Great day just relaxing with the fam. Some walks, a trip to the grocery store, lots of playtime. I love going to events and doing official things, but days like this... they really make life good.

I feel like Gwen is growing before my eyes. She's saying more and more words (new ones: uh-oh, head, baa [for what a sheep says], says "pleee" for please), doing more and more things independently (newest thing, I brush her teeth first, but then she does them too), and just trying more things. She's still my baby, but she's not a baby anymore.

I'm trying to take in every moment, enjoying every snuggle... I'm sure she'll be leaving me behind before I even know it.

Remember This
(Beth Champion Mason)

They placed you in my arms tonight;
I can hardly believe that you are mine.
Tiny fingers, tiny toes,
a tiny life that's gonna grow,
I've waited so many years for this day--
I want to make it stay.

I want to remember this,
I want to remember this,
every smile, every kiss,
every moment's like a promise,
and I want to remember this.

We brought our bundle home tonight,
half scared to death but on cloud nine.
And as I rocked you in the dark
I could feel your tiny heart;
I said a prayer as I kissed your sweet face,
"Lord, keep him safe."

Every season, every age
will be beautiful in its own way,
from preschool through to prom,
even your wedding day.
And we'll celebrate and walk with you,
each step that your life brings,
but there's something that's so sweet about beginnings…

I want to remember this,
I want to remember this,
every smile, every kiss,
every moment's like a promise.
I want to remember this,
I want to remember this,
every tear, every touch,
I just can't believe I love you this much,
and I want to remember,
I want to remember,
I want to remember this.


channeling the 3rd grade...

I want to talk about books... and third grade is probably the last time I did a book review, so hence the title! I'm a big reader. Always have been. And thanks to riding the train, I'm guaranteed about 40 minutes a day of reading time. It's ME time. I adore the feel of a new book, and love diving into a new story that takes me away from a frustrating day.

I just finished the Hunger Games (trilogy) and am currently reading Ender's Game. I highly recommend the Hunger Games and its two follow up books... they are good. Simply written, but so real, they really suck you in... and make you question humanity just a little. Ender's Game is great so far, I can't wait to see how it ends.

Next, I'm totally doing the Harry Potter series again... I'm just in the mood!! Plus, movie 7 part 2 comes out in July!

The book I really want to talk about today though, to do an actual review of, is The Profession by Steven Pressfield (author of The Legend of Bagger Vance).

This book isn't actually coming out until June (HERE), but Pressfield is a friend of a friend, so I got my hands on a copy about a month ago. I couldn't put it down! Honestly.

I didn't know what to expect... war books aren't normally my thing, but this wasn't just a war book.

The main character, Gent, and I have little in common... he is a career soldier, separated from his wife, lives for the thrill of battle. Despite our differences, I immediately found him relatable and likable. I understood him, and Pressfield painted a great picture of the real brotherhood feel of Gent's interactions with his military (turned mercenary) compatriots. I loved the way I felt so sure at the beginning of the book who the "good guys" were, vs. the "bad guys"... and how that was blown all away into shades of gray by the end!

Pressfield managed to lay out a future that was easy to fall into. Meaning, I had no trouble imagining that this was actually the way things will play out... given the events in the book, that was a little terrifying! The timing was perfect, not so far ahead that we fall into the whole "flying cars" area of things, but not so close that your mind wants to poke holes into the realisticness of certain changes.

I thought this was a great read. Even as a civilian, having never been there myself, I felt plunged into the war scenes; and I felt the heady feeling of the life-or-death decisions Gent (et al.) were forced to make. And I got a tight stomach at the betrayals in the end. I finished the book satisfied with the ending, yet still wanting more of the story.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Pressfield in the future; and I highly recommend you pick up your copy of The Profession in June.


a hot tasty tuesday

... with fish!

Man, yesterday turned out to be another hot hot day. Today is better, staying in the 70s. That's what I want from my spring (though it was funny watching it go from sunny and breezy to TORRENTIAL downpour, and back to sunny in the space of about 50 minutes).

Luckily, the protein I chose last night was light, so hot or not, it was still good.
I'm so proud of the dinner I made! Well, technically I made two. First I put together a pan of chicken enchiladas to freeze, for a quick dinner another night. Then I made these:

Almond crusted Mahi-Mahi, with a Lemon Shallot Cream sauce! (Recipe at bottom of post, after break.)

They turned out amazing! Even Travis, who's not a huge fish fan, really enjoyed them.
Success!  :-)


mama stuff

Having a toddler is a lot like entering a room intending to snuggle with someone... and having the other person enter intending to be in a WWF match.

Its thrilling, frustrating, so fun. And occasionally painful!

I can't wait to see what kind of woman Gwen becomes, but at the same time I wonder, can I just keep her young forever, so I don't have to worry about how the world will influence her. I read this article recently and I just have to shake my head. I always want my girl to be proud of herself, and of her body, but for its strength and endurance more then its sex appeal. I want her to be confident, and comfortable in her appearance, but without being trampy. How do you teach your daughter the true value of her person?

I ache to give Gwen the building blocks to become the absolute best version of herself. To find contentment, fulfillment, happiness... with herself and life. To not sell herself short. To find real love with a wonderful person who thinks she is the world, because she has the confidence to know that is what she deserves. I hope I am up to the challenge, I'm scared sometimes that I'm going to fail her.

