Monday, June 30, 2008


Today is going to be a meme day for me. Mamachristina tagged me a few weeks ago with this Meme of Eight, so here goes:

Eight things I am passionate about:

1. My Jesus, who loves me far beyond what I deserve and has blessed me overwhelmingly.

2. My Man! I love how he can be a hubby, father, thinker, leader, grillmaster, floor-mopper, poop-changer, swing-pusher, massage-giver, and my best friend. All rolled into one amazing person.

3. My Savannah. Sometimes it still seems surreal that I am her mama. It seems that should be something that only grown-ups get to do…and then I realize that I am, in fact, grown-up, and that I have been blessed beyond measure with this curly-headed child with a stubborn streak like her daddy and a penchant for carbs like…well, like me.

4. My family. Which consists of my parents, my older sister, and 3 younger brothers. We had some good times growing up, and now when we all get together (which is rare – we are spread across the entire country), we always re-create some of those good memories. Jamming on the piano and drums and sax. Playing Pictionary and Uno. Putting together a puzzle, which is a great family project and a good way to get people talking. And of course, they all think Savannah is a rock star, which is just fine in my book.

5. Friendships. I tend to believe that quality matters more than quantity in this area. So, although I have a ton of acquaintances, I only have a few really good, close friends. And it works for me. I truly believe I have some of the best friends in the world, the kind that would drop everything if you needed them, the kind you can just lounge around with while in a state of total frump, and they don’t care.

6. Finances. I am somewhat of a nerdy person when it comes to money. For sure, I wasn’t always this way; there was a time in my life where I frivolously spent money that I didn’t have. It wasn’t until we had been married for over a year that we heard about Financial Peace University, and we went through the course. That was absolutely the best and most freeing thing we could have ever done. We paid down what seemed like an enormous amount of debt in a fairly short time, and we are now debt-free except for the house. Which we will hopefully be done with in a couple of years. Waahoo….I cannot wait for the day when I don’t have to send in a monthly mortgage payment. The thought of paying all that interest just about kills me.

7. Recipes. Notice I didn’t say actually cooking or baking. But I love collecting recipes. Of course the purported thought would be that I end up actually making the recipe, but honestly, I have a couple of binders full of recipes that I have never tried and that I may never get around to trying. But I love pouring over them, imagining how they taste. A lot of them look delicious, but I know I can’t make them because they won’t be the least bit helpful in my quest to lose weight and become healthy. I think I have a slight (and weird) addiction, because even when I do try a new recipe and it doesn’t turn out to be a winner, I still can’t throw it away. I hang on to it like an old sweater from the 80’s that you know you should toss. Yeah, I know. Makes no sense, not even to me, so I don’t expect you to understand.

8. Books. I love, love, love to read. When I was younger, we would go to the library every week, and I would check out stacks of books and devour them. Obviously, I don’t read as often as I would like to now that I’m in charge of running a real household with an actual husband and baby, but I never turn down the chance to get a new book. And if I really, really love a book, I will re-read it over and over. And over. Like 15 or 20 times.

Eight things I'd like to do before I die:

1. Go to Greece and Italy. Those are my two dream countries. I have a lot more on the list, but those are my top two. If any of you have ever been to either of those places, please tell me so that I can grill you for info.
santorini 08

2. Before I met and married Ricardo, I was on the path to becoming a missionary in Honduras, where I was going to work in an orphanage. Two things that I dearly love are missions and children, and so one day I would love it if we could give enough money to build a new orphanage.

3. Design and build my dream custom home. Which would include a huge, awesome kitchen. And I would love to be able to pay cash for it upfront, no mortgage payment, no interest.

4. Live on a couple of acres of land. Preferably with green, verdant grass and an excess of leafy trees scattered over the land. And my fantasy is to have a long windy lane, with graceful trees on either side that bend their branches towards each other to form a canopy of shade that my children can play under. Dreamy, no?

Tree Lined Path-End Of Summer 10-07-07

5. Fly an airplane. I realize this is a bit far-fetched. And I blame it on my dad, who used to take us to air shows when we were young, and from whom I acquired the love of flying machinery. I love heights and flying and the feeling of freedom (did I mention that I went sky-diving once?). I doubt it will ever happen, but it’s still something I would love.

6. Own a grand piano. Oh, how this would make my very soul happy. I love to play, and have been playing since I was 4 years old; but right now, I don’t even have a keyboard to practice on . I can picture it now; it is a gleaming black baby grand, sitting in my dream house, which of course has a music room.
My Baby Grand

7. Take a photography class and purchase a really good camera. I love being able to capture the little every day things, but I am not good at it. And my camera has the longest delay imaginable, so I miss a lot of good shots that would doubtless otherwise be destined for greatness were it not for the ineptness of my camera. Or possibly the camera operator.

8. Go to this bakery in Wisconsin.
We just saw a show on PBS about Wisconsin, and they featured this place. I have never, ever in my life seen pies like this. Ricardo was seriously ready to jump in the car and head cross-country just to get a slice after the show ended. And this picture doesn't even do it justice...the pies looked unbelievable on the program. (I realize this is such a frivolous thing, but it is 12:30 in the morning, and my brain is refusing to cooperate with the eight things I must do before I die).

Eight books I've read recently:

1. Sweet Caroline
2. What to Eat
3. As Sure as the Dawn
4. Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
5. Shiloh Autumn
6. Sheet Music
7. Mrs. Mike
8. Total Money Makeover

I am not going to tag anyone, but please feel free to grab this meme and do it yourself if it looks fun, or if you need some good filler blog material. Whatever the case may be.

Mamachristina was also kind enough to bestow upon me this award from Arte y Pico.

Thank you so much! Christina has an awesome blog where she is chronicling her everyday life as well as her incredible weight loss journey. She is a huge inspiration to me.

I am passing this award onto the following bloggers, most of whom I have just gotten to know. I love to drop by their blogs, and they always make my day when they stop by mine to visit:

Sarah at Life in the Parsonage
Jennifer at The Miles Family Adventure
Jenn at A Country Girls Ramblings
Jennifer at Taking My Time
Tracey at Grace comes by Hearing

And the rules to go along with it:

1. Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award (


One of my weaknesses is not knowing what to say to someone who is going through a tremendously difficult situation. I can sit with them, cry with them, take them cookies and give them hugs, but I never quite know what to say.

