Thursday, February 28, 2008

Playtime and Visits

Zoe and I had a nice day together: hanging out in the backyard and walking to the nearby park. It's days like this where I think I cannot imagine spending my day any other way than with her... watching her experience things like touching grass and feeling the wind on her face while swinging for the first time. This is what I imagined being a SAHM would be like, and I am so grateful to get to do it.

Playtime

What I did not do today was clean for our houseguest tomorrow.* That's a huge deal because generally I go into freak out mode when someone is expected for a visit. I've either grown and learned to not freak out over the small stuff, or Mel is so much like family that I know she won't care if the house is not spotless. It's probably the latter... and I'm likely to go into freak out mode later tonight, or two hours before I'm supposed to pick her up at the airport tomorrow.

I'm very excited for Zoe to get to meet her Aunt Mel and spend some time with her. I'm also excited to have my picture taken with my daughter and know that we'll get some good shots because Mel is so talented.** I'm also really looking forward to getting to see our friends, Near MIss Mallet (Missy and her hubby) play tomorrow night at a local coffee house. It will be the first time we've gotten to see them play since I was pregnant. What can I say? Tomorrow is a big, exciting day!

Oh - Don't be alarmed when you see no post from me... I'm taking the day off from blogging! It's my one day off of the year from Blog 365...

* Actually, Daniel and I just got finished running around the house cleaning what we could. We're now exhausted. I will undoubtedly find things to fuss over tomorrow morning, I'm sure.

** Not that Daniel is not talented, but he's not as comfortable with a camera and I tend to hog ours.

One more thing:

Tough Baby

GRRRRR!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fee Fi Fo Fum...

I took this pic last week and had to share since it makes me laugh at how GIANT she looks:

Fee Fi Fo Fum

Since I posted elsewhere today, and Daniel and I are in the middle of our date night (we have more snuggling to do) I'm going to cut my post short. I'm gonna say it: Date nights are more important/fun than blogging. ;P

Monday, February 25, 2008

Go ahead, tell me I'm cheesy!

Just after I left my ex, I had a brief relationship with someone from high school. He was on the other side of the country and even though we talked at least twice a day every day for six months, we were only together for a handful of days. When that relationship ended I was sad because amidst our breakup, I'd lost a friend- but mainly, I was worried there was something wrong with me that I couldn't make it work. In retrospect, I guess you could say that he was my rebound guy. He was also the person that made me realize that I had to deal with (the end of) my marriage even if I was the one who wanted it to end. At first I tried to pretend I'd never even been married. I refused to talk about it to anyone. Those six years had made me feel old even though I was still young (twenty-six) and I was ashamed I'd let someone control me and make me feel so worthless. I felt like I'd missed out on a large chunk of my life and that no one would ever want to be with me because I was damaged goods. I think a part of me was scared that I was a magnet for assholes. I think there might be some truth in that, but what's more likely is that I just hadn't met the right person at the right time in our lives yet.

A while ago a friend told me that what Daniel and I have is rare. Is it? I don't want it to be!

I wish I did not sound so cheesy when I tell my friends that their special someone is out there. I wish some friends would believe me when I say that it's better to be alone than be with the wrong person. I want to tell people not to settle. I want to tell people that the time it takes to find their "someone" is the perfect time to continue developing and understanding themselves. I want them to believe me when I say that true love is worth the wait. I want to tell you that if you feel like damaged goods, you don't have to. You can make your life better. You can be whoever you want to be.

I used to be in the habit of telling Daniel how lucky I was to have him. Every time, he would tell me we were both lucky. I would take in what he said and believe him, but sometimes I would counter that I was luckier than he was. Its taken time, but now I'm able to say how lucky we are to have each other without implying that I'm the consolation prize. Don't ever let anyone make you feel like you're a consolation prize... and vice versa. If you do, you're cheating yourself and them from finding the right one.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday's Rock

I'm sitting on the sofa full from a not so fabulous Crockpot Challenge meal. Italian Beef Sandwiches... not even going to post the recipe this week because it just wasn't worth it (but Daniel liked it). The family is enjoying the Oscars tonight. Which is pretty darn exciting for me, but the commercials are driving me nuts! Actually, they're better now that the preshow is over - there were so many commercials for local docs and furniture stores! This will probably come as no shock, but we haven't gotten to see most (all?) of the movies nominated what with the baby and all. That doesn't stop us from filling out our ballots with our guesses. So far, we're tied. Not sure what the prize is for the winner, but I'll think of something.

This blog will return to regular blogging tomorrow, I promise. For now, I'm too wrapped up in the television and trying to relax.

Ok, got to go... George Clooney is up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Compromise

Quick update before I get back to my Saturday night of relaxation: Daniel and I came to a compromise and took our friend Cristina's suggestion about getting an antenna. We got an indoor one this afternoon and it's all hooked up and ready for us to watch the Academy Awards tomorrow. I. Am. Excited! We'll see how that goes and what we think of the channels we're able to get and then decide from there. There's always the chance I could absolutely hate having television available to my every whim again and ask that we put the dreaded thing away... as I'm not really a fan of it's aesthetics on top of our entertainment center. We could both decide that we just lurve getting to watch the idiot box and want cable so we can watch more. I'm thinking that won't happen, but you never know.

