Friday, October 28, 2011

Ninjas, Losing Stuff and Mediocre Meatballs

It has been a few weeks since my last "Fess Up". It's not like I am low on material! 




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Here we go!





My sister and her husband brought their boys over for our 20th Anniversary party a couple of weeks ago (I said I was catching up!) and one of her four taught them a new trick. Pretty slick ninja masks! I asked my sister where they got the idea. She said her son came up with it, creativity flows freely in our family... it just comes out in strange ways sometimes... but that's a story for another time.

My Love and I took a trip to Sonoma County, California for a short getaway to celebrate our anniversary. I had a couple of strange moments. No, not because of too much wine...but, too much pictures? I am not entirely sure, but here are a couple of the shots that would have raised my eyebrow... if I could do that sort of thing...
I took about 5 pictures of my sandy feet. I love having sandy feet, but how many pictures do I NEED of them, really?

This is the first picture of myself I have seen from the behind and not gasped in horror at the size of my caboose. Not that it is smaller, but for some reason, it did not strike disgust, distress, or even a negative thought. Cool huh?

During the hot air balloon ride we flew over a beautiful cornfield. So beautiful, in fact, that I took like 15 pictures of the corn. From this angle. What was I thinking? I have no idea. Guess never seeing corn from above before I went a little crazy.


Since we've been home I have been losing things. Those of you who follow me know I am constantly battling clutter. The combination of being super busy before our party, doing marginal/basic "pick up" housecleaning, and misplacing a few important items led me to do some major sort/organize/clean out projects. Here is one of them. The toy boxes in my youngest fella's room have suffered neglect. When Daddy's office keys went missing somewhere in the house, we had to look in all the potential places. We couldn't imagine where they went or what my little guy did with them since he carries them around everywhere but never puts them down where they don't belong. Until now.
 With a deep sigh, I plunged head first into the toy boxes and pulled everything out, removing toys that he'd long since grown out of, retrieving all the ABC blocks from various places and praying to find the keys some how, some way.



I did not find the keys (I did eventually - in the crack of the armchair), but if you look closely you can see the blocks I found... this must have been an "Irregular" discount toy based on the alphabet configuration. Comparing the pictures I hardly notice a difference. I swear I cleaned stuff out. Really. Honest. 

My Love has been so amused by my cleaning up/out piles of whatever to find our missing stuff he has joked about hiding my cell phone or some other key items to get me to clean out other parts of the house he finds annoying (he is pretty meticulous about how he keeps "his" stuff). I smiled. He smiled back. I am a work in progress. He loves me.


This year we elected not to spend a ginormous fortune on pumpkin patch pumpkins and so we took them to our local roadside pumpkin stand... there were LOTS to choose from. Ironically, it didn't take any less time to pick out a pumpkin...




 but there was definite happiness happening despite skipping the viney $$/lb pumpkin patch.

We also went up to Greenbluff to get some apples. This was the highlight of their trip... the balloon guy.  Star Wars "helmets" and "light sabers" for everyone! We only lost one saber while apple picking for about 10 minutes. The apples were picked over and the ground was quite muddy after lots of rain. We stopped at my favorite organic orchard and got most of what we needed instead. I will have fresh picked apples for my Christmas apple pie. That makes me happy!

In the last few weeks I have tried to spruce up my cooking. There has been some success and some notable failures.
Flat, burnt or with corners - how do you like your snickerdoodles? I made my usual recipe. However, I was interrupted about three times during the flour scooping portion of the baking process and it took two tries and an oven temperature adjustment to get them right... and they still had "corners" because I had to jam as many as possible on the cookie sheet to get them finished on time for the Bosses Day celebration at my hubby's work.

Mediocre meatballs: A dear friend of mine is an extraordinary chef.
She gave me her favorite recipe for meatballs.

This is not what they were supposed to look like.

Again, my little interrupters can take some of the blame but my not reading the instructions thoroughly (like I put TOO many bread-not so exactly "crumbs" into the meat, forgot an ingredient or two, and instead of chopping the onions I lazily -she warned me not to- did them in the food processor which turned them to mushy soup texture.) also contributed to this disaster (well, they were edible so not a total disaster).

The recipe I doubled made about 16 meatballs that tasted more like "burger pops". If only they had been on a stick! I am currently considering marketing them to Starbucks to go alongside cake pops. What do you think of a ketchup dipping sauce accompaniment? Or maybe since they are ugly I could coat them  in a hard ketchup coating like the cake pops have that cool pink coating?
Hmmm.... well, maybe not.
Next time I will have ALL the ingredients and PRINT the recipe instead of running back and forth to the computer stepping over a plastic Kawasaki ride-on motorcycle, errant bouncy balls and kids wielding giant pencils (their San Francisco souvenirs I insisted on) like swords.

Awesome White Bean Chicken Chili: To leave you on a high note (like George Costanza from Seinfeld recommends) I made this. Hopefully it looks good in the picture. I know what it tastes like. It is YUMMY!!!! My chef friend didn't have a favorite recipe for white bean chicken chili, so after looking at several from Bon Appetite, Kraft Foods, and Real Simple websites I decided to concoct my own.

