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.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jeans Don't Fit No More No More No More No More - Month 3

written Sunday, September 25, 2011
week 10

Thursday was a monumental day for me. Monday through Thursday I have to wear nice pants to work and then on Fridays I'm finally allowed to wear jeans. Now...not all people in the company follow this rule as most employees wear jeans and sweatshirts Monday through Friday and I'm wondering when I can start wearing my Yoga pants all day every day since I'm not so sure this pants rule is really enforced. Anyway, I was able to slip on my size 6 long black pants from New York and Company just fine on Thursday but by the time I got to work I realized my waistband was cutting off my circulation and I was miserable. I did the unthinkable and unbuttoned my pants and walked around like that the rest of the day. Hey, nobody knew and I sure felt a whole lot better.

Then Friday came. I pulled on my favorite Express Jeans...all $85 of them. They were cutting off my circulation even before I pulled them over my thighs. I think I felt a tear spring to my eye because I know how hard I worked to get into those jeans, but I quickly peeled them off and blamed the dryer. I dug around and found a pair of jeans I hadn't worn for at least a year and slipped those on. They were always my "bigger" jeans. I could barely button them. At least my thighs could breathe though. So I took a hairband and looped in through the button hole and spent my day wondering how much longer I was going to avoid buying maternity clothes?

So yes, soon I'm going to have to take a trip and buy some newer pants or better bands or something. Month four is creeping up so quickly and once that hits, there's not stopping the growing belly. I now get why this all takes nine months. Moms need to mentally adjust and baby needs to grow into this little healthy miracle. This is all just so crazy!!!

Any suggestions for cute maternity clothes?

Friday, September 23, 2011

About Christie Koester - I've Been Tagged

Getting to know Christie Koester

So I’ve been tagged via Twitter through my critty gal Julie! This is a blogger thing and when you get tagged, you share ten facts about yourself on the blog. I blog all my business on here, so now I have to find ten interesting things I probably haven't shared. This could be tough!!!

Me and my mommy! June 8 at 5:59 p.m. at 10 massive pounds! Ouch!

1. I was born a large 10-pound baby. I was smashed in my mother's womb and came out with a hole in my chest. Medical term: pectus excavatum. As a little girl, I used to lie back in the bathtub and gather all the water in my chest cavity and form a lake. Then I'd close my eyes and pretend there were fish swimming in my hole. Hey, I never said I was normal!

2. I first picked up a volleyball at my best friend Laura's house. We were in the 6th grade. I haven't put it down since. I heart volleyball. I will be playing well into my 80s.

My BFF Laura - without her, I would have never given VB a chance!!

3. I've been going to a chiropractor since I was four or something crazy like that. I have never once broken any bones, had surgery or been in the hospital (other than for tubes in my ears at age 2).

4. I've owned two cars my entire life. My '96 Grand Prix and my '03 Mazda 6. The second week of owning my brand new Mazda 6, I got in my first ever car accident. They fixed it up real nice and that same day I got in my second car accident.

5. I missed one morning of school my entire high school career - that's how much I loved school. I threw up that morning and still made it by lunch. I never skipped one class my four years of college (unless for volleyball games). I love to learn. I love school. I'd do it all over again.

6. I always thought I knew what falling in love felt like, until I met Karl Anthony Koester. I honestly can't get enough of him. I'm so crazy about him it's insane. The wait was totally worth it. I could gobble him up - he's that delicious.
My honey proposed to me at the Murfreesboro, Arkansas diamond mine!!

7. I hiked up Machu Picchu with a few people from church and one of the ladies slipped and broke her leg on a rock. My brother and I had to carry her down on a the rain. I've also been to Italy, Ireland, Greece, St. Lucia, Mexico, South Africa and Netherlands.

Me and my brother Mike in Peru...before the "leg" incident happened!

8.  I live next door to my older brother Mike. I don't really get sick of him either. Kind of weird.

9. I eat lemons and limes like apples. I'm worried I'll ruin my teeth so I try to control myself.

10. I had braces on my pearly whites not once but twice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learning to Let Go and Say No - Month 3

written September 21, 2011
week 10

I think most people who know me see me as this bubbly, energetic person who takes on a million projects at once. I remember having dinner at Olive Garden with my friend Meegan (who I totally admire since she's a mother of FOUR kids) a few months ago. The thing about Meegan's kids...they are probably the most well-behaved kids I've ever met. I keep telling her she needs to be my mentor when the time comes because I have never seen kids like hers. And well, I want kids like that. I don't want the kids who are running wild everywhere, punching and screaming on the top of their lungs. Supernanny anyone?

