Toddler Pong

Bean girl is officially a big girl, sleeping all by herself in her big girl bed. She's thrilled about it, and so am I, even if it does mean I'm putting her back in bed a zillion times. Toddler pong! Whee!

Happy Birthday YaYa!

Happy Birthday, mom!

Recipe: Curry Vegetable Chowder

Its random recipe time!

I got in the mood to make corn chowder recently but when I started checking out recipes I realized I wanted more substance- lots of veggies and some spice. I came up with a mighty delicious soup, in fact I think its my new favorite. Perfect for the cold weather!

Curry Vegetable Chowder
4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into small pieces
1 box Vegetable Broth
1/4 onion, chopped finely
2 cans corn
1 can carrots
1 can black beans
1 can sweet peas
1 can Rotel
1 small block of 2% Velveeta
1 cup milk
curry powder
cayenne pepper

Sautee (about 2 tbs) garlic and onion in white wine
Bring vegetable broth and Rotel to a boil, add potatoes. Cook until soft.
Add all canned ingredients + Milk + Velveeta
Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt/pepper to taste

Feeding soup (and vegetables) to the bean has proven impossible, but its so good that I had to figure out a way to get her to eat it... so with a little creativity and some extra cheese, I came up with an awesome dinner for her as well!

Toddler-friendly Curry Vegetable Quesadilla
1 tortilla
2% milk shredded cheese (I prefer the Fiesta variety, myself)
Soup (partially drained with a slotted spoon)

In a frying pan, put cheese on 1/2 of the tortilla, cover the cheese with the veggies from the soup & a small amount of the soup liquid
Add 1 more layer of cheese
Fold tortilla over

I also gave her a small bowl of soup to dip her quesadilla in. It was such a hit! I'm thrilled that she ate vegetables and got to enjoy my mighty tasty soup too!

No regrets. Ever.

Can I be really honest with you guys for a minute? I mean, really honest...

I feel like I've been censoring myself over my years in blogging, trying to not to reveal too much while still forming bonds with people who are genuinely interested in my life...
I don't want to, and I don't even really know how it happens... its a natural response I suppose. Working in corporate America for years I was warned of my presence online, after hearing stories of people losing their jobs over blogging, I became weary of revealing too much. Its not that I don't trust you people, I just don't want anyone to use my words against me.

Here's what's up though... I have been going through a particularly rough few months, and I feel like its unfair to assume that you guys wouldn't want to hear about it... I mean, you're here for a reason, right?

Husband-pants is no longer husband-pants. He's wearing some not-so-husband-y-pants these days, as we've been separated for a little while. We're currently trying to feel out this separation (the emotional and financial implications of divorce are overwhelming to say the least). In doing so, we've learned quite a bit about each other, relationships, and what we do and don't want out of ourselves, our partner, and our lives. This has needed to happen for a while, and I'm glad to say that we're, for the most part, really happy. In fact, that was our biggest motivation in doing this. We're of the mindset that 2 unhappy parents do not a happy child make.

I can't put a finger on the moment I knew we were too far gone, I think it was a slow realization, one that snuck up on us over time. When it happened though, we tried so hard to resist it. We recommitted ourselves to the lasting marriage we promised each other years ago, but it was only a week or so before the fighting started again, worse than before. It was obvious we weren't going anywhere we wanted to be. After a weekend apart full of reflection we decided a separation would be best for all of us, and we've stuck to it.

So far, its proven very beneficial. In fact, this weekend was spent as a family, the three of us watching movies and hanging out like old days... there was just a different dynamic. Bean girl definitely realizes what's going on, and we kick ourselves for it quite frequently, but we're working on improving our relationship as a family every day, even though our relationship as a couple has come to an end.

With all of that said, its still difficult to move on. Its a long process, I hear, and we're wading through it and sorting out what we're feeling, but its hard. Divorce is a scary thing, and its looming heavily over both of us right now.

I don't regret a day that I've spent with Marshall. I proudly embrace my (not-so) new last name, and all of the changes that came with it. He has helped shape the person I am today... and I actually, for the first time in my life, really love that person. We have achieved impossible and wonderful things in our time together. I hope never to forget the road that brought me to where I am today, regardless of whether I'll be walking down it alone or not.

