Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This Will Hurt Me More Than it Hurts You

**Sorry - wrote this post a million years ago and by million I mean 4 months.  Anyway, Seth recently had his next round of immunizations which reminded me that I had written this post but never published it.  Mommy Brain.**

Last week the dreaded 4 month "jabs" were upon us.  The term jabs or as our health visitor calls them, "jags" is apparently slang for shots according to my trustworthy and academic research on Wikipedia. "Jags," however, is Glaswegian (how someone from Glasgow would say it).  Boy I am getting quite the education over here - Taylor is getting a PhD, and I am learning English.  

Funny being that I am an English teacher.  But that's worth a whole post to itself.

Our first experience in getting Seth immunised was at 2 months (did you catch that British touch?  I recently asked a Brit why they hated "Zs" so much to which I was promptly corrected, "it's pronounced 'zed.'" Ahem.) Having heard lots of controversy over them (immunisations not zeds), I did my research (not on Wikipedia), we prayed a lot, and we ultimately felt it was more responsible to go ahead and get all of them seeing that Seth would be on many trans-Atlantic flights for the first 4 years of his life (if not his whole life - sorry Mom.)

Going into that 2 month appointment I experienced for the first time as a parent the reality of . . .

This will hurt me more than it hurts you.

This phrase used to make me mad as child when about to receive a spanking.  How could this possibly hurt you, Dad? I would wonder incredulously. Or I would sassily respond, "then don't do it!"  Needless to say, I got lots of spankings growing up. Spare the rod spoil the child, right?  Good thing we got out of California by the time I was 2.

But I really was overwhelmed and pained by the sense of this is going to hurt him, and he is going to wonder why I am letting someone hurt him.  I couldn't explain to him why it had to be done.  It just had to be done. For his good.  And so we went ahead with it.

The actual injections rendered some tears, but nothing too traumatic for baby or momma.  Hours later proved a much different story.  Disaster.  Nightmare.  Worst experience in parenting to date.  Our pediatrician had advised us not to give him Baby Tylenol*, so being the rule follower that I am, we didn't give him Baby Tylenol.

Said disaster ensued.

He shrieked uncontrollably for what seemed like an eternity (so yeah, like 45 minutes).  My blood pressure was off of the charts, our good friends, Kimy and Richmond, who were over for dinner were probably scarred for life (good thing Kimy was already pregnant at this point! :)), and Taylor was driving all over town to get Baby Tylenol.

10 minutes after Seth's first dose (and yes, we called the doctor first - who heartily agreed it was a necessary measure after hearing the screaming in the background), he had calmed down and resumed his normal placid self.  Crisis averted.   Well at least until his next round.

Fast forward 2 months (actually 3 months. Socialized medicine much?)  The morning of his 4 month jabs, I awoke to happy baby gurgling noises.  I went to get Seth out of his crib, and he beamed up at me with that adorable toothless grin seeming to convey with those bright wide eyes, This is going to be a great day!

Little did he know that round two of his immunisations were scheduled for a few short hours away.  

Seth is normally a happy baby, but this morning he was extra delightful.  Dagger to my heart.  I kept looking at him looking at me with such love and trust in his eyes and feeling guilty about what I was about to subject him to.  After talking it over with Taylor, who reassured me that this is what's best for him even though it involves pain and confusion since he is too young to understand why, it dawned on me of how this is a picture of a greater Truth.  This newest lesson the Lord was teaching me (for the millionth time) is life here on Earth.  It hurts, but that hurt is not wasted by Him.  I am constantly praying that the Lord would reveal Himself to me more, that I would never stop getting to know Him better and better.  And He answered that prayer through this dreaded responsibility I have as a parent.  How often does the Lord use pain in our lives for good?  Every time.  Even though we don't always see it right away.  He uses the pain to cut away the sin in our lives and that hurts like heck, but without it we remain the same. 

We can trust Him because we serve a God that lived,

this will hurt me more than it hurts you

on the cross.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Seth came out great from this last round.  He didn't even cry during the injections.  10 pm - different story, but the Baby Tylenol was on hand so the crying only lasted 15 minutes this time.

*We realize that Baby Tylenol was recalled.  We actually used the Walgreens version instead.  Please restrain yourself from commenting on the evils of modern day medicine; I mean Baby Tylenol and immunizing children.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

{Recipes} Heaven in a Pie Dish

OK, so I wasn't planning on writing a post today, but after clicking over to my friend, Christi's, blog, I'd be remiss not to send you there.  She posted the recipe for Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Pie.

