Sunday, April 29, 2012

This weekend...

...we drank margaritas and had the happy birthday song sung to our party of 12 three different times to three different people.

...we got silly at the Panther Lounge, a little hole-in-the-wall in Cedar Falls.  We played ACDC on the jukebox, played pool, and wore t-shirts that said 'everyone loves a langenburg.  I still don't really know why. 

...we devoured biscuits and gravy and Iowa stuffed toast with fresh berry au jus at our favorite breakfast joint, Newton's, in downtown Waterloo.  
...I won an award.  The NCTE Emerging Leader Award, which earns me two presentations at the Vegas and Boston NCTE Annual Conferences.  Now if only i had a job...

...we stayed in our jams and ate Lucky Charms and pb and js for lunch.

...we got some yummy groceries - granola for yogurt, fresh berries, and a loaf of sourdough bread.

...we celebrated our friend's birthday with dinner, cupcakes, and black jack at the casino.  

...we came out even on black jack, and one penny ahead on slots.

...Cruz had special time with papa and grandma - The Pizza Ranch, How to Train Your Dragon, and snuggles.

...we took naps and watched three episodes of Restaurant Impossible on Sunday morning.

...we dipped tomato bacon cheese sandwiches in warm tomato soup.

...I collected paint samples and began to clear out Cruz's soon-to-be upstairs nook.

...we (Beau) built two raised garden beds.  Can't wait to plant!

...we made weed-out-your-pantry trail mix.  Craisins, sixlets, chocolate chips, and these adorable mini animal crackers I scored at Sweet Basil Market.   

...Cruz tried to brush his teeth with Neosporin, tried to swallow an Advil, and dumped an entire box of Rice Krispies on the kitchen floor --- all in about ten minutes' time.

Long lost pictures from our last warm day.  Hoping for sunshine and May-like temps this week!  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blue Jeans and a Good Hair Day

What a week!  It's been a roller coaster of a semester and while some days the ride ends with a sigh of relief, a glimmer of hope, and a twinge of excitement, other days I feel like I could puke.  This week's ride was one of them.  I've been riding the hope train for so long, and every now and then reality sets in and takes the floor out from under you.  It brings you back, keeps you real, and redirects your focus from the bad that's so easy to fall into, to the good that's sometimes right in front of your face.

I had experiences like this all week.  Last night, after receiving another piece of disappointing news on the job situation, thanks to yet another faulty (lack of) communication by the leadership at UNI, I was sad, scared, and full of anxiety.  On the way home, I prayed for peace, for answers, and for the strength to put work away and focus on the two boys waiting for me outside.  And when I pulled up the driveway and saw the two of them standing by the grill on our deck, my anxiety started to fade away.  I had entered my bubble, my protective bubble, where nothing else mattered but a hug from my husband and a kiss on my baby's soft cheek.  

I talked, Beau reassured.  I'm the worrier, he's the rock.  I don't know what I'd do without him.  And this whole time we're talking, I'm watching Cruz.  By himself, in his own little bubble of innocent childhood, playing in the rain water that's accumulated in the hood of his Little Tikes car.  Oblivious to the hurt, and stress, and disappointment in this world, content in the simple fact that he has parents who love him and toys to play with.  I yearned to be in this bubble, to shed my adult skin and just play for awhile.  So, I took off my shoes, sat like a pretzel on the driveway, and brought our driveway to life with sidewalk chalk.  I pushed Cruz up and down the sidewalk in his car, and taught him to blow the seeds from a wispy dandelion into the golden light of the early evening sun.  

For a moment I felt free.  Free from the uncertainty of my job and the disappointment in the people making decisions regarding my job.  For a half hour in time, I felt this magical sense of Kairos time, where nothing else seemed to matter but sidewalk chalk and a little boy in a bright blue Cubs shirt attempting to walk down the driveway with a bucket over his head.   

I am so thankful for these opportunities God gives us.  Small moments in time that allows us to see what's most important.  They're truly present every day, but they take a different kind of lens.

This week, my Blue Jeans post is special to me.  All simple, but happy moments to remember throughout the week.

"5 years. 365 days. 1825 happy moments captured."

Saturday: a trip to Target, with a cart full of love.  The perfect pillow for my living room, a cake pan for an afternoon of baking, and some (must-have) supplies for our gardening adventures. 

Sunday: Cruz’s first play date and some new friends.  It's so adorable watching him interact with Harper.  They love each other.

Monday: picking up Cruz from daycare was the highlight of my day. Somedays, I literally hyperventilate when I pull up to his center. I immediately saw him playing on the playground, and couldn’t wait to scoop him up in my arms. The feelings were mutual. 

