Letters to Naomi: Happy 1st Birthday

My dear, sweet Naomi,

It's hard to believe you are one year old today. On one hand, it's hard to believe that you are already a year old because the time has flown by. On the other hand, it's hard to believe that you are only a year old because it feels like you have been a part of our family forever.

You have come so far in one year. I've loved watching you learn to roll over, sleep through the night (thank you for that, by the way), sit up, crawl, talk, pull up, clap, and feed yourself. You've taken a few tumbles and gotten a few bumps and bruises throughout the learning process, but you've never let it slow you down.

You are becoming your own little person, too. There are so many things I see in you that I hope will continue throughout your life: your curious nature, your love of animals, and your love of books. But more than anything, I love your friendly, happy disposition. You have a smile that could light up a room, and you show it to everything and everyone. You know, your name actually means "pleasant," and it seems to be a perfect fit for you.

Currently, one of your favorite words to say is "mama," which warms my heart every time I hear it. I love being your mom. I pray that God will give me the grace to be good at it.

Happy birthday, my precious girl. You have already touched my heart more than you will ever know.


Fix #1 (Fall 2015)

Confession: I hate clothes shopping for myself. This has pretty much always been a problem for me, and it's probably the reason my wardrobe isn't more interesting than it is. Well, earlier this month, I attempted to address that issue by signing up for StitchFix! For those of you who are unfamiliar with SF, here's a rundown, along with some reasons why it appealed to me:

1. Go to the SF website (using my referral link, if you don't mind...I'll get to that in a sec) and fill out your style profile. This is extremely detailed, which I appreciate. They ask about everything from sizes to colors to lifestyle to budget, and if there's anything you want them to know that wasn't covered by any of the questions, there's a section for that too. It makes me feel like they're really dedicated to finding items I'm going to love.

2. Select how often you want to receive Fixes. I'm currently signed up to receive my Fix once every three months, but you can do it as often as every few weeks if you so desire. You can also change the frequency if you decide later that you'd like to get them more or less often.

3. A personal stylist assembles your Fix, which consists of five items based on your style profile. What I love about this (in addition to having someone else pick out clothes for me) is that you can send a note to your stylist if there are particular things you'd like to receive in that particular shipment. For example, for my first Fix, I said that I was going on vacation soon and would like some casual summer clothes.

4. Your Fix ships, and you are charged a $20 styling fee which goes toward the purchase of any items you decide to keep. Free shipping, which is nice. Only problem is that if you don't like any of the items, the $20 doesn't roll over to the next Fix or anything like that, but I've heard that almost everyone finds at least one thing they love each time.

5. When your Fix arrives, you have three days to try everything on and send back what you don't want. Then go online and checkout by marking which items you're keeping (and why) and which items you're sending back (and why), and you're charged the price of the stuff you're keeping, minus the $20 styling fee. If you keep all five items, you get 25% off.

6. If you love your SF experience, refer your friends! If someone you refer signs up, you get a $25 credit. So, uh...here's my referral link (wink, wink): https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5478869

So, now that that's out of the way, let's get to the fun stuff...what I got in Fix #1!

I'm kicking myself now for not taking pictures of any of the items. At the time, I wasn't sure I'd even be sticking with StitchFix, so I didn't really see the point. *sigh* Next time.

Item #1 was a large tote bag with a white and gold geometric print. It was cute, but not really "me." I guess I like my metallics in smaller doses. Also, I could never see myself needing a bag that big. I mean, my almost-1-year-old child could've fit in there. Verdict: send back.

Item #2 was a flowy magenta blouse with ¾-length sleeves. I loved this blouse, but I messed up by entering the wrong size in my style profile. It was WAY too big. Verdict: send back.

Item #3 was a navy blue tank top with a floral pattern on the edges and on a front pocket. Again, too big, but not baggy or sloppy-looking. I decided I could make it work. Verdict: keep.

Item #4 was a pair of cuffed chino shorts. They were way nicer than any of my other shorts and fit perfectly on my waist and hips but were SO. SHORT. We're talking see-every-inch-of-cellulite short. My first thought when I tried these on was I'm a mom; I can't dress like this anymore.It made me wish I'd been slimmer in my younger years because I totally would've worn things like that back then. Verdict: send back.

Item #5 was a thin-strap navy blue dress with a bright floral pattern. (I'd asked to receive something for a nice evening out during vacation.) This dress was beautiful and fit me well, but was just too far out of my price range. Verdict: send back.

