Tuesday, May 31, 2011

food love

I had the privilege of getting my Jon home from work early tonight! After a long weekend and our first night apart ever (more on that later) it was nice to be able to cook dinner for ourselves. On the menu? Homemade pasta, meat sauce, & salads (wedge for him, romaine for her):
His (more noodles than sauce)

Hers (more sauce than noodles)

Can we pause for a second to appreciate the wedge salad Jon made himself?
 The only thing to top off a 95 degree night like tonight? I dare you to guess.
Edy's Slow Churned mint chocolate cookie ice cream. I also dare you to guess what time of the month it is.

I mentioned earlier that we spent our first night apart. My dear friend Rebecca currently lives in New York and her parents made the journey for Memorial Day so I jumped at the opportunity to see her. It was a rough night without my beau but a lovely day and I am so grateful to her parents for making our time together happen.

How did you spend your Memorial Day?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

waffles

Jon is the early riser in our family. I, on the other hand, sleep in (if 7:30 counts as sleeping in) at any possible opportunity. Jon is also a waffle enthusiast, which I more often than not benefit from.

Today he put both of these traits to good use:


Fun fact: Jon didn't know for a good 7 months that the waffle maker is quartered into sections for a reason. He always poured just a little bit of batter directly in the center of the waffle maker (which resulted in small, snowflake-shaped waffles). The day he realized he could make four at once was an exciting one.

These bad boys were pretty delish. They were cornmeal blender waffles--the recipe can be found here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

stormy weather

I'm entirely exhausted on this grim Thursday.

Yesterday after work Jon and I were having a great time--dinner at Outback with a gift card we got for Christmas, dessert at Mary Coyle (I had a peanut butter/hot fudge sundae). As we sat on their patio enjoying our ice cream I noticed the leaves on the trees had overturned and mentioned to Jon a big storm was brewing. Ya'll probably think I'm crazy but I've noticed that right before a big storm the leaves on the trees turn over (probably a combo of wind/humidity) giving them a silvery look. Jon thought I was crazy the first time I told him this but he confirmed it last night.

About an hour after we got home I got a text from my sister that said, "you've got some nasty stuff headed your way." I called our car insurance company to confirm that we had hail coverage (we only have a 1-car garage). We did. Then I looked out the dining room window and saw this:
Not pictured: the neighbor kids standing in their front yard and pointing westward.
Not even 3 minutes after I snapped that picture (which, by the way, does not do justice to just how dark the sky was) a meteorologist interrupted our broadcast with, "well that happened fast--northern Summit county, you are now under a tornado warning. A funnel cloud has been spotted in the Hinckley/Bath area and you need to take cover." Like clockwork, the tornado sirens started blaring. For those of you not from northern Ohio, it's pretty rare to actually hear tornado sirens. Usually tornado watches and warnings don't evolve into anything requiring a siren here. So that creeped me out.

Jon and I rushed around to get our handy crank flashlights and the baby [Marsala] and rushed downstairs. We didn't have time to dig the baby's carrier out of the closet and she doesn't like to be held for long periods of time, so Jon grabbed our laundry basket and a blanket to make an impromptu carrier when we were down there. I've never seen wind so intense (there are some small windows that peer just above the ground in our basement) and trees so stressed. Within 15 minutes (and several concerned texts later) it seemed like the worst had passed. We went upstairs for the rest of the night. The tree in our front yard lost some branches but nothing else seemed to happen in our 'hood.

The tornado warning ended at 8. So why am I exhausted? I'm a light sleeper. And it thundered throughout the night. Prompting severe-weather-weary Danielle to wake up and check the National Weather Service website to make sure there weren't tornadoes coming. 

