A Special First Christmas…

This was our sweet sweet boy’s very first Christmas!

KJ 8 months

Of course I was prego when we came “home” to be with my family last year, but obviously not the same.  I felt the most excited about Christmas ever it felt like…I am over-joyed and thankful for our precious little one and was so happy for him to experience Christmas for the very first time.  I know, he is only 8 months old and he won’t remember and won’t care… but hey, no matter! We had a blast!

He LOVED his stocking…

was not so much on opening gifts yet, but loved the wrapping paper, boxes and just playing with whatever was inside…

even the practical pack of bibs…

notice the red sweater body suit… guys hated it, girls loved it! 🙂

and the bows… he loved the bows…

ohhh the bows…

did I mention he LOVED the bows?

and the lights…

oh mom, love these lights…

Anyways, we had a super fun Christmas and entire holiday season as a matter of fact!

Merry Christmas!

With love,

our little family of 3

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

2012, you were grand!

Our super year of 2012 in a nut-shell, or a large lake… whichever is more fitting!

  • We had a beautiful, healthy, bouncy, perfect baby boy in April… 11 lbs, 3 oz and 22.5″ long!  We are so in love with this little being! Here he is then during his first week of life… and here he is now – 8 months later!

  • I had my little man in time for my first mother’s day!

  • Kelvin’s first trip to the beach at 2 weeks old…

  • We moved… all the way across the entire country with a dog (pictured below) and a 7-9 week old depending on where we were on our journey.

  • We stopped in beautiful Colorado during our cross-country-move for some much-needed off the road rest and fun! Kelvin’s first hike…

  • Greg’s first father’s day…

  • Kelvin got to meet the horses of Lost Trail Ranch even if it was so sunny he could not see much…
  • We got to Bend in time to enjoy the beautiful sunny summer!

  • We moved into a baby sized house that has a huge kitchen island of which I love…
  • We walked, and walked some more while the weather was so nice! Stopped for a photo in the wildflowers…

  • Kelvin loooooves going for stroller rides…

  • Chaco made a best friend Nikko…

  • We had a Bend 4th of July…

  • I baked cream-cheese pumpkin bread once…

  • We went to the pumpkin patch!

  • We tried really hard to get a good daddy/son foot shot but it ended in rolling on the floor laughing and no great pictures, but we had lots of fun trying…

  • Greg went on a 110 mile bike ride with my dad and a couple other guys! His new hobby…

DSCN1269

  • The snow came but we still tried to have a Christmas Eve family walk… even if it meant freezing our tooshies off and making it hardly anywhere at all…
  • Kelvin had his first Christmas at 8 months old…

I tried to keep it short so I left out a lot – oh well! We had a terrific year, full of fun, challenges, less than ideal sleep but overflowing with laughter, joy and thankfulness! I would not change anything about our year! We hope you had a wonderful year and are anticipating an even better 2013! It is my hope… dare I say a resolution to post and share more! Well see you all another post!

Love, Beka

Happiest of Happy New Year – 2013

I cannot believe 2013 is right around the corner… like very soon! I am in a very happy state at the moment, not only because we get to start a brand new year soon, but also because my baby is sound asleep in his crib and I can hear his ever-so-sweet snores… I just pulled some chocolate peanut-butter bars out of the oven and the house smells heavenly… my sweet and thoughtful husband just walked in the door with a big smile on his face because he came to deliver me my favorite Starbucks drink and a huge hug before turning around and going to play x-box with my brother… and my belly is STILL full from eating at my favorite restaurant after church!

First Christmas

loving Grammy’s Christmas Tree…

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season! I love Christmas… it was such a wonderful Christmas this year – each year is neat in its own way, but it was so nice to just be home and not travel anywhere… and it was Kelvin’s first Christmas!  How super special! Not to mention it was a very white Christmas! So, just wanted to post quick and say

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

May your year ahead be the best yet!

Happy May…

My obsession with each month continues… 

Happy May every body!

It is…

National Barbecue Month
National Chocolate Custard Month
National Egg Month
National Hamburger Month
National Salad Month
National Salsa Month
National Strawberry Month

and…

May 1-7 National Raisin Week
May 3-9 National Herb Week

but don’t forget what the days are…

May 1 National Chocolate Parfait Day
May 3 National Raspberry Popover Day
May 3 National Chocolate Custard Day
May 4 National Candied Orange Peel Day
May 4 National Hoagie Day
May 6 National Crepe Suzette Day
May 7 National Roast Leg of Lamb Day
May 8 National Coconut Cream Pie Day
May 12 National Nutty Fudge Day
May 13 National Apple Pie Day
May 14 National Buttermilk Biscuit Day
May 17 National Cherry Cobbler Day
May 18 National Cheese Souffle Day
May 19 National Devil’s Food Cake Day
May 20 National Quiche Lorraine Day
May 22 National Vanilla Pudding Day
May 23 National Taffy Day
May 24 National Escargot Day
May 25 National Brown-Bag-It Day
May 26 National Blueberry Cheesecake Day
May 31 National Macaroon day

Pick your favorite and celebrate accordingly – also look for some of the items to be on sale or highlighted at the grocery stores! 🙂 Maybe you feel like you should just make a blueberry cheesecake on May 26th – I say GO FOR IT!!!

