Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Um.....what am I supposed to do?

We just finished watching Brooke's oh-so-emotional exit from American Idol.

The last shot was of her walking away with her back to the crowd, obviously trying to hide the tears that were raining down.

Beyond her the group of boys (and Syesha) stood, shifting uncomfortably.

"Look at those guys," I said, thinking a hug or some show of support might be in order.

"Yup," Ricardo said, "boys just don't know what to do when the tears start flowing."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When she wraps her hand around my finger...

She's a blur of excitement as she runs past me on her way to the back door.

Stop, I say, bring mama your shoes.

She brings them to me, but then sits down and insists on putting them on herself. She gets them on the wrong feet, but is so pleased with herself. "All by 'self!" she tells me proudly.

And I smile at her, and gush over her accomplishment. And wonder when she got to be so grown up. So capable.

She runs off, calling, "Come on, mama! Come ou'side!"

I follow her outside, and I start to water my flowers. She sees what I'm doing, and grabs her plastic shovel, trying to get a few drops of water from the hose. She runs and lets it drip over the snapdragons. "I'm helping mama!" she announces. And again I am struck with the fact that I no longer have a little baby, someone solely dependent upon me.

She trips and falls. Lands with her forehead planted on the concrete. She cries hard, and runs to me for comfort. I pick her up, sit down and rock her back and forth. Kiss her boo-boo, tell her she's ok. She hugs my neck, and is content just to sit there.

She's still my baby, no matter what.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Kid-friendly food

The question that all moms face every day.

The question that we all wish we could avoid.

But since it involves the care and well-being of our children, we can't.

And the question is....

What am I going to feed my child today?

More specifically, what I am going to feed my child that she will actually eat, and that involves a semblance of nutrition?

Missy over at It's Almost Naptime has asked for some input regarding some kid-friendly meal ideas. And she has four kids under four years old. I only have one, so I'm sure it's a lot easier pleasing one little one than four little ones, all with different palates. But there are a couple of things that really work for Savannah, so I'll pass them along here.

- Mini turkey meatloaves. The miniature size seems to work well for kids (and adults, too, if Ricardo is any indication).

- Veggie Pizzas, made on small tortillas and loaded with whatever you think they will eat.

- Cream Cheese Chicken Soup, see recipe posted here. One of Savannah's absolute favorites, she will eat this any time of the day.

We also grill a lot, so I always have chicken on hand. I like to take leftover grilled chicken, cut it up and add it to some brown rice, add in frozen peas or cooked broccoli, sprinkle with some cheese, and zap it for a few seconds. Savannah loves this one too.

This isn't necessarily a meal, but it makes a good nutritious snack. I make a double or triple batch and keep them in the freezer to grab whenever Savannah gets hungry between meals.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
Directions: In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, egg white and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown. Yield: 6 servings.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How to impress

Our church had a Volunteer Appreciation Open House after the service this morning. It was a time for the pastors to mingle with everybody, shake hands, and say thanks for all you do.

And a time for us to get free breakfast burritos. We never turn down free food, so we headed over.

We were making our way towards the food when Pastor Steve, the senior pastor, intercepted us. He is the sweetest man you could ever hope to meet, the kind of guy that you don't have to pretend with, he is just real and genuine. He was all smiles and said some nice things to me and Ricardo.

Then he turned to Savannah, who wasn't being particularly social at that exact moment.

He said the usual, so cute, getting so big, whatever. And we said, Say hi, Savannah!

She turned to look at him and plugged her thumb in her mouth. And then plugged her index finger in her nose.

It was extremely tasteful.

Ricardo made a quick move and swiped her hand away from her face. Being two and all, this did not deter her. This time she skipped the thumb-in-the-mouth and just buried her finger back in her nose.

It's a little hard to encourage conversation between your daughter and the senior pastor when she has her finger almost touching her brain.

Like I said, Pastor Steve is just a sweet man who totally overlooks things like this. He smiled at her gently, commented that kids just do some really awesome and amazing things, and moved on.

Lessons in etiquette - coming right up.

In the face of fear

Our pastor has been preaching a series on the topic of fear for the past month or so.

And let me tell you, it has been hitting me right where it hurts.

I would imagine that everybody deals with fear in one form or another from time to time. Pastor Steve had a list of different types of fears, and he has read a few to us. Seemingly silly ones like fear of the color white. Fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. Fear of numbers.

