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Thursday, May 31, 2012

One of the Girls

Oh, you know, just us big girls hanging out here. No big deal. ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Not a Bad View

We're staying on the Tennessee River this week, and I love-love-love waking up to this view in the mornings. Also love seeing my family, friends, and the amazing hydrangeas that seem to be blooming everywhere. (Had forgotten the humidity though--ouch.) Miss C is doing well with all the attention, and it's just been really lovely to be back home.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Road Tripping

Fred's new domain on road trips. Fortunately, he and Catherine did great traveling today! Jason and I totally understand the minivan thing now after 13.5 hours in the Spectra. Also, I'm giving mobile blogging a try, so if anything looks weird, that's probably why.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Privacy Please?

I've been mulling over going public with my Facebook profile.

Right now, I have the strictest privacy options available on that site {at least, I think I do--they seem to change every week}. But I post more frequently on my Twitter account, and it's public. And I post more "personal" kind of stuff on the good ol' blog here, and it's public, too.

So it kind of doesn't make sense to be all secret agent-ish on Facebook. {For various reasons, apparently.}

On the other hand, part of me is tempted to try to go totally off the grid, cancel credit cards, channel Thoreau, read, and grow my own food with all the time I save by not being online. ;)

But I like certain elements of being "out there." I like that grandparents and other far-flung family members and friends can easily read about the latest with Catherine, and I like how easy it was to find people for our 10-year high school class reunion. And I absolutely love that I've connected with so many "interesting strangers" (one of the categories in my Google Reader--did you know you can categorize your Google Reader?!). 

It's been so much fun stumbling across people who share my obsession with books, my wonderings about faith stuff, and my newfound desire to chat about babies. {Just three out of many outstanding examples linked there.} And I don't feel weird or overly guarded about that.

So what's the hesitation on Facebook?

I'm still mulling this over, so no concrete answer for now. Thoughts, advice, and suggestions are, of course, always appreciated.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, I had planned a post with a house update because I thought we had finally--finally!--finished our guest bathroom. But then I realized it still needs one more thing before being ready to show. So there's really no telling when it will be finished after all.

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I've been trying to re-create my favorite Which Wich sandwiches for lunch because they're oh so delicious and vegetarian-friendly, but who can afford to eat there every day?

With hummus, feta, avocados, tomatoes, and a variety of spices, I've actually gotten pretty close. The one thing missing, though, are the peperoncini peppers. {I have to say it with an Italian accent...peperonciiiiiiiinis!} They're so tasty! Not as hot as jalapenos but a better flavor than bell peppers.

But I've had trouble finding them fresh. Any suggestions? Or are they just as good from a jar?

We haven't been to the Farmers Market in awhile {cleaning almost always trumps going out on Saturday mornings--argh}, but we'll probably check there next. I'm thinking a Which Wich Wednesday might be in order. {Oh, and they're fun to follow on Twitter, too.}

Monday, May 21, 2012

Four Months Old

I'm a few days late on the four-month update. Miss Catherine had a doctor's appointment today, so I wanted to get her official height and weight.

She's 13 pounds, 25 1/2 inches long--tall and skinny, just like Mommy always wanted to be. ;)

In the last month, she seems to have grown up a lot to me. I think she looks less like an infant and more like a baby. This is a typical chilling pose, knees up, hands behind her head {sleeps that way a lot, too}.

Biggest developments...

  • Rolling over! She can do this really easily now on the couch {and seems pretty proud of herself}, but she still has a hard time rolling over on flat surfaces like her bed. The source of much frustration for the little gal. :)

  • Moving from a three-hour to a four-hour eating schedule. We were a little nervous about this transition, but she took it totally in stride. Laidback baby, I tell ya. {And we're big-time thankful for that!}

  • Still reaching and grabbing for things, but her movements are a lot more controlled and focused. She's also interested in more things in general {our food, Jason's glasses, her feet}.

