Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm doing us a favor.

One of my favorite things about any holiday is buying things/especially candy, on clearance the week after. I resisted buying a lot of candy for our baskets, in hopes of buying more after the fact. I have been a little busy, but no too busy to buy my favorite little Cadbury eggs, etc. I may still go, but am sitting on the fence. Maybe it's for the best? But there are just shelves filled with delicious Easter candy at 75% off. If I keep writing, I'll begin salivating, making it hard to keep this decision of bypassing the tempting tradition. I think our bodies will thank us if I stay strong.


We have yet to get the internet in our apartment. It is quite overwhelming trying to catch up when you only go online twice a week, but I'll survive. KC was great about calling and having it set up, but apparently some tenants from a while ago didn't pay so we have to send a copy of our lease agreement for them to believe it wasn't us, prolonging the whole ordeal. I'm going to do a lot of back tracking, so be prepared. 

As much as I hate to admit it, it's not as bad as I thought. But that's probably because I know it's coming back soon. I can't count how many times I would've reached for my computer, but right now have no reason to. It's a nice break, but it will sure be great to be back to normal. 

Btw, my brother Drew started a blog. It should be pretty interesting. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Well we are between internet companies right now, so while I am babysitting I thought I just put in a note to say that we will be back and running soon. We had a very busy and eventful Easter Weekend that I'd love to document. Soon enough.  I might be able to survive.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Snow snow, go away. Come again another day.

No, it is not snowing here (good thing because I'm camping out tonight-more later), but watching the news this morning, I remember hearing about a huge snow storm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was thinking, "I bet Drew is Happy to get out of there." Well, he didn't. His flight was canceled, and in turn, all of his welcome home parties and festivities. He was able to call my mom and tell her he might not even be home until Sunday. I've heard Elise is slightly distraught--well, more like extremely distraught.

Today is the Day!!

At long last, Drew is coming home. It makes sense since we left only a few days after KC and I got married, but it still feels like he left only yesterday. But we've each been tracking the days of our exciting milestones together. (He was really good at remembering to send us anniversary cards.) He is flying home to Utah from his Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hmong speaking mission this very day. He has been the most faithful letter writer and I really feel that our relationship has become closer without hardly any phone calls or face to face contact. Drew is such a great person to go to when you need to vent. He's so understanding and has been through a lot of hard things in his life. He is the perfect example of how to grow through them and become stronger. I can't wait to hear more about his relationship with the Lord and how he has grown even more.

Lili has been doing "Sibling Chronicles" on her blog in the last little while and has lately covered Drew. They have a very weirdly special and sweet relationship that really makes me laugh. You'll have to read it if you really want an in depth look into their little kinship, but beware. Although not to their extent. I always felt Drew and I have a close relationship. Probably because we would always fight as kids. I just feel like we have lots of inside jokes and could just mention a few and laugh for hours on end. He must just know how to make any situation fun, because I'm sure a lot of people see this in him too.

I'm sad to not be able to give him the hugest huge of all time today when we arrives, but soon enough we'll be at Elise's wedding for the big reunion. And maybe he'll make a trip here too. I think that is what we are planning for him. Like Cami said in her blog, and I've been saying since the blogs have started, they are a great way to him to catch up on what's been going on in all of our worlds at his own pace, should he so desire. That way we are not all bombarding him with pictures and conversations for all the fun, or just regular things that have happened in our lives that we didn't want to bore him with in the letters we sent. He can leisurely browse through the hundreds of posts. Think of it: Julia was born, Lili got engaged, Mom went back to school, Matt and Courtney lived in Maryland, Amber's and Cami's kids have grown like weeds, and... he can even see what I have made for dinner last weekend (alright, nothing much has changed with us, but I know he'll appreciate this post). Anyway, it is a great way to catch him up and I can't wait for him to start one of his own so I can hear his words of wisdom.

I am awaiting your call Drew! I love you!