Friday, February 22, 2008

TGIF, again!

I could really use a weekend getaway. Really. But since that's not going to happen, I'll settle for relaxing in the house with Zoe and Daniel.

Lace Curtains 1


I need mellow. I need a bubble bath. I need good movies and snuggling on the couch. Oh, and I wouldn't mind lots of sushi and some wine. And some time with my camera.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cookin'

Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while (or has gone through my archives) knows that prior to Daniel and I finding each other I was married to an Assface. I know just about everyone considers their ex to be somewhat of an ass, that is why they become exes after all... but he really, really was an ass. For the most part I don't really think about him anymore but occasionally something will spur a bad memory.

For instance, despite being a great movie franchise - I abhor 'The Godfather' trilogy. It could have something to do with me having watched each installment at least ten times a year for six years. It could also have something to do with him choosing what our bridal party wore based on what “Connie's" bridal party wore - I had to really fight for them to not wear those big hats. And our first dance? The theme from Godfather. So, yes... Godfather brings back some horrible memories. Don't even get me started on all the other gangster movies and his admiration of all things mafia and Italian. At least now I can sort of laugh about all of it.

So why am I bringing all of this up today? I'm cooking.

Assface was obsessed with cooking. He was so obsessed that he was actually his meanest in the kitchen. Everything had to be perfect and I found myself getting yelled at for not buying the most expensive ingredients, for not slicing the meat thin enough, for not holding the knife correctly when I chopped the garlic or basil. Over those six plus years, I grew to hate cooking and especially Italian food because that's all we ever cooked or ate.

Since leaving Assface, I've come to enjoy certain things again - like cooking. Getting to cook for appreciative friends and family is part of the reason. Being with Daniel and having a family of our own is most of the reason. Daniel and I enjoy cooking together. Neither of us is trying to be a master chef and we're comfortable with going with the flow. My favorite thing about cooking with Daniel is there is no right or wrong (beyond general safety principals) and we don't feel the need to follow recipes to the letter. Sure, we want the food we make to taste good, but cooking is more about us spending time together: experimenting with a new recipe and creating something we can enjoy eating. We're not critical of each other and there is no pressure. Still, sometimes I find myself reverting to the old me.

I was thinking about this today as I was throwing stuff in our BFF, the Crock-pot. Every time I try making something new I sort of freak out about how it's going to turn out. Hell, even when it's something I've made many times I freak out a little. I think it stems from my past and how nerve-wracking cooking used to be. Poor Daniel. I'm not sure he's ever had a meal cooked by me where I haven't prefaced it with, "I'm sorry if this sucks." Can you imagine? I think if someone went on and on to me (while they were cooking) about how the meal was going to suck, I might just be a little nervous. Why is it going to suck? What exactly are you doing to make it so bad? Are you trying to make it taste bad? What if servers at restaurants set your dish down and then said, "I hope this isn't a crappy meal! I'm sorry if it is.” That might make someone not want to eat there anymore, huh?

Daniel is great. He talks me down from my cooking insecurities and my threats to throw our uneaten meals in the trash. He tells me over and over again how good a meal turned out and boosts my ego/confidence. He eats seconds and says he looks forward to the leftovers. He reminds me that the joy of cooking is in the process and the exposure to new things... and that a not so fabulous meal is not a catastrophe. He reminds me just by being supportive and loving that the past really is the past. I don’t need to worry anymore or let bad memories ruin things that should be enjoyable. All I need to do is relax and enjoy the life I have now.

So even though I think tonight’s dinner might not turn out as good as I hope - I'm not going to tell (or warn) Daniel. I'm going to let him form his own opinion. I'm going to try to not freak my husband out. I'm going to try to not let my past influence my cooking anymore. I'm going to relax because even if the meal does suck, I will not get yelled at. We'll just make some PB&J and laugh about it, because that's how we roll.

But I'm not going to watch a movie about gangsters. Fuhgedaboudit! ;P

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Great Debate

When Daniel and I moved into our first apartment together (about four and a half years ago) we decided we didn't want to have cable any more. We talked about it and decided we wasted too much time watching shows we didn't really want to watch because they were readily available. We felt like we'd become slaves to our television and were burnt out on all the reality shows and crappy commercials. We resolved to just rent or buy DVD's of the shows we were interested in. We enjoyed not having to wait a week to see the next episode of Alias or whatever.

But I felt like I missed out getting to see the Kerry/Bush debates in 2004.

And I've missed the last five years of award season.

I also missed the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. And the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.

I've missed all of it and I don't want to miss anymore.

I want to follow the current election. I want to see the candidates faces when they debate. I want to watch the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics in Beijing. I want to see what all the famous people are wearing on the red carpet and see if my predictions for who wins an Oscar are correct. I want to watch CNN. I want to feel like I'm in the loop.

But Daniel doesn't. He's happy watching our DVD's and streaming video. He's content with being connected through the internet and NPR. He doesn't feel like we're missing out - he feels better not having cable in our lives.

