Friday, May 2, 2014

April 2014

I got crazy busy again in the second half of April, and I'm finally feeling pregnant (aka EXHAUSTED) at around 28 weeks, but I've just been marveling lately at the fact that I am a truly happy person. What a blessing, especially given how I felt my life would turn out in high school (majorly dark, ha). 

Heard: Nothing stand-out. Wye Oak's new album Shriek is not bad, though there wasn't any song on it that I really fell for. As does everyone, I found myself very bouncy in the car whenever Pharrell Williams' "Happy" comes on the radio, and I've had a bunch of worship songs and hymns stuck in my head which is kinda awesome and not typical for me. 

Watched: I finished up the second season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (not strong on plot, but mega-amazing on costumes) and didn't have anything I felt particularly compelled to watch, so I started this BBC show "Call the Midwife" that Netflix said I'd like, really thinking that I wouldn't be in to it. HAHA! I'm completely enthralled and think everyone should watch it - it's far superior to Downton Abbey in my opinion, and I was an early adopter (in the US) of Downton Abbey, just sayin'. I also saw "Draft Day" with some friends who wanted to go. It's not something I would ever have paid for (they paid for me) - I literally don't even know if there is a real draft day in sports - but as with most sports movies, the personal stories depicted were just endearing enough to make it interesting and enjoyable (even suspenseful!) in spite of the subject. 

Tasted: Ugh, I can't even keep up with myself when it comes to cooking in the summer! Check out my Pinterest board of approved-by-me recipes to see all my recent faves, but the stand outs were this classic Thai cucumber salad and Caprese garlic bread. When I was in Chicago, I didn't end up making it to Urban Belly or Fat Rice which were on my list, but went somewhat hesitantly for Serbian food at the Beograd Cafe and loved it! The hamburger I got was the largest patty I have seen in my life, served with an entire loaf of bread and sour cream on the side (never would have thought of that, but totally incorporating it into my food-life from now on!). In general I don't love feta cheese, but the cucumber salad with feta was amazing too. // In other food news, I'm excited to be "that millennial" doing social media for the new Moxie Cafe here in Santa Maria (facebook, yelp) - stop by and write an honest review! I also backed this awesome project on Kickstarter, a new PRINT magazine called "the Cleaver Quarterly" about real Chinese food. The world so needs this. 

My new favorite store on the interwebs is Orient 499, from which I will probably never buy anything because it's in Beirut and it's pricey. But you should definitely visit and feast your eyeballs. I love their Instagram too. I want it all (clothing and home goods)! 

The artist Robert Jahns makes stunning mash-up photos that give you an idea of what Venice would look like frozen, for example. 

The equally creative Nastya Ptichek takes famous paintings and updates them with a splash of 2014. 

Discouraged by not getting that gig you really wanted? Check out some rejection letters sent to some of the history's most succesful people. I'm not a huge Tim Burton fan, but I love this bit of a letter he got, "Considering that you suffer from a lack of the proper tools and materials, the art is very good."

And one more artist, Bing Wright, has a beautiful series of sunsets in broken mirrors. 

  • Volunteered, consigned and shopped at the semiannual Moo La La boutique, an event at the SM fairgrounds that I LOVE for stocking up on kid stuff at great prices and recycling baby stuff I'm not using anymore. 
  • Bartended (aka, handed out beer and poured wine) my first wedding with my friend Jessa. Newb mistake - mixed too red wines in one glass in an effort to be economical and totally got called out. Oops. 
  • Jonas and Ishmael spent a week in Iowa visiting extended family. I missed them sorely, but enjoyed some time to myself, and Ishmael got to experience snow for the first time! He loved it until he fell in it. My brother-in-law Sky took some great pictures of him on the trip that you can see on my personal Facebook.
  • I attended a wedding for Lissa (a coworker of Jonas') by myself when the boys were gone in Iowa. It was sad to be one of like 3 adults with no date for the couples dance, haha, but I'm glad I got to go, and the bride had the SWEETEST mother-son dance with her young son. 
  • We celebrated Easter with my extended family, good food, and an Easter egg hunt (which was very funny, and I detailed it below in the section about Ishmael). 
  • I traveled to Chicago for a long weekend to visit my friend Emily and her fiancee Gabe, since I won't be able to be in their wedding (5 days prior to my due date). I had a GREAT time with them. Chicago is a beautiful (clean!!!) city with enough cathedrals to keep me in a happy coma for days. I was so proud of traveling from Santa Maria to Chicago and back all by myself (including long-term parking in LA and a bus ride to the airport) but will never fly Spirit airlines again. Funny things I noticed in Chicago that I didn't realize were regional: NO TOILET SEAT COVERS anywhere, but very clean bathrooms, the sticks of butter are shaped differently (longer and thinner), and the drivers are way crazier than in LA but people honk at each other much less. An hour outside the city in Indiana I bought "souvenirs" of spices at an Indian market and $1 kids clothes at Once Upon A Child (why can't there be one near me?). Can't wait to visit again some day. 
  • My brother-in-law Jason and his wife Danielle picked up their son James in Thailand after 2 years of paperwork and waiting. So excited to meet my first nephew soon! 
Ishmael: He is such a pleasure at this age. I spent quite a few days apart from him with all our traveling this month, and it's so sweet that he misses me when I'm gone and is excited to see me when I get home. The first thing he did when he saw me the morning after he and Jonas got home from Iowa was stick out his tongue with me, knowing that I'm the only person who will touch tongues with him. He's a pretty independent little guy, but uses some of that independence to willingly cuddle and interact with us in sweet ways. God forbid you try and force affection on him, though. He walks around on his tip toes frequently, absolutely adores mangoes, and has this adorable "cute act" that he does when he's trying to butter me up to let him play with my phone. I sometimes fall for it. He's getting to the stage where he asks me to read the same book 10 times in a row and I seriously have to find ways to subtly distract him with some other activity after singing "pat-a-cake" over and over and over. He likes to help his dad feed the koi in the yard and they love to get muddy together in the yard too. At Easter, he loved egg hunting with his older second cousins, but as soon as he realized that his eggs had cheerios in them and the other kids had candy, he was not shy about raiding other people's baskets if left unattended. A huge milestone this month is that he's basically potty training himself! I can't figure out how to express how crazy this is to me - he seems to completely "get it" on a level that I was not prepared to give him credit for. I wasn't even attempting to potty train him, really, but he is very interested and is making my lame attempts at remembering to give him the opportunity to use the potty chair into magical moments! There are marshmallow rewards and massive amounts of clapping, so he has figured out (like his good ol' mom, back in the day) how to pee in stages for the maximum marshmallow payout. Baby #2 didn't move much at all while I was traveling, but is back to kicking hard enough to see through my clothes. He challenges my bladder far more than Ishmael did. 

Loved: Having time to work on a painting, HOT weather, my gardenia plant blooming, getting excited about the Bible, meeting my goal for the month with the Pampered Chef (it was down to the wire), getting both a manicure (navy blue) and a professional massage (sorry if this is TMI, but if you've never had your butt massaged, your are missing out) for FREE, and driving cars with no imminent problems (even if it did cost an arm and a leg to get to that point). 

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