Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Munch loves to munch

One of the nicknames we have for Curren is "Little Munch" or just plain "Munch." He loves to chew on everything and always has. We also call him "C," "Brother," or "Little Man." After all, how many ways can you shorten "Curren" (which over course we do call him because we love his name)?

And as I've said before, this kid is in to EVERYTHING, so much more so than Maggie ever was at this age. He loves to dig in the pantry when we aren't looking and he loves this box of Trader Joe's crackers. He knows right where it is, will grab it, and sit down and eat a few. Maybe we should consider a new nickname for him: "Little Sneak."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

this one's for you, Tina!

My good friend Tina passed along this recipe several months ago and it's been in my "Recipes and Nutrition" folder in my Gmail for that long. Tina is a self-proclaimed health nut and loves to cook and make good tasting snacks for her kids. I love picking her brain for new food ideas. I've meant to make these "Chocolate Earth Balls" for a number of months and now that I'm finally feeling better, I set the recipe aside to make this week with Mags. After a fun visit to the park with Lindsey and Shelby today, we got to work. These were very easy and very tasty. Even my skeptical husband liked them, which is saying alot! You can obviously omit any ingredients you don't care for. I even think the basic pb/honey/cocoa powder ball would be totally yummy!

Chocolate Earth Balls (courtesy of Tina and Whole Foods Market Cookbook)

1 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. honey (I used Agave Nectar and it tasted wonderful)
2 tsp. carob powder or unsweetened cocoa powder (I used the latter; I do not like carob!)
1/2 c. raisins (I omitted)
3/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/4 c. finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc)

Mix the peanut butter, honey, and carob or cocoa powder until well combined. Stir in raisins if using and 2 Tbs. of the coconut. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Then, place remaining coconut, sesame seeds, and coconut in 3 separate bowls. Rolls pb mixture into small balls, then roll in each of the bowls. Arrange on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and put in freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up. Enjoy!

Licking the bowl!
Yes, brother got a few spoonfuls, too!

Monday, January 25, 2010

rethinking media

I'm taking month-long, much-needed Facebook and Twitter break (I just read people's Tweets, I don't really do many myself). And I'm also taking the apps off my Iphone; I just check them way too much, it's annoying the heck out of me. I'm just realizing I have this real need to be on top of things in people's lives, in media, etc. and I need to regain some balance. I also do such things (sometimes) in place of interacting fully with my kids and it drives me nuts. I plan to still blog and to set back in place some email limits for myself (per this very wise post from a favorite blog of mine called Simple Mom). I *especially* love the idea of setting a time limit when I'm on it. I wish in so many ways that my in-laws did not have cable. It's just too easy to veg out in front of stuff. I really loved not having TV. We just watched all our shows online through Hulu or Netflix. I'm still trying to decide how much of a TV and movie hiatus I want to take. "Lost"s final season begins next week and I hate to be out of the loop right away, but maybe that's the point of this whole thing. We have 2 other shows we watch, Bones and Fringe. Anyway. I think maybe I'll still watch those, but nothing else. Like when TV is on at night, just go back to our room and read, or work on researching some fun games/crafts/school stuff for the kiddos. And when I'm on the computer I want to be purposeful and browse favorite sites that help me enjoy the kids more during the day as I create fun activities for them and work on school time with Maggie.

I also like to read/browse the paper every morning (my father-in-law has a subscription) and that also falls right in the category of wanting to be on top of things, feel in the know. These are not bad things, in case you are getting miffed and thinking I'm judging anyone who reads papers/blogs/watches TV. I've just found that I've created a really unhealthy dependence and even identity for a number of months now in being in the know and this isn't good for me. Hope that makes sense. I still plan to blog daily, but just really limit how much energy I give to these various forms of media.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

keenan's home!

Thanks to those of you who prayed, posted, and helped in any way possible. Keenan, the Howerton's soon-to-be adopted son, arrived from Haiti on Friday! Praise God!

Great pics here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

happy blog

I've recently discovered this blog, thanks to an article my mom sent me from American Way magazine (yes, the in-flight airline magazine). The story highlighted an NYC artist named Katie Sokoler and her creative attempts to bring smiles and cheer to the city. She often found herself wondering what people were thinking as she walked past them on the streets or rode next to them on the subways, and in an effort to keep her inner child alive, started a shadow project, inspired by Peter Pan. She traced and cut out life-size silhouette "shadows," taped them to walls and sidewalks, and discovered an elderly man's shadow break-dancing and a girl's shadow holding flowers next to a graffitied door. She also punched hearts out of pink paper and taped them near areas that needed a little, well, love. And perhaps one of my favorites (after the shadows), thought bubbles! The pics are so fun! See the article from AW magazine here.

