Monday, December 27, 2010

Baby Blog 16

I took the Intelligender Gender Prediction Test today and it says we are going to have a GIRL. There is still a likelihood that it could be wrong.  Only an ultrasound can confirm on deny that (and I hope we can easily tell by ultrasound).

So far, I've just been feeling very tired and nauseous every now and then.  I don't have too many other symptoms.  I'm just ready to stop feeling tired all of the time.  I know it will pass in time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Blog 15

Well, today we heard the baby's heartbeat! I was hoping I'd get an ultrasound, but I have to wait until week 12 for that.  I'm anywhere from 9-10 weeks right now.  The doctor is leaving me at 10 weeks because she said the size of the baby at the other ultrasound doesn't mean I was only 7 weeks pregnant.  I am definitely confused by that.

BUT I'm extremely happy that we heard little bean's heartbeat! The heartbeat was ranging from 170-190.  Baby did not like the doppler machine and kept trying to get away from it.  It was so nice to hear the heartbeat, though.

I'll be very excited to see the baby by ultrasound in January!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby Blog 14

It will be fun to find out whether we are having a boy or a girl.  But, that will have to wait until maybe March sometime.  For now, baby has me confused.

Reasons I think little bean might be a girl:
1.) My hair has gotten much greasier and I've gotten zits.
2.) I'm craving a lot of sweets 
3.) The Chinese calendar says my baby is predicted to be a girl (granted the number of your age and the month of conception don't seem to be such a guarantee)
4.) Lee wants a boy so badly first..I wonder if God would give us a girl just because
5.) I seem to be gaining more weight than I'd care to gain.

Reasons I think little bean might be a boy:

1.) I really haven't had THAT much nausea and morning sickness. Most people I know who had girls had it really bad.  
2.) I have a feeling that it's a boy. I've had this feeling since I found out I was pregnant. I even find myself calling the baby "he" sometimes without realizing it.
3.) The baby's due date is really close to Lee and his father's birthday.  If we have a son, he will be the 3rd.  So, I just feel like maybe it will be a boy for that reason.
4.) I had a dream the other night we had a boy.
5.) The Old Wive's Tale quiz says 50% chance boy..of course that leaves another 50% lol

I have the gender predictor test, but I can't take that until week 10, which will be in about 2 weeks.  I should be 8 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  I'll take the gender predictor test and we'll see what it says! :) Then, we'll have to wait until about week 20 to know for sure!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby Blog 13

Well, I went to the doctor today because I had some signs of starting to get sick, and I ended up getting an ultrasound.  It's too bad I don't have any photographs of the ultrasound to post here, but I got some good news about little baby bean! :)

The ultrasound showed a gestational sac, a yolk sac, and a small fetus that measures about 7 weeks and 3 days.  That is, I am 7 weeks and three 3 days pregnant.  There was good fetal movement and a strong heartbeat of 140 beats per minute!  It is so precious to know that you are alive and well in there, little one.  

I was only 3 days off according to my own calculations.  So, that's pretty exciting! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby Blog 12

Today (of course according to my own calculations), I am 7 weeks and 4 days pregnant.  My symptoms change from day to day.  Some days, I feel like I can't eat or do anything without taking my anti-nausea medicine.  Other days, I feel fine.  Today was one of those days where I felt fine.  My main symptom that has been consistent is being tired.  I'm so tired that I can barely stay awake at work sometimes.  I have to find everything in me to rally up and stay energetic.  Baby seems to take a lot of that energy.  If it means that baby is growing well, I will yawn away.

I am still nervous from time to time because I don't really know how things are going in there with our precious little one.  I pray and hope that things are going well, but I just don't know.  It is in the Lord's hands as it has always been, and I'm coming to accept that just a little more every day.  Does it mean I don't wonder if baby is okay? No.  But it does mean that I understand this precious baby is the work of God's hand and he will se it through.  I've considered it a positive sign so far that I have not had any major cramping or bleeding.  It would be nice if that would stay that need for any scare of any kind.

Just for fun, I took some gender prediction type tests and they all say GIRL.  Lee wants a boy first, but we'll just have to wait and see.  I'll be happy with a healthy little one. 

