I have spent the last couple of hours working on the new blog. I am pretty excited, even though I realize through my absence I have lost what little readership (slight chuckle) I had in the past. But seriously, I am going to make this thing work.
In the spirit of blogging more often here are a few quick things I wanted to share:
1. I am working on the new site. I think I have a name picked out, which has turned out to be a much more involved process than I expected. What blog name represents me at this moment...hhhmmm....or should I just go with something totally random? Also, I am really frustrated with the lack of blogging providers on the web. I did not want to go with Goggle, nothing against Goggle, it is just that I wanted more from my blogging provider. Turns out you have to know more about computers to get more out of your blog. Goggle definitely holds the power over the computer semi-literate.
2. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, my official go to site for all things cooking, and have made it twice in the last week. The first time I followed the recipe exactly and it was out of this world. The second time (a mere three days later) I used blue cheese instead of fete, because that is what I had, and added some chopped cherry tomatoes. It was so very, very good. I would make it again tonight if I had thawed chicken, but in a stroke of good fortune I found some lost steaks in the back of the freezer!
In a serving bowl, mix together the chicken, celery, and red onion. In a separate bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, feta cheese, and dill. Pour over the chicken mixture, and stir to blend. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving.
3. I am comfortably wearing clothes that were not-so-comfortable last week, and I am not-so-comfortably wearing clothes I could only look at two weeks ago. GO MAKER'S DIET!!
I really like blogging. Which I know you cannot tell from the frequency of my post, but really I like it a lot. I have tons of ideas that I want to share on my blog, I even write them down, and save the pieces of paper, or lose them or something, but more effort is made on the part of this blog than is evident on it's pages.
My problem (one of) is that I am really stuck on the name of the blog, and the meaning that goes along with it. I started this blog as a consolation to span the miles for my mother and the rest of my family in Texas when I lived in Californian and found myself suddenly pregnant. Hence the From 2000 Miles Away title. For some crazy reason God found it fit to remove us from paradise and plant us in Texas. When that happened I was reeeaaally bitter and so I decided to keep the name but in MY mind I knew that it meant I was 2000 miles away from where I thought I was supposed to be, wanted to be, was meant to be. For a very long time every fiber of my being wanted to be 2000 miles from Texas, but alas, it was not in the cards.
Over the last 12 months God has gently but firmly guided me through that bitterness to a place of contentment, GLORY HALLELUJAH. Can I say that again, do you know what a huge answer to prayer and great joy it is that I can say I am content to be here, because it is where God has us and I do not want to be anywhere that is outside of where He wants us. I wish you knew how huge that was, that I can say that, and mean it, and walk in peace. I still miss Tahoe, and everything that it was for us, and my heart longs to be close to those people and places mean so much to me. However, I know without a shadow of a doubt that my family is where we are supposed to be for whatever reason, to the glory of God, until He moves us again...or does not, only He knows. So the problem with the name of the blog is that for me it symbolizes two periods of time in my life that were full of happiness and hiking and bitterness and pouting, and I just want to be done with all of that. We are here, that is good, lets move on.
Like I said, I really like to blog, and I plan on making more time and honing my skills in the art. There are so many blogs that I read and they are a daily blessing in my life. I want to be that in a small way to others who visit my blog and read what I have to say. I want to write about being a mom, and a wife, and a Christian, and a member of this community, a person on this planet interacting with the land and influencing the lives of the people I am directly in contact with and those that I will never meet. I want to share how we are growing and changing and living. God has been so very active in our life, always, but I am becoming increasingly aware of what He is up to and I want to share that with everyone really, but here is a good place to start.
I am working on a new home for this project, one that leaves bitterness and joy behind to embrace a new future. I will let you know what the new name is, and where to find me in a little bit. I am so excited!!