I'm just glad Jon was home because if he wasn't I would have had a major panic attack. They're calling for more severe weather tonight and I'm praying we don't have a repeat of yesterday...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

adorable overload

There is just something about babies in tutus that hits you in your innermost happy place. Exhibit A:
 Exhibit B:
 Most importantly, Exhibit C:
I DIE. Cute overload!
Jon says he hopes when we have kids that we have all boys because "boys are easier." Heaven help us, though, because if we have all little boys one day they WILL be dressed in tutus. Every. Last. One of them. I can't help it. Tutus are just too cute. Especially on a babe as cute as Lillian.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

love146 update

This Tread on Trafficking is grilling my tush. I am still so out of shape but working towards reaching our goal of 500 miles ridden for the months of May and June. The good news is Jon and I are 20% done with our bike goal! We're behind due to weather and not joining the fundraiser until mid-May, but we are working towards our goal the best we can.

We also have a goal to raise $2000 for Love146. Will you please consider supporting this amazing cause by donating here? Every little bit helps - think about something you may be able to sacrifice this week, such as your fancy coffee habit or that extra pair of shoes (or purse, or in Jon's case, bow tie) that you probably don't need or can put off a bit longer. Human trafficking is a huge concern in our world and we need to ban together to fight it because:

  • human trafficking generates $32 BILLION annually -- the 2nd most profitable crime in the world
  • there are an estimated 27 million people currently enslaved
  • 2 children are sold for sex every minute
  • there are over 1.2 million children trafficked every year
    • over 100,000 of these children are from the United States (so this isn't just a problem third world countries have)
For more information about the nature of human trafficking, visit Love146's site here.

a wonderful day

Yesterday Jon and I woke up bright and early to go on a bicycle tour on the towpath, and pictures ensued:




Following that, we rushed home to shower in order to head to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo:
Their new elephant exhibit is AMAZING.

One of the highlights of the trip.

Jon's favorite animal: a klipspringer

The best exhibit at the zoo
After the zoo we had our friends over for a housewarming party. Make-your-own-grilled-cheese bar, beer bread/dip, watermelon, and dirt were involved. Of course I meant to take pictures of it and forgot. We ended up staying awake way later than we normally do. I'm a redhead now thanks to my wonderful friend, Danielle. I can't remember the last time I saw 11 pm. I think it was Black Friday 2010... I'm still recovering

Friday, May 20, 2011

exhaustion

I have been insanely productive on this fine Friday!

From sweeping all non-carpeted floors (and mopping!) to vacuuming to preparing all sorts of dishes for tomorrow, I have officially run myself ragged.

Beer bread before

Beer bread after

Organized, swept, & mopped... finally, nearly 3 months post move-in

Swept, mopped, cleaned sink & toilet

Dusting & vacuuming galore

Various loads of laundry (such as the tablecloth)

This is batch 7 of dishes. SEVEN. Barf.
Not pictured: riding my bike to the grocery store to purchase cookies for dirt since we are still sans Jon's car, putting clothes away, cleaning Marsala's box, taking out lots of trash, and sweeping under our bed.

Where is a nap when a girl needs it?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

mo' money, mo' problems

Today was a rough day. First, the plans Jon and I made for a work conference/one year wedding anniversary celebration might not work out because it looks like I'll have to head to Toronto a day early--a day that Jon can't get off of work. Then Jon informed me that the super cute pair of black pants that I got on sale at Kohl's yesterday (and intended on wearing every day until they fall apart*) still had the security tag on them so I would need to drive the 25 minutes to Kohl's when I got home from work in order to render them wearable.

While discussing these misgivings, Jon observed (on his lunch break) that his car appeared to be leaking gas. So after dropping my carpool buddy off, I went straight to his work to leave my car and take his in. After dropping off his car at Firestone I walked home... and through a very muddy field. Thus dirtying my beautiful mock Rocketdogs.

After work I had wanted to go for a ride because for the first day in what seems like a month the weather was cooperating. But my bike is in the garage and the clicker to the garage is in Jon's car at the shop. And since I'm carless I can't go to Kohl's to get my pants taken care of. Mo' money, mo' problems, amiright?

In all reality, these issues are meaningless compared to the two children that are sold for sex every minute/the 1.2 million children that are sold annually. Will you please stand up with Jon and I against such an awful problem? You can help by donating here. Despite the awful weather, we have since ridden 63.61/500 miles!