  • Sitting up better! Still a little wobbly, but she's strong enough to sit in the Bumbo now. {Each new stage seems to both fascinate and terrify Fred.}

  • Having giggle fits! She is still a pretty serious little person, but sometimes we'll do something to make her laugh, and she will laugh and laugh and laugh. We love it! I told Jason to just wait until she turns 11. ;)
  • Still wearing Mommy's dresses. :)

  • And still spitting up. Sigh. The doctor said she's not concerned as long as C continues to gain weight, but we hope she'll grow out of this soon. {We're also still hoping that first tooth will pop on through soon--poor girl is chewing on everything!}

The next month is going to be another big one for our little girl. We got the OK to start rice cereal, and she's going on her first road trip. {Advice appreciated on that one especially!}

We're so thankful for another month with our girl and for the delight she gives us!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Follow Friday: Lil Light O' Mine

Who says Follow Friday is only for Twitter?

I was so excited to win the My Lil Money Jars from Lil Light O' Mine, so I thought I'd give them a shout-out!

{We'll probably change them to the "give, save, spend" method when C gets old enough to understand, but for now we're thinking of filling them with candy. ;) }

The blog is so encouraging and a great resource for Christian moms! The writers give some fantastic ideas about how to intentionally, but naturally, point kids to Christ. The Scripture cards are definitely on our house wish list.

Happy Friday, and happy reading, friends!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Second Best Mistake Ever

Catherine and I recently read The Best Mistake Ever by Richard Scarry. Such a fun story! The main character is supposed to go to the grocery for his mom, pick up several healthy items, and bring them home. Instead, he gets confused and gets not so healthy items. 

You'll have to read it to see how it turns out, but I had a happy little mistake myself this week. Being perpetually confused these days, I picked up only chocolate almond milk instead of both that and the regular kind at the store recently. I like the chocolate because it's a healthy dessert {still feeling like I need something sweet every night}, but I use plain almond milk in my smoothies every morning.

Breakfast, incidentally, is always a smoothie of almond milk, frozen fruit, banana, apple, and either spinach or carrots--yum! Sneaky way to get in an extra serving of veggies, and you can't even taste them.

Anyway, rather than going back to the store mid-week {one of my top five pet peeves}, I tried a new recipe with the chocolate almond milk this morning. Yum indeed.

Chocolate almond milk, peanut butter, banana, apple, spinach, and ice instead of frozen fruit.

Definitely going in the rotation.

What do you like for breakfast?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Les Produits Aveda

I got a much-needed hair cut on Saturday and had a lovely lunch with a friend afterwards when we started chatting about how much we love Aveda products.

I like this brand in general because none of their products are tested on animals. Aveda also does a lot of work supporting clean water initiatives and other "green" practices around the world. You earn points and rewards when shopping with them. And...their stuff smells really, really nice.

I do have to save my pennies for the products, though, so I've developed a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to buying. 


Honestly, the only must-have hair care product is the Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother. It's the only thing I've found that helps my wavy hair get really straight, limits frizzies, and protects against heat. It also lasts a long time. Otherwise, I use Suave. Everything. A girl I knew in college who had some of the prettiest hair I've ever seen swore by it, and I've had the same great experience.

However, when it comes to the skin care, I've not been able to compromise. My skin has the unfortunate combination of being both oily and sensitive and is generally prone to high drama. Overly dry one day, crazy breakouts the next--it's ridiculous.

But here's the perfect combination that brings sanity to my insane skin...

Tourmaline charged exfoliating cleanser {nice little scrubby feeling!}

All-sensitive moisturizer

Inner light concealer and mineral dual foundation. {They were out of the foundation--online and in stores--a summer or two ago, and my skin had a mini breakdown.}

Finally on the must-haves, hand relief. At my salon, they often give you hand massages while you're hair is being done, and they've gotten me hooked on this lotion. I keep a bottle in my desk at work, and I give myself mini-hand massages when I get stressed. This yummy stuff lasts a long time as well.

If the budget allows...

Phomollient styling foam. Probably my second favorite hair product. Suave's mousse is almost as good, though, and I go through the Phomollient a lot more quickly than the Smooth Infusion.

Tourmaline charged hydrating cream. Too heavy for everyday use, but I like to use it once a week in the winter or if my skin is just sporadically really dry.

Wish list...

Well, everything else, of course! If I had to choose, though...

Volumizing tonic

Air control hair spray

Pure-fume spirit {or any of their scent line}. I do get a free bottle on my birthday, so that's nice!