This may be our first disagreement - ever. I wonder who will get through to whom.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Supporting the Arts

Purple Flower

The weather was so lovely here yesterday afternoon that Daniel and I decided to push Zoe around in her stroller in the Market Place near our grocery store. We enjoyed people watching and window-shopping and decided to check out what was new in the small bookstore that also has a comic shop in the back. We were stopped by this very nice woman who was all set up at a table doing a book signing for her two novels. She asked me to please read the back of them and said she knew I would like them. She'd said she'd written her soul into these books and wanted me to read them. Now, I'm not sure if she saw me walking in and knew I was a push over, or what - but I found her to be very convincing. I agreed to purchase one of her books and then she persisted:

"I really wish I could just give you this book. I really worked hard on this one."

Maybe it was her expression, or the way she complimented my baby but I caved. I bought two books from her that I have absolutely no interest in reading, ever. These two books have been personally inscribed and autographed to Daniel and me so I cannot even re-gift them, and that's OK. I realized a couple things though:

1. I'm a pushover.
2. I think I felt inclined to purchase her books because someday in the future I could very well be her - sitting at a table with my husband with books that he has written and hoping that people will want to give his books a chance.

Hey. I probably made her day. If nothing else, I've added to my good Karma!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Santa Fe Chicken

I'm telling you, I was not looking forward to cooking this weekend. I woke up today feeling tired and not in the mood to go to the grocery store let alone do even the slightest bit of prep work. Well, there was no getting out of going to the grocery store - we needed stuff! But I did manage to find this little recipe on the internet. I'd actually picked out something even more simple, but this one sounded good to Daniel so I decided to make it.

Sooooo SIMPLE!

Combine the following in your Crockpot:

1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa (I used a cup here)

Ingredients

After stirring, add:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup more salsa
Cook on low for 3 hours.

Add 1 block of cream cheese & cook for one more hour.

Serve over rice with flour tortillas.

Santa Fe Chicken

I had my doubts about this one since it was not looking so appetizing when I checked on it. I was so worried I thought we might have to repeat our Valentines dinner:

Valentines Day Feast....

But it turned out pretty darn good... and Daniel liked it:

He liked it!

The Crockpot is still my best friend.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Story Time With Zoe

Popping her sock is one of Zoe's favorite things. She'll make sure we see her going for her sock and when we say "Don't you take that sock off!", she smiles and takes it off immediately. It's become a little game for her:

A GIRL AND HER SOCK

"What to do?"
"Ho Hum. What should I do?"


"Should I get my sock?"
"Should I get my sock?"


"I'm gonna get my sock!"
"Yeah! I'm gonna get my sock!"


"Gotcha Sock!"
"Gotcha sock!"


"See? I Popped my sock!"
"See this? I got my sock!"


Join us next week for a girl and her binkie....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Purpose

The other night when Daniel and I were in bed getting ready to fall asleep for the night, I whispered to him that sometimes I feel like I don't have a purpose. It's not a feeling I have all the time, but I do have those fleeting moments where I feel like I'm just not doing anything worthwhile.

Sun Windchime just after Sunset

He right away said that raising our daughter is a big purpose and he couldn't be more right. Raising her is a huge responsibility and is probably my greatest purpose in life. She and her father bring me great joy knowing that I'm making them happy. But what I mean is something different. I need to feel proud of myself and right now I'm just in a funk. Usually when I feel myself in this funk it's because I am not pushing myself towards a goal. I need goals.

Afternoon Sun - Windchime

This Weight Watchers thing is certainly a goal, but I mean creatively. I've been feeling like that creative spark has been missing lately and blogging every single day doesn't really fill that void. I don't feel like I'm really being creative when I write - I'm just sharing my thoughts. Lately it's been all about stream of consciousness instead of really worrying about structure or trying to entertain anyone. Honestly, I'm not a good creative writer. Daniel can invent these amazing worlds but me? I guess I'm more of a life-story teller.

Me & my shadow... w. windchime shadow

But anyway. My point is, (and I swear there is a point) I've been getting my camera out more lately. I've been trying to focus my lens on things other than my beautiful daughter even if it's just shooting random pics of stuff in my backyard. I'm going to try to do this at least once a week. This week I did it twice and felt really good afterwards. So there you have it: me searching for my purpose, my creative spark, looking for my opportunity to grow and trying to look at world differently. I feel better already.

Oh, and I promise... I'll still take pics of my little girl. Are you kidding me? How could I not?

Model Baby

Happy Friday to all of you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Mine*

There was a time when Valentines Day meant picking out the perfect Valentine for the boy I had a crush on, giving it to him, and wishing he'd ask me to be his Valentine. When I was in school, no one ever asked me to be theirs.

There was a time when holidays like Valentines Day were the only days I might not get yelled at or pushed around by my ex. I looked forward to those days for different reasons than what Hallmark intended.

There was a time when I thought Valentines Day was stupid. Just another day invented by companies who benefited off of all the suckers who bought cards, candy, lingerie, etc. I resented the day because I did not believe in it, because I didn't think there was such thing as the love the day was supposed to represent.

And then I met Daniel shortly before Valentines Day 2003. We had conversations about how silly we thought the day was - all the pink and red and "I love you". We balked at the day because I think we were afraid of it. When the day finally came, I gave him handmade Valentines (four) and he gave me a lovely book with a sweet note inside. We sat on the floor of his apartment and ate PB&J sandwiches with Cheetos and had the best Valentines Day I'd ever had. And I think that was the day I became a romantic.

