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, Wyoming
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Oct 12, 2010

Have You Met Our Other Daughter?

Our Family-circa 1992
Yes, that's Honest Abe & me
rockin the mall bangs!
 The year was 1992, Daughters #1 and #2 (who shall be referred to as Sulky and Spoiled Rotten in this piece) were 9 and 5 years old, and I wanted a #3. I was thinking adoption and The Big Guy was thinking when pigs fly out my…well, never mind, he was thinking no way in hell.     Then I saw an ad in the paper. “Host families needed for Exchange Students,” it said. Big thought this was the perfect solution; we could have another daughter, but we wouldn’t have to keep her. In other words, she wouldn’t be a package deal like the first two were, who came with college tuition contracts and wedding payment plans. He figured when the year was over and it was time to send her home, well…the whole wanting another child thing would be out of my system. Yeah right...who did he think he was kidding? I already knew what a pushover for daughters he was, but I played along anyway.
Julia, Sulky & Spoiled Rotten
in Yellowstone Park
     So, we poured over the bios and looked at pictures and finally we chose Julia—a 16 year old German girl—horsey, with two younger sisters. Hmmm, a perfect fit for our Montana redneck family we reckoned. 
     But wait a sec, if you are thinking this arrangement was straight out of a fairytale, think again. The new baby smell wore off shortly after Julia’s arrival, and Sulky, who wrote the book, How to Aggravate a Teenager, pulled out all the stops, and the two of them had some very sisterly moments. Spoiled Rotten did her best to maintain her role of The Annoying Baby Sister, purely by existing. The only fairytale I was channeling was Hansel & Gretel, because I could totally see how adorable children could end up in an oven. 
The Blue Girl Group
Before long, everything settled down and the kids all found their roles in the family without being forced to breathe any oven fumes. Sulky did suffer from middle child syndrome for the better part of Julia’s stay, but snapped right out of it without any therapy whatsoever. Spoiled Rotten remained spoiled and rotten and annoying, but all in all the three of them found that sister kind of love. 
     Julia spent 10 months with us and we showed her Yellowstone Park, the Black Hills, the Arizona desert, a Mexican border town and the glitz of Las Vegas. She turned us on to German Gummy Bears and marzipan, earned a high school diploma, got her driver’s license, and won a car. She got to experience things that other foreign exchange students likely never did, like riding a Harley, carrying the American flag on horseback in a rodeo, and spending a couple of weeks roughing it at a cow camp with Grandma Di and Grandpa Coyote. She gave us a Christmas tradition, stole our hearts and went home.
     Over the next two decades we kept in touch, remembering birthdays and holidays and we got together in 2005, for Christmas in Mexico.     
     Fast forward to 2010; Sulky is no longer sulky. Spoiled Rotten is no longer…well never mind that, let’s just say all three girls grew up to be smart, lovely, productive adults. Julia is now a Doctor—successful and beautiful and a dead ringer for Heidi Klum.         
     She came back to the U.S. this past August for Sulky's wedding, and just like a real sister and best friend, Julia signed the marriage certificate as the witness. It was a gesture that was meaningful for both of them.
     We spent two fun weeks together time that was bittersweet. We were happy that Julia had been here to be a part of such an important day for our family, and we are proud of the amazing person that she has become. Not knowing how much time will pass until we see her again makes us sad and causes us to miss her even more.
     For me, seeing the three girls bridge a gap and be devoted to each other like real sisters, makes me swell with motherly pride. She and The Big (soppy) Guy are still as tight as if he had birthed her himself, and we love her like she’s one of our own. As it turns out she wasn’t just an exchange student because there is no one that we want to exchange her for. No, she’s our girl, as much as if our name was on her birth certificate, and yep, she is stuck with us. Julia is family.  
I'm including Julia's recipe for Marzipan Mousse, which is so addicting that it should be illegal. I don't have a picture of it because someone forgot to take one when she made it for us. Go to the "Desserts" tab at the top of this page to view it. (Warning: Baker beware, this stuff jumps out of the bowl and immediately attaches itself to your thighs!)


  1. I am totally loving all the old pictures of the girls! Julia sounds like a nice girl too.

  2. Jordan, Were they not the CUTEST little farts ever??? You would love Julia, she is a perfect fit in our wacky family!