April 23, 2012


Apologies...I broke my photos.
I was shifting things around in google+ and managed to delete about 50% of the images linked to this blog.  Whoops.

It's almost the end of nap time and I just don't have the mental energy to make it better.  Instead I leave you with this.

February 21, 2012

Struggling with Identity and Coming Back


What is a girl to do when she carves a niche for her blog and then her situation changes?  I suppose most folks would adapt, but I have proven to be one who is less than adept in the rolling with it department.  I began writing in 2008 as a way to reflect on, journal about and share our time in Japan.  During the two years we were abroad I did a reasonable job of satisfying my goals.

Upon our return, I really struggled with this space.  For the first six months I found myself writing for two reasons, because I had to publish something and I felt compelled to justify myself, and it felt all wrong.  And so I stopped.  Each time I came back it was out of a sense of obligation, until today. 

Phil and I are still on a journey through our world, though it is decidedly less exotic.  Right now he's a student, I'm a housewife, and we've chosen to live without an income for three years.

My life is filled with blessings and yet I struggle in my daily grind and the changes that have come with growth.  In 2011 mine was a journey that took a lot of energy, one I couldn't begin to figure out how to share for fear of sounding like I was preaching, soliciting, competing, or whining.  None of those things were on my agenda, and so I stayed silent and focused on the task at hand.

Today, my path is centered by love and I am opening the door once more, hoping to share with any who stumble upon this space.  Oh.  And we had a baby.

{Eloise as I never want to forget her - my five pound sack of sugar.}

June 10, 2011

an invented pasta salad recipe

But first...a longish whinge about night classes as a prelude to the recipe...

Why is it that adult education tends to be organized in the form of evening classes?  Oh, I suppose it is because the majority of folks have inflexible schedules during the day, but I would have expected at least one daytime option for a sewing course.  Finally, after searching in Orange, Durham, Alamance, Chatham and Wake counties, after much bitter complaining and a couple of semesters of being pigheaded, I bit the bullet and decided to register for a night course.

{It is high time that I get the fundamentals down...my project pile has grown too large.}

With Philip working in downtown Raleigh this summer, I chose the course closest to him to minimize the ridiculous permutations of bus rides, long commutes and late pick ups.  This delicate dance of a single-car {by choice} family that is wrapping up a year of eating in has made dinner a bit of a challenge on class nights.  I leave home at 4:30 to pick up Philip at 5 and my class is from 6:30 - 9:30 about five miles down the road from the state capitol.  He hangs out at the library nearest my class and we get home together around 10:30.  {In typical husband fashion, he has decided to use his time to catch up on 'great' literature, last night conquering Kafka's Metamorphosis and a few other stories.  It makes the late night drive home full of interesting and unexpected conversation.} 

On the first week of classes I just ignored dinner and we were hungry and cranky once we arrived home.  It was nearly eleven and we just crawled into bed and called it a night.  {Let's be honest, we eat an incredibly nutritionally dense diet, part of me wonders if the developed world would benefit from more meal skipping...}  Please ignore the fact that at the ripe old age of thirty-one, eleven is approaching two hours beyond our average bedtime.

To minimize Thursday night grouchiness {a fully female complaint}, I decided to pack a simple picnic with items on hand as a nice surprise for Philip.  I didn't want to make sandwiches.  While not at school, poor husband is stuck with them for lunch and I can only take so much peanut butter in a nine month period.

The Menu:
Black Sesame Chicken Meatballs {w/ Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce}
Basil Pasta Salad
Apples {we like to keep desert simple around here :)}

Today I'm going to share the pasta salad recipe because, well, we ate all of the meatballs and I didn't take photos yesterday while I was assembling everything.  I only packed a two person portion of the pasta salad and despite having it for lunch with some hard boiled eggs, we still have a bit of it left.

This particular dressing was invented because I am not one for possessing logical condiments and I am also the proud mother of a renegade, out-of-control fruitful basil plant.

I also wanted a creamy dressing, but not an overly heavy salad.  Oh the flights of fancy of a pregnant woman.

Ingredients for the Salad:
2 cups of uncooked pasta of your choice.
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 large ripe delicious tomato, chopped
A handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade

Ingredients for the Dressing:
1 T of cream cheese
2 tsp of mayonaise
1 tsp of dijon mustard
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of fresh cracked pepper
dash of sea salt

Cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain and cool pasta.  Add chopped cucumber, tomatoes and the chiffonade of basil to the cooled pasta and toss to mix.  Whisk together the dressing components.  Taste dressing and then add to the assembled salad.  Toss to coat.  Enjoy.