I just finished perusing her blog, "Color Me Katie" and learned she is part of an improv team in NYC called "Improv Everywhere." They do improv events in public, including a spontaneous grocery store musical performance, a happy high five escalator event, going pants-free on the subway (more than 2,000 people turned out for this in the freezing January weather!), and maybe my favorite, welcoming home random people from JFK airport.

I also loved her creation of indoor rain clouds, her wall of silhouette pictures, and her attempts to brighten dingy, brown snow.

Her colors and creative expressions brought a smile to my face tonight. Maybe they will to you as well.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

back to normal

It's been almost a week since I've turned the corner into the "feeling good" stage of pregnancy: hooray for the 2nd trimester! I don't take for granted that I am a woman who only feels poorly in the 1st trimester. I've known a number of women who've thrown up their entire pregnancies, or have been on bed rest and I feel grateful that I can be "me" again after the 1st trimester. I am enjoying my kids anew, feeling like I can let my piles go and not get freaked out, and overall, just give myself GRACE as a mom. It's a good, good place to be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the red umbrella

We've been enjoying our share of crazy, rainy weather here the past few days. Maggie loves to wear her rain boots, splash in puddles, and use the umbrella.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


For the first time in her 3 years of life, Maggie ate and enjoyed banana today. She still won't touch avocado. I've always thought, "What baby doesn't like banana or avocado?!" They are some of the most portable, healthy early foods for babies. And believe me, it wasn't for lack of trying that Maggie never enjoyed either of these foods in her early toddler years. Fortunately, Curren loves both of these foods. I feel like a successful mom. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

can you help?

This post is dedicated to some friends of friends here in Orange County, the Howertons. They have been trying to adopt a precious boy, Keenan, from Haiti for the past 2 1/2 years. They visit him several times a year, and the mom, Kristen, was in there on Tuesday when the earthquake hit. She was able to get out safely, but had to leave Keenan behind. Diane Sawyer visited the orphanage where Keenan lives, a Christian-run ministry called Heartline. It aired on ABC last night; she actually met Keenan and gave him a big hug (he's the one in the blue shirt). Watch the 1 1/2 minute clip here. Their story was also featured tonight on ABC 7 news in LA. The video is at the top of the Howerton's blog.

I encourage you to read their blog and if you can help in any way, please let them know! If you live in CA, I encourage you to write our senators; I plan to do this before I go to bed.

And of course, pray! It's heartbreaking to me that this isn't the only family going through this right now.

And finally, please please re-post this story or Tweet it or put it on FB. Many thanks!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

sweet faces

We have a new-to-us camera, a Canon Rebel XTi (purchased off my friend, Shey) and we are stoked to have it. Now, just to remind myself of all-things photography I learned in my senior year photography class. I think I'll take inspiration from my friend Laurie and take a refresher class soon. While I had several hours of alone time on Saturday (coffee, journaling, shopping), Aron took care of the kids and headed outdoors for some playtime. I think he took some great shots.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I threw up last week. Yes, the pregnancy-kind of throw-up.

You ask why I share.

And I'll tell you why.

I'm convinced I'm having a girl. I threw up once when I was pregnant with Maggie and not at all when I was pregnant with Curren. Therefore, it stands to reason that I'm having a girl.

I should have been a scientist.

We'll see if I'm right at our ultrasound appointment on March 2 (too many weeks away!!).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

happy birthday, curren!

1 month old
3 months old
5 months old
8 months old
Birthday boy!

Today is Curren's 1st birthday!! Happy birthday, little man! Really, where did this year go? I remember thinking that Maggie's first year went by very s.l.o.w.l.y. But, his has just flown. I'm sure it's a combination of having an older child to take care of (life just moves at a faster clip) and that we moved cross-country.

It's currently 8:30am as I write this and at this time last year, Curren was 2 hours old and we were settled in nicely after our incredible delivery. God was so good and so faithful to our prayers: Curren was born via successfully, unmediated VBAC after 6 hours of labor. It was painful, oh my, but worth every second. Birthing him was one of the highlights of my life. It was such a beautiful, invigorating, empowering experience. Lord-willing, this will our story again with baby #3 in July.

We are having a small party on Friday, so cake pics to come!

Dear Curren,

You bring our family such joy! Maggie loves you more than I thought possible and for the most part, you two get along famously. You light up at the sound of her name and any time we go into her room in the mornings or after naps. You are a busy, busy boy and love all thing electronics, eating wires, pulling over speakers, and climbing under and behind anything you can. You are more serious than your sister, but have a killer laugh when you get tickled. I love to watch you chew your green blanket when you get sleepy.