(I have been trying tirelessly to post a song that Drew and I recorded together, but I am not good at that kind of stuff. If anyone wants to help me get a song from itunes to my blog, let me know. )

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dinner Swtich

I while ago I signed up on both the Elder's and the Sister's meal calendars that make their way around the church every Sunday. We had the Elders over on Monday ,a delightful evening, and were planning to have the sisters on Wednesday. I wanted to get it all done in one week. So I grocery shopped with a specific meal in mind and got prepared to make a meal for the five of us (the sisters are a trio right now). I hadn't heard from them and they usually call the night before, so I called them a couple hours before their somewhat expected arrival, left a message and went ahead and cooked (I'd rather be safe than sorry). I even made a dessert with the knowledge that there would be several people to eat it. I finished the cooking leaving the finishing touches for when I found out what was going on. I was cleaning up the mess, and got a call saying that they were eating somewhere else tonight. How could this be? I was very methodical about the days I chose and was not mistaken that they were in fact supposed to eat with us. She told me that they lost the meal calendar from before and were very apologetic. I wasn't at church on Sunday feeling a little under the weather, so maybe the announced it there and I didn't know. But I'm doubting that and I think they just thought no one remembers until they call them the night before to ask what time to come. Not me. I live by my calendar and this was a big mark on it. Some of us like to be organized and remember our obligations in advance so it would've been nice to know that I had a night off, instead of planning and preparing a meal for a small crowd. I suppose the important thing is that they eat (because heaven forbid they feed themselves). To be honest I'm always a little reluctant to sign up anyway. The ward makes us all feel so obligated to fill up every empty space, like it's an assignment. All that being said, we do have very sweet missionaries in our ward, and I'm am happy they they are here serving the lord. The mix-up wasn't their fault so I'm not annoyed with them at all. I just don't get the whole dinner calendar thing. It's a little weird to me. I think they are eating quite well. Maybe I'll send around a dinner calendar for us to eat. I wonder how it would go over. Not quite the same I guess. I don't mean to sound bitter, if that's what it sounds like.

Anyway, I tried to make the best of the situation by calling my friend Jan down the street, who I babysit for and asked it we could come over and bring dinner. She hadn't started dinner yet and was delighted. Her husband wasn't going to be home until later, and her friend was visiting from out of town. We brought over all the food, and had a great time talking and laughing for a few hours. We have been meaning to do dinner for a while, and realized that impromptu dinners are the only thing that works for two conflicting schedules, so it was perfect. And I got to play with the kids off the clock, making it a little more fun for some reason. KC was nice to put up with moments of girl talk (ANTM, Real Housewives of NYC-we were all embarrassed to admit we have watched it), but the conversation also went where he could contribute. A great time, and a perfect use for the meal I prepared. Check our EE soon for details.

My opinion of Kelly Pickler's performance last night.

If she can be famous for her voice, anyone can. Maybe she gives Kristy Lee Cook hope.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Kissiversary!

I like St. Patrick's day alright. It's nothing too exciting unless you are in elementary school and you get green frosted sugar cookies, and green punch or something. But I have found that it is fun for me for a few reasons:First of all, it is the anniversary of KC's and my first kiss, and dtr. We can all assume that the kissing didn't stop there. This is the 3rd anniversary of the blessed event. I told the whole story previously, so I won't rewrite it all to keep from being redundant.

The next reason is that it's the only day that you can talk about the color green without referring to saving the earth. If I hear the phrase going green one more time...I'm all about not littering and stuff like that. I even recycle but probably only because Cheverly makes it very convenient. But it just seems like a silly trend, the phrase doesn't even make sense, and I'm so over it. But I will wear the color, especially on March 17th. Oops, I didn't mean to rant, it just came out.

And of course, the excuse to make a fun traditional foods like Irish Stew and Soda Bread. I didn't fully take advantage of this one though. We were having the elders over and I had meat loaf on my mind for some reason. But I did pair it with the soda bread. I even purchased a corned beef brisket and cabbage at the store yesterday, but just wasn't in the mood. Sometimes I feel like traditions are confining and annoying. And I don't like barriers. So maybe deep down I didn't follow the tradition out of spite. And anyway, Easter is coming up with all sorts of fun traditional foods. Ham is a tradition I'm happy to keep.