Little baby, you are so small and I know almost nothing about you.  Yet, I love you deeply.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baby Blog 11

According to my own calculations, I should be around 7 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  I suppose everything is going well in the pregnancy.  For now, I just have to kind of guess at how things are going.  Honestly, this is kind of a weird time because I feel like it will be a long time before I have a real doctor appointment where I actually will have any real clue of how baby is doing.

For now, I trust and pray that baby is fine seeing as how I am feeling miserable.  I am so tired all of the time.  I'm finding it especially hard to stay awake during 4th block at school.  I wish my boss would designate me a nap time so that I could then make it through the end of the day. Ha! That would be nice.  Honestly, my main symptom is being tired.  I was having bad nausea and some vomiting yesterday.  The day before that I felt it coming and going.  For now, I have found that taking my anti-nausea medicine in conjunction with ginger ale is working for me.  But I'll say that, when I woke up this morning and the medicine had worn off, I could definitely feel it.  It wasn't as bad as yesterday.  However, I'm finding that my symptoms can be all over the place and some days are worse than others.  

A new symptom that I seem to have acquired is dizziness.  I get that lightheaded feeling every time I stand up, and I still feel dizzy often when I walk around.  Unfortunately, with all of these things, I'm experiencing quite a bit of moodiness.  Poor Lee...I'm trying to control it, but some days I just feel so grumpy.  I sound like a great person to be around right now...tired, sick, grumpy.  It isn't THAT bad all the time; it's just the side-effects of pregnancy.  

Something that is odd to me is that it's hard for me to feel like baby is doing okay when I am feeling so awful.  Nausea and vomiting are supposed to be signs of a healthy pregnancy, but it goes against intuition to feel that all is well when you feel like passing out.  I keep thinking, "How can baby be doing fine if I am not and baby is living off of me?"  That's just one of the miracles of life that I won't understand.  I am just glad that I am having these symptoms in a way because they are reassurance to me.  And I do hope they keep on until I am in the clear for a healthy first trimester.

They are more than welcome to leave with the second trimester gets here.  ;)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baby Blog 10

Thanksgiving went very well.  The day after, I started getting sick. Then, by Saturday, I was being controlled by my allergies and sinuses.  I was trying every method possible of getting better that I knew wouldn't hurt the baby.  

However, my body was not taking that.  The allergens in the air were irritating me so much that my body was reacting by clogging my sinuses.  So, I didn't know what to do.  I could easily clear my sinuses out, but I needed to keep myself from reacting to allergens.  

Well, yesterday, I felt absolutely miserable.  I'd have symptoms that could have been pregnancy symptoms or could have been from sickness.  That is a downside of pregnancy.  The symptoms are so similar to other symptoms that it can be confusing if you actually get sick while pregnant.  Anyway, with an unbearable headache that hadn't gone away the whole day and left my head spinning, I finally decided to go to the ER.  I couldn't take it anymore and I didn't want to have to miss school on Monday.

The doctor basically just prescribed me some things that would be safe for me during pregnancy, and I went home much happier.  I am feeling a lot better today.  And I am hoping that baby is doing just fine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baby Blog 9

I will be 6 weeks pregnant on Thanksgiving.  The nurse says 7, but I am convinced I'm not that far along. Only time will tell, though.

I had my big doctor appointment today.  However, it really wasn't much of anything.  We just sat down and went over information.   She asked me questions about my lifestyle, health, etc.  And, in the end, concluded that it seems to be a good pregnancy.  After that, I had blood drawn in 8 vials! Oh my! They do a lot of blood work with prenatal care on post. I'm glad, though.  I feel better being on the safe side.

That was it for my appointment, though.  Everything seems good and looks good. So, now I'm booked for my next appointment on December 20th! At that appointment, I am supposed to get to see little bean on an ultrasound.

It all seems so unreal right now since I haven't had an ultrasound yet or heard baby's heartbeat.  I was hoping to hear the heartbeat today, but that's not how they do it there.  Instead, we'll do it all at my (roughly) 10 week appointment.

For now, I am glad to feel like everything is good and I pray that it continues that way.  The Lord is in control and I am continuing to learn to sit back and trust.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baby Blog 8

Right now, I am so hungry! I wonder if Thanksgiving will even be enough to satisfy my appetite?  Baby bean, you must need a lot of nutrients. The hunger is so bad that it hurts to not eat.  It feels like I haven't eaten in hours.  

