Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh the Drama!

I bet you think I'm talking about L O S T.  I'm not.  I actually haven't seen it yet so don't spoil it for me.  I'm in a media black out today until I can get home and watch it.  Want to know why...I bet you do.  I bet you are so antsy to know why I missed the biggest TV event of the year because you know I love TV.

Well, I had a fun filled weekend with my sister and her 4 kids in Boston.  I've been looking forward to this trip for months.  It was supposed to be me and Ainsley going.  We were going to take advantage of the lap child rule one last time.  It was going to be so fun to spend the weekend watching our kids play together and enjoying time with Nana and Papa. 

But things never go as you plan.  We put Ainsley to bed on Tuesday night and I thought I heard her cough.  I got nervous because I knew I didn't want a sick kid this weekend.  I heard her cough again and I thought that was a strange cough I should go check on her.  So I did at 9:45.  Turns out she wasn't coughing.  She was throwing up.  She was covered.  The bed was covered.  It was a mess.  But I was thankful she didn't sleep in it like last time.  After a quick sleepy bath and a sheet change she was back in bed (actually the pack and play since it's easier to clean up) only to puke once more but not as bad. 

Ryan stayed home with her on Wednesday.  She seemed to be doing well.  Then she woke up from her nap and got Ryan with a direct hit.  By Thursday she was fine.  We debated and debated on whether to bring her anyway.  There were pros and cons.  Everyone had an opinion.  It was a major distraction at work on Thursday.  I don't actually know if I did any work and I have to take some time today to figure that out!  There were tears and frustration. It felt like a big family drama.

So I packed our bags and made a decision that she was coming with me.  By the time I got on the plane it would have been 40 hours with no incidents.  That felt safe but I was still nervous.  So I prayed. I prayed that if I wasn't supposed to take her with me that it would be clear. 

And it was clear.  I woke up on Friday to catch the plane.  I got myself ready.  I went in to get Ainsely up and ready and there she was covered in puke.  Clear as day.  I was so disappointed. 

So I got on a plane and flew to Boston by myself. I read a book and drank coffee on the plane.   I had a great time with my sister and her 4 kids.  I enjoyed my time with Nana and Papa.  I was really able to focus on the reason I was there.  My nephew, Anthony, received his first communion.  He took it very seriously and I couldn't be more proud.  He really is a wonderful kid.  There are some great pictures of me and him but they are on my sisters camera.  But I must say he is the cutest little boy I know.  And his heart is made of pure gold. 

And I was supposed to be back by 8:45 last night.  In time to watch L O S T.  But USAirways sucks and so I didn't get home until 11.  So now I'm on a media blackout after I hit post. I hope it's worth it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Affirm Me

When I was in high school I was applying to work at a camp.  A youth pastor filled out a recommendation for me.  I read it before he sent it.  He mentioned in it that I had a need to be affirmed.  While that was true, and still is, it was a recommendation and wasn't the place for a constructive criticism. 

Fast forward to now.  I am still incredibly insecure.  I need to be affirmed.  I need people to like me and approve of my choices. 

For example, I want people to like my house.  I recently posted about my kitchen and my new table and my desire to have a big girl house.  I bought a new table and a new chalkboard for my kitchen.  I was proud of my choices, yet I wanted people to see them and tell me how much they liked them. 

I invited my family over to our house after an evening at a restaurant the other day.  Everyone had somewhere else to go.  I told Ryan I was upset with them for not wanting to come over.  It wasn't that I wanted to spend more time with them (while that would have been fun).  It was that I wanted them to come over and see my new table and my new chalkboard and my freshly planted flowers and rave at how much they loved my choices.

To further obsess over these new choices, I posted a picture of my new chalkboard on Facebook.  I asked for honest opinions but really what I wanted was to be affirmed in the choice that I made.  I wanted to see the comments flow about how great of a piece it was.  My father in law posted that he didn't like it.  I was crushed.  I got defensive and fired off a comment back to him out of anger.  But he was just telling me his honest I asked. 

So here I sit today.  Loving my house.  Loving my choices.  Loving my table.  Loving my chalkboard.  Yet I need people to tell me they love it too.  I wish I knew why.  I wish I knew how to be secure in my choices.