KC comment on St. Patty's day is that it's "the dumbest holiday ever." It is pretty pointless, which I's sure is what he meant. But I think he said it because it was right after he was pinched for not wearing green.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

All you gotta say is No-whoa!

Our primary leadership really goes above and beyond. This past Saturday was Primary Safety Day. With a few kids that we have in primary, they could use that as an excuse to not do very exciting activities. But not so. This day was well thought out and well planned to let them know what to do in various situations: household safety, stranger safety, spiritual safety and fire safety. The kids really responded, and I think they will remember a little from it. Christina and I couldn't help but sing a few Safety Kids or Standin' Tall songs quietly to ourselves as they children were told how to say "NO" when strangers approach them. ("Say a tough no, N-O. A cool no, no gotta go... A laughing no, ah-ha-ha-ha-ha NO. A lengthy no, Noooooooooo..." or " Look for a Grandma or mother with children..." You'll understand if you listened to those songs when you were younger. The title is also part of the "No" song, if you didn't get it.) The put pictures of strangers in front of their faces to role play with the kids to learn what to do. (Mike Huckabee was one of the strangers-run away!) Anyway, it was a success complete with healthy snacks and a fire truck! Yep, right there in our church parking lot with about 3 or 4 firefighters. They were really good sports. And even though the kids saw the man put the gear on piece by piece, they were still scared when he was fully uniformed. I can kind of understand, it looks rather intimidating. But let let us all have a seat in the truck and the kids just loved it. It was a very successful activity despite several absent members of the primary who we missed. But I think the adults had just as much fun as the kids. Our next activity will be the Zoo in May. Sadly, I won't be able to make it, but I'm sure there will be fun to be had. Remember kids, be safe! "Safety Kids, you'd like to be one, smile when you see one, they're everywhere..."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Me vs. He

I got tagged by Mari, so I think I'll do it with a bit of a twist. Since KC has yet to post on "our" blog, I think I'll try to guess what he would answer to these questions as well. He'll let us all know how close I got.


A - Attached or Single: Very much attached.
B - Best Friends: KC, Melody
C - Cake or Pie: Cake-hot out of the oven with it's perfect pair, ice cream.
D - Day of choice: Friday. Sometimes my stomach even does a little turn on Friday afternoon knowing it's the weekend and the prospect of doing something different and fun, even if it's just getting Chipotle. It must still be with me from high school when I lived for Fridays.
E - Essential Item: The internet/my laptop, and camera. Oh where would I be...
F - Favorite Color: I suppose blue. It seems calming. Though this question is silly. Who can really choose.
G - Gummy Bears or Worms: Bears. I loved it when my dad would buy the 5 lb. bag and we'd eat them by the handfuls. The pink ones are the best.
H - Hometown: Pleasant Grove, UT.
I - Indulgence(s): Sweets-Doughnuts (I probably have these item once a year), almond croissants from Bonaparte Breads, chocolate dipped macaroons and Pina Coladas (most coconut flavored desserts.) Homemade Ice cream is also on top. I like to eat as much as I want, choosing to forget it is pure cream. Non-sweets- Bloomin' onion or equivalent, and carrabas bread and dipping herb oil.
J - January or July: July. As much as I hate the humidity, I love my flip flops.
K - Kids: YES! Just not yet.
L - Life is incomplete without: KC, red shoes (for every season), and Aldi ( That was for you Matty.)
M - Marriage Date: March 4 2006
N - Number of Siblings: 6- 2 brothers, 4 sisters
O - Oranges or Apples: Oranges. I feel like they are such a luxury sometimes. The perfect fruit. It comes in it's own little container and doesn't bruise.
P - Phobias or Fears: Sharks, and a lot more, I just feel like I'll jinx myself if I mention them.
Q - Quotes: "The harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph." -Thomas Paine (I'm keeping Marianne's, it's so true.)
R - Reason to smile: Last Tuesday!
S - Season: Usually Fall, but I am seriously needing some bright flowers, and warm sunlight in my life. Spring wins this one.
T - Tag Three Friends/Family: Molly (I'm tagging you until you actually do one. I think this makes three), Tracie, Matt.
U - Unknown fact about me: Jason Castro is my favorite American Idol Contestant so far. I like his unique voice. Who said you have to belt every note to win? I like the new sounds this year. I was losing a little faith in the show for the past couple seasons. It's gripped me this time.
V - Very favorite store: H&M lately. You can't beat their sales. Or their low prices on non-sale merchandise if you are willing. You can buy such uniques styles for a great deal. I.e. a fun dress for 5 dollars. My kind of store. although, it's conditioned me to not go above their sale prices when I go anywhere else. So now I'm stuck in super-bargain mode wherever I go.
W - Worst habit: Getting too comfortable on the couch under my electric blanket and staying there way too long.
X - X-ray or Ultrasound: Silly, but I suppose the only option for X. I've had many ultrasounds so I suppose that is how to answer the question.
Y - Your favorite food: A perfectly ripe mango or pineapple, nachos, or anything mexican, loaded with everything. Those short ribs, etc. I had on my anniversary were pretty dang good. I also think a good yolky breaskast sandiwch always hits the spot. This changes a lot. What if I haven't tried my favorite food yet?
Z - Zodiac: Libra. Meh.

