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Krug the Thinker

Istanbul Scrapbook: Day 6

Istanbul ScrapbookQ: Are you still working on a scrapbook from 2012?
A: Why, yes, yes I am. And I kind of love it. It’s been long enough now that looking at these photos and remembering these days of adventure makes me feel giddy all over again. And that’s the whole idea, Isn’t it?

Istanbul ScrapbookI had initially planned two pages for this day, but I had too many photos and gorgeous tickets, so it spread out to three. A good problem to have! This was the day of our big excursion to Topkapi Palace. Even though you can barely see them, I love those little stars on the bottom left.

Istanbul ScrapbookThe park outside the palace was lovely, and by the time we got there, we were hungry. Thank goodness for simits, the world’s most affordable and delicious snack.

Istanbul ScrapbookThis view was our reward for trekking all the way through the palace grounds.

Istanbul ScrapbookI love languages so much, and I worked on Turkish independently for a few years before this trip. But my ultimate dream would be to be able to read Ottoman Turk. Isn’t it gorgeous? A girl can dream.

Istanbul ScrapbookAfter lunch by the sea, we went to the harem within the palace. It isn’t exactly what it sounds like–it was the private quarters of the imperial family and their closest relatives and staff. And yes, there were concubines too, but this was really more a typical part of imperial life than anything scandalous. It was really just stunning inside.

Istanbul ScrapbookI love this picture of Eric. And the beautiful tiles.

Istanbul ScrapbookI thought this was a good opportunity to use my new stamp.

Istanbul ScrapbookAnd wax poetic some more about these awesome tickets we received.

Istanbul ScrapbookAfter these adventures, Eric wanted to go up and visit a really special mosque. And I was not excited about walking up the giant hill to get to it. But it was worth it!

Istanbul ScrapbookI mean, wow. It’s the largest mosque in the city, designed by the famous Sinan.

Istanbul ScrapbookThe calm and quiet inside the mosques was always very moving, especially after the bustling streets around it. I kind of wish I had pictures from our walk home, after we realized that that would be faster than waiting for overcrowded transit. It was a big day, and we were exhausted by the end of it! I think this was probably one of the nights I feel asleep at 9pm. But what a wonderful day.

The Road to Hana

The Road to HanaHello from pregnant-land! Tuesday night we had our first childbirth class, which was awesome and exhausting and lasted until 9:30, and then I fell straight into bed when we got home. Since I like to write blog posts before bed to publish in the morning, I am kind of thinking that Wednesday posts will be a rare thing for the next nine weeks. Of course, by then, it won’t be long until our little friend is here, and the words “blog schedule” will probably make me laugh hard enough to fall out of my chair (as long as that isn’t too painful…and I’m not holding the baby). All that is to say, we are entering the zone of erratic blogging! But I love it too much to stay away for too long. Thank you for reading! And thank you for all your sweet comments this week!

And now, the main attraction: the road to Hana! What is it? Hana is a little town on the far eastern side of Maui. The road there is full of curves and blind corners and one-lane bridges and WATERFALLS. It’s basically a rainforest, and it’s where the water for the sugarcane fields in the central part of the island is pumped in from. I had read a few things about this road, and I was fairly intimidated by it. It’s about 50 miles. And it takes all day, due to traffic and frequent stops to look at gorgeous things. I was feeling kind of nervous about it, so I was a little surprised when Eric said he wanted to do it. But how could I say no to waterfalls? I couldn’t.

The Road to HanaThe first stretch of it was rather un-fun because there wasn’t too much to see and we were still getting our bearings (Eric was a total champion of driving, BTW). But things started looking up when we stopped at a little park overlooking the water. This photo is not doctored at all–that’s just how bright the blues and greens are in Hawaii. Swoon.

The Road to HanaWe hiked up a little path for a broader view. More swooning.

The Road to HanaHere is Eric next to a typical cliffside along the way, to give you an idea of the magnitude of the scale.

The Road to HanaOur next stop was a beautiful botanical garden full of native plants (and, more unfortunately, mosquitos!). This stream ran through it, and it was so lovely.