Others like fear of being touched. Fear of anything new.

And then the ones that spoke right to me. Fear of failure. Fear of expressing opinions. Fear of being oneself. Fear of never being enough.

When we came home after church last Sunday, as Ricardo and I were discussing what we had heard, he asked me if I had any fears. I couldn't even formulate an answer for that. I think he was expecting me to say something like, I'm afraid that the business won't make it, or I'm afrad that we'll have financial failure. The truth is, I don't worry about stuff like that. It's all the internal junk...the what do people think of me, did I sound stupid when I said that, what if I can't do it kind of stuff.

And then it hit me. My fears are all selfish. It's all about me, me, me. The entire time that I am worrying about these things, I am totally self-centered. And I'm pretty sure that's not how God designed things to be.

I asked Ricardo if he had any fears, and he said no. Very matter-of-fact-like. I was surprised at his answer, because it's hard for me to imagine someone living a life without being afraid of anything. But it reminded me of something I read in Tim LaHaye's book, Why you act the way you do. In that book, he said that the Phlegmatic/Melancholy tempermants struggle more with the sin of fear, and the Sanguine/Choleric tempermants struggle more with the sin of anger. I am straight up Phlegmatic/Melancholy, so I guess that would explain my propensity to fear. And Ricardo is almost all Choleric, and it's definitely true that he has more of an anger issue. Not that categorizing these things excuses them or explains them away, but I think it's helpful to learn about it and understand it a little better. But in the end, it boils down to what God says:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7).

I've known this verse practically my whole life. I guess the trick is getting it from my head to my heart.

So for now, I determine to be less self-centered. To think on the pure and lovely. Not to focus on what I am not, what I can't do, but rather on what God says I am. 'Cause that's what really matters.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In which I display my excellent mothering skills

Today we plan on going to Walmart to do our main monthly shopping. Ricardo always goes along to help out, so we aren't going until later this afternoon after he gets home.

However....

I realized this morning as I was changing her that Savannah only has one diaper left. One. To last her until late this afternoon.

I do not want to make two trips to the store.

I am going to make this final diaper last as looooong as possible.

Either that or potty training is going to become a huge priority today.

Grandma's Hash Brown Casserole

2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and shredded, OR 2 lbs frozen hash browns, thawed (I usually use the hashbrowns, you can't really tell the difference)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 Cup french onion dip
2 T. minced onion
2 1/2 Cups shredded cheese

Combine all ingredients. Place in a greased 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika, and bake at 350 for about an hour. I usually like to bake mine a little longer, to make sure that the cheese gets nice and melted.

Enjoy!

Spring = 80 degrees = Park



Thursday, April 24, 2008

I have a good reason for the paranoia

I have no peace of mind when my gas gauge falls below a quarter a of a tank full. I envision myself stranded on the side of the road, miles from home, trying to call Ricardo to come and rescue us. I have my dad to thank for this; growing up, it was an absolute cardinal sin to have less than a quarter of a tank of gas.


Not so with my hubby. He seems to derive some sort of twisted excitement from seeing how far he can go on one tank of gas. You have PLENTY of gas, he tells me, even though the gauge is showing completly empty. You have at least 50 more miles in there! You'll be fine!

Oh, sure.


I am never convinced, so I have been known to make a dash to the gas station and pump 4 dollars worth, just to be safe. Ricardo scoffs at me for doing this, but hey, it's all about the peace of mind.


When I lived in Dallas years ago, I was driving back from work one evening. It was around 8:00, so it was already almost completely dark. I had just gotten a new car (not brand new, by any means, but new to me) so I wasn't completly familiar with all the quirks of this particular vehicle. In the car I had previously, I knew exactly how far I could go before filling up, and believe me, I pushed it to the very limits, running on fumes to get a few more miles out of it. So, I never gave it a second thought that the new car wouldn't behave in exactly the same way. I had only gone a few miles when my car began to act strangely. Having never run out of gas before, I had no idea what was going on, and I just thought that I was having some sort of engine problems. I managed to make it to an exit ramp, and I steered it to the side of the road before it died completely. The exit that I had taken was in a dark and remote area, with businesses and warehouses that had already been shut down for the day. I had no idea what to do. No cell phone, no one around, not even any cars driving by.


So I prayed. Then I got out and started walking.


