We were so young

There are two words that bring millions and zillions of memories rushing into my mind. These words are
Youth Group
I was lucky enough to be a member of the St. Timothy's Youth Group for many years.
I learned to be better friends with my sister at youth group. I met my husband at youth group. I went on dozens of retreats with youth group. I did my internship in high school with my youth leader. I went on 5 mission trips with youth group (one as an adult leader). I played games, I sang worship, I read scripture, I argued, I laughed, I learned a lot about God and about myself.
Behind all of these events our youth leader was a driving force, her name is Shanda, and there is nothing she will not do for the youth group.
This week, due to economic hard times, the church cut her budget. A lot. This is a painful thought. I believe that youth group helped make me the person I am today and that it keeps countless youth connected to the church, each other and their community.
When I found out the first thing I did was call three of my closest friends from those good ole' days. Pat lives in Montana now and Libby is a pastor's wife in Loveland, Colorado and my sister, Kate, is a college student in Memphis. We have our own lives and worries and issues but we all had the same reaction, "What the heck were they thinking and how can we change it?"
I am not sure that we can change it, but we can pray about it.
And so, in honor of those good times, I will share a speckling of endless youth group photos. We were so young.


Thousand Island

Sauce on the Side

*Last night I was removing my nail polish at the kitchen counter. I reached for the remote, knocked over the remover and it drenched poor lil' Koda who was sleeping below. In order to further torture her I had to give her a bath to remove the stench.

*I need running shoes, the 25$ Payless sneakers aren't doing the trick now that I do more than just walk the dogs in them. As you know, I like buying shoes when they are cute and have fun little details or unique features (or if they are on sale). I do not like buying practical shoes. Any suggestions on a good running shoe for my tired tootsies?

*American Idol has begun again, I know this will make you jealous. Sadly, I will have to mock and judge by myself this season, but, on the up side we won't have to argue over the contestants I like that you hate. Someone I went to high school with is going to Hollywood, am I obligated to vote for him just because we once ran in the same theater crowd? Do you think I could be the NEXT American Idol?
Yes, that would be me, singing Manic Monday for our 80's themed girls night at Firkin...good times!

*Did I mention the dogs are sleeping on the bed again? Ooops. Our king sized bed is perfect for the two of us but it is empty with just me in it and it is too cold without my personal space heater (you). Loki sleeps at the bottom, where he always slept before we kicked him out, and Koda sleeps right up next to your pillow. They keep me comfy and cozy.
Koda and her spot by your pillow.

Loki has a sleepy face only a mother could love

And there you have it, this weeks sauce.


The Moon is made of cheese

I see the moon,
and the moon sees me.
The moon sees somebody I'd like to see.
So, God bless the moon,
and God bless me,
and God bless the somebody I'd like to see

Moon over Yuma, January 24th 2010


Just Add Water

"Just Add Water"
A phrase most people relish as they walk through the isles of the grocery store pondering what they can make to eat that won't require too much effort. Usually the end result is blueberry muffins, Italian dressing or maybe some wonderful meal-in-a-bag invention. In Yuma the results of adding water are not nearly as satisfying.
In Yuma, when you add water, you get pandemonium. You get elderly people that should have just stayed indoors but insist on getting to Wal-Mart by going 10 mph. You get roads that flood like crazy because the dry dry earth can't absorb the water. You get power outages and floods in the living room at work. You get to pick up dog poo inside because your puppy has never seen rain and won't go outside.
In short, I do not think that adding water to Yuma is a good idea. I will assume that Mother Nature reads my blog and agrees.
Here are some photos of the rain, the roads, what to do with babies on rainy days and how much my dogs like to drink water....thrilling, I know.


