Tuesday, February 23, 2010


As I've mentioned before, our family has not gone on any vacations within the last year. We've been playing it safe with this pregnancy and not flown.

This last weekend, though, we had a much needed family "staycation"!!

Breakfast was at Mitzel's. This is only the second time I've breakfasted there, and it was pretty good. I ordered the potato pancakes (which turned out to be gigantic) and Mike ordered his Belgian waffle.

No, these first two photos are not from our staycation, but they are of Brilla enjoying the sun we've had this last week! We took to the park after my mid-wife appt. It's like Spring here already! Can you believe it - in Western WA?

Back to our staycation. On extremely full tummies, we made our way south to Northwest Trek! Our plans to go to Museum of Flight were changed due to the gorgeous weather. Who wants to stay inside when one can be in the great outdoors looking at God's marvelous creation?!

This river otter was in perfect position for a shot. He's very photogenic, don't you think?

We saw swans, ducks, geese, bull elk (with antlers still!!), deer, moose, bison, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. We were blessed to see all these guys because sometimes you just never know if you'll see a little or a lot on your tour! I think they somehow got the memo that the sun was out :) Oh, and Mt. Rainier was in full glory as well. After trailing around to look at some of the off-tour animals - like bald eagles and black bears - we browsed the gift shop and then ate at the cafe. Their cafe has great food, just a heads up to any of you locals. And it's in this really cool lodge area with the fireplace crackling.

Then here we are the next day at staycation destination #2! Bellevue Square...Bri loved this fountain. In fact, I even let her reach down and put her hands in that delightfully germ-free water ;P She just couldn't get enough of this fountain!

We tried out a new restaurant, at least new to us. Z-Tejas, a Southwestern grill! Can I say the food was amazing? I know I'm pregnant, and that several times in this post I have mentioned what I've ordered at meals. Food is totally on my radar. But this place is seriously something. The prices are pretty decent, too. Hubby and I are definitely going back for a date night!

While browsing Bellevue Square, we also discovered an arcade that Bri fell in love with. I don't think she's ever seen anything of the sort. With all the flashing brilliance, she was mesmerized. We're so cheap...we didn't come prepared to do anything in there, so she satisfied herself by riding the cars, playing with guitar hero (with no sound), and just watching everyone else hang out. She loved it! And I discovered a super-nice Tully's that I'm going to have to go back to.

Our staycation was memorable. I thoroughly enjoy family days, and this was no exception. Especially with the sun out all day, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting! I feel incredibly blessed by God to get out and soak up the simple things in life. And with the dear, precious husband and daughter (and daughter soon-to-be-here) accompanying me, my joy is complete indeed!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Black-Bean Bliss

I love trying new recipes...that actually turn out. And that my husband will eat.

This one totally rocks! It's also extremely easy and done in about 20 minutes.

Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed
1/4 cup fined chopped onion
1/3 cup whole kernel corn
1/4 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 TB snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
4 whole wheat hamburger buns

1. Mash beans in bowl. Finely chop onion. Add onion, corn, salsa, pressed garlic, cilantro, salt and black pepper to beans; mix well. Add bread crumbs and egg whites to bean mixture; mix well. Form bean mixture into four round patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

2. Heat 12 in skillet over medium heat until hot. Lightly spray pan with nonstick cooking spray; cook patties 66-8 minutes until lightly browned, turning once.

3. Place burgers on buns; serve with toppings if desired.

I personally melted some cheddar cheese on top and added avocado. For tastier whole wheat buns, toast with butter before adding burger and toppings.

These are delicious, original, healthy and quick to make!

Oh, and I added some home-done french fries to boot. Needless to say, we're adding this to the family favorites list :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just an update

I really should be working on my Bible study stuff, but I can't help put that off for another bit while I post.

Baby Girl is 35 weeks as of yesterday. So, a mere 4 weeks, plus or minus, to go! I am very ready to be done being pregnant. Everything is uncomfortable. Sitting on the floor, sitting on the couch, sitting at the table...you get the picture. Really, if I could stand forever that would be ideal.

Overall, however, I have no complaints. This pregnancy has been wonderful. There have been episodes with all my previous pregnancies - the abruption with Brilla, stillbirth with Amelia, and the most recent miscarriage. All I've had with this one is the typical icky morning sickness for 3 solid months :)

I am looking forward to the rest of this year. We have not vacationed (as in flown vacations/out-of-state) for a solid year. I am getting the itch. Once the second princess makes her appearance, and after some reasonable rest, we will be off and running! Visiting relatives, attending a wedding or two, and hopefully Mike and I enjoying a romantic getaway. ::sigh:: That will be lovely.

