Thursday, September 27, 2012

6 places + 5 foods + 4 books = playing catch-up!

Been a little distracted by unpacking and organizing process going on full-swing in the 'dream home.'  So, extremely late, here are:

6 places...
1. boundary waters canoe area
2. my kitchen {even in its current state}
3. my parent's farm
4. napa valley
5. seattle
6. new york city {any season, for any reason}

5 foods...
1. pizza
2. warm, crusty bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar
3. goat cheese {plain, on things, doesn't matter}
4. hummus + 'naked' pita chips
5. 'my' chipotle burrito - steak, rice, corn salsa, cheese + sour cream
(Yes, clearly I like cheese and carbs.)

4 books...
1. pride and prejudice and zombies - reading right now, think is hilarious and fantastic!
2. the great gatsby - how can you not be in love with this novel?
3. the poisonwood bible - such a good read about sisterhood and motherhood.
4. the awakening - will forever remind me of my college women's lit days.  so much to analyze, such a classic.

Linking up again here with these lovely ladies...

We close on the sale of our 'other' house tomorrow -
so happy and hopeful that all goes well!

Hope all is going beautifully in your world!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

one year ago : a european traveler

One year ago...
we were rushing through an airport,
while the baby slept,
ignoring all the hustle and bustle.

We were on our way to visit my parents,
who were living in Prague for a year,
my dad preaching in a church there.

Baby's first international flight.
At two months old.

Yes, we are those parents.

Was he really ever this tiny and immobile...
and bald?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

the renovation: we are in!

Saturday marked the end of our official "first week" in the new house.  Let's clarify: we are in half of the new house...we will have a renter in the back unit until February.   Which is cool because it pays our mortgage.

Moving is kind of stressful for most people, and we were no exception.   Even though we had been slowly moving our belongings over for the several weeks before, we still had a bunch of furniture and odds and ends to bring over the first weekend, so we hired movers.  The movers were called "Labor Fo' Do' " {!!!} and not sure if they were really professional movers. Their truck was a U-Haul they had rented and they had no equipment besides their muscles and hands, on which they did not deign to wear work gloves.   But...these two guys moved all our crap for really cheap.   So thanks guys.  You rock.

Now, for a two bedroom "apartment" our living circumstances are quite spacious.  The rooms are large with really high ceilings, we have 1 1/2 baths and 2 large bedrooms.  Sure, there are no closets in either bedroom but a pretty large laundry room closet right across from them so there is some hanging space.

In truth, we are shoving clothes and shoes wherever we can until a real 'master closet' can be constructed.  Someday.

The hardest adjustment for me personally has been the kitchen.  Going from a fairly new kitchen that we designed specifically for our needs, to a kitchen that is extremely outdated with no pantry and not an abundance of cupboard space is, well, not easy.   Most of my kitchen stuff is packed away.  I have a lot of kitchen stuff.  But the space will work just fine until the complete re-do happens in a couple months...
at least we have one new appliance. 
Also, I am kind of a gas-stove snob, so getting used to this beauty has been a treat:

Sorry for all the somewhat burnt/overcooked suppers, boys!  Who knew electric stoves had SO much juice?

But seriously, as long as there is an outlet to plug in my coffee maker and a clean wine glass to pour a glass of wine into every night, I am a happy woman.  If that makes me 'easy to please,' I am totally okay with that.  :)

Speaking of 'easy to please'...everyone keeps asking how the baby is adjusting to the move.   Well, this kid is nothing if not adaptable.  After only a few days Cormac was sleeping really well on his normal schedule.  He loves all the new places to explore and all the half unpacked boxes he can tear apart.   Overall he seems to like his new abode.  

Hubby and I are smitten with the house.   It immediately felt like 'home.'  Despite all the things that have broken or gone the basement door completely falling out, frame and all, the water heater breaking, the funky sewage smell in the basement, the shower drain clog, and accidentally locking ourselves out due to the 'complicated' door hardware...
Thank you to this locksmith who was at our door in about twenty minutes!

