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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Love Love Love


It's late and I should be in bed, but lately it's been hard for me to fall asleep. So I thought I would write about one of my daughters and log some memories I don't want to forget.

As you well know we're still getting to know Cadence, I mean she is only 4 1/2 months old and her older sister does have 22 months on her, so naturally we know Veronica a bit better. However, my guess is Cadence will be letting us know soon that she too will be making her lasting impressions. I was looking at pictures of Veronica from her second year of life and remembering various things about what was happening at the time of the picture shoot.


Veronica is such a special girl to me. She can make me go a bit loopy at times with her crazy monkey antics, but I sure do love her. Out of my love for Veronica, it makes me understand why Jesus was so ANTI-favoritism, because it was treating someone above another person and denying them (the non favored) the right to be God's Palace Temple. I was thinking about this as my little Veronica has been in Sunday School and I wonder if the teachers are loving her with the same equal love as her peers. Do they see the specialness of this Veronica Storey as her parents do? When I think about people loving her less--it really ticks me off. Now, I have no basis for this--I was just thinking if it were so and what it does to me as a mom.

Well my Veronica Storey--she is so wonderful to me. I really have grown to love her more and feel more and more honored that she calls me mama. I've had moments where I look at her and think, "this isn't going to last forever, she's not going to call out for me to help her and not think I'm the most wonderful person in the world (next to daddy of course)." As I've been given these glimpses, it makes me value the time I have in the here and now.



I love her for who she is. She has the most beautiful, dark chocolate brown eyes with naturally curly eyelashes. I think it's amazing how she was born with a dermoid (a growth in her left eye), which would be considered ugly and not beautiful, but in spite of that, God has given her these gorgeous eyes.
I love her Mexican-Indian nose.
I love that she has the same shape eyebrows as me.
I love that she loves to wear her doggy pajamas.


I love that when she hears the sound of the blender she automatically says, "smoowie!"
I love that when you ask her what she wants to eat she automatically says, "pizza--waffles?"
I love that she loves to read, and better yet that she has favorite parts in her books and wants to bypass pages that mean nothing to her.
I love her persistence even when it can be tiring.
I love her strong-will because it means that God can use it to his glory as we tell her it's good to be strong in this when yielded to the Lord.
I love that she loves being naked and will walk, stop, do a half squat and say, "snoozene" as if she farted (manners are important).
I love that she makes me laugh.



I love that she loves music and dance to it.
I love that she is eager to pray each night to bless her family & friends (some people get extra blessings because she likes the way their name sounds or even a fictious character named Boots).
I love how she gently runs her hands through Cadence's hair or mine as a sign of affection.
I love that she wants me to sing to her.
I love how she's very observant and keeps track of what's going on.
I love that she's imaginative.
I love that she wants to help out in the kitchen.



I love that she is social and is sensitive.
I love that she has emotions (and isn't afraid to show them).
I love her sense of style.



I love that she cares for Cadence by saying, "it's okay baby tadence," or rocks Cadence while in her carseat.
I love that she's not a picky eater.
I love that she's not mean spirited.
I love that she'll still let me hold her and kiss her.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two New Blogs

I started a new blog, which is solely dedicated to food. If you feel like checking it out (no invite needed) you can. I opened it to make an online recipe box, so if I'm at the store and I want the ingredients to a favorite recipe, I can just pull it up. I'm taking the next step by making it a bit more.

kamillesrecipebox.wordpress.com

The other blog is not my own, but a friend's business site/blog. Actually, I know Tracy via my high school friend James (who is her husband) and we are facebook buddies. She has some really fantastic products that she makes herself. Some things that I like about her business & her blog:
1. She doesn't label items as natural for a marketing scheme.
2. She strives for sustainability in her products and looks for the healthiest option in her product.
3. She uses some of my favorite smells
4. Although I am completely a carnivore, but I do appreciate how Tracy has committed to making her products vegan friendly. This makes her products rely on organic substances, rather than chemicals known for causing further damage.
5. Lastly, I appreciate how her blog is full of fun recipes, tips, and ideas on how d.i.y.

www.strawberryhedgehog.com Check it out!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Always time for Firsts

One of Veronica's more recent obsessions is buses. Actually, her fascination began around the time of Cadence's birth. Ben has talked about going on a bus ride with her for a while and this past Saturday it came to fruition. Ben woke up to get Veronica, while letting me sleep in with Cadence. He told me that he thought it would be a fun idea to take Veronica on a bus ride, which I thought it was a perfect idea.

