Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm sure these curtains will make a comeback someday...

So here is a little story of what happens when a rare organizational fit comes over you.

You venture into the deep dark corners of the closet in your spare bedroom/office/workout room. And you start going through all of the many drawers, throwing things away and then moving the remaining junk to various other places throughout the house.

Then a month later, when your friend Rachel hosts a Baby Photo Carnival, and you go to that closet to look for all your old baby pictures, you remember that you moved them. But you can't remember to where.

And that, sweet invisible friends, is why I have no baby pictures of myself today. They are here somewhere, but I'll be darned if I know where.

So these are all I have, not baby pictures, but definitely from long ago and far away, and from a time when orange and green were obviously THE colors to decorate with.

I love this one, in all of it's 1980's blurriness, because of the awesome curtains and carpet in the background - tell me those aren't some pretty sweet drapes. And I also love it because some of my favorite memories are of my dad playing his ukulele while we all fought for a spot on his lap.

This is my hubby when he was about 2 years old, somewhere in Mexico. See, this is why I need to have a baby boy - so he can look just like his daddy. I can hardly stand the cuteness.


And I have to throw in a couple of Savannah. Was she really ever this tiny?

Rachel, thank you for hosting this - be sure to drop by her place where the Baby Picture Party is happening!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tae-bo observations

So, somebody in our household is very, very excited about Tae-bo - I'll give you one guess as to who that might be.

It isn't me.

We did it Friday morning, and this accountability thing must be working; the only reason I followed through on it is because I posted here that I would.

Back in the day, back when I actually used to get up at 6:00 a.m. to walk/run a couple of miles and do Tae-bo before heading off to work, I used to be a tiny bit prideful of how high my kicks were. Just a little. There is a girl on the video who kicks her leg above her head, and it was always my goal to kick as high as she did, although I never did get there. But there is a point where Billy says, "Kick to the waist - or go to the knee if you have to, but don't give up!"

"The knee?" I used to think. "Pshaw! Who kicks just to the knee?"

Well. Apparently I do now, and it is an awkward sight to see.

And also, at one point, I had to grab on to the couch to steady myself because, you know, kicking to the knee is pretty strenuous stuff, and my equilibrium went all wonky. Savannah immediately zeroed in on that and chided me as only a 3 year old can, "Mama! Why you hold on to dat pillow? Don't do that!"

Who needs Bob and Jillian? I have my own little personal trainer right here at home.

When she woke up from her nap later that day, the first thing she asked was, "Mama, can we do more exercising now?"

I'll just let you wonder what the answer was to that one.

She also informed me that Billy needs a new shirt, because his tore and you can "see his chest". I couldn't agree more.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Challenge

I have such a love/hate relationship with my treadmill.

Hate it because, well, it's exercise. And also because my treadmill pretty much chewed me up and spit me out last fall, causing some major havoc with my knee. See how I blame that on my treadmill, instead of my innate clumsiness which we all know was the real reason for it?

But I do love the way I feel afterwards. And I also love the fact that it gives me an excuse to sort of have a "me" time every day. That right there should be motivation enough, right?

I put Savannah down for a nap - and yes, I know I'm lucky she still takes a 2 hour nap every day...let's not mention the fact that it's probably because she goes to bed too late and wakes up too early. In some strange twist she got both Ricardo's early bird and my late owl genes, so she is exhausted by mid-afternoon.

But it works for me - she goes down for her nap, and then I jump on the treadmill and watch whatever show or movie I can find on Hulu.com. Lately my show of choice has been Lost...talk about addicting....

But sometimes my motivation wanes, and so that's when I'm glad that I have many friends out in the blogosphere for accountability.

And this, invisible friends, is why I am jumping on board with the challenge that the lovely Linda at 2nd Cup threw out there this week - we are committing to exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week.

So, I've been doing ok with the walking for an hour thing, and also some other miscellaneous exercises (killer V-sit, anybody?)

