Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Give me Peanuts - Month 2

written August 31, 2011
week seven

Baby is the size of a blueberry today!

I've been reading three books since I became pregnant:
1. What to Expect When You're Expecting
2. I'm Pregnant (super cool pictures)
3. Healthy Baby, Healthy Mom (and Journal)

In What to Expect When You're Expecting, the author suggests eating a little bit of trail mix every time I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Yes, seems weird. I didn't even snack that much in college...well, okay, I'd basically eat a full order of cheese breadsticks before bed, but who's counting? And I already can hear my dentist screaming at me. But you know what? I'd rather feel normal and was willing to try anything.
Think about it: eight hours of no food and of course the stomach is acid-y. No wonder mornings are rough. Without any trail mix in the house, I found an expired package of lightly salted peanuts and put them on my nightstand. I decided not to eat any at 12:30 a.m. or 2:30 a.m. when I took a trip to the water closet but opened it up at 4:15 a.m. and ate more when my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. A little salt and crumbs on my pillow won't hurt anyone.
The peanuts worked! I felt more like myself than I have in a long time. Then I remembered how my body has always craved protein over carbs. Everyone is wired differently and I'm an athlete. Athletes and their muscles need protein. Saltine crackers just weren't doing the trick for me. Just like when I used to eat cereal or oatmeal in the morning. I was always hungry by 9:30 a.m. But give me eggs and some meat and I'm good until the afternoon. I've been reading that when you're preg, the average woman needs like double the amount of protein. Things are starting to become a lot clearer. Finally.

New cravings:
1. Popsicles - OMG...there are now Jolly Rancher Popsicles out there that are sooo good. And there are jokes on the sticks.
2. Coca-Cola - I swear this stuff is magic. I gave up coffee so I figure a little bit of caffeine will be okay every now and then. And I'm used to drinking Jack with my coke. It kind of tastes good on its own!
3. Pickles and banana peppers - thing is, I've ALWAYS craved these but they just taste extra good.
4. My homemade pizza - is it bad if I'm at work just dreaming about this all day long??
5. Nectarines - they are sooo sweet and perfect right now.

On another note, I totally did something crazy during my lunch break. I went to Old Navy and checked out baby clothes. I know it's still early but I couldn't stop myself. There is such cute stuff out there!!!!!! And I realize how nice and easier it would be if we knew the sex of baby, but it's kind of fun not knowing. It adds to the surprises. I wonder what you're going to be baby blueberry. I always pictured having a boy just because I had an older brother and I liked how he always protected me and watched over me. He's such a leader, but girls can be leaders too - I know that all too well working in a male dominant work environment. But everyone (Karl for one) keeps saying they think we're going to have a girl. Of course I just want a HEALTHY baby. That's all I ask. Okay...and maybe if the baby could have Karl's ears, thick hair, his laugh, smarts and sense of humor... and our dimples!

I personally think it's awesome Karl has an app on his cell of the size of our baby. Every Monday he wakes up all bushy tailed and grabs his phone and checks out where baby is. I can't help but get all warm and fuzzy inside. This is really a special experience.

Back to Old Navy... I sort of bought a few things. There was an outfit for $.49!!! How could I resist? is going to be tiny! Those little clothes are just so adorable and small. And soon a body will be filling those!!! So yeah, that was too much fun. And I started to get super excited for my ultrasound!! What if I start crying or something? Oh well, I'll worry about that then. I pray everyday that baby is healthy and everything works out.

And, yeah, still biting my nails. Damn!

Everyone was meant to share God's all-abiding love and care; He saw that we would need to know a way to let these feelings God made hugs.

- Jill Wolf

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mother Truckin' Hormones - Month 2

written August 29, 2011
week 7
The big news this week: Hands and feet are emerging from developing arms and legs — although they look more like paddles at this point than the tiny, pudgy extremities you're daydreaming about holding and tickling. Technically, your baby is still considered an embryo and has something of a small tail, which is an extension of her tailbone. The tail will disappear within a few weeks, but that's the only thing getting smaller. Your baby has doubled in size since last week and now measures half an inch long, about the size of a blueberry. (info from

When the going gets tough...

Weeks 1-5 = feeling awesome
Week 6 = feeling not the best but I survived
Week 7 = holy man...not good.

Every day seems to get progressively worse and this freaks me out. Karl insists it's anxiety, but he's not carrying a lentil bean in his belly right now and I try to remind him of this. I'm not so sure "anxiety" is really what is making me feel nauseous. I've never been prescribed anxiety meds or have been told I have anxiety... I call it "morning sickness". But then again, Karl's never been pregnant.

I thought things were getting better Friday into Saturday. I even agreed to go to Karl's parent's cabin for the night. I made him stop at Buffalo Tap in Savage on our way and I got some delicious buffalo bites (yummy) because when I get hungry, I need to eat. Saturday I woke up feeling great. I had a couple crackers since I know Karl's family eats a lot later than I normally do and thank God I did because we didn't eat until 11-something. I went on a walk with my mother-in-law, sat around the fire, read a couple magazines, went fishing with Karl and for a boat ride later - I felt really good. The weather was gorgeous.

Then Sunday came. As soon as I got up, I felt like crap. The entire day I felt awful. I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup around two and some of a steak salad around dinner time, but it was all force fed. Enter Monday morning (today): oh boy. I purposely ate a bunch of crackers as I was waking up because it's a work day and, well, I need to get to work and I need to be feeling good and I didn't want to chance anything. The crackers did not help. As soon as I stepped out of the shower, I dove back into bed. I forced myself to go downstairs where I stared at the TV and prepared a shoulder roast in the slow cooker. I raced back upstairs and snuggled up in bed. Ugh. I seriously thought I'd start crying. I can't stand this. I can't live like this. I so take my health for granted!!!

