Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions?!

When I was younger, I made resolutions every year. And miserably failed to keep a single one: Read my bible every day for a year: didn't make it past one week; Run at least three times a week: ran around the neighborhood a grand total of once before realizing I hated running. You get the picture! As I grew older, every year I would respond to the age old question, "What's your resolution?" with a pat answer, "I don't make resolutions, because I will just break them!"

Yet again this year, I don't have a single resolution. However, I AM looking forward to returning to the gym consistently (not to run!). I have no set agenda, no weight-loss goals, no intention of going daily for 2 hours. That way, if I go once a week, I haven't broken my non-resolution!!

I am also looking forward to spending time investing in my marriage. I haven't set my heart on weekly date nights, or daily in depth conversations. I haven't even made a list of places to visit and things to do together this year. That way, if we go to NYC or have a monthly date or even just play a game of cards, I will be pleasantly surprised and excited!

Do you have any non-resolution resolutions?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Our family celebrations have only begun! They have been so much fun this year, in large part due to having Isabel. She has brought much joy and delight to everyone, despite the often crazy and overwhelming season. Our focus this year has truly been on family-Miguel and I didn't exchange gifts, the extended Turek family had a nice dinner together-no gifts, the Stega family is doing a white-elephant-type gift exchange, and the Barowski family chose names. I love that we have shifted gears from gift-giving to simply spending time with those we most enjoy. It truly was a Merry Christmas. Here are a few snapshots of our day.

#1-Isabel holding the gift SHE bought her daddy. She did ALL of her shopping on-line this year.
#2-Isabel, still in her PJs, holding the unwrapped iPod she picked out. Daddy was so surprised.
#3-Family photo with Isabel is her RL Christmas dress from her CAT (Crazy Aunt Turek).
#4-Tia Monica and Uncle McClain, loving on Isabel.

Friday, December 19, 2008


After Emily posted her eleven favorite movies, I decided to do the same. I LOVE movies, and probably watch way too many. Honestly, I end up forgetting 90% of the plots and 90% of the titles. Sad, but it means that when I re-watch the movies, I am always surprised by the endings! I wonder if I have an early onset of dementia??

Favorite Comedy: Tommy Boy–It takes me back to college-watching Tommy Boy, eating peanut M&Ms and drinking Diet Coke with Marie. Not to mention there are more quotable lines in that movie than just about any other I've watched. "Did I catch a niner in there??"

Favorite Drama: Fracture–I absolutely LOVE Sir Anthony Hopkins. He is amazingly talented, versatile, and a riveting actor. This movie left me guessing at every turn and was pretty clean (one quick fast-forward scene in the beginning) for an "R" rated movie.

Favorite Suspense: I hate suspense, with a passion! I could barely handle What Lies Beneath. Now, if we were talking books, I'd say "Misery" by Stephen King.

Favorite Action: The Last of the Mohicans–This is really a drama/war/action movie. But Daniel Day-Lewis is hot with long hair *wink* and the soundtrack is one of the best I've heard.

Favorite Martial Arts: Rush Hour–It makes me laugh, and I love the outtakes at the end.

Favorite Sci-Fi: Transformers–Does this count? I was ready to watch it again the second we walked out of the theater.

Favorite Sport: The Sandlot–Even though it's a "kids'" movie, it's cute, funny, and a classic summer baseball flick.

Favorite Indy: Bella–It’s sweet, and is my baby's name sake...what more could you want?

Favorite Romantic Comedy: You’ve Got Mail–I have to agree with Emily. F-O-X, enough said.

Favorite Disney: Beauty and the Beast OR Lion King–I watched Lion King after returning from Africa. The scenery is striking and took me back to the plains.

Favorite War: Schindler's List: I saw this in high school, and cried my way through it. It is a very difficult watch, but was truly worth the investment of time and emotions.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


This is one of the most unique (and delicious) cheesecakes I have ever had or made:
(Click on the picture to view the recipe).

One Month

It is hard to remember what daily life was like before Isabel arrived. I have faint memories of working full-time, rushing out to my part-time job, making quick and easy meals, and collapsing from exhausting at 9:00. Now, I feed Isabel full-time, rush home from my part-time job, Miguel makes quick and easy meals, and I collapse from exhaustion at 9:00...only to wake up at 10:00 to feed her one last time! =) But I wouldn't trade it all for the world!!

Today was her one month appointment; time has truly flown by. I have enjoyed every single moment with Isabel. She weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 21.75 inches. Our baby girl has grown so much. I wish she would stay little forever.
(Isabel after her bath, on the blanket that Auntie Em made her. It's so soft and fluffy! Isabel loved being snuggled in it.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

between fear and faith

I vacillate easily, quickly, and unexpectedly between fear and faith. Fear of the unknown versus faith in the One who knows. Over the last five days, God has directed our steps down a path we never could have imagined. Miguel lost his job on Thursday, just two weeks after I handed in my resignation and a mere three weeks after the birth of our baby girl. My initial response was one of intense fear, followed by many tears and questions. Questions of "What" and "How" and "Why" fill my mind. What are we going to do without insurance and income? How are we going to pay our mortgage and other bills? Why would God time things in this manner?

The answers are not clear; the path appears rocky and scary. But, one answer resonates in my heart, "I am causing you to be dependent upon Me alone-for answers, for protection, for providence." Today, I have faith in that calling. Tomorrow, I might not. Yes, my faith is weak and my fear is great. But my prayer is that, against all hope, I will believe, like Abraham, that He who promised is faithful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


...of a new mom.

1. We put Isabel in her crib starting night #1, AND we turned off the monitor.
2. I only use a sleep positioner so that Isabel won't get a flat head.
3. When she cries, I laugh. Her cries are so sweet.
4. I am convinced that she doesn't sleep well after her 4:00 feeding because she knows Miguel is home. She loves to be held by her daddy.
5. At times, I really do think she's goofy looking.

Ok, ladies, time to spill!