So that's my guide to all things Aveda. I was not compensated for this post, but I probably should be! ;) 

What about you? Any fellow Aveda fans out there? Products you can't live without?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reading...and Not

We had a lovely Mother's Day. Jason and Catherine treated me to lunch at one of my favorite neighborhood places, and Catherine gave me a book she thought we'd enjoy reading together. And we did! {I also loved this image from an Audible ad.}

Someone asked me last week what I've been reading lately, and I was so sad to realize that, all year, I've only read snippets of parenting books and social network analysis tomes. {I don't think I've ever used the word tome before, but it definitely applies here.}

Since school is out, I've been diving into some commentaries {part spiritual growth, part professional development since I work in a theological library} and a few short stories. Does anyone else love a good short story as much as I do? They're like the petites at Starbucks. Perfect size, perfect deliciousness, and now I want a whoopie pie.

Anyway, I'm ready to get back into reading this summer, and I'm tempted to log my hours at Scholastic because I am all about logging things and getting rewards for it. But, for now, I'll stick to my laidback reading schedule.

So, besides things like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, here are a couple of other things I'm reading.

OK, it's a parenting book, too, but it's also part biography of an ex-pat. The writing is excellent {generally, journalists to do a good job at that sort of thing}, and she doesn't fawn over the French {at least, not yet--I'm only about 1/3 of the way in}. Really enjoying it so far!

I'm also enjoying the "for everyone" commentary series by N.T. Wright. He's covered most of the New Testament, and these are quick reads that also give you some helpful spiritual insights.

Now...there are also a few things I'm not reading. Just to clarify, as a librarian, I am all about having the freedom to read what you want and not banning books. But, as a reader and, more particularly, as a Christian reader, I do practice some self-censorship. Partly because you just can't read everything, so why not be a little selective? But also because I have this verse in mind a lot.

I'm the first to admit that everything I read probably isn't noble, pure, or lovely, but there are some things that, for me, cross a line into being too dark, too disturbing, too materialistic, or just too tempting to devote my time and my thoughts to. Now, like parenting styles, this is going to be different for different people, and this is a reading-choice-judgment-free-zone! What represents a potential problem for me might be totally fine for you, but sometimes it helps me to be purposeful about my reading choices.

For instance, not long after we came to Texas, I gave up what had gotten to be kind of an expensive magazine habit because, after reading, I felt increasingly dissatisfied with our home, our lifestyle, my clothes, etc. Not that I don't ever pick up Real Simple or InStyle anymore, but I don't let myself read them on a regular basis because it became a problem for me.

Similarly, I was haunted--haunted!--by Lord of the Flies. I read it when I was working in a school library, and, despite some important messages, it was just too disturbing for me. That, and the fact that I'm generally not a fan of dystopian kinds of stories, convinced me that I probably shouldn't check out The Hunger Games. And reading several things like this  makes me think that 50 Shades of Grey is probably not the best choice for my summer reading list either.

It's harder when they're popular like that, of course, because I'm always curious to see what all the hype is about and excited about books in general! But I've been really satisfied with practicing some moderation in my reading habits. 

Fill me in--what are you reading? And how do you choose what you do or don't read?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tiffany Jr.

Yeah...we're pretty sure she looks like me. :)

It is awesome but just a bit weird having a mini-me.

I also neglected to post my post-baby-body numbers from this month. Down another five pounds and a couple of inches. Another 57 pounds to go. It's slow-going, isn't it? :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm going home to see my mother...she said she'd meet me when I come...

I'm coming up on my first Mother's Day as a mother. Jason, feel free to peruse the turned-down pages of the Tiffany catalog. ;) Just kidding--I'm assuming the best

Anyway, not to be a downer, but the last 10 years of Mother's Days have been tough. When you've lost your mother, and you're not a mother, there's just no way around the tough. I don't mean at all to sound like we shouldn't honor moms, but with the prevalence of ads, store displays, events at church--it's just a constant reminder during this season. 

This year, though, is especially bittersweet. I adore being a mom to this sweet, sweet girl...

And I'm so excited to celebrate that!

But I find myself missing my mother more this year than ever before because I know she would love our little one so much, too!

So I scanned a few more photos {here are some from a previous year} to help me remember Catherine's Marmee and to help me remember to be thankful that I had such a wonderful mother...

So, if your mama is still with you, do as the Bear said, and call her!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Pacifist in the Mommy Wars

After dipping my toes into the controversial water with yesterday's post, I thought I'd dive into the fun with this one, too.

