Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kissy Face

This past week I had an absolutely hilarious conversation with Colin while driving him home from preschool.  I was asking him how his day at preschool went and his response cracked me up:

"My day was fine and fun." (insert 15 second pause here), "Kami, why can't I kiss girls at school?"  I was taken completely by surprise with this question, so I responded by asking him, "What do you mean?"

His answer, "Well, today at school I kissed Grace because I love her and my teachers said that I shouldn't kiss the girls in school.  I really like Grace and I'm in love with her.  Can we go to her house?!"

Oh my!  My little man is charming the ladies already!!  We had an extensive talk on why it's not okay to kiss the girls at school, ending with letting him know that it's okay to hold their hand or to just play with them to let them know how much he loves them.

His response, "Can we go play at Grace's house and we can ask her mom if I can kiss her?!"

It never ends ... :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

I Bet You Didn't Know ...

That:
- I absolutely LOVE office products.  I get really excited when I get to go to Office Max and shop!
- I love to host anything!  Having people in my home makes me happy.
- I make the best chocolate chip oatmeal cookies EVER, but I hardly ever make them due to the ever increasing waistline that happens when there are a lot of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies around!
- When I buy a gift for someone that I know they are going to love, I can not wait until the actual occasion for them to open it.  I'm always too excited to see their reaction, and thus it usually gets opened early (this is why Monte and I have "(insert day of the week here) gifts" (i.e. Monday gift, Thursday gift).  I can't ever wait until the actual Valentine's Day, Birthday or Christmas to give the present!
- I have an ex boyfriend with whom I am no longer friends.  However, I am very close friends with his sister, his cousins, his aunt and his mom!
- I love being a part of ministry and hope to involve myself deeper in the near future.
- I can't stand it when people don't RSVP for an event.  Even if you're saying "no", I appreciate hearing that far more than I appreciate not hearing back from you!
- I am an extreme procrastinator, especially when it comes to house cleaning and laundry!
- I can't put Colin in his bedroom for time-out because I usually forget him there when I do!
- I just love to make desserts, but I don't love to eat them.  I really don't have a sweet tooth - it's quite unfortunate!
- I am weird.  Very, very weird.

- My husband and I both tend to get frustrated when plans change unexpectedly.  We have to prepare ourselves for this happening as to avoid going into a funk!
- The only time I take off my wedding ring is when I'm cooking something gross and don't want it to stick in the ring.
- I sing very loudly when I'm in the truck by myself, but rarely sing when others can hear me.  Trust me, if you were around, you would appreciate this!
- I just became acquainted with Vanilla Northern Lites Coolers at Caribou and I'm pretty sure I'm in love.
- I used to love to eat out at fast food joints.  Now I can't stand them (though I will still eat at them when I have to!).
- I finally understand what the term "mommy brain" really means!
- It's not that I forget, but maybe I just forget, but Colin doesn't get bathed all that often.  Maybe twice a week.  This isn't terrible, though, as he has insanely dry skin and his pediatrician said to bathe him as minimally as possible.
- I really love black licorice!
- All of my life dreams came true on December 6, 2008.  This is the day that I became a wife and a mom.
- I have truly enjoyed being a Pampered Chef consultant and am looking forward to my show tonight!
- I love meeting new people.
- I'm a little skeptical about trying new things, but no matter what, I will still put on a good attitude and try it at least once (you know, if it's not life threatening or against my morals).
- I fully believe that people are in charge of their attitude and their mood, so I don't tolerate crabby people all that well (you know, the people who are always crabby!).
- About three months ago, I purchased a few books that I really really really wanted to read.  Ever since I got them, I have yet to read them!
- I don't like getting ready in the morning, but I also don't like spending all day NOT ready.
- I am often a walking contradiction of myself :)
- I am done with this list!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Big One

The other day something major happened to me.  You see, due to the construction going on, I am forced to park my Suburban in the yard at the end of my driveway (as to allow room in my driveway for all of the construction vehicles).  It should also be said that my new parking spot is located on a hill.  A very icy hill.

