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Monday, March 31, 2008
Eight Years Ago
I married the man of my dreams. Over the previous seven years, he's been my best friend, my rock, and my playmate. We've travelled to Key West, New York City, San Francisco, and Sedona among other places. We had weekends in Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Traverse City, and Mackinac Island. We made multiple trips to Gulf Shores. We built a house and shared it with family. We spent almost two years virtually raising our niece. We loved and buried two cats and have rescued a dog that was weaned too early. We've struggled financially and splurged on occasion. We went through the heartbreak of infertility and the highs and lows of waiting to adopt. I can't even imagine those last seven years without him.

But this last year...

reached brand new heights. There is nothing to deepen your love than to watch your husband become a father. Seeing those big hands softly cradle your child. Watching the love in his eyes as she goes racing to the door screaming, "daddy's home!" Looking as he cradles her in his arms and sings Rockabye Baby softly to her in the middle of an Easter party because she's just done.

Thank you, Jim, for seven fantastic years and for the most amazing eighth year ever. I wouldn't want to walk this journey with anyone else.

I love you!

Sunday, March 30, 2008
Three Words Sunday


Thursday, March 27, 2008
Looking Back
One year ago today, Jim and I boarded a plane that changed our lives. He'll be reflecting on those changes on his blog.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Road to Recovery - Updated
It's a slow one. We've had our share of colds and low fevers this winter, but I thought we'd missed the big one. Unfortunately, it found us before winter's end. It started with lower back pain. It moved to the hips, knees, arms until everything just ached. Then the chills came. Unrelenting cold accompanied by it's dear friend, the fever. The fever liked to dance. It like to dance up and down its own little mountain top. It did leave eventually, but not before inviting his friends, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip and the drip's twin, cough. Those last three tend to overstay their welcome. They're still hanging around.

Jim and I have alternated staying home. I was home Monday. He was home on Tuesday. We actually thought we'd both go to work on Wednesday, but fever came back for a return visit.

I was able to get in to the doctor's office this morning and have Sera checked. She's a few days behind me on this adventure, but she's the one who had a return visit after more than 24-hours fever-free. The doctor checked her lungs and ears. A rebound fever can indicate that an ear infection had joined the party. Luckily, that RSVP came back a no.

Sweet things heard around here:

"I wuv oo, mama."
"I wuv oo, daddy."
"Bess oo, mama."
"Seep mama's pehoo."
"Rock ee, daddy."

Updated to add translations.

"I love you, mama."
"I love you, daddy."
"Bless you, mama." We've done a lot of sneezing around here lately.
"Sleep on mama's pillow."
"Rock me, daddy."


Sunday, March 23, 2008
Postponed due to flu. Will reschedule for Sunday, 3/30, when, hopefully, we'll also have warmer weather.

We hope you have all had a fabulous day with your loved ones.


Saturday, March 22, 2008
And This is Spring?
If it is, I'm not sure I'm ready for it after all.

Sera and I came home at 10 am Thursday. Thursday night was parent conferences at my school, so we had a short day. I wasn't feeling very well, so we both went down for a nap. Two hours later, I woke up with a temp of 101. I called work to let them know I wouldn't be coming back in. I then booted up my laptop to email Jim. He was planning to go directly to my school to pick up Sera from me. I get an error message that my profile is missing. I look in my My Documents folder and everything is gone. I mean EVERYTHING, including My Pictures folder. I didn't have email or anything.

It's two days later, and my fever broke this afternoon. Yep, it took two days. I've done nothing but sleep and drink Nyquil since Thursday afternoon. We didn't have school on Friday, so Jim's been handling everything while I lay practically comatose. Today, he took my laptop in, and they fixed it. It's a mystery, but for some reason it started going to a guest profile when I clicked on my user. I still have some problems to work out. For one, I seem to be missing all my old emails. And all my favorites are gone. Not gone gone as I've found them in a folder, but I have to figure out how to get them back where they belong.

The insult to all this injury? Look at what we saw outside our window this morning.

The real cruel irony though is a bad mommy part two. Sera had a fever of 101 when I put her to bed tonight. I think I gave her my crud.

We actually postponed our Easter celebration to next weekend as the family we're celebrating with had to take an emergency trip out of town due to family illness. It's worked out to be the best for us, too. Maybe it will even be warm. An Easter egg hunt in snow just doesn't seem right.


The Sick and the Sicker
This is husband Jim reporting.

