Chad, Jessica, Jet and Aijiahlyn

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chef's Kitchen

For our anniversary, (8 years, woot!) Chad and I discussed, ahead of time, what we wanted.  Sometimes, the other person gets you a big gift, and the other person gets a little gift, and it's weird, ya know?  So, we said, all we want is to go out to eat, and eat the BEST food.  No presents. 

Okay, so Chad's co-worker is the co-owner of a restaurant in town, and he said the best restaurant in Eugene is, Chef's Kitchen.  Chad and I have tried almost all the good or great restaurants in the area, and had yet to try this one. 

Yep.  It's the BEST.  Not exaggerating.  Every aspect of the dishes are perfected, and you can see and TASTE the passion put into them.  It's only open 5 days a week, and just for dinner.  The menu changes every week!  The food is local and bought daily.   

We went all out.  1 appetizer, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts.

Rich, real food.  Fresh.  Perfect.  I don't want to go into what we ate specifically, but each dish had so many flavors and textures within it.  Smoky, sweet, tangy, crisp and meaty or creamy, rich, fluffy, and all those wonderful adjectives that make the perfectly balanced plate-o-food.

It was just such an experience.  Normally, you go out to eat because you're hungry and want to hang out with people.  Nothing wrong with it, it's wonderful.  But this place, was about THE FOOD.  We ate in silence, savoring all the nuances.  Your sense of taste is being so overloaded, in a good way, that everything else is diminished.  You don't think about anything but the food.  Ofcourse, we had a great conversation while waiting for the food, but once it came, it was like going to food heaven, like we were transported to a world where taste reigned.

We walked out, and thought, "Oh, back to the real world."  Bummer.  Bye Food Heaven.  It truly was a time away from life.

While eating there I told Chad, I could eat beans and rice all month, so we eat here once a month and not feel guilty about the cost.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  Who cares what you eat on a day-to-day basis, as long as it's healthy. 

That restaurant, is better than the spa.  Speaking of, Chad owes me a massage.  So excited.   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Place To Call Home

Over the past 3 months, Chad and I have been looking for a new house, with plans to rent out the house we're currently in.  Well, after sending Chad off on a run to one of my favorite local paths (I MADE him go to Pre's Trail.  Someday, he might actually like running, so I'm just trying to encourage the transition).  Anyway, after passing some houses along the bank, he came to realize that the house we currently have an offer on, isn't for us.  That, and some other things, led us to change our plans altogether for now. 

So, we're staying in our house.  The decision was really abrupt.  But, already, we know it is right. 

The past several months, I haven't wanted to do anything to the house, knowing we would be moving soon.  What was the point, right?  Well, now we're not moving.  It feels SOOOO good to know where we are going to be.  It feels so good knowing I can have a huge garden this year.  I have so many easy ideas for the house, to make it charming, and cozy and happy and homey and just our perfect little spot to curl up in...hhhmmmmm.  I didn't realize what a big difference it would make.

I remember when we were "houseless," I'll call it.  The Durfees generously let us live with them for 9 months.  It felt so weird not having a place to call ours.  There is a sense of displacement, when your name isn't on the lease, or the loan documents.  You feel like you can't really move forward until you have your own space.  What's the point of making it yours, when you're going to be leaving soon?  For me, my environment, especially as a homemaker, is vital.  I remember feeling like I couldn't thrive there because it wasn't mine, and not just the space.  It was someone else's domain, with their own culture and habits, and was set up for the way that they enjoy living.

Well, thinking we were going to be moving these past few months has, in retrospect, has been a bit debilitating.  The way you set up your home, makes a HUGE difference in how you live in it.  I have such empathy for people who don't have their own space.  I don't know why it's so important, but it effects us so much.  I haven't wanted to set up our home, or improve it, because we were just gonna up-and-leave soon.  But now, NOW, I can!  I can set up those shelves in Aijah's room, so she doesn't have clutter every where.  I can paint this, and change that, and know that it will look good, and that certain things will fit here, and be great for certain activities there etc.

