Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rellenitos


Today, I wrote a cooking post for Compassion about a recipe from Guatemala. Spoiler alert: it includes sugar and refried beans!

If you want to read more about the dessert that perhaps shouldn't be, go here!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hope Lives Read Through


An advocate for Compassion is doing a community read through of Hope Lives starting today. I wrote a kick-off post for her today. Check it out!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week 4 Workouts and Marathon Update

Once again, knowing that I was going to post my workouts online got me to up my zero level of activity to at least a paltry level of activity. Snow, wind, sickness and simple laziness conspired to keep me down, but I managed to do a little...

Wednesday: Walked the stairs inside my house as it was too cold to go out, accompanied by jumping jacks and other exercise accoutrements. The baby thinks squatting and leg lifts are hilarious, which adds a new incentive to tone.

Thursday: Shoveled 6 inches of snow...and called that good.

Friday: Walked at the park.

In other news, I got my team page up and running! Check it out here. There are three friends who are going to walk the marathon with me. I have also arranged to raise money for a cause that is close to my heart, getting children in northern Thailand identification.


Along the northern border of Thailand, there are many refugees from Burma, some who have fled from ethnic persecution and raids from the army. Many are from the Karen tribe, a minority in both Thailand and Burma and considered the lowest of the low in their societies. Many of these children have been born in Thailand and legally have the right to Thai citizenship. But poverty, a foregin language, and illiteracy mean that most of these children and their parents don't know their rights.

These ethnic minorities are "stateless people" and the children are at high risk for exploitation and abuse. Because in the eye of the law the children have no identity, they are at high risk to be trafficked into Thailand's large sex industry.

So I'm raising funds to help these children gain citizenship and identification papers through Compassion International and International Justice Mission.

I'm excited to do something small to help these precious kids!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Outside My Window

Outside my Window... The snow is windswept across the sidewalk and driveway which I so diligently shoveled. After our big snow yesterday, I was so proud that I was a big girl and shoveled like a responsible neighbor...until it snowed again. The nerve!

I am thinking... Hmm, after sitting here for several minutes, I can't think of anything I'm thinking about...Is that sad?

I am thankful for... My daughter and guacamole and central heating.

From the kitchen... I'm making my great-grandmother's chicken rice casserole. Usually by this time of night, I would have already eaten dinner and second dinner. Enter guacamole. I ate an entire avocado worth of guacamole so dinner was on hold. "But it's good fat!" you say. You're right. I better go eat some chicken rice casserole.

I am wearing... A maternity shirt. Is that sad? What used to hide my belly bump now hides my muffin top. I'm officially down to my pre-pregnancy weight, so I used my Christmas Macy's gift cards that had been burning a hole in my pocket. Ever the optimist, I bought pants a size too small, hence the muffin top.

I am reading... Bossypants by Tina Fey. Very funny.

I am hoping... For a quiet weekend in which all the laundry magically gets done.

I am hearing... Anthony Bourdain eat coconut frog soup in Thailand on Netflix while I type.

Around the house... The master bath tiling project is getting closer and closer to its completion. Most the tiles are now cut; we just have to wait for some more warm days to cut the rest.

One of my favorite things... Guacamole. Oh, wait, I've already talked about that. But I'll tell you about my first experience with guacamole anyway. My dad took me with him to a Toastmasters party when I was a little girl. When we got there, we played that game when they put a sticky note with a celebrity's name on your back and you have to guess who you are...I was Madonna. The only other thing I remember is a huge bowl of guacamole. While the adults mastered toasts, I stood next to the bowl for roughly 43 minutes and ate roughly 10 avocados worth of guacamole. I've never turned back.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... Tomorrow my laundry will magically get done while I do nothing. My baby will also somehow get washed. On Monday, I will make dinner for small group; it's always a guessing game of how much food to make. Sometimes there will be 4 people who show up and you're eating leftovers the rest of the month. Other times, 20 people show up and you're hoping each person will only take two grains of rice, lest you run out.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... Allie hanging out on the couch with me tonight while Mike is out gallivanting about town.


Oops, she dropped her giraffe.


And just because, here is a photo of how Mike found Allie after her afternoon nap.


She thinks she's hilarious.



And she is.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You've Got Some Avocado on Your Face

I don't plan on giving Allie solids until I absolutely have to, but occasionally we like to stick things in her mouth just to see what happens. Generally what happens is she spits it all back out. Such was the case with avocado.


Don't worry; she's not crying because I'm force feeding her. Her eyes are just perpetually teary.

And, just because, here are a few outtakes from yesterday's photo shoot. I like this photo because I think it finally confirms that she has my eyes and not Mike's. I'm not the hugest fan of my other features, but I would be proud to pass on my family's eyes.