KC (in Emily's words)

A - Attached or Single: Attached to the love of my life.
B - Best Friends: Emily, Nate, Neil, Scott (college buddies)
C - Cake or Pie: Cake, d.o.c.
D - Day of choice: Saturday, my one day to sleep in even though Emily usually wakes me up before I want to. It's nice to wake up that way anyway.
E - Essential Item: Cell Phone so Emily can call me at a moments notice. Settlers online.
F - Favorite Color: Brown
G - Gummy Bears or Worms: Bears, but I love fruit snacks better.
H - Hometown: I grew up a lot of places, but my parents reside in Provo, UT.
I - Indulgence(s): A huge bag or Goldfish crackers, ice cream with malt sprinkled on top, anything my wife put thought and love into.
J - January or July: January, it's my birthday month.
K - Kids: I can't wait to be a dad. Kids gravitate to me wherever I go. I think it's a good sign.
L - Life is incomplete without: ukulele music
M - Marriage Date: March 4, 2006. Emily says I looked smokin' in my tux that day.
N - Number of Siblings: 3 sisters. They taught me to be the sensetive, and stylish man that I am. O - Oranges or Apples: Oranges. I had some fresh squeezed juice this morning.
P - Phobias or Fears: I don't like giving blood, but I don't know if it qualifies. I'm not scared of anything (said in a super hero voice)
Q - Quotes: "Fear is the opposite of faith." (Not sure who said it.) I say it to Emily all the time and it really puts her at ease.
R - Reason to smile: When Emily take initiative on a car maintenance issue and I don't have to worry about it at all.
S - Season: I like the pros and cons of each season. They all have a purpose so I'm not going to get in particulars.
T - Tag Three Friends/Family: Anyone that would like to. I don't like to ask people to do anything they don't feel inclined to do.
U - Unknown fact about me: I take a long time to reach a decision on most things. Emily usually ends up getting her way because she makes decisions faster. I think in some instances she has learned that the slow and steady win the race.
V - Very favorite store: I love the quality of Banana Republic clothes. But I don't indulge very often.
W - Worst habit: Sleeping past my alarm.
X - X-ray or Ultrasound: Weird. I guess I've only had an x-ray.
Y - Your favorite food: I am not a picky eater at all. Emily is very grateful that she can make whatever she wants, and I'll be happy with it. But when she makes pizza, or chicken pot pie with my favorite crust I'm all the happier. I also love fresh fish or a good juicy medium steak.
Z - Zodiac: Aquarius. Don't believe in it.