So, 1 out of 5 isn't great, but I'm going to give it another go. I really did like everything I was sent (with the exception of that tote), and now that my stylist has my feedback from Fix #1, I'm sure Fix #2 will go better. We'll find out in October!

P&P (poisoninjest)

Celebrate Husband-Baby Day (again!)

Our laptop is in working condition once again! Our buddy DJ came over on Saturday and replaced the screen. Then Tom popped the hinge back into place, and voila! Not exactly good as new (we basically have to treat it like a desktop because the hinge is so sensitive), but fully functional. It's so nice to blog on a bigger screen instead of my Nexus!

Now, onto the really good stuff...Tom recently got a promotion at work! And he just happened to take the day off yesterday, so we spent the whole day doing some of his favorite things: Celebrate Husband-Baby Day!

We started out with brunch at home. I made an Italian breakfast casserole because Tom loves Italian subs, and this was basically an Italian sub in breakfast form. He's also a big fan of cinnamon, so I made these cinnamon muffins for dessert. The casserole turned out fabulously...I wish I could say the same for the muffins. They were a little tedious to make because there were 4 different parts (batter, filling, topping, glaze), but the worst part was that the filling overflowed while baking and left hardened, baked-on sheets of butter and brown sugar all over the muffin pan; cleaning it is going to be a nightmare. Then some of the muffins fell apart when I tried to take them out of the pan, and the ones that didn't fall apart still looked like a hot mess because of the aforementioned filling incident. And then, to top it all off, they just tasted...okay. After going to all that trouble, I was expecting something that was knock-your-socks-off good, and these just weren't. But Tom liked everything, so that's what counts, I suppose.

Today we are doing some of Tom"s favorite things, in celebration of his new position at work. Brunch and a movie at home this morning, a walk in the park, and now cooling off at Starbucks and catching up on some reading. #celebratehusbandbabyday
Anyway, we had brunch and watched Days of Future Past, then went for a walk at Tom Sawyer Park. When the heat got to be unbearable, we headed to Starbucks to cool off and read for a few hours. (I got a peach green tea lemonade...SO good.) Tom's reading the first book in the series I got him for his birthday last year: Winston Churchill's account of World War II. I'm in the middle of three different books right now, but my book of choice yesterday was To Live Is Christ by Beth Moore, all about the life of the apostle Paul. Great stuff!

Naomi was such a good little trooper yesterday, but when she started to get restless, we left Starbucks and wandered around Barnes & Noble for awhile.

(Oh, that reminds me! I've started a reading challenge, hence being in the middle of three books. More on that later.)

After B&N, we came back home and got ready to go out for dinner. We went to Boombozz, Tom's favorite local pizzeria, where we feasted on pretzels with beer cheese, garden salads (to make us feel healthier), and a pizza called the Carnitas Libre: carnitas, ranchero sauce, caramelized onions and peppers, cilantro, and Asiago and mozzarella cheeses, with a green chili jam and a garlic sour cream sauce for dipping. Oh. My. Goodness.

For dessert, we walked over to Comfy Cow, one of our favorite ice cream places. I still maintain that Graeter's ice cream is the best, but Comfy Cow has so many unique and interesting flavors that you won't find anywhere else in town. I sampled one last night that was red-wine ice cream (made with bourbon-barrel-aged wine from a local winery) with peaches, blackberries, and basil. Crazy! After ice cream, we went home, put Naomi to bed, and watched Guardians of the Galaxy.

It was a great day! I really enjoyed it, but more importantly, Tom enjoyed it and felt very celebrated!
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What I Hate, What I Love

You know what I hate? Heartburn.

I've had chronic heartburn at least since high school. I've done everything I know to get rid of it. I wear clothing that fits loosely or comfortably around my midsection. I try to avoid foods that are spicy or highly acidic. I don't lie down right after eating. I've gotten my weight down within a healthy range. I've tried just about every over-the-counter antacid out there, as well as essential oils and other holistic methods. Nothing works. I've been on prescription-strength Prilosec for over a decade now; that seems to be the only thing that's helped. But I recently discovered two problems with what I used to think was a miracle pill...

1) A new study came out last week that shows a correlation between proton pump inhibitors (PPIs, the drug class that Prilosec falls into) and heart attacks. Heart attacks are already in my family history; I don't need this as another strike against me. Plus, it really ticks me off to think that I've invested all this time and energy in getting healthy, only to have the possibility of a heart attack anyway.

