Thursday, May 23, 2013

just some stuff while you're waiting for the real stuff

you guys.

here's the problem - my normal writing time is while the kiddos are at school. but the past two weeks have brought field days and water fun days and kindergarten celebrations and class picnics and preschool graduations and i'm telling you the end of the school year is trying to kill me.

so i'm thinking i'm going to have to start writing at night after the boys go to bed. otherwise this here blog may just never see me again. so until i can get my self coordinated like that's ever going to happen here are some things that i've been loving lately.

i'm going to get my haircut today! like this perhaps.

this is the best stuff ever - loreal sublime bronze sunless tanning lotion

i have been eating this for breakfast - chia pudding - i eat mine with strawberries. it's light and
refreshing and filling and healthy.

this article was awesome - the F word by jennifer weiner

i just ordered these shoes for summer. so excited for them to get here!

i just ordered this dress to wear to a wedding that's coming up in beloved oklahoma city praying for you, moore! on june 9th. let's hope it fits! so excited to see all my oklahoma peeps!

this article touched me deeply - a mountain i'm willing to die on by momastery

we've been hooked on children's books by oliver jeffers. this moose belongs to me cracks me up as does the great paper caper. very clever and witty.

we've also just finished reading the lion, the witch and the wardrobe and are going this afternoon to check out the next book in the series - the horse and his boy. it's awesome reading these books out loud to the boys. lewis used all kinds of words that i don't necessarily want my boys saying but feel the need to read just as it was written because, i mean, it's c.s. lewis. phrases like, "shut up, you prig" which, in all honesty, would be a very accurate word to call my black-and-white-thinking, ever-the-rule-follower, eldest son. but, all the same, i don't want any name-calling around here. whether it's accurate or not. hehehe

ok i think that's all i got.

hopefully sometime soon i'll be able to write to you again about the real things in our lives - the continuation of jeremy's and my dating story, how STAR is going, what i learned about my own brain and why it's so helpful and healing to write about the tough stuff, the silly things graham does, why it is so, so great living in colorado, etc etc etc

until then...

**edited to add: i forgot to tell you about this book. how i could forget to tell you about this book?! i loved, loved, loved it. if this doesn't inspire you, i don't know what will - wild: from lost to found on the pacific crest trail.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

real life conversation

hi folks.

i'm in the middle of writing a couple stories that aren't yet ready to be published. so, in the meantime, i'll leave you with a conversation that took place yesterday. it struck me as quite humorous...and a sign of the times.

the scene: driving in the car with both boys

harrison: mommy, how can birds sit on the electrical wires without getting electrocuted?

me: you know what, buddy, i have absolutely no idea.

harrison: well, why don't you ask your phone?

thank god for siri.

incidentally, when i asked siri "how do birds sit on an electrical wire without being electrocuted" she responded with "i don't get it" but then decided to search the web for me anyway. ever the helpful assistant.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

real life conversations

just a couple cute things that have been said around these parts recently.

the scene: while driving in the car on the way to the library

harrison: my tummy hurts.

me: i'm sorry buddy

graham: well i have a cat iris tummy.

me: what?

graham: my tummy is cat iris.

me: oh. what does that mean?

graham: it's really tough.

me: oh! i think you meant to say you have a cast iron stomach.

graham: yup. that's what i have.


the scene: while clearing their breakfast cereal bowls from the dining table

harrison: why do we always have to do this?

graham: because it's the law.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

he's in my life to keep me humble and why we love our dentist

yesterday i mentioned graham made a game out of jiggling my arm fat while i was trying to enjoy a yummy lunch.

nothing makes you lose your appetite faster than someone jiggling your arm fat.

or perhaps, if you're like me, it makes you drown your arm fat sorrows with a chocolove darkchocolatewithalmondsandseasalt candy bar.

it's a vicious arm fat cycle.

but what i was really thinking when i told you about the jiggly arm fat game was this:

graham is in my life to keep me humble.

and that sentiment was hammered in and sealed up tight just a few hours later when i took the boys to their biannual dental check up and my grahamer boy had to leave the dentist's office wearing this:

that would be dr. verschave's old lab coat.

as graham was having his teeth polished something bad happened. i don't know what or how or why but his gag reflex was triggered and he proceeded to empty his partially digested lunch all over himself and me and dr. verschave and the dental hygienist and the office furniture.

it was real pretty. i'm being sarcastic.

and real smelly. i'm not being sarcastic.

all of the office staff handled the situation amazingly and i am so thankful for their good humor. and i'm quite impressed no one dry heaved while cleaning up my son's vomit. those are just two reasons why i love our dentist's office.

the others are as follows:
1) in all the years we've been going there we have never had to wait in the waiting room more than two minutes.

