Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
My wonderful husband went and got me Starbucks before I left for work. He also cut some beautiful flowers from our yard to put in a vase. After school, my grandmother (dad's mom) brought over a made-from-scratch Boston Creme Pie...yum. Eric took me to dinner at Nada, a contemporary Mexican Restaurant downtown that I've been dying to try. Then he surprised me with a totally awesome gift-- Photoshop Elements. I can now take my picture-editing to whole new levels. I haven't had much chance to play around with it yet, but you can bet I'll post new pictures as I learn things.
It's actually been a busy week here. The Flying Pig Marathon is this weekend and since Eric works for Team in Training, he's been BUSY. It was also state testing week at school. Boring, but busy-- if it's possible to be both. I did get to enjoy this book:I got some money and giftcards for my birthday from my family, and this book just came out in paperback this week. There are a lot of notes and drawings in the margins that add to the story, which is why it's not available for my Kindle. I was slightly surprised by how much I missed the weight of a book in my hands. :-)
All said and done-- a perfect birthday! Lots of well-wishes and good times.
And now...a few random thoughts and pictures:
Cate got some new wheels a few weeks ago. This was a consignment store steal. Brand- new condition for $20. I appreciate the handle in the back so that I can push her when she gets tired. Cate looks stinkin' adorable in these two pictures-- the first is of her in the dress I just finished up for her and the second is of her last weekend in my parents' landscaping.And finally-- I'm not so sure math is going to be Cate's strong suit. The other night Eric told her she could pick out two books to read before bed. She went into a frenzy, repeating "couple of books" and grabbing all of the books her little arms could hold. They ended up reading seven. She's gonna be a reading/language arts kind of girl like her momma.~Melody :-)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Today's review: Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.
When I was little, I liked going to church, for the most part. Even in college I sought out a church that I could temporarily call "home." I joined a Christian sorority and attended the weekly meetings of a couple of different faith groups on campus. It was really in college where I began my search for what it meant to be "a woman of God" in earnest. I still don't know what that means all the time. For awhile, I thought it meant that I had to look perfect, serve my husband, and throw myself into volunteering at my church. You burn out quick trying to do all of this. Blogs and other social-media didn't help. My message from them (what I was hearing, not necessarily what they were saying): if you're not an organic-eating, home-schooling, church volunteering, husband-serving, perfect-looking woman then you are doing something wrong. I began to question myself a little. Was it okay that I worked and had a family? Was it okay that I asked my husband to do some (okay, a lot) of the cooking and cleaning? Was it okay if I said "no" to something at church? And finally I learned that the answer to all three questions is "yes."
Captivating is one of the first books I've read that really talks about what it truly means to be "a woman of God." This quote in particular really resonated with me: "The culture of women in the church today is crippled by some very pervasive lies. 'To be spiritual is to be busy. To be spiritual is to be disciplined. To be spiritual is to be dutiful.' No, to be spiritual is to be in a Romance with God. The desire to be romanced lies deep in the heart of every woman. It is for such that you were made," (129).
That's right-- to be a "woman of God" means to let God romance you. And that's just part of what the Eldredges (mostly Stasi) talk about in this book. Throughout the entire book, the Eldredges talk of how God wants women to live out those three basic desires we have as little girls: to be romanced (to be desired), to be part of a great adventure, and to be beautiful.
No matter where you are as a woman in life, God sees you as beautiful. He is captivated by your beauty. He desires you to live the life you were born to live and designed to live-- to take part in the great adventure he has planned for you (whether it's motherhood, starting a business, traveling, being a missionary, volunteering, continuing your education, etc.). For those women who are married-- it's no coincidence that these desires line up with the desires most men have as little boys-- for a battle to fight, for adventure, and for a beauty to rescue. One of the things my husband told me when we first got married was that he'd always fight for me, for us (he'd just read John Eldredge's book, Wild at Heart).