In the spirit of love, I decided to do this survey I grabbed from my "live" friend and somewhat new blogger, Melissa :

1. Where/how did you meet? The first time I saw Daniel was in August 2002. We were both sitting in the audience at a local theater watching 'Crimes of the Heart'. He was with some people who were laughing obnoxiously and I kept turning around to look at them, but noticed him. He came up to me and my girlfriends after the show and sort of hit on us and invited us to come see him perform at the theatre about a month later. My friends dragged me away because they were sure he wasn't even 18 yet and thus, off limits. I didn't go see him in his show and pretty much forgot about the whole thing until months later when I met him "officially".

It was the beginning of January, 2003 and we met in the basement of the Spotlight Theatre during a rehearsal for this show:

Commedia Cast

We kept looking at each other from our opposite sides of the room and neither of us could stop smiling. During break we introduced ourselves and the rest is history. We ended up remembering our first meeting about a month into our relationship.

2. How long have you known each other? Officially, since January 2003 - so five years. But it feels like longer, in a good way.

3. How long after you met did you start dating? A week or so. Our first actual date was January 18th. I think we "officially" became a couple around Valentines Day 2003. We had both said we just wanted to be friends, no relationship, no commitment - but we both started to realize we wanted more after this date:
D & KVB

4. How long did you date before you were engaged? Officially? We started dating January 18th, 2003 and Daniel proposed on December 3rd, 2004. Unofficially, I asked Daniel to marry me on December 31st, (his birthday) 2003 and he said yes. Months after the fact he said he thought I just meant, "Will you marry me?" someday. I ended up anticipating a proposal for the next six months never knowing when it would come.

5. How long was your engagement? Six months. After all that waiting for the proposal, I couldn't wait.

6. How long have you been married? We will be married three years in June.

7. What is your anniversary? June 4th (2005)

8. How many people came to your wedding reception? Oh, I don't know. The perfect amount. Maybe 100? It was a lot of fun and just our style.

9. What kind of cake did you serve? I think it was a white cake with raspberry filling. I can't remember, but it was pretty:

Kiss

10. Where was your wedding? At the Antique Rose Emporium in San Antonio, Texas. We'd originally wanted to be married outside, but it's sort of hot in San Antonio in June. Go figure. We did take some nice pics on the grounds though:

A moment away

11. What did you serve for the meal? Mexican food, of course! We had a buffet with chicken and steak fajitas, rice, beans, guacamole, and queso (Daniel's favorite). It was really good:

Icky Face

12. How many people were in your bridal party? Five girls, six guys. One of my bridesmaids wasn't able to make it, but she was there in spirit.

13. Are you still friends with them all? Of course! They're all a part of our extended family even if we don't get to see them as much as we'd like to.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony? We both did. I think I started crying as soon as I saw him and started walking towards him. He was teary by the time I got to him (which could not have been fast enough) and we both cried while we said our vows.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day? Oh, I don't know. The entire day was perfect. We each wrote our own vows separately and when we heard them for the first time in front of our friends and family, it was just perfect - like we'd written them together.

16. Any funny moments? The bus ride on the way to the ceremony. We rented a shuttle for all of the bridal party and us to ride together and it was practically falling apart on the way - hysterical.

17. Any big disasters? Not really. I made the mistake of getting my hair and makeup done and I hated it. I looked like I was going to be in a pageant - big hair and lots of makeup. I ended up taking off most of the makeup and redoing my hair so I looked more like myself.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon? We stayed the first night at a bed and breakfast place across the street from Daniel's parents house (and the reception). The next morning we got up really early and got on a plane to Portland, Oregon. We spent a few days there and then drove to Ashland for three days to see Twelfth Night at their Shakespeare Festival.

19. How long were you gone? Four nights in Portland, Three in Ashland, One more in Portland.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? Not a single thing... well, I would have loved it if my Nana had been able to be there. She had been very sick and it wasn't long after the wedding that we found out she had cancer.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on? The left, but I switch to the middle or completely to the right every time Daniel gets out of bed.

22. What size is your bed? Queen. We need a King. Seriously.

23. Greatest strength as a couple? We enjoy life and love each other completely. We're honest with each other, have a sense of humor about all the obstacles we face together and we make it a point to really communicate and take time to be together, just us as often as we can. We're each others best friends and we thrive on our commonalities and our differences.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple? Health issues have been taxing, but we've never lost sight of what is important to us and we've been able to get through everything together. Even on the days where I was barely conscious, we still managed to laugh and enjoy being together.

25. Who literally pays the bills? We pay them together, but he's the one who actually gets a paycheck. I work for love, baby.

26. What is your song? 'Come Rain or Come Shine' We've been singing it to each other since we were dating. We used to serenade each other in bed before we fell asleep.

27. What did you dance your first dance to? First dance ever? Probably something by Gaelic Storm, but our first dance was to 'Come Rain or Come Shine' - the Eric Clapton/B.B. King version.

28. Describe your wedding dress. It was ivory and I bought it right off the rack and only had to have it hemmed a tad and hooks added for a bustle.

Daniel & Keely

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? These:

Bridal Bouquet 1

and these:

Bouquets in a row

30. Are your wedding bands engraved? No. But Daniel has a antique pocket watch that I had engraved for him and gave him the night *I proposed*. You know, the night he didn't realize I meant I wanted to be engaged right then. ;P

Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Happy Valentines Day from me and my love bug!

