Monday, October 31, 2011

One of the 18,705 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

There's been an empty spot for awhile now in Vera's baby book awaiting a letter from her daddy.  He filled it this past weekend and I got permission to share.  Grab a tissue first though, will ya?
My dear, sweet Vera,

My first born.  You are two years old as I write this.  You are inquisitive, smart, independent, and eager to do the right thing.  I am so thankful for you and love you deeply with a kind of love I did not know until you were born.  I want to give you three pieces of advice for this life...

First, the world can be a confusing and difficult place.  I will try to shield you from the harshness of life as best I can but at some point you will experience trial in this life.  Do not be surprised by it or lose your courage.  There is One who has gone before us and has overcome.  He said, 'In this life you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.'  And indeed I have found that even when all else fails, He is true.  This world will tempt you into thinking that Jesus is not who the Bible claims Him to be.  Do not be afraid to ask honest questions but know that I at least have found Him and His Word to be true and sound both from an intellectual and experiential perspective.  I pray that you will as well and that in your love for the Lord you will find safety and security to weather the storms of life.

Second, love people but do not let their approval rule your life.  If you pursue happiness in life, you are unlikely to find it, but if as an overflow of your love for the Lord you spend your life serving and loving others, you most certainly will find joy in this life and supreme happiness in the next.

Finally, your mom is a beautiful woman who loves the Lord and thus has wisdom beyond herself.  She is the love of my life, my better half, and my best friend.  She is worthy of your trust and admiration and you would do well to keep her in your confidences and lean on her for guidance.

Love you,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What the Heck Are People Thinking?! {What Goes Through My Head When I Shop}

You've probably figured out by now that one of my soapboxes in life is in regards to food and making wise decisions in what I choose to put in my body.  I used to be self conscious about it because I wasn't raised with this acute awareness nor are many of my friends passionate about it.  I know at the end of the day it isn't a matter worthy of division in relationships, however the more I learn, I just can't shake my convictions about it.  I think it started in culinary school when we watched videos about the current food system in America, how food gets from farm to table, and how corporations have come in control over what is available in the aisles of our grocery stores.  It was such an eye-opening experience for me and since then, I have read a lot and watched more mind-infiltrating documentaries about what we eat.  It is not my goal to judge others on what they eat.  That is their prerogative and I can leave it be.  But when it comes to the diet of my family, I prefer to be as educated as I can be and make choices I believe in.  Call me crazy, but I'd rather be in control of our nutrition, not just trust production companies on what they do to create "food."  I'm not saying I am a health-nazi, because let's be honest, I majored in cream and butter and it's not like I've never enjoyed an Oreo (or gasp! fed my kid hot dogs and mac n cheese), but more times than not, I just want to eat real food.

Okay, now that we know that I love you and you love me despite all this, allow me to take you through some thought processes in my weird brain.

About a month ago I was checking out the jams.  Though this is my absolute favorite brand in the whole wide world and I swore my faithfulness to her years ago, every now and then I find my eye a-wandering and considering other brands to try.  What catches my eye but CALORIE FREE jars of jams and preservatives.  My first thought?  Holla!  Alas I can eat as much jam as I can hold and it not count against me in the love-handle department!  Tires screech.  Whoa, Nelly.  I know better.  Nothing that I want to eat is calorie-free.  That would make it a synthetic, laboratory-created product.  My second thought then was to check out the ingredient list.  Fake, fake, fake.  Of course, the marketing technique of bold and enlarged letters on the label will get some people's attention and might make a sale, but I'm not a believer.
With skepticism, I continue my shopping.  In the baking aisle, I come upon this fellow.  To some, a first impression might be:  Awesome!  All I have to do is add water, shake, and I've got muffins.  #winning  But really, friends?  Moreso, what appeals to me is real butter, granulated sugar cane, unbleached, un-enriched flour, eggs hatched from chickens that cluck, and blueberries that I myself can look over and wash before folding into my batter.  Add a little turbinado sugar on top before baking for that extra crunch of sweetness.  For me, there is satisfaction in knowing what is in the food that I put into my body.
Here's a napkin that made me scoff.  "Real Food.  Simply Delicious."  I know this is just me speaking, but I disagree with both statements here.
For example, from their website, here's the ingredient list for the pumpkin scone which is quite the rave these days:
unbleached, enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), icing (sugar, water, corn syrup, fructose, contains less than 2% of the following: gum arabic, agar, potassium sorbate [preservative], citric acid, natural flavor, mono- and diglycerides, locust bean gum, cinnamon), unsalted butter (cream [from milk]), pumpkin puree, sugar, whole eggs, honey, buttermilk (from milk), soybean oil, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), soy lecithin, salt, invert syrup, vanilla extract, spices.
I don't know about you, but I don't have monocalcium phosphate or guar gum in my pantry.

