Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nasal Saline Flush...warning

Ok, so last night, I felt adventurous enough to go out and try a sinus wash. I'd heard from several people the wonderful accounts of the neti pot. I remember doing something similar when I was younger and I wasn't a fan, but I figured, 'eh, why not. Maybe things have changed right?

I've been extra sneezy and congested for the past week and I didn't see signs of it getting better. Only worse, actually, since my lymph nodes and ears were really starting to hurt. I went out and bought something similar to the NeilMed Sinus Rinse. After flossing and brushing (which is really starting to be a regular thing and my teeth are much happier for it...the flossing thing, that is, but flossing my front teeth when I'm super congested like I have been triggers a sneeze response from me. weird!), I filled my little bottle up and gave myself a pep talk. I assured myself enough to remain calm and I had great faith that the solution wouldn't burn my nostrils. Why? Because the packaging said it wouldn't burn my nostrils and I believe what boxes tell me, otherwise, they get a letter!

I'd watched the video several times earlier in the day, and read the instructions twice. I knew how to work it, so now it was just semantics. I leaned over the sink and breathed in slowly. I gently put the end in my nose and here is when I started to get nervous. (and here is where you should stop reading if you don't want to get grossed out!) I slightly opened my mouth and started breathing out of my nose. I gently squeezed the bottle and felt my nasal cavities filling with the solution. I exhaled heavily and let gravity pull the water out. It was going ok until I ran out of squeeze room in the bottle, so I let it subside and squeeze a little too hard. This time, I started choking, my eyes burned a little and a waterfall of snot and saline water poured out of my nostrils! I dropped the bottle and leaned over the sink coughing. My eyes watering from coughing so hard and the slight sting from the solution. Don chuckled, Mari started at me like I was crazy. And all I could think of was those many, many times I'd gotten sick in someone else's presence and was embarrassed. But wait....

I COULD BREATHE!!! Clearly and completely I inhaled and felt the air penetrate and it felt AMAZING!!!

I slept soundly that night, well, mostly. But when I awoke in the morning, despite being able to breathe, there was this incredible sinus pressure in my head. The minute I stood up, the congestion started again. I blew and blew my nose, but to no avail. So I busted out the nasal cleanse again, insistent that I would not let this thing conquer me! I'd dominate it. Another pep talk later and we had a similar occurence, just not on the same scale. Oh well, I was able to breathe and I have been able to do just that all day long. Unfortunately, the sinus pressure has been building again, so looks like I'll be using my handy dandy new tool twice a day.

Now I'm wishing I had a travel size! ha ha!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Momma's Birthday

This woman knows how to live life and celebrating birthdays is an event all its very own. My sister made a lovely meal. Primo made this amazing chocolate cake with coffee flavored icing. D-I-V-I-N-E! We showed up and took pics. :)

Here she is with all of her grandkids. I'm lovin' the hat!

Here we all are. I love the timer feature on the camera. I don't know what made me laugh, but I was cracking up!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When the Sugarbean Discovers Dandies

My grandmother sewed most of my clothes when I was little. She used to make my skirts extra wide because she knew how much I loved twirling around in a circle, creating this huge billow of fabric that would shield my tiny legs like a magical textile force field.

I'm a girly-girl at the core, but seldom do I allow that part of me to surface. I'm learning that more and more is coming out through my daughter. She's my real life, dress-up baby. I'd spend hours grooming my baby dolls, combing their hair, designing clothes for them and such. As with my baby dolls, I find myself doing the same for my Marisabelle Juliana; only, she didn't come from the Cabbage Patch, she was born out of love, a gift from God, a dream (a wish my heart made) come true. I'm rediscovering all of those simple pleasures in life all over again.

Putting on a few yards of colorful tulle transforms you into an explorer fairy. A quick breeze always surprises!

Dancing through the moist grass discovering berries and rocks and twigs, nothing too small to not be important.
And beautiful, fuzzy flowers that wondrously disappear into the wind when you blow.
You treasure dandelions for the wishes they would grant, not the "weeds" they'd become. Holding steadfast and tight, blowing with a mighty breath, you knew in your tiny heart of hearts that wishes DID come true.
I know mine have. "A man who knows how to make a paper hat." "A healthy child of my very own."
Cheers to wishes, and dreams, and happily ever after!