I get to set up our home for exactly how I want to live in it!  Yes!  I can get that basket for my workout stuff (because I know where it will go, and I won't have to see my stupid weights in the living room anymore), I can finally bring the piano in from the garage, I can set up my lights over the deck and make that space more private for yoga.  You see what I'm saying?  I can make it just how I want it.  Thinking we were leaving has forced me to hold back, but I don't have to anymore, and it feels so wonderful.  I'm so excited to live here longer.  Yay!  It's going to be the best summer of my whole life.  That's sounds naive and silly, but it is.  Okay, okay.  I'm excited for so many great plans this summer.  There.  Now, is something terrible happens, I won't be so let down.  : )       

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weekend blurb

Started Saturday night with something awesome....what was it?  errrr....oh yeah!  We got to eat dinner at a friends' house, with people we haven't seen in a LONG time.  It was so delightful, visiting, and enjoying each other and eating.  I loved it.  I have been telling myself for a long time that I want to have more people over, and I really should.  SHOULD, SHOULD, SHOULD.  I need to change it to WILL.  Or DID!!!

Had a nice time at church, as usual.  Took the doggies out together.  Always relaxing...well, except when they get really dirty or Dakota rolls in something stinky...oig!

Made my great waffles for the 2nd time.  Hurrah, it wasn't a fluke!  I'm excited to experiment more with whole wheat etc...and then freeze them.  We got a thin waffle maker.  SO much better than the thick kahuna floppy belgian ones.  Well, at least we like it better.  You can eat 2 waffles, and it's still less than one thick one.  Plus the topping/waffle ratio is better, and they are just lighter.  After some experimenting, I bet I'll be able to make one delicious, nutrient-packed, low-cal waffle!  Can't wait!  Waffles won't even be an indulgence.  Oh, I love waffles!

Monday I tried a tabata class.  I was so scared about going, because it's supposed to be really intense, and I know the cycling classes are intense.  But, this was very manageable.  I felt a bit silly for being intimidated at all.  Really, I think I could get a better workout at home, but it was still fun.  I love being in the health/fitness atmosphere.  I wouldn't be surprised if I end up being an instructor some day. 

That night, my mum watched the kids so we could go out to dinner, and really, to get some discussion/brainstorming session going.  We just started Game on again, and so we hashed out what our biggest temptations/pitfalls are, and how we could plan ahead to overcome them.  Then we discussed family traditions we want in our home, and decided on what things are really important to our family, and us, and what we want to stop wasting time on.  We are going to start implementing a family nightly stretch....tehe.  Sounds very Eugene, but so far, it's been really nice, and hopefully Jet will learn that it's wind-down time, not wiggly, look-at-me, contortionist time.  We are aiming for a soothing 15 minutes before bed....stretching, prayer, no tv, soft music, cozy bed etc.  Sounds like a nice hug at the end of the day...hmmmMmmm. 

Because of Chad's schedule, we can't have dinner together, so we decided we should share our highs/lows every day before bed.  It's a nice way to get discussion going naturally, and will be great when the kids get older.

We also discussed family adventures, reading more together and some more stuff I need to review.  Where did I put that list?  The waitress probably thought we were weird for writing stuff down.  Ol' well.  One time I took a fake snake to Applebee's.  Now that was weird.  Even Chad thought so.  lol. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

This week's faves

-Picnic lunch with Mumsie at Island Park.  Perfect weather, yummy food, happy us.  Nothing short of pure loveliness
-Teaching Jet how to find cans so he can get more $ in his piggy bank.  Now he's always on the look out.  lol.
-Watching Jet play in the sandbox over and over in the backyard.
-Late night dog walks with our family.  Running down hills, making Aijahlyn laugh harder than ever
-Jet carrying home a huge rock that he found.  He was determined to bring it home, and I told him he could, as long as he could carry it himself.  It's happily situated next to some primroses in the front yard.  Good memory.  Don't ask me why he wanted it.  I tried to explain that we only collect rocks that are unique, but he didn't care.
-Eating a ton of Sweet Life desserts, because Chad and I were both just plain sick of trying to be healthy, and wanted to be BAD.  Ah ha ha.  Well, we should have split desserts, and not gotten 3, at 11pm.  Ol well.  Oh, that 7-layer bar, oh the grasshopper cheesecake, oh the Cloud 9 chocolate cake.  Naughty naughty.  Still paying for it. 
-Ran an official 5k race and beat my best time by a minute!!!  21:15 baby!  6:50 mile pace.  I was hoping for a 7:00 minute pace.  Killed it.
-Found a way to get some cheap produce.  Happy me.
-Early morning run with Krista in the morning.  Once a week.  I always love it.
-Cooking tons of stir fry.  I love chopping all the vegetables with my kabuki knife.  Relaxing.  It was one of my favorite meals growing up.  I stopped making it because Chad hates it.  So, I just eat it myself.  Fine with me.  Found a peanut sauce recipe I'm addicted to.
-Finally doing that play-date with my neighbor.  Silly us for never scheduling it earlier.
-Learning more about planting seasons
-Falling asleep early, while cozy in bed reading a magazine.
-Finding a new path...but...need some more time to explore it.
-the amazing weather that lasted for days.  leaving the windows open in the afternoon, watching the curtains dance.

