Monday, June 28, 2010

Evangitality Giveaway

I posted today at my personal blog Evangitality. Tomorrow marks a 1 year when I started the blog. I'm hosting a giveaway in lieu of the one year. Go and check out the post if you're interested and pass it on to people who you think might be interested as well.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Where's Cadence?

This morning Ben was busy doing house stuff, while Veronica was inside playing with her dollhouse & little family people (whom she calls Daddy, Mama, Veronica & Cadence) and sorting through papers to recycle & keep. It dawned on me that I hadn't heard Cadence. I turned to look outside and there she was sitting on the little patio chair playing with her "Lemn MewrANG" & "cup pake" dolls (Lemon Meringue & Pupcake, except it's not Pupcake the dog--it's Custard the Cat). Isn't she a cutie! Remind me of these moments when she's testing my last ounce of patience.

Friday, June 25, 2010


So as I mentioned, Ben and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary on the 14th, which happens to be Flag Day. You can imagine with our HUGE patriotism that our wedding colors were red, white & blue, I walked down the aisle with sparklers and to "It's a Grand Ole' Flag;" rather, than the traditional bouquet and wedding march. It was quite the sight:)

When I reflect back on that day, I think of it being one of the best life's decisions ever. We've known each other for 12 years this summer and although we rarely argue much these days (emphasis on rarely and not the word "ever"), we definitely did in our first couple years of dating. Ben and I will wonder with amazement how we continued dating? We seriously argued a lot (emphasis on 'a lot'). Ben being a mild mannered individual was seen a number of times being pushed to the edge with a certain young girl's immaturity. When I see where our marriage is now, I can honestly say it is because of how purposeful we were in the dating period. I'm so thankful for Ben's cautious nature when making decisions. I think had I been dating a more spontaneous individual I would have gotten married much too quickly.

I actually thought that the day after I got married. Ben and I were staying at a Bed & Breakfast and he was on cloud nine. Me--well, I was a bit nervous. Whenever I deal with transition in life, I freak a bit and allow fear to creep in and get the better of me. That morning, Ben went downstairs to get breakfast and unaware of my predicament. Upon his arrival, rather cheerful (like any new groom) sat down to eat breakfast with the bride of his youth, he asked, "how are you?" The million dollar question broke me and I burst into tears saying, "I THINK I MADE A MISTAKE!" **Insert: calm & collected Ben**

Ben said, "Well, it's a little late for that." (did I also mention Ben is very logical & practical?). Me crying, "I'm scared. Everyone kept saying how inclusive we were in our relationship, but they're not here now. It's just you & me--FOREVER!"
Ben replied quite gently, "I'm scared too, but it's going to be alright."
Me: "Well, you're not crying!"
Ben: "Well, I just express myself differently. Just because I'm not crying doesn't mean I'm not scared, too."

I started to calm down as Ben reassured me that it would be alright and we only had to take it one day at a time. This would be something I never realized that I would need in my marriage and relationship with Ben. I jump ahead, Ben stays put and looks at what's in front of him. I'm visionary, idealistic, big picture, while Ben is logistical, practical & realistic. In my youth, those words to describe Ben sound so organizational. But, I can now see it as an asset. Sure there are times when I wish for opposite; however, when I see the gifts as strengths--it is the best.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our anniversary getaway & good food.

Triple Coconut Cream Pie from Etta's

Ben & I got to get away (thanks be to wonderful grandparents) from Friday to Monday. Our anniversary was a week ago and the original plan was a Sunday night concert of U2. Ben bought the tickets way back when and I actually mentioned how it would be fun to see them. Little did I know he was one step ahead of me and it was set. However, in May, Bono had emergency back surgery and the tour has been postponed. So we did what any reasonable person would do and listened to them on our way down to Seattle and lived the high life as single married couple.

We stayed here via my father-in-law's co-worker hook-up. Just to paint a picture--the water facet to fill the bathtub was in the ceiling. The view was incredible.

It was a couple blocks from Pike Place Market. We made a point to spend money on good food. Eating a nice meal is money well spent in my book, compared to stuff to clutter the house. We perused the market as I admired the flower bouquets or peonies & sweet peas and Ben went to check out the baseball card shop of his youth. I scoured Sur la Table envying the baking section (came out with some cookie cutters). We ate at a couple of Tom Douglas restaurants, a Brazilian restaurant 'Ipanema,' (which was Ben's favorite--think carnivore's heaven), The Crumpet Shop, different bakeries & patisseries and coffee shops.

Crumpet with ricotta & fresh blackberry preserves--heavenly

I was frequently looking on my Yelp app this weekend reading reviews & finding directions to the various places. The one Tom Douglas restaurant that had the lowest rating, and none of the people I asked referred us to Etta's, which was my favorite meal of all. It wasn't just the food, but the overall experience for me. When we arrived, I knew a couple things. One is Tom Douglas is a well known chef and he's created a reputation for his food. Secondly, since he knows food well--I was inherently going to trust him & his expertise. Thirdly, this was the time to ask what the server recommended (to basically sell me on their product) and see if it came out on top.

