Friday, December 31, 2010


Recently it was my birthday.  Don't worry, I'm still in my twenties.  For now *sob*.  This is the year my license expires.  I've been remembering/forgetting about this fact for a week or so now and today I jumped on it. 

It all started last night when I looked up what our Roseville DMV's hours are.  FYI, it opens on Thursdays at 8 a.m.  So I set my alarm for 7:30.  My goal: be there when they open to minimize the DMV experience.  A noble goal, yes, however at 7:30 a.m. I was not as convinced I need to execute this game plan to it's fullest potential.  My child was still sleeping and I'm sure you've heard the age-old saying, "never wake a sleeping baby".  So I had to sleep in some more.  It was the right thing to do.

She woke up around 8 and we got to the DMV at 8:30.  There was virtually no parking.  I was rethinking my decision to let sleeping babies lie...  Not only that, there were loads of people inside.  Ugh.  I got my number and my form and sat.  Rosanna kept me busy by helping me fill out my form and wriggling around to scope out each person sitting near us.  She's pro at making new friends.  The best part about our trip was the automated voice that called out who was next to be helped.  You know the kind, "Now serving number g-zero-two-nine at window five".  My kid, she is so awesome, she heard that as her cue to show off her moves.  Every time the voice would come on, she would do her head bob, body shake to the 'music' of the lady's voice.  I wish I was able to find the happiness in unexpected moments like she does.  I love her!

I purposefully brushed my hair and did a quick make-up job before I left the house because I knew I would be getting a new picture, what I didn't know was that I would be taking a test.  Yup, a written test.  With a baby.  I had one of those moments, while reading the questions (I could only miss 3 and still pass) where I was sure I knew the answer yet two of the options seemed viable.  I could see myself, arguing my point to the test-corrector person.  I'm sure he would LOVE that.  I was victorious though, only missing 2 and sparing the lovely DMV worker a debate. 

Cross your fingers for me that my picture turns out nice.  I even made sure I was stretching my neck up to create the illusion of only having one chin.  Nice. 

Here are a few holiday pictures for your sweet tooth!

Heaviest.  Popcorn.  Ever.

"Pick me up mommy"

Us!  You don't see many of these lately...


Super holiday pic

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 Months

My baby.  My sweetest love.
We brought home a sweet little lump of a baby only 10 months ago tomorrow, and yet we can't seem to remember what our life was like a year ago.  A year ago I thought I knew what it was like to be tired, but a baby on the outside is a new kind of tired versus a baby on the inside.  I knew it would be that way.  When I was pregnant I always told people that I was excited to meet her, but I wasn't in a hurry because it sure was easy caring for her on the inside.  Boy was I right. 
Her birth-day was the most exciting, exhausting and utterly overwhelming day of my life.  My mother and mother-in-law held my legs while I pushed and they both started to cry when they saw her head begin to show.  "She has so much hair!  It's dark!  Oh, my!"  I was so together until then.  Tears.  I was more motivated than ever to see her for myself and yet I couldn't imagine meeting the person that was making me a mom.  I cannot articulate the feeling of going through labor and then meeting the person who is has changed your life forever.  I knew her already, we'd had months of faceless interaction and honest conversations about my fears.  Holding her was a different story.  My body was vibrating with love, bursting with a fierce desire to protect her from everything and everyone. 

Ten months later, nothing has changed.  And everything has changed.  She has gone from a helpless lump to an outrageous character who is threatening to walk any day.  I am endlessly amazed at the transformation she has undergone in less than a year.  What an amazing amount of growing!  Not to mention she has grown a personality that stops people on the street.  And in the store.  And in restaurants.  We are never with out eyes on us, she goes through life making others happy.  And I get to be her mommy. 

We really can't fathom that we ever thought we were busy.  Was there really a time before baby when I felt like I couldn't get housework done?  Was there a time when I felt like I had no time to keep up on the laundry?  I had no idea how much time I had, I had no idea!  And I would never go back.  Children really do kick life up a notch.  I never knew such purity like that of a baby.  I highly recommend them.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bring it.