Not so favorite
-Daylight savings.  Threw me for a loop.  Stupidly, we went to bed way too late the night of.  It has taken me all week to catch up.  I haven't had my usual extra hour before everyone wakes up.  I've have that golden time since Aijahlyn was born, now, I'm so accustomed to it, that I felt like I was playing catch-up all week.  And, I am in need of a little "me time."  Finally, my schedule is back to normal, and I'm looking forward to some quiet mornings.
-Game On ended, and I totally pigged out.  And, with daylight savings, I just felt tired and groggy and bloated.  Ew.  I took some workout days off, mostly because I couldn't get out of bed early enough, and we r starting another round of game on this Wednesday.  Now, I feel like I'm back, and ready to go.  It was a nice week off though.
-Watched the documentary, Vegucated.  I'm going to have to make some changes about where I buy meat and dairy, or I'm gonna have to go Vegan.  I can't handle how the animals are treated.  Oi.  I knew all the bad stuff before, and Chad and I went vegetarian for awhile, but then I just tried to ignore it, and kept eating like normal.  Ignorance is bliss, but I'm not ignorant anymore, so I need to do something.  Definitely more motivated to raise chickens now, and eat a lot less meat.  Good thing I love grains, Chad?  not so much.  Gotta get a kitchenaid or bosch to start making bread.  Kneading for 10 minutes isn't my idea of fun.    

Monday, March 11, 2013

Floaty Weekend

A perfect weekend.  Sigh.  Has just been had.  Ah man.  It has honestly been bliss, and surprisingly, there is still several hours left in it.  It truly has been a time away from everything, emotional drama of house hunting, fatigue, work, mood swings.  The whole feel of the weekend I would compare to floating, no big bumps or dips, and everything pleasant, relaxed and on-the-up.

Started off with a great end-of-the-week night.  Chad got home at 7:30, and we both just wanted to go on a field trip.  "Let's get out of here, and it doesn't matter what we do."  We ended up stealing 40 cents out of the LCC fountain, freezing our arms from the elbows down trying to reach for the nickels.  We skipped along the sparkly path, and hollered through the sculpture.  We weren't satisfied with our mere pittance, and went to U of O to try another fountain.  Dry!  One penny remained, enough to make Jet very happy and find something all himself.  Pretending we were destitute, we checked out a dumpster.  Chad disapproved, and I barely got a peak!  Bummer.  While driving, we brainstormed ways we could survive if we had nothing.  lol.  Jet and I just might start collecting cans on a regular basis, just for the honest fun of it.

The next morning I finally, and I mean FINALLY made the PERFECT waffle.  Seriously, nothing could have been improved, it was that good.  I have tried and tried since the beginning of the year, and last week's pathetic attempt with a new waffle iron was discouraging, especially when Chad only ate 1/2 of it, claiming to already be full.  yikes.  Picky panda.  These waffles were flavorful, a little sweet, with orange zest and grated apple in them.  Both things add a ton of flavor, without weighing it down.  I added homemade plain yogurt to the batter, to mimic buttermilk, and then kept the batter fairly thin.  Last week I bought 2 new waffle irons, one really expensive, one cheap, so that I could compare.  Last week, bother were meh....but, I hadn't mastered the best setting etc.  So, this time I tried the cheap iron on level 4, not 5.  Crisp, but not dry, flaky exterior (without even using butter!) and very fluffy and airy.  It was amazing.  Topped with syrup, nutmeg and whipped cream.  Yessiree!  We ate in bed, and oooooohed with every bite.