I love the way these desires fit together when a man and woman are in a relationship. In Stasi's words, "A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strength allows her feminine heart to flourish. His pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man. Her beauty arouses him to play the man; it draws out his strength. She inspires him to be a hero," (19).
And if you're not married...not to worry. Married or not, God fights for you every day. He wants you. He wants to rescue you. He wants to be a part of your great adventure.
Those lies I believed at one point in time or another are just that-- lies. God created me to go on the adventure of teaching middle school kids. And I love it. He created me for the shared adventures of marriage and parenthood. And I love both. That's who I am-- it's not how every woman has to be. It feels wonderful to know that Eric finds me beautiful all the time (and tells me all the time) and even better to know that God finds me beautiful too. If you read my Freedom post, you know that God has rescued me...and that wasn't the first time. And when Eric helps out with cooking and cleaning...he's definitely my hero (he's my hero for other reasons too though).
So to the women out there reading this-- know that you are beautiful, you are desired, and God has big plans for you.
So here's the thing: I like to write about what I want to write about when I want to write about it. Which is why I'll never do paid advertising on my blog. (Sidenote: I did consider this at one time-- even had my application accepted with a major blog advertising placement group-- but then I read about requirements for how often you have to post, etc. and decided not to go through with it). I'd rather promote things and businesses I whole-heartedly love and support (like my friend's boutique, Stop Traffick Fasion)-- things I don't get a kickback from. Besides, some blogs I used to enjoy reading really changed after they began accepting advertisements. For one, they now take forever to load. Secondly, I came to realize that some of the posts seemed to have been posted just for the sake of posting, making the blog less interesting to read.
Okay, I'm off my soapbox. I don't hate you if you have ads on your blog. It's just not for me. That's all.
So Booksneeze---the lovely button at the top. Advertisement or not? Well, it works like this: I sign on to Booksneeze's website whenever I'm in the mood. I pick from their selection of books that need to be reviewed (or not if nothing interests me at the time). They send me the book. I read it. I post a blog reviewing the book (being honest-- however I feel about it). I do get to keep the book. Once a review is posted, I can repeat the whole process. If I want.
I like Booksneeze because I don't have to give a glowing-review if I don't want to. I don't have to read a book if it doesn't interest me. And Booksneeze could care less about how many times a week I post, how many comments I generate from a given post, and how many page views I get a month. I'm not promoting them. I'm promoting a book. And since I do that anyway on my blog (see the Reading tab under categories), this was kind of a no-brainer. Free book to read as long as I post my opinion about it.
So in the future, please look for Booksneeze reviews from me (and maybe some from my hubby too). I'll be posting my first review of Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge soon.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Sidenote: Friday night we introduced Cate to Stoddard's frozen custard, which is just a couple of towns/suburbs away from my parents. It's been there since 1949 and my grandparents (Dad's parents) used to go before my dad was even born. She finished the whole cone by herself (it was kid-size) and didn't even make too big of a mess.
Back to the DG Family Day...Catherine (my sister) is convinced that Cate (her namesake) will also be a DG. I forgot my camera, so we're all cell-phone quality for this post.The weather was a little chilly, but we still got outside to snap some pictures. Cate also got to participate in the "Watershed" singing ritual. She's the little one shaking her booty below. It cracked Catherine's sorority sisters up.
It was a weekend well spent. Except for the fact that I left some papers that needed grading up there. So....thank goodness for FedEx and awesome parents who are FedEx-ing those papers to me. Hey, it was cheaper than both of us driving to Columbus tonight to meet up and get them.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I'm not really embarrassed to know any song lyrics. However, my friends would probably get a good chuckle out of the fact that I know many a Jessica Simpson song. And I know more than my fair share of Laurie Berkner (a kids' artist). I could freakin' be Laurie Berkner. Y'know...if I could sort of carry a tune.
