Friday, December 31, 2010

daughters... they're like the new sons.

     Just got back from a lovely (albeit a bit chaotic) Christmas in the big city.  More about that later--with some pictures from Christmas, but first I wanted to post some of these awesome wintry pictures I took of Loren and Sadie today.

     Sadie is shaping up to be a total daddy's girl, and can I just say... I LOVE it!    I know that deep down a lot of guys wish for a son to be a mini-them, and to do the "man" things with later in life, etc...  I get it.  I mean, its the same reason women wish to have little girls.  In truth, we would have both been delighted with either one.  We are just so thankful to have a happy, healthy baby. And the bottom line is that regardless of gender, and rosy parental visions of the future, babies are going to grow up into who they are going to be. 

   When we found out Sadie was going to be a girl,  Loren's first comment was something along the lines of, "A girl! Wow! I don't know how to raise a girl." (Ha! Like either one of us knows how to raise a kid. period.) But as time passes and these two silly-heads become closer it just brings such joy to my heart. I am so thankful I married a man who is comfortable being goofy, sensitive, nurturing and loving towards our daughter. It won't be long before little Sadie has her dad wrapped completely around her finger.

     I predict that the intrepid Sadie will love the outdoors, and hunting (like her Dad) but I also wont be surprised if Loren has to attend his fair share of stuffed animal tea-parties, learn to braid hair and co-ordinate girlie outfits :) I think these two are already good buddies, but you can decide for yourself:

Winter photo shoot BEFORE Dad comes outside:
 Then Dad comes outside to play, and its all fun times.

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you.
-Paul Simon

 and here's one of me and Sadie, because Mamas love their girls too.

p.s. Thanks for the awesome snowsuit Great Grandma Sophie!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy BOXER day!

In some parts of the world, December 26th is celebrated as Boxing Day.  I always thought that it was because people boxed up all their unwanted gifts and brought them back to the store to exchange them.  I might be wrong. I don't celebrate that day anyway though--too depressing and materialistic.  From now on I declare December 26 in our house as Boxer Day.

Why Boxer day?
1. Because even if you got your boxer an ugly sweater for Christmas they would never complain or return it.  They would either gently chew on it until it was nothing but threads, or they would subtly push it behind the couch where it would eventually become forgotten.

2. Because boxers are bad-asses. If Chuck Norris had a dog it would definitely be a boxer.

3. Because boxers know how to party.  If you want a dog to help you ring in new year, you couldn't do better than a boxer:

4. Because boxers are loyal friends, and thoughtful sensitive creatures who bring laughs and comfort and lots of love to their families. 

HAPPY BOXER DAY CASH, PIE, KILGORE, LILY, PORTER and AUBREY! (and all the other Boxers out there who like to keep it real.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

happy winter solstice & lunar eclipse!

Tomorrow will be the darkest day of the year.  Since I will be heading south to Los Anchorage I thought I would give Winter Solstice a shout out a day early.  Here is the sun coming up at about 12:30 pm.  The top picture is the lunar eclipse at about 10 pm Alaska time. As much as I hate the dark and the cold, the sunrises, sunsets and moonscapes here are spectacular.
Happy Solstice! xxoo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the power of prayer.

    Not so long ago I received a lecture from someone about NOT letting them know the exact time of a certain difficult event so that they could be praying for me... at the exact time it was happening.  To tell the truth,  I found this very puzzling.  In my way of thinking, if the outcome is already determined by God, why do they need to know all the direct details for prayer purposes?  Does praying really need to be that organized and scheduled?
     That event got me thinking about prayer, and how it can mean so many different things and take on so many forms.  It made me ask myself the question: Why do we pray?
      Now don't get me wrong.  I appreciate it any time when any of my fellow human beings are caring enough to put in a thought or request on my behalf to the Higher Authority,  but it is so strange to me how some people go about it.  I guess for discussion purposes maybe we could divide prayer into two categories, altruistic prayer and selfish prayer.
     Selfish prayer takes on many different forms. Take for example the control freak prayer.  This is the person who believes that the whole world will fall apart unless they know everyones' bizz-nass so they can act as a direct go-between for all their acquaintances and God. These prayers are usually asking for specific outcomes (what the pray-er personally believes the outcome of the situation SHOULD be). I think this prayer must inevitably lead to disappointment and frustration on the part of the pray-er when things don't work out to their plan. 
     Then there is the prayer of disapproval. This type of "praying" is when a person disapproves of something you are doing and they punish you by stating in a pitying or judgmental tone, "I'll be praying for you."  And you know that they are mentally tacking the word "sinner" on to the end of that statement.
     The third type of selfish prayer (and I am DEFINITELY guilty of this on occasion) is the bargaining chip prayer.  This one is the "dear God, if you just make _________ happen, then I promise I will never do____________ again."
     It is easy to pray selfishly, given our human-ness, and I think God understands that--she/he designed us after all.
     I often find myself praying when the universe seems to be spinning out of control and I need to focus and meditate.  When I pray for a person in difficult circumstances I try to focus directly on them and send them love/healing/strength/courage... whatever it is that may be appropriate to their trial.  Frequently throughout the day I think of my family and loved ones and send a quick message of gratitude to the creator for blessing me with such a rich life and so many people to love.  When I am outdoors I feel like I am inadvertently offering a continual prayer of gratitude.  The beauty of nature never ceases to make my soul feel overflowing with joy. Sometimes my prayers are selfish, due to my limited world view. My prayers are always very informal.  
     But to get back to my original thought about how God has a plan, and can we really change his plan (aka the outcome) by praying hard enough?  I don't think we can.  In spite of our most heart-felt prayers, good people still die, horrible things still happen in the world, sometimes it seems like evil wins.  Do our prayers even matter?
     I think they do.  I think part of the Creator's bigger plan is that we as humans lift each other up in love.  That is altruistic prayer, I believe.  Maybe the collective love that exists in our prayers for each other is enough to lighten the load, and light the way on this long and windy path that all humans walk on.  Someday, I hope we all get to see what the grander scheme really looks like, but until we have that perspective we should continue to lift each other up unselfishly, in mindfulness and love, regardless of our race, credo or religious affiliations.  Maybe that is the TRUE power of prayer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

