with my OB, which I adore him very much and told him everything that was going on.  He said not to worry, it is something very treatable and recommended Dr. Thyroid which it is her specialty.  I was very relieved talking to him.

Aaron went me to both doctors to get two opinions.  The first doctor was at a huge hospital, it was hard to park and we waited about 45 minutes to see the doctor.   He was nice and suggested to remove the whole thyroid since if it was cancer I would have to come back and take the other half as well.   The second doctor was at St.Lukes, the hospital where I had my both kids and feel very comfortable there.   We got there right on time and the doctor saw us within 5 minutes.   She was great.  She basically drew my thyroid on a white board and explained like a professor everything that was going on.  We both felt so much comfortable with her and ended up scheduling the surgery for the following week.

It was a good feeling, to get the surgery scheduled with a doctor that I felt comfortable and get everything out of the way.