Upon getting on the bus and finding a seat, Ben thought he heard Veronica make a request of the bus driver. Ya see, every time she gets in the car she'll ask for more songs...which is what she asked of the bus driver.

They got to the main station and Veronica was a bit sad, because she had to get off of the bus. She kept saying, "More Bus!"




She quickly got over the bus ride when daddy took her to one of our favorite spots for hot chocolate, Avellino's. **sidenote: if you've never had hot chocolate here you truly must go, because they use bittersweet & white chocolate and put it in the milk, then steam.** She has never had hot chocolate before, but she soon understood the goodness that the Aztecs beheld. She quickly changed her mind and decided that she didn't want to go back to the bus, but stay and drink more hot chocolate.


After finishing her treat, they made their way back to the station where she anxiously waited for her ride home.



She wants to make sure she had the prime spot on the bus. I'm sure someone was sitting in this seat, but they saw a cute girl in a bee hat who must sit here instead. She has quite the appeal.



No bus ride would be complete without the complimentary map, which she was very proud of when she came home.


To make the trip complete, daddy & little stopped by the creek to throw a couple pinecones in for good measure.



I would say the trip was a success all in all. Who knew that for a $1.25 you could get so much joy in life.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Some things I love

Last night Ben & I went to a fundraiser for The Whatcom Dream. They have a silent auction as part of their fundraiser. I placed a bid on an item and won. It got me thinking about things I love.

There are certain smells I am drawn to and others I would prefer to avoid, while others I think are fine, but not my cup of tea.
  1. I really like the smell of lavender. It has a fresh, clean smell, but not just a simple clean linen sort of smell. It has an added oomph to it. I like to use lavender laundry bags, lotion, or even conditioner. It adds a bit of tranquility to the craziness of life.
  2. Citrus smells. Growing up in AZ makes me bias to this wonder. I love the taste and smell, and as my older brother would say, "nature's candy." I love the smell of orange blossoms in the winter. I love how it's so invigorating and lively.
  3. Tea Tree Mint is sublime. I especially love it when it has to do with shampoo, because of the tingling sensation. It reminds me of a spa getaway, so I buy the kind from Trader Joe's and it's a spa imitation for a cheaper price.
  4. Coconut is lovely as well. I really like coconut lotion or these fun vanilla coconut candles.
  5. Freshly ground coffee or espresso. Could there be a better smell?
  6. I think my last favorite smell is Autumn smells. The combination of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, & allspice. The smell of homemade apple or pumpkin pie baking in the oven.

I realize I am a sensing sort of person. I would hate to lose my sense of taste, which would be combined with my sense of smell. I'm really good at being able to pick up flavors in dishes, which is probably why I enjoy baking and cooking so much. I can remember going to a work dinner with Ben in our first year of marriage. Everyone had the same side dishes. One of the sides was this layered potato dish with a secret ingredient. Ben knows that I have a keen sense of taste & smell (and I love trying to figure out puzzles), so he asked me what it was and sure enough...it was roasted red peppers. So delicious!