I knew I couldn't be late to work again without my coworkers catching on (last Tuesday I came in late due to a pounding headache) so I forced myself to put some makeup on. I barely dried my hair and quickly put on clothes. I grabbed some crackers and seltzer water. On my drive in to work I realized I needed food if I planned on getting through the morning since I felt incredibly dizzy and light headed. So I stopped at McDonald's and got a Coke and an Egg McMuffin - my saving grace. The Coke immediately perked me up and tasted like heaven. I started feeling really good and devoured my Egg McMuffin and now think I'll survive the day.

I just hope this doesn't last the entire time because I don't know how I'm going to handle feeling this way or how my teeth or baby is going to appreciate a Coke every single day for the next eight months. But if it makes me feel better....

Other things I've noticed:

1. I'm feeling incredibly stuck
This makes me nervous because I shouldn't be feeling this way. I knew this "becoming-a-parent" moment would be coming, but I guess I figured things would be different. I always thought I'd be a stay-at-home mom - that I'd have the luxury to stop working, but I'm about 95% so sure this won't be the case. With health insurance and short term disability and all the bills coming in...this little dream I built up in my head isn't working out. I need a new car soon, Karl just got one, and Karl has student loans and is going back to school and he'll have bills coming our way - even if his work is paying for it, there are little things that add up (a new laptop, flights out to the school, his books, etc). And this freaks me out. I hate debt. Ever since I put my hands on a credit card, I've always paid in full. If I didn't have the money, I didn't need the item. With that said, we're both going to have to work and there really is no other way around it. Someone else besides me is going to have a hand in raising our child. Akkk! Can I really pass on our child to some stranger to watch while I'm working all day? This is when I really wish I lived closer to my parents.

2. I've lost a lot of my drive
I always have an abundance of energy and drive. And I feel like it's all gone. I really don't care about dust in the house and the piles of laundry and the toothpaste gunk building up in the sinks. Okay, I do care about it - a lot more than usual - but I don't care about cleaning it up. I don't care if I don't make dinner or if I don't finish a project on time. I just want to relax when I get home. As a woman, I feel like I was born to be the caregiver. I'm so in for a treat, aren't I? But at the same time I'm tired of worrying about it so I just need to let go.

3. I don't want to write (at least right now)
Me? Doesn't want to write? I started a new book and I can't seem to get to it. I have the time, but most of that time is spent napping or talking myself into feeling better. The last thing I want to do is try and focus on words when I feel so crappy. How can I be a writer if I don't even want to write??? Please tell me this will pass.

4. I have to talk myself into everything  
The couch is my friend right now. I literally have to cheer myself on to go to work, to go for a walk, to go to the grocery store, to go to the gym, to fill my car up with gas, to get new windshield wipers. What is with that?? I love exercise. I love the outdoors. I love doing new things! Last night I forced myself out the door and it was the best decision I could've have made. The weather was perfect and the fresh air felt great. I knew the walk would work miracles, so why is it so hard to do?

So in my head I keep telling myself, this too shall pass. It has to!!!!! I want to be excited and happy and my ol' bubbly self.
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting...thank God for it.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fresh Tomatoes? Now what? Salsa!

Best salsa ever!
serves as many as you want
(recipe given to me by church organist - Karen Daniels)

1 jar of already made salsa (garden fresh - she recommends Pace)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp cumin
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions chopped
as much cilantro as you like
1 garlic clove, minced
pepper to taste
salt to taste

I had a bunch of fresh tomatoes lying around from our deck plants so I decided to make mine from scratch.

6 large tomatoes (chopped and ground up)
2 cartons of grape tomatoes chopped and diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 tsp cumin
1 jar of black beans with jalapeños, drained and rinsed
3 green onions chopped
1/2 tablespoon dried onion
pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
cilantro to taste
2 limes (squeeze lime juice)

My take - We had a work salsa competition and I made this. It ended up tasting very close to how the recipe from already-made salsa tastes like and the best part is this one is super fresh. I had lots of good feedback on mine! I'll be making this again because it can go on everything!!

Cherry-Chipotle Chili

"Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which can jump-start your immune system and mop up free radicals."

Cherry-Chipotle Chili
serves 4
(recipe found in Self Magazine August 2011)

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb lean ground turkey
3/4 tsp salt (preferably kosher)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cups pitted black cherries (fresh or frozen)
2 canned chipotle chilies, diced, plus sauce
2 bay leaves
1 can (15 oz) white beans (such as cannellini or navy), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup nonfat plan Greek yogurt (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-heat. Cook turkey with salt and pepper, stirring, until browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Add carrots, onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder. Add tomatoes, cherries, chipotles, bay leaves and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to simmer; cook, stirring once or twice, until chili thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Add beans; cook 2 minutes. Flavor with chipotle sauce to taste.

4. Remove bay leaves. Divide chili among 4 bowls. Top each with 1 tbsp yogurt and garnish with cilantro, if desired, before serving.

Karl's reaction - "Whoaaaaa, this is hot!! Mouth is on fire!! Burn. Burn. Burn. It's different babe. I think if the spice was taken down a few notches, it'd be real good."

My take - Yeah, I went a little wild with the chipotle chilies. I never cooked with them before and didn't realize how hot they really are. Also, the grocery store didn't have frozen cherries so I had to take the pits out of fresh cherries, which was a HUGE pain. This tasted really good heated up the next day!

Rolled Lasagne

A delicious Italian dinner

Rolled Lasagne
serves 4
(recipe found in Fitness Magazine May 2011)

Rolled Lasagne
8 lasagna noodles
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 12-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 large leek, white part only, chopped
1 3/4 cups slices cremini mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ounces low-fat mozzarella, grated
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
I also used Jennie-O turkey Italian meatballs to give Karl his meat!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon pasta water.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes; cook 15 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the goat cheese until combined. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add the leek; cook 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms; cook 10 minutes. Add the asparagus; cook 3 minutes.

