Sunday, October 31, 2010

october book club review

First of all, thank you for allowing me to join in on the book club fun this month! When I saw that Molly had picked a book of short stories, I definitely wanted to read along. (Because Molly is so awesome and because short stories are less daunting than entire novels).

I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I began reading Interpreter of Maladies. I quickly discovered that Lahiri is very good at drawing you into her stories. I'm not a huge fan of fiction because many times it takes so long for the story to actually get started. Too often, you have to read through all the introductions of characters and story lines before it gets good. However, in each story Lahiri had me hooked by at least page two. And I wanted to keep reading every time!

What I really enjoyed about the stories in this collection was how realistic they are. If you know how I like my movies and books, you would know that I cannot stand predictable story lines or stories that always have a clean resolution or ending. This is precisely what I enjoyed about Interpreter of Maladies. In each case, the ending was either something unexpected or it simply ended without a clear resolution to the conflict.

*Spoiler Alert*
Of all the stories, my favorite was A Temporary Matter. At first I was a little upset with how it ended; mostly because I was wanting more! Like I said, I was so drawn into the story and the characters that I was taken aback when it ended so abruptly. I liked the story because I could relate personally to it more than any of the others.

My husband and I lost our first child late in pregnancy (although not as late as Shoba and Shukumar). While our loss brought my husband and I closer together, I can easily see how it could tear husband and wife apart as it did in this story. My heart ached for them with every page, and as they started to grow closer I started to feel joy. But in the end, I was disappointed with Shoba's ultimate decision, mostly because I know the other side of it. I know that if you work and communicate, the pain and suffering from such a loss can be overcome.

Overall, I came away from reading this collection without regretting the time I spent on it. That may sound harsh, but like I said, I'm very picky about the fiction I read. I was thoroughly entertained by each story and in most cases wanted more. I felt connections with the characters and in many cases felt their emotions right along with them. Lahiri is a great story-teller.

To read the other blogger's reviews of this book, click here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

my halloween playlist

As I sat and watched a Munsters marathon this same time last year, I decided it would be fun to put together a Halloween playlist. I just have it playing in my apartment while I'm putzing around and I love it! You could certainly play it while trick-or-treaters come by or at a Halloween party. Here is what is included in my playlist:

*Monster Mash- The Beach Boys

*Dead Man's Party- Oingo Boingo


*Love Potion No. 9- The Clovers

*This is Halloween- Danny Elfman (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

*Sympathy for the Devil- Guns n Roses (you could also get The Rolling Stones version)

*Thriller- Michael Jackson

*The Munster's Theme- Reverend's Revenge

*Red Right Hand- Nick Cave (Scream Soundtrack)


*Feed my Frankenstein- Alice Cooper

*Weird Science- Oingo Boingo

*Somebody's Watching Me- Rockwell (my favorite song to run to as well :)

*The Time Warp- Richard O'Brien (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

*Ghostbusters- Ghostbusters Soundtrack

*I Put a Spell on You- Screamin' Jay Hawkins

*The Devil Went Down to Georgia- The Charlie Daniel's Band

Moon light jack o lantern
source

So do you listen to "halloween" music this time of year??

Happy Halloween!

saturday wrap up

Because I was out shopping, antique-ing and gallivanting around pumpkin farms yesterday (Friday) with my wonderful mother, I did not get a friday wrap-up post posted. So instead, here is a saturday wrap-up. Same thing, different day. Enjoy!

this week i...

*participated in fall fashion week and had a blast (it's still going on, so check out all the other looks here)

*made some really cute baby stuff

*signed up for this fancy new panera reward card thing so now I get free items every so often

*was blown away by Shawn Carney's talk at the Pregnancy Resource Center's Fundraising Banquet on Thursday

*thought this owl costume was super adorable!

*took some fun photos at a pumpkin farm:

*fell back in love with calla lillies

*decided that I'm going to make one of these in Christmas colors

*and since this weekend is Halloween, I couldn't resist.. here is my favorite Steven Crowder video (hilarious!)