The Road to HanaLook at the branches of this tree!

The Road to HanaThese are called painted eucalyptus trees, and I was so excited to find them! As the bark peels, layers of different colors are revealed. We marveled at them for such a long time. It seems like almost every day nature makes me trip all over myself with its beauty, and I never ever get tired of it.

The Road to HanaA close-up of a trunk.

The Road to HanaA sweet couple took a picture of the three of us in front of them.

The Road to HanaMoving down the road, we came to an overlook of Keanae, which is the halfway point to Hana. We missed the turn for the little town, but we went back to see it, and I am so glad that we did. It was utterly gorgeous. Those are taro patches down there by the ocean.

The Road to HanaIt was so peaceful and quiet there, except for the crashing of the waves along the volcanic rocks. We must have stood there for ten minutes, just listening to the ocean.

The Road to HanaWe took so many pictures.

The Road to HanaHow could we not?

The Road to HanaBy then we were getting kind of hungry, so we stopped for some famous banana bread. And it was amazing, still warm from the oven. I know it’s made with island bananas, and it had a little bit of plantain flavor. Island bananas are special bananas.

The Road to HanaWe took our picture by the rocks before hitting the road again.

The Road to HanaSo much more loveliness awaited us.

The Road to HanaAnd waterfalls!

The Road to HanaToo many to count.

The Road to HanaWe stopped for a quick lunch, and I couldn’t believe we were only six miles from Hana. Still, six miles will take you a while to travel on this road!

The Road to HanaI admired this baby pineapple. I should have put my hand in for scale–it was tiny! In related news, did you know that if you plant the top of a pineapple (the part you cut off), it will grow another one? I keep trying to remember this every time we buy one!

The Road to HanaOur last stop before Hana was this beautiful state park. It was a jaw-dropper.

The Road to HanaSee what I mean?

The Road to HanaCouldn’t. Stop. Taking. Pictures. And just generally being in awe. I try to make it a habit to spend more time looking than taking pictures. It’s awesome to have reminders in visual form, but I don’t want to miss the experience of being there.

The Road to HanaDown in the cove is a black sand beach. Eric wanted to go down and take pictures, and I waited for him because it was too steep of a climb for me. I smiled watching him take pictures and met him when he came back up. “I got you a prize,” he said, as he pulled a perfectly smoothed stone out of his pocket. I love him.

The Road to HanaThe funny thing about the road to Hana is that it’s the road itself that’s the destination. Hana is a very small town, but it has lots of history. This store has been here since 1910. We were both kind of amazed that we made it! Our drive back was miraculously free of traffic, and we made it home in time to crash on the couch for a few minutes before dinner. I am so glad we went on this trek. Some of my favorite memories are of the incredible places we saw along the way. I couldn’t help but think of my Dad, who loves to drive on winding roads. You can’t go too fast on this one, but I think he’d love it just the same. Because I can never stop planning imaginary vacations, I am already daydreaming about coming here again with our whole family! (And if you made it all the way to end of this impossibly long post, you too have traveled your own road to Hana!)

Swimming with Sea Turtles

Swimming with Sea TurtlesI’m so happy that Eric and I generally have the same travel priorities. We both really love to explore new places, and we’re not big on anything too fancy. For my part, this is because it’s the actual experience of seeing a place that’s important to me, and if I did it up big everywhere I went, I could never afford to travel as much as I do. (Speaking of which, I actually laughed out loud while reading this NYT article about how planning trips makes us happy: so true!). So, Eric and I don’t really do fancy dinners or tours, and we like to stay in affordable rentals when we go somewhere for more than a few days. You can save so much money just by being able to eat breakfast at home and reheat your leftovers for lunches and dinners, to say nothing of doing your own cooking. When we’re in a place with museums, that’s what we spend on our money on. And when we’re in Hawaii, we splurge on underwater camera rentals for our snorkeling adventures!