4. Turn heat off; add 1 1/2 tablespoons goat cheese and mozzarella, reserved pasta water, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper. Add the mint and basil, reserving 1 teaspoon of each.

5. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Spoon 1/2 cup vegetable mixture onto each noodle, roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Drizzle with remaining tomato sauce; crumble remaining goat cheese on top. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the Parmesan and reserved mint and basil; serve.

Karl's reaction:  "Mmm, this is pretty good, babe! This goat cheese really adds a zing!"

My take - I really made a mess of our kitchen making this recipe, but I really liked the unique taste of this. Really good!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Wave of Yuck - Month 2

written August 23, 2011
6 weeks

"I just need to go back to bed for a few minutes."

At least that's what I kept telling myself this morning as I tried focusing on Fox 9 News and the carbonated lime infused water I sipped.

My head started pounding at 3 a.m., about the same time an insane crazy thunderstorm hit. Around 3:30 I went downstairs and popped two Tylenol and ate a few crackers. I couldn't take the headache and knew I had to go into work so I had to do what I had to do. At 4:30 I didn't feel much different but I was finally able to fall asleep until my dreaded alarm went off at 6:00.

I practically crawled to the shower and felt like a total zombie. I was too hot so I turned the shower to freezing cold. Then my mouth tasted soapy. My head and eyes felt extremely heavy. My stomach felt like it was loaded with acid. And more than anything I wanted to dive back into bed with Karl. Instead I marched downstairs and tried to talk myself into breakfast. No dice. Everything sounded gross. So I stared at the TV again and argued with the voices in my head.

Finally I decided to go back up to bed. I just need another hour of sleep and I will be fine, I thought. So I did. The sleep actually worked, even though half the time I was freaking about how late I'd be for work. (BTW, I don't think pregnant woman should have to worry about stuff like this. We can't control all the hormones ragging inside us.) I woke up an hour later but this time felt like a worse-off zombie than before.

I thought back to the night before. I did play four games of volleyball - and they weren't the easiest of games. There were a couple times I didn't dive or didn't chase after a ball, but my heart rate went up and I was sweating. Could volleyball be the culprit? Thankfully yesterday was the championship volleyball game (we took second) and the season is done...well...until fall league. Fall league will start up at the end of September and we only play for an hour, so that shouldn't be that bad. Right? My team might hate me.

Cravings: I'm not sure when these are supposed to start but I find myself dreaming about food while at work, a lot.

1. Culver's Butter Burgers (I know....say what?). The crazy thing is Karl "loves" going to Culver's because they screw up our order every time. Some how we always get something we never asked for. I asked for the "single" Butter Burger and Karl asked for the exact same thing. We were very careful how we explained our order. We sat down in the chair and got the double. Goofy. But it totally hit the spot!!!
2. Izze.  All natural organic carbonated water. It has to be the carbonation, right? I love the feel of bubbles hitting my sour stomach. I love this drink. It's the closest I can find to Clearly Canadian. And it isn't loaded with fake sugar crap.

3. Mendota Sparkling Water (lime and lemon). Besides totally wanting carbonated everything, I'm also craving lemons and limes like nobody's business. I always have had a thing for sour things though. I could eat them whole but I don't think my teeth would like that.

4. Meat.
Tonight Karl and I will be going to Woolley's Steakhouse (Embassy Suites) where all the magic happened on August 22, 2009 - our wedding day! And yes, I will be ordering a steak!!!! I'm totally craving a steak right now.

And as I finish writing this, I feel much better. Ahhh. Thank God!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Telling the Family - Month 2

post written August 21, 2011
6 weeks

This week's major developments: The nose, mouth, and ears that you'll spend so much time kissing in eight months are beginning to take shape. If you could see into your uterus, you'd find an oversize head and dark spots where your baby's eyes and nostrils are starting to form. His emerging ears are marked by small depressions on the sides of the head, and his arms and legs by protruding buds. His heart is beating about 100 to 160 times a minute — almost twice as fast as yours — and blood is beginning to course through his body. His intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will give rise to his lungs has appeared. His pituitary gland is forming, as are the rest of his brain, muscles, and bones. Right now, your baby is a quarter of an inch long, about the size of a lentil. (info from
Oh, and by the way, we're pregnant!

That's pretty much how it's been coming out in front of our parents and siblings. We didn't do the t-shirts or wrapped up frames, though those would be nice. Instead it's been more like, "How was your weekend? So yeah, we brought some boxes over. Oh, and Christie's pregnant." And then the eyes bug. It's awesome.

Tonight we told Karl's parents. Jim (Karl's dad - my father in law) just got back from Alaska. We decided we wanted to come over and hear about his trip and see pictures. He gladly showed off his amazing pictures and indulged in crazy bear stories. Then Karl decided to speak up and said, "We're just storing some boxes in your garage for Nancy's garage sale. Oh, and Christie's pregnant."

The faces and on Jim and Judy (Karl's mom and my mother-in-law) were so priceless. It was great. It's so hard not to get choked up every time. The scary part is letting them know that it's still early and anything can happen, but we figure the more people we have praying for a healthy Baby K, the better - but we still don't want the whole world to know until we're past that "safe" period.

Month 2 - Six weeks (in my Twins shirt)
I will say I love bringing joy to everyone's faces and can't wait to tell everyone!!!

As for how I've been feeling. Considering the past two nights I've stayed up way past my bedtime and have woken up fairly early, I've been pretty much tired all day long. I really don't feel motivated to do much, which worries me since I always have so much to do.

I almost felt like I was back in college this weekend. Just didn't do a whole lot of anything. I wish I was more like that all the time because it's nice just to enjoy two days off from crazy work.

I did wake up with my first wicked headache this morning and didn't have any Tylenol lying around and had an appointment with my trainer at 9:00 a.m. at Life Time Fitness. I literally had to shove a boiled egg down my throat, as I felt a little queasy. I told my trainer immediately I wasn’t feeling the best and we worked through the circuit at a slow speed, but perfect for me. My headache was fine during the workout but after it was wicked. So I went to Walgreens and talked to the Pharmacist to make sure I was buying the right headache stuff for baby.

