Thursday, November 28, 2013

50 Things I'm Thankful For v. 2013

This Thanksgiving has been quite different for me. I confess I haven't been terribly excited for it, mostly because I'm just tired. It's a pivotal moment in the checklist of things-that-happen-before-the-baby-comes though, so in that sense I've been really anxious for it to come. Plus, I really, really wanted to eat the smoked turkey Jim was making on the BBQ. He's pretty much the most awesome person ever and I love that he cooks such delicious food. I'm one lucky girl.

This week the kitchen has gradually worn me down. First, I was making pasta dough and the bottom part of the kitchen aid that holds the beater completely fell off into the bowl. Since this piece is compression fit at the factory there is no quick and easy fix. The part has to be ordered and then there is the labor to swap it out. It's going to be more than a hundred dollars to fix (but still less than the price of a new mixer) and is rather disappointing. I admit to feeling a surge of relief that there is a reason to not over commit myself to some mysterious baking agenda and have been much more accepting of the damage.

Then I tried to make a salted caramel tart, the base of which is a graham cracker crust. Long story short, I took a perfect crust out of the oven and set it on a burner to cool. In my haste to make the filling I turned on the wrong stove burner and didn't notice it until the crust, and the parchment beneath it, were on the verge of flames. That was definitely not what I hoped my house would smell like on Thanksgiving.

After that I ended up burning the caramel filling beyond recognition. When I decided to make a pumpkin mousse filling instead (since I didn't really have ingredients left for much else) I found that one of the beaters to my hand mixer had completely come apart. Have you tried to beat anything with only one beater? It is hardly effective, to say the least.

I ended up trying to make a filling using the dough hooks for the hand mixer and while the end result was fairly tasty, the consistency was not what I hoped and it seemed like a mediocre standby to me. I blame pregnancy brain, even if that's a cheap shot. I can't seriously be this goofed up on my own. The thought that this accurately represents my kitchen competency is too much for me to bear.

I've been in a bit of a sick-of-being-pregnant funk lately so it's about time I begin this year's list. Remembering how much I have to be thankful for always helps me refocus.

50 Things I'm Thankful For v. 2013

  1. A healthy body. It may not always do what I want without protest, but I'm so thankful for it and the capabilities I have as a result
  2. Getting kicked in the ribs, and the way it reminds me every day what a miracle it is to grow a person
  3. Lindor Dark Chocolate Truffles
  4. A husband who is far and away a better match for me than I ever dreamed I would find 
  5. Two beautiful girls, who keep me on my toes and challenge me in every possible way 
  6. Getting to be nursery leader at church for the better part of this year. I miss it every single week
  7. Living in a place that is naturally green and beyond description beautiful 
  8. Kite flying at the coast
  9. Date nights with my husband, where we can pretend for a time that outside demands are non-existent 
  10. Artistic, creative friends who continually inspire and motivate me to indulge my own creative sensibilities
  11. Health Insurance
  12. Pillows. Lots and lots of pillows 
  13. Hot water heaters; my favorite invention of all time
  14. Hand-me-down baby clothes 
  15. The power of sunshine to heal the soul
  16. A mother who let me know beyond a shadow of doubt that I was the most important thing in her world 
  17. Access to our apartment community room for whatever gathering we feel like planning 
  18. Target clearance sales
  19. Walking away from a gorgeous marble cake plate on clearance at Target just this week
  20. My iphone still working, even though I dropped it in water and had a minor panic attack 
  21. The many National Park adventures the hubs and I have been able to have 
  22. The ability to pursue education
  23. Selling things on Craigslist and feeling like less of a slave to material possessions 
  24. Having a dishwasher 
  25. Mandatory recycling
  26. Vitamin Water
  27. Warm baths
  28. Pinterest, now that I've learned how to use it without letting it suck my life away
  29. Sweet Life Patisserie
  30. Beautiful cake plates
  31. Wild daffodils growing along I-5
  32. The Eugene Celebration parade
  33. Amazing friends we've met in grad school
  34. Learning that my camera and lens have limitations, meaning that the barriers to getting the shots I want are not all operator error
  35. Super Saturday
  36. The extreme diversity of this beautiful planet
  37. Opportunities to meet people from all over the world in student housing, and consequently to learn about how very many things I take for granted living in the United States
  38. Lotion
  39. Fleece blankets
  40. Bicycle traffic lights
  41. Clean water to drink
  42. Having never wondered where my family would find their next meal 
  43. Family bike rides in the summer
  44. Leather boots
  45. Three pairs of glasses in the right prescription, so there is always a style to fit my mood or a pair to wear when I misplace one of the others
  46. Banana Republic Visa card rewards
  47. Bird songs at any time of day along the Amazon Parkway Trail
  48. Ice cold drinking water
  49. Picking berries with my family
  50. Faith 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lorax

Oh my goodness, I remember being a kid and being in little plays at school. Most notably was one in 6th grade where I was the wife of the lion king and I had to get mad at him about something or another. That's about all I can remember about the play other than I wore my favorite (ever) Easter dress. Tonight, I got to sit on the other end and watch the joy unfold on the faces of little people.

Aeryn's school is rather unique in that they have a homeroom class for language arts, then they do project classes that mix students and teachers of various grades as well as have a community time which is also inter-grade. Aeryn has learned about mythology, built rockets, learned about rumba music and dance, written poetry, and many other things in the project class time. It's really a neat way for the teachers to explore something they have a personal connection to and may not have a lot of time to dedicate to in class. The kids get exposure to a wide range of people and experiences, and frankly it's a lot of fun.