Okay, I am not sure on quite a few of these, but it was fun and interesting to see how much I know, or didn't know, about him. We'll see if he needs/wants/cares to correct me on any of these.

August Rush

If you haven't seen it, add it to your Netflix queue. We loved it, and though slightly unbelievable (without the best review from rotten tomatoes-boo), it was so touching. We even watched well into the night, not wanting to stop even though it was way past our bedtime. It's nice to have a wholesome uplifting movie to watch these days.

On another note, it is THE MOST beautiful day outside. Ideal for a solo, leisurely, thought provoking walk. I might just do that.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sour Milk

I am a fanatic about using up all the food I buy and never letting anything go to waste. I'm also a fan of getting the most for my money. So I try to be careful about buying too many perishables at a time, but when it comes to milk the full gallon is a much better deal than the half gallon, even though the half suits our tiny family better. I guess we're not much of milk drinkers. But if I make a conscious effort, I can use it by it's sell by date by making milk based soups and sauces, or milkshakes, and custards, etc. There is an occasional occurrence where we have about 1/3-1/2 of the gallon left, and because if my principles I refuse to throw it away. So I just use it in recipes that call for buttermilk or regular milk since it doesn't really get too rancid for a few weeks after the sell by date. I'm not grossed out by this, though you may be. Sometime I will swallow my pride and throw a tiny bit away but only if I I need to make room for a fresh carton and have a little of the another old one left. It's silly to try to fit three cartons in our fridge. But I find using it up a fun challenge. Here are the things I made with my last carton that was a little past it's drinkable/cereal eating life. The recipes I used are linked to the names.

Corn Muffins

Irish Soda Bread

Waffles and Pancakes (I used the whole wheat pancake mix my mom made for me for both. If she wants to, she can post the recipe. It is so delicious.)

Bread Pudding (this recipe was just thrown together, but it did record it and it will appear in EE very soon.)

Knock Knock

The boy I babysit has been crazy about knock knock jokes lately. I taught him the "boo who " one, which he thought was hilarious, so I reached into my brain to pull out something that would really knock his socks off. Here is the debut, unless it's been circulating for years and I haven't heard it (which is probably has).

Knock knock.
Whose there?
Hatch who?
Bless you! Do you need a tissue?

Boy did he laugh. He wanted to retaliate with one equally entertaining, so here is what he came up with.

Knock knock.
Whose there?
Bike who?
I see my bike outside. (laugh,laugh,laugh,laugh...)

He kept telling jokes like that until I finally didn't give as enthusiastic of a courtesy laugh and I think he realized it didn't really make sense. We had a good time anyway.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

2 Sweet Years

As I mentioned before, Tuesday was our 2nd anniversary. It has been such a joyful couple of years (plus the year and a half or so that we were just friends/dating/engaged). I couldn't ask for anything more than what he has provided me all this time. We had a wonderful celebration. Here is how our fun went down:

He wrote me an email on Monday morning to pack an overnight bag and pick him up from work at 5. I was so giddy. I was talking to Melody on the phone when I saw the email, and I'm sure she could sense the excitement. I did a few chores, made a few stops on they way and picked him up. He got in the car, plugged the secret destination into the GPS and I continued to drive following the directions that it gave me. About 30 minutes later we pulled up to a Westin Hotel near Baltimore. It is such a beautiful hotel away from busy streets, and by my guess, very recently built. You could even smell fresh paint in the hallways. We got settled in our quaint, but modern room, complete with a large flat screen and screen and sharp silver and brown decor, and then headed to the in-house Pan Asian restaurant, Luminous. We were seated in our own private booth. They had several tucked into the wall literally like sitting in your own mini dining room. Everything about this hotel was so modern and classy. I loved it. We were given fried wantons with plum sauce as our "bread" course, ordered the most amazing spring rolls with some weirdly delicious green glassy noodles for our appetizer and then moved on to the main course. I haven't had food this good in a long time. I ordered the shortribs with a very elegant stir fry, and wasabi mashed potatoes. I can't even express how awesome it was. There was no need for a knife to cute the short-ribs, they simply fell apart with my fork, and melted in my mouth. There are still leftover in my fridge calling my name. KC ordered another red meat type entree, sirloin or something. It was tasty too, but I was so wrapped up in mine, I couldn't concentrate on any other flavors. As delicious as the desserts looked, we were stuffed so we opted out, that is until the manager came by with a dessert made especially for us, on the house for our special occasion (there alternative to a free bottle of Champagne which we were offered first.) I could tell the manager was so proud he even had the chef come by to present us with who had created this special treat for us. Like I said, this looked like a brand spankin new hotel, with new employees, so they were all very anxious and eager to show us a good time. We felt very taken care of.

