Adios, 2010!

Posted on | Friday, December 31, 2010 | No Comments

It's the last day of the year; and although I know a great deal has happened this year, I don't feel that sense of awing retrospect that usually comes with reviewing a year in its entirety. I know I should. This year has been awash with ups and downs, thankfully there have been far more ups. So strange to look back at January and know it really has not been that long. It feels like another world.

Writing out the greater details of this year make me very happy. Happy to see the direction my life is headed, and happy to see how blessed I was this year (even if I may not always realize it). I wrote out a timeline for my own benefit, but I didn't see any reason not to post it here as well.

Eight hundred and ninety-seven

Posted on | Thursday, December 30, 2010 | No Comments

Pictures, that is. I originally had nearly a thousand on my camera so you can imagine how long it took to whittle it down to less than 150. Quite the accomplishment, if I do say so myself. Especially considering these pictures covered the span of an entire week. In Vegas. For Christmas. And you know how trigger happy I am with a camera.

I originally had intended to blog a few times while on vacation so that I wouldn't have the dilemna of sorting through nearly a thousand pictures, but since my laptop irregularly decides to shut itself off (and Alex pointedly forgot to bring his) blogging about our adventures in Las Vegas had to wait.

I am sure you are all dying to know after me week long absence.

I tried to size the pictures since they kept loading onto the blog with ridiculously huge diameters, but after the fourth try I stopped trying to fix them. Ugh. So, sorry for ginormous pictures. I hope you enjoy them regardless!

Posted on | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | No Comments

Soup and Suitcases

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Tomorrow we're leaving for Las Vegas! (I'm politely ignoring the fact our plane departs at an hour that would make the sun wince) Which means today is dedicated to packing and preparing the house. The only thing worse than realizing you forgot your camera/toothbrush/pants is to come home to a filthy house whilst battling jetlag. I speak from personal experience on both matters. To combat this I make two lists, each delegating my preparations for travel. I write out what needs to be done before I leave and what I need to bring with me. It might mean a bit of extra work but it is definitely worth it for a Type A personality like myself. Without my lists I get mean. Quickly.

I check the weather for the next ten days at my destination and then pack accordingly. I toss in a jacket and a tank top regardless of the weather just in case Mother Nature decides to make fun of meteorologists. A great example -- It's 75 degrees here in Oklahoma in late December, tourists who packed for a cold winter are sweating like pigs. Pack for weather you won't expect, the extra tank top won't kill you.

I try to pack light if I am only going to be away for a week. My normal suitcase list looks like this: two pair of pants, 4-5 shirts, a nice dress, under-things, toiletries/makeup (everything has to fit in a ziploc baggie), an extra pair of shoes, various electronics, medication, a sweater or jacket, and a pair of pajamas. Simple enough.

If the list is for Kael I add pull-ups, stroller, carseat, and 2-3 extra pairs of clothes. And his blankie. If we go anywhere without beloved blankie it will mean sudden death. I also will pack in my purse a few things that will keep him occupied.

When I pack originally my suitcase looks something like this:

Dramatic Reenactment

Baking fixes everything

Posted on | Sunday, December 19, 2010 | 3 Comments

This past week has been difficult. Between Kael being hospitalized, having one of my finals almost blow up in my face, issues with an incompetent pediatrician, my autoimmune disease acting up, a certain munchkin accidentally spilling milk all over my netbook, packing/planning for the Las Vegas trip, and a sudden inability to breathe through my nose -- it's no wonder that I had become a blubbering mess.

Thankfully, I discovered over the past few months the catharsis of baking. When I am overwhelmed and stressed there’s no better way to find that deep inner calm than to get lost in a baking project. Sure, I have times when I get in over my head and probably have a meltdown or two, but there’s nothing better than coming home after a hard day and whipping up a batch of cookies. Cookies fresh out of the oven will cure anything.

Which is why Friday evening I decided to make meringue cookies. I have a mixer, eggs, and sugar... and it couldn't be THAT hard, right? I mean, if Emeril could make meringues it shouldn't be that difficult. This mentality would become a highlight of the evening.

The first step was to separate the eggs. I had one of these handy gadgets that makes the whole process easier. Unless you are like me and break two eggs yolks before finally succeeding. Whoops. The recipe only called for two eggs whites two which I said, "Seriously?? This can't possibly make two sheets of cookies!" And added another egg white.

I obviously knew nothing about the impressive power of meringue.

