Friday, December 12, 2008

10 Things of which I am thankful for

1. My (yes I call him 'my') Amish farmer in Pennsylvania, who raises happy cows and chickens, free of garbage, drugs and junk so that I can eat amazing raw cheese, milk, yogurt, creamer and meat! Two weeks of vacation away from home, eating eggs that were pale yellow and yogurt with high fructose corn syrup in it made me want to send Farmer John a fruit basket.

2. Athletic pants from Lucy. Comfortable, durable, wash well, and have all the seams in all the right places. I live in them, wearing them right now in fact!

3. Dishwasher detergent from the store: after practically ruining my glassware with baking soda/washing soda and vinegar, I realize I am no chemist, and some things really are not better home-made.

4. The smell of winter, always providing the opportunity to wear a scarf. That being said, home made scarfs!

5. Fancy napkins at dinner time...and the excuse they bring to put a sewing machine on my Christmas list!


7. 2000 Decembers ago Christmas song, and while listening to it, imagining the entire earth trembeling, rejoicing, and the heavens standing watch as the God of the Universe came down, as flesh...utube it!

8. Pandora Radio on my iphone, and the opportunity to enjoy music in any genre I like, without paying 99cents a song!

9. Kombucha tea: a fermented beverage with a sweet taste and fizzy vinegaresk finish. Helps detoxify the liver and provides powerful pro-biotics...among many of its health benifits. What can I say, I got hooked on the stuff when I was pregnant and the taste of vinegar was more appealing than chocolate!

10. My daughters 4 "B"s, which she must have with her at all times: her Blankie, baby, bunny, and bear. She is running her own day-care center at the age of 1! What an entrepreneur!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Giving Thanks

Thanks giving always comes at the perfect time every year...that holiday before christmas that keeps us from putting up our tree in October!

I love how it gets me into the spirit of thankfulness, sort of like a warm up to recieve the most amazing gift from the Lord at Christams time...To be truly thankful requires reflection, to pause for a moment and take true inventory of the things that meet our needs and give us joy.
I found myself in tears at the dinner table, when asked to list three things I was thankful for..."Only three?" was my reply. Since January of 2008, so many opportunities blossomed in our lives. We opened Health and Wholeness Personal Training studio with great success, transitioned me out of a job I dispised, moved into our lovely spacious town home, had the opportunity to visit friends far away while having just recently returned from our family cruise vacation! (I even still have the fading reminants of a tan line!). I felt like my heart was bursting. God has been generous, so generous to us, filling our thirsty cup with so much hope.

Christians mother hosted the dinner at her house, and as always the table was set beautifully. This was my first attempt with the Turkey, and I must say all 23 pounds of locally raised and grazed bird was delicious. I stuffed butter and herbs under the skin and stuffed him with prosciutto, apples, breadcrumbs and sage... lots of it.

And then, if our hearts could contain more joy, we found ourselves feeling quite patriotic this Thanksgiving, remembering all those who have fought and died for our freedom. My cousin Armin and his Marine Buddy "stopped in" during a visit to DC, "anywhere that would get them off base for thanksgiving". It was wonderful to have them share thanksgiving dinner with us, and much of the conversations were about their crazy experiences at boot camp, and what a Marine in training goes through. It is fascinating to me the level of sacrifice these men have already been forced to make, and it was such an honor to hear that they feel every moment of discomfort well worth it.

The evening ended with unbuttoned pants, watching "the Incredibles" playing Apples to Apples and just enjoying one anothers company.

One last note, way worthy of mentioning.
My family, being the competitive ones we are, decided to weigh in before sitting to dinner. With our pre-meal weight recorded it was to be determined who gained the most weight during the course of dinner. I had my highly metabolically active husband on my left, and my 230ish pound marine cousin on my right, and STILL managed to win the prize...4.6 pounds baby! Yes, I gained 4.6 pounds over thanksgiving meal...Thank goodness I have a gym in my basement!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nothing like a good looking man and a de-licious mug of steamed milk and dark espresso!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Crash Camping

Ah Summer...sigh.

Each sunny day's cool breeze, the mountians of Pumpkins crowding the parking lots of grocery stores, and the fall colors exploding all over the hills in view from our kitchen balcony are constant reminders that
it is coming to an end.