Uhh, yum.

Too bad I can't find a deep pie dish over here.  Thanks for sharing Christi!

{image via Bakerella}

Like I said, Heaven in a pie dish.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

{Recipes} Salsa - the food not the dance

Eagerly I watched Taylor as he poured over my new blog format.

Me: Do you like it?

Tay: It's great!  I love how the "nest" looks twiggy.  And that effect on our picture looks so cool, but what's up with your "recipes" button?  That is just sad.

Fair enough.  I guess one recipe doesn't quite cut it for a whole button, so let's beef it up.

This weekend we had dinner with some new friends from the States, so naturally Tex-Mex was on the menu -  Chicken Enchiladas to be exact, so chips and salsa was basically a mandate.

Now I figured out really quickly back when we lived in North Carolina that nobody knows how to make salsa like they do in Texas.  Well I guess they probably do in Mexico too since that is the sole reason Tex-Mex exists in the first place - on that note:

Gracias Mexico, for seeing tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, and cilantro as a sufficient vegetable side for a meal. Now if only you could convince my husband...

I had to remedy this lack of edible salsa by making my own.  Mind you this was back when it took me hours to complete a 30 Minute Meal by Rachael Ray, so I wasn't too confident in my ability to make up a recipe by myself. For this, I turned to our good family friend and amazing cook, Kathe Baker. I flipped through her cookbook born out of cooking for loads of people at a time at Camp Redcloud, and voila!  Salsa.  Really good salsa.  I'm actually waffling on whether or not I should give it to you after all so that when I make it for you, you are really impressed with my blender skills.

I am very particular about my salsa.  Give me Lupe Tortilla's fajitas all day long.  Papasitos' enchiladas hit the spot too.  But warm salsa?  I don't think so. In my opinion Guadalajara's is the best.  Cold, chunky, and fresh.  Wow, maybe I should go into writing cheesy commercial jingles - geez!

Kathe's recipe fits the bill. Plus, it's really easy - no chopping required if you want to test out how good your blender is.

I did modify it a bit due to lack of some ingredients and a love for garlic:

Tex-Mex Salsa:

  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2  medium sized onion (I do actually quarter this ahead of time since I have to chop it in half anyway.  This does help so that you don't have to blend too long which makes the tomato too mushy)
  • a handful of cilantro (coriander for those of you in the UK - why do they call it that?  Cilantro just sounds tastier and more exotic... Nevermind.  I answered my own question.)
  • 1 jalapeno (I take out some of the seeds if guests are coming to dinner.  If it's just Tay and me, I leave them all in - we are big fans of food that makes our noses run.  Taylor calls it full contact eating.)
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • dash of garlic salt
  • a couple of shakes of tabasco

Blend it in your blender or food processor till desired consistency (not long!).


Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day - A Public Service Announcement by Pam

I love my friend Pam. 

She and her hubby, Beau, have been married at least twice as long as Taylor and I (and they're only like one year older than me and younger than Taylor) and have 4 kiddos already. That's right, 4 kids before 30 - amazing!  I love their attitude towards children because they truly believe and live Psalm 127, "children are a blessing from the Lord..."  I love to soak up Pam's wisdom as a mom, wife, and a believer.  It also helps that she is stinkin hilarious. 

Pam posted this roll on the floor funny "Public Service Announcement" on Facebook a couple of days ago, and I begged her to let me feature it on the blog for those of you who don't have the benefit of being her FB friend.

Valentine's day - A Public Service Announcement
by Pam

Valentine's Day is here again and I'm feeling a little benevolent so I thought I would help out all of you GUYS out there with some free advice on the dos and don'ts of this highly over-commercialized, yet dare-not-to-be-overlooked, holiday. I must insert here that my own dear husband is a champion in the art of romance! (certainly he has made mistakes in the past - but his grand victories have overshadowed his momentary lapse's in judgement) :)

First - Don't be fooled by statements like - "I hate Valentine's Day, don't get me anything". These statements are made by ladies that have very low expectations perhaps due to your past foul-ups or they expect nothing for fear of being disappointed. Chalk it up to past failure and dare to do better this time. When in doubt, ask her best friend - her mother or even better : her sister!! We won't let you down. In truth, every girl loves special attention, especially when it expresses sincere love. DO SOMETHING!!!

