Sunday, August 31, 2008

You Can Judge This Book By Its Cover

I said I would finish it this month...and I did! I even had a few minutes to spare.


You know, I'm glad I pushed through it, and I guess the book did cause me to think, and feel, which perhaps is enough for me to consider it a good book, but man!...DE...PRESS...ING!!!! Can you not like a book while you're reading it, but appreciate it afterwards? I suppose that's how I feel about this book.

If you are interested in reading a book about the most ridiculous, selfish, arrogant, hopeless characters that have not a single redeeming quality, then The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald is just the book for you. I will say, Ol' Fitz was spot on with the title!

Tomorrow, I will begin a new novel. Something a little lighter. Something that is sure to have me smiling on the last page...Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Braelyn's Bedtime Prayer List

1. Betty and Jonas
2. Diaper changes
3. Wipes
4. Diapers
5. Cream (as in diaper cream)
6. The park
7. Dirt

When she busted out with the wipes I had a hard time keeping it together, but then she brought it up again during the prayer to make sure I didn't forget it. Friends...It was over. I made her cry I was laughing so hard. I couldn't stop. Casey had to take over the prayer at that point. WHAT KIND OF A MOTHER AM I?

Normally we stick to family members, friends and pets, but tonight we were really thankful for the details.

Thank you, Jesus for the details of our life.
And thank you for my sweet baby girl!
Oh my goodness, what would I do without her!

I Declare Thursdays Art Day

In an attempt to get back to intentionality, I decided this week we would do an art project. Months ago I noticed some beautiful, kid-painted rocks at Fireman's Park in Brenham, and tucked that idea in my mind for such a day as this.

This morning we went to Wal-mart, got our supplies and went to work under the car-port. I think this may go down as one of my most favorite days with her.
Mommy and Braelyn Hand Prints
The beginnings of our Funky Art Rock Garden

***Quick question: I used acrylic paint. Will this come off in the rain? Do I need to coat the rocks with something to keep the paint from wearing off or fading? If so, what do I use? Thanks!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Braelyn's World

For the last few days, as Braelyn and I have been play dating and traveling, seeing family and just doing what we do, I've tried to catch some of her favorite moments...just a picture or two a day, capturing what makes my toddler gloriously happy.

The Play Date:
Braelyn and I had such a fun morning with our new friends Amy, Laith and baby Bela. And oh Lord, was she in heaven when she got to hold him! Bela, I think had a different opinion of the experience :).
We also made bird feeders. The perfect play date, I would say!

We left the play date and began the drive to Dallas with Meme (my mom) and Grandma Toops (my grandma). "Ring Pops are delicious!" she says. (Not only are they delicious, but also useful for happy car rides.)
Family Gatherings:
When we arrived, Braelyn was delighted to meet a few of her cousins for the first time.But it was this cousin that had Braelyn's undivided attention. Shocking, I know!
Back at Home:
Today at the library......with purse and baby in hand, of course.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Here...Sort Of

Hello Readers,
How are you? Well, I hope. I'm sorry I've been a little negligent with my blog lately. I was writing several times a week and now it seems I'm doing good to get one in. The truth is I feel a little negligent with lots of things in my life right now...housework, reading, making time for friends, doing fun and creative things with Braelyn, and yes, even my time with God has been a little sparse...which I realize is where this little downfall began.

I'm not depressed or anything...there's no need for concern (I'm talking to some specific folks here! :)...I'm just feeling a little out of sorts. I can't seem to get into a rhythm or routine. But I will...I always do.

So anyways, just wanted to let you know that I am here and thinking of you. I'm ready to get back into a blog groove again. It's funny how blogging has become this sort of gauge for how the rest of my life is going. When I am doing my job well, being intentional with the most important things (people, really) in my life, allowing the Lord to fill and guide my days, choosing discipline over laziness (or busyness)...I am more able to think, to process, to notice life, and therefore I am able to share more with you.

I miss noticing.
I miss appreciating.
I miss sharing.

I hope I will be back tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just Shy of Interesting

I've been tagged to share 6 random things about myself. I have had a couple days to think about 6 random things about myself, and I'm having some trouble. Cause really, we're hoping for both random and interesting..but interesting is proving to be a challenge. Oh well, here we go....

The tagging rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag

1. When I was a junior or senior in high school, I had surgery on my knee. My knee cap came out a couple of times, usually when I was dancing. Lucky for me, it would always snap right back into place, but man...I've never known pain like that! Thankfully, the surgery did it's job. My knee has stayed where it belongs, but it's never been quite the same.

Hmmm...already stumped for more random facts. This is not a good start.