Here are some of my favorite tastes:
  1. Chocolate. As if anyone should be surprised. It is so good. I truly love a good milk chocolate the best. One of my favorites is Lindt Milk Chocolate (not to be confused with their truffles, because I don't like those), due to the caramel undertones. It makes a wonderful ganache for a cake. I also really enjoy Valrhona bittersweet chocolate. I've tried Scharffen Berger, but I don't think it's as good as Valrhona. Valhrona is more smooth and has the nice pure chocolate taste that I enjoy in a darker chocolate, while Scharffen Berger has more of a fruity taste to it (their bittersweet that is).
  2. Almond. I have come to realize that I love anything almond, well at least in baked goods. I enjoy marzipan, almond paste, and especially these wonderful almond croissants I had in Montreal, Canada. I have yet to find one just like it. I have tried at three places in Bellingham, but have yet been satisfied. The croissant I had was flaky & buttery of course, but the almond paste was thoroughly distributed inside the croissant. It was moist, yet not overly so as to make it soggy. It was a heavenly and I am going to try and replicate it.
  3. Crab. Growing up in AZ we never ate seafood or fish. I was uncultured in the ways of the sea creature. Then, I move to a water city and realize the goodness I had been missing out on. Oh crab, let me count the ways. It's plump, buttery, salty, (I see no point in using butter to dip my crab because it stands alone so well) and out of this world. Crab cakes are another thing. A delicacy to the taste buds. If I could have crab once a week I don't think I would get bored.
  4. Eggs. It could be that I'm on an egg kick, but what the heck. I really do enjoy eggs. As a kid I would only eat scrambled eggs, but as an adult I have realized the error of my ways and ventured into the land of runny yolk. My father-in-law made two eggs over easy with buttered toast after Veronica was born and I was hooked. The runny yolk being picked up with the buttered toast is divine. It's rich decadence in a healthy way (aside from the buttered toast). I actually just received The Good Egg Cookbook and it's really quite amazing to think of all the possibilities these little guys have to offer. It's no wonder most kids don't eat meat, but LOVE eggs.
  5. Strawberries. I think my favorite of all fruits would be the ruby found in late Spring. They are fantastic all alone, or adorned with chocolate, mixed with fresh whipped cream and layered between a biscuit (shortcake), or sliced on top of plain yogurt and topped with granola. How yummy they are indeed.
  6. Lastly, I would say the creamy goodness found in ripe avocado. I still remember my dad toasting whole wheat bread, and spreading mayo on top with a shake of pepper. He would then lay slices of avocado on the bread and we would have an avocado sandwich. I can eat them as they are, or cut them and squeeze fresh lime juice, dash of kosher salt, sweet corn, & black beans (and sometimes salsa) to make a nice side dish (fresh oregano pairs nicely with it). This is one of those fruits that I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't like it.
I have more things that I really love to taste, but these are the ones that come to mind. I think of a rhubarb-strawberry pie, or a fresh peach pie with nutmeg and brown sugar. Or grilled salmon in the summer. Or bread from the local bakery with fresh butter is a simple treat. And one cannot forget the perfect mocha (not too sweet, submersion of steamed milk, crema in the shot and cocoa). There are so many foods that I love and enjoy making myself. I think I've been thinking about these, because I sense Spring is in the air and that means fresh produce and time to create in the kitchen. What are some of your favorites?

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Ben and I started Weight Watchers in the beginning of January. If you're not familiar with W.W. it's run on a points system. You get a certain amount of points allotted for your sex, build, activity on the job, and age. I like it because it is catered to nursing mothers. For instance, if you're a female you get two points, but if you're a nursing mother you get 12 points (a whole extra 10 points). The points are figured by taking the calories, fat, & fiber of what you eat (the portion size).

Well, it has been helpful, because I think it's probably pretty typical for most people to not watch how many calories they are taking in daily. It makes me aware of what I'm putting into my body and making healthy choices in what I choose to eat. Another positive is that both of us have lost weight as a result. Plus, you get an additional 35 flex points to use throughout the week. So if you have 30 points to use daily (which you need to use all 30 points) you get 35 points on top of that to use all at once or in increments throughout the week.

One thing I don't like about diets is when they deprive you, which I don't feel deprived using W.W. I also don't like recipes that are obviously gross tasting (I'd rather not eat anything).

Here's a recipe I adapted and the muffins came out really well.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (reserve 1/4 cup for streusel)
1 cup 100% stone ground whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoon melted butter
2 cups fresh blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place muffin liners in a 12-hole muffin tin.

  • In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour (unbleached & whole wheat), baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

  • Using an electric mixer, beat egg with 3/4 cup white sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add yogurt and 1/4 cup buttermilk and beat until thoroughly combined; blend in vanilla extract.

  • Add half of flour mixture and half of buttermilk to sugar mixture; beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and buttermilk; beat until smooth.

  • Fold in blueberries and fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full; set aside.

  • To make streusel topping, in a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Pour in melted butter and combine with fingertips. Divide crumb mixture over muffins; gently press into top of muffin batter with fingertips.