Sauce on the Side, please

I like my sauces, dressings, etc..on the side. I do not like my lettuce drowning in my ranch. I do not like my streak swimming in A-1. The only downside is that often the sauce is forgotten by the well meaning waiter or waitress and I must wait... or consume my meal without said sauce. Today I was thinking that sometimes my conversations or stories are like that. I forget the little details that I really meant to share. So, I think Wednesdays shall be "Sauce on the Side" days so that I can fill in some of the gaps. Most importantly it is a good way share with husband (who has internet but no phone on his deployment) the things that I wish I could tell him when I lay in bed at night and think about my day.

And so I give you....

Sauce on the Side

* Yesterday our landlord finally had the two dead trees in our front yard taken out. Yes, I know the trees have been dead since we moved here in May. Yes, I know our landlord has been telling us they will be taken out since June. No, I did not think this would ever happen. Yes, I pulled in the drive-way and thought I was at the wrong house, silly Jen.

* The Jeep Liberty died, again. Not that this will surprise you, it always dies the minute you leave for any amount of time. I am proud of my independent woman status but I don't know a radiator from a gas cap so it will probably sit in the garage until you get home.

*Loki and I got in a fight today. You and I both know that he is a mama's boy but sometimes he gets a little crazy. Today, at work, he found a rawhide treat that belonged to Cooper (the twins dog) and he took it. Well, that isn't allowed. Remember when he took the whole beer can chicken off the grill and tried to swallow it whole? It was like that. I had to sit on him, pin him down and pry his jaws open. I growled at him the whole time, I am a firm believer of using animal tactics to control my animal. He hasn't left my side since our "argument".
*Koda and Taylor are still in love. Koda sniffs her butt to make sure her diapers are clean. She licks her face to clean off the crumbs. And in return Taylor pulls her tail and plays with her ID tag. It is so durn cute.

*Taylor and Mckenna love oranges. It is freakishly messy but so worth is to watch them enjoy the new flavor.

So, there you have it, some sauce.


Lemons and Divinity

In the past when life has given me lemons I have....sliced them, dipped them in salt and eaten them. This drives my dear sweet Mama crazy because lemons are acidic and salt is acidic and I feel sure that she has special vision that allows her to see my teeth eroding before her very eyes. But that is her burden to bear because that is how I like my lemons. I also like lemons in salsa, on chicken, in salad dressing, as sorbet or as lemon curd on a fresh scone. I do not, however, usually drink lemonade.

This weekend I threw ritual to the wind and decided that if I took my pent up aggression out on a few dozen helpless citrus fruits I might feel better. Luckily for me life is not only metaphorically giving me lemons at this moment but it is also actually providing me with lemons. Our neighborhood is carved out of an old grove, sweet huh? Or is it tart? Not sure.
(P.S This is my run route too)
I picked the lemons. Then I picked about 20 burrs off my jeans and out of my shoes (who knew lemon trees were so aggressive?)
I washed the lemons. I cut the lemons. I discovered a new paper cut on my thumb.
I juiced the lemons.
I used raw sugar for my lemonade resulting in a brownish hue.
It was a lot of work for a delectable mid-afternoon drink but in the end it was an excellent way to spend a Saturday.
Today I awoke with the same sense of emptiness that always occurs when you have to spend the weekend filling up time instead of relaxing with your spouse. I am currently reading Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult, who is one of my favorite authors. This novel features a former pastry chef and so part of the narration includes recipes.
Saturday night I came upon a recipe for a candy called Divinity. How could that NOT be yummy? Lucky for me I had all the ingredients and a lot of free time. So today I made Divinity. It is essentially boiling sugar and corn syrup added to beaten egg whites and then beat some more. Thank goodness for my KitchenAid mixer. It was a beautiful day and so, as I dealt with sticky perfection in the kitchen, I left the backdoor open so the dogs could come and go as they pleased. Koda took this opportunity to spend 15 minutes howling at a hot air balloon...productive.
My problem now. I have to find someone to drink all the lemonade and eat all the Divinity.
Tonight I got to talk to my better half, he told me that I should play the numbers 2,11,6,8,32 in the lottery on Monday (a running joke because he is a day ahead of me in Japan). He also told me that my plan to watch "Taking Chance" by myself tonight was a horrendous idea. I told him that Netflix had sent it to me and I was not sending it back unwatched. Now next time we speak he will get the opportunity to use every spouse's favorite phrase, "I told you so".
Poor lil' box of tissues, it never saw me coming...
One week down and roughly five months and three weeks to go.
Here are some other snip its of my last few days..
How was your weekend?