But sometimes I think that might be ok. I think that most people don't really want you to try and fix it for them, especially when nothing you can say will fix it anyway. So maybe the best thing to do is to be there, ready to listen if they want to talk. Or just sit with them and watch something inane on TV.

In both real life and in blogland, I've come across some absolutely amazing girls that have had some stunning blows dealt to their lives. Over and over, I see such incredible faith being shown, even in the midst of asking why. And how. And where do we go from here?

That's what I love about our God. He doesn't mind that we ask why. He cries alongside of us, and holds us a little tighter when we can't see our way out of it. He knows that sometimes we feel far from Him, even though we know in our heads that He never leaves or forsakes us. He knows that sometimes we desperately just want to get back to normal, but we don't know what normal is anymore.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.
- Christa Wells

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bona Fide

I realized this week that I am now a slightly obsessed, die-hard blogger.

I have been in denial up to this point. Sure, I think about it too much, write posts in my head all day, check my reader too often.

But this past Wednesday, I had to own up to the truth. I am addicted. And I am exhibiting crazy, completely irrational behavior because of it.

We received a flyer in the mail announcing the opening of a new Mexican grocery store in town on Wednesday. The store opened at 10:00 in the morning, so we moseyed on over around 10:30. Just a regular store opening, so no big deal, we thought.

We turned into the parking lot, and our jaws dropped. Apparently we seriously underestimated the resolve of these folks to get in on free giveaways and good deals, because there was a line of people that wound its way down the long side of the strip mall, around the corner, and then doubled back. We instantly regretted our decision to turn into the parking lot, because they had security out there directing traffic and we were stuck behind a long line of cars that couldn't find a parking space. And the parking lot is HUGE, so that tells you how crowded it was.

So in the midst of this chaos, I uttered these outlandish words:

"Wow! Look at that! Why didn't I bring my camera!" And then..."Umm...maybe we can go back home and get it...?"

And Ricardo, thinking I was kidding, said, "Humpfh! Yeah, right," as he snorted and laughed.

And I also laughed as if I were not serious. Oh, but I was. If I had been by myself, there is a very good chance that I would have made the 20 minute round-trip drive back to the house, just so I could grab my camera and capture the crowd of crazy people standing in the blazing sun and fanning themselves with paper paddle fans that were being passed out by the dozens. Because that is just not something you see every day. And something that you don't see every day is definitely blog fodder, right?

So we left, because even though I am crazy enough to drive several miles out of my way to get a camera, I am not completely senseless, and waiting in a 2-hour line in the scorching heat is just not smart. But we did return the following day, just to see what all the hype was about. Here's what I purchased:

3 pounds of nectarines
4 pounds of limes
A bunch of cilantro
5 jalapenos
5 mangoes
2 gallons of milk

Guess how much I spent?

$7.95. For all of it. I was beside myself with excitement; getting a good deal will do that to me.

But, I have no picture of the hordes of people waiting to stock up on cheap limes and cilantro. And I have my rational, not-addicted-to-blogging husband to thank for that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Knock, and it may or may not be opened unto you

So I'm in the middle of my day. Savannah is watching Dora and Boots rescue things from Swiper. I am doing laundry. I am also deep in the slums of frump, which means unwashed hair in a ponytail, a sad T-shirt and yoga pants, no makeup.

The doorbell rings. We freeze. Then I rush over to peer out the peephole. I don't recognize the person. I turn to shush Savannah while simultaneously cranking down the volume on Dora. We wait with bated breath, peeking every few seconds, until the person, who undoubtedly heard the TV blaring long before our stealthy volume-lowering move, turns to leave.

Ok. Please tell me I'm not the only one to do this.

Reason #1 that I hate answering the door is because, well, I don't usually know who the person is. If it's the UPS guy, ok, then fine. If not, then they are either there to sell me something or give me a political spiel. All of which I can do without. Then there is the outside chance that they are there to break into my house, which actually did happen to me once, but which will have to wait for a future post.

Reason #2 - well, I mentioned the word frump, right? That should say it all. Nobody should be subjected to this kind of visual persecution.

But a few evenings ago, I was outside watering my tiny garden. My garden is on the south side of my house, and anyone standing in the front has a good view of the back. So I'm minding my own business, when a guy rounds the corner and heads to the front door. He saw me right away, so it wasn't like I could throw down the hose and act like I wasn't there. We have a concrete wall and a gate between the front and back, so he made himself at home and leaned over the wall. He was a bold little dude, too; he launched right into his memorized speech without so much as a "how you doin'?" I listened for a few seconds before I realized that it was political in nature. And he was definitely, without question, light years away from my viewpoint.

He was trying to get signatures to send something or other to Congress. He wound down his talk, and thrust the clipboard at me, saying, "So....just sign here."

I asked him a very simple question regarding where the proposed funding that he was talking about was going to come from, and he just flew off the handle. Which made me mad. I mean, he came into my yard, so one would think that I have the right to see what it's all about before blindly signing away. But I was also a little amused, because the poor guy was far from well-versed in what he was expressing. He stumbled over himself and had no clue where he was going with it; I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

So he ranted and raved and basically told me what he thought of my position. At which point I decided that the flowers just a foot or two to his left really, really needed watering. So, sweet as could be, I just swung the hose in that direction. And the over spray from the hose may or may not have reached through the gate. And it's possible that my uninvited guest got a cooling down that he desperately needed. But I'm not admitting to anything.

See? This is why I don't answer my door.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Never fear, there is absolutely no over-analyzing going on in this post

Last year, Ricardo gave me a gift certificate to a nice spa here in town. I have been holding on to it since then. Savoring it, if you will. He keeps asking me when I'm going to use it; when I first received it, I told him I was waiting until spring, but spring has come and gone, and he's beginning to wonder. The truth is, I am so indecisive that I don't know what spa service I want to use it for. A pedicure? Massage? Facial? New hairstyle? I don't often go to a spa, so it is such a luxury for me and I would hate to "waste" it on something that I am not going to love.

This is akin to the feeling I have every time we go to Sonic. No matter that I have the entire menu memorized, I still have to sit and look and take my time. Because it would be an absolute shame, a pity, I tell ya, to be rushed into ordering something I don't really want.