Then I went back to bed. And pretty much the entire day was spent lying in bed. And I'm okay with that since the past two weeks have been incredibly stressful with work and figuring life out. I really enjoy relaxing right now.

Tomorrow Karl and I celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary!!!!! I have volleyball at 7:15 so we decided we'll do our fancy night out on Tuesday. I really found a good one in that man! The first song we danced to on our wedding day was Then by Brad Paisley. The lyrics are so true. I really thought I loved Karl on August 22, 2009 to the max. Who was I kidding? I love him a million times more and then some. Ha...and I thought I loved you then...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Entering Month Two of Pregnancy

written August 18, 2011
5 weeks

Deep in your uterus your embryo is growing at a furious pace. At this point, he's about the size of a sesame seed, and he looks more like a tiny tadpole than a human. He's now made up of three layers — the ectoderm, the mesoderm, and the endoderm — which will later form all of his organs and tissues.
The neural tube — from which your baby's brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone will sprout — is starting to develop in the top layer, called the ectoderm. This layer will also give rise to his skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands, and tooth enamel. (info from

Yeah! We made it to month two.

Lots of exciting stuff happening. Sometimes I wonder if I'm walking on a cloud. I remember feeling this way when I fell in love with Karl and he proposed - and I knew I'd be spending forever with him. When I was dating a bunch, I always thought spending so much time with someone would scare me, but that was never the case with Karl! I had this feeling inside me that I needed to spend as much time with him as I could and I never had enough. So after he proposed, nothing could bring me down or pull me from the clouds.

Being pregnant feels like that, but even better, because Karl is with me, and is such a huge part of this and I realized now why I had to wait such a long time before I found him. The wait was so worth it - he's going to be an amazing and attentive father. I'm so glad I get to experience this with him. Creating a child together is something crazy, awesome.
Life feels different. I feel like I'm carrying this amazing miracle and there is so much more than science behind it all. I've been reading a lot of books on pregnancy with pictures and I catch myself saying, "this is just nuts," out loud plenty of times. It really is crazy. I can't believe any of this. The body is so incredible. Now I'm starting to feel a sliver of that connection moms have with their children. Motherhood takes on a whole new meaning once you actually begin to experience it. Wow.

I think I'm at week five, almost six, which is pretty cool. A couple things that have happened during this time:

1. We told my brother Mike on the walk over to Dairy Queen (there's one across the street from us). I needed to tell SOMEONE. And since Karl and I live next door to Mike and he always is just so kind and sweet and listens and could we not? He was so caught up in talking about cutting off cow's heads and his work that he missed Karl calling him Uncle Mike. Finally we got our ice cream and told him. His face broke in a bigger smile than normal (yes, his smiles can get HUGE) and his face turned all red. It was cool. He was way excited. Then we went back talk about cows and Cargill.

2. We told my parents on Tuesday, August 16. Let me just say this was so cool. So cool. Okay, it was beyond cool. We of course wanted to tell them in person but a five-hour drive is not in the cards for us right now. We wanted to them to come up here for Labor Day but didn't want to wait for that either. So we skyped them. The thing with skype was it kept freezing up, oh, and I have never skyped my parents. Seemed a bit fishy but they didn't bite.

As my computer kept freezing, we stalled them and let them go on a walk while Karl installed the latest version on my computer. My parents returned from their walk and we skyped again. It froze on us a couple more times, so finally I just let it out and my mom's face WAS PRICELESS!!! I am not kidding. I think she said something like, "SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" and fell back in her chair, clapped her hands and giggled a ton. That part was awesome. Then I think my dad congratulated Karl for his awesomesauce or something manly like that. Then they asked for "ETA" (estimated time of arrival). Then my mom kept saying, "I can't believe it. This is awesome."

Yes, yes, it is!!!! So exciting bringing them so much joy!!!!!!!!

3. We're going to tell Karl's family once his dad gets back from Alaska this weekend. We figure Jim will have the 'back-to-reality blues' after such an amazing trip. Then we can come in and say, "Surprise, your high is not over just yet!" That'll be fun. I can't wait!!!

4. I had to cancel playing in an all-day volleyball tournament scheduled at the end of August. So I've been talking to my trainer at Life Time about my health and fitness and keeping my body in prime shape. Then he emails me that I might just have to give up on competitive, all-day volleyball for awhile. Say what!??!?!

Volleyball. Is. My. Life.

But after the Derby Day volleyball tournament earlier this month, I realized how much eight hours of volleyball in the heat and sun had affected my body the following day, so I finally agreed (especially after Karl yelled at me) and thankfully the captain of the team said he'll handle. Phew!

This. Child. Is. My. Life.

5. I actually still feel really good. Today (Thursday, Aug. 18) is the first day where I feel a little weird. Otherwise I've felt like I have a ton of energy and I'm glowing. My skin has cleared up. I'm actually starting to fill out my bras for once in my life (yippeeee!! Watch out low-cut shirts!). And I feel like my normal self. I stopped drinking coffee after I had a few sips last Sunday before church and felt funny. I'm wondering if my body is wondering today where the caffeine is and that's why I feel somewhat like a zombie. I have been drinking tea instead because I like hot drinks in the morning and that's been working out. I have crackers stuffed in my purse just in case too. But I've kept up my working out routine (squats, pull ups, lunges, pike push ups) and have been walking more than running and choose the elliptical over the stair stepper. I must keep telling myself, "You can't workout to lose weight anymore."

I've also been trying to eat more protein. I've read that protein is good and pregnant moms needs lots of it. Seems to be helping so far!

