Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hungry? Try these.

I am absolutely, in no way, attempting to ever turn this blog into a cooking or recipe blog. Frankly, there are far too many of them doing a much better job, and I've never in my life generated my own meal creations without other people's recipes (unless you count that one time we only had ground beef and I scrambled it with eggs and a variety of seasonings to make a really lovely smorgasbord of gross).
But, thought I - why not share the favorite dinners of the week that I make? We do have some rather delightful dishes in these parts, and it seems a shame not to share. When something is delicious, don't you just want to shout it from the roof-tops?! I'm hardly ashamed of moaning loudly through a meal or forcing a brownie down someone's throat just to get them in on the ecstasy.

And with that said, I rarely cook the same thing twice.

[Whoa ther' girl, that sounded a little obnoxious.]

It just bores me something fierce to think of repeating the same measly steps and achieving the same product as before, and if I'm bored, I won't cook. Only the mega winners go on the repeat list. So every week before I grocery shop, I can usually scramble together five different, new recipes to make a shopping list from that sound yummy (between my cookbooks, Taste of Home, Food-Network, and the internet, it's much easier than it seems).

The two I have for you today are Rachael Ray's (I've mentioned before that about 80% of all my recipe picks often are). Try these bad boys out if you're feeling in a recipe rut. They were smashingly successful additions to the menu board. Click on the titles for links to the recipes:

*Pizza w/ garlic chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, fresh mozzerella & basil
(I buy whole wheat pizza dough at Whole Foods at only $1.30 a pop! I ask the pizza department for a few frozen balls of it so I can stock them in my freezer. Yummy.) Homemade pizza makes dinner-time so... artisan. It feels like a special occasion, and yet it really is so simple.
As a mother, I suddenly seem like fun. [Wow, imagine that.]

*Taco Pasta Toss
I really wasn't feeling the whole glorified hamburger helper vibe coming from the words "Taco" and "Toss" combining with some sort of noodle all in one title. But oh boy, we loaded ours with toppings of chopped avocado, shredded lettuce, grape tomatoes, and freshly squeezed lime. It was down-home heaven, a
completely family friendly, budget friendly meal.
(P.s., also used whole wheat pasta. I'm telling you, it's just as good).

As I sat stuffing my face with these delicacies, I thought : my name is Rachel! What if I attempted an internet campaign of Rachel & Rachael: the knock-off project. I could cook one of her recipes for 365 days. Rain or shine, we eat a Rachael Ray dish, all in an attempt to eventually get invited to come to her show for a visit. Then I thought, naaah. That would hardly qualify as a highlight of my life. I'm sorry, it just wouldn't. As much as I like her cooking, I'm not that into the show.

But, I can try to start sharing my favorites meals of the week.

[However, let it be known, consistency isn't my strong point.]


Monday, February 22, 2010

Sweet Life Randoms

1. A Birthday.
2. Snowy Sabbath.
3. The most amazing cook ever.
4. An announcement.
5. Awesome headbands.


1. The Birthday

Hot Husband birthday. Just look at that manly swagger, the arch of the business brow, the bad boy blue-tooth, the confident crossing of a parking lot...okay, okay, okay...this was the only shot I was able to get of him today as we were heading out to his favorite Vietnamese dig for a birthday lunch.
(See what happens when you refuse to allow me to take a picture of you, dear? I have no choice but to go paparazzi on ya.)

We mainly celebrated yesterday, during the

2. Snowy Sabbath

Church was cancelled, which I'm sure led every other Mormon to feel just as we did ...devastated -with lots of weeping and wailing and knashing of teeth - to have no choice but to spend the day in a cozy bed in pajamas...

and playing in the snow
Do you like the birthday snowman in honor of Daddy?

Later we had a birthday celebration dinner at Nonna & Papa's (still in pajamas). Which leads me to:

3. The most amazing cook ever.

If only I could properly describe the glory of Mama Lori's cooking. Filet Mignon, twice baked potatoes, Faro with grape tomatoes and basil, fresh salad with cranberries & feta, parmesan roasted brussel sprouts, a warm loaf of bread, and double blueberry cream & chocolate satin pies to polish it all off. And yes, it's possible to gain 5 pounds in one sitting, and YES - it is absolutely worth it. It's sinful and decadent and comforting and fresh all at the same time. I stand (or blog) before you today to declare: Life is not worth living without an Italian Mother-in-law who overfeeds you.

(London agrees.)