So anyway, I think I've ruled out the facial. It sounds nice, it really does, and my skin could definitely use some treatment, but I think it needs more like several weeks' worth of treatments as opposed to just a one-time facial. Something heavy duty, like a peel or something equally painful that you see on those makeover shows. Fun.

There's always the pedicure.....and I LOVE pedicures. Something about them makes me feel all fancy and girly and pampered, not to mention that I have really awful feet that could use some TLC. But the pedicure that I want is $75....replete with a wrap, leg massage, the works. Do I really want to spend most of the gift certificate on that?

There is a slight chance that I'm over-thinking this just a tad.

Then there is the matter of the hair style. The layers in my hair have grown out and at the moment I have no style at all. I'm way overdue for a haircut. After talking with my friend and looking through a magazine of short hairstyles, these are the ones that stand out:

Or this (sorry, it's fuzzy):

Or this:

I'm thinking these are all the same basic hair cut, each with its own variation. My hair is naturally curly, so I don't want to look like a poodle if I cut it like this and then leave it curly.

So. I will probably end up going with a pedicure and a massage. Maybe. Oh, and I've never had a massage, so I'm a little nervous about that whole experience. Those of you that get them on a regular basis...what am I in for? Are they really as amazing as I've heard?

Such a dilemma. Tell me, what would you do with it?

A little bloggy love

So in the spirit of generosity and not hoarding good info to myself, I'm letting ya'll know that over at The Roost, there is a giveaway going on for a $25 gift card to Target. Which we all know is the best store ever. So go on over!

You're welcome.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It is better to give than to make unnecessary purchases

Given the fact that Savannah is so far an only child, she has a large number of toys all to herself. Honestly, I don't feel that we buy her a lot of stuff, but by the time you combine the gifts received for Christmas and birthdays from grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends, you've got a pretty good pile going.

So, as great as it is to have all of these these toys that beep and talk and sing, there is a downside.

There is no sharing involved.

She is almost 2 1/2 so I figured she is definitely old enough to understand the concept. So last week, as we played together, I thought I would attempt to impart to her the joys of sharing. Her absolute favorite thing is her stuffed Pooh Bear. That poor bear has been put through the wringer; he has been dragged by his appendages throughout the house, used as a sort of mop/scooter as she slides on top of him across my (dirty) kitchen floor, and has been smothered with kisses from a mouth that has not yet been washed after eating spaghetti. In other words, he has seen better days. But she loves him, despite his bedraggled appearance and the fact that he hasn't been yellow for at least the past year. In fact, the other day, I asked her what color his nose was; in his previous clean life it had been orange. She examined him studiously and then replied, "Purple!" And she wasn't that far off.

But enough about the ravages that have befallen Pooh. The point is, I figured that there was no better way to teach her about sharing than to have her willingly let me hold him for awhile. So it began. I explained the concept in simple terms, and she understood immediately. I know this because she said, "No! My Pooh Bear!" as she held him behind her back and out of reach.

I wanted it to be completely voluntary on her part; otherwise, there would be no actual heart change. We went over it again and again for the next 5 minutes until finally she relented. "Here you go, Mama," she said as she handed over her best friend. And then as I held him and hugged him and told her how happy I was that she was sharing with me, she got the biggest smile on her face as she announced, "I'm sharing!"

My heart swelled a little as I thought, What a bright little girl! She's picked up on it so quickly! And with her favorite toy! Surely sharing any other toy will be a piece of cake after this....she's got this down.

Ahem. Let's fast forward to last evening.

We babysat for Savannah's little friend and the sweetest boy in the world, EJ. They play very well together, even though he is a year younger, and they really love each other. But they are both toddlers, and as most toddlers are prone to do, what one has, the other wants.

Savannah's second favorite toy is her cell phone. It was sitting on the table, unnoticed by her, when EJ spotted it and made a beeline for it. He had just reached out for it when Savannah came running and grabbed it. "My phone!" she said emphatically as she backed away from EJ.

Scolding ensued. Then...Give it back to EJ, please. She looked at us defiantly, turned, and buried the phone underneath the chair. If I can't have it, nobody's going to get it.

Ok. So maybe she doesn't have it down yet. So much for my happy prideful bubble. I looked at her and mentally shook my head, thinking, Silly little selfish nature.

Then as I was thinking about this today, my mind suddenly snapped back to an incident that happened several months ago.

I was shopping at Kohls, a favorite store of mine because of the abundance of 80% off clearance that I find there. I was standing at one of the sale racks, rifling through the baby clothes. There was a woman on the opposite side of the rack, minding her own business. She suddenly came around to the side where I was standing, and she positioned herself in close proximity to me as she started searching through the hanging clothes. And when I say close proximity, I mean she was literally reaching across to shuffle through the clothes directly in front of me. I stayed where I was while still leaning away and trying to give her room. I had a cute little dress in my hand that I was inspecting. Suddenly with no warning, she muttered something in her own language (she didn't speak English), as she reached out and tried to grab the dress out of my hand. I was shocked, but hung on to it as I said, "Excuse me. I'm still looking at this."

Except it probably didn't come out as nicely as it looks on this page. Because, you know, of the tone I used.

She shrugged and kept on looking. I stayed for a minute more, then took off, dress in hand, under the guise of taking it to the self-scanning machine to find out the price. All the while huffing and puffing on the inside, I might add. How rude, how dare she do something like that! I kept an eye on her as I scanned it. $7.99. It was a cute dress, but I previously had no intention of buying it. Until Miss Lacking In Manners made a grab for it, that is.

But then I made up my mind. I'm going to buy this. I don't care. She's not getting it.

And with these mature thoughts seething through my brain, I took off for the registers to purchase it.

Oh yes I did.

Can we say silly little selfish nature? Ok, so what she did was obviously not right. But, response was not exactly exemplary, either. It felt good at the time, yes ma'am, but it was basically done out of spite, which shouldn't be the driving motivation for anything.

So I will attempt to teach Savannah these principles, while knowing that I have some serious room for improvement as well. And at 2 1/2, it's ok if she doesn't have it down perfectly.

'Cause at 31, apparently I don't either.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What personality type are you?

I have a complete and utter fixation with personalities and personality tests. I love taking them, delving in and discovering why I act the way I do, and realizing what makes others tick. I love reading my profile description, and I get all excited thinking that, Hey, I do make sense! There are other people like me! And I will comment to Ricardo, "Listen to this! Doesn't this sound EXACTLY like me?"