Happy May everyone and I hope this finds you are doing terrific!!

Happy March…

I can’t belive March is here already… seems like we just started 2012!

So, as you have already picked up on, I am pretty obsessed with what each month is all bout – on a pretty basic level of course… nothing too crazy!

So, without further delay…

March is…

National Caffeine Awareness Month (I have been aware of this for about 8 months now, as you can guess why)

National Celery Month

National Flour Month

National Frozen Food Month

National Noodle Month

National Nutrition Month (one fun reason I am happy to be a March baby!)

National Peanut Month

National Sauce Month

As for some individual days… I picked out some of my favorites…

  • March 1 National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
  • March 2 National Banana Cream Pie Day
  • March 4 National Poundcake Day
  • March 6 National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day
  • March 7 National Cereal Day (oh yes!! I was totally born on National Cereal Day! :))
  • March 8 National Peanut Cluster Day
  • March 10 National Blueberry Popover Day
  • March 11 Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day
  • March 14 National Potato Chip Day
  • March 15 National Peanut Lovers Day
  • March 19 National Chocolate Caramel Day
  • March 23 National Chip and Dip Day
  • March 26 National Waffle Day
  • March 31 National Clams on the Half Shell Day (just had to add this one because it made me laugh for some reason… seems like there should be a song about this!)

I hope everyone has a happy March! Tune in next month and you will learn more than you want to know about April! 🙂

Happy February…

February seems to be quite the contrast from January … January was all about the healthier stuff for the most part. I guess by February, people are sick of their diets and “new years resolutions”

On to February!

Happy…

American Heart Month

Canned Food Month

Great American Pies Month

National Cherry Month

National Hot Breakfast Month

Chocolate Lovers Month

National Snack Foods Month

National Grapefruit Month

 

As for some of my favorites for the individual days of the month:

February 3 : National Carrot Cake Day
February 4 : National Homemade Soup Day
February 10 : National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
February 16 : National Almond Day
February 22 : National Cook a Sweet Potato Day
February 23 : National Banana Bread Day
February 24 : National Tortilla Chip Day
February 25 : National Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day
February 27 : National Chocolate Cake Day and  National Strawberry Day

 

My first turkey…

This Thanksgiving I got the wild idea to try a turkey… yep!

Even Greg told me this, and I agreed because I thought the same thing… It seems weird that I have never done a turkey before or at least helped with one after all the cooking done by my mom growing up… but it is true, this is my very first experience with a turkey!  Grandma usually took care of the turkey department… which now I am more thankful for!

I thought it would be fun to try one and Greg encouraged me to do so… I mean why not? … You have nothing to lose and if it does not work nobody will care! This is true, since we did not have a huge gathering or anyone to impress or disappoint. So off to the store I went with my thanksgiving list which included a big ol’ turkey.   Thanks to the advice from my mom, I got one that was already thawed because trying to thaw out a huge turkey shaped rock was not on my list of exciting things to do for thanksgiving prep. Plus, it was already Tuesday evening.   Finding a bird NOT frozen was more difficult and there was either huge turkeys or baby turkeys… so I went with the baby of the huge! We still ended up with a hefty 18 pounder.

Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my head through my turkey experience before I move on to the dramatic process:

 What on earth am I doing? What was I thinking?

What if I just got a rotisserie chicken already cooked and present it on a platter?

Why does pizza sound good at a time like this?

What day is thanksgiving again?

Who would want to work in the turkey factory (if there even is one)?

I’m glad this thing does not really have a smell.

I wish mom was here.

Someone or some…thing missed a few feathers.

This is heavy and slippery, bad combo

I should move the pie to another room, it does not deserve to watch this.

Greg is really missing out on a show!

but really… OH MY GOODNESS!

So, back on track: I have my turkey… now what? For started I tucked it in the fridge and tried not to worry about it, but honestly somehow I saw a very fast-forwarded version… basically in the bag to on the plate.  I knew it would not bake itself, but I had accepted a chore it felt like.  I love to cook, don’t get me wrong, but I think most of all I like to bake, and create things… or use pretty, colorful and clean ingredients…not wrestle with raw, cold and rather icky things.  So, help I needed indeed.