But I think I need to add something more, so for this challenge I am committing to add in my Tae-bo workout. If good ol' Billy Blanks can't whip me into shape, then no one can. He is the reason that I was able to lose 25 pounds several years back, before marriage and a hubby who can eat anything and not gain an ounce, before a sweet baby, before a tummy that now stubbornly refuses to recede to the nice flat shape of yore.

The challenge kicked off today, and there's nothing like starting it off with failure...I didn't do the video. I had so much going on today, so that's my excuse, although I still did fit in my hour on the treadmill. Can't win them all.

Linda would love it if you jumped over and joined in - oh, and it's only for 2 weeks. Although I'm hoping that she'll extend it longer...I need all the accountability I can get. There are already over 50 of us signed up, so the more the merrier.

And the main thing I like about her challenge is this - no awful "before" pictures need to be taken. She said she took some of herself, and then came to her senses and didn't post them, thereby letting the rest of us off the hook....big sigh of relief. Thank you, Linda.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Project 365 - Week 12

Today I opened my refrigerator to get some cheese out for the red chile enchiladas that my husband adores. Then with no warning and hardly any provocation - I mean, I didn't pull on it THAT hard - this drawer came flying out and clattered onto the floor.

It's a sign, isn't it? It is positively begging to be cleaned. And it's a sign that I have only one more day to clean my fridge before the looming deadline.

The funny thing - and so relieving to me - was finding out that I'm not alone. Here I pictured all of you ceremoniously cleaning out your refrigerators every month on the dot, but apparently you are of the same mindset as me - if you can close the door on it, then it's not really dirty.

But come tomorrow, that refrigerator won't know what hit it. Good thing I set this deadline for myself, because I have pushed it to its very limits.

So pictures from this week are pretty scarce, and I hope you aren't tired of seeing nothing but Savannah, but really, I have nothing else quite this adorable as my subject.

And this here is a random picture of celery, which I ate as a snack today....

....when what I really wanted was this.

I suppose there's a reason why celery only has 5 calories per stalk, and chocolate has like 70 calories per microscopic crumb. No comparison. No fair.

You can visit Sara for more Project 365 pictures....there you will find people far more dedicated to this than I am.

So, what fun things do y'all have planned for this week? Does it involve a smackdown with your refrigerator?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chasing bubbles, chasing dreams

There is chicken thawing on the counter, and laundry in the dryer.
Floors to be vacuumed.
Blogs to be read.

"Mama! Can we blow bubbles? Come outside!"
I sigh. Interrupted.
And I don't like these bubbles
When I squeeze the bottle, they drip down my hand.

"Hmmm... you go outside and blow bubbles. You can do it!"
She shakes her head, sad. No. It isn't fun to blow bubbles by yourself.

So we go out, and I sit down on her stool, on her level.
Brown eyes fill with excitement.
Blow bubbles, Mama!

I pop up the wand, the drippy one. And oh yes, it trickles down my hand. Messy.
But sometimes making memories is messy.
And sometimes messy can be fun,
If you let it be.

Bubbles flutter around her head like fragile dreams.
She dances and darts this way and that, not knowing which to reach out for first.
She laughs when her finger pokes through one, and pouts when another flies too high.
Not every bubble can be caught, not every dream realized,
But baby, you sure can try.

I forget about the million things to do inside,
And am lost in the now.
The late afternoon sun hits my back, and reminds me that I would have missed this
If I had stayed inside.
The day is pure spring, this feeling pure joy.

The chicken is still on the counter,
the laundry still needs to be folded,
the vacuum still sits in the closet,
and the blogs have multiplied since I stepped outside.

But we were busy.
Chasing bubbles, chasing dreams.

This is my entry for Scribbit's April Write-Away Contest.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So it has come to this...

Another alternate title that would be just lovely and so apropos is I have issues.

Let me preface this post with a little tidbit:

When I was about 7 years old, I got my first job. A couple of ladies in our church hired my sister and me to come and clean their houses. We were paid $1 an hour, and I proudly hoarded every penny I made. Looking back, I don't know exactly how good of a job we did, but we certainly worked hard - scrubbing big kitchen floors on hands and knees, cleaning showers and bathrooms, the whole shebang. My mama had taught us how to work.

