Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No. It's not the Swine Flu.

But it is bad. Whatever the heck it is. I was STRUCK down (yes that is a very dramatic description but completely and accurately describes how I feel) yesterday with the flu from H-E-double hockey sticks. And this flu wasn't playing. For the the very sensitive (I'm thinking of you GM) I won't go into any major descriptions other than to say I have become intimately involved with my porcelain god. Crazy thing is that my mom got the same flu on the same day. And I think I know who to blame. My sister's in-law's came to visit from TX and brought with them some crazy flu which they immediately passed on to my sister and her youngest along with half of the other family. So now my mom and I are the lucky recipients and I think my dad is feeling yucky now too.

I hate being sick. HATE. First of all, I don't like feeling like I'm home bound. I want to lay around on my couch when I'm not required to be there. When you are sick you are required to lay around. And you know you are really sick when you have no interest in even playing on FB.

Secondly, I am a BIG. FAT. HUGE. BABY. And I'm not kidding. I'm a bawler when I'm sick. I'm a man-cold when I'm sick. I can't help it. When I feel like poo I just can't hang. And I want to be babied. But only when I want to be babied. The rest of the time I want to be left alone. And my hubby? He is a horrible nurse. He walked in yesterday and the FIRST thing he did was pick up the Lysol and start spraying every square inch of our house. Never mind that I'm already NAUSEATED and feeling like crap. Because Lysol smells so awesome! Every time I touched something he would spray it with Lysol. He almost got Lysol in his ear. Oh and when he came to bed? HE SLEPT THE OPPOSITE WAY. That's right. Feet in my face. I might have thought about becoming a kicker. Not only did he sleep with his feet in my face he then proceeded to flip and flop. I nearly lost it. So instead I snarled at him to be still. See? I'm fun.

I'm feeling better today but still all achy and a headache. Thanks for asking. Here's hoping by tomorrow I'll be back to my cheerful, snarky self.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Exhausted

I. Am. Exhausted. Truly. We had an amazing shower for my soon-to-be-sister-in-love yesterday so this past week leading up to it has worn me out(which I will post all about when I get the pictures all prettied up). I slept 10 hours last night. TEN. Blessed wonderful sleep. I could literally sleep ten more. But I figured I better try to dig hubby and I out of the grime we are under, perhaps cook the poor dear some actual dinner instead of just pointing to the fridge and spend some ACTUAL time with him. He said to me a few days ago, "Are you ever coming home?" EXHAUSTED. And I don't even have kids yet. Crap. I'm screwed. How do you ladies do it?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wise Words from My Little Sister

A few days ago my sister sent members of our family the following email. It was with me all day. She had a lot of good things to say. I hope it touches you the same way.

Good morning all,
Today I had some thoughts that I wanted to share with you. I was watching the news this morning and heard about the executive from Freddie Mac that committed suicide. It caught my attention and my heart sank to my stomach. My eyes filled up with tears as I thought of his wife and daughter left behind to sort this all out. I immediately thought, what kind of pressure was this poor wealthy man under that would make him end his own life. Is he a man like my husband trying to earn a living and care for his family? He was successful, I am sure had no problem paying his bills, making sure his daughter and wife had all they needed. I had always thought how great these execs must have it, all these great bonuses they are getting, while the rest of us pay for their vacations and trying to make ends meet they are living with a golden spoon in their mouth. Well today I changed my mind. Although it would be great to have extra money in the bank, some bills paid off and financial security, I am not willing to have it at just any cost. It would not be worth it to have all the money in world if it meant losing my family, if it meant my husband to be under such an extreme amount of pressure that he is sick, sick enough to take his own life. This is such a rough economic time for all of us, trying to watch where every penny goes and making sure nothing is unaccounted for. As most of you now J and I are struggling and have been struggling for some time now, but we are not drowning, the weight of this up hill climb is not so much that we can't keep moving forward knowing that one day our hearts desire will be a reality. The reason we can keep going, the reason we have faith that God will provide, is not only because the constant reminder of God's faithfulness is transparent to us everyday but it is also because of all of you, our family and friends. More than ever today I am thankful, for life, for our home, my beautiful and healthy little girls, the health and watchful hand of God over my husband and for the strength to keep going. Money is great, financial stability is something we all strive for, but today I would take the instability, the having to eat bean burritos again for dinner and would be happy to do so if it meant that my family would be happy, healthy and spiritually and emotionally thriving. Today I am grateful for all the little things. The simple pleasures of playing outside with my kids and hearing them laugh. I am grateful for my family immediate and extended, you all make life worth living, you all make our world a more bearable. I love you all and appreciate all you do for J and I and our girls. So I guess the thought for the day is....Don't kill yourself, money is great but its just paper and in comparison to all the other wonderful things we are all rich in, money just can't compare. You, to me, are worth more then all the money in the world and I would not trade this life for anything. I am richer then most because I can call you my family. I love you, have a great day, N