Anyway, getting back to Meegan. She told me that once I become pregnant I will not be able to do it all. I will have to give up some things - I will have to make sacrifices. At first I looked at her with my superhuman powers and thought... Ha! I'll show her. But, I take that back. I wish I could just say "no" right now to some things. Frankly I'm tired. I just want to work a job and write and raise a family. That's it. Oh, and play volleyball. :) I'm entering a new stage/phase of my life and am ready to focus more on family stuff.

Things I currently have going on/participating in:

1. Full-time job
2. Querying my 320-page book
3. Writing another book
4. In a critique group - critiquing five other women's fiction work (usually 60 pages a time) once a week
5. Blogging (personal - baby, writing and food recipes)
6. Blogging (Star Tribune)
7. Community reporter (KSTP)
8. Weekly reporter/writer for AOL Patch (three articles a week)
9. Writer for
10. Freelance writer/graphic designer (designing website and marketing deliverables for uncle's new invention)
11. Volunteer for Young(er) adult group at church
12. Health Cabinet volunteer at church
13. Sunday greeter at church
14. Organizing dodgeball at church
15. Playing in a volleyball league (playing only one night a week)
16. Work out with a trainer (right now I'm failing miserably since I can't even get to the gym).
17. I'm the 'Member at Large' on our Town Home Association Board

Lots of thoughts and feelings going on in my head right now. Just curious what other people do when they are asked to do something their heart is just not in at the moment? Does the moment present itself to challenge us - something bigger might come from it, or is it more of a test? How does one balance everything???

Words of Wisdom for Moms-to-Be - Month 3

written September 21, 2011
week 10

Though he's barely the size of a kumquat — a little over an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, your baby has now completed the most critical portion of his development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in his body rapidly grow and mature. He's swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. Vital organs — including his kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver (now making red blood cells in place of the disappearing yolk sac) — are in place and starting to function, though they'll continue to develop throughout your pregnancy. If you could take a peek inside your womb, you'd spot minute details, like tiny nails forming on fingers and toes (no more webbing) and peach-fuzz hair beginning to grow on tender skin. (info found on
My awesome friend Jaymie sent me an email this morning and I wanted to share it for anyone else who may be preg and wondering how life is going to change dramatically. I think of that quite often. Jaymie had her baby girl, Brighton Kay McGrath, back in July (in like the easiest delivery ever) and wanted me to know some things. The best part is today is her 32nd birthday so this is just very fitting. Here they are below. I love this!

1. You finally stop to smell the roses, because your baby is in your arms.
2. The sacrifices you thought you made to have a child no longer seem like sacrifices. (if you would have told me this 3 months ago, i would have said you are out of your f-ing mind. i was so scared of the sacrifices...especially the sleep one. but, here i 7:19am...sitting at the computer...just waiting for my daughter to wake up. i can barely believe it. and it doesn't bother me one bit. it takes all i have not to wake her ass up right now because i miss her.)

3. You respect your body ... finally.

4. You find that your baby's pain feels much worse than your own.

5. You believe once again in the things you believed in as a child.
6. You lose touch with the people in your life whom you should have banished years ago.

7. Your heart breaks much more easily.

8. You think of someone else 234,836,178,976 times a day.

9. Every day is a surprise.

10. Bodily functions are no longer repulsive. In fact, they please you. (Hooray for poop!)

11. You look at your baby in the mirror instead of yourself.

12. You become a morning person.

13. Your love becomes limitless, a superhuman power.

This just makes me smile!!! I love it. Does anyone have anything to add?

Hold fast your dreams! Within your heart. Keep one still, secret spot. Where dreams may go. And, sheltered so, may thrive and grow.
- Louise Driscoll

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seeing the Heartbeat - Month 3

written Monday, September 12, 2011
9 weeks

First ultrasound. Wow!