*I had a pair of black H&M pants my freshman year of college. I wore them EVERYWHERE. EVERYDAY. Until they got a hole in the crotch. I have searched for their replacement for four years:
RIP black pants (although a rip is what ended our relationship)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

you are merciful to me


God knows just how to humble me in the most loving ways possible. Through lots of hard work (and even more prayer, grace, and divine intervention) I was able to get the B required to pass my tissue engineering class.

Yesterday I finally got my first haircut in easily over six or seven months. In the process I got to catch up with a wonderful person. After that I got to have dinner with my sister which was much needed. While she and I can butt some serious heads, at the end of the day we're eerily similar and I think we just get each other. Know what I mean?

Today, Jon has the day off of work. That means I get to spend some highly overdue quality time with the hubs. The sun was shining when I left this morning and I just could feel that today would be a lovely day.

This weekend will be filled with bike rides, zoo animals, and fellowship. God is good!

Monday, May 16, 2011

protected

Last night Jon and I made a couple of the more expensive and really boring "grown up" purchases life sometimes requires. Included in our list was:

-four 9V batteries--one for the garage door opener, one for the smoke detector (and 2 extra)
-a carbon monoxide detector since our apartment didn't have one

Combined, those purchases came out to nearly $45. Do you know how many shirts I could have bought at TJ Maxx for that price? Or how much food? I love food.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

dessert for dinner

After reading the Hendrick's post about the dirty cupcakes made in honor of their son's birthday, I had no choice but to drop everything and rush off to the grocery store.

The dessert staple of my youth (besides my family's red velvet cake recipe) is my mom's famed dirt cups. Whenever it was my birthday, I would request dirt cups as my snack to share with my class. And how I enjoyed sitting on the counter while my mom made them, licking the spatula at the first opportunity.

It's been years since I've had these, but the years of observing my mom actually stuck with me. I didn't even need to call her for a recipe! Just mix together a box of instant chocolate pudding with a tub of cool whip and grind up a package of Oreo (or in our case, generic) cookies and intermix! Jon's not home from work yet, but I have a feeling he'll relish in the whole dessert for dinner concept.
In other news, our bottled water recently grew whiskers:

I also forgot to mention that a good portion of the Cleveland State campus saw my underpants on Thursday when a big gust of wind came out of nowhere following my big medical device presentation and blew up my skirt. Jon says he bets it was Marilyn Monroe-esque. Anyone who knows how graceful I am probably realizes it wasn't.

Finally, would you *please* consider joining the Love146 fight against human trafficking by sponsoring our 500-mile goal here?

happy sunday

These little babes found life on my in-law's porch...
Two very hungry babes

And one very loving mama

Saturday, May 14, 2011

allergic to exercise

Jon had previously knocked out 12 of our combined 500 miles. Today I decided I needed to get in on that action. Mind you, Jon has been working out since 2011 began and I haven't. As such, to hop on for a 12 mile ride would probably have killed me. Especially since whenever I walk long distances, bike, or run, my arms and legs get all red and REALLY itchy. I like to say I'm allergic to exercise. Today, we each rode 6 miles, bringing our combined total to 24 miles.

I helped Jon prepare my bike by getting grease on my leg.

Mine

His

Post-ride. I'm wiped; so out of shape.

Love that face (the "you're really tired after 6 miles?" face)
See? We're holding up on our end of the deal, chipping away mile by mile to reach our goal. Would you consider joining us to fight the good fight against human trafficking? If you feel compelled to give, please donate to Love146 here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

victorious

I am officially done with school for the semester, and Jon will be joining me within the next three hours. Last night was my medical device group presentation. Against all odds, our team won first place!

I probably won't know the outcome of my grades until Tuesday or Wednesday. That wait will eat away at me, but I have a general idea of what I'll be getting. I do hope to be pleasantly surprised in some areas, though.

Love146 Update:
We are already at 10% of our fundraising goal! Would you please consider joining Team Flip in the fight against the child sex trade by donating here?
We are at 12/500 miles. Baby steps, people!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

love146

Jon and I have a new goal for the remainder of May and June: raise money to support Love146, an organization dedicated to ending (and helping the victims of) child trafficking. We hope to raise $2000 by July.