I was really starting to freak out when a little pickup truck came into view. It slowed down as it passed me, and then stopped and backed up. I was freaking out at this point, praying it wouldn't be some crazy mugger person.


There was a little man inside, and he asked if he could help. I told him I was having car trouble, and he offered to drive me down the road so I could call for help.


My mind raced as I looked at him. I was a young girl all alone, he was a complete stranger.... but I couldn't stay where I was, either. I remember saying a really quick prayer, like, Please God, keep me safe and don't let him kill me, or something to that effect. Then I got in the truck.


I really think God sent me an angel in the form of that man that night. He was as sweet as could be. I'm sure he could tell I was totally freaked out because he just asked nice general questions, nothing too personal. He said he had a daughter about my age and he sure would hate to see her out walking by herself like that.


He took me to a gas station a mile down the road, and wouldn't you know it.....every single person that I could think to call didn't answer. I went back to thank him, and let him know I would just hang out there until I could reach someone. He wouldn't hear of it. He insisted on driving me all the way home, which was a good 30-40 miles out of his way.

In the end it all worked out; my sister and some friends drove me back to my car later that night. I kept insisting to them the whole way there that I was sure something was drastically wrong with the car, and there was no way it could be out of gas.

Um, yeah. It was out of gas.

Boy, did I feel stupid. It just goes to show that God still watches over us, even in the midst of our stupidity.

After that, I became a huge stickler to the "quarter-of-a-tank" rule. Then I married Ricardo. And he laughs in the face of my paranoia.

But let me tell you, if I am ever stranded on the side of the road after he has said, You'll be fine! You have a least 50 miles left......well, he will never hear the end of it.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And suddenly it didn't matter

I was sitting in the middle of our hallway last Friday, surrounded by wrapping paper and scissors and ribbon. We were about to leave for a surprise birthday party, and I was running late. I usually forget to wrap the present until we are about ready to leave, and then I get all stressed out because I can never get it to look right. I am far from the worlds best gift-wrapper.

Savannah wasn't helping matters. She ran in circles around me, grabbing the scissors and unwinding my ribbon. When she saw me stretching and pulling at the wrapping paper, trying to make it cover the entire box, she ran to the other side and began yanking on the paper. Did I mention I was already running low on wrapping paper? I had visions of her ripping the paper to shreds and leaving me carrying a completely unwrapped gift to the party. So I yelled.

Stop it! Don't touch that!

She stopped. She stuck her thumb in her mouth and crouched against the wall.

I kept wrapping, oblivious to what she was doing. Then I happened to look up.

And I saw her crushed little face.

Now, Savannah is very good at pulling her sad little puppy dog face, particularly when she is pouting about something. But this was not one of those times. She was so hurt. She was only trying to help. And she couldn't understand why I had yelled at her.

I was immediately contrite. It was only wrapping paper. Wrapping paper that in a few hours would be torn off and tossed aside. Nobody would care if it was perfect. No one would even notice.

I went to her and gave her a hug. Told her I was sorry. And then asked if she wanted to help me put tape on the gift. Instantly her eyes lit up, all hurt feelings forgotten. The perfectionist in me had to bite my lip when she plastered a long strand of tape right across the side, no where near the place it needed to be. Her little fingers twisted the tape and then tried to smooth another piece right on top.

And suddenly it didn't matter. Looking at her face, I saw how happy it made her to help. To be a part of what I was doing. Just to be with me. Making memories like this.....so much more important than trying to make things perfect.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You can never have too many cute shoes....

My sister flew in from LA this past Saturday to visit for a few days. It's always fun when she comes down, and it's nice to have some family visit since everyone lives so far away. Jamie brought some shoes to wear to church on Sunday that I absolutely loved. She said she got them at Ross recently, and for a really good price, so we went looking for them on Monday.

Not that I need any new shoes. But these shoes? So very cute. And I mentioned very good price, right?

But no luck. I decided that I really, really hate shopping at Ross, because I just can't get into picking through mounds and mounds of things, running my cart over things piled on the floor, and trying to find my size amidst the chaos. Love the prices there, but I always leave feeling out-of-sorts.


Anyway, Jamie left this afternoon, and when I got home, I noticed these on the floor:



Yes, it is the super-cute Nine West wedge shoes that I was coveting! She knew I loved them, and she left her pair for me. How sweet is that? I feel sort of bad, I didn't want her to do that, but.....it certainly will not stop me from wearing them.


So...thank you, Jamie!


