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hello and goodbye, colorado

Since we came home from our little trip to Colorado, things have been so busy!  First Jon’s birthday, then getting the house/laundry/groceries back in order and now we’ve been fixing up a space for me in our office.  Just one thing after another….but I still wanted to wrap up our trip!

It was our first family vacation since the twins were born.  I was so proud of how well they did – they flew, they sat in their carseats for hours, they wore snowsuits pretty much 24/7, they missed most of their naps.  But they were still so happy and aside from a couple of bad moments in the car they hardly skipped a beat!

So many people acted like we were crazy to be taking the twins with us on our trip.  While we’re open to going on a trip just the two of us, it’s also really important to us to start making memories with our little family now.  The babies are only this age once, and we don’t want it to pass us by!  Were there moments when both babies were crying and Jon and I were nearly in tears as well?  Sure.  We had some lows.  But our highs were so precious that by the end that’s all you really remember.  Already our time away is such a special memory for me…I want to re-live it over and over.

After spending our first day in Denver, we headed to the mountains bright and early the next morning.  Our ultimate destination was Snowmass/Aspen, but we stopped for lunch and to see the sights in Breckenridge on the way.  My favorite part of all was all of our driving.  The scenery was unreal.

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Denver was so quaint.  We hung around downtown at Happy Coffee and did a little exploring and shopping before heading out of town early the next morning.

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Breckenridge was the first place we deemed the snowsuits necessary.  Viv was a happy girl because she hate being cold.  Linc on the other hand…

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We had out first public baby food experiences.  They went okay:)

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Finally arrived in Snowmass and checked into our hotel just as a massive snowstorm was hitting.  Thankfully, loads of snow changes absolutely nothing about the goings on around town.  The next day it was like nothing had happened.  OKC would have been shut down, lol.

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Gloves aren’t made in size itty bitty.

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We had the best time and just so much enjoyed getting out of time and spending time just the four of us.  It was bitterly cold, but oh so beautiful.  We had each other to keep warm:)

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Oh Aspen -  it snowed the entire time we visited you, but you were beyond gorgeous.  Despite not being able to feel our faces, we reveled in your beauty. And of course took full advantage of your delicious and warm cafes.

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We took a bus to and from Aspen, and the babies loved to watch out the windows.

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On the way from Snowmass back to Denver, we decided to take the scenic route.  Ultimately, with two crying babies in the back for the last half hour and 400 rounds of “if you’re happy and you know it” which eventually lost all effect, we regretted this decision.  But it was fun while it lasted, and the views were the most beautiful we’d seen.  Pictures don’t begin to do it justice of course.

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A little outside of Aspen, at the beginning of our roadtrip back to Denver, we stopped in at Whole Foods, which proved to be the perfect place for a beginning of roadtrip stop.  Conveniently, it was time for the babies to eat lunch, so we grabbed some organic baby food and made ourselves at home in the seating area, complete with highchairs and a beautiful view.  Just as I was about to put a spoonful of carrots into Viv’s mouth, I noticed a tiny glimmer of white, and upon further inspection discovered that she’d been hiding a tooth inside that tiny mouth.  It was one of the moments as a parent where you get this giddy feeling upon realizing that something unknown and exciting has happened in your baby’s life.  While I got teary eyed and covered her in kisses, she of course could have cared less and probably thought I was crazy.

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No highchairs at the airport…time to improvise!

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And back on the airplane we went after several delays and sitting on the runway for way too long, considering we have two babies to keep happy.  It was one of the situations where we planned meticulously, and then it all went out the window.  But overall they did amazing, and a couple of hours later we landed back in OKC, carrying with us everything we packed plus a shiny white tooth and cherished memories….and minus a sippy cup and battery charger (apparently).

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just the two of us

For Spring Break we decided to take a last little trip just the two of us to San Franciso.

1.  Our very first stop in SF for coffee and bagels  2.  the GG Bridge as Jon calls it   3.  One of 90 million photos of us by the bridge:)  4.  his and hers root beers

1.  How did they know? ;) 2.  Ghiradelli square – free chocolate!  3.  our little Go Car we toured in on our last day  4.  quaint little Haight coffee shop

1.  Baker Beach – a favorite stop  2.  Boudin at Fisherman’s Wharf – famous for sourdough bread bowls!  3.  pretty San Fran
4. just motoring around

1.  the Full House houses  2.  breakfast  3.  love him:)  4.  on the cable car

1.  fortune cookie factory in China Town.  Paid .25 to take this pic.  Thinking he got the better deal.  2.  the  beautiful Pacific  3.  my handsome driver  4.  twins!

This was the first trip either of us had taken to the west coast, and I’m so glad we went!  Traveling has been something we’ve enjoyed so much together the last 6 years, and there were moments on our trip that I felt a little nostalgic thinking of our adventures together in the past.  I know from now on it will never be quite the same.

But for every thought of how special the past has been, I was overwhelmed with anticipation for the future.  Our traveling might look a little different, but I can hardly imagine how amazing it will be to show our babies different parts of the world.

