Monday, October 11, 2010
If you have confidence and show it, you don't need to "let the girls out" to make your way in the world. Men won't respect you and women won't respect you. As parents, that is what we need to teach our girls.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Suddenly JJ has gone from being a baby to a kid! :0) He is so happy, just laughing all the time (and it is such a great sound). He's crawling everywhere and fast! He's trying to stand, he sits on his knees, he plays with his toys with so much interest and not just because they are there. When I leave the room, he follows me and when I come into a room he crawls to me. He's getting his first tooth. He babbles up a storm! He seems so aware of everything. And its all happening at once.
He looks at Gary and I with such joy. Gary likes to say he has true pure joy. No adult can have that sort of happiness.
I have so much fun just watching him learn and explore and experience the world around him. I know these times will fly by so I am enjoying them the best I can!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Today I was reading this article on msnbc.com about how people are afraid to take their entitled time off work. One woman had just had a double-mastectomy and she was in chemotherapy and she was feeling pressured to come back to work or lose her job. She went back to work. Her healing slowed down and she ended up getting fired because one day her husband came to work to help her move some boxes.
She sued and won, but the damage was done. There are apparently quite a few people who go to work sick because they are afraid if they take any time off work, they will lose their job. In fact, the article said that almost 1/3 of workers who needed to take leave didn't because they were afraid of getting fired. That is so sad.
The article goes on to say: "The United States is one of only a handful of industrialized nations that does not provide workers with paid leave under federal law. Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland also don’t have mandatory paid time off. However, Holland gives workers 16 weeks of sick leave at 100 percent of salary, and Sweden offers 56 weeks of parental leave at full salary, according to a Catalyst study from last year."
While I may be still in a country that is very behind in certain paid benefits, I am very thankful to work for a company who values their employees and provides great benefits. I was able to take off a full 3 months after JJ was born and they didn't bat an eye. In fact, my office threw me a baby shower before I went on maternity leave.
It may not have been the full year they get in Sweden, but that's another topic for another day...
Monday, September 27, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
My baby is 5 months old. Ridiculous. Time is just flying by like you wouldn't believe. It isn't that I didn't believe people when they told me that the time goes fast, but it is surreal to experience it. I am literally watching a life grow before my eyes.
I look at JJ now and think "He's 5 months." But someday, he'll be 5 years, and the 15 years. I will one day be the mother of a 25 year old! It is crazy to think about right?? (crazy, too, to think that I will be 51 when that happens; the same age difference between my mom and myself... but I digress...).
When I think about the fact that one day my little baby will be a fully functional adult, it actually makes me almost burst with excitement. He literally has the entire world laid out before him. He can actually do whatever he wants to do. There is no stopping him. His life is a blank slate just waiting for something, anything to fill it in.
Can he be a doctor? Sure, why not? Lawyer? Might as well! Teacher? President of the United States? Chef? Go for it, JJ!!
I am reminded of a song that my sister Emily used to sing in preschool:
- I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise with a capital "P"
- I am a great big bundle of potentiality
- And I am learning to hear God's voice, and I am trying to make the right choices
- I'm a promise to be, anything God wants me to be
So to my fellow mothers: We have a big job ahead of us, but our kids are just showing us the beginning of their amazing-ness! They have opportunities waiting for them that we can't even imagine. They will need to make their choices in life, but it is our job to make sure they know that they can and to give them the confidence to know that they truly can do whatever they want. And that no matter what, we will always be there for them.
God has some amazing plan for my little man and I cannot WAIT to see what it is! :0)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Since I can't have it from the truck all the time, I learned how to make it myself and I must say it is pretty fantastic. Here is my recipe. Sorry there are no measurments, I kinda just throw stuff together.
Skirt Steak, sliced
one Videlia onion, sliced
one big tomato
frozen french fries
mix together oil (about 4T), vinegar (about 4t), soy sauce (about 5t), garlic (1-2 cloves) half a palmful of cumin, about 1/2t paprika, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper. Add the sliced steak and sliced onions and marinade for at least 30 minutes. In hot skillet or wok, put in the meat and onions. Don't add all the marinade or it will be too much liquid. Saute until the meat is no longer pink. Remove the meat, but turn down the heat and keep cooking the onions until they are nice and brown and carmelized.