Then we went to the Eugene Raptor Center.  I was excited, and very impressed.  We were feet away from bald eagles, owls, vultures, hawks, and more.  And it felt good knowing so many of the birds had been rescued.  We ate our sandwiches in the truck on the way home, and I loved my wheat berry salad.  Chad, wouldn't touch it.  Silliness.

Naptime.  Well, I took the dogs out with Aijah.  Then I read my writing book.  After that, Chad and Jet headed to the Durfees, and Aijah and me headed to my parents to watch Downton Abbey.  Things were so quiet without Jet.  It was wonderful for us gals to fawn over Aijahlyn, eat desserts, visit after too long, and listen to some great British accents.  We'll pretend I didn't crash in the middle of the 2nd episode.  I was pooped.

To sum things up for today.
-Woke up early to try my new workout dvd.  I was not in the mood, but managed to get through every tough minute of it
-Aijah's 6 month check-up.  We went as a fam.  Very nice.  Only 2 shots.  Not bad.
-Ran errands.  While driving, we read an article about family culture, and what we want ours to be like.  I love discussing and brainstorming.
-Tried out the dog park near the house we're trying to buy.  Lovely.  We likey.
-Went to the vacant house, and decided what we would do to the yard, if it all works out.  Garden there, hot tub here (eventually), dog-run there, grass there, extend the patio, chickens in the back, but not by the window, harbors for grapes.  Yeah, we couldn't help ourselves.  Big whoop.  If we don't get the house, so be it.
-Tried a Jimmy Johns sandwich and some sweet tea.  Gobble gobble.
-Bathed doggies, and Jet, separately, and put fresh bedding on the bed
-Read books in bed with the whole fam
-Opened the windows on the warm, dry day, and started writing about it all.

Happy.  Peaceful.  So blessed.

Weekend.  Don't end.

Well, how about, we'll see you soon.  That's more realistic.  In the mean time, we'll still enjoy our time away from each other.  ; )


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Highlights of the week

Dancing with Aijah to the Julie and Julia soundtrack
Building a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lair with Jet
Combining dart gun shooting with learning letters for Jet
Getting new books at the library and catering to my current obsessions (health, cheap healthy food, homesteading, goal setting)
All our family laying in the bed together on a Sunday afternoon
Reading "green" books with Jet, looking at kids garden books, while cozy under the covers
Breaking in my trail running shoes
Early morning walks with the dogs
Watching The Biggest Loser while working out with my new weights
Finding cheap local races, and planning a summer of fun
Playing in Gma and Gpa's hot tub with Jet, just us
Talking about goals and our future with Chad, changes are coming up
Going to church, and feeling the spirit immediately.  Singing the sacrament hymn is one of my favorite parts of every week
Launching rockets with family
Running my fastest 10k ever, and getting the "New Record!" on my running watch
Using the pantry and loving plain ol' wheat berries, so chewy...mmMMmmmMMM
Having Colby and Channing over, then going to the park afterwards with Linds and Kacy
Playing at another park with the boys, and Linds and Kacy, then Jet and I hanging out in the new volleyball sandpit together
Pretending it's Spring, when it's really not....setting myself up for a big letdown when normal weather commences
Reading a family garden book and running magazines
Jet staying the night at gma and gpa's, and having a little Modern Family marathon with Chad, so relaxing
Drinking vanilla chai tea every night

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Miss Aijah

 6 months old!!!!  This darling girl is an angel....not even exaggerating.  She's mellow, sweet, coo-y, easy-going and snuggly.  Awwww just the sweetest.  She has the best leg rolls, as you can see.  She loves to suck on her toes.  She just learned how roll over.  I may keep her in her pajamas a little too often. mostly because they're warm, and with the footies, I don't have to worry about socks falling off after 2 minutes.  I couldn't have asked for a more precious girl.  Whenever I get her from her crib, she greets me with a big smile and I spout out whatever pet name comes to mind, baby-bugaboo, lovekins, aijah goo-goo doll, rollsy pollsy schnooky babes, my princess cakes.  The more ridiculous the better.  I scoop her up, cradle her in my right arm, and cuddle cuddle cuddle.  Mmmmmm, my baby.  I LOVE YOU forever!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Game On Psychology

The past 6 weeks, I have been involved in a fitness competition called Game On.  This is the 2nd time I've done it, and I can honestly say it has changed my life for the better.  Well, today is the last day, and really, it's been over for the past week because our team wasn't gonna win, but I stuck to the rules until yesterday.  Each week, you get a day off from all the rules.  Well, I ate a bunch of crap, and I didn't exercise, and since it was Chad's day off from work, I was laid back, and especially lazier than normal, sleeping in AND taking a nap.