I did my research at least so I was not completely in the turkey dark… I looked to my Food Network Magazine, which I love getting in the mail and milking over the month until the next one comes (thank you mom)… and there was a whole section on thanksgiving which included ideas, meals and directions and more… Let me tell you, the page that talks turkey has some stains and wrinkles on it needless to say.  There were all different options for brining the turkey, different selections of butters, glazes, gravy and seasonings but since I am a new-bee, I went with the most basic “dry brine”.  It involved rubbing the bird down thoroughly with salt (lots), pepper and some herbs and letting it chill in the fridge overnight… uncovered, there to greet me every time I opened it up.

I have to back up a little bit, my whole process started with having to remove the bird from the fridge, unwrap it and wash it off…  I wanted to be done after the first feather I saw once I peeled back the plastic.  I am such a baby, huh? I pressed on and got over it pretty quick… So here I am alone in the kitchen, just standing there with a huge ugly naked bird in my biggest bowl staring at me (although he was headless of course) just sitting there in the sink. Oh man….

What does one do? CALL MOM !!!!!

(and pray she answers immediately even though she is in a different time zone and almost 3,000 miles away)

She answered…thank goodness and gave me a little pep-talk and help, which is just what I needed.  She told me to remove the neck and giblets and laughed at my response: huh? She told me to reach into the “cavity” and there would be a packet in there. Phew, a packet of guts is better than I was expecting. What a relief that I did not have to gut the thing.   Next, she said I needed to find the neck and remove it… it is in there… just feel around. Finally finding that long nasty thing was half terrifying. At a time like this it is easy to forget turkeys even have necks for crying out loud. Sorry folks that use all that “stuff” inside the cavity because I tossed it.  Yes, wasted it without a thought. Too much to deal with at once.  After our talk and a lot of strong laughter, I was ready to tackle this thing.  I will master you turkey!  I washed it off, inside and out… dried the thing and made my “brine”.  I rubbed that turkey down like nobody ever has ever rubbed a turkey down… put it on a pan and tucked it in the fridge for the night (Wednesday night that is). It really stared at me every time I opened the fridge.  It is not everyday you open the fridge and see that!

Here is the birdy, early early Thursday after a chilly night.

A fresh new day helped, I was ready to tackle this bird again.  As the directions told me, I was supposed to rinse it off , dry it and then rub it down again, this time with butter butter and more butter galore.  I made my “butter rub” out of well, butter   and some herbs (thyme, sage and a little bit of clove I believe) and again gave that bird the rub of its life.  I rubbed the butter all over the outside and as much of  “under the skin” that I could get to and sent him to the hot place.

About half way through (~2 hours later) the house started to smell of turkey so I snapped a picture of it baking and texted it to mom… who informed me that I forgot to tie the legs together… ummmm. Well? Great! It was probably too late at this time so I stuffed him with onions! If a next time finds me, I will go further and stuff him with carrots, onions and maybe potato too! 🙂

So, I really have went off on this whole turkey business but it actually worked out pretty good and was pretty tasty too!

Check out that roasted bird fresh out of the oven!  Greg’s grandpa and aunt joined us for thanksgiving late-lunch and we had a good time!  I was a little nervous about making a thanksgiving meal but there is a first for everything! It all worked out pretty well and we had a good time! Everything seemed to go smooth… but I have to admit, they arrived to our home about an hour early which as many of you know is “prime time, rush, go crazy time”… ya know, just as the turkey was coming out of the oven, before the rolls were baked, before the table was all pretty, before I wiped food off my shirt and before I could get the dog out for a potty break!  Can you imagine me trying to carve a turkey alone, let alone with company present? Well it was rough, but like I said worked out pretty well. I did not get many pictures, but I managed to snap a few of my made by Beka rolls just out of the oven… and my pumpkin pie that exited the oven just before the turkey hogged it for hours.   I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving and finds themselves overwhelmed with stuff to be thankful for!

Thanks for reading my blog and my dramatic turkey expereince!

Pole Creek Mountain

One of our biggest, or should I say the biggest adventure of our time (always too short) in Colorado this year was hiking to the summit of Pole Creek Mountain, a beautiful unique mountain in the San Juan Mountain Range.  When we speak of the incredible view we have from the cabin, this is the very mountain we are referring to, but really…it is just the beginning of the beauty that surrounds us!  I have been to this area since before I was born (if we want to count that).  After all my time in Colorado, even after spending the last 2 summers in the presence of this mountain, this was my first time to the very top!  I have hiked and rode horses on Pole Creek Mountain many times but have never been to the summit… the tippy top!  Now that I have done it, I would really like to do this hike again in the future and even better would be with my husband along! He would love it I am positive… and I intend to sign in on that ledger once again!

