Saturday, April 27, 2013

'Twas a Good Week

I don't know about you but I am thankful it's the weekend! I'm also thankful that this weekend isn't quite as full for us as the past few have been because I am one tired mama.

John was out of town this week (and last week) and I do not enjoy solo parenting. I say this all the time, but we are just better together...and we both know it. I have the utmost respect for single parents! 

Here's a few highlights from the week...

I was SUPER proud of Sarah this week for taking huge initiative and responsibility with some school-related stuff. We've been working to that end all year and I think things finally clicked for her and she was able to self-advocate with extremely positive results and affirmation from her teachers. It was definitely a proud parenting moment! 

I was pleasantly surprised on Wednesday with flowers and a gift card for Administrative Professionals Day. This day wasn't even on my radar so that made it even more fun. Fresh flowers are SO cheery.
Maybe one day I'll learn how to take pictures with proper lighting...
 and clear the clutter (and crumbs) off of my kitchen table. Ha!

We finally had a couple of days of spring weather and I was able to get out and hike! I did the Incline with my friend Lisa on Thursday and hiked again yesterday with my friend Heather. Below are some pics from Friday's hike--Columbine Trail in North Cheyenne Canon. I love this trail so much!

 We saw several deer so close to the trail. They were not one bit afraid of us.
We passed a man on our way down and he said, "Hello nature lovers!" as he passed us. That totally made my day. 

On tap for this weekend:
Will's lacrosse game in Denver (I really, really, really love watching lacrosse--such a cool sport!)
Grocery shopping (blech)
A nap or two
A date with my favorite man! 

Hope y'all have a great weekend. Peace out, peeps.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hello, My Name is Meredith

Recently, a friend of mine gave me a really cool book titled The Book of ME: A Do-It Yourself Memoir. The book is filled with questions that you fill in the answers to--some are simple, some are deep, and some are just fun--and the idea is that you're recording your life history and memories. I think it is SO SO cool!

I started filling in blanks in my book a couple of weeks ago and realized that some of this would make good blog fodder along the way. This section is all about my name.

What is your full given name?
Meredith Lee.
Obviously, I left my maiden and married names off of the blog. By the way, does maiden sound like an antiquated word to anyone else besides me?

How was your name chosen?
My parents actually wanted to name me Rebecca, but my great-grandmother did not approve because she had a maid named Rebecca and there was no way I could be named after her african-american maid. Yeah, those were much different times. One grandmother suggested they name me Virginia since that was where my parents lived at the time. I'm kinda glad they nixed that name. After I was born, they decided upon Meredith. My mom went to high school in NM with a girl by that name and always liked it, and I understand there was a character on a popular soap opera at the time (The Edge of Night) with that name as well. They both agreed that it fit me! My middle name, Lee, comes from my mother's maternal grandfather and my dad loved it because he was a big Civil War buff and loved Robert E. Lee.

What do you like to be called?
Meredith, Mer, Mom

What are all the nicknames you have used?
Kiddo (John calls me this--I love it)

How did you get those nicknames?
Mer - My sibling and I have all have long names and our parents really didn't shorten them. I think it was my college roommate who first started calling me Mer--and I loved it! Still do! I figure if you call me Mer then you know me pretty well or are comfortable around me. 

Mer-Babe - I think one of John's friends started referring to me in college as Mer-Babe and it just stuck. 

Kiddo - John alone calls me this. I think it's sweet. And endearing. But he's the only one allowed to call me that. 

Catfish - My dad nicknamed me Catfish because he said I was ornery like a catfish (he was a big fisherman). I did NOT like this nickname growing up. I remember being horrified a time or two while playing softball and hearing him call out "Go Catfish!" from the stands. I had no idea how sweet that memory would be to me now.

Meringue - just a silly thing John calls me because the first three letters are my primary nickname.

AwesomeMER - another silly thing John and I joke about. He'll tell me I'm awesome and I remind him that I am awesoMER. Emphasis on Mer. 

Feredith Mee - My dear friend, Randi, reversed all the first letters of my names to make this funny nickname. It's funnier if you know my maiden name because she'd call me by all three! It caught on and a lot of my high school friends called me that. It still makes me smile.

Have you ever been called by a name that was distasteful or hurtful? 
Ummmmm, yeah. Doesn't feel so great.

If you could choose a different name, what would it be?
I actually really like Meredith, but my other two favorite girl names are Callie and Christin.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SMP 4.24.13 (with recipes!)