2) the one time we did have to wait (for ten minutes) the office manager apologized, then dr. verschave came out to apologize, then they gave us a jamba juice gift card to apologize for the wait. what doctor's off does that?!

3) megan, our favorite hygienist, is

4) they refer to the kid's check-ups as "happy visits" - just getting them used to the environment, counting and cleaning their teeth the best they can, but their goal is to keep kiddos happy so they are willing to come back. and my kids love it there!

5) it's a new, clean, peaceful office environment.

6) the time graham knocked his front tooth loose they got us in immediately and did not charge us a penny.

7) sweet dr. verschave's willingness to hand over her pristine white jacket so my boy didn't have to go home naked. that really says it all, doesn't it?

i love belmar smiles.

and i love graham.

and i love that he keeps me humble.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

what's been up at the white house? also known as an iphone photo dump

the days have been full and there hasn't been much of an opportunity to write. although, i have read two books in the past week so i guess i was trading reading for writing. which isn't a bad deal. but i've missed you! and there's so much to tell you about!

i think i should start with the fact that graham broke his arm. on saturday morning, the 4th of may, jer took the boys to the school playground right behind our house. it was boy vs monkey bars. and the monkey bars won. we took him to the emergency room. again. third time in 10 weeks. ear infection, stitches in lip, broken arm. love this kid. seriously, i love him. he keeps our lives miles away from mundane.

we left the e.r. with a temporary cast as they were not able to see an actual fracture on graham's xrays. they claimed this is typical with kids - often times you cannot see the fracture until it begins to heal. we were told to follow up with an pediatric orthopedic physician within the week. i was not-so-secretly hoping that it wasn't really broken.

of course i wasn't that lucky. or graham wasn't. the orthopedic doctor took one look at the xrays from the emergency room and said "let's get a couple more pictures because if it really looks like what those xrays say it looks like, we're going to need to call a surgeon". ten of my still black hairs instantaneously turned white. they got more pictures. no surgeon was needed. thank you lord. graham gets to wear a cast for four weeks. he's doing very well with it all.

my friend michelle challenged me to do this:

i was going strong for a few days but i've been stuck on day seven for quite some time now. i just need to bust 'em out and keep going strong.  anyone else want to join us? as michelle put it, "let's get asstastic!" ha! she cracks me up.

i got a new sports bra. it's the perfect sports bra. the best sports bra i've ever worn. i can wear it all day and it never bothers me. it's supportive but not too tight. it hits my shoulders in the perfect spot. and you'll never guess where i found it: old navy! it's the active by old navy molded-support bra. it's awesome. and that is high praise coming from me because i am a total bra hater. when i used to work in corporate america after a long day at the office i would get in my car to drive home and the very first thing i would do was take off my bra. while in the parking garage. or while waiting at a stop light. or while driving down the freeway. my bra was always off by the time i walked in the door at home. too much info - i know. i'll stop now.

i've been letting my boys play with push pins:

i draw a picture for them and they have to trace along the lines by poking holes with a push pin. they think it's fun. the cool part (if you use a black marker) is that you can't see the tiny holes until you hold the paper up to a window and then it looks like a constellation. it's pretty. if you use a lighter colored marker it's easier for them to stay on the lines. either way, they've had fun. and kept busy for a few minutes. and please don't email me and tell me i'm a bad mom for letting my kids play with push pins. we've met our out of pocket max for the year so i figure we're covered no matter what might possibly happen.

graham had prince and princess day at preschool. he dressed as a knight. here he is with his two best buds, cayden and lucanne:

i've been cyber stalking an old friend from college. she writes a blog too. we are not friends anymore but i found myself reading and reading and reading every post on her blog, fascinated with her life and her words and wondering if we could ever be friends again and if we would have remained friends if certain situations had played out differently between us and how alike we are and how different we are and how she has matured but it still exactly the same. i kinda miss her. but i think some things are just better left in the past.

why is it that the batteries in smoke detectors never fail to die in the middle of the night? and why is it that you receive coupons in the mail the day after you bought a product? and why is it you return all the videos to the library only to come home and realize there is one dvd that didn't make it into it's case? and why is it that i brush my teeth at least twice a day and floss and don't eat sugar and don't drink sugar and my husband does none of those things and i end up with the cavities and he doesn't?