Other symptoms I'm still experiencing are fatigue, moodiness, sensitivity to smells, and of course hunger.  I'm going to leave the TMI symptoms out.  Let's hope all of these things mean the pregnancy is going along well.  The main thing that I haven't had much of and still haven't had much of is morning sickness.  But maybe I just won't get it.  

Only time will tell.  For now, I am thankful on this Thanksgiving week that the Lord has blessed me with a precious, growing little life.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby Blog 7

Not much has really been happening.  Sometimes, I worry because I'll feel that the symptoms aren't as strong as they were.  However, I wonder if I just think that because I have started to get used to certain things.  

My appointment with the doctor is on Wednesday, and I am really looking forward to it.  I have no idea what to expect.  I just know that I had to fill out a detailed informational packet tonight in preparation for the visit.  I had to confirm several times that I am not taking any street drugs.  It did make me feel good to check "no" to most of the boxes, which would be cause for concern.  However, anything can happen.

All I can do is continue to pray that little baby bean is growing and thriving.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby Blog 6

When I had gotten sufficient results back from my blood tests, I decided it was time to contact family medicine and start the rest of my appointments on post.  Weeelllll, I called them yesterday, and they told me they didn't want my blood work from some other place. Instead, I needed to go there and have my blood drawn in their lab.

Wow! That's the third time I'd had blood drawn in under a week.  I was getting to know the drill.

Anyway, the nurse told me to contact her after the blood was taken, which I did.  I called her this morning and we've set up an appointment for Wednesday next week.  I have to say I'm pretty excited.  I doubt a whole lot will go on at the appointment, but I'm ready to sit down and at least talk with a doctor about my pregnancy.  I have so many questions I want to ask! :)

Out of curiosity, I asked her if she could tell me what my hCG reading was from yesterday, and she said it was 596.  That's 3.5 times what it was on Monday.  So, it's increasing steadily.  The nurse asked me if I had picked up my packet, which I had no clue I was supposed to get.  They had some information they need me to fill out before the 24th.  

So, my wonderful husband graciously picked it up for me while on post today.  Luckily, I got a nice little book for free and, at least for now, I have a detailed chart of what nutrients I need.

My counteraction to worry about this pregnancy is to stop and immediately thank the Lord for the blessing of a precious new life.  It is amazing how simply thanking HIM for this gift takes away my worry and puts all perspective where it should be.  Not to mention, it brightens my mood quite a bit to think of the wonders of the Lord's creation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baby Blog 5

God has been teaching me so much in the folly of my own self and the peace that comes from being at rest with him.  Here I have been so often worrying about little things like a cramp here or there or the fact that I was nauseous one day but not the next.  I worried that maybe it wasn't a strong pregnancy.

Well, I was wrong.  I got my second blood test back yesterday and my hCG jumped from 26.8 to 170.6! It was supposed to double and the new number is like 5 times the old one.  How silly I am.  Only because I know I'm pregnant do I worry, and I did not make this baby get here.  God created you, little one.  And only God will continue to craft your life.
"For YOU created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."  Psalm 139:13

It is the Lord who will do it all, and I am only ridiculous (and probably offensive to God) to worry about things.  God is helping me let go.  His patience is beyond anything I could imagine.

As far as pregnancy symptoms go, they are on and off.  Every now and then I have headaches.  Then, sometimes, I don't.   Nausea has been very on and off, but it has mostly been off and very mild when on.  It is still early, and I am aware that it probably won't kick in for me until next week or the week after.  I have been so moody.  Thank you, Lee, for putting up with my craziness.  He is being so patient and so giving.  Also, I have a sensitivity to specific smells.  A kid opened a locker somewhere in the hall yesterday, and I smelled sweaty old gym clothes.  I asked the other teachers if they smelled that and they didn't.  It's only certain smells, though.  It will probably be everything later. 

Little baby bean, you are loved so much and your life has just begun.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby Blog 4

I got on my knees and prayed last night (I have not physically gotten on my knees to pray in quite some time).  I sent my anxiety and worry up to God; things began to calm down quite a bit.  It is one thing to realize that this baby is a gift from God; it is another thing to accept it.  Being able to say something and understand it doesn't mean I'm good at practicing it.  But God did wonders and lifted much of my troubles.