To which he will turn his head from the TV towards me and absently nod his agreement.

I am an ISFJ, according to the Myers-Briggs typology. I am of a phlegmatic/melancholy temperament, according to some other tests. If you want to talk animals, I am a golden retriever/beaver. And love language? Most definitely Words of Affirmation, with a little Quality Time thrown in for good measure. Basically what all that means is I am a laid-back, non-confrontational, peace-loving girl.

So all of this is well and good. But this particular personality type, my type, tends to rely heavily on feelings. Which can be both an awesome strength or a horrible weakness. It's a strength in the fact that I can empathize deeply with people, and my heart goes out to them as I try to see where they're coming from so that I can help in whatever way I can.

But it's a weakness when it gets all focused back on me, and when those little feelings forget that who I am and what I do are two completely separate things. Get a great compliment one day? That will send my heart soaring. Hear somebody say something negative about me? My heart sinks, and I have to mentally talk myself out of the depths to which it has fallen. This cycle can get out of hand pretty quickly, if its not reined in and brought back to reality. Obviously some feelings are essential and good; but it's when I put too much stock of who I am into those feelings that things go awry.

I have had several jobs in the past where I was 100% convinced that my bosses hated me. I had just started, and as with any new position, it takes time to adjust. So being the overachiever and people-pleaser that I am, I would scramble to learn quickly and anticipate every need in an effort to show what an exemplary employee I was going to be. But I rely largely on feedback, and if I didn't get it, I would automatically assume that they were displeased with my performance, which in turn would actually make my performance suffer.

I distinctly remember the feeling of relief that would wash over me when I would finally receive positive feedback. Usually it came with high praise of the job I was doing.....which, up to that point, I had no clue how they felt. The problem with this scenario was, I was doing a great job all along. I knew it deep inside, but since it wasn't being validated, I started to mentally tear myself down. You're not doing it right, they're not happy with you, they think you're dense and unintelligent. And once I had these awful thoughts rolling through my brain, it didn't take long for me to start second-guessing myself in the work I was doing.

So, as I look back, I now realize this earth-shattering bit of information; I should have never let my self-esteem be dictated by whether or not I got a glowing report or a disapproving one. Or none at all. I am the same person regardless, and to let my feelings take me on a roller-coaster ride of, "They LIKE me!" or "Oh my word, they HATED it", only serves to throw me into an emotional tizzy. Sure, it's nice to hear those encouraging things; I love getting compliments, affirmation, support. Who doesn't, right?

But. I cannot live and die by them.

And for me, this is so much easier said than done. But, truly, I'm working on it.

So what about you? What is your personality type? I'd love to hear about yours....did I mention my fixation with this whole topic? Yes. I did. So, fire away!

Foody Friday - Blueberry Nectarine Cobbler

The very thought of blueberries makes me happy all the way down to my toes. I buy a big 2 lb. box of them at Costco, and between Savannah and I, we demolish them within a day or two.

I ran across this cobbler recipe a few years back, and I like it because it is not overly sweet, and because the topping is more cake-like than biscuit-like.

Blueberry Nectarine Cobbler

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
3 cups fresh nectarines (or peaches) - peeled, pitted and sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons coarse granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, 1/2 cup white sugar, and baking powder. Mix in milk and 1/4 cup butter until smooth. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and water. Mix in the peaches and blueberries. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Mix in 1 tablespoon butter and lemon juice. Continue cooking until the butter melts. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart ungreased baking dish.

Evenly spoon batter in mounds over the hot fruit. In a small bowl, mix the coarse sugar and nutmeg, and sprinkle over the batter.
Place the baking dish on a shallow baking pan in the preheated oven. Bake cobbler for about 35 minutes, or until bubbly and a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out clean.

Go visit Jenny at A Latte Talk for more great berry recipes!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I won't be eating steak for awhile, but.....

Thank you so much to everybody who wished me well for my gum surgery. When I sat down in the chair and they started to prep me, I got so nervous and my stomach tightened up into a big ball. So I prayed. I figured Jesus cares about even the little stuff, so I asked that He would calm me down and get me through this. And He did.

In the end, the procedure went much more quickly than last time, and with less pain, which was huge. I spent the day hanging out with my family, and I got to take a 2 1/2 hour nap, which never happens, so I enjoyed every second of that. Never mind that it was almost 6 p.m. when I woke up, totally disoriented. And maybe a little grumpy from having slept too long. I haven't eaten too much yet, as it's still pretty sore, but I'm going to take Darcie's advice tomorrow and make myself a big berry smoothie.

Let's hope that it takes this time. Yeah. That would be great.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

At least I'll have an excuse for lying on the couch and reading blogs all day....

So guess what I'm doing tomorrow morning?

A. Getting a pedicure .

B. Having a maid come over to clean my house.

C. Getting gum surgery.

If you guessed A or B, you would be absolutely.......wrong. Although goodness knows I desperately need a pedicure, and I can only dream of the maid coming to clean my house.

But unfortunately it is C. Gum Surgery.

About two years ago, my dentist became alarmed and told me that my gums had some serious recession going on, and if I didn't get surgery, I would eventually lose two teeth. Well! That was enough to scare me. When you put it like that, the surgery didn't seem so bad. At the time I was still nursing Savannah, and planned to continue for several more months, so I kept putting it off. Finally, last April, I went in and had it done. I am sort of a baby when it comes to this type of thing; it was definitely uncomfortable, but the pain was manageable, and there was nothing overly scary about it. But I just don't do well knowing that parts of me are being cut into.

I survived, and over the past year, I went in for checkups every few months. Recently, I could tell by the look on the face of my periodontist that things were not looking good. On the right side, everything looks great. On the left side, it looks exactly as it did before the surgery.

So I have to go in tomorrow. Again. To do it all over.

The only bright spots that I see in this? For one, I probably won't be eating too much over the next few days, which can only help in my weight loss quest (which is going quite well....I am on target so far). And there are not many occasions when I can lie on the couch, guilt-free, and not have to worry about Savannah or making dinner or cleaning the house. All of which I had to do today so that I won't worry about it tomorrow. So, it will practically be a mini-vacation. Or so I keep telling myself.