How Adventurous Have I Become?


Today is BBQ day for lunch. They have those little sausage rings and strips of BBQ. I opted for one strip of the fat-laden beef and 6 pieces of pork heaven. After I loaded my plate, I noticed a relish tray with your typical onions, pickles, and JALAPENOS! I was brave and took one. Not just jalapeno rings, but an entire pickled jalapeno. This is incredible as my BFF Michael can attest to. When he met me more than 20 years ago, I would barely eat pepper, let alone get close enough to smell a jalapeno. He ate 'em like popcorn and I was jealous because I knew they could pack a flavorful punch. When Don met me, just 6 years ago, I was still a bland meat and potatoes eater; never really venturing much farther than a mild Santa Fe salsa.

So, back to the story:
I nibbled off the end and realized it wasn't so bad. I then took a big bite and immediately followed it with the sausage. (similar to a dish at Great Wall...yeah, Jeev and Will, you know the one...HIGH FIVE)
IT WAS AMAZING!! I'd never before really tasted the tiny bits of spice in sausage and the heat from the jalapeno cut the fatty-greasy taste. It was delicious!! Braver, I took bigger bites of jalapeno and gobbled up the sausage. After only eating 4 of my sausages, my jalapeno was gone. Boo!

But then my mouth started BURNING!!! I ate another sausage piece, but it didn't help. My mouth was on fire until after I finished nibbling up the orzo pasta. By that point, I wanted more jalapeno. Lately, I've been craving ridiculous spicy flavor. I could drink Valentina sauce. I literally poured it over the chicken and corn we had for dinner. Weird! I don't know what is up with me, but I like it. Let's see how long it lasts.
Hmmm…I think I just might be brave enough to try some curry! Woot!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Movie Review: House Bunny, Zach & Miri, Pineapple Express, & Twilight


First off, we have House Bunny. My not so secretive movie indulgences include quirky mindless comedies where I can snuggle up on the couch by myself eating a Dove chocolate bar, while Guapo burrows near me. These movies are especially helpful if they can keep my attention after pausing many, many times to chase after Mari and get back in the movie. House Bunny was really cute and I was extremely grateful for not having as many gratuitous boob shots (if any). Quirky, fun, and OMG...I'm a fan of Anna Faris! Definitely a high five, up high and down low.

Next up we have Zach and Miri. I was unsure how I would react to this movie. I like Seth Rogen way back from the Freaks and Geeks days. And seriously, who doesn't love Elizabeth Banks, right?? Not to mention that I adore the Kevin Smith's wit. This movie didn't have as many laughs as Dogma, but it really had some curled over clutching my sides moments. There was lots of nudity, so be forewarned! And some other potty humor that, while disgusting, was laugh out loud hilarious. We loved it so much we bought it after renting through OnDemand. Double High Five! BTW, Justin Long's character killed me!
Going in for an extra dose of Seth Rogen, we followed it up with Pineapple Express. This movie did NOT appeal to me. There were some moments that had a glimmer of hope, but so much of it felt forced. If you're gonna go with camp-iness, go with it. If you're going to do over-the-top, then do it full force. It just seemed to me that some of it was just downright lazily done, and other parts were executed well, like the were in Superbad. This is a just a handshake, if that. If you are incredibly bored and you were forced to watch either this or Showgirls, then I'd go with this one.

And last but not least, Twilight. Because I'm in touch with my inner 12 year old, I had to buy this movie. I saw it in the theaters and was unimpressed and even more disappointed in myself for buying it. BUT!! One day, Marisabelle will be older and in my possession, I will have a number of rainy day go-to movies for her to choose from to ignite imagination, pull at her tender innocent heartstrings, and something uber-cheesy for us to bond over. This is such a film. They books are fun and I expected quite a bit more (like they did in the Harry Potter series), but I was let down. Maybe the next film will yield the results I was looking for. In any case, here's a very unenthusiastic sideways hand pat. Oh and the movie extras were lame and just lazy! Good grief! You're basically guaranteed to make a boatload of money and you go low-budget? Bad form!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Historic Downtown McKinney