All this to say, it's everywhere you look and not hard to find.  I have to give voice to the fact that I know it would be incredibly expensive to eat all natural, all organic, all the time.  We don't even do it in our household, but I can't help but wonder what kind of movement would occur in Washington if people would make healthier choices in the supermarkets.  Don't even get me started on kids that qualify for free school lunches that come with cash-galore to spend on candy, sodas, fried "chicken" sandwiches, gelatinous-cardboard pizza, and processed cheesy fries in the lunch rooms across America.

(Okay, I'm done.  Can we be friends again?)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday Night Special: Roasted Portobello Sammie

We sat down for dinner on Friday night and as Vera was eating through her sandwich, she said, "mmm, yogurt" to which I replied, "yeah, it does taste kind of like yogurt."  (She was tasting the soured/tartness of the goat cheese that is similar to the Greek yogurt that she eats on a daily basis.)

This sandwich sums up the way I like to eat.  No meat.  Hearty.  Substantial.  Healthy.  Delicious.  Here's the run-down:
Roasted Portabella (olive oil, salt, pepper), sliced
Arugula (or spinach would be great)
Soft Goat Cheese (let it come to room temp.)
Creamy Dijon
Whole Wheat Pita

And ohmygoodness, these fries are so yummy and made the perfect addition to our meal.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

T.P. Pumpkins

I got together with some friends a few weeks ago and we made these adorable pumpkins that are simply wrapped with toilet paper.  How simple and creative for some Fall decor on the cheap!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In the Bumbo and Everything

When I wasn't looking, apparently Baby got fed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why Couponing Doesn't Work For Me

You've probably heard those amazing stories of people who save oodles of dollars by clipping coupons, right?  A few weeks ago I was at a friend's house and saw TLC's "Extreme Couponing."  Wow, those people are something else.  They trash dig to get extra newspapers for more coupons.  They grocery shop after midnight to get the newest stock of stuff.  They have their system down for saving money.  Kudos to them.  I can't imagine saving so much money.  I am a bargain deal hunter, that's for sure, but I've never scored that big before.  When looking for coupons online, I come across extraordinary pictures of the piles of stuff that have been purchased for such a small amount.
It would feel like quite the accomplishment to walk out the store with bags of stuff having spent only a few dollars, or even having been credited to take it out!  However, the more I research money saving tips and look at the available coupons in newspapers, magazines, in mailers, and online, I'm finding that they just don't match up with what we are spending our money on in our household.
I certainly don't look down on anyone else for how they might take advantage of these coupons, but our family doesn't eat most of the food products that provide savings; cereal, candy, chips, baking mixes, crackers, processed pastas, beans, etc.  I look at these pictures and find nothing that we would buy.  Therefore, I certainly wouldn't buy them just because they are on sale or free.  With grocery coupons, there's not much that work for us.

I have a similar mindset with deal-saving sites like Groupon, too.  If I wouldn't already be looking to purchase a good or service, then I'm not going to buy one just because it's a B1G1 or at a discounted price.  But again, that's just the way I roll and I understand that others find couponing advantageous for their families, so that's great.
What works for you?  Do you have any money-saving tips for groceries or other products?