Up next and entirely unrelated:

4. An Announcement:
The Return of Crocodile Finn-dee.

Daniel received his acceptance to medical school here in our very own home town. Finn! Come kiss your Auntie Rae Rae! You see, he was so sad without me:

Congrats again Daniel and Ali, your hard work has paid off and we are so excited for you!

And finally, super duperly unrelated to anything whatsoever, but worth sharing:

5. Totally awesome headbands.


Glue gun & elastic string


Little girls


Taa daaa....

Including one little girl who was particularly unhappy about the thievery
of her precious Pirate's Booty Popcorn.

Wonder who the thief was?

The end.
And apparently I'm not taking a break. I can never make up my mind.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Might as well.

I'm sitting here. In the kitchen, with Lily.

Tyler is in class. Dinner has technically been over for the past half hour. Well, at least it is for London. And myself, if you don't count the fact that I have to now sit here in the

ultimate smack-down of wills

Lily vs. Me,
and a big bowl of corn chowder loaded with potatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, fresh thyme, and chicken apple gouda sausage. Delicious.

But not to Lily. I might as well be feeding her cow turds sprinkled with horseradish.

She is screaming, sobbing, flailing, cursing (little kid cursing: "I don't yike you Mom!" "You're a meeeanie!" "I hate hate hate!"). She has attempted escape 4 times now. I turned my back a few times and found her 1) attempting to grab a banana, 2) running away with London, 3) shoving fistfuls of the grated cheese in her mouth (the cheese I grated to top her soup with) and 4) hiding under the table.
I plopped her bum right back in the chair. Who's the boss now?

I will not lose.

This epiphany came last week. After a full 24 hours of being subjected to Lily and London's bout of full-on anarchy, or tyranny (an impossible mixture of both)... it all came to a crashing halt in the evening hours before bed.

You see, as a parent, you begin with such lofty ambitions.

(Sidenote: it is really hard to focus on this post with your child screaming in the background. I will prevail, I will prevail, I will prevail.)

You rub your protruding belly, encapsulating your perfect child, and prop a parenting guide to read for the evening (oh look at you, always one step ahead of the game)...

Discussions will outweigh arguments.
Choices instead of direct command.
No eating in the car.
Expression instead of repression.
Please and thank you's.
Calm voice of reason
Positive reinforcements
Daily lessons learned
Clean clothing.
Hugs and pats and homemade cookies before naps.
Boogers, what boogers?
No child of mine will have boogers.

And one day it happens. You've been usurped. You cave in to the incessant, infinite demands.

Pink cup instead of the green one.
She doesn't like that shirt.
One more story.
One more story after the one more story.
Candy to quiet the shopping trip.
Candy to quiet the checkout rush.
Candy to quiet the drive home.
The 19th repeat of "The Fox and the Hound" instead of that radio talk program you've been dying to hear.
No splashing in the bath.
If you splash one more time, I'm taking you out.
No, no I'm not.
Empty threat 9,834 of the day.
Four more bites.
Nevermind, Two more bites?
Ok, a brownie instead.
We color with crayons.
Don't eat them.
Well, they are non-toxic.
Will you be quiet?
If I let you eat the crayon, will you stop screaming?

It was after a day like this that I was wrestling London into her pajamas. She has dry patches of skin that plague her chubby thighs throughout the winter, and so normally, I will apply a medicated cream when needed. Her legs were just fine this evening. Soft and delicious. It was an ideal opportunity to get them to bed 3 minutes earlier. Only she was having none of it.

"No! No! No! Medseen! Medseen! Medseen! (Medicine), " She demanded. (stall tactic)

No, you don't need it tonight baby.

"No! No! No! Medseen! Medseen! Medeseen!", she cried.

It's okay, just help Mama put your pants on, lovie.

"No! No! No! Medseen! Medseen! Medseen!" she screamed, kicking her legs in protest.

Okay, okay, okay. I crumbled. I turned around and proceeded to her closet to retrieve the medicine. When suddenly, like a ray of light directed to my weary heart, a lightbulb flickering dimly and now beaming bright, it struck me. I turned around slowly, bent down and looked her squarely in those triumphant, smug little eyes and yelled,





It came out with a voice like thunder, I kid you not. Some sort of primal, animalistic bellow. Rumbling and man-ish. A war cry. Like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, shouting "Freeeeeeeedom"
as his intestines lie scattered on the floor beneath him.

Startled, she stared back in wide-eyed shock. Pitiful and horrified, she collapsed to the floor in big alligator tears.

Oh, baby. Mommy's sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry.


So yeah, I've been working on not losing control like that again.

It's now been about 27 minutes since I began this post.