I went on a walking tour with my buddy Matt in Historic McKinney and grabbed these shots. All were 100% manual settings (and SOOC) and I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable with it. I've seen several places where people use everyday objects for letters and use the black and white photos to make a name. Here's Mari's with elements all from my walking tour. I have another for my last name. It was so much fun scavengering around for the letters!
I LOVED this little coffee shop. Anyone want to meet me out there sometime for coffee and to be my model? Let me know if you are interested!
Here's the old prison. I knew someone who got married here several years ago. This place is now a CPA firm instead of the bookshop it was back then.
Here's the corner of the street. Modern and historic in one shot.
I loved this light. Such fun and fanciful, I want some for my very own!
This sign made me want a Dublin Dr. Pepper!

These stairs had so many character to them. I wondered what kinds of secrets they could expose.

I loved this little courtyard area. There was a private property sign posted, but we ignored it. We weren't trying to wreak havoc, just grab some cool shots. This reminded me of a secret garden.

And of course I couldn't have a session without my sugarbean in it. She was a trooper and hung out on my back until we hit the coffee shop at the end. I love babywearing!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sick Wee One

That ear infection grew and I swear it became more powerful because of the vaccines. For medical professionals, that may very well be preposterous, but still. It was due to the vaccines that we opted to hold off on getting her antibiotic prescription on Friday. We wanted to give the vaccine to set in. On Saturday, our busy day could've contributed to it, but I'm not certain. In any case, this is our darling daughter sleeping off her fever that spiked as high as 103.3!! We went Acute Kids Urgent Care and they were AMAZING!! I highly recommend them if you have to make a visit with your little one.

Her appetite was normal and so was her play level, but she was draining like a leaky faucet! The Motrin and Tylenol caught up with her and she needed to sleep. Poor baby! We filled her with probiotics as best we could. She LOVES Lucky Layla Farms drinkable yogurt. My moms group made a visit and while we weren't able to make it, it looked like so much fun! When I saw the brand, I immediately recognized it and bought 3 to try. She's loved ALL of them. I'll definitely be going back for more.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

32nd Birthday!

It was my friend's 32nd birthday and I didn't get one single photo of her, the cake, or the food. Man, I must've been some kind of serious food drunk from the other party! But I must note, the food was incredible!! I was sorely disappointed that we didn't get to take a plate of food to go. I had a generous serving of: rice, potato salad, guacamole, beans, and fresh tortillas. I even had a sausage link and some seasoned skirt steak to boot! Mmmmm...I had a nice food baby that I should've taken a photo of. (note to self: go on a ruffage binge this next week!)

Be prepared for some cuteness from the party. Here's Mari enjoying one of the twin's riding toys. She really enjoyed it!
Yzabella is such a cutie pie!
Mari was enthralled with their bulldog, Oscar. Here she is gazing out the window with her new friend, Addison. Can you believe that Addison is only 11 months. Her folks are TALL and she's gonna be a tall gal too! (btw, the doctor told us that Mari is now in the 66th percentile for height. She's been in the 30th percentile, so this was a huge jump for her. Maybe she's not gonna be a lil' bit after all. 30 inches and 20.5 lbs...still in the 30th percentile for weight.)
Here are the twins again: Yzabella and Joselyn.

I hope to learn how to make those beans because they were incredible!!

National Corndog Day!

A few years ago, I'd heard of National Corndog day, but never actually attended a party. Our dear friends hosted a party and challenged us to 10 trifecta: 10 corndogs, 10 servings of 10 tots, and 10 beers. My goal was to eat at least 5 corndogs, thus making myself sick in the process. :) I don't drink beer, so I couldn't get to that point, but I know I could have at least 20 tots. Today was a day for gluttony and I did my best to comply (and I wonder why I can't drop those 20 pounds, ha ha ha!!!)