Thank you, Marsh.

The chance to be a little less alone in the world...

I have successfully held my tongue throughout election season. I'm sure many of you at this point have no idea who I even voted for, I really figured that was the best way to do things. I honestly didn't feel that passionate about this election, as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't get into it. Don't get me wrong, I'm utterly thrilled with the outcome. I do believe that Obama will be a catalyst for change for our country. I'm not one to buy into the amazing hope that so many of us have right now that he'll be able to turn this country around simply because he is a charismatic leader with huge ideas, and now the power to make them happen. I have never and will never be able to place that kind of faith in our government. What I am excited about, and what I hope you are as well, is how invested the American people are in the process. This is history that we're making, and we're all thrilled about it. Record voter turnouts, young and old Americans alike working together for a common goal... we needed this. More than we needed any certain person in the white house, we needed something to get involved in. We needed to feel like we could make something big happen.

And we did! Even if you didn't vote for our president-elect you made this happen. By watching, listening, learning, we were responsible for the fire we all felt walking into our polling places, for the butterflies in all of our stomachs last Tuesday night... And that is amazing. I voted with my daughter on my lap, explaining to her what was happening while filling in my bubbles because even at her young age, I wanted her to own a part of this. I made a big dinner, opened up a bottle of wine, and sat watching the smiles and the tears and the pride on the faces of people just like me all over our nation. I hope to never forget it. For the first time in my adult life, I feel like this was MY America.

Unfortunately there was a dark shadow cast over that incredible night as I watched the election results for Proposition 8 (California) and Act 1 (Arkansas) with a sad heart. Clicking refresh every few minutes on the election result sites, I grew fearful that MY America would let me down... and it did. I was utterly shocked. I couldn't honestly believe that in this day and age, in a country that is making so much forward movement, overcoming so much of the hatred and ignorance that has fueled years of oppression for our own people, that we still feel the need to place our thumb on a group of our citizens. People living and working in our communities do not have the same rights as I do, simply because we feel self-important enough to stand on the ground of religion and tell them they are not allowed to do something as basic as marry the person they choose or foster and adopt children who need loving homes. Who in the world do we think we are?

The people of California voted to take away the most fundamental human right... to love unabashedly, no matter who you are. We sure think we're incredibly special, don't we? I love God and I love America. I own guns, I speak freely, and I married who I wanted when I wanted because it was my right. I take all of that for granted on a daily basis because these are rights that are protected by law, they won't be snatched away. Gay people do not have the same rights now, we the people have turned up our noses and snatched it away because of fear. We're scared that redefining marriage will destroy its sanctity. We are honestly trying to say we are working to protect an institution with a 50% success rate... in my very humble opinion, our stats aren't looking so great as is- some redefinition certainly couldn't hurt!

If I wanted to foster or adopt a child, I could do it. These are my rights, and I appreciate them more than I'll ever be able to express. I can't imagine having them taken away simply because I fell in love with someone that the state didn't approve of. I cringe at the thought of the foster children who will be taken from the parents that love them, straight or gay, simply because we'd like to say that's what God wants. The Family Council had this to say...

I really believe that it was God’s divine providence and your hard work that made this day possible. From the beginning, I believed that we could pass the Adoption Act handily—but I knew it would only be through prayer and perseverance. Today, after almost 2 years of working on this issue, I can honestly say that we’ve all won. Because of your dedication, children will be placed in better homes. Because of your determination, a gay agenda that our opponents brought to Arkansas has been put on its heels. This is a good day for Arkansas, and you have a right to feel proud to be a part of something so significant.

Who is the family council to assume that our marital state determines our worth as parents? I. Call. Bullshit. Is this group really broadcasting that unmarried couples are providing a sub-par life for their children? That's certainly the most offensive sweeping generalization that I've ever heard. Why are we not shouting from the rooftops here!?! Oh yeah, its because we're talking about gay people. Gay parents couldn't possibly be as loving and supportive as straight ones, we couldn't possibly let them provide for children who need it the most, its got to be beyond their capabilities. Does anyone else find this as ridiculous as I do? I mean really!? We voted to limit the rights of gays in Arkansas, and in the process left so many casualties along the way. Now straight unmarried couples simply do not have the option, and most importantly... these children are losing their chance for a loving family.

