Thursday, February 26, 2009

Celebration Time.

I am thrilled to report that I am officially back in my running groove. Yesterday I ran 4 miles with ease - such progress! Jason and I have decided that we are going to run the Dam to Dam here in Iowa at the end of May. Anyone else want to sign up for the 12 mile fun?

I am excited about a new race and a new training schedule. I'm also especially excited about fitting into my old jeans. Yes, folks, they fit!

Cue Kool & The Gang...

Monday, February 23, 2009


This studio photography assignment was all about capturing hands. Michelle and Michael Sage were wonderful models for this shoot. We had a lot of fun in the studio. We got some hand shots and a few candids of Michael - he's a total natural in front of the camera! Thanks, Sages!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Jason and I had the chance to go out on Friday night for a pre-Valentine's date. We had tapas at one of our Des Moines favorites, The Continental, and made our way to the Varsity. The Varsity is a fabulous old theater across the street from Drake University where the popcorn is still...brace yourselves...$1.75. The Varsity also always shows independent and/or international films - our favorite kind.

This week Slumdog Millionaire was showing. We loved this film, which, above all is a love story. It's also a fascinating journey that follows the memories of a young man growing up in the slums of India. It portrayed the humor, heartbreak, and triumph of slum life. I'll admit that I felt nauseous most of the first half. I had a hard time getting over the fact that for many children in the world poverty, filth, hunger and abuse are the norm. But, overall, this was a great film and one I would recommend to others. If for no other reason than to see some of the realities people in the developing world live with on a daily basis.

On a side note, Jason and I also discussed how ironic it is that these days have been labeled an economic "crisis" in our country. Seems like we should be honest and say, in comparison to the rest of the world, what we really mean is "we aren't able to keep up our outrageous standard of living and that bugs us." Take a look at the slums of India (or any other country in the developing world) and you might reconsider your definition of crisis.

Here's the trailer if you are interested...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My friend Lizzy invited me to her "First Annual Bloggy Friends V-Day E-Party". She had the fantastic idea that we should all bake some V-Day treats, take pictures, and post them on the blog. She has promised to post all the treat photos on her blog for the big day. This was super fun!

I have become obsessed with my new cookbook Hello, Cupcake! This book has SO many adorable cupcake ideas, I thought I'd give them a shot for the Bloggy Friends party. Before you go thinking I have too much time on my hands, let me tell you that these cupcakes are so easy. The decorating only took an hour. Based on most of my past baking projects, this one was as easy as (or, I should say easier than) pie. Ha ha!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mommyhood: The First 6 Months

Alex is turning 7 months old this week. It's hard to believe that those first newborn months are already gone. Since it seems like the latest thing is to tag 25 things (on Facebook), I thought I'd jot down 25 reflections on Mommyhood on my blog...

1. I honestly don't know how I survived for the first 3 months of Alex's life on 5-ish hours of sleep every night. For anyone I tried to carry on rational conversation with during that time, sorry. I know it didn't make sense.
2. I now consider a successful day as shower=success.
3. I'm grateful for 2 hour naps. Mine and Alex's.
4. I'm glad Jason is such a good Daddy. I knew he would be, but it's sweet to see it.
5. I am thankful for our Connection Group who has been such a great parenting resource to us. They are godly people with a collective wealth of wisdom.
6. I will think twice before I gain 60 lbs. in pregnancy again.
7. The 2 a.m. "Crazy Talk" where I wake up panicked thinking Alex is trapped in my bed is still here. Alex grew out of night waking long ago. For me, however, it remains.
8. I never get tired of washing and folding baby pajamas and socks.
9. We still love the cloth diapers. I'm not sure I'll ever use disposables on future babies.
10. God has given me a precious gift in providing me the ability to feed my baby. I think breastfeeding is such a marvel of God's wonderful human design.
11. I love to watch Alex wake up.
12. I love to watch him suck his thumb to sleep.
13. Heck, I even love changing his diapers!
14. It's important to me to read, sing, and pray with Alex before bed.
15. I have learned not to brag about Alex's latest accomplishments because I think it sows early seeds of "My kid is smarter than your kid" among parents.
16. I probably say to Alex, "You are the sweetest baby in the whole wide world" about a hundred times a day.
17. I often think of how I would deal with it if Alex was really sick. Parents like these and these inspire me to trust God with all things.
18. I remember the day Alex first smiled at me. My heart beamed with pride!
19. Sometimes I worry that we will mess him up. I'm learning that loving and caring for him to the best of our ability means we aren't messing up.
20. I truly believe that Jesus is the giver of patience and grace in parenting.
21. I like to peek at Alex while he's sleeping.
22. When Alex first pooped in the bath tub, we laughed and caught it on video. It is less and less funny every time.
23. I've noticed that people can't help but smile at babies.
24. I've learned to comment little on other people's parenting tactics unless someone asks my opinion.
25. My goals in life have changed a bit. I remember that I used to think about pursuing a PhD. Yesterday I caught myself thinking that I needed to memorize the words to "Three Blind Mice".

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Performance Issues" & Political Ranting.

It seems like most Americans agree that this stimulus business is getting out of hand. One of my favorite conservative bloggers calls this latest stimulus bill a Crap Sandwich. She's right. It bears a striking resemblance to a bottomless goodie bag with no real help for the average American.

What do I think Americans need? I certainly don't know everything, but I think they need someone to look them in the face and say, "Times are tough and they will be for at least another year. Save your money and don't buy stuff you don't need. Make your house payments - and yeah, I know it's tough but maybe take a second job if you need to. You borrowed the money and it's your responsibility to pay it back. Clip coupons and shop sales. Hey, maybe even give up your vacation this year. You lost your job? I'm truly sorry and it stinks. Maybe you'll have to take a job in a lesser field just to get by for a year or so - because that's what hard working Americans do. Taking tax dollars and pumping it into the economy to try to fix it won't do much good. In fact, it will probably do more harm than good in the long run. So don't look to the government to fix things for you. It's not their job. It is your duty to be responsible and hard working. You are an American and this country was built on hard work, not entitlements and government hand-outs. Ride out the economic storm. You (and probably your children who are watching you) will be a better person for it."

All economies have performance issues at one time or another and they generally correct themselves without intervention. I think this little commercial for STIMULIS - the drug boasting to help with economic "performance issues" is clever. Listen closely for the list of possible side effects!
(ht: Michelle Malkin)

Monday, February 02, 2009


This is assignment #2 in Studio Photography. We were supposed to create an image of similar objects to form an overall pattern.

This photo was inspired by my grandmother, who is the most amazing seamstress ever. At 81, she can still crank out beautiful stuff with a needle and thread. Once I tried to learn the skill from her. She was so patient teaching me over and over how to thread the machine and feed the material through. I wish I could say that my finished product was a masterpiece, but it wasn't. I'm not sure that pillowcase will ever come out of my linen closet except to prove to someone that I actually did sew something once. Nonetheless,
I loved spending the time with her in her sewing room and hearing her stories. She has lived a full life and is a wonderful storyteller. I think probably when I was younger I passed off her stories as boring and irrelevant. Now I hang on ever word thinking, "I hope I can remember every detail" as she tells me about her courtship with my grandfather. They have been married 63 years and are still a very happy couple. What an inspiration to know that the grace of God sustains love and makes marriage work forever.

And did I mention that my grandmother was a snow skier until she was 79? Yeah, seriously, I could go on and on about her coolness...
But for this post I'll stick mainly to her awesome sewing abilities and my arrangement photo that is dedicated to her.