I know what you're thinking "Nutty, Crisp, Aromatic, Buttery....GREEN? She has lost her mind quickly since that man of hers left town"
However, I think things can taste green and we all know that people can be green and we are all supposed to "Go Green". Today was a green day.

It started out with me being green. Today I had my first experience taking babies to a Pediatrician. For those of you who are scratching your heads wondering when I had a baby, I did not. I am a nanny.
I love my little twins and last week it nearly broke my heart when Taylor came down with a virus, threw up 16 times and was admitted to the hospital. That is an awful lot for a 10 month old to handle. Her twin sister, Mckenna, got a lighter version of the same bug but I think she suffered more from missing her sister than anything else. But I digress.

So this afternoon I installed car seats, buckled in sleepy babies, set the GPS and headed off for the Doctor's. Now, I am not a pro at this but I feel certain that office staff are not supposed to be snotty and nurses are supposed to let you put the two baby carriers down before assaulting you with a barrage of veiled and confusing questions, but who am I to question...

Taylor screamed when they weighed her, Mckenna screamed when she saw the Doctor enter the room and I screamed (silently) when the 20 year old receptionist stood by and watched me try to open the office door with my nose. But the great news is the girls are both perfectly fine and I will no longer be green at the Pediatricians!

(in case you live in a magical place with no screaming ...this is what it looks like)

Another thing I am green at is running. I started 3 weeks ago and I am really enjoying it. I can run one mile and I am very proud of myself for that one mile. Today I ran my one mile in 12 minutes. I am proud of myself for that too (so take that all you 6 minute mile runners!). Today was also one of the first days of running where I felt good at it, I pushed myself a little harder, I ran a little faster and I didn't feel like I would actually die at the end. So here's to being a little less green at that too!

Not to disappoint, I also had a green dinner.It was what, when Chris asks what is for dinner and I don't have the foggiest, I call a mish-mash dinner. Tonight I opened the fridge and saw 3 half used containers of basil, about 15 pine nuts and about 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese (not green, thank goodness) just waiting to meet their maker. And so the only obvious answer was pesto. Yummy! Paired with the end of a box of gluten-free pasta and a chicken thigh from the freezer it was quite a feast. To add some festivity I finished off a bottle of sparkling grape juice from New Year's Eve (in a green bottle of course) and it was an excellent vintage.

Here are some other green things I adore.

Kermit the Frog

Our bedroom wall

Dark green tic-tacs

I hope you too had a colorful day. Go on, tell me what color it was or what color you wish it had been...


Sweet AND Sour AND Sweet

Some things are Sweet...
Like seeing a rainbow as you drive to San Diego for a day of adventure with your husband.

And some things are Sour..

Like finding your sweet and innocent puppy looking like this.

Sometimes sweet is cooking a delicious meal with your other half.

And sometimes Sour is seeing a breakfast dish and knowing you won't make him another breakfast for six months.

Some moments are Sweet.
Like dog piles and self-portraits.

Some moments are Sour.
Like "See you laters"

Today I said "see you later" to my best friend, he will be deployed with the United States Marine Corps for six months and that is Sour indeed.

Lucky for me I will love him just as much then as I do now. Lucky for me I have an amazing support system here at home.

Lucky me, I have a Sweet friend who made sure I got my run in today and got those endorphins kicking.

Lucky me, I have cheerful things like peacock feather headbands, to brighten my attitude and make going out of the house seem Sweet.

Lucky me, I have dark chocolate M&M's, which always make life Sweet.

And so, while things may seem pretty Sour at times over the coming months, I will keep my chin up and remember that our love is Always Faithful.