So, a lot of people are talking about this Time magazine cover. Let's be honest--it's sensational, it's probably a little tacky, and it seems to be just one more thing that gets women to insult each other about motherhood.

My fellow moms, can we please stop doing that?

I'll be the first to admit, before I had Catherine, I was pretty quick to judge. I used to say {or at least think} things like, "Why can't they just _________ (be on time, make that kid mind, teach their children to be quiet in church...)?"

Let's just say I do not ask those questions anymore. :) She's all of three months old, and I have learned my lesson!

But it is still tempting sometimes to question or criticize other parents' choices, isn't it? 

I read a really interesting article this week about why we do that, and it seems to come down to this idea that if someone makes a different choice than we do, we feel that they are implicitly criticizing our choice, which makes us defensive, and it kind of becomes a cycle.

So, let me just go on the record and say that I, your friend, am not judging your choices! I have every confidence that you, my sisters, are doing the best you can for your families right now. I know that you have put thought {and, for many of you, prayer} into your choices and your decisions, and it is OK if we look at the same question and come up with a different answer.

Bottle or breast? Work at home or outside the home? In-home care or daycare? Homeschool or public school? I'm just not going to fight about these questions or criticize someone else over their answers. We are all doing the best we can.

So, yes, Time, I'm "Mom enough." And so are all the other mothers. Whatever we're doing is enough.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Religio-Political Wonderings

Alternatively titled, "Things I'm Too Afraid to Post on Facebook." {Comments can get pretty heated on there, right?!}

So, these are random religious/political things I've been wondering about lately. Would love for you to chime in!

Wondering 1:
For my left-leaning friends...are you pleased with President Obama's performance so far? I've seen a fair amount of criticism from generally more liberal fronts, and I'm just curious how you've perceived this term.

For my right-leaning are you reconciling the idea of voting for a Mormon who lines up with you politically but not theologically? I'm especially curious {and, admittedly, a little troubled} about why people label some of his beliefs as "biblical."

Again, I'm not trying to start a fight. As your run of the mill, reformed news junkie, now somewhat apathetic and cynical libertarian/pacifist, I really am just curious about others' opinions. ;)

Wondering 2:
Job. Getting past the obvious "Why do bad things happen to good people?" question, so much of the book is spent describing God or what the speakers believe are His actions; yet, God takes them all to task at the end. So, are we to understand that everything they say about Him is false? Or are they just mistaken about Job's situation in particular?

Wondering 3:
Spiritual warfare. This term gets used a lot to describe a variety of life situations: sickness, church troubles, Frank Peretti-ish demons. How do we know what is spiritual warfare and what is just the trouble of this world? Do we overuse the term? If so, are there any dangers in that? 

Wondering 4:
This isn't as much of a wondering as it is an observation. I've been following the whole NC amendment/President Obama statement on gay marriage, and one thing really stood out to me. Rachel Held Evans weighed in today, and despite some good points from both sides of the debate, I had trouble getting past this quote: 
When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers.
Seriously? No matter what your position is on this issue, friends, it is absolutely not OK that the first thing that people think of when they think Christian is anti-homosexual. Not OK.

So I think this should prompt all believers to ask, individually, "Am I doing something to contribute to that?" Is "anti-homosexual" the first word that comes to someone's mind when they think of me as a Christian? If so, that needs to change. 

What if we all strove for "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control" to be the first thing that comes to people's minds when they think "Christian?" How would that change the debate or at least change the tone of the debate?

OK, that's what's been on my mind lately. What have you been wondering about?

Sunday, May 06, 2012

More Laughs Than a Stack of Comic Books

Baby Girl has been laughing for awhile now, but every time we tried to catch her on camera, she became a little zombie-ish, transfixed by the screen. {Evidence}

But yesterday we were having a grand time, and I was able to sneakily turn on the camera...


I told my Facebook friends the video also proves two things: I never fix my hair on Saturdays, and I don't mind looking like a big ol' dork to get this little gal to laugh.

Her interests change pretty quickly, so we're always trying out new noises and tricks to get her to giggle.

Yesterday was also spit-up city, and she'd gone through so many clothes, I finally just had her lounging in her diaper. To make me feel a little less redneck, I played some Dvorak for her, and she enjoyed it so much, she promptly fell asleep.

Happy weekend, indeed!

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