Thursday, December 30, 2010

Love Came Down at Christmas by Christina Rossetti

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;

Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;

Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


oh my, it seems child #2 has descended into the lower reaches of my abdomen. At only 33 weeks it seems quite early for "lightening" and we'll know for sure at my doctors appointment on Tuesday if in fact this sensation is the kiddo dropping or not.
I maintain that it is because all day today the pressure in my lower regions has been incredible, I forgot all about that little bit of fun. I also am peeing roughly every 45 to 50 minutes.
But truly the miracle in all this is the oxygen. The beautiful lung filling air that I have been breathing deeply of since 8 this morning. So much so that my husband posited that perhaps I was high.
We are settling in for the non-stop week that is our Christmas week, keeping our eyes on the prize that is the 2nd week of January when everything finally calms down. Having a husband in ministry means I am a "Christmas widow" but this year we have lots of visiting friends and family to keep me occupied. :)
This last month means a lot of changes for us, so I am hoping that the smallest member of our family stays put for a while and lets us catch our collective breath!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Various and Sundry Presents from the kitchen

you can ignore this or place your order!

Spiced Hot Cocoa Mix

Apple Cranberry Sparkler hand pies

Tart Cherry or Blueberry Scones

Brown Sugar Shortbreads

Gingerbread Ladies

Tea Cookies

Caramel Sea Salt Brownies

Girl Trap Chocolate Peanut Butter kisses

Dulce De Leche

Peasant Bread

Cheese Crisps

Also I figure meal vouchers with a little sample menu attached wouldn't go awry...

Morning Music

the "you may have already seen these holiday gems on Facebook" edition

Song for a Winter's Night by Sarah McLachlan, a seasonal favorite of mine...

Can I Interest You In Hannukah? from Stephen Colbert's Christmas Special...hilarious.

Christmas Song by Dave Matthew Band...just discovered this one and I absolutely love it...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29th. 7:30 pm

My posting here has been sporadic. I know why (I want to spend as much time as possible with my only child while he's still an only child) but I thought I should at least post a little tiny week to week, just to keep track of this insane journey. O shudder to think of how giant my belly will be in 10 weeks if this is how big I am now!

Colin is still the amazingly brilliant, hilariously funny, totally creative kiddo he has been. His personality shines, and while we have power struggles now and then (oh LORD don't get me started on the nightmare that has been potty training), he is overall just a joy to hang out with. He's got strong opinions and is fairly shy, so it takes him a little bit to warm up to people. But once he's warm, you're in. He has been quite enjoying the attention from the college kids we minister to at church. The story of how we found his godfather, an amazing 20 year old guy that Colin calls "Mr. Sean" and who has been unfailingly loving and awesome with my kid, is a funny story in and of itself, but suffice it to say the boys scoop him up and wrestle with him and the girls all want to kiss his face.
He loves building things and is still narrating his play, he does voices now and it's so amazing. He has taken to repeating the most inopportune things so I have had to re-instate my swear jar, just to save our more delicate eared friends the horror of hearing a 3 year old drop an f bomb.

The most wretched bit of pregnancy has arrived. That space of time where most everything hurts as one's body stretches and bends to accommodate the little wiggle worm inside. Babylove is a kicker as opposed to a roller like his brother and the comparison has been amusing. He also seems to be on a specific schedule and it makes an easy going, schedule averse parent like myself nervous. Is this an indicator of a temperament? or just how this gestation is going to roll? It's lucky for my husband who knows to get out of the house before the 8:00 hormone induced meltdown occurs and he only has to hear it on the phone.
Good news came in the form of blood test results, my liver and gallbladder are functioning normally! So while I am still fairly itchy I know that I am also processing toxins like a champ! WOOOO!

Of late I have been fretting over our name choice. This has hit once or twice since we decided and I know it's because in not telling people the name I don't get the constant feedback I like to have. Not that it would change my mind one way or the other I just like to see how people react to the name we have chosen to know how they will react for the rest of his life. Luke finds it amusing and irritating but goes with it, voting on the new names and steering me back to the one we both really do love. The middle name is kicking my ass, I just can't settle...I guess it will have to wait until he arrives. And maybe then it will all be clear.

I hope you all have had a marvelous holiday season kickoff with Thanksgiving. Ours was so low key we didn't even take pictures. We just enjoyed one another and a little Aggie pride when A&M defeated Texas soundly. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The numbers

Weeks along in the pregnancy: 29

Age of 1st child: 3 years, 7 months feels like however old a tornado or an earthquake is.

Age of mama: 28, feels like 115

Number of naps 1st child takes daily: 1 if I'm lucky

Number of naps I need to take daily: 7

Number of movies my kid has watched while I dozed on the couch next to him because being on my feet for longer than 10 minutes totally exhausts me: way to many to count

Attempts at potty training we are on: 3 (and surprisingly, I am not tearing my hair out)

My guess at the number of weeks I have left to tie my shoes by myself: 2

Number of creative contortions I have to employ to fall asleep at night: at least 5

Amounts of amusement I derive from the countless configurations our family takes as we share our giant bed (contents include, one very pregnant lady, one 3 and a half year old, one long suffering husband): massive

Ounces of water I drink daily to stave of Braxton Hicks: at least 70

Number of joints in my body that are incredibly painful at any moment of the day: at least 6

Weeks that have felt interminably long despite the arrival of my beloved cold weather: the last 3

The amount of irritation I feel at myself for ceaselessly bitching about being pregnant: infinite

Plans for Thanksgiving that involve Texas: 0 (tear.)

Plans for Thanksgiving that include anything: 0 (thank goodness)

Pies baked in the last month: 4

Pies I am planning on baking in the next month: 6

Cures for non-stop itching attempted: 10

Cures for non-stop itching that proved totally successful: 0

Number of pants I own that still fit me: 0

Number of pants that I borrowed that still fit me: 2/4

Degrees outside: a gorgeous 60

Price I am going to pay for a kids haircut today: $5 (yay!)