Daniel and I will be spending the day with our little Valentine, playing, watching movies and eating PB&J with Cheetos. I hope you all have a lovely day, I know I will.

* "From the very first moment I saw you
That's when I knew
All the dreams I held in my heart
Had suddenly come true
Knock me over stone cold sober
Not a thing I could say or do
Cause baby when I'm walking with you now
My eyes are so wide
Like you reached right into my head
And turned on the light inside
Turning on the light
Inside my mind..."

-David Gray 'Be Mine'

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday Treat: Laughing Zoe

After nearly twenty minutes of playing with Zoe last night and making her laugh big belly laughs that made her turn bright red and shake with glee, I decided this just might be something we might want to have on video. Genius, I am. So here it is, Zoe laughing at the funny noises and faces I was making at her. She's slightly worn out, so the laugh doesn't have quite the same gusto, but clearly she's a happy girl!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Am I Weird?

Mind: I'm afraid of clowns. I can remember what friends ate for breakfast three years ago and yet I am horrible at memorizing lines and I often forget something I said minutes after the fact. I love making lists; they give me peace of mind.

Body: I like to point my toes and I also enjoy plucking my eyebrows. I can fit my fist in my mouth, but I cannot cross my eyes - I've tried, many times. I flare my nostrils when I'm upset. I growl at the dog children to let them know they are in trouble.

Food: I like ketchup on my chicken (as a kid it was a necessary addition). I'm a fan of peanut butter and cheddar cheese sandwiches. I add Tabasco to almost everything. I will only eat my eggs scrambled well or in a very cooked omelet. If I see egg whites I freak, and hard-boiled eggs make me gag. I do not like my food on my plate to touch unless I specifically make it touch.

Decorating: I like looking at a room upside down. I enjoy home makeover shows and cry every time I watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition. My idea of a good time is rearranging furniture and I think organizing closets is fun!

Sleep: I must have complete darkness in order to get a good night sleep. I like Daniel's pillows better than mine and I'm always trying to steal them from him even though they are the EXACT same as mine. I "burrito" myself in my covers.

I know there are other things that I think are quirky about me, but I can't remember anything else for some reason. What about you? What are some weird facts about you? Go on - Spill it!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best Soup Evah!

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs Sirloin steak
2 Medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Cups frozen cut green beans (I omitted because Daniel is not a fan.)
1 Small onion sliced and separated into rings
1 16 oz. jar thick and chunky salsa*
1 14 oz. can beef broth
1 Tspn. dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese

I also added a dash of some cooking wine and a few shakes of some garlic salt... and about 8 oz. of another salsa I love that has fire roasted chilies in it. I'm going to keep the name under wraps and call it my "secret ingredient".

Prep:
Cut meat into 1-inch pieces.
In a slow cooker place potatoes, green beans, and onion. Add meat.
In a medium bowl stir together salsa, beef broth, basil, and garlic. Pour mixture over items in cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or on high for 4-5 hours). Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Southwest Steak & Potato Soup

This has got to be the best damn soup I have ever had and the fact that I made it makes it even more awesome. OK, that sounds a bit conceited but I think you know what I mean. I'm sure this will be just a scrumptious if you make it. It is thick and flavorful and mmmmm. I'll be making this again - in fact, I think it's going to be a winter staple from now on. Without the added cheese, each serving is only 4 points with Weight Watchers. Do you know what that means? That means that I had seconds with my husband and that our leftovers are not as plentiful as we imagined. But that's OK. By far, this is one of my most successful meals I've made in a while. Yum!

* I'm pretty sure that this recipes rocked our socks because of the salsa I chose to add:

Good Stuff

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Right This Moment...

Right this moment I am sitting up straight on my bed, legs sprawled in front of me, typing on my laptop. The day has been long, but a good one. My house is clean for our guests that arrived this afternoon. Our budget for the next two weeks has been carefully logged in a spreadsheet - we are on a conservative budget (must stay away from Target!) The fridge is filled with our purchases from the grocery (enough food for lunch and dinner for seven days for $160, not bad). I feel exhausted but content.

Right this moment my husband is in the living room with his college roommate (our best man at our wedding) relaxing and watching his friend play Call of Duty on our PS3. It's awesome how they're able to pick up where they leave off, almost like they haven't been separated by time and space. I imagine that ten, twenty and thirty years (and beyond) from now they will be making each other laugh, telling stories, talking politics and playing video games. That saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same." is so very, very true. It was cool to see Zoe play with E & his girlfriend, E. Our evening made me wish they could stay longer or that they lived here we lived there. In any case, we should try to not let two years go by before we see them again.

Right this moment my dog children are snuggled close together in their dog bed wondering when Daniel is going to put them up in their crate for the night. It's nearly eleven and way after bedtime.

Right this moment Zoe is sleeping in her crib. She's had a long active night and almost no naps so I think she just may sleep in tomorrow.

Right this moment I am almost sleep walking. Eyes and limbs heavy. I should be in my pj's. I should be sleeping, were it not for my commitment to posting every day in 2008 - I would be. That's my cue!

Tomorrow: CROCKPOT CHALLENGE!

NIght, folks!