  • Bake until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans for about 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer muffins onto racks to cool completely. Yields 1 muffin per serving.
These are 3 points.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Life of late


Life has been very busy for us lately. You might be thinking, "well of course it has being the parents of two little ones," but it's not just that. When I talk with Ben about the upcoming week, it's not uncommon for two to three nights being taken due to his work or a joint engagement.

Ben is still serving on the board in our church community. Luckily, it only takes away one night out of the month. However, on the work side, he has at least one seminar a week. We also are sitting in on a pre-engagement class one night a week. With Ben's seminars, I don't necessarily like him being gone; but, I've decided to look at the positive side (he has a steady job and seminars mean he keeps the steady job).

The pre-engagement class is exactly what the title says, "it's for the Pre-engaged couple." We are observing/shadowing the class, in order to lead the class by ourselves in the future. It is a 10 week course with three couples. They have homework for each session, which they bring to the weekly group class. It covers a myriad of topics that any person would encounter in marriage. Ben and I took the course nine years ago and we really benefited from it.

With all of those busy weeknights, we've been trying to keep less busy on our weekends and try to relax. To keep with that spirit, here are some fun pictures of the girls in all their sweetness. Oh yeah--and Cadence is 4 months old today, time sure flies by.









Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Evolution of punk rock

Would you believe that people have actually asked me (in a serious inquiry sort of tone) if I spike my infant's hair? They do and I politely say, "No--it's naturally punk rock!" I love having two girls with very crazy hair. Before Cadence was born I would stare in amazement at Veronica's hair and think if it could get any more out of control. Then, along came a Cadence girl with her own style.

It's pretty amazing how her hair has noticeably gotten longer over 4 months. Here is her from her first week to about a week ago. She's a cutie that we thoroughly enjoy. A side note is to see how different our girls are to date.

  1. Both have crazy hair, but one is curly and the other straight.
  2. Tay Tay wakes up with a smile ALWAYS while Veronica isn't as predictable.
  3. Tay Tay is more like daddy in #2 while Veronica is more like mommy in #2.
  4. Veronica is a bit more spontaneous like mama while Cadence likes a bit more predictability like dada.
Those are some of our insights thus far.











Monday, March 2, 2009

Baby Dedication

We had Cadence dedicated on Sunday with our church family. Grandma & Grandpa Scellick came from Ellensburg and Auntie Mimi came from Seattle. It was very low key on our part compared to Veronica's dedication. I guess that's what happens once you enlarge the family circle. Veronica was able to come up on the platform with us and she was very well behaved. As I held our baby Cadence, she carried her baby doll and did some gentle "pat pats" on her.



Cadence & mommy before the dedication



A tired baby girl, but her hair is always stylish (and no we don't use gel).



Getting ready to leave the restaurant & go home for nappy time.



On baby dedication Sunday all the children typically go up to sing a song, so Auntie Mimi took Veronica up to sing 'Do Lord.' She enjoyed the clapping part.

The bow only kept part of her punk rock hair down.



At the restaurant, Veronica was such a sweet girl the whole morning.




If you've never been to a Hillcrest baby dedication the dedicating pastor writes a prayer for the baby, which we receive on paper for our own records. The baby is anointed with oil and the pastor reads the prayer, and then the whole congregation sings the song of blessing (Aaron's prayer). I memorized Veronica's prayer and so did Ben, and we say her prayer over her every night before bed. Now we need to start memorizing another prayer. Below is her prayer.





Prayer: So we anoint Cadence "" "" in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and pray the Lord's blessing on her life. We pray that she will quickly recognize the rhythm of the kingdom life you offer and will step right in time with you, oh Lord. We pray that you would bless her with coordination and ability to keep things flowing easily, that organization and pattern would be words that bring her pleasure and are gifts she can share with others. May the way she orders her life bring you praise.
We pray also that she would be a woman of noble character; one full of truth, kindness, generosity, peace, and even songs that speak of the truth of your love and care for us. Help her be beautiful inside and out...an excellent spokeswoman of your ways, Lord. May she have a heart for those who have not yet heard of your truth and may she be a faithful witness to the same. Protect her from the enemy. May she quickly discern truth and may she be a faithful witness to the same. Protect her from the enemy. May she quickly discern truth from lies and stand boldly for righteousness. May she be one who speaks easily to others and always shares edifying words of encouragement. And help her be one who always makes you look good we pray.

My verse for our daughter is Isaiah 52:7