Your milestones this year include:

Rolling over, front to back: 2 months
Rolling over, back to front: 4 months
Crawling: 5 months
Pushing yourself to sitting: 6 months
Pulling yourself up: 7 months
Cruising the furniture: 7-8 months
Walking: 9 1/2 months

Needless to say, we've been following you around from a very young age as you've been on the move for so long. You make the BEST noises and sounds, so different than Maggie. You say "mama," "dada," "Maggo," and "ah-duh" (for "all done"). You love to play peek-a-boo, wave, and pretend to talk on the phone. And how can I forget dancing?! You dance like no other baby I've seen, twisting and turning and falling down. It's the best. You didn't eat solid foods until almost 1-year, nor sleep through the night until last month, but you've arrived and it feels good. You were the best nurser and weaned yourself at 10 months of age. We had some rough months this summer, but God used them to teach me more dependence on Him and to take life slower. It was a good lesson.

We look forward to what this year holds!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Maggie has just started showing great interest in playing dress-up. It's been fun to watch! Here she is being a cheerleader. She really wanted to make all these silly faces and I just wanted one where she was smiling. We took a little of both.

Monday, January 11, 2010

eating machine

Many of you may not know this, but Curren has not been a typical eater. He did not start eating solids at the recommended 6 months of age. He H.A.T.E.D solid food. He hated pureed food. He hated it all. And I'm not exaggerating. He spit it out, he gagged, he cried, he screamed. The food often collected in the front of his mouth. And this lasted for months and months. Finally, in November, we went through the process of getting approved through the Regional Center, a local agency that offers free government-funded therapy (Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy). It's highly esteemed and has outstanding results. And Curren was approved. But, ironically enough, by mid-December, a month after being approved and finally getting in touch with a local OT, Curren started to eat solids--before even meeting with the OT!

He turned on a dime. He became excited to eat. He now sits in his chair and chows down.

I have no idea what changed. But, in his own time, Curren became an eater and lover of solid foods.

And what a CUTIE he is.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

what I've learned about myself

Not because of pregnancy, but I really cannot eat fast-food hamburgers. The only one that comes close to sitting well in my stomach is In 'N Out. But, even then, it really gives my stomach a run for it's money. I don't normally eat fast-food burgers, but Sunday I had a craving for a Wendy's burger and it ROCKED me. I will never evereverever eat one of those again. I think I'm vowing to never eat fast-food burgers again in my life. I'm serious. It's not worth it.

And fried food rocks me. I really can't eat french fries.

I'm an introvert at heart. When I have taken the Meyers-Brigg test in that past, I usually come out 50/50 introvert/extrovert. But, I get my refreshment and recharge from being alone.

I need alone time from my role as mom every week. And Aron is so good about giving me this and supporting me.

I want to travel every year. I have to travel every year.

I need to run. I crave running. For now, I just need to get to the gym.

I want to write a book before I die. I love writing.

I love organizing. I would open a business if I could.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

maggie's meltdown

This afternoon we went to a local park, Cherry Street Park. And Maggie met Maggie. An older, very sweet girl whom she instantly latched onto. She held her hand. She ran around with her. She played hide-and-seek with her. And when we left my-Maggie was d.e.v.e.s.t.a.t.ed.

She cried.

And cried.

And cried.

And cried.

You get the picture. She asked to go back to the park. She asked if Maggie could come over to play tomorrow. She kept repeating over and over again, "But, she's my friend!" She had real tears coming down her face.

We thought, "She's tired. She needs her nap. Badly." But, guess what? My-Maggie didn't nap. Instead she proceeded to become more and more of an emotional basketcase as the afternoon wore on, to the point where, at 5pm, she was asleep in her dad's arms because she'd worked herself into such a dither (crying more and sweating profusely and yes, even a little vomit).

Clearly baffled by everything, we let her sleep 15-20 minutes, then woke her up to eat dinner. But she wanted nothing to do with it. She didn't want milk. She only wanted to go to bed. So, after some medicine (she had a terrible headache), I took her to go potty. And you guessed it, another meltdown ensued about having to go potty. Crying and crying, she said she didn't want/need to go. And here is the thing: she has only gone potty twice today, this morning upon waking up and around 2pm before her would-be nap.

We'll be waking up her soon and trying to get to her go potty as she is no longer wearing Pull-Ups to bed (as of her 3rd birthday a few weeks ago, we are officially in full-time underwear).

That should be F-U-N. One UBER-crabby child: no nap, no dinner, no potty. Oh my.

And of course, 2 parents (and 2 grandparents) who are really baffled by the last few hours. A very out-of-character show of emotions from our daughter. Some days are like that though. We just press on and embrace here where she is.

