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Archive for December, 2010

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Pregnancy has been such an adventure, a process of self discovery, body image issues, fear, joy-you name it, its been a ride. One of the greatest moments has been the realization that I am not only pregnant, but being prepared to become a mother. Moving from self to other; from me to baby; from me to we and all within my own body. (Not to mention the transformation within my marriage with my best friend-that’s another post!) In this process, one of the most revealing joys, however, has been my memories of my own childhood-remembering and connecting with how I was raised and all the mothering I received.

I hear my mother’s loving and all-knowing voice in my head as I walk through this process. Things that used to eventually annoy me by matter of the shear number of times I heard her repeat her lessons, I can start to recognize as the most important life lessons that she was teaching me. My mother was and is a natural teacher. A guide, a principle in so many arenas. I didn’t recognize this as pure genius as a child, definitely not as a teenager, more so as a young adult and now, as I enter into becoming a parent…I know for a fact, she is pure genius.

The lessons from my mother are vast, ones that I don’t realize are there, that I would be hard pressed to recount if you asked me on the spot. Not until I need them. And when I need them, there they are, there she is-her voice fills me and I find myself being mothered at the exact moment I need it…that I need her. Today’s post title, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” is an example of that.

When Brian or I start to feel crummy with headaches, sore throats and other accompanied cold symptoms or if its a chilly day or we are feeling worn down, before I think through remedies I hear myself sing-song these words: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. I scrounge through the fridge to see what ingredients we have to make a chicken soup. The perfect remedy. Whether at the grocery store or in the fridge or garden, I sing these four words as she used to in her humming tone as I gather the chicken (a carcass that I usually keep in the freezer, remnants after we have baked a chicken for dinner-”never throw out a carcass”, another one of my mother’s lessons), carrots, celery, potato, egg noodles, and lots and lots of garlic-an entire head of garlic (another one of my mother’s lessons: “load up on garlic”). And then, of coarse, Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme. Perfection.

Before you know it, I am eating soup, snuggled up and feeling loved and mothered…at the exact moment I need it.

I intend to share more of my mothers lessons as I continue to connect and appreciate them. There are so many.

What are your most cherished lessons from your mother?

Drum roll, please…The results are in!

The results are in and according to our nearest and dearest family and friends 60% of you thought it would be a boy, but…

We are having A GIRL!!!

Place Your Bets! Can you predict the sex of our baby?

Surprise Envelope

Surprise Envelope

Two days and counting…we have the envelope, signed and sealed by our doctor, that has been hanging on our picture wall for the past several months that contains some very important information: the sex of our baby!

We weighed the options of finding out verses waiting and settled on a solution that fits our style and values as a family. Brian and I knew we didn’t want to find out at the hospital during the anatomy scan and we also wanted to spend a little time planning and preparing, given what a tough transition this has been these past several months moving away from Denver to New Orleans. And we thought Christmas would be a perfect time to mark such an important and pivotal stage in our lives as a married couple and in our new role as soon to be parents.

So, we thought it would be fun to take a poll to see what you all think: are we having a girl or a boy? Place your bets in the poll below:

BONUS! Help us come up with names for our precious little one. Place any suggestions you have in the comments below!

Baby’s First Movements & Dad’s First Connection

Guest Post from my gorgeous, brilliant husband, Brian J. Elizardi

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Lately at home I’ll be sitting on the couch, laying in bed, or doing some otherwise normal activity and hear a “Oooh!” from my wife.

When these first started, my reaction was to freak out and either call 911 or go warm up the car to head to the hospital. After we developed a code for distinguishing between the seemingly normal grunts and groans of her pregnancy versus an all freak out situation, I was able to relax and take in this unique occasion to see and feel our baby growing.

These events are now accompanied by a quick grab of my hand by my wife so that I can feel what’s she’s feeling. The first few occasions when I felt the baby moving with my hand placed on her belly were breathtaking and amazing. Every day I get to witness her growing more beautiful as the baby marches towards full term, but to feel and almost interact with the baby is something to behold.

Despite all the outward signs that this is really happening and we indeed starting our family, it can be tough to identify with what Mia is going through and experience the same intense and surreal experience she goes through minute by minute. These small movements serve to connect me with a process that is literally foreign to my body and mind. Since we haven’t discovered the sex of the baby it also gives me something to focus my mind’s eye on and visualize. It’s a powerful activity that has me excited for what’s to come.

Update
After writing this early this morning I went in to say hi to sleeping mom-to-be and baby. Right after I placed my hand on her belly I felt a kick, or what I pretended was a high-five from the baby. Loving this special stage in our lives.

Window with an Office

This is my new office. I am in love with it. It makes me happy. Because…it’s my own space, with a door. It’s at a University. And check out that window. It’s awesome. Really awesome! It’s so awesome, in fact, that I don’t think its even fair to call it an office with a window…it’s a window with an office.

I look out over a practice field next to the Riley Center (campus gym) and I see students coming and going, I see the weather and the light changing throughout the day and I see my husband jog past on his lunch break to either come visit me or go for his workouts. It’s a reminder of feeling connected to my community, to what I do, who I serve, where I live. Its just a window. A window that represents so much of what I value.