And every time I feel a worry is rising, I hear a still small voice of God saying "you know who is in control."  

As far as symptoms go, I could barely finish my oatmeal this morning.  I felt the need to throw it up.  Baby, you don't like oatmeal? Okay, fine.  Send me your menu, and I'll make a specialized order. 

Haha..just kidding... :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Blog 3

The blood results are in aaaaannnndddd...

(drumroll please)

I'm for sure
Who'd a thunk it?

Baby bean is about a week old according to the blood results.  They took blood again today to make sure my HCG levels are rising properly.  I think they are, but I do hope that I find out a good result tomorrow from my blood work done today.

Little baby, I laid awake most of the night last night worrying about you.  Every little cramp I felt made me panic.  I didn't want to lose you, and I'm scared of that.  I was so nervous about what the blood test would say today.  So, I prayed because I was tired and not able to sleep.  I asked God to help me with my worries and anxieties.  I kept reminding myself that worrying wouldn't do any good or solve anything.

Then, God reminded me that you are really his baby.  You are his wonderful and miraculous creation that HE is in charge of.  I am only having you on loan for as long as he chooses to grant that to me.  And I will thank him for every precious minute given to me. 

I found out today, that you have a brain, nervous system, heartbeat, and an intestinal tract!  What a miracle!  Something so small is forming into an incredible, complex being.  How could anybody deny this is a real HUMAN LIFE with this knowledge? 

All I can do is continue to pray "thrive, little baby bean, thrive."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby Blog 2

Unless 12 different pregnancy tests I took were all wrong (and the line getting darker is wrong), my symptoms are all in my head.  But, right now (in whatever stage of the pregnancy I'm in), I am having headaches, fatigue, my face is breaking out in zits, my hair is greasy, and little bean decides I need to get nauseous too.  

On Friday night, I had nausea and some vomiting in the evening.  Then, I went all day Saturday with almost no symptoms whatsoever.  There was some minor fatigue but that's about it (plus the acne and bad hair of course).  I was even a little worried about the lack of symptoms. BUUUUT as I laid down to sleep, THEN was the time for me to feel sick to my stomach and get headaches.  Thank you, little one, for waiting until I'm ready to sleep to do a number on my body. 

But it is really all good because those are supposed to be symptoms of a healthy pregnancy, and it does put me at ease a bit.  I want you to hang in there, little one, even if I'm throwing up every day.  It is amazing how, even right now, every part of me desires to nurture and care for this tiny life growing inside of me.  Even if God only permits the baby to live for a few weeks (which I hope isn't the case), it is still a precious beautiful life and a miraculous work of God.

Another symptom I've been experiencing is hunger.  I don't have strange cravings, but I get hungry often.  So, I'm going to have to watch it because I will blow up like a balloon if I'm not careful.  I wake up every morning now at around 6 or 7 am very hungry, and I cannot sleep until I go downstairs and satiate that hunger.   All I really need is a little snack, and I'm finding apples will do the trick (or a yogurt).  

The thing I find interesting right now is that pregnancy symptoms are not necessarily obvious, and I can see how many women could think they are not pregnant when they are.  Because I honestly didn't think of any of these things as pregnancy symptoms at first.

It was only after I got a positive result that things began to piece together and make sense.  

Little one, you are precious to me and I pray for you every day that God will enable you to grow and be strong.  You are a wonderful creation and a blessing to Lee and me.

Finally, a few extras.  Since my First Response Pregnancy tests did come in a package of 3, I kept the others to space out just to see how much the line darkens.  This one, I took this morning, which is much darker than the one I took on Friday.

I did go ahead an develop a baby/pregnancy ticker online.  So, if my calculations are correct, this is where the baby is developmentally right now.  If the doctor says otherwise, I'll update and change the ticker.
Lilypie Maternity tickers

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baby Blog 1

Lee and I just found out we're expecting a baby.  On Thursday night, I took a test that came out positive (completely to my surprise!).  I then took two more tests on Friday morning that were also both positive. So, I scheduled a doctor's appointment on Friday afternoon.  I took my positive tests with me, and they immediately decided to do a blood test.  I have to wait until Monday to find out my blood test results, but it's pretty hard to ignore.