Friday, January 8, 2010


A simple post tonight, reflecting on some of my favorite music albums to listen to this past year, some new, some old:

"Dulcinea" by Toad the Wet Sprocket
"Conditions" by The Temper Trap (new)
"Summer," "Fall," "Winter," "Spring" 4 EPs by Switchfoot's Jon Foreman
"Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" by Phoenix
"The Submarine" by Whitley
"For Emma, Forever Ago" by Bon Iver
"Auri Sacra Fames" by Matt Pond PA
"Around the Well" by Iron and Wine

What are you listening to?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

christmas 2009

Let this serve as what I should have posted as the first posts of this month. We enjoyed a low-key Christmas morning, complete with the traditional reading of the Christmas story, holiday music, cinnamon rolls, new Christmas jammies to open and wear, and of course, gifts. The kids had a blast, especially Maggie--Curren just wanted to eat all the wrapping paper. She scored some fun new things, the big hits being some new books--Little Einsteins and Tinkerbell--a LeapFrog Tag reading system from Mema and Pops, and a cash register from mama and daddy. This was one gift I realized 2 days before Christmas would be *perfect* for her. She loveslovesloves to play "checker" and scan things on the ottoman and put things in paper bags. The morning was very low-key, Shannon and Steve and Jacob came over later, my parents arrived that evening (and leave Jan. 10), and we've been doing family things ever since. Next year there will be 5-month old in this picture! :)

And here is our Christmas card, layout pirated from a talented Etsy designer and designed for me by my good friend Lindsey (and she also did our photo shoot).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

new shoes

My good friend Laurie excitedly shared about her friend's new business venture, a shoe company called Tieks. I had to check it out. I love them. I got the matte black, but do love the cardinal red and patent Tiek blue. They are so comfy. They are well made. They fold up and go in your purse if you like. And they arrived in this incredibly cute box. If you want to snap up a pair for yourself, shop here and use the code "taketieks" for 30% off. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

a new day

If I look at the last 5 years of my life, my quiet times with the Lord have actually been some of the most inconsistent of my life and much of it by choice. For a season early when we first moved to Texas some 5 years ago, I began to read more sporadically and attempted to began to live a life motto I felt the Lord had given before we had moved: worship as a lifestyle. I can connect, engage with, and enjoy God when I'm outdoors, on a run, with a friend, drinking coffee, reading a good book, cooking, etc. For so long, I had operated under a system of feeling guilty when I didn't read my Bible. It was something I had struggled with for decades. So, moving to Texas was somehow a journey into embracing God's GRACE on a more regular basis for me in this area. And God used my sporadic reading times to really draw me closer to Him. I did read my Bible, just not every day, for a set amount of time. Instead, I'd purposely focus on God and think or pray when I was doing any number of activities every day; yes, sometimes even in place of reading the Word. It was powerful. Yet, over time I began to realize that I was moving into a habit of becoming LAZY and not reading; I entered spiritual deserts; I struggled. There must be a balance to reading and enjoying God through His Word and not feeling like I-should-do-this-because-I'm-a-Christian. It's a really tricky balance for me, not one that I seem to have found. All I know is this, being in the Word on a *regular* basis is key to nourishing my soul.

In July 2009, after being very out of the habit of regular quiet times, I started anew. And for 3 months I was up regularly at 5:30am, reading, and getting my day started before the kids were up. Then, fall/winter hit and thus came kiddos getting sick, not sleeping well, and me finding out I was pregnant and just NOT wanting to get up. Especially since it was now DARK outside. I hate daylight savings for that reason alone.

But, today, I was up early once again (with a warm mug of Trader Joe's sweet and spicy tea) and my time was actually incredibly refreshing. I was able to pray, journal, and read the Word. The kids are still sleeping and it's almost 7am. Starting my day before the kids wake up is really one of the KEY things for me that makes my days function 10 times better.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I plan to actually try to blog something every day this year. I want to get back into it and use it as a creative outlet and an place to update family and friends on life, like I used to. In so many ways, I feel like I'm still settling in to life here in OC and the shock of yet another move is still lingering some 9-months later. It's been *really* hard at times, harder in ways I did not expect. Hopefully, this will be a place I can be real and write. I do love blogging and plan to be more proactive this year.

For today, here's some random information: a junior high bully of mine just friended me on Facebook. It was really weird to see her "friend request" staring at me from my inbox. She left some residual pain in my life and it's come up from time to time these past 15 years. Isn't it odd how something you think you've dealt with will still surprise you with untapped emotion? It took many years for me to forgive her and a few others at the small, Christian school I went to for their years of bullying. But, I feel I've been able to move on and grow and put the past pain and hurt behind me. So, I friended her. And I wrote on her wall. It was actually sort of freeing. Very cool.