Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Triple Tangent Tuesday.

1. Self Checkout Etiquette 
One of my very favorite things is self checkout at the store. If you can get behind someone that knows what they are doing it can be a lot faster than waiting in the normal line. However, sometimes you get people that are just a LITTLE too eager to start checking out. Today I was at the store and just as I finished paying for everything and was loading the bags into my cart, a guy came up and started using the scanner/register. This is what it looked like (note: I was at Kroger, not Walmart... Brandon watched a documentary about Walmart and now I'm not allowed to shop there anymore):

I spent way too long looking for a picture that would work. I'm all about personal space and this was just a little too much for me. Couldn't he have waiting until I was completely finished instead of creeping up like that and getting in my business? No need to get cozy in the grocery store. This is a pet peeve of mine... I also hate it when you're in the regular line and people start getting too close when you're paying, like the extra 10 seconds its going to take me to finish up really makes a difference. ANYWAY. So that's my first tangent of the day. Let people finish paying and totally vacate the checkout station before starting to checkout!

2. Yesterday. 
Yesterday was just not a good day. It was one of those days when I'm sure Brandon questioned why he had married the hormonal mess that I was. I woke up early planning to go run but instead ended up searching for and watching the final episodes of Friday Night Lights.

Huge mistake. It made me so sad that it's over, I can't believe the Taylors and Tim Riggins won't be on my TV anymore. So I was bummed about that and completely wasted my morning. Then Brandon called me to tell me that there was a problem with one of my loans and I had to take care of it. I honestly can't think of anything I hate more than dealing with loans, so that really didn't help my day at all. Then I started looking into jobs but had to stop because it was just too depressing. This should probably be another post but I'm just not excited about graduation or about getting a new job. I know that I should be, but I just am having a hard time mustering the energy. When I was pregnant the plan was for me to wait until next spring to look for a job, so the fact that I'm looking for one now is just another reminder that we won't be having a baby this fall. My house is a mess but I had no energy to clean it. I ate like crap the entire day which didn't make me feel any better and then I cried twice during dinner when I was explaining to Brandon why I was in such a bad/sad mood. Honestly, I look back on it now and think a crazy person must have taken over my body. So last night, before I went to bed, I decided that today was going to be a good, productive day. I made a list of everything I needed to accomplish and I am slowly making my way through that list. I've already worked out, meal planned and gone to the grocery store. I just need to clean the kitchen, straighten up, work on a presentation and cook dinner!

3. Salmon Cakes. 
New recipe for you! Brandon is a big fan of crab cakes but crab meat is super expensive so I started looking for an alternative. I found this recipe for salmon cakes and it seems to do the trick! Here's what you need:
Canned salmon
Bread crumbs
Vegetable Oil (forgot to put in picture)

You are going to want to mix everything up in a bowl. I should have measured the amount of bread crumbs that I used, but I didn't. I mix the salmon and the egg up first and then add the bread crumbs until the consistency is right- you want it to stick together without being too wet from the egg. After you get it to the right consistency, form two cakes. While you are doing this you should be heating the vegetable oil in a small sauce pan- you really don't need much, just enough to reach about half way up the salmon cake. When the oil is ready, drop both cakes into it. You'll have to keep an eye on how fast they cook, but its usually about 3 minutes per side. It's time to flip the salmon cake when it gets a pretty brown color on the bottom. These were just flipped:
Aren't they pretty? Once they are done you will want to put them on a paper towel for a little while to get some of the excess oil off and to let them cool down. You can bake these too, I just think they taste better this way. Once they are ready (you can touch them without searing your finger off) either eat them as is or crumble on top of a salad. I chose the salad route today:

(with lettuce, spinach, carrots, feta, and italian dressing)
They are delicious! Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cool Trick.

In high school I dislocated my shoulder while swimming. It popped back in place and I just let it heal on its own. For the most part it's totally fine and unless I'm wearing a sleeveless shirt and you can see how my left shoulder is pokier than my right shoulder, you can't really tell (you can kind of see it in the picture below- no, I don't know why the ketchup bottle is in a cup and I'm holding a citronella candle because it was my birthday candle to blow out).

See that little bump on my left shoulder? 

