Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

baby bumThat slow-motion, frame-by-frame tumble when a baby falls off the couch toward the floor… We experienced that today and my heart nearly stopped.

My little guy had just massively spit up, and since his sitting skills have been developing nicely, I propped him up in the corner of the couch where we were both sitting in order to get us cleaned up. Then I looked away for a moment, just a moment! I whipped my head back around upon hearing his squeal, however, and saw nothing but an upside down baby butt as he tumbled toward the ground. I grabbed at whatever part of him I could get to first, and managed to rescue the child with his head less than an inch from the ground.

Oh wow, that was too close of a call!

He cried for a while, a small, squealing whimper that I’ve never heard before. I think it’s his “scared” cry. So I held him close and walked around the house until we’d both calmed down.

Now I know why they say to always stay within arm’s length…


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Swimming baby

Hey, here’s mah boy!

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7.5 months pregnant

It feels like a strange thing to say, but I love my figure right now! This is what being 7.5 months pregnant looks like and feels like? Then sign me up to do it again. (In a few more years, of course.)

Aside from being extra tired and a few other usual symptoms, this is a great time. I feel like myself, just with a growth on the front of me. Sometimes I even forget I’m pregnant and then will suddenly be surprised upon passing a mirror, or trying to go through a door I haven’t opened all the way… Baby regularly reminds me of its presence by kicking and squirming and twisting its head back and forth, and sometimes that will also catch me by surprise and remind me that I’m pregnant. It’s a weird experience, all of it.

The other day I was in the bathroom peeing, and as I finished up, the baby squirmed itself right down into the place where my full bladder had just been. “No, Baby!” I told it. “I didn’t open up that space for you; it’s my space!” Unsurprisingly, Baby didn’t have a clue about what I was saying, so after washing up, I went into an abandoned conference room and propped myself upside-down for a while to jostle the little one out of that space.

Gerry takes a picture of me each week to chronicle my growth … when I look back at the beginning, it’s hard to believe that was me. Being the size of a small whale is my new “normal,” and I’m so used to it by now. Haha!

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Last week while picking up some items at Target, Gerry and I experienced an actual instance of Worst-Case Thinking, the type that I usually read about … not see myself! Now I’m debating whether it’s more appropriate to share the story with Free-Range Kids or with Not Always Working.

So we’ve been in between homes for two weeks while waiting indefinitely to get the keys for our new house. (Living out of suitcases is only fun when you’re on vacation, I’ve discovered.) With our travel supplies running low and our main stash of stuff in a Budget truck, we went into Target for the following small necessities:

  • Double-sealed bottle of vitamins
  • Shrink-wrapped travel bottle of mouthwash
  • Hard plastic package of shavers (razors)
  • Chocolate bar in a cardboard package

Okay, so maybe chocolate isn’t a necessity. Haha!

At checkout, the cashier dumped the vitamins, mouthwash, and razors into a large plastic bag. I should have offered to just carry the items … they looked lost at the bottom of the bag. And then she took the chocolate bar and placed it in its own separate plastic bag. “Thanks, but you don’t need to do that,” I tried to stop her. “There’s plenty of room in the first bag. Or I could carry the chocolate. It doesn’t need its own bag.”

“No, no, no,” she responded. “Take the bag. Accidents can happen at any time.

I was literally speechless as we took the bags and walked out of the store. Accidents?! What accidents?! For the life of me, I can’t think of a single accident that could possibly happen if all of our items were to go in one bag, or if I were to carry the chocolate.

Like … ahh … the shavers packaged in that ridiculous hard-plastic-impossible-to-open-without-kitchen-scissors package were to somehow get in their minds to escape … and then the blades themselves fell out of the handles … cut the shrink-wrap on the mouthwash … which then managed to jiggle its child-proof cap open simultaneously as the vitamin package unscrewed itself, peeled off its protective paper, and lost the cotton … they combine and make a gas that then wafts up through the cardboard chocolate package and its inner foil and … horrors … makes the chocolate smell like mint!

Oh! What a horrible accident that would be! Too bad it’s impossible. Clearly, this cashier’s imagination is far greater than mine!

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Try a little kindness

Question: What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?

I think it would be kindness, because that trait flavors every action that a person does, and every interaction that person has. It’s sort of the golden rule, doing to others as I wish they’d do to me? Yeah. Also … it’s W.W.J.D. … err, W.J.W.D. What Jesus Would Do. “Be kind to one another, tender hearted and forgiving one another, even as God through Christ Jesus has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). That was one of the first Bible verses I ever learned.