I remember after working for one year, my sister and I put our heads together and decided we were worth more than just a dollar an hour. Did we dare ask for a raise? The thought of such a confrontation made me shudder even back then. I wasn't brave enough, but my sister, far more fearless than I, marched up and told them that we thought we needed a fifty cent raise.

The ladies laughed, and then agreed. We got the raise.

Fast-forward 7 or 8 years, and now we lived in Indiana. We decided to start up another cleaning business, and somehow managed to land a job cleaning a house up in the higher-end area of Indianapolis. And when I say house, I mean a 36-room mansion that had 2 people rattling around in it.

Obviously, this house didn't get very dirty on a day to day basis, yet we were hired to go three days a week. The only time that I remember seeing it dirty was when the owners' grown son would come to visit and bring two huge stinkin' dogs with him, black-haired beasts who shook themselves violently and shed over our freshly scrubbed floors.

We were not fond of visits from the son.

Every week, we were asked to clean out the refrigerator. I don't mean just casually swab all the surfaces whereupon nothing was resting, I mean take-every-single-item-out kind of cleaning. It seemed like a colossal waste of time to me, and I remember being particularly bugged by the fact that she had enough drinks in there to stock a restaurant. Cans and cans of soda and juice, water and milk. And nectar. I clearly remember nectar. All of which had a precise placement in the refrigerator, and boy, would we hear about it if we didn't get it all put back just so.

So all of that to tell you this:

I still hate cleaning out my refrigerator.

Of course, when the forgotten bag of celery in the deep dark corner of the drawer starts to putrefy and ooze yellow juice everywhere, or when I grab one too many eggs and one flies out of my hand and crash-lands inside one of the door shelves (yep, happened to me just tonight), do I take it out and clean it? Of course. But as far as removing every single item out of the fridge and washing it top to bottom?

I haven't done it in....are you ready for this?

An entire year.

I know. Gulp. Gasp.

Almost daily I think, "Hmmm, I really need to clean out this mess. No, really, I do. No more excuses." And then I quickly shut the door and conveniently think about something else.

But now I cannot stand it any longer, which is why I am shaming myself into revealing this dirty little secret.

So, a deadline is what I need. I am giving myself one week. One week from today, and I declare that my refrigerator shall be sparkling clean. One week seems like ample time, don't you think? Probably too much time, when you figure I can just get in there and get 'er done in about an hour. But given my past track record, I need to allow for some leeway here.

Told you. I have issues.

Care to make me feel better and tell me what one thing you absolutely despise doing?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Letting Go

I'm having a little midnight venting session.

You may or may not know that it takes a lot, a whole lot, to rile up this phlegmatic girl. Let me tell you, though, that when the right buttons are pushed, I can go from un-riled to riled in about 0.6 seconds.

I can't, or actually won't, go into too much detail here - it isn't really the time or place for it - but suffice it to say that it involves someone that basically did not follow through on their word on something that could have been a pretty big deal for us, and in the process handled it all very, very badly, and was pretty nasty about the entire thing. (oooh....now there's a major run-on sentence for you).

When Ricardo came home from church tonight and told me the story, my wifely indignation shot up through the roof. How dare they treat him like that?? I sputtered. I raved. I was hoppin' mad. And, if you look at the circumstances, I suppose I had every right to be. It was, in every regard, totally unfair.

By the way - hubby doesn't need me to fight his battles for him. He does just fine on his own. But...that's my man you're messing with here!

So I spent the evening stewing about it, and then I went to bed. And I felt it gnawing away in the pit of my stomach, that awful twisted feeling that won't let you rest and makes you feel worse by the second.

So I have to let it go. But if I'm being honest, there is a part of me that just doesn't want to. What I really want to do is scream and holler a little bit, throw a grown-up fit, maybe run to whoever will listen and say, "Do you know what just happened?"

In the grand scheme of things, it is such a small little thing, and I realize that. Does it hurt? Well, sure, but it doesn't come close to some of the intense things that so many are dealing with.

