Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Wakes you Up?

So, lately I've been plagued with light sleep. This is HIGHLY unusual for me, as any of you that ever lived with me will verify! I am a HEAVY sleeper and regularly oversleep an alarm unless a physical person helps me wake up. (Jordan, you remember those good times, right? :P) Funny thing is that I won't hear any mechanical sounds in my sleep, but will startle awake if someone says my name. Don't know why that is.

When Eric and I were engaged I was really busy with a full load of spring/summer classes. He had a much lighter schedule. Naturally, despite my workload, we were the usual engaged couple that stays up WAY late every night just having a great time. especially since it was summer! So, I had Eric call me every morning to wake me up for class. I thought this would give him adequate warning about my difficulty waking up. Turns out, he was still surprised when we got married. Apparently, he thought I just wanted to talk with him every morning and used the 'wake up call' as a ploy to squeeze more Eric time into my day. Boy was he surprised to discover my morning wake up troubles! But I digress. I was telling you about my recent inability to sleep.

Sometimes it is because I have to use the restroom (pregnancy does that to you). Sometimes it is because I wake up hungry (pregnancy does that to you too). And sometimes it is because our sweet 33 week baby is awake and would like to play games in my tummy (pregnancy definitely did THAT to me!). Whatever the cause, despite my exhaustion during the day, I find I've become a light sleeper in the mornings. I get up and stay up at ridiculous hours (3:15, 4:30, 5:45, 6:15 on a Saturday...) and even have trouble taking naps. I just lay there. Restful, but kind of frustrating when I'd REALLY like to be in a deep sleep dreaming or something! This morning I got up early after laying there for over an hour and made omelettes with fresh tomatoes and peppers from our garden, sauted mushrooms, salami, and raspberry-peach yogurt/OJ smoothies for our breakfast. At least I did something productive, right? :)

So, what wakes you up in the middle of the night? What wakes you up in the morning, and would you prefer to wake up some other way? Let's hear some stories, eh?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Were You Like in High School?

Kendall, this is for you. Actually, it is the very first tag I've ever received. :) So I can honestly say I don't normally do these! :) P.S. Brianna, I know you only read short entries, so I won't be surprised if you skip this one. There aren't any pictures, after all.... hey, I should scan some and put them in here...!

1. Did you date someone from your high school? No. I went on a total of 3 dates in high school. And I asked for all 3 and they were all prom.

2. What kind of car did you drive? I drove an 82 white Firebird for a week... til I totaled it in a 3 car accident. The long snout saved me from some serious injury. I'll share the story someday, I guess. It was pretty traumatic. I didn't drive again for a while, actually. When I did, I drove a white Honda prelude with a stick. That was a lot of fun! Finally I ended up with a 96 red Mitsubishi Galant... which some of you may recognize as the car I still drive now!

3. What is your most embarrassing moment in high school? hmmmm.... I dunno. I don't really get embarassed that easily. Not that embarassing things didn't happen, but I probably just laughed and pretended I didn't care. One time I did mistake a gal in my class for a guy. We had known each other for almost 3 years and that whole time I thought she was a guy. I totally tried to correct her when she was going into the girls' restroom. That was pretty ackward when she told me she WAS a girl.

4. Were you a party animal? I was a social creature, that's for sure! I was involved in EVERYTHING! That is NOT an exaggeration! But I don't think I was QUITE crazy enough to call a party animal.

5. Were you considered a flirt? nope. I don't think I really knew how to do it very well. That is probably why I never had a boyfriend or dated much. I had this bad habit of going out of my way to MASK the feelings I had for guys rather than letting them know it. It took me a LOOOOONG time to get over that tendency!

6. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Yes. If you count 9th grade as HS, I was in band/orchestra then. clarinet. I was pretty good, and my dad was SUPER disappointed that I opted to only do choir after that. I figured I could either be good at both or great at one! I was in choir ALWAYS. I think I lived in the choir room during certain times of the year! Especially during All-Region or All-State tryout times. I'd go in right after early morning seminary for the morning practices. Usually I was one of the only ones there. I enjoyed that one-on-one coaching time with our directors. Then when I was in Unity my senior year we had all those rehearsals. It was crazy trying to balance things with soccer and all.

7. Were you a nerd? Well, I was blessed with the ability to get along with all kinds of groups of people. I was definitely friends with all the nerds, but also with all the preps and sporty types and music folks and artsy folks and, well, everybody. I think my 'floater' style of associating with people spared me being labeled a nerd. But I DEFINITELY took my classes seriously. I was all about the A's, man! I think, personality wise, I'm a nerd. I claim the title with pride! :) I STILL love to study and check out documentaries from the library to watch for fun! :)

8. Were you on any varsity teams? yes. I played Varsity soccer all through HS. LOVED it and still crave that kind of unity that you get from training hard together as a team! There is NOTHING that quite compares to organized, competitive sports!

9. Did you get suspended/expelled? are you kidding me? I can't even fathom HOW to get suspended or expelled!

10. Can you still sing the fight song? I don't think we had one.

11. Who were your favorite teachers? My 10th grade English and also AP Comp teacher Mrs. Rossetti (coincidentally, we have the same birthday), my 10th grade science and also AP Enviro teacher Miss. Banning, my algebra II and calculus teacher Mrs. Burlingame, my Spanish teacher Mr./Bro. McWhorter, and finally my choir teacher Mr. Erwin. Actually, this was hard to choose because I truly enjoyed MOST of my classes in HS.

12. Where did you sit during lunch? In the choir room. It was fun to hang out there!

13. School Mascot? bulldog. RED ones, to be exact. That is important to note because, for some REALLY strange reason, our rival HS was also bulldogs. they were purple, though. "sissies". ;P

14. Did you go to homecoming and with who? nope, never.

15. If you could go back and do it again, would you? I loved HS, I really did! I had a blast and feel like those were awesome years! I don't know about repeating them, though... would I ever want to repeat ANY years of my life? It might not be as much fun the 2nd time around. Would all my friends ALSO be repeating it with me? Would we do anything different or would it just be the same? If it was different, would I still love it as much... and if it was the same, what would be the point?

16. What do you remember most about graduation? it was long, the choir sang, my family all went to the Blue Bird of Happiness sculpture garden and restaurant in the boondocks afterward to celebrate. It was cool!

17. Where did you go senior skip day? If we had one, I don't remember it. I think I went to class. :) I told you I was a nerd.

18. Have you gained weight since then? Most DEFINITELY! There's no way I can compete with my HS self for being in shape. Holy cow, I was running around for 3 hours every afternoon at soccer practice and drinking a protein shake with fruit for 2 meals a day! Even if I managed to squeeze a run into my schedule every day now, there's no way I'd be in as great shape as I was in HS. Especially now. I've got this belly, ya see... ;)

19. Who was your prom date? Juan Carlos, Pongsak Jituatrakoon, and Tommy Lowden.

20. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion? Sure, why not? I miss my HS friends. Most of them are still in touch with each other bc they stayed close to Arkansas. I'd love to see everybody and show off my awesome family! :)

21. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself? I wish I had been more confident in sharing the gospel with my closest friends while we were REALLY close. It would be more ackward now. Like I was emailing them just to preach to them or something. I'm not very good at keeping in touch.

You're it: whoever wants to do it.
I want to hear what ya'll were like in High School.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

From Bug to Butterfly

Apparently, these beautiful, fat, black and green caterpillars that we found demolishing the foliage of our carrot tops are Black Swallowtail caterpillars! They prefer a diet of parsley, dill, or carrot tops... go figure, we already saw that!... and are DEFINITELY voracious eaters!!!!