On this particular day, the hiking crew consisted of my dad, brother, sister and I, and what a wonderful day we had together.  It was full of adventure, beauty, thrill, dare, challenge and just pain fun!  We crossed quite a bit of snow once we got above tree line  (often as deep as our hips)  and a snow bridge over fast-moving water which was quite thrilling, especially for my brother that broke it on the way back! Yikes! He recovered well and stayed safe and dry. The whole hike had beautiful views but the top was absolutely breathtaking and I did not want to come down for a long time.  The weather was super too which only helps! I have not organized all my pictures yet  but there are some below for you to check out!  If I get around to it I have a few others that show the summit well.

On a deeper note… as there is always some kind of lesson in things (at least for me) as I/we were while hiking along, one step at a time, I had a lot of time to think!  There was plenty of time to talk myself out of the hike if I had wanted to, but I had already made up my mind that I was “going to make it” before we even started out that day.  There were however a  few factors working (or trying to work) against me on this particular day…

  1. The hike itself, the terrain, snow and all that if we want to count that but it was well within my ability I believe – I mean, I made it after all!
  2. The altitude which can be a challenge before and even after proper “acclimation”. You see, I had arrived to the cabin just 3 days before (from sea-level) but I had decided before I even left Florida that the altitude was not going to defeat me no matter what adventures we got into.
  3. The non-joys of the dreaded “monthly cycle”… (yeah I know,  too much information for you and I apologize) of which for me is hardly even tolerable… I mean it is rare that I would normally be able to get out and walk a few steps, let alone hike all day… but again, I had already made up my mind that this would not ruin my week or any activity I wanted to accomplish.
  4. My hiking gear consisted of my hiking shoes,  camelback (which I have had since I was in highschool), a windbreaker/rain shield, sunglasses we found on the side of the river the day before, my mom’s pink hat she insisted I take,  and my headlamp incase it got dark… no hiking boots, gaiters, fancy gear or equipment… but I guess it is my style though and I like it, and it has worked so far!
  5. Half of me was missing – My husband did not get to come along which was sad. I operate the best with him around!

I had decided that it would not be a physical limitation (which really means mental I think) that would prevent me from reaching the top… it would be due to weather or impossible route or the like. All that may be odd, to you, but it works for me and it helped me on that day.  What I am getting at is that if I do not fill my head with undesirable thoughts or outcomes, I will have so much more room for excitement and be able to more clearly see the beauty and greatness in a day or activity.  Because I was not focused on how much hiking we had left, how tired my legs felt, my breathing or all the excuses I could have had to disqualify me for the hike I was free to just enjoy!  There were times I had thoughts enter my head about being tired for example but the faster I excused them, the sooner the enjoyment would come back!  I was able to dream of what adventure could be next rather than when the current one would end.  I also knew I could do it which also helps because I never questioned if I would be able “to make it” or not.  I make the hike sound so hard but it really was not bad… I can just see how if I would have been exhausted in my mind it would have worn me out physically too… I still had some energy to spare when we got home after our 3,500 elevation gain!

Although the hike was challenging for me, I know that I want to continue doing this… not just for the current trip but in the years and years to come.  I don’t see a line in my life that I will cross that would disqualify me from adventure.   My dad is someone who I look up to because I admire that he is still out doing things like this – planning and executing adventures… engaging in physical activity, adventure  beyond the normal Joe.  He has enough aches, pains, tears and patches to disqualify himself years ago from many things he still does… but he still presses on because he knows that the benefit he gets from his activity outweighs the pain that he feels. He is not one to accept that he is just “too old” to do this or that and quit.  I am so thankful that he is able to get out and enjoy life.  There are so many people his age (even younger) that cannot fully enjoy life because they have deemed themselves “too old for that”…  I know people my age that make comments like that too and it makes me sad!   I think about how many years I have left to live and enjoy and I want to enjoy them fully!  I do not plan on excusing myself anytime soon.

Take this as an encouragement for you to strive in whatever stage of life you are in and don’t accept defeat… always at least try! Defeat happens, but moreso when you do not try or give up before something is over. I’m not saying you have to summit mountains for adventure or to avoid defeat. Come up with your own adventures and always try – give it your best.  You never really know the outcome of something unless you don’t try!  If you don’t at least try, the outcome is already lined out for you.

Have a great day and keep it up!