Sunday, February 19, 2012

It’s what’s for lunch

I made it two full weeks on the same grocery cart of groceries and aside from a few lunches in my employer’s cafĂ© we ate all our meals at home. I still have a few soups that I didn’t get around to making, but I’ll be honest, some days I don’t feel much like cooking. So, I fell back on some old favoritesSmile

Grilled cheese!

Growing up I watched my mom butter both sides of the bread before putting it in the pan. Since I’ve been experimenting more in the kitchen lately I decided to mix it up a bit.

I melt a little bit of butter in a pan and throw freshly sliced bread (slightly stale bread is even more awesome) in the butter. I’ve found that I actually use less butter using this method.


Sorry for the high contrast…most of my kitchen is white, especially the stove!

I’m looking forward to summer when I can add some fresh-from-the-garden basil and tomatoes to the mozzarella. My own caprese sandwich, if you will.


This is the finished product, and yes, that is Duc behind the sandwich protecting it. I think he was afraid I was going to steal it!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Happy Belated New Year!

Did you make any resolutions this year? I normally don’t because the same items seem to make the list each year which seems like irrefutable proof that I have NO desire or plan to actually implement them. So, I thought of things that I have missed, things that I used to enjoy but either because of having a child, work (over work) or lack of energy have kept me from doing. I’m one month in and my resolutions are going strong and have actually taken on a deeper meaning than I originally meant.

  1. Bake. I cook a lot, but I rarely bake. I thought of the items that we buy that I might be able to bake instead. I like really filling, nutty bread, but the good stuff at the grocery costs $4/loaf. So I decided to bake a few loaves. And then a few more and now I realize I really enjoy it. I’ve tried some knead free recipes, but I have to admit—I like to knead! It’s good therapy for over tired fingers that have spent the day glued to a keyboard. Plus, I relieve my stress on that dough. Yesterday I took it a step further and bought a book devoted just to bread. What a lovely read! IMG_9974 copy
  2. Crochet. I started an afghan for Duc around the time he was born and was 3/4ths finished by the time I traveled…and I didn’t pick it up again until January. A friend of mother taught me to crochet when I was in college and really stressed out. It’s funny to look back at my stitches—the tighter they were the more stressed I was. I’ve made and given away probably 20 afghans in my life and I’ve only kept 2 of what I’ve made. It’s therapeutic, there was no reason to hold on to them. Now that I’ve finally finished Duc’s afghan I’m making one for myself. I need to something to brighten up my bedroom after I neutralized it last year. Now, when Duc is acting up and I need to keep my mouth shut I pick up my yarn and hook. I’ve noticed it has also cut back on my stress eating in the evening.
  3. Clean out closets. I’m reading my list and realized I kind forgot about this one. I did manage to create order in the hall closet with the out of control wrapping paper and gift boxes. Still a lot more to go though!
  4. Wear retainer. No kidding. I got braces as an adult due to TMJ (the teeth, fortunately, were pretty straight in the front, but my bite was off). I started strong. Four times a week just to get my mouth readjusted and now I’m doing twice a week which is what the orthodontist had originally recommended. I bet I’ve worn it less than a handful of times in the last two years. Woops. Considering I paid for my own treatments out of pocket I don’t really want to do that again.
  5. Build. It’s too cold to drag my saw outside and build (I don’t have a garage or shed) so instead I have written out what I need/want. I’m going to build some open cabinets for the kitchen because I need the storage for all my baking. I’m also thinking of building a cabinet behind a door for additional storage since I don’t have a pantry. During the holidays I decided to redecorate my living room. I painted all the walls gray, bought a flat screen TV (first TV I’ve bought in 17 years—yay!) and had it mounted over the unused fireplace. I say unused because Duc + fire= disaster. At least I’m guessing it would be a disaster. I have no intention of letting him prove me right. I’m selling both couches in my living room to make room for my new midcentury modern couch (think Mad Men-esque). I’m going to build a new media cabinet and a combo filing cabinet and book shelf. If you haven’t realized it already it is a SMALL house with little storage capacity so you have to fake it out. Once that is done I’m going to build a dining room table and benches (both freestanding and built in like this:
    Pleasant Valley contemporary kitchen

And a table like this:

imageI figure the built in bench should give us some additional storage space for toys, games and craft supplies.

Can you see it now? I figure if I build it myself, even if I have to wait, it will save at least 3/4 of the cost of buying or having someone else do it for me. Plus, there is always the satisfaction of doing it myself.

7. Clean out my someday daughter’s room. It started out promising and has become the land spot for all things I haven’t had the time to get rid of or am unsure of what to do with. Duc’s old clothes that I was holding? Yep, in there. The futon that was in his bedroom before I built him a bed? Check. All her nursery furniture and some books and toys? Check, those are there too. And the sweeper. Go figure.

The final item never made it on my list, but has kind of grown out of #1. I like to cook. I like to create and imagine and be surprised when things come out correctly so I’ve started making most of our foods except for cereals, salsa and corn chips but hopefully that will change when I garden and learn to can this summer.

There are other things I am thinking of writing about, but for the sake of Duc’s privacy (as well as my own) I may be writing that on a password protected blog. I’m still debating that, but if interested in reading just let me know.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I love a good sunrise. there is something magical and fresh about them. A reminder to let bygones be bygones and to start anew. Unfortunately with winter I only see 2 sunrises a week and only if the weekend mornings are clear and only if Duc sleeps in past 8 am (this is rare).

Today, a Monday, is a special gift. I have a rare day off, the sun is up and Duc is strangely still in bed. I can watch the light filter through my sheers and dance across my freshly painted walls changing the color as they move. I love the absolute quiet in the house where the only sound is off my keyboard as my fingers clack across the keys.