** If I'm honest, I didn't measure as I whisked the dressing together.  I just added a dash & a dab as I saw fit.  I taste as I mix, but the largest component was cream cheese with a bit more mayo than mustard and enough lemon juice to smooth it out and balance the saltiness of the mayo.**

The dressing very lightly coated our salad, enough to remind me how much I enjoy cream cheese and tomato on a bagel, but not enough to feel like we were eating mayonnaise with a side of pasta.

PS - I like to spell whisk without an h...thank you mass marketing of the laundry detergent brand.  I hate writing it almost as much as broccoli {which I misspelled on my first typing just now}.

June 9, 2011

Getting in the Pool

When we found out we were expecting, one of the first things Phil encouraged me to do was to get back into the pool routinely.  I knew that I wanted exercise through this pregnancy, a feeling that was validated recently by a New York Times article {linked here} regarding the positive effect of exercise on fetal development.  The husband's latest mantra was born: "You have been graced with a gift, now is the best time in your life to use it."

{rapidly escaping into the ocean on Memorial Day weekend}

He was right, but despite being a lover of water, it has taken me a while to get into a legitimate solid routine.  Fitness is something we like to do together, but the transition to the pool would mean traveling those miles without Phil.  We have managed to still build time into our days and have begun to play tennis and disc golf together a few times a week, because we both miss the joy of talking while we jog. 

{77 degree waters and it took an act of Congress and the sunset to get me out of the water.  Phil is pointing out the sun on the horizon to me as a motivation to head back to camp.}

I also got a bit frustrated because within the first couple of weeks my suit became uncomfortably tight from shoulder to crotch.  Just months earlier I had proudly disposed of all of my suits larger than a 34.  {I won't go into what my legs did within my first trimester...let's just say I felt like I was walking on two kielbasa in my suit.}  Thank goodness I had held onto a fitness two piece, I was able to get into the pool while I searched for a one piece that would take me through my pregnancy.

I was flabbergasted when I started searching for a one piece fitness maternity suit.  Honestly.  I did find an AWESOME swimwear company EQ Swimwear.  They had two options with a multitude of color choices.  {Because what is the deal with black maternity suits.  I am having a baby, not going to a funeral.}  I emailed the company and told them I had no idea what size I would be.  They had me place the order for one suit & sent me two sizes to try with a postage paid return envelope for the one that didn't work.

Now here I am, five months into this pregnancy and swimming more than I have since high school.  I set a goal at the beginning of my fourth month to swim a mile, five times a week for three months.  Despite having all the gear and four pools to choose from, I was finding that I lacked the motivation to actually GET INTO THE WATER.  I was managing a swim or two a week during my first trimester with the occasional week off, but I was spending many more hours mentally prepping for that first minute in the pool than actually getting wet.  Until one afternoon I was complaining about the fact that the water was only 80 degrees and Phil gave me a bit of a gut check.  "Your parents gave you an awesome gift in teaching you to swim.  Take that skill, take that love and give the gift to your daughter.  If there is any time in your life that you should be in the pool, it's now.  No matter what the water temperature."

You know what? He was absolutely right.  I feel great when I am pacing the pool.  I can feel the littlest one move with me as I stroke.  I have cut the dread and now keep my suit, towel and goggles at the front door.  The lifeguards know my name and help me keep count {a real problem with me} and last night I was asked to move into the fast lane, which was really more of a statement on the relative age of my fellow lane users, but still, I was one proud momma ducking under the rope and finishing out with a sprint set.
PS - I actually have 2 maternity suits.  The other one is from Pez d'Or and is a tankini so really is just for vanity.  Of the three items of maternity clothing purchased, two have been swim suits.  This little one is going to earn her chops as a water baby.

June 2, 2011

when we boat

This post is linked up with a whole bunch of other awesome folks participating in Embrace the Camera hosted by Emily at the anderson crew.  Please feel free to hop on over and see who else has been shamelessly documenting their herd this week.

Just because I am feeling all nostalgic, I'll give you a bit more of our boating adventures.  We arrived at the boat launch in our little car and were told we couldn't park there because: "You clearly don't have a kayak in that car."  To which I rather unnecessarily loudly cried: "Oh yes we do!"  The confused attendant waved my husband through, looking very pityingly at him for his wife was not quite right.

We grabbed the two duffels out of the car and unzipped.  I was on instruction duty and Phil was in charge of assembly.  Thirty minutes later we were ready to go with our magical folding boat.  {Well, it's my Dad's magical folding boat...we just borrowed it because we like boating and little cars and folbots make that lifestyle duality possible.}

I threw in a photo of spouse and kayak because sometimes embracing the camera means we end up with blurry Phil and boat.

And here we are out on the water.  Nothing like 2 hours on the Currituck Sound to restore your soul and tire your arms.

We're not too cool for life jackets.  Happy remainder of the week!


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