     Tonight's night was a good one.  I got the house in enough of an order that I felt ok about having people over to sit in our living room.  Then we got to it.  The Joyful Living Group is really amazing.  I am crazy excited about being involved with this group of women, we are really onto something here.
     I love that people came out tonight, drove from (in my opinion) good distances and I love that I learned something new about people I already "knew".  I also love that I had my balloon popped a few times.  You know the one, the one that forms ideas and opinions about other people based on....well, my own whatevers.  POP!  POP!  I love to hear it pop.  That's the sound of barriers being broken down and people coming closer together.  That's the noise of the wall that I put up breaking away.
     I cannot wait until January 6th.  That is when I will see them all again.  Those lovely women.  I am sure I will see most of them before that, however it's the room that holds the possibility- that is where we will make dreams happen, love reignited and goals realized.
Bring it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

100 Things Challenge - Expanded

Well, for this week anyhow.  Our funds (like many others) are strapped a bit.  As a result, we became serious about budgeting earlier this year.  I do the grocery shopping each week- a task I absolutely look forward to.  I think it's because I get to spend money, sick, I know.  My funds are nothing like they used to be.  The main difference being: I used to work.  I used to have money.  Now we are reduced to sharing one income, a reduction I take on joyfully because the opposing life is one where I don't get to see my baby all day, everyday.  Wow, I feel emotional just considering that option.  I am extremely fortunate to be a mom who stays home!  I sometimes fight off guilt, "aren't I supposed to hate my job?" because I don't.  I am doing the one thing I never knew I wanted to do (when I was little I used to say that I wanted to train white tigers when I grew up) and I am supremely happy to have this "job".

Anyway, my weekly budget for groceries doesn't include buying for a party (go figure).  However, every year we host a New Year's Eve party at our house.  So where is this money gonna come from?  All the pennies that come in have a destination: co-pays, insurance, rent, utilities, you get the idea.  No budget for "partying".  Time to get creative!  This week's grocery budget has offered to give selflessly to the cause, and I have a plan.
My pantry is well stocked.  I hardly touch the canned items and boxed rice mixes.  They are just my back-up foods.  Until now.  This week's mission: eat the pantry. 

I am certain we can pull it off.  I'm actually kind of excited to take this on.  It'll be a challenge to satisfy my creative urges too.  "I have cool whip, rice, and peanut can I make this into dinner?"  I'm reserving a fifth of the budget to buy produce at the farmer's market on Tuesday, and the rest will go toward the fun-fund.  I can't wait to spend it!  I see that I have an affinity for giving my money to others in exchange for "things".  I love it.  I hate that I love it.  Having a budget, however, gives me permission to spend.  So the fun-fund will be lovingly spent on streamers, balloons, beverages, snacks and other such festivities.  All I can say is: YAY!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Loving this Cookie

I'll admit it, I am a Top Chef junkie.  While I don't particularly care for the reality-show drama aspect of the show, the rest is just juicy!  The folks in the t.v. have taken note of my obsession and have lined up all kinds of goodies to keep me coming back.  After the regular ol' Top Chef season ended, a new version: Top Chef Just Desserts started up.  Wa-hoo!  Then, after that season ended, another season emerged: Top Chef All-Stars.  Are you kidding me?!  The people in the t.v. have been good to me this past few months.  Three seasons of my show, back to back with enough tweaking to keep it interesting.  Yes!!!!
I started watching the show because I love picking up cooking tips.  In reality, there is no way I would ever make any of the dishes they create on that show.  Not only do I not have the funds to buy their obscure ingredients, I hardly know what the heck it is they are talking about.  I actually heard one guy refer to the few sprigs of grass on his plate as a "salad".  So imagine my excitement when, while looking through the ridiculous number of blogs I follow, I saw a recipe from Eric of Top Chef Just Desserts for his chocolate chip cookie.  And it looked reasonable! 
So guess what I did this evening.....
I usually am not drawn to thin, crispy looking cookies.  I like my chocolate chip cookies chewy with a barely crispy outer layer- but not raw in the center.  Picky, picky.  When I saw a picture of these cookies I was not immediately sold, and I went for it anyway.  The result?  I will always make this as MY chocolate chip cookie.  It is amazing.  I love it.  It is also not intended to support one at weight loss.  You probably assumed that since they are labeled "cookie", I just don't want you to be shocked when you read how much butter is in this recipe.

The end result is a bunch of amazingness:
Here is the recipe, adapted from Vanilla Sugar blog:

3 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt (I used the kosher, the larger pieces made for a nice flavor)
2 eggs + 2 yolks
21oz high quality chocolate chips (I used half a bag of hershey's semi-sweet and half a bag Guittard milk chips)

Melt butter, cool slightly.
Paddle sugars with melted butter.
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Add eggs slowly.
Add flour, mix, add chips.
Bake at 325 for 14 min or until golden brown. 

**No need to flatten these before they cook, they do it well on their own.  I just used a regular ice cream  scoop to measure my dough sizes.