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a little thailand story

“It’s so tempting to shut people down, to limit the upside, to ostracize, select and demonize. It makes things a lot simpler. Not seeing means you don’t have to take action. Not opening means it’s easier to announce that you’re done. And not raising the bar means you’re less likely to fail.”

-Seth Godin

I was reading Seth Godin’s blog recently when I stumbled upon this quote, and the hard truth of it really struck me.  It reminded me of a situation that occurred during our time in Thailand.

In the far northern part of Thailand, settled in among the mountains you’ll find a city.  Our Thailand home.  Chiang Mai.

And in the middle of that city, you’ll find a little something called Night Bazaar, or as the Thai’s say it “night ba-saaaaah.”


Every single day at about 4 o’clock, rain or shine, the people would begin pushing their carts out to the sidewalk, ready to take on the crowds of people that would come pouring in in a couple of shorts hours.  They sold everything from t-shirts to perfume to oil burners, lamps, watches, shoes and much more.  You could gaze for miles down the busy road and still not see the end of it.

For us, Night Bazaar was a fun date night, a place to get cheap massages and a great people watching venue.  We’d weave through the backpackers carrying their babies high up on their backs and the locals stooping on the curb to slurp up noodles before the next bargaining challenge came along.

And in all the craziness there was always one thing that caught my eye – a small Thai women who looked to be about my age sitting on the dirty sidewalk with a cup held out for change and a tiny baby at her side.  While she wasn’t the only local who had found her home on the dirty streets of Night Bazaar, she was the one who caught my gaze every time I walked by… and held it.  I couldn’t forget her.

After many nights of walking by her, pretending not to see her outstretched hand or her deep eyes, I finally broke down.  I found a stand in the alley selling hot soup and bought her a small bowl and some water.  I inched up to her, feeling quite shy, and taking a deep breath knelt down and, using all the broken Thai I could muster I expressed my concern for her and her beautiful baby.

But night after night of this same routine left me wishing I could do more.  But I wrestled with the idea of it – what more could I do?  Ultimately she needed a place to live, to raise her baby….to be safe.  But I couldn’t provide that.  And with the date of our departure fast approaching, there were only so many more days I could do anything at all.

And then just like that…she was gone.  She stopped coming.  I never found out what happened to her, and I probably never will.  And that lack of knowing, lack of being able to do anything real and significant for her left me feeling disheartened and sad.  And I realize that that is often what keeps me from reaching out to impact the world in any way – the fear of failure.  The fear of feeling like I just can’t do enough.  The fear that if I allow myself to see the need, then I will always feel the ache of what I wasn’t able to do.

And the same translates to the constant pursuance of goals and dreams.  Being scared to death of setting the bar too high because I just might not be able to reach it.  And that would mean failure.  Six months ago I walked into my principal’s office, and I turned in my letter of resignation.  Sure, I did it for a number of reasons, but ultimately I did it because I wanted to pursue more.  I wanted to step out into the unknown and embrace something that would fulfill my vision for my life.  And in these months, I’ve held back, sabotaging myself because of the fear of not being quite good enough.

But I want more.  I don’t want to still be sitting here another six months from now envisioning in my mind what it is that I want to do with my life.  I want to be doing it. It’s time to raise the bar and leap for it because I would much rather be brushing dust off my backside than never getting dirty at all.  I want to see things, open myself to possibility and experiences, and offer myself to people freely, embracing the risk of hurt and disappointment.

What is one thing that you’ve been envisioning in your life for awhile, but you just haven’t quite gotten the courage to leap for?  What are you holding the bar low for because you’re scared of raising it high?

And now here’s a small ray of peace for your day:


**Also, don’t forget to stop by tomorrow because it’s a very special day in the life of ChiaSeedMe, and I’ll have a very special surprise for you!

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hello from texas

Hello!

Well, we’re finally in south Texas!

On Tuesday we left home and headed to my hometown to see my grandma and grandpa.  We went and grabbed some dinner with them and then ended the night at their house opening gifts together!  It was such a great time spending the evening with them – it’s not everyday we get them all to ourselves;)

It was also a perfect example of how sometimes there are sacrifices involved when eating vegetarian/vegan.  There are a lot of ways to plan ahead and avoid less than ideal food situations, but sometimes there’s just not much you can do.  The restaurant we went to was mexican, and I wasn’t too worried about it because usually mexican restaurants have options – I usually go for black bean tacos (just ask them to sub out beans for meat) or veggie fajitas.  But this particular restaurant didn’t have black beans and their refriend beans and rice were not vegetarian.  They did have fajitas, but they were twelve dollars and I just couldn’t bear to spend that much.  So I went with the guacamole and ate it with a flour tortilla and some chips.  I wasn’t there for the food anyway:)

Anyway, the next morning we got up fairly early and hit the road, heading south.

After a long, but fun day of driving, we finally arrived in south Texas around ten o’clock.  We started out at about nine thirty in the morning and ended up in Dallas around one o’clock where we stopped at the mall to make some exchanges and grab some lunch.