Your new resident is nearly an inch long — about the size of a grape — and weighs just a fraction of an ounce. She's starting to look more and more human. Her essential body parts are accounted for, though they'll go through plenty of fine-tuning in the coming months. Other changes abound: Your baby's heart finishes dividing into four chambers, and the valves start to form — as do her tiny teeth. The embryonic "tail" is completely gone. Your baby's organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear. The external sex organs are there but won't be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks. Her eyes are fully formed, but her eyelids are fused shut and won't open until 27 weeks. She has tiny earlobes, and her mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct. The placenta is developed enough now to take over most of the critical job of producing hormones. Now that your baby's basic physiology is in place, she's poised for rapid weight gain. (info from

Something needs to be said about that first ultrasound. Wow. Wow. Wow. This whole creating a baby is truly a miracle. Whoa. Yes, I've been reading up on my four different books. (Ergh...umm...yes, I have four now. Thanks She-Dawg!!!) And I wasn't so sure anymore that we'd even be having the ultrasound since most of the books say you'll have your first one at 12 weeks. I knew I was going into my ninth week, so I wasn't sure if they'd make us wait.

Before we went to bed last night I said a little prayer. I told God that we felt pretty bad we hadn't been going to church lately but we're hoping he hadn't forgotten about us too much since we hadn't been spending nearly enough time with him. We asked that everything turn out just as it is supposed to be and that baby is healthy. All I know is after I spoke those words, I felt really safe...really happy.

Then I had a rough time sleeping. I woke with a throbbing headache around 2:30 and had to take Tylenol with a handful of peanuts. I woke every hour either to pee or to roll over. I was hot. I am never hot when I sleep. My dreams were crazy and I felt like my mind was racing all night. I wasn't sure how the appointment would go.

Mostly I've been freaking out about my weight (so dumb I know but seriously...I'm a fitness freak). I know I've gained a few pounds since our wedding for sure. At 5'10" I was down to 143 when I walked down the aisle. I gained seven pounds over our honeymoon - I do not regret a single pound either. That honeymoon was frickin amazing. Sometime my heart hurts thinking about how amazing that was and how not one vacation will ever be the same as that. It was really special and a one-time deal.

So over the course of two years I've fluctuated between 147-152 pounds. When I first weighed myself on day 30 of this journey, I was 154 and the size 4s were getting a bit snug. Today, I was only up a pound!!!!!! Phew. That means if I gain the 30-34 pounds I can still stay under 200 pounds. I will die if I get over 200. Baaaahahahaha. I worry because I eat a lot, but I do eat healthy when I eat a lot, so I have that going for me. But whatever. If I get chubby, I get chubby.

But yes, this is about baby and not my chub. Karl and I headed to the doctor appointment at 7:50 after battling annoying traffic. So doc (nurse practitioner) went over my form I filled out and asked me lots of family history questions. I will say everyone was quite impressed with my family heart history.

  • Mom's dad died of congenital heart failure
  • Mom's brother has a defibulator and was on heart transplant list for awhile (get this...his defib went off when he was scaling a mountain and he was thrown off!! Can you even believe it!?!?)
  • Mom's other brother has irregul heartbeat and needs to get shocked every once in a while
  • Mom's sister has the super fast heart beat and needs to dunk head in ice sometime to jump it back to normal
  • Dad's dad has a pacemaker, a pig valve, and two clots in his heart
  • Dad has pacemaker
  • Brother was born with hole in heart and irregular heart beat (but also completed two marathons and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro! Boo-yah!!)
  • Dad's sister gave birth to a baby whose heart valves were flipped and he died 6 months later:( 
So yeah... crazy hearts on both sides and doctors and nurses are keeping a close watch! Then she asked for our questions, which I had a bunch. Then she wheeled in the ultrasound machine. She had to go through my 'who-ha' on this one since a belly read would be too hard. She moved the big ol' stick around inside me until...poof! There was our baby jumping and twitching around!!!!! I looked up at Karl and tears rolled down his cheeks. I had to look away... I'm emotional enough as is!!! But WOW. Nothing can prepare you for that moment. It's nuts. Then I saw a little dot in his chest pumping super fast. Then all I kept thinking about he/she healthy? What is he/she going to become? Will he/she play volleyball?

So so so so neat. I'm already in love. We also found out I'm for sure 9 weeks along and due April 16! I'm getting super excited about this and felt really great the minute I was able to hear the words..."there's the heartbeat." Because I know things are going to be fine. One of my books says if you make it past 8 weeks and see the heartbeat, miscarriage drops to 5%.

I headed downstairs to get blood drawn. My veins were nowhere to be found and I got poked twice in both arms since they weren't having much luck - and then I peed in a cup. Fun stuff.

I just can't wait to meet this little fella. How much joy he/she is going to bring!!!!!!! So of course I called my mom and I left a bubbly message with her and then called my dad right away since I remembered my mom was working out - and he was just super excited. That was cool to hear! I instantly felt like myself again. It was great. We're SO excited to see them this weekend and to show them pictures!!!!!!!!!!! It's going to be great. Speaking of pictures...what do you think? Pretty cute, huh? I think baby is going to have Karl's ears!!!!!!!! YESSS!!!