Second - In your attempt to "do something" DON'T BE DECEIVED BY CRAZY INFOMERCIAL SUGGESTIONS THAT A GROWN WOMAN WOULD EVER WANT A "VERMONT TEDDY BEAR" OR "HOODIE FOOTIE" pajamas - or even worse - A COMBO OF THE TWO, despite what the ads claim. http://www.vermontteddybear.com/

The women in those commercials are being highly paid to" pretend" that childish theme teddy bears and oversized toddler pjs is the gift they've always wanted. Rest assured that they they are gritting their teeth through the entire ad and have made no bones about it to their significant other that this in no way would ever serve as a suitable substitute for diamonds or handbags. So unless you are in high school - say no to the teddy bear and, unless you want to see the disturbing image of your disappointed angry wife in footed pajamas whilst you try to explain your intentions, I suggest you heed my advice.

Third - This brings me to the issue of lingerie, for all you married gents out there. I shouldn't have to broach this subject - the answer should be obvious - but I know it isn't. So if you dare go down this path may I make the following suggestions:

1. This should be the LAST gift in the line-up proceeded by something less superficial and more meaningful like....a lovely bracelet or a gift certificate for a massage.

2. Get the RIGHT size. Obtain this information by whatever means necessary but get it right

3. ABORT this mission if the first gift doesn't go over well. Keep it for later as a "just because" gift. If you failed to communicate how much you love her with the first gift, what's behind door #2 will only make matters worse. Trust me on this.

Finally. despite popular opinion and stereotyping, we are not as materialistic as you might think. While no woman in her right mind would turn away diamonds, designer fragrance, or tasteful jewelry we can just as easily be enamored with the simple less expensive ways to say I love you - A few suggestions?

1. A photobook of a special memory you've shared

2. A gift certificate for a pedicure or other spa treatments

3. A gift certificate for new shoes

4. A lovely new handbag

5. Aromatherapy candles

6. Tickets to a show (that you intend to accompany her to)

7. An overnight stay at a lovely hotel in town where you have planned ahead the details (including babysitting). Door #2 will go over well here!

8. A well organized plan to spend time together doing things you would mutually enjoy.

9. A new book or bible study that you would like to do together

ABOVE ALL: No matter what you do please remember to include a well written note that expresses WHAT you love about her - even if that's all you do!!!

SERIOUS DON'TS - despite the advertised "Valentine's Deals"

1. Vacuum Cleaner or any practical home cleaning product

2. Diet/ exercise products

3. Something you brought home that was leftover from an event that took place at work

4. Anti-aging or blemish treatments of any kind

5. Kitchen appliances

6. Something you previously ever bought for a past girlfriend

*extra credit - Help the kiddies make a lovely surprise for Mommy too

Best advice: HAVE A PLAN. RUN YOUR PLAN BY A FEMALE THAT KNOWS YOUR WIFE WELL (and isn't out for revenge for any reason). HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! :)

Thanks Pam for making me laugh and possibly helping some well meaning but misguided husbands out there.

And Taylor - thanks for knowing the rules of Valentine's Day without my having to forward you this Public Service Announcement.  I love you! Thanks for giving me another Valentine:

Happy Valentine's Day Y'all!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Robin's Nest


How great is this new design?!

Carolyn was super fast, but in my typical being a freak about beginnings fashion, I had to make sure my About Me page was written before we took it "live." Carolyn was so patient with me - what a great designer! Check out her "wondey" work on her blog.

So Robin's Nest is the new name - check out my About Me tab at the top if you are interested in finding out how it came about. You can also follow Robin's Nest on facebook too - just click the facebook button on the right side of the post. (This may not be up until later today.)

If you have your own blog, then you can grab my button and add a widget to your sidebar. Don't I sound technologically savvy? Don't let me fool you...

I meant what I said about comments in About Me. Did you know I can tell who is lurking looking at my blog?

I have my sources.

OK, that's not entirely true, but I can see how many pageviews I get and what country viewers are from.  People have checked out the blog from every continent (except for Antarctica) - I'm talking from Mexico to Nigeria, Slovenia to South Korea and about 15 other countries - crazy!  So please introduce yourself, and tell us where you're from.  You can officially meet me on my About Me tab. 

Is there an echo in here?

Here are some random pictures because as Taylor always says when he edits my posts, take out a lot of words and add more pictures. 

Here's to you, Tay - study hard!