Swimming with Sea TurtlesWhen I read that Maui’s coral reefs were abundant in green sea turtles, I was beyond excited. I’ve never been able to see too much while snorkeling, and these turtles are truly majestic creatures. Once my cold got a little bit better, we went to rent snorkel gear. When we were checking out, I noticed that they rented underwater cameras. The price was really reasonable (think museum admission for two people), but it still felt like a happy splurge because I just didn’t know that the equipment was available. So we headed down to Makena to check out a reef so full of turtles it’s called Turtle Town. (Also, for posterity, those are the bikini bottoms that Eric said looked like the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. I heartily approve of this comparison.)

Swimming with Sea TurtlesOn our first swim, we found that snorkeling was actually kind of difficult. The breathing requires some concentration, and the fins were kind of heavy. And then there’s all that salt water in your ears and nose. BUT all of this is of course worth it. It was just more of a workout than we expected! The coral itself was so beautiful, and I loved seeing sea creatures I never would otherwise. (In possibly related news, The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor was totally my favorite book from that series).

Swimming with Sea TurtlesThis is just one of the beautiful types of fish we saw. They are called Moorish idols.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesCoral, coral, as far as the eye could see.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesWe became masters of underwater communication. And something about the light or the water turned my hair completely red in these pictures. Hi from Ariel.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesOn that first swim, we didn’t see any turtles, though the fish were gorgeous. We came back to the beach to regroup, and thankfully, a kind lady gave us some tips for the next time around. However, getting my hair impossibly tangled in my mask proved unavoidable.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesAfter a bit of rest, we were ready to head back out again. The light on the coral was so beautiful.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesAnd look at this pretty guy.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesAnd then we saw a turtle!! That’s me pointing him out to Eric. I am pretty sure I also came to the surface and yelled, “Turtle! Turtle!” Luckily, turtles don’t pay any mind to excited tourists.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesMore excited pointing! I love that you can see the baby in this shot. It’s going to be so much fun to show him these pictures someday.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesWe followed this little guy for a good long while, and he did not seem to mind at all. We were careful not to invade his space, of course, but that’s one of the things that amazed me the most about this experience: where else can you see an animal in its natural habitat, so up close, without disturbing it?

Swimming with Sea TurtlesSoon we saw a second one! It’s hard to describe how incredibly graceful these creatures are. Watching them swim is like watching the world’s smoothest flying, and they make it look so completely effortless.

Here’s a little video.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesI love the pictures of me swimming with him. Being so close to something so beautiful was really one of the more moving experiences in my life. And I’ve had a lot of those.

Video of me swimming with him!

Swimming with Sea TurtlesAt this point, we were about ready to head back, but I was hoping we’d see just one more turtle. And we did! And he was huge!

Swimming with Sea TurtlesAh, how beautiful.

Swimming with Sea TurtlesNaturally, I wanted to swim with him too.

One last video of sheer elegance. I am so glad we were able to see a few turtles, and so glad we rented the camera. We have already looked through the photos and videos about ten times! And that, my friends, is the sign of a sound investment.

Adventures in Pregnancy: 29 Weeks

29 WeeksAnd so we have arrived at the stage in pregnancy when people smile at me and congratulate me and ask me when I am due. Hurray! Also, the baggers at the grocery store really want to make sure I’m okay taking them to the car myself. And I am, for now, but I will ask for help when I need it. (Also, major thanks to Hillary for lending me this maternity dress, which is one of the few things I can still fit into!)

I have had a gentle inauguration into the third trimester so far. I would not say that I had any great burst of energy in the second trimester, but now I am definitely more tired than I was then. Oh well. Also, I now have a new nightly companion: heartburn. It is unpleasant…but so much more pleasant than some other things I’ve experienced already (ahem, entire first trimester, I’m talking about you). The baby is still rocking and rolling in there, which is really sweet to feel. My mobility is still very good except on the occasions when he drops his entire body to the bottom of my uterus. And then, my friends, I waddle.