...I guess I'll dive into the Pool of Inappropriate :)

2. In 2005 Casey and I were ready to start trying for a family. To start the process off right, we took a trip to London. To this day we call it our 2005 European Procreation Tour. I was hoping to get a 2008 European Procreation Tour to Italy, but no such luck. :(

3. Ok...confession time. We've all had a little moment of thievery in our lives, right? Well, in the 7th grade I stole a tube of lipstick. I know...shameful. It was peer pressure! So much peer pressure! Anyways, the good side of this story is that I stole a really great color, which I continued to use and purchase for quite a while after this criminal episode. I quickly decided against a life of crime...just didn't have the stomach for it. I do occasionally steal a cookie from the grocery store for Braelyn...unintentionally, of course. It's so hard to remember to tell the check-out person!!!! I always pay for 2 the next time I'm there, though.

4. After watching the movie Seabiscuit, I wanted to be a jockey and if someone offered me the job today, I'd take it! It appears to me that the most important criteria for such a profession is that you are a small person. Perfect! I'm a small person. Some people, simpletons really, might consider it a problem that I have virtually no equestrian experience, but to them I say...Hmph! That is a minor setback that can quickly be remedied by a few gallops around the track. If anyone would like to sponsor me in fulfilling this life-long dream (well, I've definitely had this dream for like 3 years), I accept!

5. I agonize over gift-giving! I am in the middle of such a dilemma at this very moment. After lunch today I went to a couple of little shops to look for a gift. I found a thing or two at each shop that might work, but I could not commit. Instead, I brought Braelyn home for a nap and as soon as I am done with this blog I will go back to those little shops and make a choice, not without checking a few more places first, though! The mantra of a noncommittal gift-giver: There could be something better!

6. One day, I would like to open my own children's book shop. Think Shop Around the Corner (from You've Got Mail for anyone who doesn't get the reference.). I think it would be fun. Now that I think about it, I think I already shared this. Oh well. I have literally exhausted all my brain power to come up with these 6 facts. The probability that I will be able to choose a gift today (see fact #5) has gone from highly unlikely to undoubtedly impossible. I'll need to rest up before I can make a decision like that.

Alright, that's all I got.

I now tag:
1. Courtney
2. Andi
3. Nicole
4. Casey C....maybe there's something I don't know about you , honey!
5. Andy M....I bet you have some great random things to share!!! :)
6. Gabriele...I need to hear from both Moore's!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Today's Best & Worst

THE BEST: Braelyn went tee tee in the potty today!!!! I couldn't believe it! She's been asking a lot lately to go on the potty, but nothing ever happens. I think she just likes to wash her hands after. But this morning, Casey was giving her a bath, and I asked him to have her sit on the potty after they were done and before she put a diaper on. She sat there for a few minutes and when she got up...there it was!!! Tee tee!!! Yea!!! So far it's been a solitary event, but's progress. (I am not formally potty training her, btw. My strategy is to just let her try when she wants to and suggest it at key times, like in the morning and before/after a bath. It's a no-pressure approach. We'll see how it goes. :)

THE WORST: Honestly, there was no worst today. After a very busy (working) weekend, Casey took the day off. We took it easy in the morning, took a family trip to the grocery store (I secretly enjoy this), had lunch and then we all took a wonderfully long nap during the storm (bonus!), then we ran a couple of errands and enjoyed a nice dinner at the Saloon. Now, Braelyn's in bed and Casey and I are about to watch a movie.'s a good day.

I have a couple things I want to blog about this week:
1. A church update...exciting things are happening!
2. I was tagged so I have a few random facts about myself to share.
3. We've added and changed some stuff in a couple of rooms of our house, so I thought I'd post some pics...and I have a question about something...maybe you guys can help?!

I guess that's it for me.
Casey is currently in the middle of a Vlog comment contest with our pastor and friend Justin Hyde. Stop by and show him some Vlog love!!!!!
Have a good night, y'all!

OH MY GOSH!! WAIT! I DO have a worst...I thought I left my phone at my parent's house. Turns out I accidentally left it at Subway. My mom went by there to see if they had it, but no. Somebody was already using it!!!! This is like the 2nd time this year this has happened!!! Aren't there any honest people in the world?!!!! UGH!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Thoughts

I've been watching the Olympics fairly closely this go around. Allow me to share my Olympic thoughts.

1. If the human body is capable of doing these things....then perhaps I've slept in a few too many times. I mean, I'm not saying that I want to be an Olympic athlete...but man...a little more sweat in my life wouldn't hurt. It's like they are using 100% of their bodies and I'm using 6%...maybe 8% if I scrub the tub or something.

2. Last week swimming meant nothing to me. In fact, I really hate swimming. Suddenly, swimming is a freakishly important priority in my life and I am deeply and emotionally invested in the success of Michael Phelps. That relay where the US beat the French...oh my gosh! AMAZING!!!