Seth, 3 months old - 1st football game

Saray and Mark - yay for visas!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Lesson in Forgiveness

**Taylor hacked into my computer (OK not really.  He was actually supposed to be editing my grammar.) and couldn't help but add some of his own comments that I decided not to delete because he's so funny, and this post is seriously lacking in the funny department.**

This year I have been doing the Siesta Scripture Memory Team and it has been the biggest blessing of 2011 so far (excepting the daily experience of living with my amazing husband).  I had been looking forward to February 1st for at least a week because that meant it was time to move on to memory verse #3. Due to the time difference between Edinburgh and Houston (6 hours), I didn't actually change verses until that afternoon, so I had one last quiet time with verse #2.

Here is a quick run-down of that fateful morning of February 1st:

7 am - I wake up (correction: my husband wakes me up), and do my normal routine: stumble out of bed, make Seth's bottle, rescue that smiling guy from his crib (one of my favorite things!), feed him, change him, plop him in the jumperoo while I unload the dishwasher, make his breakfast which this particular morning he was not very interested in, clean him up, play with him, and by 8:30 put him back down for his morning nap.  This gives me a 2 hour window to drink my coffee without a little hand trying to grab it and have time with the Lord.  Thank You, Lord for a really good sleeper!

This kid can sleep anywhere!  

This particular morning I was tempted to get back in bed (but then I thought of my husband hard at work at New College and decided to get tough and stay up - sorry Taylor, this is not what happened!).  As I was setting my alarm clock, our home phone rang.  Trying not to worry (and praying it wouldn't wake the baby), I rushed to the phone.  Relieved to see an 808 area code, I excitedly answered the phone to hear my brother, Mark, at the other end.  You see, we have a Houston phone number, so with the time difference, that put most of our family at 2:35 am.  No good calls come at 2:35 am.  On Maui, however, it was only 10:35 pm.

Calculating time differences - one of the joys of living abroad (and another way of hurting my math-challenged brain!).

It's always great to hear Mark's voice.  The night before I had been particularly missing him and talked Taylor's ear off with stories from our childhood.  Mark is such a great brother!  He is patient, loving, gentle, genuine, and very adventurous (almost as much so as Taylor).  Life is always fun and never lacks for music when Mark is around.  He provides the soundtrack for life when we're all together - especially on family vacations ("Oooahoooahooo baby please don't go...").  After college, Mark set out for Maui to pursue becoming a boat captain.  When we visited in 2008, it was such a blessing to see him in his element and to watch him with his best friend (now wife!).  They are two of my favorite people ever!

Craig and Mark on our vacation to Maui

Sis-in-law: Saray, Mom, Kait, Me

Well, during the course of our conversation, Mark told me that a family member of ours had sent out a vicious email to the entire family (minus Mark, my parents, and me - surprise, surprise), pitting Mark as the villain of her fabricated plot-line.  I mentioned recently my strong sense of justice, so as you can imagine, I was not a happy camper.  The proverbial claws were ready to come out. We talked about the best way to handle it and decided that he needed to sleep on it before responding.

We hung up,  and I decided it would be better to have coffee and my quiet time instead of a nap.  I prayed that the Lord would give me focus because all I wanted to do was call up this family member and give her a piece of my mind. 

After prayer, I started to write out my memory verse.  As I did, I began to laugh. Here is memory verse #2:

"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." 2 Cor 10:3-5

Isn't His Word so good?  Isn't His timing perfect?

It doesn't stop there; my daily reading/study plan had me digging in and meditating on Psalm 32, tagline - "Blessed are the Forgiven."  So Lord, you want me to forgive her?  Even though she wasn't asking?  Even though she doesn't deserve it?  Who would do that?  Oh, wait.  That's what you've done for me...

"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

What a divine opportunity to practice forgiveness.  Because isn't true forgiveness letting go with no strings attached?

Right after my quiet time, the phone rang again.  Mark couldn't sleep.  After telling him what the Lord was teaching me, we talked about the best solution.  Does this mean that we roll over, and pretend it didn't happen?

Answer: NO!

He didn't say not to wage war, but not to do it according to the flesh.  Responding to a tough situation while remembering my status in Christ sure does change my attitude and way of going about things.

Be blessed today:

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalm 32:1-2

I love you Mark (and so does Seth (and Taylor!)).


PS - New blog design reveal is just days away!!! Stay tuned...