As a kid, it was definitely Grover. I still have a soft spot for him. Although when I watch it with Cate now, I do like Abby Cadabby. She of course, loves Elmo.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
First, I finished this dress that I started last August. I was kind of waiting on it to make sure Cate wasn't going to hit a super growth spurt. I actually had to take in the straps a little (with some help from my mom) for it to fit around Cate's chest properly. There is still a third tier that I can add later (when I take out the straps), so it's definitely a dress that will grow with Cate through the next year and maybe even the year after.
Then, in a feeling-inspired-June-Cleaver kind of mood, I made an apron for myself. It's reversible.
I do have an awesome pink striped apron from Williams Sonoma that my hubby got me. It's the one that gets messy when I bake (which is what I usually do in the kitchen) or if I'm cooking something messy (which happens maybe once or twice a month). I figured this apron would be more for those moments when I'm putting the finishing touches on something or doing dishes. It's not really a get-messy kind of apron. I love it! I was also semi-inspired by an article I read in Southern Living magazine that talked about reviving the hostess apron, which is pretty much what this apron is. Not that we do a ton of entertaining-- unless you count our small group coming over once a week.
And because no post is really complete without a picture of my sweet girl, here she is with book in hand (a girl truly after my own heart). ~Melody :-)
Monday, April 19, 2010
I was NOT the loser in our husband/wife bracket challenge which means I did NOT plan our excursion to the bowling alley where we did NOT eat food that is totally bad for us. Nope, we're healthy people around here.
It is NOT me who is absolutely, totally, in love with Cate's curls which seem to come out only when it's hot and humid out or when she's sweaty. It did NOT get into the 80's at points in time last week (and the week before that), which would make her hair curl, a lot.
I did NOT take about a gazillion pictures of my blonde-fro'd child. She did NOT decide she needed to take one of me at the same time. That picture did NOT end up being of my belly to the bottom of my neck...no face whatsoever. I am NOT praying that those cute curls stay and intensify as more of her hair (finally) comes in.
What have you NOT been up to lately?
Saturday, April 17, 2010
But I decided to risk it and if we were out $50 later, so be it. It would still be quality time with my girl. She got dressed this morning in her Elmo shirt.
After a quick run through the Starbucks drive-thru (for Mommy), we were off. We got there early enough to buy some popcorn, a program, and a light toy for Cate-- which she happily played with until the show started (cell phone pictures from here on out-- cameras with detachable lenses weren't allowed).
But once the show started...
...Cate was mesmerized. She sat (or stood and danced) for the entire show. There were only 2 or 3 songs that didn't include at least 5 or 6 of the Sesame gang, and Cate was a little restless for those numbers. Otherwise, she behaved perfectly and hasn't stopped talking about it since. She cried when the show was over because she wanted Elmo to come back.
Date #2 was with my hubby. Last month we each filled out a bracket. Loser had to plan date night with a $25 budget and it couldn't be something "typical" for us like dinner out or a movie. I lost, so we went bowling. I haven't been bowling in forever. We actually had a lot of fun! We bowled two games, enjoyed some potato skins, and drank a beer a piece. We're both terrible bowlers though. Eric didn't break 100 on either game and I bowled a 105 and a 90. Luckily my parents were in town-- they were more than happy to watch Cate for a couple of hours for us.
Two great dates in one day! I'm such a lucky wife and momma!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Lately, Cate has been singing. A lot. In the car, in her stroller, when she's playing. The girl just sings and sings. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Jesus Loves Me" are two of her current favorites. However, our church put out a kids' CD recently to go along with the "FREE" journey that I've blogged about and Cate sings along with a couple of those songs as well.
I've had a really hard time capturing her singing on video though. As soon as I get the camera out, she stops singing. Finally though, during a jam session with Daddy tonight, Miss Cate cooperated and I got a few videos of her singing and making music with Daddy.
And yes, I know that Cate's birthday was almost three months ago and yes, we still do let the Elmo pinata decorate our piano.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Over the weekend I traveled with Cate and my grandma to Hudson, OH. My awesome hubby stayed here and cleaned the entire house....like really, really, cleaned it (and bought fresh flowers). He even endured some of the colder night temperatures we had here to keep the windows cracked so that the house would really air out.