SMP = Seven Minute Post

My phone has an annoying habit of autocorrecting my name. MY NAME! I guess I typed it "Metedith" a few times too many because now it defaults to that spelling and autocorrects when I actually type it correctly. OY! I have to pay such close attention to my name when I'm sending email from my phone. Especially work email. I actually had a guy respond to a work email I sent [that slipped through my vigilant eye] and ask if he'd been mispelling my name? Ummmm, that's not awkward now is it? Who can't spell their own name correctly? Evidently, Metedith can't. 

Moving on.

Sunday night we grilled burgers for dinner and John and I had these Smoked Gorgonzola Sliders. They were YUMMO! I also made the grain-free burger buns mentioned in the recipe and they were pretty good too, although everything I make with coconut flour has a slightly coconutty taste. Kinda weird on a burger.

This morning I made some grain-free muffins (recipe below) that were really yummy! They're really similar to the pancakes I've been pushing on y'all but they're not quite as sweet. Very good though. I will definitely make them again.

Grain-Free Almond Butter Muffins 

1/2 cup creamy almond butter (I buy Maranatha from Costco)
1 egg
1/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened, but vanilla would be good too!)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp cinnamon
chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix wet ingredients together (almond butter, milk, egg, honey, vanilla) and stir in baking soda, cinnamon. Stir until combined. Pour about 2 Tbsp into 6 lined muffin tins. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top if desired and bake for 16-18 minutes.
NOTE: This only makes 6 muffins. I'm the only one who eats them in my house (they don't know what they're missing) so this works out nicely...but if you have adventurous eaters, double the recipe.

[I feel like I need to tell y'all that I haven't gone grain-free despite my recipe posting of late. I DO find grains to be troublesome and highly inflammatory for me, but I continue to eat them. In fact, I ate pizza (gluten and dairy--oy!) for dinner last night (and paid a price). I just like finding versions of foods that I enjoy made with ingredients that are easier on my system!]

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stitch Fix

I gotta tell y'all about Stitch Fix!

A couple of months ago I was telling my husband that I have zero sense of style and feel like I wear the same variation of stuff all the time. I'd love to know how to put cute outfits together or feel like I could walk into a store and find the perfect top or pair of pants or accessory but that's just not me. I always gravitate to the same things!

A few days after mentioning this to John, he sent me an email with a link to Stitch Fix. He'd seen somebody mention it on Facebook and he suggested I give it a try...and SO I DID.

Here's the 411--

Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You fill out an online style profile, pay a $20 styling fee, and receive a box of five items that are hand-selected for you based on your style profile. If you like the items they send to you, you purchase/keep them. If not, you ship them back within three days in a pre-paid mailer that comes in your box. If you keep all five items, you get a 25% discount off the entire box. Oh, and your initial $20 styling fee goes toward anything you purchase. 

Sound fun?

I got my box last Thursday and was super excited to open it. It included four tops and a necklace. The items in my box ranged from $48-98. That's kinda steep for me--I'm a bargain girl. BUT I don't mind paying a little more for something fun, unique, and high-quality every once in a while. Stitch Fix lists the average price point as $75 with a fair amount of range within that amount.

I tried everything on the afternoon I received my box and Sarah took pictures for me...please forgive the quality and my desperate need for lipstick. 

Item #1: Orange, asymmetric, belted jacket. $98
I would probably never have picked this out for myself but I really liked this jacket. I almost kept it but  the belt just wasn't working for me. Verdict: returning it. 
Item #2: Striped, sleeveless tank with solid navy back. $58
I liked this top too, but $58 for a tank is a little too steep for me. I thought it would be great with white capris or as a layering piece, but I didn't love it enough to keep it. Verdict: returning it.
Item #3: Silver, hammered triangles necklace. $65
VERY cute necklace. I thought it was really fun and I know I have lots of things I would wear it with, but again $65 is a little more than I'd spend on a necklace. Verdict: returned it.
Item #4: Striped button-up tank $48
I just didn't care much for this top. It was seafoam green and gray stripes with chambray trim and yoke...blech. I'm not a pastel girl. Side note: I NEED a tan! Verdict: returned it.
Item #5: Green button-up top $68
I loved this top the MINUTE I pulled it out of the box. It is completely my style and I love the details like double buttons! It looks a little more blue-ish green in this picture but it's actually a deep emerald color and I love it. Verdict: KEPT IT!
Other information about Stitch Fix:
You can schedule monthly Stitch Fix shipments or you can do a one time fix. Your choice. I might do it again in the future, but for now I'm good!