Getting back to normal

Posted on | Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | No Comments

The past four days have been terrifying here at Team Herbitter.

Saturday morning the cough that Kael has been fighting off took a turn for the bad. He was having a difficult time breathing and his overall complexion was looking bad. By that afternoon I knew something was very, very wrong. His breathing was shallow and labored and he was becoming hypoxic. In laymen's terms; he couldn't breathe and was increasingly getting worse.

I took him to urgent care and discovered his oxygen saturation level was 87% and dropping with a heart rate of 165. They sent us to the nearest ER and within an hour he had received his first steroid treatment, a breathing treatment and was being prepped for a chest x-ray. The good news was Kael's test results came back negative for RSV, H1N1, and the other common culprits -- but that still didn't explain why he couldn't breathe. The decision was made to keep him overnight for observation. They put an IV in his arm (which he took far better than Mommy did) and prepared him for transport.

Once Kael was better stabilized they transferred him via ambulance to the pediatric unit in a hospital about 10 miles away. I can honestly say I didn't expect his first ambulance ride (or mine) to be before his fifth birthday.

Step away from Bridal Guide, Ma'am

Posted on | Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | 3 Comments

I realized something earlier this week as I booked my first bridal dress fitting appointment. I'm getting married. In less than a year. For some reason having Alex and Sharon look at venues, reserve the reception hall and take pictures of the chapel we're getting married in didn't make it official in my head; but setting that appointment to try on a billion white dresses? Holy crap. Things just got real.

I've only got two hundred and fifty-five days left to plan this wedding. But who's counting? Or making elaborate lists? Or scouring the internet for wedding sites and magazines while thinking she is crazy for planning a wedding and moving at the same time?

Oh god.

I’ve spent the past month off-and-on brainstorming, alongside a very patient Alex, Sharon and Katy. Questions kept popping up in my head as I tried to come up inspiration as to how this whole wedding shindig might look. Should it be formal? Informal? What colors? How many bridesmaids? Flowers? Favors? After flailing like a lunatic for an undisclosed period of time I started to focus. I needed ideas. Ideas are good. Ideas keep me from grabbing the nearest paper bag and hyperventilating. Ideas mean direction, which means that this gal has a lot less to panic think about. Right?

Have you noticed that whenever you sit down and try to force ideas nothing happens?

Don't get me wrong, I saw plenty of things online and in magazines that I liked, but I still had no idea what direction to go in (aside from the basic "I now pronounce you man and wife" bit at the end). That is until I saw the reception hall.

I don't know what sparked it. Maybe it was Alex sending me elated text messages that this place was perfect, maybe it was the black and white checkered floors, or maybe it was because of my recent I Love Lucy marathon but my mind was suddenly filled with images of a 1950s wedding. Immediate and awestruck love washed over me.


Posted on | Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 6 Comments

Alex is the best guy in the world.

No, really. He is.

I came home after having a busy day at work followed by a long overdue lunch date with Katy to find a small box next to my door marked 'FRAGILE'. The mailing address was from Alex. I remembered him mentioning he was going to mail something to me as an early Christmas present. Sort of. I came inside and inside the tiny box was this --

Not going to lie, I cried. "Superglue" and "Elephant" are very very special words for us.

Earlier in our relationship I became extremely ill and asked him if he was sure he wanted to be with someone that had as many medical problems as I do. I explained that my disease was permanent and that it wouldn't be easy to be with someone who was constantly sick and in pain like I am. It was his Get Out Of Jail Free Card, and I was terrified he would use it. Instead he said one of the sweetest and most endearing things I have ever heard, "God superglued us together, I'm not going anywhere."

Elephant has a sillier anecdote behind it. Every night Alex calls me when I am getting ready for bed and stays on the phone until I fall asleep. Sometimes he will read me a story (we had nearly a month of Edgar Allen), other times we will just talk until I doze off. One night as I was falling asleep he told me "I love you". For some bizarre reason I heard "Elephant". I was so confused by this that I roused myself enough to ask him, "Elephant what?" After that "elephant" became my code word for I love you. Because all great couples have secret code words.

Now our secret code words are like breathing. I tell him Elephant, and he says Superglue. The people around us may not know why those words are so important, but that's okay. We aren't saying them for other people to hear.

And as I looked down at my tiny ornament they were both in my hand. I cried, and then I laughed. I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures, because this is the reason I created our blog -- to share with friends and family how incredibly lucky and blessed Alex and I are to be superglued together.