Here's my tray. We even had these sweet scorecards that looked like a mini baseball or golf score card. I managed to eat 5 corndogs and 40 tots and 1 vodka cran. If I'd'a had tequila, I could've maybe managed 4 shots. ;) I was very nearly ready to do 10 shots of beer, but I know that wouldn't have counted. Oh well, maybe next year I'll work my way up to one beer.
Don is holding Mari waiting for the next batch of corndogs and tots. Did I mention these were chicken corndogs made with all natural ingredients? No wonder I loved 'em. They tasted just like corndogs from the cafeteria in Elementary school! Oh, and Don managed to eat 7 corndogs, eat 70 tots, and drink 7 beers. If we wouldn't have gone to the BBQ AFTER this party and loaded ourselves up on some more yummy goodness (yes, I said we were gluttonous!), he would've hit that 10, 10, 10!
Our beautiful hostesses wishing us well when we were packing up to go to party number 2. Thanks for a great party!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shucking Oysters

During Lent, we eat fish on Fridays. After work, we headed over to Central Market because they were having a "Dive In" sale. Don and I were feeling especially adventurous, especially after our turbulent visit to the pediatrician. (sidenote: I think we are FOR SURE looking for a new pedi. I was stuck at work a little longer than planned and missed the first part of the appointment. Don had conferenced me into the visit by putting me on speaker. When it came time for the questioning, my one questioned multiplied into 10 and she made an off-hand remark to Don saying, "I guess you're just the chauffer, huh?" I know she was just joking, but that was totally unprofessional. Not to mention she told us that Mari had yet another ear infection and was going to prescribe the SAME antibiotics when I had to specifically request another kind. She mentioned the tubes again, and that put me on edge. This is only her 3rd infection for goodness sakes!! *sigh* We did get a few samples for allergy medication. My theory is that the allergies are causing the congestion, which gets backed up in the ear, which in turn causes the ear infections. Either way, she got her most current vaccinations and we headed home.)

Anyway, so we're at Central Market and we went there to get shrimp, but instead we walked out with shrimp, scallops, and oysters. I'd made scallops just a few days earlier, but we'd never shucked our own oysters. The guy at the counter did his best to explain how to properly shuck an oyster, but ultimately, I went to the Internets and found this little gem to help me out.

We bought 6 oysters and a tartar sauce that had horseradish and jalapenos in it. We already had low sodium crackers and some special Louisiana hot sauce from our buddy Will. Even though we paid for 6, they gave us 8 because sometimes oyster shells don't always have an oyster on the inside. 7 of 8 had one. Lucky us! We had one free!!
After shuckin' 'em, we put them on ice because that is how they do it at the restaurant. Oh, and we had to have some lemon, too!
Here I am showing off the one oyster I did. I was very nervous since the guy at CM told me that if I wasn't careful, I could end up in the ER. Knowing my clumsiness, I was EXTRA nervous, but my adventurous side won out and I was glad it did. Oh, and isn't Mari cute passed out in the mei tai my MIL made for me? She wasn't feeling so hot after those vax shots (blech, 4 of 'em!) and again, after we made it back from the doctor, I lectured myself over and over again for not being smarter about the shots.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Champagne

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of this special day, here's a SIMPLE tutorial to color your favorite drink green. In this case, we chose sparkling vino. Yaaay! Nothing like green fizzy bubbles, right?

Take a bit of green food coloring and add to your bottle. We didn't have a dropper, so at first we used a spoon...

But the spoon was a little too big and we poured a generous amount in using the bottle only. Oops!
First pour wasn't so bad.
But instead we added 2 bottles from that one green pour to get a lovely consistency. Having a carafe handy helps in this case. Too much food coloring and your teeth turn green. I'm not kidding! :D Less is definitely more, folks!

Cheers!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Miles for Monika


I "met" Monika on a wedding planning board several years ago. We were virtual friends and I was always impressed with her cooking skills (not to mention her amazing looking cupcakes! I swear I could smell 'em through the screen!) and athleticism. Anyway, over the next two weeks, I'll be logging some Miles for Monika. I'm certain I can convince Don to log his as well.