Here is her pouty look she has recently learned. This photo confirms that she definitely has Mike's brows. Is it wrong that I have to hold myself back every day from tweezing my 5-month-old's brows?


And this is the quintessential Allie look with which she faces the world each day. Curious but subdued; observant but reserving judgment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Wednesday!


Allie just wanted to say hi and happy Wednesday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 3 Workouts

Though posting my workouts online certainly crosses the border of too much information, remembering that I had to report on my activity got me out the door last week!

So without further ado, here were last week's walks:

Tuesday: Walked Pulpit Rock Open Space with the man


Wednesday: Walked to Blodgett Peak


Thursday: Walked around the park for an hour and a half


Saturday: Around Bear Lake and around Sprague Lake in Estes Park; not super-impressive walks, but when you consider we had 3 babies with us, not too shabby!


OK, so this isn't us, it's our friends, but we were there, I swear!

Our Valentine's Weekend

Once again, we spent a weekend in Estes Park to celebrate Valentine's Day. This time we went with three other couples from our small group. There were 3 babies under a year old, so we didn't ice climb any 13ers at night with one hand, as we usually do. No, it was a relaxing weekend just hanging out with a trip to Sprague Lake, Bear Lake and the Alluvial Fan.

Here's a pic of the fabulous kitchen in the home we rented.


We all pretty much decided to move here. It was definitely the coolest place I've ever stayed. Here's the fireplace...which we never figured out how to make a successful fire in.


The moms hanging out in the living room.


The view we were looking at.


And here's our new official family portrait taken from the home's balcony.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Some Random Videos

Just to brighten your Saturday, here are some random videos...

Alexandra recently discovered she is ticklish.

video

We are in Estes for the weekend with some friends. Here is the view from our balcony. This house is insane.

video

And last, here's a video of our home this week during the frost that covered every pine needle.

video

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wanderlust: Amsterdam

As I mentioned in my last travel post, I took a trip to Amsterdam with a group from church who were considering starting a church there. I've been stalled out on it because there's too much to say about my time in Amsterdam to fit in one post...so instead, I'll just focus on our one week exploratory trip there circa 2000.

What I remember first is our hostel. Our group was too big to fit into one hostel, so we were split into two: the married couples all stayed in a hostel somewhere chic, like the Jordaan, while the single girls stayed in a hostel...in the red light district. Well, it wasn't technically in the red light district, but it was only a hop, skip, and a jump from it. We were slightly nervous walking around the neighborhoods at night alone, but our youthful views of mortality swept any unpleasant worries from our minds rather quickly.

That is until one night when we got home. For some reason I remember that before we entered the hostel, I saw a clown on the street in front of the hostel. One of those scary clowns that give you nightmares as a kid. It set the creepy stage for when we entered.

In the lobby of our hostel was a pool of blood and one of the workers mopping it up. Two of the people staying in the hostel had gotten in a fight, which ended in a stabbing. I remember laying in my creaky bunk bed that night, calculating exactly how many steps it was from the pool of blood in the lobby to my bunk bed. I believe it was about 13.

But, lest my introductory tale of blood convince you all the nasty rumors of Amsterdam are true, I best move on.

Most people either love or hate Amsterdam upon visiting it. I liked it. Every direction you turn looks like a picture just waiting to be taken.


One of the first days we were there, we took the train to Utrecht, a beautiful university town not too far from Amsterdam. I loved the glimpse of the university tower you could get here and there throughout town, peeping out from a line of row houses.


It was here that I was paired up with a friend, Nick, to do some cold turkey evangelism, and it was here that I got my first taste of that particular Dutch brusqueness. Nick and I were sitting on a bench in front of an old university building, trying to decide what to do next. A woman in her mid-50s walked by briskly. As is the custom in Colorado, Nick nodded and said "hi" as she passed. She stopped short. She pierced into Nick with her narrow eyes.

"Do I know you?" she spat out in perfect English.

"No," said Nick, who happens to be one of the friendliest guys on earth. "I was just saying hi."

The wiry Dutch woman paused while a look of contempt passed over her face.

"Why?" she spat once again.

I'm not sure what exactly Nick said in reply to this, but the brief interview ended with the woman walking off with a "humph," clearly annoyed at these American nincompoops. You gotta love the Dutch.

In Utrecht, we visited L'abri. The L'abri movement was started back in the 50s when Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer opened his home in Switzerland to travelers to come to and discuss life, the universe and everything. Now there are little L'abris all over the world which function like communes where questioners can come to work and philosophize. We had the chance to spend an afternoon talking with the leader of that particular L'abri, who challenged our views on nearly everything, including the efficacy of cold turkey evangelism...which left many of us rather deflated for any sharing for the rest of the trip. Nonetheless, it was amazing to visit a kind of modern day monastery or commune, where people of all backgrounds were devoted to seeking out truth.