Have a wonderful Halloween Weekend!

Monday, October 25, 2010

new sewing projects

So apparently I'm not just a baby-maker, I'm a baby-stuff-maker too! Remember these cute baby shoes made from recycled jeans I wanted to make? Well, I finally got around to it:
And then I made some in green:
And then I found these cute reversible bibs online and decided to make one of my own (I just need to add some velcro):
[front]
[back]

For the bib I used brown bias tape, some fabric that I got at a clothing exchange, and an old worn out washcloth from my linen closet. Technically it only costed me the price of the bias tape, which I already had, and the cost of the velcro.

... And on Friday I found a Nojo Baby Sling at a garage sale. To test it out, I decided to torture my cat and put him inside. I discovered that not only does the sling work, but apparently it can hold 18 pounds!

Friday, October 22, 2010

friday wrap up

This week was wonderful! It rained almost everyday, which does not happen very often in San Diego. I slept with my windows open, cuddled up in lots of blankets and drank a lot of hot tea. Today the sun is peaking through the clouds and I hear that temperatures are supposed to go up again next week, boooo! I'm so ready for fall!

Besides enjoying the rain, this week I...

*am 26 weeks pregnant

*mixed these together to make a deliciously yummy drink:

*was inspired once again to make a headboard for our bead

*decided I need to make one of these for myself so I don't make a mess while I'm crafting

*took a breastfeeding class and started reading this book

*found this study to be very interesting, claiming that "sex hormones in the contraceptive Pill bring out the green-eyed monster" in women

*got really excited about Fall Fashion Week.. you should totally join in!!

*decided that any politican who starts a sentence with "as a karate expert" is awesome.. I'm totally joining the "Rent is Too Damn High" party!

*fell in love with these clipboards

*wished I had someone to make cute Halloween cupcakes for

I have several craft projects and lots of reading planned for this weekend. I hope that it's productive, but you never know with me ;)

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

mama-tini

I found this recipe for a "mamatini" from twilite moon and I tried it last night.. delicious!! What a yummy recipe for all you pregnant and nursing mamas.

For those of you who just want a regualr martini (no mama part) I would suggest adding your favorite vodka.

The recipe is as follows:

2 parts pomegranate juice
1 part pineapple juice
1 part bubbly mineral water

blackberries for garnish (which I did not have, but it tastes the same without it!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

when hubby is away...

We've all seen terrible stories like this and this on the news.; criminals who take advantage of people who are away or alone in their homes because of a status they saw on Facebook or Twitter.

As a military wife, I am familiar with nights alone because of my husband's work and deployment schedules. Because of that, I thought I would share with you ladies some tips to protect yourself and take precautions while your husband is away, or if you live alone.

It's always better to be prepared and take action before anything happens, than to wish you would have done something differently from the get-go.

1. Never post when your husband is away- This includes Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, blog, etc. You have no idea who is paying attention and watching what you write. You have no idea who knows where you live. This may sound paranoid, but like I stated before, it's far better to be cautious than regretful.

2. Never post when you are leaving town- This is an alert to anyone who may want to break into your home and steal. If they see you are going to visit your parents in Kentucky for the week, they know your house will be empty.

3. Take different routes home from work and school- Switch up your schedule and your routine. Again, you never know who is watching and paying attention to your habits. This also goes for your jogging/walking route. I told my husband I do this and he informed me that it's actually a tactic they use in the military. You don't want anyone to be able to become too familiar with your routine.

4. Never come home to a dark house or apartment- Leave a porch light on for yourself when you know you'll be returning after dark. Use timers on lamps near windows so it appears that someone is home or leave a light on as you head out the door if you know that it will get dark while you're away. You always want to create the illusion that you or someone else is home.

5. Don't offer up the information that your husband is away in conversations- For me, the question of, "is your husband deployed?" is a very common one. I don't give that information to someone who I don't know or don't trust. It's no one's business where my husband is and I don't know who they may share that information with.