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Weighty Issues

I have never met a woman that doesn't have issues with her weight. Ever. I have never met anyone that doesn't want to be thinner or more in shape or have smaller thighs or maybe a tinier bum (that's for you GM). It is a common thread in all our lives as women no matter our age, race or even our actually weight. My pal Michelle has sparked a conversation on this subject over at her blog Candy Jamamas. (Part I, Part II and Part III. There is more coming.) And by doing so she has hit chord with a lot of us. Girly Muse wrote about it, and I think there are quite a few other women that will be joining in on this conversation.
This is something I have struggled with my entire life. Both my mom and my sister are tiny. Not according to them, but they are. And they have been all my life. I was actually quite thin when I was younger but I thought I was a heifer standing next to my sister who was 98 pounds soaking wet. My mom's mom and middle sister were both thin like she was and the youngest sister was the heavier one. I can remember my grandma harping on her about her weight. For as far back as I can remember. My mom never said anything to me about my weight but she talked a lot about hers. Despite how small she was my mom was on the eternal quest of those last 5 pounds.

I went through high school and college as a fairly thin girl. I'm shaped totally different than my mom and my sister so size 0 was never going to work for me but I was healthy and I looked good, even if I do say so myself. My weight didn't really become an issue until after I had been out of college for a few years. And then I really packed it on. I mean REALLY. And my insecurities soared. And the comments came. "Sweetie, if you would just lose a little bit of weight you would feel so much better." "Your weight is the reason I broke up with you." (Yes. A BOY actually said that to me. He's a winner.) "You lost 5 pounds? You look amazing." (Which trust me, you couldn't tell I lost 10 pounds.) "You're not on your diet anymore? OH."

Some people think that it may have been encouraging to me but it wasn't. All it did was turn on the focus on my weight and drilled even further into my brain that thin=pretty, successful and better person. So back on would come those 5 pounds. And I think because I gained so much weight I have significantly changed my body. In that I will never be "thin" by the world's standards. I don't think I can. I think I have damaged my body with the crazy yo-yoing.

In January of this year I was up again back to that scary number. It was bad. And I felt horrible. Here I was a newly-wed feeling fat, unattractive and honestly didn't want my husband to look at me. Michelle and I had been having a lot of conversations about it, both complaining about our struggles. I decided it was time to do something. Really do something. So I joined Weight Watchers. And I didn't really tell anybody. I didn't want any one's input. I didn't even want their encouragement. Because I didn't want to see and hear the disappointment if I failed. And I wasn't that confident that I would succeed. I'm not going to go into how much weight I've lost or gained or any of that because frankly it goes right back to what we are talking about. Suffice it to say I'm learning to change my life. And I'm also learning that while 150 pounds on someone else might be obese for them, it might not be for me. And I'm okay with that. I'm not even close to were I need to be to have a proper body image but I'm working on it. I do not want to pass this on to my nieces or even if I have a daughter someday. I want them to feel beautiful no matter what their size. I want them to understand that no one is the same and being thin doesn't make you better, it makes you different. I want them to know that using their brain and being kind to others is far more important than the number imprinted on the inside of their jeans.

It's time that we as women bring this to end. It's time to stop pushing these insecurities on our girls. There is a difference between caring for your kid and helping them be healthy or helping them be "thin". It's time that WE STOP COMPLAINING about our weight in front of these young girls. They hear everything we say and they catch on quickly.

As part of the discussion over at Candy Jamamas, Mrs. Manley from Thinking Out LOUD had some recommendations for books to read on the subject. She has read these and thinks they are very helpful with the subject and also for dealing with teen girls.

Making Peace with Your Thighs by Dr. Linda Mintle

Think about this today. It's important. And join us for discussion over at Michelle's.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Because I love a good video

Okay so if you have been hanging around here for anytime at all you know I love a good video. This one is cool. And kind of scary. Scary in a good way. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quotes from Butterbean

These conversations has been abbreviated in order to save your sanity. No one can talk like a 5 year old!

Said to my sister while I was on my way to pick her up:
Sister: Butterbean, your sister is really sick and I need you to help me. Can you get me a diaper and a washcloth and a towel.