When you upset them, they stick out these bright orange horns. Scent glands. They are called osmeteria. Apparently they are supposed to surprise predators as well as have a nasty scent. I can't smell anything though. Guess I'm just not as sensitive as something that might actually want to eat them. Cool, eh?

Eric and I are holding on to 4 of them as 'pets' because we want to see them make their chrysalises. (Before you start thinking 'cruel and unusual treatment of animals', remember that we have huge jars, plenty of cheesecloth, and access to fresh caterpillar appetizers daily!) It can be a hassle to go out there and harvest fresh carrot tops for them to eat, but we are so excited to see what happens. Blame it on the entomologist in each of us... we're just science nerds! What about you guys? Any other nerds out there that enjoy this sort of thing?

Monday, September 22, 2008

3 Dollar Bookshelf Makeover

Just wanted to give you all an update! The room is slowly coming together. It is quite a process, mostly because I'm determined to do it 'right' rather than shove things in boxes or corners for organizing 'later' like I would normally do. Still trying to find a dresser. Anyway, here is the bookshelf! So happy to be finished with it! The pictures don't do the colors justice, really, but I'm glad that it no longer looks like an "Easter egg" as Eric commented while I was working on it! :)This is the 'before' pic. I neglected to get a TRUE before shot because this one is already a few hours of work into the project. It used to have orange, yellow, brown, and avacado colored foam jungle animals glued ALL OVER the white panels of each shelf. Even after I ripped them all off, the glue had to be first scraped off and then sanded off. I had to wear a sweaty mask and gloves for protection... just in case there was any lead paint under there that I didn't know about. This photo is post sanding, prepping for painting.
Me in my glorious painter's mask. Specially designed to keep all the bad fumes and what not away from me and baby... and to keep in all that sweat and condensation! :)

Finished Product! The colors aren't quite true to life, but it isn't a bad photo. It was a lot of work, atleast for my pregnant belly. I could only work on it about 2 hours every day because my lower back just got too sore from bending over to paint the stripes. Labor of love, I guess. Definitely worth it, though! I got the stripes I wanted and we don't have to repaint a wall of the room! Not a perfect job, but I'm pleased! 3 dollar bookshelf with a makeover!

Ever Realize How Much You Depend on Electricity?

Well, for those of you IN Ohio, you all are probably tiring of the "big storm that hit us" blog posts. Sorry. Mine won't be extremely creative either. Let's just say Eric and I were really fine with the resulting week of no electricity. Really. We were so well taken care of by friends with power, it is very humbling. I think there is no more appropriate way to comment on the experience than to publicly thank each one of you.
Thank you:
  • Thanks to Brianna and Justin for feeding us delicious grilled pork with strawberry sauce! I DO want the recipe!
  • Thanks to Nancy and Jarin for a) feeding me such a healthy lunch, b) helping me for 12+ hours to can all the poultry meat that had thawed from our freezer, c) feeding us dinner, and d) giving us a key so we could take hot showers on Sunday!
  • Thanks to Heather and Ryan for the absolutely delicious spaghetti dinner and the fun entertainment with friends and LIGHTS!
  • Thanks to Marie and Kurt for feeding us yummy chicken fajitas and soft brownies!
  • Thanks to Joe and Megan for a) storing our deep freeze in their apartment (along with the freezers of other people without power!), b) feeding us chicken sandwich and salad lunch, and c) keeping some perishable groceries in their fridge... mostly because I dislike warm liquids so much! :)
  • Thanks to Everybody else who invited us for food but we had to turn down because we were already eating somewhere else! Also for all the hot shower offers... you guys are all AWESOME!!!
  • Thanks also to the ward for being "Inspired" to have the barbeque while we still didn't have power. The food was great, and it was extra motivation for our neighbors to come since they still didn't have power either!
  • Thanks to Mama and Papa Allan for giving us such a wonderful Christmas present last year of a Coleman Stove and lantern... we cooked on it Sunday night and were lucky to not have the dilemma of many others: we had both the food storage AND the means with which to cook it. Atleast it worked for one big meal.
  • Thanks to Julie and Robin and Jenni and Vaughn for sharing our "trial" with us... it helped me keep my own thoughts positive when I saw how smiley you all were every day! Our daily walks reminded me that we weren't alone without power. Especially kudos to Julie and Robin for taking care of Eliza without electricity! Diaper changing in the middle of the night with a flashlight and being forced to use hand-washed burp rags because newborns have no concept of convenience really kept me grateful for our gal's current still-in-the-womb status!
  • Thanks to the power company crew members... I was so happy to see them on Sunday! I know it must have been hard for them and their families to have to work around the clock like they did. I'm glad they were willing to sacrifice so that we could get our power back.
  • Thanks to my dear Eric for his positive attitude, lack of complaining, and reasonable nature. He kept everything in perspective and we still had fun in the evenings, despite lack of electricity! He also reminded me to drink fluids, recharged my phone on campus, took care of our fish, moved the deep freeze (with help), and suffered through daily cold showers in the dark without a word of complaint. What a stallion! :)
  • Thank you to Heavenly Father for making the weather so agreeable. We had overcast days and cool breezes... I hardly even noticed the lack of air conditioning! :)
All in all, I'd say we are better off for the experience! I learned how to pressure can poultry, how to roast a duck, had time to organize some closet space, and have been given a VERY good excuse to finally clean out the fridge! What an experience, eh? Thanks to ALL of YOU!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