Lily just took her first bite of soup.

(Another evening that serves as testament of my superb mothering skills. McDonald's at 8pm for dinner. Oh yes, and Lily crying.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our new pet.

I know I said I was taking a little break. And I am. But I will still continue to post the darling things my girls come up with...because you just have to catch them while you can. These sorts of things just can't be scheduled.

Meet: Mr. Wormy(ies)

Lily's pet [gummie] worms.

Covered in dirt.

Kept in tupperware.

Yesterday, she asked me approximately 27 times if I
"wanna pet my wormy?"

Before Mr. Wormy, it was Nemo: the black piece of lint from one of my jackets she kept floating in a glass of water. Seriously, for days we had to carry that thing around. Nemo was unfortunately eliminated when he was accidentally dumped down a sink drain (to "return to the ocean").

Poor child. This is what happens when your mother is too wimpy for real pets.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day!

And thus concludes my two weeks of posts on love (thanks for indulging me, sorry if I failed to post anything even moderately suited to your interests -
I me love a good excuse to talk about Tyler).

I'll be taking a small break for a bit.

Enjoy your day of love, with whomever you share a bond with (husband, wife, mom, dad, boyfriend, girlfriend, brothers, sisters, friend, pet, child, etc etc etc...). There really is nothing more special, is there?!

We celebrated yesterday.

Amish oatmeal

warm sunshine (the BEST possible gift):

with our kids outside

Indulging them with lots of candy (Thanks Nonna, Papa, Gamma & Pop-I: in addition to what we already provided, these kids were in sugar heeeeaven)

Later, Ty & I went to see Valentine's Day (so overrated) and
Fon-did it at the Melting Pot.

It was a lovely day. Hope your day is special too.



Ps. Just had to conclude with this...Lily was just browsing through the pictures on my camera as I posted, and said "Oh Rachel!!! You're jus like a cute chicken, I could jus eat you up!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A real story.

Any married couple can tell you about these moments. You're both soaring through clouds of romance, a dizzy spell of lust and love and obsession. You live moment to moment for phone calls and hand holding and make-out sessions in the back of a car. The smell. The intoxicating bliss of touch. You've read about this in fairy-tales, in magazine articles. This is where it's at, and oh boy, you are feeling it! It's all so very wonderful. And necessary. Why?

Because you need to be insane enough to marry each other, that's why.

Ok, I'm being a little facetious. Our previous questionaire was, without question, honest. We are an unbelievably blessed, happily married set of people. But we are real. No question about it. I've had my moments the same as any other woman: moments of passion and fascination with my man. Moments of unadulterated contentment and happily-ever-after.
But... I also have a husband who farts under the covers, who has pretended to not know how to make his own sandwich for lunch, and has, in the most supreme example of 'Oh my gosh, I've married a fifteen year-old', once declared - after we had both put our retainers in and were ready to hit the pillow - "Hey, we shthould have retainer thsex."
This husband also has a wife who can hold her own in the childish department. A girl who could justifiably be described as well-mannered and long as everything is going her way. A girl who looks more like an English bulldog when she wakes up, with the breath to match. Her words can bite, and she's displayed more than her fair share of control-freak. Yep, so very real.

And once you've crossed into this reality, it reaaally gets good.

The threshold of authenticity can be signified by a moment like this when, as my mother once described, she said she was sitting in church one Sunday, on the opposite side of the pew from my father, separated by their eight children sitting in between (yes, we took up the entire row). She says she looked at him and thought, "Who is this guy? How did all of this happen?....I didn't even know him....he wasn't even a member of my family! I can't stomach sharing a soda can with anyone else, and just look at all I've shared with him!"

This wasn't a moment of regret or dismay, but a moment of startling. clear. reality. This is a real person you've joined with. No fairy godmother, no white horses, no easily charted course to perfection. And yet it is a story. A remarkable story. An interesting story. An entirely unique story. You look down and, suddenly, recognize the authors' hands, the hands controlling the pen.

It was you all along.... and that strange guy, sitting eight kids away.

Breakfast of Love

My sister came back from her studies in London, England
raving more about this than anything else:

Amish Oatmeal

Which frankly, has nothing to do whatsoever with England. But, apparently their cook made it regularly and it is simply to die for. After devouring a bowl of it this morning, I concur! It's like an oatmeal cookie smothered in cream!

Here is an easy recipe (Click here). You can also google plenty of recipes for the real deal that require prep a day ahead as well, which I assume would taste even yummier.