but the dentist also told me this morning that i look thinner. so that was a nice compliment to focus on after she told me i need a filling. but then during lunch graham made a game out of jiggling my arm fat.

so there's that.

we've made up our own version of angry birds.  it's called angry sock monkeys. here's the cast of characters:

om nom, green pig, finn mcmissile, mater, and matchbox car. these guys are all interactive ipad toys.

 first you build a structure. like this.

 or like this.

 then you throw a sock monkey at the structure, trying to knock down the characters.

 poor mater got knocked over.

then fling a second sock monkey toward the structure, knowing this is your last attempt to knock everyone over.


harrison goes to STAR twice this week and also has his kindergarten celebration (in lieu of a graduation). the weather is gorgeous outside!! should be a good week!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

an open letter to those who've been affected by my migraines

if you know me personally - heck, if you've ever met me - i'm writing to you.

i've had headaches for as long as i can remember. my mom says i started complaining about them at age eight. that was 28 years ago. that's a long time to have headaches. the past three years, since giving up gluten and dairy, have been the best of my life with regard to the intensity and frequency of my migraines. but they are still my biggest struggle.

they usually play out in real life like this:

last weekend i was looking forward to having breakfast with my friend chelsea. 

but then i got a migraine. 

and i cancelled on her. 


the pain i endure during a migraine headache is excruciating. debilitating. indescribable, really.

but the physical pain is nothing compared to the embarrassment and shame and guilt oh the guilt! i feel when i consider the people in my life who are forced to suffer because of my affliction.

even though it's been five years since i've held a paying position, it's safe to say everyone i've ever worked with has been negatively affected by my migraines in one way or another. most especially my colleagues at cb richard ellis who picked up the pieces at a time when my headaches were at their all time worst. to my coworkers - i am sorry for calling in sick. i'm sorry for calling in sick again. i'm sorry for calling in sick again and again and again. i'm sorry for leaving you to carry your load alone and to carry my load for me. i'm sorry this made you feel like i couldn't be trusted. i'm sorry my headaches became your pain in the ass.

to my friends - i'm sorry for cancelling on you. even the times - especially the times - we've had dinner scheduled, and babysitters lined up, and tickets purchased, and reservations made months in advance and i still cancel at the last minute. please know that i can't control it. if i could control it, i would. i want to see you and spend time with you and have fun with you and catch up with you and be a giving-more-than-taking friend to you. i don't want to be your unreliable, why-do-you-even-bother-trying friend. the thought of that makes my stomach ache right along with my head.

but mostly to my husband and children - i'm sorry for lying on the couch again. i'm sorry you have to keep the lights off and the blinds down. i'm sorry you have to be quiet. i'm sorry i can't take you outside. i'm sorry you have to figure out dinner on your own. i'm sorry i don't want to play or can't play or won't play and that i'm in too much pain to speak. the three of you bear the biggest burden of all because you are the ones who actually see my pain. everyone else has to figure out what to do without me. you have to figure out what to do with me.

and that pretty much sucks for you.

clearly these migraine headaches aren't just about pain. it's a much deeper issue.

they make me feel unworthy of love, of understanding, of acceptance, of trust. they make me feel bad about myself. less than. like a terrible person - an awful coworker, a poor friend, and an incapable wife and mother.

any bad thought you may have had - any fleeting thought about my headaches - how you are so sick of my cancelling on you? leaving you in the lurch? how you just don't understand why i can't make them go away? or get them under control? or why they last so dang long? or why they happen every.single.time? - i promise you i have thought it too.

i think much, much worse about myself than anyone could ever think of me.

i remember the time i first told jeremy that i suffer from migraines. it was while we were still in the talking-on-the-phone-all-the-time, had-not-met-in-person-yet stage of our relationship. i felt as if i was confessing my deepest, darkest secret. i was scared he might not want to ever meet me. that he might not want to continue the relationship. that he might not want to spend his life with someone like me.

and i still think that today.

it breaks my heart that you - the people i care about most - face the sometimes harsh consequences of this difficulty i carry within me. it makes me question why you would ever want to share your life with me.

i look at each of you and see such beauty.

a long time ago, back in college, i had a friend named stephanie. one day she was telling me how she struggled with loving herself and thinking positively about herself and comparing herself to everyone else. but then she came to a realization - which struck me as very wise, poignant even - that she thinks her friends are beautiful, gorgeous, fun, funny, smart, enjoyable. and her friends hang out with her. so there must be something about her that they like. perhaps she is beautiful too. gorgeous even. and fun, funny, smart, enjoyable. there must be something within her that draws the attention and affection of these amazing friends.