We had planned on finding the nearest Walmart to buy cheap swimsuits for the very inviting indoor pool since we forgot, but being so stuffed, swimming didn't quite suit us. I could've also had fun in their huge fitness area for a while, but neglected to bring my gear. However, we thoroughly enjoyed our short stay and couldn't have asked for better service.

KC is such a genuine guy. He is sincerely nice to everyone he meets. And he is the husband I always strived to find. I sometimes really think I don't deserve the positive attitude and hard work he puts forward everyday. Two years may not seem long to most folks, but we feel closer than ever and can't wait to see how much close we become years from now. I have learned that through many of life's ups and downs, if you are standing with the right person, you can make it through. Even if it means that person has to push you sometimes, you can get through anything, and actually be a stronger person for it. KC is always helping me become stronger and to learn whatever I need to learn from what is going on in my life. We all know it's not so easy to figure those out by ourselves sometimes. I am truly blessed.

So, if you didn't know, the traditional gift for the second anniversary is cotton. Last year being paper, he got an origami set he has yet to make anything from (maybe for our next FHE). So this year I just got him a plain old t-shirt that he happens to make pretty cute. I think the idea of the traditional gift is to get bigger/better every year so this is my little silly tradition. We don't really give big gifts, and are using other big gifts from other holidays to count for the rest of the year. I actually didn't get around to giving it to him until last night. Between Monday when I bought his at Old Navy, and Wednesday when I presented it, I found a very closely matching one in my size at Forever 21. I was so excited and was going to be silly and take a picture in them together. As I was making dinner (babysitting at Cami's) I was searching for an apron, gave up promising myself to be careful, and promptly spilled pasta sauce all over it. He wasn't home yet and hadn't even seen it. Oh well,the joke wasn't that cool anyway, but we will get our picture. Two years and counting!

New Discoveries

  • I like leftover pizza even better than fresh pizza.
  • Paula Abdul makes me uncomfortable.
  • I really like rock music.
  • Never watch the morning shows the day after the finale of a reality show you like and are meaning to watch later. They are bound to have in interview with the winner.
Just some random thoughts for the day.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Very Fruitful

Lately I can't stop buying fruit. I usually only buy us one or two varieties at a time since, there being only two of us, I don't want it to go bad. Although, when they are getting on the ripe side, I do love the excuse to use them up in some kind of dessert. Anyway, for some reason, I just keep buying different kinds. It must be the good deals at Aldi, (pineapple: $1.99, etc.), or maybe my body is craving more fresh fruit, but I just can't help myself. Not to mention the frozen strawberries and mixed berries I have in the freezer for smoothies. I love blending them with chocolate soy milk. It was just funny when I saw all that had accumulated over the past week or so. But I'm not complaining, I'll find ways to use it right up in no time. Oh, and I am calling avocados a fruit in this circumstance.