I did a little sewing on my mom's machine while I was up there (pictures to come later), graded a few papers, met a friend and her son for lunch, and did a little reading (I started Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge-- hubby and I are reading it together and it's great so far-- as well Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain-- a book of short stories that's also captured me so far).
But my real reason for making the trek up I-71 was for one of my dearest friend's bridal shower. Her sister went to culinary school so the food was to. die. for. It was great to see her and the other bridesmaids as well as to meet some of her family. I wished she lived closer because she got some awesome kitchen gadgets and she cooks well too. I'd be over there every night for dinner.
You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you that I didn't take a single picture the entire weekend, but that's the truth. I pilfered this one of me with the bride (the one standing next to me with the ribbon bouquet I fashioned as she opened gifts) and 3 of the 5 other bridesmaids from Facebook. The wedding is two months from tomorrow, which means I really need to start practicing walking in these heels-- the shoes all the bridesmaids are wearing for the ceremony.
It was a good trip despite Cate's upper 2-year molars deciding to make an appearance and rendering her grumpy. We'll be heading back up in a couple of weeks for my sister's sorority family day. I'm looking forward to more time to spend with family.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Mommy, Daddy, and Emily enjoyed lunch from Bagel and Deli. The Bagel and Deli in Oxford, where we all went to college, is one of my favorite Oxford haunts. It stayed open well past the bars' closing times, delivered food, had a lighter chained to the counter so it wouldn't get stolen and sold cigarettes individually (if you're into that, which I wasn't). It also looked like it had about every health code violation imaginable. But man-- it. is. good.
The new Bagel and Deli downtown also stays open late, but there isn't a lighter chained to the counter and it is much, much, cleaner. Still, the steamed bagel sandwiches are amazing.
After doing some research online, I found that if you aren't in Cincinnati or Oxford, you can get similar sandwiches in Chicago, Indianapolis, and even Charlotte, NC.
Today we headed to Maysville, Kentucky to visit a great college friend, Rachel, and her six-week old daughter, Maddie. Maddie is absolutely precious and Rachel is a natural momma.
Cate wasn't too keen on me holding Maddie at first. She tried to push Maddie off of my lap and said "no like it." After awhile though, she warmed up to the idea and wanted to tickle Maddie's feet and neck.
And did you notice the new haircut and highlights?
I've never been much of a hair girl. I mean, the same woman cut my hair and styled it for all of the dances in high school, but I never really latched onto anyone. In fact, I'm usually the "wait until it annoys you and then go get it cut" kind of girl. But after winning some highlights and a haircut at the Stop Traffick Fashion t-shirt launch party a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to start being a grown up and go to a real salon.
I think it looks pretty awesome. And yes, I did schedule an appointment to come back in 10 weeks to keep up with it. My hair feels great now that it's been liberated from the pony-tail it pretty much lived in for the last 6 months.
Tomorrow we're leaving Daddy behind to head to NE Ohio for a visit with family and a bridal shower. I'm secretly hoping I come home to a spotless house since my hubby really does rock the housework like that, but I'd be thankful if just the clutter piles and dust bunnies were gone. We've been having so much spring break fun that I haven't had time to clean. And you know what--it's not bothering me in the least.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I've been enjoying a beautiful and busy spring break so far. We've played outside (notice the swing set, all put together-- except for the foot swing since Cate's really not old enough for it yet).
We've finger-painted. Cate does NOT like the feeling of finger-paint on her hands. So I re-purposed a few wine bottle corks (Eric and I have NOT indulged in two bottles of wine on spring break thus far-- I am NOT in love with Emeri Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc). They made the perfect tools to paint with. And now when Cate wants to paint she says "Cate do cork paint."
We've also been enjoying this new toy. A bit of mommy's indulgence. It's a Melissa and Doug See and Spell. Cate doesn't know very many letters, but she loves puzzles. So she's kind of learning her letters while she figures out where they go-- like a puzzle. I had a coupon for 20% off any one item at our local toystore, so I couldn't resist it. She loves it. When she wants to play with this she says "Cate do letters." I love that she's putting sentences together.