So I did something crazy and I'm grabbing a quote from my calendar - the one on April 16. Isn't this so cool!?!??!

"As Jesus stepped into the garden, you were in his prayers. As Jesus looked into heaven, you were in  his vision... His final prayer was about you. His final pain was for you. His final passion was you."
-Max Lucado

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yummy Tacos for Two

Eating like a celebrity now...One of Jennifer Hudson's favorite dishes

Tacos for Two
serves 2
(recipe found in Self Magazine September 2011)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 package (9 oz) Perdue Short cuts Carved Chicken Breast Strips Grilled (I used our leftover chicken from the grill)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup salsa
4 whole grain taco shells
1/2 cup shredded taco cheese
1 jalapeno chile, chopped

In a medium skillet, saute bell pepper in oil until soft, about 6 minutes.

Add chicken, garlic, salsa, salt and pepper; cook stirring, until heated through.

Stuff taco shelled with chicken mixture, cheese and jalapeno, if desired.

Karl's reaction: "All I taste is cilantro. I think I just like your normal ground beef tacos. It's good, but I like normal tacos."

My take: "I obviously didn't follow the recipe. I added cilantro and some chili beans. I did find myself missing taco meat."

Porchetta-Style Pork Loin with White Beans

An Italian-inspired recipe lends deep, rich flavor to a lean cut of pork

Porchetta-Style Pork Loin with White Beans
serves 6
(recipe found in Women's Health September 2011)

2 cans cannellini beans (white beans)
juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 2 oranges
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 pork loin (about 2 lbs), preferably with a thin layer of fat still attached

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board combine garlic, orange zest, fennel seeds and 1 tablespoon rosemary and chop until a paste forms. Scoop it into a small bowl; add olive oil.

2. Season pork with salt and pepper, then rub it all over with the paste. (If you like, let it marinate up to four hours in the fridge before cooking.) Place pork in a roasting pan and bake until a thermometer inserted into the middle reads 155 F, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pork from the oven and let it rest 10 minutes.

3. In a saucepan, heat beans, lemon juice, and remaining rosemary until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Slice pork and serve with beans.

Karl's reaction: "This is good. Love me some pork and beans." Side note: "This was even better the second day."

My take: "You have to like orange zest because I could taste it. This is different but still really tasty."

Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Summer Succotash

A quick tasty dinner

Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Summer Succotash
serves 4
(recipe found in Health July/August 2011)

Season 4 thin chicken cutlets with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
Grill (about 3-4 minutes each side)
Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
Add in 1 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
1/2 cup corn
1 pint grape tomatoes
I also added some mozzarella balls

Cook, tossing occasionally, until tomatoes burst.
Stir in 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh basil  leaves, torn
Pair each portion with lemon wedges and a whole-wheat roll

Karl's reaction: "This is good. Corn is real nice and sweet to a crisp. I like that the lima beans were fried. Real nice babe."

My take: "Super easy so I will be making this again. What can I say? I love recipes with basil in them."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Little Consistency Please - Month 2

written September 8, 2011
8 weeks (baby is the same size as a kidney bean right now)

New this week: Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from your baby's hands and feet, his eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his throat to the branches of his developing lungs, and his "tail" is just about gone. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways. You may be daydreaming about your baby as one sex or the other, but the external genitals still haven't developed enough to reveal whether you're having a boy or a girl. Either way, your baby — about the size of a kidney bean — is constantly moving and shifting, though you still can't feel it. (info from

Three days on (feeling good), one day off (feeling bad). That's how I've been feeling lately. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were three really good days. So good that I even did a nice long walk/run. I almost felt like myself again! Plus, the weather has been gorgeous. This weather makes me so happy - well, when I get to be enjoying it. Drives me crazy that the window I look out of at the office is old, completely fogged up, home to a zillion box elder bugs...oh, and it won't open.

Then Wednesday came and I wanted to crawl into bed forever. These darn hormones are killer.

I've been eating my peanuts a couple times throughout the early morning (usually around 3:30/4:00 a.m. and again at 6:00 when I wake) so I can feel better as I'm getting ready, but yesterday nothing worked. Traffic sucked and then a crazed hawk was loose at work. Things kept getting worse and it takes a lot for me not to speak my mind. So I just smile or keep my head down.