It can be the perfect breakfast to kick off
your day of amour, or your day of single splendor.

We top ours off with freshly made cream and lots of berries.


Monday, February 8, 2010

His & Her Part 2 & The Belly Baby

Before we get to Part II of our questionaire, I must include today's pictures of our belly baby. This jolly chub of burnin' love adores climbing onto the couch and pulling up her shirt. She urgently requests Mommy rub her "baaa eeeee". Best part of the afternoon, by far.

Ok, here we go: Part II

Rules (reiterated): You must answer your question without viewing the other's answer, and Rachel is not allowed editorial detail (again?!).

It's rather long. You better be pretty bored if you plan on finishing it.

How do you show your appreciation for one another?

His: Rachel is definitely much better at this, but I try to show my love for her in multiple ways (some ways just aren't as effective as I think they should be, wink wink). One way is by working as hard as I can to show her and give her the comfort of knowing that we will be able to support the family that we are raising, and by giving her the chance to be with our children during the day.

I also try to show her that I am a good man and father that she can trust and rely on at anytime, because I know that that makes me feel loved when I see and know how good a mother Rachel is to our children. Another way is by saying the simple words of "I love you". Sometimes I feel that I can say it too much, so it can lose some of its luster, but I like to say it multiple times a day. I try to clean the house when she isn't expecting it. (The one thing that I always do that doesn't seem to work very well, and for some reason I haven't figured that out yet, is by flirting like a 5th grader. By that I mean always joking with her, love tapping her, wrestling with her, making fun of her outfits, etc.)

Her: Three letters.

Oh, besides that?…

For me, I try really hard (sometimes entirely too hard and therefore completely defeating the purpose) for our home to be a place that Tyler can land softly at the end of a hard day. I remember loving nothing more than coming home from a long day at school and extra-curricular activities, dealing with the brutish and often horrendous atmosphere of high school, and walking in to smell my mom cooking dinner. That feeling was so great, just of being home and with ones you love. So, I really try hard to have that for Tyler. I want our home to hug him when he walks in. On a cold winter night, I want him to walk into warmth and order and a nice meal. That is my thank you for him being the one who volunteers to deal with the realities of life while I enjoy making cheerio necklaces with my delightful girls.

Another thing I take seriously is our budget. We are a team, and if he brings home the majority of the income right now, I see it as my part to make it last and use it wisely. I handle the bills and the finances, and he shouldn't have to worry that I'm running up some absurd credit card bill while out shopping. Nor should he hear me complain about not having this or that, and making him feel inadequate. Handling the money in a wise manner and not whining over petty things is like holding up my end of the deal, and is one of the best ways I can show my appreciation. You bring home the bacon, hunnie, and I'll not only cook it - I'll ration it out and combine it with enough coupon-clipped canned beans to last for three solid months, I'll season it with brown sugar, and serve it on a table with candlelight like its prime rib for Christmas dinner. Yeah baby.

(Confession: this hypocritical statement does come on the heels of a newly purchased item of furniture bought entirely on a whim yesterday, and after the purchase of the zebra-print sparkle shoes for the girls, and the matching tutu's, and the iridescent face powder, and the...oh my gosh...what have I done?).

What do you love about each other most?

His: This is an extremely hard question because how do you define most: top 5, 10, 20? There are just so many things that I love about Rachel it is hard to pinpoint just a couple. Anyways, we will go with Top 5:

  1. Intelligent/Motivated: Rachel is the most intelligent woman I've ever met. She has these deep thoughts that are always enticing me and helping me grow as a man and a father. I know she could be the CEO of any company, or begin any pursuit in her life and take it to a level not many could achieve, but she is all the more amazing because she has chosen to postpone school/career for the time being to channel all of her talent into our family.
  2. Mothering/Parenting/Wife(ing): This attribute has always intrigued me when it came to Rachel. Ever since we have dated in high school you could tell that she would be the best mother. You could see it when she watched, talked about, and loved her younger sisters and brothers. Family has always been important to me and knowing that I would have someone by my side who felt the same way and could do it all is amazing. When it comes to being a wonderful wife she has the house clean and a hot delicious meal made for me almost every night. She treats me so well, there is nothing more I could ask from her.
  3. Gorgeous/Sexy: What more is there to say? Have you seen her?! She is the most beautiful woman and everyday she becomes more and more beautiful. She is like a fine wine... only gets better with age (At least that is what they say in the movies). I have always loved her smile, her curves, and her touch. I can never get enough.
  4. Makes ME a Better Man: There is no doubt in my mind that Rachel has been the most and biggest contributing factor to my success. Without her I have no idea where I'd be. Through her I have found more happiness everyday in love, in faith, in our family. So much of which should be attributed to her. How could you not love someone who has given you that much?
  5. She chose Me: With the attributes that I have already stated and many many more, she could have had anyone that she wanted and for some reason she fell in love with a punk high school kid that hadn't figured it out yet. For that I am extremely grateful, blessed, and one lucky man.