6. Make sure you give a house key to someone you trust- You never know when you might get locked out or need someone to check on something at your home for you. It's also a good idea to let a few friends know that it's okay to check in on you if they haven't seen or heard from you in a while. If something does happen, days or weeks could potentially go by without anyone noticing that something is wrong. (Moms are good for this too :)

7. Be prepared to protect yourself if needed- Take self-defense classes, keep mace, a knife, a baseball bat, or a gun in your bedroom. Make sure you know how to use the self-defense mechanism that you've chosen. Like I said, be prepared, get trained and feel confident.

8. Always be aware of your surroundings- When you park a car and have to walk a distance, always know who and what is around you- day or night. This is more of a general safety tip, but one of the most important. You should always be incredibly observant :)

If anything, I hope this post got you thinking about how you can better be prepared or more vigilant in your everyday life. Of course it does not help to be paranoid, but there is nothing wrong with being cautious.

I always look to see where the nearest emergency exit is in an airplane when I sit down. I'm not crazy, I just want to be prepared in case the plane goes down.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a tour of the neighborhood

Walks through my neighborhood aren't necessarily a daily occurrence for me, but they do happen quite frequently. There are things about it that I really enjoy, and then there are other things that I usually just walk past and never notice.

This week I decided to take a camera with me as I walked so that I could photograph the things around me. As I walked and photographed, I felt a little touristy, but oh well. It was really fun to just enjoy my surroundings and discover some new things. And of course, I wanted to share my adventure with you.

Some things I love about our quaint little beach town are:

crazy signs like this one:
old historical buildings:
great food and old fashioned cafes:
railroad crossings (i'm train-obsessed):
beautiful paintings on the sides of buildings (and drug deals in the daylight):
the 101:
beach town neighborhoods:
the ocean and lifeguard towers:
the "finer beaches" of oceanside:
really old churches:

my awesome post office (it's really old too):

beautiful flowers:

surfers and their surfboards:

So what about you.. what things in your neighborhood do you walk past and not appreciate? Perhaps you should act like a tourist, pick up a camera and go explore!! Let me know how it goes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

for $10 i got...

I have a very serious addiction. I think I actually might need professional help. At least it's a semi-inexpensive addiction right??

This week, for $10 I got:

chair (a project for my husband)- $3
maternity top (liz lange)- $1
2 candle holders- .75cents each
3 books- .25cents each
earrings- $3.89 (I decided to splurge on these)



books:Evidence that Demans a Verdict by Josh McDowell
What to Expect When You're Expecting ... newest edition
Some C.S. Lewis sci-fi book for my husband


Have you picked up any good thrift shop deals lately??

Friday, October 15, 2010

october 15

The response to having been married for 6 years is usually, "Oh! Do you have any children?"

Tough question. Not for some. Hard for others. Hard for us.

I'm torn when I'm asked this question. I always say, "No, not yet." Although because of recent developments I now say, "We have a little boy on the way" and touch my tummy.

What I really want to say is: "Yes, actually we have 4. They just aren't here with us. They're all with their Creator in heaven." But I'm sure that would kill any small-talk conversation. So I usually refrain from being so honest.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I thought it would be fitting to tell a little bit of my story; why this day has significance to me and to so many other moms and dads out there.

Many of you have read the story about the loss of our 1st daughter, Izzie. Most of you don't know about the babies we lost after her.

In 2008, my husband and I decided we wanted to start our family. We had no problem getting pregnant and in the beginning things seemed to be going great. That all changed with one ultrasound. You can read the rest of her story here.

We were devasted at the loss of our baby. But we still wanted a family. And being that her condition was a 1 in 2500 chance and nothing that either of were carrying genetically, we were assured that it wouldn't happen again. It would be safe to soon start trying for another baby.

We lost Izzie in August. I was pregnant again in November. When I went in for my first doctor's appointment in December, there was no heartbeat. We lost our second baby girl at just 9 weeks.

Overwhelming grief. That's the best I can describe it, but there really are no words to describe the heartache I experienced. I called my husband from the car, choking back tears to deliver the news.

