Sunday, August 30, 2015

The last weekend in August

Greetings! Hope everyone had a great last weekend of August. I know we're talking pumpkin spice and I'm not saying I won't partake, but I do love summer and was so glad my little corner of the world was blessed with a couple gorgeous sunny days after a rainy week. For once, the weather on the weekend was better than during the week! Isn't it always the reverse... Sunny days while you're working and then pouring rain to spoil your Saturday picnic plans?

Without further ado, Here's a little rundown of the weekend.

Shoulda worn this on the 4th of July!

On Saturday morning, we went to the library. Do you use the library? I'm always surprised by people who don't use the library. Jonathan didn't ever use the library until we met. (Which is why we have So. Many. Books). I only buy my very favorite books, so most everything else comes from the library. It's also helpful to rotate Swede's books every couple weeks so I don't die of overdose from reading Busy Truck for the hundredth time.

Now we're reading Bear in a Square for the hundredth time

Then we headed to the park. Swede is such a daredevil climber on the jungle gym! And she loves running through the grass.

In the afternoon I got a pedicure, which was heavenly. I went for a pretty blue-green color instead of my standard red/pink hue, but was unable to get a photo that doesn't look... weird. How does anyone take photos of their feet that look normal? Tracy at Shutterbean does it so well in her Everyday Life posts.

Then, I made a pie!

Ohio Lemon Pie a la mode

I've wanted to try this pie for YEARS. The recipe is from an old-school edition of The Joy of Cooking. It sounds a little crazy. You grate the zest from a couple lemons, slice them super thin, mix them with a LOT of sugar, and let it sit for 24 hours. Then bake into a pie crust with some eggs, butter, and flour. Unfortunately - It was just OK. I'd rather have a lemon bar or these fabulous lemon cookies from How Sweet Eats.

On Sunday, I went on a bike ride on the river trail with Swede while Jonathan ran.

During nap time, I made my first Quiet Book page!

It's a little house puzzle where you match the shapes to the outlines. I feel like the upper right corner looks empty... Should I add a cloud?

Currently reading: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. My Paris-obsessed friend Chesleigh gave me this book for my birthday.

Paris in Colorado via Chesleigh (She gave me the mug too)!

Unfortunately, I'm not loving the book. The bookshop in question is a "Literary Apothecary" on a barge moored on the Seine that "prescribes" books to cure the reader. It's a great idea, but the characters seem a little flat. Like they are stereotypes of themselves. They don't talk or act like real people. I'm only a third of the way in so we'll see if it picks up.

Hope you had a great last weekend in August... What was the best part?

And now - Here's to September! Pumpkin spice all the things.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thoughts on being pregnant - 25 weeks

So, I'm pregnant! Maybe you already knew that.

I'm due December 10th, and we're having a boy! Swede was born on November 18th - She'll be two this year. So we have a Thanksgiving baby, and now we're having a Christmas baby. The holidays will be BUSY from here on out!

Why, yes, I DO take the most awkward selfies ever
This pregnancy has been pretty similar to when I was pregnant with Swede. The first trimester was dominated by overwhelming fatigue and permanent low-grade nausea.

I was pretty sure I was pregnant before I tested because I noticed an immediate decrease in running stamina and speed. This happened with Swede too. But then I couldn't understand WHY was I suddenly so slow?!? This time I thought (hoped) I knew what it meant. And I was right!

One thing very different about this pregnancy is that we knew he's a boy! We didn't find out with Swede. I'm glad because A) All our newborn clothing and gear is gender-neutral, so we don't have to buy anything new right away, and B) It was really special when she was born. But knowing this one is a boy has been special in different ways. When I was pregnant with Swede, I was always thinking, "Who ARE you?" and now I'm thinking, "Of course - You're YOU." Like I know him a little already.

I bought Swede this "big sister" t-shirt with the plan of taking a photo to use as an announcement. On my first photo shoot attempt, this is the best one I got:

Hopefully she comes around by the time he's born

I have to admit, and I'm more honest about it this time around, that I don't love being pregnant. I feel like my body is so big and awkward and unwieldy. I miss being able to exercise at high intensity (and the accompanying endorphins). I'd like to be able to tie my shoes, shave my legs, roll over in bed, pick up Swede, without it being a big production. I miss being able to fit into my favorite clothes. Looking over this list, each item on its own is minor, but adds up to a general level of discomfort that just gets more difficult for me over time. It's all worth it - Hands down, No question - And I am beyond grateful that I've been twice-blessed, especially considering how many people I know struggling with infertility and miscarriage, but I think being pregnant is really hard.

However, after reading this blog post by Marathon Momma, I am trying to embrace this time a little more. We're only planning on having two children, so this will be (most likely) the last time I'm pregnant. It's really a short time in the grand scheme of life. I'll be running again before I know it, and will (hopefully) be a runner until I'm old and gray, but I won't ever get back this time with my little ones. So - Here's to being grateful, and to celebrating the next few months instead of wishing them over.