My shoulder has a cool trick... it can detect when there are changes in atmospheric pressure. I've heard of people with similar (or much worse) injuries being able to do this but I like to think I'm special. So this morning my shoulder was hurting and I thought to myself, "Yes!! It's going to rain!!" And then I looked at the weather report for this week: 

And I realized that sometimes your shoulder hurting doesn't mean it's going to storm. It just means you slept on it funny and are desperate for a break in the heat. Oh, by the way... it says that its only 96 today but of course Texas had to outdo itself and its already over 100. Gotta love that sense of overachievement!! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crazy Dream part 2.

This wasn't a conglomeration of dreams like the other time, but it was really, truly horrifying.

I dreamed that I grew a second set of eyebrows.

Ew. It was terrible because no matter how much I plucked them they just kept growing right back in. Can you even imagine how terrible that would be?

With that lovely thought, I hope you enjoy your day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My husband.

Brandon is out of town this week for Super Summer (youth camp). 

Please don't come rob my house because you know my husband is out of town. I have this guard dog and she is fierce: 

I also have a gun. Anyway.

I miss him oh so very much. His birthday is Saturday and he will be 25. I know... he seems so much older and more mature doesn't he? Probably because he's been taking care of me since he was only 21, it aged him. I love these next two months because we are the same age and whenever anyone asks how old we are I don't have to hear "robbing the cradle" jokes. 

In honor of his 25th birthday on the 25th, I've come up with the top 25 reasons I love Brandon. In no particular order: 

1. He is the kindest person that I know. 
2. He never, ever cusses and I have only heard him use words like "piss" or "suck" a handful of times. 
3. He's a computer genius. Honestly, if there is something that you need done on your computer he either knows how to do it or can figure out how to do it within a matter of hours. 
4. He works so hard to provide for us while we are both in school. We are both full time students but thankfully I do not have to work. 
5. He loves his momma. 
6. He has never even glanced at another woman since we've been together. (Side note: at what age does it start feeling normal to call yourself a woman and not a girl? Because it still feels weird for me.) Even on my absolute worst days he'll still tell me that I'm pretty. I ignore it when he tells Chloe the same thing.
7. He eats anything that I make for him.
8. He never makes a comment when I ask him if we can just pick something up for dinner because I'm too tired to cook. 
9. He stays in touch with people. You all know I'm terrible at this. 
10. He takes care of all of our bills. And our taxes. And even though he's making all the money he never makes me feel like its not OUR money. 
11. Sometimes he'll take my car and put gas in it. When I was pregnant I took advantage of this ALL the time (gas fumes are bad for preggos, didn't you know?) and now that I'm not pregnant I still take advantage of it because Brandon knows if he doesn't put gas in my car he'll likely have to come and rescue me.
12. Speaking of rescuing me, he drove 30 minutes to jump my car because I left the headlights on ALL DAY LONG. Then as we were getting everything connected the security guard drove by and asked if we needed a jump. Whoops, sorry babe.  
13. He is funny. Like, really funny. 
14. He hides his XL t-shirts from me. I swear that I threw all of them out when we first got married by ever so often I will find him swimming in another one.  
15. He drives everywhere we go. At first I thought I would hate giving up driving privileges (control issues, anyone?) but now I love it because I can spend that time doing other things... like blog stalking.
16. He is very loyal.  
17. He buys treats he knows I'll like at the grocery store because he knows I won't buy them but I actually really want them and if I have a treat I won't yell at him for buying a bunch of crap (like Little Debbies). 
18. If he buys something, he doesn't just buy it. He researches it and finds the best one available and then finds it at the best price. 
19. He is a good daddy to Chloe and I know he is going to be an awesome dad to our future kids. 
20. His life hasn't been easy peasy but he chooses to focus on how God has blessed him. 
21. He squeezes my bottom everyday when he gets home from work or when I get home from the hospital. Too much information? Too bad. 
22. He likes to stay home and watch movies as much as I do. 
23. He stays with me if I ask him too. I don't mean to sound too clingy, but recently I've had really bad social anxiety and need to have him nearby. 
24. He loves me. He really truly loves me and I am very unlovable at times. 

