31 December 2010

Brevity Contains so Much: 2010

Feeling nostalgic, I rummaged through the blog archives today. There are so many captures of little moments that I hold dear - so many I wish I could post all over again. 


Much of my 2010 writing focused on my daughter. 
In the coming days ahead, 
I hope to continue my documentation of her,
 but I also want to write beyond and more.
Capture more.
Photo more.
Create more.

So many things to do, so many wishes.
We will see where things take me.




But for now,
 in this moment,
 I will sit for the last hour and a half of twenty-ten with my husband,
 sip goodness,
 savor the end
&
bless the beginning.

I leave you some of my most brief posts of twenty-ten.
A reminder to us all to savor the little things,
soak up the tiny moments,
and that so little can say so much.

30 December 2010

Sounds of Warmth

The fire a-blaze,
black bean and veggie soup a-simmering,
a baby leading her daddy by the hand,
muttering lose words all the way down the hall
with a distinctive goal in sight.

The tea kettle whistles.

All is right in the world,
or at least in our hearts.




♥ ♥ 


Try this soup recipe for a feeling of winter goodness --
I promise the sounds of warmth will too decorate your senses:


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans (or your own cooked beans)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic roasted tomatoes

  • Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 2 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

*After I sautéed the veggies, I put them in the food processor after the beans were processed. I'm dining with a two-year-old these days and she likes the soupy pureed texture of the vegetables verses the heaping chunks.

*I soaked and prepared my own black beans - I feel like I have more control over sodium and flavor content.

*I originally found this recipe in my Jilliam Michael's Master your Metabolism cookbook and tweaked it a bit to suit our needs. 

*In the end -- a delicious meal -- even if your hubs declares that he is turned off at the very mention of beans.

xoxo
Sarah


29 December 2010

P O M ♥ L O V E

Pomegranate seeds burrowed deep
within a think white membrane.
Pick and burst.
Silently robust.
The juice of red bitterness --
tart notes tinged with sweetness.
The snap and pop of deep winter fruit.

27 December 2010

Dear Santa

I am walking around in a post-Christmas daze.
Selfishly I have already pulled the decorations off the tree and the mantle;
they have been up since Thanksgiving weekend and are making my mind cluttered.
I need a fresh house for New Year's,
a neat and tidy walk into twenty-eleven.
And speaking of, 
what might we be doing New Year's Eve?

Lucia is sitting beside me while I type.
She keeps turning to me and whispering,
but when I whisper back,
she shouts, "NO!"

Oh dear Santa,
Thank you for the Unicorn pillow pet,
the Elmo potty and the food for her kitchen.
But won't you venture back over and help me neatly load my attic with Christmas goodies?
I could also use a translator for my daughter's whispers.
And you helping me organize and sort her room would be delightful,
especially since it is you that has furnished her with more toys.
Won't you?

26 December 2010

Walking Across in My Mind

I can hear the snow crunching
and the silence all around.
Twinkle lights.
The sputtering of Czech.
Holding hands.
In my mind.


Merry Christmas, friends far away.
The Charles Bridge,
Christmas 2010,
Prague, Czech Republic.
Photo Credit: Winter Ave Zoli

25 December 2010

Happy Christmas: Three Years and Counting


"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past,courage for the present,hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."

-Agnes M Pahro

Pregnant with Lucia, December 24, 2008:

Around ten-months-old, December 2009:
When she put on the fairy hat
she cast a spell
demanding her first Christmas be white.
And then,
two days later,
the snow came down and covered the earth
 with a blanket of sparkling brightness.

Today, December 24, 2010
Love shines on us.
Love lives in us.
Love is us.
Yesterday, today and all of our tomorrows.

For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.
-John 3:16

Merry Christmas to all.

24 December 2010

Gift Wrap and Dress Up



Lucia has been at her grandparents for the last few days,
so our yesterdays have been filled with Weeds watching,
{not the most Christian of television shows to view 
during the Christmas season; entertaining, nonetheless.}
I wrapped lots of presents.
{Does stuffing bags with tissue paper count?}
We munched on the many treats our neighbors have spirit-fully delivered.
We got dressed up and went out for sushi and saki.
{I even wore heels, such a rarity.}
Today is stacked to the brim with Christmas festivities:
We will go scoop our baby up from her grandma.
My dad will arrive from Doha tonight.
Afternoon brunch at my brother's house.
Christmas Eve candle light service with my in-laws at my husband's childhood church.
Another family gathering at my mother's.