Yes, today is a special day. It is mine to spend as I wish, to shake off yesterday, and begin again.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

I love Saturdays and not for the obvious don’t-have-to-work reason because I am working. I love Saturdays because I get to see the beautiful gold light that streams through my living room the first hour of the morning. Gorgeous. I love it because Duc and I stay in our jammies and hang out. I love the rhythm. I like baking and relaxing and feeding my child with food that I have made.



(I love the way you can see the light actually streaming across)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some families go to the pumpkin patch…

Some families go to the pumpkin patch, our family goes to a wild cat rescue center.

Michael had taken me here several years ago for a birthday, but we haven’t been back since Duc was born. Since he is nearly 3.5 and his lovey is beanie tiger it seemed appropriate it for us to visit.

When we got there and paid our entrance fee the guy sized us up quietly before saying, “make sure you hold his hand at all times. The tigers will be very interested in him…”.

Ok. How does one respond to that???

Michael kept a good grip on Duc.


The first few weren’t too scary.

But the first guy was right…the tigers were interested in Duc.


The guide lead us down a narrow path through the woods into a low valley. We had lions to the left of us and tigers to the right and our path was only 3-5 feet wide between the two enclosures. As soon as we walked down there the tigers, who had been separate, formed a line and began pacing the fence where we were walking through. Most of them were growling quietly. The only reason I was able to get these pictures is because Michael was holding on to Duc.


Do you remember the scene in Jurassic Park when the visitors realized the fences weren’t working? Yeah, that’s how this felt. Unlike a zoo where there are metal bars, this one relies on a wire/chain link fence…similar to what you might have in your back yard. In the 20 years since it opened, only two animals have escaped and thankfully they weren’t tigers or lions!

Once we got into the valley some of the volunteer staff came through to clean the bones from the cages. Unfortunately, the animals thought they were getting fed so they started getting very busy. And then another 20 people joined our small little tour group of 5 in the small, low valley in the forest. Yeah, the animals noticed this too.

One heavily scented woman (perfume, cigarette smoke, etc—why would you wear that around feral animals???) got too close to the lion’s cage.

IMG_8940-2 BW

King (the lion) was on his feet and had his front paws against the fence in less than a second. I’ve never seen anything so big move so quickly.

There was a lot of this too:


At this point I told Michael to pick Duc up and walk back up the path slowly and quietly (less than 3 feet between these enclosures, remember? You could feel the heat from their breath). Shortly after that some of the rest of our tour group began to stampede and I got knocked over by a junior high student bigger than me.

Thankfully none of us became this:


Despite my slight freak out (Jurassic Park, remember?) the boys LOVED it. Duc wasn’t scared at all and we had a really great day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I’m Back!

Hello, friends, I’m backSmile I didn’t intend to take a nearly 6 month break, as the days passed it got easier and easier. There were still a lot of days when I would think “I need to write about this. I need to process this some more”, but ultimately decided not to. Truth is, I shut down.

The last 6 months at work have been a challenge. My workplace has been a stressful place from the beginning because we truly worked for a crazy woman. I never knew when or where the attacks would come from and after four years of being victimized by that woman she was finally fired. With that came a new director and manager, both are good but there is still stress as we navigate our relationships and the new rules that come with new people. My project load increased substantially and I began working 10-14 hours every day. Some days are even worse—I recently worked all day (10 hours), had 6 hours off and came in worked 7 hours through the night. I’m exhausted beyond exhausted and poor Duc is beginning to act out. I’m sure you can imagine why. And through all this I stopped writing. I stopped writing the blog, I stopped writing in my personal journal. I just stopped. I was too physicially and emotionally bankrupt by the end of the day to do anything besides fall asleep on the couch in the evening.

I suspect this may not have been the best response. I miss writing. I don’t like shutting down and just waiting things out. Sometimes it is easier to try to get through something than process my feelings or the fallout from things.

So, I said all that to say this: I’m back. I’m not sure for how long, but I do want to try to blog at least once or twice a week. I’m thinking the content is going to change somewhat. While I love writing about my son, taking pictures of him and writing about our joys and struggles I am interested in a lot more than just adoption. I will still write about some of the things we are working through (birthmom interest, anyone?) because we live and struggle with things related to adoption everyday, but my son opened my eyes to lot more. I became very involved with photography because I didn’t want to forget these moments. I began to DIY and make things because I’ve always been curious about the process, but now I can’t afford those things unless I do it myself. I’ve never been an outdoor person, but for the second year in a row I have gardened. Why? Because I like knowing where my food is coming from, I like introducing my son to an activity we can do together and I like the self sustainability of it all.

I hope you will stop by for a visit soon.



Friday, May 13, 2011

11:33 PM


{11:33 pm—an untouched photo}

In motherhood I have struggled to find myself in it at times. Not that I lost myself, exactly, I am the same stubborn, life-loving, first-to-laugh, homebody that I ever was. In some ways these traits are even large—I laugh longer and deeper, I argue passionate and I look for a laugh where ever I can find it. I long to stay in my jammies all day one day a week and not leave the house. These things haven’t changed.

But I lost my time and I miss that the most at times. I’ve always felt fulfilled alone. I’m recharged in my solitude and quiet time. I love having a few hours to get lost in my own head and dream. I love to dream.

Now that Duc is older he doesn’t need to sleep as much and my time is being encroached upon. Someday I will wake up and he won’t be there and I will long to hear his voice calling my name in the night, telling me stories and singing me songs at 3:14 AM. I won’t hear his bounding feet echo through the house. I know I will miss it.

But for now I miss my time. I steal it where I can and like every mother I have learned to juggle a number of tasks at once. Now, I find my time in a mindless sink of soapy dishes, jamming to Kings of Leon on the iPod and thinking slightly dirty thoughts. Yes, this is my time.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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