Monday, December 01, 2008

"Common" Mercies

Today's Morning and Evening really ministered to me in my current situation.

"Let's praise God for common mercies...for eyes to watch the sun, for health and strength to be physically active, for the bread we eat, for the clothes we wear...for freedom, for friends, for family and comforts...But, beloved, the sweetest and loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love...let the new month begin with a new song."

I realized that I have much to be thankful for, much to praise my Savior for:

1. A beautiful baby girl who is healthy, a great sleeper, and great eater
2. A husband who loves us so much that he works his tail off to ensure that I am able to stay home full-time
3. Amazing girlfriends!!!!!!
4. I've only made one meal in 11 days

How about you? What "common" mercies are you enjoying today?

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I was tagged from Kristin’s blog…so here are my fours...

Four places that I go to over and over:

  1. Wal-Mart
  2. The fridge
  3. Gold's Gym

Four people who e-mail me (regularly):

  1. Kristin
  2. Miguel (text to e-mail, since I don't have text)
  3. Sacha
  4. Tom, a coworker

Four of my favorite places to eat

  1. Panera
  2. Mezze
  3. Bone Fish Grill
  4. Any place Mexican or Italian (I love to eat)

D) Four places you would rather be:

  1. In my bed
  2. Dominican Republic
  3. Spa in the Valley, getting a massage
  4. Did I say in my bed?!
E) Four TV shows I watch:
  1. Top Chef
  2. Take-Home Chef
  3. NFL Sunday Ticket (don't ask)
  4. What Not to Wear
F) Four people I tag!
  1. Dawn
  2. Naomi
  3. Krista
  4. YOU

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...

...from our family to yours!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Baby Story

Warning: Due to the violent and somewhat graphic nature of this post, reader discretion is advised! (well, ok...only for those primigravidas out there!!)

It all began one dark and stormy night...Seriously folks, it was a little before 8:00 pm on Tuesday, the 18th. My contractions started and continued to get closer together and noticeably stronger. By 1:00 am they were 6 minutes apart, and we decided to call Enza, the best doula in the world. My contractions continued at a steady rate, until Enza arrived. They tapered off, and at one point were almost an hour apart. Enza left for the morning, while contractions continued, but not with the consistency at which they had started. A few hours later, around noon, we called Enza to come back up. Contractions were again 6-7 minutes apart, and had stayed that way for over 2 hours. By the time she arrived, they were relatively painful and coming more frequently. By 5:00pm on Wednesday, we decided to call the doctor since my contractions were then 3-5 minutes apart and quite painful. Shocker, right?! We arrived at the hospital, fully anticipating that I would be at least a good 6 cm. dilated. I was checked and the verdict was 3 cm! I almost cried. They let me walk for 2 hours and at that point was rechecked, 4 cm. As the night wore on, my contractions remained irregular, anywhere from 3-12 minutes apart. Despite the inconsistency, the intensity continued to increase. Miguel and Enza were absolutely incredible. They championed through the night with me, helping to ease the frustrations, pains, and feelings of failure.

By 4:00am on Thursday, I was utterly exhausted and knew I couldn't continue for hours on end and then have to push at the end. With much hesitation and frustration, I asked for an epidural. Pride was my main factor in not wanting pain relief. I had made it this far, why not continue. The midwife checked me one more time, to reveal I was only 5.5cm. Shoot me up. I was exhausted and done. Had the labor NOT been 32 hours to that point, I would have continued on. But 5.5 cm with no end in sight...hmm...part one of birth plan-out the window-Epidural received. Rest achieved and pain relief so sweet.

Part 2 and 3 out the window: water broken, Pitocin administered. I continued to labor until 10:00 am on Thursday morning, the 20th (38 hours and counting), when finally the verdict came in that I was fully dilated. Thank you JESUS! As I began pushing, part 4 of birth plan out the window-pooped on the table...lots of times. How humiliating, especially with two student nurses in the room! Seriously, why didn't someone get me the deodorizing spray?! I wanted to gag!

Part 5 and 6 out the window: After pushing for 2.5 hours, the doctor decided I was too small to push out our little girl, so they gave me an episiotomy, thinking she would pop right out. Nope. They had to use the vacuum to help her on her way.

Seconds later, at 12:26pm, Isabel Renee Barowski came into the world. Miguel and I both bawled, she screamed, and we cried even more. The 40.5 hours of labor was surely NOT forgotten (how in the world do women say that they forget the pain?!?!), but it was all worth it. Every second of every minute of every stinking long hour. Every part of the "failed" birth plan was trivial. Our little girl was safe, healthy and ours, finally.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

She's HERE!!!

19 1/4"
7lbs 6oz

Nothing new under the sun

Wait....the sun really isn't out. I haven't heard anything else new, except that mom and dad are going to the hospital now. *shrug* Isabel suuuure is taking her time!


I forgot to mention that she is 7cm dilated.

I am at work to finish my projects and then I fully intend to go straight to the hospital. I will update as I hear more!

This JUST in (care of Enza!):
8.5cm and 100% effaced

Epidural Time

Lib just had an epidural. She called me and said that it could be an hour or it could be 4. Please be praying for her this morning. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still no baby and i'm exhausted

I haven't heard from Mig in a while. Needless to say I am NOT at the hospital. Mig said no sense to come and wait alone. Hopefully i'll get the call soon to come up! For now. I'm going back to sleep.

"It's a BOY!"


That's what Miguel said when he called again. The hospital is keeping Lib. She is about 4cm and is totally effaced (i'm soooo naive. IDK what this means. please don't explain).  I am going to head up there at 9. 