Number of weddings my husband will work in November and December: 8 (who knew that winter was such a popular wedding time in AZ?)

Number of weddings I will be at with my husband in November and December: 1

Number of amazing friends and family who have offered to watch Colin and give us date nights, naps, or adventures before the babylove comes along: Innumerable

Thing I have to be grateful for: COUNTLESS...

so now you're all caught up.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksgiving preparation

"Mr President, Christianity is not demonstrated through a recitation of facts. You're seeking evidence of faith. A whole hearted acceptance of God's promise of a better world. For we hold that man is justified by faith alone, is what St Paul said. Justified by faith alone, faith is the true shibboleth."

West Wing Episode: "Shibboleth"

no joke, this scene had both me and my husband in tears. It's a lovely lovely episode, from a lovely lovely show. That has never been replaced on TV.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For Sale

Selling our broke ass 1996 Honda Civic on Craigslist?
worst. spur of the moment. idea. EVER.
With one broken front brake, one rear taillight out, an interior that is shot to hell, and the fact that it has been parked on the side of our house for almost 6 months, we really couldn't in good conscience ask for more than like $800.
I listed it this morning after double checking with Luke that he wasn't just going to donate it. Within 20 minutes I got 10 emails. 3 of them wanted pictures of me in the pictures of the car (ew), 4 of them used text message shorthand to request information on the car that I couldn't actually decipher, and 2 of them just wrote "96 civic, call me, xxx-xxx-xxxx".
Oy vey.
Couple that with not actually knowing anything about cars and not wanting anyone to come over when Luke was not home, I did a lot of emailing and deleting this morning.
No buyers so far but if we can transfer title and get cash for this hunk of junk today I will not only be impressed but I'll be relieved.

9 PM update:
HEY! Look at that! For a lady who never really got the whole "capitalism ROCKS. Buy sell! Buy sell!" mindset, I get shit done! 9 hours from posting to sale (to a very nice young ASU student)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Morning Music

oh me oh my, this made my morning. I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Weepies. And this tune is so sweet...this video is marvelous!
It helps that I call my boys "honeypie" fairly often. Just the sweetest...

Monday, November 8, 2010


After a rough week last week for a variety of reasons (the incessant itching of my skin being high on the list, thanks random pregnancy weirdness!) I decided that I would begin my day with a little note:

Dear Today: Let's bring the awesome. Love, Meg

And sure enough, once I started focusing on the things that made my day awesome, it turned out that it was!
So without further ado, here is my list of awesome things that happened in my day thus far:

Awesome thing #1: Saving almost 50% on my groceries this morning.
Awesome thing #2: Sharing a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast with my little buddy
Awesome thing #3: my aforementioned little buddy jamming out to the Foo Fighters. He calls it the "bow bow song"
Awesome thing #4: measuring slightly smaller than my 27 weeks! Maybe this baby won't be ginormous!
Awesome thing #5: Taco Bell tacos.
Awesome thing #6: Cotton Candy leftover from the fair for a snack with the buddy.
Awesome thing #7: Dinner with two dear friends (one of whom is Colin's godfather!) tonight.
Awesome thing #8: Dinner will be delicious delicious Mexican food.
Awesome thing #9: At this very moment I do not hate my hair. This is subject to change.
Awesome thing #10: Luke got the buddy all ready to go whilst I wrote a blog post.

Thing with an awesomeness level that is to be determined: The results of my blood draw to test my bile salts. Turns out random itchiness on places other than one's pregnant belly (like one's palms! Or FACE! GAH!) are something to be looked at closely...I'll let you know what the outcome is. Probably it will be one of those times when my lovely doctor says: "you're going to want to kill me but it's not really anything we can do anything about so just look forward to February" and then ducks as I chuck things at her. Poor dear.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"He's gonna a be a soccah playah! Yes he is!"

One of the best parts about being pregnant (who am I kidding? If you're me it's like the only good part aside from the whole baby thing....oh and the fact that my grays fall out) is feeling the baby move.
I love laying down and watching my belly jump and shudder, knowing that in a couple months it will roll like the ocean at all times day or night (if this little guy is anything like his brother). A couple of the college aged boys at our church have felt Internal Son kick and have expressed awe and alarm at it. "It's like an alien! It's so cool!" (as a side note: I have enjoyed being able to share this pregnancy with them, the young men at our church are proving to be gentle souls who really love the little ones. I am so thrilled to see the college girls I mentor dating such good guys. Because let's face it, a guy who thinks a baby kicking is cool and who will listen to a three year old babble for a half hour without shushing him are really good guys) And all my girls, college aged and 8th graders, put their hands on my belly whenever it is around just for a chance to feel the little guy say hello. Luke loves talking to him and watching him respond, and even Colin has warmed up to the idea and cuddles up next to his kicking belly brother at night.
Internal Son is a kicker, whereas Colin was a roller. It's been fun to compare and contrast the two and I am really looking forward to the next couple of months as he grows and stretches and runs out of room in there!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Pie Distraction