By Popular Request... but you all understand this is a SECRET, right?

Well, it USED to be a family recipe... kept in the FAMILY... but lately I've seen it being shared more openly. Thing is, and I know you're going to think this isn't that funny, but it is really hard to share the recipe and have people like it. I got the gene from my mom, I guess, but I'm not very consistent in measuring things. I always put in what the recipe originally calls for, but then I'll just add a lil here and there of ingredients until it tastes like I want it to. So my disclaimer/advice on this recipe is: adjust it til it tastes like you like your salsa! If too spicy, add more tomatoes. If too bland, throw in some more garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, and cumin. And of course we all know what to do if it is too mild. :) So anyway, here it is.

Valladerez Guatemalan Salsa

  • 56 oz tomatoes, chopped. (be sure to put EVERYTHING from the chopped tomato in the bowl! Can be messy and time consuming because tomatos don't food process well)
  • 16 oz tomatos, blended (or if you prefer chunkier salsa, add these to the chopping block group).
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, rinsed and finely chopped (tradition dictates ONLY the leaves are included in salsa. I'm here to tell ya that pulling off all those leaves from the entire bunch can be time consuming and tedious. If you don't want to waste the stems and could care less about Guatemalan tradition, then be sure to food process them so noone gets a 'woody' bite.)
  • 1 BIG onion, finely chopped (again, pulsing on food processor helps speed things up and cuts down on crying).
  • 4 big cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (or leave the seeds for extra spice. I like to blend the jalapenos at the same time as the onion or other ingredient so that noone gets a big spicy surprise bite!)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • *pinch of red pepper flakes- optional
  • *1-2 Tbl lemon juice- optional
well, there you have it. simple. basic. Hope ya'll enjoy. Also, if you want to make this salsa with canned tomatoes instead of fresh, you can do it. (better fresh, but I'm biased.) Just use 2 cans 28-oz peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped instead of 56 oz fresh and 1 can crushed tomatoes, drained instead of blending 16 oz. If hosting a party of some kind, it is tasty to put a block of cream cheese right in the middle of the salsa bowl. Delicious combo! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Salsa from our Garden!!!!