If this is the only thing I get this year I will be happy.

Elephant, honey.

Boldog Mikulás Nap, Mindenkinek!!

Posted on | Monday, December 6, 2010 | 1 Comment

Or, "Happy Mikulás Day, Everyone!" to those not well versed in Hungarian.

Today in Hungary is Szent Mikulás Day. When I lived in Hungary I was astounded (and ridiculously giddy) to discover that Hungary has not one but two Christmases. December 6th is the first one where Hungarian children (and big kids like me) polish and shine their shoes and set them out on either the window sill or their front step. By the next morning the boots and shoes have been filled with goodies -- traditionally with candies, tangerines, dates and chocolate Mikulás figurines. It’s a bit like the Santa and the Christmas stocking tradition here in the United States.

There is a catch to the holiday though; while the good children will have their shoes filled with chocolates sweets and small presents by Mikulás, the naughty children receive gifts from Krampusz -- Mikulás’ goblin helper -- such as wooden spoons or switches (called virgács). Talk about getting coal in your stocking! It’s very common for children to get both candy and a switch since everyone has a bit of a mean streak in them. I still have the switch, painted silver to mean that I am only a little bit naughty, that I found in my shoe.

I asked my host family if Mikulás came back for Christmas day gifts as well. My host mother laughed and told me that it's baby Jesus who brings presents on Christmas Eve and was amazed to hear that in the United States Mikulás (aka Santa Claus) came on Christmas. While there are games, costumes, and decorations on Mikulás, Christmas day is either spent at home with family or at church.

Happy Szent Mikulás Day, everyone!


Posted on | Friday, December 3, 2010 | 1 Comment

Five random things about me:

1) During Halloween when I was 12 years old I stopped by a house that wasn't handing out candy. However after much pleading they gave me a pomegranate instead. The next day I spent an hour de-seeding and eating my treat. I have been hooked ever since. In fact there are four pomegranates sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be devoured. I don't like pomegranate juice though, oddly enough.

2) I have never learned how to whistle. I have made numerous attempts to learn, but I can never master the technique.

3) My feet are horribly unlucky. I have stepped on numerous nails, ripped off toenails, broken toes, had a binder rip through my foot, gotten frostbite in both feet, fractured my right ankle in a rogue pizza incident, torn the ligaments in my left ankle, ripped the cartilage in both my my big toes, and have had more surgeries on both feet than I care to count. I'm impressed they haven't fallen off in protest of such poor treatment.

4) I don't have any wisdom teeth. Apparently I am one of those lucky devils who was born without them. Good thing too, I've already had two molars removed because my jaw is too small. (Addendum: I have discovered Alex lacks in the wisdom tooth department as well. FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE SUPER SOUL MATES.)

5) Whenever I see a semi truck driving on the interstate I instantly think of Optimus Prime. Doubly so if its red or purple.

To kids from one to ninety-two

Posted on | Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | No Comments

The town has slowly morphed into a Winter Wonderland, thankfully sans any unpleasant ice storms. There are lights strung on trees, homes, and businesses alike. It gives Kael and I a excuse to take leisurely drives after dark. In the past few days I have taken Kael to the Extra-Fancy neighborhoods so he can see some houses that have really decked their halls. If I see a particularly pretty array of lights I pull over and take a picture (apologies to any perplexed home owners). Some of them are really spectacular, albeit horribly difficult to photograph. I love it.

Here are a few of my favorites, or at least the photos that didn't come out blurry. Working with a point and shoot camera is tricky business.

Bread. ICE CREAM bread.

Posted on | Monday, November 29, 2010 | No Comments

Before I say anything else, all of the credit for this miraculous recipe goes to Leann over at How Sweet It Is. She makes me wish my kitchen were larger. And that calories were a figment of my imagination. And that I wasn't horribly terrified of fondant.

But I digress. Yesterday for breakfast I made bread. Not just any bread, ice cream bread. It was uh-mazing. Delicious. And so incredibly simple.

All you need is 2 cups of ice cream (which happens to be any pint of ice cream at your local grocery store. Convenient!), 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour, and a loaf pan. That's it.

Don't believe me? Here's the recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F
  2. Mix the flour and ice cream until it becomes a well-combined doughy ball. It will smell amazing. Don't do a taste test. Trust me. The bowl will be empty before you can blink.
  3. Pour the doughy deliciousness into a greased and floured loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 30-45 minutes
  5. Eat.