So, the other day I had just arrived back at home from running errands and parked in my new usual spot.  I put the truck in park, applied the parking break and exited the vehicle.  I helped Colin out of the backseat and held his hand while walking down the hill to ensure he wouldn't fall.  Once he was safely on the driveway, I asked him to go up to the house while I got the bags out of the back of the Suburban (he's kind of putzy, so getting up to the house takes quite a bit of time for him!).  Meanwhile, I headed to my mailbox and picked up the mail and proceeded back to the Suburban to get the bags out of the back end.  Due to how icy the hill is, I had to brace myself against a patch of snow while leaning on the truck to ensure that I wouldn't fall!  I opened the rear door and was in the process of loading the shopping bags on my arms when I suddenly realized that the truck was sliding backwards down the hill!  Due to the extreme iciness of the hill, I, too, was sliding with it.  My heart jumped up into my throat and I did everything I could to hold onto the truck as to not be pulled under it.  In the heat of the moment, an expletive (which I don't care to expand on) slipped out of my mouth as my heart raced faster and faster.  The truck pushed me back into a patch of snow where I was able to get my footing and run out of the way, shopping bags still hanging from my arms.  Once I was safely in the driveway, I watched as the truck slid backwards approximately three feet before coming to a stop shortly before my driveway.

Trying to get a grasp on my ever increasing heart rate, I put the bags down on the driveway and walked toward the truck.  I shut the rear door and jumped out of the way in anticipation of this causing movement of the truck again.  Thankfully, it stayed where it was.  I got back into the drivers seat (heart racing uncontrollably at this point), started the truck, released the parking break and pulled the truck further up the hill into the snowbank.  As I put it in park and applied the parking break yet again, the truck slid back about a foot.  Thankfully, it found a resting spot and stayed solidly there.  I did everything I could to shake the truck, to make it move again, but it was stuck in place (which was a blessing!).

So, I picked up my bags and went to meet Colin on our front deck.  We went inside, I made him lunch and laid him down for a nap.  It was then, during my quiet time, that I was able to process the events that had just happened.  My heart rate was finally slowing down and I was thanking God for allowing a way out for me.  Then I began to recall the events just as they happened and it dawned on me that an expletive had slipped from my mouth.  An expletive!  Holy moly.  This very thing shook me up almost more than the moving truck incident had.  You see, in both Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45 it says, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."  As I pondered that more and more, my heart began to ache.  If an expletive is what came from my mouth in the midst of a crisis, does that mean that that is truly what is the abundance of my heart?

No, I really don't think it is.  I think I am a human who erred big time with that one word.  I'm grateful for my Father in Heaven who has forgiven me for this, because I have asked Him to.  Now I ask that you all forgive me, as well.  I felt like such a dork after it happened and still kind of do, but I do also know that there is no one who is perfect except our Father in Heaven.

Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness.  Work on my heart.  Melt and mold me into the woman that You have designed me to be.  I love You.

Monday, February 22, 2010

We've Run Out of Living Room

Things have been extremely busy around here, which is why I've been absent from blogging for awhile now.  As many of you know, we're working on an addition on our home, which will hopefully be complete within the next month or so.  Well, along with building this addition, we are continually finding ourselves at Lowe's and Home Depot purchasing supplies (i.e. lighting, flooring, tile, etc.), which is a fabulously fun thing to do!  However, unlike most people, when we bring the supplies home, we don't have a garage that we can dump everything into.  So, that being said, we've been making due with whatever extra space we have.  While our master closet has already been invaded, we found ourselves having to take away space from the living room to store this stuff, too!  Remember the serenity I talked about in this fabulous chair back in this post?  The chair I talked about is a great place to rest and relax.  It's this chair ...

Unfortunately, the peace and serenity that surround this fabulous resting spot have been invaded.  Now, when you peek around the other side of that chair, this is what you see:

Or when you take a look more closely, this is the chaos that abounds:

To recap, we have our office desk, manymanymany (yes, so many that it's all one word) lighting fixtures, soda (that is to be transferred out to our soda machine in our apartment building tonight!), a toddler bed, flooring and who knows what else?!   Oh Lord where did the serenity of my living room go?!

Add to that the fact that we now have tile and hardwood flooring to store, and we were beside ourselves with what to do with it!  Then we came up with this fabulous idea!  See this?  

This is Claire's new loft bed and desk.  She absolutely loves it!  Having her bed lofted has given her so much more space in her already cramped bedroom.  Now she has room to do her homework, or just hang out and relax.  Mostly, though, it has given her more room!!  Room for what?  Wait, what are those?  You mean these (don't mind the fact that I'm having a conversation with myself here!)?!
  