On a lighter note, another mama thing I've read recently and must share... this hilarious prayer for a daughter by Tina Fey. Have you seen? (Minus the tattoo part, of course.)

The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter
by Tina Fey

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered,
May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half
And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.

Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes
And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.
Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,
For Childhood is short- a Tiger Flower blooming
Magenta for one day-
And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever,
That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,
That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted,
bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.
“My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget.
But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


I so love me some Tina Fey. That woman is the right combination of smart, funny, and touching (that last paragraph makes me tear up).

For now, I'm enjoying my work from home day... with all the windows thrown open to catch the lovely breezes (in the 70s!) and air the house out. I suppose I should get back to it.


DC Weekend

Happy Easter! We were excited to spend our Easter weekend in DC (Adams-Morgan) with my Aunt and Uncle... and the weekend did not disappoint!

We drove down Saturday morning, and back Sunday afternoon. Between there were hot cross buns, beautiful weather, walks in the park, Shwarma for dinner (which Gwen LOVED), ham, french style potato salad, pies, and lots of great time together. But I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

First sandbox experience.

Who doesn't love a dog bed?

She's a big fan of her Great Uncle.

View from their apartment balcony.

View from the roof... National Cathedral.


Family portrait.


With my cousin, Brendan.

On our way home, DC is so pretty...

Definitely a great time!


i puffy heart earth

You've probably gathered, if you've been here more then once, that I'm sort of a nature lover. I love going out for long walks, preferably somewhere tree covered, and I'm working to instill in Gwen a love of the great outdoors. So today, its kind of one of my high holidays!

Happy Earth Day!!! 

This is one of the best Earth Day descriptions I've read in a while:
First held in 1970, Earth Day is intended to recognize and respect the environment. It is a day in April when not just hippies, vegetarians or tree huggers care about this earth. It is a day when we collectively give big ups to Earth because at the end of the day, we’re all on this thing together. So opt to walk or bike to the corner store [...] and celebrate the Earth week events offered in this beloved city of ours! It might not absolve you of all your environmental sins, but it’s a damn good way to start.
-- C Trinh

Last year, with a little more time on my hands (oh maternity leave, how I miss you...), I did a weeks worth (M, T, W, Th, F) of Earth Day posts, including a giveaway! This year, I'm a little less gumptious, but no less enthused for the day!

I have plenty of great things for you to check out. First... head HERE for a list of places giving away free things in honor of Earth Day. Then, you can also check out the Eco Women blog for great tips on using less, eating local, and a great new Eco Pack available from Sprint.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day? Gwen and I went to a babywearing group this morning (our first time!)...

The stash shot.

Pretty church we passed on our way home.

After that we went to lunch with Trav... but for the rest of the day, we have no official plans. We are excited to enjoy our day together though!!

Finally, since no post is complete without some snuggly baby... my view, Earth day last year:

Awww.   :-)

And this year:


Have a great green day!



So, I ended up making an old standby last night instead of a new dish, since someone forgot to defrost her protein... opps. Therefore, no new recipe to share, and no new food picture.

I do however have these two pictures to share:
New hat! That actually fits me! Knitted by a friend. I <3 it!

Err... also made by said friend, but not a hat.
Couldn't figure out a better way to model a dish cloth though!!

I have talented friends.

I also have a busy day ahead... so off to work I go! (I did say Randoms...)


tasty tuesday

It's almost 80* out today, which makes me pretty excited. Almost excited enough to ignore the fact that its supposed to be 51* tomorrow... almost (WTF). Happily I have an excuse to leave the office later and take a nice walk. Even more happily, its because I'm getting a massage!! I bought a grou.pon for one back in Feb, and my soreness on Monday prompted me to make the appointment.

Yesterday, was a great and productive day. I headed to the store in the AM to grab some stuff for dinner. I prepped, then signed in to work. Over lunch I put the whole dish together to marinate, washed dishes, and folded/sorted two baskets full of Gwen's clothes (almost a basket's worth is now set aside to be packed away... ::sigh:: my baby is getting so big.). Grabbed a quick bite, then back to work. Phone meeting with a coworker in the afternoon, then it was downstairs at 5:00 to pop the food in the oven and get to work on a side.

And what did I make?

First up was my Uncle Wray's version of Chicken Marbella (recipes at bottom, after break):

I didn't get a great picture... but it was delish, with figs and dates, capers, red wine vinegar. Very yummy.

While that was baking, I made some awesome potato pancakes:

We had mashed potatoes the other night, and they were good, but Gwen wasn't digging them so much. So I decided to try this out... not so mushy, and finger friendly. She was definitely a fan (as were Trav & I!).

I have another yummy meal planned for tonight, so maybe another recipe tomorrow. In the meantime, I have to run to get ready for my massage! One more thing to leave you with though... check out this video. How amazingly gorgeous is this?!:

The Mountain
from Terje Sorgjerd.



Clouds rolling in...

My Uncle Wray's chicken marinating in the fridge
(recipe tomorrow)...
Listening to birds chirping outside my window
(instead of cars honking!)...
Sitting with my PJ clad legs folded up,
and a puppy at my feet...

I'm really digging this working from home thing!!

Spring colors.