Getting there

She's approximately 3 cm. : ) The doctor is checking again in an hour to and hour and a half. Migi said no need to rush to the hospital. (SORRY DUH, this is Sacha *grin*)

On the way to the hospital

Blogging on behalf of Lib, she's on her way to the hospital with contractions at 3-5 minutes apart. I'll be driving up there shortly and will update once I get there!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Restaurant Review

It's been a while since a post, and even longer since a post with any substance. Sorry to disappoint-this is more fluff! Two weeks ago, Miguel and I went on a date. It had been a while, so we decided to get out and enjoy one of our last weekends together as a childless couple. We got massages at Spa in the Valley and then went to dinner at the new Cheesecake Factory in Towson. I know that Leanne just reviewed the restaurant, but that was before it opened. Our experience was a bit different.

1. Parking was a nightmare.
2. We waited over 45 minutes to get a pager.
3. We then waited over 45 minutes longer to be seated.
3a. They do not have call ahead seating or make reservations.
4. It was loud and we were seated VERY close to the people at the table next to us.
5. The blueberry cheesecake was just so-so (my cheesecake, of course).

1. The restaurant is connected to the mall from an inside entrance, which provided easy access to stores, etc.
2. Staff were friendly and quick once we were seated.
3. Food portions were HUGE.
4. The peanut butter cookie dough cheesecake was to die for.

Over all, the food was not worth the wait. I would definitely go again for dessert, which can be ordered carry out. There was a line, but it, at least, was moving quickly!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Raven's Fan

Just a little Thursday humor...for you, Momma O!

On the first day of school a first grade teacher explains to her class that she is a Steelers' fan. She asks her students to raise their hands if they, too, are Steelers' fans.

Wanting to impress their teacher, everyone in the class raises their hand except one little girl.
The teacher looks at the girl with surprise, 'Janie, why didn't you raise your hand?'
Because I'm not a Steelers' fan,' she replied.

The teacher, still shocked, asked, 'Well, if you are not a Steelers' fan, then who are you a fan of?'
'I am a Ravens fan, and proud of it,' Janie replied.
The teacher could not believe her ears. 'Janie, why pray tell are you a Ravens fan?'
Because my mom is a Ravens fan, and my dad is Ravens fan, so I'm a Ravens fan too!''

Well ,' said the teacher in a obviously annoyed tone, 'that is no reason for you to be a Ravens fan. You don't have to be just like your parents all of the time. What if your mom were an idiot and your dad were a moron, what would you be then?'

then,' Janie smiled, 'I'd be a Steelers' fan.'


A Redskins fan, an Eagles fan, a Ravens fan, and a Steelers' fan - are climbing a mountain and arguing about who loves his team more.

The Redskins fan insists he is the most loyal. 'This is for the Redskins! ' he yells, and jumps off the side of the mountain.

Not to be outdone, the Eagles fan shouts, 'This is for the Eagles!' and throws himself off the mountain.

The Ravens fan is next to profess his love for his team. He yells, 'This is for everyone!' and pushes the Steelers' fan off the mountain.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Kristin Funny

My close friend Kristin is always saying or doing things that make me chuckle. This was our discussion during church today:

Kris: Can I feel your belly?
Me: Sure. There's her butt poking out.
Kris: She has a big butt.
Me: Let's hope not.
Kris: Hey, if you push hard enough could you start labor?
Me: No, I'd probably just poop myself.

You kill me, Kris.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Last night, I woke up around 3:00am, and could not fall sleep again. I wasn't uncomfortable; I wasn't having contractions. I just felt like Martha, "worried" about many things. I woke Miguel, asked him to pray for me, and as he was praying this familiar verse came to mind:

Philippians 4:6-7

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Even when feeling anxious and worried, I am called to pray with thanksgiving. Despite my worries, there are always immense blessings being poured out. What am I focusing on-my self-sufficiency which only leads to fear or God's amazing goodness and kindness to me? I am realizing that my focus during the last few weeks has become so inward that I have been unable to pray with thanksgiving. I have therefore forfeited the peace of God which promises to guard my heart and mind from anxiety.

What is troubling your heart? Have you taken hold of this promise? Pray with thanksgiving and you will find a peace that surpasses all understanding! It will guard your heart and your mind.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Isabel is still Isabel and is set to wear pink and sleep in a flowery room =) I made sure to ask the ultrasound technician today to double, make that triple, check her gender! I get more and more nervous about Isabel coming out with a little wee-wee. Silly, I know.

The ultrasound tech believes that Isabel is around 7 pounds 2 ounces. How in the world is my little girl that big?! I don't feel big enough to have something the size of a small watermelon inside of me. The tech tried to get a good picture of her face, but it was smashed up against my uterus wall. Not much room in there, I guess. The tech also said because the baby is so low, she doesn't think it will be long before we get to see her little face. Wow. What an amazing thought. Not long now.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

38 Weeks

12 days until "D" day, but who's counting?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Girlie

I have come to realize that Isabel is going to be better dressed than I am! Not necessarily by choice (I LOVE nice clothes), but due to the generosity of friends, family, and coworkers. Check out the adorable hand-made items she received today from Mrs. Zuzik and Mrs. Stough! I need to direct your attention to the hangers as well. Linda said that she had saved them from the time she was a baby, so that she could give them to her own daughters some day. Since neither of her daughters have children, she generously gave me two "antique" hangers. They are amazing in and of themselves!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Post #3

Maybe I've had too much time on my hands today...or maybe I just haven't blogged in a while. Regardless of the reason, here is post #3!

After Krista mentioned "Plain Truth" by Jodi Picoult, I had to read it. I loved "My Sister's Keeper," but hadn't read anything else by the author. I picked up "Plain Truth" at the library and really enjoyed the read. Though it did contain a few foul words, the book was well worth the read. Entertaining and easy, just what I needed as I ticked away the minutes on the elliptical. Picoult gave a vivid description of the Amish community, and dispelled many of the myths I had previously held about the Plain people. It is truly a fascinating culture, one which defies the selfishness and pride of our nation. If for no other reason, the book is worth the read to learn about the Amish community of Lancaster County. In true Picoult style, there was a major twist in the novel. This time, however, Picoult saved the "ohmygoodness" moment for the very last page of the book. Something about that is just not right!!!!