Well, these are the boxes of tile that we purchased yesterday.  Unfortunately, we have truly run out of room for storage, and Claire Bear's bedroom seemed to be the next logical spot!  Thankfully it isn't too overrun with tile! :)

But what about all of that wood flooring we just bought?  Did I mention to you that Colin now has a new big boy bed (another post about this is coming soon!)?!  Well, just in case you weren't aware, here is a picture of him (during nap time!) sleeping in his bed:

Wait a minute ... what is that on the right?  All those boxes stacked on his floor?  Well, since you asked (hehe!), I suppose I can give you a closer look:

This is the wood flooring that we purchased (that was on a MEGA sale, by the way!).  We've run out of Living Room and Claire's Room and Master Bedroom (a.k.a. our room!) storage space, so naturally we're heading toward the next main-level room - Colin's room!  Thankfully, he doesn't mind having these in his bedroom, especially knowing that he's being very helpful to daddy and I by letting us keep our "stuff for making the addition done" in his room!

And what about him?  Well, he seems to be sleeping peacefully through the whole thing (including my mini photo shoot in his bedroom!), so I guess I can say he really must not mind! :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pure Enjoyment

Recently, while wandering through the pages of my own blog, I clicked on my "Stepmom Moments" link and read through all of the posts pertaining to that subject.  It was a true time of reflection for me, a time to see just how far I have come in the fourteen months that I have been a wife and a stepmom.  The transition into this role was a very hard one for me to go through and something that I often questioned; not necessarily the fact of whether or not I should be in this role, because I know I was made for it, but whether or not I should have left my job as quickly as I did.  In the beginning, I longed to go back to work entirely because I knew how to do that.  There weren't many surprises that came in the day that I wasn't trained to handle.  In my stepmom role, however, there are surprises each and every day that I am slowly but surely learning how to deal with.

The great thing, however, is that I have realized how far I truly have come.  I have a better schedule that I stick to, I have a meal plan that I follow.  I spend more time playing with the kids and less time worrying about why certain things don't go the way I anticipate them to.  The thing that has changed the most, however, is my own perspective.  You see, what I truly realized is how much I now absolutely enjoy being home with the kids.  I love spending my days playing with them.  I don't necessarily love the cleaning that we do, but I know it's necessary and therefore I will do it!  More than anything I have learned that God really did put me in this position because He had prepared it for me.  I am preparing for this position more and more each day, and each and every day I am a better fit for it.

I love being a stepmom!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Used to Dislike Detest Phenomenally Hate Valentine's Day

This is something that I'm pulling from the recesses of my memory.  Come back with me, will you?  You see, only a mere three years ago, I absolutely hated the thought of Valentine's Day.  I was 23 years old, single, living with my brother and his family and not wanting anybody to point out the fact that I had nobody to share this holiday with.  It was an extremely hard holiday for me to get through.  I thought that Valentine's Day was merely a day to show me that I was still alone.  I was still not in a serious relationship.  I was still without someone to truly love me.

I hated Valentine's Day.  I hated it so much, in fact, that I was known to throw anti-Valentine's parties.  My single friends and I would get together and watch girl power movies - anything with NO romance in it!  I didn't understand the point in having a holiday dedicated specifically to loving someone else when I was farther from that state than snow is from Hawaii.  There was absolutely nothing that was going to make me appreciate the holiday. I hate hate hated it and wasn't ever going to change my mind.

Then one day, my absolutely loving niece, Lexie, came home from daycare with a card that she made specifically for me.  The inside of the card was covered with foam hearts that read "I Love You", "Be Mine", "Kiss Me" and "Hugs".  The fact that she had taken time to make a card specifically for me completely melted my heart!  That's the year that Lexie and I were each other's Valentine.  That's the year that my then four-year-old niece showed me that Valentine's Day doesn't have to center around romantic love, but it can be a time to focus on the blessings of the people in your life.


This beautiful girl taught me a very valuable lesson, without even knowing it!  She taught me the beauty of true love.  She taught me the beauty of celebrating Valentine's Day in a way that most people don't: while her parents went out on a date, I babysat her and her younger brother.  We jumped on the bed, we danced and sang, we baked and ate junk food, we played games.  We enjoyed being together.

Though the feelings of loneliness weren't completely gone on that holiday, it was drowned out by the feeling of the love of my niece and nephew - all starting with one little Valentine's Day card that, to this day, I have kept and completely treasure.


Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.  Here's hoping that, no matter if you're single, in a relationship, married, divorced or widowed, you will find love in the family that surrounds you and in the God who created you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cooking Rachael Ray Style

This week I have changed things up a bit at dinner time.  You see, I recently got my March issue of the "Everyday with Rachael Ray" magazine and went through it with my hubby while we were on our mini retreat in Brainerd this past weekend.  Maybe we were just really hungry, or maybe the pictures truly did look that delicious, but whatever the motivation, we decided that we were going to plan this week's menu around the recipes we found in the magazine.  

Oh.My.Goodness!  I don't think we've ever had a more phenomenal idea ... food wise, anyway!  Monday we had 'Ginger Noodles with Chicken' (though the recipe in the magazine called for tofu, we decided to substitute and use chicken, as neither of us like tofu even a little bit)!  Tuesday we had steak tacos that surprised me to the extreme!  The picture truly didn't look very good to me, but Monte was excited about it, so I decided to go ahead and make them.  It was a great decision!  They were truly phenomenal!

Last night, though, was the best ... according to my family, anyway.  See, last night we made 'Sicilian-Style Tuna Steaks' with polenta and green beans.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the polenta and green beans, I am allergic to seafood, so trying the tuna steaks was out of the question.  The family said they were great, though, which is what really matters!

I'm patting the steaks dry with paper towels (note the latex gloves on my hands - I didn't want to even have to touch the fish due to seeing my brother, who is also allergic to fish/seafood, break out from touching fish).  

After the tuna steaks were cooked, I started on the topping (which was onions cooked in water and olive oil, then topped with confectioners' sugar and apple cider vinegar).


Here's a picture of our work in progress.  Polenta, green beans and the onions for the steak topping.


Adding the tuna steaks to the topping to cook for just a couple more minutes.


The finished product!


This recipe was completely amazing!  While I did not taste the tuna, you have my family's word that it was delicious!  I think I'm now going to have to go back through my "Everyday With Rachael Ray" magazines to see what other amazing recipes I can find!

Want to make this yourself?  Here is the recipe (courtesy of the "Everyday With Rachael Ray" magazine):

Sicilian-Style Tuna Steaks

¼ c. + 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 – 1 inch thick Tuna Steaks
2 onions, thinly sliced
½ c. water
2 Tbsp. Confectioners’ Sugar
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

In a medium, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Season the tuna with salt and pepper and add to the pan; cook, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the onions and ½ cup water to the skillet and cook over high heat until the water evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium, stir in ¼ cup olive oil and cook until golden, about 5 minutes; stir in the sugar and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Nestle the tuna in the onions, then cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.



Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stepmom Brain

For as long as I can remember, I've prided myself on the fact that I'm pretty organized with my schedule.  It's a rare occurrence that I miss an appointment, double book myself or completely FORGET what I have going on without a calendar in front of me.  Maybe I should rephrase that to say, "it was a rare occurrence ...".  You see, once I got married and began managing not just my own calendar, but the calendars of six people, that's when I realized what the phrase "Stepmom Brain" means!

It just so happens that this topic was on my mind recently, which worked out wonderfully since JuiceBoxJungle is teaming up with Verizon to sponsor this blog post!  They asked me to talk about how I do or do not use my smartphone.  Truth be told, I never felt the need for a smartphone - they just looked so cool that I totally wanted one.  Good thing my hubby has the connections with the right people, because shortly before our engagement, he was able to hook me up with a Blackberry of my own.  What can I say besides I was completely ecstatic!  Here I had this awesome phone where I could surf the internet, find great ringtones and play "Brick Breaker".  Life was good!


Then one day Monte asked me how I like the calendar on my phone.  I politely smiled and told him that I really don't use it!  I didn't have enough going on in my life beyond work, going out to his house to spend time with him and the kids, and visiting with friends.  That wasn't something that required me to have a calendar, at least in my opinion!


Fast forward to post-wedding.  At this point, I've quit my job to be a stay-at-home stepmom.  The one thing I realized more than anything else is the necessity for a calendar!  We have our calendar book sitting on the kitchen counter.  We all write in it (well, with the exception of Colin!), as we all have so many events going on that our calendar is in hyper overload!  I love my calendar.  You know, the one sitting on my kitchen counter.  I never thought I would need to use the calendar in my Blackberry.  Until today.