6. I'm still biting my nails. For some reason I thought I'd stop this. Silly me. Karl says, "I'm pretty sure baby K doesn't appreciate eating your fingernails." Trying to let that stick because he probably is right. Ewwww.

7. Our ultrasound is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 12 at 7:50 and we can't wait!!!! This is going to be awesome!!!!!!!!

I like the laughter that opens the lips and the heart, that show at the same time pearls and the soul. 
-Victor Hugo 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Double Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

A Healthy Chinese dinner

Double Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry
serves 4
(recipe found in Fitness Magazine May 2010)

Cut 3 ounces skinless chicken breast into thin strips

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add chicken; 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce; 2 teaspoons honey; 1 garlic clove, minced; and 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger and saute 6 minutes.

Add 2 cups fresh vegetable stir-fry mix and 1/2 cup cooked brown rice; saute 10 minutes.

Top with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds and 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil.

Karl's take: "Ohh, I like this. Might need a little more salt."

My take: This was good and hit the spot. I was craving Chinese and this did the trick.

Pasta with Sausage and Red Grapes

"Red grapes contain antioxidants that combat inflammation, a main acne culprit."

Pasta with Sausage and Red Grapes
serves 4
(recipe found in Self August 2011)

6 oz mild Italian sausage, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp salt (preferably kosher), divided
2 cups seedless red grapes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
10 oz whole-wheat orecchiette (or other short-cut pasta, such as farfalle or penne)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil)

1. Set a large pot of water to boil. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring and breaking up, until well browned, about 15 minutes.

2. Transfer sausage to a paper towel.

3. Add oil to skillet; return to medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, with 1/4 tsp of salt, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add grapes, broth and pepper flakes; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until grapes soften or burst and liquid thickens, about 10 minutes.

5. Return sausage to skillet and stir; turn off heat. When water boils, add remaining 1 tbsp salt and pasta; cook as directed on package.

6. Drain pasta, add to skillet, and turn on heat to high. Cook stirring, until sausage is hot and pasta is coated with sauce, 30 to 60 seconds.

7. Divide among 4 bowls; sprinkle each with Parmesan and basil before serving.

Karl's reaction: "I actually like this. I wasn't sure but this is good. It's sweet but a little spicy. Good babe."

My take: I was a little worried because my sauce never really thickened and I used different noodles (the potato kind) which actually turned out really good. I'd make this again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy - Month One

written August 13, 2011
4 weeks

"I know my body."

At least that's what I kept telling my husband. Then he'd laugh at me because more often than not, something opposite usually happened.

I really feel like I do know my body more than most though. I know when I'm ovulating. I know when TOM is coming (time of the month). I know when I'm getting a bad bad headache. I know when I'm about to get sick. I know when I take a drug besides Advil or Tylenol. I know what happens 20 minutes later when I eat a candy bar or drink a soda or too many carbs. I feel like I'm really in tune to my body. So why was I so in shock when two lines appeared on the pregnancy test?

Here are some of the early signs I should've been aware of:

1. I was thirsty a lot.
I thought, man...maybe I have diabetes all of a sudden? My mouth always felt dry. I was thirsty and I was drinking a lot of water. I love water, but usually I'm never thirsty. I thought maybe I was eating saltier foods.

2. I got hit with a bad case of the d. TMI? Well, that hasn't happened to me in a long time and when it does, it's usually because I ran outside in the heat and sun without a lot of water or I partied hard the night before...or I ate tons of asparagus and spinach. I did none of those. Earlier that day I went to lunch with my boss. I had my usual calzone from Old Chicago. Then as soon as 4:30 hit, I was running for the toilet. And I was running the entire night and morning. I called in sick to work the next day and felt really strange. Lightheaded. Thirsty. Skinny. Nauseous. Then I remembered I ate a whole cucumber the night before. Could that have been it?

3. Up and down soreness. Usually my "girls" get tender the week before TOM visits. They did like normal so I figured TOM was coming. I was getting my usual dull five minute cramps and I even woke with a dull headache one of the mornings. All signs TOM was coming. My girls have been super sore the past two months before TOM came; however, this time the soreness in that area went away, and TOM never came.

4. Couldn't go anymore. I was having the hardest time going to the bathroom. I figured everything came out of me two weeks before, but even so I'm always regular. I was not. Everything was painful. Something was definitely off. I've never had this problem. Ever. I kept eating more vegetables and a fiber-rich diet...still nothing.

5. Energy level. Some days I had so much energy I could've ran two marathons. Some days I felt like a walking zombie going through the motions. I figured it was me struggling to go into work. Or maybe I was taking on too many projects again. Nope.
6. Late. TOM never is later than 29 days and he was late.
What are some weird symptoms you had?

Preparing Body for Baby - Month One

written August 13, 2011
4 weeks
What vitamins should I be taking to get ready for baby?

I started a vitamin regime almost a year ago. I always thought I got enough nutrients from the healthy foods I ate, but was told to think again. I know these vitamins haven't been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and I learned that in college, so back then I figured vitamins were a waste of money. Wrong. They should be taken every day, especially when you're trying to get pregnant or have just found out baby is growing inside you.

Vitamins I was taking:

1. Women's One's - Heart, Bone and Breast Health (contains 800 mcg of Folic Acid).
Folic Acid prevents birth defects. According to March of Dimes, "Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps a baby’s neural tube to grow healthy during pregnancy. The neural tube will become a baby’s brain and spinal cord. But if the neural tube doesn’t close the way it should, it can cause a very serious birth defect called a neural tube defect (NTD)." Read more here.

2. Melaleuca's Phytomgea (blend of phytosterols, omega-3s, coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid)
My mom gave me this one. Official state guidelines state that Americans should eat around two meals of fatty fish a week. According to the website American Pregnancy, "Omega-3s have been found to be essential for both neurological and early visual development of the baby. Pregnant women become depleted in omega-3s, since the fetus uses omega-3s for its nervous system development. Omega-3s are also used after birth to make breast milk. With each subsequent pregnancy, mothers are further depleted. Research has confirmed that adding EPA and DHA to the diet of pregnant women has a positive effect on visual and cognitive development of the child. Studies have also shown that higher consumption of omega-3s may reduce the risk of allergies in infants.