And this

And this (the flash made the positive line in this one hard to see but believe me there is a nice light pink line there that you can't miss)

Aaannnnd this

I took four different kinds of tests because Lee thought that maybe the first two were faulty.  But ALL of my clear blue easy digital tests came up saying PREGNANT, all of my EPTs came up saying pregnant, and all of my FIRST RESPONSE tests came out with a second pink line.  For now, I think it's safe to say I'm pregnant. :) We'll see what the blood work says on Monday!

Friday, November 5, 2010

This and that and what happened to my template??

After I found a blog template that I just loved, they go and rip it out from under my feet when I'm not looking! I went to visit my blog the other day only to find out my adorable polkadot princess theme had become entirely white.  Confused, I went and found the template again and tried to reload it.  Sadly, it has become unavailable.  And, get isn't even available to purchase! How sad! The least they could do is let me buy the template I loved so much.  So, for now, I am back to the old one I had before.  I am still in search of something different, though.

I suppose that the change gave me a reason to blog! I hadn't blogged since mid-October simply because my life had become too busy.  I seriously work two jobs for the salary of one.  It isn't fair, but life isn't fair when you are a teacher.  Why did I become a teacher again? Oh yeah, because I enjoy it.  Thank God I enjoy it because I'm certainly not in it for the money.  I could be a famous author and make massive amounts of money...if only I could make my writing captivating enough...and if only I was willing to take the risk.  I don't have enough faith in myself for that.

Anyway, I digress.  I life around here has been busy.  I'm counting down the days to Thanksgiving.  Granted, a large part of it is because my family will be in town and I have not seen them in months.  However, I will not hesitate to admit that part of it is getting a reprieve from school. What fraction of a pumpkin pie would that be? I don't know as long as I get a piece! I came down with a virus this week and had to miss three days of school.  That might sound enticing, but, believe me, it wasn't that way in the least.  Not only was I physically drained, I had to deal with things when I got back that had built up while I was gone.  So, Thanksgiving break will come with a warm welcome! Then, it's only a matter of time until Christmas! Three cheers for counting down!

On to another topic, I made a fantastic candy for my neighbor's Halloween party that I got out of the Real Simple magazine a from September I think.  Everyone there gobbled it up, being the turkeys that they are.  And I have to say that I thought it was pretty good myself! I didn't have time to take pictures for a step-by-step recipe, but internet photos will have to suffice.

Candy corn pretzel bark (don't rule it out now that Halloween is over; it is good for any time)

Step 1: Get a glass baking dish and line it with parchment paper.  Leave an overhang.

Step 2: Melt white chocolate.  I used a bag of white chocolate chips, and I melted them for about 90 seconds in the microwave.  Then I acted quickly with a spatula and spread it onto the parchment paper.
(it won't look this pretty, but you get the idea)

Step three: Sprinkle pretzels and candy corn over the top.
Finally: Refrigerate for a few hours (2-3 hours worked for me).  Take it out, cover it in parchment paper, and break it into pieces.
(this recipe had dried cranberries added, but I left them out and it was just as good).

Everyone raved about it...and it is so easy to make!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whispers in the Wind

As I was preparing to leave work on Friday, there were many unexpected things that popped up last minute.  I was not able to finish something that I wanted to complete.  It was getting late and I began to think, "What's more important? Staying here trying to get something to work that isn't working or going home and being with your husband?" The second option won out.  I could dedicate my entire being to work, and that would be great for them.  But I won't sacrifice some things because I don't think I'm supposed to.

So, I wasn't able to do something and I am thinking somebody will be frustrated with me for it.  I'll go in early and try to get it done this morning.  Yet, this was another factor for me that kept me feeling like I'd fail somebody.  So, I woke up early and I prayed for guidance.  I read Elisabeth Elliot's daily devotional and it was so funny how it applied to my situation directly!  