photo via Flick User Cobalt123
I forgot to post yesterday. I have been a bit stalled out creatively and since the weather has been nice (ok, yesterday it was nice) I haven't wanted to be sitting in front of the computer. sigh.
Let me make it up to you with a story:
About a week ago I applied on a whim to make pies for a local restaurant/vintage shop. I did this because I quite like making pies (and quiche and whatnot) and assumed I would never hear from them because I am not at all a professional pastry chef. Not by anyone's stretched imagination.
Imagine my surprise when they called me Thursday night and asked me to come down to interview for the position! I gathered up some recipes and wore comfortable clothes and prepared to tell them that yes I was 6 months pregnant but luckily baking is something I can do (and do often at home!) up to and after I have the baby! Woo!
I drove to the most awesome converted warehouse space just south of the big ballpark in downtown Phoenix. Inside I found a very harried building manager and heaps of gorgeous vintage clothes, an old school gym, a soda fountain, and an Airstream trailer that housed a full kitchen...amongst other awesomeness.
I spoke very briefly to the building manager who has been making the desserts. As it turns out she needs someone to take that job from her so she can do her 1,000,000 other duties. I spoke to the kitchen manager who was a lovely man who really thought I could do the job and liked my style and showed me the whole space.
As it turns out they are just a bunch of people who have a passion for this and are trying to make it work. None of them are professional chefs, have ever run a restaurant, let alone an indie mini-mall (it will eventually house a local flower shop, a record store and another clothing section...and of course a pie shop!) and they are looking for someone with just as little experience and just as much passion as them to do it too!
The kitchen manager told me I was at the top of the list for the letter I sent along with my resume (which is WOEFULLY short on food service experience). That they would love to have me come in and try to do the job...once they nail down what the job is. But they want my help with that too.
So I am going back to The Duce, hopefully the next week, to talk with the owners of the building and the building manager again. To try and figure out what they would pay me, when I would work there, and how I can help them become a force to be reckoned with in the downtown scene.
And truthfully? If it doesn't work out, I will totally patronize them anyway, they have awesome stuff and their food is to die for! If you're in downtown Phoenix anytime, go check them out, try the lemonade (holy delicious), pick up some vintage clothes or have a burger and check out the sign for "The Pie Whole" on your way out, it's next to the coffee shop...maybe that will be my space! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


516 words in and my 5th attempt at NaNoWriMo is stalled out. bah.
Maybe if the shortest external member of our family would take a nap and let me work in peace I'd have a chance. Here is what he does instead of quiet time. PLease excuse the state of my home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Belly!

a million thanks to Mama for the lend of the orange top, made the punkin belly seem like QUITE the punkin. It was terribly warm for our Halloween weekend, these were taken Saturday before embarking on an AWESOME Saturday adventure with Mama, Papa John and Colin. We had the best soy chai ever, did a little maternity shopping at a fabulous boutique, and enjoyed the Irish Cultural Center Fall Festival. If only downtown Phoenix wasn't super far from Luke's work. We'd move there and walk around enjoying the culture every single day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


this is the first midterm election I have failed to vote in since I have been able to vote. I almost cried when I realized I wasn't getting to the polls today. We vote in the PRIMARIES at our house, that's how crazy we are about doing our civic duty.


This means I don't get to complain about the government for 2 years. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with myself.

I hope you were not like me and made time in your day to get to your polling place and vote. My polling place offers free candy as an incentive. I personally vote because I have control issues and would like to see government run exactly the way I imagine it should. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Link Distractions...

the Where the hell did you get to? edition

Oh me oh my, I have been resting my typing fingers because this month I am going to attempt NaBloPoMo AND NaNoWriMo....because I have lost my ever loving mind. If you have no interest in my endeavors perhaps you would be more interested in this stuff?

Just in time for said endeavors (via Not Martha)

Yeah, this is going to be made and perfected in time for Thanksgiving because holy yum.

Lovely thoughts on being one of the many women (like me!) who don't all that much enjoy being pregnant...but who love their babies anyway.

SO. AWESOME. (via my friend Sam)

This is the best piece of trivia ever.

1001 books you must read before you die. Agree or disagree?

Lovely baby shower, wedding shower, or just every day present

I am making a version of this for the boys room before internal son arrives

Fabulously interesting blog

It's like the creators of this website are friends with me on Facebook and Twitter...

Want, want, want.

Also lots from here

Fascinating question. Several people point the asker tothe fabulous, "Lies My Teacher Told Me"

Still cranky? Here's a picture of our fierce Halloween lion.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Xavier Cross...October 21st 2010

Here, the trio of pregnant ladies (Heather, Kristen, and myself) act like stereotypical pregnant ladies and fan ourselves despite it being perfectly temperate.
Last night at about midnight, my phone buzzed. (I am on baby watch for a couple of people and have college aged girls with drama that I mentor so this is not in and of itself something that would make me gasp and bolt awake. Thank Heavens!)It was a text from my friend Heather. (Heather is the pregnant lady on the far left, also in grey)"We are in the hosp. and staying...looks like it's baby time!"
We have known Xavier was on his way for about a week now, she's been dilating and effacing and contracting and if nothing happened by Monday it was induction for her. I was overjoyed to see my friend spared the scourge of Pitocin, I was also overjoyed to have Baby X finally here...
See Xavier is a baby I feel very close to, he and the Bean would have been just about a week apart in age. When we lost the Bean, Heather took me aside and said "I wanted to tell you before we tell anyone else, because I am selfishly just heartbroken that you lost the baby, I was so excited to pregnant with you" This woman has been completely unselfish with her growing belly, with herself and her time. While I mourned for the Bean she made sure that I connected with Xavier, feeling his kicks and not laughing at me for assuming X had a special guardian angel in our Bean. She comforted me and spent time with me and was an amazing friend, despite having a a not quite 1 year old at home and working full time!
I am so thrilled to be able to go see them today, to meet the little boy who got to know my Bean before I ever got to. To meet the little boy who spent the latter half of his gestation bouncing in between his mama's lungs and bladder. The little boy who is his brother's Irish Twin (they are a year and a week or so apart! Holy Moly!). The boy who gave me such comfort in an incredibly hard time.

A million congratulations to Heather and Cody and Caden, and welcome welcome to Earth Xavier Cross...we are so glad you're here!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Morning Music

(same guy who did "Millionaire")

(Luke used to sing this song to me in the was so lovely to see it live a couple weeks ago and dance together to it)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Not so Terribly Hungry Tuesday

I have a sink full of dirty dishes and a whole mess of laundry and I just polished off the leftover mac and cheese we had for dinner last week that was in the fridge AND Colin is having a stereotypical toddler food day wherein all he wants is peanut butter bread, plain spaghetti noodles, and pieces of green apples (oh and cookies, always with the cookies). SO you'll forgive me if foodstuffs don't sound appealing currently:

However Dessert in the form of pumpkin pear crumble always sounds delicious.