What upsets me the most is that a majority of Arkansans feel the same way. That in the state I love, 57% of people were so terrified of gay people that they voted to take away their most important right... to have a family. That is simply horrifying. To do it on the grounds of religion is unspeakable, and makes me ashamed for those of you who feel comfortable citing Jesus when shamefully and openly hating and oppressing a fellow person that God made and loves. The God that lives in my heart loves universally, always has, always will.

I am both thrilled and saddened by the choices of my fellow Americans. I am disheartened that this form of hate has been deemed acceptable in today's society... these are not God's values, these are not my values. It is absolutely disgusting and shameful. In this time of change, I pray that the people of my country can embrace the love and light inside of us, and that the balance will be shifted so that ALL people, gay or straight, married or unmarried, will have the rights and liberties that they deserve.

Keith Olbermann said it best (as always), and left me in tears, when speaking about Prop 8. This isn't about yelling, this isn't about politics, its about the human heart.

Even if you're not a fan of Keith Olbermann, or if you don't have any investment in this issue, what he has to say is profound and relevant for every single person. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. (Read here if you prefer)

Halloween 2008

I didn't get as many pictures of the bean-fairy as I would've liked, but she looked terribly cute in her costume, which she wore from the time she woke up on Friday until it was thoroughly covered in cupcake last night. We trick-or-treated twice, went to a super fun party, and she absolutely loved Halloween.

I put some serious effort into my costume for the first time in a large amount of years, and I was a peacock! Using this costume as inspiration, I came up with a pretty fantastic little getup (if I do say so myself!) and I had so much fun!


I lol-ed.


I'm still amazed by the varying opinions about my post on The Duggars from this Spring. Everyone seems to have something to say about them, their family, their life, their kids, and we're so passionate about it! We're emotionally invested in their situation as if we actually know them, because on some level we all do. My good friend Rachael M. made a very important point, which I feel like not enough of us are actually considering.... they have opened themselves up to criticism by inviting TV cameras into their lives.

My guilty pleasure is celebrity gossip. Thanks to FameCrawler I was on the Britney Spears meltdown last winter like a monkey on a cupcake. I love reading about other people's lives, and you do too. You wouldn't be reading blogs if you didn't! Our society embraces a certain level of voyeurism, from gossip magazines at the grocery checkout line to our ongoing obsession with reality television, its all around us. The Duggars realize this, and they've capitalized on it! Its simply unarguable. They made the choice to share their details, and they know we're watching.

We watch their day to day life on our televisions and assume that we know these people, their values, their family dynamic, but we don't. We know what we see, the edited version of their very interesting life, and we make very passionate assumptions about them based on the very limited information we have. My question is, why do we insist on protecting them, if they've chosen this life? We all know its out of the ordinary, we all realize these people aren't normal, they've obviously accepted this, because they realized they had a product like none other. We're offering criticism of their way of life, of their impact on our world, on their belief system, or we're shaming the critics for being so negative, because we truly care about these people. Regardless of how we feel about them, they've had an impact on our lives. They're selling their family values and we're supporting every bit of it, whether we agree or not.

Handmade for the holidays

I'm getting pumped for the holidays.

Would you guys like to see what I'm lusting after!? Good!

Tara has the kind of creative vision I'd like to have with any or all of my projects. Seriously, this girl has got some talent when it comes to jewelry. Her pieces are unique, fresh, fun, and elegant. I could definitely wear her stuff every. damn. day.

(my favorite necklace of all time)

I love the great state I live in, and that's why I love Rock City Outfitters

Fayetteville, the city I live in, got this crazyass nickname and there are a million different stories why. Here's what I know... I would love to wear this shirt all the time.

Buttons are also lovely if you're not quite at the same level of Arkansas pride as I am, or if you're just in need of more flair.

Handwoven rag bottom tiny person chair

I'm a little partial already, honestly. I've got a SWEET adult rocker and I've been eying one for the little bean for quite a while. Seriously, this thing is amazing. The seat is totally handwoven, scraps of old fabric in the coolest colors/patterns... I am madly in love with it.