I am so excited now that Savannah is old enough to recognize and remember her Auntie Jamie. Jamie was there at Savannah's birth, so she really has seen her grow up from the very beginning. Savannah was showing off her new vocabulary skills this time around, but I'm pretty sure Jamie was only getting about half of it. That two-year-old dialect can be awfully complicated sometimes.


Here is Jamie when Savannah was born....





And here they are again right before she left this afternoon.

It's been worth it

I was 25 when I got married, and Ricardo was almost 35. I had always "known" that I would (or maybe just wanted to) marry someone older than me, so I was thrilled. Once I met him and we started dating, there was no doubt that he was the one for me. He, on the other hand, was more cautious. He had waited this long to get married, and he wanted to be sure that I was the one, wanted to be sure that this would be it for him. We got along beautifully during our year of dating and our subsequent year of engagement, getting to know each other and finding out each others habits and quirks.

But I don't care how well you think you know someone. That all changes once you get married. And start actually living with that person.

I still loved him just as much after the wedding. Even more, really. I was so excited to be his wife, to have our little house, to be the queen of my own kitchen and cook gourmet meals for him.

Um...ok, maybe not that last part.

But 10 years is a pretty big age difference. And at 35, he was more or less set in his ways. And at 25, I still had some growing up and maturing to do. I am pretty sure I cried a lot during that first year of marriage. And not really because I was unhappy.....I just had some super unrealistic expectations. I think somewhere in my little head I expected a fairy tale, that things would be a certain way, that he would meet and surpass my every need.

And obviously, he couldn't do that. He wasn't meant to do that. Only God can meet and surpass my every need. I just needed to figure that out for myself.

So I would cry, and he would look at me, helpless and frustrated. Not having any clue as to what to do, and not knowing what he had said to upset or hurt me.

It was amazing, but the end of the first year was the turning point. I think it was more of a meeting in the middle for us.....I stopped being so sensitive about everything, and he started being more sensitive to me. I honestly can't even remember some of the things that I would get upset over, but I'm sure it was pretty silly. Somewhere along the way I realized that he wasn't capable of being everything to me.

Of course it helped that he learned to ask, "What's wrong?" or "Do we need to talk about something?"

And it really helped that I learned how to actually tell him what was wrong instead of clamming up and making him guess.

That first year wasn't terrible.....we had a lot of fun, got to travel, just enjoyed being newlyweds. I guess it's an inevitable part of being married, that whole getting-to-know-each-other element. I think there were times that we both wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.

But I'm so glad we have stuck it out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I might not have perfect pitch, but I sure am cute!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Foody Friday!

Jenny over at A Latte Talk is hosting Foody Friday, and since I love to cook, I thought I would join right in. The theme for this week is your favorite recipe/favorite food.....and this is proving to be more difficult than I thought. I don't know how to narrow it down to just one, but I have decided on our family's absolute favorite soup. Ricardo, who was anti-soup before I introduced him to this, loves it. Savannah inhales it every time I make it. It is so simple, fast and easy to make, and oh so delicious.

Disclaimer: I do not normally measure any of my ingredients, but these are the measurements on the recipe that I have. I usually use about half the amount of cream cheese that it calls for, but if cream cheese is your thing, then go for it! You can alter the recipe to your taste by adding or deleting pretty much anything....I always like to throw in some extra vegetables.




Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3 cups chicken broth
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed

Directions:

In a large saucepan, saute the onion in butter. Add broth, carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the chicken, parsley, salt and pepper; heat through. Combine flour and milk until smooth; add to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the cream cheese; cook and stir until melted. Yield: 8 servings.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Definition of Notice (v) - 1: to give notice of (or) 2: to comment upon

Last November my friend Tara had a "girls night out" makeup party at her house. Her cousin is a professional MAC makeup artist, and she was there to instruct us and show us some different techniques. We all decided we wanted to learn how to do a smoky eye.

We spent the next few hours dabbling in different colors of base application, contrasting shadows, liners, and mascara. Then we all oohed and aahed over each other, and gathered around to take pictures of our newly acquired beauty. It was quite obvious, to my way of thinking, that we all looked completely different than we normally did. Dark, bold eyes. Colors that we didn't usually wear. The smokiness of our eyes was readily apparent.

I went home that evening, wondering what Ricardo was going to say. Wondering if he would like it, hate it, think that it was all too much.