Omega-3 fatty acids have positive effects on the pregnancy itself. Increased intake of EPA and DHA has been shown to prevent pre-term labor and delivery, lower the risk of pre-eclampsia and may increase birth weight and gestational weight. Omega-3 deficiency also increases the mother's risk for depression. This may explain why postpartum mood disorders may become worse and begin earlier with subsequent pregnancies."

3. The Vitamin Shoppe's Vitamin D3 (2000 IU)
My chiropractor is the one who got me hooked on D3. Once he said it's great at fighting off winter illnesses, I started taking it. I've also been told that Vitamin D3 is great for bone density and building a strong immune system to fight off cancers. It also helps in brain development in children. There is a link with autism and lack of vitamin D3 in women. What's most remarkable about vitamin D is the sheer number of health issues it's been linked to. In the past few years, studies have shown that a lack of the vitamin may be the primary culprit in depression, heart disease, pregnancy problems, birth defects, skin and other cancers, and multiple sclerosis. More about D3 here.

4. The Vitamin Shoppe's Probiotic Complex (4 billion CFU)
This is where things gets fun. Constipation is a big side effect of pregnant women. Probiotics help the digestive track and is a good at keeping the immune system healthy. Read more about probiotics here.

5. Standard Process's Cataplex B
This is also from my chiropractor and supports physical and nervous system health. Read more.

6. Standard Process's Symplex F
Symplex F supports the healthy function of the ovaries and the adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid glands. Read more.

7. Standard Process's Drenamin
Drenamin supports adrenal function and helps maintain emotional balance. Read more here.

Vitamins I now take

1. Rainbow Light's Prenatal One (a food-based multi)
Prenatal One is loaded with Iron, Folate and Iodine (which my women's one didn't have). So I went with what the Vitamin Shoppe guy told me and bought this. Read more about Prenatal One.

2. New Chapter's WholeMega Fish Oil
There are tons of studies out right now about pregnant woman not getting enough fish oil, so I started taking this stuff. Omega-3 nourishes the heart, brain, kidney and eyes. I'm in. Read more about WholeMega.

3. The Vitamin Shoppe's Vitamin D3 (2000 IU)

My chiropractor is the one who got me hooked on D3. Once he said it's great at fighting off winter illnesses, I started taking it. I've also been told that Vitamin D3 is great for bone density and building a strong immune system to fight off cancers. It also helps in brain development in children. There is a link with autism and lack of vitamin D3 in women. What's most remarkable about vitamin D is the sheer number of health issues it's been linked to. In the past few years, studies have shown that a lack of the vitamin may be the primary culprit in depression, heart disease, pregnancy problems, birth defects, skin and other cancers, and multiple sclerosis. More about D3 here.

4. The Vitamin Shoppe's Probiotic Complex (4 billion CFU)

This is where things gets fun. Constipation is a big side effect of pregnant women. Probiotics help the digestive track and is a good at keeping the immune system healthy. Read more about probiotics here.

What vitamins are you taking and why?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Day our Life Changed - Month One

written August 10, 2011
31 days (i.e. four weeks)

I'm pregnant.

This week marks the beginning of the embryonic period. From now until 10 weeks, all of your baby's organs will begin to develop and some will even begin to function. As a result, this is the time when she'll be most vulnerable to anything that might interfere with her development. Right now your baby is an embryo the size of a poppy seed, consisting of two layers: the epiblast and the hypoblast, from which all of her organs and body parts will develop. (info found on

2 lines means YES
I know. I'm just as speechless too. It's weird for me to write those words but it's also very exciting. We've known for a little over 24-hours now and I wanted to capture every moment.  For those who can't handle "open book" personalities or tend to be more private or shy away from my kind of people, this probably isn't the blog to be reading. Because I am that person.

Yesterday (Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011) was pure insanity ever since we found out. From my dentist adventure to some crazy career possibilities to my three AOL article deadlines to trying to focus on work to going to a happy hour with my besties to keeping it from them, I never had a moment to let it all sink in.

It is sinking in now as I write this and I can't stop smiling!

I figure I could keep a little blog journal of our journey since I love to write, I always wondered what was going on in my mom's head when I was in her tummy and I have absolutely NO idea what I'm doing or about to get myself into. I've maybe changed a diaper once in my life. I've held a baby a handful of times and most of the time they never stop crying. I don't work with babies or kids. In short: I'm as clueless as they come.

Let's start from the beginning.

My first thought. Wow. This did not take long at all. I figured since I'm a little older (32) and from what I read - the average couple (age 25) takes around five months to conceive - we would need around that much time and more. It seemed our chances were going down the older we got and we'd best get going. We started trying late June into July and nothing happened. For a second I thought, oh shoot...what if this does take months, even years? But then I reminded myself that was only one month and I didn't know all the rules of ovulation. What I did know was I'm healthy - I've been healthy most of my entire life (minus Toppers binges at UW-Whitewater every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for three years). I do eat really really good. I exercise a lot. And I've been "regular" my entire life. All good signs. So part of me did know it was going to happen. But again...not THIS fast.

My second thought. Dear God what did we just do? Ha. But honestly, the room did swirl a little bit and my heart echoed in my ears. I stopped breathing. This is it. Life is going to change from this point forward. Can I do this? Well, obviously God thinks I'm ready. So it's time to get my butt in gear and start believing in myself.

My third thought. I swear TOM (time of the month) is coming. Is that pee test accurate?? I sent a text to Karl the night before right as I left work and headed off to sand volleyball. "Dude - will have to take a test before tomorrow since I have a dentist appointment. Prob nothing."