So I'm not pretending it doesn't hurt. Instead, I am acknowledging that what was done wasn't right, and then I am just handing it to the Lord. Who knows...maybe this is His way of protecting us from something on down the line.

Forgiveness...easy to talk about, hard to do.

But in some bloggy cathartic way, just getting it out has made me feel better.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

10 on the 10th: Bookworm

Meredith at Life at 7000 Feet, who, incidentally, is one of my favorite bloggers, is hosting a new carnival, "10 on the 10th". Meaning, we list 10 of basically anything we want on the 10th of each month.

And since I'm sort of on a book kick right now, it was easy for me to pick which 10 things I wanted to post.

I am super indecisive, so it would be impossible for me to say that these 10 books are my all-time favorites. Some of them are old standbys that I've read 16 times, and some I just discovered.

This goes without saying, right? Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. I am sad to say I don't own this book, but as soon as I find a good deal at Half.com, I am snatching this one up for my own little library.

The Wedding, Nicholas Sparks. It took me awhile to get into it, but by the end I was loving it. Why do his books always make me cry? I seriously wanted to go and renew my vows when I finished reading this.

A Voice in the Wind, Francine Rivers. This falls under the "I've read it 16 times" category. Compelling. Fantastic writing. And the best part is, there are two more books in the series, so if you're like me and hate for the story to end, you can stretch it out a little longer.

Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery. Classic. I think I love Anne so much because she is completely different from me. Free-spirited. Adventurous. Daring. I am more like Diana, I suppose. And I know the books are technically written for a younger audience, but they have never lost their appeal to me.

My Sisters Keeper, Jodi Picoult. Ok, this one was a little weird. I love Picoult's writing style because her books are not nice and neat, but they draw you in. Because of that, because the endings are never tied up in a neat little package at the end, it always leaves me feeling a little, I don't know, conflicted, maybe? But I still liked it...I think.

Vienna Prelude, Brock and Bodie Thoene. I cannot begin to express how much I love this series. Whenever we go on a road trip, I grab one of these books. It doesn't matter that I've read them over and over and that I know what's going to happen...they are just that good. One of my all time favorite series.

At Home in Mitford, Jan Karon. When I asked for book suggestions a few weeks back, Elizabeth recommended this. Oh, I'm so glad she did - I loved it! I'm working on the rest of the series now. I opened it up and was immediately transported to a tiny North Carolina town.

Uncharted, Angela Hunt. Oh, wow. This might be one of my new favorites. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to like it for about the first third of the book, but I kept plugging away. And then at the end, I was totally blown away. And I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. If you haven't already, you need to read it!

In My Father's House, Brock and Bodie Thoene. What can I say - I love the Thoenes. My second favorite series from them, set during WW1/The Great Depression era. Good stuff.

Ever After, Karen Kingsbury. You know I have to throw in a Kingsbury book, right? I've only read this book once, and I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to read it again, because it was such a tear-jerker. I literally had to wait until my hubby went to bed before I could finish it, because I sat there and bawled my eyes out. I would read a page, stop and cry for awhile, and then read another page. A very exhausting experience, let me tell you.

There you have it - 10 books that have made an impression on me.

Thanks to Mer for hosting - go visit her if you'd like to join in!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Flowers are for picking, right?

My hubby has talked about planting a fruit tree ever since we were married. He had visions of bushel upon heaping bushel full of fruit, straight from our own yard.

So a couple of years ago he paid a visit to Home Depot, the store that can suck my hubby into its manly vortex faster than anything else, and came home with a little nectarine tree. I think the selling point of this particular tree was that it had 2 knobby little green nectarines on it, so he figured we were guaranteed to at least get something from it that first year. I should probably add that neither of us know the first thing about taking care of a fruit tree, we just stuck it in the ground and hoped that the tree would take over from there and do its thing.

Of course, about 2 days after we planted it, we went to Costco and saw people wheeling around carts with 6 foot nectarine trees, with a ton of nice looking fruit already hanging on the branches.
We looked at them enviously, but our little guy was already in the ground, so what could we do?