It's light, moist, and perfect. My tummy is rumbling from simply looking at these pictures. Alex chose vanilla for our trial run for this bread and it came out with just a touch of sweetness. Next time I want to try butter pecan or maybe even branch out into Ben & Jerry territory. (Phish Food, anyone?) What's even better, you could easily use soy/vegan ice cream, or sugar free varieties to accommodate for people with dietary restrictions! Perfection!

Did I mention both boys loved it? Alex gobbled up two slices before I could blink and gave the recipe to big thumbs up. Kael left little evidence aside from the explosion of crumbs all over the floor. A definite seal of approval. I foresee this being made on the weekendly basis.

Icing and Eggnog

Posted on | Sunday, November 28, 2010 | 4 Comments

Alex left this morning, which is always difficult for us. Although we value the time we spend together it always goes by far too quickly. On the bright side it will be only three weeks before our next visit (in Las Vegas no less!), and by that time Alex will be a college graduate. Yay!

I meant to blog about our icing (and eating) cookies, and making old-fashioned eggnog yesterday. But somehow the day ended before I had downloaded a single picture. Whoopsie.

This was my first try at making icing. Most recipes called for corn syrup in addition to the powdered sugar, milk and food coloring. As I didn't have corn syrup on hand we forged ahead with the more traditional recipe (or perhaps just the lazier recipe?). It turned out alright, although getting the perfect consistency was a challenge. If I make icing again I will try adding the corn syrup and see if it makes any difference.

Kael was extremely excited at the prospect of mixing the dye into the icing. We ended up making red, blue, yellow and green icing colors. Although in hindsight we should have halved the recipe to accommodate for the number of cookies, we made enough to coat about three times the amount that had been baked.

Mix mix mix!! Kael loved being an active participant in the kitchen. A lot of the meals and various baked goods I make aren't very kid-friendly (hot stoves, sharp knives, precise measurements) so it was nice to have him involved and enjoying it.

It's time to ice the cookies! Someone is excited!

Sugar, sugar

Posted on | Friday, November 26, 2010 | 1 Comment

As it is rather late, this might come out a tad bit disjointed, but somewhere in the recesses of my brain it seems logical to post about baking sugar cookies today so I have room to blog about icing them tomorrow.

Shush, my logic is not your logic.

Either way, the sugar cookies were a success! A rather yummy success I might add. Although there were several moments of panic on my part as I questioned whether or not baking sugar cookies without my Grandmother's guidance was a good idea. I also thought more than once, "Oh God, oh God, I ruined them! I don't know what I did but I --- oh wait, never mind. It's okay."

We/I used the Joy of Baking cookie recipe. Joy is my go-to gal for all things doused in flour and delicious. If you ever need inspiration check her out. Or Bakerella. She's fab too. And her cake pops are friggin' adorable.

Anyways. Cookies! This was the trial run for my brand new mixer, and I must say it did the job nicely. And it was far easier (and less messy) than mixing by hand. Hooray! Although trying to figure out how to properly cream butter without a hand whisk was a definite learning experience.

Two sticks of butter, one cup of sugar. "Mix until fluffy." So far so good.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...


It's Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This means two things: Firstly, that people who are truly insane will wait in line at 3am for retail stores to open and go on crazed shopping sprees; Secondly, that it is officially acceptable to put up one's Christmas tree and decorations without the backlashing scorn of neighbors and friends.

(Never mind that these photos were taken on a Wednesday afternoon, I waited until today to post them on my blog)

Our first stop of the day was to Target. It was mostly to watch the massive assemblage of people clamoring for the last can of Who Hash cranberry sauce. Although the fact that the Target nearest to our house has a built in Starbucks was definitely an added bonus. While meandering through the aisles we took a detour to look at Christmas decorations. Can you believe they are selling taffy by the yard?! Holy cow.

We also perused the lawn ornaments of varying lights, colors, and sizes. There are plans to become the house on the block that everyone wants to see, according to Alex. This makes me ridiculously excited. Christmas makes my heart 'splode with happiness.

Alex is excite at the prospect of owning exceedingly shiny ornaments.

Hee. It took much self restraint not to purchase this for myself. We tried to find an Elephant ornament, but sadly there were none. They had bears, fish, a camel, and frogs. But no pachyderms. WHAT KIND OF STORE IS THIS?

Gobble gobble!

Posted on | Thursday, November 25, 2010 | 2 Comments

We went. We talked. We ate food.

It was glorious.