Meanwhile, cook up some white rice and the frozen french fries per the package directions.
In the last couple minutes of the onions cooking, add the sliced tomatoes so they start to get soft, but still hold their texture. (You probably could leave out the tomatoes if you don't like them. They are more or less for color, not necessarily for flavor). Stir the meat back in.
Once everything is done, serve up the rice and put the meat mix on top and then top with fries.
OMG... SOOOOOO GOOOD!!!
To add some excellent flavor, here is a green sauce to serve with it:
In a food processor, mix together half an onion, 2 jalepenos (more or less, depending on how hot you like it), a big handful of shredded lettuce, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup-ish of mayo. Mix until sauce is someone smooth and consistency of ketchup maybe. I like to dip my fork in the sauce and then take a bite of food. Gary likes to pour the sauce all over the lomo and have at it.
Hint: the longer this sauce sits, the better it tastes, so I would make this first.
Let me start off by saying the term "Working Mom" is redundant. All moms are working moms and they are some of the hardest working people I can think of.
Now that we've established that, there are those of us who have to have a job outside of the home. It is a tough choice that must be made. Actually, for some of us (most of the people I know) this is not a choice at all. If I want to provide the best life possible for my little boy, I have to work. That's all there is to it. I don't have the option to stay home. This is not 1950-whatever and with bills and a mortgage and trying to save because who knows what is going to happen in this economy; we are in an era where a single income household is not the norm.
I often wish I could stay home with JJ. It is not because I feel strongly about a woman needing to be in the home, but I also don't think I am especially "empowered" because I am a "working woman." I wish I could stay home because I miss my son. It is hard not being with him all day, not listening to his infectious laugh (like he's doing as he is sitting next to me watching type), not watching him as he looks at the world in wonder and amazement because everything is new to him. And what mom doesn't think she's the best person to care for her own child?
The reality is, like most moms I know, I have to have a job to help provide for my family. My mom was a working mom and she always made time for us growing up. She was a police officer for Santa Ana PD and worked very hard, but she was always available no matter what: if we were sick or needed a parent volunteer for a field trip or a room mom. Anything. I never once felt like I was gipped out of anything by having a mom who worked. I knew I was loved and cared for and was never left wanting for anything. I had a great childhood.
Knowing the situation is what it is, we always make time to spend together as a family. JJ knows me and gets very excited when I pick him up from Grandma's house after work. He is growing up healthy and happy and he is going to be super smart, I can tell already.
I think Stay at Home Moms are amazing. I think Working Moms are amazing. So, the moral of this little rant is please don't judge one way or the other. My life is amazing and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I think all my mom friends would agree, regardless of their work situation.
*In case you were thinking "did something happen to inspire this blog?" Yes. I over heard a conversation between two girls who were judging working moms and saying some very nasty things, even though neither of them are moms nor close to becoming one.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller is a book that I read in college. Then I read it again later in college. Then I read it again... and again... and again... You get the point. I loved this book. It gave me a whole new way to look at life. Having grown up in a Christian home, Christian church and Christian school, sometimes I think we can get a little bit lackadaisical in our faith and we just start spouting off the "Sunday School" answers without really thinking about what we are really saying in regards to our beliefs. This book was my answer to that. I didn't necessarily agree with 100% of what he said (he tends to be quite liberal sometimes), but most often, he is right on the money and says great things. I honestly think everyone should read this.
To me, the book is about what to do with your faith. You know that God exists and who He is, but this is about what you do with that belief. How you use it to live your life.