A vacation that I hope I don't ever have to go on again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Parties and Heat Waves

So, with the advent of summer comes a landslide of baby showers, graduations, and birthday parties. We love getting out, seeing everyone and visiting, eating picnic food and cake, and watching a truckload of kids run around and smack pinatas open. And then we love even more getting to come home and crash on the couch for an afternoon nap. Usually Ricardo has eaten so much at the party that I can forego cooking dinner, which is another plus on a toasty summer evening.

Savannah's little friend turned 3 recently, and so we gathered at a park to celebrate on Saturday. I seriously do not think the day could have been any hotter. And I was sitting in the shade the entire day; Savannah was the one racing back and forth under the blazing sun. But somehow the heat never seems to bother you when you're a little kid, so we slathered her with sunscreen, and she ran around, ate too many chips, jumped herself silly in the big Dora bouncer, and scrambled alongside the bigger kids for her share of pinata candy (which I promptly confiscated to be deposited in the "company-only" candy dish at home).

This bouncer was one of the best I have ever seen. Maybe this is the quality you all are used to, but I have never before seen one that had an inflatable staircase and slide inside. Very cool. I was tempted to get in myself.

4 hours later, I couldn't take the heat any longer. I carted an over-tired Savannah out of the bouncer, and we headed for home. Upon entering our house, I said, "Thank you JESUS for real air conditioning."

Most houses around here are equipped with swamp coolers. A swamp cooler is a lovely little invention that is used in dry climates; it basically sucks in the outside air, evaporates something in some way, and then expels the slightly cooled air into the house. Probably not exactly like that, but close enough. I do know that it only works when the air outside is bone-dry, so if we get a smidge of humidity, you can forget about being cool that day. And it only cools the house about 15-20 degrees below what the outside air it, so if it is 100 degrees outside, it's still 80 or more inside.

For years Ricardo moaned and groaned every summer as the temperature would climb higher and higher. He finally had enough, and told me that he didn't care what it cost, he was going to get rid of the swamp cooler and put in an actual refrigerated air unit. I fought him on it, knowing it was going to be expensive to install and expensive to run, and really, the heat, it's not all that terrible, is it? Oh, but apparently it was, because he held firm until I caved. The summer that I was pregnant, we had it installed. And, oh glory. He was so right. We basked in our living room that summer while waves of icy air flowed over us. And the timing was perfect, because the bigger I got, the more I sweltered. The more I sweltered, the more the potential for grumpiness rose. And nobody wanted that. So, it was basically a win-win situation for everyone involved to have the option of glacial temperatures available with the flip of a switch.

You can understand my relief upon entering the house after the heat of the party. You can understand why we immediately put Savannah to bed, blasted the air, and then sunk gratefully onto the couch.

I love summer and all that it brings....the garden flowers and vegetables, the sunscreen and flip-flops, the Popsicles and evening walks, the friends and parties.

And even though it is 98 degrees right now as I type this, I can still joyfully proclaim my love for all things summer. Because I am sitting directly under my AC vent. Which makes me one happy camper.

Monday, June 16, 2008

When the thoughts in my head don't always translate....

I am usually a pretty good speller, and I am decent at stringing together a grammatically-correct sentence. For the most part, anyway. Not necessarily here in blogland, where you will often find me utilizing the sentence fragment, and even throwing out a made-up word now and then.

I am embarrassed to admit this, but in the past I have been known – occasionally - to make a snide remark to Ricardo about how I can’t believe the proofreader didn’t catch a mistake in a publication or how somebody used “there” instead of “their”. Stuff like that.

Now, since starting this blog, my cute little superior attitude is coming back to bite me you know where.

I think I have been staring at this computer screen too long, because lately the thoughts that are flowing so freely in my head aren’t making it intact to my typing fingers. I have typed some pretty cracked-out sentences lately, and when I go back and proofread, sometimes I’m not even sure what I was trying to say. Does this happen to anyone else? No? Ah. Ok then.

The spelling issue seems to show up when I am leaving a comment for someone. I type furiously and glance over it to make sure it looks alright, then hit publish. Then I re-read it. Why is it that the glaring misspellings never show up until after it’s too late? And although spell check is my friend when I am publishing my own posts, it doesn’t help me out when I’m leaving comments. I left a comment yesterday for someone, and typed “when” instead of “went”. I didn’t notice it until she emailed back, and I re-read my original comment. I couldn’t have possibly missed that the first time around, could I? But, yep. There it was. And then today I typed “ago” instead of “ok”. Not even close, and I have no idea where that came from. At least I caught that one before I sent it out for all to see.

I think there is some kind of conspiratorial program somewhere that takes my words and warps them after I type them, ‘cause they sure didn’t come out that way the first time around. In my head, anyway.

So, the snide remarks? They have most definitely ceased. Nobody’s perfect, and that for sure includes me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day.... my Dad. The memory-maker of my childhood, the bestower of wisdom, the provider for all our annual family Florida vacations, the changer of my car oil, the arm I held on to as I walked down the aisle. my husband. The provider of our family, the current changer of my car oil, the wearer of a pink wide-brimmed hat while playing dress up with a certain little girl, the one who kisses boo-boos away, the adorer of each baby smile, whisper, and kiss.

Every little girl should be so lucky.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Garden Party in the Southwest

Welcome to the Land of Enchantment! Lisa at The Preacher's Wife had the fabulous idea to host this Spring Garden Tour so we can all get a peek into each other's yards and gardens and outdoor sanctuaries.

So, here in the Southwest, or at least in my city, almost everyone has the lovely xeroscape, otherwise known as "gravel in my front yard that we try to pass off as landscape". Given the water shortage around here, it does make sense, although growing up in the Midwest where both rain and grass abound, it was an adjustment for me.

This is my little welcoming wine barrel, brimming with petunias.

That's about it for the front yard. Because I'm quite sure you don't want to see my gravel, do you? So we'll move along to the back, where we spend most of our time.

It's a small yard, but I found a spot for a few vegetable plants. Tomatoes, onions, spinach, peppers, and jalapenos. Yum.

And basil. I LOVE basil. Makes me want to whip up a batch of spaghetti sauce. Plus, it has the most heavenly smell; when I water it in the evening, it permeates the entire area with such a fragrant scent.

I plant spearmint every year, solely for the nostalgic memories the scent brings to mind. And if one were so inclined, it makes a great garnish. I, personally, am not usually so inclined. But if I would be fabulous.