Sunday night we took some time out to go try out Eric's kite in the breeze. Cate loved chasing it around the park.Then she practiced some of her hanging skills (I think I need to get this kid in gymnastics--anyone know of a place that does classes for 2 year olds)...
...before posing for a picture with Daddy high up on the bridge.
Somewhere in all of this I managed two nights away. One night was spent sitting on Fountain Square downtown eating ice cream with two amazing friends. Another night was spent in the small theater of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company watching their closing night performance of Othello.
Tomorrow Cate and I are loading up the big blue compromise to head to Maysville, KY to see another friend from college and her brand new daughter. I can't wait to take in all that yummy baby-goodness. And then we're off to NE Ohio on Thursday to visit family and attend a bridal shower for one of my best friends. Eric is staying here to hold down the fort (and take care of the pets).
For now...it's back downtown to enjoy lunch with Emily. :-)
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Of course we used the Sesame Street egg dying kit. I love that these two turned out like Elmo and Abby Cadabby.
Cate and I are going to see Sesame Street Live in a couple of weeks. I can't wait to take her on a fun date to see her favorite furry puppet life-size on stage. We bought some of the cheaper seats though since I'm not sure Cate will want to stay in her seat. We'll see.
Back to Easter though-- the Easter Bunny paid us a little visit last night, leaving a basket full of goodies for Cate.
In addition to some Peeps, candy dots, a small chocolate bunny, and some Reeses Pieces (stashed in Elmo-shaped eggs), the Easter Bunny also brought Cate: two books (Cookie's Week by Cindy Ward and Tomie dePaola as well as The Best Easter Prize by Kristina Evans and John Wallace); a Little People figurine in a rabbit costume with an Easter basket; a Thomas the Train pull back and go car-- he's carrying the Easter Bunny); finger paints, dinosaur counters/pattern makers (similar to these) with flashcards; a set of ABC phonics readers, a My Little Pony, and some awesome Crayola washable markers with flip-top lids (so the lids stay attached to the markers).
Cate was excited about all of her goodies! And remember the dollhouse from this post? It was an Easter present from my parents for Cate. She is in love with it. She's played with it all morning. And my handy hubby put a latch on it while she was napping so that we could take it with it when we go to celebrate Easter with more family later on today. The Easter Bunny didn't forget Daddy or Mommy either.
Daddy got some candy, a kite to fly with Cate, and some fun playing cards (Eric loves the fruit faces and I couldn't resist getting him the cards when I saw them). Mommy (sorry, didn't take a picture of my basket), got candy, a cute spring cardigan, and the CD my yoga instructor put out recently. It is wonderfully relaxing music. She chants and sings for the last 15 minutes of each yoga class while we meditate in positions of rest. Amazing!
After some yummy pancakes and pictures of us in our Easter best, we headed off to church to really celebrate Easter.
Eric and I are both so thankful for what Jesus did for us 2000 years ago! We are thankful we serve a risen Lord who sets us free and loves us so much! We are blessed by our church and our small group-- both of which keep us growing ever deeper in our faith and are helping Cate to grow too (she currently loves to sing Jesus Loves Me and told us when we picked her up from Kids Club--our church's version of Sunday School-- that she learned about Jesus today).
Happy Easter! He is Risen! Alleluia!
Friday, April 2, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
It used to be pretty easy to avoid dropping loads of money on cute Carter's clothes because other than their off brands at Target and Wal-Mart, the closest place that sold Carter's brand was Macy's at the mall (10 minutes away) and even then, Macy's only sells Carter's brand up to 24 months.
The nearest Carter's store was 10 minutes down the road from where I work and NOT on my way home. Until recently.
Yeah, now there's a Carter's store at the outdoor shopping center that's also about 10 minutes from our house. And I've already done a little shopping there.
This could be dangerous!