To encourage your giving, consider sponsoring us for the number of miles we ride our bikes. During the next month and a half, Jon and I have set a goal to ride our bikes for a combined total of 500 miles. Please show your support by donating at our team page ("Team Flip") by clicking here. I will keep you updated on our mileage through Facebook and/or this blog.

For more info about what Love146 does, click here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

yogurt parfait

Up until Sunday, I would hardly consider myself a yogurt lover. In fact, I even despised frozen yogurt, which was (supposedly) significantly more sugary than regular yogurt. Well, we had a "make your own parfait" bar at our Mother's Day brunch, and ever since then I have been on a kick.
Strawberries, blueberries, & granola
It could have to do with the fact that I know the leftovers will be going bad very soon and I am inherently frugal, or it could be that it tastes like summer in a cup. Either way, I have been inhaling this stuff for breakfast daily with still half of a 2 lb tub of yogurt (I totally didn't realize until just now that I've easily consumed at least a pound of yogurt in the last 3 days...) left. Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

patience & grace

It's finals week and therefore I am spread relatively thin--this will probably be my only post until Friday. Between studying, keeping house, and trying to somewhat enjoy the nice weather we've been having, I have been a bit on edge lately. And it's shown in my interactions with those around me.

I've been short and catty, frustrated and overwhelmed. If you look at me the wrong way I'll lose it. Clearly, patience is not one of my strong points. It's something I've been working on for years, and I will often make progress only to fall back into old ways.

I lost my cool yesterday in regards to a group project I've been working on. I felt like not all members had been pulling their weight and I finally lost it. I need to learn that emails are NOT the best platform for criticism because my tone is very often misinterpreted. While I stand by the principles behind the things I said, I'm sure I could have said them in a much more loving way. I'm sure I could have been more sympathetic and had more grace. But I didn't and at the very least I learned from it. I am such an emotionally driven person that I can sometimes let my frustrations get the best of me. There have been numerous times that I've said something "in the moment" I later regretted. I guess that's one of the pitfalls of wearing your heart on your sleeve.

But I need to find a balance between showing grace and being a whipping post. Far too often have I let people get away with things that I knew weren't right for the sake of avoiding conflict. I think I'm finally starting to find my voice and let people know directly to them that I am not pleased with something they did (or failed to do). I have a feeling this grace/independence balance will have several imbalances through the coming months and I will find myself dangerously close to disaster. However, it's about time I start focusing on my life aspirations and as such I will no longer allow others to jeopardize the things I've worked my tail off for the last 17-odd years.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

ode to my mom

Today for Mother's Day we hosted our parents and Jon's brother (and his fiancĂ©e) for brunch. I fully intended to take pictures of our (dare I say it) beautiful spread, but had totally forgotten until I had already cleaned up. Mini feta/ham quiche, strawberry croissant French toast, fruit and yogurt parfaits, bacon, and home-fries. It was a really nice time and Jon and I are grateful for our moms (and family).

Sister, Mom, & Me

I have an incredibly patient mom. I was always the one to push her boundaries: little sleep, always getting into things I shouldn't, then misbehaving until I evoked a negative response (only to suffocate her with apologies immediately after). I think I had some sort of weird need for attention from her--it didn't matter whether or not it was negative, as long as she knew I was there. I have yet to figure out the source for such a need and it probably took every ounce of self-restraint fathomable to keep herself from beating the snot out of me. I was bad.

When we had the flu, she'd open the sofa sleeper and stay downstairs on it with us all night to rub our backs as we got sick. If we wanted to go to a friend's house she'd find time in her day to take us. Our birthday parties were the coolest you could ever imagine. She went above and beyond most moms that I know and I was exceedingly blessed because of that. I genuinely hope that one day when I have kids of my own I can be half of the mom mine was.