i feel the same way.

to my former coworkers, my beautiful, gorgeous, fun, funny, smart, enjoyable friends, my family members, my incredible husband, my two little munchkins - i see so many amazing qualities in each of you! i love you all! i am thankful for you! you add joy and perspective and interest and liveliness to my life! i feel deeply, richly blessed by you!

and that makes me think there must be something about me that you find attractive.

even if you have to put up with the ridiculousness that is my migraine headaches.

i'm sorry you do!

but i am so very, very thankful you do.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

i met my husband on (back when no one met their husband online)

it was early spring 2003. people were still using aol - you've got mail - and dial-up. if you owned a cell phone it was a nokia. gasoline cost less than $1.00 per gallon. the radio played linkin park and norah jones and evanescence. cameras still used film. the only place to rent videos was blockbuster. friends was still the best show on tv. no one owned an ipod, unless they worked in the actual music industry. the itunes music store hadn't launched yet. the digital life as we know it today simply didn't exist.

it was only one decade ago. but it was a different time.

i was 26 years old, living in and driving my honda crx around bartlesville, oklahoma, a town of 35,000 people. i worked at a non-denominational church as the assistant youth director. basically, my job was to pour into the lives of teen and preteen girls. i would go to their schools to eat lunch with them. i would take them out for ice cream and dinner and sonic vanilla cokes. i would hang out with them. i would lead girl's bible studies. i would plan activities for them. i would go on trips with them. i would pray with them. i would talk with them about life and school and boys and god and clothes and girl stuff. my job was fun. 

the people i worked with were fun too. there were lots of very cool people on staff but the ones i was closest to were danny, the youth ministry director and chris, the worship leader and kylie, the children's ministry director. danny and chris were roommates. kylie and i were roommates. we were all in our twenties. we hung out together all the time. it was the christian, small town oklahoma version of friends.

until danny got married...and kylie got married...and chris left to take a different job...and slowly i became the one left behind. things were changing. 

it was at that time the lead pastor, rod macilvaine - hot bod rod, or hbr, as we affectionately called him (not to his face) - suggested that i look into you see, bartlesville, oklahoma wasn't exactly a thriving metropolis of bachelors. pickins were slim. i have no idea why he told me about online dating. he was "in the business" as kylie liked to say; he had a direct line to god. so perhaps his suggestion was divinely inspired? or maybe he saw a loneliness (probably more like a lost-ness) in me? or maybe he just thought it would be a fun distraction? whatever the case, his intentions were good but i thought he had lost his mind!

i had never heard of eharmony! no way was i going to get online and troll for a husband!

but then danny and i went to atlanta, georgia for a conference and as we were driving north on i-85 i noticed a billboard. from a graphic design standpoint it was the simplest billboard i have ever seen. a white background with giant green letters printed across it: it was a sign. literally and figuratively. i thought to myself maybe hot bod rod isn't crazy. i guess if they have billboards it must be a legit thing. i suppose i could check it out.

when we returned from our conference i opened up the eharmony web page and started to read about how this whole online dating thing works. you have to PAY MONEY to do this?! and you have to answer a 500 QUESTION survey?! you have got to be kidding me!!

off to hbr's office i went...

um, pastor rod, did you know you have to pay money to do eharmony? and did you know you have to answer 500 questions? that will take hours!

his reply, i'll never forget...

rachel, i can't tell you what to do but i can tell you this: there is a level of commitment in any man who is willing to answer an extensive survey and pay money to meet you. and that level of commitment is a good thing.

those words convinced me enough to fill out the bloody survey and pay the dang money.

but it wasn't until i was "matched" with a cute doctor from nearby tulsa that i started getting excited about where this crazy adventure might take me.

and who i might meet along the way!