The answer was none of the above.

He didn't even notice.

I walked in the house, fully expecting him to have some sort of comment. I kissed Ricardo and Savannah hello. And waitied. No acknowlegement. We chatted, got Savannah ready for bed, prayed with her, put her to bed, started getting ready for bed ourselves. Still nothing.

I was mildy annoyed. I could have drawn attention to it myself and said, Hey! Whatcha think about my new look? But I didn't. So he didn't.

For my birthday in December, my wonderful friends had given me a MAC gift card, which I was so excited about. Today I realized that I was running low on some of my concealer, and decided to use my gift card and pick some up while I was out and about.

They weren't busy at the store when I arrived, so I asked the girl if she had time to give me a little makeover on my eyes. She was able to right then, and she showed me some really pretty colors and proceeded to give me what she called an "evening look". I loved how it turned out, and purchased some of the colors that she used.

I arrived home. Ricardo was watching Savannah. They were listening to music and she was jumping around like a little maniac. I greeted them, and then we all went outside to play. He wasn't noticing my grand transformation, but this time I really didn't give it much thought.

We ate lunch, and then I decided to give Savannah a bath since I won't be here tonight and wanted to have it done for the day. He came in to help me out, and as I was sitting there, beside the bathtub, I looked up to find him scrutinizing me.

"Hey, did you get your eyes done somewhere?"

Oh, bless his heart, HE NOTICED! I was shocked. I could have hugged him. Forget the fact that I had already been home for two hours before the noticing took place.

"Um..yes....what do you think?"

More scrutinizing. "It's different," he said. Uh-oh. That could mean any variety of things.

"Well, do you like it? Or is it too much? Too dark?"

My husband is ever so tactful. "It think I am just not used to seeing you like that."

(pause)

"But it really makes your eyes pop. I like it."

Today marks the day that my husband has taken a giant leap forward in the area of perception.

I am still in shock.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A request...

Today Ricardo went to the walk-in eye doctor at Walmart. He had a strange little bump on his eye that was of some concern to him, so he thought he better get it checked out. As it turned out, the bump is apparently no cause for alarm, but while he was there they did an eye pressure test on him. The pressure was elevated way above normal levels, and the doctor was concerned enough to tell him to go see an ophthalmologist. I didn't know this, but I guess the elevated pressure is a good indication of the onset of glaucoma. So, he has an appointment a week from today with a specialist. If you all have a moment, please pray for a good outcome, for peace of mind, and for a decrease in the pressure. He doesn't get shaken up by too much, but I can tell this has caused a bit of anxiety.

I'll let you all know what happens on Tuesday. Thanks!

No words necessary


Monday, April 14, 2008

Sleep. It's a lovely thing.

When Savannah was 9 months old, we moved her from the bassinet in our room into the crib in her room, just two steps down the hall. I had planned on waiting until she was a year, but she was doing great at night, and didn't really "need" me anymore. So, the move was made. Honestly, I think it was way harder on me than it was on her. Being a first-time mom, I was used to checking her during the night, putting my finger just below her nose to feel the little rush of warm air that let me know she was still breathing. But everything was fine, she adjusted right away, and we had no issues. The only time that she would really wake up in the middle of the night and cry for us would be when she was sick or teething.

When Ricardo's dad was here in town in March recovering from his stroke, his mom stayed with us for the better part of three weeks. She was understandably exhausted from the whole ordeal, and so we wanted her to be able to get as much rest as possible at night. So, it was extremely unfortunate timing that Savannah happened to be getting a new tooth right around then. She started waking up in the middle of the night and crying inconsolably, at first from pain, I assume, but later I think it was just a new habit that she was forming. And since we didn't want her to wake up Ricardo's mom, we would take turns going in to get her. We would bring her back to bed with us, or sometimes, we would lay down with her on the double bed that is in her room. In theory, I like the idea of having her in bed with us....it is so precious to hear her breathing in the night, and to wake up in the morning to see her smiling face. In reality, though I end up on the very edge of the bed, with my arm in a weird position, and wake up in the morning with my whole body out of whack from sleeping so uncomfortably. Not to mention that she usually wakes up before me, and then proceeds to poke at my eyelids until I arise from a most peaceful slumber.

But anyway...