On our trip, we also did a number of touristy things, like visiting the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. A couple of us girls took an afternoon to go to Haarlem to visit the Corrie Ten Boom house. I never liked visiting the Anne Frank house. It always seemed to me to have a dark air around it, and understandably so. But the Ten Boom house was completely different. Although it also suffered through the war and Holocaust, there was an air of redemption and hope, of sacrifice and faith because of the acts and words of this one family.

And now enough seriousness...pancakes! Dutch food isn't any good, in my opinion, except for the pancakes, or pannekoeken. They are very thin and the size of a large pizza. You can get them savory - with bacon or ham or onions or cheese - or sweet - with apples or caramel or chocolate. I still remember my first pannekoeken, on the Rembrandtplein, which would become the first of many.


My other favorite Dutch food was Indonesian food. My first taste of Indonesian food was a restaurant off the Leidseplein where I had a delectable dish flavored with coconut, peanuts and lime. Delicious.


And to tell you the truth, I can't remember that much more of that trip to Amsterdam, except little snatches here and there. A boat trip down the canals, on which all the girls were in love with the boat operator. A misadventure with a friend Diane on the trams, on which we got excusably lost, as every stop the conductor calls out sounds only like a ball of phlegm. A romp in Vondelpark, the famous old park where I was scandalized to find topless sungazers.

I was intrigued by this city which seemed to be the meeting place of the world. At every corner, it seemed you could find people from each continent of the world. I still remember one young man I met at breakfast one morning in our hostel. He was a Christian from Malaysia, and we talked about our faith. He encouraged me to come visit him some day in Malaysia. He gave me one of his business cards, and on the back drew a map of Malaysia. Then an X marks the spot where he lived, so I could find him, as if that would be the easiest thing in the world. I kept that business card in my Bible for years, a simple reminder of both how small and how large the world is.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Very Frumpy V-Day

Mike and I now associate Valentine's with our little peanut. It was last Valentine's Day weekend that we spent in Estes Park, but instead of longing to go out on our usual dynamic hikes, all I wanted to do was lie around and do puzzles inside the cabin. Little did I know, it was because of said peanut sucking the life force out of me. It was when we returned home from this trip that Mike said, "Ummm, it's been a really long time since you've had your period...." (I don't pay much mind to that kind of thing), and we frantically took several expired pregnancy tests that had been hiding in the back of the bathroom cabinet, only to doubt their dubious positive signs and make a late night dash to the grocery store to make the creepy night clerks unlock the pregnancy tests which are kept safely in a locked case next to the razors, only to find yet more plus signs.

All that to say, we associate V-Day with the babe.

So perhaps our Very Frumpy Valentine's Day is appropriate as new parents.

I love breakfasts above all other meals, so Mike took me out for a brunch (and as the baby has too early a bedtime for any romantic dinners out.)

I woke this morning, rubbing my eyes, to the sound of the baby crying, after a night of her waking every two hours. (She never does this, but she was woken up early in the night by our small group, which has some boisterous voices in it. I'm going to ask the small group to conduct itself solely in whisper from now on.) After feeding and caring for the baby, I finished a work assignment and by the time it was time for our Valentine's date, I was attractively attired in jeans with a hole in the crotch, milk on my top, yesterday's makeup still under my eyes, and my hair pulled back into a raggedy pony tail, which I covered with a stocking cap in an attempt to hide it, even though it wasn't nearly cold enough for a stocking cap.

We went to a local diner for pancakes where we primarily stared at the baby in her car seat next to us, while Mike told me about all the comments he had left on Yahoo! articles. (I believe this is his new form of catharsis.)

The little daughter now seems to have a case of the big D; I don't mean Dallas. So my love this year will be shown through changing diapers and calming cries.

It's a new era of Valentine's Days for us.

As I conclude this post, I received a call from "TLC & Assoc," or so my caller ID tells me. Do you think it is the fashion police from What Not to Wear who are going to whisk me away for my crime of wearing holy jeans in public to give me a new wardrobe? I sure hope so.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A New Generation of Sponsors in Colombia

Here's a post I wrote for the Compassion blog. I post it here to make up for my laziness in writing for my own blog. :)

And here's another I wrote, on partnership.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 2 (Non) Workouts - with a smidge of Allie

This week of workouts...didn't go so hot. We were out of town through Monday, then it was a very busy week and the baby didn't want to nap and it was cold and it snowed and my feet were tired and I just wanted to lay on the couch and, you get the picture. I, in fact, only got one walk in at our park on Wednesday. I will do better next week!