Her current project class has been putting together a play of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax and tonight was their performance.

She has been a bit spazzy due to the excitement of it.  I can't say I blame her, but I do think when I got upset this afternoon because she was stuffing clean clothes under the bed instead of putting them on hangars it all went in one ear and out the other because she was so preoccupied.

She got to be a Barbaloot. They crawled around the Truffula Tree forest eating fruit from the trees. Until the trees were chopped down, of course, and then all the Barbaloots got to become Thneed knitters.

She painted the mask this afternoon and we dried it in the oven so she could wear it tonight. She is also wearing a maternity dress a friend gave me because we didn't have any other brown clothes. She didn't care at all... when I finally told her (after the play) that it was a pregnant-lady-dress, she got far more excited than I care to remember. It reminded me of earlier today when I allowed myself to look through the drawers of my non-maternity clothes and I was beyond excited about how cute they are. It's funny how not wearing things for 6 months has made them all so much more appealing.

Throughout the play she had a big smile on her face. It was great to see her so happy! I've wondered if theater might be something she pursues in middle and high school and even though there is no way to tell at this point, it sure looked like she was having an amazing time. The fact that she asked at least two dozen times afterward "was it awesome, mom?" just confirms that.

I love this motherhood thing. I know that being a parent isn't for everyone and not all parents are as sappy as I am, but goodness gracious this is so awesomely rewarding.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Sometimes I still can't believe there's a little man coming to our family. Even with the swelling, waking up several times per night, exhaustion, and just plain getting huge, it sometimes feels like it's all in my head and it will never actually happen. Today though, it has felt more real. In large part because of this:

Some of my friends threw a baby shower today for my friend Karen and I. We are due about 5 weeks apart and I'd been planning a shower for her a few weeks ago, but unforeseen circumstances caused it to be delayed. I'd been so worried about making sure she got a shower that when the hosts asked if we minded that they be combined, she and I chatted and decided that would be a lot of fun.

It was.

The decorations were gorgeous, the food was fantastic, and the company even better. 

I never had a baby shower for Aeryn. My office brought in a cake one day and surprised me with a little party, and the employees at the post office even surprised me with a cake one day. Does that tell you how often I was in the post office? I didn't have many real friends at that time and the only people I really knew well were my colleagues. The idea of friends throwing me a party was truly a little overwhelming. I was glad it turned into a double shower so the attention wasn't only on me. 


I can't describe how lucky I feel. Through generous gifts, hand-me-downs, and Craigslist, I'm feeling like little man is well covered as he comes into the world. Not only are the essentials going to be covered, but some of the things I really hoped to have too. It may be the hormones, but I want to cry every time I think about how blessed I am. 

I sent Aeryn off with my phone and asked her to take pictures of some of the people at the shower. This is what I ended up with:

At least I will always remember my friends' cute kids. The rest of the guests I'll have to commit to memory. Honestly, I feel so spoiled and loved. It was amazing. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


This year I got to make Squirt's costume. After her batgirl costume a couple years ago I swore I wasn't going to do that again, but the opportunity arose and I am glad it did. We ended up with a 9 day notice that we were going to make one.  That may sound like ample time, but since I typically make her finalize her choice by October 1st it left me feeling crazy anxious.

She is on a mythology kick, thanks to reading the Goddess Girls series. So far Persephone and Aphrodite are her favorites. Last year she was in a play of Persephone and Demeter at school so that may have contributed as well. Long story short, she chose to be Aphrodite this year, in large part due to the fact that the Aphrodite costumes we saw online had pink scarves while Persephone had purple. 

We were headed to the 5th street Haunted Market on the 30th for October visiting teaching, and I snapped a couple quick photos with my phone thinking I could get better ones on Halloween once I helped her with "makeup" and we spent more time getting ready. This turns out to be the best I got, and it's a good thing I did since the costume was never fully put together again. 

The 5th Street Market has a shop that specializes in African imports. We took this picture so that Aeryn could stand next to the giraffe... since she loves giraffes. She has off and on called them her favorite animals since she could speak, but really, anything with four legs and a pulse is likely her favorite.

I was able to whip it up better than anticipated, though I learned in the process that I HATE SEWING SLEEVES and am clearly not a seamstress. I can fare well enough for crafts and decor, getting quite particular and perfectionist like, but when it comes to clothing I am a wreck. I found a dress pattern for $0.99 and used a white sheet I already had on hand for the dress, then bought 1.5 yards of pink fabric at $2/yard so as far as costumes go this was about as cheap as it comes, unless, you know, you already have everything on hand. 

For the first time since we moved here, kids were allowed to wear costumes to school on Halloween. I showed up in the morning to watch the costume parade. It ended in the gym where the kids all did the monster mash. For as much as Aeryn says she doesn't want to take a dance class, she sure loves to dance. She threw her soul into that even though most of the other kids around her wanted nothing to do with it.

I love that she's made it to fifth grade without getting embarrassed to have me around. I'm sure that is just around the corner though.

In losing her BFF from last year to another school (which I'm actually not too sad about) she has made new friends. This is the girl of the hour. It sounds like they play at recess most days. 

Kids changed out of their costumes after the school parade, and as fate would have it, she left all the sparkly adornments in her desk. At least the dress and scarf made it home! We improvised with one of my scarves tied around her waist but the glitzy part of the costume has yet to reappear.

Once again she went trick-or-treating without me. I can't decide if I like that or not. She came home with quite the stash, and I'm proud to say the only thing I've eaten was three rolls of smarties that she said she didn't want. 

I'd say it was a successful holiday.