Friday, May 3, 2013

an unexpected letter

don't you just love it when you get good mail?

it is so rare to get good mail!

i miss real, non-bill, non-advertisement, non-preapprovedcreditcardoffer mail.

yesterday i got a letter from my aunt janet who lives in iowa. i love my aunt janet. she is strong and opinionated and loving and true to herself and true to others. how can you not love someone like that? she sent me some gluten-free recipes that look delicious. one in particular - chocolate chip cookies - just might have to be baked this weekend.

to feed the chocolate addiction people.

janet is a faithful blog reader, which warms my heart. it comforts me that my geographically faraway family is still in-the-know about our everyday life occurrences. i wish everyone wrote a blog. wouldn't it make keeping up with each other so much easier? but i suppose that's what facebook is for.

or mail.

oh, the poor postal system.

aunt janet's letter suggested that i post some stories "about rachel and jeremy every now and then".

that made me laugh. we are boring people, jeremy and i. i don't have any stories about us!

but then i realized of course i have stories. of course i do. and i should write them! lord knows this forgetful brain of mine will one day lose them if i don't document them somewhere.

so, aunt janet, i will start writing more about the grown-ups that live in this white house. as boring as we may be! and thank you for the letter. i'm not just saying really made my day!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

chocolate chip muffin recipe

i found a super yummy muffin recipe. a gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free muffin recipe. you can find it here: apple cinnamon muffin recipe.  i've made them many times and i love them. but as i said yesterday, sometimes we just need a little chocolate. so i adapted that recipe to make chocolate chip muffins. to feed my chocolate addiction.

chocolate chip muffins
adapted from paleomg's apple cinnamon muffin recipe

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 TBSP maple syrup or raw honey
3 large eggs
1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup almond flour
3 TBSP coconut flour
1/4-1/2 cup mini enjoy life chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350 degrees.
mix together first four (wet) ingredients in a large bowl.
add in the next five (dry) ingredients.
stir gently.
add in chocolate chips and stir until well combined.
mixture will be quite thick.
scoop mixture into a paper-lined muffin tin.
do yourself a favor and lightly spray the paper liners with non-stick spray.
i usually end up with 8 muffins.
bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

let them cool for one hour before eating. that will be hard because they will look and smell very yummy. but the texture will be best after they cool a bit. and let me tell you something...for a muffin that contains zero grain this is the breadiest, doughiest, most like a normal gluten-FILLED muffin i've eaten since going g-free nearly four years ago.

have a look for yourself...

you know you want to make some!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

hello! bonjour? ahoy?

1) i have a yellow phlegm monster camping inside my head.
2) i want him to leave
3) he is making me very cranky
4) and pms isn't doing me any favors in the crankiness department either
5) i made gluten-free brownies
6) after i ate half the pan i began to feel much better
7) sometimes we just need a little chocolate don't we
8) graham and harrison ate brownies too
9) our empty plates were covered with brownie crumbs and powdered sugar sprinkles
10) graham sweetly asked if he could clear my plate
11) what a polite boy, i thought
12) then he proceeded to lick my plate clean
13) love him
14) graham asked me to call him graham peregrine white III
15) that conversation went like this:

why did you call me dude?

i don't know. what do you want me to call you?

just graham.

how bout grahamers?

call me graham peregrine white the third.

16) i haven't a clue where he came up with that one
17) harrison walked into my bedroom, lifted himself up onto the bed and placed a sweet little boy kiss square on my lips
18) love him so
19) i overheard harrison saying shiver me bleu as he was playing outside
20) that's a cross between shiver me timbers and sacre bleu
21) my children are well versed in both french and pirate
22) i am having breakfast with a friend this weekend
23) i'm excited
24) i have a yummy muffin recipe to share with you
25) with chocolate chips! and almond flour and coconut flour and eggs and coconut oil and only 1 TBSP of maple syrup and salt and baking powder.
26) i'll write up the recipe in another post
27) i feel as though the other kindergarten moms are in a clique that i will never be able to crack
28) honestly, i don't think any of them would be a kindred spirit
29) but being on the outside of their circle kinda sucks
30) or maybe it's just weird or foreign or uncomfortable
31) i don't know
32) i don't know much
33) but i know i love you
34) and that may be all i need to know
35) there is laundry in my new no-bells-and-whistles washing machine that needs to be moved to the dryer
36) there is laundry in the dryer that needs to be moved to the floor
37) there is laundry on the floor that needs to be folded and put away
38) my friend rachel (rachel ottley the best OT in the world) calls that the floordrobe
39) i love rachel ottley
40) i love the floordrobe
41) i love my new no-bells-and-whistles washer
42) okay i think all this love is just the chocolatey sugar-filled brownies talking
43) i better quit before i type something really embarrassing

may first

this image of a just-turned-one-year-old harrison was taken on may 1, 2008. 
it was snowing outside his bedroom window.
graham was snug as a bug inside my belly.

this image of a just-turned-six-year-old harrison was taken this morning, on may 1, 2013.
it is snowing outside the his bedroom window. 

graham is still snug as a bug. 
but he's not inside my belly anymore. 

happy may day.