Yet, I felt head achy. My "girls" were a bit sore. And I was cramping. Felt like my little friend was coming. I even took a Midol. Figured I'd for sure be getting it while I was playing volleyball that night. Monday, Aug. 8, was day 29 of no TOM. Strange enough, the past two months TOM has arrived on day 29.

No TOM after volleyball. Hmmm. Weird. And I had energy. I never have energy when TOM comes. But my mom did just supply me with a slew of vitamins over the past month...

However, that Saturday I exercised a lot (and seriously I don't remember the last time I felt SO ENERGETIC playing volleyball) and figured all my sweating affected my cycle. But this probably explains why after playing volleyball for eight hours in 80+ degree sunny weather I felt like a Mack Truck hit me on Sunday. I couldn't even get out of bed for church. I had never in my life felt so tired, so exhausted, so cranky. Figured it was dehydration, but boy was I peeing a lot.

My fourth thought. Oh, Karl's gonna love this one. Woke up at 5:45 on Tuesday morning Aug. 9 - my brother's 34th b-day and my younger brother's 3rd wedding anniversary. And to top it all off, the weather was ridiculously awesome. Life felt good.

Like usual, after rolling out of bed, I grabbed my BlackBerry and shuffled into the bathroom. This time I grabbed the pee stick. Peed on it and set it to the side as I scrolled through my texts, tweets, Facebook posts, two email accounts. I quickly looked over about 15 seconds later and there are TWO LINES. TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is when the room got quiet ( was already quiet but it felt like I was in a tunnel actually). My heart pounded through the chest and I sat up. I shuffled (LOUDLY) over to our bed. Was hoping Karl's telepathy was working. Nope. He was sleeping soundly. "I AM PREGNANT," I whisper (loudly).

Covers fly off - his face scrunches - forehead wrinkles..."WHAT?!" He stares at me like I'm an alien. Then his face cracks and the biggest smile EVER appears on his face. I melt into him on the bed and wish I scheduled the damn dentist for a different day. I could lay in bed with him forever. Life is good. God is good. My man is made of awesomeness.

My fifth thought. I CAN'T WAIT to tell our parents. Like...I can't even explain how excited I am right now. Tears spring to my eyes every time I think about it. The first grandchild for both our parents!!! I feel so blessed. And I have this whole new appreciation for my mom. This is going to be FUN. Remind me I wrote that when I'm hugging the porcelain bus.

4 weeks preg and ready to run!
My sixth thought. "Anything different in your health?" the dental hygienist asks as she shoves a notepad in my face. "I just need a signature."

"I'm pregnant," I say in this weird hoarse voice that sounds nothing like mine.

Her eyes bulge.

"I know! I just found out an hour ago. I'm still in shock." Voice turns shaky.

"This is great news! How exciting!!! Congrats," her voice rises.

I feel like shushing her. I mean, she knows before my parents do!!!!! What if someone's in the office I know and knows someone who knows someone and it ends up on Facebook!?!? I realize I'm overexagerating and smile and let her poke at my teeth. The dentist comes by. "Why aren't there any new X-Rays?"

I go through the whole story with him. He gets excited. "You are so smart for taking a test before you came in here. You know how many people don't?" He pats me on the back and I feel like I just received an A+. Thanks doc!

My seventh thought. I need to make a girl doctor appointment. I walk down the hall and schedule an appointment for my OB-GYN. The two nurses keep shrieking with joy and I keep reminding them it's still early. They ask for the first day of my last period. July 11. "You're four weeks!" the nurse smiles. "Let's get you and your husband in for an ultrasound on week eight."

We get to see the heartbeat? Holy crap!!!

"That's it?" I ask, trying to play it all cool. I don't need to make sure? Don't I need to be told to stop drinking coffee and stuff? Aren't you going to make me get blood work?

"Take your vitamins and we'll see you in eight weeks."

Okay then! Buh-bye wine tasting Fridays.

My eighth thought. I want to tell the world. I want everyone to know. We both do. But we both know a lot of people who have experienced miscarriages and know this could/can happen to us at any time. So I'm not sure what the plan is. I just feel like screaming from the rooftops! In the meantime I drove into Minneapolis after work feeling like a rag doll (i.e. exhausted). I meet my two besties Kimbra and Hoover for happy hour. Kimbra asks me what I want to drink as I race for the bathroom for the millionth time that day. "Nothing!" I shout back. She so knows, I think. I come back. "I can't drink. We're trying and I shouldn't be drinking." Brows raise.

Note to self: my friends are smart.

I'm not sure how many times through the night Kimbra asked when I'm going to tell her if I'm preg. Lying is never fun, but I really want mom and dad to know first and good friends usually can read right through stuff like that, right? So...sorry girls! But I'm sure you figured it out anyway.

My ninth thought. Holy crap we have a lot of stuff ahead of us. Where do we even start? I don't know. All I know is Karl's going to be an awesome dad. This baby is going to be LOVED to the max. And my life is about to enter a whole new level of crazy. Like crazy. And I'm pretty sure I will not be able to have six jobs going on at once anymore. It's time to figure life out.

My tenth thought. I have no idea what I'm doing. God help me.

Then I flipped my calendar today and it reads:

Life's short and we never have enough time for the hearts of those who travel the way with us. O, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind.

- Henri Frederic Amiel

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What can I make with a Rotisserie Chicken?

Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Grapes and Apple
Serves 4 to 6
(Adapted from Whole Foods Market Recipe and I found on Snacking in the Kitchen Blog - her stuff is sooooo good and is featured in Fitness magazine a lot!!!)
This is beyond good. I will be making this over and over again!
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 rotisserie chicken
2 cups red seedless grapes
1 green apple, cored and diced
3 stalks celery, peeled and finely diced
3/4 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
1/4 cup sliced green onions

1. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, honey, lemon juice, poppy seeds, salt and pepper.