Friday, May 6, 2011

the great conundrum

I love me some Aldi's. It's cheap, their produce is exactly the same as you'd get at Trader Joe's (fun fact: they're owned by the same company!), and they always have something unexpected. One of my most exciting finds was this little bugger:

So what's the problem? This delish bottle of sparkling water is crazy affordable and satisfies my sweet-tooth cravings when they strike. It's also black cherry (one of my favorite fruits); what's not to love!? What's not to love is the fact that my black cherry frut dazzle sparkling water beverage smells like ALMONDS. This has puzzled me since I opened my first bottle (which also, incidentally, exploded all. over. me) and the debate rages to this day. I think I need to add determining that source to my bucket list.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

weird dreams & heavier stuff

Last night I had a dream that I was pregnant, or at least I thought I was. Since I wasn't sure, Jon and I decided to head over to his parent's house to use the ultrasound machine they just so happened to have lying around. Further inspection inside my belly yielded not only a baby, but THREE babies inside my body. Even further inspection showed us that it appeared as though there were multiple other babies in my fallopian tubes and whatnot, just hanging out and waiting to head towards the uterus. I had lots of babies in there. That realization was accompanied by a dream panic attack. I would LOVE to have twins one day (knock 2/5 out for the price of 1) but the thought of any more than that at once is terrifying.

On to the heavier stuff. I think my dream was triggered by the "16 and Pregnant" episode I watched on MTV last night. It got me thinking a lot about teenage pregnancy. In this particular episode, the 16-year-old's school actually had a daycare on site. They even arranged for car seats on the school bus so the teen moms could bring their baby in for childcare. While the whole image of a baby on a school bus (and the mom getting a text in the middle of her history test that she needed to go to the nursery and breastfeed) was totally weird to me, I think that school is on to something. I understand exactly what the school is trying to accomplish. I am a pro-lifer and of the opinion that if you are old enough/mature enough/in a life position to have sex, you should be old enough/mature enough/in a life position to be able to have a baby. That may mean putting it up for adoption, but I do not think abortion is the right answer. In the case of the teen mom last night, her mom wanted her to get an abortion but she said no. I'd like to think that part of the reason she had her baby was because she had options--especially one to graduate high school.

Far too many of the teen moms on that show have been unable to graduate because of a lack of childcare. Why wouldn't a school want to provide the basis for its teen mothers to graduate? To try and break the statistical cycle that babies born to teen moms will often become teen moms themselves? That many teen moms are unable to graduate? I'm sure the ultraconservatives would entirely disagree with my stance and say that an in-school daycare would only encourage teens to have sex. I think that's a bit ridiculous and I think many of the [older] generation are completely out of touch with the reality of this world we live in. Many in the church could follow the school featured in last night's episode. I'm sure the administrators disagreed with the teen's decision to have completely unprotected sex, and I'm sure at least one teacher there disagrees with premarital sex. But they didn't judge the girls; instead, they offered them unconditional support, desiring what was best for their students. What a state our church would be in if we did the same for everyone whose lifestyles we didn't agree with! After all, we're all sinners ourselves, so who are we to pass judgement? I'm pretty sure teen moms realize the err of their ways and we don't need to chastise them for their mistakes. How would you feel if you were being rebuked in one of your most difficult times? You'd likely hate everything the rebuker stands for. As Christians, we are supposed to exemplify Christ's love. We should really start re-evaluating how we minister to those around us, how we act when a new [young] single mother shows up in our sanctuary for worship. We need to learn how to stop judging and start supporting. You can disagree with the decision(s) a person makes but still love that person for what God intended when He created them. What a beautiful place this world could be if more of us took that lesson to heart...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

opposites attract?

In some regards, Jon and I are the same person. In most others, we are total opposites. The parallels even run through our families: I grew up with an older sister, Jon with an older brother. My mom and his dad have the same exact birthday (year & all). Our families our like mirror images of each other.

