Monday, December 19, 2011

I’m going to say this and I don’t want anyone to think I value pleasure reading over spending time with my daughter. That is truly not the case. I enjoy every second that passes while we’re together and I wouldn’t trade that for any award winning piece of literature.


I do have to say that one thing I miss about pre-child life is the reading. The pleasure reading. Taking an hour (or four) out of your day to relax in bed with a good book. Not to get graphic here but the only time I get to read is in the bathroom and even then it may be a page at most. Last night I stayed up “late”, reading (and by late I mean 11:30pm when I should have gone to bed at 9:00pm) and I’m feeling the burn today. One and a half [small] redbulls later and my heart feels like it’s gonna explode. I’m glad that my current reading obsession (and Michael’s too) is also a TV series, with the new season coming out this spring. But as most you book-lovers know the show/movie is never as good as the book (usually). Watching TV is fun but book reading is just so much more enjoyable. What is it about reading that is so fantastic? It’s more work than watching TV… and it takes longer. Why would anyone like to read?!

I don’t know and I don’t have the time right now to get all psychological and scientific here. But I do know that I want to extend this love for reading onto my daughter. I want to show her how much fun reading can be; so much fun sometimes that it’s sad to close the back cover at the end. We can get so many things from books; things besides entertainment. We can learn about our world and we can learn about ourselves. I’ve picked up a few book-inspired teachings that I want to use in my life, and that I want to impart on Bria.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” –The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“You can’t live your life for other people. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.” –The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

“When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.” –The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” –Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs

“Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.” –Shel Silverstein

"My skin is kind of sort of brownish pinkish yellowish white. My eyes are greyish blueish green, but I'm told they look orange in the night. My hair is reddish blondish brown, but its silver when its wet, and all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet." –Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a wetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” –A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

"First of all," he said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb into his skin and walk around it." –To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“Believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon.” –Blue like Jazz by Donald Miller

“I always thought the Bible was more of a salad thing, you know, but it isn’t. It’s a chocolate thing.” –Blue like Jazz by Donald Miller

“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will break our spirit.” –The Misfits by James Howe

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” –Holes by Louis Sachar

“You can’t let anybody else tell you what your choices are. Sometimes they won’t give you the right choice.” –Stanley Yelnats survival guide to camp green by Louis Sachar

Saturday, December 17, 2011

so i have this bad habit of starting a blog but scraping it because to me its too boring/my personal rants and raves that don't belong online/cheesy/corny/making no sense.

having a baby, being married, working 40+ hours a week (training trainees and being trained myself), cleaning house, preparing for the holidays, and more... = blogging goes onto the back burner. but it's okay; i wouldn't want my life to be any different than what it is. (except it would be wonderful if my car wasn't so crappy; i could totally use a new and improved car)

i've been spending my time lately going into work early, taking short lunches, and trying to absorb as much information as possible regarding my new job as a Portfolio Administration Analyst. lately my company has hosted multiple christmas gatherings and i believe i attended my last two yesterday which included: a trip to the nail salon (i <3 pedis), a beer at Fox & Hound, gift swapping, and inside joke-telling.

beyond the office i have been spending time with family and friends. friends coming over to get crafty with me (i SO have a ton of ideas on the topic of CRAFTING but i have to get to that another time). family coming over to help us with the bumps in our road (did i mention my crappy car???). and then of course there is spending time with michael and brianna. bria is 4 months and 3 weeks old! she is starting to eat solids (oatmeal, primarily. she doesn't like banana or applesauce! craziness!) and loves to bounce. she is all smiles. she is starting to teeth but the teeth are only just starting to cut in. i still love to rock to her to sleep at night but during the day she does great when we put her down for naps (okay so sometimes she does great and other times she fights it tooth and nail). she loves being outside so i try to take her out on the weekends when i have time. and she also likes to help mama cook (i use the "baby backpack", as we call it, and strap her to my person. she will sit there, watching be chop, stew, stir, mince, and season all day). she flips from front to back and from back to front. i love smelling her neck and her hair, i love her cute little baby butt cheeks, i love her wet slobber smiles, and i love when daddy makes her laugh. i love her chubby arms/legs/and belly. i love her slanted toe nails and her sharp-as-heck fingernails. i love how she holds onto my shirt when i hold her, and she hides her face in my shoulder when someone talks to her (she's shy). i love how she rubs her eyes with her fist when she's sleepy. and i  love that on the weekend mornings when i pick her up from her crib she smiles. that is the absolute best present a parent could receive. i wish i could see that morning smile every day of the week. i am cherishing this time with her as she's little because although she won't quite realize what Christmas is about this year, and she won't understand the traditions and the fun -- she will also never be this small again. her little hand won't wrap around my finger. she won't always come to me when she wants to be comforted. she won't always be so small that i can hold her in my arms.