...we still say to each other every night: "I love this house.  Don't you love this house?"

The answer is always: "Yes. So much." 

Warts and all.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

sweet corn, tomato & basil pizza

I am always happy to add a good pizza to my recipe collection.

This one comes from Martha Stewart and it is completely delish.

I know what you are thinking: sweet corn on a pizza?  Just trust me - it's good.

I didn't do it completely a la Martha, as her recipe calls for grilling the pizza as well as letting your dough sit for four hours, and I wasn't up for the extra mess and time commitment these two elements would entail.  I am messy and impatient, clearly.

So I made a quick and simple pizza dough {the 'just add water' kind}, followed the package directions to make it 'thin and crispy,' and baked my pizza in the oven like the lazy mama that I am.  ;)

For you ambitious cooks, here is the full recipe in all it's Martha Stewart wonderfulness.  {Let me know how it comes out, as grilled pizza dough sounds SO good!}

For the rest of us, here is how I did it...

You will need:
-pizza crust of your choice {thin crust is great for this sweet/savory pizza.}
-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
-2 ears of sweet corn
-2 whole peeled garlic cloves
-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
-2 tsp of olive oil, and more for drizzling
-2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
-4-6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced
-fresh basil leaves

To make:
1. Prepare the dough/crust of your choice.  Spread onto lightly oiled pizza pan or seasoned stone.
2. Puree in a food processor the corn, parmesan cheese, garlic cloves, olive oil, and salt until mixture is smooth with some small chunks.
3. Thinly slice 2 Roma tomatoes.
3. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on your pizza crust, then top with a thin layer of the corn mixture, the tomato slices, and sprinkle generously with shredded mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees {or 350 if you are using flatbread} or until cheese is melty and crust is golden brown.
6. Top with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

my life: the wedding

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:

The day began with me waking up in the hotel room soon-to-be-hubby had made me stay in the night before.  My last night as an unmarried woman, a bed all to myself.
I awoke and, of course, went for a run.   This is how I would start any day off wedding day should be no exception, I thought.  A good call - it energized me and gave me time to reflect.

Then it was time to go with all the ladies and get our hair styled at the a nearby salon.   This was a bit of drama, as I did not like the way it was done and got really emotional and ridiculous thought I looked like a boy.  Everyone tried to assure me I still looked feminine even with my hair in a classic french twist, so eventually I got over it and we went back to my house to get dressed.

Our amazing photographer Tracy Abston was waiting there with her assistant, to photos of all the details.

I put on my gown and shoes with the help of my sister, my matron-of-honor, and finally put on the veil.

At that moment I felt like a bride.

Then we were off to Ault Park, where we would both have the ceremony {in the gardens} and the reception {up on a hill in a gorgeous stone pavilion.}

We decided to do our "first look" and all our formal pictures before the ceremony, which turned out to be a great plan.  The lighting was great, not too sunny.  It was hot, however -- very steamy!  You can see here I was starting to get a bit 'melty' in my gown.    Ladylike, I know.

Then, the sky darkened.  Everyone started to get a bit nervous.  The weather report that morning had said only a 20% chance of rain.  The odds had seemed to be in our favor.

But rain it did.  Near the end of our photo session.  Most of the wedding party had left already, but a few of my sweet bridesmaids and my family was still there.  All my nearest and dearest got drenched.  The photographer and all her equipment got drenched.

I, the bride, was spared, however.

My friend Rachel's wonderful parents sacrificed their own dryness to give me their large black umbrella.  The only umbrella anyone brought.

I might have been upset, but the situation was too comical.   Plus, we got photographs that are completely priceless to me.  I will never forget that moment, under the umbrella, watching the scene unfold.  Ladies' makeup running.  Perfectly styled hair ruined.  Dresses soaked.

Thank God the bridesmaids' dresses were black!

Everyone kept a sense of humor about it all.  {I have amazing friends and family.}

The rain stopped and everyone made their best attempt to salvage hair and makeup, because soon it was time for the ceremony.