2) Prilosec doesn't fix the problem; it only treats the symptoms. I have no idea what's caused me to have such frequent, persistent heartburn for so many years. Neither do any of the doctors I've seen about it; they've prescribed me Prilosec because, like I said, it's the only thing that gives me some semblance of relief. Well, after hearing about that study last week, I decided to see what would happen if I went a day without taking it. I figured, I've taken it for this long; surely it's done something to fix whatever's been causing this. Nope. I didn't take it this morning, and the heartburn is just as bad now as it was all those years ago when it first started.

So, now I'm really at a loss. I don't want to have heartburn for the rest of my life, but I also don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life (especially if that medication puts me at risk for something worse, like a heart attack). I'm just so tired of being burdened by this.

Now...you know what I love? The knowledge that someday, I won't need Prilosec. I won't have to worry about heartburn or heart attacks or anything. Someday I will have a glorified body, one that is "sown in weakness, raised in power." And the crazy thing is, I won't even care about being free from physical ailments, because I'll be with Jesus, which is a far greater thing to look forward to.

Just something that's really heavy on my mind today...



Tom is working this Saturday (the one thing that makes this day not-so-nice), so Naomi and I ventured out on our own to run some errands.

We started our day with some card-shopping. I found some Father's Day cards, as well as a wedding card for our friends who are getting married next week. And it only took about 45 minutes. Yeah, I'm really picky when it comes to greeting cards. IMHO, a lot of cards out there these days are either sickeningly sweet or just plain stupid...

Anyway, our next order of business was picking up a Graeters gift card for our new pastor and his wife. They're arriving in Louisville this weekend! ...Aaaaand it's just now occurring to me that I never mentioned that we were even getting a new pastor. Yeah, so, Dustin accepted a church-planting position at a church in Nashville and stepped down at the end of January. (The new position seems perfect for him, by the wayg; we all wish him and his family well.) The Crossing elders then formed a search committee and eventually narrowed it down to one candidate: Dr. Jack Hughes. He and his lovely wife visited Louisville last month; Jack preached at Crossing one Sunday morning, and the congregation voted (unanimously) to affirm him as our new senior pastor. So, hence the gift card...what better way to say "Welcome to Louisville" than with a gift card for some of the best ice cream in town (or anywhere...)?

Well, it was about 9:45 when we finished card-shopping, and Graeters didn't open until 11, so we killed some time by taking a nice walk in Seneca Park. Oh, how I miss that place! It's not even five minutes from where Tom and I used to live, so we used to spend quite a bit of time there. I think this was Naomi's first visit, though. She loved it! Especially because of all the dogs that were also out for walks. That reminds me: Naomi officially likes pets! When we were in Clarksville for Becky's graduation/Mother's Day, she loved watching and playing with her grandparents' many cats and dogs (OK, they only have two of each...but that seems like a lot). Her favorite pet at the moment, though, appears to be birds. Here's a pic from a recent visit to a pet store...

That is a look of absolute glee. (By the way...those dimples? Those two little teeth? I can't even.)

So, yes...the park. Fun. After we made one loop around the park, we went to Graeters and picked up the gift card, then dropped it off and headed home for lunch. I ordered a pizza for dinner. Tom and I were going to have a low-key night of pizza and watching Game 2 of the NBA Finals, just the two of us. But it turns out that the game isn't until tomorrow, so maybe we'll just watch a movie instead. That's what we did last night, but we're OK with that. We haven't had that many weekends to ourselves lately.

Oh! The movie we watched last night was really good. We watched The Descendants, which I've wanted to see pretty much ever since it came out and garnered all that Oscar buzz a few years ago. After watching it, I've decided that I need to see all of George Clooney's movies. I haven't seen very many (I mostly still know him as Dr. Ross from ER, but, man, he's a great actor.

We didn't have pizza last night; I made Cajun chicken alfredo in my freshly seasoned cast-iron skillet. Ahhh, nothing quite like cast-iron cooking. Makes me wonder why I ever use anything else. I almost used the same skillet to bake brownies for tonight, but decided against it for some reason. Speaking of brownies, I just discovered that we have all of the ingredients for homemade brownies in our pantry at all times. This is good to know for parties and other occasions, but could be dangerous for my waistline...!

OK, I think that's enough rambling for now. Happy Saturday!

Say What?!