3. Speaking of swimming...why do they wear unitards now? I realize it must make them swim faster, but if they would all just wear normal swimming trunks then no one would have an unfair advantage and...well, it would just be better.

4. And the men divers! Oh my goodness! Two reassuring thoughts about those swim suits. (You might not be able to see them, but they are wearing a miniscule suggestion of a swim suit.) 1. They cannot possibly get any smaller. Impossible. 2. The fact that those suits don't come flying off when the divers hit the water means that they are cRRRazy tight.

5. I am at this moment watching the Chinese men's gymnastic team. Their coach basically said that if they didn't win 5 gold medals then they might as well not have come. Uuuh... :) Can I just tell you that if I was at the Olympics as the water grandkids would never hear the end of it...and I would seriously consider writing an autobiography.

6. To be an Olympian you must spend 22 hours a day training and then the final two shaving. Or waxing.

7. Fencing, even Olympic fencing is not very interesting. Weird, but not interesting. Way to go USA girls for the sweep though!

8. The commentators remove almost all suspence. I remember there used to be some mystery to the games. Anyone, from anywhere could win. Not now. Now, the comentators just come right out and say, "Johnny is the likey winner of this event. Davy doesn't have a chance." And usually they're right. Why do I even bother watching?

9. Why do women gymnasts do that chest pump thing so much? Does that serve any purpose? I don't think it does. I think that one really good gymnast did that a long time ago...maybe she had a nervous twitch or something, but she was still really good so all the little girl gymnasts wanted to be like her. So really, the Olympic gymnasts of our generation are choreographing a nervous twitch into their routines. If there was a gymnasts who didn't do that, I would vote for her. But there is no such girl, and we don't get to vote. Bummer.

10. There is a 33 year old gymnast on the German team. That rocks! I would vote for her even with the twitch. That makes me think that if I really work hard, I could make it to the Olympics. Well, while I figure out what my sport will be, I'm going to go shave my legs.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

An Extension on Nothingness

Ok, so before I share my recipes, I'll give you the update on the preschool dilemma. We decided not to put her in. I know, I know...many of you are shaking your heads at me, but I feel good about our decision. We sort of felt unsure about it last year when we enrolled her, but a day or two before the crazy registration sleepover we found out we were pregnant. So...we decided to go ahead and enroll her based on that, thinking that a couple hours a week would help me out a lot with a new baby. But as our circumstances have changed...I don't necessarily need that extra help. There are a couple of other reasons as well, but more than anything it came down to the fact that she's so young; she'll start school soon enough. I had to stop and ask myself why I was rushing it. I didn't really have an answer. So for the same reason I still rock her at night and I still let her sit in her bouncy seat and I still give her a paci at bedtimes...she'll be at home with me for another year. That thought makes me happy. I'm not ready to share. :)

And regarding the transition to the big girl bed...after I wrote that post, Braelyn fell out of her bed two nights in a row. Poor Baby! Those wood floors make for a rude awakening.

Well, enough about my motherhood drama...on to food!

Recipe 1: William-Sonoma's Spaghetti with Spicy Tomato Sauce

The Sauce:
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 4 Cloves of garlic, chopped
- 4 Cans of diced plum or Roma tomatoes, drained (28oz cans)
- 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste

You will also need:
- Salt
- Spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
- 1/4 Cup of fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus shards for garnish

* The sauce recipe makes enough for this meal plus more to store for other recipes. I cut the recipe in half and it made plenty.

Prepare the sauce:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and saute' for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered until the sauce is thick, about 40 minutes.

Cook the pasta:
Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Divide the pasta among shallow bowls, top with the sauce and garnish with the basil and Parm.

Recipe 2: Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

- 2 Cups of whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 Cups of buttermilk
- 2 Egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1/3 Cup of vegetable oil
- 1/2 Cup of honey
- 1 Cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Sift together flour and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter milk, egg whites, oil, and honey until creamy, then stir in blueberries. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold together with a rubber spatula until the batter is moist yet remains still lumpy. Pour into muffin cups and bake 18 minutes. (The original recipe said to bake them for 30-35 minutes, but that seems way to long. Around 17-19 minutes they're perfect.)

Hope you guys enjoy these recipes. I really love them both. Again, the pasta is pretty spicy, so you might want to test it before you serve it to the kiddos. And I probably wouldn't serve it to anyone who wasn't an avid tomato lover. It's not very saucey...really just pasta with chunks of spicy tomatoes. As for the muffins, they are delicious! Braelyn likes them, but she pulls out the blueberries. :| She kills me. We'll keep trying though!