It was a big weekend for us: we bought a car! It’s a new-to-us Honda Accord. Given that we are still driving the Honda Civic I bought when I was 16, I hope we’ll have a good long time with this one too. Eric worked really hard to prep for the inspection and negotiation, and he did the most amazing job. I was seriously impressed. I said a few things here and there, but he really had it under control. We feel great about the car and the price we negotiated, and we’re happy to be able to cross this off our list. Now to install the carseat!

It was also a really special weekend because we celebrated Mother’s Day as parents for the first time. I didn’t have any expectations at all–I hoped that maybe Eric would buy me flowers (and he did!), but otherwise I hadn’t imagined anything special. Eric also gave me a card from our baby, and it made me cry profusely. It was the sweetest, sweetest thing, and I will treasure it forever. It was a total surprise, which made it even more moving.

29 WeeksSpeaking of moving, our parish usually honors mothers on Mother’s Day, but I never paid too much attention to it. Until now. At mass the priest offered a special prayer for us, and then invited us to come up and receive a flower. I was already crying–finding my place in the long line of mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers and women throughout all of time who have loved and nurtured their children is enough to knock me off my feet. And I was just so grateful. I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I dreamed for years and years about being married and having a family. When I was younger, I imagined that this would happen right away, and while I am older than I imagined I would be, I would not change a thing. Being able to get pregnant is a gift. Having a healthy pregnancy is a gift. Being in a good place in life to welcome a child is a gift. And having a loving and caring and supportive partner to share it with you is a gift. Every single one of them is priceless. As I was walking back to our pew with my flower in my hand, my eyes fell on Eric, smiling so sweetly and proudly at me, and I just absolutely lost it, the way I lost it right before I walked down the aisle at our wedding: tears that are just a rushing well of joy overflowing, tears that express gratitude better than any words can, tears that hold the greatest hope and happiness for the future.

I am looking forward to years with finger-painted Mother’s Day cards and picnics in the park and years when Mother’s Day will coincide with graduations, and years (deep breath) when I will hopefully get to enjoy my children and my grandchildren. And I’m even looking forward to the years when my children might rather be off with their friends than hanging out with me, because Mother’s Day will always make me remember this weekend, this wonderful time of waiting and celebrating, the last weeks of our first child remaining a beautiful mystery, before we can stroke his soft skin and hear his newborn cries.


Babymoon in Hawaii

Babymoon in HawaiiWhen I think of this trip, here’s what I’ll remember. Cool breezes and white sand. Preposterously green sugarcane flowing like locks of hair in the wind. A sky blue enough to break your heart. Pineapple, lots and lots of it. And those are just the tangible things. I’ll remember a feeling of total bliss and relaxation, an overwhelming sense of luxury in getting to spend so much time with my husband. A lot of laughter. And that special Hawaii magic, by which I never fully adjust to the time change and instead just get up every morning at 6:30 and head out to the balcony with my book and my oatmeal, savoring the early hours to myself and looking forward to the adventures the day will hold. It was a great, great trip.

Babymoon in HawaiiThis was the sunset we saw on our first night in town, when I was totally congested and feeling fairly miserable. The view helped a lot, and thankfully, every day I got better and better.

Babymoon in HawaiiThe mountains were just stunning, and once again I couldn’t get over the richness of the greens and blues.

Babymoon in HawaiiWe spent the first few days doing some light exploring, while I was still getting over my cold. This banyan tree takes up an entire city block. So amazing how it grows into itself and keeps branching further and further out.

Babymoon in HawaiiOur favorite spot in Lahaina was Banyan Treats, where Eric got this mo’o (it’s the Hawaiian word for gecko; thus the eyes). It was the sweetest family-run business, serving only local Maui Roselani ice cream. Ice cream and Hawaii are two sides of the same coin, no?

Babymoon in HawaiiWe ate so well, and pretty affordably. This is how you know your wife is pregnant: she sees a picture of a burrito in a magazine and has to have it. Thankfully, Eric is very obliging.

Babymoon in HawaiiEvery night we spread out on the couch and read for a few hours. It was so wonderful. Even though I look slightly deranged in this picture. We would do a quick email check every couple of days, but it was so good for us to unplug a little bit. I brought 4 books with me, and I read 3 of them. I call that a successful vacation.