Those are some of the reasons why I will always love Rachel. There are many things that I love but I'll finish with "I love her love the most".

Her: Holy cow, get ready to vomit - because I can go on for days and really make a reader sick. I'll break down a few:

He is cheerful.
Seriously, Tyler is the most pleasant human being on the face of this earth to have in your company. Ask anyone...the boy is a party... a good one. Low key and yet hilarious and lively. Goofy and sensitive. A TOTAL guy's guy, and yet even my sisters enjoy hanging with him. I think he learned to enjoy life so well from his family and the atmosphere he grew up in. He gets excited about the little things: Christmas at our house is such a grand time of year, any new song he's obsessed with ends up blasted through the house on a Saturday morning as we clean bathrooms, he even kicks his feet in excitement and gets squealy when he crawls into clean, crisp sheets at night because he loves the sensation of warming up in a cold bed! Life is joyous for Tyler, and it is definitely a contagious spirit he has. I feel it more when he's around.

He's a hard-working beast of a man.
For example, he crawled into bed at 2am last night after driving all the way home from a business trip in Southern California, got up bright and early this morning and left for work before I woke up myself, and didn't return until 10:30pm tonight (after class). From the day we said 'I do', he has tirelessly worked full-time while simultaneously attending school full-time (earning his undergrad in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Business - done this May)...not to mention studying for his Professional Engineering license (P.E.) exam he'll take in April. Does this sound braggy? I don't care! Tyler would never tell you, so I am! And he never COMPLAINS! He is a testament to the strength and capabilities of a human-being to juggle more than you would think they can handle. He does amazing work, gets good grades, and still seems to miraculously have enough cajones left to arrive home and ask ME what I need help with?!!!

He is humble.

The last attribute lends itself easily to this one. Like I said, Tyler would NEVER be the one to tell you what he accomplishes in the course of one day (he'll already be embarrassed after reading what I've already written). Heck, I never even knew he was the kind of athlete in high school that he was: he never told me (and we all know that as a cheerleader I sure wasn't paying any attention to the actual sport I was cheering for). Wait, you were all-state what? You were MVP who? Captain T-money? You won what award?! Why didn't I know that?!
He's never been in it for the accolades.
Still isn't.


What more could you want in a husband? Really? You fall in love with this guy, marry him, and make babies with him. Then, with these babies, you experience such an all-consuming love, one that blows every cliche mention of maternal emotion right out of the water...and not only that, you actually have a man who actively participates and supports you in such a bond?! Get OUTTA TOWN! I love that he gets right down on their level. He read my little pregnancy books. He loves hearing stories about them while he's at work. He aches to get home and cuddle with them in bed. He changes diapers and finds missing socks. And he calls us "My girls". I love that.

He is my boyfriend.
I love that he still behaves like a boyfriend to me (ahem, but even better now, we can actually act on some of his 'loving gestures' without phone calls and rifle shots - no joke - from my Dad).
He still flirts and does all of the things that we all know I don't need to go into further detail about. He still makes me feel like a girl.

Is marriage as hard as they say?

His: I don't think that marriage is harder than anything else that comes with life. Life isn't easy and it takes work and so does marriage. I have noticed that the more you put into marriage the more you receive. The harder you work and the more unselfish you can be the easier and more beneficial marriage will be (and has been for us). Marriage is one of the most rewarding things in life, and anything that is actually of value doesn't come for free.

Her: Yes and No. Yes because it is work. It is definitely work. There are times you want to act like a totally heinous brat, but must work to behave the opposite way of what you're feeling for the good of your marriage and family. There is sacrifice. There are times that are super stressful. But No, because it isn't "hard" per se. Hard implies a sort of misery. There is no misery in worthy effort. The payoff is far greater than I imagined. And geez, we've only been married 6 years. Ask us this question in another 15.

If you could do it over, what would you change?

His: Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Everything that we have gone through we have gone through together and that has only made our bond stronger, even the small mistakes that we have made. With those small mistakes there is always a chance for growth, especially if we are working together as a team. As a whole we have acted as a team and that has definitely helped our chances of making the right decisions (two heads is better than one, right?).