If you choose to do this, take your time filling out the style profile. Be specific about your tastes, your size, your body shape, your clothing needs, etc. It prompts you for all that information but use the comments! That will help your stylist choose things you will enjoy and that will fit you.

Be patient! I signed up and it took a few weeks for them to schedule my fix. I was notified by email when they were ready to schedule it and I got to select my preferred shipment date. My friend signed up a week or so ago and hers has been scheduled already so I don't know if there's a rhyme or reason to it but just be patient and you'll get yours!

Use this link to sign up for your Stitch Fix. FYI--It's a referral link that gives me credit when you schedule a fix! You're not obligated by any means, but hey, who doesn't like free shopping money? :)
Check out Stitch Fix for more info. Happy styling!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Early Morning Rambling

It's almost 5:30AM here and I've been up for at least an hour and haven't been able to return to sleep. Might as well blog then, eh?

Can I please talk gripe about the weather we're having?
I certainly hope that somewhere in the world people are enjoying spring weather because we are NOT. Will had a lacrosse game Monday afternoon and the weather was m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. Here's my screen shot of local temps...please notice the wind/windchill and feel sorry for me. Ha ha.

It just looks cold, doesn't it? Those boys in shorts were popsicles. Will doesn't usually listen to me when I tell him to wear his running tights under his shorts and to take long-sleeved, non-cotton layers (we constantly go round and round and round about this) but I think he was so miserable at that game he finally "heard" me because he came out of his room dressed appropriately for practice yesterday afternoon when temps/conditions were much the same.

It's been a yucky weather week for sure.

That didn't stop me from hiking yesterday. There weren't many people on the Incline. I think I encountered a total of ten going up and down. This was my shot from the top. It wasn't the nicest day to be outside, but I enjoyed the beauty of the snow and the solitude. #fiveweeksinarow

Today's weather is pretty much exactly like Monday and Tuesday's and we even have the added bonus of a blizzard watch through tomorrow morning! Be so jealous. Dear Spring, feel free to show up any time now. I vowed not to complain about the snow but I don't remember saying I wouldn't complain about the hear me loud and clear that I am ready for WARMTH!!!!

Moving on...

I need a haircut. Badly. My stylist had a baby and is on maternity leave for several more weeks. I have an appointment in early May but it is not soon enough. Until then I will be wearing my hair up because it's pretty much the only way I can stand it right now!

I think I'm lactose intolerant. In case you didn't know, I'm a master at self-diagnosing myself. I've suspected this for a while now and have avoided most dairy for several weeks but I (stupidly) ate a cream-based soup for dinner last night and was still utterly miserable at bedtime. I think it's time to get even more strict with my dairy intake. Or see a doctor. Or buy some enzymes/supplements. I suppose I need to do a little research ala google first.

I'm still doing "7" and we're focusing on spending excess for this two-week period. In the book, Jen H chose only seven places to spend for the month (including groceries, gas, bills, etc). I think I'm going to do that too, but still haven't come up with my seven. I'll be honest...this one scares me.

Alrighty...time to refill my coffee cup (yep, addicted to coffee again after a two-year break) and eat some breakfast (yep, those leftover grain-free pancakes that I can't quit talking about). Happy hump day, friends!

Monday, April 15, 2013

SMP 4.15.13

SMP = Seven Minute Post

WooHoo-it's tax day! Good thing we filed an extension last week because we've been too busy to work on taxes. Actually, we don't even do our own taxes. And for probably the past four of five years we've filed an extension. It might be a tax day miracle if we ever again file in April. Yep, we are THAT family.

I'm excited it's Monday even though it begins another full week. The pace of April always catches me by surprise. I expect May to be busy, but April? I think it's the new May.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I went to a conference this weekend. It was Stasi Eldredge's Becoming Myself conference. The way I found out about it was completely random but I'm a huge fan of hers plus it was local, affordable and my calendar was free so I signed myself up and took a friend with me. It was SO SO SO good, y'all. I'm still processing some of what she said (will be for awhile) but I left with a renewed awareness of truth that affects the way I live and love and hopefully I can flesh that out a bit more when I have more than 7 minutes to post. 

After the conference ended I met my family at church to help package meals for Kids Against Hunger. Our church partnered with this ministry and a huge team of volunteers worked together to pack over eighty boxes of meals to be sent to hungry kids around the world. It was AWESOME and I hope we can do it again next year. And I totally ripped this picture from our church's FB page...the hair nets were NOT awesome but the rest of the experience was.