After this light read, I feel like I could use a really deep, need-a-dictionary novel. Any suggestions?

Fall recipe

I love fall-mainly because it's the season for making many of my favorite foods! I posted this recipe in 2005, but thought it could use another nod three years later.

Jewish Apple Cake

4 Lg. apples (anything crunchy will do just fine-I usually use Granny Smith and Red Delicious)
5 T. sugar
2 t. cinnamon

3 C. flour
2 C. sugar
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
4 eggs
1 C. oil
1/3 C. Orange Juice
2 1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. In a bowl combine apples with sugar and cinnamon. Let sit while prepping batter.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour liquid ingredients over dry. Mix well.

In a greased and floured tube pan (or bundt), layer batter and apples, starting and ending with batter. Make sure the batter is covered with the apples, but not too thickly or it won't bake through.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours. At times I've needed to bake for almost 2 hours.

our bags are packed and we're....

Waiting...=) I wish we were off to some exotic location for a week long getaway! However, the suitcase is my hospital bag, and the trip is only a 20 minute drive to York Hospital. I spent this weekend further preparing for Isabel and that included packing my hospital bag. I know we're three weeks away yet, but I like to be prepared. What can I say?!

I have a list that I packed from, yet I wonder what I will REALLY need. Any pointers? What do you wish you had thought to pack? What item was most helpful to you during your short 48 hour stay in the hospital?

Friday, October 17, 2008

For Laura

Raccoon and I go way back. Sort of like my friendship with the Jacobs family. Laura and I met while playing hopscotch in "K Ct." I remember that day like it was yesterday. I also remember the day that Beth thought it would be a grand idea to torture my fragile little soul. We were vacationing together as families in Ocean City, MD. Our condo was up several flights and overlooked the ocean. Beth was, how shall I say, downright mean to Laura and me. Just ask her, she'd admit that!

It was early in the morning, and Laura, Raccoon and I had sneaked out onto the balcony before anyone was awake. Beth came up behind me and asked to see Raccoon. Naively, I let her hold my dear stuffed animal. A sly grin spread across her face as she dangled him over the balcony. As I screamed for her to stop, she let Raccoon go. He soared down to the ground, until I was no longer able to see him. I was convinced that she had killed him; and I was about to kill her. Laura and I ran inside-me to tell my parents and her to tell her parents. I don't quite remember the sequence of events, but I know that it ended with Beth being scolded and Raccoon being rescued.

Isabel will NOT be allowed to share her raccoon with Cameron OR Beth's newest little one. Ever.

Monday, October 13, 2008


With exactly one month left until Isabel's arrival, I have begun to feel incredibly overwhelmed. Over the last two days, I have been surrounded by friends, coworkers and family to help celebrate this little one's arrival. I have sat back in awe at God's amazing goodness to us. He has richly provided EVERYTHING she will need to settle into our home. I was in bed Saturday night and began crying (I am sure you're shocked!) as I recalled those who have made lasting imprints on my life. Almost all of those women attended one of my baby showers. Amazing grace. Even more amazing that they will be a part of my daughter's life as well.

Though we received a TON of gifts, I have several favorites-shhh....
1. The Pink Chucks from my cousin.
2. The smocked dress from my aunt.
3. The RACCOON from my mom!!!!

Story of raccoon: Yesterday, at my church shower, I received a box from my mom, labeled "continuing a Turek tradition." Inside was a stuffed raccoon. Why? Well, as a baby, I received a stuffed raccoon that I slept with until the week of my wedding. No kidding. I had to slowly wean myself off before my wedding night. First Raccoon (yes, that is his name) slept on my pillow instead of under my arm. The next night he slept by my side, then at my feet, and then on the floor. Now, he rests securely in the closet. I was honestly considering bringing him out to watch over Isabel. Now, Isabel will have her own raccoon to love and sleep with until she is married!

Monday, October 06, 2008


For those of you who don't know Miguel, it may come as a surprise that he is quite the practical joker. He loves to scare people, just ask Josh Jones! For years, Miguel has played pranks on friends, coworkers, and anyone else who will fall for his antics.

This past weekend was my turn. I borrowed a plastic spider from my nephew, Oren, after he scared me with it. My sole intent was to "get" Miguel. As we were heading out Saturday morning, I put the spider on the handle of his truck, knowing that he would see it as he went to get in the truck. Much to my dismay, he grabbed the handle and the spider fell off. No reaction. He didn't see the spider and had to run back into the house. I discreetly grabbed the spider off the ground and placed it back on the handle for another try. Again, he opened the door and the spider fell off. Darn, I thought I had failed. However, he saw it fall, raised his hands in the air and gave a shriek.

Mission accomplished! Ahh, I laughed so hard. Gotcha babe!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Did I hear that right?!

I must be a magnet for odd and inappropriate pregnant comments....

Coworker 1: I think I saw your bellybutton popping out. How cute.
Coworker 2: And, I have to say, I saw you waddling when you came in. You said you wouldn't waddle.
Me: You can stop talking to me now.

HELLO????! First of all, I don't waddle, I swear. Second of all, even if I did, do you think I'd need someone to tell me?!

Me to one of my students: Do you want to feel the baby?
Student, after feeling my belly: Oh, she's CUTE!
Me: How do you know? You can see her.
Student: She FEELS cute.

How sweet. Odd, but sweet.

What's the most bizarre thing anyone said or did to you while pregnant?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Every Wednesday, we take our class to an assisted living home, called the Lutheran Home. The students help clear the dining hall from lunch, set it up for dinner, and then they play card games with several of the residents. I was all set for a nice leisurely afternoon, supervising a game of Rummy. However, upon arrival, one of the ladies asked a student to paint her nails. I promptly volunteered to paint her nails, knowing full well that the student would end up painting her entire hand.