Tonight we said goodbye to Joshua, soccer extraordinaire, a wonderful uncle to Camille, my little brother. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and counting the minutes between contractions with my mom, in great expectation of Joshua's entrance into the world. Despite his constant battle between who he should be and who he wants to be he is really one of the coolest people I know. I consider it one of the great blessings of my life that I have gotten to share this little bit of time with him while we lived in Temple. He is headed of to new and great adventures. I hope college is as kind and wonderful to him as it was to me. I hope that he finds friends that become like family, that challenge him to be a better, stronger, larger person. I hope that he stays safe, and makes good decisions. I hope that his bad decisions mold him, that he finds God, and loses Him, and finds Him again. I hope that he decides that he does not have to be so cool, because he is blessed by being different, no matter how hard he tries to fight it, and that, coming from me, is a great compliment.
My grandmother has had progressive dementia for the past...ten years? Has it been ten years? She is really sick right now, we do not even know how sick, nor do we want to know. Her dementia has progressed to the point where she cannot talk, or walk, or eat, or move. I work with this all the time, so I try to think about it clinically, but I cannot. It is really hard. I have not seen her more than a handful of times since I moved back to Texas and I grieve about that often. I live in her house, and drive her car, and I cannot make myself go see her. Because why? Why go see her, and why not? My mom says this, her dementia, may be mercy, who knows? She is at peace and has been this whole time, and a woman of faith, God take her now and ease our suffering.
Some things in life are sad, and some are new beginnings, and some are mercy in disguise. It all depends on your perspective.
As I write this I am currently enjoying the effects of a nasty stomach virus that has spent the last month making this Erdman household quite miserable. I am the last to fall, and am hoping that it clears up quickly since I am planning on boarding a plane to Tahoe in 48 hours. The virus started with Camille and quickly moved to Matt, for them it lasted weeks, but then they have very immature and compromised immune systems, respectively.
Camille is finally better, but during the time that she was sick I started giving her big people food, anything that she would eat, I would give her because she was refusing her bottle and baby food. Now that she is healthy, she has become the smallest bottomless pit known to man. This is a big change for her, since she has had a tiny appetite since birth.
Seriously, I think I could feed her every minute of her waking hours and she would gladly eat it up. The kid has some weird taste, which definitely comes from her daddy. So far she has eaten all sorts of raw veggies and fruit including green peppers, raw yellow squash (from our garden!) and cucumbers (also from our garden!), but tomatoes are her favorite. She also loves kiefer and sour crout. The only thing she will not eat is apples, give that baby fermented cabbage any day, but NOT apples. Today I weighed her and she has put on three pounds in the last two weeks.
Yesterday I realized that my baby is only a few weeks from her 1st birthday. That thought took me by total surprise, it is a huge milestone and it seems to have swept up on us in a blink of an eye. Life seems so normal with her as a part of it, but this time last year I could not even imagine what one does day in and day out with a real live baby. Matt always tried to assure me that we would just take her home and keep her alive one day at a time. For some reason those weird words were comforting at the time. Parenting turned out to be much harder, more enjoyable, and dare I say natural than I ever thought possible. Okay, enough of that until a later date, I still have six weeks to reflect on this before the big day.
Camille is not the only thing growing in our life....at last...pictures of the garden!!!
I never knew how enjoyable it could be to grow your own food. It has also made me so much more aware of how what is put in the soil is what you put in your body. Especially things like potatoes, carrots, and onions. After this garden experience I do not think I will ever buy another non-organic root vegetable. We have been picking about thirty pounds (no seriously, we planted way too much) of squash out of the garden every other day. Yesterday we sampled our first cucumber, and the vine is bursting with the little guys just waiting to be transformed into pickles. I also jumped the gun and picked one of the acorn squash, just because it was so beautiful, and I could not wait another minute to have it in my hands. Both the Caffeys and the Erdmans are going to be out of town at the same time, so I am trying to find people to pick the garden and enjoy its wealth while we are gone. I almost feel like it is a beloved pet we are leaving behind.