Really what it is all about is me wanting to be loved.  I'm not sure why I feel loved by words but I do.  And so now I'm resting on these words of love that our pastor shared with us the other day.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4: 10

And I can be secure in that. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where Have You Been All My Vegetarian Life?

I have always been under the impression that I don't like eggplant.  My dad never liked it and was very verbal about it when I was growing up.  My mom never made it.  So I just assumed I didn't like it. 

Then I ate it at my father in law's house because it was all there was.  Shockingly, I loved it.  I mean what vegetarian doesn't like eggplant?  But I have been scared to make it at home.  I have no idea what I'm doing with it.  I have no clue how to even pick one or prepare it. 

But I have challenged myself to branch out.  And so I bought one.  And I got it home and it sat in my fridge for almost a week.  I had no idea what to do with it.  So I pulled out all my cookbooks.  And yes I mean all of them, even the ones that I haven't opened in years.  I didn't find anything that sounded awesome so I took a little for this and a little of that and made up my own recipe. 

Baked Eggplant Pasta with Goat Cheese

Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion
1 Medium Red Pepper
1 Package Mushrooms
White Wine
1/2 Tsp Thyme
Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper
1 Can (the big one) Crushed Tomatoes
1 Eggplant
1 lb Pasta cooked aldente
1-2 oz soft goat cheese
Fresh Basil

Cut the Eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds then again into smaller strips. Salt it.  Leave it be while you make the sauce

Make a red sauce by cooking the onions, peppers, and Mushrooms.  Once they are well cooked, add the garlic.  Cook for 1 - 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of white wine and scrape all the garlic off the bottom of the pan.  Add the Crushed Tomatoes, Thyme, Red Pepper Flakes, salt, and Pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

While that simmers, stir fry the eggplant in a pan with olive oil.  Once it is nice and tender, put it in the sauce. Let it cook for 15 - 20 minutes while you cook the pasta. (And if you are wondering, I modified my picture to cut out the crumbs that were on my stove from a previous meal.  Saying that I'm a messy cook is an understatement)

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce pot.  Add the goat cheese and stir really well.  Just that little bit will make this dish so creamy and delicious!

Transfer it all to a 13x9 and sprinkle the top with fresh basil (mine came from the garden).  Cover it with foil and cook it at 375 for 15 minutes. 

Enjoy.  If you have any suggestions of what I should do with eggplant, please let me know!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Big Girl House

Lately I've been feeling like my house isn't a grown up house.  I am not really sure why because we have a lot of nice things.  We just remodeled our kitchen as well. But I go into other people's homes and I feel like our home is inadequate.  I know comparison is a horrible thing and I really shouldn't do it.  If you have any tricks on how not to do it, please let me know.

I think one of the main causes of this feeling for me has been our kitchen table.  We have slowly been ridding our home of our college furniture and I believe with the purchase of a new kitchen table we are finally done.

We have gone from college...

To a temporary stop back in middle school...

To a Big Girl House...

With the transition we are also putting away the high chair.  Just another sign that my baby isn't a baby anymore.  I think a toddler is another sign that I'm a big girl now. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

So Sweet

I was planning on posting another recipe today but I'm not going to because it didn't turn out very well. That's all part of experimenting with the kitchen but I was still highly disappointed. Black bean cakes with homemade guacamole and dirty rice.  Sounds good right?  Looks good right?

Not this time.  The rice was crunchy and not cooked.  The black bean cakes were dry and too strong in spice.  The guacamole was at least good but that's not enough to post about.  (Side note, I have successully made these black bean cakes before and they were good.  I have no idea what happened)
So instead I'm going to show you what came out of this....
And the best part is that it's just the beginning of a long summer of fresh fruits and veggies.  I can hardly wait.

Monday, May 3, 2010

All The Real Tatas Were Elsewhere

I told you the other day that I was getting ready to do a 5K.  It was this past Saturday and I ran it with my friends Heather and Leah.  As I mentioned before, I'm competitive (not with the masses, but more with myself).

The race we ran in was to raise money for Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test.  The real race for breast cancer, The Race for the Cure,  was run in the neighboring town so most of the real women racers were there.  That kind of helped me because our race was not as full of the really competitive strong women.