This is the most important part!!!
Don't let yourself eat more than 2 (at the very most!) at a time, you will feel like you ate 20- I speak from experience  :o/

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good Morning

I love me a morning time Ro.  She wakes up in the best mood, everyday.  What a smart girl!  It starts out with a bit of stumbling about.  A bit groggy still, she eventually ends up plowing into me, resting her head on my belly, her eyes closed.  So sweet!  This only lasts a moment, however and she is sitting upright, grinning wide under a mess (yes, a MESS) of wispy brown hair.  Then she moves in for the snuggle!  All smiles and even a bit giggly, this girl gets my day going right! 
I can't say enough about co-sleeping, I love it.  I love knowing she is ok all night long, that she is warm enough and that when she needs something she doesn't have to get all worked up into a cry for her needs to be met.  And of course the morning time.  It's so sweet.  I would miss this amazing bonding time if she was waking up by herself in another room. 
Morning time silliness was captured on film it

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


This recipe has been traveling around the internet for awhile now, and it is RIDICULOUSLY easy.  So tonight is the night, I'm gonna give it a go!  All you need are the little square shaped pretzels, Rolos (I used 4 packs, it just depends on how many you wanna make), pecans and an oven.

First you preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then line a cookie sheet with foil and put as many prezels out as you have Rolos for.  Then top each pretzel with a Rolo.

Next you put them in the oven for 4 minutes, then pull them out and push a pecan half onto each one.

And VOILA!  Turtles.  You're supposed to let them cool, but I know from experience that they taste just lovely if you don't.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

And so it was

     It's over.  Marathon day has come....and gone.  I have mixed emotions, an achy, achy body and I have new goals: try again next year.
     I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. to leave the house by 4:20.  My mind was so overrun with thoughts of the race that I slept terribly. 
**Wait- rewind to 2 a.m. when my amazing husband finished filling my  iTouch with Armstrong&Getty episodes and motivating songs.  What a man!**
      I was greeted with the scent of dog pee when I  got to the kitchen.  Great.  Leia had peed sometime earlier and had paced around in it for who knows how long and it was now tracked evenly across the entire kitchen floor.  Good Morning!!  Again, my hubby was amazing and cleaned it up so that I could leave for Sacramento. 
     The great thing about driving at 4 a.m. on a Sunday is that there are zero other people out.  No red lights for me!  I cruised into Sacramento in record time, only to be stopped up by the thousands of other runners doing the same out in front of the convention center.  It was really well organized however and  I got on a bus (a school bus!  I haven't been on one of those in ten years- wow, ten years) and it took us to the start line in Folsom.
     With an hour to kill, I wandered up the impressive street of port-a-potties.  There were 350 of them, and no I didn't count.  One of the organizers proudly informed us of their huge collection of brown and blue stink-bombs and how that meant we wouldn't ever have to wait to use one.  And he was right.  There was never a time when there were more than 3 people to a line, it was amazing!
     At 7 a.m. the race started.  The sun had come up to reveal a nearly cloudless sky (what luck!) and the air had warmed up, finally!  It is an amazing feeling to stand at a start line with 7,500 other people.  When I say "stand at a start line" I mean: see it way down the road, with thousands of bobbing heads spanning the distance.  Everyone is so ready, so amped, all stretched out and warmed up, ear buds in with tunes pumping into their ears.  No one smells weird yet.  And we're off!!
     It is interesting how things work out.  The way the universe shows up for me when I am willing to put my needs out there.  Three different times this happened to me.  If it hadn't happened three times I would have missed them, written them off a coincidence.  The first was when I was paying particular attention to my aching feet.  My energy and attention to this area wasn't providing relief as all my thoughts were destructive ones: "I'll never make it with this pain", "Well, it was a good try, time to throw in the towel", etc.  Just as these thoughts were choosing for me (i.e. I started to walk) I came upon some spectators blaring "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, to which I replied, "OK!" and on I jogged. 
     The second was on a hill, my quads were screaming and all my thoughts were about how I had SO much further to go and there was no way I could run that far. Then this lady passed me and the back of her shirt said (you're not going to believe me) "GO MEL GO!".  No lie.  Surely a sign.
     Thirdly was when I was at mile 9 and on my iTouch the guys (A&G) were talking about Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things they were making with leftovers.  Sandwiches piled with stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce on toasted bread....soooo hungry......Low and behold!  The mile 10 station was ahead and offering orange slices and bananas!!  Wa-hoo!  Relief! 
     Mile ten would be my last mile.  I had sustained a 13 minute mile for the entire race so far, a pretty good showing- but I was feeling my body breaking down.  My feet were aching, my knees were throbbing, my back and shoulders had shooting pains.  I could have gone a few miles further and I wasn't interested in being totally thrashed or injured.  Two years ago I felt those same kinds of body pains at the end of the marathon, today wasn't my day. 
     And I am happy with it.  I struggled for awhile to be o.k. with my defeat.  I had visions of telling people how didn't finish, how I didn't even get half way.  Then I re-framed it and decided to be happy with my accomplishment.  What helped me the most was a card from Ethan.  I opened it as the race started and it told me how proud he was of me, how I can use this as a training run and he would be ready to come and pick me up where ever the end of my run would be.  I love that man.  His words brought me peace about where I was in my accomplishment and let it be o.k. to not finish.