I had a significant learning experience regarding how to run a great triathlon...rule #1: GET REGISTERED! I thought I had registered for the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin a month in advance, however, my payment did not go through. I knew this, but for some reason I just was not concerned. I tried to get back on several times to make the payment, but I could never get it to complete, it would show up as debited in my bank account and then immediately be refunded. About a week before the race date (May 25) I got a call from the race coordinator, saying that they had been having trouble with the website not taking payments from credit cards whose home address was different from their billing address, which applied to me. He assured that he would get it straightened out and that I would be able to run. That was Monday, on Wednesday I got an email saying that my division was already full, and that I was out of luck. Major, MAJOR bummer! I had been training for that race really hard, harder than I have ever worked toward any physical goal, and I felt ready. So to be told so close to 'game time' that I was not going to be able to participate because of a website glitch was pretty frustrating. I know there are lots of other races, and I am planning on doing one later in July, but it took me a while to get over the poor-mes. So, now I am back training, which is still fun, and I am looking forward to being even stronger and more ready than I would have been last Monday. Here is the website for the race I am planning to run, the travel is a bit less convenient than Austin, but it still looks like a good time.
I realize it has been an excessively long time since I have blogged. Part of that has been laziness and total lack of motivation. Part has been the ridiculous schedule I have been trying to keep with work and baby and husband and training for my first triathlon. Part, which is more relevant to the blog is that I have been contemplating taking this blog in a different direction, but more on that later. Also, I have been trying to figure out/avoiding how to share what all we have been doing in the Erdman household without having a huge update post, which I realize is almost impossible, so here is the huge update post, bullet style.
Camille is doing great. She still has no teeth and no hair, but is a cute as ever. She is no longer crawling wounded-solider style, instead she is about the house on all fours, moving like a bull dog on a mission. She is pulling up on everything that will stand still, creeping on the furniture, and standing unsupported for a few seconds at a time. I have a feeling walking is in the pipes. She is now a total bottle baby (GLORY JESUS!). We have been making our own formula out of organic raw cows milk, which we purchase illegally from the most awesome hillbilly hippie, and a variety of additives. Camille totally loves the mix and immediately started sleeping three hours longer per night with all the extra fat grams she is getting from the formula. She loves singing especially songs with hand motions, books, eating dirt treasures off the floor, eating big people food and chasing the dogs around the house.
Matt is about the same as when I last wrote, which is good, since at that time he was staying busy with his work and other various hobbies. He is still brewing beer and has an October Fest, an Irish Stout and a barley wine in the makings at this time. He is now using an all grain method and we are thinking about growing some of our on grains in the near future. He is also still weightlifting. He has been working on rehabing a knee injury and is slowly gaining back strength without knee pain. I am constantly amazed at his dedication and love of that sport. As far as work goes, he as had several big jobs as well as some smaller ones this past month. We continue to pray and have faith that God will provide the jobs he needs, and He keeps providing.
I have been very busy training for my first (mini) triathlon which will take place on memorial day. I have really enjoyed the training and feel much stronger and fit than I did when I started. I still have quite a bit more baby weight to lose, so I am trying not to get discouraged on that end. I have also been working in our garden more these days. I have been struggling with my job, and am contemplating a change within the OT field, maybe even to pediatrics. We will see how that goes, I have not decided yet.
Collectively we have found a church that we like and are actively participating with some of the couples there in a Bible study and get together time. I still think making friends sucks, but it is good to be getting plugged into a group of believers. These people seem to be really cool, thoughtful, interesting, non-traditional types. There are several kids Camille's age, which was important to me. The church itself is changing. They are taking a good, hard look at their traditions and making sure that they are not doing anything to alienate people just because it is the way they have always done things. Consequently, their numbers are small. Viva la revolution.
We (being the Erdmans and Caffeys) are beginning the journey pursing a more holistic food acquisition method as well as an overall more natural way of living. We are now knee deep in vegetables that we have grown ourselves in the garden that we tilled and planted and prayed over. So far we have feasted on squash, zucchini, green beans, purple peas, heirloom purple and yellow beans, broccoli, and lettuce. Soon we will have tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, and black eyed peas. Later we will have winter squash, potatoes, and onions. We are trying to figure out how to eradicate several types of bugs WITHOUT (daddy!) using harmful pesticides. I would love any suggestions.