Her: Not a thing. I mean it. Where we started, the decisions that we have made thus far, good and bad, have somehow landed us (by the grace of a higher power, no joke) where we are today. I am so grateful for where I am and what I have in my life. However, I do believe in the concept of 'good, better, best'. Do I believe that there are things in my life that, instead of being good, could have been done in a better or even best way? Absolutely. But no use speculating on that now, our life is too wonderful for that. So NO, I wouldn't change a thing.


You're still here?!!

Thanks for sharing!

His & Her answers: Part 1

Nine questions (Thanks Sarah).
The Rules: you must write your answers without seeing the other person's. Also, Rachel is not allowed any editorial side-commentary (torture I tell you!). I realize it is rather narcissistic to think that anyone would care about us going into detail about our marriage -seriously, who interviews themselves?!! But oh boy, it was fun! You should try it. And if your husband gets all gruffy over a marital questionnaire, blast him with this statement: "Being 'too cool' for something is no more than an act of masking insecurity with conceit." You'll win. Enjoy.

1. How has your marriage changed since you've had kids?

His: Since we have had children I believe that our marriage has changed for the better. You can't deny that with children there will be no change, because when you are young and married you simply have less responsibility and more time for each other. There is less effort to accomplish the smaller things, such as going to the store. So our marriage has definitely changed. It takes a lot more effort to go on a date, but since there are less of those alone moments I seem to cherish them more. With children we are rewarded and blessed more with every moment of the day: more smiles, more hugs, more kisses, and more fun. I would also say that seeing Rachel as a mother has made me love her so much more. By seeing her raise our children and knowing what a great job that she does and what type of effort she puts into it has only solidified my love for her and reminds me of the MANY reasons why I fell in love with her in the first place. I would also say that adding children to our marriage helps us unite and has given us a reason to grow closer since we are both striving towards the same goals.

Her: I would say our marriage was taken to a whole new level. I still retained this sort of independent attitude before having children. Children changed that, in a good way. I need him more than ever, I depend on him more than ever – and because he has risen to that task so amazingly well, I have fallen in love with him even more. Children have stressed us out, but brought such a miraculous meaning to our life that we are both experiencing this joy together and loving each other more because of it. Nobody loves my children like I do besides him. He's the only other person on this planet who cares about the same people like I do. So, we share that together – it's something that is and always will be unique to us, and is one of the most bonding elements of our relationship. How well we do this job - raising our children - will be the most important impact we will make in this world, and we get to do it together. It's beautiful!

2. Do you still get butterflies when you see each other?

His: YES, I still get butterflies when I see Rachel. It is different than it was when we were dating, it is deeper. When we get time to be together alone, date night, at night after the kids go to bed, weekends, there is nothing better than that moment and there is no better feeling than the feeling that I still receive from her presence.

Her: Well, not that completely ridiculous dizzy that I originally had…but there is definitely an excitement to be with him that still remains constant. It's like I take a deep breath when he's around and I feel better…cliché…but I feel more complete. To me, the familiarity that comes with such closeness naturally eliminates the nervous butterfly feeling, but the nervous butterflies are filled with something far more satisfying and steady. The butterflies were fun in the beginning, but I really love the way it feels on this side of it too.

3. How do you try to avoid monotony?

His:It is pretty easy to avoid monotony when your schedule is so packed that you don't have time to think about it. I also think that I avoided monotony by marrying Rachel, she is never boring. We also try to go on a date every weekend and there is nothing better to help nourish your marriage and keep things on the up and up.

Her: I didn't marry a monotonous person. I also like the saying, "If you're bored, it's because you are a boring person." I couldn't agree more! What on earth is there to be bored with in this life?

There is daily monotony, of course. But, I think the way we naturally combat that is by keeping our dreams at the forefront of our minds as we do the day to day work to achieve those dreams ( a home full of love and people, good educations for our children, traveling the world in style when we're older, Tyler owning or running his own company, big family holiday parties, our dream house with shutters and a wrap-around porch,). I've been designing my dream kitchen in my head for the past three years every time I vacuum…it's quite exciting. But more than that, I really think we enjoy the present. Work and school and the grind of raising children can really bite sometimes, but when we mix in fun stuff like family dinners, Friday night light television marathons, Victoria Secret lingerie (shopping bags that Tyler never complains about), good books, and the hilarious and lively personality of our children…let's just say it's rare for us to be bored.

