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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

15 in '15 List Update: May and June

Well kids, we're halfway through 2015.....it's time to get crackin'!

Summary (for those of us keeping score):
I've completed 3/15 items!  WOO HOO!!
I've made at least some form of progress on 12/15 items.

Here are the details.


1.  Visit 2 new states.  COMPLETE!

Prior months recap:  Georgia (January), Iowa (April), Minnesota (April)

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2.  Print Instagram photos in Chatbooks.  (No progress).

I have no reason for not having this done, especially after College Roomie gave me gift certificates to pay for this for Christmas.

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3.  Read 12 more books.  (3/12 complete).

Prior months recap:  Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist (February), St. John Paul the Great by Jason Evert (March), Before Amen by Max Lucado (April).

This period:  Although I've actually been reading quite a bit, I've not finished any more books.  I'm about halfway through with Babywise (plan on finishing that by the end of July!) and I've been brushing up on my financial sense with an 800-page money management book that I don't know if I will ever actually finish, but it's extremely helpful as a reference!

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4.  Run another half marathon.   Complete a post-baby 5K.  (No progress.)

Gotta have that baby first.  But, I did receive a jogging stroller as a baby shower gift from my mother in law and sister in law, so we've got the gear to make this one happen!

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5.  Take a fun trip for The Boy From Texas' 30th.  (Location determined!)

We're T-minus one week from the birthday trip and I cannot wait!  Mountain resort, horse races, The Boy from Texas....it's gonna be awesome!

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6.  Plant flowers in our yard and the fun pots we got.  COMPLETE!

I think we got all but two of the pots up and going.  Probably half are still blooming and looking great!

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7.  Cook 52 more recipes in the Newlywed in the Kitchen series.  (14/52 completed).

Prior months recap:  5 through end of February; 10 through the end of April.

These past two months, I added 4 more recipes:  Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Noodle Bake, Summer Grill Tacos, Pioneer Woman's Bowtie Pasta Alfredo (plus broccoli), and French Toast,  I'm gonna need to pick this one up if we're going to make the goal by the end of the year!

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8.  Finish Uncle Black Belt's book.  (Some progress made).

Prior months recap:  As of April, we had Chapters 1-4 finished and were just starting editing on Chapters 5 and 6.

No new progress.  Totally my fault.
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9.  Complete one Bible.com study a month.  (6/12 completed.)

Prior months recap:
January:  New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer.
February:  Breathe Spiritual Passion into Your Marriage by Gary Thomas.
March:  Praying for your Elephant - Praying Bold Prayers
April:  Discerning God's Will

This period:  Not going to lie here, I had to do some major catching up on this goal the last week of the month, but we made it!!

May:  Hope  (This was a short, 3-day study, that included several verses for memorization.  My favorite:  "As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more." - Ps. 71:14.)

June:  Assurance  (This was another short plan focused on scripture memorization.)

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10.  Complete 5 Pinterest projects (other than recipes).  (4/5 completed.)

Prior months recap:  Plant a ceramic pot garden (April), Plant a mixed plant pot (April).

This period:

First up, I sent a birthday box to ND Friend!  I got the idea here and failed to take any photos of my finished product.  But her birthday came not too long before she was due with her first baby and I figured that having cupcake supplies arrive in a box might be the perfect way to celebrate her big day.  I gathered up some fun napkins, cupcake liners, a contraption to let you fill your cupcakes with cream or frosting, a box cupcake mix (that included frosting!) and shipped that baby off to Chicago!

Second, I made some dried lavender bunches to freshen up the house!  (Idea from here.)  You might remember that lavender is one of the plants that I was growing in the pots and it did very well.  A few days ago, I trimmed the upper portion of the plants, let them dry a couple of days, and just tied the bundles with little bows.  We've got one in our bathroom and one in our bedroom and the scent is lovely!



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11.  Knock off three more bucket list checkmarks.  (1/3 completed).

Prior months recap:  Meet a blog friend in person (January)

Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  This is not good!  However, I think that July is going to allow me to knock two checkmarks off the list, so there is still hope.
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12.  Order books/prints/canvases of our wedding photos.  COMPLETE!

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13.  Listen to the New Testament.  (Minor progress made).

Prior months progress:  Matthew 1-10.