Random flowers around the yard....a couple of dianthus plants. And violets and snapdragons that sprang up in January and saved me the trouble of planting anything in that space this year.

I love this blue-violet shade of pansies. And my sweet hubby bought me this wagon-planter last year that adds a little character to the yard.

This is our little waterfall, which we put in last year. I'm sure our electric bill and water bill have been a little higher since then because, well, it is always on. But it is so relaxing, and I would literally run it 24/7 if I could.

And when the sun goes down, the relaxation factor kicks up an extra notch. Ah....such serenity.

So that's it! Not the biggest or brightest or fanciest, but it is a little outdoor haven for us, and I guess that's what counts.

Thanks for stopping by...can't wait to come and visit your beautiful yards! Be sure to visit The Preachers Wife and continue the Tour!

Blogging has its perks....

When I first started my blog, I did so only for the purpose of having a place where I could write, ramble, post pictures, and where my family, all scattered across the US, could watch Savannah grow up. Oh, and also because my sister Jamie bugged me incessantly about starting it until I finally gave in. I had no clue whatsoever what I was doing, and no idea how big this blogosphere really is. Or how many awesome ladies I would connect with. So I am now hooked.

And an added bonus that I didn't know about? All of the fantastic giveaways that everybody is always hosting. I've entered plenty of them, but don't often win.

But then I got an exciting email yesterday.

And....I won a necklace! I had entered a blog giveaway a few days ago over at Carolina Mama, and she emailed to say that I was the winner of this:

Cool, huh? It's from Lisa Leonard designs (I think that Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer is giving away this exact same necklace right now, too....go check it out).

So Carolina Mama has something going called Win It Wednesday, where she gives away some really great products. This week she is featuring a fun pocket-book size jewelry organizer, which is perfect to throw in your purse when you travel. It's by JJJanie, who also happens to be Boomama's sister.

So....if you feel like entering to win some free stuff, head over to Carolina Mama!

I meant to do this a while back......but a big thanks to Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee....she held a blog giveaway a few weeks ago for a book called Sweet Caroline, and she randomly picked my number. So thank you, Linda! There's nothing I like more than starting off the summer with a brand new book.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The fourth watch

A few weeks back when we were having some lovely spring thunderstorms, I was awakened in the middle of the night by a clap of thunder and bolt of lightening that was so close it seemed to strike just outside my window. I love storms, as I've said before, so I wasn't frightened. More exhilarated than anything. But then again, I was tucked safely inside my house, curled up under a comforter, a fan beside my bed blowing a gentle breeze across my face.

It might have been a different story if I had been out on a lake somewhere, in an open boat. Can you imagine how frightening it would be to be caught out on the water, and have a terrific squall like that come upon you? I picture something akin to a scene from The Perfect Storm, or some other crazy movie where you have a gigantic wave boiling up, poised to crash over you.

The other day at church we had a guest speaker. It was an excellent sermon, and one that has been playing around in my head ever since I heard it.

It was message about faith. And patience. And timing. It was based on Matthew 14:22-32, the story of Jesus walking on the water.

Basically, to paraphrase the story, Jesus, needing some time alone to pray, had just told his disciples to get in a boat and go on ahead of him to the other side. Halfway there, a huge storm came up, and the disciples were terrified. They could no longer row, they didn't know where they were or which direction they were going; they were more than likely expecting to capsize and die.

Enter Jesus. Walking calmly across the water, which effectively freaked them out. Jesus quiets them by saying, "'s me! Don't be afraid!" And Peter, being the boisterous and impulsive fellow that he is, says, "Wow, I want to do that, too!" and proceeds to launch himself into the water, where he likewise starts gliding on top of the water. Then suddenly, he realizes, Hey, it's really stormy out here. The waves are huge. The wind is fierce. I don't think I can do this. And he looks away from Jesus and focuses on his circumstances, is overcome with fear, and starts to sink.

Of course, Jesus saves him. And then rebukes him. Then they climb back in the boat, and the storm stops. Just like that.

So, the guest speaker is reading this story, which I've heard many, many times. But he is pointing out a few things I have never thought about before.

When Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat, it was evening time. Just after supper, where He had fed 5000 people with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. So, it was probably around 7 or 8 in the evening. As Jesus instructed, the disciples get in the boat and start to row. When they are a good distance away from land, the storm comes upon them.

Did you notice what time it was that Jesus walked out on the water to them?

It was during the fourth watch.

I didn't know exactly what time that was, so I googled it....and found out that it is the time between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Between 3 and 6.

That means the disciples were out there, struggling in the storm for at least 6 or 7 hours. Jesus knew they were out there, he knew that the storm was tossing them around, yet he stayed where he was for what seemed, no doubt, like an eternity to them.

I don't know about you, but I've felt like this before. I've been in situations where the waves seemed impossibly high, where the wind was gusting so hard that I could not stand up straight, where the secure little boat of my life threatened to break apart into a million little pieces. And when the storm is not letting up, and you start to fear for your job, your children, your home, your future, your sanity, your very life, you start wondering. Maybe some worrisome thoughts start creeping in. It's never going to let up. What if I don't make it? What if things don't turn around? What if I have nothing left to hold on to?

And you think, now would be a great time for Jesus to show up. Come on, Jesus! I'm here, in this little boat, in between two impossibly huge waves. See me? Down here? About to go under? Yeah....anytime would be fine with me, if you'd like to come along. Maybe calm things down a little. The second watch has come and's the third watch already....Jesus!

And yet He bides His time. Not because He doesn't see us. Oh, He sees us. I keep reminding myself.....He sees me. Right now, right in this struggle I'm in. He knows the situation, and He knows the beautiful outcome that is in store. He is waiting to see my true character revealed. Will I succumb to the anxiety and the panic that waits to invade my mind? Will I keep my eyes on Him, knowing that the storm is nothing, nothing in His mighty hand? Will I remember that above all, He is holy, and deserving of my adoration and praise, even in the darkest night?

So in this fourth watch, I cling to Him. No matter that the storm is getting fiercer, or that the boat is rocking a little more violently. I know He's going to come through for me. If it were up to me, I'd have Him show up in the first watch, right away, before things even have a chance to get crazy. But so often, He doesn't. He waits, wanting us to experience how wonderful His peace can be in the midst of it.