Butterbean: I have to do all this work and I'm not even 17 yet!


On the drive to my house:
Butterbean: Tia! I can't see! The sun is so bright it's burning my eyes.

Me: Do you want me to roll up your window or do you want my sunglasses to wear?

Butterbean: I want your sunglasses. Stinkin' old sun.

After we made cupcakes:
Butterbean: This one is for me and this one is for J (her cousin). He's so cute I'm going to give him a big kiss.

Monday, April 20, 2009

BLoved - Fowler Family

Last night I met up with my pal Erin and her family. They hadn't had any family pictures taken in a long time so we decided it was about time! They are really such a cute family! Three little boys that are so full of energy. The first thing I noticed about them is that they all have such beautiful eyes, including Mom & Dad!



We started out our evening with a little fun just to get everyone in the mood for pictures and then we were off and running! I wanted to post a few so Erin could see them - I'll have more later! Thanks Fowler's for hanging out with me tonight!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Religion vs. Relationship

I don't talk much about religious beliefs or religion in general here. I have my beliefs and they are mine. I am a believer and I think that my relationship with God is precious and between Him and I.

Coming into my own relationship with God was very difficult for me. Growing up I was given a very specific road map to get there and when that road map changed I was confused and unsure. To this day I still have certain things I bump up against that I find it hard to navigate confidently or even let go of without judgement. But I feel strongly that my relationship with God is real. I obviously don't have it all figured out. Lord knows I don't. I'm still learning and growing and being stretched. We are working on patience AGAIN lately. It would be nice if I would learn this lesson already!

When it was time for me to go to college my parents and I had different criteria. They wanted a Christian school and I just wanted AWAY. My dad is a pastor, has been my whole life and the overwhelming pressure of being the perfect PK (Pastor's Kid. Church lingo.) had worn me down. I just wanted to go somewhere where no one had ever heard of my dad and no one knew me and I could just blend. And we all got exactly what we wanted. I ended up moving to TN and going to Lee University and truly losing myself in the crowd. I don't think I even told anyone that I was a PK for the first month. I was truly anonymous and I loved it. Eventually people knew but it made no difference at that point. Being in school was one of the most spiritually moving times in my life. Everything I knew about God was stripped away and it was about relationship. I was surrounded by young women and men that were all in the same boat. We all wanted a relationship that was not dependent upon our parents, our backgrounds or our religions. And the girls that God put in my life truly blessed me, pushed me and challenged me. My best friend through college, Shannon, was a constant motivation to me. She was brutally honest about her hang ups but always pushed through it to get closer to God. This time in my life showed me that God doesn't move in one way. It opened my eyes to see that there wasn't just one way to get to God but that anyone that seeks after him will find him.

Fast forwarding through the next 10 years (HOLY COW. TEN YEARS since I graduated from college. I'm old.) this was something that I came up against again and again and again. And truthfully it hasn't been until the last year that I think I finally get it and am peace with it. I have met many people in my life. I have met a whole lot of Christians. Unfortunately I've met fewer Christ-like people. But those truly Christ-like people have come from many different walks of life, different religious backgrounds and beliefs and religious affiliation. And what I've come to realize is that God comes to us all in different ways. The way he may speak to me (which I will tell is more often than not through music) is not the same way he will speak to you, your next door neighbor or your cousin that lives 3000 miles away. And here's the kicker. . .THAT IS OKAY. Walk with me through this. God is love. He loves us all. He created this big world with all it's people and nations and cultures. Things change from country to country, state to state and city to city. So why would we ever presume that there is just ONE way to him? Why would I presume that the way I believe and that I communicate with God is the right way? I'm ashamed of myself for thinking so. And maybe I'm alone in this. Perhaps I'm the dingbat that took forever to learn this lesson, but I don't think so.

I've met some of the best people in the world and they have been Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah Witness', Methodist or Christian. What I have realized is that it is so much LESS about what religious box you check and so much MORE about the relationship YOU seek with God. And who am I to judge? Who am I to tell you that your way won't get you to heaven but mine will? I believe that if you seek God, truly seek God, he will reveal Himself to you no matter where the pew you sit in is. And I believe that all these religious affiliations are for our benefit to help us where we need strength. Growing up as I did I need a more charismatic church. Something with a little spunk but room to let me grow and figure things out. My BIL needs something with structure. He needs a strong hand of guidance and direction. My husband needs atmosphere that isn't high-pressure. My sister needs a place that feels like family. And I don't think any of us are wrong. Just because my BIL attends a church I wouldn't doesn't make either of us wrong. It makes us different. Which is just how God makes us.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm learning to be more open and listen a little closer. I feel that there isn't one "right" religion (which I really don't like that word to begin with. God isn't RELIGION he is RELATIONSHIP.). I feel that if you speak to God and open your heart to him He will lead you where He wants to go. And if you chose to follow Him and follow His heart, how can that be wrong? And how you follow Him and go where He leads may be JUST what someone else needs to see to spark the desire in them for a relationship.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brotherly Love