Babymoon in HawaiiAlso…look at the size of these avocados! They are bigger than grapefruits. They are actually sort of pomelo- or oro blanco-like in size. Impressive! (Little-known fact: I worked for Sunkist one summer in college, whence comes my knowledge of obscure citrus!)

Babymoon in HawaiiWe made a jaunt up to a lavender farm on the side of a mountain, looking out over the ocean. So gorgeous.

Babymoon in HawaiiSee what I mean about those blues and greens? This is a total car shot, but that only adds character, right?

Babymoon in HawaiiBack to breakfast: this is banana bread French toast. And yes, I ate it ALL.

Babymoon in HawaiiAnd I took so many pictures of the flowers. They were incredible.

Babymoon in HawaiiIsn’t this amazing? It’s a protea.

Babymoon in HawaiiThis is the misty mountain scene at ‘Iao Needle.

Babymoon in HawaiiAnd, of course, we spent lots of time at the beach! The condo we rented came with so much beach gear, I couldn’t believe our luck. Sadly, it was way too windy to keep this umbrella up for more than five minutes, but the chairs were an awesome improvement over beach mats or towels.

Babymoon in HawaiiWhat we really wanted to do was sit and read (in between dips in the ocean), and read we did. I am devouring The Paris Wife here, and it was so fantastic, and it is lingering with me so much, that I might have to write a separate post about it.

Babymoon in HawaiiOur favorite beach was just two blocks from our condo, and we went almost every day. It was quiet and secluded, and everyone there knew each other. We decided to take the chairs one day, and I offered to carry them because the beach bag was way heavier. These chairs are so nice that they have backpack straps on them, so I just put one on my back and one on my front: practice for baby-wearing! I have to stress that they were not heavy at all, but even still, Eric was slightly worried about this arrangement. As you can see, though, I am a chair-carrying boss!

Babymoon in HawaiiAnd I had to share this picture so you can see just how big the belly is! I love to think of showing these pictures to our baby one day! We thought and talked about him all the time, and he made this trip so special with his little kicks (and big kicks!) and the very fact of his exsitence. Two more Hawaii posts to come, on two of our favorite experiences there: swimming with sea turtles, and the beautiful yet harrowing road to Hana!

May 2014 Goals

May 2014 GoalsMay! This is going to be a fun month. Traveling time is over for me, and I’m excited to get back to baby prep. There are (of course) a million and one things we need to do, but I seem to have lucked out in the pregnancy hormones department, and I feel very calm and zen about it. And did I mention excited?! There is furniture to move and art to hang and stuff to buy and one very special map-themed baby shower to plan with Hillary. Hurray!

At the same time, May is one of the busiest months for the freelance work that I do, and I’ve already gotten started on it. I am hoping to cram in as much as possible, since I’m sure every little bit of extra money helps when there’s a baby around.

It’s still alternating between scorching hot and cool here, which makes for a nice change of exercise pace. Mostly I am still walking, but on really hot days I swim, and it feels great!

Now that the book proposal is submitted (whee!), I am hoping to get back to some projects I have really been wanting to dust off. I haven’t done any scrapbooking in ages, and even the baby’s quilt has been languishing while I have worked on my freelance deadlines. The turnarounds aren’t always so tight, though, so I hope I can really luxuriate in some crafting time this month, with my little kicking companion along for the ride.

I took 800 pictures in April, and that’s more like it! (Especially when compared to November-January, when I was at my sickest: 80 photos, tops). I am sure that I’ll be taking 8,000 pictures a month when I have a tiny and adorable little model at my disposal, but this is a good start!

What are your goals for this month? My April goals are updated here, and, just for fun, here are my May goals from last year.