Dance Party

Vera likes to play the game 'dance party' quite frequently.  Chris recorded our most recent one.  And yes, that's all natural talent.

It's a Poll!

I like you.  Really, I like you a lot.  And I appreciate your reading my nonsense.

If you're reading this through an RSS feed, would you mind heading over to this page to answer a question for me?  The poll will be on the upper right hand side.  I'd be most appreciative!

It's The Best Tasting Gross Candy Out There

Have you ever said a word out loud over and over until it sounded completely absurd?  Try it with "thank you," for example.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you....

In a similar way, the more felt candy corn I made tonight, the more absurd they started looking and I questioned upon the completion of this project if that's what candy corn even looks like.  But it must have just been the wave of tiredness that was doing the crazy talk in my head.

It was one of those nights that I got the crafting bug and didn't want to stop.  I started by working on the girls' Halloween costumes, then decided to keep up the momentum and create this project seen on a friend's sewing blog.  Like I mentioned, I don't have any Halloween decorations, so I decided to remedy this tonight.

But the problem with this is that fake candy corn are now staring at me in my house.  Creepy?  Perhaps.  But I was thinking more along the lines of how can I not buy candy corn now?  And peanuts.  Because that's the best Halloween snack combo ever.
Do you decorate for Halloween?  Do you do ghouls and ghosts or leaves and pumpkins?  Or felt candy corn?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weeknight Stuffed Pizza

9 times out of 10, I prep dinner during nap time.  I do whatever I can to maintain the freshness of the meal, but to only have a few steps left in finishing it off at dinnertime.  Last night we had this Stuffed Pizza.  This is another good 'clean-out' meal where you can use whatever you have on hand in your pantry/fridge.

I had a green bell pepper, cremini mushrooms, shallot, garlic, and mozzarella cheese.  And to be honest, I just cracked open a jar of marinara to use as the tomato sauce.  That made it extremely easy.  I simply sauteed the toppings in some olive oil, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and let it cool.  My dough had proofed in the refrigerator overnight, so it was ready to roll out and fill.  I rolled it into a long rectangle shape and placed the marinara and toppings down the middle, leaving about 3 inches on both sides.  To close, I folded in the ends the braided it close, though you could just fold it over and crimp the edges.  Then I wrapped it and placed it back in the fridge.  Come dinner time, I turned on the oven, brought it out to room temperature, then baked it until GBD (a very technical term I learned in culinary school meaning golden brown and delicious).

Then I called it a day and sipped some cider beer.  I love quick fixes to mealtime.

Believing The Best In Our Kids

I'm not sure typically when the "Terrible Twos" stage really starts, but we have already seen glimpses of a tantrum-throwing toddler inhabiting the body of our sweet girl.  We have days that I wish we could do all over again because the whole day was just wrong in attitude and heart.  But sadly, those do-overs are desired more so because of the way that I handle the frenzy.  I don't know when I started assuming that my daughter and I were enemies on those days.  I have to remind myself often that she has only been alive for 2 years.  She is merely a babe.  She is in the midst of figuring out life; how to behave in social settings, how to make decisions, how to react to others.  She is learning and growing and experiencing things for the first time.

Recently I came upon yet another amazing post by this lady that just stopped me in my track.  I had to read it out loud, then read it to my husband, then read it again.  I want to print it off and hand-deliver it to all my mom friends for Christmas.  It's not everyday you read something so moving.

To even write these words, I have to assume that she spends a heck of a lot of time inhaling Scripture because where she's arrived in her thought process is just so full of wisdom to be from any self-help or parenting book.  These are her words, not mine.
The practice of assigning positive intent is, as Fancy Nancy would say, just a fancy way of saying "believe the best." I try to make my starting point for the day a belief in their goodness, in their love for each other and for our family, in the work that we have already done together towards wholeness.