Here are some FUN things I'm looking forward to in the next 15(ish) weeks:
1) Starting a 10-week prenatal yoga series on Tuesday
2) One last work/fun trip to Denver in October
3) Swede's 2nd birthday in November
4) Getting all my Christmas presents bought and wrapped by December 1 (Ha!)
5) Meeting my little boy for the first time

And now it's on to the weekend! Hope you all have fun plans.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Gumball!

Let me tell you about Gumball. My beloved puppy is FOUR years old today.

I adopted Gumball from the Boulder Humane Society when she was 10 weeks old. I had been searching for months for a rescue dachshund, but it's harder than you'd think to rescue a dog! I applied for several dogs but was denied because I lived in an apartment without a fenced yard at the time and worked away from home every day. I had my heart set on a dachshund (mix), although I did have a meet-and-greet with a sweet bloodhound named Duke. Then one day a litter of eight puppies was sent up to Boulder from Durango! Ironic that GB was born in Durango and that's where we live now. The puppies were named on the website in Spanish numbers Uno through Ocho. GB was Siete. Lucky #7. I left work early and picked her up that same day.

I am Gumball's favorite person in the whole world! It feels nice.

I call her mostly Gumball, GB, Gummy Bear, Gummers, or Beloved Puppy. We're big on nicknames in this family.

August 26th is also National Dog Day!

She's a very solid 22.5 pounds. Anyone new who happens to pick her up comments on how "dense" she is. Dachshunds normally come in "miniature" and "standard" size. I like to say GB is a "jumbo."

Look how cute she was as a tiny puppy! Although that nice rug she's sitting on? Chewed. To. Pieces.

She's not perfect. She barks at strangers. She's terrified of thunder and car rides. She's not the big sister to Swede that I hoped for. But I sure do love her!

This is probably the closest they've ever been

This shirt arrived in the mail just in time for GB's birthday! I saw it in the I Heart Dogs shop and couldn't resist!

Currently we live in a neighborhood outside of town that includes several miles of community hiking trails. Gumball has so much fun exploring on our daily walk. I love watching her run super fast. I call it "free range Gumball." She looks so happy! It reminds me of a poem from Mary Oliver's book, Dog Songs:

You may not agree, and you may not care, but
if you are holding this book you should know
that of all the sights I love in the world-
and there are plenty-very near the top of
the list is this one: dogs without leashes.

Happy Birthday GB! Here's to many more.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekend [Aug 22-23, 2015]

Why does the weekend always go by so fast?

On Saturday morning I went on a bike ride with my mom and Swede. There is a nice bike path that goes along the Animas River through Durango.

Swede hasn't picked up on how to smile in photos yet

One week ago the river was a nasty mustard yellow color due to the accidental release of millions of gallons of contaminated water from an old mine near Silverton. The cleanup is still in process along the Animas through Durango and south into the New Mexico, but at least the river looks back to normal and is open for business again. 

On Saturday afternoon, Swede spent time with her grandparents while Jonathan and I had an early dinner at Steamworks Brewing Company.

We split the spinach-artichoke-cheese dip and the Cajun popcorn shrimp and this amazing "Colorado" cheesesteak sandwich! I'm not sure what made it different than a traditional Philly cheesesteak, but it was delicious.

Tasted better than it looks!

On Sunday morning we went to a family get-together with Jonathan's extended family. His aunts/uncles/cousins live on the opposite side of the county, which is a farther trek than you'd think, so we don't see them much. I was hoping to get some nice photos of the whole family but only ended up with these two:

Seriously, kid, Would it kill ya to smile just once???

We had some complications during nap time on Sunday so I wasn't able to get started on my "quiet book" project as planned. I have all my supplies and picked out the first page I'm going to try, but that's as far as I got before Swede woke up. I'm not very artistic and have trouble finding time for projects like the one (I'd usually rather read in my free time) but I've wanted to try making one these books for a while. Inspiration here and here! I'll keep you posted how it turns out!

Currently reading: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I can't resist books about books! For some reason I had expected it to be more serious. Secret bookstore society trying to find the key to immortality... How could that not be serious? It's pretty light and quick though. Also, the cover glows in the dark!

Back to the salt mine tomorrow... Hope you had a fun weekend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trip to Denver [August 2015]

The best thing about my bi-monthly trip to Denver for work is that I can also visit with my friends. I lived in Denver for 5+ years (January 2009 to April 2014) and what I miss most, by far, is being able to spend time with my friends. So it's great to have a built-in reason to catch up every couple months.

I arrived on Sunday and met Laura and Chesleigh at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

It was so pretty! Dahlias are my favorite.

Every summer there is a different art installation. This year it was these neat driftwood-inspired (most were actually cast in bronze for longevity) horses by Deborah Butterfield.