One of the things I appreciate so much about my husband is that he always generously rounds up when tipping at restaurants. It’s not about service, it’s not even about tipping … it’s that he is showing true kindness by placing himself in the server’s shoes and knowing what that extra bit of tip will mean to him or her. As a habit, Gerry thinks of others before himself.

We sort of learned about this at church tonight. The teaching pastor took us through a passage of Scripture from Philippians 2 where Paul commends two guys, Timothy and Epaphroditus (sp?), using the passage to demonstrate how to study the Bible. (Observe what it actually says, interpret what it meant to the original audience, check out correlating passages, and find the application for us today.) Anyway, we discovered that Paul wanted the readers of this letter to honor and consider these two guys, Timothy and Epaphroditus, as examples and role models. Which begs the question, then what were these guys like? Well, they were:

  • Caring
  • Consistent
  • Cooperative
  • Considerate
  • Courageous

All of these traits go hand-in-hand with kindness… (Pastor Rick loves making lists of words with matching first letters, or that create crazy acronyms. This week in his small group curriculum, we learned the S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S. method of study … I am not joking. Space pets. That man’s sense of humor is … is … is … so innocent and ridiculous all at the same time.)

After church, Gerry and I attempted to go on a fun, cheap date that failed at “cheapness” in every way. The original plan was to go see the Muppets movie at our local dollar theater, but when we arrived there, it was all sold out. So then we thought about going to Costco (a new favorite cheap date) for samples and slices of pizza, but Costco was closed. Then we drove to the mall, where we were going to walk around, play table games at the Microsoft store, sample Godiva chocolate, and again try for cheap slices of pizza … but the mall had closed at 7:00 p.m. We were on the right side of town for Lamppost Pizza, the best pizza I’ve ever had, so although not cheap, we headed there. We accidentally parked at the wrong block of shops and walked around for a bit before realizing it, and then after googling the restaurant and retracing our route a few blocks, we found out that Lamppost Pizza had gone out of business … but there was another pizza shop in its place. So finally we just went in and ordered a medium Hawaiian pie for $20. It was tasty, but not the best like we had been expecting. And then when we tried to pay with a Mastercard gift card I’d received for participating in a focus group, it wouldn’t work and we had to pay with real money.

It was still a fun date, however, as all of these adventures unfolded. I always enjoy talking with my Gerry, and over dinner we played Scrabble against each other on his phone. Time well spent.


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Tour o’ Texas

Although my brother and his wife have been married for almost the same amount of time as Gerry and me, they have spent only half of those two years with each other. Titus trains monthly with the Marines, and for the past year he’s been preparing for and then deployed to Afghanistan. Right before he left this last time, I promised Lydia that I would visit her sometime during the deployment to help break up the waiting time. And although he NEWS FLASH: just landed in the States, I kept my word and went out to Texas for five days last week. Lydia and I had such a great time together!

Truly the best parts of the trip were simply our conversations with each other. Aside from our subdued mornings, Lydi and I talked almost the whole time. Stories of our childhoods, stories about Titus, plans for the future, regrets from the past, happiness from right now… We did a ton of cooking, a ton of eating, and a ton of simply sitting and talking. But she also had stuff planned for us each day.

It was a different sort of vacation for me, because I’ve typically lived in visited places where there are specific tourist destinations. Planning activities in East Texas takes a special kind of skill, I am convinced of it!

After picking me up from the little airport where I’d flown in by prop plane, Lydia drove me into town for dinner at a favorite restaurant, the Little Thai House. On the window, however, was a “closed” sign explaining that they were now observing maternity hours and we just open for lunch. That made us curious, and we decided to try again later in the week so that we could congratulate whoever was pregnant!

We ended up at an Italian restaurant for dinner where I tasted my first Italian cream soda. Delicious! It’s club soda with fruit syrup and actual cream on top. (Pick your flavor, they had it.) And back at the apartment, I got the grand tour. Lydia has gotten into quilting, and so we spent quite a bit of time oohing and ahhing over her fabrics and various quilt projects as well.

It was broiling hot during my week in Texas, and this day was no exception. I slathered on sunscreen for our morning trip to Shady Grove Ranch, a farm owned by my brother’s previous roommate and his wife. A few years ago, the roommate was diagnosed with a disease that excluded almost all foods from his diet, but he and his wife discovered that he was just fine eating hormone-free meat, milk, eggs, and veggies. So they set aside their engineering degrees, bought some land and some cows, and started their own sustainable farm. They give names to their animals, let the pigs run free in the woods (with electric fence boundaries of course), and expect every animal on the farm to either feed itself or feed someone else. So we strolled through the property, the farmers’ son in his little wagon getting pulled behind mom. Lots of greenery and lots of animals to visit with. Afterwards, we stood in the shade and talked about the challenges of running a small operation. Then Lydia bought some fresh meat, and we got two gallons of raw milk thrown in as part of the deal … it’s illegal to “sell” unpasteurized milk.