I'm excited about adding a miniature version at some point soon. Especially since her new favorite phrase is "Rock Rock!"

I love Lindsay's wreaths. I'm a sucker for fall/winter decorations already so show me a well made wreath and I'm in! These aren't something you can find down at your local Hobby Lobby or Michael's, they're totally one of a kind, made with lots of love and fake flowers.
You know you love that just as much as I do.

I love art. Anyone who has seen my house will tell you I have a pretty random collection, but I'm always looking to add more. Here are some of my current favorites...

This print was a random Etsy find, I love it! - by Jessica Doyle

Another Etsy find - by Angela Vandenbogaard

My favorite painting by one of my very favorite artists - by the lovely and talented Amber Perrodin

And last, a list of awesome gift sites (not necessarily handmade, but spectacular nonetheless!)
Perpetual Kid - a super random collection of hilarious gifts
GirlPROPS - cheapInexpensive and hilarious jewelry!

Just some pictures

I love fall.

Marti Pearl at the drive-through safari - photo by Wes


Kisses and Pancakes - photo by Wes

Hugging a goat at the petting zoo - photo by Wes

You - photo by Wes

Ihop piranhas - photo by Wes

Go to the gym.

Dear moms,

I love going to the gym. I'm writing this letter to moms because I think there are hidden benefits for us in the gym, that we might not be putting enough emphasis on. Sure, it can be said that we benefit more from consistent exercise more than our childless counterparts, as we've got pregnancy pounds to work off, but there's so much more to it... some of these things you're already aware of, I hope, but if not, give it a try. Seriously, throw on some yoga pants, turn your iPod to something sassy, and get in there! I highly doubt you'll walk away regretting it.

1) Endorphins. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which produce feelings of happiness and euphoria. This is all good. I don't care who you are, you can always use more endorphins (just don't overdo it there, She-Ra), and euphoria in your life.

2) Exercise boosts self-esteem. Reaching a goal, whether it be shedding pounds or hitting the mile-mark on the treadmill, does wonders for one's self-worth. On a larger scale, though, society appreciates a well-toned body, which generally is the reason most women head to the gym in the first place. There's lots to be said for being able to throw on your skinny jeans for girls night out! Improved self-confidence also has a domino effect... less feelings of anxiety and/or depression, more motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle, increased sex drive... All of this is very good.

Last but certainly not least- in fact, this is what I consider my biggest motivation for frequent exercise...
3) You tend to start feeling a little pampered when you get in the habit of doing something for only you, especially something physical. No kids, no phones ringing, just you focusing on you. Its addictive! I feel lucky that when I get to the gym, Bean girl RUNS to the childcare room, anxious to see her little friends and the sweetest kiddo-keeper ever. I don't have to worry a bit about her while I'm working on me, which is possibly the best feeling ever. For one hour a day, I can go completely within myself, and do something that's super good for me. Its amazing.

So moms, go to the gym. Not because I think you're doughy, lazy, or out of shape, go because you deserve it, dammit. As a mom, we never put ourselves first... feel free to do that, and not experience one ounce of guilt because when mama's happy, everyone else is too.

Enjoy those endorphines!

Things I <3

I wanted to share a couple of things I'm totally in love with at the moment. Fall fashion makes me so very happy. Tell me what you're in to...

Yep, I'm totally buying in to the scarf trend right now. I've always been a big fan of them, in fact, I secretly LOVE fall/winter because I get to bust out the scarves! Now they're so readily available... every store has them, and I'm so thrilled about it!

A little peek of my favorite scarf (which has gone missing! oh noes!) last winter.

Withering Elm (Etsy | Myspace) is just incredible jewelry. I got my first piece from her this spring, and have gotten nothing but an endless stream of compliments every single time I wear it. I totally lust over all of the designs because of their classic charm and vintage appeal, but also for the fact that they're totally handmade with love by a pretty amazing gal.

Katy is quite the jewelry designer... I'm thrilled every time I see she's got new pieces!

That reminds me...

This year, I'm buying handmade for all of my holiday gifts.
What about you?

Finally... I'm back for real!