I am not sure why I was so nervous, but I was.  I didn't sleep more than 4 hours the night before.  I was just really freaking myself out.  Originally I wanted to run the race in less than 29 minutes.  I psyched myself out so much that by the time race day came, I was going to be happy if I came in at around 30 minutes.  It didnt' help that I worked digging in my yard for 2.5 hours the day before, but that's hindsight.

So the race went off and I did ok. I didn't push myself like I probably should have but I thought I was doing ok.  Then I came over the finish line at 32:10.  WHAT?  Are you kidding.  Was I walking?  I didn't think so.

Afterwards I was speaking with an event staff and I was told that even the faster runners were not happy with their times and that they thought the course was too long.  I felt a little better.  Better enough to enjoy the rest of the race day with my friends.  We even found this really great sign across the street.

The girls and I went to breakfast at IHOP afterwards and I threw health to the wind and ordered Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  And they were good. 

And me being me, I went back later and clocked the race.  It was 3.3 miles instead of 3.1 miles (or 5.3K instead of 5K).  And if you work my time out, that means my time would have been 30:13.  Still not great but a whole lot more respectable. 

Overall, it was a success and memories were made.  And they raised $9000 for the cause.  And that's the important part.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What Happened to April

I read a couple of blogs that do lists of the good things that happened each day of the month.  I find them entirely interesting and wondered if I could come up with a good thing every day during the month.  It seems so often we dwell on the negatives so I wanted to try and focus on the positives. 

I'm really glad I took the time to write all this down.  It is a great reminder of all the wonderful things that happened this month; some big, some small.  I'm especially greatful as I sit here on a Sunday afternoon while Ryan is visiting his grandmother who was rushed to the hospital this morning with congestive heart failure.  It's a nice distraction.

1 - Mom and Dad arrive for a weekend visit.

2 - Dinner at Ryan's Dad's house with his family and my parents. Good food, good wine, good times
3 - Trip to the NC zoo. Loved the giraffes the most
4 - He is Risen! Hosted Brunch with both of our families. A new tradition
5 - AC broken at work…burned extra calories while I worked
6 - Melissa kicked off the Biggest Loser AGAIN. Yea!
7 - First Pee Pee in the potty for Ainsley.
8 - Afternoon coffee as the temperature dropped
9 - Had wonderful friends over for a wonderful evening filled with much happiness
10 - Bought some new flowers for my front porch after having skipped it last year
11 - Great run through the woods by myself with just my headphones on
12 - Shopped for a kitchen table. Ideas begin to flow of what I want. Made a new soup recipe for dinner. Yum
13 - Led a training session at work. Nobody complained about change.
14 - Good run on a cooler day.
15 - Went to the Tea Party downtown with Ryan and Ainsley. I love instilling values in our youth
16 - Had a play date with Logan. Only one minor incident with no major injuries
17 - Picked out a great table for our kitchen at Furniture Market
18 - Went to see my friends' new house and let my creative decorating juices flow for them
19 - Enjoyed a nice glass of wine after a busy day
20 - Enjoyed another episode of Biggest Loser. That show makes me smile, especially since Michael looks more and more like Luigi every week.
21 - Great run while my neighbor watched Ainsley. Planted the remainder of the garden
22 - Survived my first puke incident as a mother. For anyone who knows me that's a major accomplishment
23 - Drove to DC to spend the weekend with my oldest friend Kate and her husband
24 - Saw many of the sights of DC including the White House and many of the monuments on the Mall
25 - Sara Groves concert at church. Awesome! Ran into old friends from college who we haven't seen in a really long time
26 - 7 Orders to run for Renewed Health Supply. Thankful to have a home based business that's still growing after 12 years.
27 - Received the best compliment from my husband. How my soul is filled
28 - Rid my house of the last remaining college furniture, my kitchen table. The new one should be here within a week.
29 - Met the last of Anne's 4 children . Anne's family has become my family. I love having someone take care of my child that is family.
30 - Dug up the dirt and grass around my mailbox and planted some beautiful flowers. Such a welcome as I drive up to my house (probably not the best 5K prep but that's another post altogether)

I encourage you to take the 2 minutes everyday to write down the positives.  It's a great exercise and a really fun way to remember the month after it has flown by.  Expect more of these in the future.  
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