Friday, February 08, 2008

I Want to Feel Pretty

Self Portrait - my edit


Ever have one of those days where you just want to feel pretty - no, special? Normally, I would laugh at myself thinking this way, but not today. Today I want to feel glamorous. I want to feel pampered. I want a mani and a pedi and to enjoy a hot bubble bath. I want to feel healthy and alive. I want to dance in my living room and sing my favorite songs. I don't know what's gotten in to me, but I sort of like it.

The necklace I'm wearing is by the lovely and talented Andrea. She made a matching bracelet for me and I wore them both on my wedding day. Two and a half years later, I still adore them and like to wear them for special occasions and days like today where I want an extra spring in my step. They make me feel empowered and beautiful - like a Superhero.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I'm The One

I got to talk to a friend today and our little convo got me to thinking about some things about myself. This is just kind of free writing...

I'm the one who will smile at you from across a room. I will have conversations with the cashier at the grocery, the bookseller at Borders, the barista, and the person in line next to me. I will put your cart back in the stall, but I will think you are inconsiderate for just pushing it away from your vehicle. I'll curse under my breath if you cut me off, but I won't let it ruin my day. I will forgive you just about anything if you say you're sorry and seem to mean it. I believe in second chances - and third and forth. I will continue to give you chances unless you prove yourself unworthy. FYI, you’d have to really suck for me to not want to give you the benefit of the doubt or the opportunity to rectify a situation. I don't hold grudges. I don't expect too much, or too little. I believe people are good even if I've seen some really ugly things.

I will send you thoughtful emails and texts, but I might not call frequently. I prefer the written word or talking in person to a phone call. I don't know why. Please don't take it personally. I might not be the first to start a conversation, but if you engage me I will certainly reciprocate. Chances are I want to be your friend, I just haven't found my "in" yet. I can be terribly insecure and I hate that about myself. Sometimes I'm shy and forget my voice. Secretly, I am wishing you would give me a chance and not just see me as just "Daniel's wife" or "Zoe's mom" - I am so much more than that.

I can be a loud mouth. I can also have a sharp tongue and I enjoy sarcasm. If you ask my opinion, I'm honest. Sometimes I am a maniacal laugher. I have been known (on occasion) to snort when I laugh - I'm no longer ashamed of it. Make me snort, and it means I am comfortable and happy. I like making people laugh and/or smile. I used to not like hugs unless I really really knew the person, now I'm more giving of a hug if I think it's needed. No, I don't go up to strangers hugging them - but sometimes I wish that were OK. I hope I haven't just opened myself up for weirdo’s to come up to me and hug me.

Sometimes I think people perceive me as innocent. I'm not that innocent. Oh, that just made me laugh at myself (no snorting though). But really - I've done things I'm not proud of, but I do not regret. I have a sense of humor much like a 13-year-old boy and I curse like a sailor if you get me going.

I've been known to send emails to almost complete strangers and tell them we should be friends. OK, I've only done it like, three times - but I am so glad I did. I wish I had more friends, a larger tribe.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This And That

I've got nothing especially riveting for you today. Cheryl took Zoe for me again so I could continue to rest and focus on getting to feel better. I stayed in bed for a majority of the day reading the second half of "Interred With Their Bones" (a novel about occult Shakespeare - very "Da Vinci Code", but not). It was a page-turner and I loved it. I'm on the look out for another good book to read, but I feel like I need a day to process this book first. I attempted to take a bath (for only the second time since we moved in here this past October) but that was not in the cards since I was not able to get the hot water to work. Defeated, I gave in and just took a fast luke warm shower, and went to go pick up Zoe.

Daniel and I had a nice dinner at Mac Grill. A precocious three year old in the booth behind us stared at the baby and me almost the entire time - that was fun. There were a few instances where I thought she just might flip over the booth and fall on my baby. I'm not even exaggerating. I love kids, but I thought I might pull my hair out that her parents didn't do jack. Apparently, I am a big grouch. Meh. Grr.

Other than that, I've got nothing for you. I feel like maybe last weekend wore me out so much emotionally and physically that my brain has suffered and I am lacking interesting things to say. I'm hoping this will pass quickly, but if it doesn't I'll figure out other ways to entertain you... not sure what, but I'll figure something out.

Ciao.

P.S. - Zoe is doing great. Laughing, smiling, drooling buckets. She's got two top teeth coming in, so it almost looks like she's a baby vampire. Cuter than it sounds, really. She's saying "Daddy" ALL. The. Time. She's standing on her own (while holding on to us or the couch) and I swear she's going to crawl before the weekend is over, if she feels like it. She does things when the mood strikes her. I'm trying to teach her the word and concept of "No" since she's taken to trying to gnaw on the dogs’ toys and this grosses me out (and pisses Bailey off). So far, no has not registered with her- she just laughs like I've told her something very, very funny. Really, she's bounced back to her old self and this makes her Daddy and I so happy we could do a song and dance number. For reals.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

I do NOT feel "super" physically.

I Voted, Did You?

I do, however feel pretty darn good about dragging my sick body out of the house and exercising my right to vote. I hope you were able to get out and do the same.

We're not going to talk about Fat Tuesday, mmkay?

Cheers!