Speaking of meals, I've made these grain-free pancakes THREE times in the last week. I'm the only one who eats them so I just refrigerate the leftovers and re-heat each morning but they are delicious! You should really try them. I know I linked to that already but they're so good!

Okay...gotta start my busy day. Peace out, peeps.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


This world lost a beautiful soul a few days ago. Brennan Manning, a dearly loved friend of my husband and a spiritual mentor to many is now in heaven with his Abba. 

Brennan inspired me. He didn't have his act together; in fact, he painfully struggled with alcoholism his entire life. But he didn't believe that for God to love and accept and even to use him that he had to have things all tidied up. He simply believed that God loved him as he was, not as he should be. And he believed it deeply and fiercely!

I attended a conference this weekend that reiterated that message of God's unconditional love and acceptance of us (grace!) to my weary heart. Ironic? I don't think so. I think God works like that. 

If you have a few minutes to watch this short video, I think you will be blessed by Brennan's words. Like I said, he believed them fiercely...and my hope and prayer is that you and I will too.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

From Short to Shorter (and other happy stuff!)

Know what makes me crazy-happy? SNOW DAYS! Our district closed schools today because of blizzard conditions and just like that, my short week became even shorter! I mentioned yesterday that our weekend was very busy. I felt like I just moved from one thing to the next at the speed of light so this snow day feels like a true gift allowing our family to catch their breath a bit. Another chance for Sabbath if you will. John had already planned to work from home today so he's here with us today and I'm thankful!

Other happy stuff...

I keep forgetting to mention that I got my mammogram results back and everything looked good. I didn't get called back this year. Hooray! Pretty sure I did a happy dance when I opened the letter with that great news.

Y'all, I have some really sweet friends. I've stepped away from some relationships over the past few years that weren't healthy or life-giving for me and as hard as that was, it has made me appreciate those who have remained in my life even more. I feel very blessed and grateful for my friends!

One of my sweet friends brought me some Trader Joe's loot from her spring break trip to New Mexico. I texted her last night and told her that if today was a snow day I was totally going to make a TJs vanilla cake. Winning! Makes me smile to open my pantry and see TJs stuff in there. Two Colorado locations should be opening within the year. Heaven. 

I got a solo-hike in yesterday before this crazy blizzard weather blew in. It was a good day for me--just an opportunity to be alone and think/pray/process while surrounded by beauty--it was a gift I gave to myself. And it usually ends up being a gift that "keeps on giving" because I return home with a clear heart and mind and am able to be more present with my peeps. That's happy heart stuff right there!
I slept until 8:15 this morning! That makes me so happy. My body needed some rest. I'm going to try making these almond butter pancakes here in a bit and then trek out in the blizzard to keep a lunch date with a friend. Happy Tuesday, peeps.
UPDATE: Those pancakes were AMAZING! That recipe is a keeper!!!

Monday, April 08, 2013

SMP 4.8.13 (with pictures!)

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Good Monday morning!

Hope you all had a nice weekend. Ours was BUSY. I say all the time that I don't like that sort of pace on weekends but honestly, sometimes as hard as we try it can't be avoided.

Friday night and Saturday, John and I attended a marriage conference. SO good. John is collaborating with the speakers on a book and it's important for him to hear the material they're presenting in their words/their voice and so I got to tag along because duh--it's about marriage! It's the same one we went to in February but this one had a different focus--communication--and while I think John and I are good communicators, I actually learned a few things that I want to work on improving. Even after almost twenty-three years of marriage, we're still learning....

Will also had a lacrosse game (they won!) and Abbey had two parties to go to. One was a birthday party and the other one was a really fun direct sales party--Origami Owl. CUTE stuff. Kinda pricey for kids but she used some of her birthday money to build a necklace. She's working on a group project for science fair and we had to get that finished up for later this week. Whew! It was just a full weekend which happens to be sandwiched in between two very busy weeks. I'm teetering on the edge of complaining. Not there yet, but inching closer while trying to stay positive.

Here are a bunch of pics from my phone that I don't think I've posted anywhere. MOM, these are for you! (Smile!)
Sarah got glasses last month--now ALL FIVE of us are bespectacled. She wanted "nerd" glasses. They're actually really cute on her but she doesn't wear too often. Grrrrrr.
 The matching outfits for Abbey and her doll were birthday gifts. They're so cute!
 I cracked up last weekend when I realized John and Will were BOTH wearing gingham shirts and khaki shorts on the same day. Handsome men aren't they? the car...the place I spend an obscene number of hours each week. I'm actually thankful I get to be the one driving them around. Sometimes. 