There's been a whole lot of change this summer, starting in May when we officially returned from cottage-life and Texas, and moved into a cozy little house right in the middle of town. Our new house is lovely, and is finally starting to feel like a home... and one that makes me mighty proud, at that. I've put a ton of work into it over the summer, and its really starting to show. One of these days I might even get around to posting some pictures of all of the progress, but for now... take my word for it- it has come a long way and it looks awesome.

Bean girl is now 18 months old. A whole 1.5 years, and she's just getting more adorable by the day. She's talking so much more, every day she's doing something new. Yesterday we made cupcakes and this morning she walked up to the fridge and said "cupcake, mommy" which of course, is really hard to resist, no matter how wrong it is to eat cupcakes for breakfast!! Currently she is sleeping, which has afforded me a tiny bit of time to hop online and tell you all that I have officially returned... but not too much, as I have lots of work to do!

Work is amazing. I can't even express how amazed I am. I'm feeling truly blessed that I've had a constant stream of work since June, when I officially opened Lush Innovative Design. I have other designers sending me referrals and I'm still working with my mom's company which is keeping me incredibly busy.

I had a back injury earlier this summer... actually that makes it sound like I did something traumatic and hurt my back, when in fact, I think it was just a culmination of too many years of neglecting myself. I've been meaning to get into the chiropractor, to walk more, to get my hind-end off of the couch on a more regular basis... blah blah blah... but last month it caught up with me. I was couch/bed bound for over a week, and drugged out of my mind for a reasonable amount of time. I'm feeling back to good, and working hard to keep it in shape. No more down time for me, there's too much fun in this world for me to be stuck on the couch!

This week I got to do something that I've been dreaming about since high school. I got to see Ani DiFranco in concert. I know, I know, crunchy hippie jokes start right about here... but seriously. I have been a huge Ani fan for a lot of years, and I was thrilled to death when I found out she was coming to my town, and that I was able to go! Husband-pants begrudgingly accompanied me to the show, and actually enjoyed it as well (shh, don't tell the guys) not necessarily because of her songs, as he's not a big fan of folk music, but his first remark was about her awesome stage presence, and I completely and totally agree. It was an incredible show and she has an amazing energy that shined through the whole place. Her daughter was born last January, and one of the songs off of her new album was especially amazing to me. I feel like this song was written for me, my mom, and every mom I know.

Present/Infant ~ Ani DiFranco

lately I've been glaring into mirrors, picking myself apart
you'd think at my age I'd have thought of something better to do
than make insecurity into a full time job
make insecurity into an art
yes and I fear my life will be over
and I will have never lived it unfettered
always glaring into mirrors, mad I don't look better

but now here is this tiny baby
and they say she looks just like me
and she is smiling at me
with that present infant glee
and I would defend to the ends of the earth
her perfect right to be

so I'm beginning to see some problems
with the ongoing work of my mind
and I've got myself a new mantra
it says "don't forget to have a good time"
don't let the sellers of stuff
power enough to rob you of your grace

love is all over the place
there's nothing wrong with your face

love is all over the place
there's nothing wrong with your face

Listen to it here (track #3)

Also, keep on scrolling. I tried my best to catch you guys up a little on what the last month or so has looked like for me. <3>

Babies, bluegrass, and one amazing weekend.

Last night, I helped one of my very best friends have a baby.
After 40+ hours of labor she pushed out an amazing little 8 pound baby girl. It was the most beautiful and powerful thing I've ever experienced.

Upon returning home, at 4am, exhausted and rattled by the storm (I was literally blown to the ground by the wind upon leaving the hospital) I laid down next to Marshall and said...

I have decided something important and he sat straight up, fearing, I know, that I was about to tell him I had baby fever and wanted another.
I said I'd like to sing in a bluegrass band before I die.
He said Umm ok. Is there anything else you want to talk about?

Nope, that's it. Bluegrass. No more babies. Especially not right now.


If we're not myspace friends we should be.

I added a TON of pictures yesterday and am in the process of adding a ton more.

The newest member of the household...

Introducing The Distinguished Professor and Noted Astrologer Percival L. McFuzzypants-Gerlaugh, being squished half-retarded by his adorable sidekick Marti Pearl