Monday, February 04, 2008

One of those days

Today is the day I'm supposed to be posting about how I'm doing with Weight Watchers and actually show you a pic, but I'm not going to - today. This weekend kicked my ass and while Zoe seems to be feeling better (thanks, everyone for your well wishes) her mom is feeling like she's been kicked in the head and her throat is on fire. Between Zoe's germs, exhaustion and all those sick people in the very cold (freezing) ER, I've got it bad - and that is no good when you still need to take care of your little one. I know, you've heard this all before and I sympathize... but I need to vent.

When I walked into the kitchen this morning to warm up a bottle for Zoe, one of the dog children had left me a big ol' "present". I cleaned that up and went into Zoe's room to discover an even worse "present" that the doc said to expect from the antibiotics. Add to that me having what I think is pink eye/conjunctivitis and the worst cramps I've had in a really long time coupled with nausea, sore throat and head and ear aches and you have one miserable mama.

So I called my mom and dad and cried like a little baby until they calmed me down. Right now I am counting down for when Daniel comes home, trying to not focus on how bad I feel and entertaining the little one with funny faces and voices whenever I can muster the strength to do so.

So, yeah. No Weight Watchers update, but I will show you this forward my dad sent me after our phone call this morning (just read it, I did*):

LEMONS and SUGAR

This should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror
where one could read it every day.
You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. You are special and unique.
8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.
11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

So.........
If you are a loving friend, send this to everyone, including the one that sent it to you. If you get it back, then they really do love you.

And always remember....
When life hands you Lemons, ask for Sugar and call me over!

Good friends are like stars.
You don't always see them,
But you know they are always there.

"Whenever God Closes One Door He Always Opens Another, Even Though Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway"

I would rather have one rose and a kind word from a friend while I'm here than a whole truckload when I'm gone.

Forward to all your friends. And don't tell me you're too busy for this. Don't you know the phrase "stop and smell the flowers"?
See how many "bouquets" you end up with.

Happiness keeps You Sweet,
Trials keep You Strong,
Sorrows keep You Human,
Life keeps You Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going

* Normally, I hate forwards. I'm one of the most positive people I know, but send me a sappy forward and I'll probably delete it after the first few sentences if I even get past the subject line. It doesn't mean I don't love you or like you, it just means I'd rather read words that you've actually written instead of some forward with pictures of other peoples baby's, puppies, cats, whatever. Also, I'm very proud to be a woman and know that I make a pretty darn good friend, but those forwards about "sisterhood" and being a woman usually make me want to gag. That said, I read every single word of this forward and sniffled and maybe even cried some more because at that moment I needed it and also, I'm extremely emotional right now. Oh, and also - getting an email like this from your dad? Pretty sweet, in my opinion.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dear Zoe,

Today is not another month milestone. I just needed to write you and tell you how much I love you.

Two days ago you had a fever. I changed my appointment for my annual and your Daddy and I took you to see your pediatrician. He told us you had a sore throat and to give you Tylenol to fight the fever. No biggie. I went on to my annual and ended up discussing when we're going to start trying to give you a baby brother or sister. Your dad and I talked a little about it and resolved to talk more about it during the weekend, but we never really got a chance because that evening your fever spiked to 103 and we took you to the Urgent Care that is attached to the hospital where you were born.

The docs saw you almost right away and I think they thought your mom and dad were very silly. You sat there in just your diaper and had the sweetest disposition, ever. You did not care when they took your temperature. You were also fairly low key when they took chest X-rays and when they did a urinalysis. You kept eating like a champ and you smiled and laughed and "talked". Honestly, we ended up feeling kind of foolish that we'd stressed and brought you to Urgent Care in the first place. Everyone kept asking if you were our first baby, like they knew the answer already.

Yesterday, you got worse. Your poor little eyes were not as bright as always - they were red and puffy. You were not so eager to smile and you drank your bottles slowly. You felt like a hot water bottle or an electric blanket. The temporal scanner was giving us many different readings between 103 and 105 and we were scared. We called your Cheryl and she brought us a toy for you and a new thermometer to take your temp like they did at the Urgent Care: 105.5. We jumped up and put you in your car seat and rushed you back to Urgent Care.

I filled out the same paper work I had the night before and they called your name within minutes even though the place was packed. You got an id bracelet (that you did not like) and soon you were being called to come back. A nurse told us that only one of us could come back with you, so your Daddy went back with you while I waited in the hall. Those ten minutes were torture for me even though I knew you were safe with your Daddy. We could hear you through the walls in the waiting room, screaming and crying. As I listened with my head against the wall that separated us, I cried too. People came up to me to make sure I was OK, and a few suggested I rush in the next time they opened the door. I wanted to, especially when I saw entire families being escorted in when I had to be away from you. It didn't seem fair, but part of me understood why the nurse had said only one parent.

The good news was your temp had dropped two degrees, but it was still high. We were sent over to another waiting room and sat there for a long time. You were in only a diaper and you were restless. You would not take your bottle, but you did smile here and there. Once we were in an exam room, you seemed to get worse. You would cry when we tried to give you a bottle (you hadn't eaten since the morning) and you threw up twice, all over me. You became listless and eventually the nurse practitioner in Urgent Care got us transferred to a bed in the ER.