Happy cooking and baking!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nothingness: 1-10

My apologies for not being the most interesting or consistent blogger lately. In an attempt to get back into the swing of things, here's 1 through 10 of what's going on with me and my fam. (I hope I can make it to 10!)

1. Last week, I put myself and my whole family on a cleaner, greener diet. More fruits and veggies, more whole grains, more water, less soda (personally, not doing so hot on this one), less meat, more organic, real foods. I've gotten into a rhythm of cooking two meals a week. With leftovers and activities during the week, this is about all we need. I decided that each week one of these meals will be vegetarian. I can't speak for the rest of my family, but I am very excited about this adjustment. Tonight was our second vegetarian dinner night. It was successful in the sense that I loved what I made...whole wheat spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce, garnished with parm and fresh basil. Delish!!! It was not so successful in the sense that I am the only one who ate the sauce. Too hot for Braelyn, too many chunky tomatoes for Case. (Casey does NOT do tomatoes!) Oh well. We'll keep trying. If anyone's interested in the recipe I would be happy to post it. It is SUPER easy, and very tasty.

2. Last Wednesday we (when I say we, I mean someone we hired) put sod in our back yard. Hallelujah! It still needs SO much work, but it's a start.

3. Monday night we finally took the railing off of Braelyn's crib. Ever since Braelyn turned two, we've been meaning to convert her crib to a "big-girl" bed, but we just kept putting it off, mostly because Casey was traveling and I didn't want to have to make this transition by myself. But he's home now so we finally bit the bullet. To my surprise, it's been going beautifully! She's had two bedtimes and one naptime and no problems. Glorious! When she wakes up in the morning she is still calling for me to come get her. I know it's a very short matter of time before she figures out that she can get in and out by herself, but for now I'm thoroughly enjoying her innocent, and steady commitment to the baby ways. I'm in no rush for her to learn otherwise!

4. I'm in a blog lull. Clearly.

5. I recently discovered (on-line) a make-up line just for red heads. I am enjoying the items I bought. I know drug stores and department stores think that there are only blondes and brunettes in the world, but they are mistaken. Red heads are make-up wearing people too! ;)

6. Pilates is going really well. I'm so glad to be moving again! The only thing I don't like about it is that so much of it is how I am using my muscles. For example, it may look like I'm doing an exercise correctly on the outside, when in fact, I may be using the totally wrong muscles. Everything is very "subtle." It frustrates me. The instructor promises me that if I keep working, I'll "feel" when I'm doing it right. We'll see. She'll never really know, will she? ;)

7. Tomorrow night we have the New Parent Orientation for Braelyn's school. She starts in a couple of weeks and will be going Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30-11:30. To be honest, Casey and I are having second thoughts. I don't know why, we just are. Not about the's just...she's two...and she's my punkin pie...and there's that whole private school tuition thing. Before we make any decisions we're going to go check out this orientation, maybe meet the teacher and all that. I'll let you know how it goes.

8. I have been baking a lot lately. I found a whole wheat blueberry muffin recipe that I liked...finally. And yesterday I made zucchini bread for the first time. It came out pretty good, but I was disappointed to learn that while zucchini bread sounds healthy, it is in fact the opposite of that. It has a ton of sugar! I used honey instead of white sugar, but was a lot of honey. If anyone has a recipe that is super yummy without so much sugar, I would love to have it. :)

9. Lost. Casey and I are still watching it. The fact that we've already seen all of these episodes and know what is going to happen has in no way diluted the addictive power of The Island! We love this show...again.

10. I have not been reading! I don't know what's wrong with me! Well, yes I do. For one, the previously mentioned item. And two, I'm not in love with my book. But I AM going to finish it. By the end of August I will finish it. Plus, Casey will soon start back to school and have lots of reading and scholarly things to do in the evenings, which means Lost will become a luxury of the weekend and I will return to my bookwormedness. I'm looking forward to it. I'm pretty sure I've "lost" (haha) a couple of I.Q. points this summer. I guess that's what summer's for.

I did it. I made it to 10. 1 through 5 probably would have been a wiser choice. Oh well. This is how I get back in a blog groove..I make lists of nothing. to watch Lost. G' Night.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Today's Best & Worst

THE BEST: Praying through the rooms of our new church building. After church this evening, instead of sharing a meal together we went to the future home of Christ Church to see as a community what God has provided, what work there is to be done and of course, to pray that God would bless it, the people in it and the community around it. It was a beautiful and exciting time. I'll try to post more on this subject sometime this week. For now, let me direct you to our building's blog: 1302 Washington. There you'll find some pics, updates on the renovations, etc.

THE WORST: This morning I was giving Braelyn a bath and she she filled up a little scooper with water and threw it in my face. Now, at the end of my day that seems like a pretty good "WORST." But at the time I was not very happy with her.