Next year CIM, next year.

p.s. The winning time was 2:12.  Can you even fathom such endurance?  That man ran a 5 minute mile for 26.2 miles.  He basically sprinted for 2 hours.  Insanity!

Friday, December 3, 2010

CIM. Dang it.

When I was near the end of my pregnancy I had a wonderful idea: sign up for a marathon now, that way I have something to work toward- something to get the extra fat off.  It was a great thought, but who is gonna train for me?  Well, here we are and not one soul has put in any training on my behalf.  Rude. 

I'm not completely training-less.  I did run the Lake Natoma 1/2 Marathon and the 7 miler around Donner Lake...ugh.  I am not ready.  Today I went to pick up my stuff: bib, chip, instructions, etc.  Walking the expo with all the other runners (there are 7,499 others) I felt guilty and not worthy.  What a wasted opportunity. 

Then I got off it.  A call to my loving man was pivotal in this decision.  He reminded me that I can just use this run as a training opportunity for the January half marathon.  No need to beat myself up over it!  So, instead of shooting for the 26.2 mile finish, my new goal is 20 miles.  This would be a great feat for me.  So on Sunday morning, if you think about it, send out positive running vibes to me.  If you're so inclined, you can even track my progress here by looking up my last name.  If you see that I've suddenly veered off the map, well, that means I've called it a day. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Joyous about Joyful Living

I am joyous.  Tonight, five amazing women converged on my home (six, if you include me) to connect and to unite.  It was wonderful!  It was the first meeting of the Joyful Living Group.  It was a fabulous opportunity to meet other women who are interested in the same thing I am: being a "better person".  Hmm, what does that mean?  Well, so far we have defined it as discovering what is stopping us from the joy that is possible.  Pretty good, huh?  We are well on our way to creating the outrageous lives we are looking for.  For me that looks like: losing 40 pounds, having a regular intimate relationship with my husband, letting my little girl grow into the person she wants to be- with out my fears and shortcomings shaping her decisions.  That last one is the one that gets me.  It gets me right in my chest, tightens it right up and makes my throat burn.  I would give anything for her to grow into the kind of person who makes choices from being empowered rather than from fear. It is my most important goal.  I plan to use the Joyful Living Group to accomplish just that, and I intend to support others to achieve the same- if that's what they are looking for.
Tonight was wonderful because we laid the ground work for open and honest communication and we even practiced it a little.  It was wonderful because all of the women who showed up were willing to put themselves out on the table in a way (I say) doesn't exist in the 'real world'.  I can't wait to see them all again!

If you're local and you're a woman, you're invited to this fabulous event.  We'd love to have you.  Leave me a comment on this post and I'll get you the information. 
I have to thank my wonderful friend Danor again, without her I wouldn't have manifested this group.  She has a wonderful little blog too! I recommend checking it out, her last post is quite powerful...

On that note (Ha! You thought I'd get through a blog post with out posting a picture of my most favorite person) here is a little love for ya!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Joyful Living with Snot-Nose McGee

This is the week!  I decided to start a Joyful Living group and this week is the first gathering.  My heart-to-heart, ego-stabbing friend Danor (whom I love) is the creator of this group.  However, hers takes place in Texas.  So, with her permission, I am creating a group by the same name for the women in my life.  The basis is that we will get together twice a month and support each other in whatever way we might need in that moment.  I am excited about having a group of ladies I can count on for honest feedback and loving support.  I can't wait!  I know it will be an amazing group and I am excited to see what it becomes.
My love is still snotty and hacking.  Her poor little throat must be raw!  Naps have been short lived, interrupted by a coughing fit that jars her awake.  Isn't one week of this nonsense enough?   I want to find a machine that will make me as small as a blood cell, then I will crawl  into her mouth, down her throat and find all the nasty spores (or whatever they are) and shoot them with my special laser gun until they are all dead.  Stupid illness.  
Thankfully Ro's spirits are still high.  Like last night, when she was laughing and scooting all over the place until 12:30.  No joke.  The night before it was 11pm.  Not cool.  There is something about leaving all the dishes strewn across the kitchen and groceries still in the bags until the wee hours (well, until the next morning) that makes me feel incomplete.  As if there is a ball and chain that I am dragging around until it gets done, until I can see the kitchen counter again.  It's almost as if the cleanliness of the counter frees up some of my lung capacity.  I can actually feel my breathing get easier and my muscles relaxing.  Last night this did not happen.  We had our fun though.  