I started reading and it said, "When Lars and I returned from a fortnight in Scotland and England there was the expected pile-up of work awaiting us, and the usual temptation to feel overwhelmed by it. The suitcase had to be unpacked, clothes washed, mail opened, read, and answered. There were phone messages waiting, and phone calls we needed to make to family members. Do you know the feeling of utter inadequacy to cope?" Yes, Elisabeth, I do.  Tell me more, please.  "Monday came. But I felt like the wheels of the Egyptian chariots which 'drave heavily.' There were interruptions, distractions. I could not get on as expected. My mind was dull, confused. At the end of the day I could not see what I had done with my time." Hmm...that sounds like my Friday.  As soon as something started, there was an interruption.  What if today ends up like this? Well, she continued, "Tuesday was a continuation of the day before. Where had those hours gone? I took my usual walk after lunch around Ocean Drive--a cloudless sky, a glittering sea. I walked alone, talking to God about my failures, asking Him to clarify things." So, it could continue.  Well, now what? I cannot quote the rest of her devotional because it would be far too long.  The answer in the end was our minds become warped by our worries and our situations.  

None of us will ever get by without having life pile on top of us.  The easiest way for us to feel like we can get out of it is just to blame it all on everyone and everything else.  Take grievance with them because if it weren't for them everything would be perfect, right? Asking for troubles and stresses to stop is like trying to plan for rain and thunderstorms to quit.  We will endure them, and they are just as necessary for our nourishment and growth as are the days filled with sunshine and blue skies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


What is it about childhood and the things of the past that bear so much meaning?  There is no other portion of my life that I think back so fondly on as my childhood.  And there are things, which mostly are symbols, that carry so much weight even though the things themselves are meaningless.  And, due to the copious amounts of "good old days" merchandise sold in Cracker Barrel, I doubt I'm alone in my feelings.  There is some kind of happiness, connection with others, fondness for what was that these things ignite in us.

Glo Worm

Look at all that joy found in his friendly little face! The Glo Worm was a favorite of mine.  Who even knows why, really? There isn't much to him.  He looks like a head stacked on peas, and he lights up.  But the Glo Worm is fun, and he is classic! I miss my Glo Worm.

Cricket is the best! And I don't care how many of you had a Teddy Ruxpin; I wouldn't trade my cricket doll for that bear.  She was like a childhood friend.  Because, at the age of 5, she was about half my size, her eyes moved, her mouth moved, and she taught me timeless lessons.  If it weren't for Cricket, I wouldn't know how to say 1,2,3 in Chinese, Spanish, AND French! And I wouldn't know what to pack in my suitcase on a vacation because she told me that you have to have your sneakers and your socks.  Where would I be without Cricket? Lost, I tell you, lost.
And there is no technology today that can beat Cricket's super advanced cassette tape player located in her back.  Plus, you can accessorize with cricket as she has various outfits and hair ribbons to go with each adventure she comes with.

Skip It and Pogo Ball

I loved these two toys quite a bit.  The skip it was fun for me because it counted my skips and I'd get excited to see how many I could do.  The pogo ball was great for bouncing.  However, the pogo ball disappointed me slightly when I found out I couldn't jump into the sky with it like the kids on the commercial did.  It was still fun, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed bouncing for as long as I could.

Care Bears and Nosy Bears

Everyone knows care bears, and I'm sure their main selling point for me was the fun logo embroidered on their bellies.  However, the nosy bears were fun because you would press their bellies and something fun would happen in the nose.  One bear had a nose that swirled, another blew up a balloon, another popped popcorn, and their noses would go on and on.  I had 5 or 6 of them, and I do not know why they had to go away.  I had my one Wish Bear care bear that i would take everywhere with me.
I even brought him on the swings.  Because, what fun is a swing without a care bear to accompany you? ;) I do wish these things were still popular.  It is too bad that technology runs so much of the toy market.

Yes, I understand Leap Frog and those toys are good for education.  But I had plenty of fun with my simple toys that did almost nothing more than sit there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Savoring the Morning

The best part of waking up is coffee in my cup.  It doesn't have to be Folgers to please me.  This morning, I'm having a pumpkin spice blend from the Fresh Market.  It is delightful!

As a young girl, I used to beg my parents for a few extra minutes in the bath when it was over.  I wanted to lay back, close my eyes, and say "Ahhh Aveeno" due to a popular commercial at the time.  I liked the idea of having the time to sit back and savor peace and relaxation.

