Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas in November

For reasons that I am not free to share in this public forum, BJ and I have had a difficult, stressful, sad November. While those in our immediate family are healthy and fine (including little George), things in the world as we know it are not as they should be. Consequently, we have had bouts of tears and grief daily, and we also have the sad understanding that it is only to get worse for some time. Learning about the OSU plane crash on Friday morning was simply the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Yesterday morning we woke up needing a plan.

That's when BJ put on the new "She & Him" Christmas album and announced that the Christmas season is coming early to our family this year. Never in our eight years of marriage have BJ and I partaken in any kind of Christmas festivities before Thanksgiving, instead making ourselves wait until the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving to officially begin the greatest season of all. Right now we have a different perspective on life though, and we figure that we ought to seize the days we have and enjoy them. If that means letting ourselves look ahead to Christmas fun five days early, so be it. So yesterday we listened to Christmas music, and when the three of us went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner, I splurged and ordered a seasonal Peppermint Chocolate shake. This morning Silas and I made a trip to Target and perused every aisle of the gaudy but exciting Christmas department, although we did not make any purchases (yet!). I sang Christmas songs to him while we scooted the cart around and he happily pointed out trees, lights, and Elmo ornaments. And tonight we have plans with BJ's parents to indulge in Mexican food and then spend an evening in the Yukon park looking at their awesome light displays.

We are realistic and know that this by no means heals our heavy hearts. However, this is one coping mechanism that our little family of three has chosen to employ during a difficult time, and sometimes that's what happens in life: you can't control the things that suck, but you often have the ability to control SOMETHING. And also, since I control this blog, I am posting pictures that make me happy. You may look at them or not. =)

Take care, friends.

Silas happily sporting a foil hat.

Tex in his usual positions.

Silas and me one year ago.

 Learning about zoo animals on Friday with our friend Vicky.

Keeping warm at the zoo.

Recuperating from the zoo...

'Cooking' in the kitchen this morning while we made cereal, waffles, and coffee. =)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good Stuff

I wasn't sure what to title this post because it covers ground on a couple of topics, but because the topics are fun, there you go. Good stuff. First off, some good friends of ours had a baby last week, so we made a road trip to western Oklahoma to visit them and meet Baby Roxie. She is adorable and good times were had yesterday. Roxie's older brother Miles is a playmate of Silas', and also the same boy that I knitted the OU scarf for. We were able to get the boys together to show off their college scarves, but the picture is certainly sub-par. I had envisioned an adorable twosome with arms around each others' shoulders, grinning for the camera. What we really had were two cranky toddlers who were enthralled with their "prizes," which were little bowls of M&M's to make them sit still momentarily. Ah vell. Here are the Bedlam Boys (in case you're not from Oklahoma, the rivalry between OSU and OU is called Bedlam):

The second topic of this post is pomegranates. Oh people, let me tell you how I love fresh pomegranates in the fall. In my book, these delicious fruit seeds are rivaled in taste only by fresh pineapples. I have noticed over my adult years that when I talk about pomegranates or eat the seeds in public, people typically have no idea what they are. I thought I'd spend a short time discussing their goodness and how best to prepare the fruit. The pomegranate itself looks like this in your produce aisle:

When you cut it open, you'll find that it has lots of seeds inside that resemble red corn kernels. The seeds are the edible part of the fruit, while the skin and the coarse white bits that hold them in place are not.
Getting the seeds out can be a laborious and quite messy process, but BJ and I have found a method that cuts down on both of these problems. Start by quartering the pomegranate, and be careful when doing so because the red juices really will spill onto the cutting board. Wear a crappy shirt or an apron just in case.

After you've cut into it, work with one quarter at a time. I put a mixing bowl in the sink and fill it with cold water. Then, take a wedge of the fruit, hold it in your hands underwater in the bowl and begin digging the seeds out. Some of the seeds will want to cling to the white part, but most will fall straight to the bottom of the mixing bowl while the whites pieces that you don't want will float to the top. Separating it can take a little bit of time but it is worth it! Once you have all the seeds out, just start skimming the floating white bits out of the water and into the sink to discard. Dump the seeds and water into a strainer to lose the water, and pick through the seeds to get out any major bits of white stuff that you missed. Then, grab a spoon and dig in!

This weekend we have been so busy with cleaning out the office, which is officially an empty room now! It won't be long and it will be Silas' big boy room. We also watched good college football, made and enjoyed a delicious eggnog recipe by Alton Brown, and sold a bunch of things on craigslist and Ebay. I am feeling pretty good about us right now!

Monday, November 7, 2011


For those of you who are not local friends, you may or may not have heard that Oklahoma has had a series of earthquakes the past couple of days. The epicenter for these earthquakes was a little town named Sparks, Oklahoma, which (according to Google Maps) is 56 miles from where we live. I would certainly not describe our experience as dramatic, but it is fair to say that we were shaken up (pun fully intended)!

On Friday night BJ and I both came down with the dreaded GI bug that seems to be getting passed around telepathically around here. Silas contracted it more than a week ago, but BJ and I had remained unscathed so we had hoped that it would pass us by. Not to be, however. Eight days later we were both sick with it, but at least it wasn't long-lasting or ridiculously hideous, as some GI bugs tend to be. On Friday night BJ and I slept in separate rooms (because of the illness), and at 2:13AM I woke up to experience the first earthquake but BJ did not. This one registered as a 4.7 on the Richter Scale and succeeded to shake our walls and rattle all of our doors. Tex and I both flew up to sitting positions, but once it was done ten seconds later I was too weak to investigate and thus went back to sleep. BJ and I met in the kitchen at 5AM that morning and looked on the internet to confirm that it was an earthquake, but he had not felt it.

Saturday was our recovery day, and we spent the entirety of it team-working with Silas, eating chicken noodle soup, and lying in the living room watching endless football. Seriously, College Game Day was on in the morning and football did not go off until the conclusion of the OSU game at 10:45 that night. (As a brief aside, the Cowboys pulled off an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. The urgency of the game zapped nearly every ounce of strength I thought I had until...)


At 10:53PM, BJ and I both (still sitting on the couch of course) felt the first shakings and heard those first rumblings, and we both just looked at each other. My thought process to him, Marshall- and Lily-style, was "See? This is what it was like last night." We both seemed to think it was cool. For a few seconds. And then it didn't stop. In fact, not only did the shaking not stop, it began intensifying and getting louder. Light fixtures were swinging and the ground was most definitely shaking beneath our feet. It's safe to say that we were both scared at this point and I shouted, "Silas!" as the responsible mother I try to be. 28 weeks pregnant, I'm pretty sure I leapt over the arm of the couch (an unwise move, as it would prove to be once adrenaline had worn off) and ran across the house followed by a frantic Tex back to Silas' room. The earthquake was most intense at this point and I remember feeling the ground shaking under me as I ran, and once I threw open Silas' door, well, he was sleeping peacefully in his crib. There was actually a smile on his cute little face. I stood over him for a few seconds ready to grab him, but the earthquake started dying down. Since it was far less intense, I jogged back into the living room where BJ was and we both stood there, and I stupidly said, "It's still shaking!" And then it stopped.

And that is our earthquake experience, friends. Quite likely the largest earthquake our family will ever experience, as it was the largest in Oklahoma history: 5.6 on the Richter Scale. No damage, no injuries (minus my ridiculous pregnant-woman soreness within three minutes of the earthquake's conclusion). Just a scare and some phone calls to family members while we continued to watch our light fixtures swinging about for minutes after it all ended.

This photo sums it all up nicely. Enjoy your day, friends!