Happy Christmas Eve.
May your evening and tomorrow be lovely and bright.

And the angel answered her, 
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God."
Luke 1:35

23 December 2010

Love List

...I love chairs and probably have too many, but hey, to each her own.
My friend Morgan gave me a new one,
 which is actually old and leather and cracked and perfect.
...Lucia spending time away with her grandparents, though we miss her so!
...A successful holiday soiree for Matt's work-folk,
even if the night got a little late, our guests were happy.

...All Christmas presents stacked in the closet and waiting to be wrapped;
good thing the hubs is all mine so he can help!
...Dinner out with friends.
...A much needed break from school.

...The Celebration of Christ: 
And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy  which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10
On the Eve of Christmas Eve, God Bless.

Thursday Three

Anthropologie's Anthropologist
Free People's BLDG 25
Urban Outfitter's BLOG

It is no surprise that I love all of these stores to death and they are owned by the same company. I do not shop regularly at any of them, but often check their sales and navigate their sites for inspiration; the blogs associated with each are rather creative too.

Happy Surfing & Happy December 23rd,
the eve of Christmas Eve.

22 December 2010

Lucia Words Lately - December

I got you!

She does, it is true.
Her baby words are poetry.

Mine.
Mine.
Mine.


Yes, it is all hers, hers, hers and that is fine, fine, fine. 


Our lives, our love. All of it.

Shock-a-day! we have no idea what this one means, but she says it everyday and we promised each other we would never forget it.

Du-shane! Matt's favorite and another promise to each other. Don't forget -- hold tight to baby.

I loobe you.

Ready. Set.


I loobe you too - to the moon and back again, little kitty cat.

19 December 2010

D & Jack

My annual Christmas package from grandma Deanie arrived yesterday.
I look forward to it greeting me at my doorstep every year.
There are always goodies and trinkets inside that make my heart happy.
This year the box looked frazzled and beat, like it had been through the ringer to get here - determined.
I knew that everything was tucked safely inside and not even a bruised box could curb my excitement.

I open the gifts right when they arrive. I do not know if she intends for me to wait, I do not have the will power to leave them wrapped under the tree. My mom used to make us wait until Christmas - or at least Christmas eve. My house, my rules. 

I smiled as I unwrapped my annual gift of owls - 
she always gives me some sort of hoot because she knows I love them.
They are already nesting in my living room book case.

I smelled the plastic bags that she used to pack the breakables.
I know she stores them in her kitchen pantry,
I know the smell of that kitchen pantry by heart.
I know its contents well too - always Nilla Wafters, always oyster crackers.
The bags had the smell.
It made me feel at home,
for a moment it made me want to cry.

Labeled for both Lucia and myself -
a vintage quilted summer skirt that my great-grandmother made for my grandma.
A note attached read:

Sarah and Lucia,
My mom pieced this material for me some time after 1976 so I could make this skirt. It was much in style at the time. George {my grandpa} was even tempted to purchase a sport coat in a similar pattern.


I cannot recall the summer event we attended with me wearing the skirt, but someone mentioned we were "the best looking couple there." George cot a dashing figure, he was so tall and slim. Since I am short, he looked even taller.

Anyway, I thought you would enjoy having it as a "page from the past." 
Love, Grandma Deanie
She was right.
I stripped down on the spot and wrapped it high on my waist.
My grandmother is tiny, I could not fasten it on the last button hole, as I imagine she did.
I cannot wait to wear it this spring.
I cannot wait for Lucia to some day wear it; I think she will.
It too smelled like my grandmother's home,
less like the pantry and more like her hallway linen closet.
The scents of her home are cemented in my heart.

A lovely amber bowl - she knows I have a hankering for colored glass as well.
It is already resting on my counter and filled with bananas.

A soft sweater for my husband,
I am sure he will wear it to work next week.
xoxo

Pearls for Lucia,
a gift to save until it is age appropriate.
An two-toddler outfit for now with a West Virginia shirt to match.

Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa.
You are always so thoughtful and your gifts warm our hearts.
You are good to us.
We love you.

Happy December Nineteen.