(Okay, this one is last because it really is the most important one). 

25. He loves God and strives to honor God in all aspects of his life. He leads a genuine life and leads our marriage with integrity. 

Happy Birthday Sweetie! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

For the most part.

For the most part I really don't have a problem working with babies in the NICU. I think this has a lot to do with controlling what I let myself think about and reminding myself that its not all about me. I don't mean that facetiously- I really do have to remind myself that other people have problems that far exceed mine. It's not hard to do that sometimes, especially when I'm looking at parents desperately asking the doctor if their baby born at 28 weeks is going to be okay.

Like I said, for the most part I'm totally fine. 

However, sometimes its really difficult not to let myself wonder why someone who has had 6 abortions and abused crystal meth during her pregnancy is allowed to have her baby and I'm not allowed to have mine. 

I don't understand it, but the great news is... I don't have to understand it. During my pregnancy this was a passage that I kept coming back to: 

 25"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
- Matthew 6:25-34

At the time, I thought the passage as meant to reassure me that everything would be fine with the baby. The first time we had a sonogram I was so incredibly nervous that something would be wrong- I read this in my Bible that morning and instantly felt a sense of peace. We were able to see the heartbeat that day, but I know now that I didn't feel a sense of peace because everything would be okay with the baby... I felt a sense of peace because everything would be okay. The Lord was in control. I didn't understand it then and I only have the faintest of better understanding now, but nevertheless I have a better understanding. 

I could keep typing a book about this, but the point is the fact that God is in control. I could drive myself crazy wondering what if I had done this or what if I had done that and I can get bitter and upset and, if I really wanted to, I could question God. But that's not going to make it any better. The only thing that makes it better is trusting in the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God. 

That doesn't necessarily make it easier and it doesn't mean that I am not so, so sad, but it does mean that I am free from the bondage of wondering, "What if...?" There is no what if, only what now?

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Today I heard a nurse talking with another nurse about a contract (her words) that she and her daughter had made. Apparently for every week the daughter honors the things on the contract she gets a "prize". The list included normal kid things like:

- clean room
- do homework
- help in the kitchen

I thought it seemed pretty normal until I heard this:

- don't run away from home

Wait... what??? Don't run away from home? That's something you have to put in a contract? And the daughter gets rewarded if she doesn't run away? Here's a normal reward for not running away: room and board. The mom was asked how old the daughter was and she said, "We're getting to the difficult stage... she's almost 10." 

Now, I fully admit that I was a handful as a preteen. Honestly, I can't believe I had any friends and I'm really surprised that my parents made it through that stage without actually beating me. But putting the fact that the daughter can't run away from home into a contract? There's a story there and I really want to know what it is. Too bad I don't actually work on that floor and was just passing through. 

Chloe sometimes thinks about running away. When she isn't yawning- 


Or just generally being adorable- 

Her life is rough.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tips for Running in the Heat

(Note: I wrote this at about 10:00am but blogger hated me for a while. I think I got it figured out.)

I just got back from running and I have to tell you, I feel pretty good about myself.

I set my alarm to wake up at 6:00 so I could run before it gets melt-your-face-off hot, but... well... I didn't get up. I could blame this on a myriad of things, but really I just didn't want to get up. I figured I could run later tonight.

So I finally got up, drank my coffee, ate my cereal, etc. and started planning my day. Today is my day off this week- I really love my summer schedule! Anyway... I realized we had planned to cookout and watch the Mavs game tonight with some friends, so running was out of the question.

At first I just wanted to forget the run, but then I reminded myself of the love handles that have somehow appeared above my waistband lately and my goal of running everyday that I wasn't working. So I decided to be brave and face the heat... all 90 degrees of it (at 9 o'clock in the morning!!).

I've now run through 4 summers in Texas and in that time I've discovered ways to make it less miserable. Dare I say, I even enjoy it sometimes. The other night I went ran at eight in the evening, right when the sun was going down, and it was honestly one of the best runs I've had in a while. So without further ado...