Until then, I continue to nest. Organized our office. Started on taxes. Just noticed the toiled and shower need scrubbing. Cleaned frig. Cleaned both bedrooms yesterday. Sorted through all the girly clothing and parted with some outfits. Unfortunately, I found some cute outfits with gruesome yellowing all over. I would normally try to remove the stains, but alas, they've been in storage forever and it's just not worth the trouble. Besides, I have a feeling grandmas on both sides will see to a new wardrobe :)

I have recently acquired 2 huge boxes of music books. A local piano teacher has retired and I unwittingly agreed to take on her books. The good news is, she has some very cool teaching tools besides books included. Sad news, there is a massive amount that must be discarded. Like the "popular song books" from the 70's. No adult student, even now, would want those. I've also decided you just have to "say no" to junk.

It has been gloriously sunshiny in western WA this week. Beautiful. I can feel the vitamin D seeping in. On Wednesday, my daughter and I ate lunch in the park. Everyone else had crawled out from the cracks too, so she had quite a number of buddies to play with.

I just ordered Hooked on Phonics for the little ever-inquiring mind around here!! Seriously, my daughter is non-stop asking me how to sound out words, how to spell them. She really wants to read. And I want to quench that thirst. So, I finally got on that internet and ordered some new teaching tools! I'm very excited for her to have something to do while I am busy with her little sister. She's pretty happy, too. Can't stop talking about how she's going to be a big girl and do schoolwork. Actually, she wants to go to school like her big-girl cousins. But we have decided to be adventurous and home school, each year at a time. Yes, that will be crazy busy. But I'm looking forward to it!

There is a home being built right next door. Can I say I sympathize with the homeowners my husband builds next to? All that banging and jolting has gotten on my nerves. I'm in the stage where I'm getting used to it, but totally can't wait for all the people coming in and out of our small cul-de-sac to be gone. Thankfully, our neighbors have no windows on "our side" of their house. Yay for privacy!

Well, I must conclude. It's 10:23 am and I still have my jammies on. Also, my study notes await by my side. And I wanted to get out in that sunshine.

Tomorrow, we are having a family day! The weekend is always nice, especially when hubby is not working it. We're planning to go to the Museum of Flight. And maybe the day will include stopping by Tully's. A girl can dream, can't she?

Friday, February 12, 2010

34 weeks as of yesterday! My blissful baby belly is blooming!

Thankfully, my belly, and not my bottom (and hips and thighs), is the part of me mainly blossoming. I am still wearing the same maternity clothing as when I first started. I am so proud of my Baby Girl belly, though. And I love it when my First Girl reaches her arms around said Baby Girl belly to give her a hug and peck, cooing, "I love you, Baby". :)

I definitely have felt some changes. I am very sore ::ahem:: down there. My ligaments are for sure stretching. I am also very exhausted right around 2 p.m. and have to lay down for a power nap. My feet start to swell in the evening if I've been on them too long...which even means shopping, for like, 20 minutes. Gah. I also cannot bend over comfortable anymore. Bending over is something I try to avoid at all costs. So yeah, totally getting my thighs worked out as I bend from the knees versus the waist.

However, I'm hanging in there. And I have more energy at this point than my last two pregnancies. I'm also eating healthier and staying more active. I've decided not to do the gym thing. If I workout, my energy is taken for the rest of the day and I cannot survive. So, I'm putting my membership on hold for about 3 months. Needless to say, I'm busy nesting, carrying out my outside-the-home responsibilities, piano teaching, cooking, hanging with family and friends, and keeping an eye on my toddler. Yeah. I think I'm getting enough workout.

Praise the Lord. God has been providing for our construction business. We've had lean times, but I've never doubted God's ability to provide in those lean times. I've said this before, but it's either feast or famine in the construction industry. My husband has recently received several leads and many of them are panning out! Again, the Lord is our Provider!

I have been prepping for Baby. Recently bought and received the ittiest, cutest newborn outfits for our Baby Girl. Still working on that nursery, though. We just need to take a weekend and get it done. However, due to my husband's work, our weekends have been filled with business-related items or getting time in with family, who at times think we've crawled into a cave to live.

Needless to say, I still count every movement of Baby Girl a gift from God. I continually bathe her in prayer. Now, more than ever, I can't wait to see her beautiful face. Mama is getting antsy!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cleaning always brings out deep thinking in me. As I was scrubbing my pots and pans this afternoon, I began mulling over God's amazing grace and love.

About His grace and love. This last weekend I messed up. Treated my husband terribly (I'll spare you the details). Fact is, it took a while for my pride to simmer down, and conviction to settle in. And even though I later apologized, I still felt so guilty for my thoughtlessness and lack of love. I blew it! Not that this is my first faux paux ever (ha!), but just the fact that I did it again. When will I ever learn? In fact, even when I went to bed, the guilt weighed me down.