Those two little nectarines were all we got that first year. But we figured, surely the next year would be better, the year of the nectarine, the year of pie and fresh cobbler with maybe just a smidge of whipped cream on top. Except, it wasn't. We got nothin'.

But this year! Spring came in a sudden rush in February and everything burst into bloom overnight. Our nectarine tree was covered in gorgeous pink blossoms.

Last week Savannah was outside in the backyard, and I was "supervising", in the most lax manner possible, from inside the house, with the sliding door open so I could holler out occasionally, "What are you doing, baby?"

She was being particularly quiet so I thought it might be prudent to go take a peek.

All I can say is, she's a girl. And girls like flowers, pretty, delicate pink flowers that just beg to be picked.

Notice how the bottom two-thirds is stripped bare. Shows exactly how far she can reach. Once again our crop of nectarines isn't looking so hot.

A few more pictures from this (and last - I'm a slacker) week...

For more 365 pictures, you can head over to Sara's.

Have a great week, y'all!

Friday, March 06, 2009


I remember, vividly, every little detail about my hospital stay when I had Savannah.

I remember lying in the bed and counting ceiling tiles as a way to take my mind off of the piggy-back contractions that I was trying to wriggle away from, of falling asleep on the big bouncy ball and having my husband catch me, of almost relenting and begging for an epidural after 14 hours of labor. (Call me crazy, but the thought of a needle IN. MY. SPINE. was worse than just dealing with the pain. I might change my mind if I ever do it again, though. I hear it's just lovely.)

But then all of the torturous pain subsided, and they placed her in my arms. At that point my hospital stay took a decided turn for the better. They wheeled me into my recovery room, and I felt a little like a queen. Completely exhausted and battered, true, but a queen nontheless, with the hospital room my little mini palace. Replete with a hubby to wait on me, nurses at my beck and call, and...cable TV. It was virtually a vacation.

Even the food! I have to tell you, my hopes were certainly not very high. But then they brought me the menu, and I immediately fixated on the steak sandwich as an option. I was won over. It was good, too, and...topped with an onion ring, oh yes, ma'am.

So, all of these memories came back to me today. I stepped into the same hospital to go say hello to a brand new little fellow, a precious baby boy belonging to my best friend Tara.

Come to find out, they have stepped up their amenities even further. They now give massages to mommies, and they are going to offer manicures and pedicures, too. For free.

I'm telling you. Vacation. Almost.

Take a look at this sweet little face and tell me it doesn't melt your heart.

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy. I'm in love.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The year of the scarf

I completely forgot until Sunday afternoon that Rachel's Scarf Carnival was today. Which meant that I raced to Target after church, hoping that they would deliver the cuteness that I was looking for, because I was in desperate need. They did, and I had a gift card, which made it a completely wonderful and painless shopping trip. Then I stopped at Walmart, because I kept hearing people rave about their $5 scarves.

You would think that I would've gotten my post ready to go in the afternoon when I got home. But no. I did not. I waited until my hubby went to bed to snap my pictures because I wasn't so sure I wanted him to witness my scarf photo shoot. Don't look too closely, or you'll see some puffiness lurking around my eyes - all due to the fact that I should have been in bed a few hours ago. But for you, my friends, I will gladly put makeup on at midnight and then snap about 50 pictures of myself. Nothing weird about that.

So right as I was gearing up to stand in front of my time-delay camera, I realized I didn't really know too much about tying scarves. I did watch Big Mama's tutorial when she posted it a few weeks ago, but I didn't practice, which meant I didn't remember much. I googled "How to tie a scarf" and 4 million sites popped up, so I have a feeling I'm not alone.

So here is my attempt. First up, Target scarf. And some funky lighting.

And my $5 bargain. (ooohh, now that I look at it, I see some twistiness and rumpledness. Grrrrr.....)

I have a few other scarves that I meant to show you, but y'all, my face can't take any more smiling and posing, so I'm going to leave it at that.

Rachel, thank you so much for hosting this. I am so excited to have a reason to buy some new scarves, and maybe now I will feel more pulled together.

Now I'm off to wash away my coat of midnight mascara.