4. What is the most surprising thing to you about marriage?

His: The most surprising thing about marriage is how rewarding and fun it can be. It seems like all of society portrays marriage as this horrible, cut you down, hold you back thing to do. It is exactly the opposite of that. Nothing is more rewarding than a marriage and a family. The abundant amount of smiles, laughs and feelings that you receive from a marriage can't be created anywhere else.

Her: Um, hmmm. I think the most surprising thing is how good it is has been for me. It feels very healthy, I feel very healthy. You hear all of these sorts of things all around society, bits and pieces of advice about "remembering yourself" and "prioritizing yourself" and "not losing yourself" in marriage and motherhood, etc. I understand those things, but I also think that it is through that entire process of giving yourself, full-throttle into something so worthwhile, that I have found the person inside of me that I'm the most proud of and confident in. I didn't feel balanced just on my own and thinking about everything to do with myself. Contrary to popular belief, marriage gave me balance, it didn't take it away.

5. What is your favorite date night activity?

His: I think that this has changed over the years, especially since we have had children. I used to love going to the movies, but now that our time together is more precious I really enjoy going out to dinner and sitting there for way too long talking and laughing. There are other favorite activities that can not be mentioned in this type of forum.

Her: Date night is law in our house. The idea of a scheduled "date night" sounds very 1950's regimented and boooring, but it keeps our marriage the complete opposite. I LOVE date night! My favorite date night activity is very normal: I love going out to eat together. It is a good chance to unwind and talk and laugh…heck, sometimes it's even the perfect place for conflict resolution (you can't yell in a restaurant, civility is forced upon the both of you). Also, if we don't have any money, I love a movie marathon in bed with In & Out burger or ice cream sundaes. The usual rule of date night is simple: I refuse to cook or eat left-overs, and it has to be more special than just vegging out in front of the t.v. in sweats. Our mindset is different on date night, it's much more boyfriend/girlfriend than husband and wife with two kids, and that makes all the difference.


Part two coming up....

Friday, February 5, 2010


He gets back!

Hooray! No more lonely nights without him. He was on a business trip. Lots traveling around/ hotels/ business dinners/ presentations, and whatnot. Rarrrrrr.

His debit card was somehow fraudulently used at an ATM in Cerritos California. He was nowhere near there, and still had the card in his possession. Some yahoo was withdrawing over $700 from our checking account! We caught it, and the bank promptly canceled his card to prevent more theft. Problem was: it was 9pm, and his only other credit card on hand had just been maxed out on rather huge company reimbursable expenses. Even if I made a hefty payment myself, it would take 24 hours to credit. No more cash. Nothing. The man was destitute somewhere in the deserts of Arizona.

Crime committing bastards, I can only hope hell exists.

He was hours from a bank, out on some site in the middle of nowhere. I was stressing. The next day, he had to be on site and didn't have time to drive to a bank. I knew he would be hungry and have no money! Having a hungry husband with no money produces the same anxiety in me as having constipated children, I soon discovered. I start breathing tightly and was knotted in nervousness. My husband is hungry, my husband is hungry, my husband is hungry! (Echoing the same pattern of behavior during the constipation baby won't poop, my baby won't poop, my baby won't poop)
What will he do?! 24 hours with no food? Should he go to a local homeless shelter and beg?! Who do I know that lives there? I have no place to wire money to! He'll just go to bed hungry? Not having eaten a single thing all day?! AAAaaaaaaa!

Finally, that evening, he called. He had rushed as soon as he could leave the site and made it to the bank just 5 minutes before closing.

He was eating at Claim Jumpers. Wheeeeeew.

So excited for him to get home tonight. London has woken up every morning this week, with beastly bedhead, and hoarsely asks in her cute morning voice, "Da deee bye bye? Da deeee bye bye?" Yes Lundy, Daddy is bye bye.

But not tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow morning, we can feed him.

Plus, Q&A is finally coming.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The non-believer.

Do you believe in soul-mates? I don't. Or didn't. Oh, I still don't know.

To me, the notion of miraculously finding the only right person on planet earth, in a perfectly serendipitous moment, souls separated and now joined in unison - a one shot chance, seems a little Lifetime movie ridiculous. What about the person whose love dies? Are they destined to wander the planet, missing their other half - forever doomed to half-halfedness (not a real term)?

Or worse, what about the people who divorce their supposed soul-mates, what then? They'll arrive at the pearly gates of eternity only to learn that they screwed over their own destiny. Ouch.

Or those whose loves die/remarry/whatever the case may be... can one person have two soul-mates at separate times? Are some people's souls divided in half while others are split into thirds? Fourths?