So, Jesus. My Rock, the Giver of Peace. It's the fourth watch now. I am expecting, believing....I know You're going to show up anytime.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well
It is well with my soul.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Through her eyes

With the arrival of summer comes the return of our nightly family walk. It has been so hot here these past few days that we have been waiting until the sun sets to venture out. We usually follow the same route, one that has just enough of an incline to offer a good workout. Savannah is still a little small to walk that far or that fast, so we push her in an umbrella stroller.

Tonight as we walked along, a brisk wind sprang up and blew the warm summer air all around us. I was pushing the stroller up a hill, against the wind, concentrating only on getting to the top. Savannah was entertaining herself by singing (at the top of her lungs, I might add) "Deep and Wide".

"….there's a fountain flowing…deep and wiiiiide…." in a voice so pure, and that can only belong to a baby. She suddenly broke off in the midst of her rendition, and said, "Mama! Pretty flower! Wook!"

"Where, baby?" I looked but failed to see what had caught her eye.

"Wight heaw, Mama. Flower."

There were several huge cactus plants in a row, overgrown and not well-cared for. Buried deep between them was a splash of yellow where a few brave flowers lifted their heads. Nothing remarkable to anyone else looking at this landscape, but to my baby, they were pretty flowers worthy of her notice.

As we walked on, and as she once again burst out in song, I marveled at the innocence with which she views her world. And at how much she is teaching me. She didn't care that we were passing by strangers' homes, she kept right on singing her song about the overflowing love of Jesus. She didn't see the sad cacti, only the little bit of yellow sunshine.

Keep on singing, baby. And keep on seeing beauty in those places where others just hurry by.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My well of excuses has run dry

There comes a time in life when you run out of excuses.

Reasons why something isn't working, why you can't do it, why you don't feel like it.

I think I'm just about out of excuses on this one. I need to lose weight, and I have been inspired.

I recently ran across this blog, and was immediately intrigued. This new blog friend of mine has been on her own incredible weight loss journey, and after reading for a few days, I thought, Hey, if she can do it, so can I. I mean, 40 lbs. in 20 weeks! If that isn't motivating, I don't know what is.

And it's completely doable. I know this. In the past, I have been able to lose a significant amount of weight within a reasonable time frame. More recently, I have tried, haphazardly, and had some success, but haven't stuck with it.

It's important to know your weaknesses, to recognize what you have allowed yourself to think in the past. One of my downfalls has always been thinking that if I cheat and eat something I shouldn't, I throw in the towel completely and figure, What the heck, I've already blown it, I might as well just keep eating it. Yeah. Not so good. I am not striving for perfection here, just a healthy dose of moderation.

I know the things that work and don't work for me. Mostly common sense things, like, I can't eat too late in the evening. I have a huge weakness for carbs, especially potatoes....those are going to be relegated to my limited-consumption list. So I guess this recipe that I saw on the Pioneer Woman site for Crash Hot Potatoes is out.

Now that. That is temptation to me.

Sweets aren't really an issue, so I'm not terribly concerned about that. In fact, this past week, I have basically cut out all white sugar. Today we went to a graduation party which featured a gigantic cake. I did fine while I was there, avoiding the dessert table, but then the hostess sent an enormous piece home with us. Ostensibly for Ricardo. Once home, I had a few bites of it. And let me tell you, after only a week off of sugar, I started feeling sort of sick after about 10 minutes.

I probably won't be posting too much about this, but I did want to put it out there. There's great power in accountability, and I figure if I share this here, I am more likely to stick with it.

So there you have it. Now I'm off to eat some grilled chicken. And spinach.

Enjoy a potato for me, will you?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Singlehandedly keeping the sunblock company in business

It was gorgeous today. Gorgeous. Sunny, breezy, mid-80's. I took advantage of the lovely weather and went out to pull weeds in my tiny garden (the Garden Tour hosted by The Preachers Wife is coming up, and I can't be showing you all a garden full of crabgrass, right?).

I was out there maybe a total of 15 minutes, not long at all. Later, inside, I looked at my shoulders in the mirror and noticed they were the color of a nice boiled lobster. Sigh. I always think I can get away with a few minutes in the sun without sunblock, but once again, here is proof that I cannot.

Ricardo came in this afternoon, wearing a sleeveless shirt that showed off his brown arms. I looked at him and said, "Dude. I wish I had your coloring." And I meant it. How amazing it would be to just get darker and darker during the summer, without even trying.

So I will keep slathering on the sunblock (on myself as well as Savannah - she inherited the pale skin gene from me) since we'll be outside a lot this summer. Playing in the park, in the yard, in the garden. I picked some onions from my garden today, and there's really nothing like eating something you've grown yourself. Once it's time to pick tomatoes, I'll be in heaven.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody!

Foody Friday - Chicken Parmesan

Fridays have been crazy around here recently, so I haven't participated in Foody Friday for the past few weeks. This week Jenny has selected Company Food as the theme, so I am joining in with Chiseled Chicken Parmesan. I first saw this recipe being made on the show called Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander, and I like it because it is relatively healthy. As usual, I always tweak it to suit our taste....I think that the breadcrumb mixture needs A LOT more flavor, so I usually throw in paprika, red pepper, garlic salt, whatever I can grab to jazz it up.

Chiseled Chicken Parmesan

Olive oil spray
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg white
1/2 tablespoon fat free milk
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
1/2 cup low-fat marinara sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 cup finely shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 ounce reduced-fat Parmesan cheese or 1 ounce finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly mist a non-stick baking sheet with spray.
Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and, using the flat side of a meat mallet (a heavy rolling pin will also work), pound them until they are an even 1/3-inch thickness working from the center outward. In a medium, shallow bowl, mix the flour, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.

Make sure the chicken is as dry as possible (without actually drying it) and dip one piece into the flour mixture until it is coated on all sides. Shake off any excess flour and place the breast on a dinner plate. Repeat with the second breast then place it on the plate next to the first breast. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a second shallow bowl, use a fork to lightly beat the egg white with the milk. In a third, shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley. Dip the floured chicken breasts, one at a time into the egg mixture. Allow any excess egg to drip from the chicken (this is important or breadcrumbs will clump) then coat it with breadcrumbs. Dip it back into the egg then back into the breadcrumbs. Place them side by side on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer the dish to the oven and cook the chicken 7-9 minutes per side until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
Just before the chicken is cooked, heat the marinara sauce in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove top until just hot. Top each breast with 1/4 cup marinara sauce followed by the mozzarella then Parmesan cheese. Then bake the chicken for an additional 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve the chicken hot with a side of pasta and/or a large green salad.
Makes 2 servings.