My hubby had a very difficult childhood. Vastly different than mine. He basically raised himself and has been on his own since he was a pre-teen. For all the reasons it happened, it is what it is and in my opinion he is an amazing man for it. And I think for this reason he clings to his family. He is the guy that keeps in touch with ALL the family members. Whether it's a phone call every 6 months or an email now and then, they all know that they can count on him to keep the relationship going. He is an amazing friend and remains your friend for years to come. He's always the guys saying, "Man we were best friends. I haven't talked to him in 10 years but we are buds." He nurtures his relationships in a way that only someone that has truly been alone can.

Hubby grew up with an older brother and sister. For the most part he has been very close to his sister. She is adoring and he is protective. Their relationship has always been solid and I know that he would do anything for her. The same can't be said for his relationship with his brother. I think when they were younger they had somewhat of a relationship but F (older brother) faced a lot of issues. I'm not going to spew his secrets out of the internets but suffice it to say that he has battled some things for 20 years or so that have caused a deep rift between him and both my hubby and his sister. I think they all lost out but I think my hubby suffered because despite having a brother he never HAD a brother. You should always be able to count on your parents and your siblings and when you can't it hurtful and disappointing. And just as sons need fathers I think brothers need brothers.

But all of that changed about 6 months ago. F started attending church regularly, drastically cleaned up his life and is basically not the person I first met when I met my hubby. He's grounded and solid, reliable and generally a different person. We are talking a COMPLETE turn around. It's been amazing.

But what is more amazing and what touches me more than anything is watching my hubby form a solid relationship with his big brother. They spend more time together now than they have in 20 years. They fish together, they hang out, they talk on the phone, texting each other like schoolgirls. It's like they have just met each other again for the first time.

Last night the family came over for dinner and a little hanging out. F showed up first and he and hubby were messing around on the computer. I was in the other room listening to them laugh and talk. They were writing an email and F was dictating and Hubby was typing. I was cracking up. They were brothers. Just hanging out. Enjoying each other's company. Picking at each other and having a good time. And as I threw dinner together and I listened to them in the other room my heart smiled. I want my hubby to have everything he deserves and getting back his big brother is a step in the right direction.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Smart Ladies

The internets is full of smart ladies these days. These ladies aren't only talking about their babies or telling you about their favorite new recipe. They are digging deep. They searching for answers and coming up solutions. They are offering up advice and sharing insecurities. They are making you laugh and making you look inside all at the same time.

Here's what I love about being a woman. We are such complex creatures. I know it drives the men in our lives crazy but we just get it about each other. And the fact that we can all gather here and share our brand of "crazy", encourage each and lift each other up, makes it feel a little less lonely out here in married woman land. So thank you to all my lady hero's. I appreciate your candidness and your willingness to share. Please don't stop! You make us all feel a whole lot less alone.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dreams

Everyone and their grandmother has posted this. Even my pals. But I had to put it up too. This moved me to tears. Here is this woman, who by the world's standards was unimportant. She was over 40, unmarried and never been kissed. I'm betting no one ever paid much attention to her. And what they were missing! If they had bothered to look past the exterior they would have been privileged to hear that beautiful gift she has.

This woman, this child-like woman had a dream. She said she had always wanted to sing but had never been given the chance. They all laughed at her and rolled her eyes, and then she opened her mouth. They stopped laughing. She didn't given up on her dream. She wanted it and she went for it. I wish I was that brave. Just goes to show you, never, ever give up on your dreams.

Susan Boyle's Dream

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Simple Instructions

Backstory:

I knew I would be gone for dinner tonight. So being the VERY GOOD wifey I am I got up early and put together crockpot lasagna for the hubby. It was all ready to go. All he had to do was add a little cheese.

Phone Conversation with Hubby, Mid-Day:

Me: So dinner is ready for you. All you have to do is add the cheese. On the bottom shelf of the fridge there is a ziploc bag full of grated mozz cheese. About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, turn off the crockpot, add the cheese, put the lid back on and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Hubby: You made dinner? Cool. Thanks. What do I do?