So when things go pear-shaped, instead of assuming that they are manipulative little buggers out to get their way and rule us all, I choose to believe that their heart is as much for me as mine is for them.

A small example: When Joe was quite a small toddler, I met a scene from a mother-horror movie when I went to wake him from a nap. There was excrement everywhere - on the walls, on the sheets, in his hair. He was rubbing it with his stuffed animals, spreading it everywhere. Part of me wanted to holler at him: WHAT THE CRAP ARE YOU DOING? (Pun unintended, I assure you.)  This was unbelievably gross, he had probably pulled that diaper off himself and was now gleefully making a mess on purpose, painting with it. But then I realized that he was sick, his diaper had been insufficient for the experience and he was actually making an attempt to clean it up. His intent was positive even if the results were, um, absolutely disgusting.

I try to operate from the standpoint that they want to be good and my job is to help them navigate, with grace, the mistakes and missteps that naturally come with the enormous job of growing up to love God and love people well.

I enjoy mothering so much more if I believe we're all on the same side. It's not us vs. them in the war of the family. My role here is to help them learn and so if I try to assume that they truly don't know yet or are still figuring it out. (But even if they are trying to be bad, even if it is manipulation, few people are not disarmed by innocence. And that includes my tinies. If they do something wrong on purpose, gentleness goes a long way to bringing them back to right living, reconciling them with us and God, much farther than bellowing and isolation and fury.)

When I assign positive intent, I have much more grace, patience and gentleness to offer and I believe that they can sense this change of perspective. It moves us from adversaries to partners or co-operators in their wholeness. But, on the other hand, if I operate from the starting point that they are out to take a mile if I give an inch that is one sure way to make the days very, very, very long.

I enjoy mothering when I believe and hope and love in their personhood. I enjoy my tinies when I notice and talk about the things that are noble, pure, beautiful and good about them. I enjoy mothering when I remember that they really, truly don't know everything yet, that most of my expectations come with development, and my job is to really, truly, teach them well.

They will learn the big nouns of love, grace, forgiveness, mercy and peace in the way that I handle the small verbs and actions of our life together. And so will I. (I have so much to learn.)

So even if the action is wrong or infuriating, unless otherwise proven, assume that their heart is to love, to please, to help and learn the right way from you.
These words have changed me.  They have given me a much-needed redirection of perspective.  Makes me excited to meet my little girl in the morning and do life with her again, realizing that we are not adversaries on those tough days.  On the contrary, she is my sweet, little girl that I get to teach and help mold.  What a huge responsibility.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where Is An Organization Fairy When You Need One?

I seriously need to get to business on some organizing in my home.  The temperature drop here is invigorating and has made me feel so motivated to clean out and organize.  For the most part, I'd say my house is pretty organized (though you'd never guess it from these pictures!)  I am one of those odd ball gals that really enjoys being domestic; cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, etc.  In my house, there is a place for everything and it's easy to find things.  But sometimes life gets busy and I get lazy which results in piles of stuff that need to find new homes.  I wish I could hire someone to help me because it takes work to figure this stuff out.  All I know is that when my house isn't in order, it doesn't feel peaceful to me.  And these pics ain't peaceful.
Anyone got some organization tips?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Feeling Thankful

I don't have any Halloween decorations, so I usually skip it altogether when decorating and go straight to Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.  The past couple of weeks I have seen this at the grocery store (minus the pumpkin) and said no every time...until my most recent trip.  I decided I needed* it.  I mean, who wouldn't think a Turkey-Pumpkin (Turkin?  Pumpkey?) isn't just awesome?  I think it's awesome.  Works perfectly standing right next to our "NO SOLICITING" sign.  Ha.  Happy Thanksgiving to you, solicitor.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because the emphasis is all about being grateful.  We surround ourselves with family, eat home-cooked goodness, and football is playing in the background.  Our family tradition is to write on a small slip of paper what you are thankful for and drop it in a box.  The anonymous notes are tossed and each family member takes one and reads it aloud to the group.  It's a sentimental way to show your gratitude, but also a fun game to guess who's is whose.  (This wouldn't be as challenging with smaller groups, obviously.)