Regardless of what I actually have to do in order to get ready for a day,  I always try to give myself extra time in the morning.  In fact, I rarely ever give myself any less than an hour from the time I get up until the time I need to be on my way to where I'm going.  
When living with my parents, I had a green lazy boy chair that I would go to every morning.  With my cup of coffee and perhaps some other breakfast item, I would sit there savoring the morning happily in my chair.  Due to this habit, my parents graciously allowed me to take the chair with me.
I now sit in my seat on a sofa in the morning.  But the idea is the same.  I like to simply sit and enjoy the morning.  Why have a day that is rushed from the start? I showered last night.  My outfit for the day is picked out.  The dogs have been fed and gone over to lay in their respective beds.  I had my savory cup of pumpkin spice coffee plus an english muffin.  And here I am simply loving the fact that there are still at least 20 glorious minutes left before I need to leave.  
Granted, I get this extra time here because I only live 5 minutes from where I work, and I do not need to be there until around 8 am.  So, it isn't too bad at all.  However, no matter what type of commute I have, I still make time for my ahhh Aveeno morning.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Living in Now

As I was lying down trying to fall asleep last night, I had numerous thoughts swirling through my head.  None of them were good.  I was wrapped up in being upset about some things that I wish I could change right now but can't.  It was so bad that I didn't want to go to sleep to wake up and deal with things the next day.   I wanted my sleep to last.  And then, when I did wake up, to not have to go through any of the issues I am having to endure right now.

Not much longer had I been thinking about all of this (feeling anxious and upset) then a very calming process of thoughts went through my head (much like a conversation).  
"So, where are you right now?"
"In bed."
"Are you comfortable? Are you happy?"
"Well, Yes. But the thing is that tomorrow..."
"Where are you now?"
"In bed, comfortable"
"Will you let the pressures and anxieties of tomorrow interrupt your peace right now?"
"I suppose not."
And I felt so at peace, so relaxed, and so truly happy to focus on the now.  Each time I worried, even a little bit, the question "Where are you NOW?" came into my mind, and I settled into a nice, relaxing sleep.

But before doing that, I apologized to God.  I said I'm sorry for being anxious, because in being anxious I'm not remembering to be thankful for my blessings.  And being upset and worried (even if they are legitimate reasons) only negate the beautiful things that are plentifully around me in life.  I have much to be thankful for and much to be happy with.  

And I thought to myself, "Who is to steal this happiness away from me?" It would make sense that when I have so many things that are great, something would interfere with my peace to keep me from being content with what I have.  

It is hard to push all of the worries of life aside because so many things that happen are easily predictable.  And I often feel like only living in right now and not worrying about tomorrow doesn't make sense because I have to plan for tomorrow.  But the thing is, no matter how many mornings my alarm goes off, I have my cup of coffee, I feed the dogs, I get ready, and I drive to work, I really do not know what will happen in the day.  And I do think it is wrong of me to worry about it because there is so much to be happy with RIGHT NOW! :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Patti's Perfecto Pesto

Friday night, I made Lee and myself rotini with spaghetti sauce for dinner.  This is a pretty routine meal for us.  We'll have some sort of pasta shell, spaghetti sauce, maybe black olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts in it, etc.  It is a good meal, but I was starting to feel a bit bored with the same old thing.  So, I looked, saw that I had some basil, and decided to attempt to make a pesto sauce.   I looked up a recipe online.  And, let's just say, it turned out less than satisfactory (okay it was horrible).  However, when mixed in some spaghetti sauce, it was okay.  I still felt like it would be fun to do a home made pesto sauce.  

I was planning on doing chicken breasts for dinner Saturday night (again, one of those same old same old things).  I wanted to change the chicken, and it hit me like a revelation. PESTO CHICKEN! That would be great! But I needed a better recipe for pesto and I didn't want to play around with online recipes.  So, I called Patti who makes some very delicious pesto in order to get the recipe.  After making me say the secret password and swear not to leak the secret family recipe, she gave it to me.  Okay, I must admit she got her recipe out of a cookbook, BUT she makes it so that it tastes great!

I told her that, if it turned out good, I'd blog about it.  So, here I am blogging about it.  The recipe for Patti's Perfecto Pesto (as I will call it from now on)

Step 1:
Four cups of lightly packed, washed, fresh basil leaves.  Note: The leaves are not to be dry. Place in food processor or blender.  I used a food processor.

Step 2: 
Four cloves of fresh garlic crushed (the original recipe calls for two cloves, but Patti uses four and I do think it makes it better). Place in food processor (or blender).