out of all of the amazing things that happened to me this year having Brianna was the zenith. if i had to choose just ONE of the great things i would choose to have her every time.

mommy and daddy love you, baby girl. we love you so much and we hope you feel loved!

(below are some pics taken by my iMac. when holding Bria sometimes using the iMac is the easiest way to take pics. sorry i'm unkempt or the bedroom is messy in some pics. :\ )

daddy and bria!

holding onto my shirt. i love it.

cheesin for the camera!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I’m sorry for the lack of entries, folks. I really wish I had more time to transfer my thoughts to paper/blog. I have so many neurotic, stressed, joyful, excited, worried moments that I would like to share with you but there simply is no time.
Since excitedly accepting my promotion at work life has been a whirlwind. I would walk you thru my normal day but I promise it’s nothing interesting. The highlight of my day is always the drive home, walking in the door and seeing my family. When Brianna sees me she smiles and that makes everything alright.
We have a video of her laughing but we can’t figure out how to get it from Michael’s phone to the computer. Once we figure that out I promise to share it with you all. It’s fantastic!
But let’s get down to brass tacks. It’s December 7th! That means Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is just days away. I can’t believe it. But I am super stoked to start the gifting process: shopping, making, baking, wrapping. I’ll post pictures as soon as the holidays pass, I promise.
But let’s recap Thanksgiving because that annual meal definitely was something worth talking about. First of all let me say that my favorite dish of Thanksgiving has always been a side item: macaroni and cheese, the veggies, the dinner rolls, and even the desserts. But this year, my friends, my favorite dish was by FAR the turkey!
The turkey was Michael’s project but I helped too. First of all we did our homework: thawing time, cooking time, herbs that blend well with turkey taste, how to keep the bird moist, how to know when it’s done, how to prevent burning, to stuff or not to stuff, to brine or not to brine.
For us we decided on a medium-sized bird which resulted in 4ish hours of cooking time. We injected the meat with Cajun butter (2 tablespoons in each side). We stuffed the bird with (and had him laying on a bed of) chopped celery, potatoes, carrots, and apples.

Stuffed with veggies.
We poured chicken broth in the pan, with the veggies, to add to the bird’s moistness. Finally we made a butter herb spread, stuffed it under the skin, and smeared the rest on top of the skin.

Popped him in the oven at 400 degrees and let him cook for an hour, then I added an aluminum foil tent and brought the temp down a bit for the last 3 hours of cooking.

Let me tell you.


This turkey was DIVINE! Moist, flavorful, healthy, amazing. I like fried turkeys but honestly nothing compared to THIS turkey. We raved about it for days and now we’re thinking about making it again for Christmas.

But the dinner didn’t stop there. The sides were good too…

Day-Before-Crock-Pot Mashed Potatoes. So good they didn't need gravy.
Cranberry Chutney is so much better than canned cranberry sauce.
This fruity gravy/sauce/dip is good for a multitude of meats.
Twice baked butternut squash was my least favorite.
I think I'll stick with regular yellow squash with butter and onions.
And so were the desserts…

M's favorite: pecan pie. I never liked pecan pie until I made it from scratch.
Talk about easy! Lesson learned: Don't use graham cracker crust.
Applie Pie, from scratch. Served warm with melty vanilla ice cream
or with shredded cheddar cheese.
Lesson learned: use sharp cheddar.

Now we’re excited to start planning our Christmas dinner menu. Mamaw and Papaw might be coming up for Christmas so we’re ready to impress.
Brianna - Thanksgiving Day 2011 (3.5 months old)