Ricardo's folks left, and we were trying to get back to normal. Savannah kept waking up, and it was really getting to me. I felt like I had a newborn again, and that sleep-deprived feeling was no fun. I talked to Ricardo about it, and his solution was to discipline her. I really, really hated to do that, because I knew she would be half-asleep, and when we discipline, we like to talk to her, explain why we're doing it, then love on her, and so on. But I knew he was right, and it was the only option left. Of course, it fell upon me the next night to implement this.

She woke up, sobbing. I went in, held her, hugged her, told her she had to lay down in her crib and go to sleep. That went over well. She became hysterical, clinging to my neck, pointing to the bed, and telling me to lay down with her. Totally heartbreaking, but I knew that since I had already said it, I had to stick to my guns. I laid her down, and she screamed. For 10 minutes. I went back in, and repeated the whole thing again. More hysterics.

I finally broke down and administered some very loving discipline. Laid her down again, and no more crying, I said. Then I ran out of the room before I could change my mind and relent.

From the other side of the door, I stood there listening to her. She was crying, but trying not to, with those little pitiful shaky sobs they get when they have cried so hard. I heard her try to shut it off, and then she burst out in a fresh bout of tears. Then I heard her say out loud to herself, "No cry. No more cry," in a wobbly little voice as she forced herself to calm down.

Well, I lost it then. I stood outside her door with tears rolling down my face. I felt so horrible, I wanted with all my heart to run in there and hold her, but of course that would undo all that had just happened. She was in there trying to comfort herself, saying, No more cry, and it was all just too heartbreaking.

But you know what? It totally did the trick. That was at least 3 or 4 weeks ago, and I haven't had to go in there in the middle of the night since. So in the long run I know it was the right thing, and we are once again a peaceful, sleep-loving family. Hallelujah.

Torture in the form of....chocolate

I was full of energy today as I jumped on the treadmill after putting Savannah down for a nap. I turned on the TV, and lo and behold I found a rerun of The Biggest Loser. Perfect! What could be more inspirational during a workout than watching people lose tons of weight? I was ready to go.

Break for commercial.

Something called Hersheys Bliss. Chocolate. Because, really, what other commercial will do the trick during a weight-loss show?

Bite sized pieces of chocolatey goodness in cute little foil wrappers. A tall, slender, beautiful woman lounging gracefully in a hammock while slowly indulging in a piece of pure pleasure. Happy children skipping around her, a breeze wafting through her hair. Delightfulness all around.

Right. It was enough to make me jump off the treadmill and run for my secret stash of chocolate.

Not that I have one. I'm just saying....if I did.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Imperfection.....and grace

I am at the chiropractor. It is a small office, with six chairs comprising the waiting area. Today is especially busy and all of the chairs but one are occupied. I sit down, and Savannah crouches at my feet, ready to start tearing through the bag I have brought along. I always bring toys, coloring books, treats, whatever I can to keep her occupied, because I know it's no fun to be 2 and to have to sit, bored, for more than 5 minutes.

It is taking forever. Savannah's interest in her toys has been exhausted and she is looking at the fish tank that is right at her eye level. She puts her fingers on the glass, and I tell her not to touch. She immediately moves her hand away, and I am a little surprised but pleased at the instant obedience. The room is clearing out now, and there is just one older lady still seated. I have to speak to Savannah a few more times, and each time she responds quickly. She is being exceptionally obedient.

The lady smiles at Savannah. "She is really good," she says to me.

My heart swells with pride, and I say, "Thank you," as I nod in agreement. Then so I don't appear too big-headed, I add, "She has her moments, though."

To which she replied, "Don't they all??"

We chat for a few moments about Savannah, her neices, and kids in general, and then her name is called and she disappears into the back.

Not two minutes after she is gone, Savannah climbs up on the row of chairs and starts crawling across them. Her shoes are dirty, I don't want her up there, so I tell her to get down.

She keeps crawling. Smirking at me, and crawling right towards me.

My swell of pride deflates.

I lean forward. I told you to get down. Now!

She looks at me. And says No!

Discipline ensues. She gets down. I kiss her, tell her that she needs to obey the first time, right away, and she says ok in a small voice and then runs off to the fish tank again.

I sit there, and realize how embarrassed I am to have her publicly defy me. I think that is one of my big fears as a mom. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that it is not because people will think she is such a little terror. It's because I'm afraid they will look at me and think, What a terrible mom. She can't even control her own kid. Am I too proud? Proud, as in, I can't bear to have anyone see that I am not perfect? That there are so many aspects of the "mom" thing that I don't get right? Sometimes I think that even to some of my close friends, I try too hard to make sure I don't show any weaknesses, try to hide the fact that a lot of days I just don't have it together.