If you're wondering how I got that first picture, those are Lee's fingers in the first photo.  But I did the rest of the chopping of the garlic.

Step 3: 6 sprigs of parsley.  I removed the leaves from the stems and threw them in the food processor.

Step 5: Add 1/2 cup of olive oil. (There won't be pictures for a little while because I got tired of stopping to take pictures)

Step 6: 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Step 7: Blend all together until all parts are finely chopped.  

Once all of those items are finely chopped... 

Step 8: Add 1/4 cup of either pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds.  I used pine nuts.  I think the consistency of them is great.  Add these into the blender or food processor and mix again until they are finely chopped. Some pine nuts will not get fully chopped and that's okay. 

Step 9: Remove the contents from the blender or food processor.  I used a spatula for this and it worked well.  Place in a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (just regular parmesan from the jar is fine).
Presto! There is your pesto!

NOW.  Part 1 is done.  I was cooking for two, and I'd say if you are cooking for more than 3, you should probably double that pesto recipe.  

Pesto Chicken.

Step 1: Two plain, clean chicken breasts placed in a baking dish.
Yes, these are big pieces.  So, they took a little longer to cook.

Step 2: I used a spatula to spread the pesto sauce on the top evenly. I turned each one over, and then used a spatula to spread pesto evenly on the other side as well.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 350.  Cover the dish with foil.  I let them sit in the pesto for about 10 minutes. Bake for 20-30 minutes.  I had to bake mine for 30 because they were larger and partially frozen when I started.  Take them out and remove foil.

Step 4: Put them back in the oven uncovered for 10-20 minutes (depending on how done they are the first time).  Mine needed 20 more minutes.  
It may not look that great, but believe me it was.  And I feel like the chicken does not look done in this picture (the lighting was strange), but it was definitely done.
20 minutes covered allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the pesto sauce.  20 minutes uncovered allows it to get just crispy enough that it adds flavor on the outside.

And, here we are! It was very good.  My camera was being difficult with lighting.  But the pesto chicken was incredibly delicious!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Hair

Well, my love-hate relationship with my hair came to an abrupt end on Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m.  Actually, after school, I was talking to my mother and I hadn't been feeling very well.  She suggested that I should perhaps get a hair cut and maybe I'd feel refreshed.  And I honestly agreed with her wholeheartedly.  I actually felt like my long mess of hair was part of what was making me feel very blah.  

I got in my car and drove to a salon that I had been wanting to try out. I asked them if they take walk-ins, and they said that they will if there is enough time.  However, there sadly wasn't enough time for them to do it then (due to the fact that it was after work and that is when EVERYONE wanted an appointment).  So, I scheduled an appointment for Saturday, but I went away feeling disappointed.  I had really been looking forward to a haircut.

I tried looking up other places in my GPS, but I couldn't tell if they'd be any good because I knew nothing about them.  And the last time I had my hair done at a place here that I knew nothing about, I ended up HATING my hair.  I came down here in April or so for an officer's ball.  I wanted a nice, pretty, elegant updo that I couldn't do at home.  So, I found this place called UnKommen that was a UK themed salon.  I booked an appointment, and my hair ended up looking like this.
I wanted something pretty and elegant and I got something that made me feel like a boy.  I'm even getting upset looking at the picture again.  I had gotten this beautiful dress and a drab hairstyle.  I could have done better than that at home.

Anyway, so since I had had such a frustrating experience before, I wasn't taking chances on my hair again.  I went home.  I told my mom I was not going to get my hair done.  She suggested I at least look some places up online, so I did.  I found this place called D'Allen's and it had all ratings of 5 stars.  Everyone loved it there.  I called them and asked if I could please make an appointment.  Fortunately, one stylist agreed to fit me in.  WOOHOO! I was so excited.  She booked me for 6:30.

This left me with some extra time to find the length I wanted.  After googling various hairstyles, I landed on this one.
This was exactly what I felt I wanted! It was not too short, and I felt like a few layers would be a nice change.  Well, I couldn't be more happy with how my hair turned out!  After seeing this picture, my stylist suggested we might even want to try going for a similar color to the girl in the picture.

And, now don't expect me to look LIKE the girl in the picture, but this is how my hair turned out.  I'm very happy with it!