Last weekends forecast called for pleasant temperatures in the 70's and our poor dusty tent in the garage started to call out for attention. I had an idea, and thanks to the Internet, google maps, the trunk of our Jeep and a bag of ice from the mini mart- we decided to go camping!...or I decided we would go camping and told Christian so as he walked in the door from his last client of the day Saturday afternoon. Just one night, a change of scenery, a camp fire and some fresh air sounded like the perfect remedy for a busy and sleep hungry week! It was one of those moments when Christians lack of a better idea forced him to comply. In only 30 minutes we were off to Lake Fairfax, a cute little park just 15 miles away, featuring a lake with paddle boats and fishing, a water park (closed for the season), a couple soccer fields, hiking trails, kids play ground, and a little overnight camping area tucked away in the woods.

I need to mention that Christian didn't grow up in a camping family, and for this I feel he was greatly deprived, however after our little sample-camping adventure, I don't know that he is entirely convinced: We got to the site with only a few hours left of sunlight, just in time to set up our tent and go for a little hike. The trail led to a parking lot, which I found to be ironic. Arriving back at the camp site, we realized we forgot to bring matches or a lighter....which made starting a fire interesting. After rubbing rocks and sticks...kidding. After bumming a book of matches from neighbor campers and using a half a gallon of lighter fluid, a roaring fire blessed us with the smell of camp, saturating its smokey aroma into our grubby sweatshirts. It was official. Hot dogs and all.

We had a nice evening. Listening to the crickets chirping competing with boy scouts a few lots down playing charades, Christian and I got some wonderful one-on-one time by the fire. Our nights sleep happened in 30 minute increments, long enough for the body to tolerate the hard ground before demanding to change sleep positions as extremities lost all blood supply. Early in the morning when the birds just started their good morning praises, Naomi woke up. Christian, being sleep deprived, scooped her up in his arms and lulled her back to sleep on his chest. So sweet. About an hour later Christian realized that his shirt was soaked...our little Naomi managed to leak all of lake Fairfax through a diaper, her onesie, her dress, his sweat shirt and his undershirt! My goodness child! The morning air was cold, and Sour smelling Christian had nothing to change into. I gave him my sweat shirt, which left me in a thin tank top while we, giving up on our fire-side breakfast, packed up the tent and made our way down the highway to Panera Bread to conclude our camping adventure with some not-so-camping-style food: a cappuccino and spinach artichoke souffles! How about them fresh camping faces!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

To market to market to buy a fresh...

$10 dollar bag of bell peppers!

We woke up this beautiful fall-ish Sunday morning a bit on the early side.
Not at all by our choice, but Naomi apparently had things she needed to get to with subtle urgency.
After wiping the sleepy out of our eyes, and acknowledging that it was a gorgeous cool sunny morning, we decided to venture over to a Farmers Market just down the street. Seemed like a perfect Sunday morning thing to do, and I was in the mood to cook.

We pulled up to the scattered array of white tents and wooden stands, grabbed our eco-friendly mesh bag, and cash from the ATM to see what delicious, local, organic treasures they had for us!
After walking the loop sampling apples and coffee cake, we both realized that there was nothing specifically indicating that anything at this market was organic.

I love being what they call a "localvore", and want very much to support locally grown agriculture, not only because it is fresher but also because it didn't float into my grocery bag on what Michael Poland (the Omnivores Dilemma) would call "a sea of petroleum". It bothers me that when I shop at My Organic Market (Mom's) down the street, that my apples are from Brazil, and my kiwi from New Zealand. However, if my food dollar is a vote so to speak, and if I really am convicted that protecting my family and environment from pesticides, insecticides and herbicides is of great importance, than I simply can not settle for local conventional, and I am going to have to vote no.

Disappointed we circled one last time. I found a guy that sells home-made soaps and couldn't help myself to a bar, as well as a booth displaying fresh home-made pasta, which I can't wait to boil el dente, and smother in pesto!

Finally, a humble little organic booth emerged, on the far side of the market, selling a table full of assorted bell peppers, beets and garlic. We piled hand fulls on the scale, stuffed our bags full, thanked the man for what he does, and headed home with our rare treasure.

What to do with a bag full of bell peppers? A little onion, garlic, saffron and brown rice, pile of cheese, basil, parsley and toasted pine nuts stuffed into our colorful bowls should feed us well...not only our tummy's but our belief that we did the right thing.

Just a day at the park!