Obviously, discipline and correction are so important. I expect her to obey me, and there are consequences when she doesn't. But I can't expect perfection. There are times when she's tired, hungry, cranky, whatever. And so I have to learn to allow grace...not to her, but to myself. I feel like I'm always on edge, trying to portray the perfect model of motherhood, with Savannah as my reflection. And it doesn't always have to be that way. If she has a meltdown in the middle of Walmart, we deal with it and move on. I don't have to let it color the way I view myself as a mother. I don't have to worry about what everyone else is thinking.

If there is anything that I have learned from reading some really great blogs recently, it's that pretty much every mom has been there, and instead of condemnation there is great understanding. Nobody is expecting me to be perfect, and so I can ease up on myself a little.

And let me tell you, that has taken a load off my shoulders.

And here is your weather forecast for tonight

I thought spring was here.

I was so sure, in fact, that last week I went out and planted tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, jalapenos, basil, and mint. And flowers.

Oh, was I ever sadly mistaken. The temperature is suppposed to get down to 32 degrees tonight.

My living room now looks like this:

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A few of my favorite things

My husband has returned after being gone for 2 1/2 days.

My baby is here playing beside me.

It is raining outside, the kind of soothing drizzle that lulls you to sleep.

Speaking of which....I got to take a nap today.

It's been a great day.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My little mama

I was sitting at my computer yesterday, trying to get some things together for a potential client. I had stayed up late the night before working on it, and thought I had it all ready to go, but Ricardo called me mid-morning with some changes.

It sounded simple enough, but it took me forever. I had to download tons of files. Attach them to different emails. Change the quotes, re-attach everything. I had been working about 2 hours on it. Then my computer completely froze, and I had to start all over. I was beyond frustrated, to put it mildly.

Savannah was there, demanding my attention, crawling all over my chair, leaning across the desk to grab my pens and post-its to "color". She wasn't being particularly bad, just a typical two year old who wanted to be in on everything.

I had finally had it, and I grabbed the phone to call Ricardo. None of it was his fault and he had his hands full with other things, but I needed to vent.

As soon as he answered the phone, I started in. I'm sure I didn't make much sense, and I ended up bawling in his ear. He was so sweet and sympathetic, he calmed me down, told me it wasn't worth getting stressed over.

I hung up the phone, still crying. I hate to cry in front of Savannah and it hasn't happened often. But there I was, bawling my eyes out like a little baby. She was sitting on the filing cabinet next to my chair. I felt a little hand on my shoulder.

"Hurt?" she asked. She's heard me ask her that a million times, and now she was playing the role of the little mama.

I smiled at her as best I could and said, "No, baby, mama's not hurt."

"Sad?"

"No, baby, mama's ok. Mama's happy!"

She looked at me like she didn't quite believe me, but then she smiled and clapped. "Yaaay, happy!"

It's amazing to me that even at 2 years old, she can comprehend all these different emotions, and be in tune enough to know that some comfort was in order. For a second I felt like I was talking to somebody a lot older, and it was a weird feeling.

But then she added, "Pooh Bear happy too!" and she was back to just being 2 years old again.

Monday, April 07, 2008

If the tag says 6 - 9 months.......it probably won't fit.

I had a startling realization yesterday. My baby is actually getting bigger.

Sounds silly, I know, but Savannah has been so small, off-the-charts small, for such a long time. I got to the point where I just assumed she would be at least a year behind in her clothing sizes. When she turned a year old, all of the 12 month clothes that she got for her birthday just hung on her, and I could still get some of her 6 month clothes on her. Last summer when she was 18 mos. she had several 6-9 months dresses that fit her beautifully. And at her 2 year birthday, she was wearing one of the 12 month outfits that she got last year when she turned one. So, recently, when I went through her closet and brought to the forefront all of her pretty summery dresses, I looked at the 6-9 month dresses that she had worn last year, held them up to her,and determined that she could get another summer's use out of them.

This past Sunday was my day to work in the nursery, which means I have to be there earlier than Ricardo. On these days it becomes his job to dress Savannah, comb and "fix" her hair (I use the term "fix" loosely here), and get her presentable for church. I, of course, have her dress, tights, shoes, and hair accessories laid out and ready to go the night before. He is a trooper about it and never complains, and I concentrate on the fact that while her hair may not be adorned properly with one of her many bows, at least the tangles have been combed out.