I had a couple options in my mind, but I asked our server what he recommended. He gave me some choices and coming to either the salmon or crab cakes. I personally love crab cakes, but the salmon was smoked & had a cornbread pudding. So I told the server to surprise me. Once I gave him permission I noted two things. One is a spark in his eye went off & a challenge was set before him. Two, is by giving him a challenge to see if he picked the right dish, which made his job a little more interesting that day. I found him to be even more attentive to us. He wasn't just serving us, but contributing to my experience. When he came back to ask about drinks, I told him I liked red wine and he should pick. Again, I saw the glimmer. He chose this.

Salmon (smoked) with cornbread pudding, a hint of thyme with shitake mushrooms

For the rest of the weekend, I began asking the server (or behind the counter person) what they recommended, and would occasionally ask them to surprise me. Not only did it help the server share in my experience, but it either reaffirmed their choice or it nullified it. We went to a bakery my friend Paige recommended. I didn't have a specific craving, but wanted to try something there for later. So I asked the guy what were some good choices. He named a few items from the pastries & a few from the cakes. I asked him to choose the best from either pastry or cake. He said, "that's hard--they're completely different categories." My response, "Yeah they are different, but if this is the only time I come to your shop & never come back, which one should I have?" Basically, what is the last taste I have in my mouth from your shop--or--what would bring me back or recommend you to other people? He chose the carrot cake. It was good, but I think I make one at par or above par.

Aside from the food, I am completely thankful to share this life journey with Ben. He constantly brings humor & laughter into my life (and the girls). He works so hard for us, completely devoted & treats me SO very well. Here's to 8 years of marriage so far and many, many more to come.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day Gift Idea

So there's this little girl I know. When she really smiles, you can see it in her eyes & nose. Her soft locks & occasional crazy hair defines so much of her personality. She is full of life with her voice booming most often and whispers for a mere second. When she gets angry, it's big. And when she plays, it's even bigger. She loves strawberries. It's not uncommon to hear in a grocery store, "OH MAMA---IT'S STRAWBERRIES!!!" Yes, it's in caps because she's shouting--shouting with pure delight.

Today I told her, "Veronica, this Sunday is daddy's day. That means we celebrate daddy and say, 'thank you daddy for being such a good daddy.' We also get daddy a present. What should we get daddy?"

Veronica: (her eyes widen and she takes a deep breath & exhale) "OH! An orange!"

Me: (perplexed thinking she had a grandiose idea) "An orange?"

Veronica: "Yea!"

Me: "Okay! We'll get daddy an orange. Maybe we can get him something else too."

So if you're in need of a present for your dad or your husband, you heard it here first--an orange is the perfect gift for him.

Friday, June 11, 2010

To Use Her Cuteness Factor

There's this passage in Proverbs, known as the 'Virtuous Wife' chapter. It says, "Charm is deceitful, beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

Well, unfortunately for us (& fortunately), Cadence hasn't read that section; because, as far as I can tell, she uses both charm & her cuteness factor (beauty) to win us over. Does that mean she gets whatever she wants? No, because we're not grandparents. It does mean I can see more of who she is, even in the midst of me getting frustrated or upset with her behavior. As I've said to Ben (and so many others), "if she weren't so stinkin' cute..." These photos were taken on my phone with an app called Hipstamic. Basically retro style. As you can see in the picture directly below as to what I'm talking about.

You wouldn't know it, but Cadence is actually quite reserved & distant when she first meets someone. She's proving to be more shy & introverted; however, once you earn the right for her to trust you--she's a complete ham. She is a very "with it" kid. It's a reminder that language comprehension versus expressive is like an iceberg where below the water she understands a whole heck of a lot. Hence, why she gets into trouble, because she is using selective hearing when mama asks her to come. She is Veronica's little sponge too. Keenly aware of what big sister says & does, while eagerly awaiting her turn to play it out. She is also good about picking up toys or food that her sister was using or eating (as evidence below).

She has always had her "silly face (see below)." Once she puts it on, she waits for you to say, "Silly!" Then, she busts up laughing, as do we and it continues.

She's proving true to her name. When I was pregnant with her during my worship practice, she would kick very hard when the bass would rev up. Cadence seemed to suit her well. She is very rhythmic, plays the harmonica with gusto, rocks to the beat of music and dances like a star. When we were in the car I turned on the radio and the song that was playing was the ending song on 'School of Rock,' which goes, "well it's a long way, to the top if you wanna rock and roll." Cadence starts to do the nod in beat, then do the hair shaking thing and proceeds to laugh. She's performing for herself if no one else.

This face is an extension of silly face, except it's called, "Silly Sleeping Face." Makes me laugh every time.

Cadence like all kids, loves water, but especially loves brushing her teeth. She is diligent about her work at hand.

However, she never forgets to have fun. She is very different from her sister and I've been praying this week as to how to love her the best and hone the God-given gifts inside of her. I'm reminded as we sat in the doctor's office that no two people are alike, especially siblings and no two should be disciplined or loved the same way. And with Cadence as the second child, I don't want to neglect all the wonderful beauty she holds in this life or relegate her to the corner (Dirty Dancing).