Moments later, one of the employees comes out with two HUGE bins of nail care products. Not only was I painting, but I was to file, soak, clean, push cuticles, paint AND dry these ladies' nails. WOW! I had 1.25 hours and only managed to get through three women. My calling in life is surely not to be a manicurist. But, I did hear some fascinating stories. One woman turns 100 next week. Another was a war bride and lost her first daughter at age 6 to a rare intestinal problem. The last woman just wanted to remind me NOT to paint her nails, as it makes them split. Just file them down; they're really strong and so it might be tough work going.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these women, and realize I have much to learn from past generations.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Say WHAT?!?!

There is a woman at work who say the least. I wish I could post a picture, you might have a better appreciation of the following interaction.

Co-Worker: I wanted to let you know that I always buy baby gifts after the baby arrives.

Me thinking: Where is this going?!

Co-Worker: I do that since she might NOT be born. And then you'd have gifts to remind you of the fact that she wasn't born. And you'd have to deal with the psychological ramifications of having gifts. And I don't want to have to counsel you.

Me: *Stunned silence*

Unbelievable. There are certain things that you just don't say to a pregnant woman who is 7 weeks from delivery!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Long weekend

It's been a long, exhausting, but fun weekend. Here are some pictures from Emily and Matt's rehearsal...

and wedding...

and a day trip to Washington, D.C....

I am BEYOND exhausted!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

kid funnies

My class this year is easy, almost too easy. Easy as in BORING, easy. Though I don't have problem behaviors to keep me entertained, I do have my kids' silly and bizarre sayings to keep me laughing and shaking my head through the days.

T., as we affectionately call my student with Downs, is hilarious. He has two older brothers, and I am convinced half of the stuff that T says is learned from them. This however, seems to be from his own observations of babies and their habits. Every time someone comes into our classroom or says hello in the halls he quickly tells them, "Ms. B's having a baby. Ms. B's fat. Baby's crying." I wonder if T has supersonic hearing, and perhaps Isabel really is crying?!

Last week, another student Rachael, was walking to her gym class. A teacher stopped to say hello. Rachael would not face her, but merely glanced at the teacher over her shoulder. Rachael went on to tell the teacher, "I can't talk to you this year. I am half popular." She promptly walked away. I wonder why the UNpopular half couldn't take a moment to still say hello?!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Just a quick update on both of my appointments today. The neurologist appointment was quick and painless. She confirmed my thoughts-migraines. The doctor recommended giving up caffeine *sob* and diet soda *weep*. How will I ever make it through the next 9 weeks?! Unless my symptoms change or become worse, the doctor does not see reason for further testing.

After leaving that appointment, Miguel met me for the ultrasound. Though I am measuring small, Isabel is just perfect! We saw all ten toes and fingers, heard and saw a strong heartbeat, and were reassured that she is growing right on target. She weighed in at 3 pounds 6 ounces. I honestly think she hated all of the poking, pushing and prodding. I haven't been kicked that much in a long time! I had a hard time not laughing.

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's September, have you ordered your cute lunch bag yet?!

Every year, come September 1st, I am stalking Lean Cuisine's website. This year, I didn't remember THE sale until today. Check out the lunch bags:

The super cute, insulated lunch bags are only $9.95, tax and shipping included. Five dollars of that goes to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Last year, I bought three and used two as gifts. This year, I think I'll buy one of each and do the same!! I can't decide which I like best, though the pink with white swirls is definitely calling my name.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's been a while since a "real" post

It's amazing how one small occurrence (the start of school) can throw off my blogging. I have so many things that I'd like to blog, but just haven't had the time for. Like a recipe for veggie sloppy joes, pictures of our summer, and funny stories from my kiddos. I guess I'll settle for giving a short update on Isabel and her growth.

First, I think we decided to spell her name the Spanish way-Isabel. Who knows!!!? Our little girl is now 30 weeks, weighs 3 pounds and is 15.7" long. It's amazing to me to think that she fits inside of my belly!! Which, by the way, has expanded greatly over the last two weeks. Friday, ladies at work were remarking that I seem bigger. On that note, I have been measuring small, which doesn't concern the doctor BUT did manage to get us a second ultrasound. We are excited to see our baby girl again before she arrives.

(This was taken early in the morning, hence the "not-quite-awake" look and puffiness!!)

I have two appointments scheduled for Wednesday-a neurology appointment, finally, and the ultrasound appointment. I am praying that the neuro appointment confirms my current line of thinking: vision migraines. Please pray that my symptoms are just that and nothing more.

We had our hospital tour on Thursday, and while York Hospital is nothing fantastic, the staff are wonderful from what we hear. As we were walking onto the Labor and Delivery unit, a newborn was being wheeled to the nursery. She was so new that she hadn't even been weighed or measured yet! I started tearing up.

The nearness of motherhood is becoming reality. Daily, I grow in size, but mainly in anticipation of our baby's birth and the new role of "mommy."
Rules of the game:
- Choose a singer/band/group
- Answer using ONLY titles of songs by that singer/band/group

Sarah McLaughlin

1. Are you male or female?
"Perfect Girl"

2. Describe yourself.
"Train Wreck"

3. How do people feel when they're around you?
"Building a Mystery"

4. How would you describe your previous relationships?
"I Will Remember you"

5. Describe your current relationship.
"Full of Grace"

6. Something you want to say to your significant other?
"I Love You"

7. How do you feel about love?
"Dirty Little Secret"

8. What's your life like?
"Sweet Surrender"

9. What would you ask for if you had only one wish?
"Ice Cream"

10. Say something wise.
"Do What You Have to Do"

Can I just say that I love Sarah McLaughlin?!

Friday, August 29, 2008


Ps. 51:1 "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions."

As Spurgeon said this morning, "How sweet the remembrance that inexhaustible mercy is waiting to be gracious, to restore our backsliding, and to make our broken bones rejoice!"