The white chairs were set up in the rose garden near the wooden arched trellis crawling with flowers and vines.  The wedding party and I would soon make our grand walk down the huge expanse of lawn amidst the flower beds and all would be just as I imagined it.  Birds singing, music playing.

Or not.

Down came the rain.  Again. All the chairs drenched.  No end of it in sight.

I did not witness this, as I was up at the stone pavilion, in the ladies room with my sister and my dear friends Rachel and Lindsay, preparing for the ceremony.  I had no idea about the downpour.

Apparently everyone made a pact:  "Don't tell Greta anything is wrong!"

Also, someone, very intelligently said, "Get Greta a glass of wine."

Did I mention I have amazing friends and family?

Rachel came in the restroom with a glass of chardonnay.

My sister told me calmly, "It is raining but don't worry, they are moving all the chairs up here and it is going to be absolutely beautiful!" In fact, many people kept coming in and reassuring me.  I just sipped my wine and nodded.

Any other day this lack of control and complete turn of events would have crushed me.  But what could I do?   I had spent nine months planning this day, each detail.  I had been in control...but now I simply wasn't.  God had decided to bless us with "lucky rain."  What could I do?  The ceremony would have to be moved.  What could I do?  There would be no grand walk through the gardens.  What could I do?  Nothing would start on time.  What could I do?

So I sipped my wine in that bathroom, let everyone continue to assure me everything was going to be great, and practiced my vows.
Outside the bathroom door was pandemonium.   The chairs were all moved not once, but twice.  They ended up just inside the stone arches, because the rain was not letting up.  Guests were even helping move chairs.  Drying off chairs.

The musicians and vocalists, some lovely folks we knew from church, finally were able to set up and start playing the pre-ceremony music.  Guests started to finally be able to settle down into seats.  Programs were handed out by my two handsome brothers, who then escorted our families - in to their seats at the front.   Those were the things that mattered.   Having all our family and closest friends gathered closely around us as we made the most important vows.  The rain was merely an unexpected bump in the road.

Although our stroll up the aisle was much shorter than I would have liked, it all came together.  The service began with singing, everyone singing, a few praise songs.  I really wanted our ceremony to be God-focused...and although some may have found it time-consuming, I loved it and felt so connected with my family, friends and Jesus while we sang together.   As a pastor's daughter I had grown up singing in church and youth group, both in church, at youth events, and around countless campfires.  Music has always moved me, and on my wedding day it was no exception.

My father, of course, led the ceremony.  His message coincided with our 'wine theme.'  One of our Bible passages was the account of the wedding at Cana, which ends with, I think, the most apropos verse for our day, "...but you have saved the best wine until now."  To me, besides being the first of Jesus' miracles and a classic New Testament account, it was a metaphor for our romantic lives:  when it came to our relationships, we saved the best one for last.  For forever.

In his sermon, Dad talked about Paul and I being "juicy grapes" and how our lives and relationship with Jesus would only get better with age.  He even brought a cluster of grapes from the farm I grew up on, which he gave to Paul and I to sample during the ceremony.  In my eyes and heart it was all very meaningful and perfect.

Instead of a 'sand ceremony' or unity candle, we chose to take communion together, taking our wine from a wine glass.  Again, to keep the event focused on not only our relationship with each other, but also our relationship with God.   While taking holy communion is something that moves me every time {I tear up every Sunday} it was particularly meaningful and emotional that day.

Our vows were written by us, and spoken from memory.  Paul's were longer and poetic and amazing.  Mine were short, sweet, and to the point.  There were tears from both of us.

It was a longer ceremony than probably most are used to, but I wouldn't go back and change one thing. We were pronounced man and wife and walked down the aisle together.  A marriage six years in the making...

Everything after that is kind of a blur, but I'll tell you the memorable parts...

A beautiful little speech from my dear sister, and verrrrry long speech from the best man.

Dancing with my loving and wonderful father to Annie's Song {I grew up listening to John Denver with him.}

Drinking a lot of wine.

Lots of people drinking a lot of wine.