As I was walking down the nursery hallway, I noticed Ricardo and Savannah coming towards me. She was wearing the dress I had picked out the previous night. I couldn't believe it.....the dress was obviously too tight on her.

"Wow, is that dress a little small?" I asked Ricardo.

"Well, yeah....look at it! I had to make her lay on her tummy just to get it zipped up!"

"What! Why didn't you just pick something else out for her to wear?" I thought I was stating an obvious solution.

""Cause you had that all ready to go, you picked it out, so I thought that's what she should wear." Makes perfect sense to me.

I do believe he has a phobia of venturing in Savannah's closet and being responsible for actual clothing choices for her. This is probably not helped by the fact that I have laughed (more than once) when he actually has picked something out for her, with unfavorable results.

So today I retired that dress along with a couple of other ones. It always makes me sad to put away clothing that has been outgrown, because it means that phase in her life is over, and she will never go back to being that size. Which is a good thing. But sad nontheless. My baby is growing up.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

So proud of you, honey!

I am So. Incredibly. Proud. of my wonderful husband right now. I am actually in tears, that is how proud of him I am. :) This week the regional manager, Brien, came down from Seattle to accompany him to some of his meetings and presentations. I wasn't sure how it would all work out, Ricardo is so new at this, and I felt that Ricardo might be intimidated in his presentations with Brien there. Well! I shouldn't have bothered to worry. I just received an email that Brien sent to corporate, and he copied me on it. Here is a small excerpt:

Per our conversation regarding the high quality of Ricardo's Presentations. When I questioned him as to precisely how he came to be so proficient and polished in such a short period of time he indicated that a majority of his skill came from watching the video you did of a structured full blown Presentation and practicing it. The quality of his Presentations this week have been the best I have seen in 10 years from someone who has been in the field such a short period of time.

So. Did I mention I was proud? Sorry, I'll stop now, but it is another reminder to me that this was the right step for us to take, and that it's all going to be ok .

Love you, honey!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

When the day is done

One of my very favorite times of the day is 9:00 in the evening, when Savannah goes to bed. And not for the obvious reason that she is down for the night and out of my hair...not at all. I love it because we all lay down together on the big bed in her room, Ricardo, Savannah, and I, and talk and giggle together, and then finally pray together. She loves the little routine. She climbes up on the bed, unassisted, of course, since all 2 years olds like to do things themselves.

"Lay down, Mama," she instructs, if she doesn't like the way I am positioned on the bed. "Lay down, Dada."

Ricardo tickles her and makes her giggle that sweet baby giggle, then she plugs her thumb in her mouth and lays her curly little head down between us.

And then Ricardo prays.

And it is the sweetest moment imaginable.

He prays our thankfulness for the good day that we have had, and that we would have a restful night and sweet dreams. He prays that we would be good parents to our little treasure, and that she would grow up to love Jesus all the days of her life. I have heard him pray this hundreds of times, but I never get tired of it. When he is done, she echoes our "Amen", and sits up to give hugs and kisses. I place her in her crib, and as I leave she calls out, "I love you! Good Night! See you in the morning! See you tomorrow! I love you! I love you! I love you!"

Yes, definitely one of my favorite times of the day.

A Breakfast Prayer

Her little face looks so angelic as she concentrates on keeping her eyes closed (no small feat when you are 2). I also love how small her hands look resting in the bigger ones next to her.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spring in the Land of Enchantment

I am so homesick for green right now. As in, green trees, green grass, anything but blowing dust and tumbleweeds. I love the mild weather here, and am so excited that it's spring, but it makes me sad when I see the tiny little plot of grass that we put in our backyard last year. Sure, it's better than nothing, but we have to water it every single day, sometimes twice a day, in order for it to stay alive through the summer.

Here is a shot of our little backyard (it looks better in the summer, I promise...it hasn't turned green yet).



Here is a shot of Dad and Mom's yard (go ahead and ignore the fact that there is a wedding party in the foreground and just concentrate on the yard).



See what I mean? That is a real yard.

We have a little nectarine tree, which provided us with a little pop of color this spring.



And our little violets, which started peeking out of the ground in late January.



Happy Spring, everybody!