Update, June 2014: I was wondering to myself why it felt like May had blown past me, and then I remembered that I was mostly doing freelance work. Right! It was a great month for it, though, and I love having the work. Baby prep went great too–we bought a car (!!) and ordered a ton of stuff we need. Not much left to buy (of the big stuff, at least!). Hillary and I sent out the baby shower invites, so now there’s just crafting to be done: fun! Walking/swimming is still going well. I miss being able to walk outside in the cool evenings, but my little passenger keeps me needing the facilities all the time, so the gym it is! But even the walk down there after dinner is nice. It’s been great to have some free time for personal projects too. The quilt is coming right along, I’ve got Project Life stuff all over the kitchen table, and I have been reading novels voraciously. Delicious all around. I took 348 pictures in May, which is not bad at all. I don’t mean to make myself stress about the numbers at all–instead, what I want to do is cultivate a habit of keeping my camera clicking throughout my days. I never ever regret taking a picture, so I always want to take more! Hope you had a great month too, and happy summer!

Adventures in Pregnancy: 28 Weeks

28 WeeksAnd we’re back from Hawaii and firmly planted in the third trimester! At least once a day Eric marvels at my belly, and I do too. The baby is around 2 pounds now, so today I told Eric he was going to get at least three times bigger, and his eyes turned into saucers. It was hilarious and awesome.

We had the most glorious time on Maui (the pictures, the stories–they will be coming atcha this week), and I was happy to recover from my cold fairly quickly. I really felt very good for most of the trip, with the exception of one night when the heartburn was killing me. Tums are my best friend, but I can’t take them after I’ve taken my iron supplement because the calcium blocks absorption. I was splayed on the couch of our condo rental looking miserable when Eric came and put his arms around me. “Is there anything I can do to help?” he asked. When I told him that he couldn’t and thanked him for his concern, he just smiled and said, “I want to be supportive. You are working very hard for our family.” Swoon. I am grateful for him about 72 times a day.

28 WeeksBut back to the belly…it is expanding! I am down to a very small pile of pre-pregnancy clothes that I can still fit into, and my oversize pj shirts are no longer oversize at all. They feel like spandex! So, bigger sleepwear for me. And I think some combing of the thrift store is in order. My favorite one usually has good maternity stuff.

In other news, I cannot believe I am still saying this, but I am even hungrier than I was last week! Last night I got up to eat something at 2am and 6am and was completely ravenous again by 9am. And 11am. And so on. I think you can set your watch by my hunger pangs–every two hours. All of this is probably great preparation for the nights when I’ll be feeding our sweet baby instead of myself. (But…I think I might actually be turning INTO a baby, since my favorite activities are currently eating and sleeping!)

We had our 28-week appointment this weekend, and everything looks great! He did some break dancing in response to the loud Doppler machine, and it was kind of hard for the doctor to hear his heartbeat because he wouldn’t be still. We have an active baby on our hands! We’ll be seeing the doctor every two weeks now, which feels like a milestone. More on this tomorrow when I talk about May goals, but baby prep is officially switching into high gear. And that is going to be lots of fun!

I am really savoring these weeks when I still feel very comfortable. My hands still fall asleep when I lie down, and my leg cramps are really becoming frequent, and there is heartburn every night, but all of this is nothing compared to the first trimester, and probably nothing compared to the discomfort of the last few weeks of pregnancy. Every day that I can still comfortably walk and sleep feels like a gift. And so does this sweet baby.

Adventures in Pregnancy: 27 Weeks

27 WeeksHello from Hawaii! And thank you all so much for your sweet comments here and on Instagram! Eric and I both wanted to try unplugging for this trip, and we decided to keep the internet at a minimum. I haven’t been doing much online, and I miss you guys! But this is such a special time. We’ve been reading and talking and laughing and napping and swimming and exploring. I’m so thrilled we were able to make this trip. But I will probably be behind on all things internet until late this week. Looking forward to catching up with you all!