Me: Okay, so, on the bottom shelf of the fridge there is a ziploc bag full of grated mozz cheese. About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, turn off the crockpot, add the cheese, put the lid back on and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then eat.

Hubby: So just add the cheese? And I'm done?

Me: Yes. The grated cheese. Just put it on top and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Hubby: Okay, got it.

Three Hours Later, the phone rings:

Hubby: Hey babe, what cheese was I supposed to use again?

Me: The grated cheese.

Hubby: Oh. Not the block of cheese?

Me: BLOCK OF CHEESE? What do you mean BLOCK OF CHEESE? The GRATED cheese. On the bottom shelf of the fridge.

Hubby: Oh. I see it. Opps. I thought you said the block of cheese.

Me: What the heck did you do with the block of cheese? Just dump it on top?

Hubby: Um, yea.

Me: What did you expect to happen exactly? Melt the whole thing?

Hubby: Well, I thought it might not but I couldn't remember what you said! I just figured it would take a really long time to melt!

Me: This is why you should LISTEN.

Hubby: Yea, I know.

This made my day. I laughed my flat butt off when I hung up the phone. Only my hubby.

UPDATE: He ended up pulling out the BLOCK of cheese and using the shredded cheese. So now I have a half-melted, tomato sauce covered half block of mozz cheese. AWESOME.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blueberry Muffin Round Robin

So I was the lucky girl who got to participate in Aleta's Blueberry Muffin Round Robin. This is how it worked. Whoever wanted to participated in taste testing signed up and whoever wanted to submit their blueberry muffin recipe as the BEST RECIPE EVER could do so. I was assigned Recipe A and Recipe C to make and test. It's a hard life I lead.



First up, Recipe A (These recipes are halved. To make a full dozen, double it).



Batter:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 egg (2 tbsp-I beat the egg then measured it out)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh blueberries


Topping:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp finely chopped pecans


Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and pecans in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; stir just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Allow batter for 15 minutes before dividing evenly among paper-lined muffin cups.
  4. Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Spoon 2 tsp over each muffin, then sprinkle with 1 tsp of finely chopped pecans.
  5. Bake muffins at 375 for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.


Now up, Recipe C.



Batter:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup & 2 tbsp milk
1/2 egg (about 2 tbsp-I beat the egg and then measured it out)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 tbsp lemon zest


Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp & 2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, softened


Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Make the batter by combining the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, butter, milk and egg. Blend with an electric mixer. Gently fold in the blueberries and lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. For the topping combine the first four ingredients. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  4. Grease muffin tins. Spoon batter into tins (fill 2/3 full), then top with streusel mixture. Bake on middle rack approximately 20-25 minutes.

So I taste-tested, I took both to my pals Jen and Kelly and they taste-tested and I had hubby taste them. BY FAR the winner was. . .

RECIPE A!!

SERIOUSLY GOOD. I'm not even kidding people. You need to make this. Both of the recipes were actually good. Hubby preferred Recipe C, but the rest of us were all about A. I think it was the brown sugar that put Recipe A over the top. I will be making these again and again and again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Workin' it out

I've hit a bit a bump my friends. And before I spew it out over the internets I need to work it all out. So you may see much more "fluff" on this site until I figure it all out. Thanks for understanding.

To start off our fluff, here is a video that the VP at my old company used to play at every sales conference. I like it. I feel inspired when I watch it. I hope you do too.


video

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pretty Girl

My brother is getting married in a mere 86 days. He is marrying the loveliest girl on the block and we heart her whole bunches. J had her bachelorette party a few weekends ago and my sis and I weren't able to go because we are all old and responsible with the bill paying. So she came here the week after on her break from MEDICAL SCHOOL (I know some DARN smart people) and we decided to throw her our own little bachelorette day.
And because my sister is a GENIUS she came up with the perfect plan. A pin-up session. We hired Darlene Leyva of Pin-Up Girls to come and do her make-up and hair. MAN WAS SHE GORGEOUS. She looked just like a doll. I took the pictures and we had such a great time! It was so fun! Of course my silly little brother is a little ooked out that these were taken by his sister but her will SO get over it. So enjoy some pretty. Oh and a warning. . .this post is VERY picture heavy, but I don't care peeps. I've got a pretty new little sister and I'm showing her off.
L.L.S (Little Little Sister) we hope you that you had as much fun as we did. We enjoyed every minute spent with you. You were beautiful (as always) and the SUN is one lucky boy.