2. Remove the skin from the chicken and pull meat off the bones. Roughly chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. Combine chicken, grapes, apple, celery and dressing. Refrigerate for several hours.

3. Once refrigerated, add almonds and onion. Serve.

Karl's reaction: "Oh. My. God. This is so good. This is in my top five for sure. Is this healthy? What's the white stuff? God, this is good. Are there kiwis in here? No? Good. I love this. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Awesome."

My reaction: I loved this. Like loved it. It's easy to make and I can see this being a hit at a BBQ or party. SO GOOD!

Cheesy Stuffed Shells

Pasta time!

Cheesy Stuffed Shells
serves 5 to 6
(recipe found on
Cheesy stuffed shells made a great Italian dinner!
1 container (16 oz) 2% Milkfat Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1 cup Kraft 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup Kraft grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked, drained
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 large tomato
I also added Italian meat since Karl needs his meat!

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix cottage cheese, spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and seasoning; spoon into shells. I mixed in the ground meat too and stuffed into shells.

2. Mix sauce and tomatoes; spoon half into 13x9 -inch baking dish. Add filled shells; top with remaining sauce. Cover.

3. Bake 25 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining mozzarella; bake uncovered, 2 min. or until melted.

Cheesy Stuffed Shells - Oh, so good!
Karl's reaction: "You know, I decided I don't like grape tomatoes. They remind me of biting into a nest with little seeds. I eat this and it's all good and saucy and then I get a grape tomato and it pops in my mouth and throws off my palette. But this is very good. I like it."

My take: I like this a lot. Everything about it screams yum!

Ravioli-Vegetable Stacks

A summer lasagna

Ravioli-Vegetable Stacks
serves four
(recipe found in Better Homes and Garden online -
Layers of ravioli, cheese, tomatoes, basil and zucchini - YUM!

1 lb. frozen sausage-or meat-filled ravioli (I used cheese filled)
2 small zucchini
4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves
1 8-ounce pkg. shredded Italian-blend cheese (2 cups)

1. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Cook ravioli to package directions. Trim and lengthwise slice zucchini. Add zucchini to ravioli during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain, but do not rinse.

2. In 2-quart square baking dish layer half the tomato slices. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle half the basil. Using tongs, layer half the ravioli and sprinkle have the cheese. Layer zucchini slices; drizzle 1 TBS oil. Layer remaining ravioli, basil, cheese, and tomato; drizzle remaining oil. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

3. Bake, uncovered, 9 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and begins to brown. To serve, cut in squares; sprinkle with fresh basil. Makes 4 servings.
Ravioli-vegetable stack in a square baking dish
Karl's reaction: "This is pretty good, babe! At first it seems average but the more I eat it the more I like it."

My take - We have lots of tomatoes and basil growing on our deck. If there is a way I can cook with them, I'm happy. And this meal is really, really refreshing and full of flavor. I will be making this again!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Get Your Foot in the Door Writing Contest

Fun Writing Contest Judged by Sourcebook Editors!
I'm participating in another writing blog contest! This is hosted by the ever-so-fabulous Gabi Lessa - one of my critique partners in crime (she always has the coolest contests). And do note that there is still time for you to sign up for the contest (ends Tuesday, August 9, 2011) if you have a completed manuscript, so go to her blog!

Below is my entry. I'd love any feedback I can get before I submit on Tuesday.

Thanks and best of luck to everyone.


Name: Christie Koester
Title: Wanted: Groom for my $100K Wedding
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Manuscript word count: 85,000
Judge: Deb Werksman - One of the amazing four Sourcebook's editors

One-sentence pitch: (No more than 30 words)
I have three to start and I need your help telling me which one you like the best out of them all, please!!! Do any of them grab you?

1. When a heartbroken and single 35-year-old wins a $75K dream wedding, she has eight weeks and no groom, and a strategy bigger than her heart can handle.

2. When a heartbroken and single 35-year-old wins a $75K dream wedding, she has eight weeks to find a groom and plan her wedding—and learn about love along the way.

3. When a heartbroken 35-year-old wins a $75K wedding, she has everything to make her fairytale a reality in eight weeks—except the groom—and begins the biggest journey of all.

First paragraph: (Enter your first paragraph. If your first paragraph is shorter than 25 words, you may enter your first two paragraphs, as long as the second paragraph is not over 100 words.)

The cellist plays the first strings of Canon in D, causing my heart to race against my chest like a boxer high on adrenaline. I close my eyes the minute the organist presses the keys and I inhale the heavy scents of sweat pea and cologne filling the sanctuary. Memories awaken of being a little girl twirling in a wedding gown ten sizes too big about to walk down the aisle at Gram’s church. She, practicing at the organ every Saturday morning, a makeshift bouquet of origami roses in my hands, and my best friend Tony drowning in Gramp’s blue suit, waiting for me. And the promise he made years later.

That's all! Let me know what you think and if I need to change things up.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writing Contest Judged by Sourcebook Editors

Yes, you read that right! Have you been looking for an opportunity to Get Your Foot in the Door when it comes to your writing? What better way than a writing contest judged by FOUR Sourcebook editors!!! And we're talking WELL-KNOWN Sourcebook editors.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, I'd for sure think about signing up.

1. Have you finished your manuscript?
2. Do you write single-title romance or women's fiction?
3. Do you write Young Adult?
4. Do you write commercial literary fiction (contemporary and historical)?
5. Do you write middle grade or children's fiction?

Did you answer yes? Well, then quick sign up - tell your friends!!!!! This is one heck of a contest! One of my awesome critique partners Gabriela Lessa is hosting it so you have to check out her new blog to get all the details. All I can say is the entries should be your first paragraph and a one-sentence pitch. That’s what the judges will take into consideration. Each judge will choose a winner, and each winner will get a prize from their respective judge. You have until TUESDAY, AUGUST 9 to sign up!!!!! What are you waiting for?

Play now! And good luck!