For Christmas my mom gave me running shorts from Lululemon (insert excited squeal:), but after trying them on I decided I needed a different size.  I have to admit it was so hard to go in the store and not want to buy ten other things, but thankfully I resisted.  I did get my shorts exchanged though, and I can’t wait to wear them – they’re my first pair of running shorts from there, and I’ll definitely do a review over them soon!

For lunch I grabbed a salad from one of those salad places I love so much.  Sadly, this particular one just did not measure up – they didn’t chop up everything in the salad before putting it into the bowl, so there were giant leaves of lettuce, giant nuts, giant artichoke hearts (I broke them up into pieces myself) etc.  I was a bit disappointed, but o’well.   The rosemary roll that came with it pretty much made up for it though – it was delicious!

After lunch and shopping we got back on the road for the last five hours of our trip.  Here is a little hello from the road that I tried to post yesterday, but due to the remote country roads of south Texas, it didn’t quite work out like I planned:)

As you can hear we jammed out to the husband’s new Sarah Bareilles CD, which we both happen to love, and the trip went by fairly quickly.

First things first this morning, I headed out for a quick speed walk, just to get my blood flowing a little bit.  I have to be really careful when we’re visiting family for an extended period of time.  If I don’t make a point to get some exercise and eat well I end up not enjoying our time here quite as much and I go home feeling less than stellar.  So, after my walk, I showered and headed to the store to get some healthy food to have around.

Just the basics…you know:)  Later we stopped by the store again and I grabbed a sweet potato, some broccoli and squash and a couple of Amy’s frozen burritos.  This is a meat/seafood eating family, so I always need something on hand for meals. I really wish I had grabbed a couple cans of Amy’s soup from the health food store before leaving town.  It really like it a lot better than the frozen foods, but I can’t find them here, so I’ll make due!  I usually plan ahead so much more, but I just completely ran out of time this year.

Anyway, today has been a fun first day – we’ve gotten to see a lot of family and just enjoy spending time hanging out.  Unfortunately my MIL is really sick and we ended up in the emergency room with her for a little while this afternoon.  She seems to be feeling a little better tonight, and I’m praying she wakes up feeling better tomorrow.

For dinner tonight we stopped by the best little restaurant – Geo Burrito – have you heard of it?  It’s basically kind of like Chipotle or Qdoba, but I think it’s even better.  Any mexican restaurant that offers brown rice and vegetarian refriend beans is a win in my book:)

I ordered a bowl with brown rice, refried beans, black beans, corn, lettuce, pico, salsa and guacamole

I seriously wish we could get this place in Oklahoma.  The guy who works at Chipotle told me the other day that they’ll be getting brown rice soon.  I haven’t seen it yet, though, so I’m not holding my breath:)

Anyway, before I go I wanted show you guys the cookie cutters I used for the sugar cookies and gingerbread men since several readers have asked about them. I bought the set of at William Sonoma, and even though I debated about the purchase for a half hour in the store that night, I definitely have not regretted buying them.  I love using them, and it has been so fun to personalize cookies for Christmas gifts!

They are super easy to use and even easier to clean.

As you can see, the set comes with premade phrases as well as all the letters in the alphabet plus extras of the most common letters.  You simply slide the letters you want to use into the grooves and then use it like you would any other cookie cutter – it’s that simple!

It seems that they are all sold out online, but I’m sure they still have them in the stores.  There is also a set that is not Christmas related that could be used year round!  I may have to splurge on those as well:)

Halley mentioned that she spotted them the other day and bought them as a last minute Chrismtas gift for her mom – what a great idea!

And while we’re on the subject of the cookies, I’ll be posting the recipe for the delicious vegan gingerbread cookie recipe tomorrow – you have to make them if you like gingerbread at all.  They are soft and chewy with just the perfect amount of gingerbread flavor – perfect for Christmas afternoon with a cup of hot tea:)

Only two days left until Christmas – hope you are all enjoying every moment!

By the way, don’t forget to stop by Ecolissa and use the 20% discount offered to ChiaSeedMe readers!  Use code “vegan20″ to get your discount.

note: I am not being compensated in any way by William Sonoma – I simply love them and wanted to share!

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from the past

hi!

today has been super busy as all wednesdays tend to be.  i did lots of yoga, lots of hanging out with international students, and I ate enchiladas made by the husband for dinner.  i’d say all in all that’s a pretty successful day.

but now it’s late…and I’m oh so tired.  so I’m going to head to the bed soon.  but first I just had to stop in and say hi.

hi!

And what do I do when my busy day has prevented me from taking any pics worth writing home about?

Leave you with (random) memories from the past.  I can always dig up pics from our days in Thailand that make me smile to no end.

one of my favorite students and I studying the Gospel

on the college campus we worked on

the campus parking lot

beautiful campus

getting relief from the heat with an afternoon nap

a bridge in Bangkok

on the subway in Bangkok – New Years 2008

i didn’t even know what a food blog was, but I was still taking pictures of myself eating carrots, ahem made of icing

the husband on a songtau right around Christmas

hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday. and as always, it’s all down hill from here!

g’night!

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