Beauty – full Pics

These are some of my favorite pictures that I have taken over the past few years. I am not a photographer and they were probably taken with either my iPhone or little point and shoot camera so they mostly have sentimental value. There is nothing like going through old photos to remind you of the sweetness of life. 

1. Darling Bethany – pensive, nose in a book, striking profile, beautiful

2. Adoring Emma – freckles, summer sun, boundless energy, sweetest smile

3. Lake Wilhelm – Sandy Lake, PA

4./5./6. Our honeymoon in Rome/Florence, Italy

7. Amicalola Falls – Dawsonville, GA

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Home Alone

Today I stayed home and did absolutely nothing. Jonathan is out of town for three days and I am not working so I really don’t have much of an agenda. When I am alone I am rarely ever bored.  Sometimes I read or nap or do chores.  But a lot of the time I just think. There are so many wormholes, loop holes, black holes, etc. in my brain and they provide hours of entertainment. I am trying to get better at writing down some of my thoughts so that when Jonathan comes home and says “So, what did you do today?” I actually have something to share. Turns out the only thing I actually physically did today was take a shower around 5:00 p.m. and then put the pajamas I had been wearing all day back on (with fresh undies of course…geez guys I’m not that gross). Oh and I kept myself fed and hydrated for the sake of Baby Breese.  

One of my thoughts was how different my life would be (mostly for the worse) if I did not live with Jonathan.  I have never really lived by myself because I went straight from living at home to being married so sometimes I wonder what my natural tendencies/preferences towards life would be if I wasn’t married. So I guess this list could be titled: “Things you realize about yourself while your husband is out of town.”  And here we go.

1. My tolerance for general mess and clutter is pretty high – especially when it is my own.

2. I leave dirty dishes in and around the sink for later.

3. My approach to food/eating is not always that great. It’s a cycle that looks like this…forget to eat until 1:00 or 2:00 p.m….realize that I am starving and must have something FAST so….I head to Moe’s for a burrito….I overeat….I burp up burrito for 5-6 hours….I wistfully stare at the healthy veggies and fruits in the fridge wishing I had made the right call earlier….I vow to do better tomorrow. (Incidentally this did not happen today…but has happened in the past more than once and I’m sure will happen again)

4. Leaving the apartment at least once per day is not a must for me.

5. I am happy with total silence.  No music. No TV. No radio or podcasts.

6. Jonathan is the social one in our family. But I am getting better at initiating contact with other humans AND enjoying it.

7. I would be ok with going to bed at 8:30-9:00 p.m. every night.

Nothing too revolutionary here. Still interesting to consider. Nighty night. (It’s past my bed time!)  

Tzatziki Sauce

Wanted to share this delicious recipe with you guys.  Jonathan and I are forever in love with Mediterranean food mostly because of how fresh and wholesome it is.  One of the recipes that we made a ton when we first got married was a chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce.  The chicken was marinaded in a yogurt sauce as well and we stuffed all the deliciousness in a warm pita. When we started eating a more paleo/gluten free type diet, bread sort of fell by the wayside as did this recipe because to me the best part was the pita. Well, call me pregnant or call it spring but this past week I have been craving the citrusy and light flavors found in tzatziki sauce so I decided to make some and incorporate it into my meal in a way that doesn’t involve bread.  Here’s how it went.

1. Gather ingredients: cuke (peeled), yogurt, lemon, spices, white wine vinegar, EVOO

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2. Shred or chop cucumber (I use the food processor because it’s one of my favorite kitchen machines)

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3. KEY STEP:  Wrap chopped cucumber in a paper towel and squeeeeezzeeee it out until most of the moisture has been wrung out of it.  Dump into yogurt bowl.

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4. Squeeze half a lemon. (Tip: use real lemons!  Store bought lemon and lime juice are poor substitutes for the real thing) Pick out the seeds and add the juice to your bowl.

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5. Add spices. I used garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dill.  DISCLAIMER:  I am a notorious “non-measurer” when I cook and bake. Especially with seasoning, everything is to taste.  Start with less and you can always easily add more. Also I tend to eyeball things and use proportions more than I actually measure amounts in cups/Tbs./tsp. My precise husband sometimes watches me with horror as I blatantly disregard the amounts listed in recipes, but he can’t argue with me because my food tastes good =) Winner winner chicken dinner.

6. Drizzle with some EVOO.

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7.  Mix it up well with a fork or whisk.

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After eating a few delightful bites with a spoon I decided to come up with a more creative way to eat this stuff before it all disappeared.  I settled on a deconstructed salad of sorts: mixed greens/spinach topped with sliced avocado and snap peas, leftover roasted chicken from a few days ago, and of course a heaping side of tzatziki.  You can dump it (use as dressing) or dip it or drink it.  All ways are good.  Garnish with a lemon (great squeezed over the whole plate before ingestion) and green onion would be lovely but I didn’t have any.  Scarf it.

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Tzatziki Sauce 

1 cucumber peeled and chopped or shredded

1 cup full fat greek yogurt (or more depending on how big your cuke is)

1 tsp. white wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

drizzle of olive oil (1-2 tsp.?)

salt, pepper, garlic powder, dill – to taste

Mix all ingredients and serve. Keeps well in the fridge for quite some time, but usually gets eaten pretty quickly around here =)

Life Catch Up

A couple major life events have taken place since I “started” (i.e. wrote one post, got scared, and subsequently ignored) this blog in August.  I really would love to write more consistently, so I thought that I might fill you in on a few things just for some context and a fresh start.