Tuesday: Cruz again. He had his first bowl of cereal with milk tonight, and afterwards, I tried to get him to drink the milk from the bowl. He thought this was hilarious and started giggling uncontrollably (the hiccups kind). Then, he thought it was even more hilarious when Jade (our cat) started drinking the milk from Cruz’s bowl!

Wednesday: Sidewalk chalk with Cruz. And a bucket.  On an 18-month-old's head.

Thursday: a peel-off mask on my face and feet on the couch. 

Friday: a much-needed teacher work day at Price Lab.  A quiet day in the office and Texas Roadhouse catered for lunch (thank you parents).

Yep.  That's them.  The lights of my life (after Beau just 'lit' his hair on fire after getting too close to his grill).  You can't see it, but he cinched it pretty good!

Happy Happy Friday to YOU!  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

For the love of his laugh...

A one week extension on the TuTuLoo giveaway!  Stop here for directions on how to enter :)

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Holy Chocolate Cake!

I promised I would share!  Even if you're not a fan of cherries, I swear you can't taste them in the cake.  For that reason, I dumped an entire can of cherries on the top :)  

While the aesthetics of this cake leave something to be desired, trust me on the taste!  It was so good, so moist, not too sweet, but just right.  
Black Forest Cake
The cake...

-1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
-1 tsp. almond extract
-22 oz. can cherry pie filling
-2 well beaten eggs

Beat together the above ingredients for about one minute, and pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

*Since this was my attempt to bake a double layer cake, I baked the batter in two, 9" round pans for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean. 

The fudge frosting...

-1 cup sugar
-5 tbsp. butter
-1/3 cup milk
-6 oz. chocolate chips

Combine sugar, butter, and milk in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until boiling.  Remove from heat immediately and stir in chocolate chips until the batter is smooth and slightly cooled (so it gets a little thicker).  Pour over partially cooled, but still warm, cake.

**Again, I think you could experiment with the frosting.  If you'd rather do a traditional white frosting, it'd be delicious with this cake.  I let my round cakes cool on cooling racks, used 1/3 of a can of white frosting to seal the two cakes together, dumped another can of cherries on the top, and drizzled about half the chocolate fudge over the top.  While delicious, it did get a little top heavy with all that weight :)

Full Time Mama

Monday, April 23, 2012

a chocolate cake kind of weekend

When I look back at pictures of our weekend at home, some themes seem to unfold...

We made messes.  Our nest was remarkably clean when I went to bed Friday night, but the scene that unfolded at an early 7 am Saturday morning spoke otherwise...

I like to say our house looks 'lived in' lately.  Proof that instead of trying to keep that dang lazy susan organized, I'd rather see Cruz march around the house with a steel colander on his head.  Or that worn corners of a book will someday reveal Cruz's favorites, or that dishes in the sink are a mark of a good meal in our tummies.  

Speaking of meals...   
We ate.  A lot.  From fried egg sandwiches with big green egg smoked ham to my very first, double layer chocolate cake, Beau and I experimented in the kitchen all weekend and rekindled our love of the culinary arts.  We sipped Summer Shandy and cooked pork carnitas in the dutch oven, dunked tortilla chips in guac, and topped off our appetites with a cherry filled, fudge topped black forest cake.  Although I have some room to grow in the aesthetic side of this chocolate magic, the taste was TO DIE FOR.  I'll be sure to share the recipe later this week - it's the moistest (did I make up this word?) cake I've ever had.

We worked (a little).  Our weekend started with a family trip to Home Depot, aka, World's Largest Playground, where I gave Cruz rides on the lumber carts while Beau picked out landscape timbers for our garden.  I am so excited about this garden project!  We bought enough timbers fro two, side-by-side raised beds to fill with tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and lots and lots of herbs.  I'll post more progress on our garden process and would welcome any advice from my green thumb readers out there ;)
We played (a lot).  We played inside and outside, and spent Sunday afternoon at Cruz's first official play date with his sweet friend, Harper and her amazing parents.  Rumored around daycare to be pretty inseparable, it was time we saw this for ourselves.  So Sunday afternoon, we 'met the parents,' and can safely say we should start planning the wedding today :)  We had the best time with our new friends and it was so fun to watch Cruz and Harper interact.  They were so cute with each other.  They shared so nice, giggled at each other, and gave one another lots of sweet hugs and kisses.  We blew bubbles, played with sidewalk chalk, and played with Harper's toys until it was time to take Cruz home for fear he'd drank too much (capri suns).

(I am so sad I didn't take any pictures of the two of them together.  Next time, for sure!) 

Looking forward to lots and lots of summertime weekends to come, filled with beautiful messes, yummy food, a little work, and lots of play...

...because we're pretty good at playing :)

What messes did you get in this weekend???

(Cruz won't look at me in pictures lately.  What he doesn't realize, though, is that his profile is just as cute ;)



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