Magi is currently a little sick but her computer is even sicker. She'll be back in a few days, hopefully. She might have to blog from work on Monday. Shhhh, don't tell the boss.

Thursday, March 20, 2008
Bad Mommy
We've been trying to teach Sera that she can't throw things in the car and expect us to be able to get them. Her snack trap, sippy cup, or whatever toy she's currently holding will often go flying if she's frustrated or decides she wants something else. Within minutes she wants what she threw back. It wasn't so bad in the PT Cruiser. We could usually reach what she needed. We'd warn her if she threw it again, it was going to stay where it landed. In the new car, I truly can't reach if she throws or drops something, especially if it's just the two of us in the car.

This morning, within minutes of leaving home, she started crying for her milk. I told her she had it. She kept crying. I asked her if she dropped it, and she said okay. I then reminded her that I couldn't get things she dropped, so she was going to have to hold on to things better.

We arrive at school, and I grab my bags. I felt an unusual object it it so I looked inside. There sat her milk. I never gave it to her.

Bad Mommy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008
How Sweet It Is
Is it Spring yet?

Look at the horsie!

What a week we had last week. It actually started the Friday before when we heard a rattle in our car. We dropped it off on Saturday to see what was wrong. They called us on Monday to say it would be $4000 to fix the car. A car that was fine except for this one rattle. A car that was just paid off. A car that was only five years old. Uh, no.

We'd been planning all along to buy another car this year. We were just putting off as long as we could to avoid the car payment for a few months. Our plan was to trade in Jim's '93 Tracker. He bought that car years ago when it already had over 100,000 miles. The car still runs great and has never had any major work done on it. In fact, it's overdue for an oil change.

Our plan changed. We traded in the PT Cruiser instead. There's just no way we were going to put $4000 into that car. Fuhgeddaboutit!

Jim would have loved an SUV, but they're about $10,000 more and the gas mileage is much worse. We got a great deal on a 2008 Town & Country Limited. It has everything we could need. We did not get the dvd player or the phone option. That package would have added $1000's to the price. We can get a dvd player to strap on the back of the seat and a bluetooth ear piece for a fraction of the price. I've also been told by many, many people that they prefer the portable dvd players to the installed ones anyway.

We spent our Saturday afternoon buying the car.

On Sunday, we tested it out. There's a park about 40 minutes away that hosts Sugar Camp Days one weekend in March every year. They have an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with real maple syrup, ice carvings, a blacksmith, a cabin that processes maple syrup, areas set up that show how the trees are tapped, the lines the sap flows through, campfires set up with kettles making syrup the old-fashioned way, horse-drawn carts, and more. We've gone every year since I moved here, and Jim was going before that. We always meet our friend, Eric, there. This was the first time for Sera.

She loved every single minute of it. It was very cold; it always is. She ate her weight in pancakes and sausages. I think she ate more than I did. She loved running up and down the path. She loved the horses and the cart ride. We brought home one tired, sticky, happy girl.


Three Word Sunday

Jim has the whole story. Suffice to say that it was planned, yet unexpected, but we're both happy in the end.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Move Over, Miss Manners
Sera has been saying thank you for months. She's now added excuse me and bless you with no prompting, and please with prompting.

It's really funny to hear her use these words. She sounds so sweet and polite, but if you don't acknowledge her words, she gets louder and louder and louder. Thank you can mean thank you for giving me this or TAKE THIS FROM ME RIGHT NOW! Excuse me actually means MOVE OUT OF MY WAY!

Her vocabulary is continuing to grow exponentially. New words are being said every day. Last night's new words included blueberry yogurt and rock-a-bye baby instead of rock baby.

We also saw the first glimpse of our future. We had the local news on as we were getting dinner ready. A commercial came on for Disney World with the Mickey Mouse, Snow White, and Cinderalla characters and lots of kids. Sera looked at the television. Her eyes got really big. She pointed to the television and said with a complete sound of wonder in her voice, "mama, daddy!" We know what's coming next. We do plan to take her to DW, but not for a few more years. I think when she's around 4 or 5 years old.


Monday, March 10, 2008
Just Beautiful
I don't have many regrets in life. One that I do have, I can't control. I regret that I can't sing well. A friend in college used to say that if you can't sing well, sing loud. We embraced that philosophy back then. If I could choose any voice to have for my own, I'd choose hers. I'll just be grateful that I can listen and enjoy.