This period:  I've made no progress.  These next two months I am going to get through listening to the gospels if it kills me!

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14.  Pray Novenas for 12 friends and send them notes to tell them about it.  (6/12 completed).

Prior months progress:
January:  Novena to St. Anne for a friend suffering through infertility.
February:  Novena to St. Joseph for my single friends.
March:  Novena to St. Patrick for my friend and her growing family.
April:  Divine Mercy Novena for another good friend expecting a little one and a friend diagnosed with cancer.

This period:

May:  Novena to the Infant of Prague for two friends struggling with infertility.  After attending the Feast Day of the Infant of Prague while in Prague a couple of years ago, I am a huge devotee to this Novena.  I've got two very dear friends who have been dealing with infertility issues and wanted to pray this especially for them.  Hoping for news of babies on the way soon!

June:  Divine Mercy Novena for a good friend going through a very stressful time.  Taking time to intentionally pray for mercy and peace for her hopefully helped her as much as it did me!

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15.  Organize my pictures.  (No progress.)

Why?  Because I'm lazy.  That's the only good reason.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Worth The Read

Well, yet again, I've been too busy to keep up with the blog as much as I'd like.  I spent most of last week in the Hill Country for work meetings, and then over the weekend The Boy from Texas and I hit up his family reunion and then a wedding reception for some of our friends in New Mexico.  No rest for the wicked, right?

Black is slimming....unless you're pregnant.  Nothing is slimming.

Group photo at the reception.

In the meantime, thank goodness some other folks are blogging and writing excellent pieces for me to share!  Do yourself a favor.  Read these.

1.  Saying Yes To The Wait.  My friend Katy has done it yet again.  Any post that kicks off with my favorite Bible verse is bound to be good.  She did not disappoint.  We often hear about the idea of saying yes to God, in particular with regard to being open to children.  Katy discusses this from slightly different perspective....saying yes when God says you have to wait.  Anyone who is in a waiting stage should definitely read this post.

"Sometimes we say yes to God -- and nothing happens, at least nothing that we can see with our limited viewpoint. Sometimes we say yes to the wait. And, honestly, I think that is the braveryes....the one that is questioned by others (did God really call you to this city, this ministry, this life?) and sometimes even questioned by ourselves (is this really what He wanted?)

yes to waiting, trusting and seeking joy amidst uncertainty.  A yes to future fulfilling of current longings and calling.  A yes to obeying even without seeing. A yes to vulnerability and hope and disappointment. A yes to change, growth and repentance. A yes to brokenness, struggle, surrender and pain during the wait. A yes to reminding yourself of God's goodness even when you do not feel it."

2.  It Ends With Your Warm Beer on the Table Between Us.  Meg Fee is one of my favorite writers---she's amazing.  This post is great for the single ladies out there who need the reminder she offers.... "It is not my job to convince a man to love me."  Amen, sister!

3.  Grace for this Season.  My friend April should have her own tv show.  No, seriously.  She's awesome.  She is super crafty, a great mom, does fun things on the weekend like family cooking challenges, and writes beautiful blog posts like Grace for this Season.  She looks back at a time during Bible Study where a girl opened her heart with a problem, only to be offered a Christian catch phrase of "It's just a season."  Now, April wishes that she could have offered her much better advice and understanding.

"Those Christian catch phrases might look good on the back of your mini van, but they do nothing to soothe a wounded soul."

4.  No One Else Is Going To Do It.  I can't really relate to Hannah's current situation--traveling across Europe with a class of teenagers, or her past living in Europe alone after college.  But what I can relate to is the idea that sometimes, adulthood slaps me in the face and I realize that if I don't take care of something, no one else will.  No one is going to clean up my mess or research my health insurance options or ensure my bills are paid on time.  That's adulthood, kids, plain and simple.

"Life is full of moments where things are going wrong and we don’t know what to do. I’m not bashing seeking good advice or help at all, as those are amazing things. But sometimes, stressing about what to do is so much more painful than just deciding that YOU are the one who needs to do whatever it is, and then doing it. Sometimes it is strangely easier to decide that no one else is going to clean this up, and then doing hopping to it."