I felt terrible.  I was so tired.  I was melancholy.  Even though doing Game On makes me feel kinda like an anal Type A person, it really makes me the happiest person I can be.  I remember when Game On was over the first time, and I did the opposite of the rules, just because I COULD, as if to say, ha ha, Game On, you have no power over me anymore.  But, then I didn't feel good etc etc.  The truth is, living by a few rules, like exercising every day, eating healthy consistently, doing good habits and drinking lots of water, are all things VERY WORTH doing.  Sometimes we feel like we have this right NOT to do them, as if we are the ones winning when we don't, but we're really not.  We lose when we don't do those things.  I completely believe in taking days off, but yesterday I went a little too far.  

Life after Game On is always a little weird, because you're not obligated to do those healthy things anymore.  But once again, I learned, that I want to do them anyway, not because I'm getting points. 

This morning, I was still in my lazy rut, but I got up and did my workout.  It always puts in my such a good mood.  Hurrah for life.  It's going to be a great day.  It's going to be a great month. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lovin' Livin' Healthy

         Monday is Chad’s day off, so I always schedule a run on a new path (or less trod) for myself.  New scenery makes such a difference.

            I was in a running rut.  I’m training for my first half marathon, and I was getting kind of bored with it.  Well, Monday’s run reignited the fire.  Really, it started on Saturday when I ran with my friend.  I ran 8.75 miles and my energy was high.  I was so proud of myself. 

            The night before, I put all my running gear in the bathroom so the dogs wouldn’t see me getting dressed in the morning and freak out when I didn’t take them with me.  It’s just a routine now.  That morning, I pulled out the running map, and chose a spot that was a little unfamiliar.  I could hear it raining outside.  Ug!  No!  I DID NOT want to run on the treadmill.  The treadmill sucks unless you can watch a great tv show, but even that gets old.  I need the wind in my face, the fresh air, the arena of the world.  So much more inspiring.  I decided I would run outside, rain or shine.

            It shined!  No rain.  Baby blue skies, the light kind, not the deep blue.  Heaven.  I started running, and the legs felt heavy.  I told myself I’d run 45 minutes, and put intervals throughout.  I wasn’t really looking forward to it.  The water was pretty though. 

It’s amazing how your thoughts can change during a run.  The first 15 minutes are the worst.  You’re thinking, this is going to take forever, my legs feel tired, I have listened to this song too many times.  But, after awhile, the endorphins start to kick in, and your mind gets much brighter.  You are proud of yourself, you start thinking of how far you’ve come, and you’re inspired with ideas of wonderful things to do in your life.  You come across a funny idea, and laugh out loud.  You feel so alive and in the moment.  Everything reaches a peak. 

I think there is a misconception that runners love running all the time.  Um, no.  There are days we don’t want to go.  There are days it goes by so slow.  There are times we question why even thought we liked running.  And runs where the best part is the hot shower afterwards.  BUT, the highs are incredible. Running helps ignite emotions.  Some of my best feelings have come while running and they’re not just regular ol’ feelings, they are at a heightened state.  Numerous times I’ve felt intense feelings of accomplishment, bliss, serenity, power, hopefulness, creativity, and joy.  So, while there are many runs that are tedious, the great ones trump them all.  The great ones make my life so much better.    

Thanks to running, Jillian Michaels dvds, Game On, watching The Biggest Loser, and reading health books, and getting up early, I honestly have never felt better physically.  I sleep less and have more energy.  I don’t crave crappy food….well, rarely.  I’m motivated, excited, and enjoying my days.  Perhaps I’ve become a little obsessed with health and fitness, but I don’t think so.  It’s just a part of my day, a slice from the whole-day pie.  But, it permeates through my whole life.  I have more confidence in my ability to do whatever I set my mind to do.