"I mean that to be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can't accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people," Paul says. "That is why God tells us so many times to love each other." -Blue Like Jazz
Saturday, May 15, 2010
JJ just turned three months old on Monday and I am amazed at how fast it has gone by already. He is still the light of my life and I cannot imagine life without him. I've been back at work for two weeks now and I hate it. That's not fair, I still love my job and I love my co-workers, but I hate that I can't be with JJ during the day. I feel much better that he's with my mother-in-law than with a stranger, though. We are very lucky to have her so close and available. Plus, she loves being a grandmother, so she really enjoys spending the day with him. One of these days I'll be able to work from home. I haven't quite figured out how exactly I'm going to do that, but I will!! :0)
During my last week of maternity leave we got most of our backyard done. We just need the grass and some outdoor furniture and we are good to go, just in time for summer!! We bought this house knowing that we would have to remodel the backyard because it was so heinous. We started doing it on our own. Gary spent many hours out there doing a lot of hard, manual labor. Finally we decided that enough is enough and we needed to just get it done. It was taking too long doing it ourselves and it would take forever to finish. We set a budget for ourselves and looked about hiring people to do it for us. It took the paver guys 3 days and now the backyard already looks 100x better! I can't wait for it to all be done so we can have BBQ's and just hang out back there. It'll be nice for JJ to have a place to play too! When I go back there, I can just imagine him riding around on a little tricycle riding or drawing chalk pictures or playing chase with Dakota. It's going to be great!!
Monday, April 26, 2010
I did actually get quite a bit done though:
*Deep clean and re-organize the kitchen DONE
*Clean window ledges and windows NOT DONE
*Find an area rug to put in the entryway that Gary and I both like NOT DONE
*Re-organize craft closet DONE
*Clean out filing cabinet DONE
*Paint hallway and floor heaters (I'm going to see if my sister will help me with this during her spring break next week) DONE, except for the floor heaters
*Polish silver my mom gave me and re-organize the china cabinets DONE
*Paint the family room and fireplace (not likely going to happen during maternity leave, but hopefully by the end of the year?) NOT DONE
*Organize the garage NOT DONE
*Go through all of our clothes and see what we can get rid of and re-organize our dressers and closet DONE
*Dig up the planters in our front yard and make them look nicer because they don't look nice now NOT DONE
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I'm sure I'm pretty good at a lot of things, but I don't really think too much about it. I will, however, admit whole-heartedly that I am very good in the kitchen. I love to cook and bake and I am good at it. If I had to do it all over again, I would like to have gone to culinary arts school and be a great chef. Even now, as I watch shows like "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" and hear stories of people who have no restaurant experience running a successful restaurant, I think "I could do that!" I daydream of recipes and what I would put on my menu. I'm waiting for the call for submissions for the next season of "Ultimate Recipe Showdown". I'm not sure if I would win or not, but I think it would be fun to try. Even if I didn't win, I think it would almost be enough just to hear Chef Michael Psilakis say he liked my dish. (Though the $25,000 would definitely come in handy).
Anyway, this year, like most years, it is my responsibility to bring dessert for Easter dinner at my parent's. I decided that a fruit tart sounded really good, so I poked around a few recipe sites and through my vast array of cookbooks. I couldn't really find one in particular that struck my fancy, so I took a bit from here and a bit from there and came up with what turned out to be a delicious looking treat. Due to multiple requests, here is what I came up with (my notes for putting it all together are at the bottom):
Tart Shell (http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/almond-tart-shell):
- 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds (about 1 1/4 ounces)
- 1 cup plus two teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until light golden and fragrant, seven to 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then finely grind in a food processor. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until smooth and light, about one minute. Add almonds, egg yolk, and extract, and beat on medium speed until well combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined to form a dough. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap; pat into a flattened rectangle. Wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or overnight.
- Reheat oven to 350 degrees. On a work surface that is lightly floured, roll out dough to a six-by-16-inch rectangle, about 3/8 inch thick. Fit into a four-by-13-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim flush with edge of pan. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Chill until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Place tart pan on a baking sheet; bake until crust starts to brown around the edges, 13 to 14 minutes. (Dough will be slightly puffed in spots.) Transfer to a wire rack. Using a metal spatula, gently press on dough until it is smooth and flat. Let cool completely.
- 3 cups milk
- Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
- 8 yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
In a 3 quart saucepot combine the milk and vanilla bean seeds. Combine the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sift the cornstarch onto a piece of wax or parchment paper.
Scald the milk. Meanwhile, beat the yolks and sugar until they lighten in color. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the cornstarch. Pour about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to incorporate. Whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk, and place the pot back on the heat. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly but gently with the whisk, until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat and let it boil for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the butter. Strain the pastry cream into a bowl, place plastic wrap right down on the surface, and chill completely. This can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Melt 1/4 cup of milk chocolate chips with 1/2 tablespoon of milk in the microwave (or however you want to melt it) and pour a layer over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Put in the fridge for about 10 minutes until the chocolate has reset. Pour the pastry cream over the chocolate. Decorate with your choice of sliced fruit in whatever pattern you want. Put in the fridge for one hour or overnight until the fruit has set in the filling.