And now, to the main attraction: the baby! He has been happily kicking away this week, and I’ve been getting bigger…and bigger…and bigger! The funny thing is that if you look at me straight on, I don’t know if you can tell that I’m pregnant, but once I turn to the side…all doubts are chased away! I kind of love watching people realize that I’m pregnant. A really nice lady offered to take a picture of the two of us today, and when I turned sideways, she said, “Oh, sorry, the three of you!” Yesterday we stepped into a gallery and were greeted by the owner. As we got closer to his desk, he said, “Ah, I see you brought the whole family!” Yes, the whole family. The thought of that makes me smile so much. Even Eric is pretty impressed by my belly. I am seriously round, and I love it!

Nausea-wise I am still doing great, and I am intensely grateful for that. Also, food is so overwhelmingly delicious to me right now (any kind of food at all!), and the fact that I get hungry and have the pleasure of eating three times a day (or…five or six) feels like a gift too.

I have started getting leg cramps in the night, which really remind me of my adolescent days, but are pretty easy to deal with. And now I can feel it when the baby has the hiccups! It’s an adorable tiny earthquake in my belly.

Given what pregnancy does to the immune system, I am so happy that I haven’t been sick…until a few days before this trip. We left on Thursday morning, and on Tuesday I realized my throat was killing me. When I get a cold, it lasts a full week, and I was so bummed about being sick on our trip. I wasn’t feeling all that awful until Thursday evening, when we were walking to dinner in Kihei. We stopped to watch the sunset over the ocean, and I felt just totally miserable. I am sure being up since 4:30am and sitting through a five-hour flight didn’t help, but it was that kind of can’t-breathe awfulness that just makes your whole face feel raw and inflamed. I looked at Eric and told him how sad I was to be sick on our trip, and that I wondered if we should have come. I think when you’re the sick one, you always sort of feel like you’re ruining the trip. Eric put his arm around me and comforted me and said, “As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got our money’s worth right here.” And then I started crying because he is just so sweet, and I am so grateful for him. In case I haven’t made this clear yet, he’s basically a dream. When some little thing like this goes wrong, it always makes me realize how much I truly have, and I feel more thankful than I could ever express. The good news is that the cold is running its course, and each day I feel a little better. I can’t really say it’s kept us from doing anything that we wanted to do, and that is awesome.

There’s so much more to share (like videos of us snorkeling with giant sea turtles!!), but for now, aloha, and thank you for reading!

Off to Hawaii!

HawaiiEric and I are taking off for Maui today! We are so excited that we were able to squeeze in a little babymoon before I get too far along to travel. We’ll be away for a week, and I’ll probably put up a post or two, but mostly we’re going to try to unplug. You can find me on Instagram, though, and I will most certainly photobomb you when we get back!

(Here’s a link to the photo frame embellishment project showed above, using vintage postcards I bought on our honeymoon in Kauai!)

Quinoa Chili

Quinoa ChiliThis is a new favorite around here. The first time I made it, I was genuinely blown away by how good it was. I found the recipe on Pinterest, and in the picture it was topped with sour cream, cheese, and avocado slices. I bet that’s delicious, but it is divine even without those additions. I don’t cook often with canned vegetables, but this a great recipe for tiding you over until the days of fresh corn, tomatoes, and peppers. And when those days come, you can make the substitution, and this chili will be even better.

Quinoa ChiliI think the secret is to use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. We only had smoked the first time I made this chili, so I tossed it on in, and I never looked back. I love that deep roasted flavor. The other fabulous things about this chili: 1) it is really filling, and 2) this recipe makes a giant pot (especially if you are like me and add extra beans to everything because you happen to be in love with them). I am planning to make a big pot of this and freeze it for after the baby comes. For those looking for a more meaty option, Eric loves chopped chicken in his chili. I’m more of a purist, but that’s probably only because beans and grains are my idea of food paradise.

Quinoa Chili
Recipe from Damn Delicious

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, or more, to taste
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (use smoked paprika!)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
1 avocado, diced

-Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. (I like to cook my onions longer, getting them nice and brown for extra flavor.)
-Stir in quinoa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, cayenne pepper, coriander and 1-2 cups water, making sure to cover most of the ingredients; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
-Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice until heated through, about 2 minutes.
-Serve immediately with avocado, if desired.

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