Since I can't dazzle you with super interesting pictures of my walks, I'll post a video of Allie instead.

video

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Many Moods of Alexandra

Sometimes she's giggly.


Other times she's sober.


Sometimes she's incredulous.


Other times she's demure.


Sometimes she's pensive.


Other times she's pert.


Sometimes she's alert.


Other times she feels a little bloated.


But most of the time, she just wants to blow raspberries.




And all those moods within two minutes of each other! It's tumultuous being a baby.

Why I'm Going to Sleep in the Bathroom

I bet you're wondering whatever happened to our master bathroom that we daringly decided to remodel right before the baby was born. Or maybe you're not. Either way, I'm going to tell you.

Once we finally decided on some tile and got some Christmas money to buy it, we laid it out on the floor to see how it looked.

It looked cold. Or, rather, it felt cold. Our bathroom is above the garage, so by the time I would finish brushing my teeth standing on that tile, my toesies would be numb. So master home-remodeler Mikey suggested something brilliant: radiant heating!

When I was in college at Colorado State, we would often go to the chapel on the Oval to hang out or pray or sing. It had radiant heat floors, and we'd bustle in from the snowy Oval to lay on the floors. It was heavenly.

And as it turns out, heaven isn't that expensive. With Christmas money, we got the wiring to put in the heating for about $125. Woohoo! I plan to sleep on the bathroom floor from now on. It will be like a spa bathroom; all I'll need now is some men to hold large peacock fans to stand on either side of the vanity and fan me. (I'll need to cool off from those hot floors.)

So Mike bravely figured out how to connect the wiring to our electricity while only having to punch one hole in the wall. You can see in the picture below the wire laid out on the floor.


Next, Mike was feeling confident after his past tiling projects, so he decided he wanted to not only lay the tile diagonally, but also with a mosaic inset. Crazy man. So he's been working away mapping it out to make sure he gets it right. He's cut about half the tile and laid it out to make sure it will fit. He has to wait for nice warm days to cut the tile, so it's a slow job.

But I'm pretty excited for my fancy-schmancy spa bathroom!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Day After the Storm

The only thing better than a big beautiful white snowstorm is the day after a big beautiful white snowstorm. So often the sky will be a cerulean blue against the clean white slate of the mountains. We took a walk around Sprague Lake. The ice wasn't thick enough to skate across like we usually do, but the woods were lovely, dark and deep.

Here are a couple videos of the view. I like the second one because Alexandrda is falling asleep on me. :)

video video video

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Snow!

We are in the lovely Estes Park for Mike's mom's birthday. We came a day early to miss the snow. When we got here, there were blue skies and we could see the craggy peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Then last night the snow moved on in, and now we're trapped in our cabin at the YMCA! Both cars got stuck in the driveway the ice was so bad...Although Mike's parents just successfully made a trip down to the lodge, but I'm going to pretend we're stuck. Mike and I have a good history of being trapped in the snow together.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple videos of our new neighbors. :)

video video

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Week of Workouts

And now begin the boring posts in which I subject you to my weekly workouts in preparation for walking a marathon. Boring for you, but good accountability for me. I'm posting on Wednesday because, realistically, I won't be walking the rest of the week. It's gonna be a cold couple of days and I don't like baby to get chilly tootsies. So if I workout, it will be with Jillian Michaels in the warmth of my living room. So far walking/hiking has been splendiferous. Our area has so many good (and challenging, especially while pushing a heavy stroller) places to walk.

Day 1! On Saturday we walked Palmer Park for 1 hour. (This is a huge park in the middle of town. Neat place.)


Day 2: On Monday, we walked Ute Valley Park for 1 hour. This is a large park right next to our neighborhood that we love.


Day 3: On Tuesday, I walked from the Navigators to Garden of the Gods for 2 hours.


Day 4: On Wednesday, I walked from our house to Blodgett Peak then to the park for 1 1/2 hours. Actually, I jogged. It's amazing how a fussy/crying baby can inspire you to run!


I stepped on the scale today and found I've lost 6 pounds in 5 weeks. Woohoo! It must be all that nursing and home cooking. But it's not like I'm cooking particularly low calorie. Last night I made Chipotle Pulled Pork and served it with cilantro lime cole slaw. Delicious! But not low calorie. Then I washed it down with a generous serving of gelato. Then I washed the gelato down with a generous serving of Rice Krispies. I Heart Nursing.

And for the sake of my mama, here's a pic of of Alexandra a couple of weeks ago on a walk. :)