One more thing. This is about the cute guy I live with. Yesterday was a little bit of a rough one so I wasn't quite in the mood to make dinner. KC was late coming home from work, so knowing he'd probably be good and hungry, I thought I'd just throw some potatoes in the microwave and do the whole sour cream, cheese, bacon thing (I did not neglect the parsley garnish). I put what to me seemed like a pitiful meal together and KC's face lit up and he couldn't stop saying how good it smelled. He told me that there wasn't a better, more wholesome tasting and warm thing I could've made for him at that moment. After his dinner had rapidly disappeared, he asked if I wanted to put this picture on my food blog and I turned around to find him with a huge smile on his face and a plate that was licked clean. If my mood was right, I'd have been all over that. He's always making me chuckle. He was even more happy to wash it down fruit salad of strawberries, oranges, bananas, and mangoes tossed with pina colada juice. It doesn't take much to please my boy. What would I do without such appreciation and gratitude. More on him later as yesterday was our two year anniversary.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I feel like a sub sandwich

"Would you like oil and vinegar?" This is a question I have always said yes to at any sandwich place. Little did I know I'd also be saying yes to using as my facial treatment as well. Here's the story.

The girls in my family are prone to eczema starting at about age 19. Blame it on cleaning chemicals, dry winter weather, stress or just genetics, but we've got it. Some of us have it worse than others. I have had a few bouts here and there due to repeated hand washing, and constant introduction of new substances while I was working in the kitchens, but nothing too serious. A few months ago I found a small red patch was on my chin thinking it was a normal blemish, I thought it would go away in a day or two. But when it started to spread and another spot was forming, I made the diagnosis that it was eczema. Cami has an ointment that works rather well, but still didn't take it completely away and more patches were forming. With out using the cream it really began to take over and become quite painful and itchy, and more parts of my face were forming patches. So I made an appointment for the doctor and bought something over the counter to hold me over. I was also using a pretty harsh facial treatment which was probably drying my skin out even more and aggravating it. The medicine I bought made it worse and so I started to look for home remedies for this annoying problem. I found a particular forum where numerous people swear the apple cider vinegar is the only thing that has worked to cure their life long eczema. Some people have horrible cases all over their body. I'm very fortunate that is not my case. But, I thought I might as well give it a try and use it as a spot treatment. Someone also added that they use Olive oil as a moisturizer since petroleum based products are prone to cause more heat production drying out the area even more. So with a few changes to my daily routine: cold water when washing my face with a mild face wash, sleeping with a cool mist humidifier, a good moisturizer, and my acv spot treatments (there is a temporary sting that I brace myself for when applied), with my olive oil spot moisturizer, it is truly making the long lasting, seeming incurable, inflamed eczema dissipate before my eyes. I seriously saw a difference within hours. It's been several days and it hasn't completely disappeared, but it has changed dramatically. Who would've thought? I am truly grateful. It's really been occupying my thoughts and I was pretty stressed out about it, which was probably making it worse. I am still going to the doctor today to get a real diagnosis, and probably a prescription if it will make it go away faster. But If I hadn't already made this appointment, I'd probably not have made it knowing what I know now. I think I'll get charged if I cancel now anyway. I suppose it's good to play it safe.

Now, I know that you might not have wanted to hear all about my skin imperfections and my facial regime, but I'm hoping that I might help others with this pretty common annoyance. Now I am not much of a holisitic healing, home remedy person (have you heard of the blue man. Yikes!). I like a good old fashion perscription, but I thought it wouldn't hurt. I also found out, and you might be interested to know that acv has many health benefits. It's supposedly a miracle cure to a number of ailments. Here's a little info. I'm still a little sceptacle, but after this, I might have a little more fath in this strong smelling substance. Or maybe I'll use this new found knowlege to allow myself to eat more of my favorite salt and vinegar chips. Hmmm... somehow I don't this the health benefits will be the same.

It's been very quiet in our apartment.

Well this is another picture from the aquarium, but it's funny because that's just how I have felt since Friday. I woke up with a slight tickle in my throat but no resemblance of any kind of cold or flu. I tried to brush it off and ignore it, but when my voice was a few octaves lower by Friday afternoon and pretty much gone by the night, I assumed Laryngitis paired with an annoying chest cough had kicked in full swing.