The bed was actually a gurney set up in the hallway in the middle of everything. You sat there looking around and everyone had to stop and look at you. You were precious even when you looked ill. The doc told us not to worry, that he was going to have to get some IV fluids in you and some antibiotics to help fight your respiratory virus. I fought back tears and your Daddy was strong for the three of us. Three nurses came to put the IV in. One worked with the needle while another held your left arm and another helped me hold your legs while your Daddy held your body and right arm flat on the gurney. You screamed and cried and I cried with you but didn't let you see the tears. I'm sure you could feel how distressed your Daddy and I were, but we could not help it. No parent ever wants to see their baby in so much pain.

We were in that hallway for a very long time. I couldn't tell you exactly how long right now, because time seemed to move fast and slow all at once. The nurses gave you a Mickey Mouse doll to play with. Cheryl and Chuck-Chuck brought us food since we hadn't eaten a thing all day, felt weak and refused to leave you. We held you and sang to you and did our best to block out our surroundings and make you comfortable. After more than ten hours you finally took an ounce of formula and I think your Daddy and I nearly cried from happiness. Your ER doc came and talked to us and told us he'd been worried, but you were making good improvements. He didn't want to admit us to the hospital, but he did want to keep us in the ER overnight for observation. Daddy went home to feed your Bailey and Max while I laid next to you on your gurney and tried to nap with you. When Daddy got back, he sat in a chair and had his head next to ours while he and I held hands. For those few minutes we were just the three of us, our little family, blocking out the noise of a busy ER.

Eventually, we were wheeled into our own room and we all slept some more. You drank entire bottles and continued to get more IV fluids while I shared a tiny gurney with you and your Daddy slept in a chair. Finally, at 4AM a nurse came in to remove your IV and we packed up to take you home where we all passed out from sheer exhaustion and (for your Daddy and me) relief.

Right this moment you're in your Jumperoo. A smile on your face, your nose running a little. You are not at 100%, but you are leaps and bounds better than you were last night and for that we are so grateful. Nothing in this world prepares you for your child being sick, nothing. You think you're strong and that you will not be one of those mom's who freaks out over the small stuff and then you are scared to death over a fever (a very high one). I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a child who is terminally ill. I'm not a religious person, but I know I prayed last night and I count all of my blessings that you are safe. Almost everywhere we go we are told how lucky we are, how good-natured you are, how well behaved - even when you were sick, you were sweet. I love you, so very much! Last night was torture, but so worth having you in our lives!

By the way, with all the hoopla your Daddy and I didn't get to discuss when our family is going to get bigger - we will. The gyno told me Friday afternoon, "Why waste time?" Honestly, there was a brief moment last night when I thought there was no way I could go through this again. But, we can and I'm sure we will. Your Nana K tells me that she still worries when I get sick and that never goes away no matter how old your baby is. I think that is scary and wonderful all at once. I am sure that over the years there will be scrapes, scratches and broken bones (and hearts) to heal. We'll be there every step of the way. Someday, you're going to have a sibling to lean on for support as well, I promise. There is nothing we won't all be able to get through if we have each other.

I love you, monkey. You show me daily how strong I really am and I'll always try to be strong for you.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sick Baby

As much as I love being a mom, I think I may have found my least favorite thing about being a mother: sick baby. Seeing your little one feeling bad is torture. Last night we ended up taking Zoe to the ER because her temperature was so high - one reading was 104, but for most of the night she was 103.6. The sweet little one had Daniel and I on alert, worrying and stressing and willing to deal with the ER on a Friday night. Despite her fever, she was alert and looking around at everyone. She was yelling and talking and flirting and laughing like she usually does. Frankly, I think she enjoyed all the attention. Three hours later, we were on our way home after ruling out pneumonia (chest X-rays) and a bladder infection (urinalysis via catheter). We're told to just ride this fever out, give her Tylenol and Motrin every three hours and to keep her hydrated.

Last night the whole family slept horribly and this morning we're all feeling kind of crappy. Even Bailey is having issues with her stomach. Zoe is restlessly sleeping next to me on the couch and still has a 103.6 temperature. Daniel is at the pharmacy picking up more Motrin, some Cortizone for her rash and some Pedialite. We needed all of those things, but what he really needed was to get out and feel like he was doing something. I'm not so sure I'll be participating in the Crockpot Challenge this week...

Friday, February 01, 2008

TGIF, I guess

Our little perfect sleeper was up a lot last night - I think between the two of us we were up at least ten times trying to soothe her. The very last time I decided I was going to just bring her in bed with me. What she wanted was to be held and if at all possible for me to make sure her soothie never left her mouth. We both snoozed for a bit while Daniel got ready for work - when we woke up I felt her burning up. 102 degree fever. I got worried and called the doc and they had us bring her in. Turns out she's got a sore throat and we just have to ride it out. The good news is she is the most pleasant baby ever and being sick doesn't drag her down.

The bad news is we had to cancel our date night. We had Cheryl lined up to watch her while we went for dinner and a play (the one I was supposed to be in) and then possibly drinks after. But it's OK. I'm sort of looking forward to just nesting here with my little family. I had my yearly check-up today and that was.... interesting. My mind is spinning around the conversation we had. Everything is fine and I have no news for you, but things were said that I just wasn't expecting and I'm still trying to process all of it.

Other things I'm thinking about: Blogher. I finally registered with the network last night and Daniel is thinking I should go to the conference in San Francisco this July. I'm thinking I will - it sounds like too much fun to pass up. What about you guys?