Sunday, March 09, 2008
Three Word Sunday
I was trying to think of three words to describe my week. It could have been a picture of me prostrate on the ground with relief at avoiding that huge snow storm. Can you say we're done?

Or it could have been me giddy with my great idea for a field trip for my entrepreneurship class that actually had them excited, too. And then it could have been the sad look on all our faces when we realized that we couldn't go because it was the same weekend as prom. Who cares about prom anyway?

It could have been of Jim glued to his XM radio and over the moon because the Tigers are broadcasting their spring training games.

It could have been a picture of a giant molar to represent Sera's 2 year molars coming through.

But it wasn't.

For the last week, Sera has been singing, "rock baby, rock baby" over and over while cradling her dolls. Every now and then you can even catch a hint of the tune. She's also coming to us and asking us to "rock baby." She climbs into her arms and swings her legs up so that she's cradled. Then we rock and sing to her. It is so bittersweet. I love cradling her and that she will still accept me singing. I can be rather inventive when it comes to tunes. But it also makes me sad because I remember the 11 1/2 months she should have been rocked. I also remember how she wouldn't let me hold her like this before. From the moment we met, she preferred to be held upright with her head on my shoulder. If I cradled her, she'd fuss or climb back upright. This week, she's not only allowing us, she's asking us, and I'm so very happy she can tell us what she wants and needs.

Friday, March 07, 2008
Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

It's party time! 5 Minutes for Mom is hosting their annual blog party with tons of fabulous prizes. What a great way to find new bloggers and win some really cool stuff. Just click on the button to get to their site.

For those of you who are new here. You can always learn 100 things about me, or you can read the Cliff Note version here.

I'm a 46-year-old woman who is happily married with one adorable child. Jim and I will be celebrating our 8th anniversary at the end of the month. Two days later, we will celebrate our first year with our daughter. We met Sera in Chongqing, China on April 2nd. Our lives haven't been the same, and I wouldn't trade one single minute...not even yesterday's afternoon meltdown. After all, cutting four molars is enough to make anyone meltdown.

I teach business and computer classes at a high school and enjoy cooking (though my husband could argue that I don't ever cook any more), reading, too much television (especially Lost!), and spending time with my family. In the spring, summer, and fall, we enjoy going to baseball games. Jim is an avid Detroit Tigers fan. He has Sera convinced, right now, that baseball is the greatest thing ever. For the most part, however, I'm still trying to figure out how to balance work, baby, housework, husband, and me time (definitely not in that order).

One of my favorite things to do is share recipes. I try to only post recipes I've actually made. I've discovered some amazing recipes by participating in this weekly cooking meme. Since today is the day for Favorite Ingredients Friday, I thought I'd add this to my intro. It seemed fitting some how.

This week's theme is Mexican. My favorite recipe is enchiladas de pollo. I've posted this in the past on this meme, so here's the link. Instead I thought I'd post some recipes that I used to use to cater an annual party back when I was in that business. I found these recipes in a little cookbook put out by Lawry's. It came out in 1991, and my copy is quite tattered, but the raves from the customers still ring in my ears.

Carne Asada

1 – 1 ¼ lb top sirloin steak
2 T vegetable oil
½ c fajita seasoning mix, prepared*
¼ c orange juice
½ t dried oregano, crushed

Pierce steak with fork on both sides, and coat with oil; place in resealable plastic bag. Mix the prepared fajita seasonings, orange juice, and oregano, and pour over steak. Marinate for 1-2 hours, turning steak occasionally. Remove steak; reserve marinade. Broil steak 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked to desired doneness, basting often with reserved marinade.

*the original recipe called for Lawry’s fajita marinade sauce. I have never seen this anywhere. We used commercial dried fajita seasonings and made it following the package directions. We then used this to marinate the meat. Use your favorite brand. You’ll have leftover marinade. I’d throw some more steak and chicken breasts in the rest of the marinade.

Sour Cream Tortilla Casserole

½ c chopped onion
2 T vegetable oil
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and cut up
¼ c chunky salsa
1 pkg taco seasonings
12 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
¾ c chopped onion
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 ½ c sour cream

In medium skillet, sauté ½ c chopped onion in 2 T vegetable oil until tender. Add tomatoes, salsa, and taco seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes. In small skillet, fry tortillas lightly, one at a time, in small amounts of oil, 10-15 seconds, per side. In bottom of 13x9x2 pan, pour ½ c sauce. Arrange layer of four tortillas over sauce, top with 1/3 of remaining sauce, 1/3 of remaining onion, and 1/3 of remaining cheese. Repeat layers 2 times. Spread sour cream over cheese. Bake in 325⁰ oven for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese melts.