Our first thought was that we didn't wait long enough before trying again. Maybe my body wasn't ready to be pregnant yet. Again, we waited three months and tried. Again, no problem getting pregnant. But, again, I went in for my first OB appointment and there was no heartbeat. We lost our third baby girl at about 7 weeks.

This time we decided to give my body a rest. I had all kinds of blood work done to test for any possible deficiency or problem going on with me. Of course, everything came back clean. My doctor could not find a single thing wrong with me. On one hand that was a relief, but on there other hand, we had no answers for why my body was not staying pregnant.

7 more months passed before we got pregnant again. This time we were hoping for a different outcome. But hope doesn't always overcome reality. We lost our 4th baby in February of this year. By this time I had become almost numb. I didn't grieve much because it was almost like I had expected it. I was hoping and praying for a this one to be different, but in the back of my mind I knew something had to go wrong.

What I've learned from our experience of loss after loss is that no matter what, God never leaves, He comforts. God is in control, God has a time and God uses all things for His glory. That might sound absolutely insane since we're talking about the loss of 4 babies. But the truth is, He has used our grief and heartache to grow us in ways we never imagined. He's also placed others in my life (a lot of them) who have experienced similar stories that I can encrouage and pray for and who encourage and pray for me.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (emphasis added)
There is a lot of hurt and pain in this world. There are a lot of hurting and grieving mothers and fathers out there. My prayer is that they seek and find the comfort they need and desire in the Lord. Today is a day that we can pray for them.

I've also put together some resources in case you or someone you know has had a similar experience. Please feel free to pass any of these on:

*october15.com
*String of Pearls
*heartlink
*Focus on the Family
*one woman's story of loss
*pregnancyloss.info
*i am the face

And if you need prayer please let me know. It would be my honor to pray for you.

friday wrap up

another week, done and gone. time is just flying by!!

this week i...

fell in LOVE with these pallet beds

was amazed at what Pastor Mark Driscoll has accomplished in 40 years of life

finished this fall project:
finally registered for baby stuff

discovered that there is an international nautical alphabet and decided that i would really like to have baby isaac's name in these to hang on his wall

read some really good advice on how to decide what to blog about

updated my flickr account.. more to come

made my own reusable swiffer mop covers:
considered very seriously about signing up for this online workshop

listened to this song like a hundred times

was inspired by this post to have a more efficient household.. who knows when it would actually happen :)

I hope that your week went by as fast as mine did. Have any fun plans for the weekend? I'm taking an infant/child CPR class :)
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

sometimes He grows me

God really dealt with me about 2 weeks ago. He convicted me and changed my heart. He grew me. The story goes something like this:

A few months back, my husband told me that instead of reenlisting like we had been planning for the past 3 years, he wanted to get out of the Marine Corps. He's been in now for 8 years. This is what we know, what we're comfortable with, what he's good at, what would give us retirement after only 20 years, what pays us enough money to live 6 blocks from the beach, what provides pretty good medical insurance and lots of other privileges. Yet, he told me he thinks it's time to leave.

We've had conversations like these over the past 8 years. In fact, he did get out of the Marines after the first 4 years. But we decided that getting back in and staying the full 20 years was the best thing for us and for a family. It's a frustrating job. It's a love-hate thing. Any Marine will tell you that. So, at times, he wants to get out.

That's why at first I didn't take him that seriously.

But this time is different. This time he feels like the Lord is clearly calling him out of the military. And at first I wasn't so willing to accept that. At first I just wanted to believe it was a phase and he would get over it. But the truth is, I know that God is leading us out of military life. And that's where He had to deal with my heart.

I guess I'm just comfortable with this life. I know, that sounds crazy to civilians considering we've gone through 5 deployments and considering my husband is an infantry Marine. But the truth is, this is what I know. I like having the privileges of military life. I like the steady paycheck. I like being a military wife.