*The tart shell recipe says to use a rectangle tart pan, but I used a 10" round one and it worked out just fine.
**Vanilla beans are kinda expensive ($10 or $12 for 2 beans!), but the flavor is ridiculous! I'm sure you could substitute vanilla extract which most people have on hand. I've heard one teaspoon of extract is the equivalent to one bean, but I've also heard that one teaspoon is the equivalent to only 1 inch of bean and vanilla beans are usually much longer than 1 inch, so you'd have to play around with the measurments.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
*Deep clean and re-organize the kitchen (cleaning part is done)
*Clean window ledges and windows
*Find an area rug to put in the entryway that Gary and I both like
*Re-organize craft closet
*Clean out filing cabinet
*Paint hallway and floor heaters (I'm going to see if my sister will help me with this during her spring break next week)
*Polish silver my mom gave me and re-organize the china cabinets
*Paint the family room and fireplace (not likely going to happen during maternity leave, but hopefully by the end of the year?)
*Organize the garage
*Go through all of our clothes and see what we can get rid of and re-organize our dressers and closet
*Dig up the planters in our front yard and make them look nicer because they don't look nice now
I haven't failed to notice that the majority of my things to do involve re-organizing. I tend to re-organize things every few months or so until I am happy with where things are in my house. Also, I'm very much so ready to declutter and simplify things in my life so hopefully re-organizing things can help with that.
Stay tuned for updates on my progress!!!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I know, I know... babies should learn how to sleep on their own. I don't know if I'm creating bad habits and I don't care; once a day is Mom and JJ Cuddle Time and I can't get enough! Don't get me wrong, I hold him more than once a day but what I'm talking about is not feeding time or play time, its serious cuddle time. It is so hard to put him down! He's too cute! He's almost 6 weeks old and I still cannot get over how much I love this little guy!
Sometimes I fall asleep too! (Gary thought this picture was funny...)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
There is an episode of Friends when Rachel comes back from Ross' honeymoon in Greece and declares that she always makes bad decisions. Monica then volunteers to be her official decision maker.
The point of this Friends reference (get used to those!) is not that I make bad decisions (not anymore anyway; there was a time...) but that sometimes I think it would be nice to have an official decision maker on hand. Like when we were kids, our parents would just make all our major decisions for us. Now, if we need to decide on something major, we are on our own! I have to decide what is best for ME and MY FAMILY. No one else can do it for me. Sure, I can get opinions from other people, but ultimately I have to make the call.
I know everything always works out in the end just how it is supposed to, but getting there is always the tough part. I really don't like the phrase "Let Go and Let God" because it is absurdly cliche, but there is a great truth to it and it is an excellent way to look at making decisions. God has a plan and will show us the way, often within our decisions, allowing us for just a moment to think it was our idea in the first place.
Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world. ~Anso Coetzer
Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do. ~ Jose Ortega
Life is the sum of all your choices. ~ Albert Camus
The difficulty of life is in the choice. ~George Moore
Monday, March 15, 2010
Fast forward four years and here I am, blogging again! This time I think it will be fun because I can do whatever I want with it and I don't have to worry about whether or not I will get an "A" (I did, by the way...). I have a lot of stuff going in my crazy, busy, wonderful life and I have a lot to say, so this blog should be more interesting than oil and gas prices!
My husband, Gary, and I spent more time than I ever thought we would coming up with a name for this blog. We decided on "A Work In Progress" because isn't life always "In Progress"? It started out as simple as our house is a work in progress, our family is just starting, so that is a work in progress. But it can go much deeper than that. I mean, we are never done with ourselves or what we are doing in life. Aren't we always trying to be better and do more? God has a plan for all of us and there is no way His plan is done for me at 25 years old!
So, I say, Bring It On! We've got a lot of living left to do and with great things like Facebook and Blogging, we can all join each other as we handle all the things life throws at us!