Each (1 Chicken Breast) Serving has: 301 calories, 37 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 1 g sat. fat, 79 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 776 mg sodium Traditional Chicken Parmesan made with a 4-ounce chicken breast has: 613 calories, 65 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 32 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 176 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 1000 mg sodium

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Battle Scars

See this? On my baby girl's face?

No, it is not the remnants of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Nor did a cat attack her and leave claw marks, which is what our neighbor thought.

She was swinging at the park with Daddy, in the "big girl" swing. Apparently at the ripe old age of 2 1/2 she is too big for the baby swing. She was sailing back and forth when she decided for no apparent reason to let go with one hand. Poor Ricardo....he saw her start to fly off but he wasn't close enough to catch her. She face-planted hard into the wood-chip covered ground. Ricardo stood her up and brushed the wood chips off of her face, and one of them stayed in. It had dug itself into her cheek, and he had to actually yank it out. Ouch. I have been smearing Mederma on it night and day in hopes that it won't leave a permanent scar.

When I was getting her ready for church yesterday evening, I made the mistake of putting a little skirt on her, which exposed her little legs. She has had numerous bumps and bruises recently, and her legs are covered in scratches and scabs and boo-boos. Sure enough, when we walked into church, her nursery teacher looked at her with alarm. People were asking if she had been bitten on her cheek.

Between her banged-up face and her bruised legs, it was quite a sight. I promise, I do not beat my child. Promise.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Remember when.....

A few months before we were married, we got around to discussing where we wanted to honeymoon. We both love the beach, so a tropical place was high up on our list.

We finally decided on Cancun. And because I was planning the majority of the wedding, Ricardo agreed to plan the honeymoon trip.

Weeks went by, and nothing was being done in the Cancun planning department. I finally took it over, did my research and booked the flights and hotel, and he admitted in relief that he was no good at that kind of stuff. So much for trying to get him involved.

So we packed, flew to Indy, and got married.

Our flight to Cancun left early the next morning, so we got a hotel close to the airport. We were up bright and early, excited to be on our way to more exotic environs, and even more thrilled to be married.

We reached the airport in plenty of time, and went up to the counter to check in. Suitcase. E-ticket. Passport. Check, check, and check. I was ready to go.

It was Ricardo's turn. He stepped right up. Suitcase. E-ticket.

And drivers license.

Here is where my world came to a screeching halt.

Ok, people. We are going to Mexico, right? Foreign country? And we knew this in advance, obviously. I distinctly remember a conversation I had with Ricardo before we left New Mexico. It went something like this:

"Don't forget your passport."

"I don't need it. I just went to Juarez, and they didn't ask for it when I drove across the border. It's just Mexico, they don't care who goes in, they only care who comes out." (which, in hindsight makes no sense, because we were, in fact, planning on returning to the US. So....?????)

Ok, suit yourself. I felt he knew more about these things than I did, so I let it go.

Oh, how I wish I hadn't let it go.

He presented his drivers license, and the sweet young guy behind the counter said, "Sorry, sir. I'm going to need to see your passport."

That was not a good moment in the life of this newlywed. I am usually fairly reserved and non-confrontational, but folks, my honeymoon was on the line here. I told the dude, Look. We are on our honeymoon. We don't live here, we live in New Mexico. There is no way we can go get it. What can we do?

He shrugged, sympathetic but resolute. Nothing.

I turned on the waterworks. Well, actually, they sort of turned on involuntarily. I begged, pleaded, asked if we could get one of our friends to fax over a copy of the darn thing, then asked if we could get a refund for our tickets if we couldn't go.

No, and no. But they would change our tickets to the following day if we wanted.

We finally turned away in defeat. Then Ricardo told me the only thing to do was for him to try to get a ticket back to NM, grab the passport, and get back to Indy before the plane to Cancun took off the next day.

It was like a nightmare. I never pictured starting off our blissful life together like this! So I did what any rational, calm-thinking woman would do...I told him I wanted to go with him back to NM. And he very gently told me no, that would be a not-so-wise thing to do, and that I would have to go on ahead to Cancun without him.

So for the next half-hour or so, we raced around from ticket counter to ticket counter, trying to find a ticket that would get him there and back in the time frame that we had to work with. My plane was boarding, and I finally had to leave before he had found one. I kissed my brand new hubby goodbye and left on my honeymoon by myself.

On the way to Cancun, the guy sitting next to me asked where I was going. I said Cancun, and his eyebrows raised a bit....I'm sure he wondered why I was by myself. He asked what for, and I giggled a bit and said, "I'm on my honeymoon!" The eyebrows went through the roof at the point.

We landed, and after a 3-hour wait in customs, I grabbed my luggage and found a taxi to the hotel. It was dark by this time, and I was too scared to go out and do anything by myself, so I took a very brief walk on the beach and then settled into the room and ordered room service. $13 for a burger and fries. I am not sure why I remember that, but probably because it was such a big rip-off.

The next morning I awoke. I had no idea if Ricardo was coming that day, if he had been able to secure a ticket, but I was hoping against hope that he had. So I puttered around the room, waiting.

At 11:00, I heard his voice outside the door. I sprang up, delighted beyond words...I hadn't expected him to get there that early. He walked in, and my world righted itself.

He told me that right after I left, he was able to find a ticket. It was the only one left that worked with the time frame. It was a first-class ticket.

And it cost $1500.

Yes. You read that right. Fifteen hundred dollars.

But beggars cannot be choosers, so he took it, and made the flight to NM. He was in his car, waiting to exit the NM airport when he happened to open the glove compartment and shuffle through it.

And there was his passport. Apparently he had left it in there from that trip down to Juarez months know, the one where they didn't ask to see it. That one.

So he turned his car around, ran back in, jumped on a plane, and flew back to Indy where he spent the night curled up in a bench at a closed Starbucks. Then he boarded another plane to Cancun, and made his way to our hotel where we were officially able to start our honeymoon.

It certainly wasn't the way I would have chosen for it to all unfold. I would have preferred to have my man beside me the whole way, but we survived. Our marriage obviously has survived.

And now? It makes a pretty good story, so I'm not complaining.