Office with Morning Light

Office with Morning Light

Office with Night View

Office with Night View

One thing I learned about myself in the two-ish months I spent in cubicle America: I don’t do cubicles. Period. I don’t care how much you pay me, promise me or distract me. I cannot, will not, sit in a cubicle (without meaningful interactions) and listen to people typing all day, for 9 hours, minus one hour for lunch. Cannot. Not sure if this makes me scrupulous or stubborn. Both, probably.

But, the great thing about being in an environment or situation that doesn’t fit, that bucks my values, is the clarity with which I felt to get out and run toward what does. And here I am, underpaid, with a view and happy.

What makes you happy in your space that reminds you of what makes you, you?

4 Great Books… To Grow Your Own Money Tree!

Money Tree

Grow Your Own Money Tree

Someone recently asked me…”What was the name of the finance book that helped you and Brian so successfully manage your money?”

First of all, how totally flattering and validating and humbling. And then, I thought, what a totally overwhelming question…there is so much good stuff out there, so much I have read, so much I could passionately talk about in a lightening speed manner (which is what I do when I am excited about something, I talk at warp speed!)

So, I wrote her back after about a week of thinking, talking it out with Brian and researching my answer. And I wanted to share my response with you…

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Personal Finance is one of my passion/hobbies-I have read and continue to read a lot on the subject. So, I have a list of my favorites, the highlights and most influential for me in terms of hands on, how-to’s…and ones that have stood the test of time through the economy/real estate bubble, life stage, etc.

1. “Smart Couples Finish Rich” by David Bach-This was the first book that was incredible influential early on for Brian and I as a young couple. He is the “latte factor” guy who talks about how the little things we spend add up to big wastes of money OR hopefully great wealth building opportunities. What I love most about his book was the step by step guide to thinking about money in a values based vein. He has you go through a few exercises as a couple around your values and then ties in your financial planning to those values-this has stuck with us since the moment we read it years ago.

2. “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey- A book that is a kick in the butt for those who have any kind of debt (e.g. mortgage, student loan, credit card, you name it…) and want to get it all under control and paid off and start building wealth. His philosophy is one of freedom from debt as a virtue. He is Christian and comes at his financial advice from that perspective-so it is woven into his writing-take it or leave it-his advice is well respected and incredibly sound. He is a step by step kind of guy with a strong emphasis on intensely pursuing financial freedom through drastic measures. We barrow from his ideas all the time, for example we are already debt free after our move from Denver using his gazelle like intensity model (also thanks to the amazing generosity of Jeanne and David to allow us to live in the cottage, of course).

3. “Debt Proof Living” by Mary Hunt -This one was great in terms of laying out the tools needed in order to to liver her philosophy: “dedicated to promoting the art of living within one’s means”. I loved this one too. She also has a Debt Proof Your Marriage, which I have not read, but assume is also great.

4. “The Money Book for the Young, Broke, and Fabulous” by Suze Orman -This one is for a recently college graduated, just starting a first job crowd, which clearly doesn’t apply to me or your kids, BUT, in this iteration, Suze does a fine job of framing the basics of how to get yourself started in the world of being an adult, which I think is applicable to many of us. I disagree with her advocacy of using credit cards in the manner she suggests, but overall her approach is worth noting.

***Also, I follow a lot of Personal Finance blogs and have learned a great deal from these bloggers over the years-about personal finance, setting up an emergency fund, frugal living, how to live your life values through your wallet, how to navigate your career and on and on and on. Just recently there was a great review of some of the best out there that are worth checking out: http://www.redeemingriches.com/2010/11/23/25-most-influential-finance-bloggers-you-should-know/ My favorites are JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly, Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar, Free Money Finance, Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Jeff Rose – Good Financial Cents. And last, but not least Tip’d is a great resource too; its a community of folks who share their favorite stuff from the web related to personal finance.

***Also, JD Roth wrote a review of the top 25 personal finance books he likes: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/03/07/building-a-personal-finance-library-25-of-the-best-books-about-money/ You can also check out my shelfari page to see the books I have read on personal finance-I think they are all captured there.

I violated one of my own rules of over answering a question with TOO MUCH information, but this is a topic that I have a hard time boiling down into one book suggestion. I hope this helps! And if its way too much, then I would recommend the first two books on my list.

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What are your favorite books and resources on personal finance???

Baby belly…the first and second trimesters

So, here I am in all my pregnant glory. As you can see, we skipped a few weeks of photos and I changed my mind about bare belly vs. clothed belly a few times, angle, and background, but in the end I think these capture the gist of a healthfully growing baby belly (and body…ahem!)

One more trimester to go!

Week 9

Week 9

Week 10

Week 10

Week 11

Week 11

Week 12

Week 12

Week 16

Week 16

Week 17

Week 17

Week 18

Week 18

Week 19

Week 19

Week 20

Week 20

Week 21

Week 21

Week 22

Week 22

Week 23

Week 23

Week 25

Week 25

Week 26

Week 26