Not sure if I mentioned this, but I've really gotten back into running during the last several weeks. Well, yesterday, I ran for 20 straight minutes! That's the longest I've ever gone without stopping! I was a little blindsided by it, though...

I've been using a Couch-to-10K app to help me get my endurance up, and Monday's workout was as follows: 5-minute warmup walk, run for 8 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, run for 8 minutes, 5-minute cooldown. Running for 8 minutes at a time was kinda tough, so you can imagine my shock when, two days later, I was expected to run for more than twice as long! I just barely made it. When I was about a minute-and-a-half away from the end, I had to hold onto the front of the treadmill because I seriously thought I was going to pass out.

But I made it! That's the important thing. Now I can honestly say that I can run for 20 straight minutes. Booyah!

And what's the longest I have to run during tomorrow's workout? Eight minutes again. What in the world...?


So, three days ago, I sort of, um...dropped our laptop.

I was carrying it from the living room into the den, like I'd done a million times before, when it slipped out of my hand and landed on the floor. For at least two or three minutes, I just stood there staring at it. I guess I was in shock. I'm sure Naomi thought I was crazy (then again, that's pretty much par for the course around here).

Anyyway, now the screen looks like it's shattered from the inside. Also, one of the hinges broke, and it just happened to be the hinge on the side where the charger plugs in, so now the charger won't stay in either. Our friend DJ is going to take a look at it this evening to see if anything can be done, but I'm guessing we'll need a new one soon. *sigh*

How, then, am I writing this post? With my LJ app and the Bluetooth keyboard I gave Tom for his birthday a few years ago! It's actually pretty nice. Very compact, which I kinda like. And if I wanted to, I could type and walk on the treadmill at the same time. (Of course, I don't really want to...but it's nice to know that I could.) Not saying I want to use this setup permanently, but for a temporary fix, one could do a whole lot worse.

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good sign (wendleberry)

Mother's Day Recap

I cannot tell you the number of times I've sat down in front of the computer in the last few weeks with every intention of writing an update, but as soon as I sit down, I'm reminded of yet another thing that needs to be done instead. Well, no more!

My first Mother's Day was very nice. We were with Tom's family in Clarksville for the weekend, because Becky graduated on Saturday! We had some delicious BBQ for lunch, and I was given some pretty sweet gifts.

Tom gave me my Mother's Day present a few weeks early. See, for Megan's wedding, she asked all of us bridesmaids to keep our jewelry simple: no bracelets or necklaces, and plain silver studs for earrings. Surprisingly enough, I actually didn't own any earrings like that, so a few weeks before the wedding, Tom gave me a pair of pretty white gold studs and said it was an early Mother's Day present. Fine by me!

Naomi gave me a present too...you know, besides the cold and the scratches I mentioned the other day. Here's my actual gift from her: this flowerpot!
In case you can't tell, that's an elephant, and the ears are Naomi's little footprints! On the back, it says "So you'll 'never forget' your first Mother's Day! Love, Naomi." I picked out the geranium a couple days ago. I just hope I can keep it alive...

I also got some gift cards from my parents and my in-laws, which I put toward (finally) getting some rugs for our house!
The living room rug, from Mom and Dad Amarendran...
And the den rug, from Mom and Dad Duttweiler!

As if that wasn't enough, I also went to brunch with Tom and Naomi on Tuesday. I'd mentioned to Tom that the two things I really wanted to do on Mother's Day was have brunch and take a picture with Naomi, but neither of those actually happened on Mother's Day, so we had an extra little Mother's Day celebration on Tuesday, where I got both brunch and a Naomi photo.

AND a bonus kissy photo!
By the way, kisses from Naomi now involve face-grabbing and a lot of yelling. Not sure what that's about. I'm going to assume it's just enthusiasm.

Oh, and I just remembered that I'm wearing my earrings from Tom in those pics too!
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Abu (musesrealm)

Mother's Day "Gifts"

Mother's Day is tomorrow! I've always really liked this day, but this year it's extra special because it's my first Mother's Day as a mom. Naomi's even given me some gifts already...if that's what you want to call them. Here's what I got...

1) Two big scratches: one on the side of my nose, and one on my neck. I guess that was her way of saying "Mommy, my fingernails need a trim."

2) The cold she caught a few days ago. We won't have matching outfits for Mother's Day, but we will have matching runny noses.

Aww, how...sweet. It's a good thing that she's so stinkin' cute, and that just having her around is present enough.