We are also about to purchase our own cows to put on my parents land (20 acres give or take). For the last few years my parents have rented out the land to a man who had way too many cows on that number of acres. He depleted the land and we have spent the last several months doing things such as fertilizing (with very good, not organic, but very much not typical fertilizer) and removing some old, dead hay that coated several acres in a 18 inch blanket of nastiness. God has been gracious with the rain and we should be able to make a first hay cutting and purchase our cows within the next couple of months. We are planning on getting 3-4 heifers and a bull and then using the offspring as meat for ourselves and selling others. If anyone in this area is interested in purchasing a cow for meat, let us know.
In addition to the garden and cows, the people that rent the small farmhouse on the corner of my parent's property are raising chickens and ducks for egg production. We are getting grain fed, free range eggs at an alarming rate for free! God is truly blessing our endeavour to live holistically off the land that he has provided.
I have to say that I am incredibly proud and thankful for my mother who has really thrown herself into the process of living more naturally and taking advantage of the resources at our fingertips. The word Green has become so cliche, but I really think that we are trying to make a change in our small sphere that promotes a healthful, natural, environmentally aware lifestyle. Not because some celebrity told us to, or because we think it is cool to drive a Prius. But because vegetables out of a garden you planted taste like nothing you can buy in the store, and raw milk from the crazy milk lady taste like cool coconut sweetened goodness, and duck eggs are truly delectable. Right now the cost of everything that we are doing is much more than if we just gave up and bought our stuff from HEB, but next year, we should definitely hear a sigh of relief from our pocket book.
So, I was toying around with the idea of changing my blog into something specifically focused on growing up green, or hippies gone Texas, or southern granola, but I decided to just keep it the way it is and post about whatever I want and hopefully more often than once every other month. This will include probably include quite a bit of detail about how Camille is going to grow up green, how this hippie at heart is planted in Texas, and how some die hard southern parents go granola in their golden years (haha).
(I posted some new pictures of Camille so you can have something entertaining to look at while you read me rantings...)
I am having a terrible dilemma with trying to decide what to do about church. The dilemma is multifaceted...Since moving back to Texas in August we have been going to the church that I grew up in. This church is a blessing because there is automatic, built in community where we are surrounded by people who love us, and that we love. I would trust my life (read Camille) with any of these people in a heartbeat. I know that the leadership is sound, that the church is focused on Christ and attempting to be a Christian light in an un-Christian world. The preaching is Bible based and occasionally one might learn something, but it is usually slightly fluffy. Not too fluffy, there is good stuff there, lets call the preaching fuzzy, which is less than fluffy, but not quite steel.
There are several couples there that have young children, some of them I have known forever, some of them are new. All of them seem to be totally not our type....more on this later. The church does an excellent small group ministry on Sunday nights, which I like but have not yet plugged into. There is reported to be an excellent class on Sunday mornings, which I have not yet attended. They have attempted to get us to get involved with the youth group...but we have flaked on that too...I think writing this is really helping me to see an obvious pattern.
Okay, so here is the rub...man, this is more like journalling than blogging, because I am totally-kind-of solving it in my head as I type along...the problem is that the main reason I want to go to church is to form a social network for Matt and myself, and eventually for Camille. Today, Camille was really fussy, so I took her up to the nursery where she slept and I was able to observe the crowd in my over-head perch. There were four couples that I noted that are ideal friend candidates, meaning they are roughly our same age and have kids in the pre-school or under age group. Two of the four couples I know pretty well, and we are nothing alike. The other two I do not know at all, and they both seem to be cool, not LeTourneau cool, but okay.
The problem is Matt and I are REEEEAAAALLLY picky, and would rather spend time together in our home alone than hanging out with people that we do not click with. This has been what we have been doing for the past five almost six months. I could go on that way for a long time, but I just do not think it is a good idea. Something is driving me to reach out and make a social network, and I cannot ignore that impulse, as much as I would like to at times.