Be sure to visit the Favorite Ingredients Friday home to find more great recipes!

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to visiting you!

Past FIF recipes:
Dorito Salad
Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes
Apple Cake
Vegetable Beef Soup
Stuffed Cabbage Soup
Raspberry Pie & White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie
Breakfast Granola
Shrimp Creole
Lazy Man's Lasagna & Apple Cake
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Jim's Favorite Jelly Cookie
Eye of Round Roast
Mozzarella & Tomato Sandwich
Marcia's Taco Soup
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Cajun Baked Catfish
Jim's Snickers Pancake
Crawfish Monica
Grilled Meats and Vegetables over Saffron Orzo
Crockpot Red Beans
Better Than Almost Anything Cake
Fruity Sangria
Outrageous Brownies
Enchiladas de Pollo
Catalina Chicken
Croissant French Toast
Corned Beef
Sloppy Joe, Mac 'n Cheese Casserole
Shredded Chicken
Baked Bean & Burger Casserole
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Crab Rangoon
Sausage con Queso and Ro-tel Cheese Dip
Blueberry Multigrain Coffeecake
Banana Bread
Bananas Foster
Old-Time Beef Stew
White Chocolate Snack Mix
Gorilla Bread
Ginger Shrimp
Roast Chicken
Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup
Shrimp Mold
Pasta Puttanesca
Pork Milanese
Pumpkin Dip
Oven-fried Chicken
Best Bundt Cake Ever
Hot Dog Casserole
Chicken & Rice
Peanut Butter Fudge
Omelets in a Bag
Shrimp Boil
Apple Cheese
Pulled Pork BBQ


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Butterfly at Callaway by Jim

Sera loves butterflies. She has them painted on her wall. For about a week, she had a tattoo on the back of her hand, and she had a pair of shoes with a butterfly on the toe. Everytime she wears something with a butterfly on it, she proudly points it out.

"Daddy! Fufferfly!"
"Mama! Fufferfly!"

When we visited Callaway Gardens for Christmas, we spent one afternoon at the Butterfly Conservatory. Sera loved it. You walk into a huge glass domed greenhouse-type building filled with greenery, benches, and thousands and thousands of butterflies. They're flying everywhere. You can feel the brush of their wings as the brave ones get a little too close in passing, or if you're lucky, one will land on you.

I'm pretty sure this experience is what cemented Sera's love for this brightly colored insect.

Snow in our Driveway by Magi

When I moved up here to the frozen north, I had a lot to learn. I guess that's not surprising when you realize that I've spent most of my life living on the gulf coast. One thing I've learned is that the snow that is so beautiful in November isn't so pretty by March. That seems true this year more than ever. It could be a couple of reasons.

This is our first winter with Sera. It seems she was sick more weekends than she wasn't over the last few months. Not seriously sick. Runny nose, slight fever, cranky. Just enough that I didn't want to take her outside unnecessarily. We tended to hunker down at home. This could mean I just developed a serious case of cabin fever this year.

Or it could be the news our weather forecasters shared last week. In the previous 90 days, we had only 13 days that were precipitation free. We had mainly snow, then some rain that melted the snow and flooded the area badly, and then more and more and more snow.

Another thing I learned that I would never have realized from reading or movies is how snow looks when it's falling rapidly and you're driving in it. I've seen plenty of television or movie scenes of people driving in snow, but they never catch this aspect. When the snow is falling and you are in a car, it looks like the snow is flying at you. It looks more like scenes from space when they go into a wormhole or something. It's beautiful.

Since our visit to Callaway, we've had several snow storms. Sera has had plenty of opportunities to see this image. And when she does, she calls out,

"Daddy! Fufferfly!"
"Mama! Fufferfly!"


Sunday, March 02, 2008
3 Word Sunday
For the second weekend in a row, we spent Saturday with our friends, the Fisher family. Sera had a wonderful time playing all afternoon. It was a children's book party. I've been to Tupperware, Pampered Chef,etc..., but never books before. Jim and I both love to read, so we're always an easy mark for books. There were some really good books, including one math one that Jim bought. He thought every parent should get it. It covered everything from adding and subtracting to trig.


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