What an amazingly kind God I serve. New mercies are mine this morning!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day

Well, to quote my teacher friend Kristin, "No one died; no one cried. It was a success." That about sums up my first day back to school with the kids! All survived and no tears were shed, not even by me. However, I forgot what it was like to be on my feet all day. I am utterly exhausted, but realize how blessed I am to have four students this year. The dynamic between them was great, especially since my trouble maker moved on to the high school this year. I think the next 58 days until my retirement will fly by!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Word of the Day

I learned a new word today. Did you know that a primigravida is a woman who is pregnant for the first time? I certainly did not.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Marley and Me

August is my month to host book club, and therefore, my month to choose the book. I went for a light, easy read, "Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog," by John Grogan. My aunt had recommended the book, saying I must read it, given the fact that Cuzco is such a....uh, well trained, mannerly dog. This book, however, made my dog look like a saint! Honestly, jumping and licking are nothing compared to the shoe eating, leather couch destroying, gold necklace swallowing dog, named Marley. I laughed as Grogan vividly described Marley's almost daily antics. I cried when Marley passed away.

In light of the book choice, I thought I would share this recent dog story. BEWARE, it's not pretty! Machito, our dog's brother, is an avid food lover. His physique proves this--slightly over-weight and poky. He will devour anything put near his mouth, and I mean anything. The other night, Erika was changing Zion, and noticed that his umbilical cord had fallen out. Aaron started looking for it on the floor around the changing table. He found the clamp, but no umbilical cord. Upon further inspection, Aaron realized that the clamp had teeth marks all over it. Machito had managed to eat the umbilical cord and leave the plastic clamp. Bet that tasted yummy?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wall Stickers

I found this great site called Blik. It is a site dedicated to wall stickers. Some are fun, and some are just amazingly beautiful.

I love these, called Anise. You can the stickers in several color combinations. I can see using this scheme in my bathroom that is currently cream and green.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What I've Learned from Martha

...Stewart, that is.

1. There is a difference between cake flour and all-purpose. Using all-purpose will NOT work as a substitute, unless you want a dense cake.

2. Not reading through a recipe thoroughly will cause your scones to turn out much like cookies, because you added the extra egg yolk meant for a glaze.

3. I LOVE to bake, especially with lots of butter, white flour, and REAL sugar!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Love

As I have recounted the events of last year, God has brought about amazing changes in us as a couple, and especially in Miguel. As we are quickly approaching this new season of parenthood, I have seen Miguel grow and mature like never before.

Where fear once ruled in the area of finances, peace and faith in God's provision have taken its place. Miguel has diligently pursued sidework to ensure that we have adequate savings set aside for the time when I am no longer fully employed. He never ceases to amaze me in the way he works late hours, at times to exhaustion, gets up early and does it all over again. How easily I grumble and complain, yet he cheerfully labors so that our family will be abundantly cared for. I love that about him.

Miguel has visibly and verbally displayed a growing excitement for his role as father. When I asked what he's most looking forward to in the coming season, he stated, "I just want to hold her in my arms." A huge smile spread across his face, and I could see his deep love for our little one before she's even born. It has made me fall more in love with him daily. His gentle and quiet spirit, which I so admire and am jealous of, is one that will serve him well as he learns to be a daddy and leader of our little one. Isabelle is blessed to have a father with a heart as kind, gentle and tender as Miguel's.

I am blessed to have a husband with a heart so kind, so gentle and so tender. I pray I will become more like him as we walk through life together, year-by-year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

94 days

I looked at my baby ticker this morning and realized we are under the 100 day mark. How did that happen so quickly?! Time has literally flown by, and I am wishing it would slow down just a bit. Though I am feeling more and more ready to have Isabelle with us, I am NOT ready in the life-altering-change sense. But then again, would I really ever be ready for that? We've begun the practical steps to welcome her into our home. We registered at Babys R Us; we bought baby bedding; we picked out paint colors for the nursery; we are scoping out furniture; and we are starting to plan for her actual birth. Through all of this, we are growing in excitement to see our baby and hold her in our arms.

In other news...Miguel and I went to Fogo De Chao's on Saturday night for his birthday dinner. We'd heard a lot about it, and were excited for an "all-you-can-eat" meat restaurant. It was quite an experience, to say the least. There was more meat in one restaurant than I thought possible! By far, our favorite was the lamb. If you flip your coaster to the green side, waiters rush over with skewers of meat and slice it onto your plate. When you want a break, flip the coaster to red. Green, Red. Green, Red. Green, Green, Green. You get the picture. We walked away quite stuffed, and not quite sure we'd go back. It was worth the visit, but not all the hype we'd heard. If you've been, what was your experience like? Would you go back?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

CJ's wedding

Two pictures from CJ's wedding. For more, see my facebook page =)

My silly sisters, poking fun at my expense!

Me and Miguel, at the "Louisville, KY" table.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


For all of those vocal and closet Harry fans:

(Click on image to watch the newest trailer)

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is slated to arrive in theaters November 21st.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Black Bean and Pepper Salad

At food...I mean on Saturday, one of the gals made this amazing, summery bean salad. I love anything with black beans, and this was so good I could have eaten serving after serving!

Black Bean and Pepper Salad

by Michelle Ryan

1 can black beans -rinsed

1 can corn-I used one fresh ear of corn, cut off the cob

3 peppers-I used one yellow and one organge and only used 3/4 of each (I'm not a huge pepper fan)

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced

Fresh cilantro, well chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tbsp red wine vinegar

juice of 1 lime

pepper and salt, to taste

Seed and dice peppers. Combine peppers, onion, corn, garlic and cilantro. Toss. Add olive oil, vinegar and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and add black beans.