17 December 2010

For the Love of My Babe

Tonight, about an hour after Matt laid Lucia down to sleep,
I gently tiptoed to her room and scooped her up in my arms -- I missed her.
I carried her away to my cozy bed,
where she lay beside me, nestled under the crook of my arm and softly purred like a kitty-cat.
I wrapped her tiny baby fist around my index finger.
I kissed her on the head,
smelled her hair.
I felt the little fleeting moments escaping me,
fairy dust sifting delicately through my hand.

December Seventeen.
 Soon to be Lucia's second Christmas.

16 December 2010

Thursday Three Love

Lovely sites, checked at least once
a week or more by me, myself and I:

Us Three Birds - A sweet little mommy that reminds me of myself in many ways. She is beautiful!
So Fawned - Another sweet, beautiful little mommy that loves her baby, tea and creating beautiful posts.
Nie Nie - Of course I must include Nie-Nie, even though you probably all know of her. I love the simplicity and beauty of her daily records.

*Note to self: add synonyms for "beautiful" to my writing vocabulary.
xoxo
Sarah

15 December 2010

14 December 2010

Thoughts on a Tuesday Night

Thankful
For the impending two week break ahead of me.
A day home with my Lucie-kisses.
A night of "weeds" watching with my hubby.
My new recipe books, "skinny bitch" and "life force energy."
Brownies.
Lucia's giggles and flowering vocabulary.
Matt's healing cornea.

To do this week
Grade, grade, grade and catch up on life.
Maintain a calm, cool and collected demeanor.
Relax.
Walk.
Organize my overwhelming clothing, scarf and accessory collection.
Take more pictures.
Charge the video camera - why are the batteries always out at the most inopportune time?
Enjoy each day and not wish each away in pursuit of Friday.
Wrap.
Prepare gifts for co-workers and neighbors.

Happy December Fourteen

13 December 2010

Cup of Tea


Auspicious,
friendly,
tiptoeing tea.
Warms the hands.
Decorates the mug.
Scents the room -- lavender, licorice, mint, rose hips.
Coats the throat, fills the stomach.
Enlivens yet relaxes.
Comfort drink.

Happy thirteenth of December, 
fellow tea lovers.

11 December 2010

How the 10th and 11th of December Became One

Yesterday began with the roaring blast of Friday jubilee - it had arrived. Baby girl had a Christmas party at school and a book exchange, my students were going to be busy and Matt had the satisfaction of knowing one last day of research and number crunching meant two days off for relaxation.

When evening arrived, we turned our Christmas lights on and welcomed an old friend, Taylor, over to snap photos of Lucia. She captured some great shots; I might add, one of which will find its way to your post box in the next couple of weeks.

We then went out to dinner with Tay and little did we know that Friday would then mush into Saturday, ending with a not-so-pleasant visit to the emergency room.

While we were waiting to be seated, Matt and I thought it would be a good idea to let Lucia destroy the display of restauarant business cards - yes, we are "those" parents. Then, when it started to get out of hand, Matt tried to take the cards from Lucia and in return was stabbed in the eye with a sharp corner of one. End result - cut cornea, pain meds, eye patch, and one long weekend for him.

He toughed it through dinner, but I could tell he was in tons of pain. We thought we would just go home and visit the Urgent Care the next morning, if it still hurt. Hours passed and he tossed and turned in bed, finally admitting that he could simply not take the pain. I was scared something was seriously wrong with his eye; of course, my imagination started to go wild, thinking his vision could forever be impaired.
 I worry about everything; it is my job.

So scooping up our sleeping toddler, we ventured to the ER around two am - definitely the first time Lucia has been out past nine! These are the times I wish we lived close to family, so I could have had someone come sit with my sleeping baby.

By three-am we had seen three different nurses, one doctor and several peculiar admits to the ER.
By four-am we were sitting in the Walgreens' parking lot, waiting for scripts.
By five-am we were back in bed; Lucia and I slept,
Matt really did not.


And that, our friends and family, is how Friday became Saturday.
December ten, December eleven.
I would say, "RRRRRRRR," but I am not quite sure my husband would appreciate it.

09 December 2010

365 Days in a Year

Today, Last Year, I wrote:
Our new home.
Busy unpacking boxes,
painting,
changing up light fixtures,
arranging furniture,
meeting neighbors,
getting used to new sights and sounds.
It may take a while,
but we are content, happy, blessed.



