Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gratitude 7.27.11

Today I am grateful for:

*My husband's domination of the physics final and the "top of the class" status.
*Ancient Faith Radio - Seriously easing the afternoon and putting me in the right state of mind
*The true forgiveness of a two-year-old.
*Ice despensers
*The motivation to try something new
*Moments of giddy anticipation - even in the midst of stress.

That last one keeps getting me. We're moving, I'm having another baby, my husband is going back to school. These are all really really good things, but they can be stressful. Right now I'm living for the few moments in the day where I allow myself to daydream. And then everything is back in it's right place, my perspective changes and I get excited about the changes. Because Life keeps on moving. If we can't change with it then we'll continually live in anxiety and stress.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

That Cake

Maybe that last post needs some explanation - or maybe it doesn't. 

Justin and I have talked about cake for almost a week. I wanted cake. He wanted cake. So, on Tuesday Ruby and I came up with a plan to bake a surprise cake for Daddy Rabbit while he was at work. The man deserves cake sometimes. Seriously.

I called up my friend, Amanda for moral support and our little ladies helped out. (As I mentioned before... no time for pictures. We needed cake.) Baking with toddlers is always an experience all its own, but we'll talk about that another time. Let's get to the good stuff!

Here's the part where I divulge all the secrets about the cake and its construction... 'cept there aren't any. It was way easy, and nothing I came up with on my own. I got the cake recipe HERE and the frosting HERE. (Have you met Joy the Baker by the way? She's one of my BFF's favorite bloggers out there.) The cake certainly lives up to its name, as it is very moist. It also has just the right amount of chocolatey goodness without being too rich.

A few words about the frosting: First, it tastes like chocolate milk. Buttery, delicious chocolate milk. Second, yes, it has Ovaltine in it. That was one of the reasons I picked it - truth. I figured it was worth doing just because I have that ingredient on hand. Who else in the world keeps Ovaltine in their house? Nobody? Just me? Ok. Third, if you read Ms. the Baker's post you'll see that the recipe is for an insane number of cupcakes. I just halved it, but you could make the whole thing and take the left-overs to your next slumber party. Or you could just eat them in the corner with a spoon. You could. Believe me you really could. Ahem. BUT, halving the recipe made just the right amount.

The only problem with baking a cake is the excuse to eat cake every day. Anyone hungry?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Craving

Life is too short to stop and take pictures when there's a cake involved.

Thanks, to my friend Amanda and our little helpers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Stranger's Words

Things are a little frayed around the edges in our house these days. I'm feeling a lot of negativity creep into my thoughts as my little one experiences her first "rough patch" emotionally (i.e. my kid is throwing tantrums the likes of which I've only rolled my eyes about in Walmart). Sleep is nil. Meals are whatever she'll eat. And trips around town, to church, or even to the playground are a nightmare. My poor girl. My poor husband. Poor... me.

So today, my urchin kiddo and I went to Target, and in the Home Office aisle there stood one truly lovely lady - very well put together but not overdone, tall, thin, classy. I noticed her loveliness and shrunk nearer to my basket, supremely conscious of my figure (great with child), my clothes ("if it fits, wear it"), and my child, who had up until that moment been pretty well behaved, but was now on the verge of an episode.

Not trying to impress anyone, but rather trying to tame the beast, I pulled myself out of self-pity and I played the "cheerful parent game," engaging my daughter, talking to her about what we saw and heard all around us. She heard a baby cry several aisles over, so I asked her:
"What do we do when babies cry?"
"We HELP dem! Don't cry, baby. It'll be alwight..."
"That's right. Even babies need our kindness..."
"We love our babies, Mama." This is a common conversation at our house as we prepare for the arrival of a new baby in our own home. Our conversation went on for a few minutes and I forgot about the lady, my awkwardness, and my pride.

And then, she spoke to me. She, the pretty lady stepped out of her well put together, organized, picture of loveliness and tapped me on the shoulder and said "You are the sweetest, most precious mama I've ever seen. She's a lucky little girl."

Y'all. Seriously. I burst into tears. I didn't know what to say, except "Thanks. I needed that." And she smiled and walked away.