5.  Supreme Court Ruling.  I have zero desire to get into a political debate on the Court's ruling last week finding state's bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.  ZERO DESIRE.  But as I've read and thought and prayed about this issue a great deal over the last several days, I've come across two articles that have done, in my mind, an excellent job pointing out the opinion I hold the strongest.  That we are called to be kind to one another.  That spewing hatred or condemnation or anger is not productive or helpful or enlightening.  We must love one another.  

My friend and Catholic blogger, Meg Hunter Kilmer put it this way in her excellent post titled #Lovewins.

"Whether you found yesterday glorious or discouraging, in the end Love wins. Our task is to live for that Love. Whatever side you’re on, drop your weapons. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. You want Love to win? Live like it."

Another blogger, who I don't know in real life, put it this way in her post "The Day that Love Won: A Response to the Supreme Court's Ruling."

"And while I have my own opinions of the Supreme Court’s ruling, you won’t find my support or my rejection voiced here. My reason is simple. It is not because I am ashamed of how I feel, nor because I am afraid. It is not because I lack conviction… because I have my own strong opinions of the ruling.
It is because I recognize that my personal convictions voiced loudly have the ability to silence conversations that I might have with people that I know. It is because I believe that one on one conversations are where hearts can be heard and where convictions can meet compassion."

Monday, June 22, 2015

What a Difference a Year Can Make

One year ago today, I said yes to a very important question from a very cute boy with a very sparkly ring.  (If you'd like more detail than that, click here to read the full he-said/she-said story.) .


Within the last 365 days, the following events have occurred.

- We celebrated The Boy from Texas 29th birthday in Gruene.


-  I bought a white dress.


- The Boy from Texas got a new job.

- The Boy from Texas moved to a new town.

-  I somehow convinced my bosses to let me transfer my job to a new town 9 hours away from College Station.

- The Boy from Texas got a new pick up.





-  I moved.

-  We said I do.




- I turned 31.

- My friend and I ran my third half marathon jokingly saying we wanted to do it before we got pregnant.  (Be careful about such jokes....we are both due less 5 days apart).

- We sold my house in College Station.

-  We went skiing (little did we know at the time there was a growing baby under my green jacket!)


- We bought an adorable little house.



-  We found out we would be adding a third person to that adorable little house in 9 months.


- Our attempt to announce our news to may parents in a creative way was a major flop.

- We announced our news to the public.

- We started adding onto our little house.

- We road tripped with my Dad to Iowa to buy a ram.


- We let Big Jake announce some big news about The Baby from Texas.


- We got a tractor.


- Our dog (and my favorite running buddy) died.






Whew.....anyone else tired?

I don't know what the next year will hold.  But I do know that I thank God every day for The Boy from Texas and the chaos that is our life.  He has made dreams come true that I didn't even know I had.  There is no one in the world I would rather be on this little adventure with.

I'm very glad I chose the right answer to a very important question from a very cute boy with a very sparkly ring one year ago today.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Angus' First Week (and the Motherhood Preparation)

I'm really not a dog person.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I like dogs.  My first word was a dog's name.  But I like them outside where I can play with them when I want, pet them when I want, and then leave them to do their own thing.  I like to think the dogs like that as well.

Anyway, I've never really raised a puppy.  After having Angus for a week, I've learned a couple of things.  (1)  I think this puppy raising is much more like parenting will be than I expected.  (2)  Puppies (and babies I'm sure) are pretty gross.  (3)  Pregnancy hormones apparently turn girls into dog people despite their best efforts.

Here's a rundown on the first week with this little fella and my thoughts on how this will parallel parenthood.

Day 1:  This puppy is very adorable and cuddly and I just want to hold him.  He slept in his crate but did wake us up crying once during the night.  The Boy from Texas got up and fed him, as was our agreement when we got said puppy.  This parenting thing will be cake.


Day 2:  Angus did excellent on his road trip to New Mexico.  He got into multiple wrestling matches with my brother's puppy, Tank.  After being beaten up for a while, little Angus had enough, broke out a ferocious bark and backed Tank right up.  The Boy from Texas and I were quite proud.  One day, if this happens with our kid on the playground, I figure we'll still be similarly proud, but may have to fake being upset with him.

Day 3:  Angus pooed on my mom's carpet.  Very, very bad no-no.  I had to hold my nose to clean it up quickly before she saw.  I am concerned about my ability to change diapers....