Our favorite place to hang out is this cute little park a few blocks from our front door. Naomi is quite the brave one, and loves the slide, or the "sply!!" So far this mommy-full-time gig rocks.
My days are filled with everything hanging out with a 1 1/2 year old should be; peanut butter sandwiches, runs in a stoller to target, starbucks trips and cardboard books, baby songs, stacking blocks, dirty diapers and peak-a-boo...when does peak-a boo get old anyway?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"welcome to the rest of y(our) life"

Exactly what the card on the HUGE bouquet of flowers from my amazingly loving husband read, sitting on the table for me, as I walked home from the office for the last time! On August 8th, 2008 (8-8-08, cool eh?!) I was released into motherhood full time, and out of a life-sucking, uninspiring, beat-your-head-against-a-desk, past 6 years of my life wearing black and white, office job!
I worked for Avalon communities, an apartment rental company, as a leasing consultant since 2002...So much longer than I imagined when I took the job out of desperation back in my $8 an hour Starbucks California days...I totally know how people end up in jobs they hate simply because of a decent pay check and benefits. Is this really the way to live?
Here are some pictures of me at my office, during the final stretch at Avalon...when our studio was taking off, my child care was running out, and my days processing paperwork, mailing out post cards and following up with prospects were coming to an end...see that bright and uncontrollable smile!...and yes, that is me, escaping out the window...
Escaping into the beautiful world of full-time mother hood, involving things such as grocery shopping at 2pm on a week day, training clients and teaching classes, folding laundry fresh from the dryer (as opposed to it sitting in a clean but wrinkled heap until my next day off), eating dinner before 10pm...wait, this we still do, but now, at least, I can do the dishes tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From January to June

Welcome back Nina!
Thanks, it feels good to be back.
I have my cup of decaf, so does my kid, my photos freshly down loaded from my iphone, and I am thinking it may be time to post a blog...or two or three.
I have MUCH to post about, so I will stick to bullet points with illustrations and promise to blog more than every 6 months. :)

Okay, where did we leave off? January.
January Christian and I started thinking about opening a personal training studio.
Christian was working full time at Golds as a trainer, and started thinking about how great it would be to do it on his own. We contacted my manager at the community we live at to see what the rent would be for the small retail spaces they have available on property. We were thinking we could start saving and planning and maybe just maybe this summer could be our target to open "Health and Wholeness Personal Training Studios".
Well, that door not only flew open, but we were practically pushed through it when we found out the space would be FREE for us! What? Forget this summer, lets do it!
The month of February and March found us on our knees scraping floor glue, painting base boards, installing mirrors, building shelves and assembling weight equipment. Christian and his Dad did all of the work, and did a fantastic job at that. We opened the studio in April and it is going very well!

March 2nd was Naomis birthday! I don't have any cake-smashing-in baby's face pictures. I am still holding out on giving my kid sugar until she is 12 and discovers she has been deprived all her life and wants to sneak out of the house on her bike for 711 slurpies and milk duds. For her first birthday she had a delicious dish of boiled and mashed prunes with a dash of cinnamon and apple. We had a lovely time at Dave and Busters playing arcade games, while Naomi slept in her stroller after munching on ticket stubs and teething biscuits.

As mentioned above, we opened our personal training studio in April, and I have hardly seen my husband since! He is so busy with clients, from 6am till 10 pm with windows of breaks in between. We did manage to get away for a "day" trip to New York for a conference held by one of the most brilliant men in alternitave medicine we know. This was my first visit to New York, and I was in awe of the tall buildings. For a brief moment, walking down the street with my latte in one hand, and my pink pea coat, I felt like Sarah Jessica Parker, only I was wearing much cheaper shoes.

Thanks for hanging with me. This "update on the happenings of "Elliotness" is almost current.
Just two months to go: In May we made the decision to move to the two bedroom town home that is directly above our studio space. Changing our 2 minute commute to 30 seconds has drastically improved the quality of our lives. The space is three times what we had in our little loft (we even have a garage!), and as much as we would miss tripping over a stroller, a purse and flip flops when we walk into our front door, we didn't want to pass it up.
I will be happily post pictures of our new home once we don't have our TV sitting on boxes, walls only halfway painted or pictures piled on the floors...maybe in 6 months.

Stay tuned for our glorious trip to Maine, and the celebration of our 5 year anniversary of marriage! I have been typing too long, and little Naomi is sticking her fingers in the paper shredder.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just thought I would post a few pictures of Christmas, and Naomi's first celebration outside of the womb. We spent almost three days straight at the in laws, playing games, eating, watching movies, eating, ice skating, and eating. Aaaahhh, Christmas.

One thing I love about my in laws, is how competitive Christians family a fun playful way. Every year we have a "best wrapped gift" competition. We spent one evening devising ways to get all our gifts into one big delivery, and with the help of a box of plaster of Paris, a Santa suite, a trash can and some paint, Santa clause himself came to grace us with his presence and presents on Christmas day...oh yea, we won.