SOOOOO good. I am serving this tonight with Cuban Rice and Beans for dinner. Perhaps a little overboard on the black beans, but, like I said, I love beans!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Shopping Spree

Isabelle officially had her first shopping spree Thursday. Kid-to-Kid, a fantastic consignment shop in York had its annual clearance sale yesterday. The doors opened at 4:00pm; I arrived early, as I had heard that the best items went quickly. At 3:35, I hopped out of my car to stand in the front of what was to become a huge line. Each woman with given several small bags (and I mean smaller than a Wal-Mart bag), with the instructions to remove all hangers, roll clothing, and stuff them into your bags. Only clearance items would be included in the sale. With that, we were off. I ran into the store...ok, so I walked briskly, directly to the infant girl section. I quickly began checking tags to make sure the item was marked down, gently taking clothing off hangers, rolling them, and placing them into my bag. Then it hit me, this is taking way too long. Bella will only get five items at the pace I'm going. The other women were brutal. Ramming their strolling into my calves, throwing elbows to get the cutest onesies and sleepers. I grabbed anything that looked cute, left all clothing on the hangers, to be removed once I was in line, and moved from section to section like a madwoman. I had one goal: Find the cutest clothes and grab them before the woman next to me did! ha. I had one bag fully stuffed when I got in line. I managed to remove all hangers and stuff the rest of the clothing into one more bag. Not bad for a hard day's work.

Two overflowing bags of gently used clothing: $10
Actual worth of clothing: at least $250
Watching other woman act like children in a candy shop on Black Friday: Priceless

Seriously, Kid-to-Kid is worth the drive. They only accept VERY gently usedtems such as clothing, toys, shoes, baby gear, etc. Everything I've seen looks brand new. If you want to go, I have a coupon for $3 off your purchase. Let me know and I'll go with you, and I promise, no punches will be thrown!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lisa See

I'd never heard of Lisa See, much less read anything by the American author. Recently, however, someone recommended "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan." I've been looking for a good read, and found just that. How long has it been since you've read a book that you don't want to put down? "Snow Flower" has captured and held my attention through each turned page. I sneak in a chapter at every free moment, rewarding myself for finishing the vacuuming or dishes. The imagery is amazing, the writing phenomenal, and the portrait of Chinese life enlightening and beautiful.

Lisa See masterfully details the lives of two young Chinese girls as the grow up, marry, have children, and face the difficulties of daily life. She tackles difficult issues such as love, death, hatred and bitterness. All the while, she weaves an intricate story of two kindred spirits, separated by status and rank. Amy Tan, author of ""The Joy Luck Club, calls the novel "achingly beautiful" and I'd have to agree.

What was the last page-turner you read?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Isabelle and other week 23 events

Serious CONS of being pregnant:
1. My feet have grown more than 1/2 size. Even my flipflops are getting too small.
2. Inability to sleep at night. I am a stomach sleeper; breaking a 28 year old habit is nearly impossible!

#1 does have a PRO. I've bought several new pairs of shoes in the last few weeks! I LOVE shoe shopping, and I haven't purchased new shoes in years. Literally.

Saturday was an insanely busy day. I only lasted three and a half hours at our community yard sale. It got so hot by 10am that I was ready to call it quits. In that time, I managed to sell $60 worth of junk. There are some serious suckers in this world! ha.

Saturday evening, ten girls went downtown to celebrate my sister-in-laws' birthday. We surprised her at our house, were escorted downtown in a limo, and then had dinner at Pazo's (review to come later). The evening was a great time together, laughing, sharing stories, and getting to know ladies that I'd only met in passing. All of the ladies, but one, either have numerous kids or were pregnant. At one point, the limo ride conversation turned to epidurals, labor, and bladder control (lack there of) after giving birth. We are deep in discussion when the limo driver yells back "TMI" and promptly shuts the window between us and him. We died laughing. Here are some shots from our evening.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

yard sale

Our community is supposed to have a yard sale today. Thus far, I've seen ONE sign posted (and that looked like a a 'for sale by owner' sign!); there is nothing mentioned of it in our local newspaper; and I was the one to post it on Craig's List. So, all that to say. We're allowed 2 yard sales per year, and each sale costs me $5 (borough requires a permit). I'd better at least make those five bucks back! Whatever doesn't sell, I'll post here, to see if there are any local takers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Have you ever sat back and really evaluated the direction your life has taken? I met for lunch with a friend today and realized that my life is taking some very different turns than I had ever imagined it would. As I am gearing up to become a mother, I am facing the reality that I will only be working for ten more weeks once the school year begins, AND those ten weeks may be the last that I work for years to come. That thought scares me, saddens me, yet at the same time brings great joy. I stand amazed that these emotions can coexist and even reveal themselves simultaneously. After questioning the "what ifs" and "buts" of quitting my full-time job, I am realizing that the direction my life is taking is exactly the one He has laid out for me. The all too familiar passage in Jeremiah 29 has been resonating through my heart and mind.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. "

I can take heart that the path of motherhood means not only the end of one dream, but also the fulfillment of an entirely new one. Does your path look vastly different from the one you had imagined as a college freshman or new graduate? Are you saddened by the thought of a "missed opportunity" or excited by the journey you now walk?

Monday, July 14, 2008

6 years later

I graduated from Towson University (undergrad) over six years ago. Today, I received my diploma in the mail....I wonder if I actually earned my degree in 2002?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Favorite summer meal

During the summer, I seem to have less motivation for cooking gourmet (or even new) meals. This is our old standby, but we love it!

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce
Prep time: 5 min. Cook time: 20 min. Total time: under 30 min.

1 pound chicken
1 jar Classico Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce
1 Spaghetti Squash (I generally use about 1 pound per person)

1. Boil chicken breasts for 20 minutes. Shred.
2. Place shredded chicken and all of sauce in a pan.
3. Stir until sauce is heated through. Let simmer on low, stir occasionally.
4. While chicken is boiling, cut squash in half and remove all seeds and pulp.
5. Place in a pie plate or other microwaveable dish. Fill with enough water to just cover bottom of squash.
6. Cover squash tightly with plastic wrap. Pierce with 5 holes.
7. Microwave on high for 15 minutes. Will be VERY hot when you remove it.
8. Let is cool slightly. Shred squash with a fork onto plates. Squash will come out like spaghetti noodles and easily replaces pasta in any dish!
9. Cover each serving with the chicken/sauce mixture.
10. Serve with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

**The squash is very hearty, so we always end up with left overs since we can't eat a "normal" pasta sized portion!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Song Yet Sung

"Song Yet Sung," by James McBride was our latest book club book for the summer. Though turtle-paced from the beginning, the novel picked up and was full of action and suspense during the last third. "Song Yet Sung" is an historical fiction novel set in Maryland's Eastern Shore. The book was chosen by two members, who grew up on the shore. The book, from that sense, was intriguing.