Apparently, Jon and I each spent the first decade of our lives basically naked. Uninhibited, we were free spirits that wouldn't be held back by clothes. I expect our kids to be naked until they're 20 as a result. We were both very active growing up--between the two of us, we've participated in the following activities: baseball/softball, basketball, track & field, soccer, swimming & diving, gymnastics, horseback riding, dance (I think you can tell the latter 3 were all Jon), music, choir, cycling, etc. We are two of the most stubborn people you will ever meet and we are very opinionated. And apparently we are both hams for the camera:

While we have some similarities, we are so different on most levels. Jon is a billion times more mellow than I am (surprised?) and, as I like to tell him, has no sense of urgency. If we're running late, Jon takes his time and I have a panic attack. In social situations, Jon's reserved and I'm in your face. Jon can study for 30 minutes for an exam and get an A, I study for a combined total of 26 hours and get a D. If I see something that needs done, I don't rest, whereas Jon can walk past it for weeks. It takes a lot to upset Jon, but an odd glance or a strange inflection in your voice when speaking to me is enough to resolve me to tears.That last one coupled with our mutual stubbornness can be a dangerous combination when we disagree. That was easily one of our biggest struggles when we first got married: finding the balance between our desire to be right and our desire to love our spouse.

Our parents have told us we complement each other well: Jon mellows me out and I push him to take care of the stuff he needs to in a timely fashion. I'm pretty sure the age-old adage that opposites attract had our relationship in mind when it was created.

Monday, May 2, 2011

skeptic

I've always been a skeptic. In school, I often struggled with principles in my math and science classes because I wanted to know how and why, not just what I was being taught. I wanted the proof. I wanted to understand. Incidentally, I hated proofs in math class when they were assigned and I loathe derivations in science. But if you tell me something is true, I expect you to be able to back it up with some sort of reasoning or objective evidence.

Yes, I am a Republican. No, I am not a birther. BUT I simply don't believe bin Laden is dead. I'm not saying the White House is lying about this fact--I believe that they think they got the right guy. But since this just happened and reports are still fuzzy, currently the only thing I know in terms of how they identified him is "facial recognition." They may have used DNA evidence as well, but so far the only reported confirmation was facial recognition--if it was done by a person (as opposed to software) this would be subjective. Facial recognition is not a concrete science. Even the best object recognition software has flaws. And when they say he was shot in the head I can't imagine his face was entirely intact, depending on where the bullet entered/exited.

As such, I just don't buy it. The "facts" don't line up for me right now. How is it we had no idea (other than a general one) where bin Laden was for the past decade? And now, all of a sudden, he decided it was a great idea to hang out at his fancy digs in Pakistan, where we had also [relatively] recently began drone attacks not too long ago? The reality is, bin Laden is an incredibly intelligent man. It doesn't matter that he used his intelligence for evil, he was still smart. Hanging out at his luxurious estate in Pakistan just seems like too stupid of a move for him.

Plus, I recall there being reports back in the day that it is likely he has several look-alikes running around as decoys. Intelligence reports indicated that several people had even had plastic surgery to make their appearance similar to bin Laden's. It's all hearsay, but I wouldn't doubt it. Again, that's a pretty darn smart thing to do.

I truly hope that the government used something more than just "facial recognition." I truly hope they got the right guy. I'm just saying I don't buy it right now because that just seems too easy. I'm not saying they're lying, I'm just saying I'm weary that in the coming weeks we will find a new video featuring bin Laden and he will detail how the U.S. failed to kill him.

**UPDATE: I just heard on the news that DNA tests are indeed being conducted and results should be available within the next few days. I will remain a skeptic until we get those results, but I'm glad our officials were smart enough to not solely rely on facial recognition.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

an easter in pictures

It's a week overdue, but I finally uploaded some pictures from Easter:
Our baby insists on sleeping on clothes, no matter where they are.  Bed, couch, laundry basket: fair game.

Easter desserts! Mine is the debacle in the middle. Oof.

Gram didn't participate in egg dyeing, but she watched.

Colors!

More colors!

...And still more colors!

Charlie Sheen-inspired "crack addict" egg... which happened to be gram's favorite egg of the bunch.

Do you see this? Man-lust. Chromeo is my husband's mistress.

The final products. We got to see our friends Rebecca and Paul, who are from Australia, for  Easter. It was lovely.