You see, I was out running errands and received a return phone call from my doctor's office.  As I was talking to them trying to schedule an appointment, I realized that I had no clue what next week's schedule looked like.  So, being the fact that the appointment is extremely important, I decided to shoot for whatever was the first availability they had.  I made the appointment, and after we hung up I put it into the calendar on my Blackberry (while stopped at a red light, mind you!).  It wasn't until after I arrived at home and looked at the calendar on the counter that I realized I had once again double booked myself.  Now I'm going to be missing out on half of my MOPs group next week because of this appointment.  Granted, the way the doctor's schedule is, it's likely that I would've made this decision in the end anyway, but it was still disheartening to realize that I was scheduling myself on what I assumed was an open morning.

UGH.

So today I made a command decision.  I'm a busy woman.  I'm a stepmom who frequently has moments where my 'Stepmom Brain' overrides everything else, which means double (and sometimes triple) scheduling myself!  Today, I opened my Outlook calendar and quickly (and very easily) added all of the events on the paper calendar, as well as the evens on my Pampered Chef calendar (yes, another paper calendar that I carry!).  Once that was done, I placed a quick phone call to the hubby and he talked me through the insanely easy process of synchronizing my Outlook calendar with my Blackberry calendar.

If only I had known sooner that it could be this easy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Renovation Update

Since I've been harassed on all sides from people (*cough, cough* my brother TORY *cough, cough*) who want to see pictures of how the addition is going, I figured it is about time that I get my butt outside and take those pictures!  So, without further adieu, here you go brother! :)

This is a view from the front (it's dark when our contractor leaves, so I couldn't get a picture without his truck in it!).  The stonework on the front is now complete, though I don't have pictures of it to show you (my hubby does on his cell phone, maybe I can convince him to email it to me!).

This is a close up of the stonework on the far side of the garage.  The top panel of this garage door is going to be replaced to match the windowed one on the other garage door.

This is the upstairs of our addition.  The far room is going to be a guest bedroom (or bedroom for our children should any more come along, God willing!).  The room in the foreground is our theater room.

Now, let's head back downstairs ...

This is our main floor guest bedroom.  We like it a lot!

This is our bathroom and laundry room.  This specific corner is where the washer and dryer is going to go.

Unfortunately, due to a problem in our plans that wasn't discovered until construction was well underway, we had to do some changing around, which means that we are no longer going to be able to have a murphy bed in our overly large laundry room.  Instead, things had to be changed and we now have an overly large bathroom/laundry room ... and no murphy bed.  :(  I was saddened to be losing guest space (because our families truly are large enough that we need three or four guest rooms!), but we decided that it was in our best interest to make these changes happen.

Overall, I really can't complain, though.  I'm thoroughly excited to have our addition complete which, at the current moment, feels like it couldn't come soon enough!
 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Beauty of an RSVP

Can I be honest?  I used to never RSVP to anything.  If I got a wedding invite, I'd toss the RSVP aside and tack the invite up on my refrigerator (okay, well I wouldn't really tack it, but you get the picture).  If I received an invite to a birthday party, a family reunion or really any gathering of any kind, I threw the RSVP away and attended if I could and didn't attend if I was unable to.

In my mind, it was no big deal.  I wasn't hurting anybody by not responding, they'd be thrilled if I showed up (yep, I do have a pretty big ego!  I tease, I tease) and disappointed if I didn't, but they wouldn't stop living because of me being there or not.  I thought it didn't really matter whether or not I let them know I would be there.

Then I started planning our wedding, and RSVPs took on a whole new meaning to me.  We were elated when people would send back the RSVP (especially since we already put the postage on it - all they had to do was write on it and mail it!) and completely frustrated when we didn't hear back from some people.  Planning a gathering of that size and paying for each plate that was served caused us to want to have an extremely accurate number, as we had over 300 guests at our wedding.  Many people didn't RSVP, which we anticipated, so we ended up putting a large number of extra dinners on the final count just in case (which ended up to be a good thing!).

The more I plan events, the more I realize the importance of an RSVP.  Whether it be a big party or a simple play date, it is a very respectful thing to return an RSVP!  Even if you can't send something in the mail - send out an email or make a quick phone call, heck, even a text message would suit me just fine!  The more I look at the amount of planning that is put into different events, the more I realize how incredibly important it is to actually RSVP when I'm invited!

So, while I admit to having previously been an ignorer or the request for an RSVP, I now promise you that it is a rare occasion when I forget to respond to something.  I highly suggest making RSVPing a priority on your list, too!

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