To me, it seemed much more simple. Boy meets girl. Pheromones are matched up and brain synapses ignite some biochemical flame. Common goals, values, and kindness create content. Breeding occurs, as it has through the ages for even the lowliest of species, and offspring arrive. Really, it's a formula you could stick just about any two such pheromonally (also not a real term) compatible individuals in and expect relative success. Soul-mates were for drama queens.

But then, there was him. He, as in Tyler.

I'm telling you, this man just blows all of my basic assumptions right out the door. He's so....customized. So perfectly, exactly, fundamentally what I need. From his sense of humor right down to his skin (that boy tans so beautifully...mmm), he's just my kinda guy. His smell and his smile, his personality and his goofiness. His sense of fun and laughter and kindness. A harmonious blend of real man meets humility and gentility. His parenting style, the way he loves. So amazing. I mean it. It's weird. I just know him, and its through knowing him that I quite inexplicably seem to know myself better.

When he's on a business trip somewhere, I get the usual paranoia about something bad happening to him. Occasionally I'll try to objectively imagine surviving a future without him. I can imagine working, being positive for my girls, leading a rather successful aftermath...but I just can't imagine being with anyone else. I can feel it now, my soul closing up for eternity. Not open for business. I can't divide into thirds. I know I say this now - and pray daily I will never have to live up to any such talk - knock on wood, knock on wood, knock on wood, pray pray pray, pick up lucky pennies on the street and make wishes, blow out the candles on my birthday cake that it will never happen - but I am convinced I have the best there is to have. He is it. He will always be it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oh, peeerfect.

This wasn't the way I meant to kick it off. Really, it wasn't.

These two weeks are meant to be a beautiful window in the chapters of our love history for our posterity to peek into someday (if they should even care enough to do so, I fear future generations care less and less about anything to do with ancestry and connection... we'll just be those old married relatives in some rest-home they come to visit bi-annually...).

Do I sound negative? I hope so. Because I am posting at 7:30am, and I am negative. This wasn't the way it was supposed to start!!

Isn't that always the way it happens?!

It all started last night. I asked Sarah to email me a list of questions about Ty & I's marriage. I wanted non-agenda questions, nothing that could be manipulated or directed by my own mind to paint any false pictures. Honest questions, and honest answers.

We had enjoyed a lovely evening. Cas and Max came over for dinner (provided by them too, oh how lucky were we! Down home with the Neeley's chili! Yumo), I was able to finish a paper and submit it on time, our house was tidy'd. It was all dandy. some point I slipped the news to Tyler that I felt like my monthly visitor was about to start any time.

Big mistake.

Tyler and I have had serious conversations about my bouts with PMS. I've actually told him, given him permission, to mark his own calendar with my schedule and begin ignoring anything I say three days prior to the big event. I'm not kidding, almost every month - just a day before I get it, we always have the same conversation egged on by me. It begins in the silence of our bedroom after we've gone to bed, he's been asleep for about 20 minutes, when I blurt out - loudly:

"You don't do anything romantic for me anymore."

He shuffles around quickly, picks up his groggy bedhead and squints back at me.

"What?! What is this about?"

"You don't! You're meeeeeean!"

The poor man. He's in such shock, and yet is somehow duped into thinking this is a legitimate conversation coming from me. So, we hash out - or even argue out - some lame-o conversation that escalates into me crying and him frustrated. This if followed by him arriving home the next day from work looking exhausted from such late night kerfuffles and me throwing my arms around him, "Oh hunnie! I'm so sorry! I got my period today, I was just pms'ing really bad yesterday."

We've cycled through these types of episodes enough to know this is something we need to be prepared for. But, I slipped up. I told him I was in "that phase again" by spilling the beans about what day of the month I was on. What I didn't think through was the fact that I had just handed him my playbook, every possible maneuver of emotional manipulation. And this time, he was ready as we were about fall asleep last night. I jumped out of bed and decided I wanted us to answer the list of questions Sarah had given us, all for a perfect beginning to our little two weeks on love:

"No way, I'm going to bed. We can't go through all of those questions right now. It's eleven and I have to get up early."

"Well, you wouldn't go to sleep if I suggested watching another episode of wouldn't fall asleep if some sexual offering was on the wouldn't fall asleep if it was a Bill Simmons wouldn't fall asl....."

"Goodnight Rae."

"No! No no no! I can't believe this. You are sooooooooo insensitive."

Silence. He's ignoring me. He's ignoring me! Pretending to be asleep.

"I can't believe this. I can't believe you.
You are meeeeeean!"


He's really catching on.