1. Respect the heat. This is probably the most basic tip you'll ever find, but its really important. It gets really freaking hot in Texas (and other parts of the country) and people just aren't made to be out in that heat. When it's hot outside your body can do weird things and start rebelling against you if you aren't careful. If you feel lightheaded or faint in anyway, stop. The best way to avoid the most intense heat is to not go by my earlier example and try to run early in the morning or later at night when the sun isn't in full force. 

2. Don't wear a hat. Some people like wearing a hat and I did so for a while because I worried about skin cancer. However, most of the heat in your body escapes through your head, so I like to keep it uncovered during the summer months. Make sure to wear sunscreen though. And wear sunglasses because otherwise you'll be like me and end up getting fine wrinkles around your eyes from squinting into the sun so much.

3. Slow down. Unless people are watching (kidding). This morning my pace was about  60-75 seconds slower than it normally is during cooler months. That's okay. I find it really is so much better to run at a pace that is comfortable than to run at a pace that you think you are supposed to run at. During the summer I usually set either time or distance goals for a run, ex. "today I'll run 30 minutes, no matter how far I go" or "today I'm going to do 4 miles, no matter how long it takes me." I've also discovered that I'm better about keeping the pace slow if I listen to slower, more mellow music. Instead of running to my usual playlist (Black Eyed Peas, Britney, N'Sync, Kesha, etc.) I'll listen to Mumford and Sons, Adele or Jack Johnson. Since I run with my iPhone (for safety) I just pick a pandora station and listen to that. (* This isn't a heat tip, but I've started skipping the headphones if I'm running along streets and just listening to the music from the iPhone. I'm more aware of what's going on around me and generally feel less distracted.)

4. Don't wear cotton. Cotton will make you hotter because it holds on to your sweat rather than letting it evaporate. Find some sweat-wicking performance shirts or tanks (Target has some really reasonably priced ones) and use those instead. Don't wear a cotton sports bra either. Cotton straps + sweat = chafing. You do not want that to happen, trust me. If chafing is a problem you can either buy body glide (which I've never used but have heard good things about) or vaseline to use on the spots where you normally have a problem (ex. front of shoulders, along your rib cage).

5. Run on the shady side of the street. If possible, run along shady streets. You may not think it will make a difference, but it really does.

6. Find the sprinklers. I've found a couple of houses that ALWAYS have sprinklers going (wouldn't want to see their water bill) and I make a habit of running passed those houses. You'd be amazed at how running through one can cool you off (just stay on the road, don't run through their yard or anything. That's weird.)

7. Drink some water. Then drink some more water. After that, drink some more water. Hydration is key. You should try and drink lots of water during the summer anyway, but especially if you are planning on going on a run. If I drink too much water beforehand I get a stomach cramp, so I try to sip water for an hour or so before I run (if possible) and then I typically take a water bottle with me if I'm planning on running more than three or so miles. When I get home I will chug a bottle of water before I get into the shower and then after I'm out I'll drink some more. I really cannot stress how important water is when its hot outside. A good way to see if you are hydrating enough is to weigh yourself before you run and then weigh yourself after you run. If the numbers are too different (like, pounds different) you need to be drinking more water.

8. Save speed work for the end of the run. I still like to challenge myself on runs, but I'll normally save any type of speed work for the end of a run. For instance, if I'm doing speed work on a 3 miler I'll run a comfortably-hard pace for 2 miles and then try and pick it up for the last mile, maybe sprinting the last 1/4 of a mile or so. It's good practice to get in the habit of finishing strong... you'll have better endurance and better "kick" towards the end of a race and will have trained yourself not to peter out.

Those are all I can think of at the moment. I know it's kind of a basic list, but hopefully it's helpful to someone! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Spicy Chicken Salad

I have no desire to make this a food blog, but food is a big part of my life so I wanted to incorporate it into the blog. Ever so often I'll do "Last Night's Dinner" posts... I hope you enjoy them!

This is a secret family recipe that I'm getting ready to share with you. My mom has been making this for as long as I can remember. Here's the secret ingredient:

Chef Paul's Magic Seasoning Blends: Poultry Magic. It's delicious. Don't look at the sodium content. You're going to eat this chicken on top of a salad, so don't worry about it.

Here's everything that you're going to need: 

Olive oil, soy sauce, one lemon, one pound chicken (skinless, boneless chicken breasts) and the magic seasonings. 