the big FIVE.

Tomorrow will mark the five-month anniversary of Sadie's time in the outside world.  To celebrate this milestone here is a list of 5 things that are amazing about her:

1.  THE CURIOSITY--always watching, staring, looking around with those big starry eyes.  She loves to study people, the dogs, her toys, the world around her. Her sense of wonderment is contagious.

2. THE SOUNDTRACK-- Many things Sadie is, but a quiet baby she is not.  She fills our house with delightful shrieks, babbles, coos and sometimes fusses and cries.  She talks to the dogs, says things like HA! at the contextually correct moments--which for all the world sounds like she is saying "hi!" Her snores sound like a distant flock of geese flying south for the winter--and she talks in her sleep in a series of melodic squeeks and growls that sound like whalesongs.

3. THE SNUGGLES--Sadie loves to snuggle. She gets that from her dad, I guess. :) At night she wont sleep unless she has an arm/leg/foot/all of the above snuggled up against a parent.  She is never happier than when being worn around in the Moby Wrap/ Ergo baby carrier-- she just loves to be close to people.

4. THE SKILLS--It seems like every time we turn around she has learned or done something new!  Sadie now sits unassisted, grabs at her toys, reaches for things one handed, rolls over, pivots, scootches and does push-ups.  She grew a tooth this month, and it looks like another one is hot on its heels.  We have gradually been introducing solid foods, so Sadie has tried some bananas, carrots, apples and brown rice.  She still likes milk the best.


need I say more?
We love you Sadie Mai!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

thank you Santa (aka Loren)!

Well, I must have been extra good this year because I just got my Christmas present early. Can I just say, IT ROCKS! (and so does my thoughtful husband who knows how much I have been wanting a real camera--sometimes the cell phone camera just doesn't cut it).
so of course, I have been playing with it this morning. Unfortunately the best pictures I shot later this morning were in RAW format which I have no computer software to open (thanks for mentioning that disc tutorial guy!)But here are some of the first ones I took anyway, just for fun.

... today's post has been brought to you by double chins. xxoo

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sourdough bread... for cheaters.

I would consider myself a decent bread baker... after countless lessons from my mom, and the Tassajara Bread Book (AWESOME cookbook by the way) I think I can hold my own in the bread baking arena. With one exception... The Sourdough.
Historically my sourdough bread is, well, not so good. In fact many of the loaves would have worked better as weaponry to be hurled at the head of  foe.

Loren took out the sourdough a few days ago to mix it up and feed it.  But after doing so there was a lot left over and he suggested, "why don't you make some sourdough bread?"  ARG.  So after doing a bit of recipe searching online, I came up with one that looked promising. And you know what? Its good.  It does have some yeast in it... so if you are a sourdough bread purist, you can turn your nose up now... but this is the first and ONLY sourdough loaf I have ever made that is not only edible, but delish!

San Francisco Sourdough Bread
makes one large loaf.
4 3/4 c. flour
3 T. sugar
2 1/2 t. salt
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm milk (I used powdered)
2 T. butter or olive oil
1 1/2 c. sourdough starter
1 egg, beaten (for brushing tops)

1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast in large mixing bowl. Add milk and butter or oil. Stir in the starter. Mix in the flour gradually.
2. Turn dough out onto floured surface, knead for 10 minutes.
3. Place in oiled bowl, let rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
4. punch down, let rest 15 min. 
5. Shape into loaves, place on baking sheet and let rise one hour. While bread is doing this, preheat the oven to 375. To make a thicker, chewy crust put a pan full of water into the bottom of the oven to create steam while the bread bakes.
6. brush top with beaten egg. Bake 30-40 min.