If you'd like to participate as well, click the link and follow the directions. They are trying to log 181 in two weeks! Go get 'em!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Food Stuff

Saturday Night Italian
Simple Caprese Salad

Store bought mozzarella and 1/2 beefsteak tomato with sprinkled basil on top (we didn't have fresh basil). (less than $4)
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Sausage and Fresh Veggies
1 whole zucchini
1 whole squash
1 Italian sausage (minus the casing)
a bit of tomato paste (i like this brand)
whole wheat pasta
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bottle mushroom marinara (we use Barilla brand)
(less than $7 total)

Brown the sausage. In a separate pan cook onions and garlic. Add to the sausage. Next add veggies. Squeeze in a bit of the tomato paste and stir generously. I added 1/2 bottle of pasta sauce, covered and let simmer for 10 - 15 minutes while the pasta cooked.

Mari LOVED the meal, but wasn't a big fan of the sausage.

Sunday Night Grill Out
BBQ Baby Back Ribs with Grilled Shrimp atop Sauteed Mushrooms and an Asiago French Bread

Baby Back Ribs were a lot easier to make than I figured. Let me know if you want to know how to make it and I'll tell you. Easier to explain than write. This was also my first time making scallops, but they were so YUMMY that I didn't grab a photo b/c they were immediately gobbled up before I could snap one.



DELISH!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Layout Change

The other one was a bit too dark for my tastes, so I've changed yet again. I love the photo in the banner and it was taken by my vf Ed over at Quality Peoples. His work is AMAZING!! Yeah, with this new layout, I'm embarrassed by all of the dark and red photos. Blech! Someone needs a flash and/or lighting lessons pronto!

Anyway, if you have a photo you would like for me to feature on here, I will gladly add it as a gadget. Just pop a link on over and voila!

I hope you all are enjoying this dark and dreary day (well, at least that's the way it is over here).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cupcakes, Mooyah, and Mari

This is what I made last night while it rained. I wanted something happy and I wanted to share the happies. Yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting. YUM! Jenna, one of these has your name on it if you want it!
This was our dinner last night. Pork tenderloin with sauteed mushrooms, steamed carrots, and sweet potato fries. That pork was FABULOUS!!

This past weekend, to welcome me home, we ventured out to Mooyah. Ahhh...I finally grabbed a photo of it. Julie, did you like it?? Please tell me you did!
And you need some Marisabelle cuteness, right? Don'tya love her little ponytail on her head? I can't believe her hair is that long. BTW, she got this onesie as a birthday gift and I love it!! It is a rich navy blue color with a bright green and red design on the front.
Here she is after bath time. This is how I get her ponytail to stay put. I pull it back while it is still wet. So far she leaves it alone and doesn't yank on it. Next week I'll try doing the pig tails, but her hair is getting so long that she needs it pulled back. Oh, and don't you LOVE the monkey jammies? They say, "I'm not tired." on the front. ha ha ha!! It's so true some nights!
Now you have your photo fix for a bit. Time for bed. Good night!

Quitting the Board on the HOA

Every few months or so, I assess my life and everything surrounding it. Things that aren't encouraging me or helping me to grow, I make the decision to cut out. Today, I'm trimming some fat.

Last year, I volunteered to be on the board of our HOA.

Initially, it was fun and thrilling. I enjoyed being a part of the organization, but I didn't see where 1.) I was adding value to the organization AND/OR
2.) it was adding value to my life.

I decided to stay on to maintain the website, but after a year of service, I think my time in the realm of HOA board member is coming to a close. Lesson learned: Don't immediately jump up and speak without first understanding how your question will impact the next year of your life.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

13 Month Cuteness

My favorite month!!

  • One of the many things you love doing is crawling into your brother's cage to hang out with him. Luckily, he tolerates it and loves you for throwing your food
You love feeding yourself and exploring new foods. You're not a fan of pork or shrimp, but you like scallops and chicken! Mac and cheese is one of your favorites.
You now have 6 teeth and lots of hair. You give high five frequently. You love clapping. You're a smiling maniac and your little laugh is infectious! You're starting to resemble me more and more and I love it!! You say Xie Xie for thank you, sign for more, Bapo is Guapo, Dada is daddy, papa is food. You're so very independent and there are signs that you'll be a spirited child. As if I expected anything else.
And every day we have to remind ourselves that you're still growing and learning and have a long way to go! We love the art you make us every month! Love you sugar bean!

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