Somehow, sometimes, it means more when it comes from a stranger. Makes me want to be kind to others. Makes me want to try harder to help my child. Makes me wonder how I can make someone else feel as blessed by my words as I was by hers. I hope I can remember that tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Photo Project: Part 1 - Printed Photos

This part of my list has been on my mind since Ruby was born. I've always enjoyed taking pictures. When I was young, I took a camera everywhere and I developed every roll of film I took. In fact, if I knew you between 1994 and 2001 it's likely we had our picture taken together at least once. And I got duplicates just in case you wanted a copy too. But I never gave them to you. Trust me... I know.

The issue with printed photos has always been the storage of the photos and the meshing into albums. Albums seem so permanent. Scrapbooks are even worse. What if I want to frame this some day.......... Digital cameras made this much simpler in some ways - the storage and sorting is in hard-drive land and I don't have to worry about it. But since I haven't had a picture printed since around 2004 that will be a different post. These printed photos have lived in a box for too long, so tonight, with fear and trepidation, and with the help of Blue's Clues (I couldn't wait until AFTER she was in bed?) I began sorting, scrapping, categorizing, and albuming the printed photos of the last 20 years of my life (yes, really).

(This doesn't even TOUCH it...)

Because it is the most distant but still fresh period of my life, and because there are more pictures from this period than any other, I decided to start with high school and work my way into college and post-college/pre-Justin. High school was high school, with random candids, events, and self-portraits. College was mostly my best friend, Jenny, and Opera Workshop (we did The Mikado my freshman year... I loved the makeup). Post-college/pre-Justin was a short period of time where I lived A LOT and took a lot of pictures, mostly of friends, mostly not to be featured in the album. Those are the breaks. I do have some pictures of bands I played with, some weddings, and my two solo overseas trips.

(please pay no attention to the bedroom/unmade bed in background)

I tried to stay loosely chronological, but there were a couple of situations (like the bi-annual Confederate Heritage Ball... ahem.) where I allowed all photos in that category to stay together. Made more sense that way.

Did anyone else ever have a Panoramic feature of their camera? I can think of two shots ever where I was glad that that option was available to me. But in my pile-o-pictures there were an unimaginable number of unnecessary panoramic size pictures. Apparently, the switch just stayed on "panoramic" from 1998 to the Fall of 2000. These shots were not of beach sunsets, waterfalls, or whatever else one would use the panoramic vision for, but just regular shots, with the subject matter in the center and a sea of what-the-heck surrounding. So I cut them. I did it. And I'm glad I did, because otherwise they wouldn't have fit in my album.

Also, please don't tell my mom, but in the process there were pictures, nay, whole Wal-mart Photo Envelopes full of pictures that didn't mean squat to anybody anywhere ever. I mean pictures of my mom sitting by a La Quinta Inn pool in a t-shirt and shorts, obviously not having a good time. Or the one of my oldest sister with no make-up yelling at her kid in the mall. Someone (probably me) took those pictures to be funny, but I can promise you, friend... they're not. So guess what. They're getting thrown away. And there may be some that aren't even wretched that get thrown away, and it's alright if that happens. I'm telling myself that.

So that's the first installment. There are some pictures from childhood/Jr high that I'm really not sure what to do with. There are also a lot of pictures of people's kids, or friends' school pictures that I really don't know where they should go either. Wallet sized photos of my nieces and nephews in pre-K? Next time we'll go into the dirty dark secrets of two Macs, an external hard-drive, and all those Facebook photos that my friends have posted that I want to steal, print what's printable, and start the process again.

Do any of you keep up with your pictures? What's your system? How many wallets does it take to hold all the wallet sized pictures you have? Do you (gasp) throw photos away after a certain period of time?

No really. I wanna know.

These Two

I do love them so.

We had a nice long rain storm on Sunday. I just couldn't resist sending them out into it to play. I, of course, stayed under the porch... who would take pictures if the camera was all wet...?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gratitude 7.7.11

I enjoyed yesterday's list so much I figured "Why not do that more often?"