I've been chewing on what my list might include this year.  I am extremely blessed by my friends.  Wow, God has been good to me.  One thing I ask of God on a consistent basis is that He would surround my children with great friends as they grow up.  This must have been a prayer of my parents', too, because throughout my life, I have been attracted to wonderful, amazing, healthy friendships.

Since living in Austin, we have met a lot of wonderful people.  Some of them have been seasonal friends who are in your life for a purpose, but for a short amount of time.  With others, we've had the longevity, them sticking around and becoming permanent people in our lives--our local family, really When you don't have family close by, we've found that it is necessary to take up the reins and live life together with friends, giving and receiving.
These friends and those friends (the seasonal and long-term kinds) are what I am thankful for and where my thoughts are camping out today.  If you're reading this, most likely I'm talking about you.  Thanks for being in my life, pursuing a friendship with me, and allowing me to be a part of your life, no matter how big or small.

* false.
Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Selfishness 101

I am thankful for the ebb and flow, but seriously, I don't think this parenting thing gets any easier, no matter how long you've been at it or how many times you've done it.  For me, nothing in life has brought about more sanctification than through marriage and raising kids.  If you wanna look more like Jesus, say "I do," and live with that person everyday for the rest of your life.  That's sure to show you some character flaws.  If you want to know how imperfect you are, raise some kids that stare at you in the face like little mirrors that reflect the condition of your heart.  It ain't always pretty, that's for sure.

Today I am working through some devil in me.

I came to a conclusion this morning on my run An ugly one at that.
When it's easy, I am an excellent mom.  But when it's hard, I am terrible mom.

When we've got the routine down, the kids are sleeping well, eating well, playing hard, obeying, learning quickly, not teething, not fighting, and not sick--life is good.  I feel like I am in my element as a mom.  I enjoy waking up and doing it over again the next day.

But.  When shit hits the fan control (and comfort and routine and stability) are out the window, I realize that I like motherhood a whole lot less.  I love my children, don't get me wrong, but what starts creeping up in me gets pretty ugly pretty fast.  It all boils down to my selfish heart.

Selfishness steals joy.  I've been acting like life is about my kingdom, not God's.

Love does not easily anger.  (1 Cor. 13:5)  In my head today has been the phrase, "Angry parents breed angry children."  If that's the case, Lord help them.

Rather abrupt ending perhaps, but right now I have no other consolation.

If after reading this you want to call CPS, I'll understand.  In the meantime, I'll be pleading for more of God, less of me.  That same prayer I've prayed a million times, but the one I'll keep on saying.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Animal Heaven

To celebrate the birthday girl, this weekend we went to the zoo with the grandparents.  She was in animal heaven.  Her favorites were the elephants, monkeys, and bears.  She had popcorn as a snack and chased down a gift shop cart on the go, carrying monkey accessories.  She walked herself tired and conked out in the car.  It was a good day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Vera

Our birthday present to Vera
My sweet, little big girl.  How is it that you are 2 years old already?  Part of me is sad because you are growing up too fast, but part of me delights so much in watching you become your own person.  You have filled my heart to the brim with joy.  You have changed so much in just two short years.  At first you were a little cuddly baby who just laid on my chest.  Now you are a very active, happy, energetic, social, funny, charismatic little girl.  You became an older sister this year.  I remember the night before I went to the hospital, walking into your room while you were asleep, picking you up out of your crib and holding you close in the rocking chair, savoring you as my only child for that last time.  My tears were of joy, yet sadness at the same time.  I was excited to bring forth another little girl into our family, but it pained my heart to think of that chapter ending.  You were my first child and you taught me how to be a mom.  The first couple months of your life were rough, but we got through it, you and me.   There is still some jealousy from time to time between you and your sister, but that doesn’t touch the love you have for her.  You love sharing a room and must always kiss ‘Sissy’ goodnight.   It’s not easy, but you are getting better at sharing your toys and attention. You are such a great big sister and one of my prayers has been that you always share a close bond.