I'm also freakin a little lot about my changing body. I haven't stepped on a scale since I was 154 pounds and I think I'm okay with that. You have to understand I've had a flat stomach for 32 years. I'm departing with something I've always had and know I might not ever have again. I've been playing volleyball since the 7th grade. I've always worked out and lifted and have taken such good care of my body - this butt sagging business is really throwing me off. And where are these veins coming from?!? Ewww! And it's only going to get worse. I know on Monday I'll be finding out my latest weight. My problem is as soon as I feel any bit of hunger pains, I become nauseous. Ugh! So then I eat because who wants to feel like they're going to throw up...especially at work?
When I do eat, I try to eat healthy - like I ate a bunch of edamame beans and blueberries and one sitting. And last night I grilled chicken and had tons of veggies. It's not like I'm totally going mad about fast food or grease. Ice cream....maybe. And think of the calories I'm saving without drinking alcohol or having that fatty cream in my coffee every morning! I did make Karl meet me at Olive Garden last Friday after work where I ordered even before he got there and devoured a bowl of soup and a salad. So good! And then I had some more when he got there. Yikes. I'm out of control.

I know I need to get over myself and all these stupid worries and focus on baby's health. Like I said, I don't feel like myself these days. Bad hormones! I seriously am not myself!!!! Who is this person???
Karl and I plan to talk about all our options this weekend. When I should tell work, how long I plan to take off work, will I be treated fairly once I share the news, time off, daycare - money, money, money. All that fun stuff. Rumor has it daycare providers fill up so quickly some mom's reserve their spots even before they become pregnant. Yikes. Sounds brutal out there. That's why I would love if one of us could stay at home or I had one of our parents watch our lil kidney bean. Just trying not to worry about that.

But I am super pumped about Monday. Hoping to see the heartbeat!!! Can't wait to tell my grandparents on Wednesday....and then see my parents. Hopefully we'll have some pictures to show!!!!!!! Oh, and we will be going to Edwards Apple Orchard in Illinois for apple cider donuts and hot apple cider. Mmmmmm. Life is good!

The joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.
- John Greenleaf Whittier

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011 Goals Revisited - More Added

Summer is nearly over, life is flying by and it's time to re-evaluate my goals and dreams for 2011, since we're well past the halfway mark. Every year goes a little faster, doesn't it? Back in January, I came up with a bucket list and a list of goals for myself. I then shared these in a blog post. I want to revisit them and see if I'm at least headed in the right direction since I feel a little lost right now. I'm a doer but I feel like there hasn't been any success checking off my checklist. And that makes me question everything.

The thing is, I know what I want. I'm going after what I want, but I feel like nothing is happening. I'd be lying if I said life hasn't been crazy, busy and I haven't been working my tail off, but those big goals are a little harder to obtain and require a lot of work. More than I ever imagined. I see now why so many people give up. But I don't want to! I want to make my dreams a reality. And I really believe they can come true, but maybe it's not on my time? I don't know...

My 2011 Goals Revisited

1. Receive representation for my book Not yet... I queried a lot beginning in February. I also heard back from several agents who requested a full or partial. This was a huge step in the right direction. In the end, I revised my entire manuscript thanks to several positive suggestions from agents. And in about a month, I resent and have received a few more requests; however, I've noticed the summer months are a little bit quieter in agent land. So I'm back to waiting and querying and praying that something works out!

In the meantime I have started writing two new books. I started one awhile back before I revised my first manuscript, and then started another one more recently. Both have potential but I really want to see where my first book goes. So this makes it hard to keep going. Will I really become a full-time writer at some point?

2. Travel somewhere new
Check! My husband and I went to Riviera Maya, Mexico in February with his family. I have been to Mexico but never the Riviera. It was truly beautiful. A super fun family vacation.

3. Start a family
We're getting there... 

4. Start a recipe portfolio/blog
Check! Every week I've been uploading a recipe or two to this blog. I've received wonderful feedback from friends, family and strangers who have tried these recipes! So thanks! It's also really pushed me to eat even healthier. Love it.

5. Get an article in a magazine
Not yet... I wrote a couple articles this winter but no dice. This is definitely something I'd like to work on again and pursue.

6. Say "no" more and do things for me
Still struggling... This is so hard for me. I feel like I'm hurting people's feelings. But time is precious and the older I get, the more I realize how I want to spend my time - I don't want to use it toward something I'm not totally emotionally, spiritually, mentally or physically invested in. When I do this, I get stretched too thin and I'm not as fun to be around.