Do you think I could convince the suddenly picky eater that combining breakfast and dinner in the form of spaghetti with bacon and eggs would be a marvelous option?

There are a ton of options for the lovely peaches Luke found for me at the grocery store, all available here from Farmyard a CSA and food sustainability program (I discovered them when doing research for my new major, I start school in September 2011!) that operates here in Phoenix.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Myself, Ohio, July 2006

Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?

Some Days by Billy Collins

Moday distractions....

Colin enjoys a superman swing, October 2010

Dear God, it's Monday again already? oy. vey. I am going to have 2 children before I know it. This morning I am cheating on my healthy eating by having cream in my coffee and a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie for breakfast...mmmm. It tastes like fall, and with our temperatures FINALLY dropping into the low 80s it feels like it! How are you celebrating this GORGEOUS season?

WE are baking pumpkin bread with the pumpkin mash we made last week.

I am really looking forward to the release of this book. Just in time for Thanksgiving, an opportunity to develop a simple sweet tradition of faith and gratefulness.

Meanwhile, my burgeoning belly is making it hard for me to tie my shoes. These lovely ballet slippers might make things easier AND more fashionable!

A sweet card if you're moving across country! Or even down the road... (via the ever fabulous Hither and Thither)

I want to hang this (or maybe a local version of it? oh! project idea!) in the boys room...LOVE IT.

Can I have a shopping spree in here?

And speaking of Mad Men...

LOVE this dress

Beautiful fall style

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Worn. Out.

photo by sister in law Julie, Luke and Me laying in the tall grass, November 2009

why the heck did yesterday feel like it was a week long? Was it the fact that the dog dragged a used pull up out of the trash and chewed it on the front rug making my living room smell like a port-a-potty? Was it the fact that I was frantically rushing around making last minute prep for a baby shower I'm hosting today? Was it the fact that my internal son (as I have been calling him) kept up the cramping experience all day? Was it the fact that I was late for my father's birthday party and had to greet a ton of people I didn't know all whilst corralling my 3 year old? Or all of the above?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15th, 11:30 am

Lately I have kept second guessing my math in regards to where I am in my pregnancy. "24 weeks" I say confidently, "6 months?! You're so tiny!" And then I have to do a quick recalculation because I think "6 MONTHS? That means I only have 3 left? WAIT! SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT HERE." But it is right. I am 24 weeks along and that means I have been pregnant for 6 months, and on some days I will tell you that yes. It feels like it, some days I will say "oh. shit. I have a baby coming in 3 months. Thaaaaaat's not gonna work for me." And as for the tiny comments, oh I love that. I really do. I like to pretend that I am all cute belly and no rapidly expanding hindquarters (so rapid, in fact, that my ALL my pants stopped fitting. OVERNIGHT.)

Colin has realized that yes, indeed a baby is coming (denial! He's so like his mother!) and has refused most opportunities to try parenting a stuffed animal with me. So much for my master plan of teaching the kid to change diapers! Luckily he is coming more and more into his own personality and that personality is amazing and hilarious and oh so good. He's a smart kid and will let you know it. He has realized that EVERYONE was once a baby or a kid like him and does not fail to remind you of that. He is beginning to shed his shy side, which makes me rejoice and get incredibly nervous all at once. I was not a shy kid by any means but I was lacking a bit in "da soshul skills", a wry comment made me seem snotty, an attempt to connect made me seem...odd. I never felt truly at home amongst my peers until i hit college. My son is showing tremendous adaptability that I took 18 years to learn. I think it will be an incredibly interesting thing parent him and figure what to do with a kid who has all the makings of a popular kid!

Babylove is growing, growing, growing, stretching right into my lungs. SISTER MERCY am I ever carrying high! I go in for another ultrasound to check the location of my placenta this week, and to get some stats on him. Week 24 has brought with it some strange pains and pressure heretofore unfelt. Nothing alarming but certainly something I am watching closely.

All in all I am astounded that we are almost there. I have been doing a little nesting (but not to much, we are planning a move a couple months after the baby arrives) and trying to figure out who I have loaned my slings to over the last couple of years so I can get them back! :) Do you have one?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

cracking me up this morning...

A Picky Eater Taxonomy


Simple Woman's Daybook thoughts FOR TODAY
Outside my a clear blue sky, heralding warmer temperatures. sigh.
I am thinking...that 2% milk in my tea is not the same as cream
I am thankful for...the sight of my little boy and my husband walking outside together
From the kitchen...I can smell the last of the chewy granola bars
I am of the last pairs of pants that fit me...and I still have 4 months to go!
I am creating...a whole little person!
I am going...a little stir crazy with the amount my husband has to work lately
I am reading...The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
I am hoping...for a good, productive day
I am hearing...the dulcet tones of Curious George
Around the a lot of laundry that needs to be done
One of my favorite things...Earl Grey Tea
A few plans for the rest of the week...Baby shower for Heather, Dad's birthday party, staff meeting for the 5One, worship night on Friday...whew
Here is picture or thought I am sharing...Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Terribly Hungry Tuesday

(I know, I know, you didn't see this till Thursday, I'm working on getting a posting schedule down.)

Colin enjoying pineapple ice cream at the Dole Plantation in Oahu, August 2010

Tuesday nights Luke works late, generally we go to my mother's place in downtown Phoenix and have dinner with her, but on the nights we are not feeling well or if she's out of town, I like to gather recipes to try out when my non-adventurous eater husband is out!