Friday, April 05, 2013

April Currents

Current Reading: My friend loaned me The Red Tent and I finished that up last week. I've been wanting to read it for years and it was very good. My plate is about to get really full and I don't anticipate much extra reading time until summer so I'm going to start a summer reading list. Any suggestions for me?

Current Playlist: I constantly waffle back and forth between Chris Tomlin (loving his newest album) and my crazy, eclectic mix of Katy Perry, Coldplay, Glee, Carrie Underwood, Lady GaGa, Queen, Bon Jovi, Jason Mraz, and more. I'm all. over. the. place. with my music.

Current Color: Spring colors are making me happy these days, but especially loving spring green! 

Current Drink: Water. And coffee in the mornings. I'm blaming John for getting me hooked on coffee again.

Current Food: I'm craving gazpacho. JDB, if you should read this, I think we need to plan a lunch date soon to that place that serves our favorite gazpacho on their beautiful patio! 

Current Favorite Favorite: I bought a new Camelbak last week for $6--thanks to amazing sale + our nice REI dividend. SCORE! I've always used my kids' hand me down Camelbaks so I'm super happy to have my very own.

Current Wish List: A new purse--something springy and fun.

Current Needs: I need to find some time to clean my house! 

Current Triumph: I've kept my laundry caught up all week--that's something, right? Oh, and three Incline ascents in the last three weeks. That's a triumph! You can't really read the words in the pic below but I think it's like 2610 steps from top to bottom of the Incline. This is the last step at the top.

Current Annoyance: People who try way too hard to make people like them. And disrespect. And irresponsibility. It's been a rough parenting week in regard to those last two things.

Current Indulgence: I can't think of anything! Maybe television?
Side note: I try super hard to never mention any kind of food as an indulgence because I don't believe in labeling certain food(s) as "naughty".  I have two daughters and I try to be very careful of what I put into their minds in regard to food and a healthy body image. I have really strong feelings on this; perhaps I will post a full-fledged rant another day. Lucky you. 

Current Mood: Good! Happy! Ready for the day and for the weekend, despite the complete and utter craziness that is about to ensue. 

Current Blessing: Spring weather on tap today. And of course THESE people...
(This pic was from Easter Sunday!)

Current outfit: I'm outfitted for a morning hike!

Current Excitement: I'm hiking with my beautiful red-headed friend today! I get to hang with John for some fun stuff this weekend. A new season of Mad Men starts Sunday! Next week is a short week filled with some fun friend stuff AND I'm going to a conference next weekend that I'm really excited about. I have LOTS I'm looking forward to!

Current Project: Ugh. Abbey has two big school projects due next week and those deadlines are hanging over my head so I guess those are also "my" projects now too. Seven more weeks of school. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

SMP (The Smile Edition)

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Hola, peeps. Long time, no posting, huh?

I only have a few minutes this morning before meetings and lists demand my attention but wanted to share a few things that might make you smile.

First, the eBay purchase I alluded to recently. Yeah, I was the winner of these awesome jeans.
I frequently buy jeans on eBay because 1. I like designer jeans and 2. I do NOT like designer jeans' price tags. Imagine my delight when I found one of my favorite brands/fit in my size for the low, low price of $4.99. Yeah. Awesome until I won and realized this is what I'd bought. Note to self: READ the auction description THOROUGHLY next time. 

Last week I made my bi-monthly trip to the grocery store and there was a lady trying my patience in the freezer aisle. She was standing in front of the Cool Whip display forEVER trying to decide (I guess?) if she wanted regular, fat-free, sugar-free, or extra creamy. Seriously, y'all. She was there for a good 2-3 minutes with her back-side to me while I stood there (im)patiently waiting to reach in and grab a tub of Cool Whip for our Easter dessert. I parked my cart to the side of the aisle and waited...and waited...and waited. I probably also crossed my arms and tapped my foot and rolled my eyes. Oh wait, I DID roll my eyes at a man who made eye contact with me as came strolling down the aisle. I recognized him from church and smiled as I rolled my eyes and looked over at the molasses-like lady. He stared blankly back. When he approached her, he slowed down and she, having FINALLY made her selection,  turned and put her tub of Cool Whip IN HIS CART. Yep, it was his wife. Yep, he totally saw me roll my eyes at her. Yep, I was humiliated. I experienced that humiliation all over again when they sat directly in front of me at church on Easter Sunday. Shamed to the bone I tell ya. Never again will I roll my eyes about having to wait on slow folks at the grocery store. Never, never, never.

Hopefully this stuff only happens to ME! Hopefully...