I had to roast and grind cumin seeds ( I bought them for another recipe that I have NO idea now what it was) since I was out of powdered cumin - a key ingredient. I had to use my protein shake blender to grind the seeds since I apparently no longer have a coffee grinder (I discovered today after cleaning out two of the most likely locations). I made a gigantic crock pot full and gave half of it to a friend. It felt victorious to make something so yummy after the mediocre meatballs earlier this week! 

I will post our pumpkin carving with my "Fess Ups" for next week, along with my answer to the Halloween or not to Halloween question... 

Blessings and Happy Fall!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WOW!

We were talking with friends last night at our marriage group about God's favor and blessing. Some days we feel like He barely knows we exist but He is surrounding us and providing for us never the less, other days, He blows the lid off of our expectations and reminds us that the God of infinite creativity is VERY activly involved in our day to day lives...
Today, I experienced Him above and beyond what I could have imagined... WOW!
We enjoy doing word find puzzles on airplane rides. I love that even when it gets hard and I want to give up, he keeps going and encourages me to keep going too.

He also rechecked our car rental options right before we left and found THIS ONE! I can't begin to tell you how precious this gift is... we both LOVE convertibles and to be in one again was not only FUN but nourised our spirits by the fresh air, breeze on our faces and the fabulous stereo system!

On a referal from a friend I got a great deal on a hotel nestled in a vineyard in Santa Rosa. They decided to upgrade our room for free...

My Love stopped the car along the highway so we could enjoy one of my most favorite places on the planet, the California coastline...


We hiked down the hill, and I ran across the sand to dunk my feet in the water... oh how I love sandy toes... I can't even begin to tell you what the beach does for my soul. Maybe someday...

Another favorite thing for me in Cali is the smell of the eucalyptus trees...

The beauty of the world around us blew my mind today. His presence surrounds me daily, but today I specifically felt His tenderness towards my Love and I, His passion for our love and His blessing on our perserverence.



 We finished our evening with a romantic dinner at a lovely restaurant where we challenged each other to eat something "different" on the menu. It was a good stretch and super yummy...

Then, we came back to the room to this:
We know we are not responsible for all these amazing blessings today. Yes, we have chosen each other and done some hard work that wasn't always fun or even tolerable, but we lean on God for our strength. He is the reason we have made it this far. He is the reason we can face the next 20, 40, 60 years believing He will sustain and strengthen and bless us along the way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Anniversary Eve

Twenty years ago tomorrow I said "I do" to a guy some would say I barely knew.

We met, within four months we were engaged and within eleven months I was walking down the aisle on Daddy's arm.

We were so young. Everyone said so. We knew it, but we didn't care. We just knew we wanted to do life together. NOW.


Our first year was no honeymoon. It was tumultuous as two headstrong, opinionated, leaders clashed to fight for our identities and our passions. Things got broken, hearts hurt, noisy conflict and powerful reminders of why we even thought we could do this in the first place jolted us in and out of the fantasy we imagined marriage to be.

Just before our first anniversary we moved away from our families, a change of scenery and an opportunity to find our own way together. It was painful to leave the familiar, but two adventurous spirits dove right in, just like we did on the day we said "I do".



Looking back, I know it was one of the most powerful decisions we could have ever made. We had to learn to be friends because we really had no one else to do life with. We got busy trying to figure out how to be married.

Led to a church one Sunday morning, we settled there. Our new "family" helped us establish new habits and relationships that would withstand the test of time. Our faith was built, together even as we continued to battle at home for who we thought we should be together and as individuals.

Our faith, our friends and the fact that we find each other extremely funny has held us together all this time. One of my most favorite things is to get a full-on belly laugh out of him.

Nope, we aren't drunk, just us, being silly... still.

At 40 I know who I am, in relation to my God, my Love, our sons, and my family and friends. My Love has been the key to settling that in me. Putting the Truth of the Bible to accurate and tangible reminders of my design and purpose. He holds me close with tenderness and at times emphatically reminds me when I have lost sight of who I am. My flaws are fully exposed to him and he doesn't flinch. Even when I hurt his heart.

When we renewed our vows on Saturday, repeating heartfelt words that hold fresh meaning, I saw our life in his eyes. Our victories, our failures, our wins, our losses, our heated battles, our passionate connection, our joys, our sorrows, and our hope for our future knowing there will be more of each. We have no idea how long our "future" will be together, painful reminders of how short life is have kept that reality up close and personal. So, we celebrate. Each other. Every day we have. On purpose.

Many commented at my beauty that day, the glow and radiance that came from me. The compliments were lovely and encouraging but I wondered if they knew why I look the way I do. I am accepted and embraced by the God who created me and the man who chooses to love me every day of his life. I choose to receive their love as openly and freely as I can, every day.

We were praying. The boys, they were watching. ;) I am thankful to have this one shot taken by a friend.
More to come in a future blog.



Who am I?

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I am a wife and mother of 3. I have been married to my best friend for over 25 years and our children are 12, 11 and 9 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost a dear friend to a tragic death. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for most of my life. The Bible and my relationship with Christ has been essential to my surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by joining me in this process of life. I thank you for showing up to read what I have written.