Today, this year, I write:
Unpacked.
At home.
Snuggled under a blanket beside my daughter.
Love our neighbors,
light fixtures
and the sights and sounds.
Comfortable.
Warm.
Happy.


Today is a good day in my memory,
one of the best ever.
Today last year took away many of my fears and anxieties.
Today last year was a true gift from God.
Today last year we moved into our home.

Today feels a lot like Christmas.

Blessings to you this December Nine.

Thursday Three Love

Three randomly-chosen-from-my-feed-favorites that I love happening upon:

Monde Materiel

Kleine Diva in Paris

A Diary of Lovely

Happy Thursday to you!

08 December 2010

I could not let today just slip away...

Without remembering what a grand day this was for us one year ago...
These words spilled from my finger-tips, December 8, 2010:


Today is the day.
We are on our way out the door.
Goodbye Thirtieth Terrace.
You were cute and sweet.
You were our first home together.
It has been real.
Peace.
***
Today, December 8, 2010:
It has been an awesome year, Matt and Lucia.
Everyday I thank God that I live in this very sweet house with the two of you.
Blessings-a-plenty.
Happy One Year to Us.
Thanks for making this home.

07 December 2010

Delish: Raisin Banana Bread

This Banana Bread Recipe adds a twist to the tried and true traditional version with the addition of raisins and bran. We like it around here. Well, admittedly, Lucia and I liked it this time around, but Matt did not get the opportunity to try it - we gobbled it down. 

The raisins could be avoided all together, or dried apricots or cranberries could be used in their place. Either way, it makes for a yummy toast in the morning buttered or spread with cream cheese.

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 - 3 medium)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup bran cereal
3/4 cups raisins
1/2 chopped walnuts

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine bananas and buttermilk. Combine the flour, baking powder, soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with banana, beating well after each addition. Stir in bran, raisins and nuts.

Pour into a greased 9x5 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick insterted near center comes out clean. Cook ten minutes before removing bread from pan. Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices.

Happy Seventh of December.

06 December 2010

Our Mrs. Debbie

Made this Christmas topiary for us;
it sparkles and shines as does she.
Debbie always makes extraordinary gifts for us with her talent for floral design.

Happy Sixth of December.

Current Stacks

I always have my nose stuck in a zillion different books at a time.

At the moment, I am toting around Donna Tartt's The Little Friend and cannot turn the pages fast enough. 


Hooked, I am. Anyone that sees me reading it, asks if I have read her first book, The Secret History. I have not, even though a friend loaned me his copy many years ago and it rests on one of my many book shelves. After I discover the mystery behind The Little Friend, I will definitely pick up her first masterpiece and finally report back to my friend on The Secret History - five years later.

My husband will surely roll his eyes and scoff when he realizes what else I have been reading. Back to Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin's Skinny Bitch and their preaching less meat, more fruits and veggies, raw, raw, raw. 

    Enter Barnouin and her Ultimate Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes that Are Good to the Earth and Great for Your Bod. No, I am not going vegan; I could not live by so many rules and all the no-no's would become my greatest desires. I know myself and my limits. I am, however, trying to get creative and shake it up in the kitchen a bit.
Because I crave healthy eating and cooking habits, but simply do not always know how to get there.
 Because I need to be creative to get my husband to choke down tofu and beans and asparagus spears. Because. Because. Because.
I will let you know how my cooking adventures digest.

Robin Black's, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This is not what I expected, but the stories are thoughtful and give me pause. I also like that I can read an entire story before bed and actually complete something - so rare to finish a book, unless it includes the lines, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?" or "That's not my dolly."

American Dreams by Sapphire.
Heart-wrenching.
Gut-twisting.
Real.
Beautiful.
Horrible.
Imagery.
Prose.
Free Verse.
Flashbacks.
Difficult to read, but hard to put down all at the same time.


05 December 2010

At Play

Lucia spent much of the afternoon preparing
 "cof" and soup.

Thanks to the extra caffeine boost she provided me,
I managed to get most everyone scratched off the Christmas list --
just a few more things and I will be worry-free.
Except that will never happen, will it?

Oh and Christmas cards. 
I suppose I should get on that wagon too.
Here I go, scrambling around on a Sunday evening,
sucking the joy right out of the last few hours 
that I have before going back to work tomorrow.

Oh, Monday, see you too soon.

Happy Fifth of December.