Dancing!  It was an amazing party for many of us.  Most memorable songs:  Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy and Thank God I'm a Country Boy.  I adore that so many got out there and got buck wild!  Those are, very truly, my kind of people.

One of the groomsmen taking my sweet little Gram for a spin on the dance floor {John, she still remembers and loves that dance!}

Getting very sweaty from all the dancing.  And my dress getting very dirty.

People leaving the reception with full bottles of wine in their fists, as the barkeeps had decided to open them all preemptively.  Whoops.

Piling into one of the courtesy taxis we had hired, a box with the top layer of our cake on my lap, and heading to our hotel after an amazingly fun night.

Ordering pizza.  Of course.

Even now...with Pinterest and everything else...

I would not change one detail.

Even the rain.
Here are just a few pics from the day...

Thank you for a beautiful five years, love...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

7 wants

Source: via Erlinda on Pinterest

Oh, if only I could rub a magic lamp and get seven wishes {three is simply not enough!}  Here would be the desires of my least in this moment:

1. to be done moving already {this weekend we will officially be in the new house!}
2. to never move again
3. to have another little one - someday.  I got the baby fever, ya'll.  All my friends seem to be preggo.  Okay, that is an extreme exaggeration...but there are quite a few in my life at the moment.  It is making my ovaries hurt.  {Despite my case of ' baby fevah' Hubby and I are not in any way trying to get preggo.  In fact, we are 'the opposite of trying.'  As much as I like being pregnant I am loving not being pregnant and treasuring only having to deal with one kiddo.}
4. a cozy window seat
5. a vacation. 
6. for Cormac to skip the teenage years.  Dreading having a teenager.  No thanks.  
7. to have enough energy at the end of the day to read more than one page of a book.  Maybe I am reading the wrong books?

If you are just joining me, I am participating with the lovely ladies here and here, with their Ten Day YOU Challenge...

What?  The week is already half over???  
{hey - even SAHMs appreciate a short work week...}

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

sweet somethings : labor day weekend

1. Messy hair and lots of cuddling.
Something about holiday weekends makes you just want to relax, hang out, and avoid any normal obligations.  Oh, and spend lots of time lovin' on your fam.  Like this guy:

Oh my - he does completely look like his Dad...except for the eyeballs.
Those are my blue eyeballs.
Okay, so go ahead and call me a bad mama, but this kid is a total climber and every time he sees a step stool he goes for it!  So this time I let him and grabbed the camera...just 'cause he seemed so proud of himself...
2. Naps.  
I almost never nap and I actually took several this past weekend.  This signifies the start of football favorite napping background noise.  Oh, and I like the tailgating, beer drinking and food eating part of football season, too.

3. Birthday celebrating!  
We went out Saturday night with a group to celebrate a gorgeous and fun friend of mine.  Wish I would have taken more pictures, as everyone looked fabulous.  Plus, Hubby and I got a night out sans baby.  I spilled one cosmopolitan...which signifies me having a good time. :)

 4. Family outing! Lunch at Chipotle and...
perhaps too much chipotle?
5...trip to children's museum large, insane play area
To be honest, the eight million kids who were also there, along with eight million frazzled parents were kinda overstimulating for me...but to see this kiddo have fun running around and playing was totally worth it. 

dada had fun, too
I didn't get any photos of the insane, netted "ball area" because I was too busy looking for where there might possibly be an emergency exit I could escape out of...or a wine bar.

6. Cormac's first Labor Day fireworks
...or any fireworks, for that matter.
Forget Fourth of July.  Labor Day fireworks are the thing where we live.  Our city becomes completely nuts the Sunday night before Labor Day because there is a huge display that happens right on the river.  Everyone is out partying.  This year we were invited to a good friend's house that has a pretty awesome view.  Needless to say, Cormac had a blast.  He ran wild, spilled his milk {like mama, like son} and then when the fireworks started he lay his head sleepily on his Dad's shoulder and watched for about fifteen minutes.  Then he was fast asleep.

A good weekend, all in all.

Much love -