As much as I want time to slow down, I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing who you become.  I’m excited to find out what your interests will be and what your gifts are.  It is so fun to watch you discover life.  God gave me the greatest gift of being your mom.   I hope to have rubbed off on you as much as you have rubbed off on me.  You’ve changed my life and made my world a better place.  Thank you for your forgiveness as I continue learning how to teach, instruct, disciple, and lead you in life.  Crazy as it is, you believe that I am the best mommy in the whole world.

Happy Birthday, Cocita.  With all my love, Momma

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ready For A Bed

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Fall, Ya'll

 Some of my favorite things so far this season include:
hitting up the pumpkin patch with my best friends + kids
wearing my boots even though it makes my feet sweat
 the smell inside my house while bread rises
early morning runs in pleasant weather
hearing rain in the middle of the night
mod podge pumpkins
spice candles
And you??

Monday, October 10, 2011

Goal # 6: Accept the fact that I am not in Student Council and don't attend.

The last time my parents came to visit they left a carload of stuff that had been stored in my childhood home, to which I replied, "You mean I can't keep my stuff there forever?"  Apparently not.  But going through boxes upon boxes of stuff (dated back as far as 1987--I was 3 years old) has been a humorous and nostalgic process for me.  Yearbooks, scrapbooks, Valentines handwritten from 4th grade classmates, notes from friends that I'd saved (the kind that end with "Check yes or no."), and much more.  I have thrown out or recycled 99% of the stuff, however, I have saved a few gems that are blog-worthy.

For your evening chuckle, I came across "Carey's Goals," which from the looks of it were written by my mom for me in elementary school sometime.  There's no date, so I can't be certain, but I'm betting that I was pretty young.  Geez, I hope so at least.

I don't know if I like exposing the person that I was, but here goes!

Some favorite lines:  "and move away from them" and "Quit calling home."  Ouch.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

What We're Eating This Week

Oven Roasted Fryer Chicken
Sauteed Kale with Sweet Onion
Wheat Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Toasted Almonds

Mushroom Crepes with Poblano Chile Sauce
Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Falafel with Tzatziki
Wheat Pitas, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Lettuce

Beef Chili with Sour Cream Cheddar Biscuits


And holy crap, one more week until we start Lydia on baby food!  I cannot believe she's almost 6 months old.  Kinda makes my heart sad that I won't be her sole provider for nourishment anymore, yet it will be fun to help her explore the world of food.  Tomorrow I will cook and freeze.  First two on the menu include Spinach & Yams and Bananas with Mango.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Behold! {My Collections}

Sometime during early elementary school I remember learning what having a collection meant.  It was probably closely tied with the days of Show 'n Tell.  Kids would bring their collections of things; polished rocks, arrow heads, and the like.  I jumped on that bandwagon, too, and collected bookmarks and pencils.  I even have genuine pictures for a show 'n tell today.  Lucky you.

 Collected from many a family vacations.  Trolls were so in.
 A few of my favs.  My mom and I took an American Sign Language class together.  The ruler one would have been a helpful cheating studying tool.  U.S. Presidents stopped with Reagan.  I did, in fact, visit the Wisconsin Dells and have a never before used pencil to prove it.  And lastly, should I be embarrassed that I had no idea what minuend and subtrahend meant?
 My bookmark collection reminds me of a few characteristics about my grade school self:  I was kind of obsessed with Anne Geddes products (loved me some babies, even awkwardly posed ones), I loved all things Berenstein Bears, and again, trolls were cool.  Err, rad.  Err, bogus.  (What was the saying?)
In your elementary school days, did you have any collections?  Or did you watch 90210?  Or how about  actually keeping any of that stuff?  No?  Just me?  *Twiddling thumbs.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thrifted Finds

 She loves me not.
She loves me not.