1.)  I am 21 weeks pregnant with our first baby!  Jonathan and I are more than thrilled.  We can’t get enough of this little life sprouting inside of me.  I tell Jonathan what the baby’s kicks have been like and how full my heart is and how many times I cried today and how I just can’t wait for the baby to be born.  He tells me how he can’t wait to just hold the baby in his own arms and how amazing it is that this baby will be unique, but also like us.  We talk about who he or she will look like, who they will act like, and what characteristics will be all their own.  We talk about introducing the baby to soccer, music, healthy food and Jesus.  We also talk about the things we feel a little unsure about.  Do I know how to be a mom/dad? How do I still be the best wife/husband? Can I handle sleeplessness gracefully? (Me)  Will there still be time to go to the gym? (Jonathan) What is life going to look like now? (Both of us) We are preparing to learn a new lesson in selflessness – the one the started when we got married and made it our mission to love each other no matter what.  This is just the next stage.  We don’t have the “loving each other unconditionally” thing down perfectly, but we get it well enough to band together to do the same thing for this child and our future children. AND we have Jesus who knows our hearts and helps us when we forget what our mission is.  AND we are not afraid.  I remember my mom saying when I first found out I was expecting that I can’t afford to waste time being afraid.  Even if she didn’t say these words, what I heard with my ears was “You are not allowed to be afraid.”  Not for the baby’s life, health, future, or of your own failures and weaknesses.  I love her for saying it in the “in your face” way that it needs to be said. I truly believe that choosing to battle this and win by choosing JOY and LIFE every day takes hefty spiritual ground in both my own heart and the tiny, strong, growing heart of our baby.

To leave you with a fun little baby story:  After a gin rummy game last week (which I cunningly won by “undercutting” Jonathan in the last round) it was deemed unfair (by the poor loser in the family) because baby was on my team and was obviously a genius.  This little one is already such a huge part of our lives and we think about him or her all the time.  We are obsessed.  We are in love.

2.)  We are buying a house!  It has definitely been one of the biggest learning processes of my life, but we are set to close on our first home on April 24.  We love the home itself and are most excited to be near our friends as we all start having babies and growing families together.  There have been many moments of frustration and irritation with Jonathan’s intense desire to know every little detail about every little thing.  There have been too many analyses, extrapolations, contingencies, and comparisons to count.  BUT, in the end I have to tell you that my husband is THE MAN.  His mind is a well oiled, number crunching, data eating machine and coupled with his heart that overflows with a desire to please and obey a good Father and care for his wife and baby to the best of his ability…he is my unstoppable, relentless champion.  To top it off he has been so patient with me as I learn along side him and react emotionally to EVERYTHING that happens. I love our differences because they make us the best team. Jonathan is faithful to remind me how important a role I play in this process and he values my input even when presented in a disjointed and tearful manner.  I take time to be thankful for Jonathan’s thoroughness and also nudge him and give him the eyebrow when he is going a little overboard into the realm of striving and forgetting who we trust and that there might be a few unknowns or a little mystery involved. In the end we enjoy the journey together and lean into how much we need each other and the Lord.

Other smallish things with our jobs…I was promoted to day shift at the hospital last fall and have been loving the new schedule and feeling much less like a zombie.  Also Jonathan was promoted to VP level at his bank a few weeks ago.

Things we are looking forward to:

1.  A visit home to Mercer in April for Easter and a baby shower hosted by our lovely moms and sisters.

2.  The birth of some amazing baby friends coming up this spring/summer! Our second niece is due beginning of June and our friends Mary and Patrick are expecting a little girl (their first baby too!) in the middle of May, and then of course our sweet thing is due July 28…just to name a few.  So many babies, so much love.

3. Moving! (Well, I’m excited and not excited at the same time.  Moving is hard.)

4. Sunshine/Summer/Being Outside

That’s all for now folks!  Be back soon.

First Date

I am feeling a little shy.  A little unsure.  A little small in the big, scary internet world.  In fact, I am seriously rethinking this whole blog thing even though the only two things that I have successfully done are choose a theme and make an “About Me” page.  And you know what I am definitely NOT going to do?  Share the link to this blog or even tell anyone that I started it for at least a few weeks…months…years…ok that’s probably far fetched, but you get the picture?

This foray into dramatizing my life in such a fashion that would entice other people into taking time from their busy lives to read about it is making me think.  If anything, I am learning about myself.  It seems to me that there is something deep inside all of use that yearns for our life stories to be the “stuff of legends.”  That depth of feeling is what pushes us to dream bigger, believe for more, and to be intentional with what we have and who we have. Writing about these things makes it seem even more romantic, more intense, more….legendary.  And then I realized, no wonder people have been recording their life stories for ages and ages! No wonder we read them, talk about them, make movies about them, write songs about them, and even create our own fictional legends! We are addicted to being inspired and inspiring other to do bigger and better things than ever before. We want to leave a legacy.

The truth is that I have never thought about starting a blog before last night.  While struggling through a bout of night shift nurse related insomnia I turned to a book of legends to capture my interest.  God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon is an amazing compilation of stories about radical followers of Jesus and their ministries. I don’t know why, but there was something in me that was stirred up as I read…something that craved an outlet for sharing parts of me.  This was certainly a first time thought and feeling that left me slightly dumbfounded and newly curious about the part of my heart that wanted to take the remembrance of my own legend to the next level, even if only for my own enjoyment. Never one to sit on an idea for too long without deciding yes or no, I resolved right then and there at 2:30 AM to research blogging platforms the next day and give it a try, so here I am.

So far the date is going well…my heart is beating slightly faster than normal at the thought of hitting “Publish.” I am thinking of that time when my future husband took me on our first date and before we left I asked that we “define the relationship.”  I had to know….what are we to each other now?

Now it is time to DTR with this blog, and I think it’s safe to say that we are a thing.

Incidentally, so were my husband and I.  (Thank goodness!)