Another conundrum is that I have major issues with organized religion in general, it just makes me want to heave. This could be satan at work in my spirit, making me shun community and there by robbing me of the power of being in fellowship with other believers. I am trying to come to grips with my issues. Matt just thinks that we (I) should just pick a church already and stop stressing over it and plug in and get with the program. Ooh that life in my mind could be so simple.
Back to the original dilemma...the question is: do we stay at this church that has so many obviously good aspects, or do we look for a church that offers more in the way of young married people with babies, because four couples does not seem like many options to me. Would the 'selection' be better somewhere else, and is it worth the effort and risk involved in finding another church? Is church more than just a place to meet and gather with believers? Am I just an unsettled person in general, and therefore would feel the same way regardless of what church we went to? Is any of this about church at all, or just a veiled way to express that I am having a hard time plugging in and making friends.
Making friends sucks, it is just a fact of (my) life. If there were 300 couples to choose from that would be equally bad, because who wants to weed through all those people just to find the 4 cool ones. Why are there no organic eating Birkenstock wearing kokopelli painting science teachers in Temple???? Why is making friends so hard, and making good friends a once in a life time event? Why does Sunday, in particular send me into such a tailspin that I spend the first half of the next week recovering?
Tonight we went to the youth group super bowl party. It was the first thing that we had done to make an effort to plug into this church as a couple. We had a pretty good time, although if Matt would have let me I would have totally weenied out at the last minute. The youth group is much bigger than I thought it was, and the youth minister and his wife seem to be pretty okay people. There is definitely a need/opening for Matt and I to serve with this group of kids. While we were there the homeowner mentioned that he needed some roof work done (SCORE!) and hired Matt on the spot...that is another big bonus. When we left Matt said that we should just get plugged in and be okay...that is the closest he has ever come to having an opinion about the church issue, so I guess that should settle it in my mind. Should my mind ever be settled.
Today I was playing with Camille and drinking my breakfast smoothie, when the phone rang. I ran to get it leaving Camille sitting on a blanket, playing with her toys. My smoothie was minding it's own business a good four feet away from any possible (or atleast I thought) baby grabs. I guess she can crawl when we are not looking, because I walked back to find a raspberry flavored baby.
My husband is super cool, and really good at giving gifts. This year, with the help of an awesome elf in California, he gave me the 12 days of Trader Joes for Christmas. In case you are unfamiliar with Trader Joes it happens to be the most wonderful of wonderful grocery stores of all times. I miss it acutely on a daily basis and long for the day when the company realizes that Texas is a perfect market for truly great, super cheap, wonderful healthy goodness. So, without further adu...ahhem..the twelve days of Trader Joes Christmas in A minor...
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five tasty treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six pounds of soup, five tasty treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven bars of chocolate, six pounds of soup, five tasty treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight ounces of cookies, seven bars of chocolate, six pounds of soup, five tastyf treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ounces of cheese (which the dogs ate, wrapping paper and all before I could open it, bad dogs) eight ounces of cookies, seven bars of chocolate, six pounds of soup, five tasty treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten fruity leathers, nine ounces of cheese (which the dogs ate, wrapping paper and all before I could open it, bad dogs) eight ounces of cookies, seven bars of chocolate, six pounds of soup, five tasty treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven awesome spices, ten fruity leathers, nine ounces of cheese (which the dogs ate, wrapping paper and all before I could open it, bad dogs) eight ounces of cookies, seven bars of chocolate, six pounds of soup, five tasty treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve ounces of chips, eleven awesome spices, ten fruity leathers, nine ounces of cheese (which the dogs ate, wrapping paper and all before I could open it, bad dogs), eight ounces of cookies, seven bars of chocolate, six pounds of soup, five tasty treats, four pounds of organic basmati, three flats of naan, two bucks of chuck and a pound plus of Belgium Chocolate.