She LOVES me!
 More thrifted finds today.  I'm going out on a limb and trying the 'big and flowy' dress style, hoping it doesn't make me look 'big and flowy.'  The last one is the only one that looked decent.  The green dress zipped but wouldn't fit the milk bags.  The red dress just made me look like I was wearing a big sheet.

Dear Caesar, I'm Sorry My Armpits Were Hairy.

A friend came to my rescue over to my house today and hung out while my kids took naps and then played with them when they woke up.  She gave me some time to myself, which I feel like I haven't had in a long time.  Very last minute, I called the massage studio where I've gone in the past and asked in my most sweetest, persuasive voice if they had any last minute openings.  They did!  Of course it was too fat of a chance to get in with my tried and true therapist, but I was happy nonetheless to just get an appointment.  I have had a gift card sitting in my wallet since last Christmas that I just have not had the time to use, so it was the perfect opportunity.  I booked with a burly man named Caesar whose strong hands worked their magic on my tight muscles (from cooking, running, and carrying chillins).  He had me at hello.  He said, "I am Caesar.  Welcome to my table.  My English no good, but no need to talk here."  I couldn't agree more, Caesar.  It ended up being the best one I've ever had.

I've always felt that massage therapy works wonders for your physical health, but more recently, I'm finding that it's mentally beneficial, too.  It's such a service to give that gift to someone who can't work their kinks out on their own.  If I had the time and money, I think I would enjoy getting certified myself.

During the massage, to my surprise, I started getting emotional.  I've talked with friends before who do massage therapy as a living and they say it's not uncommon.  It's never happened to me until today.  They say something triggers an emotional release, resulting in tears. Not happy tears, but not sad tears.  Just one of those cries that makes you feel better after it's over.  Caesar asked me if I wanted to take a break, but I said no.  So he just kept working and I just cried.  It wasn't awkward at all, actually.  He was very sweet about it.
What's your guilty pleasure?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

On Behalf of Our Hottie Ody

Well, we are officially reluctant owners of a new-to-us van.  As much as I wish I could keep my cool factor (Did I ever have any??), I do have to say that it's pretty awesome.
* Space to move
* Being able to cart friends and their kids around
* Tinting in the back so I can breastfeed in a parking lot
* Having my dog accompany me around town again
* Comfort for long road trips (Nappy naps in the backseat!)
Though we didn't get a Sienna (Honda Odyssey got us for the 8th seat), everything about this mother father video is great and brings a smile to my face.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I Am a Very Rich Woman.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Applesauce Fail

I can't count how many times I've made applesauce in my life, especially since Vera started eating solid food.  I probably make it almost weekly.  I usually stick with Red or Yellow Delicious because they are cheap and "less gassy" for kids.  I cook them with a cinnamon stick or nutmeg, but no sugar.  After cooling, sometimes I mash them for a chunkier texture and other times I run it in the food processor to quickly puree.  I do that on days that I have it together.
But today was not one of those days.  In every way possible, I was ill-prepared for life to happen today.  Sad face.  Call it a case of the Mondays or waking up on the wrong side of the bed, who knows.  But I will conquer tomorrow!  Failed applesauce and all.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Dining Table Trivets

Copied the idea from here.  Ever since purchasing our dining table, I have wanted to get some trivets because it made me nervous setting hot stuff on dish towels.  These inexpensive Ikea trivets ($3 for pack of 3) did the job.  I borrowed a wood burning tool and it was finished in an evening.  Pretty cute, if I say so myself.

What Not To Include On A Resume When Interviewing At A Tech Company

Team Leader
I lead and organize all lifeguards during emergencies and day to day situations
I operate pool mechanics and maintain chemical balance in the pool water
I interact with patrons who have a problem with the pool, staff members, or with other patrons

Life Guard
Saved lives of victims, provided first aid and prevented accidents
Interacted with patrons, explaining rules and provided customer service 
Enforced pool rules and health code regulations

 Let's just say that Chris and I had ourselves a few chuckles after reading this one.