Baked Lemon Pasta from The Pioneer Woman

Extra Crispy Tossed Potatoes from The Kitchn

Greek Pasta with Sausage and Cheese from Serious Eats

Mark Bittman's Pad Thai

Velvety Broccoli and Feta Pasta from The Kitchn

Saag Paneer from The Hungry Engineer

Spicy Coconut Noodles from Real Simple

Asparagus with Chorizo and Croutons from Smitten Kitchen


Monday, October 11, 2010

Real Life Halloween Decorations

we had some ants decide to come live with us. I hated them so I decided to massacre them with a visit from our ecofriendly, church hookup ($50 off!), all natural exterminators! WHEE!
A tall thin gentleman around 50 or so came over and spread around some ant bait and sprayed our walls, he reminded me a of an older stretched out version of my husband as he explained the natural processes that went into making this non-toxic to animals and kiddos, safe for the environment, pesticide and bait. He explained how the dozen or so crickets I keep catching and releasing are more than just good luck they have been taking out a fire ant colony that sprang up in our neighbors yard that was encroaching on ours! I asked if he was going to spray inside and he said that even though it's not harmful to little ones and animals he would rather not add another layer of chemicals to our house and that since the ants were coming from outside once the outside ants were taken care of the inside ones would just disappear! He praised my use of cinnamon over our doorways and in our windowsills, "that's how my grandmother kept ants out of the pantry!" I totally loved him.

And then it happened.

He was taking a look under our patio furniture ("no one goes to hang out back in Arizona most of the summer, now is the time to check for spiders and other stuff") for the usual culprits and called me outside. He pointed at two round yellowish things stuck underneath a patio chair.
"Those are black widow egg sacs"
"oh that's nothing. There's mama!" He said calmly, pointing across the patio at a largeish black spider (a word of warning if you are squeamish, that's a link to a picture of what our spider looked like exactly, turns out not all black widows tell tale red mark is totally obvious...the more you know!) he had swept aside with his sweepy tool. "I used a fairly toxic spray on her and on the egg area, keep the little guy and the puppy dog inside for a while, I hope you don't mind"
"Are you kidding? Thank you. Couldn't you just stomp her with your boot?"
"Nah, she'll be gone in a minute or so"
And sure enough she was already curling up and rolling around.
I am not ashamed to say I cheered a little.
I'm sure this makes me a terrible Christian. Cheering as a living thing was poisoned and died in front of me...but I won't lie. I'm fine with it.

Thanks especially to our exterminator, who came highly recommended. You were mighty smart Bob and I am glad you insisted on checking the furniture out back. (he found some egg sacs in front as well and some juvenile widows but no sign of "mama" he sprayed and put bait down there too. Check your patios Arizonans!)

Monday Inspiration

photo via flickr user Canonsnapper

Today I am tackling a myriad of little fall cleaning projects around the house, including but not limited to: mopping all my floors, cleaning my windows, and taking our outgrown/never worn/never will wear clothes to the Goodwill down the street! Whew. It's possible I have begun nesting! Meanwhile, as I sip my coffee and enjoy my impromptu cinnamon rolls, let me share these lovely links with you!

More kitchn inspiration! These will be served at a baby shower potluck I am throwing for a friend....

Yesterday on 10/10/10 there were a lot of marvelous things to be found on the web, including this compilation of Top 10 lists!

This urban explorer photoset is spooky enough to get anyone in a Halloween-y mood!

Cute AND handy?!? WANT. (via the ever fabulous Hither and Thither)

Loving? Anything with buttons up the side

I am going to be needing some good winter clothes soon, at 23 weeks my shirts all sort of gap up a little over the belly. How about these gorgeous options?

And of course, fall brings the ever ongoing search for a new pair of glasses!

Out local swap is coming is sure to be chalk full of awesomeness!

What is fall bringing to you?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Of late (Colin's point of view)

I handed Colin my camera to take pictures of his day is what he came up with. Not a bad eye!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


(an exercise on appreciating the simple things and posting with regularity!)(A million thanks to A Simple Woman's Daybook for organizing this!)

Outside my a lawn that needs some mowing!
I am thinking...that it might not be to hot to make some bread
I am thankful for...cooler mornings!
From the knead bread in the oven
I am crazy patterned housedress
I am creating...a whole little person! (no crafts today)
I am church for my Bible Study later
I am reading...the 4th novel in the Outlander series
I am hoping...that the cool weather lasts!
I am hearing...Colin building rocket ships
Around the house...are various and sundry messes to be tidied
One of my favorite this cup of coffee right here!
A few plans for the rest of the week: Jack Johnson concert Sunday night! That trumps any other plans... :)
Here is picture or thought I am sharing...My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.”- Psalm 62:1

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Of Late...

Since we got to "enjoy" our summer until yesterday I thought I'd let you know what's been keeping us busy in the 100 degree weather. We have gone dragon slaying wearing very little in the way of clothing (except for Daddy's work boots), we have gotten jelly beans for using the potty, we have ridden our bikes with our "best best friend" Romie (also Colin's cousin, or whatever relation it is when your best best friend is my cousins son), when it got to hot to ride (about 5 minutes later) we played in the hose, we have gone to the park and dug cooling off holes "just wike WIONS do dis! In da WILD!", we have been Superman on the swings...
and then the storm came in. It brought a 12 degree drop in temperature, hail, 5 inches of rain, and insane winds that took down a 60 year old tree in my father's front yard. It was awesome.

p.s. I should add that while it was an awesome storm (indeed in the most traditional sense!) it did a LOT of damage to property around the Valley, golf ball sized hail tends to dent one's vehicles. We have several friends that are dealing with a rather unpleasant aftermath of our weather change. For them, I am truly sorry. That sucks.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The last week I have been participating in a 30 day encouragement challenge. It's Christian based and geared toward encouraging ones husband but truly it's good practice for anyone in a committed relationship. For 30 days I say nothing negative about or to my husband (that's his handsome mug up there), and at the end of the 30 days a new habit is formed, one wherein I speak kindly and not sarcastically (oy vey with the sarcasm), one where I seek to build up my partner and not criticize, one where I take a moment every day and appreciate the myriad little things the man I married does for me...
It is in this vein that I write a little tribute to Husband Mine today...our little love story.

Mine is not a real love story. Not in that breathless, rapid falling sort of way that a real Hollywood romance is. Mine is an accidental love story, a story that is still being written, still being sung. It is sometimes predictable, sometimes joyful, sometimes raw and wretched, and every so often, if I’m very lucky, it is a story that takes my breath away. It is a story that, without fail, makes me grin and cry a little and feel generally good about the world. It is the story of my marriage after all,and it should make me feel at least a little something.
I met my husband, like so many before and since, in college. I met him before I met anyone else on the massive campus that comprises Arizona State University. It was my freshman year and I had, just 4 months earlier, moved away from home, bought my first car, and escaped my horrible terrible abusive high school relationship (I was about 6 months out from that debacle). Luke was (and is) a solid man. All broad shoulders and rumbling deep voice. I was feeling a bit untethered my freshman year of college and so his firm grip on the earth was appealing. He was (and is) incredibly brilliant, grasping concepts seemingly instantaneously and conveying the knowledge effortlessly and clearly. A born teacher, so meeting him outside the class I was struggling with was kismet. But Luke was (and is) not so good with the ladies. Or people in general, really. Oh dear me, he was abrupt and dismissive. He was sarcastic and blunt. He was downright rude sometimes. And that’s where I came in. I was (and am-sort of)a thin woman who was cursed with the worst eyesight ever. At 18, I was unusual looking enough to be thought of as attractive by a specific sort of fellow. The kind of fellow like him, a sucker for that “librarian” look. I was (and am) a little neurotic but patient. It was (and is) a particular goal of mine to empathize with as many people as I could. And that fumbling grace was appealing to him…So we became friends.
Initially, ours was a friendship of convenience and fortitude. We were able, almost immediately, to talk about everything and anything; to understand each other and when things weren’t communicated clearly we could hash it out with aplomb. We were each difficult to deal with at times, but no one could call me on my bullshit like he could and no one could cut through the withering sarcasm he dished out like I could. We not only tolerated each other, but enjoyed the challenge. Time passed. We exchanged Christmas presents, he helped me move several times. We had the same major (theatre) so we worked together often. We ran in the same circle of friends.
After a long while I met a man whom I was very much in love with but who never seemed to be as in love with me – though he could fake it marvelously. We dated for many years. We lived in a series of small but tidily decorated apartments. We got two cats. And a fish. We got together and broke up innumerable times.Through our breakups, moves, and pet purchases, I would go to the pub with Luke, once a week or so. We would have a beer or two. We would eat dinner. We would talk and talk about everything and anything. We understood each other and when things weren’t communicated we hashed it out with aplomb. We were still difficult to deal with at times, but we loved each other as much as two people could. We just never talked about it. We more than tolerated each other, we enjoyed the challenge and each other’s company. To his credit, Luke never told me outright how much he hated my boyfriend. He was nothing but complimentary and sweet. He was helpful and compassionate when we broke up and faked a genuine happiness for me when we got back together.
When I was 23 I moved to London. It was a beautiful, perfect choice. A beautiful perfect city. My off again, on again boyfriend came to visit. He proposed to me in a characteristically over the top flamboyant way. I said yes. And I called my mother, my sister and Luke, in that order. After the slightest hesitation, he said “Congratulations darling.”
I chose to ignore the hesitation. I chose to ignore the doubt in my mind. The other kisses I stole. The other kisses HE stole. I chose to marry my first husband because that’s what I thought I wanted to do. Why does anyone continue in a doomed relationship? I wanted to be a blushing bride. Even though I was crushingly unhappy.
I planned a simple wedding and picked a beautiful dress. I found a photographer and picked out bridesmaid dresses. I chose to ignore the cheating. I chose to ignore the incessant fighting. I wrote vows that ended: “I promise to love you as much as I can, for as long as I can.” I chose to ignore the prophetic tone.
On the day of “my first wedding” (SPOILER!) I fought with my fiancee. I drank to much to early. I looked out over the crush of friends and family during the ceremony and my heart fell because my best friend Luke was not out there.(He came late. I wonder why...) I danced and ate and didn’t have that great of a time. We went home early.
Months passed and it did not get easier or better. In fact it got worse and worse, on all fronts. My ex was in a terrible car accident that totaled my car, my grandmother died on Christmas morning, my parents got a divorce, and my other grandmother, my Nana, the woman who helped raise me, went off dialysis and began the horrifying slow process of death by kidney failure.
Through it all I was losing my mind. And my ex ignored it. All of it. Any of it that didn’t directly make his life better or easier…At the lowest point (3 weeks after my beloved Nana died in bed, while I was in her kitchen) I sat on my bed, having not left my house in 2 days, I heard the razor whispering to me from the sink.I called my therapist. She asked me to call someone and have them take me to the State Mental Hospital. I was terrified and I called Luke he came to my house, and when I told him I did not want to be committed he took me to the movies.We sat in the dark of an empty movie theatre. He bought me popcorn and a huge soda and sat beside me. He asked me no questions, he let me rest my head on his shoulder. When the credits rolled he said “now what?” I asked him to take me home and he said all right. He said that this movie theatre never had people at it and we could come anytime we wanted and give them some business.And that made me smile. Really smile. For the first time in months.
In April, my ex left me. A week later he called to tell me he slept with someone else. Someone “amazing”. I asked for a divorce. He was surprised. Unsurprisingly. A month after beginning the long slow process of divorce, I sat by my pool with Luke. We talked about everything and anything the way we always did. He asked why, after all these years, and so many other people kissed, the two of us had never kissed. He said it curiously and matter of factly, as though the two of us being romantic in any way should have been the most natural thing in the world.
And because of that I leaned over and kissed him. And it was exactly the way it should be when you’re kissing your best friend of almost 7 years, someone who understands you better than anyone else, someone who grins at your faults and calls you on your crap, someone who has pieced you back together a million times over.It was like sparklers and chocolate cake and the best song you’ve ever heard. You know, like that.
I wish I could tell you we dated for years and years and he proposed in a gorgeous beautiful way and we had a huge white wedding and we settled down in an amazing home and had 2.5 kids and were blissful always.But of course, it didn’t happen like that. When my husband, Luke proposed to me, we were sitting on a couch, and I was 4 months pregnant (an event that is a story in and of itself!). He looked at me, and he smiled that lovely slow grin of his and said “Babe, I have loved you from the moment I met you. Marry me.” I said yes. And I called my mother and my sister. In that order.
We got married on Valentine’s Day. At a courthouse. I didn’t even wear white. And we made dinner for ourselves at our little 2 bedroom house in Mesa, Arizona. We had our first child on April 15th 2007. He looked (and looks) exactly like his father. We are expecting our second son on February 4th 2011.
I wish I could tell you it’s all romance and making up for lost time over here.But of course, it’s not. We have days when all we can seem to do is bicker, when all we do is the laundry. We have days when a short kiss in the kitchen is the only romance I’ve seen in weeks. And the only non nagging he’s gotten in days is a question about work.
And we have a lot of days where looking at him makes me grin wider and laugh louder and feel better than I have ever before. There are days when he looks at me and says “I’m so lucky I got you”. There are nights when our fingers lace together and everything in my life seems to have turned out exactly the way I have always wanted it.
My story is still being written, still being sung. But I can tell you this: A lot of people tell you they married their best friend. That they had no idea until they married their partner what real friendship was. A lot of people tell you: “It’s always better when we’re together”. A lot of people tell you that they are the luckiest sons of bitches on the face of the earth.
And I’m here to tell you that I did marry my best friend, and I knew it, that we are and always have been better when we’re together and that I, am the luckiest bitch on the face of the earth...

all pictures by the lovely Julie Prothro, November 2009

After the Rainstorm Applesauce

me, June 2010, contemplating recipes in my friend Mel's gourmet kitchen

(adapted from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen)

4 medium sized apples, any type (I used granny smith and gala) peeled, cored and quartered (or if you're using what how have leftover from making apple tarts, cut into wee pieces)

the juice of one small rather limp lemon

coupla shakes of cinnamon, maybe a wee bit of nutmeg? go crazy.

coupla sprinkles of sugar (brown sugar always tastes lovely with the granny smith, just sayin')

1 cup and a little bit of water.

dump the whole mess in a pot. bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce your heat to a simmer and let the delicious fall smells permeate your house for about 30 minutes. Mash the apple mush up and serve hot with a little bit of cream. Or package it up and serve it cold for snacks.

Feel virtuous because YOUR 3 year old isn't eating all that sugar in pre-packaged store bought applesauce. Snort at yourself as he plays with his cars he got from a McDonalds run yesterday.

Welcome Fall!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Inspiration...random links edition

photo taken by my beautiful sister-in-law, Julie...Luke, Meg, and Colin, Austin, TX, November 2009

I discovered this mama-to-be's gorgeous blog through her most recent post: a beautiful baby announcement!

Dear Bluebird Vintage Household - you guys are so stinkin' stylish and awesome! I need to get some fashion tips!

In an ongoing effort to do my hair new and interesting ways I am learning how to make this braid...she's got lots of fabulous hair tutorial videos!

These are just so lovely!

I know a lot of babywearing mama's prefer a ring sling but I love a wrap (and given a choice prefer them!), and these are simple and pretty

Maybe I'll whip these up one morning...maybe.

Is there anything Filth Wizardry CAN'T DO? so cute!

I think that these boots are the perfect option for my winter wardrobe. But can I get them already broken in?

Also on my list for my winter wardrobe? One of these, this amazingly cute skirt, and possibly this FABULOUS coal if you please.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Morning Music...newly discovered edition

These sisters have been singing and playing together since they were tiny little gals! If you have seen the marvelous movie "O Brother Where Art Thou" they played the singing daughters of the lead character.

Home to You The Peasall Sisters

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesay, September 29th 2010, 7:30 PM

21 weeks has finally heralded the arrival of my 2nd trimester. Or at least what I am told the 2nd trimester is supposed to be like...except add in cramping every time I am on my feet for longer than, say, a half hour and the relentless exhaustion. Other than that, I'm not not nauseous (yay!) and I LOOK pregnant which, let me tell you is awesome, see, if you've never been pregnant I'll tell you that the first several weeks are a bummer because everyone thinks you're just moody and fat.

Colin's potty training adventure turned out to be a bit anti-climactic as it went marvelously well and he's standing in front of me in a pair of Buzz Lightyear underpants he's kept clean and dry all day. Be aware that I bribed him mercilessly with jellybeans and gummibears, and we did a sticker chart, AND he is still struggling with the pooping thing. But darned if we don't all feel terrifically successful!

He's been feeling like quite the big boy and has been asserting his independence in a myriad ways. He likes to help me clean up, but he doesn't like me to tell him what to do. He hates riding in the cart at the grocery store but by the last aisle he's ready to be done. He doesn't want to take a nap but he really still needs one and so he crashes out at like 4:00 in the evening which I hate because by then I feel like it's to late for a nap for either of us but there's not stopping him. Sigh. I do like having a little boy around though, if only for the hilariously awesome things he says.

Babylove is growing big and strong! And I feel him move every morning bright and early, kicking me soundly in the bladder, despite the fact that I am carrying so high it's difficult to breathe sometimes. We talk to him in the evenings as we all pile in our big family bed and cuddle. It's a lovely time and gets me off my feet for a while.

The weather channel tells me it will be in the hundreds until well into October but I wanted a little touch of fall today so I wore what I called my "hippie mama of the world" get up. It's terrifically comfortable, and cute! However I am rapidly expanding out of it and I wanted to get one good wear in before my belly cannot be contained any longer.

On that note I will leave you with a question: what is your most creative wardrobe fix for a cold weather pregnancy? I don't want to buy a ton of clothes since winter here lasts only a short while, but I'll be at my largest when it finally gets "cold" and I want to be at least a little prepared you know?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Inspiration!

Photo by Luke, Colin and I on our last day in Hawaii

Hey! Look at that! After missing last week I'm back with a whole new round of links to scare away the Monday ho-hums... Lets call this the "lamenting the fact that fall hasn't really started here yet" edition

Getting a million and one ideas to spruce up my house and make it lovely from this fabulous blog, just in time for fall cleaning!

And a million and one ideas on how to inspire a love of learning and creativity in my kiddo from this fabulous blog

Speaking of scare...see how I did that there? BHG has a whole set of fantastic DIY Halloween decorations for your house, now that fall is upon us.

I mean hypothetically it's fall, because I was oohing and ahhing over the awesome fashion at this event here in the Valley and then sighing because 90% of the people are still in tank tops because it's 104 degrees today.

Getting ideas for quick and easy dinners because freakish heat that lasts this long makes me less likely to cook.

Perhaps to escape the heat we can visit here because gorgeous!

Whatever the case, all the heat makes for excellent indoor dance party times!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


photo by Luke taken on our 3 year wedding anniversary

It took a pregnancy hormone fueled emotional meltdown to get me to write today. The meltdown was last week, but the takeaway lasted.
So here I sit, eating gummi bears that should be hoarded for potty training rewards and wondering where I begin...
I am not yet 30. My nails are chewed down to the quick, my arms are freckled, my toenail polish is chipping off. My breasts are striped with the marks of 4 pregnancies: 2 failed, 1 in process, and 1 marvelous failure of a successful labor and delivery winning me a gorgeous ball of 3 year old boy. My heart is criss-crossed with the slashing scar of the heartbreak of a divorce before 25, the myriad remnants of a thousand cutting remarks made by a man who was also to young to be marrying anyone, the deeper wounds of a high school relationship fraught with screams and fists and emotional terrorism and yet there too is the soothing balm of marrying my best friend in the world...1 year after I ended my first marriage, the healing over of those old wounds at the hands of a man whom had seen me through the initial injuries, who loved me despite my trauma. My long brown hair has been purple, has been less than an inch long, has been salted with silver since I was 19 and I have permanently marked my body with ink 10 times, I will do it 10 more times before I am finished with that particular obsession. I am legally blind without my glasses, I wear no jewelry except my wedding ring. I have been a million different people in the last 5 years and therein lies the breakdown.
I have been daughter: once
Sister: once
cousin: dozens upon dozens of times over
wife: twice
mother: spoken aloud only to one, but felt 4 times over yet.
I have been Christian and Liberal and Feminist and Friend and Lover and Confidant and Mentor. I have been student and teacher. I have been lost and found, Sane and Mentally ill.
I have worn a million labels, been a million things to a million people and last Friday, on a non-descript hot September day I lost track of who I was to myself.

Does that even make sense?

I have come to believe that the feminine spirit in us is what makes us elastic, capable of survival, of bending and curving and not ripping in two. There are some who have been blessed (cursed?) with it in abundance, some have just enough so that the inevitable changes in life (moving to a new home, meeting new people) don't cause them to go catatonic. I am a fairly stretchy individual.
And that has given me no end of grief in this life of mine of late.
I stretch to be the wife I think my husband wants, needs, longs for. I twist to be the mother my son needs, the mother society wants me to be. The Christian the church wants me to be, who God wants me to be. Dutiful daughter, available friend...
I stretch and bend and change and 5 years after taking an incredible risk to end a toxic way of life, I begin to believe that I am 1/3 the person I once was. That who I was, before my divorce, before my son, before leaving school was this vibrant impassioned individual and who I am now is bland, colorless, simple: mommywifegirl.
I have stretched right out of myself and into a person I don't recognize.
I wrote a letter to a dear friend trying to capture what it was I was feeling:

I read old correspondence and I can picture myself writing the things I wrote to all of you but I can't seem to muster up that energy in the woman who is typing these words to you now. As though in becoming more still, in releasing those vicious whispers that made up my specific brand of crazy, I also became thinner, paler, less like myself. And when I try and bring that old me back to life it feels forced, it feels knocking on the door of a room you know is empty. What's more irritating is that I find that after a bit of rumination I am perfectly fine with this "less than" version of myself...and that just pisses me right the hell off.
I try not to compare the two, the woman I was had completely different circumstances than me...And I try and remind myself that the woman I am, is just that: who I am. End of story, somehow it seems less than comforting.

This hollow sound echoing back was what got me weeping the other day. The thought that I really was less than who I was. A shadow of my former self, so to speak.
I began thinking of the titles we give ourselves and how we start to limit ourselves within them and the barriers get tighter and WE're (the real we, the we under all those layers of people) squeezed almost out of existence.
I wept and raged and Luke sat by me and rubbed my back and waited it out...
And eventually I stopped because I realized that I have chosen to be here and that there is benefit to that. There is a big difference between sleeping with a new person every weekend and being so vulnerable with one person you can't imagine sleeping next to anyone but them for the rest of your life. There is a big difference between staying out all night just to see where the adventure takes you and the adventure in watching your kids face light up when they discover something new. It's investment and understanding the arc of one's own narrative. Because who I was has built who I am. That passionate, angry, fuzzy woman I was laid the foundation for the passionate, still, focused person I am. I have earned my sorrow through all the experiences that led me here but I was forgetting about the joy that accompanied it.
There is nothing "less than" about growing a family, nothing less risky or passionate or lovely than choosing the a life for yourself that is made up of good things...even if sometimes the good things seem a little bland. A little everyday.
We have to handle the repetition and monotony as gracefully as we can, and when the pockets of brilliance come, indulge. Because truly that's all anyone can ask for.

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