Day 4:  We returned home from New Mexico with no problems.  Angus cried multiple times at night, all of which caused me to get out of bed. That deal between me and my husband went out the window.  This is not boding well for what is to come in less than 3 months.

Day 5:  I hated leaving the poor little guy in his crate and having to be gone at work all day.  I fear this is just a minor taste of how bad it will be to leave a baby with a sitter in a few months....

Day 6:  Angus pooed on the floor first thing in the morning.  The Boy from Texas had already left for work, of course.  Whilst cleaning it up, I got sick.  Of course, I then got to clean that up as well.  It was  NOT a good morning.  Concern about ability to change diapers continues.

When I got home from work, I found another little spot where Angus had issues that morning.  I told The Boy from Texas I just couldn't handle cleaning it up.  He proceeded to do it.  But insisted that I watch so he could teach me what to do.  I'm not kidding.

The vet recommended we put him on canned dog food to mix with the dry until he gets a bit older.  There are few things in life I find more nasty than canned dog food.  Yet here I am, spooning some of this mush into a bowl for a happy puppy who always cleans his plate.

Conclusion:  Parenthood and puppy ownership is likely going to continue to be disgusting.

Day 7:  Angus did very well last night, he woke us up twice, but both times he went right outside to do his business and there were no issues in the crate or house.  High five little buddy! It turns out pregnant lady bladders and puppy bladders are on similar time schedules, so when I get up to go, I just let him out and things work okay. 

And just like that, all the pooing and nasty dog food and crying is out the window and I think he's the cutest, cuddliest little puppy I've ever seen again.  Let's hope the same will be true for our kid.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Meet the Cast Monday #50: Angus

Well, we've got a new family  member here at the Little House on the Prairie......meet Angus.




He is a 6 week old Australian Shepherd, red tri colored.  I don't care much about all that, I just know he was the cutest, chubbiest guy there and he had to come home with us.



Mostly, he sleeps a lot.  He starts out cuddly, but usually has enough of that and finds himself a nice, cool spot on the floor or the porch for his siestas.




He spent his first weekend in the family at my parents' farm where he wrestled a lot with my brother's puppy, Tank, herded some sheep, and even took a picture with me where we both showed off our bellies.



I suppose having a puppy and a baby together may be crazy, but we sort of live our life that way, so why stop now?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #20: French Toast

I think this is my first breakfast recipe, but it's a goodie!  I like French Toast, but I've always thought it was probably hard to make and I don't like it when it's greasy.  But, last weekend I decided to give this recipe from The Country Cook a whirl and it was phenomenal.  Seriously, I'd eat this every day if I could!  In order to health it up, color it up, and because it's summer, I served it with fresh sliced strawberries.  It was delicious!

The Boy from Texas Rating:  4/5.

My Rating:  6/5.

French Toast

(Note:  If you're just cooking for a couple of people, I'd half everything but the bread.  There was a lot of the batter left when I was done.)

1 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used cinnamon sugar)
1 C milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla (My theory on vanilla is more is always better)
12 slices Texas Toast Bread (I couldn't find any....ironic since I live in Texas, so I used regular bread.)
Syrup
Powdered Sugar (optional, I didn't use)


In bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar.  Stir together well.

In an 8x8 square dish, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla.

Add bowl ingredients to square dish and stir vigorously.  

Heat up large skillet over medium-high heat.  Use non-stick pan or coat with Pam.

Once skillet is warm, dip bread slices into the batter.  Dip one side, then flip it over.  Let excess drip off.

Place coated bread on skillet.  Flip when browned and brown the other side.  (Heads up here....it didn't take too long for it to get brown, so pay attention!)






Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Funny Conversations with The Boy from Texas (Part VII)


And, so, the series continues.



*While driving around after purchasing our new John Deere shredder, we see a new corvette.*
Me:  Is it bad that I'm more excited about our shredder than I would be that car?
TBFT:  That's why I married you.

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*While watching that movie Inglorious Bastards where Brad Pitt and the Americans kill the Nazis (I wouldn't really recommend it...)*
TBFT:  "I'm German.  If I had any loyalty to the motherland, I wouldn't be watching this."