My vegan friends can use tofu instead of chicken. I've tried it, it tastes pretty good. 

Here's what you're going to do: 

Cut up your chicken and then prepare the marinade. I pretty much just eyeball everything now, but you're going to want to use an equal amount of all of your liquid ingredients. Normally what I do is squeeze the lemon to see how much juice I get and then match that same amount with soy sauce and olive oil. It should be enough to coat the chicken. There's no need to get real technical here- you really can't screw this up. It's going to taste good. Once you've got your liquid ingredients, cover the chicken with the magic seasonings. Once you think you have enough, add some more. Seriously, add way more than you think you need. Like I said, don't look at the sodium content. 

If you have time, let the chicken sit in the marinade for an hour or two. Or all day. It doesn't matter. If you don't have time just go ahead and through it in the skillet. I usually pre-heat the skillet until it piping hot and then throw the chicken in there to sear the marinade on. Turn down the heat to medium to cook the chicken through.  

Yum. It smells so good you will probably have company in the kitchen. 

Now, once the chicken is done you can use it in many different ways. Tonight I used it on top of a salad (Ranch is the best dressing to pair with this, but Caesar, Greek and some vinaigrettes work too). You can also use it with Alfredo noodles and steamed broccoli (that's the first meal I made Brandon. It's delicious, trust me.) or you can marinate whole chicken breasts and grill them. 

Obviously I don't have the whole blogging thing down because I forgot to take a picture of our salads. They were REALLY good, let me tell you. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm still here.

I bet most of you thought I'd given up on this blog thing, huh? And by most of you I mean the two people that know about and visit this blog.

In truth, for a while the only thing I wanted to talk about was the fact that I was pregnant... but we weren't telling anyone yet. We were so incredibly excited and I was so thrilled to be pregnant. Then we started telling people and it was finals time in nursing school. I was so proud of myself for managing to do well on my finals while getting eight hours of sleep a night and surviving on only one cup of coffee a day (unheard of in my previous "finals week" experiences).

And then... well, I've typed and erased this sentence about six different times because there's just not a good or easy way to say it.

Then we found out that our baby had died. We went in for our appointment and didn't hear the heartbeat on the doppler so the doctor took us to the sonogram room. As soon as I saw the picture I knew what had happened. Where we once had seen a flashing, beating little heart there was a still, lifeless, perfectly-shaped little baby.

I won't go into much detail about the painful days that followed, but I ended up having to have a D&C because my body wasn't recognizing the miscarriage. Brandon was so strong for me and my parents were able to come up and stay with us. It meant so much to be surrounded by family and friends that loved us and that were praying for us.

Most of all we felt the peace and the presence of the Lord. I know that I've said that to many people, but I can't really explain it otherwise. These past few weeks have been the most painful and devastating weeks I've ever been through, but I've also never felt the comfort of the Lord in such a real and powerful way. Yes, we are so, so sad and it has been so difficult, but we have hope because we trust in the Lord and we know that above all else, He LOVES us. He loves us and He has the perfect plan for us. We are resting in that truth now. It's not easy and it doesn't necessarily lessen the heartbreak, but it does provide a peace that I know so many others do not have.

I hurt for people that are going through the same thing that do not know the love of our Father. I can't imagine going through this and not being assured of God's sovereignty.

I don't want this to become a sad blog, but I will be talking about my experience. Writing is therapeutic. There is so much that I want to say that I don't feel like I can say... but this is my blog so I can say what I want :).

Oh, another thing I will be talking about is my summer internship. In the NICU. That's the neonatal intensive care unit, if you didn't know.

That's right. I did not request it, but I will be spending my summer taking care of tiny little babies.

I know there is a reason that I'm in the NICU. I think God is using it to teach me that my pain, while it is real, is so much less than what some other families are going through. I can only hope that going through what I've gone through these last couple of weeks will better equip me to share the love and comfort that I know only comes from the Father with the families I come in contact with. Please pray for me, if you think about it. I know its not going to be an easy internship (I've already had to assist with taking a little baby born at 27 weeks off of life support) but I know that, as always, God is in control and I am there for a reason.