Alex said he had never really gone to a huge gathering for the holidays and it was nice to be surrounded by so many people who were all in high spirits. Being an only child myself I haven't experienced huge Thanksgiving dinners except for a handful of times. It definitely made the day that much more enjoyable, even if I ate waaaaay too much food.

The trip to the house was also rather eventful.

On our way to Thanksgiving dinner we happened upon a telephone booth. In all fairness it was Alex who spotted it. Regardless, it was a phone booth. A phone booth! Out in the middle of no where. My first thought was "It's a dilapidated Tardis! Where's the Doctor??" Alex's? "Huh. Bill and Ted must've been here. Nah, they'd need a flux capacitator for adequate time travel these days."
It was a sad, sad phone booth. It even had a rotary dial. I wanted to see if it still worked but the doors had partly rusted shut. One of life's unanswered mysteries.
Photographic evidence of us witnessing the Tardis-Bill-and-Ted's-Most-Excellent-Flux-Capacitator. Please ignore my goof face. My excuse for such an expression is that it was ridiculously cold outside and I was hungry enough to eat my left arm.


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It's Thanksgiving here, and in a few short hours Alex, Kael, and I will be joining friends and family in the yearly celebration. Although I know that I will be posting a million pictures of turkey and pie and people by this evening I feel I should take a moment to list the things I am truly thankful for. Because Thanksgiving isn't about the food, or the football, or the excuse to use my camera. It's a reminder of the things that really matter.

This year I am thankful for:

My almost-husbeast Alexander--Elephant, my wonderful, wonderful man. You love and respect me, you remind me to laugh (even at myself), share every silly giddy moment with me, and value every part of the person I am. I've let you know the real me, and I know I can always be myself around you. I'm so blessed to have found you.
My amazing son Kael--My darling boy who is growing up so fast. I am so blessed to be your mother. You have inspired me to be far more than I could ever imagined. Made me strong, proven that I can do things far bigger than I ever thought possible. You've taught me patience, and to value each moment I have because I know that in a moment I will blink and you will be grown.
My incredible friends--Each and every one of you, even those who don't read this blog, I love you. My guiding light when things were darkest and my laughter and hope when I need it most. I would be lost without such amazing friends, I love each of you. You are so much more than I deserve.
My wonderful family--Even though I come from a big family I still feel like I am connected to each and every one of you. When I was younger I didn't fully realize how valuable and special having family really was, and I'm so thankful that all of you were patient enough for me to realize and truly appreciate what a gift family is.
My tiny home--Even though I have had issues with the apartment I live in I continually remind myself that many are not even blessed with a house to live in, or running water, or heat. Who am I to complain when I have all of these and more. It is something worth remembering.
My rather interesting job--I sometimes wish I had more hours, or at least that I was given more credit for the work I do; but even with all of that I am so lucky to be employed in this economy. That it is a job that my body can physically manage. It can be horribly stressful, but I am lucky to have it. In comparison to many jobs I've held this is a blessing.
My so-so health--Even though I have gotten sick often this year it has still been a mild for my autoimmune disease. It's hard for me to be thankful for my disabilities, but reminding myself that I haven't needed to go to the ER or Urgent Care this season is an accomplishment, and one to be thankful for.


I fangirled so hard I exploded into glitter and galleons

Posted on | Monday, November 22, 2010 | 2 Comments

Today Alex and I went to see Harry Potter. I fully admit to squeeing like an under-age fangirl hyped up on redbull and chocolate. I even got a wand. And practiced Wingardium Leviosa (remember, swish and flick!) while waiting for the movie to start.

Yes, I am serious.

I also had to explain what was happening in the film every fifteen minutes to Alex. READ THE BOOKS YOU SILLY MAN!

It was absolutely fabulous. I want to curl up and read the series all over again.

See! They had wands! And the best part? All the money goes toward the Miracle Network and Make a Wish Foundation. Buy something nifty while doing a good deed? Double awesome!

Dos Cosas

Posted on | Sunday, November 21, 2010 | 3 Comments

Two mega-squee things happened in the past 48 hours.

Thing 1.) I got flowers. And not just any flowers. They are handcrafted metal flowers that Alex made just for me. Because he is just that awesome and super-duper.

Boom de yada, boom de yada...

Posted on | Saturday, November 20, 2010 | 1 Comment

There is an excessive quantity of glee in the Team Herbitter household this week.

Why, might you ask?

Squee face.


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.