7. Get organized
We're getting there...  We sold Karl's town home and are down to one place! Yeah!!! However, the basement is stacked floor to ceiling with boxes, collectibles and hunting gear, and the garage is getting tighter by the day. One Saturday, Karl and I sat down and watched Hoarders. That did the trick. The man with 2000+ rats was enough to send us in a cleaning frenzy and the next day we started tossing stuff. I need to do that every day though. It feels really great, but it's a lot of work. Baby steps here.

8. Stop biting my nails
That's a big no! What can I say? I'm an addict. But I'll highlight this on my new list as something I really need to work on.

9. Flush out the bad with the good
Check! I did a metal detox for a month. The first two weeks I felt like a total zombie, but once I got through the hump, I felt like myself. I didn't really see a difference so I'm not sure what to say about this? However, I do eat very healthy and have hired a trainer and really have noticed changes in my body and health. When I feel good, I feel like I can take on the world.

My new set of goals 2011
1. Receive representation for my book
2. Complete rough draft of book #2
3. Get an article published in a popular magazine
4. Start a family
5. Be happy in my career - find my niche so I can look forward to each day and stay focused
6. Let go and let God - STOP worrying so darn much
7. Start building our dream home on paper - kind of a fun project, though not expecting to move out of the townhome anytime soon
8. Find more time - (grocery shop one day out of the week, etc. etc. - find balance in all I do). I swear by the time I get home from work the night is already over.
9. STOP biting my fingernails

Do you have goals for yourself? How are you doing this year with them?

What Can I Make with Zucchini?

My mom's famous zucchini casserole
serves 6
(recipe found in Rockford Register Star)

2 lbs. (6 cups) of zucchini, sliced
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup shredded raw carrots
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon instant chopped onion
1/2 cup melted butter
1 package Pepperidge Farm herb crushed seasoned stuffing mix
1 cup shredded cheese
2 cups diced cooked chicken
3 stalks of celery

1. Wash and slice zucchini and celery. Do not peel. Cook in boiling water 4-5 minutes, drain.

2. Combine soup, shredded carrots, sour cream, and instant onion. Fold squash and celery into mixture.

3. Add melted butter to stuffing mix. Reserve 2 cups crumbs and spread the remainder of crumbs in the bottom of a 12x9 inch pan. Spoon vegetable mixture over crumbs. Put diced chicken over vegetable mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese on top. Top with remaining crumbs.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Karl's reaction: "I can't believe you haven't posted this recipe yet. I love this!"

My take: This is usually a hit with guests. They always ask for the recipe! I suggest you try it at least once!

Almost through Month Two - Month Two

written September 4, 2011
seven weeks

The ups and downs

Me again. Dealing with hormones. So mad at them. Nothing too crazy different going on here. Yesterday was a rough day where I was confined to the couch. I started off the day making homemade waffles and cleaning up clutter around the house and thirty minutes later my body told me to cool it. Before I knew it I was feeling worn out, nauseous and ready to hit the couch like my life depended on it. And that's where I stayed most of the day.
Karl's BFF Root and his girlfriend Missy came over to all go to the Minnesota State Fair and to see Weezer in concert. I stayed behind. I felt really bad about it because I'm usually up for anything. Karl calls me his social butterfly but all I wanted to do was relax on the couch. Again I felt like my skin was crawling as I sat- I'm usually up for a run or doing something fun, but nothing. I wish I was more okay with relaxing. What is wrong with me?
Last night I made sure to eat a lot of protein and this morning I woke up feeling really great. The weather is really cool right now (66 degrees and windy) and Karl and I decided to go for a nice walk. I've done more chores around the house in a long time so I actually feel like I'm making progress. Finally! I have my moments though. I get really tired and I want to take a nap. Friends ask me to hang out and I'd rather not. It just seems like so much work. Then I start worrying about it. Will my friends think I'm a bad friend? Will I gain more weight because I'm not working out as much as I used to?
Thankfully my awesome friend Jaymie sent me an email the other day that made me sit back and go, "ah ha!" I want to share just a little piece of it: "but, i just want you to know, everything is going to be just as it should be. and it will be wonderful. if your body tells you to lay on the couch and watch tv, honor it! your body will be constantly working its ass off day and night for the next 9 months. you are building a human. hello. if that's all you do all day, that is more than you've ever done."

Perfect words of advice. And almost one more week to go until our ultrasound!!!