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TBFT:  I want a brownie and ice cream for dessert.
Me:  Sigh.  We're both going to weigh like 500 pounds.
TBFT:  Well, we both love each other.  That's all that matters.  Make the brownie.

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TBFT (on the phone with his dad):  "Yea, she's feeling better.  Last week, she finally stopped throwing up all the time and started getting fat."

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TBFT:  "Wow, you friend is a nice guy.  But he talks more than you.  I didn't think that was possible!"

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*Driving home from picking up the shredder and parts for him to work on our tractor.*
Me:  Can we stop for some ice cream?
TBFT:  We don't have time for that, I've got serious work to do.

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Me:  I always get confused, is the hood on the car the part that goes over the engine or the part that's like the roof?
TBFT:  100% of people call the hood the part that opens over the engine.  The roof is the roof and the trunk is in the back.  This is like first grade coloring car pictures.  Are you serious right now?










Monday, June 8, 2015

It's Not Okay: My Thoughts on the Duggar Situation

"There are far too many silent sufferers.  Not because they don't yearn to reach out, but because they've tried and found no one who cares.”  ~Richelle Goodrich

I'm so over the news right now.  I find myself annoyed at what is covered, how people react, how the anchors think people should react based on what church pew they do or do not sit in on Sundays.  It's just maddening to me.  And I usually try to stay out of hot button type issues.

 But after hearing some of the statements made by the Duggars regarding the admitted sexual abuse (not alleged abuse) of their daughters by their son (not their accused son, the son who admittedly repeatedly abused young girls), I felt compelled to speak.

I was never sexually abused, thanks be to God.  But I had several friends who were.  Friends who suffered varying types and degrees of this type of awful abuse.  I had friends who pressed charges, only to see justice denied.  Friends who never uttered a word.  Friends who struggled with who to tell and when to tell and what to do.  Then, in law school, I interned at the Crimes Against Children unit at the District Attorney's Office.  I heard and saw things that no one should ever hear and see.  I watched children struggle to find the courage to stand up to their abusers.  I watched them feel guilty or judged or like they were somehow at fault or over reacting.

These experiences will not let me tolerate the Duggars' downplay the seriousness of sexual abuse.  "It's not like he raped them or anything like that" and "He only inappropriately touched them over their clothes, and sometimes under their clothes, for a few seconds."  "He is not a pedophile, he was only 14."  "He was really sorry and cried every time he told us about what he had done."  "He was just a little too curious about girls."  Comments like these made by the family make my blood boil.

Sexual abuse is sexual abuse, period.  One does not have to be raped to be a victim of this type of abuse.  And there is no 5 second rule that applies to make sexual abuse okay like applies to dropping a piece of candy on the floor.  It is not okay to sugarcoat or overlook or spin what this person admittedly did.  It is not okay to make his victims, or any other victims of abuse, feel like their abuse was not bad enough to be relevant.

Sexual abuse is never okay, and we should not pretend like it is.  We should not downplay its seriousness.  We should not take away the pain, shame, and struggles that victims face.  It is not okay, and I for one refuse to sit quietly by and watch this happen.

I pray for all victims of sexual abuse, may they find peace and healing.  And may we all support them in that endeavor.



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sh*t No One Tells You About Being Pregnant (Part I)

Initially, I was going to post this after the baby arrived, but once I got to like number 57 on my list (okay, not THAT many), I decided to make it a mini-series.  I also had some feedback from blog readers for not posting bump updates.  I'm going to incorporate those here as well.

Here we go with Part I.

1.  Morning sickness is bullshit.  

I usually don't cuss on this blog because my mom reads it, but this deserves a curse word.  I went through four months of throwing up pretty much every day at least once (if not more) a day.  It was horrible.  I felt nauseous all the time.  I lost 10 pounds.  I saw the inside of the toilet bowl more often than I saw my husband.  It. Was. Horrible.

Now, I know that not all women have morning sickness.  To those of you that didn't, I kinda want to punch you in the face.  No, not really. Well, a little.  But here's a bit of advice.  If your friend is telling you about her terrible experience, please do not say things like, "I know what you mean, yesterday, I felt nauseous for an HOUR."  Just shut up and be sympathetic to the poor girl who can't stop puking her guts out.