Eric thinks I'm a salsa snob. I think he might be right. I love a good homemade fresh salsa... I think perhaps I'm spoiled because even homemade CANNED salsa doesn't quite have the same appeal to me. Nothing beats a fresh salsa! Any kind is good: green roasted tomatillo, tomato and cilantro, yellow tomato with lime juice, mango or pineapple... I love it if it is FRESH! Well, the kind I usually make is a family recipe from Guatemala (for those of you who aren't aware, I'm 1/4 Guatemalan). Very basic, nothing too challenging-- like roasting the peppers or tomatillos-- and no exotic/expensive ingredients like mango to complicate things. It is also easily made less spicy, perfect for those of us who can't handle the fire right now--I'm not turning into a tastebud wuss, I promise, I'm just pregnant! I don't want heartburn. Just delicious salsa goodness!

Well, this year I'm pleased to announce that our lil 7 foot by 7 foot garden has yielded more than enough roma tomatos, various peppers, and large onions to create a huge batch of homemade fresh salsa with garden produce!!!! :) YAY!!! Only the cilantro, garlic, and cumin (well, and salt, sugar, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes) isn't from our own hard work. Okay, so that means only 3 ingredients are from our garden rather than the grocery store, but hey, they're the MAIN three, right? :)

The jars sure look nice all lined up and pretty, ready for sharing with neighbors and friends. Hurray for a bountiful harvest! :) I'm looking forward to eating a big chipful already! And probably putting fresh salsa on things it doesn't really belong on... just cuz it is THAT good! :) What food or product are you sort of "snobbish" or "spoiled" about? (I had a roommate who was a self-proclaimed toilet paper snob. Keeps things interesting...)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Nesting: Making a Nest?

According to my Korean dictionary, nesting is building a nest. Mostly using feathers. But a second meaning of 'to nest' is 'to dwell' and I suppose that is what I'm doing. Creating a dwelling for our lil baby. I ought to show you pictures of the room in progress, but honestly, I'm so embarassed by its current state that I don't dare. Shout out here to my dear Father-in-law, Papa Allan, because I think Mama Allan (hi! *waving*) might compare the current state of things to his trophy room. You know how birds collect all kinds of trash for putting in their nests? String, discarded candy wrappers, shiny gum foils, etc? I promise I'm trying to prevent this nest from looking quite THAT eclectic... but it is taking some time. Right now I'm working on refinishing a 3 dollar baby bookshelf that I collected from a garage sale last year as well as a particle board 3 drawer 'thing' that I pulled out of the dumpster pile right outside our front door (perfect size for lil baby socks and onesies!). Hopefully I'll finish both of these today so that I can have a place to put the baby items we're receiving and get them OUT of the boxes taking up space on the floor. Then the crib needs to be assembled (we got it off of Craigslist-- it is lovely!).

After that we get into the 'fun' things that I'd like to do just to make the room soft and cute. The plan is to sew a cute baby bumper for the crib (adorable pattern... you guys just WAIT!) and a matching valance for the window. We don't have any window treatments right now, so I'm planning on taking care of that. I'd like to have a cute shelf/valance rod combo piece that I can paint to match the bookshelf and other furniture that could also be functional storage space for lil stuffed animals or knick knacks. Then some cream curtains and the valance will tie everything together. We are debating painting one wall a nice green... but haven't decided yet because it would have to be mostly Eric's project and he is so busy with school. We still need to get a changing table... but I've heard that you don't REALLY need one and can just change the baby on a pad on the floor. Any opinions here? Since I've never been there, obviously, I'd sure benefit from your experiences. Either way, I'm keeping my eye on Craigslist things... just in case!

And then, of course, after I get the fun projects all taken care of in the baby's room, there are projects like cleaning out the laundry chute that we are currently using as pantry storage, cleaning out the bathroom closet to make room for baby bathing supplies, reorganizing the closets in her room so that they accommodate more than just my arts/crafts, our holiday storage, and our outdoors/sports paraphenelia... so much preparation for our lil nestling! Good thing I'm officially finished with full time work, eh? Pictures of the FINISHED PROJECTS soon to be forthcoming! (fingers crossed on the 'soon' part).