Today, I am grateful for:

* My camera
* Kind words from strangers
* Encouragement from friends (seriously, you guys made my day)
* A little foldin' money in my pocket
* Our '98 Ford Escort that still runs like the day I got her 10 years ago
* The telephone
* The transformative power of nail polish
* My Husband - the "straight-A" student.

What are you grateful for today?

Countdown To 30

In just under 6 months, I will be 30 years old. I'm pretty stoked about it. I've pretty much put all of my chips on my thirties rockin' the house.

Teens... awkward.

Twenties... awesome, but fraught with trial and error. And some frump phases I'll probably not let myself live down. (The above picture not included. I thought I looked awesome that day.)

Thirties... I'm hoping I'll find some balance, poise, and grace waiting for me in there somewhere. And clear skin. Or at least a good skin routine. Yeah...

So here's the deal. "30" isn't really sneaking up on me per say, but being 29 and pouring myself into my growing family means that there are a few things that I intended to accomplish this year that haven't done yet. And a few that just aren't practical anymore. Starting a band and recording an album with the Daddy Rabbit... a bit ambitious. Losing a million pounds this year isn't going to happen... shouldn't happen. I'm growing a human here. But there are some very do-able items that I think I'd like to tackle in the next 6 months. Some of them are things I'd like to get done, others are changes my  20-something-self would like to see in my 30-something-self. So without further ado... My 30 before 30 list.

1. Put all photos of the last 20 years of my life into albums, frames, or books. All digital photos saved to secure location.
2. Get rid of clothes I don't wear or like, including bridesmaid dresses, lingerie that doesn't "do the job", and (gasp) all those awesome vintage items that are waiting for me to lose 50lbs. There's some girl out there who needs those pieces to rock her world as much as I did 10 years ago.
3. Focus on Health and Fitness, not size, weight, or externals.
4. Clean up after every meal. Gross... I know... but I'm working on it!
5. Find a classic and classy, signature scent and wear it often. Tell Daddy Rabbit it's cool if that's all I get for birthday, anniversary, whatever.
6. Organize the business end of my doula business.
7. Knit a baptismal gown for New Baby
8. Send cards and letters to my nieces and nephews. Even the grown ones.
9. Pray more.
10. Put all birthdays, anniversaries, names days and Major Feast days into one place. Send cards and notes accordingly.
11. Plan surprises for the Lady Bug and Daddy Rabbit.
12. Organize (or just participate in) a girls-only trip to somewhere. By girls I do not mean littles.
13. Wear lipstick 3 days out of the week.
14. Send flowers to a friend.
15. Listen to music more often.
16. Play music more often.
17. Overcome Potty Training-phobia. Just do it. (I do use the toilet. I mean phobia of training the kiddo.)
18. Spend less time in front of screens and more time out of doors.
19. Have a baby. (heh... I got this one.)
20. Recycle.
21. Befriend someone not in the same stage of life as me... preferably older.
22. Focus on gratitude and all the good things I already have.
23. Write more... Here on the blog is a good start.
24. Unpack all my belongings after we move. A place for everything.
25. See the last Harry Potter movie. Maybe by myself... maybe with a huge box of tissues.
26. Learn to use my serger... AND use it.
27. Document the little things my children do. Seriously... I know everyone told/tells me to, but I don't.
28. Purge our music collection and condense it all into one place.
29. Listen more, talk less. This sounds really vague, but if you've ever talked to me... well, I like to add all my insights and sometimes forget that... oh yeah.. you were telling me something...
30. Get back in the habit of living.

This list was NOT easy to write. Just so you know. It's so tempting for me to just say "do all the things I wanna do" because there is so much. But having a list with some specifics will help. Any make-myself-a-better-human goals for the next year?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Today I am grateful for

*Two of the most charming people I've ever known and their abilities to make me laugh.
*Letting go of things that made me upset 10 years ago.
*Rock and Roll Music
*The rain we've been waiting for all week.
*A partner who will patiently listen to me work through all that self-reflection
*Chick-fil-a (Kids eat free on Wednesday nights... just so you know.)
*Learning from my daughter how to stop, breathe, and think when I get frustrated.
*Bouncy baby movements

What are you grateful for today?