I wish I could offer you some advice on how to survive this part of the experience. But I can't....I'm actually not sure how I survived if I'm being honest.  I tried it all. Eat small meals.  Eat before you get out of bed.  Drink something.  Don't drink anything.  Try protein.  Try crackers.  Try essential oils.  Don't get up too fast.  I ended up being put on two different drugs together to just keep me functioning.  The only bit of advice I can tell you is just eat what you can, when you can, and that at some point, this will end.

2.  The first ultrasound is not done on your tummy.  

We won't go into great detail on this, but luckily for me, Soul Mate Friend had warned me about this before our first ultrasound and I had warned The Boy from Texas.  Even knowing what would happen, it was awkward.  So be prepared for that.

But you do get cool/creepy/alien-looking pictures like this.


3.  Everyone will be full of freakin' advice that makes you need a drink.  But, of course, you can't have one.

Everyone has an opinion about what you should do and why whatever you are doing is wrong.  You might remember a prior blog I did on this topic.

I just keep trying to remind myself that people mean well.  They honestly care about me and the baby and want to help.  That helps prevent me from using physical violence.

4.  You will itch all over.  

I'm not sure if this happens to everyone, but it sure did to me.  Now, part of it was I recently moved to a much drier climate and was also pregnant during the winter months, but y'all.  My skin itched all over to the point I thought I had developed some terrible disease.  I don't know if it's hormones or stretching or what, but it was not fun.

This one I can offer a suggestion for.  I got some Burts Bee's Mama Bee products that helped immensely.  They have an oil and a body butter.  I used both, probably preferred the body butter just because it was less messy.  If you're pregnant, go ahead and run to Target and get you some of this magic.

5.  If you don't show quickly, you'll be jealous of people who do.  Stupid, I know.

Until I was 20 weeks pregnant, I didn't look it at all.  I probably looked like maybe I ate too many tacos and gave up the running hobby, but there was not cute, noticeable baby bump.  I would get super jealous of friends of mine who showed sooner.  They looked cute and let's be honest, people are so nice to pregnant ladies (except when they try to touch you or give you advice....)  Just give it time. One day (seriously, I feel like it happened literally over one night), that bump will show up and just keep on growing.

And now, some photos.


Week 10
Week 12
Week 14
Week 16
Week 17
Week 19


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #19: Pioneer Woman's Bowtie Chicken Alfredo (plus broccoli)

I honestly don't know why I ever worry about making a Pioneer Woman recipe.  That lady knows her stuff, without a doubt!  So when I came across her recipe for Bowtie Chicken Alfredo, I bought the ingredients immediately!

The Boy from Texas Rating:  4

The Boy from Texas Comments:  "I'd eat this again."  "Well, it's not bad for chicken and vegetables."

My rating:  5

My comments:  Seriously, I'd put this recipe in a weekly rotation.  It was SO good!

Pioneer Woman Bowtie Chicken Alfredo (plus Broccoli)

12 oz Farfalle pasta
4 T butter (you could also use olive oil)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I actually used leftover chicken The Boy from Texas made on the grill and it was great!  It also made this recipe much faster.)
Salt and papper
Minced garlic
3/4 chicken broth or dry white wine
1/2 C half and half 
3 T heavy cream
3/4 C Parmesan shavings or grated Parmesan
2 T fresh parsley
2 C fresh steamed broccoli  (This is not in her recipe, I'm trying to health things up by adding a green veggie, it went quite well!)


Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain and set aside.

Steam or boil broccoli.  Set aside.

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken.  Heat 2 T of butter in large skillet and cook until brown on both sides and done in the middle.  Remove from skillet, slice into strips, set aside.

Add additional 2 T of butter to skillet followed by minced garlic.  Stir garlic around and cook for 1 minute.  Pour in wine or broth, let it bubble up for 2 minutes.  Add half-and-half, cream, salt and pepper, whisking constantly until combined.  Allow liquid to heat up thicken for a few minutes.  If it gets too thick, you can thin with more chicken broth.  (I didn't have that issue.)

When the sauce looks good, remove from heat and add Parmesan to the pan.  Throw hot pasta right on top of sauce.  Toss.  Add chicken and broccoli and continue tossing until combined.  

Top with minced parsley and extra Parmesan.