We took a bath

Hunted for a little tennis ball

And checked out the tupperware cupboard again

And eventually she fell asleep.  With heavy snoring.  Danged snotty nose!  I will be the first to admit that I COMPLETELY underestimated the amount of energy a baby takes.  I mean, I knew it would be a lot of work (everyone in the world told me it would be, so I figured it was true) but I had no idea how draining it is.  I am thoroughly exhausted at the end of a day.  I love the time with my sweet, smiley baby and I look forward to the few hours of down time (aka time to do dishes, iron clothes, tidy up) after she falls asleep.  So you can imagine that when she stayed up until 12:30, I was wiped!  Needless to say, the snoring didn't effect my ability to fall asleep.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rosanna's First Thanksgiving!!

Wow- I am a mom this holiday season.  Whoa, slow down.  My baby's first thanksgiving?  *Whimper* I love this stage of Ro's life.  She's so much fun and such a little character.  Can she please stay this way forever?
Unfortunately my baby was (is) sick.  She wasn't super miserable, unless she had me in her sights.  Then the tears would flow and the nose would drip, and that was my cue.  Some people think our method will create a monster.  That this is spoiling my beautiful creation, and frankly I resent that.  "Spoiling" is something that happens to old milk or over-ripe fruit.  Responding to a baby's needs is just that.  I am now dismounting my soapbox, before things get out of hand...
The following record of Ro's first Thanksgiving is sprinkled with tears and (sicky) rosie cheeks- see previous paragraph- and LOTS of food.  We generally make our thanksgiving extra special by adding an extra dinner.  Two families=two celebrations.  Lucky us!!

Hangin with Uncle Dan

Aunt Morgan & Uncle Russ
When's chow time?

So full....


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2 Pies and a baby

Today I tackled some of my Thanksgiving commitments.  I've never actually made a pumpkin pie before.  So today I did it!  I had pumpkin from last month's pumpkin meat harvest and I made a pie crust with cinnamon in it (a nice thought, but I think this will not make a big difference).  I used the blender to get my pie filling nice and smoooooooth!

The result was a pie that was darker than the usual grocery store pumpkin pie, I hope it tastes amazing!

While I prepped and baked, Ro and Daddy had some fun:

Soon Ethan had to head off to work, so I had to find a suitable kitchen activity for the little one.  Good thing I have a dedicated tupperware cupboard, it works great as a mommy-worry-free zone.

The cupboard's special baby-distracting powers were short lived and she was ready to be cuddled by her mommy.  Of course, I obliged.  How could I resist?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

9 months?!

I used to hate caramel apples.  There was no graceful way to eat them.  I would inevitably have apple juice streaming down my chin and my cheeks would be sticky from trying to get a bite off of the apple.  UGH!  I get frustrated just thinking about it!  Then, one day, someone cut up my apple for me.  Brilliant!!  I could hold the pieces in my hand, take bites, get apple and caramel all with out the mess- and so the love affair was reignited.
Fast forward to this past friday.  It is mandarin festival time (yay!) and we went, hoping to beat the rain (which we didn't).  One of the vendors there was a candy company who seemed to specialize in my old nemesis.  There were SO MANY options!!  Probably 20 different varieties!  Some of the apples had so many toppings that the apple was twice the normal size- imagine a large grapefruit.  Wow.  Then I had to choose one.  I wanted ten.  Argh, the drama! I decided on this one.  And it didn't disappoint.  It became my dinner, and it was glorious:

We, of course, purchased mandarins as well as some mandarin spread.  It was fun, despite the rain and cold.  I think hanging out with family is a hoot no matter where we are :)

Rosanna's uncle Chuck got her the cutest hat while we were there.  She kept it on too.  This photo is from today, bundled to go to the farmer's market in Roseville.  What is with the deep-freeze temps lately?

And in other news: today is Rosanna's 9 MONTH BIRTHDAY!!!!  To celebrate, here are some Ro-moments caught on camera:

Eating dog food:

Harassing the kitties:

Cruising down the hallway with cousins:

And lastly, sucking on a individual sized jelly packets:

Who loves this baby girl?!  I DO!!  Okay, one more...I can't help myself: