Ten things

Posted on | Sunday, May 22, 2011 | 1 Comment

Normally on Sundays I find ten pictures of different things that I find cute or lovely and I share them along with a short commentary. Today is a bit different, I'm not going to post ten things I love. I'm going to do a gratitude post instead. Life has been very hectic and upsetting this week. Very much at-the-end-of-my-rope-tie-a-knot-and-hang-on kind of week. I'm holding on, and I know it's going to get easier very soon, but it's still been incredibly difficult to focus on that fact.

So today I shall remind myself of at least ten good things I have in my life right now (even if some of them are horribly obvious). No pictures this week, since some of these things don't have pictures to go with them.

1. Movement. Today Kael and I went on a 4.5 mile long walk. We walked to the park and played, then walked further down the road to Starbucks where we bought two huge waters and a doughnut for the little man. I forget sometimes that not everyone would find this amazing, but I certainly do. There are times that walking from the kitchen to my bed is a challenge, what a wonderful thing it is for me to be able to spend four hours outside with my son as we played, even if I am a bit sore and tired now.

2. Rain. We had an incredible storm roll through earlier this week as some of you may remember me blogging about. The much needed rain brought with it lush greens and vibrant colors. Although Oklahoma isn't in a drought like Texas, it still tends to only have a short lived season of greenery and it's so nice to have that back, if only for a little bit.

3. Surrender. That is such a powerful word. To let go of the things I cannot change or control and focus on what is within my ability. I'm so fortunate to have people in my life that remind me of that. I need to let go of the fact that a lot is happening around me and I cannot be in charge of it all, even if I try.

4. Friends. I don't give them enough credit. I truly don't. I have so many people who love me and care for me. Friends far and wide who make me feel connected and grounded and loved. I would be lost without such a backbone of support. I can only hope I am as good of a friend to them as they have been to me.

5. Alex. He is a freaking rockstar. He really, really is. He kicks butt at work and has made it possible for me to stay home with Kael after the move. He's got our house in fabulous shape and snubbed his nose at the rules of physics whilst getting our fridge inside the kitchen (I'll let him exlain that sometime later). He has been amazing at keeping me calm and centered through all of this. Seriously, a freaking rock. star.

6. Kael. He has been pushing me this week. Doing things that he normally wouldn't do (running off the moment I look away, throwing toys, being physically aggressive with anything that moves or breathes). I've caught myself asking, "Where is my little boy? Who is this child?!" But I have forgotten to focus. He still cuddles me in the morning. He kisses my boo-boos after calming down from a tantrum. He is still just a sweet as he ever was, he just needs more from me right now.

7. Coffee. Yes, this naturally made the list. While living in Hungary coffee became integral to daily life. It was almost ritualistic. Piping hot espresso served in a shot glass, a cube of sugar, and a few moments of quite reflection. Sipping my coffee is like a quiet pause in my day to reflect and think. It's lovely that I can have that.

8. Perspective. I complain about my toilet acting up, or that packing my apartment is stressful and taxing... but I should think of these things with perspective. I have a home to pack. I have clean running water. I don't have to wonder where my next meal will be coming from. While my life is difficult, no doubt, having the reminder of how my life could be makes me grateful for everything I do have.

9. Faith. I have been failing at letting go of things. I have to remind myself to lean on God and to be at peace with whatever He has planned for me. I am so grateful to have my faith and sunch a powerful moral compass that guides me. I don't know what kind of person I would be -- or how I would cope -- if it weren't for my ability to give things to God when they become too much. It's such a glorious gift.

10. My life in general. I am so blessed. More than I realize most of the time. My life is amazing and rich and I couldn't be happier. Alright, maybe I could be happier. If I could snap my fingers and have this move over and done with. Or if I could wiggle my nose and have all the stressors of my life melt away. I would probably explode with joy if that happened. But that would be messy.

Thunderbolts and lightning...

Posted on | Friday, May 20, 2011 | 2 Comments

A massive storm has been rolling through Oklahoma for the past twelve hours. Throughout the night the sky lit up with lightning and shook the house thunder. The storm came so close to our house that the force of the thunder caused the walls to shake. Twice lightning struck far too close for comfort -- in the field directly across our street. It sounded like the sky was about to break.

Amazingly Kael slept through the majority of the storm. I swear the boy could sleep through the apocalypse.

Although storms like this are scary to have so close by, they're still magnificent to watch. At least until lightning strikes less than a quarter of mile from where you live. Then it's time to hide in your house while watching the Weather Channel religiously.

I didn't go outside until the worst of the storm had passed, but you can still see the light show happening above my roof. It was definitely a little too close for comfort at times and the sky should not look this bright at one in the morning. But, it was still incredible to watch even if the storm did mess with my sleep schedule.

For some reason lightning never seems as impressive during the day. Not sure why that is.


Posted on | Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | No Comments

I decided to be a little daring and try a new recipe today: ceviche (pronounced suh-VEE-chay)! I've heard of using acid to cook fish, but I never thought to try it myself. It seemed like it would, well, taste weird. I know that technically speaking it's cooked, but I couldn't shake the whole "cooked in acid" thing. It just seemed too strange, and maybe a little bit gross.

And then I remembered -- I've eaten raw fish (octopus included) and a plethora of other strange foods (hello candied grasshoppers, chicken feet, and escargot) didn't even bat an eye. Might as well live a little. Upon searching the internet for a good recipe I found one that seemed simple and had gotten fairly good reviews.

The list of ingredients is easy enough -- raw fish (I had flounder on hand, but red snapper and other fish do just as nicely), lemon juice, onion, diced tomatoes, oregano, tabasco sauce, and a pinch of salt. Other recipes call for different ingredients but I figured simplier would be better for the first go around.


Posted on | Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | No Comments

Yesterday I had a lunch date with the lovely Hannah and her sweet baby girl, Rubey. Last time I saw them both it was only for a short visit at the apartment. Considering that I have not properly seen her in almost three months (I still cannot believe it's been that long, yeesh!) this needed to be rectified. Immediately. Besides, Hannah had a Chili's gift card that was itching to be used. And who doesn't love to eat at Chili's?

Having seen Rubey grow for nine months inside of Hannah's tummy it's amazing to see her as a living breathing little girl. I can't think of a single person who could resist seeing this adorable face. Rubey is such a little princess. It's amazing to think how small babies are and how fascinated they can be, even with the tiniest things. Earlier this week Rubey discovered her hands, now she is enthralled by them.

See? Completely entralled by those tiny little fists. Hannah is such a good mommy. She's truly a natural at motherhood, it made me smile to watch her coo and cuddle her sweet baby. Watching her with Rubey made me miss having a little one of my own, it's been years since Kael was that tiny.

I'm really hoping I can see Hannah and Rubey again before I move, we haven't seen each other nearly enough in the past few months and I miss her like crazy. After being around someone almost daily for a year and a half it's weird not seeing them. I know I have said it before, but Hannah is almost like a mellowed-out version of me. Maybe that's why we are so close, we're polar opposites but at the same time ridiculously similar.

I love these girls so much. They're the best.

Ten things I love Sunday!

Posted on | Sunday, May 15, 2011 | No Comments

Have any of you ever had one of those weeks were time flies by and even though so many things have happened you still feel like you have nothing to talk about? No? Oh. Well, be glad you don't. It's exhausting.

I have found a surplus of things I love, but yet as I sat down in front of my laptop my brain drew a blank. I'm hoping that this brain fog is because of finals week (which went better than expected, hooray!) and that every waking moment I am doing something. Packing, cleaning, working... No wonder it's so difficult to come up with a list this week! Hopefully it's not boring to anyone!

1. Roasted Kale

This I think is my new favorite food. I was in the mood for some kale chips, but not in the mood for all the oil that would involves. So I racked my brain decided to try and make a healthier version. It turned out magnificently. Add some sauteed onions and minced garlic with a drizzling of champagne vinegar? It's phenomenal. I could eat this Every. Single. Day.

2. Italy

Or even Europe in general. There is something magical about Italy though. This is a picture of Bari, which is located on the heel of Italy. According to the photographer, Daniel Zollinger, often times the houses on these narrow streets have no real doors, "instead a curtain leads directly to the living room, which serves also as a parking lot for the Vespa".

3. Aristocats

This used to be one of my most favorite movies as a child. I love how simple Disney films used to be, the plot was simple and there was always some message that would come across (in this case, don't be a greedy person and help those in need). It makes me so happy that it's become one of Kael's favorite movie too.

4. Tulips

I'm sad that tulip season is almost over, they are my favorite flower. I love this different colors and shades that tulips come in, and how beautiful the flower is. It's simplistically gorgeous and vibrant. I can certainly see why Europe went crazy for this flower centuries back. It's truly lovely.

5. Pogácsa

I miss Hungary a lot. I still have dreams about it. There such a magic to the place, and there are things that are strictly special to Hungary which just adds to that magic. Pogácsa si one of those things. It's a type of savory scone that is extremely popular in Hungary. Every region makes its own version, or more than one variety, therefore they come in all different textures and flavors. So yummy.

6. I Choose You!

I wouldn't change how Alex proposed at all ever (a wonderful lakeside picnic followed by a walk in Shakespeare Garden? It was lovely), but I can't help but find this idea so adorable and geekily romantic. Even though I am not a Pokemon fan it's so sweet. I'm sure some girl was bouncing to the moon when they saw this.

7. Bory-vár, Székesfehérvár

Bory-vár (Bory Castle in English) is Székesfehérvár, Hungary. It's not a real castle in the sense of being a historical building, but more an artistic masterpiece. It was built by Janos Bory who spent every summer for 40 years, starting in the 1940's, building this beautiful castle. While I lived in Hungary we all went to Székesfehérvár for Mikulás and visited Bory-vár. It's truly impressive and beautiful.

8. Smiley Face Pancakes

Or, at least I think this a pancake griddle. Those look like pancakes, right? Even if it isn't a griddle, how cool is that idea? Smiley faced silver dollar pancakes for breakfast, maybe with a side of fruit compote or pure maple syrup... It would make just about everyone's morning!

9. Ice Cream Heels

I don't know what I would ever wear these heels with, but I so desperately want them. They look so fun and happy. I mean, they're high heels with ice cream cones painted on. It's like the perfect summer shoe. I would purposefully wear skirts and dresses daily just to show these guys off.

10. Elephant Truffles

Everyone here knows I love elephants. I adore elephants. And I also adore anything deliciously sweet. And anything cute. So you can only imagine how loudly I squealed when I saw this picture. And guess what? I found their website. They have a delivery service. Diet, you may very well meet your untimely end.

You say goodbye, I say hello

Posted on | Saturday, May 14, 2011 | 1 Comment

We don't always realize how many people care about us until it's we say goodbye to them. I have lived in Oklahoma for over four years and in that time I've made wonderful friends and rekindled relationships with some people that I was lucky enough to know since I was a small child. I don't see many of these people often (as is often the case, sadly) but that doesn't make them any less important.

Even though this move is the best thing for me (in both literal and metaphorical sense) there is still a saddness to all the well wishes and goodbyes. It could easily be years before I see some of these people again. I know that I will see a few of them again at my wedding, but after that who knows.

The hardest person to say goodbye to is Katy. She's my sister and my best friend, and neither of us seem ready to accept that very soon we will be states apart. It's hard to think that we will be limited to facebook chats, Skype, and phone calls. While it's better than nothing it certainly is not the same.

Mom and I have made plans for a weekly Skype date (moreso for Kael's benefit than ours). Perhaps Katy and I can plan a monthly date night (cook the same meal and watch a movie together, maybe) too.

As sad as the goodbyes were it was wonderful to see so many people together at once again. I'm so glad that such a large number was able to make it. Thank you to everyone who came and gave me hugs and wishes of good luck.

Breathe easy

Posted on | Friday, May 13, 2011 | No Comments

I had meant to post this yesterday but Blogger was acting up. Silly, silly Blogger.

On Thursday I took Kael to the Oklahoma Asthma and Allergy Clinic for a follow-up appointment. Many of you will remember the hospital visit in December and the subsequent diagnosis of allergy induced asthma. We discovered that my darling boy is quite literally allergic to almost the entire planet including but not limited to: cats, dogs, grass, trees, dust, pollen, smoke, and various bugs.

He was immediately put on a cocktail of inhalers, allergy medications, and nose sprays to be taken daily as a means to control his symptoms. We also began monitoring any asthma flare-ups and taking note of what caused them to act up. Kael's taken well to this new regimen, he is in charge of his daily breathing treatments and helps me to get his Zyrtec and Singulair every morning.

Dr. Karen was excited to hear that Kael took so well to his medications and she spent the morning discussing with us Kael's progress and how his medications have helped. Kael and I love Dr. Karen. She's so happy and loving, it makes the visit go 10000x easier. I wish more doctors were like her.

We reviewed Kael's asthma and allergies and we were elated that he's gotten so much better. His previous spirometry test showed that he was having a lot of difficultly. But now? He's breathing like a champ! It's amazing how much Kael's quality of life has improved since January. His coughing fits are few and far between and his perpetual runny nose is finally getting under control. He's running more, and jumping more, and doing all those awesome boy things he wasn't able to do as much before.

Dr. Karen was elated by this news. So were we. This is our "We are elated!" cell phone picture. Because everyone squishes up their face when they get such fabulous news.

We got even more great news before leaving the clinic -- Kael's medication is being backed down to only one inhaler and his two allergy medications daily. In another four months we will need to have him reviewed again to see if he can have his allergy medication become an as needed treatment and also discuss beginning allergy shots as a more long-term treatment. Dr. Karen thinks that being away from such a windy environment will help Kael, too. We're keeping our fingers crossed!


Posted on | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | No Comments

Let me start this off by saying I read a lot of blogs. Blogs written by Moms, cooks, photographers, activists, and everything that falls between. I read about re-decorating kitchens and taking sporadic vacations to Italy. About God and family and the value of hard work. I love the window that a blog gives, it's a tiny slice of a person's life laid out for the world to see and learn from.

There is one blog I occasionally read by an incredible woman named Kim. She doesn't post very often, but when she does it's always with grace and purpose. She is the kind of person I want to be in many ways. She's smart, crafty, and an increeeeedible photographer. She loves her three boys and she loves God.

Kim also has a way with words. And today I want to share some of those with you. They are not mine in any way, but I hope that some of you benefit from them as much as I have. Enjoy.

Mother’s Day is one of my favorite days. I love celebrating my amazing mom (she rocks) and reflecting on what my life is as a mother, a title I am humbled to hold. While many people have children, motherhood is much more than bearing kids.

This Mother’s Day finds me awaiting 2 new lives into our family. One through adoption and one through birth. Both should be here in less 6 months. I don’t know what a family of 5 kids, 1 dog and 13 chickens looks like but I am heavily aware what chaos looks like. I can only assume it is similar.

In our current chaos motherhood seems like never ending discipline, diapers, pasta and cherrios; unmatching socks and piles of laundry; a fit of “nos” and “I don’t wannas”; nap times, toy story 3 and curious george. Somedays my job description is anything but glorious. But there is also those times of bliss and Justin Beiber melodies that make me forget how many poopy diapers I’ve changed and instead want to be no where else. It’s the kisses and hugs, the “thank you so very much for saving me” speeches, the belly laughs and tickle fights, the fighting over who gets to sit with mama, the baby feet and holding hands. Motherhood is conflicting.

And I’ve been conflicted. Last week was bad. And by bad I mean colds, migraines, pregnancy symptoms on top of a laundry list of work I “have” to be doing. I’ve had chronic migraine for 10 years, but have only thrown up during a migraine three times, twice being this week alone. Mike has worked God-knows-how-many hours, all I know I saw him Monday and Friday evening and unfortunately Friday was my migraine-puke-fest and not the romantic night I had anticipated.

It’s easy to throw a Sue Sylvester pity party and OD on gummy vitamins after the 2nd meal of the day the boys refuse to eat (yet asked for), you can’t hold anything down and you have 700 pictures to edit, a book to finish and more adoption paperwork that you even want to admit is left.

If your children are what keeps you going, you will run out of gas fast.

Children make crappy gods.

And if your plugging in to anything than the Life giving Blood of Christ, you will burn out, unfulfilled and disappointed. Children are a joy and motherhood is a blessing (poopy diapers, fits and all) but motherhood cannot fulfill you the way Jesus can. And serving the Lord through motherhood can make even the most chaotic households full of joy (I speak through experience on that one).

So let me worship the Lord through loving the children He’s given me. Not because they are my idols but because they are my blessings. Let me sing Him praise for their unceasing energy and lack of “mute” button. Let me encourage their imaginative play even when that means my tongs are used to fight evil. I ask for wisdom in how to guide these boys in becoming Godly men. But most importantly, certainly centrally, I pray that I can keep my eyes on Jesus, something that I forgot this week, and let my children be children and God be God without confusing the two, and through the power of Jesus be the mother He designed me to be.

Ten things I love Sunday!

Posted on | Sunday, May 8, 2011 | No Comments

It's so wonderful to have one of my Ten Things I Love Sunday posts happen on Mother's Day. It's such a wonderful day, even if I don't necessarily get a break (a certain little boy is feeling sickly and is also been a mess-maker extraordinaire since this morning). Being a mom is almost like being in a not-so-secret club where once a year everyone gets breakfast in bed or something similar. If you are in it for that one day a year you've got the career.

Anyways, the ten things!

1. 100,000 Toothpicks

Scott Weaver has spent 35 years on this insanely complex kinetic sculpture created entire of toothpicks. The sculpture titled Rolling through the Bay continues to be expanded on, even today. The elaborate sculpture is comprised of multiple “tours” that move pingpong balls through neighborhoods, historical locations, and iconic symbols of San Francisco, all recreated with a little glue, some toothpicks, and an incredible amount of ingenuity.

2. St. Malo's Church

In 2009 I went on vacation to Colordao. We were driving around Allenspark (about 40 minutes from Colorado Springs) and stumbled upon this amazing church. It looks too perfect to be real, this picture doesn't even do it justice. It had been snowing when we arrived and it only added to it's beauty. I spent some time praying inside and I can say with absolute honesty it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.

3. I Choose You!

The nerd in me is so gleefully jubliant about this. I know I completely and entirely lack the dexterity to do this, but still! It's so geeky, so awesome, and so incredibly fun. I love things like this. It makes me lament having those awesome nail painting skills.

4. Ice Cream

Ice cream and summer go hand in hand. And guess what this machine can do?! Whether you prefer ice cream, yogurt, sherbet, or sorbet, you can make 1 ½ quarts in 20 minutes! Think of the possibilities! There's even a pull-down lever for dispensing and a holder for your ice cream cones. Oh,Cuisinart’s Mix It In Soft-Serve Ice Cream Maker, one day you will be mine.

5. Derby Hats

Now I don't actually watch the Kentucky Derby (just as I didn't get up at two or three in the morning to see a British couple wed), but there is something I do look forward to -- the hats. The amazing over-the-top, beautiful (and sometimes bizarre) hats. I'm a hat person. Although my head for some reason looks awful in most, I can't help but like them. If left to my own devices I might own several Derby-worthy designs as well.

6. Umbrellas

This picture is combining two things that I love: the color yellow and random cute things. Because honestly, this umbrella is wonderfully cute. It has ears for crying out loud! And who wouldn't want something so bright and happy during a rainy overcast day? Toss in some cut galoshes and you are set to take over the world with happiness.

7. Clafouti

This is so high on the foods I want to learn to cook/bake, you don't even know. Clafouti (pronounced kla-foo-TEE) is a divinely scrumptious food brought to us from where else? France! It'straditionally it was made with the first sweet cherries of the season, although I've seen pears and strawberries used as well. A clafoutis is a pudding of sorts, with the fruit covered by a thin pancake-like batter and baked in a hot oven until the batter has set. The best thing though? This dessert can pass for breakfast. Sold!

8. Puppies
I have nothing intelligent to add to this picture. It's puppies. In baby clothes. Hanging adorably on a laundry line. There is too much cute in this picture to find anything witty to say. Go ahead, you try to find something witty after looking at this picture.

9. Anita

When I was a little girl I wanted to be just like Anita -- bookish, beautiful, and rocking a senisble heel. She was so smart and loving, but still held fast to her beliefs (at least when it came to Pongo and Perdita) even when Cruella was breathing down her neck. I think I turned out pretty good, don't you? And I didn't even have to fall into a pond to fall in love with Alex.

10. Motherhood

This week's list would not be complete without this. I love being a mother, even when it's frustrating (and believe me, plenty of moments are). It's more rewarding that anything else has been during the entirety of my life. Being a mother has made a me a more patient, understanding, and gentle person. I have no idea where I would be now without Kael. I love that little boy so much.

Pizza party!

Posted on | Saturday, May 7, 2011 | No Comments

Today Mom, Dusty, Kael and myself all drove to Stillwater (about an hour and half from where we live) to meet with some family and have a going away/Mother's Day party at Hideaway Pizza. For those not in the know Hideaway Pizza is pretty darn yummy when it comes to pizza, although Dusty may beg to differ on that statement. He is more of a pizza connoisseur than I am.

Our get-together was the first time Kael and I have been able to see my Aunt Jalene, Uncle Richard and my cousin's family in over three years! It was so strange to see their kiddos who were in diapers (well, at least one of them was) now talking and acting so big. One of their boys is twenty-one now!! Time certainly flies by.


Photobucket I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in Hungary, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and I will be moving again this summer. Kael is my incredibly awesome kiddo who is growing up far too quickly, and Alex is my fiance who makes me happier than should be legally allowed. I write about them a lot. I'm mildly obsessed with cooking and photography. I write about those things, too.