I was telling all of this to God one night in my quiet time and that's when He said to me, "You are holding on to this lifestyle like an earthly possession. None of it will matter in eternity, but trusting Me and following Me will. Trust and follow your husband's lead."

Dang.. that hit me like a ton of bricks. I hadn't even realized that I was holding onto this so tightly. And I had never thought of it like it was an earthly possession, an earthly desire. But He was so right. And it is time for me to let go, because in the end what is really going to matter, what will really have eternal impact is my obedience to Him.

Now of course there are hundreds of questions that come along with this decision; where do we go? what will we do? why are we leaving? why now?? And we have some of that figured out, some of it in the works and some of it we may not know for a very long time. I feel a bit like Abram must have felt when the Lord told him, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you" (Genesis 12:1).

As for the "why" I have a theory, although it's just that: a theory. I can tell you that deep, meaningful spiritual growth is hard to come by within a military lifestyle. Schedules are insane, deployments are often, many of us move frequently, and the list goes on and on. And both of us are thirsty for that growth, especially together as a married couple. I know that outside of the Marine Corps, there will be so much more time and opportunity for us to grow closer to God and for Him to use us in His kingdom.

And as for the "where", like that verse from Genesis, I am confident that the Lord will show us. For now, we just plan to seek Him and be obedient to His call.

Monday, October 11, 2010

the story of us: part 4

If you missed the beginning of the story, check out part 1, part 2 and part 3.

part 4: San Diego!!

In January of 2005, we moved to our new home in San Diego, CA. For the first 6 months we lived on base at Camp Pendleton (which we'll never do again). Here's a couple pictures of our cute little abode:

Why 6 months you might be asking? Well, because after just 6 months, my husband left for his 3rd deployment. Lucky me! Instead of staying on base and in a town I barely knew, I decided to pack my things, get a storage unit and take the rest up to good 'ole Roseville to live with a friend and go to school. I was there for the duration of his deployment (this one on a boat, but also a few nail-biting months in Iraq). I managed to attend school for free and earned my Associates Degree while up north!

He came home in February:
We settled into a cute little one bedroom apartment in Oceanside:

I got a job at Vons (since I already knew the ropes). We went to Hawaii with the deployment money I had saved while he was gone. It was our honeymoon, 2 years late. It was so nice to get away on a vacation together, really for the first time.

We got a kitty and named him Cal since he was a California kitty. And we enjoyed being married, together in the same place.
In June of 2006, it was time for Ben to get out of the Marine Corps. We had endured 4 long years and were ready for something new (well not that new, because we moved back to Las Vegas). But we soon discovered, life outside the Marine Corps "ain't all it's cracked up to be."

You can read the next installment here

Friday, October 8, 2010

friday wrap-up

What a week. I definitely stayed busy running errands, spending time with friends, reading, going to meetings and sitting down to watch some good 'ole TV.

this week I...

had some pictures taken of my baby bump

was edified by some good words from Pastor Matt Chandler.. you can find more of his sermons here (and I highly recommend all of them!)

discovered what baked evil looks like

found these paper lanterns to be absolutely adorable

got my new kicks in the mail:
took advantage of some good deals while thrifting

checked out this book at the library so I can join in the book club fun this month

was excited to hear that close to 500 cupcakes were handed out to UNLV students at this event yesterday

was horrified (her words) by her minimalist wardrobe (I could NEVER have only 6 outfits)

and then to top off the week, this morning I was sitting at the computer when I heard banging on the inside of my kitchen window. I look over to see a [small] bird inside trying to get out. Of course, my cat runs over, jumps on the counter, pins the bird down in the corner, picks it up in his mouth and jumps down. I opened the back door and yelled at him to take it outside... which he did not do! So now there's this poor little helpless injured bird sitting on my floor while my cat bats at it. I thought he was dying to I tried to scoop him up in the dust pan. But, he procedes to run from me and the cat. After I finally got him near the front door, I pushed him out with the broom. How weird, right? How in the world did a bird get into my kitchen???

So anyways.... that was my week. I hope you had a good one and I hope your weekend is even better!