Next morning, I opened up my Bible to study John 13. After reading God's words and answering some probing Bible study questions, I went before Jesus with my heavy heart. Strangely, the story of Judas betraying Jesus struck home.

I realized that remorse and regret are wishing I wouldn't have sinned, wishing I could change my actions and words. But we all know we can't change the past. So it's a rather hopeless and shame-filled kind of sorrow.

However, repentance is not just saying, "I'm sorry", it's saying, "I'm through!" And right then and there, I barred my heart before the Lord, very ashamed of my sin, but rose from my bed a forgiven woman, determined to follow Jesus' way. Sure, it's likely I'll mess up again, but thank the Lord, He has power over sin...and we are prisoners under its shackles no longer!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Bug

This is the bug that never ends...

Brilla is sick again. She was healthy for a looong time, then boom. She has had a fever, at least one time in each of the three past weeks. It's like her body keeps fighting something off. Finally, this weekend, the bug won and now she has congestion and sore throat. Your common cold.

About 4 weeks ago is when I started going back to the gym to walk regularly. Seems that long ago when Brilla started catching her bugs. I'm very much tempted to never return. I do not know why parents will bring their children to the Kids Klub when they are sick. Sure, it' s an inconvenience to have to stay home and miss your workout, but making other kids sick is a bigger inconvenience!

I would not complain if I didn't have responsibilities to be at. I don't mind calling and saying I have to be absent for leadership. (There are other children in the childcare, I don't want to get them sick) However, when it happens repeatedly, I feel bad for my co-leader who has to carry the teaching load all by her lonesome - she has two children of her own. But I know I'm not in control of when my daughter gets sick; I'll just have to pray that she recovers healthily and quickly! And I'm SO glad I myself have not gotten sick at all. I think it's those prenatal vitamins! Thank you, Jesus, for keeping me and Baby safe!

Might as well take advantage of this free time to prepare for our soon Baby arrival! This past weekend, I went through most of my baby bins and discovered I have WAY too much baby clothing and blankets. Most of it I did not purchase. Most of it is from showers, generous friends and family. When I do purchase kids' clothing, it's pretty cheap, as my favorite place to shop is a downtown thrift store. Many of the outfits are $1 or less! For example, I could not believe my eyes one day when I found the cutest little black/hot pink GUESS sweat outfit for B for only $1.49. Anyhow, I will be giving away much of the clothing since I don't need all of it. However, I also found out I really have no newborn clothing. I had a handful to begin with, and unfortunately, many of the pieces are stained. Even the cute blue with yellow duckies welcome outfit my newborn Brilla wore! She had to wear preemie clothing too, before her newborn stuff. Who knows the measurements of this new little girl :)

In my perusal, I also discovered that I have two baby carriers, which I might sell. One is Snugli, the other Infantino. I discovered my grocery cart cover, baby food blender, two diaper bags, breast pads, breast milk bags, breast pump, infant toys (rattles and such), mobiles, crib bedding, bottles (which I hardly ever used) and other miscellaneous items I won't bore you with. I have one more bin to browse, and I will be done. Goodness, you'd think I had 4 kids or something with all my baby stuff! When you're a first time mom, you don't know what you need, so I ended up registering for everything I thought I needed. This time 'round, things will be much simpler.

Here are some things experience has taught me I do not need:

  • Boppy. I'm petite anyway, so Baby can reach fine for nursing.
  • Bottles. A nursing mom only needs one or two!
  • Baby monitor. This is personal preference. Both my husband and I decided we did not need this. I honestly never discovered how they were supposed to help a parent. But again, some parents love them.
  • High chair. Wipe-able booster seat all the way, Baby!
  • Infant carrier. My babies are very small as infants, so I will be using a sling or wrap instead.
  • Wipe warmer.
  • All those afghans. They are cute and beautiful, but are too hard for swaddling, and baby's toes get caught!
  • Pacifiers. Brilla was not a paci girl. We were completely surprised by this. Who knows if this one will be, but I'd rather she not be!
  • Diaper pail. Can you say "trash can"?
  • Jogging stroller. Gym membership has rid my need of jogging/walking around my neighborhood. Safer in my case.
Things I will be using this time:

  • Cloth diapers.
  • Sling/wrap.
  • Swaddling blanket.
  • Silicone breast pads.
  • Great nursing bras.
  • Better tummy-time mat.
  • Simple diaper/wipe carrier versus huge diaper bag all the time.
  • Baby food blender. I didn't use it at all last time, but I'm hoping to save money by making my own baby food.