We left before lunch, with the temperature hovering around 106 degrees.The Little Thai House was open for lunch, so we hit that up. It’s such a small and quirky little place, with modern art all over the walls, a menu that cannot be adapted (because the cooks know how Thai food is supposed to taste and it insults them if a customer thinks he or she knows better), and a pierced Caucasian owner who walks amongst the tables and tells stories about moments of enlightenment on top of mountains in Asia.

We broke out Titus’s baby photo albums in the afternoon, and I fed Lydia’s curiosity about his childhood and upbringing. And in the evening, we went to a ladies’ Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Daniel, where shoo-fly cake was served and I got to reunite with one of the very first East Texans I’d ever met … Kristen the author and high school teacher! She’s so sweet.

Crockpot chicken curry at home, and talking until well after midnight.

This was quite a baking day. After wakening slowly, Lydi pulled out her recipes and baked us a pan of delicious and heart-stopping cinnamon sugar monkey bread. My heart was beating double-time after all of that sugar!

And we drank that fresh-from-the-cow milk. Aaaaaaa-mazing!

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It’s been almost a month since Gerry and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary, and I can’t believe that I still haven’t written about it!We had work and school in the morning, but took the afternoon off to go play at Disney’s California Adventure. Although this didn’t exactly work as a strategy for skipping the crowds, it was still pretty neat to be there in the middle of the day when normal adults are supposed to be in office buildings being responsible.

  • Little Mermaid ride: A preview two days before it opened (there was still a long line)
  • Toy Story Arcade: The line is always insane here, but the ride lasts about 8 minutes and is well worth it
  • People-watching: Gerry purposefully left his phone at home (he really loves me!) and we had a wonderful time whispering about our surroundings

Studio Restaurant at Montage ResortThen home for a short bit to clean up and put on our fancy duds, and on to the Studio restaurant in Laguna Beach. Go ahead, take a look at the website! Browse the menus and. Drool over the culinary photos. Yes, we went there! For three delicious and luxurious hours, we went there.

We arrived and were seated at the corner table pictured to the right, just as the sun was setting. A server brought us champagne, and we were then treated to a fantastic view of the channel islands silhouetted against the oranges and purples and grays of the diminishing sun.

And then the food started coming.

  • Hot breads and three different types of butters
  • Five delicious cheeses with fruit pastesnutshoneycomb, and flatbreads
  • Greens – This was delicious at the time, but I barely remember it compared with everything else
  • Bonni’s first course – Beef tenderloin carpaccio provencale (with capersarugulamarinated tomatoeseggplant marmalade, and a parmesan crisp)
  • Gerry’s first course – Spanish salad (with mizuna lettuceserrano hammanchegogarlic prawnspickled squash, and sherry vinaigrette)
  • Bonni’s second course – Sauteed Monterey calamari (with tarbais white beanschorizosweet pepper confit, and basil sauce)
  • Gerry’s second course – Seared Hudson Valley Farms foie gras (with caramelized onion asian pear salad and banyuls gastrique)
  • Bonni’s main course – Sauteed Alaskan halibut (with olive-oil poached potatoeshearts of palmkumquats, and smoked herb sauce)
  • Gerry’s main course – Oven-roasted veal rib-eye (with liquid polentacipolliniroyal trumpet mushrooms, and whole grain mustard)
  • Bonni’s dessert – Milk chocolate/cardamom mousse (with orange creamsicle ice cream)
  • Gerry’s dessert – Blandy’s Terrantez (spiced aged dessert wine), Madiera, Portugal 1969
  • Anniversary dessert – This was beautiful and tasty, but I barely remember it compared with everything else
  • Petits fours – Mostly intensely flavored fruit reduction jellies

That’s what a $300 meal looks like, friends. Oh, we ate and ate and ate… Of course we shared. We met the chef, we chatted with the restaurant manager, we delighted in the detailed service of the staff. And at the end of the meal, our server brought us a small gift bag containing a loaf of coffee bread and rhubarb marmalade to take home.

Our first year together was good, the second year was even better, and year three is off to a stupendous start. The longer we’re together, we experience…

less fighting
more sweetness
less time together
more unity

more forgiveness
less hurts
more mess
less stress

Being married to my Gerry is a good, good thing. ♥

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