There was also quite the hubbub about a corpse flower which I just missed seeing (and smelling!) in bloom. The plant only blooms once every several years, and this is the first one to do so in the Rocky Mountain region. Apparently it smells like rotten meat. I'm not sure if I'm not lucky that I missed the actual bloom!

We had dinner at the outdoor cafĂ© you can see at the far end of the water lily pond.

On Monday after work I met up with Tyffani, Ashley, and Gabbie at Lala's. It was extra fun because Ashley is newly engaged! And Tyffani is having a baby any day now! We split the crispy Brussels sprouts (always a favorite) and I had the burrata with cherry tomatoes, balsamic reduction, and flatbread. I regret that I didn't take any photos! But sometimes I think you have to put the camera away and just enjoy the moment.

On Tuesday for lunch I went to Hapa with a big group of co-workers. They have two rolls made with cooked fish so I was able to indulge my sushi craving while pregnant!

I flew home Tuesday night. Before takeoff the flight attendant warned us to expect "extreme turbulence" but luckily it was one of the smoothest flights I've been on!

Glad to be home with my loved ones! I think Gumball missed me the most. :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Me x 4 - Quiz

I love doing surveys and quizzes like this one. I've seen it on a couple blogs and thought it would be fun to do myself!

Four Names I'm called (other than my real name):
Noodle, Kel, Kelly Pickle, Mama

Four Jobs I've had:
CPA, Barista, ESL teacher (in France), and I worked at Wendy's in high school

Four Books I'd recommend:
Pride and Prejudice
The Night Circus
Peace Like a River
The Art of Racing in the Rain

Four Places I've lived:
Denver, Orlando, Boise, San Diego

Four Places I've been:
Austria, Amsterdam, Paris, Prague (Alliteration is fun!)

Four Places I'd rather be:
At the beach, In a cabin in the woods, DisneyWorld, Paris

Four Things I don't eat:
Red onions are the only food I really hate

Four of my Favorite Foods:
Ice cream, Pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, Pizza, a really good Steak

Four TV Shows I watch:
Brooklyn 99, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Downton Abbey

Four Things I'm looking forward to:
Having Baby #2 in December!
Visiting with my friends in Denver this week
Running another half (or possibly full!) marathon
My next trip to Europe for the hubs' 40th bday (in 2018... We plan ahead)

Four Things I'm always saying:
Beep Beep
That's what I call using your noodle
It'll all get done
I love you with all my heart (to Swede before bed every night)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Five Favorites - August 2015

1) Swede! I know this is obvious... But I love this kiddo so much! I think she is the cutest, sweetest, funniest, all-around bestest little person that ever was, and I love being her mama more than anything. (Although it's often times the hardest thing ever too)!

2) Let's talk books!  I am a serious bookworm. I love reading. I love books. Reading is the #1 thing that I do with my free time, and I get a little twitchy if I'm don't get enough time to read. The latest book I read (and loved!) was Station Eleven. I'd heard about this book for a while but hesitated to read it because apocalypse/dystopian stories aren't really my cup of tea. But it was excellent. Very well written. And it really made me think about the privileges of the world we live in and various "what-if" scenarios. Currently I'm re-reading The Rosie Project for my new book club. (<-- Our second meeting is next Tuesday; I'm so thrilled to be in a book club again). So far it's just as delightful as the first time around two years ago.

3) This cake:

And this dog, obviously, who is quite disappointed about the lack of cake in her life. Many years ago - I can't quite face telling you how many - I spent the summer after College Part 1 working at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch. I waited tables in the hotel restaurant with occasional shifts in housekeeping. My very favorite dessert was this amazing dense white cake with poppy seeds and cream cheese frosting. I finagled the recipe from the baker but thought I had lost it until last week. (It turned out my mom had it all along). I can't tell you how many times I've thought of this cake over the years, and unlike so many things, it was JUST AS GOOD as I remembered it.

4) ALL THE COFFEE. Not really. I have a very strict rule for myself that I can have either 1 latte or 2 cups of black tea in the morning. Usually I go for the latte, although I do love this tea. My husband bought me an espresso machine for my birthday a few years ago. Seriously, one of the best presents I've ever received. I do so love my morning latte. The first sip... is so heavenly. Every time.

5) I've been wearing this necklace that Swede "made" for me for my birthday pretty much nonstop the past two weeks. My mom took her to the bead shop in town. I don't know how much help/input Swede actually was in the bead selection and necklace making process, but it's my first gift "from" my daughter, and I love it. I love the colors too.

The end! What are your favorites this month???

Monday, August 10, 2015


Hey, I'm Noodle!

I live in a small town in Colorado near the Four Corners with...

My husband, Jonathan:

My daughter, Swede:

And my dog, Gumball:

I've been reading blogs for years.

Now it's time to start one of my own!

Stay tuned. :-)