James McBride discusses the desire for freedom that drove slaves to unthinkable actions, just on the brink of the Civil War. The book was full of mysticism and religion; with a "Dreamer" as the main character. Liz, the Dreamer, as she was dubbed, was severely wounded in the head and would often fall into deep sleep and then dream about the future (her character was loosely based on Harriet Tubman). In her dreams, she not only saw the the immediate dangers awaiting her and her companions, she also saw the future of all black people. Interestingly, McBride used Liz's dreams to discuss contemporary black leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fascinating approach to writing.

The often confusing plot and mention of the "song yet sung" ended up taking form in King's famous speech "free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last." Freedom, as Liz realized, was not in traveling North, or even gaining ownership of herself. Freedom was only found in death. Freedom from this world and all of its entanglements. Freedom to walk in Heaven along side Jesus.

Do I recommend the book? Half-heartedly. There was some foul language and gruesome fight scenes. Not to mention the slow pace and not-fantastic end. However, the writing, from a historical perspective was educational and entertaining. I don't know if I'll be able to visit O.C. without thinking of the difficult lives that slaves and plantation owners alike once lived.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Week 21

This week has continued to bring changes on the baby front. Bella's kicks are no longer flutters, they are now kicks and jabs! Tuesday, I was laying on the couch reading, when she started moving around. I looked at my stomach and could see it moving at the location of her kicks. What an amazing sight and feeling! It's hard to believe that this baby girl is truly living and growing inside of me.

We've begun our hunt and search for baby bedding so that we can paint the nursery. I found a design I absolutely LOVE, but then saw the price tag. So, Sharon Lilley and I are going to make the bedding! That will be a fun adventure. Now, if I can only find material that looks exactly like this:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Today, I met with my boss at Southern Middle about my kids' schedules for next year. He is a wonderful man, very personable, and genuinely interested in his employees. This in mind, it shouldn't have come as a surprise when he asked, "Do you plan to return to work after the baby is born?" I had been avoiding this specific conversation, concerned that I wouldn't have a job to come back to in the fall. However, he was MORE than gracious as I relayed our plans. God willing, I will be staying home once Isabel arrives in November! And now I do not have to dance around this intention any longer. My boss was supportive and said he had planned on this scenario, but this gives him specific direction.

I feel such peace and relief now that my boss has this knowledge.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Recipe needed

Anyone have a great recipe for macaroni salad? I've never made it, want to, but don't really want to pull some random recipe off of the Internet!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Half Way

Today, Isabel and I are officially halfway through this journey together. The past two weeks have brought many exciting changes. I've started to feel her move inside of me almost daily. She loves to move around once I've eaten dessert (that's my girl!!) and am lounging on the couch.

Not only has she started to move and grow, but I am FINALLY starting to grow as well. While this has been a hard adjustment, I must admit, God has faithfully reminded me that it is all for a greater purpose. I have officially gained weight, which relieved the midwife, and some of my shorts no longer comfortably button. I've employed the Belly Band, and must say, it's worked great. I've also splurged a bit and started buying maternity clothing. What one item of maternity clothing could you not have lived without during your pregnancy? Where did you purchase it?

Here's a "belly" picture for you, taken this morning. Miguel says I look like I'm just arching my back and sticking out my stomach!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I love Timbuk2 bags; they are versatile, durable, and super cute. (You can even customize your bag with the materials and colors you want.) But, they are also quite pricey. I'd been eyeing up the Cargo Tote for some time, thinking that I'd love to use it as a diaper bag one day. Today, I was returning something at REI in Timonium and wandered by the backpack section. On an end display, they had Timbuk2 Cargo Totes. I of course had to stop and drool a bit. Then I looked at the display. All of the bags were significantly reduced in price, AND they had the exact colors I've wanted!

I now have bought my first "baby" item, and am so tickled with my find. What great finds have you purchased lately?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Aha Use

"Real Simple" magazine has a monthly section listing common household items and their "aha" uses. I think I have my own, and it may just be brilliant!

Item: The Bella Band

Common Use: to hold your barely-too-tight pants and shorts up when you can no longer button them due to a growing pregnant belly.

New Use: For the every-day-woman who fluctuates between 3 pant sizes. The Bella Band will allow you to wear those jeans that are just a tad too tight or those dress pants that are too baggy because you lost a few pounds. No need to continue purchasing new clothing each time you gain or lose a pant size! Use a Bella Band to make your clothing fit your growing and shrinking body.

Am I brilliant or what?! ha

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fruit season

I love berry season, especially when I can pick my own at a local farm. The fruit somehow seems to taste that much better when it's been hand picked! Miguel and I picked 11 pounds of strawberries yesterday, knowing it will be the last of the strawberries for the season. So, in an attempt to use up the berries, I've been incorporating them into every meal!

For lunch today, I had this protein shake:

4 ice cubes
1/2 C. skim milk
1 C. nonfat, plain yogurt
1 Scoop protein powder-I used chocolate (yum!)
A large handful of strawberries (6 large ones)

Blend on high until ice is crushed, and shake is smooth. This is a super healthy, and filling shake. What is your favorite strawberry recipe?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vacation Pictures

Just a few snippets from our Maine adventure.

Jordan Pond on a foggy, misty afternoon.

Sand Beach- One of the only sand beaches on the Maine coastline.

Cadillac Mtn. - We did a short 4 mile hike up to the summit. This was the only sunny, warm day.