This is a common occurrence for me. A few of you may know the story of me being in a spelling bee in 4th grade with Laryngitis and being laughed at because I could barely say my name to introduce myself. So being the sensitive 10 year old that I was, I cried and my mom took me off the stage and I went home. My mom put Elise (Lili) and me in speech therapy to learn how to take care of our sensitive voices. We learned not to make loud outbursts at all, and to keep our vocal chords nodule and callus free.

But I think the latest instance of Laryngitis was due to allergies mixed with winter weather, so I don't think it's my fault from any loud outbursts. It's just something that happens a couple times per winter. So KC has been answering my phone, and whispering with me, even though he can speak just fine. And my friend Courtney kindly volunteered to lead the primary in the songs but I did hold up the pictures for the kids to learn the song. It was so nice to not have to try to do all the necessary talking and singing that comes with the job.

Now my voice is almost back, and sometimes I forget I don't have to whisper, though it still feel a little better since there is still a little strain on my voice to speak. The few days seemed so long that I was even beginning to wonder what is was like back in the day when I could talk normally. But I'm sure it gave others around me a break from my usually overly-talkative self. Oh well, I'm back.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Baltimore Aquarium Adventures

I love aquatic life...from afar. I would normally be deathly afraid to be within close proximity of most water creatures, but I like to watch shows about them on tv, or go to where the creatures are enclosed. The fact that I'm so frightened of these types of things makes me want to get within controlled proximity even more, knowing they can't hurt me (I know, I know they are more afraid or me yadda, yadda yadda). So when my friend Christina told me her family was going and that there was a special deal going on, I couldn't help but makes plans to go with them. They got there early and graciously bought tickets for us so we didn't have to stay in the very long line, (after a lot of bad traffic) which would've made us late to the dolphin show, which is what we saw right when we got there. It was so cute and amazing to see the dolphins do tricks and splash people on command. It looked like the trainers were having so much fun and just loved the dolphins, as scary as that profession seems to me. The tank was 24 feet deep and you can see through the side walls so we got to go up to the side at the end and really be within a few feet of them. They're just so cute. I could probably get rid of my qualms and pet a dolphin if I ever get the chance. Btw, Christina was teasing us about all the pictures of us kissing in the past, so I humored her with the picture above.
We then proceeded to the frog exhibit. I'm constantly amazed at the different shapes and colors these animals can be. Some frogs were hard to spot even though there were right in plain sight.

There was a little tank for kids, mostly, to reach in the water and tough some Horseshoe Crabs, and gigantic snail looking things (I can't remember their name but they were like the size of my shoe.) I even did a little touching myself. The Call boys were so hilarious at how excited the were at every corner. They loved telling other people to look at the fish, even if it wasn't particularly fish we were looking at.

We went to the huge tanks where the sting rays were seriously so big, it looked like you could lay down and take on a nap on one as they glided through the water. There were a lot of seperate exhibits showing the different types of environments the fish live in. There were some very intricately designed fish, and some huge odd looking fish. There was only one tank we saw with a Clown Fish. Who can name a famous fish from this family? Yep, Nemo, and we really had a hard time finding him. He would seriously hide in the anenome, just like where he lived in the movie, and only give us little glimpses when he popped out. It was so cute. I have watched this movie several times lately while I babysit, and I really love it so it was so delightful to me to see the sweet little bright orange and white striped fish playing with us.

There was also a cool rain forest section complete with mist, colorful birds, and a sloth hidden up in a tree. He was so high, you couldn't see much.
And I must not forget about the sharks. There was a very dark walkway that took you lower and lower into the building where you were circled by several huge sharks. They even had eerie music playing. The sharks have a pretty sweet pad there if you ask me.
Baltimore is so beautiful and I think it has been years since I was there. When you drive into the city, you feel so invited by the water and lighted sky scrapers. I am so happy that we went to the aquarium. Especially with the Calls. They are such a fun family. I recommend the aquarium to anyone. You probably won't get the steal of a deal that we got, but you will get the cool sensation of being under water, but feeling safe and dry at the same time. And they have a 4-D movie we didn't see. That will be something to go back for. Here are some more pictures for you viewing pleasure if you didn't already get enough.